Fun fact I stumbled into a few weeks ago: There are only three 30-somethings on the Cowboys’ roster. For a team that just a few years ago relied on aging stars like Tony Romo and Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware, it sure happened quietly.
The 10 highest-paid players on the roster by APY are DeMarcus Lawrence (26), Zack Martin (27), Tyron Smith (27), Travis Frederick (27), Tyrone Crawford (27), La’El Collins (27), Sean Lee (31), Tavon Austin (27), Ezekiel Elliott (22) and Allen Hurns (27). Dak Prescott is 24. And the two guys over 30, aside from Lee, are kicker Dan Bailey and long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur.
That shouldn’t be the case in 2018; this team is favored to win the AFC West. Head coach Anthony Lynn even recently lamented to The MMQB’s Albert Breer that someone had told him the Chargers had the second-most talented roster in the league. While maybe a tad hyperbolistic, the notion is not ridiculous. Rivers is a bona fide field general, and his receiving corps is loaded, even with tight end Hunter Henry out with a torn ACL. The backfield and offensive line are improving, and the defense has what every team covets: perimeter cover corners (Casey Hayward and, if healthy, Jason Verrett) and dominant edge rushers (Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram). The interior of the D was addressed in the draft, with safety Derwin James in Round 1, linebacker Uchenna Nwosu in Round 2 and defensive tackle Justin Jones in Round 3.
Nowadays, when we say sleeper what we really mean is undervalued. No matter how much information is available, there will always been undervalued players. Given that player valuation is an imperfect exercise, the fantasy community at large is going to miss on handful of players every single season. Here, we try to help you identify those undervalued players early in your draft prep. Below are our top fantasy football sleeper candidates for the 2018 season.
Everyone in the fantasy football universe likes Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram. If you like all three, how can you not also like their quarterback? Either they’re overvalued or Manning is undervalued, and I believe it will be the latter. Barkley looks set to carry on the recent trend of dominant rookie backs, taking the torch from Ezekiel Elliott and Kareem Hunt. Engram is a prototypical tight end in the modern game who made a seamless transition to the game as a rookie. Beckham has never been a bust in anything in his life. Remember, too, that Manning spent most of last year without Beckham, and a good chunk of it without Sterling Shepard, as well. Don’t overthink this one. If you like Barkley, Beckham and Engram—and who doesn’t—you should be targeting Manning in every draft and auction.