Every year, fantasy football managers fall in love with the newest batch of rookies to enter the league. This year, guys like Drake London, Treylon Burks and Breece Hall have become the hottest commodities among the rookie class. But which rookies are flying under the radar? I targeted five late-round rookies who have the upside to drastically help your fantasy team – the keyword there being ‘late-round’.
FantasyPros ADP: RB60
Normally, a fifth-round pick isn’t expected to ball out in their rookie season. Alas, Allgeier is in a prime situation to burst past his ADP. Mike Davis – who essentially split the backfield with Cordarrelle Patterson – is no longer on the team. Instead, Qadree Ollison and Damien Williams are left to pick up the scraps alongside Patterson. Speaking of Patterson, one look at the Falcons’ receiving room suggests he may be needed more than ever as a wide receiver. Simply put, Atlanta’s running backs aren’t encouraging. That opens up the door for Allgeier to earn a primary role. At the very least, he could become the team’s early-down back. While the Falcons called pass plays at the eighth-highest rate in football last season, it’s a safe bet to assume a more balanced approach this season. After all, Head Coach Arthur Smith has typically been a run-first coach. As Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, Smith engineered a run-heavy offense. Of course, the Titans had Derrick Henry, but the addition of former Titan Marcus Mariota foreshadows more run plays in the Falcons’ future. And as we all know, opportunity is king in fantasy football. We shouldn’t anticipate a monster campaign from Allgeier, yet he still has a good chance to provide your fantasy team some serious value.
FantasyPros ADP: WR96
The Browns’ offense looks quite different than it did a year ago. Quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Amari Cooper have (for now) taken the mantle from Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry. Watson brings the possibility of a whole new dynamic to a Cleveland offense that’s typically been very run-heavy. In other words, we should expect more balanced play-calls than in recent years under Head Coach Kevin Stefanski. And the biggest benefactor could be Bell, who the Browns drafted in the third round. With Cooper on one boundary and Donovan Peoples-Jones on the other, Bell could have the fast track to starting inside. The Browns signed Jakeem Grant, but we shouldn’t rely on him to be anything more than a return specialist. While Kyle Crabbs projected Bell best as an “X” receiver, he also described Bell as a “high-floor, high-ceiling prospect who has the football acumen to make an impact quickly as a rookie.” If he is placed inside, Bell could be in-line for a ‘WR2’ role in the offense. Slot receivers have an edge in fantasy because there’s usually less distance between them and the quarterback, so they rack up easier receptions. And even if Bell mostly lines up outside, Peoples-Jones is his only real competition at ‘WR2’ targets. Bell’s a great flier to take at the end of deeper drafts.
FantasyPros ADP: RB71
Ah yes, the conundrum that is the 49ers’ backfield. Every season is the same story: the 49ers pencil a player into the starting role, he breaks out, everyone rushes to scoop him up… only for the next guy on the depth chart to get hot the next game. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, yet you hopefully get my point. Head Coach Kyle Shanahan is no stranger to riding the hot hand, which tends to happen often in an offense designed around the run game. The slew of injuries to the position hasn’t been ideal, either. But it has opened up doors for the Jeff Wilsons and the JaMycal Hastys of the world to have a great week or two. What’s stopping Davis-Price from being the next 49ers’ running back to own in fantasy? For as good as Elijah Mitchell was last season, we’ve already established how quick Shanahan can be to cast aside one running back in favor of another. Davis-Price is a tremendous value at his current ADP because he’s more than just a handcuff in a run-favoring offense. Only three teams called run plays more than the Niners did in 2021. Deebo Samuel’s resurgence obviously helped out, though his potential departure would open up even more opportunities for San Francisco’s running backs. All Davis-Price needs is a chance to start and he could become a weekly starter in your fantasy lineup. Consider drafting him as the final running back on your roster, though he’s not worth a roster spot yet in 8- or 10-team leagues.
FantasyPros ADP: N/A
How much of a sleeper is Doubs? He’s not even being drafted in most leagues. That’s pretty reasonable since Doubs was the 19th wide receiver drafted this year. Only nine other wideouts were taken after his selection at the end of the fourth round, hence his low fantasy ADP. Still, you should keep your eye on Doubs in all formats. The Packers’ receiver depth chart is… not great. Allen Lazard had some nice games to end last season and Green Bay traded up to draft Christian Watson in the second round. They’re still unproven, though. Beyond them, are we really counting on Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb to make a big impact? We shouldn’t be. Amari Rodgers also hasn’t proven anything, though he could be in contention for the starting slot job with Cobb. Basically, the depth chart is wide open. When evaluating players for fantasy football, it’s crucial to establish a potential range of outcomes rather than one concrete projection. With Doubs, the departure of Davante Adams and a shoddy receiver group allow for the possibility of Doubs becoming Green Bay’s ‘WR1’. Is it likely? No. But is it possible? Certainly. At his current value, Doubs has a higher chance to lead his team in targets than any other receivers typically being drafted around him. And even if he doesn’t become quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target, the Packers still have 15.6 vacated targets per game to roll out. There’s plenty of room for Doubs to make an impact, especially with the back-to-back MVP tossing him balls. Doubs is the very definition of a sleeper and he’s the perfect wide receiver to take on in best ball and in deeper leagues.
FantasyPros ADP: N/A
Gray was picked as ‘WR17’ in the draft, so like Romeo Doubs, Gray is mostly an afterthought in fantasy drafts. Gray is an intriguing fantasy option because like David Bell, Gray has a straight shot to a starting role. Outside of Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, the 49ers don’t have any proven wide receivers. Jauan Jennings seems like the in-house favorite to earn the ‘WR3’ job, whether that be in the slot or on the outside. Samuel and Aiyuk give the offense a ton of flexibility since they can line up almost anywhere. On the surface, that doesn’t bode well for Gray. It’s not the best situation to be competing for targets between Samuel, Aiyuk and tight end George Kittle but the main reason Gray is a sleeper lies in Samuel’s potential trade. It’s no secret Samuel wants out of San Francisco, and despite General Manager John Lynch’s insistence on keeping Samuel, it doesn’t seem likely Samuel sticks around. Enter Gray, who could become the ‘WR2’ behind Aiyuk. As mentioned earlier, the 49ers are a run-first team, but that doesn’t mean Gray can’t make an impact. He’s essentially free in drafts right now, which won’t be the case if/when Samuel is traded. Is Gray a perfect prospect? Not at all, though Joe Marino praised the appeal Gray has as a “big-play receiver.” Gray could be a more commonly known name in August, thus making him a true sleeper.