Top-12 Fantasy Football Sleepers for 2016 (Part 2)

Bilal-Powell-td

Picking the right fantasy football sleepers can be the difference between a championship run and being trapped in the basement.

The Super Bowl is always a bitter-sweet time. On one hand, you have the biggest spectacle in all of sports where the best team in the NFL is finally crowned. On the other hand, the fantasy football season is officially over.

Even though it feels like a little part of ourselves has died, the fact remains that a new fantasy season is only six months away and it’s never too early to start planning your strategy.

Over the next 6 weeks, I’m going to reveal the top-12 fantasy sleepers going into the 2016 season.

 

  1. Packers WR Jordy Nelson/Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin

Both Nelson and Benjamin have something that no one else on the list has: a track record. In any other season, either of these guys could be picked as high as the third round, but both star wideouts missed the entire 2015 season with knee injuries and have seen their value take a hit.

As is the case with any knee injury, the threat of digression will make owners second guess taking them early, but if they slip, there are two reasons both can give you third-round value at a sixth-round price.

 

  • They return as number ones – At this point, we can only dream about what kind of fantasy animal Benjamin would have been if he had stayed healthy this year. As a rookie in 2014, Benjamin was targeted 145 times, wasting no time becoming the number one target for QB Cam Newton. The 6’5” 245 lbs beast ended his campaign with 1008 yards and 9 TDs. With only Ted Ginn Jr. standing in his way, Benjamin is on pace to be Superman’s go to guy yet again.
  • I don’t think anyone could have predicted the impact the absence of Nelson would have on QB Aaron Rodgers and the entire Packers passing attack. Without his number one target, Rodgers’ completion percentage dropped 5 percent, WR Rendell Cobb’s production dropped drastically and the entire passing offense dropped to 26th in the league in 2015. With none of the other packers receivers stepping up in Nelson’s place, Nelson’s 98 receptions, 1,519 yards and 13 TDs in 2014 will slip right back into the number one role with the Packers.

 

  • They both have superstar QBs – I can give you a whole bunch of stats, an endless amount of historical accomplishments and bottomless unbelievable anecdotes about how good Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers are but all of them will take you to the same conclusion: They are really, really good. Sometimes, common sense is all you need when picking a sleeper. Better QB = Better Chances for WR. It’s just that simple.

 

 

  1. Jets RB Bilal Powell

When Pro-Bowl RB (a title that doesn’t mean much these days) Chris Irovy went down towards the end of the season, Powell filled in and excelled.

From Week 11 to Week 16 (Powell missed the final game), Powell raked up over 80 running/receiving yards and 3 TDs on an average of just under 11 touches per game. He also caught 33 passes in that time, making him extra valuable in PPR leagues. Powell also helped the team win. In the games where he received at least 10 touches, the Jets were 5-1.

One negative about Powell is injury-risk. He has missed 7 games over the last two seasons, including Week 17, a road loss to Buffalo that cost a post-season berth.

It seems like every year Jets brass raves about Bilal Powell. So far in his 5-year career, that coach’s trust hasn’t translated to fantasy numbers, but with a strong end to the 2015 season, it seems like momentum is finally moving towards Powell being a legitimate fantasy option next season in PPR leagues.

<- No.11 and 12

Check back next week for No. 7 and 8.   

 

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