Fantasy Football RB Sleepers 2021: Gus Edwards and A.J. Dillon could offer value

    Fantasy football RB sleepers are hard to define, but when you find one, they're worth their weight in gold for your fantasy team.

    Every year we look for fantasy football RB sleepers to help us win our league from the draft. However, true sleepers have been coming from the waiver wire in recent years. Either way, here are some fantasy RB sleepers to watch as we head into the 2021 season looking to help you hoist a championship.

    Fantasy Football RB Sleepers 2021 | AFC

    Before we get into it, I want to quickly define what a sleeper is to me. In the current market that’s oversaturated with advice and opinions, no one is sleeping on anyone really. Every player has a profile and a breakdown, and any smart manager knows pretty much every player.

    To me, a sleeper is someone who is going deeper in drafts or being undrafted entirely that can become a starter for your team. It doesn’t have to be right away, but they’re someone you can stash for later. With that in mind, let’s look at some fantasy football RB sleepers in the AFC.

    Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens

    It’s not entirely fair to put Gus Edwards on a list of fantasy football RB sleepers, but I’m doing it anyway. I think he’s being criminally underrated in the Baltimore offense. According to Sleeper, Edwards’ consensus ADP for PPR leagues is 135.7 as the RB43 overall. This seems insane to me, given his 2021 outlook.

    Last year, the Ravens ran the ball more than any other team in the league. In 2020, they rushed a total of 555 times for 3,071 yards. They ran for 191.9 yards per game, and that was before they lost Mark Ingram to free agency. Now, it’s just QB Lamar Jackson, RB J.K. Dobbins, and yep, you guessed it, Edwards.

    Edwards isn’t going to be a monster, but his volume is hard to ignore. Last year, Edwards ran the ball 144 times, which was more often than any other running back on the roster. Only Jackson ran the ball more with 159 carries. I fully expect Dobbins to take a step forward, but Edwards is a smash player at his current value.

    Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots

    Next up on my list of fantasy football RB sleepers is rookie RB Rhamondre Stevenson for the Patriots. I’m a diehard RB Damien Harris truther, and I love grabbing Harris in the eighth round of drafts when I can. However, if I can’t get Harris, I’m targeting Stevenson with one of my last picks instead.

    According to Sleeper, Stevenson is the RB69, going in the 21st round of drafts. I don’t know about you, but most of my redraft leagues don’t get that deep. This means you could even pass up on him entirely and grab him off waivers before the season starts. That’s crazy value.

    We all saw what Stevenson could do in the first week of the preseason. Stevenson lit up Washington’s backup defense, rushing 10 times for 127 total yards and 2 touchdowns. He looked sharp but still has a long way to go before he’s really a fantasy-relevant player. Regardless, he’s worth keeping an eye on as the season gets closer.

    Fantasy Football RB Sleepers 2021 | NFC

    My NFC options for fantasy football RB sleepers aren’t quite as “sleepy” as the AFC, but they’re still players I think need to be mentioned due to their potential. Both of these players could finish as top-20 RBs by the end of the year. Their ADP, however, shows them going far below that expected finish, so don’t avoid them in your drafts.

    A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers

    First on my list of NFC fantasy football RB sleepers is Green Bay’s A.J. Dillon. Similar to Edwards, Dillon might not be a true sleeper anymore. Yet, I think he deserves mention here anyway because of his current value.

    Dillon is going off draft boards in the ninth round as RB38 (No. 102 overall). This puts him in bench territory in leagues where you only need to start eight players. Zero RB activists love Dillon as well due to his low cost and high upside. He’s got value no matter how you like to draft, though.

    The Packers were eighth in team rushing last year with 2,118 total yards on the ground. Green Bay let Jamaal Williams walk in free agency, and he accounted for 505 of those yards himself. I fully expect Dillon to pick up that slack — and if Aaron Jones goes down — Dillon becomes a league-winner. He’s easily worth his ninth-round valuation and someone I’m grabbing wherever I can.

    Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers

    Technically, I’m not sure if Trey Sermon belongs on this list of fantasy football RB sleepers. But who cares? I’m doing it anyway. Sermon is going ahead of everyone else on the list so far as RB34 and 89th overall, but he’s the second 49ers RB off the board.

    Raheem Mostert is the first 49ers RB taken as RB29 at 73rd overall, and I have no idea why. The 49ers went through an injury-plagued season last season, and that included Mostert himself. It’s hard to project injuries, and I avoid using the term “injury-prone,” but you can’t ignore them either. Jeff Wilson was their leading rusher last year and is already down with an injury. This opens the door for someone to step up, and I don’t think it’s Mostert.

    Sermon is a rookie joining a crowded backfield, but it’s one that’s expected to get a lot of work. Someone’s going to be the leader of the pack. The team drafted Sermon in Round 3 for a reason. Even if he’s slow to acclimate, I still think Sermon is the back you’re going to want at the end of the year, and in the eighth round, that’s great value.

    Deep sleepers to keep an eye on in 2021

    Here are some deeper fantasy football RB sleepers to keep an eye on as well.

    Mike Boone, Denver Broncos

    Aging vet Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams are getting all the buzz, but Boone could be a flex option if either of the two gets hurt. The team acquired him before the draft and liked him enough to sign him to a two-year deal worth up to $4.5 million. That says something to me, at least.

    Qadree Ollison, Atlanta Falcons

    Mike Davis is the starter, but for how long? He struggled with the bell-cow workload taking over for Christian McCaffrey in Carolina last year. If Davis misses time, Ollison could be a waiver wire darling based on opportunity alone.

    Tevin Coleman, New York Jets

    Remember Tevin Coleman? Man, he’s been around. Coleman now plays for the Jets in another crowded RB room where practically anyone could be the starter. It could even be Coleman himself! He’s not worth drafting, but keep an eye out as the season approaches to see if he’s getting hyped as the starter. He could be start-worthy here and there if given the RB1 job for the Jets.

    Xavier Jones, Los Angeles Rams

    The Rams lost Cam Akers to an Achilles injury and are now relying on Darrell Henderson. Henderson hasn’t been known to carry the load well himself and could get hurt along the way. This could open the door for Jones to step up and shine on a better offense with QB Matthew Stafford at the helm. He’s not draftable but could be a FAAB target after Week 1.

    Andrew Hall is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football. You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewHallFF and find more of his work here.

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