Regarding NFL fantasy football, identifying sleeper picks can significantly impact your season. These players might not be on everyone's radar, but they possess the potential to score significant points every week. These NFL Fantasy sleepers are notable options for fantasy owners. First, let's focus on my favorite position in the NFL, the wide receiver. According to my model, the following players and team defense offer tremendous value that should out-score their projections.
Kadarius Toney, wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs, has shown flashes of brilliance and could emerge as a key target in an explosive offense. The Chiefs have a brilliant offensive scheme behind an offensive line ranked No. 3 to start the season by PFF. I also love Skyy Moore this season; reports out of Chiefs camp are incredibly positive.
Fantasy managers seeking a breakout player should consider Elijah Moore, the WR for the Cleveland Browns. He has impressive speed and route-running skills and has shown potential in his two-year career with the Jets, gaining 984 yards on 80 receptions in 27 games. With six career touchdowns, he could double that this season. Additionally, a significant upgrade at QB supports the Browns' No. 2 ranked offensive line.
Quentin Johnston from the LA Chargers is a promising player to watch out for. Despite being a rookie, he has remarkable talent and potential, making him a valuable addition to your fantasy team. The Chargers were quick to acquire him as the 21st overall pick. Also, LA's offensive line has improved, ranking No. 9 at the start of the season. While Mike Williams (28) and Keenan Allen (31) are exceptional players, they have had difficulty staying healthy for an entire season. Moreover, their age is becoming a factor to consider.
If you're looking for another sleeper pick at wide receiver, consider Treylon Burks from the Tennessee Titans. Despite only playing 11 games in his rookie season, he managed to rack up 33 receptions for 444 yards. With the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, there's less pressure on Burks, and he might be overlooked in Fantasy Football drafts. However, it's worth noting that the Titans' offensive line is ranked No. 32 to start the season, so improvement will be crucial.
Patriots, 6th round rookie WR Demario Douglas is already getting run with the starting offense in multiple spots. From the Patriots Beat Writer: A rival AFC executive told me this summer that Douglas was one of his favorite Day 3 picks. He’s a terrific sleeper pick in the middle to late rounds. Also, Christian Watson of the Green Bay Packers has been a standout in camp. Don’t hesitate to scoop him up!
Looking for a running back option? Alexander Mattison from the Minnesota Vikings might be a great choice. With Dalvin Cook no longer with the team, Mattison has proven to be a dependable backup and has shown glimpses of his potential when given a chance. Now that he's set to receive more opportunities, he could have a fantastic season. Throughout his career, Mattison has averaged 4.1 rush yards per game in 59 games played. According to PFF, the Vikings' offensive line ranks in the middle of the pack at No. 15, but it's an improvement from last season. Additionally, Minnesota boasts one of the league's finest Left Tackles in Christian Darrisaw, who had a breakout season. Darrisaw only allowed 20 pressures all year and hopefully won't experience the rapid-succession concussions he suffered in the past.
It has been reported that Javonte Williams is currently recuperating from a severe injury, namely a torn ACL, PCL, and LCL. As a result, Samaje Perine may be given a significant amount of work in the early stages of the 2023 season. However, the management team at the Broncos is upbeat about Williams' chances of being fit and available for Week 1. I am more skeptical as Denver has never been an organization to rush their players back from injury. Sean Payton has a brilliant mind, and I expect the entire offense to be much improved.
Last year, Perine showed what he's capable of by accumulating 681 total yards and scoring six touchdowns on 133 touches. He's 5'11 and weighs 239 pounds, and when Joe Mixon was out for a bit last season, Perine glistened in Weeks 11, 12, and 13 by scoring tons of fantasy points. With his experience and lots of playing time, Perine is an excellent pick for anyone looking for a discounted RB2 option to start the season. He'll likely carry the ball near the goal line, no matter what happens with Williams.
Kenneth Walker (third generation) is believed to take on the role of the primary running back for the Seattle Seahawks. But since the team drafted Zach Charbonnet in the second round, he will also have some playing time. It's an intelligent move in fantasy football to aim for "handcuff" running backs in potent offenses. Charbonnet will likely be one of the top backup Running Backs in 2023. It is worth noting that Charbonnet has a more robust set of skills and experience in receiving compared to Walker III. This implies that he might be considered the main third-down-back option for Geno Smith. Charbonnet is expected to provide several weeks of scoring double-digit fantasy points, even if he becomes a backup.
Zach Charbonnet has the potential to become the primary ball carrier and take on the role of starter if Walker III were to become unavailable. Zach possesses all the essential qualities needed for a solid deep RB selection, including good size, receiving skills, and the added benefit of playing in a potent offense with an intelligent head coach (Pete Carroll).
Bijan Robertson, the Falcons' first-round pick, is expected to see a lot of action this season. With a solid offensive line (ranked No. 7 at PFF) and a superb scheme led by head coach Arthur Smith, his potential is sky-high. While he may not be considered a sleeper, he likely won't be one of the first running backs taken in fantasy drafts.
If you're looking for a quarterback option, consider Derrick Carr from the New Orleans Saints. His strong arm and excellent leadership qualities make him a promising choice for fantasy football production. Carr typically performs better in indoor settings and has 12 indoor games scheduled this season. Jared Goff is another option, as he will also play in 12 dome games and has one cold-weather game in Chicago on December 10th. Although he may not be considered a star, Goff has the potential to accumulate many points after several higher-ranked quarterbacks get drafted in front of him. Last season, Goff threw for 4,438 yards with a 29/7 TD/INT ratio and a 61.1 QBR (ranked 5th). With many weapons around him and one of the league's top offensive lines (ranked No. 5 by PFF), he should be just as effective this season.
Last season, Deshaun Watson appeared to be rusty due to not playing for over two years. However, from the tape I have seen, he has become more robust and agile. The Browns plan to use three and four wide-receiver sets to spread out the defense more this season. With the No. 2 offensive line at PFF, Watson should have better protection and remain upright. Despite having a poor offensive line with the Texans, Watson still put up impressive numbers.
Last year, Jelani Woods, a new tight end, had an outstanding performance. He scored the most receiving touchdowns among all rookie tight ends with three and had an impressive average of 12.5 yards per catch. Despite having 101 fewer targets, Woods came in second to Michael Pittman Jr. for the team's most receiving touchdowns, with only one less. The Indianapolis Colts have decided to rehire Tom Manning as their tight-end coach, who had a successful tenure with the team in 2018. This likely affected the team's decision to bring him back.
The use of tight ends by new head coach Shane Steichen in Philadelphia is worth noting. Regarding target share, Dallas Goedert was among the top seven tight ends in the previous season. Additionally, Woods is known for his impressive athleticism, recording the fifth-highest contested catch rate among tight ends. Since rookie quarterbacks often rely on tight ends, Anthony Richardson will likely frequently target Woods plenty this season.
The previous year, Kenny Pickett had a great time passing the ball to Pat Freiermuth, leading to 732 receiving yards from 63 receptions. With Pickett playing the entire season this year, Freiermuth is expected to have an even better campaign in 2023. He has already shown progress by attaining 497 receiving yards from 60 catches in 2021. Furthermore, the Steelers offensive line has been ranked 12th-best according to PFF, which is very promising. As a result, it is predicted that Freiermuth will have a career year with over 900 receiving yards and around seven touchdowns.
Kyle Pitts of the Falcons is poised for a strong comeback this year after a rough sophomore season that saw him sidelined by multiple injuries for six games. Don't hesitate to draft him - he's been shining in training camp and has developed a great rapport with QB Desmond Ridder. Keep in mind that Pitts racked up an impressive 1,026 receiving yards on 68 catches during his rookie year in 2021.
Regarding defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers are a force to be reckoned with when T.J. Watt is on the field. Despite being ranked as the 12th-best defense in most drafts, their defensive line is ranked fifth according to PFF, and they boast one of the top secondaries in the league. Despite missing the playoffs with a 9-8 record in 2022, the Steelers still had a Top 10 scoring defense, allowing only 20.4 points per game. Additionally, Minkah Fitzpatrick is widely regarded as one of the best safeties in the league. Patrick Peterson had an impressive season at CB with a PFF grade 77.8, ranking 12th out of 118.
The Cleveland Browns will be much improved on defense, thanks to a defensive line ranked No. 6 at PFF and an outstanding secondary to begin the season. Edge rusher Myles Garrett will have a monster season after accumulating 16 sacks in each of the past two seasons! In his career, Garrett has 74.5 sacks in 84 games. Stud!
Another option would be the Dallas Cowboys. Dan Quinn has the Cowboys’ defense flying to the ball. Dallas improved their run defense through the draft (Mazi Smith) and secondary through the free agent signing of Stephon Gilmore. Donovan Wilson had a breakout season at Safety in 2022. This is an outstanding defense on paper.
As a wise fantasy owner, you should keep an eye on these players/teams who offer unique opportunities for you to take calculated risks on lesser-known talents. Throughout the season, they have the potential to provide substantial returns on investment in your NFL Daily or Season contests.
Good Luck this Fantasy Football Season.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @ JHSPORTSLINE