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7 Post-Hype Sleepers (2021 Fantasy Football)

Aug 20, 2021

Taking post-hype players is a great way to get big-time value in fantasy drafts. These are athletes who generally failed to live up to their expectations last year and have seen their draft cost plummet as a result. The ones that make ideal picks have an average draft position (ADP) that is lower than their expected output. Our featured pros are here to identify who those players could be. The following guys are mainly veterans who were injured or are just flat-out underrated or young ballers who didn’t have the breakout season that was previously expected of them.

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Q1. What RB that was overhyped as a sleeper in past seasons and is falling in draft rankings this season are you targeting the most and why?

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC)
“It’s an easy vote for Edwards-Helaire. Drafted as a first-rounder last season as the RB7, CEH’s stock has fallen to an ADP of RB14 near the end of the second round. He logged 217 total touches as a rookie and grabbed 36 of 54 targets, but struggled at the goal line and scored just five times. He’s due for positive touchdown regression and is still a featured piece of one of the NFL’s greatest offenses. He’s a top-10 RB for me this season, and I’ll happily buy the dip.”
– Zachary Hanshew (FantasyPros)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the biggest post-hype sleeper in my eyes this year. All of the upside and volume potential fantasy owners saw in CEH last year is still there this year. He is still in the top-scoring offense in the NFL, he should dominate the carries, and his volume in the passing game should increase. We saw his potential pre-Le’Veon Bell and I believe the borderline top-10 RB he was early last year is what we will be getting all season long.”
– Dylan Licciardo (FF Gamers)

David Johnson (HOU) 
“I get it … the thought of Johnson on my fantasy team makes me physically cringe too, but just hear me out. It’s been a long time since he was the overall RB1 in fantasy back in 2016, but I don’t think people realize he quietly put together a solid 2020 campaign. Johnson finished as the RB19 in half-PPR scoring with over 1,000 total yards and eight touchdowns — a very impressive stat line considering he was only in 12 games. Yes, this offseason saw a number of concerns arise for Johnson, including the Watson situation and the Phillip Lindsay/Mark Ingram signings, but the reality remains that he is still a starting RB in the NFL, coming off a top-20 RB fantasy season going as the RB38! If you drafted multiple RBs early then getting an upside RB won’t mean much because even if they hit, you’re probably not going to start them anyway. So when I’m in that situation, I’m looking for someone I can use in a pinch for bye weeks or injuries who I know is good for 8-12 points each and every week — and that player is David Johnson.”
– Benjamin Klotz (Touchdown Squad)

Raheem Mostert (SF) 
“We know that Trey Sermon is likely to take on a bigger workload as the season progresses, but that’s okay since Mostert’s acquisition cost isn’t that high as of now. Entering his age-29 season, Mostert’s profile includes injury concerns after playing just eight-of-16 games in 2020 due to ankle and knee issues. However, his profile also includes some electric playmaking ability. Mostert averaged over 5.0 yards per carry and over 10.0 yards per catch last year. Mostert can still play, and he’ll have early-season fantasy value as an underrated RB2/flex come draft day.”
– Brendan Tuma (FantasyPros)

Q2. What WR that was overhyped as a sleeper in past seasons and is falling in draft rankings this season are you targeting the most and why?

Antonio Brown (TB) 
“From Weeks 9-16 last season, Brown had an 18.0% target share on the Bucs. Chris Godwin (18.4%) and Mike Evans (22.4%) technically had higher shares, but they’re also being drafted much earlier than AB entering ’21. Tom Brady loves the guy and it was clear he wanted to get him involved. We also know that receivers on concentrated passing attacks, such as Tampa Bay’s, come with sneaky upside. Brown appears locked into a meaningful role and could blossom into a borderline WR1 should either Godwin or Evans miss time this year.”
– Brendan Tuma (FantasyPros)

JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) 
“Smith-Schuster has fallen in many fantasy players’ minds. As such, he now presents huge value to me as a post-hype sleeper. Smith-Schuster can provide fantasy rosters with a solid WR2 season. He was targeted heavily in the red zone (seventh-most red-zone targets). His overall target volume will still be incredibly high as well. When healthy, he has been a consistent WR2 with upside for much of his career, and you can get him outside the top-30 wide receivers right now in drafts.”
– Dylan Licciardo (FF Gamers)

Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE) 
“Not long ago, Beckham Jr. was a top-five fantasy WR, and yes, while his injury history is concerning, there’s simply no way a healthy OBJ doesn’t return value on his current WR27 ADP. In terms of his health, he managed to avoid the PUP list and reports are he’s feeling great. As for his role on the field, the days of OBJ consistently seeing over 10 targets a game are over, but with his talent, he doesn’t need that to produce. This offense is going to be run-oriented while mixing in deep shots to keep the defense from stacking the box. Who do you think those deep balls are going to? Beckham is a great pick after loading up on RBs early as a WR2 or WR3 with far more upside than his peers and he’s someone I’m targeting in all my leagues.”
– Benjamin Klotz (Touchdown Squad)

Christian Kirk (ARI) 
“Kirk has fallen all the way to WR71 in the latest ADP rankings, and fantasy managers have largely forgotten him. The additions of A.J. Green and Rondale Moore mean more mouths to feed, but Kyler Murray is a consensus top-three or top-four quarterback. He’s got to throw to someone, and he should have enough volume to support multiple fantasy-relevant receivers. Could a move to the slot be wholly beneficial to Kirk? If so, he could return immense value this season.”
– Zachary Hanshew (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for sharing their post-hype sleepers. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for advice all year round.

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