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Sneaky WR1 Candidates? 2024 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers

Wide receivers are simply owning the first round of fantasy drafts this year. Eight wideouts have an ADP inside the top 12, and youngsters like Puka Nacua (10.3 ADP) and Garrett Wilson (11.9 ADP) have crept into the back end of Round 1. Most drafts also see some combination of CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill, Justin Jefferson, and Ja'Marr Chase all go within the first six picks. 

However, if you're one of the few fantasy managers who decides to go running back in the first round, don't worry because there are great options to target later in drafts. Some wideouts who even have WR1 upside despite going in the middle-to-late rounds. 

So, let's look at four wideouts going outside the top 20 at the position who could finish inside the top 12 this upcoming season. These receivers are huge discounts at their current price in drafts. 

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:

 

Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp has fallen drastically in drafts after back-to-back injury-riddled campaigns. Kupp was a first-round pick in most drafts in 2022 and 2023, but in 2024, the veteran's ADP currently sits at 42.8. That ADP lands him as the WR22. However, don't sleep on him in fantasy this season.

Of course, injuries have been a problem for Kupp over the past two seasons, and Nacua is now in town to take away targets from him. As a result, there is some risk in drafting him this year. But at his current WR22 price, he's a risk worth taking because of his potential to finish as a WR1 again. He still has Matthew Stafford throwing to him and should remain Stafford's favorite target in the passing game. 

While many think that Nacua will be Stafford's favorite target -- given his ADP -- don't be surprised if Kupp remains that go-to option in the passing game. From Week 13 to Week 17 last season, the veteran actually out-targeted the rookie (44 to 43) while averaging 18 PPR fantasy points per game during that stretch. 

The biggest question mark for Kupp in 2024 will be if he can stay healthy. If he does, there is no reason why he can't finish top 12 at the position in a good offense with a quarterback he has already established a strong connection with. His ceiling is too high to pass up at this point in the draft. 

 

Zay Flowers, Baltimore Ravens 

A second-year breakout could be in store for Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers, making him an easy selection in the early rounds. After a strong rookie campaign in which the wideout totaled 77 catches for 858 yards and five touchdowns, the potential is there for the 23-year-old to finish with even better numbers in 2024. 

Flowers was one of the most productive rookie wideouts last season and finished as the WR31 in PPR formats. But, for some reason, he is going as the WR26 in most drafts with an ADP of 51.8. Given where he is going in drafts and how he looked with quarterback Lamar Jackson in 2023, a WR1 finish could happen for the former Boston College star.

For starters, the Ravens didn't add any pass-catchers this offseason, which is big news for the second-year wideout. That means the team will likely roll with Flowers, Rashod Bateman, and Nelson Agholor as the top-three WR options. Mark Andrews will surely see his fair share of touches, but the 23-year-old should at least be Jackson's second option in the passing game.

Flowers also showed his WR1 upside at the end of last season, when he finished as a top-13 wide receiver in six of the final seven weeks -- including playoffs. During that span, he totaled over 19 PPR fantasy points in five of those seven games while scoring six touchdowns. Watch out for the young playmaker to take that next step in Year 2, making him a sneaky candidate to finish as a WR1 in 2024. 

 

Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk is currently the biggest sleeper in all of fantasy drafts right now. Kirk is currently going as the WR32 in drafts with an ADP of 64.1, yet he has the potential and upside to finish as the WR1 in fantasy this upcoming season. 

The Jaguars went through plenty of changes this offseason, which included letting Calvin Ridley walk in free agency and releasing Zay Jones. That means 110 catches, 1,337 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns are vacated from this Jacksonville offense from last year. Despite the team replacing those two wideouts with rookie Brian Thomas Jr. and Gabe Davis, Kirk should no doubt serve as the WR1 for quarterback Trevor Lawrence in 2024 -- a role he has thrived in before. 

Back in 2022, Kirk served as Jacksonville's WR1 and totaled a career-high 84 catches for 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns. The 27-year-old also saw a career-high 133 targets during that year. Those numbers led to the wideout finishing as the WR11 in PPR formats while averaging 14.3 fantasy points per game. 

With Kirk now back as the team's WR1 after Ridley's departure, there's no reason why another top-12 finish can't happen again. He should be heavily targeted in the slot for the Jaguars this year. 

 

Calvin Ridley, Tennessee Titans

Ridley might be a long shot to finish as a WR1 in 2024, but there's a chance we could see it happen. With an ADP of 79.1, which lands him as the WR40 in drafts, the Titans wideout is worth a shot in the middle rounds. 

Now, there are a lot of things working against Ridley in 2024 -- hence why his ADP is where it is. For starters, his quarterback remains a huge question mark heading into the year. Will Levis showed some mixed results in his rookie campaign, and that could be a big downfall for the 29-year-old. The former Jaguars wideout will also have to compete with DeAndre Hopkins for WR1 targets this upcoming season. However, there's a chance that Ridley will shock us all in 2024, especially if Levis breaks out in Year 2. 

Fantasy managers have seen this exact same scenario play out before. A team goes out and signs or trades for a big-time WR1 to help its young, inexperienced quarterback develop. The Bears traded for DJ Moore last season, and he finished as the WR6. The Eagles traded for A.J. Brown in 2022, and he finished as the WR6 that season. The Bills traded for Stefon Diggs in 2020, and he finished as the WR3 that season. In all three of those years, the quarterback also broke out. 

If this plays out the way Tennessee thinks it will, look for Ridley to be a surprise WR1 option in 2024. A lot of his success will depend on Levis and his development. But the Titans have given the quarterback the weapons to succeed, and the 29-year-old is a talented option for him in the passing game. 



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