The initial 53-men rosters are set for the 32 teams. The rosters are far from set in stone as players will be added via waivers and free agency, leading to other players being released, rinse and repeat.

Despite the changes to come, I wanted to take a snapshot of where the rosters are now to point out “the other guys” that made the initial 53. Some of these guys may be buried on the depth chart for weeks to months. A few of these deep sleepers will contribute right away but it may take a while for their role to blossom into fantasy relevance.

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Deep Sleepers to Stash

Chicago Bears - The top receiver duo is set while the third receiver role will be split between Damiere Byrd and Marquise Goodwin. Rodney Adams made the roster as one of only five receivers. He flashed in the preseason and showed chemistry with Justin Fields. As injuries hit over this 17-game season, Adams will get his opportunity. Whenever the Bears make Fields the starter and Adams gets his look, pounce. Read the tea leaves and be ahead on Adams’ breakout.

Cincinnati Bengals - They kept three running backs. Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine with the sixth-round rookie, Chris Evans. Evans is not an elite athlete but has special traits (10” hands / 40.5” vertical). He’s patient and allows for blockers to open up lanes. Evans catches comfortably out of the backfield. If Mixon were to miss time, Evans would progressively take the lion’s share of the touches over Perine.

Cleveland Browns - At receiver, the top trio is back. They have two youngsters that will eat into their reps on day one. Last year’s sixth-round pick, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and this year’s third-round pick, Anthony Schwartz are NFL starters. The Browns offense will be clicking and if Odell Beckham Jr. disappoints this season, they’ll get more opportunities to produce.

Houston Texans - Jordan Akins is the Texans' top receiving tight end. They only have three on the roster with Pharaoh Brown playing mostly as a blocking tight end and Brevin Jordan in his rookie season. Brevin is athletically gifted but still needs development, but if Akins misses time, Jordan will produce.

Indianapolis Colts - T.Y. Hilton is always banged up. Parris Campbell is gifted, but he hasn’t been able to stay on the field in his short career. The Colts found a young man named Mike Strachan that will make an instant impact. He played at a small college and that’s the only reason he lasted until the seventh round of this year’s draft. He’s 6’5 225 pounds with a 6’10+ wingspan, 4.5 speed, and a 1.55 10-yard split. He’ll get an opportunity this season.

New Orleans Saints - While Michael Thomas is out on the PUP list, the Saints have some youngsters running the show. There are high expectations for Marquez Callaway. Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris are his expected running mates. The Saints have been developing Lil’ Jordan Humphrey for a couple of years now and every time he’s on the field, he makes something happen. The Saints like what they’ve seen from Ty Montgomery as a receiver and he looked comfortable back in the role in the preseason. Humphrey and Jordan are ready to seize any opportunity if Callaway, Smith, or Harris stumble.

Philadelphia Eagles - They’ve spent first-rounders the last two years on receivers. The year prior they spent a second-rounder on J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and to date he’s been targeted 30 times for 14 receptions (46.7%). They also have Greg Ward who continues to get better with his conversion to a receiver in the pros. Quez Watkins is still under the radar but won’t be for long as he’s 6’0 with a 6’7 wingspan and 4.35 speed.   

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs have two guys behind their top trio of receivers that are NFL starters as well. Tyler Johnson and Jaelon Darden just happen to be on a team with three veteran studs at their position. Darden will remind Bruce Arians of T.Y. Hilton from their time together. He’ll be involved on returns but they aren’t cracking the top trio of receivers in Tampa this year unless there’s an injury.

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