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All-Sleeper Team for Fantasy Football - Rachaad White, Nico Collins, Kyle Philips, and more

K.J. Osborn fantasy football rankings waiver wire pickups

This isn't the All-Madden team. A sleeper isn't always going to hit but when they do, it can give you a huge advantage. What I have done for the third straight season is compile a team of sleepers consisting of players being drafted in the mid-to-late rounds, or not at all.

All preseason long, the RotoBaller team has been providing analysis on the best draft sleepers for fantasy football. There is no shortage of players that could be considered sleepers. It comes to the point where identifying sleepers isn't as hard as narrowing down the list to find the ones worth paying attention to.

This isn't really a team you'd want to field on a weekly basis because we know they won't all pan out. The intention is to provide a list of the best sleeper candidates at each position so you know who to look out for in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.

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All-Sleeper Fantasy Football Criteria

For this exercise, there is a specific set of criteria used to determine who qualifies as a sleeper per FantasyPros:

"Each expert submits 13 sleepers at the following positions. For positions where multiple sleepers are entered (QB/RB/WR/TE), the expert must rank-order their picks.

  • 2 QB
  • 4 RB
  • 4 WR
  • 2 TE
  • 1 DST

We define Sleepers as players that fall outside of specific Expert Consensus Rank cutoffs. All experts have access to the same player selection pool that corresponds to the following:

  • QB: outside top 15 ECR
  • RB: outside top 45 ECR
  • WR: outside top 55 ECR
  • TE: outside top 15
  • DST: outside top 10 "

 

Pierre Camus' 2022 All-Sleeper Fantasy Football Team

Among the many players I'm targeting in the mid-to-late rounds of fantasy drafts this year, here are my top choices for each position.

 

Fantasy Football Quarterback Sleepers

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

When I make a call that doesn't quite pan out, I know when to back down. I also know when it's time to double down. That means it's finally Tua time!

He was held back last year due to a combination of injuries, a lack of weapons, and an unsupportive coach. This year, everything has changed. With Tyreek Hill alongside Jaylen Waddle and Cedrick Wilson Jr., not to mention Chase Edmonds as a capable receiver out of the backfield, Tagovailoa has a sudden wealth of quality targets. Mike McDaniel will cater to his strengths and display a creativity on offense that was missing from last year's Dolphins.

Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts

In a miserable 2021 season with Atlanta, his 14th as the starting quarterback, Ryan failed to reach the 4,000-yard passing mark for the first time since 2010. That's remarkable but could also be concerning since he had an extra game played. His yardage per game dropped by 53 and his 3.6 TD% was the lowest of his career. It's easy to look at these stats and think Ryan may be washed up at age 37. Clearly, I disagree.

Everything went wrong for Ryan and the Falcons last season. He lost his top target from the past decade, Julio Jones, to free agency. Then, he lost his new WR1, Calvin Ridley, after Week 7. The running game was dysfunctional and the O-line was horrendous. All of that has changed.

He goes from a bottom-five-ranked offensive line to a top-five offensive line in Indy. He'll have Michael Pittman as an alpha receiver and the strength of the running game and defense means he won't be put into bad positions nearly as often. Ryan might not get the type of volume he did in Atlanta but he'll make up for it in efficiency and prove that he is far from done.

 

Fantasy Football Running Back Sleepers

Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No Gronk, gimpy Godwin, dusty Julio, and three banged-up offensive linemen. That's the state of the Bucs offense heading into 2022. Leonard Fournette seems to have gotten himself into shape, at least some sort of shape, but he won't take 100% of the team's touches. As much as we'd like to talk ourselves into KeShawn Vaughn finally becoming a thing, Rachaad White looks to be the RB2 in Tampa for good reason.

Not only does that automatically make him a high-end handcuff, but it also gives him standalone value. White had a college target share in the 98th percentile after hauling in 43 passes at Arizona State last year.

If there's one thing Tom Brady knows how to do, it's check down to a running back. If Rachaad White were just the next James White, that would be enough to give him juice in fantasy leagues. As it stands, he's a bigger, faster version of James White who could be a three-down back if given the chance.

Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders

Out with the old, in with the new. That's the philosophy in Vegas as new coach Josh McDaniels takes over. In the same vein as his mentor, Bill Belichick, McDaniels views running backs as disposable. That's why they declined Josh Jacobs' fifth-year option, essentially making him a lame duck starter at RB, and cut Kenyan Drake.

The new hotness is fourth-rounder Zamir White. We know he is a former five-star prospect who is coming off a championship season in Georgia. His combine numbers reinforced the fact he has the size and speed to dominate as a runner. The only question is his role in Vegas but based on the way training camp is going, it's obvious he will be at least a big part of a committee early on. I'm willing to bet that he is the lead runner by the time the fantasy playoffs arrive.

The other question about Zeus is whether he will be limited by a lack of pass-catching. Even if he proves capable, we know McDaniels will put a player like Ameer Abdullah in that specific role. Does that limit White's upside? Of course. I'm pretty sure he won't finish as a top-10 RB in PPR leagues. That doesn't mean he can't have tremendous value.

Think of Damien Harris in New England last year, who caught all of 18 passes but still managed to finish as the RB14 in full PPR leagues. In standard leagues, he was RB8. Zamir White might not reach those heights but I see a top-25 finish for a player being drafted as the RB60.

Jerick McKinnon, Kansas City Chiefs

I like Isiah Pacheco as much as the next fantasy analyst (OK, maybe not THAT much). I do believe he can carve out a role in this backfield and possibly justify a pick in fantasy drafts. But I don't think he's the next Kareem Hunt or bound to be the starting running back any time soon. It's not because of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who I will hail as a bust for the third straight season where I've yet to be proven wrong.

The most talented RB in Kansas City is the one who led them through last year's playoff run and totaled 315 yards in three postseason games. We've long been enamored with McKinnon's athleticism and amazing SPARQ score but he never quite delivered to expectations early in his career and then faced multiple injuries the last couple of years. With Darrel Williams gone, I'm betting that a healthy McKinnon can carry his momentum into this year and become a receiving threat in KC.

Jerome Ford, Cleveland Browns

I recently laid out my case for Ford as an off-the-radar fantasy football sleeper.

 

Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers

Nico Collins, Houston Texans

To be clear, I was on the Collins bandwagon last season. The team added no receiver of significance through free agency and then were stunned to find out first-round pick John Metchie will be out for the year due to a leukemia diagnosis. Collins stands to serve as the WR2 in Houston where there will be plenty of passing opportunities. This isn't a good team, especially on defense.

PFF projects 95 targets leading to 58 receptions for Collins this year. That's more than Brandon Aiyuk, George Pickens, and Kadarius Toney among others. I'll go higher and project closer to 110 targets with a higher catch rate leading to 72 receptions. The development of Collins and Davis Mills together under the tutelage of Pep Hamilton will be a ray of hope in an otherwise dull season for Houston.

Joshua Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers

Keenan Allen is still a very good receiver and the top target for the Bolts. That said, it can't be completely ignored that he is entering his age-30 season and finished with his lowest success rate vs man, zone, and press coverages of his career per Matt Harmon of Reception Perception. Mike Williams is what he is – a big playmaker on occasion but not a superstar in the making. To quote Harmon, "Williams remains an average separator."

Josh Palmer was inconsistent and scarcely used in his rookie season. He did show signs of life late by scoring three times in the last five games once he was actually targeted (Keenan Allen was injured). The good/bad news is that Palmer wasn't great at being a pure vertical threat so the team may use him less in that role. More intermediate targets will boost his PPR value and we know the TD upside is there.

K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings

As discussed with Palmer above, not all breakouts need to be at the top of the depth chart. Osborn did benefit from Adam Thielen missing four games toward the end of the season but it's not as if that was his only path to relevance. Remember in Weeks 1-2 when Osborn caught 12 passes for 167 yards and a TD while Justin Jefferson went 11 for 136 and people were panicking about JJ being a bust? Yeah, that happened.

It's pretty obvious now that Jefferson is one of the best receivers in fantasy, whom I predict will be this year's WR1 for what it's worth. Osborn is a fine receiver in his own right and will be just fine serving as the third option in this offense. New coach Kevin O'Connell is fully implementing the use of 11 personnel as he did under Sean McVay with the Rams. That means a third receiver like Osborn will see plenty of targets.

Kyle Philips, Tennessee Titans

Let's cut to the chase – the lazy, but possibly quite accurate, comp to Philips is Hunter Renfrow. They're nearly identical in terms of size and speed, which is to say not elite at a 4.58 40 time. But they know how to get open and run routes with precision.

Tennessee faces a lot of questions at receiver with Robert Woods recovering from an ACL tear at age 30 and Treylon Burks struggling to make it through training camp. Philips is the favorite to earn starting slot receiver privileges and has started working with the first unit. If there is one area of the field Tannehill likes to work, it's across the middle. Philips may become Tannehill's favorite target sooner than expected.

 

Fantasy Football Tight End Sleepers

Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens

Likely is becoming a buzz-worthy name bordering on full-blown hype this preseason but it's fully warranted. He's essentially a wide receiver in a tight end's body and was used as such in Coastal Carolina's offense. That led to 912 yards and 12 touchdowns on a 24.3% target share.

Baltimore isn't Coastal Carolina and they already have a guy named Mark Andrews in place, but this is a team that has and will use two-TE sets frequently. That's especially true this year with the state of the Ravens' WR depth chart. Beyond Rashod Bateman, there are guys like James Proche, Devin Duvernay, and Tylan Wallace. All of those guys were with the team last year and failed to make a dent. Likely is sure to have a role in the red zone at the very least and could be asked to make plays down the field as well.

Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals

Hurst is another player I covered extensively in my deep sleepers column recently.

 

Fantasy Football Team Defense Sleepers

Philadelphia Eagles Defense

The Eagles already have a shutdown corner in Darius Slay. They added a pair of Dawgs in the draft with first-round DL Jordan Davis and third-round LB Nakobe Dean. Many pundits projected Dean to be a first-round pick, so this defense may have added two elite defenders at once.

While I take future strength of schedule with a huge grain of salt, it doesn't hurt that the Eagles are projected to have the third-easiest SOS.

Facing offenses like the Commanders and Giants twice each is a boost and the Cowboys suddenly don't seem so formidable with the loss of Amari Cooper and the potentially season-ending injury to Tyron Smith.

A better offense with the help of A.J. Brown will allow the defense to play more advantageously. This isn't a sack-heavy DST but I anticipate them to be among the leaders in points allowed per game.



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