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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Michael Fabiano

Kadarius Toney, Chris Olave Among 2022 Deep Sleepers

The term “sleeper” has different meanings for different people in the world of fantasy football. Some folks believe it’s simply a player who will outperform his draft position. That would include the likes of Joe Burrow, Damien Harris or Michael Pittman Jr. in 2021. Others believe it’s a relative unknown or once forgotten player who emerges into a very useful fantasy option, such as Cordarrelle Patterson or Dalton Schultz.

However, I think there are different levels of sleeper value among NFL players.

For example, the athletes who I labeled as traditional sleepers are all likely to come off the board in the middle to late rounds. Then, you have another tier. I like to call them the “deep sleepers.” These are the players who have average draft positions (ADPs) in the double-digit rounds but could bring back some level of value based on their skills and potential offensive opportunities based on their respective team’s depth charts.

With that in mind, here are 10 players to target in the late rounds who could be the best of the best when it comes to the fantasy football deep sleeper class of 2022.

Note: I've included the round range I'd feel comfortable taking each player.

Sleepers | Breakouts | Busts

Danielle Parhizkaran/ TODAY NETWORK

Kadarius Toney, WR, Giants
Toney showed some flashes of potential as a rookie, including a massive 29.6-point explosion in a loss to the Cowboys. Injuries derailed what might have become a bigger statistical campaign, but Toney is back at 100% and projected to start in Year 2. In an offense that should be more productive under new head coach Brian Daboll, I can see a scenario in which Toney emerges into a weekly No. 3 wideout in fantasy leagues.
Draft range: 10th or 11th round

Chris Olave, WR, Saints
Olave, a first-round pick out of Ohio State, could become a potential bargain for fantasy fans during his rookie season. Compared to Marvin Harrison in some circles, he will no doubt start opposite Michael Thomas right out of the gate. That all assumes, of course, that Thomas is back at 100% from an ankle injury that’s kept him out of action for most of the past two years. If Thomas’s issues continue, Olave could shine this season.
Draft range: 10th or 11th round

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Patriots
Stevenson will open the season behind Damien Harris on the Patriots depth chart, but that doesn’t mean he won’t see enough touches to be fantasy relevant. He averaged a steady 12.3 touches per game as a rookie, and his 4.6 yards per attempt was second behind Elijah Mitchell among first-year runners. In a New England offense that will lean on the ground attack, I like grabbing Stevenson as a RB4 or RB5 late in drafts.
Draft range: 10th or 11th round

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Ronald Jones, RB, Chiefs
Jones isn’t a traditional “deep sleeper” in my mind, but he’s being selected late enough in most drafts where he can slip into that category. He’ll open the season second on the Chiefs depth chart behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but CEH has missed a combined 10 games in his first two NFL campaigns. In what should remain a strong K.C. offense, Jones could end up being a potential flex starter this season in a best-case scenario.
Draft range: 11th or 12th round

Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Broncos
Okwuegbunam finds himself in a great position for fantasy purposes this season, as the Broncos traded Noah Fant in a deal with Seattle that landed them Russell Wilson. New head coach Nathaniel Hackett has already talked about Okwuegbunam being “more of a receiver” in the passing game, and the upgrade at quarterback is obviously a positive for the third-year tight end. In fact, he could wind up being a low-end fantasy starter.
Draft range: 11th or 12th round

Tyler Allgeier, RB, Falcons
The Falcons used a wide receiver, Cordarrelle Patterson, as their top running back a season ago. And while C.P. will continue to see time out of the backfield, I could see a scenario in which Allgeier earns an important role in an offense lacking for playmakers. The top rusher in FBS in 2020, he can break tackles and make defenders miss as a one-cut runner. I like him as a RB5 in the late rounds who could outperform his ADP.
Draft range: 13th or 14th round

Darrel Williams, RB, Cardinals
The Cardinals added Williams to replace the departed Chase Edmonds, who left as a free agent to Miami. The former Chiefs back quietly caught 47 passes last season, just six fewer than Edmonds, and will be used more often than you think in an effort to keep James Conner from wearing down. Arizona’s offense should be an explosive one, and Williams could have some flex value this season … and more if Conner misses time.
Draft range: 13th or 14th round

David Bell, WR, Browns
Bell has a chance to play a prominent role right away for a Browns team that doesn’t have any sure things at wide receiver behind Amari Cooper. Compared by some to Jarvis Landry, I like the rookie to open the season as the team’s top slot man in the offense of head coach Kevin Stefanski. Much of his value will be tied to what happens with Deshaun Watson, but at this point Bell is well worth a look in the latter rounds.
Draft range: 13th or 14th round

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Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jaguars
Lawrence had a very forgettable rookie season, but we’ll give him a pass because of the whole Urban Meyer mess. The Jags added Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram to the pass attack in the offseason, and they’ll also get breakout candidate Travis Etienne back from injury. Lawrence is basically free in most drafts due to the depth at quarterback, so he’s a worthwhile late-round selection and a potential steal.
Draft range: 13th or 14th round

Tyrion Davis-Price, RB, 49ers
Elijah Mitchell is going to be the lead runner in San Francisco, but will he be more durable than he was as a rookie? If not, Davis-Price could have a door open for him to see a bigger role in the offense. Also keep in mind that the team has had a different rushing leader every under head coach Kyle Shanahan (2017-2021), so it wouldn’t be crazy for the rookie to make an impact. He’s going to be a nice, late-round No. 5 runner.
Draft range: 14th or 15th round

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!

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