There is one certainty in every offseason: while the hype train barrels forward full steam ahead, things won’t work out perfectly for some players.
While it can be disappointing to see players you drafted or traded for not live up to their potential in the short term, it places some of them in a unique category for the following season: the post-hype sleepers.
Post-hype sleepers aren’t your ordinary sleepers. These players aren’t your run-of-the-mill under-the-radar players. These players were hyped the previous season, didn’t quite live up to their lofty expectations, and now can potentially be had at a discount compared to a season ago.
Here are four post-hype sleepers to keep on your radar before the 2023 fantasy football season.
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- Draft Targets for Every Round: Early | Middle | Late
- Fitz’s Draft Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit
4 Post-Hype Sleepers (2023 Fantasy Football)
The numbers didn’t pop off the page people hoped they would in 2022, but Gabe Davis did tally career-highs in receiving yards, receptions, and targets last season. The Bills did make a premium investment in Dalton Kincaid to help solidify the tight end position. Still, Davis remains firmly entrenched as the WR2 on one of the most explosive offenses in football.
He’s a big play threat best suited for best-ball leagues, but he’s become valuable across the board. In redraft ADP, he’s being selected as the WR44 and coming off the board as the WR45 in dynasty leagues. He finished last season as the WR36, even while failing to live up to the hype. With even a slight uptick in numbers from a season ago, Davis can finish as a high-end WR3 and easily outperform his current cost to acquire him.
Even though it feels difficult to remember, Michael Pittman Jr still finished 2022 as a top-20 option at the wide receiver position. Things went off the rails for the entire Colts’ offense, and subpar quarterback play capped how productive Pittman Jr. and the rest of the Colts’ offense could be despite still receiving a healthy workload.
Pittman Jr. saw 141 targets a year ago compared to 91 for Parris Campbell and 78 for Alec Pierce. Pierce’s opportunities could climb, and Pittman Jr. could drop slightly, but remember that Pittman Jr had nearly 1,100 yards and two more touchdowns on 12 fewer targets in 2022. The addition of Anthony Richardson at quarterback could open things up tremendously down the field, and we could be in store for Pittman Jr’s best season yet. He’s being selected as a fringe WR3 in redraft and a high-end WR3 in dynasty, but I like his odds of finishing as a high-end WR2 in 2023.
2022 was a wild ride for fantasy football managers rostering Cam Akers. There was promise following a miraculous recovery from his Achilles injury, a stint spent in head coach Sean McVay’s doghouse, and then eventually a return to form to close out the regular season.
He’s being drafted as a mid-to-low-range RB2 in both redraft and dynasty, but the second half of his 2022 season suggests there is more meat on the bone than that.
From week 12 till the end of the season, Akers was a top-10 option at the running back position. On film, he looked back to his old self as a more confident, explosive runner, and he is positioned firmly as the team’s top running back for 2023. Akers is a buy in redraft and dynasty and has a realistic path toward finishing as a top-12 running back this season.
Hunter Henry went from finishing as a top-10 tight end in 2021 to finishing as TE22 in 2022, but there’s reason to believe that was primarily a product of the entire offensive scheme for the New England Patriots.
Reviews out of training camp are that Henry is the preferred tight end over the newly signed Mike Gesicki, and the whole New England offense stands a chance at taking a massive step forward in 2023, thanks to Bill O’Brien running the offense.
Hunter Henry is my favorite late-round target at tight end who legitimately has a shot at finishing as a top-12 option in 2023. His yardage totals weren’t terribly far off from what we’ve grown accustomed to with him as a player. He can easily find himself back within the top-12 with some positive touchdown regression.
More Players to Target & Avoid
- Pat Fitzmaurice: (Targets | Avoids) (Premium)
- Andrew Erickson: (Targets | Avoids) (Premium)
- Derek Brown: (Targets | Avoids) (Premium)
- Fantasy Football Sleepers for Every Team (Premium)
- How to Identify Fantasy Football Busts (Premium)
- Erickson’s Guide to Drafting Players on Good Offenses
- Fantasy Football Draft Values for Every Round
- Predicting First-Round Bust Candidates
- DBro’s Wide Receiver Lottery Tickets
- Erickson’s Running Back Lottery Tickets
- Hoppen’s 4 Players Who Could Become First-Round Picks Next Year
- Players to Target in Each Round (v2 | v3)
- Players to Avoid in Each Round
- Late-Round Draft Targets
- Late-Round QB Targets in Superflex Leagues | More QB Sleepers
- Late-Round RB Targets | More RB Sleepers | July RB Targets
- Late-Round WR Targets
- Late-Round TE Targets
- Deep Dart Throw Draft Targets
- WRs to Target in the RB Dead Zone (v2)| RBs to Avoid in the RB Dead Zone | RBs to Target in RB Dead Zone
- Identifying the Next WR1s | Identifying the Next RB1s
- 2022 Duds That Will Become 2023 Studs
- 4 Kickers To Target at the End of Drafts