Quarterback – Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: After coming off a fantastic 2016 season, Derek Carr regressed in 2017 by having one of the lowest passing touchdown totals in the league (22) and tying his career high for interceptions (13). High-quality quarterbacks such as Carr often bounce back after career-low seasons.
The Raiders also made big changes in their coaching staff by hiring Jon Gruden and bringing back offensive coordinator Greg Olson who has worked with Carr in the past. The additions of Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant at wide receiver will also play part in Carr having a redeeming season. Because of last year, Carr will be overlooked in many leagues, so draft him if you have the chance.
Running Back – Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers: On the surface, this may seem like a strange pick because Jones will miss the first two games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. That’s what makes him a sleeper. Jones was having a fantastic rookie year, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and also running for 100 yards twice in a game before he went down with a knee injury in week 10.
Jones’ injury and two-game suspension will cause many fantasy football GMs to not draft him, but if he’s available in your league, snag him. There’s a good chance he could emerge as the Packers’ top running back when he returns.
Wide Receiver – John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals: This one is a very deep sleeper, but if you take Ross with one of your final picks in the draft, it’s a very low-risk, high-reward pick. Ross was a rookie with all the hype behind him last season, but he only played in two games before being taken out by injury. The Bengals’ passing game right now is for the most part only A.J. Green.
Expect Ross to be the man that Cincinnati tries to make their threat opposite of Green. If Ross can take advantage this season and produce, he’s a quality WR3 that can contribute to your fantasy team.
Tight End – Trey Burton, Chicago Bears: Burton was a backup for the Philadelphia Eagles in the first three years of his career. When Zach Ertz went down with an injury last season, he had very good production at the starting tight end role for the Eagles. The Bears signed him to a big contract this offseason, which means he’ll be one of Mitch Trubisky’s top weapons this year.
The Bears had solid production last season from four different tight ends, none of which were as big of names as Burton is. If Burton can put up good numbers consistently as a starter and the Bears continue to use their tight ends in the red zone, drafting him will pay off tremendously.