February’s Top Rookie Sleeper at each position
Every single offseason, the rookie hype begins to increase as soon as the fantasy football season is over. Of course, this is because an incoming class of rookies brings excitement, mystery, and intrigue because everyone wants to strike gold with their rookie picks. Every fantasy manager always ends up finding his or her darlings that they want to get as many shares off on their various rosters, as they possibly can.
Some of these darlings are often players taken in the later rounds of rookie drafts. We believe that they have the talent, they just need the right situation and opportunity to make good on that talent. These players are often referred to as sleepers because they are not part of the “prime talent” at their positions or they may have played at smaller schools. For whatever reason, sleepers are flying a bit under the radar but could end up having a massive impact on fantasy rosters in a couple of years.
In this article, we will be covering one player at each position: QB, RB, WR, and TE, who are our top rookie sleepers at their respective position for the month of February. Enjoy!
QB – Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
We haven’t seen Hendon Hooker for a while. He got injured at the end of November and hasn’t been able to play since. Before the injury, however, Hooker was having a great season, and he was talked about as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Ever since transferring to Tennessee, Hooker has been a very efficient quarterback, which should intrigue NFL teams. His 68.9% completion rate is great, he rarely turns the ball over and he can move the ball through the air or on the ground with his legs.
Passing for 3,135 yards and 27 TDs and just 2 INTs in 11 games is very good, and it’s easy to see an NFL team taking a chance on Hooker as a “wait-and-see” player who could develop into a stable starter in the NFL. He is extremely athletic, has good throwing mechanics with a quick release, and has very good accuracy on throws at the short and intermediate levels of the field. With his injury, Hooker is unlikely to go in the top 2 rounds of the NFL Draft but is someone you can grab later on in rookie drafts, and he could have tremendous upside if he hits his ceiling, as our top rookie sleeper at QB.
RB – Tyjae Spears, Tulane
If you want acceleration and explosiveness from the running back position, Tyjae Spears is your guy. If he gets in the open field, Spears is a threat to hit a home-run touchdown every single time. Spears became the guy for Tulane in 2022 and he put up an absolute monster season as a result. 251 total touches (22 receptions), 1837 total yards, and 21 total touchdowns. That type of production in and by itself warrants a look for fantasy football purposes.
When you look at Tyjae Spears, you would not believe that he runs physically, but he does. He reminds me a lot of a taller Darren Sproles, who had a lot of success in the NFL. Spears has a very compact build although he is not very big, allowing him to shake off tacklers. Yet he is still explosive and incredible in the passing game, where Spears displays receiver-like hands.
Spears could easily become a weapon for an NFL team early on in his career, making him the top rookie sleeper at the running back position. He probably won’t ever become an early down back in the NFL, but he will still be able to do plenty of damage.
WR – Nathaniel “Tank” Dell, Houston
Ever since Tyreek Hill entered the NFL, teams have been looking for a similar player to use as a weapon all over the field on their roster. Put simply, Nathaniel Dell is not Tyreek Hill. “Tank” as he is often called, is not as strong as Tyreek, but he is almost as fast and explosive and as shifty as Hill.
Dell has been one of the standouts at the Senior Bowl practices so far, which means his stock is going up. This is also the reason he should be considered a top rookie sleeper for fantasy football. When all is said and done, I would not be surprised to see Tank Dell in the top half of the second round of rookie drafts, as some NFL team is going to fall in love with Dell’s skillset despite his small size.
In terms of attributes, Tank Dell possesses immense quickness as well as incredible explosiveness in and out of cuts. His ability to stop on a dime and quickly accelerate is elite and he shows high-end speed. All of these skills are something that NFL teams covet, and skills that translate incredibly well to fantasy production.
TE – Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State
For NFL teams, Tucker Kraft is going to help whoever drafts him a lot. Kraft is a very raw talent, who is more athletic right now than he is skilled as a football player. That being said, Kraft has the size and strength to help in the running game and he showed us in 2021 that he can be a receiving threat as well, racking up 780 yards and 6 touchdowns on 65 receptions.
Unfortunately, he suffered an injury in 2022, robbing him of a chance to replicate a great (for a tight end) 2021 season.
Because Tucker Kraft is very raw, he should be falling in fantasy rookie drafts, but is someone you should look for often in your rookie drafts, because he has the potential to be a very good tight end in the NFL and for fantasy football. However, there is a “but”. When you draft Kraft, you need to be mindful that he is going to need time to develop and refine his skills, meaning he is going to sit on your taxi squad and/or bench for several seasons before he might pay off.
This is the case for a lot of tight ends, so just be patient like you would with an earlier-round tight end. After all, a sleeper is someone who might become a starter but isn’t guaranteed to be so, which is also why their value is lower than the top picks. Without a doubt, Tucker Kraft is a top rookie sleeper at the tight end position.
February’s Top Rookie Sleepers
Thank you for taking the time to read the February’s Top Rookie Sleeper at each position article. Make sure to keep an eye out for our frequent updates to rookie rankings – you can find 1QB & Superflex right here on RotoHeat.com. If you want to chat fantasy football, you can follow me on Twitter and/or join the RotoHeat Discord. Most importantly you should make sure to Subscribe to us on YouTube, where we drop daily shorts, weekly live streams, and in-depth videos!