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These Must-Draft Sleepers Will Help You Win Your 2021 Fantasy Football League

Nick Lepri

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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is going viral over the wholesome mic'd up moment of introducing himself to the Rams defense during Super Bowl

Searching for that sleeper in fantasy football drafts is one of the best parts of the process. Finding that late-round gem is one of the fastest ways to send a team to the playoffs for a shot at winning the championship. Let’s look at late-round fantasy football ADP and find the top sleepers to draft.

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2021 Fantasy Football Must-Draft Sleepers

Michael Carter – RB – NYJ

Normally going rookie running backs get a lot of hype, but this is not the case with Carter for some reason. While Carter is not locked in as the starting running back on the Jets, his path to becoming that is quite easy. The Jets running back room is filled with career backups Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson and Lamical Perine, so even if Carter does not start the season as the lead back, it will be a short time until that happens. In his senior season at North Carolina he rushed 156 times for 1,245 yards (8 per carry) and caught 25 passes on 30 targets for 267 yards and 11 total touchdowns.

Darnell Mooney – WR – CHI

Mooney had a great rookie season in 2020 despite the numbers not being extraordinary. Had Chicago’s quarterback play been better than that which Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles offered, he would have been among the top rookie receivers. Regardless of the poor passing game, Mooney made the best of it, recording 61 receptions (36th at his position on 98 targets (36th) for 631 yards (55th) and four touchdowns (48th). While Andy Dalton will likely be the starter for at least a few games, anything is a step up from the quarterback play last season. Once Justin Fields takes, the sky is the limit for Mooney.

Joe Burrow – QB – CIN

Burrow had a decent rookie season before his knee injury. Early reports out of camp this year point to the injury perhaps hindering him, but recently all signs are pointing positive for Burrow’s rehab. There is very little doubt in Burrow starting Week 1 against the Vikings. Most of the reason to like Burrow is because of how bad Cincinnati’s defense is, as the offense will be passing at a high rate. This was evident last season; through the first 11 weeks of the season the Bengals averaged 72 offensive plays per 60 minutes (second in the NFL) and 43 passing plays per 60 mins (first). The more they pass the higher upside Burrow has in 2021.

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Russell Gage – WR – ATL

With Julio Jones being traded to the Titans, the door has been left wide open for a new second receiving option in Atlanta. Reports out of camp indicate Gage is that next man up. Last year he had 72 receptions (25th among receivers) on 110 targets (22nd) for 786 yards (38th) and four touchdowns (48th). Even with the addition of Kyle Pitts, there are still enough targets in Atlanta for Gage to be considered a must-draft sleeper.

James Conner – RB – ARI

On the one hand, Conner lost his starting role on the Steelers to become the backup in Arizona. But Conner stood no chance of maintaining the starting job with Najee Harris in Pittsburgh, so Arizona is a much better situation given Kliff Kingsbury’s appears to not trust Chase Edmonds. Edmonds and Conner reportedly will split the reps for the time being, and with how little Edmonds has shown in his career, there is a pretty solid chance will eventually win the job outright.


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