15 Wide Receiver Breakouts & Sleepers (2023 Fantasy Football) (2024)

In the ever-changing fantasy football landscape, it is more important than ever to make sure you’re drafting solid wide receivers who will be helpful, both as starters and as bye-week replacements. Choosing the wideouts on the verge of breaking out and landing high-upside sleepers late in your draft can catapult you to the playoffs in your league.

We asked some of our Featured Pros for their best suggestions for 2023 breakouts and sleepers. Here’s what they said.

  • AFC ADP Sleepers, Busts & Values: East | North | South | West
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Wide Receivers Poised to Break Out

Which one player inside the top-40 in our half-PPR WR consensus rankings do you think has the highest potential to break out relative to his draft cost and why?

Jahan Dotson (WR – WAS)

“Jahan Dotson screams immense breakout potential for the second-year receiver. The offense is going through positive changes to be more explosive, especially in the passing game. Dotson’s 4.43 speed could be the next Tyreek Hill in Eric Bieniemy’s offensive scheme. Dotson was a weapon in the red zone with seven touchdowns last year. A breakout is coming for him as long as he can stay on the field. ”
Steven Pintado (The Fantasy Coaches)

Christian Kirk (WR – JAC)

“Christian Kirk. Currently the WR30 according to consensus rankings, and I believe he could easily be a top-20 WR in 2023. Last season from week 1-17, Christian Kirk was the WR14, and Zay Jones was the WR24. Add in an upgrade at WR in Calvin Ridley, and I believe both Ridley and Kirk can both be top-20 WRs in a Jacksonville offense that should see a bump in productivity.”
Kyle Krajewski (First Seed Sports)

Calvin Ridley (WR – JAC)

“Relative to the amount of draft capital required to obtain his services, I’m betting on Calvin Ridley. The last time we saw him, he was one of the most talented receivers in the league. He is in his age 28 season, which is still considered the prime for productive WRs. I think he has a path to being a top 7 WR this year.”
Blake Fincher (Fantasy Football Cafe)

Marquise Brown (WR – ARI)

“Marquise Brown is going as the WR34 yet without DeAndre Hopkins. Last year (in the first five weeks), he was the WR6. Now without Kyler Murray, it will be hard to replicate that production, but the Cardinals’ defense is truly awful. They will be chasing a lot of games, which means they’ll have to lean heavily on their passing game, and hence Hollywood, their WR1, will be very busy. He’s a fantastic high-upside pick you can get in the eighth round.”
Ben Wasley (The Fantasy First Down)

Jerry Jeudy (WR – DEN)

“Jerry Jeudy (Current Expert Consensus Rank WR 21 Ringo’s Rank WR 10) Last year, the Broncos’ offense was a complete train wreck. And yet, even amidst the carnage, Jerry Jeudy showed glimpses of why he was a first-round pick. New head coach, Sean Payton, has already indicated he wants Jeudy to be a big part of the passing game. Jeudy’s current ADP at WR 21 seems cheap, given the immense talent both he and Wilson have. Add in offensive guru Sean Payton running the show, and Jeudy could be sitting on a career year.”
Mark Ringo (Sleepers and Busts)

Christian Watson (WR – GB)

“Christian Watson will outscore DK Metcalf, CeeDee Lamb, and DJ Moore. His upside is through the roof, and people are terrified of him because they are haters. JUST YOU WATCH. Even if you take away every touchdown he scored when he came back from the injury, he would’ve been WR31 during that span!”
Huseyin Aksu (Fantasy Couch)

DJ Moore (WR – CHI)

“Has to be DJ Moore here. Every bit of news coming out of camp was that the connection between Moore and Fields has been electric; we saw a bit of that in the first preseason game. The Bears now have a playmaker whose ability to win immediately on every snap brings a new dynamic to the offense. Moore shouldn’t see a ton of double teams either, with defenses having to respect Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool to some degree.”
Matt Olson (32 Beat Writers)

Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA)

“The highest potential for a breakout – relative to draft cost, of course – might also be the most boring one, and here’s a hint: he finished as WR11 during the second half of the 2022 season (Weeks 9-17) in fantasy points per game and was also WR17 for the entire year. This wideout is also the healthiest he’s been in years, coming off a career-best season, and is one of the focal points for one of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL, one that was top seven in neutral-pace pass rate (60.7%) to boot and had a bottom-10 defense in EPA allowed per play, which can often lead to fantasy shootouts and ceiling performances galore. Yes, Tyler Lockett isn’t the sexiest of fantasy names for 2023, but his current ADP of WR27 is a pure reflection of the market not buying in a guy based on age, size, and other shiny new toys/teammates taking away his shine, as in DK Metcalf and the rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Opposing defenses are sure to focus on Metcalf out wide and preventing the freak athlete from breaking big plays, while Smith-Njigba will make it nearly impossible for secondaries to put any extra attention on the now 30-year-old “aging” Lockett. When it comes to your turn to draft a WR in the middle rounds over this next month, remember the words of the great Aaliyah: “Age ain’t nothing but a number” Lockett might be 30, sure, but he’s not a 30-year-old running back, and he’s poised to nearly double-up his ADP and season-long rank again this year, helping lead countless fantasy managers to championship titles in the process. LOCK-ETT IN. (I tried!)”
Christopher Dell (Betting Predators)

Wide Receivers with High Upside

Which sleeper candidate outside the top-40 in our half-PPR WR consensus rankings do you think has the most upside relative to his draft cost and why?

Alec Pierce (WR – IND)

“I’ve been growing rapidly on Alec Pierce as a sneaky sleeper candidate in 2023. No matter who plays quarterback for the Colts, the passing game will field an upgrade. Minshew showed he could push the ball downfield to have his receivers excel. Anthony Richardson has a canon of an arm that fits with Pierce’s downfield threat ability. Pierce was top 25 yards per reception last year with subpar quarterback play. The ongoing concerns with the run game could lead to more passing which Pierce should be in line for an increase in targets heading into 2023. ”
Steven Pintado (The Fantasy Coaches)

Zay Jones (WR – JAC)

“Zay Jones. Similar to my write-up about Christian Kirk, I think the Jaguars’ offense is in for an overall bump in offensive production in 2023. Jones is being drafted as the WR59 and already has an established relationship with QB Trevor Lawrence. The first preseason game for the Jaguars saw Jones on the field for 2-WR sets over Kirk while Kirk was in the slot for his snaps. Jones could see the field more than initially expected this season, and WR59 feels cheap.”
Kyle Krajewski (First Seed Sports)

Justyn Ross (WR – KC)

“This pick has elite size and hands. He was elite in College. He has an elite QB and situation. Sitting currently at WR112 in the ranking is Justyn Ross. He has the potential to be a late-round league winner in re-draft formats.”
Blake Fincher (Fantasy Football Cafe)

DJ Chark (WR – CAR)

“DJ Chark is the clear Panthers WR1, yet he’s being taken four rounds after Adam Thielen as the WR64 off boards. Chark was pulled after one drive in the first preseason game, while Thielen played into the second. This is the universal indication that a player’s roster spot and role is secure. Chark is the guy in Carolina, and it’s not close. While the Panthers’ passing offense isn’t the sexiest option out there, if things click for them, it will be Chark who tops the fantasy charts, and you can get him on your team for almost free.”
Ben Wasley (The Fantasy First Down)

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – BAL)

“Odell Beckham Jr. (Current Expert Consensus Rank WR 54 Ringo’s Rank WR 5) When healthy, OBJ is one of the most electric players in the league, and I think he’s healthy now. The Ravens should score a bunch of TDs with Lamar Jackson back in the saddle. In addition, Odell only needs three fingers to make acrobatic TD catches. He should use the other two to flip off the haters! At least that’s how I’d play it, and if this pick hits, I think I will!”
Mark Ringo (Sleepers and Busts)

Elijah Moore (WR – CLE)

“I’m drafting Elijah Moore in every draft. He’s the only player that got positive hype during the preseason, and his ADP dropped! The Browns got him for a reason, and he’ll be the clear-cut No.2 option in this passing game. The talent is there, and I think Deshaun Watson will give him the opportunity to dominate opposing corners from the slot.”
Huseyin Aksu (Fantasy Couch)

Brandin Cooks (WR – DAL)

“I love that Brandin Cooks landed in Dallas. This team had no WR2 on its roster last year, and it went out and got a stud in Cooks. Every first season on a new team, Cooks has gone for over 1000 yards and scored at least five touchdowns; I like this trend to continue. He brings an element of speed to this offense on the outside and will see single coverage regularly with CeeDee Lamb on the other side. Look for Cooks to be open early and often.”
Matt Olson (32 Beat Writers)

“There aren’t too many wideouts in the NFL who have six 1,000+ yard seasons to their name since 2015, are fully health, AND are being ranked outside the top 40 in half-PPR WR consensus rankings. Brandin Cooks (ERC’s WR41!) seemingly quit on his team at various points last year, yes, but the 29-year-old veteran has a brand new happy home in Jerry’s World and is seemingly locked into Cowboys three-receiver sets for the 2023 season. Cooks has registered 1,000+ yards for all four NFL teams he’s suited up for in his career so far, and reports out of Dallas camp already point to him riffing with Dak Prescott as potential 1B to CeeDee Lamb’s 1A. Dalton Schultz‘s departure in the offseason left the Cowboys without a reliable #2 target for Dak – and 89 targets to fill, at the very least – most of which I expect will go to Cooks, at a much larger aDOT (average depth of target) I might add. Let’s not forget that Cooks was the WR18 and WR19 in fantasy points per game in 2020 and 2021, respectively, and he’s now being drafted at an ADP of WR39. Even if Cooks finishes slightly lower than his last two full seasons – which seems nearly impossible, given that he’s going from Davis Mills to Dak Prescott – then he’s going to absolutely smash his current ranking and be anywhere from a locked-in WR2/WR3 or flex in your lineup, maybe even more.”
Christopher Dell (Betting Predators)

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15 Wide Receiver Breakouts & Sleepers (2023 Fantasy Football) (2024)
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