This time of year, Twitter is ablaze with hot takes and speculation about this year’s biggest sleepers. Knowing which of these trending sleepers to target or fade can make all the difference.
No draft will successfully land every desired player but knowing who is overhyped or the real deal is huge. Is there a late-round Amon-Ra St. Brown to target? How about avoiding this year’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Round 2?
Here are some of 2022’s hottest sleepers to target or fade in your fantasy football drafts.
Sleepers to Target
Cam Akers (RB) Los Angeles Rams After watching Akers look abysmal after returning from his torn Achillies last year, fantasy owners are justifiably hesitant to draft him at his current ADP as the RB18. However, the risk is baked into the price. He played tough run defenses upon his return last season and came back in record time. With a full offseason to recover, you are getting a back with RB1 upside in an explosive offense as a mid-range RB2 or possibly later. Sure, there is risk involved, nevertheless, he’s well worth his price tag.
Rashod Bateman (WR) Baltimore Ravens I see almost no downside with Bateman. A lot of people seem to be overthinking this one. I don’t Lamar Jackson or this offense for wideouts either, but we saw Marquise Brown be successful as the WR1. Bateman is a better player than Brown and should fill the target vacuum perfectly. He’s a stronger player, runs better routes, and has better hands. Not only do I expect him to be as good as Hollywood, but he should be better. Don’t overthink this one. He’s being drafted as a WR3. He has WR1 upside and a WR2 floor.
Allen Robinson (WR) Los Angeles Rams This one is pretty simple. We’ve seen Robinson be great before. Last year he was atrocious in a terrible offense with a bad quarterback. This year he goes to the Rams who have a great offense and a very good quarterback. With Robert Woods and Odell Beckham gone, Robinson should slide right in and be great again. This logic tracks with me. I don’t believe Robinson is washed and he has the potential to be a steal as the WR23. I’ve seen him personally fall to the WR30. Grab him, plug him in and you have a sure-fire WR2 with WR1 upside.
Evan Engram (TE) Jacksonville Jaguars I’m not going to come here and tell you Evan Engram is great, however, I do think he’s being undervalued by the fantasy community. His current ADP is sitting at 190.11 while Kmet is at 137. Give me Engram every time.
The Jags gave a ton of money to a bunch of mediocre weapons this offseason, but those mediocre players are still the best they got and they are going to use them often. Trevor Lawrence loved throwing to his tight ends and slot guys last year. As long as Engram can stay healthy he should have a prominent role in this passing game and you can get him for almost nothing. Finally, the Jaguars just happen to play the league’s easiest TE schedule according to FullTime Fantasy’s Strength of Schedule Tool.
Doug Pederson’s TEs in PPR pts/game:
2013- Fasano 6.8 (39th)
2014- Kelce 11.5 (9th)
2015- Kelce 11.8 (9th)
2016- Ertz 13.1 (3rd)
2017- Ertz 14.6 (3rd)
2018- Ertz 17.5 (2nd)
2019- Ertz 14.4 (4th)
2019- Goedert 9.9 (13th)
2020- Goedert 10.6 (10th)
Evan Engram current ADP TE24
— Jody Smith #TagsStrong💪 (@JodySmithNFL) June 21, 2022
Sleepers to Fade
Trey Lance (QB) San Francisco 49ers No unproven quarterback is getting more love this season than Lance. People see a mobile quarterback with a cannon of an arm and fall in love with the upside. Unfortunately, it seems like many people are completely ignoring all the potential downsides.
Based on our FFWC high-stakes ADP, he is currently being drafted as a QB1. I’ve personally seen him drafted as high as the QB8. The fantasy community has fallen in love with him, but we’ve only seen him put up one decent game in the NFL and he had one good season against subpar competition at North Dakota State. Falling flat on his face and being a terrible NFL quarterback is well within the range of outcomes for Lance in 2022.
J.K. Dobbins (RB) Baltimore Ravens Until I hear some good news surrounding Dobbins, I want no part of his RB2 ADP this year. Even if healthy, he’s going to split time with Gus Edwards. Also, QB Lamar Jackson is going to steal carries and touchdowns, and Dobbins won’t’ catch many passes. Add in rumors that he may have also had LCL damage and could start the year on the PUP list, and I’m out. If news changes on the injury front and we see him out there this preseason then I’m back in on him as a low-end RB2. However, as of now, I’ll let someone else deal with that headache.
Rashaad Penny (RB) Seattle Seahawks Penny was dominant at the end of last season and people are expecting to get a gem when drafting him. His price tag isn’t bad as the RB31, however, I don’t expect him to be the diamond in the rough people are looking for him to be. His career has been marred by injury and now he’s running behind a bad offensive line with Russell Wilson shipped out of town. Defenses no longer have any reason to worry about the quarterback play with Geno Smith and Drew Lock battling it out for the starting job. Unless the team makes some moves to make that offense better, I want no parts of an injury-plagued back on arguably the worst offense in football.
Gabriel Davis (WR) Buffalo Bills The last time we saw Davis on the field was in the second round of the playoffs and he caught eight of 10 targets for 201 yards and four TDs. People fell in love for obvious reasons. I love his talent, but I just don’t see his opportunities increasing like so many are hoping they do. Stefon Diggs is still the clear alpha in Buffalo and Jamison Crowder is going to suck up a ton of targets in the slot. I think Crowder is a better player than Cole Beasley so this move isn’t a positive for Davis. Even Isaiah McKenzie has a legit shot at contributing and taking further opportunities away.
TE Dawson Knox isn’t going to disappear either. Last season, Davis caught 35 passes for 549 yards and six TDs. I believe he maxes out at about 800 yards and eight TDs this season. Our ADP has him being drafted as the WR26 and I’ve seen him go as high as the WR15. I can’t get behind all the hype.
Allen Lazard (WR) Green Bay Packers I can’t get behind the Lazard hype. I understand the concept that Aaron Rodgers is great and has to throw to someone. The upside is intriguing being that he is the presumptive WR1 as of now. However, I just don’t believe he’s all that good. He’s being drafted as the WR41 as an upside pick. Nonetheless, there are a lot of upside receivers going after him that I would rather roll the dice on. Give me a young kid like Kadarius Toney, Treylon Burks, or Skyy Moore. Also, I’d prefer a proven vet like Tyler Lockett or Robert Woods over Lazard.
Cole Kmet (TE) Chicago Bears I don’t hate Kmet, I just don’t want him as my TE1 and that’s what he’s being drafted as. I’m looking to avoid the Bears’ passing attack at all costs this year. Even if a guy like Kmet or Darnell Mooney has explosion games, I expect no consistency from anyone in that passing attack. If you can stash a tight end and want to see how he looks early, I’m all for that. I just don’t want to lock him into my starting lineup and be banking on production. He’s a low-end TE2 for me, not a TE1.
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