16 Sleepers Who Will Supercharge Your Dynasty Team
The 2021 NFL Draft was held in Cleveland, Ohio from April 29th to May 1st. It was much different from last year’s first-ever virtual draft because of the national quarantine. This year’s draft had some interesting trends. Five quarterbacks were selected in the first round. This was tied for the second-highest number of first-round quarterback selections—six were selected back in 1983. A whopping six Alabama players were taken in the first round—this tied Miami, who also had six players selected back in 2004 for the most first-round selections from an individual school. No players from the Big 12 Conference were selected in the first round for the first time since 1994. The overall talent pool in this year’s draft was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For dynasty managers, rookie drafts are already here or just around the corner. This article will tell you about 16 sleepers that could supercharge your dynasty team.
Rondale Moore, WR, Cardinals
The Cardinals front office entered the 2021 NFL Draft looking to select early-round contributors which would enable Arizona to maximize quarterback Kyler Murray’s rookie contract. Rondale Moore can immediately contribute as a rookie in the quick passing game with his ability to create yards after the catch. He can also be used as a slot receiver in three or four wide receiver sets and as a rusher. Moore only has 20 career college games on his resume but has averaged nearly nine receptions and 96 receiving yards per game. He has displayed remarkable upside despite durability concerns.
With the 49th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the #Cardinals select Rondale Moore: WR, Purdue.
Moore is a true playmaker who has the speed and separation ability to become a dangerous receiver, but his size and overall skill set likely limit him to the slot. pic.twitter.com/79EWfkLM99
— Sports Info Solutions - Football (@football_sis) May 1, 2021
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury mentioned the Cardinals will have a rookie minicamp this year. This will allow Moore to hit the ground running in 2021. The Cardinals' offense averaged the sixth-most total yards (384.6) per game last season. Moore has the potential to be one of the biggest wide receiver sleepers this season.
D'Wayne Eskridge, WR, Seahawks
The Seahawks selected D'Wayne Eskridge with their first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. The speedy receiver out of Western Michigan will be a good fit in Seattle. Eskridge ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at his Pro Day workout. The Seahawks reinforced their offensive line during free agency in order to provide Russell Wilson more protection. The veteran quarterback was under pressure on 197 dropbacks last season, which ranked third. Now head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have provided Wilson with a new offensive weapon.
With the 56th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the #Seahawks select D'Wayne Eskridge: WR, Western Michigan.
Eskridge is a dynamic playmaker whose release, play speed, and run-after-catch ability make him a home run threat each time he touches the ball. pic.twitter.com/mLL1wvNKBP
— Sports Info Solutions - Football (@football_sis) May 1, 2021
In an abbreviated season, Eskridge recorded only 33 receptions for 768 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in just six games last season. He exceeded 100 receiving yards in five of six games. Eskridge is in a perfect spot playing opposite of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, running routes from the slot. The rookie will be the favorite to open the 2021 season as the Seahawks' No. 3 receiver.
Jaelon Darden, WR, Buccaneers
The Buccaneers traded a sixth-round pick to the Seahawks to move up eight spots to select North Texas receiver Jaelon Darden. He finished his collegiate career as Mean Green’s all-time leader in receptions (230), receiving yards (2,782) and receiving touchdowns (38). Darden led all wide receivers last season with 23 missed tackles forced, according to Pro Football Focus.
— Marcus Whitman #AaronToDenver (@TFG_Football) April 27, 2021
Darden provides the Buccaneers with a versatile receiving weapon who can threaten defenses underneath or vertically. The presence of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Scott Miller may limit Darden’s number of offensive snaps early in his career. As a reminder, Godwin and Brown signed one-year contracts while Miller isn’t a free agent until 2023. Evans doesn’t become a free agent until 2024.
NFL draft prospect Jaelon Darden (@JDFlash1x) is coming off an impressive year at North Texas.
Darden, who ran a 4.47 in the 40 at his recent pro day, was especially dangerous after the catch pic.twitter.com/noE6kUtjHd
— CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) April 4, 2021
Darden will be able to contribute sooner rather than later in a Buccaneers offense that consistently feeds its playmakers.
Brevin Jordan, TE, Texans
Houston selected tight end Brevin Jordan with the No. 147 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He totaled 105 receptions for 1,358 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns over his three seasons at the University of Miami. Jordan accumulated 38 receptions for 576 yards and seven touchdowns last season in spite of missing three games due to an ankle injury and COVID-19 protocols. He also ranked first in yards after contact and yards per route run in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Texans may use more two tight ends sets this season as they look to rebuild at the wide receiver position. There is also uncertainty surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson's legal situation. The opportunity is there for the taking for Jordan, especially if he displays improvement as a blocker.
Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Eagles
Kenneth Gainwell opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. As a reminder, he led the Memphis Tigers in rushing (1,459) and was second in receptions (51) during the 2019 season. New Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni has recently shared some hints that Philadelphia could use Gainwell similarly to how he used Nyheim Hines during his three seasons with the Colts. Hines averaged 9.2 opportunities and 44.2 total yards per game over that time frame. Since 2018, he’s finished as a fantasy RB3 or better in 77% of his games.
Gainwell’s in a good position to see opportunities during his rookie season. He averaged a robust 148 yards from scrimmage per game back in 2019. This ranked sixth nationally behind Jonathan Taylor and J.K. Dobbins. Gainwell is a nice value in dynasty drafts.
Tylan Wallace, WR, Ravens
Tylan Wallace was selected by Baltimore in the fourth round with the 131st overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Ravens continue to surround quarterback Lamar Jackson with offensive weapons. Wallace finished his career at Oklahoma State University ranked second among all FBS players with 3,434 receiving, fifth with 205 receptions and third with 26 receiving touchdowns.
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) May 1, 2021
Wallace will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact in 2021 for the Ravens. However, he will have to compete with other talented receivers on the roster. There are only so many targets to go around, considering the Ravens ranked first last season in rushing attempts (34.6) per game. Wallace could solidify the role of Baltimore’s No. 3 receiver this summer by beating out Miles Boykin. His long-term outlook also looks promising.
Seth Williams, WR, Broncos
Seth Williams was selected by the Broncos with the No. 219 overall pick. He finished his collegiate career at Auburn as one of the all-time greats in school history. Williams caught 132 career passes, which ranks seventh in school history. His 2,214 receiving yards rank fourth all-time in Auburn history.
Williams is part of a very talented group of wide receivers in Denver. It is worth noting that Courtland Sutton is entering a contract year. Receiver Tim Patrick will also be a free agent after this season. The stars are aligning for Williams to have more fantasy relevance in 2022.
Jacob Harris, TE, Rams
Jacob Harris has a unique skill set that sets him apart from the other receivers on the Rams roster. He’s one of the most intriguing prospects from the 2021 class. Harris played in all nine of the Knights’ games last season. He started at wide receiver in six of them and finished with 26 receptions for 472 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Harris is best viewed as an optimal developmental tight end because of his frame and athleticism.
Jacob Harris was drafted with pick 141 of round 4 in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.88 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 31 out of 2517 WR from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/iEGdUmBuoR #RAS #Rams pic.twitter.com/hyREnq4XR0
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) May 1, 2021
Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson are viewed as phenomenal route runners. DeSean Jackson and Tutu Atwell have the skill set to threaten defenses vertically. Harris is another movable chess piece that Rams head coach Sean McVay will enjoy utilizing. He brings special teams mentality to Los Angeles which should allow him to earn a roster spot. Harris is unlikely to have a huge role as a rookie, but that’s likely to change in his second or third season. Harris provides dynasty managers with a high ceiling as a vertical weapon and contested-catch threat in the red zone.
- Demetric Felton ranked sixth in the nation last season in all-purpose yards (166). The Browns drafted the running back at No. 211 overall. Felton’s versatility as a runner and receiver will position him to be viable in fantasy sooner rather than later. He has the potential to become the next Curtis Samuel.
- Nico Collins was drafted by the Texans with the 89th pick. He only appeared in 29 games at Michigan with 22 starts from 2017 to 2019. Collins had 78 receptions for 1,388 receiving yards with 13 touchdowns in his career. Brandin Cooks will enter the 2021 season as the Texans’ de facto No. 1 receiver after the departure of Will Fuller. Collins will be competing for targets with the often injured Randall Cobb and Keke Coutee. This is a training camp battle the rookie can win.
- The Cowboys added another offensive weapon with the selection of Simi Fehoko in the fifth round of the draft. He played at Stanford for three years and finished with 62 receptions for 1,146 receiving yards and nine touchdowns across 16 games from 2018 to 2020. Fehoko skipped his senior year to enter the NFL Draft. He averaged 18.5 yards per reception at Stanford, which ranks third in school history. Fehoko will need some time to further develop as a route runner. He’ll have an opportunity to do so in Dallas with all of the receivers they have on the depth chart. Fehoko could replace Michael Gallup as the Cowboys' No. 3 WR in 2022. The veteran receiver will be a free agent after this season.
- Kellen Mond was selected by the Vikings in the third round of the draft. He finished his career at Texas A&M ranked first in pass attempts, passing yards and passing touchdowns. He also finished his career with 349 rushing attempts, 2,192 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has two more years on his contract. He is the frontrunner to open the season as the starter. If Cousins struggles then Mond will be waiting in the wings.
- Elijah Mitchell was selected by the 49ers at No. 194 overall. In four seasons at Louisiana, he rushed for 3,267 yards on 527 attempts with 41 touchdowns. Mitchell also caught 49 passes for 597 receiving yards and five touchdowns. The 49ers traded up and used a Day 2 pick on Ohio State running back Trey Sermon, so Mitchell joins a crowded 49ers backfield. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan has a history of deploying committees. Mitchell’s skill set is a great fit in the 49ers' offensive scheme.
- Noah Gray was selected in the fifth round by the Chiefs. He broke Duke’s all-time career receptions mark by a tight end last season. Gray also finished fourth in school history for most career touchdown receptions by a tight end. Any offensive weapon being added to the Chiefs is worth monitoring. The 6-foot-3 and 240-pound Gray is a solid depth pick with starter potential. Head coach Andy Reid enjoys using two tight end sets. Gray will be an additional mismatch for opposing defenses.
- Kawaan Baker was selected by the Saints in the seventh round. He had 51 receptions for 659 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games last season. Baker could thrive from the slot in New Orleans. According to Pro Football Focus, the former University of South Alabama receiver spent 78% of his snaps lined up inside. Saints head coach Sean Payton is exceptional at identifying overlooked receiver talent. He’s found another one in Baker.
- Louisville running back Javian Hawkins went undrafted in this year’s draft. He opted out of the 2020 season with four games remaining. Hawkins finished as the Cardinals' leading rusher with 822 yards and seven touchdowns on 133 attempts. He also averaged 4.1 rushing yards after contact per attempt last season. This ranked sixth among running backs in the 2021 draft class. Hawkins is a great fit for new Falcons head coach Arthur Smith’s zone-run heavy offense. At 5-foot-8 and 183 pounds, he’s unlikely to be deployed as a bell-cow back, but Hawkins could become a valuable contributor to Atlanta’s committee alongside Mike Davis.
You’ve learned about 16 players who could change the trajectory of your dynasty team over the next two to three seasons. The more prepared you are for your rookie draft the greater position you are in to be a step ahead of your league mates. If you have already had your rookie draft now you have a line of sight of players you could trade for. Every dynasty team is different and you may be hungry for additional advice related to your specific situation and league. Follow me on Twitter and interact with me on that platform. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have in order to position you to crush the others in your dynasty league.