Top WR Sleepers for 2019 Fantasy Draft

Top WR Sleepers for 2019 Fantasy Draft

Trying to find wide receiver sleepers is one of the more challenging things to do in fantasy football, and it gets even worse when you are looking at these guys in May. That being said, we think we have five guys who are clearly sleeper/bargains at their current ADP. Looking for even deeper sleepers? We identify five other guys that are completely off the radar, but are worth keeping an eye on this summer.

The receiver position is generally the deepest position in PPR formats. There are solid WR3 options available as late as the 10th round in this year’s draft. While our sleeper pick were not perfect last season (John Ross, gross, Cameron Meredith, sorry, DJ Moore, meh) we did recommend targeting Robert Woods in the 9th, Kenny Golladay in the 11th, and Tyler Lockett in the 12th. All three guys in the second group ended up being top 25 receivers last season.

top nfl wr sleepers 2019

The middle round receivers tend to provide much better value than late round darts. Compare last season’s ADP to final receiver rankings… they come much closer to holding true than any other position.

There is a group of guys in rounds 5-12 this season that have a chance to not only be top 25 receivers but to finish even higher than that. This group includes Chris Godwin, Mike Williams, D.J. Moore, Alshon Jeffery, Robby Anderson, Will Fuller, Geronimo Allison, Sterling Shepard, and Emmanuel Sanders.

Beyond that there are some familiar names in the late rounds that could end up providing good value in a new place: Devin Funchess, Demaryius Thomas, DaSean Jackson, and Donte Moncrief all get a massive upgrade at QB that could rejuvenate their careers in a new spot.

Which of these names makes our list this season? Here are the five receivers we feel best about at their current ADP’s:

Top 8 WR Sleepers Guide for 2019 NFL Fantasy Football Season

HR RankWide ReceiverADPSoSAdditional Notes
13Chris Godwin5018There may not be a receiver in the NFL that had more targets come available over the offseason than Chris Godwin. With Adam Humphries (105 targets) moving to Tennessee and DeSean Jackson (74 targets) moving to Philly, Godwin could see WR1 type targets in 2019. Read More…
25Will Fuller8727Averages 17.3 fantasy PPG when both he and Watson are active over the last two years, good for WR5 over that stretch. Obviously injuries are a concern, but as long as he is active he will be a must start every week and current ADP makes him a bargain in middle of round 7. Read More…
35Emmanuel Sanders12421It just does not feel right to have Sanders as WR 41. He was WR 15 last season and there is reason for optimism despite the achilles injury: : Rich Scangarello and Joe Flacco. According to PFF Sanders was top 15 in deep passing, slot performance, yards per route run, and gets massive QB and OC upgrades. Read More…
37Dede Westbrook11712There is a lot to love about Dede this season, but here are a few of the highlights: Foles rarely throws deep and Westbrook lines up in the slot 90% of the time, got 100+ targets in a much more run-heavy system in 2018, slot role means you can play matchups against bad slot corners. Read More…
55Tre’Quann Smith1491Showed flashes as a rookie, but was way too inconsistent. He is still the unquestioned number 2 WR in New Orleans. Averaged over 15 YPC as a rookie so a bump in targets w/ experience in the system should make him a late round gem.  Read More…
52Jamison CrowderNA16While we have questions about how well Gase can coach up the running game, or if an outside receiver like Robby Anderson can truly excel in his offense, we absolutely know he will use his slot receiver. Crowder was disappointing in Washington, but gets a fresh start in an ideal system here. Read More…
61Josh GordonNA28He spent a good portion of the offseason working out with Brady. You could potentially steal a top 25 guy if he is able to come back this season. Plenty of opportunities here, particularly in the red zone, with Gronk retired.Read More…
62Paul RichardsonNA18Jay Gruden signed him for a reason, and has repeatedly said this offseason that he still believes that Paul Richardson is a legit #1 WR. He certainly has big play ability and this offense is starving for a go to receiver. O-line and running game should be solid, so his speed could give defenses fits. Read More…

#13 WR: Chris Godwin

With Jackson and Humphries leaving in the offseason Godwin, who scored on 12% of his receptions in 2018, is looking like a 110 target guy.

Chris Godwin

WR Sleeper | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Admittedly, this is low hanging fruit. Targets gained/lost is always a great indicator when looking for sleepers, and this was the case again last year. The Broncos lost a ton of targets and Sanders was WR12 at the time of his injury, same with the Chargers (Mike Williams WR20), and this year the Bucs are that team.

With both Jackson and Humphries gone, over 36% of the team’s targets are up for grabs heading into 2019. Sure, Mike Evans may lead the league in targets, but that is still going to leave 100+ targets available. Hello Chris Godwin and hello OJ Howard.

There was a lot to like from Godwin’s 2019 campaign. He graded out as PFF’s 26th overall wide receiver. He was top 30 in yards per route run, and ended up 12th in drop rate. He was effective as both an inside and outside receiver, and scored on 11.8% of his receptions. He is a swiss army knife receiver… catches everything, can run any route, can line up anywhere, and is a legitimate red zone threat.

We have Godwin projected to get 140 targets in 2019 (he had 95 in 2018), which could result in fantasy gold. 7 of the 9 guys to get that many targets in 2018 finished as top 10 receivers, and given Godwin’s red zone ability, we think he would easily join that group.

So how, when, and where should you target Godwin in your 2019 fantasy draft? He is currently going in the mid-to-late 5th round. If you are a believer in his upside, we recommend targeting him in the 4th. This means taking him over Julian Edelman, Robert Woods, Tyler Lockett, and Jarvis Landry. He is certainly rated higher than that group in our current WR rankings.

#25 WR: Will Fuller

Has proven to be a legit top 15 guy when both he and Watson are active, but how many games will that be in 2019?

Will Fuller

WR Sleeper | Houston Texans
By now we all know the go-to stat with Fuller, 11 touchdowns in 11 games played with Deshaun Watson, but he also averaged over 5/70 in those 11 games. He was WR17 in fantasy PPG last season, averaging just over 15 FPPG on 6.5 targets per game.

He has consistently hit big plays despite the Texans lack of a run game and poor offensive line play. If the Texans can manage to get a running game going this season, or even just give Watson a little more time in the pocket, Fuller could have an even more productive 2019 campaign.

Obviously, the reason he is going in the mid-7th round is the injuries. He has been hurt all three seasons in the NFL and has missed 17 out of 48 games over the course of three seasons. He tore his ACL against the Dolphins in week 8 of last season, a game that he had already racked up 5/126/1 in.

Now entering year 4, with Watson entering year 3, and with the Texans having just picked up his $11 million 5th year option, this feels like a make-or-break year for Fuller. If he can play a full season, we should finally see what his ceiling truly is.

Considering the injury history, that is a pretty big if, but given his efficiency and the fact that the Titans remain without a true pass-catching back or go-to tight end, the volume will no doubt be there once again in 2019. It is worth noting that he didn’t miss a game his final two years at Notre Dame, a stretch that saw him put up 2,300+ yards and 29 touchdowns in 26 games.

popular wr sleepers for 2019 nfl season

#35 WR: Emmanuel Sanders

Wait, Sanders was WR17 last year, gets an upgrade at OC and QB and he is WR41? What are we doing here?

Emmanuel Sanders

WR Sleeper | Denver Broncos
Seriously. What are we doing here? I get it, Achilles injuries are terrifying, but this man is back. He was running at just under 20 mph just 4 months out from the injury, and will likely be ready for the start of camp.

Let’s talk 2018: As we mentioned, he was WR17 in fantasy PPG, but if we remove the partial game in which he tore his Achilles, he was actually WR12 through the first 11 weeks of the season, and that was with Case Keenum who had a QBR of 46.9 last season. Elite or not, Flacco is a massive upgrade to Keenum… his career QBR is 10+ point higher and that is despite playing in some of the worst offensive systems in football (thanks Mary Morhinweg).

We 100% believe in Rich Scangarello. He has 20 years of experience coaching QB’s and spent the last two seasons as Kyle Shanahan’s QB coach in San Francisco. This offense is going to move the ball, and Emmanuel Sanders is the most proven offensive weapon they have. Maybe he doesn’t get back to the WR12 pace we saw last season, but he certainly won’t finish anywhere near WR41, which is his current ADP.

Sanders is currently going in the back half of the 9th round, we are targeting him early in the 8th. This simply means moving him ahead of this group of players: N’Keal Harry, Dante Pettis, Mecole Hardman, and D.K. Metcalf. Let someone else worry about a rookie receiver, grab a proven vet that you can be certain is at minimum a solid flex play, with proven WR2 upside as recent as last season.

#37 WR: Dede Westbrook

Westbrook seems destined for a breakout year, and Nick Foles is a perfect fit for him at QB.

Dede Westbrook

WR Sleeper | Jacksonville Jaguars
Dede Westbrook was the leading receiver for what was a really bad Jacksonville offense in 2018. He saw over 100 targets, but put up only 66/717/5. Despite the somewhat disappointing productivity, PFF graded Westbrook as the Jags second best player in 2018.

He returns to a John DeFillipo offense, but the Jags added Chris Conley, Terrelle Pryor, get Marquise Lee back, and DJ Chark returns with a year’s experience. To be frank, I think Conley may end being what people would typically define as the WR1 in this offense, but would much rather own Westbrook.

So why do we see Dede Westbrook as a guy that could take a leap forward in 2019? First of all, I think his game is a better fit for what DeFillipo wants to do. We are going to see a large volume of short throws out of Foles this season, which is where Westbrook excels. As already noted by Black and Teal, he has been extremely busy throughout camp and looks like the favorite target for Foles. He is a matchup nightmare out of the slot, and DeFillipo will likely use him similarly to how he used Adam Thielen in Minnesota last season.

While we are on the subject of slot receivers, this is another reason we are high on drafting Westbrook. Receivers that primarily play out of the slot tend to see opposing team’s nickel corners, so there is no guessing how a team will cover Westbrook. Simply look at Football Outsiders DVOA vs slot receivers, and you will be able to figure out in about 1 minute if Westbrook has a favorable matchup that week.

We know the defense is going to be elite, so he isn’t going to have to spend too much time on the sideline. With the addition of Foles, who is generally amongst the most accurate short-to-medium throwers in the NFL, the Jags should be able to dominate time of possession this season.

With a current ADP that puts him in about the middle of round 9, Westbrook is a great value pick right now. He will likely end up being the go-to receiver for a drastically improved Jaguars passing attack.

#55 WR: Tre’Quan Smith

Is Smith ready to live up to all of the hype after an up and down rookie season?

Tre’Quan Smith

WR Sleeper | New Orleans Saints
He may not be way off of fantasy owner’s radars, but Tre’Quan Smith’s current ADP is 190. That essentially means he isn’t being drafted in the majority of leagues.

We get it… he was up and down his rookie season, but honestly, his 28/427/5 stat line was better than the rookie stat lines of 6 of the top 20 fantasy WR’s last season. He wasn’t even just forced to play in a complicated Saints system as a rookie, he had to change positions in week 4 when Ted Ginn went down with his injury.

With Ginn back, the Saints have the ability to use Tre’Quan wherever and however they see fit. Sean Payton has already said he expects Smith to take a major step forward this season, and early reports out of camp have him spending a lot more time in the slot.

At 6’2″ Smith wouldn’t be the first tall(er) player to find success in the slot for the Saints (Colston, Graham, Thomas all have seen plenty of snaps in the slot). However he may be the most explosive… his 40 time is nearly a full tenth of a second faster than anyone in that group, and his 20 YPC and 13 touchdowns his last season at UCF show just how explosive he can be.

The Saints need someone other than Thomas and Kamara to step up, and of the group at Payton’s disposal Smith is the guy that really stands out to us. If he makes a jump forward in his second season he may be one of the better late rounds steals in this year’s draft.

trequan smith sleeper fantasy pick 2019

#52 WR: Jamison Crowder

The slot position has been extremely productive for Adam Gase over the last three seasons, can Crowder break out in his new system?

Jamison Crowder

WR Sleeper | New York Jets
It is going to be interesting to see what Gase does with a non-Dolphins roster in 2019. Going back to his Denver days, even while Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas were monsters on the outside, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas tore up defenses for 140+ receptions, 1,400 yards, and 22 touchdowns in 2012.

Fast forward to his tenure in Miami, and the inside receiver, Jarvis Landry, remained a focal point in the offense. This Jets offense as four relatively proven weapons in Leveon Bell, Robby Anderson, Chris Herndon, and Jamison Crowder. While Crowder is certainly the least-discussed member of that group, it’s his role that has been the most effective in Adam Gase systems.

We must also keep in mind that this offensive line plays a role in each of these player’s values. If Darnold doesn’t have time to let plays develop downfield, it may be hard to get Robby Anderson as many deep targets as Gase would like. Bell certainly won’t find the running space he did behind a Steeler’s o-line that was arguably the best in the league. Considering how much 11 personel Gase runs, Herndon may be asked to stay in and help with opposing defensive ends more than fantasy owners would like.

If Darnold is consistently under pressure, Crowder’s ability to get open in the short to intermediate passing game may prove a reliable fall back for these Jets. While I think Robby Anderson is a stud and legit #1 WR in this league, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Crowder lead the team in receptions in 2019.

His current ADP is outside of 12 man leagues, meaning you can take a last round dart on him and hope that he finally reaches the ceiling we thought we would see after the 2016 season.

#61 WR: Josh Gordon

We know Brady and co favor familiar faces in this system, if Gordon returns he will have a massive fantasy impact in 2019.

Josh Gordon

WR Sleeper | New England Patriots
As long as we are on the topic of late-round darts… It is never easy with Josh Gordon. Will he come back? If he does return, can we trust him and how long before he has another episode? That being said, he was WR35 in a partial season in this system, and at some point, the risk is worth the upside.

According to NESN, the Patriots are not planning on Gordon returning, but have placed a 2nd round tender on him (they will pay him $2 million+ if he returns) and we know he has worked out with Brady throughout the offseason. If he does return, he will do so with a year’s experience in this system, something that may mean more in New England than anywhere else.

Given the red zone targets that came available with Gronk leaving, I think Gordon would be a top 25 WR for the Pats this season. It is always hard to trust rookie pass catchers, and even harder to do so in New England, regardless of where they drafted N’Keal Harry. Demaryius Thomas is clearly on the downside of his career, and no longer offers the big play upside that Gordon does.

In the end, we are talking about another last round flier type guy, with an ADP well outside of what gets drafted for a typical 12 team league. Even currently out of the league, Gordon has more upside than the other WR’s going in the last round of drafts (Kenny Stills, John Brown, Randall Cobb).

#62 WR: Paul Richardson

Unless the Redskins are going to set the record for passing futility, somebody has to catch the ball here.?.?

Paul Richardson

WR Sleeper | Washington Redskins
Jay Gruden’s offense was at it’s best in Washington when he had a consistent running game and big-play receivers on the outside (Garcon and Jackson). Whether the fault of constantly shuffling QB’s or simply a lack of talent on the outside, Gruden has featured the tight end and slot receiver more in his offense since those 2 guys left after the 2016 season. The search of a go-to receiver in this system is ongoing and now Crowder and his 6-7 targets per game are gone as well.

Paul Richardson was one of the more sought after free agent receivers back in 2018, and the Redskins signed him to a 5/$40 million contract. Despite the shoulder injury last season, Richardson remains the Redskins WR that Gruden is convinced can be his top pass catcher in 2019.

Beyond just the injury, Richardson’s skill set was never a great match with Alex Sith playing QB last season. Smith did push the ball downfield more than we have seen in the past but still ranked 27th among starting QB’s in deep throw percentage. That number is likely to go up, regardless of who starts at QB for Washington in 2019.

Despite the disappointing season, there was some room for optimism. Smith had a QB rating of 85 on the season, but over 105 when targeting Richardson (Doctson QB Rating of 61.6). Richardson also went the season without dropping a pass and averaged over 13 yards per reception. With Crowder gone, and Reed and Davis yet another year older, there are a ton of targets available in this offense heading into 2019, and we think Richardson is the wide receiver to target here.

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