The 2023 NFL season is right around the corner and you’re probably getting ready for your season-long fantasy football draft. If that’s the case, planning for who you’re going to take in the first round is crucial. But really what can make or break your team and season is who you select in the later rounds.
Looking for sleepers for fantasy football isn’t about finding players nobody has heard about, because that isn’t happening. When we refer to sleepers, we’re highlighting players who should outplay their average draft position. Instead of the term “sleeper,” we can replace it with “value” and still be on the right track.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite deep sleepers that could help you win your fantasy football leagues.
Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
One of the best ways to identify good deep sleeper picks is looking at the depth chart of some of the top offenses. With the Chiefs, we know that Patrick Mahomes is going to target TE Travis Kelce frequently. Aside from Kelce, there’s a lot of question marks at wide receiver. That group is made up of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney and Moore, who got some work as a rookie last season. We see second-year WRs break out all the time and Moore is a great situation. Even if he isn’t starting, he should see snaps in three-wide set and get some gadget/designed plays. The upside feels too good for a player being drafted outside the top-125 overall and top-50 at WR in most formats.
Sam LaPorta, TE, Detroit Lions
Same deal as Moore, we’ve got a player in a pass-happy offense who could end up being the second or third receiving option for Jared Goff. LaPorta was drafted high and should see most of the snaps at TE, at least the passing work. WR Jameson Williams is suspended for the first six games of 2023. Behind Amon Ra St. Brown is Marvin Jones, Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond. So there’s a clear path to being the second option for Goff for LaPorta. If nothing else, he’ll see more work in the early season, which isn’t a bad value outside the top-150 overall and top-15 TEs being drafted.
Brock Purdy, QB, San Francisco 49ers
There’s a scenario in which Purdy wins the starting QB job over Trey Lance. If that’s the case and he can hold onto it, Purdy should outplay his draft range of QB20. Last season, Purdy put up around 230 yards and over 2.0 TDs per game in the six-game sample. Stretch that out over the course of a 17-game season and there’s no reason Purdy can’t be a serviceable starter in a 12-14 team format. We know the 49ers offense is going to be creative and Purdy will have plenty of weapons between Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle. Purdy isn’t a bad late-round QB2 to stash on your bench for a bye week or if any injury pops up.
Zamir White, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
This is very much reliant on RB Josh Jacobs either sitting out or being traded. If either of those happen, White could be in line to take over as RB1 for the Raiders. White is being selected on average just inside the top-200 overall and as a cool RB61. If White is one move away from being the starter, that feels like a pretty good lottery ticket late in drafts. If you’re taking Jacobs earlier in the draft, snagging White is essential. Though, there’s also the chance the Raiders trade Jacobs and sign a veteran back in FA before the season. Still, if White is your last pick, he could provide big-time upside.
K.J. Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings let go of veteran WR Adam Thielen this offseason. Minnesota then drafted WR Jordan Addison in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Many believe that Addison will be the No. 2 wideout for QB Kirk Cousins behind star Justin Jefferson. But Osborn has been a pretty productive third option the past two seasons. He’s racked up 110 receptions for over 1,300 yards and 12 TDs over that span. He should have a better grasp on the offense and more trust from Cousins than Addison. If the rookie falters in any capacity, Osborn could supplant himself as the No. 2 wideout on a very good passing offense. Right now, Osborn is going outside the top-200 overall and is barely being drafted outside deeper leagues.