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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 specifically 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 are the players who received the most votes:
And here are all of the players mentioned and the reasons why.
Player Receiving 8 Votes
Khalil Herbert, Chicago
Jeff Bell: The layup choice. David Montgomery is facing a contract year, and the Bears are a team in a rebuild. Herbert received an opportunity with Montgomery missing and rushed for 90 yards per game between weeks six and eight. New OC Luke Getsy has a deep college background, and the Packers experimented with two back sets at points in 2021. With Justin Fields' athleticism, using both backs in RPO looks is on the table, potentially pushing both to fantasy utility.
Sigmund Bloom: Herbert arguably was as good as, or better than David Montgomery when he got on the field during his rookie year, and he has a chance to endear himself to the new regime and possibly carve out a larger role. Montgomery is a free agent next year, so there's an incentive for them to see what Herbert can do, and at least in the running game, it might be more than Montgomery has been proving.
James Brimacombe: Herbert has often been hidden in drafts over this offseason as a lot of people are scared away from the Bears offense. No matter how good or how bad the Bears can be in 2022 has no reason for me to not be heavily invested in Herbert. He surprised as a 6th-round rookie last season with a solid 433 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns along with 14 receptions for 96 yards. David Montgomery sees a heavy volume of touches and that could be shifted some with Herbert entering year two.
Alfredo Brown: In 2021, Herbert showed he could not only handle a starter's workload but that he could thrive in a bad offense. New offensive coordinator, Luke Getsy, comes from a Packers offensive system that thrived with two running backs. Herbert should be able to have stand-alone value and major handcuff upside.
Kevin Coleman: Khalili Herbert could be in line for more work than we think this season. The Chicago Bears' new coaching staff has no loyalty to starting running back David Montgomery. In the two games Herbert started during Weeks 6 and 7 last season, he rushed for 197 yards, had a rushing touchdown, and added 48 receiving yards. New offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has experience with running an RBBC, as seen in Green Bay with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. Herbert could have standalone flex value in fantasy this season based on the new system being implemented in Chicago.
Jonathan Morris: The Chicago Bears have a new offensive coordinator in Luke Getsy. He plans to run the ball more, which will benefit Khalil Herbert in getting some touches to spell current starter David Montgomery. As a starter last year, Herbert averaged 15.4 PPR points despite only finding the end zone once. Now, it is a small sample size of only three starts. But, as a sleeper target, he can still provide great value as a relief to David Montgomery in a run-heavy approach. Also, if David Montgomery gets injured, Herbert will immediately become a top 20 RB.
Matt Waldman: A 2021 Rookie Scouting Portfolio fave, Herbert was an afterthought for many heading into the fantasy season because the Bears had Damien Williams slated for the backup role in Chicago. Williams is a quality journeyman contributor in all phases of the position, but Herbert straight-up outplayed Williams as a runner between the tackles. As described in the RSP, Herbert is a Dalvin Cook starter kit in style, decision-making, and speed. Look for Herbert to deliver as a bye-week contributor with top-15 upside at his position if David Montgomery gets hurt.
Jason Wood: Herbert acquitted himself well in David Montgomery's stead last season, both as an inside runner and receiver. His ability to handle all facets of the game as an undrafted rookie free agent speaks volumes and should have everyone excited about his potential entering training camp as the clear No. 2.
Player Receiving 6 Votes
Sony Michel, Miami
Sigmund Bloom: Michel signed a one-year deal with $850,000 guaranteed, so the Dolphins anticipate that he will make the team. They also gave Chase Edmonds a two-year, $12 million deal, but he isn't as well suited to bang between the tackles as Michel. New head coach Mike McDaniel also was reunited with Raheem Mostert, who got a one-year deal that wasn't much more than Michel's and Mostert is coming off of an ACL tear and has never been able to stay healthy for long. It's not difficult to see Michel leading the Dolphins in carries this year.
Drew Davenport: It's odd that people have such faith in Raheem Mostert that they are drafting him almost a full four rounds ahead of Michel. In Mostert's career, he has never topped 160 touches, he's only topped nine games played as a feature back one time, and he's now on the wrong side of 30 coming off a major injury. On the other hand, Michel came into Los Angeles and filled in admirably for their injured running backs. He was tied for third in the league in carries inside the red zone and was sturdy enough to handle 229 touches. The fact that he's technically third on the depth chart is immaterial. He's part of a committee of guys that has never had to carry the load and Michel will factor prominently in this backfield before the season is over.
Gary Davenport: It's understandable that fantasy managers are nervous about the Miami backfield. The team seemingly added running backs in the offseason with the belief that at the fifth signing, everyone gets free sandwiches. But Michel has also seemingly all but been written off—and that's premature. Yes, the Dolphins signed Raheem Mostert, but the next time he stays healthy for a season will be the first time in a long time. Chase Edmonds has never had even 120 carries in a season. And Michel came up just short of 1,000 total yards for the Rams last year on the way to a PPR finish just outside the Top 30. Of all the backs in an admittedly crowded Dolphins backfield, Michel is easily the best value.
Andy Hicks: The Dolphins appear to have a crowded backfield. Chase Edmonds has the money and the explosiveness. Raheem Mostert is now 30 and often injured. Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed are carryovers from the previous regime. That leaves Sony Michel as the likely workhorse back. Over the last six regular-season games with the Rams, Michel logged over 500 rushing yards and three touchdowns. At his current draft price, Michel offers bottom-end RB2 possibilities.
Zareh Kantzabedian: Sony Michel was efficient as the Rams' primary running back through six games in 2021. He is now part of a committee backfield on the Miami Dolphins with Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert. Coaches out of Miami have already declared that the backfield will be an open competition. Edmonds will likely open the year as the starter, but Mostert is thirty years old and has an extensive record of being injured. It's not out of the question that Michel forces an even split with Edmonds in 2022 or outright earns the majority of early-down carries.
Christian Williams: The Dolphins rejuvenated its running back room, bringing in Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, ZaQuandre White, and Sony Michel. Michel is coming off a 208-carry season where he amassed 845 yards and 4 touchdowns in Los Angeles. But the main selling point for Michel is the zone scheme that Mike McDaniel will likely lean into, the same system that Michel just succeeded in. Michel is going as the RB3 in the Miami backfield, and there's a good chance he leads the team in carries. At RB60 overall, the potential for weekly flex value is too hard to pass up.
Players Receiving 5 Votes
Tyrion Davis-Price, San Francisco
Sigmund Bloom: Davis-Price won't threaten Elijah Mitchell for the starting job, but if you have misgivings about Mitchell due to health or draft pedigree, Davis-Price will be the likely next man up after the 49ers used a third-round pick on him. It was the second straight year they used a pick on a back in the third, but the 2021 third-rounder Trey Sermon isn't a sure thing to make the roster. Mitchell missed six games due to injury last year, so Davis-Price is a good bet to have fantasy relevance this year.
Kevin Coleman: The 49ers shocked many by selecting Tyrion Davis-Price with the 92nd pick in the 3rd round of the 2022 NFL draft. Last season at LSU, he rushed for 1,003 yards on 211 carries and added six touchdowns. As a runner, he's a north-south runner that breaks tackles and has 4.48 speed that fits the 49er's offensive scheme. While some analysts believe that Davis-Price can have a chance to be the 49ers RB1, that won't be in the equation without an injury to Elijah Mitchell. In reality, the 49ers drafted him as a depth piece in the backfield, and he should be competing for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart with Jeff Wilson and Trey Sermon. There could be around 10-12 touches to earn per game between Davis-Price, Wilson, and Sermon if he can secure that role and has intriguing upside in a system that produces relevant fantasy running backs.
Ben Cummins: Deebo Samuel reportedly requested a trade because he wants to play running back less so it would appear the third-round selection of Tyrion Davis-Price was a bit of an olive branch for Samuel, who the 49ers clearly don’t want to trade. Davis-Price projects as the RB2 in one of the best rushing offenses in football and is more of a North/South runner than Elijah Mitchell.
Dan Hindery: We have seen running backs emerge out of nowhere to be fantasy starters almost every single season Kyle Shanahan has been in San Francisco. Davis-Price could be next on the list. While he does not have the long speed of Elijah Mitchell, he brings a more physical style that the 49ers have been missing in recent seasons.
Chad Parsons: Elijah Mitchell is returning from an offseason knee surgery and Trey Sermon was the in the proverbial doghouse last year as a rookie. Davis-Price is the latest target of Kyle Shanahan with quality size, movement, and now Round 3 pedigree. It is difficult to assess the depth chart weekly, let alone before the season starts, but Davis-Price costs a fraction of Sermon last year and is the latest meaningful addition to an unsettled depth chart.
Darrel Williams, Arizona
Kevin Coleman: Darrel Williams had over 1,000 yards last season for the Kansas City Chiefs. His value lies in the passing game, where he had 47 receptions for 452 yards and two touchdowns. He will be serving as James Conner’s primary backup, and while Conner had a great season in 2021, Williams could be in line for heavy usage if Conner goes down with an injury. Williams will also serve as the Cardinals' third-down back and will have value in PPR formats. He showed last season he could lead the team as their RB1 when Clyde Edwards-Helaire went down with an injury averaging just over 18 FPTS/G when he was the starter. Williams is a must-draft in fantasy formats, and he’s severely undervalued.
Drew Davenport: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has gone out of his way to praise backups Keontay Ingram and Eno Benjamin in the past couple of months, but Williams is the one to pay attention to. If the Cardinals thought they were set at running back they wouldn't have been seeking a veteran like Williams for depth. When Kansas City gave him a chance to run with the job last year he did a little of everything - scoring, catching passes, and carrying the ball 12+ times - and he was effective. He should earn the backup role and could even push for 30-35% of the touches with Conner healthy. That makes him worthy of his ADP alone, but factor in his high-end handcuff potential and he's a steal right now in drafts.
Jeff Haseley: James Conner has an extensive injury history. He eluded the big injury bug last season but has he turned that corner for good? If he is forced to miss time, the Cardinals' best option to replace his snaps is newly signed Darrel Williams. Williams had a career-high last year finishing as the RB22. He is capable of contributing both as a rusher and receiver and he has succeeded in getting in the end zone. He's the late-round running back you want to steal who could earn valuable playing time at some point during the season.
Sam Wagman: Williams only signed with Arizona recently, but we got a very good look at him last year in relief of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and he was extremely proficient, racking up over 1,100 scrimmage yards. James Conner is the undoubted feature back in this offense, but with his injury history, the team may choose to take some weight off his shoulders.
Christian Williams: The departure of Chase Edmonds has fantasy managers guessing who will assume the RB2 role for Arizona. While the room is full of talent, none of the options behind James Conner possess Darrel Williams's talent. Williams quietly led the Chiefs in rushing attempts in 2021, accumulating 144 carries to go with 47 receptions. He was effective as a pass-catcher, snagging 82.5% of his targets and averaging nearly 10 yards per reception. Williams possesses standalone value as the immediate pass-catching back in Arizona, accompanied by his high-value handcuff value behind an oft-injured James Conner. Williams should be drafted in the Alexander Mattison/Isaiah Spiller tier of running backs, and he's going ten or more spots behind at RB55.
Players Receiving 4 Votes
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