2021 Fantasy Football Deep Sleeper Wide Receivers

by Dennis Sosic
2021 Fantasy Football Deep Sleeper Wide Receivers

Welcome Fantasy friends and foes to the 2021 Fantasy Football Deep Sleeper Wide Receivers.

One of the most utilized draft strategies is to wait on wide receivers in your draft. There are plenty of viable options throughout each tier at wide receiver. Instead, fantasy managers load up at the other positions and then focus on grabbing their wide receivers late in their drafts to build their team.

I highlighted four wide receivers from the NFBC ADP for the past month drafted outside the top 75 wide receivers drafted. A perfect companion to have available when you are deep in your upcoming drafts.

Find out which four wide receivers I am targeting deep in my drafts in the 2021 Fantasy Football Deep Sleeper Wide Receivers.

2021 Fantasy Football Deep Sleeper Wide Receivers

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Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots (WR147, Overall 276)

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The New England Patriots made a lot of noise this offseason. They paid plenty of attention to making quarterback Cam Newton more weapons in the passing game. The Patriots signed two tight ends in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, and they also signed wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers.

Bourne, the 2017 undrafted free agent, finished 2nd on the 49ers last season with his career-high of 49 receptions, and his 667 receiving yards ranked second on the team, who was a frequent red-zone target and a reliable possession receiver.

The Patriots were desperate for receiver help and grabbed Bourne, who will add youth and versatility to a receiver crew who also saw the addition of slot man Nelson Agholor this offseason. The ongoing drama with N'Keal Harry is leading to counting down the days that he will remain in New England, so the team will have a receiver room that will be upgraded but lacking a true number one receiver.

Everyone, including himself, realizes that Cam Newton has to play better this season. This holds especially true with the Patriots drafting Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. As a result, Newton will be on a short leash this season but will have more talented receivers to target this season.

Bourne played 58.4 percent on the outside with the Niners, and that is where he is projected to line up with the Patriots. He is a terrific complimentary piece in the offense who will provide a formidable outlet as a possession receiver

11-year NFL veteran Nate Burleson listed Bourne among his top-five breakout wide receivers this season due to Newton's scheme and bounceback season. Look for Bourne to best his career numbers of last season on his way to a bye week flex option for Fantasy managers.

Byron Pringle, Kansas City Chiefs (WR132, Overall 262)

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Fantasy managers should always look to target weapons in high-powered offenses. There is no better to target than the Kansas City Chiefs. One of the pieces of the offense that we will not see in Kansas City in 2021 is wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins left Kansas City to catch passes from Lamar Jackson in Baltimore, signing a one-year deal with the Ravens.

Watkins leaves 37 receptions on 55 targets with 421 receiving yards and two touchdowns behind in a high-octane offense. The Chiefs' wide receiver depth chart is deep with Tyrone Hill, Mecole Hardman, DeMarcus Robinson, and Byron Pringle. Add in the best tight end in football in Travis Kelce, and there are plenty of mouths to feed.

The team did not bring in any free agents to replace Watkins. They did draft Cornell Powell in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but he is not expected to impact this season significantly. The Chiefs want to replace Watkins' numbers with someone already on the roster. The wide receiver that will step up and be a hot target for Patrick Mahomes this season is my next deep sleeper, Byron Pringle.

Pringle has shined when given the opportunity, and he will be entering his third season with the team. He has excellent speed and has caught 25 of his 33 targets for 330 yards and two touchdowns in his first two seasons.

The Chiefs loved what he showed already in camp and he will get a chance to step up and compete. With the vacated targets left by Watkins, there will be a wide-open competition for the coveted wide receiver two spot this season. Pringle will need to fight off Hardman and Robinson. Both players that have yet to show much beyond very few highlight plays.

The Chiefs' offense will be dominated by Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce while sprinkling in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. There will be an opportunity to make an impact on this offense. Fantasy managers should want to obtain as much as the Fantasy pie of the Chiefs offense. Bryon Pringle will be making a Fantasy impact this season and will be a deep sleeper option for Fantasy managers.

Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns (WR130, Overall 260)

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The Cleveland Browns were one of the surprises of the 2020 season. Of course, everyone knows about the elite ground attack with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, but Fantasy managers should not forget about the Browns’ weapons in the passing game. 

The unsung hero of the Browns offense is wide receiver, Rashard Higgins. Higgins and Baker Mayfield have terrific chemistry that started in Mayfield’s rookie season in 2018. 

Higgins became an integral piece of this offense after Odell Beckham went down in Week 7. He showed last season that he could be a dependable option with 37 receptions and nearly 600 receiving yards.

Higgins ended up starting in six games last season, finishing second in league with 11.5 yards per target and 12th with his 16.2 yards per reception, both career-highs. He led all of the team's wide receivers in touchdowns (4) and made big plays for this offense. He led the team with a 521 YBC and finished fifth in the league in Fantasy points per target. 

The Browns have plenty of weapons on offense for Mayfield to distribute, and Beckham is looking healthy this camp. His dynamic play-making ability will open up this offense. It's difficult to deny the bromance between Mayfield and Higgins. Higgins should be a late-round target for Fantasy managers. He will produce numbers that will wish you had started him in your lineup during his boom weeks.

Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams (WR78, Overall 216)

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The Los Angeles Rams have made it well-known that the team wants to be more explosive on offense. They want to push the ball deep down the field. So the Rams started improving their offense with an upgrade at the most crucial position in football, quarterback. The Rams acquired Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions in a trade for multiple drafts picks and quarterback Jared Goff.

Stafford loves to throw the deep ball and ranked fourth in Air Yards Per Attempt and seventh in Total Air Yards last season. In comparison, Goff produced pedestrian numbers by ranking 34th and 19th in those same categories. It will be fascinating watching McVey work with Stafford and the bevy of offensive weapons.

Unfortunately, the horrific news of Cam Akers being lost for the season has placed a damper in many respects to this offense. However, Darrell Henderson should provide similar production to Akers, but the backfield depth behind Henderson is obsolete. As a result, the fantasy manager should expect more passing from the Rams offense, and one colossal benefactor will be sophomore Van Jefferson.

Jefferson was drafted with the No. 57 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and caught just 19 passes for 220 yards and one touchdown during the 2020 season. However, Jefferson played in a loaded wide receiver group. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods rank among the best at the position. Josh Reynolds had 52 receptions on 81 targets for 618 yards and two touchdowns last season.

However, Jefferson stepped up in his first career start. It just happened to be in the divisional round off the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers. He caught six passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Jefferson stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 200 pounds and has excellent hands, and has wheels to get downfield in a hurry. He will provide another outlet for Stafford to stretch the field. Josh Reynolds departed for the Tennessee Titans leaving offensive snaps, and 80+ targets picked up by Jefferson.

Jefferson will catch more passes this season and with a better quarterback. I project his numbers in the 70 target range with 50 catches, 600+ yards, and five to seven touchdown ranges. Van Jefferson will provide a sneaky deep, wide receiver selection in your Fantasy drafts this season.

Check out more 2021 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers!

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