Here, we outline 11 sleepers for your 2023 fantasy football leagues. Each player falls outside the top 100 in the FantasyPros consensus half-PPR rankings. Overall, you’ll find two quarterbacks, two running backs, four receivers and three tight ends to consider.
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11 Fantasy Sleepers
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (Ranked 101st)
If you miss out on one of the top six or seven quarterback options, Daniel Jones is the last veteran available with a top-five rushing upside. Jones finished fifth among quarterbacks in rushing yards last season with 708. The New York Giants went out of their way to stack speed in their wide receiver group this offseason while trading for dynamic tight end Darren Waller.
If Jones can maintain his rushing prowess while pushing toward 4,000 yards in the air with 20-plus touchdowns, he’ll help you close the gap at quarterback in fantasy.
Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks (Ranked 106th)
Geno Smith was arguably the most surprising NFL storyline of 2022, as he had by far the best season of his career at age 32. As a passer, he finished 10th in passing yards and sixth in passing touchdowns per game. On the ground, he was eighth in rushing yards per game. Overall, he finished eighth in fantasy points per game.
However, the masses are certain it was a fluke. He’s now the QB14 by ADP and the 106th-ranked overall player. Because quarterback might be the hardest position to play in all sports, we find it hard to believe Smith completed 70 percent of his passes and tossed 30 touchdowns by accident.
Smith started just five total games over the previous six seasons, and he had to split reps with QB Drew Lock last offseason, so there’s a chance Smith is even better this year now that he’s the clear face of the franchise — and hogging all the first-team reps — heading into 2023.
The team also added first-round WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the 2023 NFL Draft, so if anything, Smith will have a better-supporting cast to work with, too.
Jamaal Williams, New Orleans Saints (Ranked 110th)
Jamaal Williams is a valuable fantasy option from a number of angles. First, he breached 1,000 yards on the ground last season while leading the league in rushing touchdowns. The New Orleans Saints’ solid offensive line and league-easiest schedule puts 1,000 rushing yards with double-digit touchdowns very much in play. Williams was also more of a pass-catching option during his time in Green Bay. He could realistically see a bump in passing game usage in New Orleans.
Second, Alvin Kamara will miss the first three games due to suspension. That means Williams will be the guy in New Orleans’ backfield early in the year. Even when Kamara returns, Williams could still conceivably lead the Saints in rushing attempts.
If Kamara misses time in the season, once again, Williams will be at the head of the Saints backfield. If you have Breece Hall, Williams is an exceptional early-season option to target. In that scenario, you can start Williams while you wait on Hall to ramp up from his knee injury.
Jeff Wilson, Miami Dolphins (Ranked 129th)
Any of the Miami Dolphins running back trio (Jeff Wilson, Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane) could qualify for sleeper status. Out of the three, Wilson is our favorite option. Wilson set career highs last year with 176 carries, 37 targets and 1,045 total yards. He joined the Dolphins midseason and proceeded to out-touch Mostert in the majority of their overlapping games.
Wilson is four years younger than Mostert (31) but is more experienced than the rookie Achane, who is dealing with an AC joint sprain. Wilson looks to be in line for 12-15 efficient touches each week for a high-scoring Miami offense.
>> READ: Fantasy Football Game Plan
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (Ranked 104th)
Michael Thomas has played in 10 NFL games in the last three seasons. To call that concerning is an understatement, but that’s also why you can get Thomas so late in drafts. Before injuries derailed his career, Thomas caught 378 passes over a three-year span. That isn’t a typo.
Entering this season, Thomas will enjoy the league’s easiest schedule and stable quarterback play from Derek Carr. Thomas opens the season in a potential smash spot against the Titans’ beatable secondary. If Thomas stays healthy, he can destroy his current ADP.
Quentin Johnston, Los Angeles Chargers (Ranked 108th)
Before discussing rookie Quentin Johnston’s profile, it’s important to note that his situation is excellent. The Los Angeles Chargers project to lead the NFL in pass attempts after finishing top three in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Justin Herbert is an elite, strong-armed quarterback. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was brought in from the Dallas Cowboys, and he was the architect behind the No. 1 and No. 4 scoring offenses in the 2021 and 2022 seasons, respectively.
Johnston was productive all three seasons at TCU, and he has a unique combination of high average target depth (14.9 yards for his college career) and elusiveness after the catch (8.4 yards after catch per reception). That combination is what makes players like Tyreek Hill so fun for fantasy football.
Johnston is also a rookie wide receiver with Round 1 draft capital, which, historically, is an archetype that serves fantasy managers well. For a full, in-depth breakdown of Johnston, this article from our lead dynasty analyst, Ian Miller, is a must-read.
Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs (Ranked 112th)
The Skyy Moore hype never materialized in 2022, but the masses were probably just a year too early on the Western Michigan product. He spent his rookie season adjusting to the NFL, but in limited action, his peripherals (targets per route run and average target depth) were better than Kansas City’s slot receiver last season, JuJu Smith-Schuster. As we can see below, using our free and flagship tool, The Edge, Moore’s targets per route run (TPRR) led all Kansas City Chiefs receivers last season.
Moore has a good chance to replicate, if not build upon, Smith-Schuster’s 78 receptions and 933 yards from last season. Moore isn’t someone we’re clamoring to start Week 1, but assuming he monopolizes the slot snaps early, he could very well force his way into your lineup by late September.
Zay Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars (Ranked 139th)
Zay Jones had a similar number of targets per game to Christian Kirk last season (7.8 for Kirk, 7.6 for Jones), while Jones had more receptions per game. Kirk finished with more yards, touchdowns and fantasy points, but he also goes six to seven rounds earlier in fantasy drafts.
In early preseason action, Jones was the player on the field across from Calvin Ridley in two-receiver sets. There’s a chance Jones is on the field more than Kirk this season, and Jones is setting up to be a major fantasy football value for the second straight season. In the 12 rounds of your fantasy drafts, getting a potential starting receiver tied to Trevor Lawrence is a very nice proposition.
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (Ranked 121st)
Matthew Stafford’s 2022 season began to unravel after Week 9 due to a concussion and back injury. Through Week 9, Tyler Higbee averaged more than seven targets per game, a 121-target pace over 17 games. For context, only Travis Kelce and T.J. Hockenson had more than 121 targets last year.
Higbee is the clear No. 2 pass-game option for a productive, veteran quarterback. The Los Angeles Rams’ offensive line should be porous once again, which should benefit the tight end. Higbee’s average target depth was just three yards last year, less than half that of any other receivers.
When Stafford is under pressure, Higbee is his phone-a-friend. While Higbee is not an attractive option in standard leagues, he should be on your late-round radar in any format that rewards fantasy points per reception.
Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos (Ranked 137th)
Some of the luster has gone from Greg Dulcich ever since Adam Trautman out-snapped him in one preseason game. There’s still a lot to like in Dulcich’s profile, even though the floor is now lower. As a rookie, Dulcich’s 17 percent target share was the third-best of the past decade behind only Kyle Pitts and Evan Engram.
Dulcich has a strong target profile, and he doesn’t even need as many opportunities as other tight ends because he operates further downfield. His average target depth of 11.2 yards downfield was behind just Pitts and Waller last season, and Dulcich’s yards per reception (12.5) ranked eighth at the position.
Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills (Ranked 149th)
Dalton Kincaid is a fascinating option if you’re looking for a high-upside swing at the tight end position. Rookie tight ends are usually best avoided in fantasy, but Kincaid is in a unique situation in Josh Allen’s pass-centric offense.
In a best-case scenario, Kincaid plays alongside Knox in two-tight-end sets while seeing significant work in the slot. In that scenario, Kincaid could peak late as difference-making rookie like wide receivers tend to. If you can pair Kincaid with a more stable option such as Pat Freiermuth or Higbee, that’s a great way to pair a strong floor with Kincaid’s upside.
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