The Sleeper Film Room

Welcome back to the “Sleeper Film Room”. Here I will give you, my sleeper pick of the week, based not only on stats, match-ups, current situations, but also a thorough game tape breakdown.


This week I’m betting on the big-hyped rookie wide receiver from the Tennessee Titans Tajae Sharpe. This kid has some very polished footwork that allows him to avoid contact on the line of scrimmage and to force the DBs to open their hips and gain separation. He’s a great route runner who makes sharp cuts with his athleticism and uses his lateral agility to finish the routes, thus being in the best possible position for his QB to throw the ball. In the air, he displays good hands and ability to use his big frame, putting himself between the football and the defender and he can catch the ball at the highest point.

After reviewing his week 1 tape I realized that he is going to make his money running comeback routes because of his sudden change of direction and ability to quickly sink his hips. His back-shoulder on fade routes, thanks to his big frame and good hands, post routes due to his sudden change of direction, and slants because he can play the defenders with his footwork.

In his first game as a pro football player, Sharpe was targeted 11 times (t-8th most) and caught 7 passes in 3 comeback routes, 2 slants, 1 curl and 1 post. He recorded 76 total yards.

Let’s see how Sharpe managed to complete 3 of his 7 receptions:

In the first play, the Titans use two comeback routes with the outside receivers and two curl routes with the inside receivers (Mirrored Passing Desing). The Vikings run a Cover 1 shell with the ILB blitzing. That way, Sharpe (highlighted in red) gets 1-on-1 with the CB:

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After running the route, Sharpe puts himself in the best position for Mariota to throw him the ball. Then the WR proceeds to attack the football and make the catch giving no chance to the cover guy.


The second play really impressed me since he performed a perfect post route with a sudden and precise change of direction. Sharpe on the left side of the field faces a Cover 3 defensive play finding the void in coverage with perfect timing:


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In the last play (watch here sec 34), we can see how athletic Sharpe is by leaving the defender almost on the ground after making the comeback move on the route against single coverage:

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The rookie is a single coverage nightmare who will convert every play when the safety is away from him. Here is where the opposing defense for week 2 plays an interesting role. The Detroit Lions allowed 16 receptions, 237 yards, 5 plays of 20+ receiving yards (including a 50-ish) and 1 TD to the Colts on week 1.

The reason why the Lions struggled against three different wide receivers was mainly because of bad safety read and play.

Here (watch here) the Colts run a Mills Concept vs a Cover 1 by the Lions. Three defensive backs are playing man to man coverage and there is just one deep safety.

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The problem there was that the deep safety fell for the bait and instead of defending the deep Post route, decides to go for the receiver running the Dig, leaving a huge hole behind him resulting in a 51-yard gain.


On this play (watch here sec 31), the Colts use a NCAA Mills Concept (using the Post inside instead of outside) against a Cover 3 Shell where the Safety Tavon Wilson no. 32 (highlighted in blue) is the key.

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Three deep defenders against two WR. Safety T. Wilson decides to go for the inside Post route leaving a huge hole behind him between his zone and Darius Slay’s zone (CB no. 23), that way, Moncrief receives the ball in open space in Wilson’s zone with the Safety 15 yards away.

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However, it was not entirely Wilson’s fault because the right-side DB blows his coverage forcing 32 to help him out. The DB gets fooled by the run fake and loses precious seconds against a speedy WR like TY Hilton leaving him in a disadvantage; if 32 doesn’t adjust, it would have been a touchdown:

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This last play (watch here- 2:54) was a true riddle for me because I didn’t manage to find if it was the safety’s fault (again) or his designation came directly from the sidelines (coach’s faults). The Colts run a crossing pattern facing a Cover 1 variation; one deep safety, 3 CB playing man, 2 LB playing underneath zone and (apparently) 1 S playing underneath zone:

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But then, the safety (in red) stares at the QB like some sort of spy, almost ten yards deep. Even with the three receivers playing deep he keeps focusing on Andrew Luck. It’s a big mistake because now he is totally out of the play (with 1 LB covering the RB flat route) with three WR going head to head with their CB in open space and only one safety.

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The Safety Glover Quin (27) decides to cover the Fly route on the left side, leaving a huge void for P. Dorsett to gain 33 yards.


So as you can see, the Lions have some pretty big problems covering the deep ball and making the proper reads. Yes, the WR core from the Titans is not as good as Indianapolis, but they can still manage to use these miscues in their advantage when leaving Tajae Sharpe in single coverage.

The UMass product has a number of elements that makes him a possible top 20 WR in fantasy this week: athleticism, route running, size, frame, QB’s favorite target and playing against a secondary with a lot of things to work on.

fantasyreaList Writer: Aldo Muriá



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