In our annual 32-part Summer Sleeper series, DLF scribes identify a lightly-touted player on each NFL roster who may be worthy of your consideration. Our subjects all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but each merits a bit of in-depth discussion.
To help everybody along, we are going to be categorizing our sleepers under one of three headings:
Super Deep Sleepers – Players who aren’t roster-worthy in 12-team leagues, but are still worth keeping an eye on.
Deep Sleepers – An end-of-the-roster player who is more often than not on the waiver wire in 12-team leagues.
Sleeper – A likely rostered player who makes for a good trade target. Their startup ADP puts them out of the top 175 or so.
Because we aren’t going to give you the likes of mainstream sleepers, most of these players will undoubtedly fizzle. All we are asking is for you to keep an open mind and perhaps be willing to make room for one of these players on your bench. You never know when the next Adam Thielen or James Robinson is going to spring up. Feel free to add your own thoughts about our choice for the designated sleeper, or nominate one of your own in the comments below.
Next up in our Summer Sleeper series, the Cincinnati Bengals and…
Chris Evans, RB CIN
Image via Pro Football Reference.
To add depth to their running back room, the Bengals made Evans the 202nd selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. On the surface, the former Wolverine’s rookie campaign appears to be a failure as he toiled on the depth chart behind starter Joe Mixon and satellite back Samaje Perine. Yet, a closer examination of his production points to a reason for optimism on his future role.
MORE EFFICIENT THAN PERINE
DLF’s own Shane Manila explained a few months back how Evans is not only younger (24 vs 26) and more athletic than the unspectacular Perine, but was much more efficient in limited touches than the man ahead of him on the depth chart last season.
|Evans vs Perine 2021 Efficiency|
|Fantasy Points Per Opportunity||1.46 points||0.97 points|
|Yards Per Rushing Attempt||5.5 yards||4.5 yards|
|Yards Per Target||8.9 yards||6.3 yards|
THE HANDCUFF TO ROSTER
Make no mistake, fresh off a Pro Bowl season and with a $13 million dead cap hit over the next two years, Joe Mixon is the unquestioned alpha of the Cincy backfield. Fantasy prognostications are favorable for him this season, and rightfully so. The Bengals have one of the most improved offensive lines in football to build upon their 2021 Cinderella season which saw healthy franchise quarterback Joe Burrow, along with receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, lead a resurgence in the Queen City.
Those dynasty managers of contending squads with shares of Mixon need to make rostering his handcuff a top priority. Perine saw a 29% snap share this past season relieving Mixon in passing situations and keeping him fresh for the stretch run. The Bengal backup would have run the ball more in 2021 had the starter not been available for all 16 games. Evans will challenge and could eventually usurp Perine for this role in 2022.
Despite his ADP jumping over 31 spots from May (236.67) to July (205.5), Evans is still almost free to acquire per July swaps in the DLF Trade Finder. His potential upside is light years ahead of any of these three men he’s being swapped for straight up.
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports has Evans headlining his 2022 ‘Out of Nowhere’ Breakout Team. Of course, there’s no guarantee he’s elevated from back-bencher status this upcoming season. Yet, a player with an impressive athletic profile in a dynamic offense is exactly the kind of lottery ticket savvy dynasty GMs will stash at the end of their roster.
Contending teams (especially those with Mixon shares), need to send an offer of a 2023 fourth-round rookie pick (or a similarly valued end-of-the-bench player) for Evans immediately. Depending on the competitiveness of your league, he might just be sitting on your waiver wire (46% rostered in MFL). Rebuilding squads should also take a chance with Evans on the wire as he could fetch a healthy haul during the season should Mixon miss any time.
- 2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: Cincinnati Bengals - August 2, 2022
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Update: Dameon Pierce, RB HOU - June 18, 2022
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Update: David Bell, WR CLE - June 3, 2022