Every year, we see a couple of players who come out of nowhere to carry a fantasy team. Last season, we saw mostly undrafted guys like Justin Herbert, Justin Jefferson, and James Robinson become fantasy studs and potential league winners. Therefore, I will be naming 10 sleepers in fantasy this year.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Football Team
Fitzpatrick was having a decent fantasy year with the Dolphins in 2020, before being benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa. This year, he’s with the Washington Football Team in a QB battle with Taylor Heinicke. Fitzpatrick seems like an obvious favorite to win it, and a lot of reports suggest that he has already won it. Washington has boosted its receiving corps, adding Curtis Samuel, Adam Humphries, and Dyami Brown in the offseason. With plenty of weapons for Fitz in the Washington offense, he could be set for a very strong year.
Justin Fields, QB, Bears
Someone who has been flying up ADP charts lately, Fields may not be a Week 1 starter. The rookie out of Ohio State is currently behind Andy Dalton in the depth chart despite an impressive preseason showing. It is expected for Fields to take over the starting role at some point in the year, so he should be a very valuable draft and stash option.
Malcolm Brown, RB, Dolphins
The Dolphins were expected to sign or draft a big-name RB this offseason, but surprisingly, it never happened. The big winner from this was expected to be Myles Gaskin, but in preseason week 1 it was Brown who took most of the first team snaps. Fantasy owners already with Gaskin shouldn’t panic, but if Brown is still available, he is definitely worth signing. Another thing to note is that last year, Dolphins best RB at the end of the year, was nowhere near the top of the depth chart at the beginning of the season. Malcolm Brown could end up as Miami’s RB1 and you can get him for essentially nothing.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Texans
Lindsay is in a similar situation as Brown, as he is also a guy who could unexpectedly turn into a team’s RB1. Lindsay and Mark Ingram are listed as co-RB1s on the Texans unofficial depth chart, with David Johnson and Rex Burkhead listed as co-RB2s. Lindsay was the one taking most of the first team snaps in preseason week 1, with Johnson himself admitting his role will be reduced. Lindsay could very well turn out to be RB1 for the Texans, so he is definitely worth using a late-round pick on.
Xavier Jones, RB, Rams
With Cam Akers’ injury, Darrell Henderson will be the RB1 for the Rams, but the RB2 role is up to Jones and Jake Funk. Jones seems like the favorite, and with Henderson’s injury history, Jones could be thrust into a starting role at any point in the season. He is worth taking a shot on in deep leagues.
Marquez Callaway, WR, Saints
The Saints receiving room is looking very unclear at the moment, but one shining star has been Callaway. He shined in a game without Michael Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders last year, and with the Saints deciding to move on from Sanders, Thomas’ injury, Tre’Quan Smith could be out with an injury as well, plus Deonte Harris potentially looking at a 2-game suspension for a DUI arrest, you could see Callaway as quite literally the last man standing and WR1 for the Saints. If you want someone who could be WR1 for an insanely low value, Callaway is your guy.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Lions
This one really puzzles me, but it’s been known that Williams is the favorite to be WR1 in the Lions offense, but he’s still going undrafted in drafts. Granted, TJ Hockenson will be the main target for Jared Goff in what could be a run-first offense with D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, but Tyrell Williams is just about the only certain WR1 that you can get without even spending a draft pick.
Josh Palmer, WR, Chargers
Rookie third-rounder Josh Palmer could be looking at a WR3 role in the Chargers offense, and with the injury history of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, it could be much more. Although it’s unlikely that any WR3 has fantasy importance, with Herbert, Palmer is worth looking at in deeper leagues.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Patriots
Agholor had a decent season with Vegas last year, and he has the opportunity to be the Pats WR1 this year. He probably won’t be a very reliable fantasy option if Cam Newton is the starter, but if at any point Mac Jones steps in, Agholor should be the top target and a cheap fantasy starter.
Austin Hooper, TE, Browns
We have seen Hooper’s fantasy potential in the past, but inconsistency has killed his value. Baker Mayfield is best at throwing mid-range throws, which favors TEs like Hooper. If you’re left without a TE late or just want a boom or bust backup, Hooper is a guy you should pick.