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DLF’s Dynasty Fantasy Football Sleeper Rankings

We examine three players in DLF’s Sleeper Rankings. Are they worth a shot?

Chris Evans

Welcome to the next edition of DLF’s Sleeper rankings review. If you missed the April edition, you can find that here.

“These 2022 dynasty sleeper rankings are some of our favorite deep sleepers in dynasty fantasy football. These players are all outside the top 200 dynasty rankings (at the time they are ranked). They highlight deep stashes and players with potential upside.”

I’m going to take a look at a couple of the players our rankers (Jeff Haverlack, Ryan McDowell, or Eric Dickens) have highly ranked and tell you why they are wrong or right on these players.

RISE AND SHINE: Chris Evans, RB CIN

There’s an old fantasy football saying that I’m making up right now: Opportunity is the mother of all production. Evans is an injury away from a great opportunity, with a chance to be the Cincinnati Bengals’ primary running back backup in 2022.

Evans checks in as the top-ranked player in our Dynasty Sleeper Rankings in May 2022.

Last year’s backup to starter Joe MixonSamaje Perine – is still on the roster, it’s just that Evans is better. From an efficiency standpoint, last year Evans averaged 1.46 fantasy points per opportunity, compared to 0.97 for Perine. Evans was more efficient as a runner (5.5 yards per attempt vs 4.5 for Perine) while also being a much better receiving option (averaging 8.9 yards per target vs 6.3 for Perine). Evans is two years younger than Perine, while he is also faster, more explosive, and has better burst.

Being a better athlete, and having shown to be a more efficient player than Perine makes Evans one of my favorite dynasty stashes. Backup running backs with paths to relevancy are who the bottom of our rosters was designed for.

He may be the number one ranked dynasty sleeper, but he’s basically free in most leagues. Using the trust Dynasty Trade Finder app, you can see his acquisition cost couldn’t be lower unless he was being traded for FAAB.

Keep an eye on snap share rates to start the 2022 season. If they are similar to 2021, where Perine is seeing nearly 29% of snaps and Evans is only at 12%, then perhaps the Bengals don’t envision Evans taking over the backup duties. But if the rate skews closer to even, or obviously if Evans is playing more, then it’s a great bet he’s the primary backup for the Bengals, and the one you want to roster in case of injury to Mixon.

RISE AND SHINE: Jelani Woods, TE IND

Woods checks in as the TE1 this month, despite Jeff Haverlack’s disdain for him (not ranked at all). Both Ryan and Eric must have looked at Woods’ mockdraftable spider graph and felt their heart skip a beat just like I did the first time I saw it.

He is a monster of a human, standing over 6’7”, with massive arms, wingspan, and the speed of a much, much, much smaller man. As Rob Willette notes below on the DLF Player page for Woods, there’s a lot of projection involved.

But this is the life we lead in fantasy football when it comes to tight ends. Hit rates for rookies aren’t great, for tight ends they are downright offensive. I’d much rather throw a dart on Woods in the third round of rookie drafts than expend a second-round draft pick on Trey McBride a half-round earlier. In startup drafts, Woods is going 60 picks later than veteran Noah Fant who is the TE12 and is being drafted as the 137th player off the board overall.

Woods has a path to instant usage during his rookie year, even if just in the red zone because of his height and giant catch radius. The Colts’ tight end room consists of Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, and Andrew Ogletree. Woods has the draft capital, opportunity, and physical skill-set to be an elite tight end in the NFL. Again, tight end prospects fail all the time, but Woods is cheap enough with enough upside that the risk – which is minimal – is more than worth the potential reward.

Snooze: Anthony Schwartz, WR CLE

Checking in as the second-ranked player this month, Schwartz is a hard snooze for me. This time I’m forced to agree with Jeff, who has him unranked this month. Schwartz feels like what happens when we add 1 + 1 and get 3.

Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, and Odell Beckham are off the Browns’ opening week roster, freeing up 182 targets from 2021. So of course the second-year receiver, with decent draft capital (third-rounder in 2021), should be able to step right in and take a big percentage of those targets, right? Wrong. Though third-round draft capital is okay, it’s not especially predictive for a hit at the wide receiver position – and Schwartz wasn’t that good of a prospect.

He had one season where he barely crested the baseline regression for total dominator rating.

And he had just one season where he exceeded the threshold for Market Share of receiving yards, and he didn’t break out until his age-20 season at college.

Schwartz’s rookie season was also terrible. He only saw a target on 16% of his routes run and totaled just 10 receptions and 135 yards. The lack of production has led to a dip in his ADP as well. DLF’s ADP Over Time app shows  Schwartz’s ADP has fallen a full round since prior to his rookie season. Rookie wide receivers who have under 500 receiving yards and see a dip in their ADP are poison pills.

The Browns also didn’t just sit on their hands when it comes to the wide receiver position. They traded for Amari Cooper, drafted David Bell, and just gave tight end David Njoku $56 million last week while bringing back Donovan Peoples-Jones who had nearly four times the production of Schwartz last year. Rather than rostering a wide receiver with little to no hope of succeeding or becoming a fantasy asset, I would much rather flip him for a backup running back, who is just an injury away from fantasy relevancy and holding fantasy value.

For example…

DLF’s Dynasty Fantasy Football Sleeper Rankings
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Wendell Bera
5 months ago

Last article you had Kylen Granson as a rise and shine prospect. Does your opinion of him change now that Woods was added?

Jacob Smith
5 months ago

The first part of this article was hard for me to read because whenever I see the name Samaje Perine I have flashbacks to when I drafted him over Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt.
I do have Chris Evans on both of my dynasty teams and he’s a definite hold.
I’m glad you mentioned the target share thing with Schwartz. It doesn’t necessary follow that WR X is going to see the targets left by a departing WR Y, and the whole “ooh look, extra targets” mantra doesn’t always play out. A receiver still has to be able to haul them in have the trust of his QB.
Same goes for the oft floated idea that a new RB – especially one with a bit of draft capital – is going to inevitably and swiftly displace the current RB.

Jacob Smith
Reply to  Shane Manila
5 months ago

As is the whole Clyde Edwards-Helaire debacle, where he was anointed as the 1.01 because “Oh my god, the Chiefs! Andy Reid and running backs!”
Perine I got over, as that was my choice. Picking CEH over Jonathan Taylor still stings because I was firmly going to pick Taylor but the virtually unanimous crowning of CEH by the dynasty sites had me thinking that they had to be right. Um, no. Since then I trust my gut and not post-draft ranking adjustments. Landing spot, as you say, is only worth so much; and not nearly as much as it’s made out to be.

Vespa
Reply to  Jacob Smith
5 months ago

CEH is brutal. I remember having Swift as my personal RB1 in the class followed by Taylor in the pre draft era. Luckily, I didn’t get to draft CEH anywhere and ended up with much more shares of the two latter names.

Joseph Abboud
5 months ago

Is Pitts realistically not tradable in a TE Premium league?

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