Looking for sleepers for fantasy football isn’t about finding players nobody has heard about, because that isn’t happening. When we refer to sleepers, we’re highlighting players who should outplay their average draft position. Instead of the term “sleeper,” we can replace it with “value” and still be on the right track.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite deep sleepers that could help you win your fantasy football leagues.
Note: I am using half-PPR scoring formats and 12-team leagues for this article.
Trevor Lawrence: QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Lawrence experienced his fair share of ups and downs as a rookie in 2021 and as a result, he is being taken as QB20 in fantasy drafts this year. However, there is legitimate cause for optimism about the former No. 1 overall pick taking a leap in Year 2.
For starters, Urban Meyer is gone and he’ll be under the tutelage of new head coach Doug Pederson. Pederson is a former quarterback’s coach himself and should help aid in the development of the franchise QB. Along with that, they have provided him with new weapons like wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones while running back Travis Etienne returns from a foot injury to join James Robinson in the backfield. There’s potential for Lawrence to emerge into a QB1 option down the stretch of the season and is someone to consider.
Cordarrelle Patterson: RB, Atlanta Falcons
It’s kind of surprising to see Cordarrelle Patterson as the 43rd ranked running back in terms of ADP considering how effective of a weapon he was with the Falcons last season. The veteran had 153 carries for 618 yards and six rushing touchdowns and coupled that with 52 receptions for 548 yards and five receiving touchdowns.
Things will be bleak for the Falcons as far as skill position depth is concerned and they may need to lean heavily on their jack-of-all-trades tailback once again. He was a top 10 running back in fantasy running back with 13 fantasy points per game last season and could probably match those numbers again this season.
D.J. Chark: WR, Detroit Lions
Chark’s season with the Jaguars ended abruptly with an ankle injury last year and he will get a fresh start with the Lions this season. Judging by his performance in training camp so far, the fifth-year veteran out of LSU could far exceed his current status as WR65 in ADP.
With first-round wide receiver Jameson Williams on the shelf with an injury of his own, Chark will only have Amon-Ra St. Brown to compete with as WR1 in Detroit. And judging by the quick rapport he’s establishing with Jared Goff in training, he could very much be that guy. We’ve seen the wideout reach 1,000 yards receiving once before in his young career and we could see him reach those heights again as he performs on a one-year “prove it” deal with the Lions.
James Cook: RB, Buffalo Bills
One of the glaring inconsistencies for the Bills last season was their running game. Devin Singletary didn’t catch fire until late in the season while Zack Moss ended up with less carries than Josh Allen. There’s room for someone to take the RB1 mantle and that someone could be rookie James Cook.
The Georgia product and younger brother of Dalvin Cook has impressed his coaches so far in training camp and has received a bulk of first-team snaps. Considering that he was part of a running back committee on UGA’s national championship team last season, he’s coming into the league with less mileage than even some of his rookie contemporaries. Cook is being drafted as RB41 according to ADP numbers and has the opportunity to blow right past that if given the chance.
Mo Alie-Cox: TE, Indianapolis Colts
With Jack Doyle retiring in the offseason, Alie-Cox now has a clear lane to be the true TE1 in Indianapolis. He started just seven games last season and caught just 24 passes for 316 yards, but did haul in a career-high four touchdowns. He’s currently TE32 in ADP but with Matt Ryan now conducting the Colts offense, MAC is bound to outperform his draft position.