For the 2018 season, we will explore a 2018 fantasy football sleeper, breakout (or bounce back), and bust from every NFL team. First, a sleeper can leap into top-tier production at a bargain basement draft day price. A breakout is available in the middle rounds and will return positive value of at least a couple rounds. Bounce backs are normally helpful players coming off a down year or years whom you can acquire for a song. Busts are the worst case scenario: a player who drastically underperforms his draft position. While they may not be a wasted pick, you definitely don’t want them on your team.
We continue our spin around the league with a look at a team with high hopes for some fantasy football players in 2018, the New York Giants.
2018 Fantasy Football Sleeper – Sterling Shepard, Wide Receiver (ADP 115, WR46)
It seems as though people are not as bullish on Shepard as a breakout or sleeper candidate coming out of his sophomore campaign as they were coming out of his rookie campaign. There’s a decent reason for that; he spent 2017 plagued by injuries, which allowed Evan Engram to run buck wild (more on Engram later). First, let’s do a player comparison. Which of these dudes would you want?
Player A: 122 targets, 86 receptions, 1063 receiving yards, 12.39 yards per reception
Player B: 105 targets, 65 receptions, 683 receiving yards, 10.51 yards per reception
First, Player B is Shepard’s 2016 season, in which he played sixteen games. Surprise… Player A is Shepard’s 2017 games pro-rated to a full sixteen game season. Sure, he could take a back seat to Engram, and he will definitely take a back seat to Odell Beckham, Jr. He could also just fall off the face of the Giants receiving corps entirely. But you have to believe in what we’ve seen from him, just like I have to believe I can find a sleeper on the 2018 New York Giants roster. Together, we can make it happen.
2018 Fantasy Football Bounce Back – Eli Manning, Quarterback (ADP 162, QB23)
I love me some undrafted fantasy football quarterbacks with top-fifteen potential. Eli Manning has the weaponry to pull this off, and he is not drafted as a starter in even two-quarterback leagues. Eli Manning has an extremely simple path towards being a 2018 fantasy football sleeper or bounce back this season. He has Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, Jr., Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard to throw to. Eli isn’t an exceptional quarterback at this point in his career, but he’s smart enough to work with the talent around him. He’ll have his ups-and-downs, which is why I recommend streaming him, but he’s literally undrafted by ADP in twelve-team leagues. By ADP, the market believes this offense will have two first-round players and a starting-level tight end. Get in on this market; it’s free real estate in the Giants offense.
Or you try it once, he sucks, you cut him, and never look at him again. Easy enough.
2018 Fantasy Football Bust – Evan Engram, Tight End (ADP 62, TE5)
Regression is the name of the game with Engram. He cannot continue his torrid pace last season, mostly because he snagged 115 targets as he fought guys like T.J. Wallace, Roger Lewis, and Tavarres King for market share. Now Beckham and Shepard return and Barkley will get into the fold, as well. It’s likely the pie grows in New York, but his scoring opportunities go down. When the Giants knock on the door of the end zone, are they going with Odell Beckham? Or maybe Saquon Barkley? Or will Eli Manning throw it up to Evan Engrams and his junky 55.7% career catch rate? Pass.
Oh, and one of those targets mentioned in the paragraph above is a fake person, and you probably didn’t notice. That’s how many opportunities Engram had last season.
For more 2018 fantasy football sleeper, breakout, and busts look here: