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Five Very Deep Sleepers For 2023 Fantasy Football Drafts - Rashee Rice, Marvin Mims Jr., Deuce Vaughn, more

Jordan Love - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Targets, NFL Injury News

Sometimes, you end up playing in some really deep leagues. 14 teams. 16 teams. Probably not something wild like an 18-team league or anything, but you never know. I did a 30-team NBA dynasty league a few years ago.

In those deeper leagues, the criteria for what makes a player a "sleeper" changes. Players like Anthony Richardson, Rachaad White, and Christian Watson might be sleepers in shallower leagues, but they definitely don't qualify as deep sleepers in a 16-team league.

Let's look at five very deep fantasy football sleepers. These are players currently being drafted outside of the top-150 players in half-PPR, according to FantasyPros consensus ADP.

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Jordan Love - QB, Green Bay Packers

ADP: 161, QB22

It's hard to know what to expect out of Jordan Love as he takes the helm of the Green Bay Packers offense. He has been sitting on the bench for a while, which isn't usually a good sign for a former first-round pick; however, let's remember that he was behind Aaron Rodgers. Not beating out a player who was in the midst of winning MVPs shouldn't be viewed as a knock.

Love displayed some great arm strength in college, and while that's been a bit, the strength itself shouldn't be impacted by a lack of in-game snaps. Although, his accuracy could take some time to come around given his lack of consistent play.

Love also moves well in the pocket, and in the limited number of NFL throws that he has made, he's shown us that there's definitely something there.

His current ADP is in the range where you're drafting a lot of low-upside quarterbacks, guys like Mac Jones and Ryan Tannehill. Those guys might have a higher floor than Love since we know what they'll give us, but also, we know what they'll give us. And what that is is solid, unspectacular quarterback play. Love has upside, which is something you don't usually get with quarterbacks going this late.

 

Rashee Rice - WR, Kansas City Chiefs

ADP: 183, WR67

I'm a believer in Skyy Moore claiming the WR3 role in Kansas City, but I don't think we should fully discount the possibility of rookie Rashee Rice making a quick adaption to the NFL.

Just from a value point-of-view, Skyy Moore is going almost 50 spots higher in drafts than Rice is. The Chiefs receiving game feels a little like a lotto ticket right now, and I think there's definitely reason to play this like the lottery. Pass on Moore, take Rice a few rounds later, and hope he's the guy who breaks out.

Moore has an additional year in Andy Reid's system under his belt, but he didn't light the world on fire as a rookie, catching 22 passes for 250 yards in the regular season. Rice is a rookie, but he's coming off a strong senior campaign at SMU, catching 96 passes for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Rice also looked good in the team's preseason opener. Sure, he was playing with other backups, but he did see time on the team's opening drive with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, a sign he should see the field this year.

 

Marvin Mims Jr. - WR, Denver Broncos

ADP: 222, WR73

I've been a huge fan of Marvin Mims since he was still in high school, tearing up DFW while at Frisco Lone Star.

He was doing that at the same time that Jaxon Smith-Njigba was also tearing up high school fields in DFW, and I thought the two of them were going to be future stars.

And they are, in a sense. Mims didn't reach the heights in college that Smith-Njigba did, and he wasn't a first-round pick like JSN, but Mims had a 1,000-yard season last year for the Sooners. Mims then ended up being a second-round pick by the Denver Broncos.

Mims should be on the field a lot as the team's slot receiver, and while he's clearly third in the pecking order behind Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, that doesn't mean he won't have opportunities. Last season, the Broncos were right in the middle of the pack in pass attempts, ranking 16th with 571 of them. That should increase in 2023 because the team hired Sean Payton as its new head coach and his Saints team's have historically been pass-heavy. Drew Brees led the NFL in pass attempts four times while playing for Payton.

 

Deuce Vaughn - RB, Dallas Cowboys

ADP: 249, RB67

The Cowboys let Ezekiel Elliott go in the offseason, handing the starting running back job to Tony Pollard. That should lead to a big year for Pollard, who had 1,378 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns last season while playing a career-high 569 snaps.

Pollard's a talented player, but he's also entering his fifth NFL season. Do we really think he's about to take 80% of the Cowboys' running back snaps?

There's still value in the backup role here. I think looking to 2021 can help us get a sense of what to expect. Elliott led the team in carries that year with 237 and played 66% of the team's offensive snaps, but Pollard carved out a solid role, with 1,056 yards from scrimmage. Someone is getting meaningful snaps behind Pollard. The current depth chart features Rico Dowdle, Malik Davis, and Deuce Vaughn as options.

The reason I'm highlighting Vaughn is that I don't really think Dowdle or Davis are going to be huge threats. Dowdle has just seven career carries. Davis had some good moments as a rookie but didn't really pop. Vaughn's an undersized player, but he's an immense talent, someone who can bust off big plays and can get involved in the receiving game as well. He had over 1,000 scrimmage yards in all three of his seasons at Kansas State, scoring 43 touchdowns in that span, including 22 in 2021.

If Vaughn wins this backup role, he's going to outperform his ADP. Big time.

 

Logan Thomas - TE, Washington Commanders

ADP: 295, TE37

Yes, I'm bringing up Logan Thomas. I know that historically the idea of naming Thomas as a sleeper pick has been a bad call, but his value has dropped so much that there's virtually no downside to rostering him. It's not like you'll be missing out on someone better as he is currently being drafted as TE37.

In 2020, Thomas caught 72 passes for 670 yards and six touchdowns, but then he played just six games in 2021. 2022 was supposed to be a bounce-back year for Thomas, but in 14 games, he managed just 39 receptions for 323 yards and one touchdown. Now, he's heading into his age-32 season with just one "good" season under his belt.

But a healthy Logan Thomas brings a lot of athletic talent to the field, and the Commanders just added offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who comes over from the Chiefs, where he's learned how to use an athletic tight end. Sure, Thomas isn't Travis Kelce, and I'm not at all suggesting he'll put up numbers even close to what Kelce does. But that doesn't mean the Commanders won't scheme up some of the same plays that the Chiefs ran for Kelce. They won't happen as often, but I can see Thomas getting opportunities in this offense.



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