Fantasy football sleeper picks for every team in the NFL

AP Photo/Jeffrey PhelpsMarquez Valdes-Scantling is poised for a breakout year with the Packers.

Fantasy football season is upon us.

As the NFL preseason plays out, fans across the world will meet in bars, restaurants, man caves, and online to draft their fantasy leagues once again.

In 2019, it’s tough to find a true “sleeper” pick that no one knows about anymore – fantasy coverage is so ubiquitous and plentiful at this time of year that a player coming out of nowhere is a shocking development.

That said, value is still key in fantasy football, and there’s value to be found all across the league. Sometimes it’s a running back that is currently going in the fourth round but should be taken in the second. Other times it’s a rookie or second-year player that hasn’t yet hit their stride, but is making big progress in training camp.

What these players all share is the potential to vastly outplay where they are currently being drafted in fantasy leagues. We’ve picked one “sleeper” for every team in the league – take a look and see who is poised to be the breakout player from your favourite team.

Average draft position data from ESPN leagues.

Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray

Lynne Sladky/AP

Currently drafted: 115th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Rookie quarterbacks are always a wild card, but this year in fantasy, the position is so deep that taking a flyer on Kyler Murray is a low risk, high reward move. If he pans out, he could be a consistent starter for you and cost no more than a 10th round pick, and if he doesn’t, there is plenty of other talented quarterbacks.

Atlanta Falcons: Calvin Ridley

John Bazemore/AP

Currently drafted: 75th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Julio Jones is undoubtedly the centrepiece of the Falcons offence, but Calvin Ridley made the most of his opportunities in his rookie year, breaking out for six touchdowns in the first four weeks of the season. If he can keep trending in the right direction in Atlanta’s offence, he could clear 1,000 yards this year.

Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson

AP Photo/Gail Burton

Currently drafted: 155th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Lamar Jackson is another excellent late-round option if you plan on waiting for a quarterback. His incredible ability as a rusher adds a dimension to his game that could have a huge impact on his fantasy numbers, and if his accuracy is good enough to keep opposing defences honest, it’s not difficult to imagine him wildly outplaying his current value.

Buffalo Bills: John Brown

Bryan Woolston/AP

Currently drafted: 170th overall

Why you should take him earlier: While Josh Allen made a bigger impact on the ground during his rookie season, he came into the league advertised as a cannon-armed quarterback that would throw the length of the field. This offseason the Bills acquired speedster receiver John Brown, and it’s difficult to imagine a more perfect pairing should the two get in sync with each other.

Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore

AP Photo/Mike McCarn

Currently drafted: 78th overall

Why you should take him earlier: The first reception of D.J. Moore’s career went for a 51-yard touchdown against the Falcons in Week 2 of 2018. While Moore would only score one touchdown the rest of the season, but developed into an important part of the Carolina offence from there. If he can find the end zone a few more times than he did last year, he could be set for a big season.

Chicago Bears: Anthony Miller

AP Photo/Matt Marton

Currently drafted: 163rd overall

Why you should take him earlier: In his second year with the Bears, Anthony Miller should see increased usage in the Chicago offence. With players like Mitch Trubisky, David Montgomery and Allen Robinson, the Bears offence is already a popular pick as a potentially surprising unit in 2019, but Miller is the name that stands out as having great potential to outplay his current draft position.

Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Boyd

Frank Victores/AP

Currently drafted: 76th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Tyler Boyd already proved he has what it takes to be a top receiver in the NFL last year, clearing the 100-yard mark in three games and going for at least 70 yards in four more. Depending on how A.J. Green returns from injury, Boyd could wind up a top-10 receiver by the end of the year and is currently available as the 26th receiver off the board.

Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb

David Richard/AP

Currently drafted: 32nd overall

Why you should take him earlier: In the fourth game of his NFL career, Nick Chubb rushed for over 100 yards despite getting just three attempts. After shifting into the leading role for the final half of the season, Chubb averaged 85 rushing yards per game, clearing the 100-yard mark three more times. He’s already a pretty high pick in fantasy drafts, but in a rejuvenated Browns offence, he could be set to score a ton this year.

Dallas Cowboys: Michael Gallup

AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

Currently drafted: 140th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Michael Gallup had a fine rookie season, and according to reports has looked great in his second training camp with the Dallas Cowboys. As Amari Cooper helps open up the Dallas offence a bit, Gallup stands to benefit.

Denver Broncos: DaeSean Hamilton

AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Currently drafted: 164th overall

Why you should take him earlier: DaeSean Hamilton broke out during the final four games of the Denver Broncos season in 2018, averaging more than six catches for about 45 receiving yards per game after tallying just five catches through the first 13 weeks of the season. Those numbers aren’t huge, but they’re quite valuable in PPR leagues, and the addition of Joe Flacco at quarterback should be an improvement for the offence from last year.

Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Currently drafted: 165th overall

Why you should take him earlier: The Detroit Lions used the 8th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to pick up T.J. Hockenson. If you’re not getting one of the elite tight ends in fantasy, sometimes the best you can hope for is to grab a player you’re confident will get targets, and the investment of a first-round draft pick seems to indicate that Hockenson is a big part of the Lions plans this year.

Green Bay Packers: Marquez Valdes-Scantling

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

Currently drafted: 154th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Marquez Valdes-Scantling showed some flashes of greatness during his rooking campaign, connecting with Aaron Rodgers on a few impressive deep balls that caught the attention of many fantasy players. While it’s unclear if he’ll be able to seal up the no. 2 receiver role in Green Bay this year, he should be an important part of the Packers offence regardless of his spot on the depth chart.

Houston Texans: Defence

David J. Phillip/AP

Currently drafted: 155th overall

Why you should take him earlier: To be clear, in most cases, fantasy players should save their final two picks for defence and kicker, loading up at the front of their draft with skill position players that will have a larger impact on your roster. That said, when it gets to those final rounds, don’t sleep on the Houston defence, which is currently being taken as the 12th defence off the board according to ESPN. The Texans still sport a dangerous pass rush led by J.J. Watt and get to play four games a year against the Jaguars and Titans.

Indianapolis Colts: Eric Ebron

AP Photo/AJ Mast

Currently drafted: 95th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Eric Ebron scored a whopping 13 touchdowns in 2018, finishing as one of the top tight ends in all of fantasy. Despite his big year, he’s still going as the eighth or ninth tight end off the board this year. While that type of touchdown total will be difficult to replicate, Ebron has already proven once that he can put up numbers comparable to the best tight ends in the league. If you’re passing on the elite tight ends near the top of the board, Ebron is a good option to consider at the position.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Dede Westbrook

Jim Cowsert/AP

Currently drafted: 106th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Dede Westbrook is undoubtedly excited about his team’s change atq uarterback. With Nick Foles now leading the Jaguars, Westbrook should be the top receiving option Jacksonville, but he average draft position has yet to catch up with his potential value.

Kansas City Chiefs: Sammy Watkins

Don Wright/AP

Currently drafted: 76th overall

Why you should take him earlier: While injuries are always a concern for Sammy Watkins, if he can stay on the field this year, he could be set for a huge season. In the games he played in 2018, Watkins was a regular, sure-handed target for Patrick Mahomes, but scored just three touchdowns. Mahomes threw 50 of them last year, and law and averages would indicate that this year Watkins ends up on the receiving end of a few more of them.

Los Angeles Chargers: Austin Ekeler

Michael Ainsworth/AP

Currently drafted: 105th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Austin Ekeler was an important part of both the Chargers passing and running game in 2018. Should Melvin Gordon’s holdout last into the start of the regular season, it’s possible Ekeler will even get a shot at the starting role in Los Angeles for a few weeks.

Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff

Jae C. Hong/AP

Currently drafted: 119th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Jared Goff is the only quarterback in the NFL with three receivers – Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods – ranked in the top 50 overall players in fantasy football this year. If you’re planning to wait on a quarterback this year, he’s a solid addition to your roster in the later rounds.

Miami Dolphins: Kalen Ballage

AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King

Currently drafted: 158th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Kenyan Drake may have the starting running back job in Miami for now, but Kalen Ballage has been making his case and could compete for the job in earnest once the season begins. If he winds up getting the chance to take over, Ballage could prove a great value to fantasy players that nabbed him early.

Minnesota Vikings: Stefon Diggs

Jeff Haynes/AP Images

Currently drafted: 42nd overall

Why you should take him earlier: Adam Thielen stole the show at the start of the 2018 season, but after his streak of 100-yard receiving games wore off, he came down to Earth with an average finish to the year. Despite the initial disparity, Stefon Diggs finished with just four fewer targets on the season than Thielen. He’s already going pretty high on draft boards, but if someone in your league takes Thielen before Diggs, know that the better bet of the duo is still available.

New England Patriots: Jakobi Meyers

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Currently drafted: 170th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Tom Brady and the Patriots offence seems to make stars out of anyone that joins the squad, and this year it looks like Jakobi Meyers might be the beneficiary. Meyers is reportedly out-playing fellow rookie and first-round pick N’Keal Harry in some cases. He’s going undrafted in almost every league thus far, and rightly so – there’s no guarantee he even makes the roster yet. But if you feel like you have an extra spot on your roster near the end of your draft, consider picking him up – you’ll be kicking yourself when he’s the most-added player after a dominant performance in Week 3.

New Orleans Saints: Latavius Murray

Bruce Kluckhohn/AP

Currently drafted: 118th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Latavius Murray is expected to take over the role that Mark Ingram had in the Saints offence. While Alvin Kamara has established himself as the top back, Ingram still had plenty of fantasy value sharing the backfield with him and assuming Murray gets a similar opportunity, the same should be true for him.

New York Giants: Evan Engram

Adam Hunger/AP

Currently drafted: 53rd overall

Why you should take him earlier: There are only so many elite tight ends in the league, and while Evan Engram has shown flashes in the past, he clearly has yet to reach his full potential. That looks poised to change this year, however, as the departure of Odell Beckham Jr. and a slew of injuries leave Engram as Eli Manning’s most reliable target heading into Week 1.

New York Jets: Jamison Crowder

Rick Scuteri/AP

Currently drafted: 163rd overall

Why you should take him earlier: After four years in Washington, Jamison Crowder signed a deal to join the New York Jets this offseason. Between the change of scenery and playing with an up-and-coming quarterback like Sam Darnold, Crowder might be ready to step up from his usual spot as a flex option in fantasy.

Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr

D. Ross Cameron/AP

Currently drafted: 167th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Derek Carr is now three years removed from the 2016 season in which he threw 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions while leading the Raiders back to the postseason for the first time since 2002. While Carr has since been far less impressive, the additions of wide receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams put him in position for a bounce-back year, and with division games against the Chiefs and Chargers, the Raiders are likely to need a ton of points to keep pace.

Philadelphia Eagles: Miles Sanders

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Currently drafted: 96th overall

Why you should take him earlier: The Eagles acquired running back Jordan Matthews in the offseason, which might lead some to sleep on the value of rookie back Miles Sanders. But the Eagles have proven their ability to generate multiple running backs with fantasy value over the years, and Sanders is reportedly already having an amazing camp.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Vance McDonald

AP Photo/Don Wright

Currently drafted: 106th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Last year Vance McDonald split tight end duties with Jesse James. James left for the Detroit Lions in the offseason, as did superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown. With those two losses, McDonald could be set to emerge as the next elite tight end in the league.

San Francisco 49ers: Deebo Samuel

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Currently drafted: 170th overall

Why you should take him earlier: The 49ers passing game held pretty strong last year despite the injury to starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. This year, Garoppolo is back under center, and with tight end George Kittle taking up much of opposing defences attention, rookie receiver Deebo Samuel should have plenty of space to shine.

Seattle Seahawks: D.K. Metcalf

AP Photo/Thomas Graning

Currently drafted: 145th overall

Why you should take him earlier: With his combination of size and speed, rookie D.K. Metcalf is impossible to miss on the field, and has been impressive through his first training camp with the Seattle Seahawks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chris Godwin

AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio

Currently drafted: 71st overall

Why you should take him earlier: Chris Godwin scored seven touchdowns last year and is a trendy sleeper picks this season with good reason. He should wind up as one of Jameis Winston’s favourite targets this year.

Tennessee Titans: Adam Humphries

Michael Ainsworth/AP

Currently drafted: 165th overall

Why you should take him earlier: Adam Humphries was a quality fantasy mid-season pick up for some players last year, scoring five touchdowns during a five-week stretch last November with the Buccaneers. Now in Tennessee, Humphries will likely have a few more opportunities to shine in the Titans offence.

Washington Redskins: Derrius Guice

AP Photo/Steve Helber

Currently drafted: 86th overall

Why you should take him earlier: After a torn ACL sidelined Derrius Guice for the 2018 season, veteran Adrian Peterson took over the starting role and wound up rushing for 1,000 yards and eight total touchdowns. Guice should be good to go on opening day, and with Peterson another year older, he looks poised for a breakout season.

Now check out more of our fantasy football coverage before your draft.

Elaine Thompson/AP

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