Top Pre-Draft Sleepers
With the NFL draft just over a day away, we are excited to present our top pre-draft sleepers. All of these players are outside the top-10 at their position on most big boards (top-five in the case of the tight ends), but each has a good chance to carve out a better career than their draft position or big board rankings may suggest.
Jordan Scarlett – Florida
Jordan Scarlett is my favorite deep sleeper running back in this class. A talented back whose numbers took a hit due to sharing the backfield with fellow NFL talent Lamical Perine, Scarlett is flying under the radar for some. He has taken some interesting team visits that include the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Scarlett posted the second best running back time in the class at 4.47.
Scarlett’s 5.9 yards per carry placed him higher than backs with more notoriety like Josh Jacobs, Damien Harris, and Benny Snell. He is one of the more elusive backs in this class as he forced 0.32 missed tackles per carry. Scarlett is a back that may start off in a committee but has the talent to grab the reins. For more on Scarlett check out our fantasy scouting report. Scarlett has high-end RB2 upside in the right situation.
This is one of my favorite inside runs from Jordan Scarlett, he shows off his elusiveness and contact balance, and even makes a first round pick this April. in Devin White whiff on the tackle. #NFLDraft #DraftTwitter #NFLDraft2019 pic.twitter.com/UoUe0sY00k
— Raju Byfield (@FantasyContext) February 14, 2019
Karan Higdon – Michigan
Karan Higdon is a running back who owners of fantasy RB2’s or less penciled in as starters should worry about. Higdon is a talented, no-nonsense back with soft hands and good cutting ability. A solid tackle-breaking back, Higdon posted 719 yards after contact in 2018. He was not overly impressive during the pre-draft process and may have thus settled in as a day three selection. If he lands in a good depth chart situation we could be looking at a starter by the end of the year. Higdon has RB2 upside if he lands a favorable depth chart opportunity.
.@UMichFootball's Karan Higdon (5'9", 206) is an explosive, physical back that's pretty dangerous coming downhill and will beat defenders with his jump cut.
I get Mark Ingram vibes from him. pic.twitter.com/UOMqlTbfza
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) March 27, 2019
Jalin Moore – Appalachian State
Jalin Moore looks like he could become a solid committee back at the next level. He has the talent to be a spot starter and has good enough hands to become a PPR asset. Moore is an explosive back who has a litany of open field moves that are going to serve him very well in the NFL. He shows solid explosion as could carve out a role as a change of pace back behind a workhorse, or could share the backfield as the lesser half of a committee. Moore has high-end RB3 upside.
— ★♬💈PsychoThoughtsNBA💈🇺🇸♪★ (@Officially_Hitz) April 18, 2019
L.J. Scott – Michigan State
L.J. Scott was in the Day 2 conversation before the pre-draft process begun. After suffering yet another injury during senior bowl week, he has seen his draft stock crater. Scott was not the most impressive from a yards per carry standpoint but had one of the worst offensive lines in college football. Michigan State’s 2.29 line yards ranked 107th in the nation. Scott hits the hole hard but still manages to display good patience and cutback ability in the Le’Veon Bell mold. He may never be quite the player Bell has become, but the fellow Michigan State Spartan should well outproduce his expected draft capital. Scott has RB1 upside, but a bust floor.
LJ Scott can hurdle a LB in the hole or deliver the blow to a safety. Has that rare mix of ‘cruise and bruise’ – need both to win in the NFL
Awesome in screen game too – knows how to set up blocks and then can be an open field nightmare to drag down pic.twitter.com/uX3Sg9Y6zc
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) March 21, 2019
James Williams – Washington State
James Williams has the potential to be a PPR monster. Think of a James White type who is better in the open field. Williams has excellent burst and wiggle and is an elite receiver. He will not be drafted for a feature back role so a lot of his value may hinge on not landing with an elite workhorse. He is one of the most exciting backs to monitor heading into this weekend’s draft. Williams has elite RB2 upside in the right situation.
Washington State RB James Williams is a player I’ve gotten a lot of questions about lately. Williams would be an ideal change of pace option to Howard. Here, he exhibits terrific contact balance, staying on his feet for a hard earned touchdown.
Reminds me a bit of Gio Bernard. pic.twitter.com/6vyLjmuXuU
— Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) April 1, 2019
Jalen Hurd – Baylor
Jalen Hurd is one of the most interesting prospects in this class. Hurd started his college career as a running back and was a successful one at that. He bolted Tennessee in a mini-exodus and landed with Baylor. At Baylor, Hurd became an exciting slot receiver who highlighted his potentially great upside as an every down back. It appears he will start as a receiver in the pros, but a smart coach will use him as an ‘offensive weapon’. 6-foot-4 and 227 pounds, Hurd has the upside to shine as a receiver or a running back.
Pay attention to his landing spot on draft day, and adjust your expectations accordingly. He could be one of the steals of your dynasty rookie draft. Hurd has WR2 upside and RB2 upside. With some seasoning, and in the right offense, Hurd can become a top-12 fantasy option at whatever position he qualifies at.
Baylor WR Jalen Hurd is a very intriguing prospect. A former Running back, he has great lateral agility for his size, and has done well transitioning to WR pic.twitter.com/kYkIS9EuU8
— Franchise Guy (@Whatshis40) April 22, 2019
Antoine Wesley – Texas Tech
Antoine Wesley is an interesting receiver. A rail-thin 6-foot-4 and 206 pounds, Wesley managed only six reps in the bench press, about six more than I expected from him. He does move a little awkwardly, but it is clear he has NFL talent. Wesley is a naturally gifted receiver who led the nation with 17 plays over 30 yards. His frame could easily pack on 20 plus pounds as he matures, so his current lack of bulk should not be a major concern. Wesley appears to have a future as a 50/50 ball winner capable of boxing out defenders. He also profiles as the downfield and red zone option you would expect from a wideout who stands 6-foot-4. Wesley just needs the right landing spot to impress. Wesley has a high-end WR3 upside.
Antoine Wesley – A Thread
This 6’4 WR looks like they stole a player from Red Riders basketball team. He is long, lanky and plays the position like a polished hooper. Although he is likely a later rd pick, the raw upside is absolutely there. pic.twitter.com/nG3TaZpjMq
— Dynasty Price (@DynastyPrice) April 22, 2019
Ashton Dulin – Malone
Ashton Dulin is a market share monster. A favorite of Peter Howard’s (@pahowdy), Dulin is impressive despite all of his tape being against DII ‘athletes’ he literally towered over. He may need some time to acclimate to the NFL’s speed and talent, but he has the traits and talent to be a success at the NFL level. Dulin ran a solid 4.43 at the combine, and the fact that he got an invite at all should accentuate how big of an impression he made on NFL evaluators. Dulin is a heady receiver with good body control and physicality. He could turn into a solid dynasty contributor and is worth the stash in your rookie drafts. Dulin has WR3 upside that could turn into WR2 if he lands with a truly elite quarterback.
— Dynasty_GQue 🏁 (@RayGQue) April 13, 2019
Lil’Jordan Humphrey – Texas
Lil’Jordan Humphrey was a productive college receiver who seems to have tanked his draft stock with a poor 4.75 40 time. A 4.7 time is not a death blow for a receiver, but it certainly will not help your draft capital. Humphrey posted 900 of his yards receiving out of the slot and looked explosive in the screen game. Adept at breaking tackles, he forced 26 missed tackles in 2018 and 6.9 yards after the catch per reception. Despite his poor testing time, Humphrey impressed by placing second in the nation with 37 plays of over 20 yards. Humphrey is excellent as a 50/50 ball receiver and ranked tenth in the nation with 16 contested catches. The player with the best name in the draft should be a much better pro than his 40 time suggests. Humphrey has WR2 upside, but a flex2 floor.
— Fire Tom Herman Podcast (@TheFTHPodcast) April 20, 2019
Dillon Mitchell – Oregon
Dillon Mitchell is not getting enough love. He has some commitment issues, but that will easily be corrected with the right locker room leadership. An exciting player who can operate both inside and out, Mitchell averaged 2.90 yards per route run, and 3.73 from the slot. Mitchell is elite with the ball in his hands where he is able to put his hoops background on full display via his open-field cuts. He is shaping up to be a potential steal for whatever team lands him. Mitchell has high-end WR2 upside.
Dillon Mitchell wins this rep against Taylor Rapp on the slot fade through simple quickness and speed. Gorgeous rep. pic.twitter.com/48XL6eiPbR
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) April 4, 2019
Kahale Warring – San Diego State
Kahale Warring is a high caliber athlete who is still learning the position. He looks and plays like a big wideout, flashing exciting upside thanks to good hands, good athleticism, and good body control. A sneaky bet for a Day 2 selection, Warring should be drafted to eventually take over his teams starting role. Warring is top-five on some NFL teams’ big boards and should be getting more love in dynasty.
San Diego State TE Kahale Warring (6'5", 252 pounds) is an athletic monster that's still learning the position.
– Comfortable in-line blocker
– Smooth release
– Great change of direction ability to create separation
– Soft hands and good at bringing down catches in traffic pic.twitter.com/npEwmWwi9N
— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) April 16, 2019
Josh Oliver – San Jose State
Josh Oliver is a talented tight end with good hands and length. He looked very fluid as a receiver at the combine and seems to have boosted his draft stock. Oliver has taken visits with at least six teams including the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Dallas Cowboys. One of the fastest risers at a stacked tight end position, Oliver could very well be drafted to start immediately.
— Fair Shake Football (@FairshakeFB) April 19, 2019
Keenen Brown – Texas State
Keenen Brown is an impressive tight end who looks like he will be a steal in both the NFL Draft and your dynasty rookie drafts. NFL ready as both a blocker and receiver, Brown is my top deep sleeper at the position. There are as many as ten tight ends receiving more love from the draft community, but Brown may very well end up top five as far as NFL careers go. Brown’s 24 missed tackles forced led all tight ends, and his 427 yards after the catch placed him third. A four-star recruit at wide receiver who originally played for Oklahoma State, Brown possesses one of the highest dynasty ceilings of any tight end in this class.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) March 25, 2019
Dawson Knox – Ole Miss
Dawson Knox is an impressive tight end who had muted college production due to playing with three wide receivers who will be drafted this weekend. Two potentially as first round picks. A true indication of his upside as a receiver? Knox saw snaps out wide and averaged 19.6 yards per reception on third and fourth down. He is a good bet to generate more production in a single NFL season than he did over the course of his entire college career. Knox is a popular sleeper due to how good he looked when he actually saw targets. Remember his name.
Watching Ole Miss tape for Dawson Knox but then AJ Brown does this pic.twitter.com/YFTdzLp5qP
— Nicholas McGee (@nicholasmcgee24) April 18, 2019
C.J. Conrad – Kentucky
C.J. Conrad is a talented tight end who knows how to take advantage of his tools. Conrad has solid upside as a receiver, but his blocking may be his selling point to NFL teams. He shows solid effort in both the run and pass games, something that should help get him on the field early. He has enough upside to shine in the right offense but will need talent around him to realize his potential.
CJ Conrad is probably the most underrated TE in this class. He's a solid blocking TE that can lineup as a fullback if needed & catches everything with his hands. He's an above average route runner but lacks seed a little.@ESFDD @EatSleepFF @DraftDiamonds @JL_Chapman @UKFootball pic.twitter.com/u8DKF4ool8
— Steven Spaccarotelli (@sspac21) April 7, 2019
All of the tight ends listed above have TE2 upside and could become future TE1’s if given a full-time starter role.