This article is about a 13-minute read.
A big part of a successful draft is finding players after Round 10 who will surprise. The quest for deep sleepers is one all fantasy players undertake. We asked our staffers for help finding them. To focus our search, we will go through each division. Today, the NFC North.
And to clarify, by Deep Sleeper, we are talking about players who generally not drafted in the first 10 rounds.
By my count, I see five Lions, four Vikings, three Bears, and three Packers who are generally taken in the first 10 rounds, so Chicago and Green Bay are my first thought to look for value. Given the uncertainty on the depth chart for WR2 for both teams, I decided to look at it from a different perspective - by position. Seven running backs, six wide receivers, two quarterbacks, and most telling for me, no tight ends.
T.J. Hockenson is my guy from this group, by far. He is the best tight end in the division and as our Jason Wood broke down earlier this summer, he is a sleeper TE1 candidate that could be poised for a breakout. While there is great debate about grabbing a tight end early this year, by sheer numbers only four teams are going to have a Top 4 tight end after the first five rounds or so in drafts this season. Finding value tight ends, especially later in drafts, can make or break your starting lineup. Hockenson is my pick here.
I love Hockenson and agree that's the best answer.
However, to add some variety and a viable candidate next in line for me, it's easily Packers running back A.J. Dillon. As good as Aaron Jones is as a player, he had a career year in 2019 and the Packers followed up by drafting Dillon in the second round.
NFL teams don't draft a running back this early and reward a back like Jones a new deal. As slippery of a runner as Jones is as a runner between the tackles, last year was Jones' first complete season without missing time due to injury.
The Packers want a back who can handle a high volume of touches and Dillon is that workhorse. Here's what I shared with 2020 Rookie Scouting Portfolio subscribers about running back workloads:
Lance Zierlein reports at NFL.com that scouts are concerned about Dillon's odometer after earning 866 touches in 35 games during his three-year career at Boston College. Other than missing three weeks in 2018 with an ankle injury, Dillon has remained healthy despite averaging 24.7 touches per game during his career.
Every few years, there's a prospect where someone is questioning if his college workload has worn him down. My contention is that unless there are physical signs of breakdown--a major injury, a chronic injury, or a slew of minor-to moderate injuries that aren't related--a back that excels with a heavy workload is a significant asset.
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