The term sleepers in fantasy football now is somewhat of a vague term. It used to be that many of us drafted our fantasy teams from an outdated magazine. And there were real values to be had, as many of these fantasy players were basically sleeping and weren’t being talked about like they are now all over the internet, podcasts, etc. But still, even today, there are some fantasy players, especially at the wide receiver position, that are somewhat under the radar and could really pay off on a minimal investment. Here are five fantasy WR sleepers for the 2020 season that fit that bill. Thanks to Flea Flicker for their valuable current Average Draft Position information.
Fantasy WR sleepers for the 2020 season
D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (ADP: 37th Overall & WR13)
OK, the 13th wide receiver off the board isn’t technically a sleeper, but at the beginning of the fourth round in a 12-team league, Moore is an utter steal and a reason why he’s on this top fantasy WR sleepers list.
First off, he is an excellent player with loads of ability and athleticism. He is about to hit the prime of his career. But check this out – Joe Brady is now the Panthers’ offensive coordinator. Brady came from LSU and New Orleans before that, and implemented a Saints-like offense last year for Joe Burrow.
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Last year, Burrow brilliantly played the role of Drew Brees, Clyde Edwards-Helaire played Alvin Kamara’s part, and Justin Jefferson operated out of the slot ala Michael Thomas. Well now, Bridgewater, who comes over from the Saints (not coincidentally), will again do his Brees’ impersonation. Christian McCaffrey can certainly do the running back portion of this equation, and yes, you guessed it, Moore now slots in perfectly in Thomas’ role. We know how tasty that is for fantasy, especially in PPR leagues.
The Panthers also could have the NFL’s worst defense and will be forced to throw in the second half of games. There is an abundance of great wide receivers for you to draft in the third and fourth rounds, and that is the ideal way to properly build your team after taking running backs with your first two selections. Moore is just ahead of his peers in this excellent tier of fantasy wide receivers.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (ADP: 122nd Overall & WR48)
Shepard certainly isn’t a sexy pick, and your league mates won’t weep when you put his sticker up on the board during your fantasy football draft. But Shepard is good at football and doesn’t get enough credit in the regard that he deserves.
Shepard is probably ideally suited for the slot, but that is where Golden Tate, who has a much tougher time getting off press coverage, will make his living for the Giants. However, Shepard also does great work on the outside and is an excellent route runner. In fact, he is one of the league’s best route runners, whether short, intermediate or deep down the field.
Injuries have hurt Shepard’s numbers over the years, and it wasn’t long ago that he played second fiddle to Odell Beckham. But, this should be the year that he stands alone as New York’s best wide receiver above Tate and Darius Slayton. And he is an extreme bargain right now in drafts, making him an intriguing fantasy WR sleeper.
It should also be noted that Shepard and Daniel Jones played seven games together last year. Shepard averaged just over eight targets per game in those contests and was thrown at 27 times over the final three weeks of the season. And in those three weeks, the Giants averaged 31.33 points per game.
Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears (ADP: 151st Overall & WR57)
Miller mostly operates out of the slot for the Bears, but still excels against both man and zone coverage. He’s an excellent route runner with strong after the catch skills. Even with Chicago reconstructing their tight end position, it would be a huge upset if Miller wasn’t the Bears’ second-leading receiver in 2020.
The Bears quarterback situation isn’t optimal, but it’s not like Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky can’t get Miller the football, and overall, the quarterback play should at least be better than it was in 2019.
Last year, Miller battled an ankle injury for the first month of the season, but his production noticeably picked up after that, and he got more in more time working out of the slot after Taylor Gabriel was injured. At the receiver position, he racked up 656 yards and two touchdowns in 2019.
It helps Miller that Gabriel opted out for the 2020 season, and Chicago did next to nothing this offseason in the way of adding wide receivers. 2020 will be Miller’s breakout season. Get on board with this fantasy WR sleeper.
Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP: 227th Overall and WR72)
Shenault seems like the forgotten member of this fantastic rookie wide receiver class because he fell out of the first round in the NFL Draft and didn’t test great at the Combine because of injury. But wow, this guy is just so powerful and explosive.
He is a work in progress, but considering the state of the Jaguars, he very well could fall right into early action opposite DJ Chark with the future in mind. Just get the ball in Shenault’s hands.
And if Shenault does see a lot of early playing time, he will get more rushing attempts than just about any wide receiver in the league. While some may think of Shenault as a boom or bust pick, drafting him as the 227th player off the board equates to little or no risk.
However, he could be very fantasy relevant this year and when all said and done, a top fantasy WR sleeper. The icing on the cake here is that Jacksonville faces a favorable slate of pass defenses in 2020.
Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts (ADP: 200th Overall and WR75)
For quite some time with the Los Angeles Chargers, Philip Rivers had a slew of weapons in the backfield including Melvin Gordon, Justin Jackson, and Austin Ekeler. But he also loved throwing the ball around to Keenan Allen out of the slot, which is where Campbell will be lining up this year. And Campbell tore it up from the slot at Ohio State.
Campbell isn’t the highly refined route runner near Allen’s level. Still, he is the more explosive athlete, and although we didn’t see it during his rookie season because of his slew of injuries, he is exceptional with the football in his hands.
Campbell has a rare combination of both speed and quickness. And like Shenault, Campbell will probably be handed the ball with some regularity as he learns the finer points of his position. There is a lot of ability here and quite a bit of opportunity in a well-constructed offense.
But best of all, Campbell costs you next to nothing in your fantasy draft. Roll the dice on his extreme talent and get one of my fantasy WR sleepers for the 2020 fantasy football season.
Matt Williamson is a Senior NFL Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @WilliamsonNFL.