There’s just something about lottery picks. We all love them despite them rarely turning into anything substantial. Yet, we all continue to go back to the barrel every single time. As dynasty owners, we’re no different. We love the upside play.
There’s a certain level of pride and excitement when one of your sleepers hits. You can hear us all saying, “I called that!” or “See! I knew that would happen!” Winning is fun, but sometimes winning can be a touch of good luck. But what we all want when it comes to any fantasy football league is to be smarter than the other owners we’re up against. Calling a sleeper and having it hit, it’s one of the best things when it comes to fantasy football. And in dynasty, it’s a move that can pay off for years.
The following players are some of my favorite sleepers, some of the best lottery picks for any dynasty league. They all are ranked 150th or lower on FantasyPros Dynasty Rankings for full-PPR Super-Flex leagues. When I’m completing a trade, I’m trying to acquire some of these names as just throw-in players. In any start-up draft, I’m willing to reach a little bit in the later rounds to get these guys on my roster. The future is bright.
Amari Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
We don’t know if Aaron Rodgers is going to be in Green Bay this year. Or next, for that matter, but I’m still buying Amari Rodgers. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard are both free agents. The Packers’ cap situation is one of the worst in the league. They already have $239 million committed in 2022, which is roughly $31 million over the $208 million maximum the NFL and NFLPA agreed to. MVS and Lazard are likely playing their last season in Green Bay. Neither have been game-changers, and the Packers don’t have the cash to re-sign them. This means Rodgers could be walking into a starting role as early as 2022.
Everyone talks about the Steelers and how they draft and develop wide receivers, and with good reason, but the Packers are there behind them. Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams are a very impressive list of receivers the Packers have drafted and developed. This doesn’t mean Amari is going to be good, but it’s certainly a positive, all things considered.
He struggled with injuries throughout college, but as a senior, he secured 77 catches for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s a bowling ball of a receiver and looks like your prototypical slot receiver.
In 2021 he might not be any higher than fourth on the depth chart, but that could change very quickly in 2022. Jordan Love isn’t going to be Aaron Rodgers, but let’s not forget this guy is a former first-round draft pick who just got to spend the year learning from Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur. The jury is still very much out on him. I love the upside and the price here.
Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills
Despite Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley having career years in 2020 and Gabriel Davis being a rookie himself, he was still able to put up a very efficient stat line. He had 35 catches for 599 yards and seven touchdowns, primarily operating as the third or fourth guy on the totem pole.
The Bills signed Emmanuel Sanders this off-season. That was unfortunate for Davis’ 2021 value, but it’s only decreasing the price on him. In 2022 Cole Beasley will be 33 years old, and Emmanuel Sanders will be 35 years old. Both have expiring contracts after the 2021 season. And the Bills are going to back up the brink truck to sign Josh Allen. All signs point to Gabriel Davis being the receiver starting opposite Stefon Diggs in 2022.
Davis looked excellent as a rookie last year and managed to carve out a role despite the career seasons from two other receivers ahead of him. He’s likely to be a starting receiver as early as next season, and he’ll be catching passes from a young, perennial MVP candidate in Josh Allen. Gabriel Davis deserves your attention, and his current value doesn’t equate with the upside he provides.
Bryan Edwards, Las Vegas Raiders
Bryan Edwards fell to the third round due to a foot injury prior to the 2020 NFL Draft. Most of the attention went to the Raiders’ first-round selection of Henry Ruggs. But it was Bryan Edwards who had the more prolific college career. Edwards breakout age was 17.8, which is one of the highest marks in the Breakout Finder system. He also had a 48.4-percent college dominator rating, which was second in the 2019 wide receiver class.
He’s 6’3” and 215 pounds. He looks the part of a great possession receiver. Henry Ruggs is never going to command a large target share due to his size. But after Darren Waller in Las Vegas, it’s wide open, and Bryan Edwards could very quickly make a name for himself.
Nelson Agholor was the No.1 receiver last season and put up a 48/896/8 season. He’s now in New England. That means the Raiders are very much looking for a new No. 1 receiver. Ruggs was a massive disappointment in year one. Edwards didn’t do much either, but he was bothered by injuries for most of the year. John Brown was brought in, but he’s routinely struggled staying healthy.
There is a big opportunity for Edwards to become the new primary receiver. And he’s got the size, and athletic traits teams are typically for in their No.1 receiver. The price of admission here is insanely cheap, but the upside is a receiver that is the most targeted receiver on his respective team. That’s a buy-low opportunity if I’ve ever heard of one.
Josh Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers selected Josh Palmer in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Josh Palmer didn’t have an illustrious college career. He never posted more than 35 catches in a single season. Or 500 yards. Or five touchdowns. To be fair to Palmer’s college stats, the quarterback play in Tennessee was subpar at best. In 2020 the Volunteers started three quarterbacks and finished 3-7.
Josh Palmer scored an 8.22 on the Relative Athletic Score, which measures prospect’s athletic scoring relative to their size and position. Josh Palmer has good size and solid times across the board. There wasn’t a single score that would blow you away, but he’s a solid enough athlete. That’s undoubtedly a positive for Palmer.
The other thing that you need to like about Palmer is the investment the Chargers made into him. Despite his mediocre college stats, the Chargers drafted him in the third round, ahead of receivers like Dyami Brown and even Amari Rodgers, who was listed earlier. The Chargers clearly liked Palmer enough to use a quality draft pick on him.
When we’re looking at dynasty sleepers, we’re usually not looking for the current year. Instead, we’re eyeing up those future seasons where they can make noise. And that’s true for Palmer. The Chargers declined the 5th-year option on Mike Williams, and if he isn’t re-signed, there’s a path for Palmer to be a starting option as early as next season. Palmer is likely going to compete for slot duties as a rookie, and with his size, he can still bounce outside when they move Keenan Allen there.
Justin Herbert looks like an absolute stud and someone the Chargers will be building around for the next 10+ years. Williams and Jared Cook are likely gone after this season. And Josh Palmer will have the opportunity to grow with Justin Herbert. He’s a relatively cheap option and one that has a lot of upside. He could pay dividends as early as next season.
I love all four of these receivers at their current price tags, and I believe all of them come with some relatively easy-to-exceed expectations based on their price of acquisition. When we’re looking for sleepers and lottery picks, the first thing that we want to identify is opportunity. All four of these guys have that in their respective situations. It’s like having the first 2-3 winning numbers already scratched off. Now it’s up to the player to make the most of that opportunity and run with it. We’re not sure how that’s going to play out, but they’ve all got the possibility of being major sleepers dynasty owners should be doing their best to acquire. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out my other work @RobFFAddict.