Fantasy PPR Sleepers 2017: While everyone else zigs, zag for Zay

In the darkest recesses of every fantasy draft hidden value exists. Find an uncovered gem and your team could soon gain the upper hand. With flashlights and pickaxe’s in hand, our Yahoo Fantasy treasure hunters dig deep in attempt to score late-round riches. Monday’s topic: Top PPR sleepers.

Lance Dunbar, LAR (224.5 ADP, RB78)

For the first three weeks of the 2015 season, Dunbar averaged nearly 55 receiving yards per contest and secured the second best catch-rate in the league (91.3%). Then this kick return happened. While the injury to his left knee appeared catastrophic, Dunbar was eventually able to work his way back to the field in 2016. Despite seeing a large number of snaps on passing downs toward the end of the year, the Dallas backfield had been seized by The-Almighty-Zeke and Dunbar’s services were no longer needed.

Filling the void left by Benny Cunningham, the North Texas product is LA’s new change-of-pace back. Expected to work in on third-downs and in key passing situations, Dunbar is McVay’s 2017 version of Chris Thompson. A fast backs who excels in space, it’ll be crucial to see if Dunbar still has the same cutting ability he did prior to his most recent knee injury. If he can get on the field in Week 1, he’s a flex-worthy stash in PPR formats. (Liz Loza)

Alvin Kamara, NO (140.3 ADP, RB48)

New Orleans traded up to snag Kamara early in the draft’s third-round, and it seems clear that the team has significant role in mind for the rookie. Kamara reportedly saw reps at both running back and receiver during the Saints’ offseason program. He’s likely to work in a scaled back version of the Reggie Bush role, seeing plenty of short-range targets from Drew Brees and taking 50-60 handoffs. PPR owners will be flexing him throughout the season. (Andy Behrens)

Jacquizz Rodgers, TB (168.7 ADP, RB55)

Rodgers might not qualify as a strict PPR sleeper, though he can definitely catch the ball — he had 105 grabs in Atlanta from 2012-2013. But we didn’t have him in our common sleeper list in the backfield, and I’d like to rectify that now.

Rodgers answered the bell last year, totaling 658 total yards on a modest 142 touches. The Bucs are not in love with Doug Martin — who starts the year on a three-game suspension — or Charles Sims. Jeremy McNichols shows promise, but he’s just a rookie, and a fifth-round pick at that.

One of my favorite fantasy football strategies is to focus on a fast start, then deal with October later. Rodgers is probably going to be Tampa Bay’s primary back for the opening three games. After that, who knows? Maybe he can shove Martin out of the way. Bucs head man Dirk Koetter is a Quizz guy; they were both with the Falcons from 2012-14.

Although the price is sneaking up on Rodgers, he’s still someone you can land in the second half of your draft. He’s my fourth most-common RB selection in my preseason, best-ball portfolio. (Scott Pianowski)

C.J. Prosise, Sea (102.4 ADP, RB38)

Prosise’s ability to stay healthy remains in question, but there’s a lot of upside here. Both Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls have durability concerns themselves, and at minimum, Prosise will be the passing down back in Seattle, which should be beneficial given that they project to win around 11 games. He played wide receiver in college and hauled in 17-of-19 targets in limited work as a rookie, so there’s legit PPR upside (his 89.5% catch rate ranked No. 1 in the NFL last year). Moreover, his Juke Rate (29.8%) ranked No. 12, and his 0.42 fantasy points per snap ranked No. 13. Just check out this impressive 72-yard TD run. Prosise’s price tag is a bargain in PPR formats even if he’s relegated to just a third-down role, but he’ll turn out to be one of the biggest steals in all of fantasy football if it expands beyond that. (Dalton Del Don)

Zay Jones, Buf (160.9 ADP, WR64)

To be honest, this year’s WR class is similar to chewing a wad of Dubble Bubble. It’s tasty at first, but it quickly becomes flavorless. However, Jones is sure to tickle the tastebuds for longer than 30 seconds. The kid is a wonderful talent and blessed with an exploitable situation. A prolific receiver at East Carolina, he runs precise routes, is very versatile, possesses reliable hands (only six drops on 164 catchable balls in ’16) and has a knack for finding coverage soft spots. Historically, only 16 wide receivers crossed the 70-catch line in their first NFL season, but the rookie could flirt with the number. Assuming Anquan Boldin signs elsewhere, he should secure the starting gig opposite Sammy Watkins and entice roughly 19-21 percent of the targets share. A final tally around 67-835-5 seems very realistic. In other words, Jones is an upside bench stash who churns out an occasional WR3 return in PPR, a poor man’s Willie Snead. (Brad Evans)

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