Top Fantasy Football Sleepers to Draft (2022 Fantasy Football)
Sleepers may no longer be hidden gems given how much fantasy football news and information is readily available. Still, there are players available later than they should be who provide huge upside for the wise fantasy football manager that drafts them. Let’s take a look at a few of the top fantasy football sleepers that you should be targeting this draft season.
Rankings noted using FantasyPros half-PPR Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and Consensus ADP.
Quarterback Sleepers to Target
Jameis Winston (NO): ADP QB22 | 158 Overall
The additions of Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave, and Michael Thomas are massive benefits for quarterback Jameis Winston, who is starting to emerge from this offseason as an intriguing late-round quarterback fantasy option. Winston played with almost zero weapons a season ago and still managed to average 17.5 fantasy points per game – good for QB14 on the year. The Saints quarterback also finished the season with the league’s sixth-highest passer rating (102.8) and the lowest turnover-worthy play rate (3%) of his career. Winston led all QBs last year in fantasy points per dropback (0.64).
Daniel Jones (NYG): ADP QB28 | 193 Overall
Per the Athletic’s Dan Duggan, the Giants want to unleash quarterback Daniel Jones. It’s music to the ears of fantasy drafters looking for a late-round quarterback with upside, because Jones has the skill set to be that player in a better offensive environment.
Before a Week 5 concussion, Jones was the QB8 overall and in points per game (23.3). The Giants quarterback ranked third in rushing yards per game (47/game) and second in PFF passing grade.
This offseason, New York drafted the best offensive tackle in the draft with the selection of Evan Neal at No. 7 overall. It provides Jones the protection he desperately needs as he looks to prove to the New York organization that he is worthy of being the long-term answer at quarterback.
With the Giants upgrading their entire offensive line through free agency and the draft, Jones is back on the fantasy QB2 radar in Superflex formats. Recall that last season he was playing behind PFF’s third-worst graded offensive line.
He will also benefit greatly from the No.1-easiest strength of schedule for QBs.
Running Back Sleepers to Target
Rhamondre Stevenson (NE): ADP RB38 | 103 Overall
Rhamondre Stevenson experienced a very successful rookie season that should not be overlooked. After fully escaping the Bill Belichick doghouse in Week 9, Stevenson earned top grades across the board.
He was PFF’s third-highest graded running back (84.2). Stevenson also ranked 13th in rushing yards and in yards per route run (1.41). For fantasy, the rookie running back was the RB25 in total points scored, eight spots behind his backfield teammate Harris.
There’s a high ceiling for Stevenson, especially if you ask former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich. The ESPN analyst went as far as saying that Stevenson “…will be one of the better, if not one of the top three, running backs in the league based on what I saw with his strength, explosion and catch-and-run ability.”
Rachaad White (TB): ADP RB47 | 130 Overall
Rookie RB Rachaad White looks just like Leonard Fournette‘s backup at the moment. But there’s an outcome where he delivers massive upside should Lenny go down with an injury or revert back to Fat Lenny.
The Arizona State product ranked first in his class in receiving yards, No. 1 in yards per route run (2.24) and second in receptions (43).
His 16% target share is absolutely bonkers for a running back at the college level, and it did wonders to generate his third-round draft capital.
The same sentiment can be made for White’s 31% dominator rating and 3.33 offensive yards per snap over the past two seasons. Both would have ranked in the top three in last year’s class.
His yards per snap and PFF receiving grade also both rank first among the class. White’s career receiving grade was superior to anybody from last year’s class as well.
After a strong showing at Senior Bowl week – PFF’s highest-graded rusher (74.9) – and at the NFL combine – and NFL Combine performance – 38-inch vertical jump (86th percentile), 125-inch broad jump (87th percentile) – White has league-winning potential if given the opportunity in the Buccaneers offense.
Darrel Williams (ARI): ADP RB55 | 161 Overall
RB Darrel Williams signed with the Cardinals this offseason.
Former teammate Patrick Mahomes vouched for Williams, informing Arizona that he was a back he both liked/trusted. Williams posted 1,000 yards from scrimmage, scored 8 TDs and had zero fumbles on 191 touches in 2021.
He also proved that he could shoulder the load with Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined with injury. In the six games that Williams was the clear-cut starter in the Chiefs backfield, he averaged 19 fantasy points per game (PPR) on 18.3 touches per game. Also averaged nearly 100 yards from scrimmage (96.3).
Williams is the James Conner backup to target across all formats, as he’d likely inherit the RB1 role should the injury-prone starter go down. His body of work as a receiver and goal-line back presents him with immediate fantasy RB1 upside.
The former UDFA led the Chiefs backfield in red-zone touches and averaged 4.5 receptions per game as the starter in 2021. His 47 catches overall ranked ninth.
Tyrion Davis-Price (SF): ADP RB62 | 188 Overall
I didn’t even think that highly of the San Francisco 49ers running back prior to the 2022 NFL Draft, citing his lack of elite explosiveness – seventh percentile vertical jump, 39th percentile broad jump – lack of pass-game pedigree, and underwhelming 19% dominator rating during his final breakout season at LSU.
With arguably the worst yards per scrimmage play in the class, TDP initially looked like a carbon copy of the 49ers’ third-round pick last season Trey Sermon. His profile as a gap scheme runner makes the pick questionable to a zone-heavy team.
Davis-Price is also not elusive – 29th in broken tackle rate per Sports Info Solutions – so he will require wide-open lanes to be effective. He also struggles to create yards after contact. His 2.8 yards after contact per attempt ranks 28th in the class.
But all of these concerns are being baked into his free ADP, which isn’t capturing his initial burst and long speed – 77th percentile 40-yard dash and 73rd percentile 10-yard split time – or the important metric regarding his Year 1 projection: Round 3 draft capital. And above all, the 49ers’ offense breeds an efficient running game like no other.
It’s not hard to envision a scenario where the 49ers are forced to turn to their physical bruising rookie running back in the wake of a potential injury to an undersized Elijah Mitchell in 2022 or just use the two in tandem.
San Fran’s coaching staff liked how Davis-Price bullied over defenders in the 4th quarters of games at the college level, so it’s easy to picture him in a similar “finisher” role in the pros.
Wide Receiver Sleepers to Target
Christian Kirk (JAC): ADP WR44 | 106 Overall
Everything came together for Christian Kirk in 2021 because he was finally used from the slot. Unsurprisingly, Kirk established career highs across the board in targets (112), receptions (83), and receiving yards (1,035) while filling the void left by an injured DeAndre Hopkins.
Kirk commanded a 21% target share without Hopkins in the lineup and averaged 13.8 fantasy PPR points per game – a top-10 per-game average. In addition, he finished with the second most receiving yards from the slot among all wide receivers.
Kirk should stay kicked iside with the Jaguars after they got little production from that position in 2021. Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault ranked in the bottom 10 with 1.30 yards per route run from the slot. Kirk ranked 13th with 1.80 yards per route run from the slot. He is shaping up to be the new Amari Rodgers for Trevor Lawrence, operating from the inside.
At worst, Kirk takes shape as a strong WR3 asset who can elevate to WR2 status quickly with an up-and-coming quarterback.
Kadarius Toney (NYG): ADP WR47 | 114 Overall
It remains to be seen how the Giants new coaching staff is viewing Kadarius Toney heading into Year 2. They were rumored to trade the polarizing wide receiver before the NFL Draft, and the selection of Wan’Dale Robinson early in Round 2 isn’t a vote of confidence that is going to see an ultra-expanded role in Year 2.
However, what is clear with Toney is the talent. He flashed future target-magnet potential after commanding a 25% target rate per route run in 2021 – tied for 7th best in the NFL in 2021.
Josh Palmer (LAC): ADP WR69 | 179 Overall
Mike Williams‘ return to the Chargers in free agency puts a slight damper on the sophomore breakout for Josh Palmer. But, there’s still fantasy appeal to rostering the No. 3 option in a Justin Herbert-led offense.
As a rookie, Palmer averaged over seven targets per game and scored a touchdown in his three games with a 60% snap share. He was also extremely efficient in the end zone, catching three of his five total end-zone targets for TDs.
His separation skills – 71st percentile, equal to Keenan Allen and 92nd percentile vs single coverage – further showcase his versatility.
Tight End Sleeper to Target
Gerald Everett (LAC): ADP TE21 | 166 Overall
Gerald Everett was solid during stretches of the 2021 season, particularly after Russell Wilson returned from injury. The ex-Rams tight end ranked as the TE9 in fantasy points per game (PPR) from Weeks 10-16 while running a route on 74% of dropbacks.
Everett proved he can be a featured No. 1 tight end for the Chargers coming off a career year. He achieved career-highs in receptions (48) and receiving yards (478) and wreaked havoc with the ball in his hands, forcing 11 missed tackles after the catch – sixth-most among tight ends.
His peripheral metrics in Seattle’s offense – 12% target share, 63% route participation and 17% target rate per route run – were nearly identical to Jared Cook on the Chargers offense last season.
Cook finished as TE16 overall which seems like Everett’s fantasy floor heading into 2022. The tackle-breaking tight end finished the 2021 season just .4 points per game short of Cook’s average (8.3 versus 7.9) despite playing in an offense that ranked dead last in pass attempts per game (29.1).
L.A. ranked third in that category last season (39.6).
Breakout tight ends are generally athletic players who earn above-average route participation in high-powered offenses. Everett fits the profile of next season’s star at the position.
FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.