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USATSI

Things change fast in the NFL. One day, you're among the highest-paid running backs, the next you're cut and desperate for any shot to keep playing. The example could be applied to former first-round quarterbacks, breakout-turned-broken wide receivers and tight ends who went from scoring touchdowns aplenty to targets unsteady. 

Things change fast in Fantasy Football, too. Players who you may have never heard of or veterans you may have passed over suddenly become regular lineup staples. Dudes who weren't on the draft radar suddenly become people who help you rack up wins against your friends. These kinds of changes are what separates Fantasy Football from anything else. We crave them, we love them, and we especially like trying to get ahead of them. 

My sleepers for 2022 are all players I expect you'll find in Round 10 or later. These are the men who, I hope, are the hot names off the waiver wire after the first month of the season. It's much cooler to draft them rather than add them, however. 

Quarterbacks
Projections powered by Sportsline
MIN Minnesota • #8
Age: 33 • Experience: 11 year
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
128th
QB RNK
14th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
130
2021 Stats
PAYDS
4221
RUYDS
115
TD
34
INT
7
FPTS/G
22.9
I already see the writing on the wall: Fantasy managers will pass up whatever reliability Cousins offers and chase the second-year quarterbacks. And honestly, I'm probably going to do the same thing. But once the top-12 passers and second-year guys are gone, Cousins will be worth a scoop. Since 2019, his second year with the Vikings, Cousins was handcuffed by former coach Mike Zimmer's run-heavy insistence. Minnesota was never ranked higher than 16th in pass-run ratio and never threw the ball more than 57% of the time. The defensive-minded Zimmer is out and former NFL player, analyst and quarterback coach Kevin O'Connell is in. O'Connell already has a working relationship with Cousins and figures to lean on him more than Zimmer did the past three seasons. No one will ever feel good trusting Cousins in prime-time games, but he should have better than an underdog's shot to finish as a top-12 quarterback. He's a wonderful second quarterback in one-QB leagues with deep rosters and a priority mid-round pick in Superflex/two-QB drafts.
Running Backs
Projections powered by Sportsline
SF San Francisco • #28
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
137th
RB RNK
52nd
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
77
2021 Stats
RUYDS
167
REC
3
REYDS
26
TD
1
FPTS/G
3.1
Sermon never got going in the 49ers offense last year, getting passed on the depth chart by pretty much everybody. I'm hoping the reset button gets pushed this spring and Sermon gets another shot to contribute. Helping his case is half of the 49ers running back depth chart hitting free agency this offseason -- it might be a surprise if either of Raheem Mostert or Jeff Wilson return. Elijah Mitchell was a rookie revelation, but since Kyle Shanahan joined the Niners, no running back has led this team in carries or rush yards two years in a row. Mitchell proved to have some durability issues, so there could be a significant pocket of time where Sermon can work as the Niners' top running back. He'll have to earn it, but with a year-long education given on the sideline and plenty of prior experience in the scheme Shanahan runs, there's incredible potential for Sermon to really matter. Half of the Fantasy universe has forgotten about him -- you shouldn't.
Wide Receivers
Projections powered by Sportsline
CLE Cleveland • #11
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
127th
WR RNK
55th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
NR
2021 Stats
REC
34
TAR
58
REYDS
597
TD
3
FPTS/G
7.8
Cleveland will remain a run-preferred offense, but they have an awful lot of restocking to do at the receiver position. One guy the Browns should feel comfortable with is Peoples-Jones, who got in 395 snaps with the offense from Week 9 on (after Odell Beckham left) and turned 43 targets into a 21-369-1 stat line over eight games. Naturally, there's room to grow, particularly in Peoples-Jones' development as an outside receiver. He has good size at 6-foot-2 and big hands that should help him increase his contested-catch rate (69.6%, tenth-best among receivers with at least 45 targets in 2021). I know it's not a particularly inviting passing offense, but Peoples-Jones has a shot to lead this team in all receiving numbers and return plenty of good numbers on his late-round investment.
MIA Miami • #3
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
134th
WR RNK
60th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
108
2021 Stats
REC
4
TAR
8
REYDS
26
TD
0
FPTS/G
4.3
When Will Fuller was trending as a top-70 pick, I flinched. I didn't want him, and he went on to have his best season because he stayed healthy and he had a strong-armed quarterback who loved throwing to him. Fast forward to now. We know nothing about where Fuller will play or who his quarterback will be. We don't even know the real story about how he sat out most of 2021 with a "lower-body injury" in August and then a broken finger through the second half of the year. But if his body is in one piece, there's obvious potential. A forgotten figure in Fantasy circles, Fuller is at least worth the late-round dart throw if he can be a contributing flex for a handful of weeks. And as 2020 proved, he's definitely capable of doing better than that.
Tight Ends
Projections powered by Sportsline
JAC Jacksonville • #85
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
125th
TE RNK
12th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
NR
2021 Stats
REC
35
TAR
52
REYDS
408
TD
0
FPTS/G
6.9
In his six full games with Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars, Dan Arnold enjoyed a 18% target share (second-most on the team). He averaged 11.4 yards per catch and five catches per game, contributing six plays of 16-plus yards. His quick assimilation into the offense suggests Lawrence was happy to have him. New head coach Doug Pederson should be happy to have him too -- tight ends who could move were absolutely vital parts of his offense with the Eagles. Zach Ertz came into his own and Dallas Goedert showed plenty of signs of becoming the stud he is today. I'm certain Jacksonville will add some new blood to its passing game, but the one spot they should feel good about is at tight end with Arnold. If his early-season schedule is nice, you could begin 2022 with him as your starting tight end.