11 Deep Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers (2023) (2024)

Let’s dive into fantasy football sleepers! I selected the start of Round 8 as my cut-off for sleepers because I’ve often found that’s the range in the draft when we start to see breakout RBs emerge.

The main goal is that one or several of them beat their average draft positions (ADP) by a significant margin, akin to performances from Rhamondre Stevenson, Tyler Allgeier, Dameon Pierce, Jerick McKinnon, Isiah Pacheco, D’Onta Foreman, Brandon Aiyuk, Christian Kirk, Garrett Wilson, Justin Fields, Daniel Jones and Tyler Conklin last season.

Be prepared to find hidden talents across all teams, including those in unexpected situations like the Arizona Cardinals. My only requirement is that these players possess ADPs outside the top-84 players (in some capacity because this can vary by draft platform).

Get ready to make strategic moves and uncover the next breakout stars! Here are my top fantasy football sleepers for all NFL teams. Below we’ll offer a free look at a few of these names.

  • Fitz’s Draft Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
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  • 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit
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Fantasy Football Draft Sleepers

Michael Wilson (ARI)

At 6-foot-2 and 213 pounds, 3rd-rounder Michael Wilson easily stands out amongst the “Micky Mouse Club House” array of Arizona WRs. Since the team has moved from DeAndre Hopkins, Wilson is slated for starting duties on the outside, while his smaller teammates duke it out for slot usage. If healthy, I expect Wilson to be a diamond in the rough for the Cardinals. The redshirt senior came back for a fifth collegiate season due to the COVID-19 pandemic to boost his draft stock after more missed games due to lower-body/foot injuries. He posted a 20% dominator rating in just six games with only a 10% target share. But if you pro-rate his dominator rating removing his games missed, his dominator rating jumps to 34%. He made the most of every target, finishing top-8 in broken missed tackles and yards created after the catch among his classmates per Sports Info Solutions. His 2022 season was easily his most productive since his sophom*ore year when he first broke out. In 2019 at 19 years old, he caught 56 balls for 672 receiving yards and 5 receiving touchdowns.

Deonte Harty (BUF)

A sneaky addition by the Bills this offseason was adding former Saints Pro Bowler Deonte Harty. He was hurt all last season after an impressive 2021 campaign. Worcester, Massachusetts’ finest saw an extremely high target rate per route run in 2021 at 27% and finished sixth in yards per route run (2.69). That was enough to earn him a 2-year deal worth $9.5 million ($4.75 million guaranteed) with 5.5 million coming in 2023. It’s more than double the contract the team gave Isaiah McKenzie (2 years, $4.4 million) last season. McKenzie was recently cut from the Bills. The signing also makes Harty the second-highest-paid WR on Buffalo, with Gabe Davis still on his rookie deal. I’m confident that Harty can deliver fantasy goodness if a starting opportunity opens in the Bills’ offense. The best part is he’s free sitting across dynasty waiver wires. Buffalo is currently trotting out former 5th-rounder Khalil Shakir as their WR3, after drafting only rookie WR Justin Shorter in Round 5 during this year’s draft.

D.J. Chark Jr. (CAR)

D.J. Chark Jr. did exactly what he was required to do in the 2022 Lions’ offense: operate as the team’s primary deep/perimeter wide receiver threat while rookie Jameson Williams slowly rehabbed from a torn ACL. Chark led the team in air yards share (30%) when healthy and in total deep targets (15). And when he came back to a full-time role from his early-season injury, Chark ended on an extremely high note. From Weeks 13-17, the former Jaguar averaged 10.5 fantasy points and 61 receiving yards per game. He went over 90 receiving yards in half of his last six games played. At just 26 years old, Chark has the exact archetype to be Bryce Young‘s favorite vertical threat. He is also a dark horse to be the Panthers’ No. 1 WR, with the entire pass-catching corps revamped from a season ago.

Donovan Peoples-Jones & Cedric Tillman (CLE)

Cedric Tillman operated as Tennessee’s No. 1 WR as a junior in 2021, posting a 32 percent dominator rating. The 21-year-old took over the WR1 chair formerly owned by future Chargers wide receiver Joshua Palmer and narrowly outproduced another future NFL player, Velus Jones Jr. Tillman totaled 1,081 receiving yards, caught 12 TDs and generated the nation’s highest passer rating when targeted (155.8) but elected to forego the NFL and return to school in 2022. He was limited to six games after suffering an ankle injury and was out-shined greatly by his teammate and 2023 draft prospect Jalin Hyatt who took home the Fred Biletnikoff Award. However, in the five games that Tillman played healthy, he outproduced Hyatt with more targets (56, 30% target share vs. 40, 21% target share), catches (35 vs. 30), and yards (401 vs. 367). Tillman also yielded a higher aDOT (14.3 vs. 11.2). Tillman’s lack of early-career production and age entering the league (23) definitely raise eyebrows about what kind of ceiling he can offer. But his size at 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds helps him literally stand out as a prototypical “X” receiver in a class that is severely lacking big-bodied receivers. Jonathan Mingo and Bryce Ford-Wheaton were the only other rookie WRs at the Combine to measure at least 6-foot-3 while also running a sub 4.54 40-yard dash. That profile is worth gravitating toward at the cost of a third-round rookie pick. After all, Tillman was selected in the 3rd round of the 2023 NFL Draft (74th overall) by the Cleveland Browns. He can emerge as a big-bodied perimeter target for Deshaun Watson for the foreseeable future with Donovan Peoples-Jones hitting the open market in 2024.

Peoples-Jones shocked the world last season during his career year. He finished the year as the WR40, finishing with highs in receiving yards (839), receptions (61) and targets (95). DPJ was surprisingly consistent, finishing as a top-36 rate in the same amount of games (56%) as teammate Amari Cooper. However, the big spike weeks never came to fruition, as he never posted a week inside the top-12. With Watson potentially returning to form in 2023, we could see Peoples-Jones take another step forward if he can maintain the WR2 job on the Browns. Last season, his role was excellent as he ran a route on 92% of dropbacks (14th, 36th in routes run per game).

Kalif Raymond (DET)

Rookie tight end Sam LaPorta is YAC monster and is competing with Brock Wright, Shane Zylstra and James Mitchell for playing time. I think he is a sure bet to be the team’s starting tight end from Day 1. And he will have ample opportunities to produce from the get-go due to the Jameson Williams six-game suspension. Keep in mind, being a Lions TE was extremely profitable for fantasy purposes last year. Their tight ends combined for six top-12 weekly finishes. Expect Sammy Ball to ball out. He was Iowa’s featured weapon for three straight seasons, leading the Hawkeyes in receptions each year.

Oh, baby. Another WR sleeper with punt returner ability from Worcester, Massachusetts. Raymond, 29 in August, has been in the NFL since the 2016 season after going undrafted out of Holy Cross. Starting out strictly on special teams, Raymond finally started earning reps at WR upon joining the Detroit Lions in 2021. Over the last two seasons, Raymond has finished as a top-60 fantasy WR. He ended the 2022 season ranking 23rd in yards per route run and 11th in catch rate. He’s an underrated piece of this ascending Lions offense, and he will no doubt have a pristine opportunity to earn targets early on with Jameson Williams sidelined for the first six weeks of the season. Raymond is elusive, which is shown through his work as a special team return man. His 13.2 yards per punt return ranked third in the NFL last season.

Richie James Jr. (KC)

The former Giants’ slot WR was thrown back into the starting role in Week 12 after rookie Wan’Dale Robinson went down with a torn ACL. From Weeks 12-17, James led New York with a 22.4% target share averaging 11.3 fantasy points, 5.6 receptions and 55 receiving yards per game (WR16 overall). James tied a bow on the year with the league’s highest catch rate (82.9%). Coming off a career year, James was a sneaky addition to the Chiefs as they try to improve their passing game over the middle of the field.

Derius Davis (LAC)

TCU’s Derius Davis earned second-team, All-Big 12 honors as a return specialist in 2021. He followed up his impressive 2021 campaign by winning the 2022 Jet Award, an award given to the best return specialist of the college football season. Simply put, this man can flat-out fly and somebody has to catch the ball deep from Justin Herbert‘s cannon arm.

Puka Nacua (LAR)

Puka Nacua has been a fun toy for Sean McVay during OTAs, with reports of the team moving him all around the formation. Makes sense, considering FantasyPros’ own Thor Nystrom coined Nacua as “Discount Deebo” in his final draft player comps. I also liked Nacua’s profile coming out of college and felt like his 5th-round draft capital did not match his production. The 6-foot-2 and 201-pound wideout ended the 2021 season as a junior sixth in yards per route run behind future NFL WRs like Treylon Burks, Wan’Dale Robinson, and Drake London. And like London, Nacua operated primarily on the outside with a 78 percent perimeter alignment. Nacua finished his BYU tenure strong as PFF’s second-highest-graded WR in the nation (90.1) due to his impressive efficiency on per route run basis. He was targeted on 38 percent of his routes in 2022 and posted the second-highest targets above expectation in his class per Sports Info Solutions. On a depth chart with zero certified studs after Cooper KuppVan Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Demarcus Robinson — nobody would be shocked to see Nacua sneak into starting 3 WRs sets, especially with his versatility.

Kayshon Boutte (NE)

My primary wide receiver takeaway from “How to value rookie in fantasy football” is to go aggressively after wide receivers with Round 1 or 2 draft capital but be extremely wary of those that go Round 3 or later. Amon-Ra St. Brown‘s blazing 2021 season is not the norm; fantasy managers should not chase the possibility because it will not be easily replicated. It’s easy to tell yourself a story that guys like Derius Davis, Tyler Scott or Puka Nacua can have a stretch of fantasy production. But realistically, you are just praying for a spike week. I wouldn’t touch any of these guys outside the 18th round of a best-ball format. And in the case of Davis/Scott, it would only happen if I rostered Justin Herbert or Justin Fields as my quarterback. My one sole exception for drafting Day 3 WRs would be the new Patriots and former LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte. Despite being drafted in the sixth round, Boutte has shown tremendous potential during his time at LSU. As a freshman, he led the team in targets with 76, converting his volume into an impressive 22% dominator rating at just 18 years old. He followed that up in 2021 with another 22% dominator rating in just six games played, cementing his status as the team’s alpha WR1 after Terrace Marshall Jr. left for the NFL. Although he struggled with injuries in 2022 and failed to show the same elite playmaking ability as his first two seasons, Boutte ended his college career strong with a season-high 11 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown against Georgia. If Boutte is back to 100% health as an NFL rookie, he has the potential to be a steal in fantasy rookie drafts. Despite his fall to the sixth round of the draft, he has shown the ability to produce at a high level against tough competition. His youth is also a major plus, as he just turned 21 on May 7th. However, there are concerns about his work habits and attitude, as well as his poor testing numbers at the NFL Combine. He finished last in the vertical jump and second to last in the broad jump, which raises concerns about his explosiveness and ability to separate at the next level. Nevertheless, if he can overcome these concerns and return to the form he showed earlier in his career, Boutte could be a great late-round option in fantasy rookie drafts. And most importantly, he won’t clog your dynasty roster with middling production. He’s either going to hit or flame out entirely. There is no in-between. This is the way.

Corey Davis (NYJ)

Despite every salary cap “expert” saying otherwise, Corey Davis looks like he is going to be a New York Jet in 2023. And that means he is going to play full array of snaps, which is not being priced at all into his free ADP. He’s been entirely written off in favor of newcomers such as Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman, but Davis profiles as a traditional perimeter WR that should be on the field in both 3 and 2 WR sets. Before getting hurt in Week 7, Davis was the WR32 in half-point scoring while leading the Jets in receiving yards. Do I expect Davis to be a league winner? No. But he’s a sure-fire lock to beat his ECR ranking of WR89 after he finished as a fantasy WR2 in 33% of his games in 2022. Especially in the best ball format, where you are just hoping to find guys with steady jobs at the WR position.

More Players to Target & Avoid

  • Pat Fitzmaurice: (Targets | Avoids)(Premium)
  • Andrew Erickson: (Targets | Avoids) (Premium)
  • Derek Brown: (Targets | Avoids) (Premium)
  • Fantasy Football Sleepers for Every Team (Premium)
  • How to Identify Fantasy Football Busts (Premium)
  • Erickson’s Guide to Drafting Players on Good Offenses
  • Fantasy Football Draft Values for Every Round
  • Predicting First-Round Bust Candidates
  • DBro’s Wide Receiver Lottery Tickets
  • Erickson’s Running Back Lottery Tickets
  • Hoppen’s 4 Players Who Could Become First-Round Picks Next Year
  • Players to Target in Each Round (v2 | v3)
  • Players to Avoid in Each Round
  • Late-Round Draft Targets
  • Late-Round QB Targets in Superflex Leagues | More QB Sleepers
  • Late-Round RB Targets | More RB Sleepers | July RB Targets
  • Late-Round WR Targets
  • Late-Round TE Targets
  • Deep Dart Throw Draft Targets
  • WRs to Target in the RB Dead Zone (v2)| RBs to Avoid in the RB Dead Zone | RBs to Target in RB Dead Zone
  • Identifying the Next WR1s | Identifying the Next RB1s
  • 2022 Duds That Will Become 2023 Studs
  • 4 Kickers To Target at the End of Drafts

11 Deep Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers (2023) (3)

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11 Deep Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers (2023) (2024)
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