Fantasy Players Being Slept on in 2021

Sunday, Aug 22, 2021 at 1:02 pm ET

There are always players in fantasy football that tend to get faded. There are players that get overrated and there are players that are underrated. No matter what, there are always sleepers in fantasy football. James Robinson comes to my mind for last season. He began the season undrafted in most leagues. James ended up being a top 10 running back last season. Devonta Freeman in his second season ended up being a top ten overall player in fantasy after having a weak rookie season. Let's dive into the top five fantasy players being slept on.

Number 5: Antonio Gibson

Antonio GibsonYes, Antonio Gibson is being viewed as an RB2 with upside for RB1 status. I still believe he can finish fantasy season as an RB1 inside the top 7. There is no competition in Washington for the lead running back position. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starting quarterback makes it even easier for Gibson to feast. Dealing with numerous quarterbacks last season, Gibson managed over 750 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, and had 36 receptions.

Gibson only played 47% of the snaps in 13 games and finished as the 13th ranked RB. This is good news as the workload will increase this season. Gibson is an RB1 waiting to happen. Taking a WR with your first pick and Gibson with your second pick is not a bad idea. Through weeks 9-12 last season, Gibson averaged 22 fantasy points, 7 total touchdowns, and had 13 receptions. These numbers are from my ESPN fantasy league where it is half PPR.

Number 4: Chris Carson

Chris CarsonThis man is baby beast mode. Chris Carson is a workhorse and one of the most slept-on players in the NFL. Chances are that he might miss a game or two each season but that should not matter. Carson, in an offense that is run-heavy, should see over 240 carries this season. Only playing in 12 games last season, Carson matched his career-high with 37 receptions. This is exciting in fantasy terms because of those half or full points for catches.

In 11 full weeks last season, Carson ranked as the 7th RB. His ADP is 36 and is ranked as the 16th RB. You can get Carson in the 4th and even 5th round in your leagues. This is an RB2 with RB1 upside that can be taken in the middle rounds.

Number 3: Adam Thielen

Adam ThielenA touchdown machine, Adam Thielen has no pressure and no worries. Justin Jefferson has taken duties as WR1 in Minnesota. That only leaves more room for Thielen to capitalize. Grabbing 14 touchdowns last year, Thielen reminds me of Mike Evans in terms of being a red zone threat every week. There is not much competition for targets in Minnesota, so Jefferson and Thielen should each see about 25% of the targets.

Thielen's ADP is at 45 and ranked as the 21st WR. Thielen in 2020 had 20 red-zone targets which were three more than any other player. His catch percentage (68.5%) was higher than players such as DK Metcalf and Tyreek Hill. In the past three of four seasons, Thielen has finished as a top 10 WR in fantasy. Being able to draft Thielen in the middle of your draft, he is a great WR2 in an offense with not that many weapons.

Number 2: Diontae Johnson

Diontae JohnsonThis man received tons of hate last season for the numerous dropped balls. It became so bad that Diontae Johnson was benched during a game. Despite all the drops, Diontae had 144 targets, 88 receptions, and 7 touchdowns. In PPR leagues, Diontae is a must-have as he has become Ben Roethlisberger's number one receiver. Diontae saw 52 more targets last season compared to his rookie season. He also had 29 more receptions.

Diontae's trajectory is only going up. With the Steelers drafting workhorse running back, Najee Harris, the field should open up more for Johnson. An ADP of 62, Johnson can be taken as a flex with extreme upside for WR2 status and a chance for WR1.

Number 1: Joe Mixon

Joe MixonThis might be the season the closet Joe Mixon fans have been waiting for. High hopes with an exciting rookie quarterback came to a halt as Joe Burrow was lost for the year. Mixon, also only appeared in six games battling injuries as well. Joe Mixon has rushed for over 1100 yards two of his first four seasons. He also, not counting last season due to injury, has had at least 30 receptions in his other three seasons.

Why is that so exciting to me? Giovanni Bernard, the running back who has done the majority of the receiving out the backfield has departed to Tampa Bay. This means Joe Mixon is the clear-cut RB1 in Cincinnati. With Bernard being out for a few weeks last season, Mixon was averaging 27 touches in that time. With an ADP of 19, Mixon is an RB1 in fantasy that is being taken in the late 2nd and early 3rd rounds.

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