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The 10 Best Fantasy Football Sleepers

Calebe Williams
© Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL season approaches, so do the fantasy football drafts. In early June, ESPN released their fantasy rankings. While the ESPN rankings are strong in some areas, many players were given questionable ratings. After all, league winning players are often drafted in later rounds. Here is a list of 10 players that may fall further in your draft than they should.



1. QB Caleb Williams, Chicago Bears

The former Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick is among the highest-touted quarterback prospects in history. While rookie seasons tend to be inconsistent for QBs, Williams is considered pro ready. He is the centerpiece of a Bears offense that added key pieces such as wide receivers Kenan Allen and rookie Rome Odunze in addition to superstar receiver DJ Moore. The Bears also added 2023 pro bowl

running back D’Andre Swift, providing them a plethora of offensive weapons.



In college, Williams averaged more than 272 passing yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game as he dominated defenses. However, the biggest reason fantasy managers should be eager to draft Williams is due to his rushing ability. Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts are viewed as the best fantasy QBs because they score rushing touchdowns. Williams scored 27 touchdowns on the ground in 37 college games. Given his physical gifts, it is likely that he will continue to find the end zone with his feet in the NFL. The ESPN rankings have Williams as QB15, but he’s an easy top 10 fantasy QB with undeniable top 5 upside potential. He should certainly be drafted ahead of guys like Justin Herbert, Aaron Rodgers and Jayden Daniels, all of which are ranked ahead of him by ESPN.


2. WR Jayden Reed, Green Bay Packers

Don't be fooled by the fact that he's listed as wide receiver No. 3 on the Packers depth chart, the second year pro is poised for a breakout season. Reed's rookie year started slow, but like his quarterback Jordan Love, he exploded in the back half of the season, averaging 5 receptions for 57.5 yards a game with 7 total touchdowns in his last eight games. Additionally, over that span Reed added in 9 rushes for 100 yards which is 11 yards per carry, and 2 of his 7 touchdowns came on the ground.


While Reed had a lackluster postseason, he was ailed by a chest injury that he suffered during his breakout game against the Minnesota Vikings on New Year's Eve. In that game, Reed posted a whopping 6 catches for 89 yards and 2 touchdowns, while only playing in the first half. ESPN has Reed listed as the WR41 behind his teammate Christian Watson. Reed has already proven himself to be far more productive than Watson ever has been. Barring injury, Reed's sophomore season will be nothing short of excellent.



3. RB Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins

Despite finishing last year as the fifth highest scoring running back, Mostert is ranked as RB33 by ESPN. This means that ESPN expects Mostert to be a late 10th-round pick in 10-team leagues. If anyone manages to draft Mostert that late, it would be the steal of the draft. While his 21 total touchdowns propelled his fantasy value far beyond what anyone expected, is it fair to expect such a drastic dip in his play this year? Sure the young speedster De'Von Achane is trending toward stardom, but Mostert is still listed as the starter.



Additionally, Mostert is the bigger back, more likely to garner goal line carries. When Mostert's career is over, 2023 will likely remain his best season as a pro, but to rank him as the RB33 is simply disrespectful. Fantasy managers should look to stash him as he is seemingly off the radar in spite of elite upside.



4. WR Xavier Worthy, Kansas City Chiefs

Taken 28th overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Texas product is touted as being Patrick Mahomes' shiny new toy. After breaking the record for the fastest 40-yard dash time in NFL Combine history, Worthy will be the fastest player to catch passes from Mahomes since Tyreek Hill. While his scouting report noted drops as an issue, that's nothing new for Kansas City. With Rashee Rice facing a likely suspension for multiple off-the-field issues, Worthy will get every opportunity to prove his worth. Travis Kelce and Marquise Brown are the top targets going into the season, giving Worthy the chance to emerge as a big play threat. Worthy's speed combined with Mahomes' play-making ability could result in a monster season for both of them.



5. RB David Montgomery, Detroit Lions

Over the past couple of years, Dan Campbell has proven that he wants to run the damn ball, especially in the red zone. Two years ago, Jamal Williams led the NFL with 17 rushing touchdowns as the Lions lead back, and last year Montgomery took that mantle scoring 13 TDs in 14 games. Similar to Mostert in Miami, Montgomery is being doubted due to a young star, in this case Jahmyr Gibbs. ESPN has Montgomery as RB21, with Gibbs all the way at RB7.



In 2023, Detroit ranked eighth in rushing attempts and fifth in total rushing yards, meaning that there are plenty of carries to go around for both Gibbs and Montgomery. Montgomery is also viewed as the goal line back due to his size and strength, while Gibbs is more of a speedster. Both Lions backs will have plenty of opportunities, and Gibbs may have the better year overall, but the gap will not be as drastic as ESPN suggests.


6. WR DJ Moore, Chicago Bears

In spite of Justin Fields weighing the Bears offense down all season long, DJ Moore finished the year sixth in fantasy points for receivers. He finished the season with 96 catches for 1364 yards and 9 total touchdowns, but Moore's 2023 season was boom or bust. Moore had five games where he scored less than 10 fantasy points and six games where he scored more than 20.



Inconsistency is frustrating for fantasy managers, but that was likely due to Moore's dependency on incompetent quarterback play. When Fields was on, Moore was arguably the most dangerous weapon in the league. In Week 5, Moore detonated for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns on 8 catches against Washington. Moore's monster showing of 49 fantasy points was the fourth highest by any player all season. Moore is a superstar receiver and Williams is a superstar quarterback. Together they could be the best duo in the NFL this season, yet ESPN has Moore way down at WR21.



7. WR Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars

With Calvin Ridley out of the way, Christian Kirk is poised for his best season as a pro. For the first time in his career, Kirk is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver and he has proven chemistry with quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars season fell apart primarily due to injuries to both Lawrence and Kirk, but 2024 is a new opportunity for the pair. Jacksonville has several nice offensive pieces such as running back Travis Etienne Jr. and tight end Evan Engram, but the sky is the limit for Kirk. The Jaguars picked up Gabe Davis as their second receiver, but otherwise, their receiving core is lackluster. This season Kirk should have the largest target share of his career and ESPN rating him as WR36 is simply insane.



8. RB Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders

With Josh Jacobs off to Green Bay, White is now the starting running back for the Raiders. After starting each of the final four games of the season, White put himself on the radar scoring between 13 and 18 fantasy points each week. Sure it's a small sample size, but White shows promise as a high floor/low ceiling player, a reliable RB2 or a flex option. ESPN has White as RB23, which is low simply because of the volume he will be given. In his four starts, White had at least 20 touches in every game, with the highest being 26. He could prove to be a bright spot on a lackluster Vegas team, offering fantasy managers great value given his draft position.



9. QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Goff finished 2023 as the seventh-ranked quarterback in fantasy, meaning he was more productive than Mahomes, CJ Stroud, Lawrence, and so many others. Sure part of that is due to injuries those players suffered, but Goff's season was excellent. After all he did lead the Lions to the NFC championship game.



Goff is often criticized for being a statue and falling apart under pressure, but that argument is debunked by Detroit's offensive line. Ranked No. 2 by Pro Football Focus, the Lion's offensive line is strong, tough and deep.


Additionally, Goff might have the best group of skill position players in the league. Between Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta and the two excellent aforementioned running backs, there is no reason to believe Goff won't produce similar numbers again this year. Despite all the upside, Goff is rated as QB21 by ESPN. For those who find themselves without a QB in the late rounds of the draft, Goff is a strong choice, in some leagues he may even fall to waivers.


10. WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

After a down year riddled with injuries, Kupp is being treated like a has been. Three years removed from the greatest fantasy season by a wide receiver ever, Kupp is ranked down as the 23rd best WR according to ESPN. Sure injuries have plagued Kupp his entire career, but if he stays healthy he'll be a steal this year.



His numbers did decline significantly with the emergence of Puka Nacua, but the 31-year-old receiver still has a great year left in the tank. Between the effortless chemistry he has with quarterback Matthew Stafford, and the elite passing offense coach Sean McVay calls, Kupp should have a bounce back season in 2024. He won't be breaking records like he did years ago, but Kupp will be a solid WR2 with WR1 upside.



5 Comments


Guest
6 days ago

Great points, excellent commentary!

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Guest
Jul 04

I agree as well and i really love kirk this year with ridley out.


ML

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Guest
Jul 03

Love Montgomery this year.

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Guest
Jul 03

Bro, Cooper Kupp will be lucky to make it through the season. Fifth round of my draft, maybe…prolly 6.

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Guest
Jul 03

Good article- I agree on many of your points, ear-marking this for future reference.

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