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Post-Hype Sleepers for 2023 Fantasy Football

It is all about value. Players generally do not lose their talent from one year to the next, but they often suffer dips in performance. In a lot of cases, that could be caused more by external factors than internal ones. When they fulfill their potential or bounce back, that is when we uncover said value. With that being said, here are some post-hype sleepers I have my eye on for the 2023 season.

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Post-Hype Sleepers for 2023 Fantasy Football


Sam Howell, Washington Commanders

Fifth-round draft picks generally do not generate a large amount of buzz, and it was a quiet rookie year for Howell. He didn’t see the field until getting the start in Week 18 last year, and Washington played things conservatively. Howell completed just 11 of 19 passes for 169 yards with a touchdown and interception to close out the season.

The positive momentum was foreshadowing what appears to be a starting role for the 2023 season. With just Jacoby Brissett added for depth, there are no real obstacles to playing time for Howell. In his college career, Howell showed both arm strength and some ability to pick up yards on the ground.

Between the new offense of Eric Bieniemy and weapons in Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel, Howell is in a solid position to succeed. In early pre-season action, Howell completed nine of 12 passes for 77 yards which included a 26-yard scoring pass to Dotson.

Mike White, Miami Dolphins

This one is a little more of a deep cut, and it requires some patience. We don’t want to root for injuries, but I have a hard time expecting Tua Tagovailoa to make it through an entire season unscathed.

Between Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins are not lacking for explosive weapons that can make any quarterback look good. When healthy in the last seasons, White showed flashes of success for the Jets. In eight career games, White has eclipsed 300 yards in three of those games.

Miami made a healthy investment in White, and when he inevitably is on the field this season, success should follow.

Running Back

James Cook, Buffalo Bills

Cook is not exactly coming cheap in drafts, but with a Fantrax PPR ADP of 86, he is not cost prohibitive either. Considering Cook has the potential to finish as an RB2, that makes him a great post-hype sleeper.

After drafting Cook in the second round last year, Buffalo played things slowly with him. Cook finished with just 89 carries but he did average 5.7 yards per carry. While it is hard to expect him to duplicate those efforts, it is a pretty easy path to at least a 1,000-yard season. With 21 receptions for 180 yards, Cook also showed some ability in the passing game.

We know all about what Josh Allen and the Bills offense can do, but the lack of competition might be the biggest takeaway. Well, aside from Cook’s talent and potential. The season-ending injury to Nyheim Hines opens up an expanded role in the passing game and a third-down job for Cook. Additionally, his biggest competition in Damien Harris is nothing to be concerned about. Harris failed to consistently make an impact in New England. We have yet to see Harris this preseason as he deals with a knee injury without no timetable for return.

Cook very well could end up with more touches than he knows what to do with.

Samaje Perine, Denver Broncos

For all of the controversy coming out of Denver this summer, we cannot dispute the fact that their offense is going to be better this year. While all systems are a go for Javonte Williams, he will still need support and Denver will exercise some level of caution. And that brings us to Perine as one of my post-hype sleepers.

As the Broncos tread carefully with Williams, Perine will have a significant role with his new team. While he has not fully recaptured the success of his rookie season, Perine has carved out a successful career in a supporting role. Denver’s offense should be exciting and prolific this year with the hiring of Sean Payton and the expected return to form for Russell Wilson should help.

On 95 carries last year, Perine averaged 4.1 yards per carry, but it is his passing game work that caught my attention. Pardon the pun, but Perine caught a career-high 38 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns.

Ty Chandler, Minnesota Vikings

When he was filling in for Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison was always one of the best and most attractive handcuffs. Now with Mattison moving to the top of the depth chart, what can we expect from him?

Mattison averaged just 3.8 yards per carry last year, and it was the second straight season in which he did not show much explosiveness. Also not a factor in the passing game, it remains unclear how firm a hold on the job Mattison really has. And with that being the case, our attention has to turn to Chandler.

After being selected in the fifth round last year, Chandler was buried on the depth chart. Ultimately, Chandler touched the ball just six times, gaining 20 yards, but he is in line for more this year. Minnesota gave Chandler a lot of run in the first half of their initial preseason game and the speedy back took advantage of it. Chandler showed a well-rounded game with 11 carries for 41 yards and four receptions for another 29 yards.

Pierre Strong, New England Patriots

This is a deep cut, but the Patriots are looking for a replacement for James White. While Rhamondre Stevenson will have a large role in the backfield, and Ezekiel Elliot was just signed, New England does utilize multiple running backs.

Stevenson did catch 69 passes for 421 yards last year, but he only scored one touchdown and averaged just 6.1 yards per catch. In his rookie season, Strong was not a large factor as he carried the ball just 10 times for 100 yards while catching seven passes for another 42 yards. Even though Elliot was just brought in, it is unclear how much is truly left in the tank.

If Stevenson takes on a larger role as a ball carrier, and Elliot struggles, Strong is in line to pick up the slack. The main takeaway for Strong is his speed, and that can translate well into a role in the passing game and as a third-down back.

Wide Receiver

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

In case you didn’t gather from earlier, I like the Broncos to bounce back in a large way this year. Between a resurgent Russell Wilson, an improved offensive line, and the hiring of Sean Payton, things should be better in Denver. Ultimately, that will lead to success for Sutton.

Sutton is now three years removed from his ACL tear, so he should be fully healthy and explosive. Perhaps the biggest takeaway here though, is that the 2023 version of Wilson is sure to be the best quarterback Sutton has played with. Additionally, the Payton-led offense should be the best the receiver has been a part of.

Despite that fact, Sutton still was targeted 109 times in a down season. There was some inefficiency as he caught just 64 passes for 829 yards. Perhaps the bigger problem, is that Sutton only caught two touchdown passes. To begin the preseason, Sutton caught three passes for 35 yards as he looks to bounce back. We do not like to put too much stock in training camp buzz, but it is hard to ignore the chemistry between Wilson and Sutton.

Brandin Cooks, Dallas Cowboys

Despite playing for some bad teams and bouncing around, Cooks has quietly put together a solid career. While he might not be an explosive and athletic receiver in the mold of what we are used to at the top of draft boards, the production has been there.

Cooks is now on his fifth NFL team, and he has reached the 1,000-yard mark in each of his previous stops. The dependable veteran already has six such seasons under his belt, and there is a good chance we see a seventh in 2023. Chemistry is already brewing between Cooks and Dak Prescott, and that should translate into success.

Playing opposite CeeDee Lamb should help open things up for Cooks, and it is a solid overall offense. There are plenty of available targets in Dallas, and Cooks often gets overlooked.

Parris Campbell, New York Giants

Throughout his career, the biggest issue for Campbell has been his health. Last year was the first time Campbell made it through a full season, but it still was not enough for the Colts to retain him. That led the Giants to take a chance on the receiver by giving him just a one-year deal.

Campbell is projected to add a dose of speed and explosiveness to the slot for New York. After a long-term commitment to Daniel Jones under the center, the Giants are looking to improve their offense this year. A healthy Campbell certainly would make them more dynamic.

The receiver has made it through an early knee issue, and he continues to receive a high quantity of targets this summer. New York will be creative in getting Campbell the ball in situations where he can put his speed and explosiveness to good use.

Tight End

Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys

With Dalton Schultz now in Houston, there is an opening on the Dallas depth chart. While they did draft a tight end in the second round, the Cowboys also failed to make a move for some of the bigger names. Drafted in the fourth round last year, Ferguson might not have the buzz of others, but he is in a good situation entering year two in the NFL.

While it does not translate directly to fantasy, Ferguson did improve his blocking in the offseason which will lead to increased playing time. To begin the preseason, Ferguson caught all three of his passes for 38 yards. We continue to see evidence as to how difficult things are for rookie tight ends, and the incumbent does have a modest track record.

Irv Smith, Cincinnati Bengals

The big thing here for Smith is the need to stay healthy. After missing the 2021 season due to injury, Smith played in just eight games last year. While also hindered by the trade for TJ Hockenson, Smith caught just 25 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns, but it is hard to miss his upside.

With the Bengals, Smith is joining an explosive offense that does look to their tight ends in the passing game. Smith is being valued as an injury prone tight, but if he can stay on the field, we are looking at someone in the situation to finish as a low-end TE1.

Jelani Woods, Indianapolis Colts

The thought process here is that rookie Anthony Richardson will bond with his tight end. Woods could very well serve as a security blanket as he enters his second year in the league.

Dealing with a hamstring injury this summer could put some doubt in his Week 1 status, but it also helps to keep him off the fantasy radar. In his rookie season, Woods finished with 25 catches for 310 yards and three touchdowns. A chunk of that production came in one game where he caught eight passes for 98 yards in truly showing off his potential.

Unfortunately, he was unable to build on that, but the Colts’ quarterbacks do deserve some blame. In year two, Woods should be more comfortable in the offense, and Richardson is more talented than last year’s quarterbacks. Even as the rookie struggles, Woods will be a solid safety valve.

Hayden Hurst, Carolina Panthers

Let us carry forth the theme above and apply it to Hurst. The veteran moves to Carolina this year as he looks to be a security blanket for Bryce Young. Having a big, secure target in Hurst should help the rookie as he adjusts to the NFL.

Hurst is coming off success as he caught 52 passes for 414 and two touchdowns last year. After the trade of DJ Moore, there are available targets in Carolina’s office and Hurst is in position to capitalize.

Who are your favorite post-hype sleepers? Drop some names 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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