A few months ago, I wrote an article detailing five dynasty sleepers you could acquire at next-to-nothing. Wanting to run with the idea of sleepers the community seems to love so much, I decided to continue the “March Madness” theme of my first article and create an interactive series to help identify 16 more sleepers for dynasty owners.
Poring over the DLF March ADP data, I identified 16 players, all with ADP’s lower than 100, (seven lower than 200) that I saw as rifts in the markets that are currently priced at something much lower than their expected value. With help from DLF’s own Brian Malone, each player was seeded based on their ADP (highest ADP was the number one seed and so on) and then matched up in a tournament style to determine the community’s favorite dynasty sleeper. After the conclusion of the first round, the first of four pieces was published on DLF, detailing the first eight sleepers who were eliminated from the polls. A few weeks after that, the second of four articles was posted, detailing the results of the elite eight and revealing the final four.
Now, after a slight delay, we are down to our final two sleepers. The final four presented two interesting matchups and the two players who failed to advance should still be viewed as legitimate sleeper candidates. As to once again not let the losers go in vain, this article serves to provide a profile on the two players that were eliminated in the third round of voting. So, without further ado, here are the voting results and profiles of two more sleepers.
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- DeAndre Smelter (68.6%) vs. Ladarius Green (31.4 %)
- Chris Conley (57.1%) vs. Kenny Bell (42.9%)
Ladarius Green, TE PIT
Ladarius Green had a higher ADP when he was entrenched in a backup position behind one of the greatest tight ends of all time than when he became the starter for a pass heavy offense that lost its second best receiver to a year-long suspension. Let that sink in for a second. The 26 year-old was once the young starlet of the dynasty community, an athletic freak just biding his time until he was unleashed in San Diego. Green was the epitome of a trap dynasty owners can fall into with player valuations and the unrivaled powers of group think. He suddenly grew from a mid-round NFL draft selection to a dynasty asset being drafted by owners as their first tight end in the late fifth round of startups. Keep in mind he totaled 21 receptions for three touchdowns at the time his value peaked (August 2014). Yet, Green isn’t a “bust” so to speak. His dynasty value far outweighed his real NFL value and just as the latter is growing, the former is sinking.
Finally leaving San Diego and the seemingly immortal Antonio Gates, he signed a four-year, $20 million dollar contract with the Steelers after the somewhat surprising retirement of Heath Miller. The deal, which makes him the 18th-highest paid tight end in the league, gives Green for the first time in his career a semblance of stability in playing time. Known for being a competent blocker in San Diego, he should be able to use that skill to consistently be on the field for three downs, and let the playmaking opportunities come to him. 110 receptions are off the field for Pittsburgh in 2016, due to the loss of Miller (60) and the yearlong suspension of Martavis Bryant (50). Green seems to be in position to be the primary beneficiary of this missing production, along with a [hopefully] full season of a healthy Le’Veon Bell.
Speaking of health, Green will have to overcome the ankle issues that have plagued his first off-season in Pittsburgh. After ending last season on IR, he underwent surgery on his ankle and is missing OTA’s. While they present a valuable chance to become familiar with a new playbook and a new quarterback, the lack of competition at the position along with the significant capital spent by the Steelers to acquire him make it almost a sure thing that Green will be the starter if healthy come week one.
As for his prospects as a dynasty sleeper, the time to buy is now. His ADP, a great resource to get a pulse on a players current value, hit its lowest point (149th overall) last September and has slowly been climbing back, most notably in April when he signed with Pittsburgh. While his most recent ADP is still outside of the top 100, it would seem logical that his price tag only gets more expensive through summer and into the fall. For the first time in his career, Green presents the option at legitimate production and can be acquired at a reasonable, if not cheap price. Especially at a position where production can be tough to find outside of the top tier, a high upside asset with the stability that Green offers should be very sought after by owners. Make sure you acquire him before the presumed “RotoWorld bump” in the preseason, a positive blurb on Green “wowing” or “dominating” Steelers camp, after which a flurry of dynasty owners rush to grab their once fallen savior.
Kenny Bell, WR TB
Bell essentially had a redshirt year for Tampa Bay last year, as the former Nebraska Cornhusker missed the entire season with a hamstring injury. Still yet to appear in an NFL game, his ability to produce and be a viable dynasty asset is still a major question mark but, his favorable situation and skillset point towards a quality career going forward. Taken in the fifth round by Tampa Bay, Bell seemed like the obvious choice to line up alongside Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson and provide Jameis Winston with the type of stability at receiver you don’t often see from a team so high in the draft. However the aforementioned hamstring injury led to a rag-tag group of Adam Humphries, Donteea Dye, and Louis Murphy taking up the WR3 duties for Tampa Bay and combining for 48 total receptions. To be fair, the Bucs offense loves to feature the running back in their pass game, with both Doug Martin and Charles Sims catching over 30 balls. Sims ended up finishing with 20 more receptions than V-Jax, who is fully entrenched in the back nine of his career at the age of 33.
Rumors have been flying recently that the Bucs may end up releasing ultra-talented tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins due to character concerns (check his twitter feed), leaving his spot open for former Harvard tight end Cameron Brate, both of whom combined for 44 receptions last season. If you can’t tell, the Buccaneers have little to no supplementary weapons behind Evans, Martin, and Winston, and it’s holding back the high potential this group has under offense wiz and head coach Dirk Koetter. That’s where Bell comes in. The 24 year old is in the lead position to win a starting job and become a productive secondary option in the offense.
While expectations must be tempered due to a lack of volume, Bell could theoretically take away Murphy, Dye, and Humphrey’s production and if ASJ is indeed released, one would think that the offense would look to Bell before Bray. As with Green, staying healthy will be key to any sort of fantasy relevance for Bell and if he does, 50 receptions with a few touchdowns sprinkled in is not out of the question.
As it always seems to do with questionable players, Bell’s ADP has been rising throughout the summer and it would be smart to grab him as quick as possible, especially with the high chance he gets names a starter sometime in August. As I always look for in sleepers, especially relatively deep ones, the situation is one for Bell where production isn’t out of the question and where I as an owner actually have a realistic chance of getting something out of my 13th round pick. Buy low, expect little, and profit all the more if Bells favor turns into production for your dynasty team. Happy Trails!
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