Fantasy football sleepers with a high ceiling


By Matt Boecker

DeKALB Unforeseen events in the NFL offseason and preseason can open the door for unexpected players to have breakout seasons. Whether it be caused by injury, contract holdouts or major acquisitions made by their team, these are some players to look out for in upcoming fantasy drafts.

Duke Johnson Jr – He is the likely candidate to be the Houston Texans’ number one running back following Lamar Miller’s torn ACLl suffered in Houston’s third preseason game. With the Cleveland Browns last season, Johnson ranked 17 in receptions among running backs, despite ranking 28 in snap count. With an expanded role, Johnson could be a viable option for PPR leagues. According to ESPN, Johnson is currently owned in 80% of ESPN leagues, so be on the lookout to draft him in the middle rounds.


Justin Jackson – As Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon’s holdout continues, it is likely he won’t play for LA this season. This opens the door for dual-threat running back Jackson, who will see an expanded role in the Chargers’ backfield. According to ESPN, Jackson is owned in 19% of ESPN fantasy leagues due to running back Austin Ekeler’s positioning as the Chargers main back. However, Ekeler isn’t seen as an every-down back, which allows plenty of potential value for Jackson late in fantasy drafts.

Derek Carr – The Oakland Raiders quarterback was ranked 17 in points scored for quarterbacks last season despite the unimpressive offensive weapons at his disposal. With the additions of Antonio Brown, Josh Jacobs, J.J. Nelson and Tyrell Williams this offseason, fantasy owners should see a spike in Carr’s production. Carr should feel more comfortable in 2019 as it is his second year in Jon Gruden’s offense. The Raider is owned in only 25% of ESPN leagues, according to ESPN.

Darwin Thompson – The rookie running back out of Utah State University has turned heads this preseason and looks to be heading to the second spot on the running backs depth chart. Thompson has out played running back Carlos Hyde who has only averaged 3.1 yards a game this preseason. The number one spot is reserved for Damien Williams, but don’t be surprised if Thompson makes the leap. Running back Kareem Hunt lead the Chiefs through 11 games last year with 824 yards on the ground. According to ESPN, Thompson is owned in 44% of ESPN leagues.