2023 College Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers

by Corey Pieper
2023 College Fantasy Football Wide Receivers Sleepers

Due to technical difficulties, it took an extra week, but I'm back with the 2023 college fantasy football wide receiver sleepers you'll need for your draft. For me, wide receivers are the toughest to recommend without knowing what the scoring system and roster requirements are. I'm in college fantasy football leagues that require just one starting wide receiver, and I'm in a different league that requires four. Of course, that completely changes the positions that you want to draft these positions.

The other important aspect of drafting wide receivers is knowing the scoring system of the league that you are in. Do you get a point per reception? Do you get a half-point per reception? Is it a tight end premium league where their receptions are worth more? What about scoring bonuses for long plays? I could keep going with unique scoring aspects, but I think you get the picture.

With the guidelines of rosters and scoring established, I have a list of receivers that I think can help a college fantasy football player. My goal with each of the receivers is the upside of a top 36 receiver in most leagues. I do that by looking for players I think can lead their team in targets while also having big-play potential. It led me to the following five college fantasy football wide receiver sleepers for the 2023 season! I hope you enjoy the list!

2023 College Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers

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Trayvon Rudolph, WR, Northern Illinois Huskies

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Northern Illinois was devastated by injuries last season. By the end of the season, the team was playing their 4th string walk-on freshman quarterback. The injuries also carried over to the receiver room where Trayvon Rudolph would miss all of last season with a knee injury suffered early in fall practice. The good news is that he has had a full year to recover from the injury. Fall practice reports indicate that he is back to his old ways of catching long touchdown passes for the Huskies.

When we last saw a healthy Rudolph, he had a truly dominant month of receiver production during MAC conference play. Over a four-game stretch in the 2021 season, Rudolph's worst yardage game still was 108 receiving yards on eight receptions. That is still an 18-point game in a PPR league. Plus, one of those four games was a truly remarkable fantasy effort. Against Kent State, Rudolph caught 14 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns. Doing some quick math, that would be a 65 point effort in a PPR league! If the team can stay healthier this season, I think we will see Rudolph go over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career.

DJ England-Chisolm, WR, Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

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One of the quietest producers in all of college fantasy football last season was Middle Tennessee State wide receiver Jaylin Lane. He finished as a top 60 wide receiver while only playing in 11 games. On a per-game basis, that means he averaged a very steady 17.5 points per game in a PPR league. Lane had that success while only being listed at five foot eight inches and 174 pounds. Jaylin Lane has transferred to Virginia Tech this offseason. That leaves a lot of production vacated which I believe can be filled by DJ England-Chisolm.

When you look at the reception production from last season for England-Chisolm it appears underwhelming. He played in nine games and only was able to accumulate 23 receptions. However, he was able to generate 366 yards and four touchdowns on just those 23 receptions. That means he averaged almost 16 yards per reception and had a touchdown in one-sixth of his receptions. Much like Lane, England-Chisolm is also a diminutive receiver being listed at five foot seven inches and 150 pounds. I think it's possible that England-Chisolm steps into the 70 receptions that Lane leaves behind. If he does that with his per-catch explosiveness, he should at least match Lane's production from last season.

Jared Brown, WR, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

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Jared Brown saw his value change a few times since the start of December. Most of those changes had very little to do with Brown. First, before Coastal Carolina's last season ended, head coach Jamey Chadwell accepted a job to be the next head coach of the Liberty Flames. Chadwell had reached an unprecedented level of success with the Chanticleers with his unique offensive system. Then, Jared Brown himself suffered an upper-body injury in the Birmingham Bowl. Finally, star Coastal Carolina Grayson McCall entered the transfer portal in the offseason. At that point, Brown's value couldn't have been lower.

Since those events, the news cycle has started to trend more favorably towards Brown's value. Firstly, Brown himself recovered from the injury scare. He was already back for spring practice. Secondly, McCall took his name out of the transfer portal and chose to return to the Chanticleers. It means that no matter what offensive changes new head coach Tim Beck brings to the system, we know they'll have the talent to execute it.

Sam Pinckney is typically the first Coastal Carolina off the board in fantasy drafts. He's the higher floor option, but I like to wait and take the upside of Brown. Brown not only averaged over 16 yards per reception but also proved to be an explosive ball carrier. Brown received 20 carries during the season and rushed for an additional 187 yards. Explosive playmakers with the skillset that Brown offers aren't often found at the Group of Five level. I'll take Brown late in fantasy drafts especially if explosive plays add a bonus point aspect.

Jordan Moore, WR, Duke Blue Devils

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Duke is commonly thought of as a basketball school, but head coach Mike Elko's tenure took a big step in changing that perception. In Elko's first season as head coach, the Blue Devils went to and won their first bowl since 2018. Even though Elko was known for his prowess as a defensive coordinator, the offensive production was a big reason for the team's success. Quarterback Riley Leonard and wide receivers Jalon Calhoun and Jordan Moore could all be selected in a college fantasy football draft. Even though Moore finished second in receiving this past season to Calhoun, he is the one that most interests me this year.

Moore's season totals are fairly impressive. He had 60 receptions, 656 receiving yards, and five touchdowns. It's the last three games of the season that get me most excited though. In those three games, Moore had 25 receptions, 288 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. That means that he had over a third of his production in just the last three games! Keep in mind that last season was the first year that Moore focused on playing wide receiver after being a quarterback before that. Did something start to click at the end of the season that could carry over into this season? If you get the opportunity, I think it's worth the risk to draft him late in case something did click and he takes off from here.

Will Pauling, WR, Wisconsin Badgers

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In the past few weeks, Cincinnati transfer Will Pauling was getting close to moving above sleeper territory. New Wisconsin offensive coordinator Phil Longo was giving affectionate quotes about his love of slot receivers. That love is what led to Josh Downs being a college fantasy football star for the past two seasons at North Carolina. Before Josh Downs, there was North Carolina wide receiver Dyami Brown who also went over 1,000 yards in Longo's seasons as the slot receiver. That is the track record that we look for from one position in college fantasy football.

All reports indicate that Will Pauling is the most likely Badgers receiver to fill that slot role. The hiccup in Pauling's value that allow him to still be considered a sleeper happened on August 10th when he was injured at practice fielding a punt. The injury was to his right leg and his draft value sunk back to sleeper status. The last draft which I finished Pauling went in the 15th round of the draft. Reports (behind a paywall) indicate that he is back at practice and back in the slot position we want to see. Draft him late and hope he continues the 1,000 yard slot receivers trend in Phil Longo's offense.

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