Shallow Sleepers: Looking Back at 2015

For any new readers, last season I set out to focus on Shallow Sleepers because I believe that it is much harder to project a deep sleeper and is mostly a crap-shoot.  We can analyze upside, potential targets, game share, and other things but for the most part deep sleepers need many things to go right (often an injury ahead of them) in order to turn in a real breakout.  Here is my write-up about why I focus on these more shallow sleepers and ignore writing up the deeper ones:

“While deep sleepers can be fun to speculate, they are mostly a long-shot.  What separates one “deep sleeper” from another really comes down to so many variables that it would be hard to call picking deep sleepers accurately a skill.  Most deep sleepers are crowned such because there is little supportive information to call them starters.  If that information was not so speculative, they wouldn’t be “deep” sleepers.  Because of the luck surrounding late round sleepers, I want to shift the focus to shallow sleepers.  The guys I am talking about are either bottom tier starters or top bench guys who, in my opinion, will finish the season as clear starters/studs.” – Me

Last years list turned out to be pretty good, I’ll go over each one, share what I said, and how that projection ended up.

Eric Decker:(Full Article Here) “Overall, I think the Jets take a leap from 2014’s last ranked passing offense thanks to Gailey and Marshall, and I don’t see how that’s anything but a good thing for Eric Decker.  Currently Decker’s ADP is 118 overall in PPR/Flex leagues, and 130 Overall in standard leagues, having a lower ADP than 5 Defenses.  I think he is a steal and is an easy value grab as a guy who could be a solid starter for you if you want to wait to draft WR depth. I wouldn’t bat a lash at Decker going in the 7th round.  Projection: 76/1050/5.5

RESULTS: Decker finished 80/1027/12 nailing down the receptions and yards and going huge with 12 TDs.  His ADP was WR42 and he finished WR10 in Standard and WR14 in PPR.

Success Rating:       5/5 Shredder Bill Belichicks**5bbs

Jonathan Stewart: (Full Article Here) “I think the 28 year old will have his best season and finish in the top 10 RB.  I have no problem snagging him ahead of his ADP in the late 3rd or early 4th round.”

RESULTS: Stewart only played 13 games, and he did not get as many TDs as I projected (thanks Cam!), he finished RB16 in STD and RB24 in PPR.  While he did have his best season in a yards per game standpoint (76.1) and had the most touchdowns since his sophomore year, from a fantasy accuracy standpoint it would be hard to call this projection a “hit”.  I would have to bend the numbers and say something like:  Among RBs with >10 games played, on a point per game basis Stewart finished RB 11 in standard scoring.   That is a true statement, but quite the stretch to call this projection successful.   He did, however, barely outperform his ADP of RB17 in Standard so this was not a total failure.

Success Rating: 2/5 Shredder Bill Belichicks


Jordan Matthews: (Full Article Here)“I expect Jordan Matthews to finish in the top 10 WR and think he is a great value even in the 3rd round. Projection: 88 Rec, 1100 yards, 11 TD”

RESULTS: Matthews finished with 85 Rec, 997 yards, 8 TD.  Not far off but all slightly under my projections.  His pre-season ADP (in standard and PPR) was WR13.  He finished well below that, 20th in standard and 17th in PPR.  This was overall a failure and an even larger one when you consider his fantasy regular season output.  In weeks 15-17 he amassed 21 Receptions, 317 yards, and 4 TDs.  Great numbers except by that point the odds of anyone trusting him to start for them in fantasy playoffs were incredibly low.  Fail.

Success Rating: 1/5 Shredder Bill Belichicks


Tony Romo: (Full Article Here) “Tony Romo is being taken as the 12th QB off the board with and ADP of 108.  He is being selected behind Matthew Stafford, Ryan Tannehill, and Tom Brady.  I think Romo is a huge value in the 10th round…   I think that if healthy he could finish as high as top 5, and his floor on a healthy season is definitely top 10.  Don’t was early picks on QB when you can wait and get huge value out of Romo later.  Projection: 4250 Yards/35 TD/12 INT”

RESULTS: “if healthy”.   Yea maybe I jinxed him. FAIL.

Success Rating:  0/5


Lamar Miller: (Full Article Here) “With the O-line of some concern, Miller is reported to be bigger this year, and came into camp adding 15 pounds of muscle to boost his durability.  Miller, 24, is in the final year of his rookie contract and has a pretty big incentive to perform whether he stays with the dolphins or not.  I have him as my RB12 and would be ecstatic to get him in the 2nd round as my teams RB1 if I decide to go WR or Gronk in Round 1.”

RESULTS: In terms of accuracy, Eric Decker is probably my best Shallow Sleeper from last season.  But in terms of results, there is no doubt Lamar Miller was my best call.  He finished as the RB6 in both Standard and PPR scoring. Feels good man.

Success Rating: 5/5 Shredder Bill Belichicks


As the NFL preseason comes to a close I hope to bring one Shallow Sleeper a day into the light moving forward.  I will also include some “Falling Stars” (busts) in the coming days, and will release my Top 12 QB, Top 12 RB, Top 24 WR, and Top 12 TE before Labor Day weekend when most drafts take place.  I hope you enjoyed the look back and hopefully I can nail two picks like Miller and Decker again this year.  Feel free to comment below I will try and answer any and all questions and if you liked what you saw throw a share out there.

**Things are about to get incredibly nerdy, but in case you scratched your head and were like, hey why Shredder Bill Belichick besides the fact that it looks amazing great job on the Photoshop and what a great combination.  Well it goes deeper than just putting a shredder mask on BB.  The backstory to the Shredder (ok you can stop reading now) goes something like this (from Wikipedia) “Angry at the death of his older brother, Saki joing the Foot Clan and trained to be a ninja.  He quickly became one of their deadliest warriors and rose up the ranks and was chosen to lead the Foot’s American branch.  Operating in New York under the name of The Shredder.”  Can we think of anyone else who is a huge villain in New York, rose up the ranks quickly and became leader of an American (dare I say Patriot) branch?  If you want to waste even more time, check out this amazing Bill Belichick Double Agent theory posted 2 years ago on Reddit.

Category: 2015 Fantasy Football2016 Fantasy FootballShallow Sleepers

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Article by: matt