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Fantasy Football Sleepers: Our Top 12 For 2023

Seahawks fantasy insider Scott Engel looks at some sleepers who can help you in 2023.


Scott Engel is in his 12th year as the official Fantasy Football writer and analyst for He is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Scott is a four-time FSWA award winner and a 13-time nominee. You can find more of his fantasy football analysis at The Game Day and on

During the past two preseasons, fantasy football players who have regularly consulted the Seahawks Fantasy Insider page for tips and recommendations found out more about two league-winning sleeper targets,

In 2021, Rashaad Penny was featured as a prime sleeper choice in this space and boosted many fantasy teams to championships with a terrific late-season surge. Last year, I wrote about Kenneth Walker III as a top sleeper candidate. Here is an excerpt from the 2022 fantasy football scouting report that was issued on Walker.

"Walker may emerge as one of the best rookie running backs in fantasy football. … Walker will have significant upside in weeks when he sees a larger workload. Walker is elusive, can break tackles, and also will rip off big gainers at times."

From Week 6, when he took over as the regular starter at running back for the Seahawks, through the end of the regular season, Walker was a top 10 running back in fantasy football, totaling 174.5 fantasy points. He averaged 15.9 fantasy points per game in points per reception formats, which also ranked in the top 10. Showing he was capable of scoring from anywhere on the field, Walker emerged as a fantasy RB1 and was the best fantasy RB among rookies in his first NFL season. He proved to be a terrific value pick and an important starter on many fantasy teams that pushed for a championship.

As your 2023 fantasy football draft dates approach, we are back with our annual list of the 12 top sleeper picks for the upcoming season. Mining for and finding the best value plays is an exciting and highly impactful endeavor. Landing players who provide the most production above expectations is a key step on the path to earning an eventual fantasy football title during the upcoming season.

Fantasy Football Sleepers: The Top 12 For Your 2023 Drafts

Running Backs

Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: White may be undervalued on draft day, as he will likely be drafted outside of the top 20 running backs in many leagues. Entering his second NFL season, White is clearly set to handle a heavy workload for Tampa Bay as both a runner and receiver.

In his rookie year, White started eight games and showed he can be dependable as a pass-catcher, as he caught 50 of his 58 targets. He should improve as a runner in 2023 and will function as a likely frequent option as a receiver. White appears ticketed for heavy volume, and with more regular work, he can demonstrate the willingness to battle for yardage and handle the responsibilities of being a true lead RB. The versatility and projected role mark White as a solid No. 2 fantasy RB draft target who could be much more consistent than some will anticipate.

James Cook, Buffalo Bills: Fantasy players who follow preseason player news reports regularly are already aware that Cook is stirring a lot of buzz. He still has the potential to exceed any rising expectations, because Cook is an ideal fit as an RB in one of the league's top offenses.

Last season, Buffalo drafted Cook in the second round, and it is important to note he was identified as a top draft choice by the front office. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder is considered to be a true dual threat, as Cook can challenge defenses as both a pass-catcher and a darting runner. The second-year man will be a comfortable RB option in the Bills' offense because he will provide Josh Allen with a newfound consistent receiving threat out of the backfield. Cook is coming off a strong preseason and he has been rising up fantasy draft boards. Target him as a top 20 RB because of his versatility and projected role to get the most backfield touches in a top-notch offense.

De'Von Achane, Miami Dolphins: Achane has been dealing with a preseason shoulder injury, but once he returns expect the former Texas A&M RB to emerge as another exciting part of a fun Miami offense.The Miami offense is built for speed, and Achane is the perfect RB to join the mix. The Dolphins rookie ran the fastest 40-yard dash time at the 2023 NFL Combine, and he can stand out fantasy-wise among the Miami RBs even while operating in a committee situation.

While he is listed at 5-foot-8 ½ and 188 pounds, Achane will not hesitate to scrap for tough yardage when he is utilized as a runner. His fantasy promise, though, is mainly based on his receiving abilities. He is a good route runner who can take off for big plays once he gets behind defenders. Achane is a home-run type as a pass-catcher and runner when given the opportunities. He can deliver some impressive PPR scoring performances that may elevate your fantasy team to wins.

Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears: The Chicago backfield will be crowded to open the season, but this rookie may eventually rise to the top of the pack. Johnson is a physical runner with good vision, and his pass-blocking skills can ensure he gets on the field enough to make an impact.

Johnson actually has a background as a former high school quarterback, which he has said allows him to see the game from more unique perspectives. He may push his way into at least a timeshare, and operate as a quality fantasy flex player.

Wide Receivers

Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs: Opportunity is a word you see and hear often when reading or hearing about fantasy sleeper candidates, and the word certainly applies ideally to Moore in his situation as a second-year wideout in Kansas City. The opportunity for Moore is one that can lead to a breakout fantasy season. Moore is projected to work as one of the top receiving targets for Patrick Mahomes, as the Chiefs have opened up higher spots on the depth chart for some WRs who are looking to establish themselves.

Moore should operate as a consistent option for Mahomes on key passing downs. He is slippery and can get loose for extra yardage after the catch. The Kansas City QB is very capable of helping any WR rise

above his fantasy projections and draft stock, and Moore, who will be drafted as a WR4 in many fantasy leagues, might become the Chiefs' most reliable WR in 2023.

Nico Collins, Houston Texans: Opportunity also is the buzzword for Collins, as the Texans will need a dependable top WR option to emerge for rookie QB C.J. Stroud. Entering his third NFL season, Collins has all the skills to become a prime playmaker for his new passing partner.

Listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Collins is a big target who will win on jump balls and make difficult catches over the middle. He also has yardage after the catch promise. As the Stroud era begins in Houston, Collins can quickly become a top pass-catcher for the new Houston QB in the shorter and longer terms. If you roster Collins in a fantasy football dynasty league, don't trade him unless the return is quite significant.

Jalin Hyatt, New York Giants: The Giants have improved the receiving crew for Daniel Jones this season, and Hyatt could prove to be the most electric playmaker among the newcomers. He is already gaining fantasy attention on social media among analysts and savvy players because of his preseason clips that show off top-end speed and downfield gears.

The rookie has drawn comparisons to former Eagles star DeSean Jackson. Hyatt is capable of adding unique dimensions to the New York passing game as a splash-play target and frequent big-play threat. I expect Jones to take advantage of Hyatt's unique skill set, and the 2022 Fred Biletnikoff award winner at Tennessee might become an instant fantasy and Giants fan favorite in 2023.

Terrace Marshall Jr, Carolina Panthers: In Carolina, another rookie QB will be looking to identify his most reliable pass-catchers. Veterans Adam Thielen and DJ Chark are proven NFL receivers, but Marshall might have the highest statistical ceiling of any Panthers WR. Bryce Young can certainly gun to Marshall when he wants to challenge defenses downfield, as the 2021 second-round NFL Draft pick averaged 17.5 yards per catch last season. The QB outlook is better for the Panthers this year, which means Marshall has the potential to establish himself as a productive and sometimes explosive fantasy WR.

A back injury did pop up during the preseason, but Marshall should be in the mix for some possible upside production once he develops an on-field rapport with his new QB.

Tight Ends

Mike Gesicki, New England Patriots: The former Dolphin totaled 11 TD receptions in 2019 and 2020. Now he will be joining a Patriots team that has historically featured the tight end often in the passing game. In his sixth NFL season, we may have not yet seen the best of the agile 6-foot-6, 245-pounder as a fantasy performer..

Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints: Johnson caught seven TD passes in 2022, and now the Saints have upgraded at quarterback with Derek Carr. Johnson has reportedly developed a good connection with the former Raider, and the 6-foot-4, 231-pounder may improve as an all-around fantasy producer this season as he becomes a more frequent pass-catcher outside of the goal-line area.


Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers: The Green Bay front office has cleared the way for Love to take over as the starter entering his fourth NFL season. Love has the potential to challenge defenses with deep throws and mobility, and he could start to emerge as a quality fantasy option as the season progresses.

Geno Smith, Seahawks: After finishing as QB5 in fantasy football last season, Smith is still a value target in 2023 fantasy football drafts. He may not seem like a sleeper in the classic sense of the word, but Smith is still being drafted as the 16th QB off the board, according to the latest Average Draft Position Reports on He should outperform such a draft slot, which is what we search for when identifying sleepers.

In 2022, Smith's 30 TD passes ranked fourth among NFL QBs, and according to, he was third-best in "money throws", which are defined as passes that require exceptional skill or came in clutch situations. He also was third in deep ball accuracy rating and fifth in deep ball completion percentage.

Heading into the 2023 campaign, first-round rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba now combines with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to give Smith a truly lethal receiving corps. Smith can possibly better his 18.5 fantasy points per game average from last season.

For more fantasy football analysis from Scott Engel, visit The Game Day during the fantasy football preseason.

The Seahawks got back to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for their ninth practice of Training Camp on Sunday, August 6, 2023.

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