Identifying Fantasy Football sleepers can truly give your Fantasy team a boost in a given season. Each year we have surprises that give our lineups a boost toward winning a championship. We can define a sleeper, as a player whose Fantasy Football production outweighs their average draft position (ADP) greatly to benefit lineups. The Fantasy scoring is much greater than where they go in Fantasy Football drafts. Here are some examples of what I am talking about from 2022, looking at ADP prior to the season vs. Fantasy points per game (PPG) finish :
- Rhamondre Stevenson (RB, Patriots):
- Geno Smith (QB, Seahawks):
- ADP: QB35
- Fantasy PPG Rank: QB8
- Zay Jones (WR, Jaguars):
- ADP: WR87
- Fantasy PPG Rank: WR31
Three examples but you get the idea. So let’s dive into a list of sleepers, one for every team heading into the 2023 season. The draft cost may be different from player to player but the focus is on finding players that may be drafted late that can pay off for the position in Fantasy scoring.
32 Fantasy Football Sleepers
- Trey McBride, TE: Mcbride has a heavy pass-catching profile as a prospect. In his final season at Colorado State, he caught 90 balls for 1,121 receiving yards which would make a wide receiver look productive. Drafted in the second round by the Cardinals last year, we saw flashes of McBride but he sat behind veteran Zach Ertz for most of the year. Heading into 2023, Ertz is injured and may not be part of the Cardinals’ plans moving forward. We are unsure of when Kyler Murray will be back. Marquise Brown should be the target leader for whoever is throwing, but who is second in line is up in the air. Wide receivers Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch, and rookie Michael Wilson are not necessarily world-beaters. McBride has a shot at consistent volume, potentially high, on a Cardinals team that may be forced to throw the ball often in a projected struggle.
- Tyler Allgeier, RB: Last season Allgeier broke the Falcons’ single-season record for rookie rushing yards with 1,035. Allgeier put in three performances as a Top-12 Fantasy running back in his final four games, with games of 139 and 135 rushing yards in that mix. Atlanta ended up drafting generational talent Bijan Robinson though with the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft. While I do not believe there will be a big committee approach due to Bijan’s talent, I will say that Allgeier proved to us that he can produce when given heavy touches. So when we go and identify running back handcuffs for Fantasy Football, I believe he is one worth rostering and one of the better ones at that.
- Zay Flowers, WR: Probably not a hot take to say a wide receiver drafted 22nd overall in this year’s draft may be “good at football.” What happens often though is that rookies slip down the board in redraft, especially if they are in a polarizing situation like Flowers is in Baltimore. We are unsure of where the targets from Lamar Jackson are going to go beyond Mark Andrews when it comes to the trio of Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr., and Flowers. Flowers totaled 3,056 receiving yards at Boston College and during his career and finished 2022 with 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns. 4.42 speed, high acceleration, rushing potential and athletic movements makes Flowers dynamic which can translate to success in year one.
- Damien Harris, RB: I do believe the Bills will feature a committee approach between James Cook and Harris, but the potential upside for Harris tied to touchdowns is very appealing. Devin Singletary vacates 178 rushing attempts and 40 red-zone touches in Buffalo. The Bills scored the second most PPG in 2022. Harris rushed for 929 yards in 15 games back in 2021 where he scored a hefty 15 touchdowns guided by red zone usage. The potential for Harris to mirror the touchdown category (to some extent) in Buffalo could make him Fantasy-relevant in this offense.
- DJ Chark, WR: Last season in Detroit, Chark flashed with games of 98-94-108 receiving yards despite being banged up through the season. This is a wide receiver who has a season of over 1,000 receiving yards (2019) on his NFL resume. Carolina will be guided by rookie first-overall pick Bryce Young, who will need to build connections from scratch. The receiving room of Chark, veteran Adam Thielen, rookie Jonathan Mingo, and tight end Hayden Hurst is completely wide open. So for Fantasy purposes, give me the 26-year-old who has shown us Fantasy-relevant upside as recent as last season and has also had a Top-20 season in the past in Fantasy PPG. Please just stay healthy.
- Darnell Mooney, WR: As a rookie in 2020, Darnell Mooney posted 61 receptions for 631 receiving yards which was a pleasant surprise. The next year, Mooney finished with over 1,000 receiving yards and finished as the WR27 in Fantasy PPG (12.9). Mooney was a Top-15 wide receiver in targets, target share, air yards, deep targets and was #18 in yards after the catch that year. In 2022 Mooney played just 12 games in a struggling Chicago offense. For 2023, DJ Moore has been added and will operate as the team’s #1 target. The #2 target role is wide open in Chicago which took steps to add to their weapons and added protection which should result in more passing. Mooney is a wide receiver with big-play and receiving yard upside in general.
- Tyler Boyd, WR: If there was a such thing as a “wide receiver handcuff” in Fantasy Football, Boyd may top the list. This is a guy I feel would thrive in another offense if he did not have to fight for targets with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Despite a down 2022, Boyd did post five Top-30 weeks and two Top-12 weeks for wide receivers in Fantasy scoring. Boyd has earned 83-94-110-147-108 targets the last five seasons, and with Joe Burrow throwing the ball 610 times last season that is encouraging for a deeper FLEX play of Boyd in 2023.
- Elijah Moore, WR: I was very IN on Moore as a prospect coming out of Ole Miss and the volume he handled there his final season. In his rookie season, he scored 20+ Fantasy points in three weeks with four different Jets quarterbacks. Moore averaged 17.7 Fantasy PPG that season from Weeks 7-13. 2022 was a letdown for Moore and the Jets, resulting in a new destination in Cleveland for 2023. Deshaun Watson will be the best quarterback Moore has ever had and one of the better ones to have in general for a wide receiver. I expect Elijah Moore to operate as the team’s #2 target and truly turn his career around in his new home.
- Brandin Cooks, WR: I will be very curious to see where Brandin Cooks’ ADP will fall closer to the season in Fantasy leagues. I have a feeling that the influx of rookies, a down season in 2022, and his age will impact his draft stock and qualify him as a sleeper. 2022 was a disappointing season for Cooks but Houston was terrible in general. Cooks has had a very productive career in general, with six seasons of 114+ targets, six seasons over 1,000 receiving yards, and six seasons of Top-20 Fantasy PPG. Dak Prescott threw the ball 37.3 times per game back in his healthy 2021, which shows the volume is there to be had in Dallas. Cooks has historically been slept on, yet produced, which seems very likely for 2023.
- Samaje Perine, RB: Javonte Williams is recovering from an injury, with polarizing views on what his timeline actually is. Last season when filling in for Joe Mixon in Cincinnati, Perine finished Weeks 11-13 as the RB2/RB10/RB3 in Fantasy scoring. A career-high 38 receptions in 2022 shows he has that sort of upside for the runningback position. I do not think anyone is projecting him to be a workhorse, but should Javonte Williams miss time or be eased into work this can open up plenty of touches for Perine in 2023.
- Sam LaPorta, TE: Detroit selected LaPorta out of Iowa in the second round, as the second tight end off the board in this year’s draft. LaPorta caught 53/58 passes for 670/657 receiving yards in his final two college seasons, which shows the pass-catching profile he brings to the NFL. Jameson Williams is suspended for six games, leaving the target #2 behind Amon-Ra St. Brown wide open for Jared Goff. Goff is coming off of a season where he threw the ball 587 times (sixth most), so that volume + opportunity + pass-catching skillsets are an interesting combo for LaPorta.
Green Bay Packers:
- Jayden Reed, WR: 217 targets are vacated in Green Bay from the likes of Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan, and Randall Cobb. Green Bay selected Jayden Reed in the 2nd round this year, who had a 1,036-yard and 10-touchdown season back in 2021 at Michigan State. Reed had some hype early on that seems to have died down a bit and shifted to Romeo Doubs, but I believe he has the chance for volume year one from the slot. Who Jordan Love gets connected to in year one as a starter is up for grabs.
- Nico Collins, WR: Brandin Cooks has been the target leader the last two seasons in Houston, leaving that role wide open for any of Nico Collins, Robert Woods, Dalton Schultz, John Metchie, or Tank Dell to take on. Collins averaged 6.8 targets per game last season and saw 10-7-9-10 targets in Weeks 10-13 before getting banged up. If we are looking for someone to be able to make bigger plays and have some touchdown upside, I would throw my dart at the 6-4 guy. Another situation where a rookie quarterback (CJ Stroud) is starting from scratch with connections.
- Alec Pierce, WR: Josh Downs who was selected in the third round of this year’s draft out of North Carolina has drawn some hype. I feel as though people forget that Pierce was selected in the 2022 NFL Draft in the second round. Pierce saw 78 targets last year as a rookie and was seven yards shy of 600 receiving yards. Pierce flashed with a Top-15 wide receiver performance in Week 13 last year against Dallas. I am not sure if the passing volume will exactly be there in 2023 with a mobile, rookie quarterback in Anthony Richardson but I do like the chance at Pierce being the WR2 behind Michael Pittman Jr.
- Tank Bigsby, RB: The Jaguars selected Bigsby in this year’s draft in the third round, following Head Coach Doug Pederson verbalizing more running backs needed to touch the ball in 2023 beyond Travis Etienne. In Tank’s final two seasons at Auburn, he finished with 1,099/970 rushing yards and then 21/30 receptions. Over 1,100 total scrimmage yards in both 2021 and 2022. A recent report noted that Bigsby has shown promising pass-catching ability. In either event, Bigsby is either a committee running back or a handcuff to Etienne, he will be a good running back to roster for 2023.
Kansas City Chiefs:
- Jerick McKinnon, RB: Kansas City brought McKinnon back after he finished 2022 with career-bests in receptions (56), receiving yards (512), and total touchdowns (10). These stats resulted in an RB26 finish in Fantasy PPG, which truly paid off last year vs. his draft cost. McKinnon finished as the overall RB1 in Fantasy scoring in Weeks 14 and 15 last season and added an RB7 performance in Week 17. The Chiefs won it all last year, and in two of their three playoff games, McKinnon played 65% and 55% of the snaps. Having receiving and touchdown upside in the Chiefs’ offense sounds pretty decent to me.
Los Angeles Chargers:
- Mike Williams, WR: The Chargers drafted Quentin Johnston in this year’s NFL Draft in the first round. Austin Ekeler is coming off of a phenomenal year. Keenan Allen finished 2022 strong and is perceived as the #1 target for Justin Herbert. This combination makes me feel as though Mike Williams can become a value in drafts for 2023. Williams played 11 games in 2022 above 50% of the snaps, and in six of those he finished as a Top 15 wide receiver for Fantasy scoring. He’s been Top-20 in Fantasy PPG in back-to-back seasons as well. With Herbert pumping out the second most passes in the NFL in each of the last two seasons, Williams should at a minimum deliver solid FLEX value.
Los Angeles Rams:
- Tyler Higbee, TE: 2022 was a career season in targets (108) and receptions (72) for Higbee, in a season his starting quarterback (Matthew Stafford) only played in nine games. The year prior, Higbee saw 85 targets from Stafford. We want volume for the tight end position, and Higbee has seen that the last two years. For 2023, Higbee can continue to operate as the second option behind Cooper Kupp for targets, so if he sees a bump in touchdowns it could mean a better-producing Fantasy Football season.
Las Vegas Raiders:
- Jakobi Meyers, WR: In 2022 and 2021, Jakobi Meyers earned 6.8 and 7.4 targets per game in New England. After scoring two total touchdowns from 2019-2021, Meyers scored six last season. 2022 was a career-high of 12.9 Fantasy PPG. Now in Las Vegas, Meyers has never had to compete with a Davante Adams for targets but I am not sure the transition from Mac Jones to Jimmy Garoppolo is such a bad thing. Should Meyers carve out the #2 target role for the Raiders, he can have FLEX potential yet again.
- Jeff Wilson Jr.: First came the hype due to the third round selection of Devon Achane. Next came Dalvin Cook rumors (still could be a possibility). Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert seem to have completely faded off of everyone’s radars. Wilson had 14 opportunities in the Dolphins’ lone playoff game last season, scoring a touchdown on one of them. 860 rushing yards was a career-best last season, and Wilson has always felt like a guy with a nose for the end zone. Should the team not add Dalvin Cook to the roster, the lead running back role will be a three-man competition that Wilson could come out on top of in some weeks for 2023.
- Jordan Addison, WR: Another case of calling out a first-round selection from this year’s draft, but Addison is currently being drafted as the WR39. The concerns may be what volume would be left after Justin Jefferson and TJ Hockenson get theirs, but Adam Thielen did average 6.3 targets per game in 2022. Addison had a major 2021 season at Pitt, catching 100 passes for 1,593 receiving yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. His numbers trended down the next year at USC, but this guy is very talented at all three levels of the field. Seeing that Kirk Cousins had a career season in passing attempts last year (643) is also encouraging for a wide receiver who had drawn comps to Tyler Lockett (NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein) and Diontae Johnson (playerprofiler.com).
New England Patriots:
- Mike Gesicki, TE: Gesicki is one of my favorite sleepers this year in general. He had a terrible 2022, which was expected considering he was picking up the scraps from Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle who commanded 51.06% of the total team targets in Miami. Gesicki previously had two seasons of over 700 receiving yards and three seasons of 85+ targets. Head Coach Bill Belichek has previously complimented the pass-catching skillsets of Gesicki in interviews. The wide reciever room featuring JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton, DeVante Parker, and Kendrick Bourne is fairly weak. Gesicki has the pass-catching resume, coach’s praise, and opportunity to be a big piece of this Patriots offense that has loved tight ends historically.
New Orleans Saints:
- Rashid Shaheed, WR: Chris Olave balled out his rookie season, and Michael Thomas could finally be healthy. Derek Carr upgrades the offense for the Saints. Shaheed flashed last season with three games of 75+ receiving yards, along with three Top-30 Fantasy weeks for the position. The 14.35 yards per target and 17.43 yards per catch are impressive marks and show upside there. Shaheed’s role may be inconsistent, but he might be a dart throw play in deeper leagues for a homerun game, especially with Derek Carr’s willingness to air it out. Michael Thomas only playing in 10 games total the last two seasons can make Shaheed a “wide receiver handcuff” like previously mentioned about Tyler Boyd.
New York Giants:
- Darius Slayton, WR: Darren Waller is the newcomer to New York who has the most solidified role in 2023. Wan’Dale Robinson and Sterling Shepard are coming off of injuries, Parris Campbell has had a banged-up career and has an unknown role, Jalin Hyatt is a rookie wide receiver drafted in the third and it took Isaiah Hodgins 10 weeks last season to see snaps. Last season Slayton finished with 724 receiving yards, with five games of 79+ receiving yards. Slayton also finished as a Top-25 wide receiver for Fantasy scoring in five weeks, showing periodic FLEX potential. The wide receiver room is polarizing for the Giants, but seeing that they re-signed Slayton is encouraging for his role.
New York Jets:
- Corey Davis, WR: This is more of a hot take here, but I think there is the potential that Corey Davis operates as the team’s WR2 over Allen Lazard. We know Aaron Rodgers has a history with Lazard, but I am not sure history outweighs talent at the end of the day. 2017 was a while ago, but Davis was selected fifth overall that year – he has battled injuries but I do feel he is talented. Davis has had seasons of 984 and 891 receiving yards on his NFL resume as the WR32 and WR33 in Fantasy PPG those years. Deep dart throw here.
- Rashaad Penny, RB: I do believe that D’Andre Swift is the running back to roster from the Eagles and that he will lead the backfield in total touches, but I do think Penny will have a decent role in 2023. Penny had 151 rushing yards in Week 4 of 2022 and 135+ rushing yards in Weeks 14, 16, 17, and 18 of 2021. Penny, when healthy, is a phenomenal runner of the football who finds the end zone often. With the Eagles being one of the best offenses in the NFL, having even a shared role with the upside he has shown us can be fantasy relevant. Especially if you are fading running back in your drafts.
- George Pickens, WR: The definition of “polarizing” should be “George Pickens” when it comes to the views of the Fantasy world. Pickens has been highly debated this off-season, and although I cannot say I am fully IN on him, I will say we have seen the signs of upside. As a rookie last year Pickens finished #3 in the average depth of targets, #7 in deep targets, and #19 in air yards. Those numbers show the potential for splash plays that can be useful as a FLEX option. 801 receiving yards is a good start to his career, he just needs to find consistency in his target volume and Fantasy production.
- Geno Smith, QB: A career turnaround for Geno Smith in 2022 meant finishing Top-10 in passing attempts, passing yards, yards per attempt, passing touchdowns, quarterback rating, and Fantasy PPG. Both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf finished with over 1,000 receiving yards. Smith’s accuracy metrics were stellar. Not only did Smith get paid financially this offseason, but he also was paid by adding the best wide receiver in the class in the first round (Jaxon Smith-Njigba) and also a pass-catching running back (Zach Charbonnet) to his arsenal. Geno Smith may not win you your fantasy weeks, but at cost, he brings stability to lineups and his situation is even better in 2023.
San Fransisco 49ers:
- Elijah Mitchell, RB: As a rookie, Mitchell stacked up 1,326 yards and seven touchdowns through the regular and post-season in 14 games. In 2022, when Christian McCaffrey and Mitchell both played, McCaffrey out-rushed Mitchell only 67 to 62 carries. Averaging 15 Fantasy PPG and rushing for 963 yards as a rookie is enough for me to list Elijah Mitchell as one of, if not THE best running back handcuff to roster for Fantasy Football.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
- Rachaad White, RB: As of today, Rachaad White is the Buc’s RB1 on the roster with Leonard Fournette not set to return to Tampa Bay. As a rookie last year, White still managed to catch 50 balls despite Fournette catching 73, which was Top-12 for running backs. White finished Top-15 for the position in Weeks 12, 13, and 16 as well. Even if Tampa Bay struggles in 2023 after Tom Brady’s retirement, it still can be a productive year for a dual-threat running back like White. Unless Tampa adds a veteran running back still floating out there, White has a huge opportunity with little competition in 2023.
- Treylon Burks, WR: The DeAndre Hopkins signing by the Titans surely will make Treylon Burks even more of a value in 2023 drafts. Burks was selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft and had flashes as a rookie last year. In Weeks 11 and 12 he finished with 111 and 70 receiving yards respectively with 18.1 and 17 Fantasy points. The Titans even manufactured some work on the ground for Burks, showing the dynamic profile he displayed at Arkansas. Ryan Tannehill threw the ball 531 times in 2021, which was the 12th most for quarterbacks, which shows the volume for the Titans is not as bad as people make it out to be. Burks is on FLEX radar for 2023.
- Jahan Dotson, WR: I really liked Dotson as a prospect when he caught 91 balls for 1,182 and 12 touchdowns in his final Penn State season (2021). This drew first-round draft capital from Washington in 2022. Dotson missed a chunk of time in his rookie season, but if we just look at the games he played 70%+ of the snaps, he averaged 14.03 Fantasy PPG. Dotson has 4.43 speed paired with catch and run ability and a volume profile. He is a zone-beater and has great hands. The talent is absolutely there. How Dotson and Sam Howell mesh will be an indicator of how Fantasy consistent Dotson will be, but I am buying into the talent and the opportunity to have a large role in Washington for 2023.
Got a few fantasy football sleepers of your own in mind? Show some love in the comments below. For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!
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