Yep, it's another sleeper article. But before we get into my Top 5 Sleepers for 2023 Dynasty Football, let's review the criteria.
First off, unlike some redraft sleeper articles, I'm not going to mention Tyjae Spears or Marvin Mims as they will be long gone before you even get to the 10th round in a start-up dynasty draft. And forget all the rookie QBs too, as they will be long gone before we even hit the 200s of ADP. Because that's one of the first rules. A "dynasty sleeper" has to be someone beyond the top 200 of a dynasty ADP rankings.
We're also going to list one at each of the four skill positions. I was very tempted for example to mention Kyle Hamilton as one of my favorite dynasty players, but that's an IDP option. Furthermore, I also will not be diving into Devy Options either, as we got you covered on those elsewhere here at F6P.
I also made it a personal rule that only one player from any team and no group designations. As much as I really like the Houston WR corps for dynasty purposes, I had trouble picking just one I liked, so I simply avoided them as a whole.
So who do I like? Here are five of my favorites.
Top 5 Sleepers for 2023 Dynasty Football
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Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams
I wasn't going to include Nacua at first because I thought everyone knew he was now and figured his ADP would reflect that. However, his ADP is sitting at 223, which shocked me, to be honest. What are people not seeing? They obviously didn't see him score the other night amongst other things.
Sleeper alert Puka Nacua ?? pic.twitter.com/jzCbk5hawN
— Michael F. Florio (@MichaelFFlorio) August 13, 2023
Nacua might be one of my favorite deep rookie WR sleeper picks. And that is despite him not having the acceleration and natural speed to separate from defenders at the NFL level. But Matt Stafford is used to WRs who can’t separate (need I list the litany of WRs he’s had during his career with that issue?), but moreover, Nacua has all the other athletic abilities I look for in a receiver.
He has not only the size (6-2 and 201 pounds) but also great hands, regularly winning 50/50 balls against better defenders. Nacua also has the athletic instincts to get open and make the big play. There is a reason why, despite a lack of initial acceleration, he still averaged 18.7 yards per catch in 2021.
Because of Nacua's talent with the ball in his hands, Nacua was targeted primarily on underneath routes. Yet he was also a deep threat, garnering one of the highest average depth of targets (14.3) in this class over the past two seasons. Nacua had the fourth-best contested catch rate (59.3%) from this year’s receiver class since 2021, and the second-highest yards per route run total (3.48).
The good news is you won't have to battle Nacua to grab him in your dynasty league.
A.T. Perry, WR, New Orleans Saints
We move from one rookie WR to another rookie WR. Perry's ADP is right around the 20th round in a standard 12-team dynasty league. That's absolute larceny given what Perry did at the collegiate level. Perry caught 152 passes totaling nearly 2400 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns over his last two years.
He's also got the physical tools to strike fear into the rest of the NFC South. He’s a 6’3" receiver with a 9.62 RAS. Most thought he would be a day-two pick. He fell to the Saints in the sixth round. But don't mistake him falling to day three as an indicator. I already told you how good he was. The one question might be the opportunity.
But let's take a break from the rookies shall we?
Desmond Ridder QB, Atlanta Falcons
We could have technically gone with Jordan Love here as his ADP is 201, but that felt like cheating. So instead we will go with Desmond Ridder, who might just be a little better than most people think....
If Desmond Ridder fed off the hate pic.twitter.com/mFhks7VQvG
— Rise Up Ridder (@RiseUpReader) August 10, 2023
Yes, Ridder's four starts last year were less than inspiring. He went 2-2 in those four starts and completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 708 yards. Ridder failed to pass for a single touchdown pass in his first three games. He finally did throw two touchdowns against the Bucs who were locked into their fourth-place divisional finish at that point. But the fact that he did not throw any interceptions was promising. One of the knocks on Ridder coming out of college was his accuracy and ball placement. So he seems to be improving on his weaknesses
Meanwhile, Ridder's pocket presence and athleticism are some of his better qualities. The Falcons will likely run a ton of play-action this year, especially with the ultra-talented Bijan Robinson now in Atlanta. Robinson will join Kyle Pitts and Drake London to form a trifecta of young talent oozing high upside appeal. In addition to having a ton of talent around him and an offensive line that should help keep him relatively clean, play-action will play to Ridder's skillset. Ridder was PFF's 3rd-highest graded QB in the nation while in play action during his last season as a Cincinnati Bearcat.
And we haven't even talked about his rushing ability. Ridder managed to average four yards per rushing attempt last season and was in the top two of yards after contact amongst 45 NFL quarters with at least 15 rushing attempts last season. That should not be very surprising given that he never averaged less than 5.5 yards per carry despite running the ball at least 85 times a year while in college.
Ridder is not going to suddenly become a top-ten quarterback in 2023. But he has top-20 potential this upcoming season and even more potential for future years, making him a great dynasty sleeper.
Brenton Strange, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
PENN STATE TE BRENTON STRANGE WITH A BUZZER BEATER TD ⏰pic.twitter.com/9bwGzyoxgc
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 2, 2022
Look, I like Evan Engram. And I have plenty of shares of him across my various leagues. And the fact that he signed a three-year 42.5 million contract in July means that Strange will likely have to wait to be the starter until 2026. But that assumes that Engram can stay healthy. And that's a J-Lo-sized but. Before he got to Jacksonville, Engram was often injured, averaging 13 games a year. At 28, how many games do you think he'll last before he starts to break down? 15? 30?
Brenton Strange was indeed a crafty pick by the Jags. He'll see plenty of snaps due to his strength as a blocker. But he actually looks more like an oversized possession receiver than a tight end. He has solid hands and is a YAC monster. He led all TEs with a 7.3 YAC/reception. Brenton Strange is currently being drafted in dynasty leagues after Noah Fant for example.
That is a huge mistake.
Keaton Mitchell, RB, Baltimore Ravens
I originally had Malik Davis in this spot (ADP: 224) and decided to call an audible, going deeper with Mitchell whose ADP is currently 240. I had Mitchell in my recent Taxi Squad Stashes article, but I am starting to think he might be more than just a stash. As I mentioned there, Mitchell carried the ball 463 times for 3,020 yards (a 6.52 YPC) scoring 25 touchdowns while at East Carolina. That's in addition to his 580 receiving yards on 60 catches and three scores.
But that was before Mitchell had just as many carries as Melvin Gordon did in the Ravens' preseason opener against the Eagles. I am starting to think Gordon was simply an "insurance signing".
Call it a hunch, but Mitchell might be one of my favorite dynasty sleepers this season.
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