Week One Sleepers For Fantasy Football

Darden is a new breed of slot receiver with dynamite athleticism and ankle-breaking moves to make defenders miss; his 23 missed tackles forced in 2020 led all college football receivers. His slot production was also among the best in the country:

63 catches (third)
935 yards (second)
16 touchdowns (first)
Darden will likely be overlooked in fantasy football because his small 5-foot-8, 174-pound frame pigeonholes him into the slot. However, slot receivers can be plenty useful in fantasy football — Cole Beasley finished as the overall WR27 and Tyler Boyd ranked as WR29 in PPR scoring last season. Darden’s athleticism and vertical skill are on a completely different level from players those two players, though.
Do not let the slot stereotype cloud your evaluation of Darden’s potential upside. He may never be a fantasy WR1, but he possesses the route-running chops and dynamism after the catch to maintain WR2 upside in the right offense.

Imatorbhebhe was a highly coveted four-star recruit out of Georgia who committed to USC and then transferred to Illinois after his freshman season. His production with the Fighting Illini last season was virtually non-existent, though he tallied a respectable 33-631-9 receiving line at a rate of 19.1 yards per catch in 2019. I am willing to look past the production concerns, as Illinois is not exactly a juggernaut offensive program.
Imatorbhebhe is still an extremely raw receiver with a limited array of skills. However, he possesses arguably the best athletic traits of any player in the draft class. The 46.5-inch vertical jump that he posted at Illinois’ Pro Day is the highest vertical ever recorded by any NFL draft prospect. The previous record was 46 inches at the NFL combine by a safety back in 2005.

For all the problems with the end-zone fade, NFL teams could do worse than throwing a jump ball to a player with literally the best hops we have ever seen on a football field. A team could take a shot at the end of the draft on Imatorbhebhe with that type of red-zone role specifically in mind.
Additionally, Imatorbhebhe maintains enough speed to get behind a defense, having run the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds. He is well-built and explosive, and he can plow through contact from corners. He racked up five receiving touchdowns on throws 20-plus yards downfield in 2019 (24th). However, his route tree is very limited, and he demonstrated problems tracking the football in the air.
Despite the flaws in Imatorbhebhe’s game, wide receivers with his athleticism simply do not come around very often. Perhaps an NFL team falls in love with the potential and manages to transform his athletic upside into an actual wide receiver.

Raw athleticism and tools are more important at the running back position than arguably anywhere else on the football field. Kylin Hill demonstrated all the physical tools required of NFL-level running backs and holds the explosiveness necessary to be a starting-caliber player.
Though Hill dealt with an array of injuries last season, few running backs were more productive than him in 2019. He was the No. 2 rusher in the SEC, racking up 1,348 rushing yards, which trailed only Clyde Edwards-Helaire, while also racking up 741 yards after contact (fourth) and 61 missed tackles forced (second). He is a bruising and explosive running back who is difficult to bring down on initial contact, with one of the best stiff-arms among any player in this entire draft class.
Hill is also an elusive pass-catcher, which is a huge bonus for fantasy managers hunting for PPR upside. He flashed as a receiver last season with a 23-234-1 receiving line, including a number of catches outside his frame while dropping only one of his 27 targets.
The primary negative in Hill’s game revolves around his freelance running style. He displayed a tendency to bounce out runs and move laterally to the line of scrimmage. That style will be a problem in the NFL, where backs must be decisive with their cuts and directly get upfield.
Kylin Hill is a toolsy running back who is more than worth a late-round fantasy draft selection, regardless of his NFL landing spot.

Chuba Hubbard burst into superstardom after a ridiculous 2019 season in which he racked up 2,094 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns on a preposterous 328 carries. There is no doubt that Hubbard can handle a bell-cow workload if the opportunity presents itself, and the fact that he dominated the competition with such a heavy workload bodes well for his usage prospects in the NFL.
Hubbard is a decisive runner with terrific jump-cut ability and the skill set to bounce on a dime. Hubbard is an incredibly tough runner at 210 pounds, but he is a tier below the top of the running back class in terms of what he can do physically. That’s why his draft stock is currently projected into the fifth- to sixth-round range.
The critical question for Hubbard is which running back his NFL team will get — the 2020 or 2019 version? Hubbard’s 2020 struggles can be explained by a myriad of injury problems, and, of course, last year was an anomaly because of COVID-19. At such a low draft cost, maybe we simply pretend 2020 never happened for Hubbard and evaluate him strictly through the lens of 2019.

Perhaps Hubbard enters the NFL and immediately recaptures his 2019 form, where he ranked second in the nation in rushing. His 88.1 PFF grade that season stacks up against some of last year’s rookie studs and the elite backs in this class — including Jonathan Taylor, Najee Harris, Travis Etienne and Javonte Williams.
Hubbard’s landing spot will be crucial in determining whether he can carve out a role in the NFL. He could become an early-down chain-mover if a team is willing to give carries to a running back selected in the later rounds. Chris Carson was a sixth-round pick out of Oklahoma State and has made a nice career for himself. Maybe Hubbard will follow in those footsteps.

Jefferson blew up as an 18-year-old freshman at Oregon State with a ridiculous 1,374-12 rushing line (ninth-most rushing yards in the nation) and 48 missed tackles forced (18th). The fact that Jefferson registered such prodigious production behind a middling offensive line makes his gaudy numbers all the more impressive.
The key to his production was his outstanding vision as a ball carrier. He has sneaky size with a strong lower half to power through arm tackles, and he paces runs well while gaining extra ground through creases. He also demonstrated capable receiving skills, with only one drop on 44 career catchable passes.
Jefferson will be a late-round pick in the draft because his athleticism is severely lacking for the position — nearly all his Pro Day measurables rank in the bottom 25th percentile. However, his 4.55-second 40-yard dash speed is plenty quick enough for a back with the caliber of vision that Jefferson displayed on tape.
He reminds me of another late-round running back who came out of the Pac-12 as a sub-par athlete but excelled with elusiveness and vision: Myles Gaskin. Landing spot and opportunity will be key for Jefferson because he probably will need to climb a depth chart for a fantasy-relevant role.

Deebo Samuel was a disappointing Fantasy receiver last season, potentially sending him down the 2023 Fantasy football rankings. He was only able to start 12 games and finished with just 56 receptions for 632 yards and two touchdowns. Samuel also ran for 133 fewer yards and five fewer touchdowns than in 2021, which made him one of the Fantasy football busts. Meanwhile, fellow 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk resurfaced to finish with 78 catches for 1015 yards and eight touchdowns, all career-highs. Aiyuk also had the seventh-highest red zone target rate among all receivers (48.4%), which could be a valuable data point to consider during your 2023 Fantasy football draft prep.

You’ll need to target 2023 Fantasy football sleepers and 2023 Fantasy football breakouts while avoiding 2023 Fantasy football busts. Before setting your 2023 Fantasy football draft strategy, be sure to check out the 2023 Fantasy football rankings and cheat sheets from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

Last year, the model accurately predicted that 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel was being dramatically overvalued. Samuel was the sixth receiver coming off the board on average, but the model had him ranked outside the top 10. The result: Samuel followed up a season in which he had 1,770 scrimmage yards and 14 touchdowns by producing just 864 yards and five scores.

The same model has a proven track record providing Fantasy football tips, identifying A.J. Brown as another sleeper in 2020 and nailing Jonathan Taylor’s enormous season in 2021. Additionally, it’s called past Fantasy football sleepers like Derrick Henry in 2019, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara in 2018, and Davante Adams in 2017. Anybody who banked on players like those made a run at their league title.

The model is powered by the same people who generated projections for all three major Fantasy sites, and it beat human experts last season when there was a big difference in ranking. The 2023 Fantasy football PPR rankings and 2023 Fantasy football standard projections update multiple times daily, so you’re always getting the best Fantasy football advice.

Addison caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns on his way to winning the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver in his sophomore season at Pitt and then transferred to USC prior to the 2022 season. Despite battling injuries with USC, Addison caught 59 passes for 875 yards and four scores at Southern Cal and finished his collegiate career with 219 receptions for 3,134 yards and 29 touchdowns. The model ranks him as its top-rated rookie wide receiver in the 2023 Fantasy football WR rankings. See more Fantasy football breakouts 2023 here.

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Updated 2023 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings: Post-NFL Draft – Jahmyr Gibbs, Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison, Jaxon Smith-Njigba
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Bijan Robinson – Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers
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  1. NFL Rookie Rankings for Fantasy Football (Post-Draft)
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    Fellow RotoBallers. Now that the 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the books, the real fun begins! Which NFL rookies will be fantasy relevant for 2023, and who should be prioritized in fantasy football drafts? Let’s take a look at the rankings for rookies like Jahmyr Gibbs, Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison, Dalton Kincaid and Zach Charbonnet.

In this article you’ll find our NFL team’s updated 2023 fantasy football rookie rankings — the post-NFL Draft edition. These updated NFL rookie rankings factor in the NFL Draft results, the landing spots of these NFL rookies, and their potential fantasy football values for the 2023 fantasy football season.

For anyone who isn’t familiar, below you’ll see the consensus staff rankings for three of RotoBaller’s lead NFL analysts – Andrew Lalama, Brandon Murchison, Jackson Sparks, and Phil Clark. Use these fantasy football rookies rankings for your rookie drafts, dynasty drafts, and also your redraft leagues when assessing rookies that can make an impact in 2023. These rankings will be updated regularly until the start of the 2023 NFL season.

Editor’s Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller!
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Now, SportsLine has simulated the entire NFL season 10,000 times and released its latest Fantasy football rankings 2023, along with plenty of sleepers, breakouts and busts. Head to SportsLine now to see them.

Top 2023 Fantasy football sleepers
One of the 2023 Fantasy football sleepers the model is predicting: Falcons wide receiver Drake London. The Falcons made savvy additions to their wide receiver room this offseason with Scotty Miller and Mack Hollins, but they won’t threaten London’s usage. Last season, London had nearly twice as many targets as the next wide receiver on the Falcons, which is important on a team that wants to run the ball first.

Even though the Falcons are moving on to a developing quarterback in Desmond Ridder, they didn’t get much out of Marcus Mariota last season and London still showed well. He finished with 72 receptions for 866 yards and four touchdowns and led all receivers in red zone target rate (66.7%) last season. The model projects he will take another step forward this year and have a better Fantasy season than others currently drafted well ahead of him, like Christian Kirk, George Pickens and Jerry Jeudy. See more Fantasy football sleepers 2023 here.

Top 2023 Fantasy football breakouts
The model is also projecting Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison as one of its 2023 Fantasy football breakouts. The USC star was the No. 23 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and steps into an ideal situation in Minnesota opposite Justin Jefferson. The latter should continue to attract plenty of bracketed and double-coverage looks, freeing up Addison to work one-on-one elsewhere on the field.

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