Nick Mimi @nmimi
2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide Receivers
We are entering home draft season! In my sleeper article 1.0 I talked about players who could potentially rise up and make fantasy impacts. In this article, I’ll go over wide receivers who are quickly rising up the boards and will possibly make impacts. Several of these players likely will be in my first waiver wire article so get them now before the price costs you your top waiver!
This article breaks down the WRs who are coming on strong and rapidly rising in ADP. Some of these players will go undrafted but will surface throughout the season on numerous articles. With leagues having three wide receiver starting spots, some of these players could fill that low salary cap need or late ADP need.
Corey Davis, New York Jets
We all know Corey Davis has talent, but after watching the Jets' most recent preseason game, it is evident that Davis will be a big part of this offense. Davis had 4 catches for 70 yards and was targeted on 6 of Zach Wilson’s 7 throws to start. Fantasy is all about volume, and Corey Davis will provide solid WR2 value.
Marquez Callaway, New Orleans Saints
What a show Marquez Callaway put on for Monday Night Football! This ADP is going to skyrocket! I had him on here prior to the game and now he is going to be the WR1 for the Saints. The hope is Jameis Winston is the starter because the chemistry they showed was great.
Callaway had an amazing diving touchdown grab in double coverage and had 5 catches for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. The helium is picking up, and the double-digit round ADP is about to disappear.
Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals
Rondale Moore is one of my favorite rookie wide receivers. AJ Green currently acts as the WR2 but has major injury concerns. Christian Kirk is another threat for targets but has yet to prove he is a reliable option. Enter Rondale. I see the Cardinals using him for gadget plays, keeping him on the field. In his most recent preseason game, he caught 3 passes for 15 yards and had a carry for 9 yards. I see Deebo Samuel 2.0 here.
Elijah Moore, New York Jets
Elijah Moore should have gone in the first round of the NFL Draft. After seeing Zach Wilson tear up the preseason, Moore is about to skyrocket when he returns. Right now, Corey Davis is the Jets WR1, but Moore is going to be the most talented player on that side of the ball.
Currently, he has a quad injury and is resting, but is fully expected to be back in week 1. In practice, Moore has consistently been the best player and a favorite target of Wilson. A 1,000 yard rookie season is not out of the question if he stays healthy all season.
Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills
Gabe Davis’ stock is rising. The 2020 4th round pick for the Bills is looking to build off of his 7 touchdown rookie season. Currently, Buffalo has Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, and Cole Beasley on the wide receiver depth chart. With Beasley having question marks, and Sanders new to the offense, Davis should be able to take advantage and produce.
Most recently, he had 3 catches for 29 yards in Buffalo’s recent preseason win against Chicago, and glowing reviews out of camp are screaming breakout season for Davis. With Josh Allen throwing the ball, a double-digit touchdown season is in sight.
He is currently spending five days on the Covid-19 list, as a close-contact risk candidate.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions
When I see St. Brown in this offense, I can’t help but think of Cooper Kupp. With Jared Goff at quarterback, St. Brown could immediately become a WR1. Breshad Perriman is struggling in camp, which could funnel more targets to St. Brown.
His route running looks great in the preseason, and if he goes undrafted, he will 100% be on the waiver wire articles following week 1. He has 4 catches for 24 yards this preseason, but come the regular season, he is going to be targeted heavily. CBS reported Jared Goff is showing him Cooper Kupp routes, and if he can emulate that, look out!
Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots
Jakobi Meyers is having a great camp. N’Keal Harry requested a trade in the offseason, and is now injured and could miss the first few weeks in the season. Nelson Agholor and Meyers should act as the top 2 WRs in New England.
In their most recent preseason game, Meyers caught 3 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Meyers likely will go undrafted in many leagues, but will most certainly be on many waiver wire articles week 1. With Harry hurt, and Meyers entering his third season in the offense, I expect him to put in some solid WR3-4 range numbers.
Sammy Watkins, Baltimore Ravens
Sammy Watkins is going to be on every waiver wire week 1 article. He does it every year early on. This year he is catching passes from Lamar Jackson, and the Ravens are experiencing injuries at the wide receiver position. Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman are injured.
Watkins did leave practice last week, but the hopes are it is nothing concerning. If Watkins is the WR1 for the Ravens week 1, he is in line for a massive target share outside Mark Andrews.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
Mike Williams is a very popular sleeper pick. With rising star Justin Herbert throwing the football, Williams has the chance to truly break out. With Keenan Allen as the WR1, Williams slides in as the WR2. Hunter Henry has left the Chargers, and they brought in Jared Cook, but I can’t see him taking away too many targets.
Williams has an injury history and could be playing for a new contract after this season. In 2019, Williams recorded a 1,000-yard season on 49 catches. If he can stay healthy this season, 1,000 is not out of the question.
Nico Collins / Houston Texans
Nico Collins and Brandin Cooks are the WR1/WR2 for the Texans. This team is going to be trailing early and often and is going to need to air it out. The 6’4 third-round pick was recently held out of the Texans' preseason game against the Cowboys but is already back at practice. The Texans traded two future picks to go up and get the big physical wide receiver, and fully intend on starting him day 1. Cooks does have an injury history, so the possibility of Collins being the WR1 on a team trailing consistently is very real.
Collins plays physical and ran a 4.43 at his pro day. This is a player that fell to the third round as a result of a deep wide receiver class, and the Texans got a steal. A 1,000-yard season and double-digit touchdown season is not out of the question. He most likely will lead the Texans in touchdowns.
Terrace Marshall Jr, Carolina Panthers
A WR that is slowly picking up steam is Terrace Marshall Jr. Right now, the Panthers have DJ Moore and Robby Anderson as their top two wideouts. Barring injuries, Marshall is not going to pass them on the depth chart, but his talent is too good to ignore. The speedy wide receiver ran a 4.4 forty-yard dash and brings a dynamic element to the Panthers' offense led by Sam Darnold.
In his most recent preseason game against Baltimore, Marshall caught 3 passes for 50 yards, and against the Colts had 3 catches for 88 yards. The Panthers will be forced to get him on the field.
Marvin Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars
Marvin Jones is a reliable fantasy player. Now the new Jaguar will be catching passes from rookie Trevor Lawrence. The Jags will likely be down a lot this season, indicating Lawrence likely will throw a lot. Laviska Shenault is emerging as a true breakout, and they have DJ Chark as well.
Marvin Jones caught 4 passes for 41 yards against the Saints and 3 catches for 52 yards against the Browns. Jones isn’t going to be a WR1 or even a WR2, but provides excellent WR3 value, and could be a flex play as well.
Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears
With the Anthony Miller trade, Darnell Mooney has a clear path to WR2 targets outside Allen Robinson. Ideally, Justin Fields is starting ASAP because that will boost Mooney’s value. Mooney is entering year two, and is having a great training camp.
With the clear path to targets, Mooney should provide solid WR4/low-end WR3 value. Last season as a rookie, he had 61 catches for 631 yards and 4 touchdowns. He looks to improve on that, and 80 plus targets or a 1,000 yard season shouldn’t be out of the question.
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
Sammy Watkins is no longer blocking the WR2 role in Kansas City. Hardman has the opportunity to seize the role outside Tyreek Hill, with the best quarterback in football. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill will gain all of the attention, but the speedy wideout is looking for a true breakout this season.
His competition seems to be Byron Pringle, but Hardman should have the advantage. In his most recent preseason game, he caught 4 passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. To add, he also ran a 4.33 40 yard-dash and has the talent to really break out this season.
For any questions about these options, or even more options, check me out on twitter @Nmimi. Otherwise, you can catch me streaming live every Wednesday at 9pm on the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast, now proudly part of the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube Channel family of podcasts.