Want a Deep, Deep Sleeper Running Back heading into 2016 fantasy football drafts? Here is one runner that needs opportunity to succeed, but he has some pretty awesome hidden appeal. The risk is super-low, if not near zero, yet the reward is extremely-high.
Mike Gillislee | RB BUF
This kid is exciting. He runs hard and he has some monster stat lines despite the limited usage in 2016. Before we get into the details, look at these stat lines from 2015:
As you can see, the guy averaged 5.7 yards-per-carry in 2015, and that’s even if you included his rough outing in Week 17, where he rushed 24 times for only 28 yards. Take that game out and he averaged over 10 yards-per-carry. I know, it’s a small sample size, and you can play the “take out this game and then…” game all day long with all kinds of players, but the truth is, I admit there isn’t much at all go to go on here. It kind of reminds me a lot of when we talked up Michael Turner as a top 5-10RB entering his 2007 campaign. He was about to get traded out of San Diego, but in the final hour he didn’t. We had a small sample size to go on, but I saw elite talent in both his numbers and his footage. His per-touch production was just monstrous, and while we had to wait one more season after that 2007 season, he proved us right in 2008, as he became of the best fantasy football running backs in the game for a handful of years. I am not sure what kind of opportunity exists for Gillislee entering 2016, as we don’t truly know what that Bills’ coaching staff is thinking. We do know three things, though… 1) Karlos Williams is suspended for the first four games of the 2016 NFL season, 2) The Bills run over 30 times per game, 3) LeSean McCoy is oft-injured, and has concussion risk… That second part, where the Bills run 30+ times per game, this means that Gillislee, even with a healthy LeSean McCoy, has a big stage to perform on for the first 1/4 of the season. He is the current No. 2 in Buffalo. That’s nice production right out of the gate (while NOT starting). And, given his per-touch production, I believe we ‘could’ (I repeat ‘could’) see him make a bid for being the future of that Bills’ rushing attack. Now, one fumble or injury can squash this entire thinking, and coaches can ruin all kinds of hopes in these kinds of situations. This is a deep, deep call. The talent is there, my friends, I see it. However, talent doesn’t ALWAYS translate into fantasy dominance. Trade on the cheap for the guy in dynasty and scoop him up in all redraft leagues near the very end of the draft. His ADP is non-existent in most cases, meaning no one is really drafting him – yet. McCoy owners might (and should, so be sure to grab him if you own Shady), but his risk is zero and his upside is gigantic. He is a fun stash to own in 2016!