I love writing this article every single year… Well, sort of. Usually, I write the all $1 team of auction sleepers, but the FantasyPros Auction Calculator fixed whatever algorithm it used and now there are very, very limited $1 auction sleepers players available. Instead, I dove deeper, I focused harder, I taked hotter (took hotter? took more hot?). This year I bring you the All $0 Team. Guys who are literally free by FantasyPros Auction Calculator values who represent the tippity tip top tier of fantasy football auction sleepers.
Quarterback: Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Gardner Minshew is off the COVID-19 list, and it appears he did not contract the virus, only that he came into contact with someone who had it. That’s great news, for obvious reasons. For football reasons, it means he’s unlikely to deal with the lingering effects of the disease while the season progresses. That means it’s all systems go for Minshew and his upgraded receiving corps.
Last season, Minshew’s rushing helped make him a valuable fantasy football commodity, but contending with Nick Foles for part of the season really jacked with his final fantasy numbers. If we just look at the games where he didn’t have to contend with Nick Foles rearing his head for a game of quarterback roulette, Minshew paced out to score more fantasy points than last year’s QB9 (Matt Ryan).
This year, Minshew gets the sophomore campaign out of a third-round pass-catching tight end (who drew comparisons to Austin Hooper… but more on him later), another year with DJ Chark, the rookie campaign from Laviska Shenault, and a true pass-catching back in Chris Thompson. He was a top-ten QB last year when able to cook, and he has the opportunity to take yet another step forward this season.
Also: Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco; Drew Lock, Denver; Joe Burrow, Cincinnati
Running Back: Bryce Love, Washington Football Team
With Derrius Guice off the roster, the competition for touches is wide open in the Washington Football Team backfield. They have Bryce Love, who was a dynamic college athlete before various injuries sapped his athleticism in 2018 (which culminated in him tearing his ACL in his final game, an injury which caused him to red shirt last year with Washington). They also have 35-year-old plodder Adrian Peterson, 26-year-old plodder Peyton Barber, friend of the IR J.D. McKissic and 2020 Overhyped Fantasy Darling Antonio Gibson.
I like Bryce Love a lot when I watch his 2018 tape. His 2019 tape… not so much. But, as I said, he suffered a concussion and a serious ankle injury that derailed his season before tearing his ACL. I’m willing to give him a pass for 2018, and getting a guy that has a chance to lead Washington in carries as the highest-upside back there for $0 is something I can get down with.
Also: A.J. Dillon, Green Bay; Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers; Anthony McFarland, Pittsburgh
Wide Receiver: N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots
I am going to continue to pound the table for N’Keal Harry here, and I don’t care if it makes me look stupid. Harry and Tom Brady were a stylistic mismatch from the start. Brady is about precision and option routes, and Harry is about going up and getting the dang football. Now, he had his rookie campaign wiped out by a series of injuries that got him majorly behind the 8 ball to start the year. He had almost no preseason and didn’t get into a game until week eleven. Crunch time of the NFL season was his preseason. He was learning as he went, and the Patriots tried to let him loose in week 17 and their sole playoff game (14 targets combined) but he wasn’t ready yet.
Now, he gets Cam Newton as QB. The Cam Newton who made Kelvin Benjamin look good. The same Cam Newton who made Devin Funchess look good. Why? They’re both “get up and get it” guys who work well with Newton’s style. Worst case scenario, N’Keal Harry forgot how to play football and is Kelvin Benjamin. Kelvin Benjamin averaged 975 yards and 8 touchdowns in his first two years with Cam Newton.
Also: Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas; Mecole Hardman, Kansas City; Denzel Mims, New York Jets
Tight End: Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of targets up for grabs in 2020. A lot. Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin and Jason Witten all combined for 190 targets. While you can chunk off 120 of those for CeeDee Lamb and a slightly increased volume for Michael Gallup, that still leaves 70 targets up for grabs. Last year, Blake Jarwin had 41 targets. If he gets 41 of the 70 targets that are up for grabs, he would end up with 82 targets… one fewer than Jason Witten (TE10) last season.
Jarwin also has a long way to go from a reduced efficiency point to be worse than Witten with the same target volume (Witten had a 8.4 yards per reception last year and Jarwin’s career figure is over 11.5 yards per reception). And he’s absolutely free in auction drafts.
Also: Ian Thomas, Carolina; Dawson Knox, Buffalo; Josh Oliver, Jacksonville
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