• Top 5 League-Winning Sleepers for Fantasy Football

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    Fantasy drafts are now in session. Casual fantasy managers are familiar with the first five or six rounds' worth of players, but today we take a look at deep sleepers.

    Draft day is upon you. Your favorite tiered cheat sheets are all printed, and you are confident that you will crush the early rounds of your draft. But what about sleepers!?!? League winners are found in the mid-late rounds every single year. Finding low-cost league-winning sleepers is the recipe for a fantasy championship.

    What makes it hard is when we get towards the mid-late rounds of the draft, the cheat sheet tiers get awfully large, as there is not a lot differentiating these folks as the prior high-performers are mostly gone. I want to help you identify a handful of sleepers that you should highlight as targets because they are going to pay off well ahead of their current ADPs.

    If you find the right guys, leagues can be won from the mid-late rounds. These five sleepers are primed to blow up in 2022, yet you can find them in rounds seven and higher.

    League-Winning Sleepers

    1) Jameis Winston

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    Jameis Winston has become a MASSIVE steal, especially in superflex/2QB leagues. We know he has a high ceiling as one of only nine QBs in NFL history to have a 5,000-yard passing season. However, that was back in 2019. Why is Winston still one of your favorite sleepers?

    In standard four-point TD negative two-point interception QB scoring, Winston was QB14 in PPG in 2021. This season was cut short due to injury. However, seven games is still a fairly sizeable sample size. This production came while throwing to a star-studded WR core consisting of Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harty, and Tre'Quan Smith......

    Flash forward a year, and that 2021 New Orleans WR room is pushed to the back of the depth chart. Winston now throws to the likes of Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and first-round rookie Chris Olave. Yet somehow, we find last year's QB14 with no weapons available as the QB21 in Sleeper ADP.

    Players like Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, and Kirk Cousins are going multiple rounds earlier. Scoop up another position player to bolster your team's strength in the early rounds. You have Winston to fall back on later with likely similar or even better production.

    2) Elijah Moore

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    Who is going to throw him the ball, though?!? IT DOESN'T MATTER!! If you followed along with Elijah Moore's rookie season, his breakout spanned QB play from Joe Flacco, Mike White, and Zach Wilson.

    Moore's college profile is fantastic, his year 1 efficiency metrics were rock solid, and the offense as a whole will be improved.

    Yes, the Jets invested a first-round pick in Garrett Wilson, but do not let this scare you off. Wilson is not Ja'Marr Chase. Taking the league by storm right out the gates in year one is very rare. But even if Wilson miraculously does, Tee Higgins showed folks just one year ago that fading a player because a good prospect comes in across from him is a bad process.

    Elijah Moore is likely to lead this team in targets for 2022. He is an explosive playmaker and proven QB-proof. Moore should be nowhere near a sleepers list but here we are, wide receiver 38 in Sleeper ADP currently. This huge oversight by drafters gives you plenty of opportunities to take him at a great value!

    3) Chase Edmonds

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    Edmonds is on MANY analysts' favorite sleepers list in 2022. I think this ADP is going to correct itself very soon, but take advantage while you can!

    Mike McDaniel has been studying and working his way up through the Shanahan tree, starting all the way back in 2005 as an intern under Mike Shanahan. Most recently, as the mastermind behind the scenes of the beloved 49ers zone run game, no matter which running back was getting the start, you wanted them in your line-up.

    McDaniel knows his way around a run game, building the most efficient one in football in 2021. Among his first orders of business after becoming a head coach? Fixing their offensive line and bringing in one of the most efficient RBs in football over the last three seasons.

    Edmonds is a bursty running back with good patience and vision. We have a perfect fit if we take those attributes and pair him with the Shanahan zone-run scheme. Also, as a threat through the air catching over 40 passes the past two seasons, I expect McDaniel to scheme ways to get Edmonds in space for serious YAC.

    Edmonds is the clear-cut starter on this offense, signing for more than twice as much money as his next closest competition. This is the first time we have seen Edmonds in this lead-back role headed into a season, and folks are forgetting to project forward.

    At a Sleeper ADP of RB35, Edmonds easily has solid flex appeal and I think will likely have even closer to RB2 level performance. Either as a depth back-up or a late-round target in zero RB + hero RB drafts, I LOVE Edmonds for 2022.

    Hanging out with the likes of Devin Singletary, James Cook, and Michael Carter is just plain wrong. Take advantage!

    4) Brandon Aiyuk

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    Deebo Samuel and George Kittle exist, but don't let them scare you off of Brandon Aiyuk's pending breakout season. While yes, they are still here, I think the biggest difference is that Jimmy Garoppolo is no longer the starting quarterback. Garoppolo is a solid game manager quarterback who does not have the big arm talent to consistently feed deep and outside the numbers.

    This limitation played greatly into the success of over-the-middle routes for Deebo Samuel while limiting the skillset of Aiyuk, who excels as a true outside wide receiver.

    Even with Garoppolo at QB, we saw an entirely different Brandon Aiyuk post-Shanahan doghouse treatment scoring as the WR15 in the back weeks 9-18 of the season. This is the level of success I expect on a regular basis for 2022 with higher ceiling games when he and Lance connect deep.

    Normally, I take training camp reports with a grain of salt, but the beat of this drum has become awfully hard to ignore:

    WR40 on Sleeper is hilarious to me and a clear ADP to take advantage of in your drafts.

    5) Cole Kmet

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    Last but not least on this list of sleepers? None other than Bears #85 Cole Kmet!

    Full credit for identifying Kmet goes to Andrew Cooper (@CoopAFiasco).  Cooper changed how I evaluate TE upside with his "What Makes an Elite Tight End?" article.

    My favorite takeaways that seem so obvious are an elite tight end almost definitely needs to be:

    1. a top-two target on their team
    2. line up at WR often
    3. block on pass plays sparingly

    Kmet checks all these boxes. He is likely to repeat as the Bears' #2 target after already doing so despite Allen Robinson and Jimmy Graham in 2021. These two target competitors are now gone, and the pass-catchers brought in instead are underwhelming, to say the least: (Byron Pringle, Velus Jones Jr, N'Keal Harry).

    With only Mooney as a threat out wide, expect Kmet to continue splitting out at a high rate in 2022. In terms of blocking on passing downs, Kmet stayed under the warned 15% rate in 2021 at less than 12%.

    If anything, I would expect that percentage to decrease with the Bears needing to feature him as a pass-catcher. Kmet's off-season work with Justin Fields won't hurt his case for the role either.

    The target volume is absolutely going to be there for Cole Kmet, but it was there in 2021. The difference is that his zero TDs in 2021 skewed the impressiveness of his sophomore campaign. Kmet will not repeat this performance.

    Justin Fields has shown significant improvement this offseason, and I expect MANY more scoring opportunities with his improvement and Matt Nagy in Chicago's rear view.

    Cole Kmet is being drafted at his absolute floor at TE13 on Sleeper. Draft Kmet for his upside with confidence, and you can always hedge your bet later with another "safe" play.

    Thank you for reading my article on league-winning sleepers! You can find all of my articles on my IDP Guys author pageDon’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @DynastyBison and follow @IDPGuys to keep up to date!

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