Rank's 11 Sleepers: Moncrief's flashes are enough

Just because the regular season is over doesn't mean our Adam Rank isn't hard at work to assemble Rank's 11. He will profile one player each week to keep an eye on for 2015. In addition, you might get some fantasy baseball, fantasy golf and other assorted sports tips. Maybe even a review of the "Ant-man" movie.

The playoffs can hurt your fantasy preparation for next year. Hear me out. Let's take a look at Donte Moncrief. He's a big name among astute fantasy observers. Which I figure is most of you. I mean, you are reading a column about fantasy sleepers in January. So you qualify, right?

Moncrief was one of those guys who you had pegged as your steal for 2015. The guy you were going to bust out in the later rounds and leave your fantasy mates slack jawed. Like the guy in the back of your algebra class who said, "We're never going to need to know this (expletive)." You were going to be the toast of fantasy football with that pick. Because be honest, not everybody in your league watched every game. Nor did they follow it like you. Most people in your league would be more apt to identify Sidney Moncrief. Not Donte. Unless they were huge Mississippi fans. (Quick aside, the SEC has killed it with receivers lately. Am I right? Odell Beckham Jr. being the crowning jewel.)

And then Andrew Luck had to go and ruin that. He had to scramble around and throw a touchdown pass to Moncrief. Amazing play, yes. But completely nuked your hopes to steal Moncrief in the later rounds. I received texts moments after Moncrief scored. Most asked about his outlook for next year. Is this guy going to be a stud? Can he be a sleeper? My mother-in-law wanted to know if he was the son of Sidney. He's not. But I sent her this link.

I know. I'm the son-in-law of the year.

The point here is that Moncrief is a nice sleeper for next season. He is a big, physical receiver with speed to be a huge threat. He still needs some work on his route-running, which is no surprise. He will turn 22-years-old during training camp next year. His rookie season was just his fourth in football. But the flashes were there as showed by his touchdown catch against the Bengals.

Moncrief is in the right offense to succeed. The Colts averaged 306 passing yards per game. Most in the NFL. The Colts also led the NFL with 42 touchdown receptions. No surprise with Luck at quarterback. He even averaged 14-yards-per-reception, too. Still a step behind T.Y. Hilton in that regard, though. But the understudy for the Colts is still a better option than the top receiver of the Titans. Or some other offensively-challenged team. And you have to figure Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks could be out of a gig, too. Which would mean more targets and opportunities for Moncrief.

I wouldn't select Moncrief as one of your go-to receivers in fantasy next year. But I like to go after players like him right after I draft my starters. A lot of people I know like to go after household names like Dre Johnson or Mike Crabtree. But I look past those veterans. It's akin to being on a road trip. Sure you could stop at Denny's. You know what you're going to get. But you want to stop at the greasy spoon. Or the dodgy-looking Mexican place. Those are always the best. Especially the one that looks like it has been there forever. Always go to that place.

Great, now I'm hungry, too. Maybe a nice food coma will help your friends forget about him, too.

Daily Fantasy Advice

If you're like me, well, I feel bad for you. Just kidding. But what I mean is you are playing in daily fantasy leagues. Moncrief is a great option in these leagues this week. His value is great and I expect the Colts to throw a lot, too.

Joe Flacco is a good value. Only Cam Newton costs less. Flacco has posted a passer rating above 100 in five consecutive playoff games. That's tied with Troy Aikman for the second-most in NFL history. Only Joe Montana (8) has more.

Owen Daniels is a nice sleeper option at tight end. Darrelle Revis will matchup with Torrey Smith. Brandon Browner will help to contain Steve Smith. That could leave Owens as Flacco's top target.

Baseball Sleeper of the Week

No time like the present to get ready for fantasy baseball. I play in a huge keeper baseball league. Years ago, I traded Desmond Jennings for Mike Trout. Which has to be the greatest draft steal, well, ever. The dude still won't talk to me about it. Won't deal with me, either. Not like it was my fault. This guy pestered me for weeks to get Jennings from me. Most of the trade offers were the three-for-one variety. Finally, I said fine. Looked over his roster, and saw Trout. (We hoard young players in this league.) We made the trade just before the 2012 season started. You can guess how the rest of the story goes.

Actually, let me add this. I picked up Jennings off the waiver wire last year just because. Maybe it is my fault he won't deal with him.

It doesn't always work out so well. I had Matt Shoemaker on my team during the 2013 season. I didn't keep him last year. And well, somebody reaped the rewards for it. But if you're looking for this year's version, check out Andrew Heaney. All the things that made Shoe great last year apply to the Hean Dog. Great ballpark. The back-end of the rotation to face similar pitchers. The Angels should score a lot of runs again. He's a must in keeper leagues. A fine value in redrafts as well.

And yes, I will have some non-Angels players in the next couple of weeks.

Fantasy Golf Sleeper of the Week

I'm not sure if you are into fantasy golf, but it's amazing. Some of the daily fantasy league sites also offer golf. I will offer a golf pick each week, too. I like Patrick Reed this week. He's better for the daily picks because the dude goes for it. He has a lot of chances for birdies, which are gold in daily fantasy leagues. He might be hard to stomach if you need a guy to get the lowest score possible. Because he will bogey a ton, too.

  • Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank. He surprisingly answers a lot of questions. *
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