2022 Fantasy Football Post-Hype Sleepers

by Mark Strausberg
2021 Fantasy Football: Jameis Winston Injury

Of all the types of sleepers, post-hype sleepers might be my favorite. So when the opportunity came for me to write the 2022 Fantasy Football Post Hype Sleepers article, I jumped at the chance.

First off, unlike "deep sleepers", post-hype sleepers already have unquestionable gobs of talent. It is why they were hyped to start. But anything can derail their road to stardom along the way. It can be a lack of opportunity, injury, overall poor play, or some combination of those.

And that doesn't mean their talent has taken a permanent vacation. But with so many guilty fantasy football owners guilty of recency bias, it becomes a case of what have you done for me lately? And therefore, these post-hype sleepers are usually going a number of rounds long after they should.

I have tried to give you a mix of post-hype sleepers below. Some are second-year players who were highly heralded coming into their rookie seasons, others have been around far longer.

What follows is a sixpack of post-hype sleepers with at least one at each of the four fantasy football skill positions.

2022 Fantasy Football Post-Hype Sleepers

Post-Hype Running Back Sleepers

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts

I was a Jonathan Taylor owner and it pains me to include him on this list. But let's give Hines his due. When Taylor came out for a breather, the drop to Hines was minimal. As a Taylor owner, every one of Hines' 57 (haha) targets and 56 totes of the rock were quite stressful. Hines turned those into nearly six hundred combined yards and averaged just under five YPC (yard per carry).

In addition to decent stats, I can't get this Tweet out of my head....

Hines is clearly the number two back in Indy, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Hines as a Top 30 RB by the end of 2022.

Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

Sanders played just 12 games during the 2020 season but rushed for 867 yards, six touchdowns, and a solid 5.3 YPC. He also caught 28 passes for nearly 200 yards receiving. Folks were expecting him to take his game to the next level in 2021 and was a highly sought-after RB last season. Yet those that grabbed him were severely disappointed when all but his YPC, unfortunately, declined rather than rise. In particular, the Eagle-sized egg he put up for touchdowns made him nearly worthless.

But that was last year. For one, this season is a "contract year" for Sanders. I can't stand when folks say that players will be "extra motivated"; but it's now or never. If Sanders doesn't put up quality numbers this season, his chances of being a team's top back ever again will likely vanish.

There are whispers that Jalen Hurts has really improved and the addition of A.J. Brown will not allow teams to stack the box against the run.  Furthermore, Sanders's TD totals have to regress positively just from a pure statistical perspective. If Sanders is healthy, he should absolutely score a TD or two, and I suspect he might even score double-digit touchdowns. If Sanders falls to his current ADP, I will grab him every time.

Other Post-Hype Sleeper RB Considerations: Gus Edwards (BAL), AJ Dillon (GBP)

Post-Hype Wide Receiver Sleepers

Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals

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Entering his rookie year, Moore was being compared to the likes of Brandin Cooks and Tyler Lockett. But after less than 500 receiving yards and just one touchdown his rookie season this past season, the shine wore off. Those marks are far lower for example than the 664 yards and six touchdowns Lockett saw his rookie season. They are also less than the marks Brandin Cooks notched his rookie season as well. But sometimes it's not so much about lack of talent, as it lack of opportunity.

But Moore's opportunity is better this year. Christian Kirk has taken his 103 targets to Jacksonville and De'Andre Hopkins will miss the first six games of the season. Yes, the Cardinals traded for Marquise Brown this offseason. But Moore just needs to beat out A.J. Green who will turn 34 before this August. Green hauled in three scores last season, but not a single one after week 6.

I like Moore to push Green out as he establishes himself as a feature WR in the NFL.

Nico Collins, Houston Texans

Back when folks thought DeShaun Watson might be playing for Houston last season, Collins was a trendy sleeper. Collins fell to the third round of the NFL draft, but many believe he would have gone much higher had he not opted out of the 2020 season for Covid-related reasons. The year before he was named Michigan's Offensive Player of the Year, having led the Big Ten with an average of 19.7 yards per catch.

Well, you know what happened next. Watson wasn't under center and Collins started slow the first couple weeks. He followed that up by being out for three weeks due to injury. But if you look at his game log, Collins got better as the season wore on, finally scoring his first touchdown in week 16.

Houston QB Davis Mills has publicly said that Collins now seems to have a "good grasp of this offense", "His talent is off the charts", and that Houston has to "find ways to get [Collins] the ball" this season. Remember, this is not just "coach speak", but the guy responsible for getting Collins the ball. Pass on Collins at your own risk.

Other Post-Hype Sleeper WR Considerations: Bryan Edwards, Byron Pringle, Curtis Samuel, Russell Gage, DeVonta Smith

Post-Hype Quarterback Sleeper

Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints

I was very tempted to feature one of the many second-year options at QB. Plus, I almost skipped Winston as my thought was that he is too good and too well known to be a sleeper. However, after an ADP inventory of nearly half a dozen sites, he is still going outside of the 20 QBs so far this preseason in nearly all. And in the one exception I discovered where he wasn't going that late, he was going 19th. That makes him a sleeper in my opinion, and well worth featuring. Because at worst he's a high-end QB2.

Winston started off pretty strong last season.

Before he went down, he had 14 TDs to just 3 INTs. He also had an RZ passer rating of 134.3. Since Winston went down, much has happened. Winston's competition, Taysom Hill, lost his biggest supporter. The Saints will also be looking to pass more this season with RB Alvin Kamara looking at a potentially lengthy suspension.

But there is still plenty to be optimistic about the offense in Crescent City. The Saints drafted the highly talented WR Chris Olave. They also signed PPR stud Jarvis Landry. Throw into that the potential return of Michael Thomas and the sky's the limit for Winston.

Other Considerations: Trevor Lawrence (JAX), Trey Lance (SFO), Justin Fields (CHI)

Post-Hype Tight End Sleeper

Irv Smith, Minnesota Vikings

First off, Kyle Rudolph is gone. Irv Smith is clearly the Vikes top TE option. And when he has been the sole option, he has produced. In those games without Rudolph, (2020 Weeks 14-17), Smith averaged 12.8 PPR points per game. During that span, he was the overall TE4 and ranked second in end zone targets.

Smith was a heralded former second-round pick out of Alabama and is one of the youngest TEs drafted in the last three years. He won't even be 23 until August, so he's still nowhere close to his ceiling.

Furthermore, let's not forget what Tyler Higbee did in new coach Kevin O’Connell’s offense.  In addition to co-leading at the top in red zone receptions, he was also the third most targeted tight end.

Other Considerations: Donald Parham (LAC), Kylen Granson (IND)

That will do it for now for my 2022 Fantasy Football Post Hype Sleepers, but it is only July. Don't be surprised when there are a few more I want to add come August!

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