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5 Fantasy Football Draft Sleepers to Target (2024)

5 Fantasy Football Draft Sleepers to Target (2024)

A lot can, and will, change between now and September, but it’s never too early to identify sleepers! One of the difficulties, however, is determining who we classify as a sleeper. Where is the cutoff point? With that in mind, and knowing all the things that can change before the start of the season, it’s only fair that we dig deep for our sleepers for 2024. These guys are unlikely to generate a ton of hype over the next few months, so they should remain safely asleep on draft boards.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Early Redraft Sleepers to Target

Dontayvion Wicks (WR – GB)

One year ago, we weren’t hearing a whole lot about Dontayvion Wicks as a player to watch in the NFL Draft. After being selected in the fifth round by the Green Bay Packers, Wicks was mostly an afterthought, even amongst Packers fans. The Pack picked up three pass catchers ahead of Wicks, including second round picks Luke Musgrave and Jayden Reed, and Tucker Kraft in the third round. With Christian Watson banged up early in the season, Wicks flashed enough to create intrigue around his potential, but his snap count reduced significantly upon Watson’s return. As the season progressed, Wicks worked his way into the lineup more consistently and showed that he can be a player for the Packers, finishing with 581 receiving yards and four touchdowns. That was good enough for the ninth-most receiving yards among rookie wide receivers, but Wicks still trailed teammate Jayden Reed, who finished with 793 yards and eight touchdowns. Reed will be a hot commodity next season, and rightfully so, meaning Wicks is likely to be overlooked.

The rookie out of Virginia finished as PFFs 26th-ranked receiver with a grade of 77.8 while placing 19th in passer rating when targeted with a total rating of 119.9. He posted the fourth-highest win rate versus man coverage at 50.5%, according to PlayerProfiler, while his 10 yards per target were eleventh-best among wide receivers. Wicks was efficient as a rookie, with 52.5 yards per game in the ten games that he received four or more targets. PFF recently named Wicks as the Packers’ “secret superstar,” partially due to his 19th-best 5.6 yards after catch per reception total. He is electric with the ball in his hands and beats man coverage at the fourth-highest rate in the league, and the only thing limiting Wicks is more opportunities. It would be wise for Matt LeFleur and Jordan Love to feature him more consistently next season, and I suspect they will.

Chris Rodriguez Jr. (RB – WAS)

A rookie season stat line of 51 carries for 247 yards and two touchdowns doesn’t stand out at first glance, but digging a little deeper reveals some reasons why Chris Rodriguez Jr. could be a value next season. Although it’s impossible to project backfield situations and workloads in February, Antonio Gibson will be a free agent and is expected to depart Washington, DC. To be clear, Rodriguez has a different skill set than Gibson, but this should open up opportunities in this backfield next to Brian Robinson.

Rodriguez is a thumper who finished second in yards after contact per attempt among running backs with 50 or more carries at 2.4 yards. He finished with the 37th-best PFF grade at 77.1, besting Brian Robinson’s grade of 75. He also out-produced Robinson in yards per carry, with 4.8 compared to Robinson’s 4.5, and his yards after contact per attempt landed far ahead of Robinson’s 1.7. The two backs skill sets have some overlapping features, but Rodriguez is particularly good in short yardage situations. Robinson handled eight carries inside of the five-yard line last season, converting two of them into touchdowns. That’s not a bad mark, but this is an area where Rodriguez can excel. He’s also capable of handling a heavy workload, but his limitations in the passing game are a concern. With an upright, punishing style, Rodriquez has some James Conner to his game, and Kliff Kingsbury may be able to coax similar production as the Commanders’ new offensive coordinator. I don’t anticipate Rodriguez being the starter in 2024, and the Commanders may even add more talent to the backfield, but this only buries his value even further. The nice thing for Rodriguez is that he doesn’t necessarily need 20 carries per game if he becomes the short yardage and goal line back, but I can see a scenario with him mixing in on early downs and cornering the market for short yardage opportunities.

Michael Wilson (WR – ARI)

The Cardinals are currently the heavy betting favorites to land the biggest prize of the rookie wide receiver class: Marvin Harrison Jr. It’s no secret that Arizona needs an injection of talent in its receiver room. Trey McBride was the team’s leading receiver in 2023 with 825 yards, and Marquise Brown led the wide receivers with 574 yards followed by rookie Michael Wilson at 565. It feels like a near-certainty that Brown is on his way out of the desert after an underwhelming season. Outside of projecting what the depth chart will look like in 2024, Wilson has a lot to build on after being selected in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Through the first eight weeks of the season, nobody was questioning that draft pick any longer. Wilson posted 401 yards and two touchdowns on 25 grabs across those eight weeks, pacing towards 852 yards over the course of 17 games. Then, Wilson began dealing with a shoulder ailment, halting his upward trajectory. Wilson missed four games and collected six weeks’ worth of injury reports, and was then quiet until the last two weeks of the season, in which he posted 130 yards and a touchdown. Outside of the time he spent playing through injuries and adjusting to a new quarterback, Wilson was quietly one of the better rookie wide receivers in the league. After a full offseason to work with Kyler Murray, Wilson will have an opportunity to establish himself as a featured part of the offense, even if a shiny new rookie is lined up on the opposite side of the field.

Chuba Hubbard (RB – CAR)

Admittedly, I don’t believe Chuba Hubbard is a particularly special player, but I think he’s a good player. Plus, he shares a backfield with Miles Sanders, so there’s that. Sanders began the season as the starter while the ink from his four year, $25M contract dried, but he struggled, to say the last, gaining over 50 rushing yards in just two games throughout the entire season. With 190 rushing yards through the first five weeks, Sanders then missed Week 6 and did not regain his starting role for the rest of the season.

From Week 6 through Week 18, Chuba Hubbard was the RB18 in half point PPR. The Panthers gained more trust in Hubbard as the season went along. He handled 20 or more carries in four of the last six weeks and saw at least two targets in four of those games. Hubbard went on to tally 902 rushing yards and five touchdowns, adding in 233 receiving yards.

Although the Panthers’ offense doesn’t project to be the most fruitful for running backs next season, it’s unlikely they will add significant pieces to the backfield. With a new coaching staff and a new play caller in Dave Canales, the offense should be more creative in how they utilize Chuba. And with so many holes across the roster, these Carolina cats cannot afford to spend more cap space or draft capital on the running back position. The new coaching staff has no commitment to Sanders; he has an out in his contract after the 2024 season and that feels like an inevitably. I’m not sure Hubbard will be featured as a workhorse in 2024, but he proved that he can handle that workload late in the 2023 season and Sanders is unlikely to reclaim a large piece of the backfield.

Khalil Herbert (RB – CHI)

Okay, I admit, I tabbed Khalil Herbert as a potential breakout player ahead of last season. I’m going back to the well again here, and you may be scratching your head, but hear me out. The exact reason you’re scratching your head is why Herbert is likely to fall into the sleeper category. D’Onta Foreman is a free agent and most of the fantasy excitement will shift towards Roschon Johnson. He was a trendy rookie name heading into the season and he had his moments, but he rushed for just 350 yards and posted a 66.8 PFF rushing grade. Herbert, on the other hand, finished with the 21st-highest rushing grade at 79.4.

It’s easy to forget that Herbert was in the process of taking over the backfield when he suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 5. He rushed for 103 yards on 18 carries in Week 4 and 76 yards on 10 carries in Week 5 prior to the injury. The third-year back then went on to miss five weeks before returning in Week 11. By this time, D’Onta Foreman was the leading man and it took a few weeks for Herbert to get back to full speed, but he closed out the season with 264 yards in the last three games. He was the RB11 in half point PPR scoring in the final three weeks, registering two 100-yard rushing games.

Herbert has yet to fully breakout at the NFL level, so many will be skeptical, but he’s been extremely efficient. He’s handled upwards of 12 carries in 11 career games, and in those games, Herbert averaged 99.5 rushing yards and 16.4 fantasy points. His 4.9 yards per carry is ninth-est among running backs across the last three seasons, and the fourth-year pro is stepping into a contract year. If he can remain healthy, I like his chances to hold off Johnson and lead the backfield. That role could be even more valuable role if the offense takes a step forward with a certain rookie quarterback behind center.

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