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Fantasy Football Sleepers: Diontae Johnson, Zack Moss, Jameson Williams (2024)

There are few things more exciting than fantasy football sleepers! Everyone wants to nab the next fantasy football sleeper during their drafts. Hitting on a fantasy football sleeper can mean the difference between winning your league and… well not. Let’s dive into a few early fantasy football sleepers to consider as you prepare for your drafts.

Fantasy Football Sleepers to Draft

Diontae Johnson (WR – CAR)

ADP: WR40

For Diontae Johnson and his fantasy managers, the 2023 season could be considered a disappointment. For starters, he missed most of the beginning of the season after suffering a hamstring injury in Week One, costing him four games. But even for the balance of the season, Johnson’s numbers were not what they used to be. The 3.9 receptions-per-game was his lowest season average since his rookie season, and it resulted in the lowest target and reception totals of his career. But injury or not, Johnson was pushed down the pecking order when it came to Steelers’ targets as second-year receiver George Pickens emerged. Pickens ended the season with over 1,000 yards, while Pittsburgh shipped Johnson off to Carolina in the off-season, where the latter will play on the last year of his current contract, hoping to get another.

Why you should draft: While most of Johnson’s stat line last year wasn’t great, there were signs of hope. For example, the 14.1 yards-per-reception was the best of his career by more than two yards-per-reception and shows that, even at age 28, Johnson still has gas left in the tank.

Johnson was brought in to help second-year quarterback Bryce Young bounce back after a disastrous rookie season. Despite playing in 16 games, Young failed to top 3,000 yards and had just 11 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He did manage to throw to veteran Adam Thielen enough to get him to 1,000 yards, but the offense, in general, was a disaster. Enter new coach Dave Canales, who guided Baker Mayfield to his first Pro Bowl appearance in his lone season as offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay. Between Johnson and Canales, the hope is that Young can improve on his rookie season, which, in turn, would boost Johnson’s production and fantasy stats.

There is very little competition when it comes to targets. The Panthers had a ragtag group of pass catchers last year that did nothing, including the 33-year-old Thielen and 2023 second-round pick Jonathan Mingo. Those two are back along with 2024 second-round pick Xavier Legette, which means Johnson has the pole position when it comes to targets.

Zack Moss (RB – CIN)

ADP: RB28

Zack Moss has made the most out of the opportunities he’s had since being drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. As the primary backup in Buffalo and Indianapolis, he averaged more than 100 carries and nearly 400 yards over his first three seasons as a pro. It doesn’t seem like much but it’s more production than several other running backs drafted in that same range. But 2023 was Moss’ quasi-breakout season when he stepped in for Jonathan Taylor and looked like a bona fide starter. In 14 games, eight of which he started between Taylor’s holdout and injury, Moss turned 183 carries into 794 yards and five touchdowns. On average, he was putting up RB2 numbers, whether he was starting or spelling Taylor.

When Moss signed this off-season in Cincinnati, it was still a question of his role. He signed a two-year deal for $8 million, which isn’t automatic starter money. But after the Bengals failed to sign another back or draft one in the 2024 NFL Draft, Moss is in the driver’s seat to lead the running back room.

Why you should draft: No other position in fantasy football is as dependent on a situation as running back. It’s not how much a team runs but who’s running and the competition. In Cincinnati’s case, head coach Zac Taylor has always favored one back to lead his rushing attack as coach. In this case, it was Joe Mixon who, throughout Taylor’s tenure, never finished lower than 14th when it came to fantasy scoring among running backs (except in 2020 when Mixon missed most of the season).

The role is what makes Moss so appealing this season. With no competition, unless you count Chase Brown or Trayveon Williams, Moss is in line for a decent-sized workload. If Moss gets as many carries as Mixon did last season, he’ll top 1,000 yards. He’d also see 50-plus receptions and push him into low-end RB1 territory. Don’t sleep on him.

Jameson Williams (WR – DET)

ADP: WR49

Of the six receivers drafted in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, none may have had a more disappointing start to their career than Jameson Williams. He might have the most disappointing start of any receiver in that draft class. The Lions took him 12th overall despite tearing his ACL just months earlier in the National Championship Game, meaning Williams spent most of his rookie season recovering. So, with 2022 as a redshirt season, 2023 was supposed to see Williams break out. That is until he was suspended for gambling violations that saw him miss six games. By the time he returned, he couldn’t crack the regular Lions rotation who were on their way to the NFC Championship Game. In his limited time, he was impressive. He saw 42 targets and caught 24 of them for 354 yards and two touchdowns.

Why you should draft: With recent reports of Jameson Williams being a man on a mission, the arrow is pointing straight up on his fantasy prospects. The talent is there as proof of his production in limited action and his time at Alabama. But 2024 may be the year that the talent meets the opportunity. The Lions’ third leading pass catcher last season, Josh Reynolds, is off to Denver. And with him are 64 targets that will need a new home. If Williams can siphon off most, if not all, of those targets, he’ll be a clear third option behind All-Pros Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta. Being third on a team that was ninth in the league last year with 36 pass attempts per game is a good spot to be in.

At a minimum, if Williams matches what Reynolds did, he’ll be worth his ADP. But there’s no reason he can’t build on it and far surpass it for his fantasy managers.

More Fantasy Football Draft Advice

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