Fantasy Football Sleepers 2023: Players To Target Include Jaylen Warren, Skyy Moore, and Tyjae Spears

In fantasy football, every single person is looking for an advantage over the rest of their league. One of the biggest advantages you can gain year in and year out is identifying the next breakout star that can help push your lineup over the top.

At Pro Football Network, we do the research so that you can walk into your draft confident that you’re going to assemble the best team you possibly can. With that in mind, here are our expert picks for fantasy sleepers to target in your drafts this year.

Fantasy Football Sleepers

Before we dive in, it’s important to define the terms for what is (or isn’t) a sleeper. As more and more people consume fantasy football advice and content going into drafts, the qualifications for a “sleeper” has changed dramatically over recent years.

For the purposes of this article, we’re looking at options outside of the top 120 in ADP. This means players that are outside of the top 10 rounds in 12-team leagues, which prevents any obvious names from being listed.

This list will adapt and evolve as ADP changes, so make sure to check back in frequently.

Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Although now relegated to being Christian McCaffrey’s backup, Elijah Mitchell did average 9.9 PPR points per game last season in his four games with McCaffrey in the lineup. The 49ers showed a desire to not overwhelm McCaffrey, giving Mitchell legitimate standalone RB3 value. Combine that with the low RB1 upside in the event of a CMC injury, and Mitchell is one of my favorite later-round targets at the running back position.

Jason Katz, Fantasy Football Analyst

Elijah Moore, WR, Cleveland Browns

Elijah Moore went from being a fantasy darling to a sleeper pick real quick. After receiving a bit too much unwarranted hype going into the 2022 season, Moore fell off an absolute cliff and hit the waiver wire in essentially every fantasy league by Week 5.

Moore now finds himself a member of the Cleveland Browns after an offseason trade, and we could see him burst back onto the scene in a big way in 2023. If Deshaun Watson is able to shake off the rust — which all reports out of Browns’ camp currently are glowing — we could see Moore dramatically outproduce his ADP this season.

If fantasy managers were fully buying the hype and drafting him as a top-15 WR off the board, I’d be very skeptical. However, for someone that’s going outside of the top 120 overall in consensus ADP, there’s no downside to drafting the explosive playmaker.

Kyle Yates, Fantasy Football Director

Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers

The knock on Jordan Love is that the Packers drafted him in the first round in 2020 instead of a player who might have helped propel them to the Super Bowl. After all, they were in win-now mode. Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman Jr. went a few picks later, and the rest is history.

But not quite, because this franchise apparently still believes in the talented Love, because they’ve built up the offense around him, and Green Bay didn’t draft or sign anyone who could compete with him. Essentially, the Packers are now all in on their new franchise QB, who possesses the skills to thrive in this offense.

BJ Rudell, Betting & Fantasy Football Analyst

Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Cleveland Browns

Justin Jefferson, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. Those are the only players to join Donovan Peoples-Jones on the list of players who had at least 500 yards and a 62% catch rate on balls thrown 10+ yards downfield. That is never a bad list to be on, and it’s even more impressive when the bulk of your season comes with a backup under center.

For the season, Peoples-Jones averaged more yards per target and had a higher aDOT, as well as a higher catch rate on those 10-plus-yard passes than Amari Cooper, leading me to believe that he could see his stock rise the most with Watson active for the entire season.

Be aware that given DPJ’s skill set, there will be down weeks. However, the upside is more than enough to put him on my weekly Flex radar, especially against defenses that elect to put extra attention on Cooper.

– Kyle Soppe, Fantasy Football Analyst

Devin Singletary, RB, Houston Texans

I’m not sure if fantasy managers are accounting enough for the possibility that the Texans’ backfield is closer to a timeshare than a starter/backup scenario. Devin Singletary has proven he can be a lead RB, but it’s entirely possible that he’s just a backup, which is priced into his very low ADP.

Singletary’s already worth it as a pure handcuff. But what if last year’s RB30 sees 10-12 touches a game? He could wind up with standalone RB3 value with RB2 upside in the event of a Dameon Pierce injury. That’s a shot worth taking late in drafts.

Jason Katz, Fantasy Football Analyst

Tyjae Spears, RB, Tennessee Titans

What’s the more likely scenario for the Titans: Continuing to roll with the soon-to-be 30-year-old Derrick Henry while struggling to eke into the playoffs or getting top dollar for him in the trade market and proceeding with their inevitable rebuild?

The latter scenario likely would catapult third-round rookie Tyjae Spears to the starting role. Even if they somehow keep Henry, it should be noted that Tennessee’s RB backups netted 98 touches last year.

Spears easily could hit 100 as a complementary back, and his receiving chops (41 catches in his last two collegiate campaigns) could make him a fringe RB streamer during bye weeks.

BJ Rudell, Betting & Fantasy Football Analyst

Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Tennessee Titans

If you don’t have one of the elite tight ends — which at this point is pretty much only Travis Kelce — then you’re stuck chasing upside in your fantasy football drafts. If you’re one of those fantasy managers this season, you need to keep an eye on Chigoziem Okonkwo.

Last season, for all tight ends with over 40 targets, Okonkwo led the NFL in yards per reception with 14 and averaged 7.8 yards after the catch per reception, which was also tied for first in the league. Additionally, Okonkwo led all tight ends with the same qualifications in yards per route run with 2.61.

These are all metrics that are excellent for predicting future breakouts. Add in the fact that Okonkwo could easily be the No. 2 receiving weapon in this Titans offense for 2023, and the sky is the absolute limit from a fantasy standpoint.

The casual fantasy managers haven’t caught on to just how good Okonkwo was last season in his limited opportunity. This creates an awesome opportunity for us that do the work ahead of time to get him at a massive discount before he breaks out.

Kyle Yates, Fantasy Football Director

Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers

Keep reading, and you’ll see that I’m down on Christian Watson. Enter Romeo Doubs, a young playmaker who earned a target on just over 21.5% of his routes as a rookie, a rate that was on par with WR Brandon Aiyuk, who the community is drooling over this offseason.

Let me be clear, Doubs is not Aiyuk. But he does enter the season with limited competition in the target department and plays for a team that is expected to be playing from behind.

During his final season at Nevada, Doubs racked up 80 catches, and without a true alpha pass catcher in Green Bay’s offense, who’s to say he can’t become Love’s comfort option? At this price and with this favorable schedule, there’s no harm in trying to find out.

– Kyle Soppe, Fantasy Football Analyst

Jaylen Warren, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Rookie UDFAs don’t leap multiple incumbents on their team’s depth chart if they aren’t good at football. Jaylen Warren, however, more than proved himself last season.

Warren is still clearly Najee Harris’ backup, but Harris saw his opportunity share drop from 86% as a rookie to 70% as a sophomore. Warren could carve out enough of a role to be worth starting in deeper leagues. He’s also someone we are confident can assume at least 80% of the starter’s workload should the starter go down.

Warren is a fantastic late-round sleeper.

Jason Katz, Fantasy Football Analyst

Warren entered the NFL last season as a UDFA, but he was able to quickly climb the depth chart and work his way into significant touches for the Steelers. At times last season, Warren looked far better on the field than Harris, and questions began to creep up regarding whether or not Warren could simply take the job outright.

While we saw a bit of a late-season resurgence from Harris to calm the rumors, Warren was also a fantasy-viable option during that time frame. There is certainly a world in which both running backs out of Pittsburgh’s backfield can consistently be fantasy-relevant options this season, which makes Warren’s ADP simply puzzling.

At the time of writing, Warren can be scooped up with your final selection in fantasy football drafts this year. He’s going behind plenty of other RB options that have no shot at seeing playing time the same way that he does, which doesn’t even take into account his upside if Harris were to miss time with an injury.

Fantasy managers are looking for players with secure roles in the later rounds of their draft that they’re hoping don’t have to drop to the waiver wire after Week 2. Warren has a guaranteed role in this offense, but if Harris does get forced to the sideline at all in 2023, Warren could be a top-15 RB for fantasy football.

Kyle Yates, Fantasy Football Director

In a realistic worst-case scenario, the talented Warren will back up the heavily worked Harris. Another realistic scenario — one that would be more favorable for Warren — places him firmly as the 1B option alongside Harris.

That could translate to 150 touches for Warren in a seemingly ascending offense. Knowing that he’d probably be the bell cow if Harris missed time, this is too good a situation to pass up, especially with an ADP that suggests he’s only borderline draftable in 10-team leagues.

BJ Rudell, Betting & Fantasy Football Analyst

Chase Brown, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

The legal cloud hanging over Joe Mixon has been well-documented. Despite letting Samaje Perine walk, the Bengals added college bell cow Chase Brown in the draft, who caught 27 passes as a senior at Illinois while racking up 328 carries. He’s ready to take over if needed.

Meanwhile, Mixon’s averaged only 3.8 yards per carry in his last 400 attempts. The mystique of Mixon should be counter-balanced with simple realities: He’s a longshot to start all 17 games, and he might not even be around for the fantasy playoffs. Brown is the ultimate cheap hedge.

BJ Rudell, Betting & Fantasy Football Analyst

Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

I certainly did not have 30-year-old Odell Beckham Jr., coming off a twice-torn ACL, having a higher ADP than 23-year-old Rashod Bateman on my 2023 fantasy bingo card.

In a positive environment, we’ve seen what Bateman can do. In the first two weeks last season, he scored 13.9 and 20.8 fantasy points, respectively.

With a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monkey, a healthy Lamar Jackson, and a shift to a more pass-friendly offense, I still believe Bateman is the Ravens’ WR1. Yet, he’s priced as if there’s more uncertainty here than I think there is. Take a shot on Bateman later in drafts.

Jason Katz, Fantasy Football Analyst

Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

fantasy football sleepers

Coming into the 2022 NFL Draft, Skyy Moore appeared to be one of the most pro-ready WRs and poised to make an immediate impact at the next level. Unfortunately, that didn’t exactly happen, with Moore ending his rookie campaign with just 267 total receiving yards and one touchdown.

There’s a lot to be said, though, for rookies making the jump from a school like Western Michigan to the NFL. Plus, another full offseason in the Chiefs’ building should do wonders for a talented wideout like Moore.

With Kadarius Toney perennially dealing with injuries and Marquez Valdes-Scantling being a boom-or-bust threat, there’s a massive opportunity for another receiving option to step forward in Kansas City this season. Moore’s skill set suggests that he could take over the vacated slot-receiver role and be a target hog over the middle of the field with his route-running ability.

Fantasy managers got a bit over-excited last season for Moore, and his ADP has taken a dip this year because of it. This is good news for us.

Kyle Yates, Fantasy Football Director

Juwan Johnson, TE, New Orleans Saints

This is as much a “tight end position” thing as it is true belief in Johnson, but I’m willing to buy into what he did last season enough that he could well be the skeleton key that allows you to not address the position in the first half of your draft.

From Week 7 on last season, Johnson was a top-10 TE performer who recorded a catch once every 7.6 routes run. That’s impressive. Like, really impressive. That’s George Kittle territory for a soon-to-be 27-year-old that is now playing in an offense under the quarterback that helped Darren Waller explode.

With Johnson proving capable to end last season and Chris Olave threatening defenses vertically, could this not be a high-volume tight end that requires little investment on your end? We’re looking at a perfect example of a low-risk, high-reward option at a position that is tough to feel good about unless you pay up for the elite. Consider me in!

– Kyle Soppe, Fantasy Football Analyst

Sam LaPorta, TE, Detroit Lions

Can rookie Sam LaPorta become the next T.J. Hockenson? He’ll certainly get every opportunity to do so in this offense beginning on Day 1.

With Jameson Williams suspended for the first six games and a top-heavy receiving corps that drops off significantly after Amon-Ra St. Brown (and Williams), LaPorta could enter Week 1 as the No. 3 offensive option and as the No. 4 option once Williams returns. If that plays out, then he’ll be a steal at his current market price.

BJ Rudell, Betting & Fantasy Football Analyst

Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams

It was a very up-and-down 2022 season for Tyler Higbee, but he still averaged a respectable 8.9 ppg. Last season, Higbee’s 20.9% target share was fourth in the league, and this year’s Rams have a healthy Matthew Stafford and no legitimate option behind elite WR1 Cooper Kupp. If Higbee can match that this season with better QB play from a healthy Stafford, he can return to the ranks of the TE1.

Jason Katz, Fantasy Football Analyst

Jayden Reed, WR, Green Bay Packers

We have to go a bit further down the board to locate Jayden Reed’s name, but he’s someone that I’m targeting heavily in the final rounds of my fantasy football drafts.

While Reed’s production wasn’t eye-catching at Michigan State, there are plenty of reasons to point to that prevented him from putting up spectacular numbers. However, his tape tells us that he’s ready to step onto the field and contribute as a starting wideout right away.

With the top-50 draft capital that Reed received in the 2023 NFL Draft, he should be in line for the starting slot-receiver role in this offense from Day 1. While there are plenty of question marks surrounding Love and how this offense will perform with him behind center, the Packers have a lot of inexperience in their receiving corps going into this season.

Watson and Doubs both showed solid potential during their rookie seasons last year, but there’s no telling what their chemistry with Love will look like instead of Aaron Rodgers. Reed could shock the football world and easily be the target leader for this entire offense in 2023 if Love chooses to lock onto him out of the slot. With the path there for the taking, Reed’s absolutely worth taking a shot on in the later rounds of your draft to see how this situation plays out.

Kyle Yates, Fantasy Football Director

‘Dolphins RB,’ RB, Miami Dolphins

Fantasy drafters often think they are smarter than they really are. Sorry, but it’s true. Everyone wants to fall in love with their sleeper receiver that can step onto the scene or maybe a tight end that can emerge. The truth of the matter is that it’s easier to see your role increase in a fantasy-relevant way at running back than at any other spot on the field.

So why not nab both Miami Dolphins RBs in the second half of your draft and let it play out? We all expect the ‘Fins to score plenty, and that has a way of paying off fantasy running backs, no matter the situation.

Kansas City was the top-scoring team in the league last season … Isiah Pacheco had a fine season, and Jerick McKinnon went bonkers down the stretch. Philadelphia was second in team scoring, and Miles Sanders more than doubled his career rushing TD output. Buffalo was third and are the exception, but fourth was Dallas (two very viable backs), and fifth was Detroit (the NFL leader in RB PPR points).

You get where I’m going here. No back on this roster is a “safe” option, but by grabbing your favorite two of the three, you put yourself in position to realize upside that players picked in that general area simply don’t have access to.

– Kyle Soppe, Fantasy Football Analyst

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