Offseason Sleepers and Busts

By: Johnny Slokes
April 12, 2016

QB Sleepers:

  • Joe Flacco (BAL)

Flacco is coming off an ACL tear, I know! But if heals right,  he could be sneaky. If you look at his schedule this year, he gets to play the NFC East (Philly and Washington at home), Miami at home, Oakland at home, and Jacksonville on the road. Overall he is slated to have the 2nd easiest schedule in terms of passing defense. Another positive note is that the Ravens threw 675 times last season (WOW). They should get to see what Perriman can do (hopefully). It might be a long shot but Flacco could sneak into the top 15 this year. Definitely worth a late round flier.

  • Derek Carr (OAK)

Maybe not exactly a sleeper, but expect Carr to take another big stride as a quarterback going into his 3rd year. Performed nicely last year with 32 TDs to 13 INT. Carr is a guy who tends to make smart throws and isn't afraid to take shots down the field. Last year there were 11 games where he had 2 or more TDs and 5 games where he had 3 or more TDs. He shouldn't have trouble succeeding next year with the development of Amari Cooper and Clive Walford. it also helps that they have the 27th easiest strength of schedule. Probably going in the middle rounds, so don't be afraid to snag him up.

QB Busts:

  • Drew Brees (NO)

So how many people are surprised to see this name as a bust? After a sluggish start to last year, Brees really played well down the stretch. But if you look at his splits at home and away, you'll notice something staggering. He was much better at home (as usual) which raises some concern about this year. Normally he plays well at home, but this year he has to play the Rams, Seattle, and Denver. They also have to go on the road to play Arizona and Kansas City. Not to mention they play Carolina twice. 

  • Blake Bortles (JAC)

I have a feeling this guy is going to be a let down. Not to doubt his talent or the talent around him, but it's going to be hard to expect the same kind of numbers as last year. Jaguars had only 5 rushing TDs last year, 3 of which came from the running back position. That number can only really go up, especially with the signing of Chris Ivory. Also Blake has an ugly blemish, he led the league with 18 INT and had another 30+ passes that should have been picked off.

RB Sleepers:

  • Alfred Morris (DAL)

Currrenly Morris is the #2 back in Dallas, but a couple of things could change that. Although McFadden was fairly healthy last year,  he's still an injury prone running back, which very well may open the door for Morris to steal the starting job away from him. Another thing that Morris has going for him, is the zone blocking scheme and a great offensive line to run behind. Morris excels in the zone blocking, so it isn't that crazy to think that he could be more effective as a runner than Mcfadden. Dallas has the 6th easiest schedule as far as run defenses are concerned. Come draft day, you'll be able to get Morris a lot later than McFadeen,  so don't be afraid to take a chance.

  • Charles Sims (TB)

Doug Martin was so good last year that people seem to have forgotten how productive Sims was! Charles Sims was one of only 2 backs in the league last year that had both 500 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving ( Freeman being the other one). While I don't think he is a guy who can handle 20 touches a game, I do see him as Tampa Bay's version of Danny Woodhead. Doug Martin is also a back that gets injured so picking Sims up in those middle rounds could pay dividends. Sims should have standalone RB3 value.

RB Busts:

  • LeSean McCoy (BUF)

Certainly not doubting the talent here. The issue here injuries and the emergence of Karlos Williams, who appears like a TD machine. He may get carries  stolen away from him. McCoy will be 28 years old by the regular season and he has a lot of touches (1195 since 2012), so he could be closer to being done than people think. Oh, and they have the 29th hardest schedule against the run this year. 

  • Devonta Freeman (ATL)

I'm sure that he is on a lot of people's bust list but I really feel like the Falcons didn't draft Tevin Coleman for no reason. Defenses may be more focused on Freeman with Julio as their only other serious weapon. Last year Freeman started hot with (4) 100+ yard games from weeks 3-7, but from week 9, his final rushing totals were as follows: 12 carries 12 yards, week 10 bye, 3 carries 43 yards, sat week 12, 14 carries for 47 yards, 25 carries for 56 yards and 1 TD,  and 22 carries for 73 yards and 1 TD. Pretty bad,  only topped 50 yards twice and scored 2 TDs in the second half of the season. 

WR Sleepers:

  • DeSean Jackson (WAS)

A lot of people are sleeping on D-Jax this year, probably for the fact that he was injured for most of last year and he isn't the primary target there anymore (thanks Jordan Reed). This has driven his stock really low, we're talking 10th-11th round low. He is a proven deep threat, who may not be the most consistent player in the world,  he is a receiver that possesses WR3 play with WR2 upside and could be very dynamic with Jordan Reed going over the middle. It also helps that they have the 8th easiest strength of schedule.

  •  DeVante Parker (MIA)

Parker very well may burst into the scene this year as Miami's clear cut #1 receiver. He really showed some flashes of what he can do late last year, with 4 out of his last 6 games totaling 80+ yards with 3 TDs. His last 3 games he had 22 receptions for 286 yards and a TD. He now gets to play under Adam Gase, which should help and without Lamar Miller, Miami may have to throw the ball more often. While I see Landry still leading this team in receptions going underneath, I can see Parker leading the team in TDs. 

WR Busts: 

  • Brandon Marshall (NYJ)

This guy had an absolute amazing season last year! 100+ catches, 1500+ yards with 14 scores, so how could someone say he is going to bust this year? Surely this person is evil. Sorry to bring everyone down, but last year's numbers are going to be very difficult to match ( expect 300-400 yards  less with 4 less TDs), especially with Marshall going into his age 32 season and the simple fact that the Jets don't have a competent QB at the moment. With all that being said, Marshall will probably have a decent season but won't produce at where his current ADP is.

  • Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)

I promise I don't have anything against older players! Last year was a blast to the past for Fitzgerald. 1200+ yards with 9 TDs. He's going to turn 33 before the season starts and he may just be an underneath guy that moves the chains. Micheal Floyd started to come on strong and he may rise as the top receiver (he missed the beginning of the season with a hand injury). 

TE Sleepers:

  • Eric Ebron (DET)

Eric improved a lot from his rookie season and showed some nice flashes of why the Lions drafted him in the first round. If Ebron can work on his hands more, he should see more targets with Megatron retiring. Going into his third year, this is when tight ends typically find their game. He has the size, speed and athleticism to be a really good tight end and a force in the red zone. 8th easiest schedule among tight ends.

  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TB)

ASJ is a guy who is physically gifted but has trouble staying on the field (sound like another tight end that broke out last year?). Last year he appeared in 7 games and scored 4 TDs. This guy is huge! Standing at 6'5 and 260 lb+,  he could have 10+ TD potential. ASJ has the 5th easiest schedule for tight ends. 

TE Busts: 

  • Gary Barnidge (CLE)

Great surprise season out of nowhere by the 30 year old man. 79 receptions for 1043 yards and 9 TDs. Now for the issues. Will RG3 or a rookie QB have the same rapport with him? And this guy has been a journeyman his whole career, who is to say that last year was just fluky? And he has the 27th ranked schedule among tight ends.

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