With the beginning of every football season, comes the hype of which players can carry your fantasy football team to a championship. We all know about the Christian McCaffrey’s or Lamar Jackson’s that can single-handedly win your matchup, but what about the players that can offer the same upside at the low cost of a late round pick? If all falls right, these sleepers can be the difference between winning and losing your league.
I’m not sure we can still consider him a sleeper, considering his ADP has risen 50 spots over the past month according to FFPC, but Antonio Gibson is definitely a player to look out for. With the release of Derrius Guice and now Adrian Peterson, the Antonio Gibson hype train has officially left the station. He should have no problems beating out a journeyman back like J.D. Mckissic to become the starter in the Washington backfield. Gibson was listed as a wide receiver in college so there’s no doubt about his ability to get some receiving work on 3rd down and making him a buy-low workhorse candidate. He averaged a touchdown on one fifth of his 71 total touches for Memphis in 2019. Standing at 6’,0” 228 pounds, and running a 4.39, 40 yard dash, he’s an explosive athlete with all the tools to become an X-factor on the Washington offence. The only thing standing in Gibson’s way of solidifying his role on the offence will come down to whether or not head coach Ron Rivera can trust him in pass blocking and his grasp of the offence as a whole as a rookie. Antonio is definitely a boom or bust pick, but definitely worth a shot as you enter the double digit rounds of your draft.
Jamison Crowder doesn’t jump off the page as a “must own” pick but he represents a solid floor with some sneaky upside this year. It’s hard to believe that a player who saw 122 targets last year is still, on average, being picked 124th overall. What makes him an exciting pick this year is that he’s the only receiver left with any existing chemistry with Sam Darnold. With the departure of Robby Anderson in free agency and injuries to the newly acquired Breshad Perriman and rookie wideout Denzel Mims, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t command an even larger percentage of the Jets’ target share this season. With the improvement on the offensive line, Sam Darnold should be able to convert more of Crowder’s targets into receptions. Pair that with the lack of weapons on the outside, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he gets more looks in the end-zone as well. If we were to call his 2019 finish of WR31 his floor, he could potentially finish as a WR3 / Flex player this year.
Preston Williams has become an after-thought after his ACL tear and subsequent Devante Parker breakout.Currently, he’s being picked as the WR61 or 154th player overall. When you compared that to Parker’s WR22 or 52nd overall pick, it’s hard to argue the value of a healthy Preston Williams. Against all odds, Williams is looking set to start the season for the Dolphins and per the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley “is back and looking better than ever”. After becoming a full-time starter in week 3, he never saw less than 6 targets a game, and there’s plenty of targets to go around after both Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson opted-out of the 2020 season. Paring that with the fact he stands at 6’5” and holds a 47.6% contested catch rate, he could easily become the “go to” downfield and end-zone target for the Dolphins.
By no means are any of these players guaranteed to be a “must start” player each week for this upcoming fantasy football season, but they all share a few things in common… volume, opportunity and draft value.