The term “sleep” has been around since the beginning of time fantasy football. Every year, you can find countless articles and Twitter threads about your favorite slipper picks. For those new to fantasy football, this can seem very foreign. What are sleeper picks and why are they important in fantasy football drafts?

What are fantasy football slippers and why should you care about them?

The term “sleeper” comes from the phrase “stay awake” when referring to a person who cannot be underestimated. In its simplest form, a sleeper pick is a player selected in the final rounds of a fantasy football draft who is not rated well by the fantasy community.

Over the course of a few weeks, we will waive most of the players we draft in the second half of fantasy football drafts. Unless you’re new to fantasy football, you can take a look at last season’s drafts. How many players taken in the 8th round or later stayed on the roster during the season? Not much, right?

When looking for players who have been cut, you may also notice some players who have had tremendous years. These are the options we are looking for.

No one has ever won their league by getting face value from every player. If every player you draft returns the value of the round you drafted them in, congratulations, you’ve finished fourth.

True success lies in finding players that will exceed their average draft position (ADP). Sometimes all it takes is one guy picked in the 10th round to recoup the value of a fourth round pick so you have a dominant team. These are the players you should be looking for.

How to find sleepers

It is important to know where you are getting your information from. If you’ve read an article talking about a fifth-round pick as a sleeper, you might question the validity of that statement. Of course, players can be underrated in any round. However, for a player to truly sleep, he has to be someone who goes later in the draft, usually after everyone has made enough picks to fill out their starting lineup.

Every year at Pro Football Network, we publish articles about sleeper players who are underrated late in the draft. Eventually, you’ll learn enough to identify players on your own.

Back in the day (and that’s the mid-2000s for me) there were real sleepers. There were players I could have drafted that my league mates legitimately didn’t know or knew very little about.

In today’s fantasy football, it has become much more difficult to draft sleepers. Fantasy football has exploded in the last decade or so. Along with this explosion came hundreds of fantasy football sites and thousands of articles every day. The wealth of information essentially ensures that someone is writing something about everyone.

​​​​​​While sleepers have a hard time staying under the radar, there is a silver lining. If you actually find a player or two that no one is talking about, the advantage is compounded because all the other fake sleepers have an ADP age…but not your guy.

Every season there are a few players late in the draft who far exceed expectations. The sleepers are there. You just need to know where to look for them.

Jason Katz is a fantasy analyst for the Pro Football Network. You can follow him Twitter: @jasonkatz13 and find more of his work here.

What is a sleeper in fantasy football?

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