When it comes to fantasy football, upside matters. Taking shots on players late in drafts provides little risk and MAJOR reward. Sleepers and breakout players are inevitable, but it has been gradually easier to predict which guys will boom and tower over their average-draft-position (ADP). Here are five fantasy football sleepers in 2022:
RB Chase Edmonds (MIA)
Despite being in a crowded backfield in Miami, Chase Edmonds is the early favorite to be the starter. The 26-year-old provides a lot of value in the receiving game, which would give him the edge in PPR leagues. In any format, Edmonds should be a nice draft pick for teams looking for their RB3-4. However, he can potentially sneak into your starting lineup. He is not an every-down RB, but he has the opportunity to produce in a young, up-and-coming offense. Edmonds only played in 12 games last season with the Arizona Cardinals and finished as the RB37. If Edmonds can stay healthy and take command of a competitive backfield, he will finish above his ADP as the RB34 (92 overall). Edmonds can surprise people this year, which is why he is one of these fantasy football sleepers this season.
RB Dameon Pierce (HOU)
There is a lot to like about the fourth-round rookie that can make him one of the biggest sleepers in 2022. Even though Houston head coach Lovie Smith has not named the starting RB, Pierce is stating his case early and often. In their first preseason game, Pierce ran for 49 yards on only five carries. He will need to be evaluated more throughout the preseason, but the rookie’s quickness and power will propel him to a starting role sooner rather than later. Pierce is being drafted as the RB44 in PPR leagues (124 overall). There is still a possibility you can steal him on waivers if undrafted, but you should be confident in drafting Pierce as a late-round dart throw in hopes he breaks out. The fantasy football community has raved nonstop about Pierce, which makes him an exciting prospect heading into the season.
WR Robert Woods (TEN)
Before going into why Woods is a sleeper, let’s state the obvious negatives. He is 30-years-old and coming off an ACL tear last November. By all accounts, however, he is on track to play Week 1 and will have a significant role in the Titans offense. Woods should be their WR1 and will see plenty of targets from veteran QB Ryan Tannehill. Woods will not completely fill the void star WR A.J. Brown left, but he is an intriguing fantasy option nonetheless. First-round rookie WR Treylon Burks will be another top target, but Woods has the experience and finesse to produce at a high level. Bobby Trees is being drafted as the WR41 (99 overall), which would make him a late-round steal. From years 2018-2020 with the Los Angeles Rams, Woods finished as a Top 20 fantasy WR in all formats. While the Tennessee offense clearly runs through RB Derrick Henry, Woods will receive sustainable targets that could make him Tannehill’s favorite option.
WR Chris Olave (NO)
If the New Orleans Saints are going to have any success in 2022, it will need to be because of their offense. WR Michael Thomas, who missed most of the past two seasons due to injury, is seemingly ready for Week 1. However, first-round rookie WR Chris Olave could prove to be the most desirable asset from this offense. Thomas is going off the board as the WR30, but many have reached for him because of name value. Olave is coming off the board 3-5 rounds later as the WR46 (114 overall), which makes him a great value. The rookie has reportedly been the best WR in training camp so far. He has the ability to contribute right away, and his talent should keep him in the mix the whole season. It would be no surprise to see Olave lead all rookie WRs in targets, receptions, and yards with QB Jameis Winston at the helm.
WR Brandon Aiyuk (SF)
Is this finally the season Brandon Aiyuk breaks out??? After a solid rookie season in 2020, Aiyuk was one of the biggest fantasy let downs last season. Albeit, Deebo Samuel stole the show during his monster year, but he will surely regress. Aiyuk is one of these fantasy football sleepers for many reasons. He has reportedly been the best WR from Niners training camp, and he should be the biggest beneficiary from the transition to QB Trey Lance. Lance and Aiyuk have been developing a very nice chemistry, which should bode well for both in terms of fantasy production. The third-year receiver is being drafted as the WR39 (94 overall). This puts him in sleeper territory, and I truly believe he can easily outperform his ADP. Aiyuk is still competing for targets with Samuel and TE George Kittle, but you are essentially playing with house money having him as your teams WR4-5. Aiyuk at his current ADP is attractive, and maybe he will be 2022’s Deebo Samuel.
Honorable Deep Sleepers: WR Nico Collins (HOU), RB Zamir White (LV), RB J.D. McKissic (WAS), TE Albert Okwuegbunam (DEN)