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A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. Value is available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. This article specifically targets deep sleeper value (players that can be found very late in a fantasy draft). 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 players mentioned and the reasons why.
Player Receiving 5 Votes
Josh Palmer, LA Chargers
Ben Cummins: Josh Palmer is the most valuable wide receiver handcuffs. Keenan Allen missed one game last season, and in that contest, Palmer played on 87% of the offensive snaps catching five of seven targets for 66 yards and a touchdown. And early reports this offseason already have Palmer as the favorite for the WR3 job in one of the league's best and most aggressive offenses. His combination of standalone and contingency value is too good to pass up.
Jason Wood: No team uses 3- and 4-WR sets more than the Chargers, and Palmer may have a better all-around game than Mike Williams, despite the massive difference in their contractual status. If Williams or Keenan Allen miss time, don't be surprised if Palmer becomes a trusted Justin Herbert target.
Christian Williams: The transition from Jalen Guyton to Josh Palmer quietly happened over the last five weeks of the 2021 season. During that time, Palmer out-snapped Guyton 66% to 33%, out-targeted him 27 to 16, and out-caught him 18 to 13. The Chargers operated out of 11-personnel (one running back, one tight end, and three wide receivers) 64% of the time last year, and the odds that Palmer has standalone flex value without injury are high. Additionally, factoring in the upside of a Mike Williams or Keenan Allen injury makes Palmer the easiest draft pick at his current ADP of WR75.
Andy Hicks: Josh Palmer had a patchy rookie season, but the light seemed to come on late in the 2021 season. An excellent training camp and further development through the offseason all point to Josh Palmer being a key component for Justin Herbert in 2022 and beyond. With Keenan Allen over 30 and Mike Williams inconsistent, Palmer is in a great position to become one of those fantasy treasures that seem to come out of nowhere.
Sam Wagman: Down the stretch last season, Palmer unseated Jalen Guyton as the WR3 for the Chargers and was playing more snaps by season’s end. The Chargers frequently run 3- and 4-WR sets and will pass the ball a ton, so Palmer should have some value at the back end of your drafts. If, by some chance, one of Mike Williams or Keenan Allen misses time, Palmer would be an automatic WR3 with heavy upside.
Players Receiving 4 Votes
Nico Collins, Houston
Jason Wood: Collins' rookie numbers weren't memorable (33 receptions for 446 yards and 1 touchdown), but he missed nearly four weeks at the beginning of the season and was behind the curve. He ended up being on the field more than any Texans receiver down the stretch and enters Year 2 with the coaches' and quarterback's confidence. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, he has the size and aggressiveness to pair perfectly with Brandin Cooks on the outside.
Christian Williams: With the news of John Metchie III throwing a wrench in the Texans' plans at receiver, Collins should build upon his fine, albeit uninspired, rookie campaign. Collins is becoming a favorite of quarterback Davis Mills. The young wide receiver is the second target behind Brandin Cooks, and his route-running ability has improved significantly. Collins could offer league-winning upside if there is an injury to Brandin Cooks, but his weekly value should be enough to keep him a valuable bench piece.
Will Grant: Collins had a quiet rookie season with just 33 receptions for 446 yards and a touchdown. But the Houston wide receiver corps was a mess last season after Brandon Cooks, and that should hopefully be settled with Collins as the solid #2. He has good size and strength to play opposite Cooks with minimal competition from anyone else, Collins will have every opportunity to take a big step forward in his second year. The Texans will not win many games this season, and they'll be throwing the ball a lot to catch up. Collins could be a nice addition to your fantasy team with a late-round flyer.
Jeff Haseley: Brandin Cooks may be the top receiving threat in Houston, but Nico Collins will have a role, and he has the ideal size to produce in the red zone at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. His involvement may be greater than expected with the loss of John Metchie III III for the season.
George Pickens, Pittsburgh
Ben Cummins: I loved Pickens' collegiate tape and saw the potential for a true alpha No. 1 wide receiver should everything come together. And reports have stated Pickens would've gone a lot higher in the NFL Draft were it not for an ACL injury that cut short his junior season. The buzz during training camp is deafening, and Pickens caught a beautiful touchdown in his first preseason action. I'm fully bought in on Pickens producing as a rookie.
Jason Wood: The quarterback situation is an overhang, but those who thought Pickens would red shirt behind Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool need to reconsider. Claypool appears to be the odd man out, or at least more likely to be a purely complementary option, while Pickens steps into the focal point alongside Johnson. Pickens has made plays nearly every day of camp, and Johnson -- who just signed a massive extension -- is raving about the rookie. Buckle up.
Christian Williams: While many wrote off the Steelers offense before preseason even began due to the quarterbacks, George Pickens has dominated camp. While the offense can't realistically support multiple high-end fantasy options, Pickens is proving himself as the No. 2 option behind only Diontae Johnson. After Chase Claypool's disappointing 2021 and his inevitable move to the big slot role, Pickens could see a higher volume than initially expected. When healthy, he's shown how rewarding that could be for fantasy managers.
Andy Hicks: Not only does Pittsburgh have an excellent record of drafting wide receivers, they often come out and have fantastic rookie seasons. Their most recent successes include Chase Claypool, his nine-touchdown rookie season, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who ranked 17th in his debut year. Even Diontae Johnson almost finished as a fantasy starter, despite being raw. George Pickens has first-round grade talent but fell to 52 due to character concerns. This is where you trust that the location fixes issues, coaches well, and produces immediate results. Reports through training camp and preseason make drafting Pickens an almost no-brainer.
Players Receiving 3 Votes
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