8 Deep Sleepers at Tight End

The Footballguys staff digs deep for sleepers at  tight end

A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. This article specifically targets deep sleeper value (players that can be found very lain a fantasy draft). In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look deeper than the Top 150 and identify players that should significantly outperform their late draft position. These players should be your targets after the 12th round of your draft.

Player Receiving 4 Votes

Darren Waller, Oakland

Will Grant: In most redraft leagues, Waller is not going to be drafted. He's at the bottom of the TE2 when it comes to projections and the Oakland passing game is going to be a mess this season. But in league formats where tight ends receive bonus points per receptions, leagues that have a lot of flex positions or leagues that have 14 or 16 teams, Waller becomes a late-round option. His ADP is below the basement right now, but in league formats where tight end production counts for more than normal, Waller is a guy that you want to target as one of your later round picks. If guys like Jason Witten, Chris Herndon or Gerald Everett are being considered in your draft, look at Waller as a guy who will beat out them in production by the end of the season.

Ryan Hester: The Waller experiment could easily crash and burn, but at least it won’t cost fantasy managers any real draft capital to try it. Waller’s current price suggests he’s only being drafted in leagues with 20 rounds or more. The reason for optimism is that his coaching staff, including head coach Jon Gruden, has been talking him up throughout the offseason. His competition for snaps is far from stiff with Luke Willson, Derek Carrier, and Erik Swoope as the nearest competitors. Additionally, Waller is an athletic marvel at 6’6” and 255 pounds, having run a sub-4.5 second 40-yard dash when he entered the NFL as a wide receiver. He could crash and burn, but if he doesn’t, those who believed in him could get a sizeable yield on a minimal investment.

Matt Waldman: Waller began his career as a big receiver but injuries and suspension slowed his development. The Ravens moved Waller to tight end, which had always been a possibility since the pre-draft evaluation period. After joining the Raiders midseason, Waller displayed enhanced professionalism and impressed the Raiders staff with his skills. He tracks and catches the ball like a primary wide receiver and he has the speed and acceleration to win on a variety of routes and alignments. Howard is on track to become the starting tight end and replace much of Jared Cook’s production.

Jason Wood: Darren Waller is the kind of last-round lottery ticket worth drafting. Chances are he’ll be a waiver-wire cut in Week 1 or Week 2, but there’s also a chance he could be your every-week starter at a razor-thin position. Waller has been in the league since 2015 and has a mere 18 career receptions, but the narrative entering 2019 is blisteringly hot. A battle with substance abuse nearly drove Waller out of the league, but he appears to have found a better path and flashed in the final weeks of the 2018 season with Oakland. Coach Gruden has called him the league’s best-kept secret, and he enters training camp as the clear-cut No. 1. If early camp reports confirm Gruden’s enthusiasm, Waller is worth targeting.

Players Receiving 3 Votes

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