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Devy Sleepers to Target (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jan 22, 2022
Donovan Edwards

Donovan Edwards should see lots of added opportunity in his Sophomore season at Michigan.

With the college football season coming to an end, devy startups are right around the corner. The best time to take advantage of a player´s ADP is early in the off-season. With how tumultuous the off-season has already been with opt-outs and transfers, there’s a ton of uncertainty with depth charts out there which means knowing who you should be drafting and where the breakouts will come from is crucial. With that being said, I wanted to start giving you an idea of who should be some sleepers that you look to draft in your devy leagues. The challenging aspect of a sleeper list is the term “sleeper” is very subjective in devy circles. It depends on how big your leagues are and how many rounds you are drafting from. So to make sure I hit every league, I’ll be looking at sleepers in different categories. Hopefully, you can take this list and add some targets to any devy league formats you find yourself playing in.

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Top Prospect Sleepers

RB Donovan Edwards (SO – Michigan)  6’0″, 202lbs

When identifying sleepers among the top prospects grouping, I look for players who will outperform their current ADP. Based on ADP as of January, running back Donovan Edwards fits that criteria. He’s currently drafted in the back end of the second round in startup drafts, and that’s a value. With Michigan RB Hassan Haskins moving on to the NFL, the depth chart will open up, and Edwards should be the main benefactor. While he will split time with fellow running back Blake Corum, I expect Edwards to breakout his sophomore season. He’s already demonstrated he’s a great runner, but he’s also proven he can be a solid receiving threat. Michigan moved him to receiver to get him touches, and he finished the season with 20 receptions for 265 yards and one touchdown. Edwards also added 174 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. In a run-heavy offense where he’ll receive volume and be given ample opportunity to prove his ability, he’s a player I’m looking to add in all my leagues. 

Current Startup ADP: Late 2nd/Early 3rd

WR Ja’Corey Brooks (SO – Alabama) 6’2″, 190lbs

This season, Alabama has been decimated by injuries, especially at the receiver position. Brooks had 15 receptions for 192 yards and two touchdowns this season. His best game was against Cincinnati in the CFP, where he scored and added sixty-six yards on four receptions. Brooks is a gifted athlete who played at powerhouse IMG last season. He exhibits an excellent catch point and has the quickness to get off the line against press coverage. With all the injuries and fellow freshman receiver Agiye Hall disappointing this season, Brooks could see himself as Alabama’s WR2 on the depth chart heading into 2022. He is one of my favorite wide receiver targets in early drafts this season, and I expect his value to climb as the year goes on. 

Current Startup ADP: Late 4th/Early 5th

Mid-Tier Sleepers

RB Israel Abanikanda (JR – Pittsburgh) 5’11”, 215lbs

The actual test of a devy manager is their ability to find mid-tier RBs who can potentially break out and become a first-round pick in rookie drafts the following year. Kenneth Walker III and Javonte Williams are examples of this rise you hope for in drafting. One player that fits that mold is Pittsburgh running back Israel Abanikanda. While his usage was frustrating as he split time with both Vincent Davis and Rodney Hammond Jr. this season, he showed enough flashes for me to take a chance on him. He rushed for 651 yards on just 123 carries and scored seven touchdowns. He’s also shown ability in the receiving game with 24 receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Abanikanda has the size and frame you want from the RB position. If he can stay healthy, he also shows explosion at the line of scrimmage and can break big plays. Based on his current ADP, he´s worth a shot if you are looking for a breakout.

Current Startup ADP: 8th Round

RB Jaylan Knighton (JR-Miami) 5’10”, 190lbs

Knighton has been one of my guys since he signed with the Hurricanes two seasons ago. After having flashes of success in 2020, his real breakout came in 2021, where he rushed for 561 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games. He also added 280 yards receiving and three touchdowns. While those numbers don’t seem substantial, he answered a crucial question about his long-term durability and whether or not he could be a bell-cow type back. Even at his size, he showed the ability to carry the load for the Hurricanes and didn’t seem limited by the increased workload. That’s a positive sign. As a runner, his explosiveness and long speed stand out about Knighton as a prospect. He is a big-play threat every time he touches the ball. If he can build on his 2020 performance, and add some size, Knighton should see his value rise among devy leagues. 

Current Startup ADP: 9th Round

Deep Sleepers

RB Kendre Miller (JR – TCU) 6’0″, 215lbs

With Zach Evans transferring to Ole Miss, the door is wide open for Kendre Miller. While stepping in for Evans last season, Miller finished the year with 623 yards and seven touchdowns and looked like a legitimate running back in the Big 12. He is a powerful runner and exhibits fairly good speed in the open field. He looks to be the clear #1 back heading into the 2022 season and should see a significant increase in volume. With his talent look for him to easily outperform his current ADP and may continue the trend of running backs who can vault themselves into the top five at their position.

Current Startup ADP: 16th Round

WR Nathaniel Dell (JR – Houston) 5’10”, 155lbs

Nathaniel Dell is one of those stories you love to hear about. The former Alabama A&M transfer has developed into one of the best wide receivers in the AAC. This season he set career highs in receptions (90), yards (1,329), and receiving touchdowns (12) and has slowly become a viable devy asset. There are no questions that there will be concerns about his size, and he’ll need to get to at least 170 pounds if he wants a chance at being drafted. But his playstyle is electric. His ability to change directions in traffic and his explosive change of direction will fit well with NFL systems. Next season, the production will be there, and he could see a rapid rise among devy circles. 

Current Startup ADP: 19th Round

WR Puka Nacua (JR-BYU) 6’2″, 210lbs

Nacua originally started his college football career at the University of Washington. Injuries and lack of playing time derailed his career there, but Nacua has always been someone on my radar. While he seemingly is a better C2C asset, Nacua has the potential to become a devy sleeper if he can produce at a high level in 2022. As a high school prospect, he broke Utah state records for career receptions (260), yards (5,226), and receiving touchdowns (58) and was as unstoppable as they come. Last season at BYU, he had 43 receptions for 805 yards and six touchdowns, and he took over as the clear #1 option in BYU’s passing attack. It’s not out of the question that we see more significant numbers in 2022. 

Current Startup ADP: 20th Round

Incoming Freshman Sleepers

 

RB Nicholas Singleton (FR – Penn State) 6’0″, 210lbs

When I mention devy sleepers who are freshmen, I want to clarify that they may be well known in recruiting circles and top prospects. Still, these players are all guys who I’m willing to overdraft in my startup drafts because I believe their value will only increase. Think TreVeyon Henderson from Ohio State. Nicholas Singleton is a running back prospect that I think could be in the same tier as Henderson. Singleton is a four-star recruit, and he is the No. 2 player in Pennsylvania, the No. 4 running back nationally, and the No. 49 overall prospect in the Class of 2022. Singleton rushed 165 times during his senior season for 2,043 yards and 41 touchdowns. He’s a big-play back and can carry the load for his team. He should step in right away as the best running back in the backfield, and I expect him to become the starter very early on in the season. If he can show that he can also be a receiving threat in college, the sky is the limit for him as a prospect. 

Current Startup ADP: 3rd Round

WR Adam Randall (FR – Clemson) 6’3″, 215lbs

Clemson needs offensive weapons, and lucky for them, they are getting Randall in 2022. Randall is a physical specimen who excels at running after the catch. He clocked in at just over the 11-second mark in the 100 meters and has shown to be a long strider on the football field. The Clemson wide receiver room is wide open, and Randall should compete for playing time immediately. He had a solid senior year with 1,267 receiving yards on 65 catches with 16 touchdowns. He also had 325 yards rushing on just 45 attempts and seven touchdowns, giving him 1,592 yards from scrimmage and 23 touchdowns. Look for Randall to jump-start that Clemson offense. 

Current Startup ADP: 14th Round

WR Kyion Grayes (FR – Ohio State) 5’11”, 170lbs

The last freshman you should watch is Ohio State commit Kyion Grayes. Honestly, at this point, you should just draft every wide receiver that commits to Ohio State. But in all seriousness, Grayes is a player that I’ve been watching since his junior season. His senior season dealt with an injury but still had 21 receptions for 388 yards and four touchdowns. As a junior, he averaged just under twenty yards per catch and demonstrated that he’s one of the most explosive receivers in the country. Along with his explosiveness, he displays excellent hands and can win at the catch point. Grayes could be one of the next great Ohio State receivers, and he fits the profile of a receiver who will excel in their system.

Current Startup ADP: 14th Round

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Kevin Coleman is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Kevin, check out his archive and follow him @Daboys_22.

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