The term “sleeper” has different meanings for different people in the world of fantasy football. Some folks believe it’s simply a player who will outperform his draft position. Others think it’s a relatively unknown or once forgotten player who unexpectedly emerges or re-emerges into a useful fantasy option.
In my opinion, both definitions are true but with a caveat. I don’t see a player as a sleeper if he’s already been a valuable fantasy asset during his career. For example, Aaron Rodgers or D’Andre Swift aren’t “sleepers” to me. Is Rodgers coming off a down year? Yes, but that doesn’t make him a sleeper. The same goes for Swift, who has been considered a top-30 overall pick in the past.
Could these players be labeled as bargains in upcoming fantasy drafts? Absolutely. But they’re certainly not “sleepers” based on my definition. I also consider some rookies to be sleepers, as these players could outperform their draft position and have obviously never yet produced in the pros.
With that in mind, here are eight sleeper wide receivers to target in the late rounds who could be better than we’re expecting in 2023.
Jordan Addison, Vikings
Addison landed in the best spot of any rookie wideout, as he’ll be projected as the No. 2 wideout in Minnesota behind Justin Jefferson. Playing alongside the best wide receiver in fantasy aside, there will be plenty of targets for Addison to absorb after the team parted with Adan Thielen during the offseason. The Vikings were also third among all offenses in pass percentage last season.
Jahan Dotson, Commanders
Dotson showed flashes of fantasy potential as a rookie, scoring seven touchdowns while also putting up 14-plus points five times. While there are questions about the team’s quarterback situation, Dotson will open the season as the Commanders’ No. 2 wideout behind Terry McLaurin. In a best-case scenario, Dotson could bring back No. 3 wideout or flex value in his second season.
George Pickens, Steelers
Pickens showed flashes of potential as a rookie, scoring 14-plus PPR fantasy points seven times. While his overall average of 9.8 points per game wasn’t eye popping, some of his highlight-reel catches certainly were. With a year of experience under his belt and an obvious rapport with Kenny Pickett, Pickens is a candidate to be far better than his draft position would suggest in 2023.
Rondale Moore, Cardinals
Moore is small at 5’7” and 180 pounds, and I’ve written about how tough it can be for such receivers to make an impact. Still, the release of DeAndre Hopkins opens a ton of opportunities for both Marquise Brown and Moore in the Arizona pass attack. While I don’t see Moore being a weekly fantasy starter, I do think he can be a useful matchup-based flex option this season.
Rashod Bateman, Ravens
The Ravens were busy this offseason, adding two veterans, Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor, and a rookie in Zay Flowers at wide receiver. Still, some would say it is Bateman who will be their top fantasy option at the position. A first-round pick just two years ago, Bateman has plenty of potential in an offense that projects to throw the ball more often under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
Romeo Doubs, Packers
Doubs had a nice start to his rookie season, scoring 13-plus fantasy points in two of his first four games. Things went downhill from there, though, as he missed time due to injuries and was overshadowed by Christian Watson. Still, Doubs will be the No. 2 target in the passing game for Jordan Love this season and could end up being their most targeted player. He’s well worth a late flier.
Nico Collins, Texans
The Texans added a bunch of wide receivers in the offseason, including the likes of Robert Woods, Noah Brown and rookie Tank Dell. Still, I see Collins as the most talented of the bunch and the one with the most fantasy potential. He likely won’t be consistent in the stat sheets with so many mouths to feed, but Collins could push for flex value when the matchup is right this season.
Jameson Williams, Lions
Fantasy managers will have to wait a while to get Williams back on the field, as he’s been suspended for the first six games. When he does return, the Alabama product should be thrust into a prominent role in the Lions offense. A speedster who might have been the first wideout picked in the 2022 NFL draft had he not been injured in college, Williams is worth a late add and stash.