Straight outta Utah: Fantasy Sleepers

When one looks to stockpile talent to win their fantasy football office pool they tend to look at players who played for powerhouse college teams like Alabama and USC. One tends to turn a blind eye to the Beehive State but there is plenty of talent in Utah that can get you some points on Sunday. It’s time to break down the top 10 fantasy contributors in the state!

10. Kaelin Clay – Buffalo Bills WR: When he’s not dropping the ball one yard before the end zone like he did on the Utes, Kaelin Clay is an impressive receiver that has made a few catches in the NFL. Don’t expect to see him rack up the fantasy numbers but in a state where not everyone is in the Pro Bowl like Alabama, this would be the 10th best contributor in fantasy largely because he plays on offense and has more chances to make some catches and score a lot of points if he gets hot, especially in PPR leagues. Expect to see him do something once in a while for the Bills but maybe don’t put him on your fantasy bench. He should be the water boy for your fantasy bench.

9. Taysom Hill – New Orleans QB: Taysom might be a good guy to pick up on the waiver wire if Drew Brees goes down. Taysom was third string last year and got a lot of time in special teams but has run and thrown well in the preseason so he could be a very valuable asset to the Saints at some point in the future. For now, keep him off your fantasy team until you see Brees go down. Unless you’re that crazy BYU fan who has to keep every BYU player on his bench just in case. If that’s you then good luck when you hit the bye weeks.

8. Kerwynn Williams – Arizona Cardinals RB: Hey ladies and gentlemen, this is Kerwynn the Frog here. Ok maybe he’s not a Caribbean amphibian but last year this former Utah State Aggie got some rushes especially since star rusher David Johnson went down with an injury. Expect to see Kerwynn as an ok flex option if presented a similar situation this year.

7. Devontae Booker – Denver Broncos RB: This former Ute star got a decent amount of carries and receptions last year but it only transferred to one touchdown. So only give this guy any significant time if you’re in a PPR league.

6. Kyle Van Noy – Patriots LB: Ok maybe he doesn’t score individual points but he is a Super Bowl champion on a sometimes elite defense. He made a critical sack in an epic comeback against the Atlanta Falcons several years ago. With the exception of Malcom Butler who was stupidly benched in the following Super Bowl, Kyle is one of the best players on this Patriots defense that is ranked in the middle of the pack. Draft the Patriots defense if you’re like James Harden and defense doesn’t matter and just hope that your Cougar star comes up with plays to keep the Patriots from going into the negative on defense.

5. Robert Turbin – Colts RB: I have Turbin in my top 10 because I have seen him light it up in college and believe he can do so in the pros. He is serving a four game suspension for PEDs so it will be interesting to see how he does after that. Keep him on your radar in the waiver wires in case the Colts need him to shoulder more of the running load later in the year. Last year he had one touchdown and some yards here and there. Now is his time.

4. Ziggy Ansah – Detroit Lions DE: Ezekiel may be the second best Zeke in the league but only because defense is less glamorous than offense. He tied his career high of 39 tackles last year. He also had 12 sacks. There is a lot of speculation on how the Lions defense will fare this year but Ziggy will do his best to keep them relevant. He is a champion and you’re gonna hear him roar because lions are one of the few big felines that can actually roar. Sorry Cougars.

3. Bobby Wagner – Seahawks MLB: B-Wags is maybe the best player to come out of Utah State since Merlin Olsen. He has been a Pro Bowl selection for four straight years. He’s a Super Bowl champion that was a BIG part of the Legion of Boom! Richard Sherman with his post game antics (looking at you MICHAEL CRABTREE) May have been the heart of the team but anyone who knows football knows that the middle linebacker is the brain of the defense. Since he is in the middle, Bobby with his first class football education at USU learned to see the whole offense and make appropriate reads so he could put the hurt on people. He also communicates those reads to the defense in case audibles are needed which is very similar to a point guard’s job in basketball. The Seahawks defense isn’t as good as it once was but Bobby will still make the Seahawks one of the more popular defenses to have on your fantasy team.

2. Jamal Williams – Packers RB: When he was the leading rusher in BYU history the strategy was always “When in doubt, GIVE THE BALL TO JAMAL!” However, the NFL is a man’s league and while Jamal is a stud he has had to be patient while trying to move up in the ranks on the Green Bay depth chart. Aaron Jones for years has been the primary running back but with health issues last year Jamal got a lot of carries.

Expect to see a lot of teams (specifically those crazy Cougar fans in Provo) pick up Jamal to put on their bench and use him in case their running back or flex health takes a turn for the worst.

1. Alex Smith – Redskins QB: This doesn’t mean Alex is the best choice in real life to take your team to the Super Bowl. Give me defensive players from the Beehive State all day. Defense wins championships and Super Bowl champs previously mentioned like Kyle Van Noy, Bobby Wagner and Eric Rowe all helped their teams win rings.

However, in a league where points reign supreme, Alex Smith had some very high scoring weeks as the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs last year which earned him a nice max salary for the Redskins this year as the Chiefs believe that Patrick Mahomes has bigger upside than their “system QB” in Alex Smith who lost to the Titans in the first round of the playoffs last year.

Alex Smith enjoyed prime weapons like rookie sensation Kareem Hunt and top tight end Travis Kelce but this year his weapons in the nation’s capital will be flexible. He is the best fantasy producer to come out of the Beehive State but only get him if you are prioritizing a deep team of runners and receivers over a top quarterback. That seems to be the trend but there’s always that one guy in every league who drafts Rogers or Brady in the second or third round.

The mathematical factor to consider is you have to start two running backs and two receivers in each league so it’s best to prioritize getting good ones in the first four or so rounds and then pick up whichever QB1 is left. Last would be the tight end, defense kicker and bench.

It’s a dog eat dog fantasy football world out there and if you make unwise moves you could be left hanging without any of your office pool money. So just know that it is still ok to rep your university in Utah while still practicing good fantasy strategy. Don’t draft Jamal Williams over Todd Gurley. Just don’t. The SEC is better.

If you want to rep your state try doing it by creating a cool fantasy name! You can even call your team The Hive Sports. Don’t worry, we won’t get on you for copyrighting our name for your team. Just know that we got the buzz on the Beehive State. Happy fantasy football playing!

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