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A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. This article targets deep sleeper value (players that can be found very late in a fantasy draft). In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look deeper than the Top 150 and identify players that should significantly outperform their late draft position. These players should be your targets after the 12th round of your draft.
Here is the player who received the most votes:
And here are all of the payers mentioned and the reasons why.
Player Receiving 6 Votes
Malcolm Brown, Miami
Phil Alexander: Brown's usage with the starters in Miami's first preseason game stamped out notions Myles Gaskin will operate as a bell cow this year. The Dolphins prioritized Brown in free agency ahead of investing draft capital in a young running back, and we've seen him spoil the breakout chances of more exciting runners in the past by earning the trust of his coaching staff. The most likely role for Brown is in clock-killing and goal-line situations, which gives him weekly standalone value as part of a committee, and there's upside if Gaskin gets injured again.
Andrew Davenport: The Dolphins' backfield isn't made up of guys with much draft capital or large salaries. Gaskin is, of course, the highest-drafted Miami running back, but Brown fits the mold of a player Brian Flores was looking for when he brought Jordan Howard to town last year. That didn't work out, but Brown showed enough in Los Angeles to hang around as a valuable contributor for a couple of years. The Dolphins are taking a shot that he can help them as well and have spoken openly of using a committee in their backfield. None of the guys he's competing with are exceptional, so Brown should carve out a role and could even end up as the goal-line specialist. Brown is being drafted late like a handcuff, but his fantasy value could be standalone in a committee in Miami.
Pat Fitzmaurice: It's mandatory to move this guy up draft boards now that the Dolphins have signaled that Brown will play a significant role. Our own Matt Waldman has been warning people that Brown's presence will put a major dent in Myles Gaskin's fantasy value since Brown is the sort of jack-of-all-trades running back coaching staffs love. Brown's ceiling is pretty limited, but he has become an appealing safe-floor play, especially in larger leagues.
Andy Hicks: Malcolm Brown survived for six years with the Rams as an undrafted free agent. In the last two years, he managed five touchdowns and was solid as a runner. The depth chart in Miami is weak. The other runners are either late seventh-rounders or undrafted as well. We do not get certain production from running backs late in a fantasy draft. We look for upside and opportunity. Brown is already seeing time as a starter in the preseason and is much better value than the expected starter Myles Gaskin.
Troy King: Brown will be utilized in short-yardage situations and on the goal line. He will be considered a “touchdown vulture.” He is a bigger-bodied back compared to Gaskin and Ahmed. The only area Myles Gaskin struggled with last year was goal-line conversions. Brown is also great at pass protection, which will translate to getting more snaps.
Chad Parsons: Brown is one of the select deep sleepers who may not even require an injury on the depth chart to be the team's RB1 to open the season. Brown is a sturdy veteran with a more prototypical frame than Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed. At a minimum, Brown will be a meaningful element of a committee and fueled to fantasy starter consideration with a Gaskin injury.
Players Receiving 4 Votes
Chuba Hubbard, Carolina
Victoria Geary: Christian McCaffrey played an average of 92% of snaps per game in 2018 and 2019. After his injury-riddled 2020 season, it remains to be seen if the coaching staff adjusts their mindset on McCaffrey's workhorse usage. With Mike Davis leaving in free agency, Hubbard has the potential to carve out a role worthy of some solid FLEX weeks and is an excellent stash as the backup to the best running back on draft boards this season.
Ryan Hester: A fourth-round rookie being Christian McCaffrey’s clear backup suggests more about McCaffrey’s secure workload than Hubbard’s potential. But in the event of another injury to fantasy football’s top pick, Hubbard would inherit nearly the same role. While inexperienced at the NFL level, Hubbard has the skill set to make plays on every down.
Chad Parsons: While Hubbard slid in the NFL Draft to Day 3, his profile is a sturdy one to project potential NFL starts with strong upside. Christian McCaffrey returns from injury and the injury-away role, which produced an impact 2020 from Mike Davis, has Hubbard as the betting favorite. Rodney Smith is a deep sleeper as the incumbent, plus Trenton Cannon and Reggie Bonnafon have also spent more time in Carolina than Hubbard. However, Hubbard's profile and upside dwarf any other non-McCaffrey back on the roster.
Jason Wood: Christian McCaffrey is the No. 1 overall fantasy pick again this year despite missing the majority of last season. Mike Davis -- the definition of journeyman -- was an every-week fantasy starter in McCaffrey's absence. Imagine what a young, talented, fresh-legged tailback like Hubbard can do with the same opportunity?
Ty Johnson, NY Jets
Victoria Geary: The New York backfield remains a huge question mark, and Johnson has a chance to emerge as the early season starter. He averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry and tallied 104 yards against the Raiders in Week 13 when given a starting role. It is worth noting that Johnson started the first preseason game and garnered 11 total touches, totaling 33 yards on the ground and catching both of his targets through the air. Though 28-year-old running back Tevin Coleman was signed in free agency, he averaged under two yards-per-carry last year and struggled to stay healthy and on the field. Rookie Michael Carter is expected to take over this backfield at some point, but Johnson is a good last-round target that could provide FLEX value early on.
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