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Early Fantasy Football Sleepers (2023)

Early Fantasy Football Sleepers (2023)

The 2022 fantasy football season has concluded. But is it ever too early to start thinking about next year?

For those looking to get an early edge on their league mates for the 2023 season, you’ve come to the right place. Obviously, we have to take any expectations with a grain of salt, as the playoffs and offseason could change our opinions of these players. Using our Expert Consensus Dynasty Rankings, let’s take a look at some potential sleepers to target in 2023.

Draft day will be here before you know it, after all.

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to 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 by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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Early Fantasy Football Sleepers (2023)

Trey Lance (QB – SF): QB13 ECR

It’s hard to find a sleeper at quarterback, but Lance is the definition of a sleeper candidate. Unfortunately, we never really got a chance to see what Lance could do in his second season, as his only full game was in a monsoon in Chicago before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2.

But Lance has since been replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo and now Brock Purdy. The 49ers’ offense has done just fine without him. And depending on how far San Fran goes in the playoffs, Mr. Irrelevant could supplant the former No. 3 overall pick as the team’s starting quarterback.

But I’m not convinced that Brock Purdy is the long-term solution in San Francisco. He’s obviously executing Kyle Shanahan’s game plans well and has plenty of weaponry around him. But we won’t see what Purdy’s really made of until the postseason.

Lance still has the draft capital, the dual-threat ability and a loaded group of talent. After disappointing fantasy players in 2022, he could come at a value in drafts.

Cam Akers (RB – LAR): RB32 ECR

Akers has had a tremendous close to the season after starting the year in Sean McVay’s doghouse. He’s averaged at least five yards per carry in his last three games and has shown glimpses of the playmaking ability that made him a second-round pick. Plus, he’s doing this with no Matthew Stafford or Cooper Kupp.

After being on the trade block in the fall, Akers could enter 2023 as Los Angeles’ featured back. Of course, there are tons of questions regarding the Rams, particularly whether McVay will walk away from coaching. But Akers is another guy who fantasy players may have given up on after burning them for much of the 2022 campaign.

Khalil Herbert (RB – CHI): RB33 ECR

I’ve been a fan of Khalil Herbert this entire season, and I’m not jumping ship now. Herbert missed a chunk of the season with a hip injury but could be in line to be Chicago’s featured back if they opt to let David Montgomery walk in free agency. Herbert is a talented runner with a nice burst and power. Chicago has the No. 1 pick in the draft, a ton of draft picks and a franchise QB in Justin Fields. Herbert could be a breakout if he becomes the lead runner.

Diontae Johnson (WR- PIT): WR34 ECR

It’s really, really easy to sleep on Diontae Johnson. A fourth-round pick in some leagues, Johnson was hardly a WR2 most weeks. However, there’s still reason to believe. Johnson caught 86 balls for 882 yards but failed to break the end zone. That’s an anomaly for someone with as many catches as Johnson. Just four touchdowns would have made him a top-3o receiver, which isn’t elite but shows just how much his lack of touchdowns hurt him from a fantasy perspective.

Kenny Pickett showed strides as the season went on. And while George Pickens could be the touchdown maker in the passing game, Johnson will be due for positive regression in an offense that could take a step forward in 2023.

Calvin Ridley (WR – JAX): WR39 ECR

Remember Calvin Ridley? The guy who had a 1,300-yard, nine-touchdown season in his last full campaign in 2020? Well, Ridley is coming off his yearlong suspension for gambling and has a new home in Jacksonville, where he could be the primary outside receiver for Trevor Lawrence. To say fantasy players are sleeping on Ridley might be an understatement. They may have forgotten about him entirely.

Wan’Dale Robinson (WR – NYG): WR49 ECR

I’m not entirely sure what Robinson’s role looks like in the NFL. But I know he’s a playmaker. Robinson showed spurts during his rookie campaign, and the Giants were devising ways to get the ball in his hands out of the slot. In his final game, Robinson caught nine passes for 100 yards. Is he a gadget player? Probably. But with Brian Daboll calling the shots and a better QB under center, the future could be bright for the second-year pro.


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