Fantasy Football Sleepers 2021: Breakout & Undervalued Players To Draft
Editor’s Note: Thank you for arriving at our 2021 preseason fantasy football sleepers article! We appreciate you riding with us.
To keep up with our inseason weekly fantasy football sleepers and more fantasy league tips, go to our fantasy sports hub page.
With 2021 fantasy football drafts approaching, I’m starting to identify 2021 fantasy football sleepers and breakout players.
The term “sleeper,” of course, is subjective. It can be applied to players the majority of fantasy football GMs aren’t talking about — or fantasy football players who are heavily undervalued in the early rounds of 2021 fantasy football drafts and mock drafts.
There are many reasons for these potential breakout players to be forgotten or undervalued. Situational changes such as a change in team, surrounding talent, or coaching staff can all benefit a player who was not thought of as a fantasy football sleeper or breakout player in prior seasons.
Situational changes can also be the reason many will lower expectations of a top-tier player. Someone who was injured for the majority (or all) of the previous season can often be forgotten or devalued heading into a new year.
I will outline why I feel the following players are fantasy football sleepers — listed below from earlier to later picks — and hopefully encourage you to consider targeting them with picks in your 2021 fantasy football drafts.
The average draft position (ADP) for the following players comes from FantasyPros’ 0.5 PPR Consensus ADP as of August 24.
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2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers & Undervalued Players
Mike Davis, RB, Atlanta Falcons
56.3 ADP (RB24)
The veteran and longtime capable NFL backup finally got the spotlight during a dominant stretch filling in for the injured Christian McCaffrey in 2020. From Weeks 3-8, Davis finished as fantasy’s RB7 in non-PPR setups and caught 30 passes across those six contests, giving him plenty of PPR appeal as well.
Davis used this as offseason fuel to land the top gig in the Falcons backfield, and he remains nearly uncontested for touches. While Atlanta may spell the 28-year-old a drive here and there to keep him fresh, the ragtag group comprised of Cordarrelle Patterson, Qadree Ollison and others doesn’t present an immediate, singular threat to overtaking him.
His skills mesh well with a high-octane offense that boasts QB Matt Ryan, WR Calvin Ridley and exciting rookie TE Kyle Pitts (plus another sleeper below) running new head coach Arthur Smith‘s scheme that propelled Ryan Tannehill’s breakout with the Tennessee Titans last year.
Davis’ rushing-receiving combo should get plenty of work — and he’s a perfect last gasp for brilliance before fantasy football players hit the frustrating flex tier of committee backs.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team
91.8 ADP (TE9)
Is 2020’s fantasy football TE3 being forgotten? Logan Thomas was one of only five tight ends to have over 100 targets (110) last season. His six touchdowns in 2020 were admirable, but there’s room for more in 2021. The Washington Football Team have made some great offseason moves to strengthen their offense.
The addition of Curtis Samuel, mentioned above, may be the reason that many are fading Thomas in 2021. I believe having another pass-catching weapon on the field will help the top 3 receivers (Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Logan Thomas).
This is especially true with “Fitz-Magic” himself, Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing the football in 2021. It’s crazy to believe that Fitzpatrick is an upgrade, but Logan Thomas had to catch balls from Alex Smith and Dwayne Haskins in 2020.
All tight ends (outside of the top 3 or 4) are risky picks. With Thomas’ top-5 upside, he’s more than worth his current ADP.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
112.5 ADP (TE12)
Another “out of sight, out of mind” player, Rob Gronkowski took the 2019 season off to get his mind and body right. He returned last season and was slow to shake off the rust as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. The rust lasted through Week 4, then we began to see a bit of his old self and his connection with Tom Brady.
Gronk had either over 50 receiving yards or a touchdown (sometimes both) in eight of his last 12 regular-season games. He then caught two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl victory.
Gronk finished the 2020 season as the TE8. Last year Rob Gronkowski proved he isn’t done producing in the NFL. As long as he has Tom Brady throwing to him, he’s going to be an undervalued 2021 fantasy football tight end worth rostering.
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Curtis Samuel, WR, Washington Football Team
116.5 ADP (WR43)
Curtis Samuel finished as 2020 fantasy football’s WR23 with just three touchdown receptions and had the 2nd-most rushing yards among wide receivers while a member of the Carolina Panthers. Samuel was the only wide receiver inside the top 30 at his position to garner fewer than 100 targets (97). He had the highest catch rate in that group (79.4%).
The veteran slot receiver now finds himself on The Washington Football Team — a dream landing spot for his 2021 fantasy football value. With Terry McLaurin spreading defenses, Ryan Fitzpatrick will feed plenty of targets to Samuel that will allow him to do damage after the catch, which will again fuel Samuel’s value and ceiling — especially in PPR fantasy football leagues.
Corey Davis, WR, New York Jets
121.5 ADP (WR46)
How is this man being drafted later than his 2020 fantasy football finish? Corey Davis was the WR30 as the WR2 in a run-first offense. He was 16 yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards and had five touchdowns in 14 games.
He is in a much better situation for potential volume in 2021. Davis has the opportunity to be the WR1 in a Jets offense that drafted Zach Wilson and addressed its offensive line — but has an underwhelming running back group and, due to a likely poor season, will have to furiously pile up pass attempts playing from behind.
Davis will take full advantage of that.
Corey Davis should have plenty of target opportunities after joining the New York Jets, making him a 2021 fantasy football sleeper. (Image: USA TODAY)
Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears
138.3 ADP (WR51)
Darnell Mooney was a top-50 wide receiver in 2020 with unfavorable conditions at the quarterback position as a rookie in 2020. He outplayed teammate Anthony Miller and ranked second among the Bears wideouts in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns.
The Bears have upgraded at quarterback with first-round pick Justin Fields, which will bode well for the entire offense. Even if Andy Dalton begins the season as the starting QB, Mooney will see a healthy target share as the clear WR2 in the offense.
Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills
Another wide receiver that is being drafted significantly lower than his 2020 finish. Cole Beasley is Josh Allen’s second-favorite target. That’s a favorable situation given the fact that Josh Allen is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and had the 6th-most pass attempts in 2020.
Beasley caught 82 of his 107 targets in 2020 with an impressive 76.6% catch rate. His catch rate was 3rd-best among wide receivers with 85 or more targets. The Bills are true contenders in the AFC East, and this offense doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
Though Gabriel Davis is also a popular fantasy football sleeper name, Beasley’s reliability will sustain his stable role and probably allow the slot machine to be acquired as a 2021 fantasy football undervalued pick.
Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears
189 ADP (RB56)
Tarik Cohen could be one of those “out of sight, out of mind” players heading into the 2021 season. He played just three games in 2020 before a season-ending ACL tear in Week 3.
Cohen has been a consistent pass-catching option for the Bears since his rookie season in 2017. He had a combined 266 targets, 203 receptions, 1,534 receiving yards, and 9 receiving touchdowns before his lost 2020 season. In his last healthy season (2019), Tarik Cohen was the RB27.
Yes, there are concerns on how he bounces back from an ACL injury and after the arrival of fellow back Damien Williams to crowd a backfield led by David Montgomery.
However, Cohen has been a staple in this offense. Expect Cohen to step back into his usual role and remain a 2021 fantasy football undervalued pick in the double-digit rounds of drafts.
Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons
165.5 ADP (WR58)
The Atlanta Falcons traded star wide receiver Julio Jones. This leaves behind plenty of vacated targets for Russell Gage. Gage was the beneficiary of Julio Jones’ absence in 2020. Jones played in just nine games, which led to Gage’s increased workload. He finished the 2020 season as the WR37 with 72 catches on 110 targets for 786 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Sure, the Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts fourth overall. The hybrid tight end will certainly carve out a significant place in this receiver tree, lining up all over the field.
Still, Julio Jones will play in exactly ZERO games for the Falcons in 2021, creating a major void at wide receiver. If Russell Gage saw 110 targets with Julio Jones on the roster for nine games, you can guarantee he’ll see more this season.
This isn’t hyperbole. The Falcons pass-catchers often see more targets than the majority of the league. In fact, Matt Ryan led the league in pass attempts in 2020. He ranked 3rd in pass attempts in each of the two seasons prior to 2020 as well.
You can expect Russell Gage’s ADP to rise, but landing him outside of the top 40 at the position could bolster your depth, especially as bye weeks roll in.
Stay tuned for position-specific 2021 fantasy football sleepers reports as we dive deeper into possible league-winning picks.
2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Honorable Mentions
- Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (78.3 ADP, RB32)
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans (105.7 ADP, WR39)
- Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolpins (107.0 ADP, TE10)
- Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys (135.3 ADP, WR50)
- Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings (147.0 ADP, QB17)
- Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (168.3 ADP, QB21)
- Nelson Agholor, WR, New England Patriots (209.5 ADP, WR72)
- Blake Jarwin, TE, Dallas Cowboys (214.7 ADP, TE24)
For more 2021 fantasy football draft tips, listen to our Take The Points podcast with Marcus Mosher and Adam Kramer:
We are well within our draft season and it has been already a crazy year. The NFL season is going to hopefully restore some normalcy in our lives, which means for us some fantasy football. Sleepers have changed over the recent months as the public has begun to catch on as you can tell when a former sleeper now has a higher average draft position. Now a sleeper doesn’t necessarily mean some 14th round pick as you can have a sleeper go in the eighth round because you feel like he can produce as a 4th round guy. We are simply looking for draft values and not overpaying for the same production. As always, you can find our fantasy football rankings updated throughout the week during the season.
Cam Akers – RB – Los Angeles Rams
Cam Akers is not one of the main rookie running backs you will hear about but has a big chance to lead the Rams in touches out of the backfield. He is a talented back out of Florida State and dealt with a poor offensive line yet still produced nearly 1400 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns. With Todd Gurley gone, the backfield sits with Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson. Neither looked impressive last season and have made a big mark so far in the offseason. Akers is going as the 28th RB off the board. This is a strong value for the rookie who can easily finish as one of the better RB2s in the game.
The Rams play at one of the faster paces in the game and run a ton of plays. So despite having some of the higher passing attempts, the Rams did run quite a bit last year despite the lackluster production in the backfield.
Nyheim Hines – RB – Indianapolis Colts
While the Colts did draft, Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines is still a guy I have interest in for PPR leagues. All three guys will certainly get work. The addition to the team that matters most here is Philip Rivers, as the dump-off machine is going to pump in plenty of targets to the backs. The Colts have also talked about using Hines all over the field. The Colts also set up with one of the best strength of schedules for running backs. The other two backs do not have quite the pass-catching skills of Hines and Frank Reich has praised Hines. Chargers running backs have had a great history with Rivers in the passing game and that should carry over here.
Preston Williams – WR – Miami Dolphins
If you scroll through my 2019 waiver wire articles, Preston Williams is in a majority of them. He did not get enough recognition, and when he finally did, he goes down with a season-ending injury. Any time we are thinking of drafting a player coming off a major knee surgery there is some risk, but towards the end of your fantasy drafts you can start taking that risk. Williams didn’t come into the league as a tremendous athlete. He posted below-average combine numbers, and eventually went undrafted. Williams played two years at Tennessee before transferring to Colorado State where he saw more playing time. He finished with a 96-1345-14 before heading into the draft. Williams was largely looked at as a big red zone target, sitting at 6’5 and 218lb.
Williams will be just 23 years old heading into next season, and this is going to be a big offseason for the Dolphins, who are loaded with draft picks. Davante Parker finally emerged in a fully healthy season and clicked with Ryan Fitzpatrick. While they can still use more help offensively, Williams and Parker should emerge as the main target contenders next season. Williams saw 60 targets in eight games this season, posting a 32-428-3 line. Most of his success came with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, which was when the offense took off anyway. As long as he returns in full health, he should be back in the mix next year.
James Washington – WR – Pittsburgh Steelers
Both James Washington and Diontae Johnson are intriguing second year players to look at later in drafts. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense dropped an absolute dud this year in fantasy, but we can easily chalk this one up to injuries. Having Mason Rudolph and the Duck Man throwing to you isn’t exactly promising for upside. Washington finished the season with 735 yards and three touchdowns, which was good for WR52 in PPR leagues. He saw 79 targets, catching 44 of them, and efficiency wasn’t going to be a strong suit given the quarterback play. The Steelers quarterback play is still in a limbo given Ben Roethlisberger is turning 38 this year, and we have seen quite a few big named quarterbacks see that age sneak up on them. However Roethlisberger with one arm would be an upgrade from last season.
Washington came out of Oklahoma State, and is smaller wideout at 5’11 but is extremely athletic. He was used as a down field threat, as his average target distance was 14.9, which ranked 11th in the league. Washington didn’t see a ton of quality targets, and 2020 should bring some change in that department. I loved his upside coming into the NFL, where he dominated in college. Falling to the Steelers, who have developed wide receivers well over the last decade and a half, this is a strong spot for success.
Diontae Johnson – WR – Pittsburgh Steelers
Diontae Johnson had the most successful season out of Pittsburgh wide receivers, and saw 90 targets, competing 63% of them for 57 receptions. He had 19% of the targets in a wonky year for the Steelers given the injuries. This team has done well drafting wide receivers and they have looked to hit on Johnson and Washington. He had five touchdowns on the year, and finished as WR40 on the season in PPR formats. Yards after the catch was a big aspect of Johnson’s game this year, finishing 24th in the league. Johnson came out of Toledo, and was a three year wideout who did miss a year. He finished with 21 touchdowns in his final two seasons. Johnson got terrific separation from opposing defenders, averaging 2.39 yards. At such a young age this is a big number to get. He isn’t the fastest wideout out there, but excels in route running. I expect the Steelers offense to be more fantasy friendly this upcoming season, of course they remain healthy.
Parris Campbell – WR – Indianapolis Colts
I expect the Colts to revamp their passing game this offseason. Jacoby Brissett didn’t look great, especially for fantasy. The receiving core was banged up this offseason, including T.Y. Hilton. Parris Campbell played in just seven games this season, and didn’t have a huge impact on the field. He saw just 24 targets in those seven games, catching 18 of them for 127 yards and one touchdown. Campbell was a highly touted pick, and called one of the steals in the draft. He was a burner running a 4.3, and incredibly fast. It was a bit odd to see Frank Reich struggling to use him, given the creativity he has as a play-caller.
There were some positives to take away where he caught most thrown his way. The injury concern is downside here, where he had three surgeries in 2019, and a hamstring strain in preseason. With Hilton showing his age, the Colts are desperate for someone to step up. I would expect another wideout to come in here, but that doesn’t exactly knock down the Colts receiving options. I would look for a successful year in year two given the talent and likely change in the offense.
Jonnu Smith – TE – Tennessee Titans
We are going to see a changing in the guard at a few tight end spots around the league. Delanie Walker is up in age, and struggling to stay healthy. It is time for Jonnu Smith to take over, who is a fast tight end, running a 4.6 40, and has one of the better catch radiuses of tight ends. He had 277 yards after the catch this season, which ranked 8th, and he averaged 9.8 yards per target, and 12.5 yards per reception. His 78% catch rate ranks fourth overall, and he gets a ton of separation. As mentioned with Corey Davis, adding in Ryan Tannehill was a big plus for the offense. There is going to be a gap between the top tier tight ends of course and then the rest of the options. Smith is going to go later, and that upside is there. He finished as TE19 this season and it was in a limited fashion. He has a chance to be a top 10-15 tight end next season.
Ian Thomas – TE – Carolina Panthers
Much like Jonnu Smith, Ian Thomas is going to take over for the aging Greg Olsen. He is expected to retire or join another team. Thomas is a 6’4 tight end and very athletic, and like Smith he is on the younger side. We tend to see tight ends have a slower start to having fantasy production in the NFL in comparison to other positions. Thomas filled in for a few games this season, and will see more targets next year. Carolina’s passing attack was up and down this season, and next year they will be in a limbo at the position. Thomas should be relied upon with a solid catch rate in shorter routes, but can also stretch the field a bit. This is great for either Cam Newton to return, or go a younger route where Thomas becomes a check down option or a reliable option in the middle of the field. With three other pass-catching options like Moore, Samuel, and McCaffrey, Thomas will fight for some targets, but it keeps his ADP fairly low.
Jack Doyle – TE – Indianapolis Colts
This one ties into the name above, as Jack Doyle will get a bump with Eric Ebron heading out of town. The Colts are going to need to address some offensive needs, but Doyle’s role is still fairly safe. He saw 13 red zone targets last season, which was tied for the most on the team andthat was 18% of the red zone targets. With the injuries in Indy, Doyle also led the team in targets, and caught 63% of the targets thrown his way (72). Doyle isn’t the most athletic name out there, nor is he going to have long chunk plays. However he can rack up receptions as we have seen, and in PPR formats he will go a bit higher than standard formats. He has a chance to post a 70-600-5 type of line this year, which would put him around the top ten mark in scoring if things duplicate. Despite a poor year from the Colts offense, and sharing targets with Ebron for half the year, Doyle finished as TE15. I like him quite a bit this year, and expect his ADP to rise closer to the season.
Noah Fant – TE – Denver Broncos
Two second year tight ends standout as they have a chance to regroup after an average start to their careers. Noah Fant wasn’t bad, but was in and out of the offense at times. With Drew Lock under center, I love the upside of the pass-catching options moving forward. Noah Fant was the other Iowa tight end from the draft, and resembled some of the top tight ends over the last decade. He graded out extremely well coming into the year, and is a monster athlete. He saw 67 targets this season, and ranked 11th in deep targets. He also had 300 yards after the catch, but wasn’t a factor in the red zone or touchdown department. Then again, neither was Denver as a whole. His efficiency was strong, averaging 14.1 yards per reception, and he had a 7.9 average target distance, and got plenty of separation in coverage. Fant saw the the second most targets on the team, and finished TE14 in PPR leagues. This is a good start to his career as the offense should get better moving forward.
T.J. Hockenson – TE – Detroit Lions
This was a more disappointing season for the rookie tight end, but overall Detroit battled injuries all year, and T.J. Hockenson was included. He is an extremely athletic tight end, who drew comparisons to Rob Gronkowski out of the draft. He went 8th overall to the Lions, who needed a tight end desperately. As long as Matthew Stafford can be healthy, the upside is there for Hockenson moving forward. However he needs to stay healthy as well. The Lions averaged 38 pass plays per game, which was a talking point given they wanted to be a heavy run offense. He ranked 15th in deep targets when on the field, and was looked at in the red zone when healthy. Outside of the Week 1 game against Arizona, where he posted a 6-131-1 line, he failed to top more than 50 yards in all but one game for the rest of the year. He also had just one touchdown. It was disappointing because it was a great fantasy schedule for him, but health hurt him in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Fantasy Football Sleepers?
A fantasy football sleeper is considered to be a player that is being overlooked by the fantasy football community and will go later in drafts. They are also expected to outperform their average draft position to give you a bargain.
When Should I Draft Fantasy Football Sleepers?
Usually, sleepers will be drafted after about five or six rounds, however, a fourth-round player might be expected to outperform his ADP. Most sleepers do tend to go in deeper rounds because you are expecting them to outperform their ADP.
What Is A Post Hype Sleeper In Fantasy Football?
A post-hype sleeper refers to a player who was a bust in the year prior after being labeled a potential breakout fantasy player. Their average draft position will usually dip down after a disappointing season resulting in a chance to buy low on them.
Who Are 2020 Sleeper Quarterbacks?
Matthew Stafford and Teddy Bridgewater are two 2020 sleeper quarterbacks. Both have strong receiving cores to throw to and the Panthers and Lions both have bad defenses that will keep the offense trying to move the ball with some urgency.
Who Are 2020 Sleeper Running Backs?
Justin Jackson for the Los Angeles Chargers will see consistent touches this season with Melvin Gordon out of town. David Johnson is going towards the 9th round and is going to be a featured back in Houston. Don’t sleep on Johnson.
Who Are 2020 Sleeper Wide Receivers?
With a lot of targets up for grabs in Houston, Brandin Cooks and Kenny Stills are in a prime position to catch a lot of balls and don’t have high ADPs. Anthony Miller, Preston Williams, and Parris Campbell are a few others.
Who Are 2020 Sleeper Tight Ends?
Pairing up a player with Stafford, look at TJ Hockenson coming off a down rookie season. The Detroit Lions tight end is a prime bounce-back candidate and sleeper. Hayden Hurst and Jack Doyle are two other names to keep an eye on.
2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers
2020 Fantasy Football Draft Kit
Jason GuilbaultJason has been playing fantasy football for 20 years, starting back when Marshall Faulk was the top fantasy pick. He is well versed in various fantasy formats, from dynasty to super-flex. Jason not only enjoys playing, but helping others further their game.
Predicting the fantasy football sleepers and breakouts for NFL Week 7
Following another major week of NFL action, and now setting our fantasy rosters while six teams have their bye weeks, here are some under-the-radar fantasy football sleepers and some players poised for big breakouts to target for Week 7. We also look at some players to stash throughout the season.
Here is a look at each major position on offense and where to find the best value for your ultimate fantasy football team.
Related: NFL defense rankings - Pittsburgh Steelers climb, Carolina Panthers fall into Week 7
Breakout: Tyreek Hill, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill’s fantasy points have been a little hot and cold thus far. However, Hill is poised for a fantasy breakout performance in Week 7, facing the Tennessee Titans. With the Titans giving up the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, (252.2 yards per game), Hill could easily be the top-scoring receiver on Sunday, leading multiple fantasy football teams to victories.
Sleeper: Ronald Jones, running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Keep an eye on Jones as a fantasy sleeper as trade rumors swirl ahead of the November 2, 2021 trade deadline. If traded, Jones could have more fantasy appeal than he currently does, sandwiched behind Leonard Fournette and Gio Bernard.
Breakout: Jameis Winston, quarterback, New Orleans Saints
Well-rested and potentially getting Michael Thomas back into the lineup, Winston could breakout in Week 7 against a Seattle defense that is giving away 306 passing yards on average per clash. For this, Winston makes an ideal streamer at the quarterback position as a bye week replacement.
Sleeper: Chris Evans, running back, Cincinnati Bengals
Evans quietly snuck in and recorded 67 total yards and a receiving touchdown backing up Joe Mixon in Week 6. If Samaje Perine sits out again, Evans has PPR sleeper appeal next playing Baltimore. The Ravens have ceded the ninth-most RB fantasy points, which includes them giving up the most receiving yards to their opposing running backs.
Breakout: Josh Jacobs, running back, Las Vegas Raiders
Jacobs has the opportunity to break out in Week 7, playing the Philadelphia Eagles. Even splitting the field with Kenyan Drake, Jacobs could hit pay dirt against a Philly defense that last gave up two scores and 127 yards to Leonard Fournette in Week 6. Just watch.
Sleeper: Jamal Agnew, wide receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars
After being targeted 13 times resulting in 11 catches for 119 yards over his last two games, Agnew is starting to make a name for himself. He is a fantasy sleeper you will want to stash to see if he keeps this pace when the Jags return from their Week 7 bye.
Breakout: James Conner, running back, Arizona Cardinals
We can expect Conner to have a big fantasy performance with plenty of opportunities to run the ball when the Cardinals next play the Texans. The Cardinals should easily get into a winning game script against one of the worst teams in the NFL. So look for Conner to completely break out as a fantasy RB1 in Week 7.
Sleeper: Brandon Aiyuk, wide receiver, San Francisco 49ers
Sporting a 2-3 record and returning from a bye, the hope would be that the 49ers plan to get Aiyuk more involved to help the team win more games. This makes Aiyuk a fantasy sleeper heading into a cushy matchup against the Colts that are allowing the 10th-most WR fantasy points. If the magic doesn’t happen this week, then it might be time to move on from Aiyuk as a fantasy player.
Breakout: J.D. McKissic, running back, Washington Football Team
With Antonio Gibson (shin) potentially sitting out in Week 7, McKissic will have an expanded role in what will likely be a pass-heavy game against the Packers in Week 7. It is worth noting that the Packers have given up to running backs, three receiving touchdowns in six games.
Sleeper: O.J. Howard, tight end, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Both Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown are questionable to suit up, making Howard a sleeper player for Week 7. Outside of Brown last week, Howard received the second-most targets (seven) from Tom Brady. He posted a season-best 49 yards and one TD. Howard is worth a deep shot for those streaming tight ends in Week 7.
Breakout: Calvin Ridley, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons
Ridley has had plenty of time off the field to return for a Week 7 breakout performance against the Miami Dolphins. So far, the Dolphins have given up the fourth-most WR fantasy points, priming Ridley to return WR1 numbers this Sunday.
Fantasy football sleepers for 2021 NFL season: Quarterbacks
Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia Eagles
Minshew was traded to the Eagles to add depth behind second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. Should Hurts ever take a step back, or miss time, keep Minshew on your radar. He is worth adding for those who have deeper roster spots.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington Football Team
After suffering an awful hip injury, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been placed on IR. This means the WFT will rely on Taylor Heinicke moving forward. As a deep sleeper or handcuff to Heinicke, QB Kyle Allen should be rostered.
Jacob Eason, Seattle Seahawks
Eason is a fantasy sleeper to roster in the event Geno Smith struggles to stay healthy or struggles period. Keep an eye on that situation if you currently roster Smith who is replacing Russell Wilson. Yikes!
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Burrow is back and the breakout potential for 2021 is huge! Look for his chemistry with rookie Ja'Marr Chase to continue while Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd assist in keeping Burrow atop the fantasy QB rankings.
Fantasy football sleepers for 2021 NFL season: Wide receivers
Laviska Shenault, Jacksonville Jaguars
Shenault got off to a slow start. But in any given week, look for him and stud rookie Trevor Lawrence to improve and create some big fantasy plays together this season. This is especially the case now that the Jaguars have likely lost D.J. Chark (fractured ankle) for the 2021 season.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions
St. Brown is a sleeper playing on an offense that features Jared Goff. So, don't let that sway you from rostering him though. The Lions typically have to air it out and St. Brown could see a bigger role with Quintez Cephus (broken collar bone) now placed on IR.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Given Cobb and Aaron Rodgers have eight years of history playing together, the potential for breakout fantasy points is huge. For this Cobb has flex player appeal for those who have rosters deep enough to house him.
Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
Whether it is Jimmy Garoppolo slinging the ball, or rookie Trey Lance, the ceiling for fantasy production for Aiyuk is high and he is due a major breakout performance any week.
Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears
Mooney has a promising season ahead sitting right behind Allen Robinson who will be the focus of his opposing defenders. Look for Mooney to increase last year's rookie stats with an improved quarterback situation in place in Chicago.
Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills
With Josh Allen developing into a legit threat as a passer, he will be forced to spread the ball around while defenses are focused on Stefon Diggs. And if veteran Cole Beasley were to miss any time on the field, Sanders' fantasy stock will surge.
Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen to Jalen could be the hot fantasy breakout ticket of the season. With defenses focusing on rookie DeVonta Smith, Reagor will serve as a fall-back guy for Hurts to target.
Fantasy football sleepers for 2021 NFL season: Running backs
Larry Rountree, Los Angeles Chargers
Rountree is waiting in the wings role behind Austin Ekeler in LA. As a capable backup to Ekeler, Rountree should be on rosters everywhere versus waiver wires.
Ty'Son Williams, Baltimore Ravens
For now, Williams sits behind recycled veterans Latavius Murray, Le'Veon Bell, and Devonta Freeman. He's a fantasy sleeper to monitor should the Ravens decide to abandon their experiment with the aforementioned older RBs and give Williams another shot.
D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions
Swift is a major staple in the passing game, making him a PPR fantasy stud as his stats currently stand. This is even playing alongside RB Jamaal Williams.
Michael Carter, New York Jets
Carter currently sits behind Ty Johnson, and the embattled Tevin Coleman, who can't stay healthy. So, get your shares of Carter now! Then sit back as he migrates from sleeper to start before your very eyes.
DeeJay Dallas, Seattle Seahawks
Dallas is a handy RB to handcuff to both Chris Carson (neck) and Alex Collins. With the Seahawks constantly battling injuries at running back, including Carson in the past, Dallas won't just be sitting around.
James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
If Conner plays 100% healthy, he could push ahead of Chase Edmonds to be the No. 1 RB you can trust to start. So, stash him as somewhat of a handcuff at the very least.
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
Barkley finally broke out and he has more high-level fantasy performances to come. We hope. For now, he's on the shelf nursing a high ankle sprain. Keep him on your radar or perhaps try to trade for him from someone who needs a healthy player right now who is startable.
Don't be surprised if Barkley is one of the top fantasy football running backs in 2021, provided he stays healthy.
Phillip Lindsay, Houston Texans
Lindsay finds himself in an awkward backfield crowded by David Johnson and Mark Ingram. However, Lindsay is the youngest of this trio and a sleeper who will take on more work if either Johnson or Ingram becomes sidelined. Johnson has an injury-riddled past and Ingram is not getting younger on anyone's watch.
AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers
Backing up to Aaron Jones, Dillon will get his fair share of goal-line work and touches. And in any given game when the Packers gain a sizable lead, Dillon will be the guy on the field while Jones sits out to rest.
Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers
Look for Mitchell as well as Trey Sermon to step up when either one could become a fantasy breakout on a 49ers run-first offense. However, we must keep tabs on their health as well on a weekly basis.
Fantasy football sleepers for 2021 NFL season: Tight ends
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
Given the landscape at tight end isn't great in fantasy football, Kmet is worth a stash, especially in dynasty formats.
Tyler Kroft, New York Jets
Rookie QBs often tend to lean on their tight ends, making Kroft a fantasy sleeper at a TE position that is sometimes difficult to fill. Keep him on your radar as a streaming tight end, at the very least.
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
QB Matthew Stafford has always kept his tight ends involved and the large-bodied 6-foot-6 Higbee will be a sweet red zone option for the veteran quarterback. Don't miss out on getting Higbee on your fantasy roster for the rest of the season.
Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts is far from your average rookie tight end. This fantasy football keeper has a bright future ahead on a Falcons offense that employs a pass-heavy scheme. As such, the breakout potential for Pitts is endless, and so much so, that he could eventually give studs Travis Kelce and George Kittle a run for the money.
Is Tom Brady the greatest of all time or a cheater?
Fantasy Football Sleepers 2021: Best ADP value picks, top draft steals by position
Regardless of your specific fantasy football draft strategy, you want to find the best players at all points in your draft. It's not difficult to walk away from at least the first few round with some top-tier studs, but the real challenges come when trying to find potential breakouts and sleepers, be it in the mid-rounds with even slightly undervalued players or late in the draft with lotto tickets. "Draft-day steals," as we like to call them, are how can you really put your team over the top, and no 2021 draft cheat sheet is complete without a list of potential targets at QB, RB, WR, and TE.
Studying consensus overall rankings and participating in some mock drafts are great ways to spot underrated players. You will find even more when you realize that even average draft position (ADP) doesn't always correspond to how productive a player can truly be.
DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2021 Cheat Sheet
Based rankings and ADPs are from FantasyPros' data for half-point PPR formats, here are the best values and biggest potential steals in the early, middle, and late rounds of your draft.
2021 STANDARD FANTASY RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200
Fantasy Football Value Picks 2021: Quarterbacks
Russell Wilson, Seahawks (ADP: 60 | Ranking: 66)
Wilson is right in the middle of the QB1s, a reflection of being a safe, steady selection with unparalleled durability. Why some drafters shy away is the fact he's developed an M.O. for hot starts followed by cold finishes, frustrating fantasy football owners in the key second half of the season. But gone is the stodgy nature of the Seahawks offense with new coordinator Shane Waldron, formerly of the Rams. Waldron will diversify the passing game so it's less reliant on Wilson's excellent deep ball, mixing in more personnel and routes with uptempo concepts. Wilson wanted change while still in his prime looking for that elusive second Super Bowl ring. He got it, and he will build on last season with limited TD regression (if any) and a little more effective volume to finish higher than QB6.
Matthew Stafford, Rams (ADP: 90 | Ranking: 93)
Stafford had a rough end to his time in Detroit, first with the 2019 back injury and second with trying to prop up a limited offense in '20. He's going as a borderline QB1 after finishing QB15 last year. When healthy and having the weapons, Stafford has been a surefire top-10 fantasy quarterback. He won't need to throw as often as he did in the lean Lions years because the Rams' defense is solid and their running game will support him well, even without Cam Akers (Achilles'), but he will light it up when needed, too. With Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and a variety of others, Stafford's big arm, and short-to-intermediate sensibilities will play well.
Joe Burrow, Bengals (ADP: 106 | Ranking: 108)
Burrow will quickly bury his injury-marred rookie season, revamped for Year 2 with high passing volume to help a rebuilding defense and a suspect running game. Burrow also gets to pick up where he left off throwing to LSU go-to guy Ja'Marr Chase. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd round out one of the league's best wide receiver trios. The Bengals have 195 vacated targets, meaning all three should be busy making plays and raising Burrow's stats. Don't forget about how well Burrow connected with the Bengals' tight ends early, and the fact C.J. Uzomah is back healthy. He should join Stafford with firm QB1 numbers. He can finish higher, given he's a much bigger factor running.
2021 PPR FANTASY RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200
Baker Mayfield, Browns (ADP: 133 | Ranking: 137)
Mayfield is going as QB17 and later, which says that most everyone expects him to be essentially the same QB as last year. Like Stafford, he won't be running much to upgrade those stats, but Mayfield also was hurt by limited weapons last season, as Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry suffered injuries. Mayfield also was getting his feet wet in Kevin Stefanski's run-heavy offense. There will be more downfield passing from Cleveland this year with a deeper receiving corps. Playing off the rushing attack, there can be some Ryan Tannehill-like results for Mayfield on play-action and bootlegs. He should push up to 30-plus touchdowns and 4,000-plus yards, putting him on the brink of QB1-ness.
Trey Lance, 49ers (ADP: 155 | Ranking: 177)
It's time for an exciting rookie run, not including Trevor Lawrence or Mac Jones. Lance looks like he'll need to wait a little to start over Jimmy Garoppolo, despite his highlight-reel-packed training camp setting up more promise in the preseason. But we know those veteran-over-rookie statuses are temporary, especially when the youngster is a high-upside athlete mature beyond his years. Lance has the running/passing profile to have immediate success in one of the league's premier systems with awesome support. He has "league winner" potential early in the double-digit rounds.
Justin Fields, Bears (ADP: 145 | Ranking: 154)
Fields seems closer to start over Andy Dalton right away than Lance is over Jimmy G. Either way, Fields also offers the dual threat to be a dynamic producer and fellow rookie super stash. The Bears' weapons are not as sound all-around as the 49ers beyond Allen Robinson, but there's a lot more intriguing skill than you think. Fields can also play well off the running of David Montgomery. Talent is the No. 1 reason to draft a fantasy asset, and Fields joins Lance in having drool-worthy ability.
Zach Wilson, Jets (ADP: 179 | Ranking: 184)
Zach gives us bookend Wilsons to steal at different points of the draft. This Wilson will have his rookie ups and downs, reflecting what's happening in camp. But he's in a 49ers-like offensive system with Mike LaFleur. There's also actually Jets receiving depth all of the sudden, led now by Corey Davis, Keelan Cole, and rookie Elijah Moore. This Wilson also is a fine athlete and can supplement his passing stats well on the ground. Forget the Adam Gase dysfunction and embrace the flowery near-future with LaFleur.
2021 FANTASY SLEEPERS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Each team
Fantasy Football Draft Steals: Running backs
Antonio Gibson, Washington (ADP: 16 | Ranking: 17)
With a last name matching the hangout from "The League", you know Gibson was ticketed for fantasy football superstardom. Maybe he will also get a cocktail and a guitar named after him. Get giddy about Gibby in Scott Turner's offense as he assumes his Christian McCaffrey-like featured role. He will see a ton of second-year touches as the centerpiece. The passing game is more dangerous overall, and the offensive line is good enough. Here's to Gibson rocking out and helping us drink to sweet victory as a top-six RB.
Myles Gaskin, Dolphins (ADP: 47 | Ranking: 53)
The Dolphins had many opportunities to add more to their backfield than former Rams backup Malcolm Brown. They chose to stick with Gaskin for their adjusted offense with co-coordinators Eric Studesville (the elevated running backs coach) and George Godsey. He's going as a borderline RB2, but he will deliver more than that based on volume. Gaskin also has committed to being a bigger, more durable back. Brown might steal a few key touches here and there, but Gaskin should be a productive fit in the new scheme.
Mike Davis, Falcons (ADP: 57 | Ranking 48)
New coach Arthur Smith will be calling the offensive plays, which should suggest to everyone the Falcons want to be a much more effective rushing team in 2021. Smith gave Derrick Henry insane volume and also used more 12 personnel (two wide receivers) than any other coordinator in the league in 2020. Davis is coming off an impressive supersub run for an injured McCaffrey in Carolina. The journeyman proved he can handle heavy touches when needed and doesn't have the wear of other experienced backs. The Falcons also don't have much else inspiring in the overhauled backfield yet.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals (ADP: 62 | Ranking: 62)
File Gaskin, Etienne and Davis as firm RB2s vs. borderline ones. Edmonds is being undervalued as more of a flex in the rankings, somewhere between RB26 and RB30. There seems to be a strange amount of concern about oft-injured James Conner even though Edmonds is a Kliff Kingsbury favorite with his style of running and receiving made to complement Kyler Murray well. The Cardinals also are capable of spreading the field better with upgraded wide receivers. This offense will score a lot with Edmonds seeing good running lanes and TD chances in the red zone.
2021 FANTASY AUCTION VALUES (Standard & PPR):
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Overall
Michael Carter, Jets (ADP: 80 | Ranking: 95)
Forget thinking anyone else will lead the Jets' backfield in production. While former UNC teammate Javonte Williams has a higher cost with more clarity about him displacing Melvin Gordon for the key touches in Denver, Carter still hasn't gotten the same fantasy draft treatment in a better situation. Take advantage of stealing this quick, explosive back made to excel in LaFleur's zone-blocking scheme. Getting Carter is the ultimate flex.
Trey Sermon, 49ers (ADP: 91 | Ranking: 86)
We could give you a lecture or long speech on why Sermon, with some similar traits to Carter, will produce big-time in a similar scheme to Carter. Instead, from this humble pulpit, we will say how bulliish we are in Sermon getting the key fantasy-friendly touches for Kyle Shanahan over Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., two guys you can't expect to stay healthy. Can we get an amen?
Latavius Murray, Saints (ADP: 122 | Ranking: 129)
The Saints' passing game is undergoing a major transition to Jameis Winston. It's also minus Michael Thomas (ankle) for a while. Sean Payton will lean much on the run with Murray and Alvin Kamara to manufacture wins, knowing that will be boosted by the mighty offensive line. Murray tends to produce best on the road, especially outdoors and in the elements away from the Superdome. He's not had consistent standalone value when Kamara is healthy, but he's been a premier handcuff and should see a spike in usage to complement Hill and relieve Kamara. He should be a RB3 vs. RB4.
2021 FANTASY TIERS & DRAFT STRATEGY:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST
Fantasy Football Best Value Picks: Wide receivers
Calvin Ridley, Falcons (ADP: 21 | Ranking: 13)
There's not much higher Ridley can be than his WR6 draft status in 2021 or WR4 finish from '20. Well, , actually, he could end up being the highest-scoring receiver in fantasy. He's a great bet for 100-plus catches and 10 TDs, and he should push up to around 1,500 yards. There's a case to take him over everyone except Davante Adams given he will have more receptions than Tyreek HIll and maybe double the scores of Stefon Diggs.
Allen Robinson, Bears (ADP: 38 | Ranking: 29)
It's head-scratching why A-Rob is being underrated again after he proved he can produce huge numbers with Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky-Nick Foles alike. The Andy Dalton-Justin Fields combination is better than what he had last season, and he's still the big-time alpha in Chicago with Darnell Mooney a distant second. Robinson finished as WR12 last season, and there's no way he should be considered any lower than that.
Robert Woods, Rams (ADP: 43 | Ranking: 38)
Bobby Trees gets a much-needed QB upgrade with Stafford and can further distance himself from Cooper Kupp as the true go-to guy outside. Look for Woods to shoot past 90 catches and 1,200 yards and record double-digit TDs for the first time in his career. The WR13 from last season doesn't deserve a drop to WR18.
Ja'Marr Chase, Bengals (ADP: 67 | Ranking: 64)
Drafters love to get excited by rookies, and they're rightfully taking Chase just inside WR2 status vs. a middling WR3. Although Higgins and Boyd will do plenty of damage with Burrow, Chase is worth being most aggressive to get. The fact he didn't play for LSU last year shouldn't make anyone forget how much he dominated in college, standing out over last year's rookie sensation Justin Jefferson. Chase projects more as a high-end WR2 at worst. Consider Jefferson was WR6 for the Vikings in 2020.
2021 FANTASY CONSISTENCY RATINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end
Diontae Johnson, Steelers (ADP: 60 | Ranking: 53)
Chase Claypool is the glossy big athlete capable of big plays and JuJu Smith-Schuster is the more familiar fantasy name, but Johnson is the happy medium as the Steelers' steadiest receiver for their style of offense, reliant most on the intermediate passing game with Ben Roethlisberger. Johnson is the best route runner of the trio and should be more reliable with his hands. He's a solid WR2 vs. a volatile WR3.
DJ Chark, Jaguars (ADP: 82 | Ranking: 79)
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water off Jacksonville Beach, the Chark Attack is about to be back. Chark has made it work producing with Gardner Minshew when healthy. He will love catching passes from Lawrence, profiling as the ideal No. 1. Chark will see high volume and be efficient with yards and TDs. He's well undervalued as a borderline WR3/WR4.
Jerry Jeudy, Broncos (ADP: 84 | Ranking: 66)
Jeudy, Jeudy, Jeudy! Courtland Sutton should also have a chance to bounce back well from his knee injury, but Jeudy is the better value from Denver's wideouts. Sutton is less QB-dependent, given Jeudy and Drew Lock often were not on the same page, but he's too good of a route-running, first-round talent with great hands to disappoint in Year 2, especially with Teddy Bridgewater.
FANTASY DRAFT STRATEGY:
Snake Draft | Auction | Best Ball | Dynasty/Keeper | IDP
Antonio Brown, Buccaneers (ADP: 98 | Ranking: 91)
Brown played half the season in Tampa Bay last season. His production, over a full year, would have translated to this: 90 catches, 966 yards and eight TDs. That's a WR2, folks. There are more healthy mouths to feed for Brady in this passing game in 2021, but Brown isn't going anywhere complementing Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. He's a sneaky good WR3 going as a WR4.
Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (ADP: 111 | Ranking: 119)
Waddle baby, Waddle baby, Waddle baby, Waddle (yeah). Why try to figure out what Will Fuller and DeVante Parker can do for the Dolphins with Tua Tagovailoa when the rookie first-rounder has the most appeal reuniting with his Alabama QB? As much as Miami wants to stretch the field more, Waddle's speed, quickness, and separation ability all over the field is most valuable for the second-year passer. He's another WR3-in-the-making to watch.
Michael Gallup, Cowboys (ADP: 117 | Ranking: 100)
While some fantasy owners are still waiting on tight end Blake Jarwin to be a thing, this guy already is one. CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are headed safely to top-20 finishes, but Gallup also will take advantage of Dak Prescott's return as a big-play threat in Kellen Moore's frequent 11 personnel. Gallup knows he won't be re-signed, so he will be motivated to deliver and land a nice contract elsewhere. Consider he finished WR38 mostly with Dalton last season.
Corey Davis, Jets (ADP: 113 | Ranking: 93)
Don't be afraid of this Jets' passing offense, OK? Davis was signed to be a No. 1 outside, and he will be treated that way by Wilson with the team figuring out the rest of the pecking order. He finished as WR31 as a complementary No. 2 to A.J. Brown in a low-volume Titans passing game last season. The Jets also will throw more than you think based on game flow.
Nelson Agholor, Patriots (ADP: 177 | Ranking: 148)
Agholor is a polarizing fantasy figure, but did you know he finished as WR29 in his lone rebound season with the Raiders? The Patriots do have Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers, as well as the two marquee tight ends. The Cam Newton connection also doesn't inspire, but Agholor is made to be a key busy target for Mac Jones and anticipate that QB switch happening sooner rather than later.
MORE 2021 FANTASY RANKINGS:
Superflex Top 200 | Superflex Top 200 PPR | IDP | Rookies | O-lines
Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends
T.J. Hockenson, Lions (ADP: 61 | Ranking: 55)
Hockenson already has arrived as a solid starting fantasy tight end. This is more of a public service announcement that he's the No. 1 receiver for the Lions' new offense with Jared Goff. He's a second-tier option between TE4 and TE6 on paper, but he has a real chance to finish only behind Travis Kelce in scoring at the position.
Dallas Goedert, Eagles (ADP: 95 | Ranking: 92)
He's going as TE7, but he also has big-time breakout appeal, even with the continued presence of Zach Ertz. Goedert has a fair chance to be the Eagles' leading receiver for Jalen Hurts, ahead of their wideouts in transition, especially with DeVonta Smith (knee) hurting early.
Noah Fant, Broncos (ADP: 101 | Ranking: 82)
If you can't go get Goedert, favor Fant. He's being undervalued because of that attachment to the Broncos' cloudy QB situation, but whether it's Bridgewater or Lock, they will be throwing a lot to this special security blanket down the seam.
MORE 2021 FANTASY HELP:
Mock Draft Simulator | Position battles | Bye weeks | Best team names
Tyler Higbee, Rams (ADP: 129 | Ranking: 102)
Higbee gets to flex his muscles in their passing game with Stafford, no longer in an even veteran committee with Gerald Everett, now with the Seahawks. There are also some questions about third wideout after Woods and Kupp. We know if they throw to him, Higbee can be a great producer.
Adam Trautman, Saints (ADP: 186 | Ranking: 157)
Here's touting Trautman, the second-year dynamic athlete from Dayton, one more time. Thomas' injury raises plenty of concerns about the wide receiver corps. Trautman is replacing both Jared Cook and Josh Hill as a key receiver. He has some chemistry with Taysom Hill, and Winston also has favored throwing to the tight end in the past. Trautman might be the best semi-deep sleeper at any position.
Fantasy sleepers nfl 2020 draft
Updated fantasy football draft sleepers, busts, breakouts for 2020
As we enter into the heart of fantasy football draft season, we circled back with our ESPN Fantasy Football experts to bring you their latest sleepers, busts and breakout players for the 2020 campaign, as defined here:
Sleeper: A player who will far surpass his average draft position (ADP) in standard ESPN leagues for the 2020 season.
Bust: A player who is expected to be a solid starter in standard ESPN leagues but will fail to live up to those expectations this season.
Breakout: A player who will leap into or close to the upper echelon of players at his position for the first time because of a dramatic increase in production compared with his previous seasons (or a rookie who will burst onto the scene).
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Our panel is composed of the following ESPN Fantasy writers and editors: Stephania Bell, Matthew Berry, Matt Bowen, Tom Carpenter, Mike Clay, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Daniel Dopp, Eric Karabell, Keith Lipscomb, Jim McCormick and Field Yates.
Each analyst named a sleeper and a bust for each of the major offensive positions, as well as one breakout candidate. You can find their picks below, and then analysis and insight on a selection of players they felt most passionate about in each category.
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Stephania Bell: Cam Newton, New England Patriots
Matthew Berry: Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars
Matt Bowen: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Tom Carpenter: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Mike Clay: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
Daniel Dopp: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Eric Karabell: Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars
Keith Lipscomb: Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Jim McCormick: Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars
Field Yates: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Stephania Bell: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Matthew Berry: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Matt Bowen: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Tom Carpenter: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Mike Clay: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Daniel Dopp: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Eric Karabell: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Keith Lipscomb: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Jim McCormick: Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Field Yates: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Running back sleepers
Stephania Bell: Antonio Gibson, Washington
Matthew Berry: Antonio Gibson, Washington
Matt Bowen: J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
Tom Carpenter: Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
Mike Clay: Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Damien Harris, New England Patriots
Daniel Dopp:Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
Eric Karabell: Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
Keith Lipscomb: Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
Jim McCormick: Matt Breida, Miami Dolphins
Field Yates: James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers
Running back busts
Stephania Bell: Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets
Matthew Berry: Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets
Matt Bowen: Todd Gurley II, Atlanta Falcons
Tom Carpenter: Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Mike Clay: J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Todd Gurley II, Atlanta Falcons
Daniel Dopp:Todd Gurley II, Atlanta Falcons
Eric Karabell: David Johnson, Houston Texans
Keith Lipscomb: Todd Gurley II, Atlanta Falcons
Jim McCormick: Todd Gurley II, Atlanta Falcons
Field Yates: Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets
Wide receiver sleepers
Stephania Bell: Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
Matthew Berry: Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears
Matt Bowen: Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
Tom Carpenter: DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
Mike Clay: Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins
Tristan H. Cockcroft: CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
Daniel Dopp: DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
Eric Karabell: Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders
Keith Lipscomb: Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
Jim McCormick: Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
Field Yates: Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Wide receiver busts
Stephania Bell: Keenan Allen, Las Angeles Chargers
Matthew Berry: Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
Matt Bowen: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Tom Carpenter: Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Mike Clay: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Daniel Dopp:A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Eric Karabell: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Keith Lipscomb: Amari Cooper,Dallas Cowboys
Jim McCormick: Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Field Yates: Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
Tight end sleepers
Stephania Bell: Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Berry: Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
Matt Bowen: Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans
Tom Carpenter: O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Clay: Noah Fant, Denver Broncos
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons
Daniel Dopp: Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
Eric Karabell: Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints
Keith Lipscomb: Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons
Jim McCormick: T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
Field Yates: Chris Herndon, New York Jets
Tight end busts
Stephania Bell: Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
Matthew Berry: Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
Matt Bowen: Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Carpenter: Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Clay: Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Daniel Dopp: Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
Eric Karabell: Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Keith Lipscomb: Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jim McCormick: Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
Field Yates: Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
2020 breakout player
Stephania Bell: Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
Matthew Berry: Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Matt Bowen: Noah Fant, Denver Broncos
Tom Carpenter: Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
Mike Clay: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
Daniel Dopp: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Eric Karabell: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Keith Lipscomb: Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jim McCormick: Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
Field Yates: Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
These are players our panel believes will exceed their 2020 average draft position and provide value for those who take a chance on them.
Gardner Minshew II, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Minshew is more than just a fine moustache. A surprising QB2 when active as a rookie, Minshew not only has plenty of tools to succeed and overcome pre-draft concerns as a passer, he emerged as an underrated thrower of the deep pass, and only four quarterbacks rushed for more yards last season. The Jaguars seemed a bit indifferent to building a contending team for 2020, and the quarterback competition is over with Nick Foles gone, so expect Minshew to throw and run to his heart's content -- and pile on enough fantasy points to matter. -- Eric Karabell
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions: Stafford played in only eight games last season, missing action for the first time since the 2010 season. However, through Week 9, Stafford ranked second in touchdown passes with 19 and fourth in passing yards at 2,499. Plus, he averaged 10.7 air yards per attempt last season, a 40.7% boost from his career average. Remember, Stafford has all the high-end traits of a volume thrower -- arm talent, movement skills, second-reaction ability. And playing in a Detroit with a leaky defense, Stafford could once again be forced to play "hero ball." Drop back and take your shots. If you draft quarterbacks late -- which I do -- then Stafford should be one of your top targets. He has QB1 upside at a current ADP of QB13. -- Matt Bowen
Hunter Renfrow, WR, Las Vegas Raiders: It took awhile for the Raiders to rely on him, but Renfrow started breaking out midway through his rookie campaign, and closed strongly with a pair of 100-yard receiving games, each featuring a touchdown catch. Those playing in PPR formats need to be aware of an emerging slot option that gets the job done with quickness and route-running over blinding speed. A 75-catch, 1,000-yard season is hardly out of the question, and hardly matches up with his draft-day value. -- Eric Karabell
Drew Lock, QB, Denver Broncos: He wasn't nearly as raw a prospect in a five-game, season-ending stint as you might think. His 64.1% completion and 19.1% off-target passing rates, as well as his 2.3 TD-to-interception ratio, were all within range of the league's averages. The Broncos then loaded up at wide receiver in the draft, adding Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler to a group that already included Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant. Lock now has one of the most intriguing up-and-coming groups of receivers in the league with which to work, so he at least should be a viable matchups play in 2020. -- Tristan H. Cockcroft
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington: Before you call me a homer, hear me out. Washington lacks any reliable playmakers outside of Terry McLaurin, and Gibson is a versatile offensive weapon (last season he was the only FBS player to have more than 700 receiving yards and more than300 rushing yards). Yes, it was a limited sample, but Gibson averaged more than 14 yards per offensive touch. Coach Ron Rivera recently said Gibson has "a skill set like Christian McCaffrey." Not saying he will be CMC or even used as much as him, but OC Scott Turner knows he will have to be creative on offense, and Gibson's versatility will allow him to create mismatches all over the field. -- Matthew Berry
Matt Breida, RB, Miami Dolphins: The pitch for Breida isn't that he'll suddenly become a 20-touch feature back in Miami, as Jordan Howard seems likely to consume a sizable early-down role. Rather, I trust that Breida will command a valuable change-of-pace role with the Fins. He is a superior speedster who had the fifth-fastest average speed among NFL tailbacks while crossing the line of scrimmage with the ball last season, and who finished fifth among backs with 5.07 YPC. In Chan Gailey's last three seasons at the helm of an NFL offense, his backfields earned at least a 21% share of the team's total targets. With Howard a nonfactor as a receiver and Breida's big-play ability ideal for such usage, I think a high-end flex performance in PPR formats is entirely within the range of outcomes. -- Jim McCormick
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots: There's a tendency to undercut the merits of slot receivers at times; heck, just look at how they are paid relative to perimeter receivers! But let's not overthink this: Edelman is an ankle-breaking, yards-after-catch machine. We don't know a ton of what life without Tom Brady looks like for Edelman, but I'm betting on him to remain a star. When Jimmy Garoppolo stepped into a starting role for two full games to start 2016, Edelman posted seven catches in each game. Cam Newton-to-Julian Edelman has lethal potency. -- Field Yates
Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans: With Delanie Walker now out of the mix in Tennessee, Smith is one of my favorite late-round targets. In the 10 games with quarterback Ryan Tannehill as the starter in Tennessee, Smith caught 29 of 35 targets for 342 yards, including all three of his touchdown grabs. And while Tennessee's run-heavy game script does lower the floor a bit for Smith, the traits jump here. Smith has matchup ability and movement skills to produce in the open field. Look for the Titans to scheme opportunities for Smith here off play-action or when flexed from the formation. Don't be surprised if Smith posts lower-tier TE1 numbers this season. -- Matt Bowen
Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins: Despite going undrafted, Williams averaged a healthy 7.4 targets (21% share) during a 2019 rookie season that was shortened by a Week 9 ACL tear. DeVante Parker ended up with the breakout campaign, but Parker actually trailed Williams in targets (50 to 59) and air yards (692 to 843) prior to the injury. Williams' recovery will need to be monitored, but the 23-year-old appears to be a steal and is positioned as an every-down player in Gailey's WR-friendly scheme. -- Mike Clay
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: The case for Conner is pretty simple: I believe he's going to be the guy in the Steelers' backfield, despite a host of talented other backs, including Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels and Anthony McFarland Jr. This isn't about coach-speak or offseason soundbites -- I just believe enough in the talent of Conner to think he'll prove to be the workhorse that we saw in 2018. And when Conner gets chances, he dominates. To wit: Conner has a total of 10 games in his career with at least 18 touches, scoring an incredible 28.3 fantasy points per game in those 10 contests. -- Field Yates
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions: Given the blend of complex blocking and receiving duties at the position, there isn't a strong history of rookie NFL tight ends performing at a high statistical level. Hockenson looked to buck this trend in producing 131 yards in his professional debut in Week 1 last fall, but he gained just 367 yards over 12 games before hitting injured reserve. An historically good prospect coming into the league last year with the potential to demand a strong target share from a capable veteran quarterback in 2020, Hockenson's potential to breakout as a sophomore is quite viable. -- Jim McCormick
Hayden Hurst, TE, Atlanta Falcons: After two seasons largely stuck behind Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle on the Ravens' depth chart, Hurst was thrust into a golden opportunity in Atlanta this offseason. There, he'll absorb many of the targets that went in Austin Hooper's direction. Hooper had an 18.6% target share in his 13 healthy games in 2019 and was sixth best among tight ends in the category for the season when including his missed time. Hurst brings more speed to the table with similar size, so a top-eight positional season is possible. -- Tristan H. Cockcroft
Who is destined to fall short of draft-day expectations? Our panel suggests you stay away from these players, who are sure to disappoint.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I get the connection here with quarterback Tom Brady, along with the expectation that the Bucs will use more two-tight-end personnel. Throw seams and crossers. That fits the profile for Gronk, who caught 71.1% of his targets from Brady on passes thrown less than 15 yards with the Patriots from 2014 to 2018. However, Gronk's current ADP of 67.0 -- TE6 -- is simply too rich for me. He hasn't played a full season since 2011, and expecting Gronk to return as a consistent, high-end fantasy option is a bit of stretch here. Gronk should be targeted as a lower-tier TE1 in 2019. -- Matt Bowen
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills: Don't mistake his rushing success for an all-around breakthrough. Allen scored 35% (101.0 of 288.6) of his fantasy points rushing, but his passing left plenty to be desired, as he finished last among qualified quarterbacks with 58.8% completion and 23.0% off-target passing rates. Yes, Stefon Diggs' addition bolsters Allen's receiving corps, but a so-so passer is a so-so passer. Prepare for regression: Of the previous 10 quarterbacks to score at least nine rushing touchdowns in a season, the group saw a 66% decline in the category for an average loss of 7.1 scores. -- Tristan H. Cockcroft
J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens: I see three pretty significant roadblocks to fantasy success for Dobbins during his rookie season: history, scheme and competition. History: Over the past decade, only six of 23 backs drafted in the second round finished better than RB28 as a rookie. Scheme: Greg Roman's RB units usually rank high in rushes but have an average finish of 28.2 in targets and 17.3 in fantasy PPG during his six seasons as a playcaller. Competition: Dobbins will have a hard time finding enough snaps with starter Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards (NFL YPC leader over the past two seasons) in the fold. That's too many roadblocks for a player going in the sixth round. -- Mike Clay
Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos: Sutton is a talented player who has managed to produce despite shaky QB play in each of the past two seasons, but consider this: In 2019, Sutton led all players in air-yard target share and was sixth among WRs in end zone targets per game. Yet even with all that opportunity, he was WR27 on a PPG basis and had just three games all season with more than five catches. Sure, the hope is a full season of Drew Lock will help that efficiency, but the Broncos spent their first two draft picks on Jeudy and Hamler, signed a capable pass-catching back in Melvin Gordon, and will presumably give sophomore TE Fant a larger role. It's going to be hard to turn a profit on Sutton at his current ESPN ADP of WR15. -- Matthew Berry
Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I am in awe of Brady. I want that to be clear. He's the greatest QB of my generation. That's why this is so hard for me. Brady's turning 43 this August, and while he's still playing at a high level, he's still human. So consider me concerned about the oldest QB in the NFL, who's learning a new offense, with new teammates, during a pandemic, while his body works overtime to be a full-time professional athlete. This is about minimizing risk, and I'd rather be a year too early than be a year too late. Brady is my QB12. -- Daniel Dopp
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers: While Rodgers is still a great real-life QB, for fantasy purposes, he no longer has the same upside or consistency as in years past. Last season, Rodgers produced fewer than 15 fantasy points in 10 of his 16 starts, and from Week 9 on, he averaged just 1.3 passing TDs and 209.8 passing yards per game. And this run-heavy approach worked, as Green Bay went to the NFC Championship Game last year. Given the team used a second-round pick on 250-pound RB AJ Dillon and did little in the way of adding additional pass-catching, help it seems likely this offense is even more run-heavy this season. I have Rodgers comfortably outside my top-12 QBs for 2020. -- Matthew Berry
Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills: Diggs forced his way out of a low-volume, highly efficient Minnesota offense but is arguably in worse conditions in a Buffalo pass offense that has been low-volume, low-scoring and inefficient during the Josh Allen era. Diggs finished 2019 as the No. 24 scoring fantasy receiver, despite finishing second among receivers in YPT and with Adam Thielen missing half the season. Durability is also a concern, as Diggs has never played a full 16-game season. Consider Diggs as midrange WR3, at best. -- Mike Clay
Who will join the ranks of the elite and help you win your league this season? Here are our experts' picks for 2020's breakout stars and how they imagine it will take place.
Drew Lock, QB, Denver Broncos: We caught only a glimpse of Lock in 2019 (an early thumb injury ensured he would not see the field before December), but during his short time under center, he led his team to a 4-1 record. He inspired the Broncos to surround him this offseason with offensive playmakers and protectors to complement veterans like Courtland Sutton and Phillip Lindsay already in place. Add to the mix a new offensive coordinator in Pat Shurmur, who is likely to advance Lock's downfield playmaking, and he has all the ingredients at his fingertips for a breakout season. -- Stephania Bell
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants: The fifth-best QB in fantasy over the second half of last season, Jones flashed massive upside as a rookie, delivering four games with 28-plus fantasy points. And he was able to do that with Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram playing zero snaps together. With a deep group of offensive playmakers, plus mobility (Jones averaged more than 21 rushing yards per game in 2019), and a defense that will force him to throw plenty, Danny Dimes is in perfect position for a breakout season in 2020. -- Matthew Berry
Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos: With the ability to stretch the seams and run after the catch, Fant is a prime breakout candidate in an upgraded Broncos pass game. As a rookie last season, Fant caught 40 of 63 targets for 562 yards. And the explosive play juice is there too, as Fant produced 10 receptions of 20 yards or more. Plus, with Denver adding more speed and playmaking talent to the wide receiver position, Fant will have some room to work underneath, where the former Iowa Hawkeye averaged 7.5 air yards per target from Lock last season. There's good value here, with Fant carrying a current ADP of 119.8 (TE11). -- Matt Bowen
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: The first running back ever selected in the first round by an Andy Reid team, Edwards-Helaire will immediately be positioned for a significant role in arguably the league's best offense. The LSU product is a terrific prospect, overcoming underwhelming size and speed with elite tackle-breaking, elusiveness, and receiving ability. Reid's offenses don't offer much volume for RBs but make up for it with efficiency and a ton of touchdowns. Edwards-Helaire's second-round ADP could be a red flag since he's a rookie, but there's no doubt he has upside. -- Mike Clay
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills: Things were looking up for Singletary during the second half of an otherwise forgettable 2019, as he averaged 16.4 carries per game and 4.6 yards per carry with 30 total targets in his final eight regular-season contests, then managed 134 yards from scrimmage in the wild-card round. With Frank Gore gone, Singletary should see easily at least that much usage and arguably more; and with Allen unlikely to repeat his 2019 rushing success, the Bills should really shift more of their rushing focus to the second-year back. Zack Moss does loom as a potential goal-line vulture, but Singletary should put forth high-end RB2 value for an RB3's price. -- Tristan H. Cockcroft
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns: Do you remember Mayfield's rookie season, when he threw for 3,725 passing yards, 27 TDs and 14 INTs? Compare that to last season's 3,827 passing yards, 22 TDs and 21 INTs, and it's obvious he took a step backward. Luckily for Mayfield, the Browns addressed their poor offensive line, signed Austin Hooper and will bring back Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and (for now) David Njoku. That's a lot of playmakers for a quarterback who should right the ship in 2020. Baker is my QB11. -- Daniel Dopp
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: Rookie quarterbacks are generally far too risky to depend on, especially with so much depth at the position, but Burrow is hardly a normal rookie. His Heisman Trophy-winning numbers at LSU were historic and ridiculous, and the Bengals have surrounded him with ample talent at running back and wide receiver, and perhaps -- fingers crossed -- a competent offensive line. Burrow is so talented, he would make it work anyway. Stop wasting time on Kirk Cousins or Jared Goff types as your No. 2 QB; Burrow's fantasy upside is far more immense. -- Eric Karabell
Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: With 20.7 yards per catch as a professional freshman for the champs last season -- a rate that would have led the league, had he qualified, with four more receptions -- Hardman's field-stretching speed and vertical potential with Patrick Mahomes create a rousing blend of upside. The floor is undoubtedly low for a big-play weapon unlikely to thrive on volume in an established offense, but his unique profile reminds me of a young DeSean Jackson, who happened to turn in roughly 1,300 scrimmage yards and 10 total touchdowns back in his second year in Andy Reid's offense with Philadelphia. -- Jim McCormick
Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons: There was a 10-week stretch last season when one Atlanta Falcon receiver averaged 16.5 fantasy points per game on 13.2 air yards per target, while his counterpart averaged 14.4 fantasy points per game on 13.1 air yards per target. The former is Calvin Ridley, the latter Julio Jones. But this is more than just a connecting of dots based on previous production, this is a calculated bet on Ridley's route-running ability, his nose for the end zone and playing in a division where keeping up is going to involve throwing it a ton. Ridley checks the boxes of a player ready to explode. -- Field Yates
Fantasy Football Sleepers: Most Accurate Expert Picks in 2020
It isn’t difficult to nail the first few picks of your fantasy draft – but selecting the right sleepers can mean the difference between an 11th-place finish and a fantasy football title.
We had 65 experts participate in our 2020 sleeper accuracy competition by submitting rankings at QB, RB, WR and TE. You can find the details on how we assess the accuracy of rankings in our full methodology. For those of you looking for the TL:DR version, here are the highlights:
- Experts were tasked with submitting 13 sleepers at fixed position counts:
- 2 QB, 4 RB, 4 WR, 2 TE, 1 DST
- They were also asked to rank their picks within each position based on sleeper potential.
- Experts only saw players available for selection that are outside specific Expert Consensus Rankings cutoffs:
- QB: Outside the top 15
- RB: Outside the top 45
- WR: Outside the top 55
- TE: Outside the top 15
- DST: Outside the top 10
Experts were then judged based on how well their sleeper picks performed compared with the replacement-level season-long point total at each position, with multipliers applied to each player rank. Each of those resultant point totals were then added together to determine which expert was most successful at identifying top sleepers for the 2020 season.
Here’s a look at the cream of the sleeper crop for the 2020 fantasy football season:
Top 10 Sleeper Accuracy Experts in 2020
|1||Jamie Calandro – Fantasy Team Advice||J. Robinson, A. Gibson, B. Aiyuk, J. Smith|
|2||Ryan Noonan – 4for4.com||J. Robinson, A. Gibson, C. Edmonds, J. Smith|
|3||Nick Zylak – Fantasy Football Advice||J. Robinson, A. Gibson, C. Claypool, C. Edmonds|
|4||Wayne Bretsky – BretskyBall||J. Robinson, A. Gibson, B. Aiyuk, C. Edmonds|
|5||Site Rankings – FantasyOmatic||J. Robinson, B. Aiyuk, Bucs D/ST, J. Smith|
|6||Alex Blickle – Fade the Noise||J. Robinson, A. Gibson, R. Anderson, C. Edmonds|
|7||Greg Smith – TwoQBs||A. Gibson, B. Aiyuk, C. Edmonds, J. Smith|
|8||Anthony Cervino – FF Faceoff||A. Gibson, C. Edmonds, Colts D/ST, J. Goff|
|9||Mick Ciallela – Fantrax||A. Gibson, R. Tannehill, B. Aiyuk, J. Smith|
|10||Michael Petropoulos – BRoto Fantasy||A. Gibson, R. Tannehill, C. Edmonds, J. Smith|
(Note: 65 experts submitted sleeper picks)
An enormous hat tip to the affable Jamie Calandro, who trounced the field to become the 2020 sleeper accuracy champion. Calandro scored the most points in the tight end sleeper category (taking Jonnu Smith and Eric Ebron) while ranking fourth at both running back and wide receiver. No one finished within 100 points of Calandro, whose other deft sleeper choices include Antonio Gibson, James Robinson and Brandon Aiyuk.
Ryan Noonan of 4for4 finished second; he’s no stranger to our accuracy leaderboards, having posted back-to-back top-20 performances in the draft accuracy competition while finishing 20th in last year’s in-season rankings. Not only did Noonan match Calandro’s Smith-Ebron tight end combination, he scored well in the D/ST department with his selection of the Indianapolis Colts, who boasted the No. 3 fantasy defense in the NFL last season.
Fantasy Football Advice’s Nick Zylak rounded out the top three, thanks in large part to the inclusion of Chase Claypool as his No. 2 wide receiver sleeper. Zylak was the only expert to list Claypool, who dramatically exceeded expectations in his rookie season en route to a WR23 finish in 1/2 PPR formats.
Other performances of note:
- Michael Petropolous of BRoto Fantasy slipped into the top-10 on the strength of the No. 1 quarterback sleeper ranking. He and his brother Jason (both of whom went with Ryan Tannehill and Jared Goff) were among only five experts to include Tannehill, and the only ones other than Legion Report’s Tozzi Brothers to have him as their No. 1 QB sleeper.
- Zylak not only connected on Claypool, but also had the No. 1 sleeper picks at RB, rolling with Gibson, Robinson and Chase Edmonds as his top three.
- The FantasyOmatic site rankings came through at wide receiver, winning that sleeper category with Ayiuk as their No. 1 option.
- RotoBaller’s Scott Engel was the only expert in the field to select the Miami Dolphins, who were the top sleeper D/ST of 2020, finishing second in fantasy points at the position.
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