The 2015 NFL season is 4 games old, so it’s about time we revive Comedian for Cancer’s fantasy sleeper articles for all you die hard fantasy freaks. For those of you who didn’t follow the articles last year, I don’t waste your time with the fairly obvious “sleepers” that dozens of fantasy experts are rushing out to stick a flag in. It’s not exactly a major revelation if someone is tipping you off to a 2nd string running back who is suddenly thrust into a feature role when the guy who beat him out in camp blew out his knee the week before. You can find guys like that on just about any fantasy football site, and those types of recommendations are geared towards the casual or less-than savvy fantasy hobbyist. So, all apologies if you’re in a 6 to 10 team semi-competitive league and you’re looking for miracles, because these probably aren’t the articles for you. These articles are for the die hard fantasy freaks who are in deep leagues, ultra-competitive leagues, or keeper leagues where they’re perpetually looking for that diamond in the rough super-sleeper they can grab off the free agent list before the rest of their fantasy freak competition realizes their potential and beats them to the punch.
With that being said, we’re going to dig deep into the crystal ball for this year’s fantasy sleeper recommendation debut and tip you off to a guy who can potentially spark your team with solid production out of that pesky TE slot most fantasy teams have difficulty getting production from. Meet Derek Carrier, a converted WR on his 4th team in 3 years with virtually no success to date. See what I did there with the title of the article? Air-craft Carrier? ***Dodges 3 or 4 tomatoes and continues typing***
Carrier was signed by the Oakland Raiders in 2012 out of Beloit College (huh?) as an undrafted free agent, and ultimately waived before ever taking an NFL snap. The Philadelphia Eagles then scooped him up and put him on their practice squad for about a year before he was eventually cut once again. The 49ers immediately came calling and he got his first NFL break when he was added to their active roster in November of 2013. He made brief appearances in 11 games in 2014, starting one, and recorded 9 catches on 14 targets for 105 yards over the course of the season. So why am I recommending a TE who had only 9 catches and one start in his career prior to this year? Because he’s a freakish size/speed athlete who is finally in a great position to bust out of virtually nowhere onto the fantasy scene. Carrier shattered every Beloit College receiving record in his time there, but I know… it’s Beloit, so big deal, right? Ok, but it wasn’t just because he was at a less than prominent football school, his raw physical abilities had just as much to do with it. He was a multi-sport athlete who entered Beloit as a three year starter in basketball and baseball (center field) coming out of high school. He started 21 games for the Beloit basketball team, and even tried his hand at Beloit in track and field where he ran a 6.68 in the 55 meter, had a long jump of 21 feet 5 inches, and a triple jump of 43-4. Ok, ok, the overwhelming majority of even the most die hard fantasy football freaks have no idea what those numbers mean, so allow me to put it into a more fantasy football relevant perspective: He’s 6’4, 240 pounds, with soft hands, runs a 4.49 forty, and has a 40 inch vertical. Now I’m talking, huh? These are the sick physical abilities that had all 32 NFL teams requesting his game tapes before the 2012 draft.
So why now? After wallowing in obscurity for 3 years, why is he suddenly relevant? Because the Washington Redskins acquired him from the 49ers in August for a 5th round draft pick and he’s been slotted as the second stringer behind Jordan Reed. Yes, the same Jordan Reed who can’t seem to stay healthy, and shocker… he’s hurt AGAIN. This time it’s a concussion, sprained ankle, AND sprained knee. No clear word yet on how bad the sprains are, but he hasn’t passed the NFL’s concussion protocol, so the door is cracked open for Carrier nonetheless. It’s also worth noting that Carrier pulled a 3.87 in pre-med, and also tested ridiculously high on the Wonderlic intelligence test at the 2012 NFL combine, so it’s safe to say he should have no trouble picking up the Redskins playbook in a pinch. Additionally, he drew praise for his run and pass blocking as a 49er in 2014, so he’s not just a gadget player for passing downs, he’ll be an every down starter.
I’m not about to anoint him Rob Gronkowski, but he has the mind and the physical talent to succeed, and he suddenly finds himself in a good position to break out. Kirk Cousins isn’t exactly RG3 circa 2012, so his lack of mobility coupled with a shaky offensive line also leans heavily in a soft-handed TEs favor. At the very least, he’s got big time sleeper potential for this weekend, but with Jordan Reed’s propensity for injuries (he probably pulled an eye muscle just reading this article), there’s a very good chance we could be getting an extended look at Carrier. There’s also an outside chance that even if Reed’s injuries don’t persist, he could very well get Wally Pipped right out of a starting role by the freakishly talented Carrier. Those of you in daily leagues, weekly leagues in need of a sleeper or bye week fill in, and/or those of you in keeper or dynasty leagues should all take a long hard look at Carrier, he could very well be on the verge of serious relevance.