If you’ve read this far from the beginning of our 2018 fantasy football sleeper, breakouts and bust series, thank you! And congratulations on being a bigger try-hard than J.J. Watt.
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.
2018 Fantasy Football Sleeper – Keke Coutee, Wide Receiver (ADP 275, WR90)
There isn’t much depth to the Houston Texans offensive weaponry in 2018, so picking a sleeper isn’t that difficult. It came down to Bruce Ellington or Keke Coutee, and I will go with the guy I haven’t watched disappoint 49ers fans, Texans fans, and fantasy football prognosticators for nearly half a decade.
The Texans seem dead set on using the speedster as a slot receiver in their offense, alongside Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins. It’s a simple math equation for Coutee having value for the Texans this year. The Texans threw the ball 525 times last season, with Watson on pace to throw it 544 times. Call it 550. Throw 150 of those to DeAndre Hopkins and 100 of those to Will Fuller (assuming health). That’s an additional 300 targets available in the Texans offense. Given his deep speed ability and defenses likely shading to stop Nuk and Fuller, Coutee could return a palatable 2018 fantasy football sleeper campaign. Should Fuller do the unlikely thing and miss a couple games this season [EDITOR’S NOTE: HE HAS MISSED 25% OF THE GAMES IN HIS CAREER], then Coutee would have standalone value next to Hopkins.
2018 Fantasy Football Breakout – Will Fuller, Wide Receiver (ADP 75, WR30)
His four games last season with Deshaun Watson have fantasy football prognosticators all hot and bothered about Fuller. He had 17.7 fantasy points per game in standard scoring, 20.95 in PPR with Watson. Unfortunately, he did it on just 3.25 receptions a game last season. He obviously cannot keep that efficiency up going into 2018, but if he takes a step back in efficiency and a step forward in volume he could easily return top-24 value.
There are potential downsides to Fuller: DeAndre Hopkins eating up too many targets, his efficiency cratering as his targets, and his fragility immediately jump to mind. However, Fuller is the type of player who hovers around WR20 all season without anyone believing in him while he continues to produce. It’s not a full-on sleeper move, but he has the talent and connection with Watson to outperform his ADP.
2018 Fantasy Football Bust – Deshaun Watson, Quarterback (ADP 40, QB2)
Looking at Watson’s ADP usually makes me rub my temples in confusion and frustration. I honestly don’t get it. Set aside that he has a six-game sample size last season, which means we don’t really know if this is what Deshaun Watson is. Forget that he has a touchdown rate higher than everyone else in NFL history (by a wide margin). Put that his 3.9% interception rate is higher than Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Derek Anderson’s career rates out of your brain. Ignore that his 38.4 rushing yards per game would have made him just the ninth QB since the merger to rush for over 614 yards in a season (the first since Colin Kaepernick in 2014). Put his 7.5 yards per attempt out of your mind.
If you do all that, Watson is definitely worth selecting over every quarterback other than Aaron Rodgers. As long as you think his ACL tear is fully healed, that is.