But it's that time of year that everybody looks forward to. Especially me. I finally get to hear back from a lot of my friends I haven't heard from in about 11 months, back when they hit me up for fantasy sleepers last year.
I'm serious. I get about 12 variations of this text per day from July 1 through, well, today.
"Hey dude! I have my draft coming up. Got any sleepers? P.S. congratulations on your baby!"
That's right, people who don't even know if I had a son or a daughter, but know they saw something about it on Facebook, will still hit me up for fantasy sleepers. And offer some half-hearted congratulations. (For the record, I had a daughter. Her name is Ahsoka. She has plenty of Angels jumpers, but she could always use more.)
Not that I'm complaining. I'm happy to help out where I can. And there is no truth to the rumor that the sincerity of my advice is tied to whether you sent a gift to Ahsoka or not.
So let's begin with some sleepers. And really, if you've looked over your Week 1 lineup and thought to yourself, damn, my lineup is really in dire need of some sleepers, I'm not sure I can offer you much help. But I do realize there are some of you who haven't drafted yet. Some who play in daily fantasy leagues (please support Rank's 11 title sponsor!). And those who drafted so early that they already have crippling fantasy issues. So I'll break those out into separate sleepers for you.
I still have a draft coming up, who should I pick?
Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons Coleman will start the season as the Falcons top running back. I could try to double-down with Devonta Freeman, who I liked last year, but I'm not going to do that to you. Coleman is the starter and anybody who plays in Kyle Shanahan's offensive system certainly has my attention. Freddy Morris thrived under Shanahan. The Cleveland backs not so much. But running backs are in short supply, so I'd take a shot on Coleman. I like to go WR heavy early in my drafts, and Coleman will be somebody I look for in the middle rounds.
John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals We were hot on this guy last year. He had an uneven season, typical for most rookie receivers. But a big part of his unevenness was his quarterback play. That should change under Carson Palmer. Brown will be the most targeted receiver in this offense, so get him while you have a chance.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles The Eagles running backs seem like a convoluted logjam. But this can work out to your favor. Mathews has tumbled in drafts because of the presence of DeMarco Murray and Darren Sproles. That's a good thing. Mathews has been a productive fantasy back in the past in a limited time-share (he rarely played on third down). He's playing for Chip Kelly. There are a lot of things to like about this situation. So be sure to use the other manager's hesitance to your advantage.
I've heard about those guys, smarty, how about a real sleeper?
Christine Michael, RB, Dallas Cowboys What to do with the crowded Cowboys backfield, am I right? Well Darren McFadden is my pick to click right now. But he has the injury history that looms. Joey Randle has been fine as a backup guy. However, we've seen backup guys flourish previously in spot duty and then flounder when given an opportunity to shine. So I've taken Michael at the end of my drafts.
He's very talented. He's playing behind a great offensive line. And this is his last chance, probably. He's not going to be a guy who is going to finish in the top 10 among fantasy running backs at the end of the season. But if you want one guy who could end up being your go-to guy at the end of the season, Michael has that talent. He might or might not work out, but he's got the best chance of coming through for you. And with a price tag in the later rounds, he's a great value.
I've heard of him, too. Come on Rank, we're begging ya!
Brandon Coleman, WR, New Orleans Saints I know the Saints are going to try to run the ball this season. That always sounds like a great theory until the heat of the battle starts. And you know Drew Brees and Sean Payton are going to lean towards the pass. So I look at Coleman as a perfect late-round flier. Hell, you probably won't even have to draft him in 10-team leagues. But he's one to keep an eye on.
Is the hype worth it on this guy?
I drafted Julius Thomas. Who should I pick up while he's out?
Josh Hill, TE, New Orleans Saints You might remember Hill from "That Helps No One" last year. He was good to steal a touchdown or two from Jimmy Graham. He's obviously not going to have Jimmy Graham-like production (which is great for Mark Ingram), but the Saints trust him enough to have traded away their superstar. So I'm down with him. We could very well get a bagel here, but I'm willing to take the risk.
Who is my daily fantasy quarterback?
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills I hadn't thought much about Taylor since he threw like 84 picks in a bowl game against Stanford. But our new guy, Matt Harmon hipped me to him as the preseason started. And then I became smitten. I like what I saw of him in the preseason. And he gives the Bills a new dynamic at quarterback. I love this play this week. I wish I could freeze his asking price for the rest of the year but he's my DFS star of the week.
Got another DFS gem?
Brandon Bolden, RB, New England Patriots Trying to pick a Patriots running back to follow is an exercise in frustration. You will probably drive yourself crazy. But Bolden will have a lock on the passing down package, so I'm going to take a chance with him. Did you know he's averaged 6.3 yards per rush and has 175 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in four career starts.
Streaming a defense?
Miami Dolphins D/ST You should have the Dolphins locked in as your defense by now. If you haven't picked them up already, you need to make sure the Dolphins are added to your fantasy squad. They play a ton of curtain jerkers at quarterback. They play Kirk Cousins, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor, Marcus Mariota and Brian Hoyer to start the season. You need to get in on this action. They will be your D for the first six weeks. The only decent quarterback they play is Blake Bortles.
*-- Adam Rank gives out fantasy advice and likes to make pithy observations on the WWE, Star Wars and comic books on Twitter (you know, the things that made him popular in high school) on Twitter @adamrank. And he's always fishing for RTs from @midnight so just be forewarned. *