Kadarius Toney (knee) might not be ready for Week 1. And even when he's healthy he might not be the best receiver for Kansas City this season. There is plenty of sleeper appeal in this receiving corps.
Based on the NFC Average Draft Position in late July, you can find amazing value in Skyy Moore (111.3), Rashee Rice (166.7), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (199.1) and Richie James (243.6). Of these guys, I love the potential of Moore, Rice and James.
We'll start with Moore, who should see his ADP rise the longer Toney remains out. Andy Reid has offered plenty of praise toward Moore all offseason, and recently said this of the sophomore receiver.
"Skyy is tough," Reid said of Moore, who was a second-round pick in the NFL Draft in 2022 from Western Michigan. "He's good after the catch and good hands. Good route-runner. He has worked a lot with Pat (Mahomes) in the offseason — so yeah, he's solid."
Moore did next to nothing as a rookie with 22 catches for 250 yards and no touchdowns on 33 targets, but he caught a touchdown in Super Bowl LVII against Philadelphia. He's expected to play in the slot in 2023 and replace JuJu Smith-Schuster, who had 101 targets last year for 78 catches, 933 yards and three touchdowns.
Moore will hopefully offer more upside, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 7. He should be the best receiver for the Chiefs this year no matter what happens to Toney and the No. 2 option in the passing game behind Travis Kelce.
Rice, the rookie second-round pick from SMU, has gotten the chance for a bigger role since Toney went down, seeing more time with the first-team offense. And he's started to impress Reid.
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"Sharp kid," Reid said. "Tremendous talent. This is all new to him. You know when you're a rookie receiver, you come in here, you're running miles. So you've got to get used to that — and the pace. There are no plays off, there's no back side. I mean, you've got to go 100 miles an hour. So he's learning that."
In his last season at SMU, Rice had 96 receptions for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's attached to Mahomes, so he's worth taking a flier on as early as Round 10, especially if Toney remains sidelined.
James is worth a late-round flier in all leagues, and he's coming off a nice season with the Giants. In 2022, James closed the season with at least 13 PPR points in five of his final seven games, including three outings with at least 17 PPR points over that span.
He signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract with the Chiefs this offseason, but he might end up as the top slot option for Mahomes. James could be the best sleeper of the bunch.
You can also take a flier on Valdes-Scantling, but we've already seen this show with the Chiefs from last season when he caught 42 passes for 687 yards and two touchdowns on 81 targets. His role should remain the same, with likely similar production.
And two other receivers of note to monitor are Justin Watson (ADP of 256.5) and Justyn Ross (269.6). Reid seems to be a little fond of the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Ross, saying "he's such a big kid, tall kid, you know. Ability to go up and get the ball. That type of stuff will benefit him."
In deeper leagues, you can take a shot on Watson or Ross because they're attached to Reid and Mahomes, but the trio I'm drafting the most are Moore, Rice and James. Toney's absence has opened the door for these guys to make plays in practice, and that could carry over to quality production for Fantasy managers this year.
Now, let's take a look at other players I'm targeting in Sleepers 3.0. All of these players are going after pick No. 100 overall based on the July NFC ADP.
Fantasy managers don't want to trust Jones this season despite the way he performed in 2022, his first season with coach Brian Daboll. Jones (ADP of 113.3) became one of nine quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 3,000 passing yards and 700 rushing yards, joining Randall Cunningham (1990), Cam Newton (2011, 2012 and 2017), Robert Griffin III (2012), Russell Wilson (2014), Lamar Jackson (2019), Kyler Murray (2020), Josh Allen (2021 and 2022) and Jalen Hurts (2021 and 2022). That's lofty company, and now we have to see if Jones can do it again. He averaged 19.9 Fantasy points per game last year, but now the Giants added better weapons in Darren Waller, Parris Campbell and Jalin Hyatt, along with Saquon Barkley avoiding a holdout. Jones is one of the best quarterbacks to wait for on Draft Day because he offers top-10 upside in 2023.
Let's ride turned into let's end the season in a hurry for Wilson and the Broncos in 2022, but everyone can hit the reset button in 2023. The addition of new coach Sean Payton, along with an upgraded offensive line featuring Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey, should help Wilson tremendously this year. And his weapons are better with Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton not being traded, along with Javonte Williams (ACL) back, and Samaje Perine and Marvin Mims were added. We can also see what Wilson did last year once Nathaniel Hackett was fired, as Wilson scored at least 24 Fantasy points in each of his final two outings. It's understandable why Fantasy managers want to avoid Wilson (ADP of 127.5) after what happened last year, but I expect him to rebound and play like a low-end starter in all leagues.
I'm curious to see what the Bears do at running back this season, and I love taking a flier on Roschon Johnson (ADP of 152.7), as well as D'Onta Foreman (142.4). But Herbert at his price (106.8) is hard to pass up, and you can even pair him with Johnson, which is what I plan to do when I have enough roster spots. Herbert should get the chance to prove he deserves the starting spot. Last season, of running backs with at least 100 carries, he led all of them at 5.7 yards per carry. He had six games with at least 12 carries in 2022, and he scored at least 15 PPR points in three of them. He's a good running back to draft as a flex as early as Round 7, but he could emerge as a weekly starter in all leagues as the season goes on.
You know the deal with Penny by now. He has only played 18 games over the past three seasons, but he's been amazing when healthy, which includes five games with more than 130 rushing yards in his last 10 appearances. Now, he gets to run behind the Eagles offensive line, and by all accounts he has looked great so far in training camp. He'll share work with D'Andre Swift and potentially Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott, but none of those running backs offer the same upside as a healthy Penny. But that's the question -- how long will he stay healthy? That's why Penny's ADP is at 108.9, but I would start to look for him as early as Round 7. If he plays the majority of the season then he could be a league winner.
I'm a big fan of Travis Etienne, and I hope he takes off in Year 2 playing for Doug Pederson. But Etienne definitely had some flaws, even saying himself that he "kind of predetermined things" last year before he got the ball, which limited his performance. Any struggles for Etienne this year could open the door for Bigsby to get a healthy workload in his rookie campaign, but he should also be a nice complement to Etienne as well. A lot of people in Jacksonville are excited about Bigsby, and Sports Illustrated called him "the most exciting rookie through the first week of camp." The report added that Bigsby has gotten "plenty of key reps and has broken off a number of long runs. He continued to show the strong hands that flashed throughout the offseason, too." Bigsby, a third-round pick in the NFL Draft from Auburn, is a lottery ticket this season, especially at his ADP of 142.9. I'm drafting him as early as Round 9 in all leagues.
The No. 2 running back in Cleveland behind Nick Chubb heading into the season is likely Ford, and that makes him a lottery ticket to target as early as Round 10. He's a steal at his ADP of 171.6, but he might be used more in tandem with Chubb than we expect. With Kareem Hunt no longer in Cleveland, there are a lot of vacated touches in the Browns backfield. The non-Chubb carries over the past three seasons are 136, 190 and 240, and Ford has been impressive this offseason. And he could have a surprising role in the passing game. "A big reason that we drafted him in '22 was because of his ability as a receiver, and we think that he'll be able to play that role really well," Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry said. Ford likely won't get as many touches as Hunt, but he could be a great running back to stash on your bench. And if Chubb were to miss any time then Ford could be a league winner in 2023.
It's frustrating to know that Thomas has played just 10 games over the past three seasons due to injury, and we've been robbed of plenty of great production from a receiver who averaged 23.4 PPR points per game in his last full year in 2019. You're taking a risk in drafting him again this season, but now the cost is much cheaper with his ADP at 104.7. That will likely rise if he stays healthy in training camp, but we know he's no longer the receiver to covet in New Orleans because of Chris Olave. Thomas also must adjust to a new quarterback in Derek Carr. But imagine if Thomas comes close to being 100 percent, and he even averaged 16.3 PPR points per game in the three games he played in 2022. I'll take the gamble on Thomas in Round 7 as a high-end No. 4 Fantasy receiver in all leagues.
If Williams wasn't suspended for the first six games of the season, we'd be calling him a breakout player this year. And yes, it's hard to carry a player on your bench for six weeks if you have limited roster spots. But the upside could be amazing, and I love his ADP at 106.7. Keep in mind that you want your Fantasy team to be at its best at the end of the season, and Williams could be a league winner. He's now two years removed from the torn ACL he suffered prior to his rookie campaign, and hopefully he comes back in Week 7 ready to dominate in the final 11 games of the season. If Williams is 100 percent, he could emerge as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues, and you can comfortably draft him at cost in late Round 8 or early Round 9.
For most of the offseason I was out on Smith-Schuster, but a few things have changed my mind at the start of training camp. First off, the offense should improve under new coordinator Bill O'Brien, which should lead to a better Mac Jones and the passing attack. Secondly, the Patriots missed out on DeAndre Hopkins, meaning the receiving corps is led by Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton. That should keep Smith-Schuster as the top target. And finally, but most importantly, the cost for Smith-Schuster is fantastic. His ADP is 117.6, and he should outperform that if he stays healthy. For example, in a padded practice on Monday with offense vs. defense, Jones completed eight passes, with four of them going to Smith-Schuster. While he struggled in Kansas City last year overall, he did have nine games with at least five targets, and he averaged 15.8 PPR points per game over that span. I love drafting Smith-Schuster as a No. 4 Fantasy receiver in PPR as early as Round 8.
At the time of publication, Rashod Bateman (foot) remained on the PUP list. That has allowed Flowers to emerge as a go-to target for Lamar Jackson, which only enhances the value for the first-round rookie receiver from Boston College. Odell Beckham Jr. has also benefited with Bateman out, and we'll see how Flowers does when everyone is healthy. But I like taking the chance on Flowers as a No. 4 Fantasy receiver in Round 8, even though his ADP is at 114.1. Todd Monken, the new offensive coordinator in Baltimore, should help this passing attack improve dramatically. And even though there are a lot of mouths to feed, including top target Mark Andrews, I wouldn't be surprised if Flowers is the No. 1 receiver. Bateman has also become a good value pick with an ADP at 115.2, and Beckham is also worth a flier at 124.6.
I love the Lions offense this year, mostly because of offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, but they have plenty of talent to help Fantasy managers. Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jahmyr Gibbs should be starters in all leagues, and David Montgomery isn't far behind. Jameson Williams, as stated above, could be a league winner in the second half of the season. Jared Goff is worth drafting as a low-end No. 1 quarterback. And then there's LaPorta, who has the ability to be a starter in all leagues as well. He's already established himself as the best tight end on Detroit's roster in training camp, and he gets six games to prove he deserves targets with Williams out. We'll see what happens when everyone is active, but LaPorta should prove to be a go-to guy for Goff right away. Last year, T.J. Hockenson averaged over six targets per game for the Lions, and LaPorta could do plenty of damage with those opportunities. LaPorta's ADP is 182.9, but I would look for him as early as Round 10 as a low-end starting Fantasy tight end or a high-end backup to stash during the year.
McBride is worth drafting with a late-round pick in all leagues as a No. 2 Fantasy tight end with upside. His ADP is 225.9, but you should draft him as early as Round 12, especially if Kyler Murray (knee) is healthy early in the season, as well as Zach Ertz (knee) remaining out. It's hard to envision Ertz making a significant impact this year given that he tore his ACL and MCL in Week 10. His absence would allow McBride the chance to be a second-year breakout, even if he's catching passes from Colt McCoy. If Ertz is out, the Cardinals have to replace 212 targets from last season with DeAndre Hopkins, Ertz and A.J. Green. McBride should be among the top receiving threats for the Cardinals this season, along with Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore and James Conner, and McBride averaged 10.0 PPR points per game in his final four games in 2022. With an increased role, he should build on that and potentially become a low-end No. 1 Fantasy tight end in 2023.