4 Players to Stash in Fantasy Football From the AFC North
In our continuation of an ongoing series looking at each NFL team for their most promising, unheralded sleeper, today we will be taking at look at the AFC North. Don't forget to check out the other deep sleepers we covered: NFC South, NFC West, NFC East, NFC North, AFC West.
Every team has one or two players deep on the depth chart who have the talent and potential to make waves during a season. These “rise from obscurity” stories can be immensely valuable in fantasy football.
For example, before the 2010 season, very few people had heard the name Jimmy Graham. He was a mid-round draft pick who was more basketball player than tight end.
That year, he posted a modest 31-catch, 356-yard, 5-touchdown line that put him on the radar. But if you were in a dynasty or keeper league, it was probably too late. In 2011, he broke out with a 99-reception, 1,300-yard, 11-touchdown campaign and claimed the title as fantasy football's premier tight end.
The key is finding these players a year too early rather than a year too late.
You have similar stories with players such as Travis Kelce, Jordan Cameron, and Julius Thomas. And it's not just the tight ends. Thomas Rawls, Dion Lewis, Latavius Murray, Arian Foster, Alfred Morris, C.J. Anderson, John Brown, Allen Hurns, T.Y. Hilton, Pierre Garcon, Victor Cruz, Marques Colston, and Russell Wilson would all qualify as being deep sleepers before their breakout years.
In 2015 we identified breakouts like John Brown, Rawls, Charcandrick West, Tyler Eifert, and Alfred Blue. More importantly, dynasty managers had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of players whose value has only climbed -- such as Clive Walford, Matt Jones, Jeff Janis, Zach Zenner, Sammie Coates, Jace Amaro, and Mark Sanchez. Yes, we profiled Mark Sanchez. And yes, his value shockingly has gone up.
To find these players, you look for a certain profile. Perhaps off-the-field issues, inexperience, or health caused them to fall off the radar, but their size, speed and ability suggest that they can really explode with the right development and opportunity. These are the guys you target late in drafts or keep tabs on throughout the season to see if opportunity might come their way. Far from just being role players, these individuals possess the talent to be dominant if the opportunity presents itself. In deeper leagues or dynasty leagues, finding them plays a big role in separating the good owners from the great ones.
Who are some players to keep an eye on in the AFC North? Let's take a look.