I know, I’m a bit of a fantasy football snob. Give me the 16-team league over the 8-team league every time. But when you play in those leagues, you need to find extremely deep sleepers and the majority of sites out there just don’t offer that.
Yes, I can think of a few, and I write for some of those. But even finding deep ADP can be tough. The good news however is that here at Fantrax our standard ADP goes over 450 deep!
Because the kind of extremely deep sleepers I’m talking about probably wouldn’t, nay, shouldn’t even be considered last-round options in a 20-round standard 12-team league. I am talking about players with an ADP of over 300.
So with ADP courtesy of Fantrax, I’m looking at you my 16-team league members and above. Of course, it’s still July, so I’ll probably update this come August. But for now, come a little closer, snuggle in, and let’s talk about some fantasy football sleepers for extremely deep leagues.
Fantasy Football: Extremely Deep Sleeper Picks
I’ll try to give you at least one at each skill position, but we’ll go in ascending order with ADP next to the player’s name in parenthesis.
Davis Mills, QB, Houston Texans (391)
I know everyone is ready for CJ Stroud to be the man under center this season… but what if he’s just not ready? It wasn’t too long ago we were talking about Davis Mills being a standard sleeper. In fact, it was less than a year ago that Mills was regularly drafted as the QB24 and within the top 200. 2022 wasn’t a great season for Mills, but should he really be 200 spots lower?
It’s not as if Mills is some 36-year-old greybeard who’s completely washed up. He’s still just 24 years old. And as poor as he was last year, he still completed more than 60% of his passes and threw for more than 3K yards. And let’s not forget that Mills did not exactly have the strongest supporting cast last season. Vinny Testaverde, Michael Vick, and most recently Alex Smith are just three quarterbacks whose NFL careers seemed to be over and suddenly saw their careers get a second life.
Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans has already said that Stroud is not a lock to be the opening day starter, so let’s not bury Mills just yet.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Commanders (393)
And Logan Thomas has been completely forgotten about despite his clear-cut TE1 status on Washington's roster.
He is another year removed from an ACL injury, and there's no TE being drafted as late as him with his track record of production.
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) July 16, 2023
Thomas seems to be a forgotten man. And it doesn’t make sense. He was a featured part of the 2020 Washington offense, hauling in 72 of 109 targets for a solid 670 yards. Those include an even more impressive half a dozen TDs. In ’21, he managed to play just six games but played 14 games last season. And given the QB issues last season, the fact that he still pulled in nearly 40 passes and averaged over 23 yards per game is nothing to sneeze at.
John Bates is the closest thing that Thomas has to competition this season. Thomas should easily be the starting TE for Washington. His ADP is almost 400. That’s noteworthy that you can get a starting TE in your 16-team league draft after the 20th round.
D’Ernest Johnson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (404)
The worst pick going in the top 20 of rookie drafts is Tank Bigsby. Because if Travis Etienne can’t get the job done, I suspect Johnson will get the first crack at it. Not Bigsby. Furthermore, I expect the Jags to look to Johnson in heavy jumbo goal-line and 4th-and-inches situations.
Johnson owns an NFL career 5.2 yards per carry average. That’s pretty good. And the more carries he gets, the more he produces. His best NFL season was in ’21 when he saw 100 carries and turned that into 534 yards and three TDs.
And Johnson has always been a favorite of mine since 2019. That was when he tore up the AAF league (remember that league?) week after week. Do I think Johnson is going to suddenly become a Top-20 RB this season? No. Yet, he is quite the desirable backup RB to have, especially as a 25th-round pick in a 16-team league.
Puca Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams (445)
What a damn luxury it would be if Puka Nacua could turn into what Robert Woods was for the Rams from 2017-2021. pic.twitter.com/0eX3KtmGF9
— Rams Brothers (@RamsBrothers) May 4, 2023
Nacua might be one of my favorite deep rookie WR sleeper picks. And that is despite him not having the acceleration and natural speed to separate from defenders at the NFL level.
But Matt Stafford is used to WRs who can’t separate (need I list the litany of WRs he’s had during his career with that issue?), but moreover, Nacua has all the other athletic abilities I look for in a receiver. He has not only the size (6-2 and 201 pounds) but also great hands, regularly winning 50/50 balls against better defenders. Nacua also has the athletic instincts to get open and make the big play. There is a reason why, despite a lack of initial acceleration, he still averaged 18.7 yards per catch in 2021.
More Than Just a WR
He was also a threat as a rusher (think Laquon Treadwell or Deebo Samuel for example) in college, racking up 25 carries for 209 yards (8.4 YPC) while punching into the end zone five times as well. He’s certainly not beating out Cooper Kupp anytime soon and he’ll be hard-pressed to leap over Van Jefferson on the depth chart. But I do think he can leapfrog Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek to earn the WR3 spot on the Rams, a position we know can have value in deeper leagues.
Nacua’s ADP is already on the rise. I’ve seen him drafted in the mid-200s (wasn’t me, I swear!). He’ll likely be gone by pick 350, let alone by 445. But even if he’s sitting there at 350, I’d grab him. And don’t be surprised when he’s not even there at that point. I think he can be something special.
That will do it for my Extremely Deep Sleeper picks for now. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) for more deep league questions!
For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!
GIVEAWAY ALERT! 🚨🏈
We are excited to be launching another giveaway, where ONE lucky winner will receive an Official NFL Travis Kelce Signed Jersey!
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— Fantrax (@Fantrax) July 4, 2023