2023 Fantasy Football Sleeper Preview

by Michael Nazarek (UPDATED - 8/24/2023)

Editor's Note: Below you will find a portion of our Fantasy Football Sleepers for 2023. If you'd like to read about all 46 sleepers, please click HERE to order our 2023 Pre-Season Draft Guide.

Everyone knows about Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, and Justin Jefferson. The top 50 players taken in most fantasy drafts will likely be the same group of players. What separates the men from the boys is knowing who will produce when they are not expected to produce. To this end, I will supply you with sleeper lists of players at each of the key fantasy positions. Consider each and weigh them against your league competition. I will list sleepers in three distinct categories… obvious, darkhorses, and long-shots. I have also offered my "deep sleeper" at each position. Note: The official projected statistics for these players were not posted, as they may change with each guide update.


The following DEEP SLEEPER was posted on these pages three summers ago. It just goes to show you that sometimes these players pan out in a HUGE way…


Justin Herbert ® (Los Angeles Chargers) - Hebert was drafted to be the QB of the future for the Chargers, now that QB Philip Rivers has moved on. That said, he may be the QB of the present if QB Tyrod Taylor struggles as the bridge-starter. Hey! It happened in Cleveland, when Taylor struggled and was replaced early in the season with rookie QB Baker Mayfield. That said, questions surround Herbert. Can he be a solid NFL starter? Can he consistently produce? It's too early to answer those questions, but that is normally the case for our Deep Sleeper for fantasy at the QB position every summer, and Herbert fits that mold well.


Yeah, I’d say he has talent. After he took over in Week #2 of 2020, he finished the season as a top 5 fantasy QB and has only gotten better! On to this year’s lists…


Note: The UPDATED ADP mentioned below for all players applies to 12-team leagues.


RED - Positive Update

PINK - Neutral Update

BLUE - Negative Update




The Obvious


Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville) - Lawrence rebounded from a shaky 2021 to become a solid top 10 QB for fantasy in 2022. Entering 2023, he is one of the hottest obvious fantasy sleepers to target in your fantasy draft beyond the first four rounds. The Jaguars offense pretty much returns intact, which is great news for Lawrence and his fantasy owners, who can wait a few rounds after QB Joe Burrow goes to target and grab Lawrence and very nearly get the same production. ADP: Round 5-6. Update 8/24: Lawrence is locked and loaded for a big season in 2023, keeping him a very obvious fantasy sleeper!


DeShaun Watson (Cleveland) - People forget that in 2020, Watson generated a 4,800+ passing-yard season with 33 TD passes. Admittedly, he struggled for the time he started after his 10-game suspension in 2022 with his new team, but he won't be rusty this September, and he gets help with the acquisition of WR Elijah Moore from the Jets. Bottom Line: Watson should produce top 12 fantasy QB numbers and you can wait until the 7th round in 12-team leagues this summer to grab him as your starter. ADP: Round 7-8. Update 8/24: Watson and been a bit up and down in camp and the preseason, but the potential for a rebound complete season is still there, so he sticks on this list.


Jared Goff (Detroit) - I admit that Goff has surprisingly impressed me with his production as a Lion. I discounted him the past two years, and he's proven to be a solid NFL starter and decent fantasy producer. He finished the 2022 campaign with 4,400+ passing yards and 29 TD passes. Not bad at all! He gets WR Jameson Williams back after a 6-game suspension in 2023 and rookie RB Jahmyr Gibbs will also take the pressure off. Best of all, his ADP is in the 9th round. ADP: Round 11-12. Update 8/24: Goff has looked good this summer, and is primed for another successful season. As a result, he stays on this list.


The Darkhorse


Anthony Richardson ® (Indianapolis) - There is a lot of excitement around rookie Richardson, as he can make plays with his feet in addition to his arm, but he is also seen as a bit raw for many around the NFL. Time will tell, but if he gets off to a hot start, he could become another Justin Fields in 2023. At least he gets WR Michael Pittman Jr. as his primary target in the passing game. While he is far from a lock for a good fantasy season, his cost is only a 10th round pick this summer. ADP: Round 10. Update 8/24: Richardson has been inconsistent in camp and the preseason, but has also flashed his talents, so while he could get off to a slow start, his running ability should keep him in play for fantasy throughout his rookie season.


Matthew Stafford (L.A. Rams) - Stafford used to be a solid top 10 fantasy QB. Then came the ugly 2022 season where injuries to himself and WR Cooper Kupp along with the inability to get the football to WR Allen Robinson consistently made him a non-factor and a terrible pick for fantasy. Now, in 2023, Stafford and Kupp enter the summer healthy and A-Rob is gone. There is a chance that Stafford could pull another top 12 fantasy QB season out of his you-know-what if the bounces and his health go in the right direction. For fantasy, Stafford is not getting any respect, so you can easily wait until the 11th round to even consider him in your draft. ADP: Round 14-15. Update 8/24: Stafford is healthy, which is saying a lot. He's looked good, and as long as Kupp (hamstring) recovers and plays come week #1, Stafford should be much more productive in 2023 than he was in 2022.


Bryce Young ® (Carolina) - Young was the top pick of the draft and a Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama. He is a very talented and a smart QB, so it shouldn't take him much time to produce solid numbers in the NFL. With WR Adam Thielen, WR D.J. Chark, rookie WR Jonathan Mingo, and TE Hayden Hurst at his disposal, do not be surprised if he produces nice fantasy backup numbers and becomes a decent spot starter for fantasy. ADP: Round 15-18. Update 8/24: The big issue here is the struggles of the offensive line to keep the defense off Young's back. If given the time, he's a quality QB. He will likely get off to a slow start, but you should only be considering him as a QB3 anyway for your fantasy draft.


The Long-Shot


Jordan Love (Green Bay) - After years of waiting to start, Aaron Rodgers is gone, giving Love his first chance in 202. Thus far in OTAs, he's received a lot of praise from teammates and coaches. What will happen when the real games begin? Well, he has potential, but is far from a lock to produce for fantasy, so he's listed here as a long-shot fantasy sleeper in 2023 this summer. Hey! At least he will come on the cheap in your fantasy draft! ADP: Round 16-17. Update 8/24: Love has impressed this summer, and seems primed for a nice season in his first as an NFL starter. As a result, he stays on this list.


Brock Purdy (San Francisco) - Mr. Irrelevant was far from that moniker late in the 2022 season, as he helped get the 49ers into the playoffs. Too bad an elbow injury cost him early in that playoff game, but he should be healthy before week #1. With CMC taking the pressure off, Purdy should have more success targeting impressive weapons like WR Deebo Samuel, WR Brandon Aiyuk, and TE George Kittle, making him a nice long-shot (due to his injury) fantasy sleeper for 2023. ADP: Round 15-18. Update 8/24: Purdy has impressed now that he's finally healthy. As a result, he stays on this list.


C.J. Stroud (Houston) - Rookie Stroud is a high draft pick, and will bring excitement back to the Texans offense. The issue here is the fact that WR Brandin Cooks is gone, leaving newly signed veteran WR Robert Woods and WR Nico Collins to lead the wideout corps. The question remains how fast will Stroud develop? Those are the biggest reasons why he's a long-shot fantasy sleeper this summer. ADP: Round 17-19. Update 8/24: Stroud has struggled in the preseason, but has also improved game-to-game. He gets another start this week, and should eventually become a decent NFL starter in the league. As a result, he remains a longshot fantasy sleeper at this time.


The Deep-Sleeper


Sam Howell (Washington) - Howell started the season finale for the Commanders in his rookie season last year. He played well enough to get the first crack to start come week #1 in September, provided he impresses enough during training camp and the preseason. That said, he is far from a lock to win that job, and that is why he's our deep sleeper at QB for 2023. ADP: Round 18. Update 8/24: Howell has impressed, and looks ready to start and be a productive QB in the league. Best of all, his ADP remains very low this summer. Consider him a QB3 with upside!


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