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5 deep sleeper wide receivers to consider in 2021 fantasy football leagues

For fantasy managers looking to roll the dice on some deep sleepers, there are a few wide receivers to keep in mind.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (81) catches a touchdown pass while defended by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland (21) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium.  Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver has deepened in recent years courtesy of some strong draft classes. Accordingly, virtually every team has multiple high-quality options at the position, complicating the process of finding deep sleepers among wideout. Even so, some overlooked pass catchers remain available to pad out fantasy rosters.

Just as the term “sleeper” has changed meanings over the years, so has the related term “deep sleeper.” To many, the latter now means what the former once did: an off-the-radar player with the potential to become relevant in fantasy.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos

Bigger names like Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Noah Fant garner all the attention among the Denver Broncos’ pass catchers. However, Tim Patrick quietly led the team in touchdown receptions and finished second and third in receiving yards and catches, respectively. Regardless of which teammates he shares the field with or the quarterback under center, Patrick produced results worthy of fantasy consideration.

With Teddy Bridgewater expected to start at quarterback, the passing game could see an overall boost. That change should benefit all the main receivers, but Patrick’s ADP (92nd among wideouts) doesn’t suggest that upside.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers

Despite the high-profile drops and mistakes, Marquez Valdes-Scantling finished second on the Green Bay Packers last year in receiving yards (690) and third in touchdown receptions (six). Even if he remains largely a vertical threat at this point in his career, Valdes-Scantling still offers considerable value to the No. 1 offense from a season ago.

Certainly, the ambiguity surrounding Aaron Rodgers affects Valdes-Scantling’s upside, and that situation might not have a resolution until training camp or later. However, if Rodgers does return to the fold, Valdes-Scantling should outperform many of the receivers currently ahead of him in ADP.

Denzel Mims, New York Jets

While everyone associated with the New York Jets endured a forgettable 2020 campaign, wideout Denzel Mims suffered more than most. Mims missed the first six weeks of the season while recovering from a troublesome hamstring and saw just 44 targets the rest of the way, an inauspicious start for a second-round pick.

However, the outlook appears much brighter for Mims in Year 2. The Jets have a new head coach and, with him, a new offense in the style of the San Francisco 49ers’ system. The team also invested the No. 2 overall pick on Zach Wilson, the talented quarterback out of BYU, and signed veteran wideout Corey Davis. The changes should have a significant positive effect on Mims’ production, giving him a strong chance to outperform his current ADP (75th among wideouts).

Breshad Perriman, Detroit Lions

Other than tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Detroit Lions saw every key piece of their receiving corps depart this offseason along with longtime starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. With Jared Goff now set to start under center, hopes don’t appear to be terribly high for the Lions’ passing game in 2021.

Even so, receivers have thrived in the past with Goff at the helm, and the recently signed Breshad Perriman appears as well-positioned as anyone in Detroit to benefit from the available targets. Especially given Tyrell Williams’ well-documented injury issues, Perriman has more upside than his current draft position suggests.

Darius Slayton, New York Giants

The arrival of free agent Kenny Golladay and first-round pick Kadarius Toney has muddled the New York Giants’ receiving corps, but that doesn’t justify Darius Slayton falling as far down the ADP rankings as he has (currently 84th among wide receivers). Back-to-back seasons of 740 or more receiving yards should not go ignored and, with Golladay pulling away coverage, Slayton could go off for even more fantasy production in 2021.