Facebook Pixel

    Fantasy Football Sleepers 2023: Players To Target Include Jaylen Warren, Skyy Moore, and Roschon Johnson

    Who are some of the top fantasy football sleepers for 2023? Let's dive deep into some names you might not be targeting that you should.

    There used to be a time in history where fantasy football managers could find out one or two players that were “sleepers” in drafts and they would be the whole reason why they won their league that year.

    Nowadays, everyone covers fantasy football as it has surged in popularity, which means that it’s incredibly difficult to find the players that can you the edge you need to dominate your league.

    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.

    Behind in research? Get a trade offer in your dynasty or redraft league? Not sure who to start or sit this week? Leverage PFN’s FREE fantasy tools — our Fantasy Football Draft Kit, Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Calculator, and Start/Sit Optimizer! Put the finishing touch on your A+ draft with 1 of our 425+ fantasy football team names.

    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 has evolved and changed over the course of the offseason, but here are our final choices as we head into the last bit of fantasy football drafts happening!

    Elijah Moore, WR, Cleveland Browns

    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 football league by Week 5.

    He now finds himself as a member of the Cleveland Browns after an offseason trade, and we could see Moore 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 are currently 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 being drafted outside the top 40 WRs in consensus ADP, there’s no downside to drafting the explosive playmaker.

    – Kyle Yates, Fantasy Football Director

    Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers

    Keep reading other parts of our website, and you’ll see that I’m down on Christian Watson. Enter 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 a receiver in 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.

    We saw him rack up 80 catches during his final season at Nevada, and without a true alpha pass catcher in this offense, who is to say he can’t become Jordan Love’s comfort option? At this price and with this favorable schedule, there is no harm in trying to find out.

    – Kyle Soppe, Fantasy & Betting Analyst

    Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers

    Although now relegated to being Christian McCaffrey’s backup, Elijah Mitchell did average 9.9 PPR ppg 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

    When trying to identify high-upside handcuff options to target in the later rounds of your draft, you want them to fit certain criteria.

    Does this player have standalone value if the starter doesn’t get hurt? In the case of Elijah Mitchell, yes. Mitchell averaged 10.5 touches, 5.83 yards per touch, and just under 10 fantasy points per game in PPR formats with Christian McCaffrey in the lineup in 2022.

    McCaffrey’s splits with Mitchell in/out of the lineup support this. CMC averaged just 10.5 rushing attempts per game with Mitchell in the lineup and 15.54 without him in.

    Does this player have elite-level upside if the starter gets hurt? Yes. Mitchell finished with five RB1 fantasy outings in 11 games played in 2021.

    Sure, CMC played 17 games last season, but when you take into consideration that he’s missed 24 games over the two seasons preceding his 2022 campaign, Mitchell has the traits of a high-upside handcuff to McCaffrey in an RB-friendly system that has the type of league-winning upside you want for the RB43 off the board.

    – Derek Tate, Fantasy Football Analyst

    Hunter Henry, TE, New England Patriots

    This pains me as the president of the Jonnu Smith fan club, but Henry could be a very fantasy-relevant option in this New England Patriots offense this year. Bill O’Brien has consistently featured the TE position throughout his coaching career, and Henry could easily soak up targets here in 2023.

    Yes, Mike Gesicki is in town. However, he’s currently banged up at the time of writing and is also on a minimal one-year contract. The Patriots kept Henry around for substantial money this season, and he’s absolutely flying under the radar in fantasy circles.

    According to Underdog Fantasy’s ADP, Henry is being drafted as the TE27. This means that you can completely punt on the position until the final round, even in your deeper leagues, and secure a player with a projected very high floor this season.

    – Kyle Yates, Fantasy Football Director

    Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Cleveland Browns

    Justin Jefferson, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. Those are the only players to join DPJ on the list of players who had at least 500 yards and a 62% catch rate on balls thrown at least 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 and a higher catch rate on those 10+ 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 his skill set, there will be down weeks, but 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 & Betting 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 running back.

    It’s entirely possible that Singletary is just a backup, but that’s priced into his very low ADP. He’s already worth it as a pure handcuff. But what if last year’s RB30 sees 10-12 touches a game? Singletary could wind up with standalone RB3 value with RB2 upside in the event of a Dameon Pierce injury. That is a shot worth taking late in drafts.

    – Jason Katz, Fantasy Football Analyst

    Roschon Johnson, RB, Chicago Bears

    Pop quiz: Which team led the league in rushing yards in 2022? If you answered the 3-14 Chicago Bears, then you would be correct. This unit averaged a healthy 177.3 yards per game on the ground and currently has 201 carries up for grabs with the departure of David Montgomery.

    As is the case with a plethora of rookie RBs, the returns on Roschon Johnson may be limited to start the season. He will need to climb the depth chart to overtake Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman for a meaningful amount of snaps to become relevant in fantasy.

    But once Johnson gets on the field, it could be hard to keep him off of it. Interestingly enough, Johnson actually logged more yards after contact per attempt than his Texas Longhorn teammate Bijan Robinson (4.3 to 4.1), which speaks to Johnson’s efficiency and ability to create with the ball in his hands.

    In what is expected to be a run-heavy offense, Johnson is well worth investing in with a 13th-round pick at his current ADP of 150 overall.

    – Derek Tate, Fantasy Football Analyst

    Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

    Coming into the 2022 NFL Draft, Moore appeared to be one of the most pro-ready WRs, and he seemed poised to make an immediate impact at the next level. Unfortunately, that didn’t exactly happen last season, and Moore ended 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, and another full offseason in the Chiefs building should do wonders for a talented wideout like Moore.

    Fantasy Football Sleepers 2023: Players To Target Include Jaylen Warren, Skyy Moore, and Roschon Johnson

    There’s a massive opportunity for another receiving option to step forward in Kansas City this season, with Kadarius Toney perennially dealing with injuries and Marquez Valdes-Scantling being a boom-or-bust threat. 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

    Can we just get a mulligan on this whole Moore breakout WR thing? Simply put, last year was a complete disaster for those who invested heavily in Moore with the expectations he would win the battle for Tyreek Hill’s target share from the 2021 season.

    Moore’s learning curve proved to be a bit too much to overcome during his rookie season. While that likely contributed to his lackluster WR122 finish in PPR formats, the experience he gained in his rookie year could prove to be very beneficial heading into this season. He lined up all over the formation and got reps with all three receiver positions in the offense.

    That learning curve may be a bit steeper in 2023 for Toney, who is going a full 3-4 rounds earlier in fantasy drafts at the moment. From Week 15 all the way through the Super Bowl, Toney never saw a snap percentage higher than 35% in any of those contests.

    To be fair, Moore’s snap percentage wasn’t particularly great either, and the usage rate favored Toney, but with JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 101 targets and 282 slot snaps no longer in the picture, Moore’s ADP in comparison to Toney represents a lower risk with a similar upside and opportunity to see his role expand in a high-powered offense at a cheaper draft-day price.

    – Derek Tate, Fantasy Football Analyst

    Juwan Johnson, TE, New Orleans Saints

    This is as much a “tight end position” thing as it is true belief in Johnson, but I am 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 performer at the position 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 are 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 & Betting 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 more than proved himself last season. Although still clearly Najee Harris’ backup, Harris did see 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. Plus, he’s 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 Najee Harris, and questions began to creep up regarding whether or not Warren could simply take the job outright from him.

    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 this backfield can be fantasy-relevant options week in and week out 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 options at RB that have no shot at seeing playing time the same way that he does, and that 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 they 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

    Nico Collins, WR, Houston Texans

    Some WR prospects get dealt the equivalent of the abysmal 7-2 hand in a game of Texas Hold‘em with regard to QB play to start their NFL career. Nico Collins falls into this category.

    While some may jump on the Robert Woods, John Metchie, or Tank Dell bandwagons to champion this WR room, I believe Collins has the strongest case to lead this group.

    Over his nine healthy games last season, Collins averaged seven targets per game. If you focus on his four-week stretch from Week 10-13, Collins averaged nine targets per game which produced 19 receptions and two touchdowns.

    I understand those aren’t league-winning-type numbers, but if C.J. Stroud is even marginally better than Davis Mills under center, the path to Collins posting a top-30 WR season is far more plausible than you would think, given his current ADP of WR60.

    – Derek Tate, Fantasy Football Analyst

    Jayden Reed, WR, Green Bay Packers

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

    While his production wasn’t eye-catching at Michigan State, there are plenty of reasons to point to that prevented Reed 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 for an NFL team 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 Jordan 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.

    Christian Watson and Romeo 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 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

    “Enter Name Here,” 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 is easier to see your role increase in a fantasy-relevant way at the running back position than at any other spot on the field. So why not nab both Dolphin backs in the second half of your draft and let it play out? We all expect the Dolphins to score plenty, and that has a way of paying off fantasy RBs, no matter the situation.

    The Chiefs were the top-scoring team in the league last season … Isiah Pacheco had a fine season, and Jerrick McKinnon went bonkers down the stretch. The Eagles were second in team scoring, and Miles Sanders more than doubled his career rushing touchdown output.

    The Bills were third and are the exception, but fourth was the Cowboys (two very viable backs), and fifth was the Lions (the NFL leader in RB PPR points). You get where I’m going here. No back on this roster is a “safe” option, but grabbing your favorite two of the three and you put yourself in position to realize upside that players picked in that general area simply don’t have access to.

    – Kyle Soppe, Fantasy & Betting Analyst

    Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

    I won’t pretend to have any clue as to how the Eagles will distribute touches in their three-headed backfield. What I do know is Jalen Hurts is the truth, and this offense is going to score a boatload of points. Neither Rashaad Penny nor D’Andre Swift have been the pinnacles of health over their careers.

    Plus, there are reports from credible beat reporters that Kenneth Gainwell might already be the Eagles’ RB1. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but the potential that it is, combined with Gainwell’s upside if one of Swift or Penny gets hurt, is enough for me to want to take some shots on Gainwell late in fantasy drafts.

    – Jason Katz, Fantasy Football Analyst

    Russell Wilson, QB, Denver Broncos

    If you are going to risk buying the ADP dip on a fading superstar, you better have a justifiable reason. Well, despite the disastrous 2022 campaign for Russell Wilson, optimism arrives in the form of one of the best offensive strategists of the last 20 years with new Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton.

    With all due respect to Drew Brees, he was not on a Hall of Fame trajectory until he arrived in New Orleans and paired up with Payton. The upgrade from Nathaniel Hackett to Payton as the Broncos’ head coach is comparable to that of going from Zach Wilson to Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.

    Do I expect Wilson to rattle off 12-straight 4,000-yard passing seasons like the Brees-Payton combination produced? No.

    Do I expect the Broncos to finish dead last in points per game in 2023? No.

    Do I expect Payton to scheme up the likes of Jerry Jeudy, Greg Dulcich, and Courtland Sutton while proving Russ still has enough left in the tank to outperform his current ADP of QB18? Yes.

    – Derek Tate, Fantasy Football Analyst

    Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

    I certainly did not have a 30-year-old coming off a twice-torn ACL Odell Beckham having a higher ADP than 23-year-old Rashod Bateman on my 2023 fantasy bingo card. We’ve seen what Bateman can do in a positive environment. He scored 13.9 and 20.8 fantasy points in the first two weeks last season.

    With a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, 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

    Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers

    While the Packers may have high expectations for their 2020 first-round pick, the same can’t be said about fantasy shareholders and their feelings about Jordan Love. His current ADP of 145 suggests many expect Love to work through some growing pains in his first attempt to fill the MVP-size shoes left behind by Aaron Rodgers.

    But his clean performance in the fourth quarter against the league’s top-ranked defensive unit against opposing passing offenses, the Philadelphia Eagles, gave us a glimpse of the potential upside Love could have in the NFL.

    Surrounded by talented vertical threats like Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, a talented backfield duo in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, and a talented pair of TE prospects with Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft, the Packers offense has plenty of fantasy upside at their current price.

    – Derek Tate, 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. This year’s Rams have a healthy Matthew Stafford and no legitimate option behind elite WR1 Cooper Kupp. Higbee’s 20.9% target share was fourth in the league last season. If he can match that this season with better QB play from a healthy Stafford, Higbee can return to the ranks of the TE1.

    – Jason Katz, Fantasy Football Analyst

    Jerome Ford, RB, Cleveland Browns

    Ford is a complete unknown for a lot of fantasy managers heading into this season. In all fairness, the former Cincinnati Bearcat didn’t see a single touch on offense in 2022 as he was relegated to kick return duties in his rookie season.

    However, Cleveland made it clear that he was drafted to be the eventual Kareem Hunt replacement for this team down the road. He has explosive home-run threat ability, he’s a smooth and capable receiver out of the backfield, and he’s shown this offseason that he’s worthy of commanding the RB2 job in this backfield.

    As the potential third-down back for Cleveland this season, Ford could easily provide solid FLEX value in Full-PPR formats. However, he’s consistently not even being drafted in your typical fantasy football leagues and he often finds his way onto the waiver wire.

    A player that has his talent – plus the role that he’s set to assume this year – should not be sitting on your waiver wire to begin the season. As a last-round selection at best, he’s someone I’m adding everywhere that I can.

    – Kyle Yates, Fantasy Football Director

    Tank Bigsby, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Bigsby lives up to his first name as he rumbles in between the tackles on the football field. He’s a tank coming downhill at you and he’s not afraid to lower his shoulder and drive a defender backwards into the dirt.

    While he has the size and power to punch the ball in at the goal line, he’s also a smooth receiver and he has impressive straight line speed when he finds the open field.

    Looking at the Jacksonville depth chart, Travis Etienne should have a stranglehold on the RB1 title to begin the year, but we shouldn’t be surprised if we see Bigsby’s touch totals increase as the season moves along. If that’s the case, Bigsby’s going to become incredibly valuable for fantasy and he could quickly become a hot commodity on the waiver wire.

    There’s a strong possibility that he doesn’t see enough work to be plugged into your starting lineup for the first month of the season, but when he does get the opportunity, he has the talent to force Doug Pederson to keep giving him the ball.

    – Kyle Yates, Fantasy Football Director

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

    Related Articles