Fantasy Football: Rookie Sleepers

Is Dwayne Eskridge the next Tyreek Hill?

By: Joe Mason @JosephMason94

The later rounds of rookie drafts can sometimes feel pointless. Most individuals are zoned in on the top three to four rookies at each position as the chances to hit are slim for late round rookies. What I can tell you from experience is that these later rookie picks do not have a great chance, but each pick is meaningful and you have a chance at finding a hidden gem. These later picks should be targeted for low-risk high reward players that have a lot of upside potential. Here are some examples of later round rookie picks by year that ended up panning out:

(2017 / Chris Godwin / 3.03)

(2018 / Josh Allen / 3.04)

(2019 / Terry McLaurin / 3.04)

(2020 / James Robinson / UND)

The odds are not great, but investing your chips into high upside players increases your chances of hitting. The below rookies are guys I have my eyes on that might not pan out in year one, but could be studs later on like the guys from the list above.

Kylin Hill (RB / Mississippi State)

Age: 22 / Height: 5’11” / Weight: 190 lbs.

The four-year man out of Mississippi State broke out in 2019 and contributed 29% of Mississippi State’s total offensive yards. In an emotional press conference last year, he opted out for the 2020 season. Hill brings elusiveness, balance, and power when he runs the football.

The San Francisco 49ers would be a great landing spot for Hill where the Shanahan system would complement his game nicely. The Houston Texans are looking for a third down back with Duke Johnson gone, so I can also see him landing in the backfield with David Johnson. Regardless, the rookie is fun to watch. He needs to work on improving his pass catching ability, but watch out for Hill in the later rounds who is currently going at 3.06 in 1QB rookie mocks.

Brevin Jordan (TE / Miami)

Age: 20 / Height: 6’3” / Weight: 245 lbs.

Kyle Pitts. Kyle Pitts. Kyle Pitts. It seems as of late all we hear about it how Pitts is the best tight end prospect we have ever seen, but this has led the rest of the TE class to be overshadowed in his hype. If Brevin Jordan was in last year’s TE rookie class, he would have been a top tier option.

At only 20 years old, Jordan is a bit young but he actually broke out at a very young age. For those who don’t know what breakout age is, its when a college player usually under 20 years old accounts for 20% of a team’s receiving yards and touchdowns. The hit rate is much higher if a player broke out before they were 20.

Jordan had a very consistent career at Miami posting 105/1358/13 over three seasons. If he lands on a team like the Los Angeles Chargers this could be great for Jordan’s dynasty outlook. Some may not consider Jordan a sleeper, but I’ve seen him ranked from rookie TE2, all the way down to TE5. His ADP is 3.01 in 1QB mocks.

Dwayne Eskridge (WR / Western Michigan)

Age: 24 / Height: 5’9” / Weight: 188 lbs.

Dwayne Eskridge might be my favorite sleeper of this class. The dude is absolutely electric and can take any slant to the house. He’s got the hands, the route running, and the 4.4 speed to make big plays over the top of defenses. Teams have been looking for the next Tyreek Hill and we’ve seen speed lead to high draft capital with Ruggs in 2020 and Ross in 2017 but both of them have not played up to expectations just yet. I believe Eskridge has the tools to make an impact at the next level and his rookie ADP of 3.02 is too low.

Eskridge played five years at Western Michigan with his best season coming in 2020 where he put up 34/784/8 averaging a whopping 23 yards per catch. He broke his collarbone in 2019 but had solid 2017 & 2018 seasons having at least 30/506/3 in both. He is a bit older but he is more NFL ready than most wideouts in this draft.

If you have some time, go watch his highlight tape from 2020. Grab some popcorn and watch Eskridge turn regular plays into chunk gains and big play touchdowns. He recently interviewed with Mackenzie Salmon and guaranteed he would run a 4.2 at his pro day on March 21st.  He’s currently a day three prospect but a 4.2 40 would move him up to at least day two.

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