Fantasy Soccer Deep Sleeper 2021: High 10 Late Objectives With Nice Potential
The term sleeper has different meanings for different people in the world of fantasy football. Some people believe that it is simply a player who surpasses his draft position. This includes players like Justin Herbert, James Robinson, and Justin Jefferson in 2020. Others believe someone who was relatively unknown becomes a useful fantasy option, like Myles Gaskin, Curtis Samuel, or Robert Tonyan.
However, I think there are different sleeper stats among NFL players.
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For example, the athletes I’ve referred to as traditional sleepers are likely to get off the board in the middle to late rounds. Then you have another level. I like to call them deep sleepers. These players have Average Late Round Draft Positions (ADPs) but could bring some value back in their respective team’s depth tables based on their skills and potential opportunities.
With that in mind, here are 10 players who could be the best of the best in the late rounds for the 2021 fantasy football deep sleeper class.
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
Harris showed some flashes of potential last season by posting three games with at least 100 rushing yards and ending averaging five yards per attempt. He won’t do much in the passing game, but Harris could open the season as New England draws back in front of Sony Michel and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson. He’ll be worth a look in the late rounds as he’s an RB4 on your roster who could develop flex-starter value.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Penny was far from durable in the NFL, missing a total of 21 games in his first three seasons. Even so, he’ll be number 2 behind Chris Carson in Seattle, with Carlos Hyde (Jaguars) no longer on the roster. Carson has had his share of bumps and bruises (Hyde, DeeJay Dallas, and Travis Homer had 182 touches in 2020) so Penny should see enough touch to have definitive fantasy appeal in the late round.
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Jones was a popular sleeper in Fantasyland a season ago, and well, it didn’t work out. But often we’re a season too early to predict a player’s coming-out party, and Jones is in a great position to succeed. Not only will he bring Saquon Barkley back on the offensive, but the Giants also added Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and Kyle Rudolph in the offseason. It’s probably time for Danny Dimes, who is worth a late flyer.
Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears
Mooney didn’t produce any spectacular numbers as a rookie and took 50th place in fantasy points among the wideouts. However, he showed some potential at times, nothing more memorable than an 11 catch blast against the Packers in the regular season finale. The bears appear to be moving away from Anthony Miller (he was in the trading bloc), which would make Mooney the predicted No. 2 for the team behind Allen Robinson.
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
Remember when the NFL world absolutely raved about Ruggs and compared him to Tyreek Hill? Hell, he was the first wideout selected in the 2020 NFL draft! I would guess the Raiders regret this decision now, but Ruggs is still young, talented and in an offense that lost his top wideout (Nelson Agholor) as a free agent. Maybe he is better off as a late rounder in best ball, but I would risk Ruggs as No. 5 in redesigns.
Josh Reynolds, WR, Tennessee Titans
Reynolds didn’t make much of an impact as a member of the Rams, but he’s in a good position to do well in Tennessee. The Titans lost Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith as free agents, and Reynolds appears to be favorites to take over as the team’s No. 2 wide receiver behind AJ Brown. With more than 100 open targets including Davis 92 from last season’s roster, Reynolds will be a rewarding # 5 fantasy wideout in redesign.
Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Gage finished last season with career bests across the board, but those efforts weren’t good enough for a top 30 result among the wideouts. Still, the future could be better for the former LSU product if the Falcons decide to move Julio Jones over to trade. Gage would instantly become the favorite to start a Falcons offensive against Calvin Ridley, which should score a ton of points in this scenario. That makes him a late pick.
Adam Trautman, TE, New Orleans Saints
Trautman is in a great position to appear as a statistical weapon for both the Saints and Fantasy Managers in 2021. The team lost Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook as free agents and didn’t add any significant competition in the passing game, so the stage is set for Trautmann. Trainer Sean Payton’s offense has been very tight-knit in the past, so don’t be surprised if the Dayton product hits the top 15 fantasy totals in 2021.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Detroit Lions
Somebody’s got to catch Jared Goff’s passports, right? His top target could be Williams, who was injured last season but is now number 1 Lions (sad, I know). Williams, who has a 1,000 yard season on his NFL resume, is capable of pushing for over 90 goals, with rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown and Breshad Perriman battling for wideout goals. Williams will also be a nice, later best shooter pilot.
Anthony Firkser, TE, Tennessee Titans
Jonnu Smith, the Titans’ top tight end a season ago, joined the Patriots as a free agent. The team didn’t add another player to the position and also lost MyCole Pruitt (49ers), so Firsker looks like the top option in an offense that took advantage of the tight final position in a prominent role. Not sure if I see Firsker as a weekly starter in fantasy land, but he has a chance of producing decent numbers.
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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst for Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all of his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your latest fantasy news and the best analysis in the industry!