Long before the NFL regular season begins, fans need to start thinking about the NFL fantasy sleepers for 2023.
There’s no need to talk about waivers or the franchise tag when it comes to fantasy football. Of course, fantasy football can be just as unpredictable as the league itself and there are always fantasy football sleepers to be found.
NFL fantasy sleepers 2023
Keep in mind that finding underrated players in fantasy football can be the difference between winning your league and not winning your league. But who are the NFL fantasy sleepers for 2023 that you should be targeting?
We took a long look at the league and came up with 20 fantasy football sleepers that we think will outperform expectations during the 2023 season.
Somewhat quietly, Jahan Dotson had a promising rookie season. He only had 35 catches, but seven of those went for a touchdown. The Commanders actually had an underrated set of skill players last season despite their last-place finish in the NFC East.
Dotson is easy to overlook because of Washington’s uncertain quarterback situation. But the Commanders have Curtis Samuel and Terry McLaurin to garner a lot of attention from opposing defenses. That should help free up Dotson to do some damage despite being the team’s third option in the passing game.
Fantasy owners probably don’t know what to think about Trey Lance heading into the season. It’s not even clear if he’ll be the starter for the 49ers or if he’s even their best option.
But he’s someone who could be worth a flier in the last round or two of a draft. We know he has arm talent and is capable of picking up fantasy points with his legs. It’s just a matter of Lance getting an opportunity to play.
Playing opposite Justin Jefferson has worked out for Adam Thielen in recent years, and now Jordan Addison has a chance to do the same. Obviously, there is some level of risk with rookie wide receivers because not all of them make an immediate impact.
But that’s part of what could make Addison one of the more underrated players in fantasy football. While Addison wasn’t quite as productive as expected at USC last year, he’s just two years removed from having over 1,500 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns at Pitt. He’s got the explosiveness to produce, especially with defenses trying to take away Jefferson.
After three seasons in the league, Jordan Love is still a mystery. Despite having fewer than 100 career pass attempts, we know he will be the starter in Green Bay this season.
Knowing that is enough to consider him a fantasy sleeper in 2023. He’s obviously far from a sure thing. But Love has the athleticism to pick up fantasy points with his legs. He also has an intriguing group of young skill players around him, so there is plenty of untapped fantasy potential with Love.
Much like some of the other NFL fantasy sleepers in 2023, Rondale Moore could be overlooked because of an uncertain quarterback situation in Arizona.
He’s also not lived up to his promise during his first two seasons in the league. But that could change this season. No matter who is at quarterback, with DeAndre Hopkins gone, Moore should have more opportunities to catch the ball and put together the best season of his career.
There are certainly plenty of examples of rookie running backs making a big fantasy impact. That includes backs drafted on Day 3 like Eric Gray.
Keep in mind that this will be a slow play with Gray on the depth chart behind Saquon Barkley and Matt Breida. But Barkley has an injury history and Breida hasn’t produced much in three consecutive seasons. That could make Gray someone to consider in the late rounds or on the waiver wire.
Look for Jameson Williams to be a deep sleeper in fantasy drafts this year. He didn’t have much of a rookie season because of injury and will also miss the early part of the season because of a suspension.
But flashback to two years ago and he was an explosive player at Alabama, averaging nearly 20 yards per reception. There is an obvious risk in taking Williams in a fantasy draft anytime before the last couple of rounds. But his upside makes him worth the risk.
During his time in Cincinnati, Samaje Perine just didn’t get the snaps he could have been getting. He’ll now be backing up a young running back in Javonte Williams who missed most of last year with an injury, so Perine should be getting more touches with the Broncos this year.
Obviously, he may not get as many snaps as a starting running back. But if he’s on the field more, Perine will get plenty of use in the passing game, making him an excellent sleeper candidate, especially in PPR leagues.
Over the first two years of his career, Nico Collins has been reasonably productive. There haven’t been a ton of touchdowns, hurting his fantasy value. But that has a chance to change with C.J. Stroud at quarterback for the Texans.
Stroud will allow Houston to push the ball down the field more than in past years. Collins figures to be a beneficiary of that and could have a breakout season in 2023.
Among rookie running backs, Chase Brown is one of the more intriguing fantasy options. Given Joe Mixon’s inconsistency over the years, Brown will have a chance to work his way into regular snaps in Cincinnati.
Keep in mind that Brown had two 1,000-yard seasons in college, so he’s more than capable of making the most out of his opportunities.
Compared to Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis doesn’t get nearly enough attention for the role he plays in Buffalo’s dynamic offense. Also, keep in mind that Davis probably isn’t going to put up the kind of fantasy numbers that are on par with no. 1 receivers.
But remember that Davis has at least six touchdowns in each of his first three seasons in the league. He also plays on a team that is bound to score a lot of points. That makes Davis the kind of fantasy sleeper who can provide a reasonable amount of consistency.
With Dalvin Cook gone, Alexander Mattison will be Minnesota’s starting running back this year. He’s obviously never been high on anybody’s fantasy wish list because his opportunities have depended on Cook’s health.
But Mattison has shown plenty of flashes when he’s had a chance to get regular touches. It’s not like the Vikings have any other proven options trying to take his job. That should give Mattison plenty of touches this season, opening the door for a big fantasy season.
If nothing else, John Metchie is an excellent sentimental pick. He overcame an ACL injury early in his college career and then missed his rookie season last year because of leukemia. But if he’s healthy and cleared, which he’s on track to do, Metchie will be starting for the Texans.
By the end of his college career, Metchie was a polished and reliable receiver, making him the type of player who can post impressive numbers early in his NFL career.
Obviously, Dulcich is not a known commodity among fantasy tight ends. But he’s at the top of the depth chart in Denver and should see plenty of targets, especially if the Broncos can get their act together on offense.
It’s hard to blame fantasy players for overlooking Diontae Johnson after he failed to score a touchdown last season. After that, he’s surely not going to be high on fantasy draft boards this year.
On the other hand, Johnson has averaged close to 94 catches and just under 990 receiving yards over the last three seasons. At the end of the year, his numbers get to a good place. Surely, not scoring a touchdown last season was an anomaly that won’t repeat itself, making Johnson an undervalued fantasy player heading into 2023.
Given the quarterback situation in Indianapolis, it’s easy to see why fantasy players would overlook any skill player on the Colts. But with good tight ends hard to find, Jelani Woods could be a viable option.
He’s in line to be Indy’s starter after flashing some promise last season. Plus, the Colts aren’t likely to take a lot of chances down the field, which should give a tight end like Woods plenty of targets in 2023.
There is plenty of mystery surrounding the Carolina offense this season. Bryce Young figures to be at quarterback while veterans DJ Chark and Adam Thielen will be obvious targets. But Terrace Marshall might be the most explosive receiver on Carolina’s roster.
He finished just shy of 500 receiving yards last year, so the production isn’t there just yet. But if Young can provide some level of consistency at quarterback and hit the ground running, Marshall is a receiver who can make a big impact and could be a steal late in fantasy drafts.
His overall numbers over his first two seasons in the league don’t look overly impressive. But Khalil Herbert averaged 5.7 yards per carry last season and finished with over 700 yards in just 13 games and one start.
But he’s in line to be Chicago’s starting running back this season, which changes the equation. Herbert will surely benefit from opposing teams knowing that Justin Fields is a threat with his legs, helping to open up holes and create opportunities for Herbert to bust out for some long runs, making him one of the top NFL fantasy sleepers in 2023.
Despite only being a third-round pick this year, Jalin Hyatt won the Biletnikoff Award last season for the Tennessee Volunteers.
He proved last year that he can be a productive receiver while his speed will give Hyatt a chance to turn some heads in the NFL. It remains to be seen if he can work his way into regular snaps with the Giants, but he’s surely a deep sleeper with potential.
It’s a little weird to consider Russell Wilson as one of the top NFL fantasy sleepers in 2023, but that’s just how bad he was last season. He obviously fell several rungs down the ladder when it comes to fantasy quarterbacks.
But with Sean Payton in Denver and plenty of receiving talent in Denver, Wilson has a chance for a bounce-back season. Keep in mind he’s traditionally added plenty of fantasy points as a runner as well. While Wilson isn’t worth an early-round pick, he still has good value in the mid-to-late rounds of a fantasy draft.