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Fantasy Football: These 3 WR sleepers should be on your radar

By John Tuvey

Sleeper WRs and Updated Cheat Sheets. It’s Fantasy Football Time!

Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell will be here all season delivering the edge you need to dominate your fantasy football league. Visit 1500espn.com each Wednesday for a new column and every Thursday (except for this week, when it’ll be Saturday) for a new episode of the Fantasy Football Party podcast.

First, housekeeping notes: This week’s show is being recorded on Friday night instead of Wednesday night at Union 32 Craft House in Eagan. That also happens to be my birthday, so you can come celebrate with Bo, Tuvey and me. Recording in the back room starts at 8 pm! We’ll be back to Wednesday nights next week.

Second, don’t forget to RSVP your league to draft on Sunday, September 3rd at Union 32 from noon to 3. Host your fantasy football draft or auction with 8 or more league members and your table will get a $25 beer card! The first two auction leagues to RSVP will also get a Fantasy Football Party podcast host as your league’s auctioneer! We’ll also be available for Q&A throughout the event. Email Diane at Union 32 (Diane@union32crafthouse.com) today for more information or to sign up.

OK, let’s talk wide receivers.

Bo Mitchell’s wide receiver sleeper: Adam Thielen, Vikings

Many of the consumers of this page of fantasy football goodness originate from the greater Twin Cities area because, obviously, that is home base for both 1500 ESPN and the Fantasy Football Party podcast. Therefore, we will go ahead and make the bold assumption that many of our readers are well aware of Thielen – you know, the guy hails from Detroit Lakes, went to college in Mankato and led the Vikings in receiving yards last season.

It might come as some surprise then that the world has yet to taste Thielen-mania to the extent that fantasy owners in Vikings country have. How else can you explain the fact that he is currently coming off the board as the 49th wide receiver, in the 11th round, according to his ADP on FantasyFootballCalculator.com?

It was my understanding there would be no math but barely squeaking into the top 50 wide receivers doesn’t add up for a guy who finished 25th in yards, 28th in receptions and tied for 27th in touchdowns amongst wideouts in 2016. That sounds, at minimum, like a top-40 wide receiver (top 30 in Minnesota drafts) factoring in the “show me again” attitude of fantasy owners.

I don’t feel the need for Thielen to prove last season wasn’t a fluke. He’s proven that he has reliable hands and deceptive speed to go with his good size. His 75 percent catch rate tied him with teammate Stefon Diggs for sixth-best among wide receivers last season. He can also make plays downfield, as his 668 yards at catch (22nd in the league) attest.

Diggs remains the best-known and flashier Vikings wide receiver, and he deserves to go off the board higher in fantasy drafts. But his fantasy shadow shouldn’t be eclipsing Thielen to this extent.

Bo’s cheat sheet

John Tuvey’s wide receiver sleeper: Throwing darts in the late rounds is always fun. There’s bound to be a buzz-generating sexy upside guy who just scored two touchdowns in a preseason game against defensive backs who will be looking for work in about a month.

Don’t misread that as a shot at Kenny Golladay. The preseason revealed Victor Cruz a year before he broke big, and Golladay could be next.

But so many of those late-round darts are misguided. The dart I’m directing you to throw is headed for the number two wideout on the seventh-most productive offense in NFL history.

Why, do you ask, does Mohamed Sanu find himself in dart-tossing territory as WR65? For starters, Julio Jones casts a long shadow. It’s a shadow that checked Sanu to 81 targets in 15 games—a lower number than such luminaries as Adam Humphries and Marqise Lee.

And yet Sanu turned that co-pilot workload into career marks across the board: 59 catches, 653 yards, and four touchdowns.

Taylor Gabriel, with an ADP two rounds earlier than Sanu, is apparently the up-and-comer in the Atlanta offense. But consider that Gabriel saw just one-third of the Falcons’ offensive snaps compared to Sanu’s 71 percent. And that Gabriel saw 30 fewer targets than Sanu as well.

What’s changed with Atlanta’s offense? Okay, aside from them vowing to never throw the football with a late 25-point lead ever, ever again? Very little, other than offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan taking a head coaching job in San Francisco. And Shanahan was predominantly a run-game guy, so if his departure means more (pre-fourth quarter lead) throwing for Atlanta that means even more looks for Sanu.

Even if Gabriel’s snaps and targets increase, Sanu’s efficiency will keep him productive. His drop rate of 2.8 over the past two seasons is the best in the NFL and ensure that Matt Ryan will be more than comfortable throwing the ball his way.

Few offenses put up the numbers Atlanta did last year. Even if they decline a bit there’s still a very large fantasy productivity pie to divvy up. Sanu will get his share, and it’s a share worth throwing a dart at a smidge earlier than his 14th-round ADP suggests.

Tuvey’s cheat sheet

Anthony Maggio’s wide receiver sleeper: Tedd Ginn, Saints

Ginn’s 50 career drops according to ESPN Stats & Information give him a career drop rate of 6.9%—higher than any other receiver with at least 420 targets the last 10 years. And make no mistake—there will be more. But he’s also going to have opportunities to make plays like never before, giving him tantalizing upside for fantasyfootballcalculator.com’s #54 WR off the board in PPR leagues.

Drew Brees lost his best deep threat when Brandin Cooks relocated north, and Ginn—coming off his best two-season stretch—is a viable replacement in that particular department. Now playing with easily the best downfield passer of his career, a healthy Ginn should have no trouble surpassing last year’s 54-752-4 line that saw him finish 48th in PPR scoring despite Cam Newton’s struggles.

Ginn will start across from Michael Thomas rather than Willie Snead—who’s PPR ADP is 24 spots higher at the position. And while I’ll grant Snead’s got a safer floor—which is why I have him higher than Ginn in my ½ PPR ranks—there’s no way his upside comes close to what Ginn could do. Double digit touchdowns like he had two years ago might be a stretch (though not out of the question), but I’d be genuinely surprised if Ginn doesn’t set a career high in yardage—eclipsing the 790 he hauled in way back in 2008. Brees’ top three pass catchers the last three seasons have all reached at least 825 yards, with his #2 target clocking in at 902 or better in that stretch.

I’d target Ginn even higher than the #45 spot at the position in my cheat sheet in best ball leagues, and in standard leagues he and Snead would be even closer than the 13 spots apart I have them now.

Maggio’s cheat sheet

Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell co-host the 1500ESPN Fantasy Football Party podcast. Bookmark the podcast page for upcoming episodes and subscribe to the podcast now! Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

Maggio hosted Fantasy Football Sunday on 1500ESPN from 2012-2013. Mitchell is Vice President of Content for Sportradar. And Tuvey is Director of Content at Fanball. All three men are kind of big deals, enjoy leather-bound books and have woodwork at home that smells of rich mahogany.

Follow Maggio @MPLSMaggio
Follow Bo @Bo_Mitchell
Follow John @jtuvey

The post Fantasy Football: These 3 WR sleepers should be on your radar appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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