ESPN recently released some of their top fantasy sleepers and busts going into the 2018 season. It’s no surprise that Rashaad Penny shows up on a few of these as both a sleeper and a breakout for 2018. (Hurry up August, we wanna see this guy in pads against some real competition.)
But there are definitely some other Seattle Seahawks that I think have the potential to be sleeper picks for your fantasy team this year.
While the bulk of the passing game will still go to Doug Baldwin, I could see Darboh being a solid pick-up in later rounds; I could see him being a late round WR4 option. Darboh needs some time to develop, and he has the potential to have a big sophomore year. Russell Wilson is already looking at him as a future piece of this receiving core:
“He understands our offense and what we are trying to do. He had a great season last year and was able to make some big plays for us when we needed it. Hopefully, he can step up in a big way.”
The topic of “Which receiver will step up in the empty space that used to be occupied by Paul Richardson?” is one of the hottest of the offseason and it’s difficult to predict that answer until training camp and the preseason begins. Between Darboh, Brandon Marshall, Jaron Brown, and David Moore, there’s already four plausible options after Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. Seattle may also reduce the number of passes thrown by Wilson as they make an effort to be a more consistent rushing threat. However, Darboh’s one of the highest-drafted receivers in the Pete Carroll era and that’s not insignificant.
The team saw great potential from him coming out of Michigan last season and he’s got way more of an opportunity this year than he had as a rookie. If he wins the job opposite of Lockett and Baldwin, Darboh could potentially settled into the territory of 40-50 catches, 500-700 yards, and 3-5 touchdowns that you’d typically expect from a starting Seahawks receiver not-named Baldwin.
Penny has a great shot to be the RB1, but if it’s not him, then Chris Carson has been getting nothing less than a constant endorsement from the Seattle coaching staff so far this year. That leaves Prosise in a position likely no better than RB3, but we all know the potential he has based on his short stints on the field during his first two NFL seasons.
Prosise has to have a spectacular training camp for fantasy owners to put faith in what he can do on the field when healthy. According to Carroll, Prosise knows he’s going to be battling for a roster spot this year, but he’s already jumped out to impress at OTAs. If Prosise can remain as healthy as he is now, and continue to impress at camp, he could carve out a consistent role in the Seahawks’ offense.
Maybe that’s as an RB2, or as the primary third down back, or maybe just as a gadget player who gets significant reps at receiver and by hauling in more targets than you’d typically expect from a running back; not that Prosise has ever been your “typical running back.”
In 2016 he put up 208 receiving yards in addition to his 172 rushing. His catch percentage was 89.5%. It’s great to have a running back that can make those short passes and then just take off with the ball, but the common refrain is always going to be: can he stay on the field long enough for it to matter?
It’s hard to project a best case scenario for Prosise because he’s such a unique weapon, but I think his greatest potential is as a Christian McCaffrey-type option who receives 60 passes and puts up 400+ yards in the air with bonus points on the ground. Maybe Prosise can help the Seahawks move the chains in short-to-mid yardage situations and also be a threat to take the handoff.
Prosise is a deep sleeper because of his injury history and his current position on the depth chart, but don’t forget that Penny and Carson also need to stay healthy to keep Prosise down and that’s never a guarantee.
With Jimmy Graham nothing but a memory, Vannett is my pick for a TE sleeper. Vannett snaps have been slowly increasing over the past two seasons, and he finally has an opportunity to be Wilson’s go-to option in the passing game at tight end; We already know that starter Ed Dickson and rookie Will Dissly are mostly being counted on for their blocking prowess.
Vannett averaged about 10.3 Y/R last season just with being Wilson’s target on 15 attempts, so if he managed to find 50 targets (Graham and Luke Willson combined for 118 targets last season and both are gone, so 50 could even be a modest sum if Vannett commands Wilson’s attention the most at the position), then Vannett might land around 500 yards. We can’t really rule out that Dickson and Dissly will take the lead in targets for tight ends, or that Tyrone Swoopes won’t swoop in on the opportunity himself, but Vannett has the most potential — for fantasy purposes — among the tight ends currently on Seattle’s roster.
And if he disappears entirely, or any of these three players do, that’s why they’re called “sleepers.”