2023 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Wide receiver sleepers to target features young talent (2024)

It's wide receiver week at CBS Sports, so we're taking a deep dive into the position. Receivers have now become the dominant position for Fantasy managers in PPR, and we want to make sure you're covered on Draft Day.

With that in mind, here are 12 of my favorite wide receiver sleepers.. For this column, we'll look at wide receivers being selected after pick No. 110 overall based on the CBS Sports Draft Position from August 14.

  • Jamey's WR Busts|Breakouts

These are wide receivers I want on my roster, and hopefully, many of them will turn into difference makers this season.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba

I don't expect Smith-Njigba's ADP to stay in this range for long, but right now he's at 112.9. If you can get him at this price then buy all day. In 2021, when Smith-Njigba was healthy at Ohio State, he shared the field with Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Smith-Njigba led the team with 95 catches, 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns. Meanwhile, Wilson had 70 catches for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Olave had 65 catches for 936 yards and 13 scores. Wilson and Olave were first-round picks in the NFL Draft in 2022, while Smith-Njigba remained at Ohio State. Despite an injury-marred campaign last season, Smith-Njigba was the No. 20 overall pick in Round 1 for Seattle this year, and now he'll share the field again with a talented duo in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. While it's hard to expect Smith-Njigba to outperform his new teammates, he's going to make plenty of plays. And he's stacking highlights on top of highlights in training camp, which is fun to watch. I continue to move Smith-Njigba up in my rankings, and I'm fine drafting him in Round 7. He has the chance to be the No. 1 rookie receiver this season.

Zay Flowers

Even though Rashod Bateman (foot) is healthy, I'm still counting on Flowers to be the No. 1 receiver for the Ravens this season. And he could challenge to be the No. 1 overall rookie receiver this year. Bateman starting training camp on the PUP list allowed Flowers to emerge as a go-to target for Lamar Jackson, which only enhanced the value for the first-round rookie from Boston College. Odell Beckham Jr. also benefited with Bateman out, and we'll see how Flowers does when everyone is healthy. But I like taking the chance on Flowers as a No. 4 Fantasy receiver in Round 8, even though his ADP is at 113.0. Todd Monken, the new offensive coordinator in Baltimore, should help this passing attack improve dramatically. And even though there are a lot of mouths to feed, including top target Mark Andrews, I wouldn't be surprised if Flowers is the best of the bunch. You can also take chances on Bateman (ADP of 152.2) and even Beckham (121.2), but Flowers is the Baltimore receiver I plan to target on Draft Day.

Quentin Johnston

Johnston on his own should be a significant contributor in his rookie campaign for the Chargers. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore should unleash Justin Herbert and his playmakers, and Johnston has already emerged as a top-three receiver in Los Angeles, alongside Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Along with Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett, there are plenty of mouths to feed, but the Chargers didn't select Johnston at No. 21 overall in Round 1 from TCU to make him a spectator. The Chargers were No. 2 in pass attempts in the NFL last season and should be up there again, and Johnston could be in an amazing situation if Allen or Williams were to miss any time. And remember, both guys combined to miss 11 games in 2022. I love stashing Johnston on my bench to open the season, but he could easily emerge as a weekly starter later in the year. He's well worth his current ADP at 130.3.

Treylon Burks

Burks was a breakout candidate before the Titans added DeAndre Hopkins. Now, Burks has become a sleeper, especially with an ADP of 132.6. While Hopkins should lead Tennessee in most receiving categories, there should be room for Burks to become a potential top 30 Fantasy receiver in all leagues. The hope would be Burks can perform like Corey Davis did for the Titans in 2020. Playing as the sidekick to A.J. Brown that season with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, Davis had 65 catches for 984 yards and five touchdowns on 92 targets. I would love that from Burks this year, and Davis averaged 13.6 PPR points per game that season. Is that a stretch for Burks in his sophom*ore campaign? Probably since he averaged just 8.0 PPR points per game as a rookie in 2022. But with a healthy Tannehill, plenty of single coverage and still a mountain of upside, Burks could be a pleasant surprise with a late-round pick in all leagues.

Skyy Moore

The Chiefs receiving corps remains in flux, especially with Kadarius Toney (knee) slated to return for Week 1. But even if Toney is healthy, I would rather have Moore, and he's my favorite Kansas City receiver this year, especially with his ADP at 133.5. Moore did next to nothing as a rookie in 2022 with 22 catches for 250 yards and no touchdowns on 33 targets, but he caught a touchdown in Super Bowl LVII against Philadelphia. He's expected to play in the slot in 2023 and replace JuJu Smith-Schuster, who had 101 targets last year for 78 catches, 933 yards and three touchdowns. And Moore's role should give him an edge over Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Rashee Rice, Justyn Ross and Richie James. All of the Chiefs receivers are actually worth drafting, but Moore is the one I would target first. Hopefully, his ADP doesn't rise to a place where he becomes too expensive, and I would start looking for Moore as early as Round 8 in the majority of leagues.

Jameson Williams

If Williams weren't suspended for the first six games of the season then we'd be calling him a breakout player this year. And yes, it's hard to carry a player on your bench for six weeks if you have limited roster spots. But the upside could be amazing, and I love his ADP at 135.6. Keep in mind that you want your Fantasy team to be at its best at the end of the season, and Williams could be a league winner. He's now two years removed from the torn ACL he suffered prior to his rookie campaign, and hopefully he comes back in Week 7 ready to dominate in the final 11 games of the season. If Williams is 100 percent he could emerge as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues, and you can comfortably draft him as early as Round 9.

Elijah Moore

Hopefully, Moore is OK after hurting his ribs during Friday's preseason game against Washington, and he is considered day-to-day. The nice thing for Moore before he got hurt was the Browns used him in the backfield to open the game, and he ripped off an 18-yard run. He's going to be used in multiple roles, per coach Kevin Stefanski, and I love his move from the Jets to the Browns this offseason. He looked poised for stardom in New York as a rookie in 2021 when he averaged 12.5 PPR points per game, but Moore struggled as a sophom*ore at 5.4 PPR points per game due to poor quarterback play, as well as the coaching staff seemingly frustrated with him. With the Browns, he gets to play with the best quarterback of his career in Deshaun Watson, and Moore should be the No. 2 receiver on the depth chart behind Amari Cooper. There's competition for targets with Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cedric Tillman and David Njoku, but Cleveland is already finding ways to manufacture opportunities for Moore. I love this ADP at 136.1 given his upside, and Moore should be a third-year breakout receiver in 2023.

JuJu Smith-Schuster

For most of the offseason I was out on Smith-Schuster, but a few things have changed my mind at the start of training camp. First off, the offense should improve under new coordinator Bill O'Brien, which should lead to a better Mac Jones and the passing attack. Secondly, the Patriots missed out on DeAndre Hopkins, meaning the receiving corps is led by Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker and a bunch of question marks. That should keep Smith-Schuster as the top target. And finally, but most importantly, the cost for Smith-Schuster is fantastic. His ADP is 138.9, and he should outperform that if he stays healthy. While he struggled in Kansas City last year overall, he did have nine games with at least five targets, and he averaged 15.8 PPR points per game over that span. I love drafting Smith-Schuster as a No. 4 Fantasy receiver in PPR as early as Round 8.

Courtland Sutton

Last year, we overvalued Sutton with the addition of Russell Wilson at quarterback, and Sutton had a down season at 10.3 PPR points per game. But you had to draft Sutton in the first five rounds last year, and now he's a bargain with his ADP at 141.9. Sutton still remains a top target for the Broncos -- he averaged 7.7 targets per game over his final six healthy games in 2022 -- and we hope Wilson is better this season with Sean Payton now as the head coach. Jerry Jeudy should be the go-to guy for Wilson, but Sutton won't be far behind. While he may never produce like he did in 2019 when he averaged 13.8 PPR points per game, I would expect him to perform better than he did in 2022. He's an excellent No. 4 Fantasy receiver to stash on your bench in all leagues.

Nico Collins

Collins is one of my favorite sleepers this season, and I'm hoping Year 3 in the NFL is his best year to date. The Texans receiving corps is wide open this year with Collins, Robert Woods, John Metchie III and Nathaniel Dell all fighting for targets, but I like Collins the best coming into the season, especially at his ADP of 144.3. He showed positive flashes last year during Weeks 10-13 when he had 36 targets and averaged 11.2 PPR points per game. I think he's capable of much more than that, and I'm willing to draft him as early as Round 8. New quarterback C.J. Stroud should lean on Collins quite a bit in 2023. I would also take fliers on Metchie and Dell with late-round picks. Both don't have an ADP yet on CBS, but expect Dell to see a spike in his ADP soon. He just had five catches for 65 yards and a touchdown on eight targets in the preseason opener against the Patriots, and although all of his catches came from Davis Mills, Dell has been reportedly performing well in practice. After Collins, Dell is my favorite Texans wide receiver to draft in all leagues.

Romeo Doubs

Doubs did well at times in his rookie campaign in 2022, but he's poised for a bigger year in 2023 as the starter opposite Christian Watson. I love drafting Doubs as early as Round 9, but his ADP is a steal at 163.2. Last year, Doubs started off playing well with at least 13 PPR points in three of his first eight outings. He then missed four games with an ankle injury and struggled down the stretch, but he had a great training camp and even scored a touchdown in his preseason debut against Cincinnati with two catches for 21 yards on two targets. Matt LaFleur said this offseason that Doubs "has some Davante Adams type movement skills," which is reason to get excited. Doubs should be looking at close to 100 targets from Jordan Love this season, and he's a great No. 4 Fantasy receiver to stash on your bench in all leagues.

Tyler Boyd

Boyd has averaged at least 10.4 PPR points per game or more in five years in a row for the Bengals, including three seasons of at least 12.7 PPR points over that span. For the last two years, he's been the No. 3 receiver in Cincinnati behind Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, and his production has suffered. That said, I view Boyd as a handcuff receiver because should something happen to either Chase or Higgins then Boyd would be very popular for Joe Burrow, and in turn very popular for Fantasy managers. But Boyd also can be productive on his own, and you can stash him on your bench as a No. 5 Fantasy receiver with a late-round pick in all leagues. His ADP is at 163.9, and he should cost very little on Draft Day with some lottery-ticket appeal.

2023 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Wide receiver sleepers to target features young talent (2024)
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