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A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. This article targets deep sleeper value (players that can be found very late in a fantasy draft). In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look deeper than the Top 150 and identify players that should significantly outperform their late draft position. These players should be your targets after the 12th round of your draft.
Here are the players who received the most votes:
And here are all of the payers mentioned and the reasons why.
Players Receiving 5 Votes
Bryan Edwards, Las Vegas
Phil Alexander: There is room for a wide receiver to emerge as the second target behind Darren Waller in the Raiders' offense. If the team's beat writers can be believed, Edwards is poised to make the leap. The second-year receiver came out of South Carolina with an impressive athletic profile and was highly productive in the SEC early. While reports he has resembled Terrell Owens and Randy Moss in camp are hyperbolic, they serve as a reminder Edwards likely would have been considered a first-round pick in 2020 had it not been for injuries.
Andrew Davenport: The camp praise for Edwards has been hyperbolic at times, but when it is consistent and effusive, it is time to pay attention. Edwards' rookie season was derailed by injury, but he possesses the traits of a wide receiver that should be given another chance to produce at this level. His College Dominator rating (the market share of his team's offense) was a ridiculous 48.4% (94th percentile), and his breakout age of 17.8 was as good as it gets (100th percentile). Edwards has been praised this summer for his development and hard work by teammates, coaches, and most importantly, his quarterback Derek Carr. Take a shot on Edwards near the end of drafts.
Jordan McNamara: This summer, Bryan Edwards has been the subject of positive camp reports after a disappointing rookie season. Edwards had a strong production profile entering the NFL and profiles more of a WR1 than teammate Henry Ruggs III. Edwards has a good opportunity without a clear WR1 on the depth chart and a good quarterback in Derek Carr. Edwards has the room in the offense for a breakout as a secondary option to Darren Waller.
Chad Parsons: Edwards has an open depth for the WR1 in Las Vegas. Edwards has an alpha profile, and his rookie season was largely derailed by injury. John Brown and Henry Ruggs III are other candidates for the WR1 role, and if Edwards is clearly behind them early in the season, simply moving on from an ancillary wide receiver can be the result after a low-level fantasy draft investment on Edwards.
Matt Waldman: Edwards is having another fantastic camp, and as long as an injury doesn't derail his 2021 season, he's currently atop the depth chart. The only high-volume receiving option on the team other than Edwards is Darren Waller. Edwards is a strong receiver with downfield speed who has moments of All-Pro-caliber tracking and catching contested targets. He's also a tough option in the open field. He may not be as good as Terrell Owens and Davante Adams--two players his teammates and head coach have compared him to--but he's vastly underrated in fantasy leagues and a great late pick with upside.
Rondale Moore, Arizona
Ben Cummins: Moore unquestionably checked the early breakout age box after catching 114 passes for 1,258 yards and 12 TDs and adding 213 rushing yards and two more scores on the ground as a true freshman at Purdue. And now he has been drafted in the second round as the Larry Fitzgerald replacement in a Kliff Kingsbury offense that perfectly suits his skill set. Look for Moore to post strong numbers through the air and on the ground in one of the most exciting offenses in football.
Pat Fitzmaurice: Seeing Moore terrorize the Big Ten in 2018 as an 18-year-old freshman was like seeing the Beatles in Shea Stadium in 1965. You knew you were witnessing the start of something big. Of course, "big" refers to Moore's potential impact and not his stature. His measurements (5-foot-7, 181 pounds) will repel many fantasy managers, and you owe it to yourself to capitalize on their biases. Trying to cover Moore is like trying to cover mercury. He had 114 catches, 1,471 yards from scrimmage, and 14 touchdowns in 13 games in that electric freshman season but played only seven games the last two years -- another factor holding down Moore's cost. The Cardinals invested a second-round pick in Moore, and he's a perfect fit for Kliff Kingsbury's horizontal passing attack, able to take short throws and turn upfield in the blink of an eye.
Jeff Haseley: It's preseason, but the Cardinals have already designed both rushing and passing plays specifically for Rondale Moore's unique skill set to take advantage of his speed and quickness. He lined up mostly in the slot in his preseason debut and could wind up being the top slot receiver with plenty of snaps and opportunities for targets.
Matt Waldman: I love this landing spot for Moore. I'm projecting a lot of 10 personnel--four-receiver sets--with Moore and either A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, or Andy Isabella working a lot of the time on the inside. This should draw many sweet matchups for Moore and result in big plays downfield or after the catch. I think Moore will be the second-most productive receiver on his team.
Jason Wood: The Cardinals are tricky to decipher given the plethora of options, including A.J. Green's arrival to go along with incumbents DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk. But the front office prioritized Moore, and coach Kingsbury immediately talked up Moore's skill set as the missing link in the offense. Moroe profiles as the perfect slot receiver, and given the Cardinals' lack of receiving tight ends, he could be in line for monstrous snap counts and target share if he shows well in training camp.
Players Receiving 4 Votes
Marquez Callaway, New Orleans
Jeff Haseley: Marquez Callaway is the player who best fills Michael Thomas' role in the offense. Go back to Week 7 last season, where Callaway had 8 catches on 10 targets for 75 yards in a role that resembled what we've seen from Thomas - mostly high-percentage short to intermediate routes, which is what we should see a ton of in 2021, especially if Taysom Hill is under center. Callaway would've padded his stats even more had it not been for a sprained ankle that he suffered in the third quarter. The ankle injury held him in check until Week 16 and 17, where he had three catches each and was more of a prominent role once Thomas was sat down in Week 15. So far in camp and preseason, Callaway has been the one turning heads and getting noticed. He is on the verge of being the go-to downfield target in Sean Payton's offense, and he should be productive regardless of who is under center for New Orleans.
Andy Hicks: Michael Thomas is injured. Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook are gone. Someone has to catch the ball in New Orleans besides Alvin Kamara. TreQuan Smith is inconsistent when fit. Marquez Callaway seems to be the last man standing and proving to be reliable in training camp. He got his feet wet in 2020 with 200 receiving yards, and his current draft price is almost a can’t lose proposition. If you can grab both Smith and Callaway, the benefits could be enormous.
Chad Parsons: With late draft picks - especially at wide receiver - I want a quick result of being right, aka worthy of a roster spot early in the season, or wrong and dumping them back to the waiver wire. For Callaway, the WR1 role for the Saints is wide-open, and TreQuan Smith has done little more than occasionally flash in his tenure. A hearty target load in Week 1 and Callaway is well worth holding.
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