The best fantasy football sleepers for every important NFL position


His draft is entering its final stages, all the obvious names are off the board, and he just wants to test out one or two players who aren’t getting a lot of publicity but are capable of providing a great return on their minimal investment.

Or, as they are sometimes called, “sleepers.”

There are no widely agreed-upon standards for who can be defined as a sleeper, but for this exercise we’ll be choosing players whose average draft position (ADP) in Fantasy Pros’ mid-PPR aggregate rankings places them beyond the 144th pick. That’s the end of the 12th round in 12-team drafts, which means coaches in most league formats only have one or two picks left before they wrap things up with a kicker and a defense (not necessarily in that order, but free advice alert) – ideally none before the final two rounds).

In order of their ADP, we’ll see one player at each of the top positions who has a remarkably promising outlook.

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Raheem Mostert, RB, Dolphins (ADP: 155 | positional range: 52)

Anytime you can recruit a 30-year-old runner known for not being able to stay healthy, you have to, right? Well, in this case, it might turn out to be a pretty smart move. Sure, Mostert didn’t even make it past his first game last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury, but skepticism about his inability to stay on the field is based on the draft cost of the.

The appeal of that cost is that Mostert doesn’t even have to play a full season for it to be worth the roll of the dice. By the time he’s able to get dressed, he’ll get 1B from 1A from Chase Edmonds in Miami’s revamped backfield. Actually do that renewed offense, because things are going to look a little different (I mean, a lot faster) with not just two new running backs but, more significantly, a new top wide receiver in Tyreek Hill and a new coach in Mike McDaniel. With defenses stretched both vertically and horizontally, Mostert should find room to move after hitting a crease.

Having previously served as Kyle Shanahan’s offensive coordinator in San Francisco and prior to that as the 49ers’ running game coordinator, McDaniel brings with him an intimate knowledge of a running scheme that teams around the league strive to emulate. You know who else is familiar with that scheme? Mostert, who capped off a healthy 2019 season by going wild for the 49ers in the playoffs. He’s not so far out of that stretch that it’s unthinkable he could recover at least something that way, and the Dolphins recently signaled their confidence in Mostert by waiving another offseason addition at running back, Sony Michel.

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Jahan Dotson, WR, Commanders (162 | 62)

Despite the appeal of certain 30-somethings, more often than not their best bet for extracting value from late-round picks at running back and wide receiver is with young players. Uncertainty about their roles or abilities to quickly adapt to the NFL keeps the cost of the fantasy draft low, while in some cases, the cost of the real-life draft suggests their teams will give them plenty of opportunities to shine right away.

Dotson, whom Washington made with the 16th pick in the spring, doesn’t seem to need anything. Catching pass after pass during offseason practices and training camp, he immediately figured prominently in the commanders’ passing attack.

Terry McLaurin is undoubtedly the best wide receiver on the team and a solid WR2 in fantasy, but there isn’t much else clearly standing in the way of Dotson putting up flexible numbers as a rookie. His teammate WR Curtis Samuel has never fixed everything, and standout TE Logan Thomas is just beginning to come back from a knee ligament injury. Dotson proved at Penn State that even at a relatively small stature (5-foot-11, 182 pounds) he could command targets, and it’s a good bet he’ll be able to do the same on Washington’s offense.

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David Njoku, TE, Browns (171|15)

Tasked with becoming proficient at different receiving and blocking skill sets, tight ends often take several years to develop, so Njoku shouldn’t be faulted for having only 148 receptions for 1,754 yards over five seasons in the league. NFL. At 26, he may only now be on the mend, and the Browns showed plenty of optimism about that scenario by giving him a four-year, $56.75 million contract extension in May.

That came a couple of months after Cleveland parted ways with TE starter Austin Hooper, giving Njoku and teammate Harrison Bryant a chance to move up the depth chart. The team’s biggest offseason move, of course, was acquiring quarterback Deshaun Watson, and while his 11-game suspension isn’t ideal for Njoku’s immediate prospect, all is not lost with backup Jacoby Brissett. The last time Brissett started the most games for his team (15 of 16 for the 2019 Colts), the TE position was targeted at a rate of nearly 28 percent.

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As with Dotson, Njoku is competing with an established star, Amari Cooper, and a host of question marks (ie Donovan Peoples-Jones, David Bell and Anthony Schwartz). This has the makings of a great season for the athletic Njoku, and if not, well, you can call it quits without big losses.

Jameis Winston, QB, Santos (183 | 23)

Sure, when Winston was last seen quarterbacking a team for a full season, he threw 30 picks (including a record seven returned for touchdowns) for the 2019 Buccaneers, who proceeded to cut ties with him and win quickly. a Super Bowl title with a slightly less error-prone QB named Tom Brady. That sequence turned Winston, who had already been teased multiple times, into an even bigger joke.

However, there are reasons to take him seriously this year as a potential fantasy asset. Having moved from Tampa Bay to New Orleans, where he watched and learned during the 2020 season from then-QB Drew Brees and former coach Sean Payton, Winston won the starting job last season and was defending heavily before suffering a knee injury. that ended the season. .

During that abbreviated period, Winston played with far greater efficiency than he had previously shown, setting career highs in touchdown percentage, adjusted yards per attempt, and passer rating with a career-low interception percentage. Now he has arguably the best receiving corps of his career, especially if WR Michael Thomas can get his health back on track and lead a group that also includes talented rookie Chris Olave and dependable veteran Jarvis Landry, not to mention pass-catching skills. by R. B. Alvin. Kamara.

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How about some super deep sleepers? These players go after the 244 choose for ADP but offer all kinds of advantages.

  • RB: Jerick McKinnon, Chiefs (I guess I really have a thing for old running backs)
  • WR: Parris Campbell, Colts (ready, if he can stay healthy, for a big role)
  • TE: Brevin Jordan, Texans (could compete with WR Nico Collins as the second option behind Brandin Cooks)
  • QB: Malik Willis, Titans (running ability alone could make him a top-12 option if he replaces Ryan Tannehill for any reason)

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