Jakobi Meyers made his presence known last season when he took over for an injured Julian Edelman and became the Patriots best receiver. He's not slowing down in 2021, and it's time everyone realized he can be a potential starting Fantasy receiver this year. He should be considered a sleeper in all leagues.
In 2020, Meyers started seeing significant playing time in Week 7, and over his final 11 games he scored at least 11 PPR points five times. When Edelman retired this offseason, it opened the door for Meyers to remain a priority in New England's passing game, but the Patriots then added several pass catchers in Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.
That apparently didn't matter to Meyers, who reportedly has been fantastic in training camp. Cam Newton and Mac Jones continue to lean on Meyers, which was evident in New England's second preseason game against Philadelphia. Meyers had three catches for 56 yards and a touchdown on three targets.
We hope to see Meyers find the end zone on a consistent basis because that could be an issue. For starters, he's never scored a touchdown in the regular season in two years in the NFL. And the Patriots are going to be a run-heavy team, especially if Newton is the starter for most of the year.
And while Meyers has drawn rave reviews so far, we have yet to see what this passing game truly looks like because Smith and Henry have been hurt. Hopefully, when everyone is healthy, Meyers continues to stand out.
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But based on his price tag on Draft Day, Meyers is definitely worth the investment for his potential upside. His Average Draft Position on CBS Sports entering the final week of preseason action is 150.91. I've been targeting Meyers as early as Round 8 or 9 in PPR (Round 10 in non-PPR), and I'm hopeful he'll be a starter in three-receiver leagues.
There's a lot to like about Meyers this year, which is why I chose to highlight him for Sleepers 3.0. I chose my favorite sleepers who have an ADP on CBS of 120 overall or later as of August 24, and I expect these guys to be amazing value picks this season. Hopefully, all of them become weekly starters in the majority of leagues.
Trey Lance QB
SF San Francisco • #5
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
We don't know when Lance is going to start for the 49ers, but hopefully he replaces Jimmy Garoppolo sooner rather than later. He has the chance to be a special talent based on his ability as a dual-threat quarterback. In his one full season at North Dakota State in 2019, Lance passed for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and no interceptions, along with 169 carries for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. He's raw after playing just one game in 2020, and he's been inconsistent through two preseason games (230 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception on 46 percent completions). But the upside is evident, and he should be drafted in all leagues as a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback who could eventually become a difference maker. Throwing to George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel is an added bonus, and Lance has league-winning potential once he takes over for Garoppolo.
CHI Chicago • #1
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Like Lance, Fields should be drafted in all leagues with a late-round pick as a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback. And like Lance, Fields could be a league winner once he eventually replaces Andy Dalton as the starter for the Bears. Dalton will start Week 1 against the Rams, but hopefully Fields is under center in Week 2 against Cincinnati. Fields was impressive at Ohio State in 2020 with 2,100 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in just eight games, and he also added 383 rushing yards and five scores. Through two preseason games, Fields has 222 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception, plus nine carries for 76 yards and a touchdown. It's going to be fun watching him throw to Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney, and Fields will make plays with his legs. I hope the Bears turn to Fields early in the season, and he could quickly become a weekly starter in all leagues.
PIT Pittsburgh • #7
Age: 39 • Experience: 18 yrs.
Is Roethlisberger back? There's a chance he could be better than ever. Everyone loves Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster, to some degree. And we're all excited about Najee Harris. But Roethlisberger doesn't get the same praise as his teammates, which makes sense since he's 39 and looked washed up at times in 2020. But he came into training camp in better shape, and hopefully his elbow injury from 2019 is well behind him. You're not going to draft Roethlisberger in one-quarterback leagues, but he's a viable option in Superflex and two-quarterback leagues. And he can be a streaming option by the end of the year in all formats. Last year, he actually finished as the No. 13 Fantasy quarterback, and he scored at least 22 Fantasy points in eight of 15 games. Could he regress this season? Sure. But I'll bet on him being slightly better given his supporting cast, and he's a quality sleeper quarterback this year.
A.J. Dillon RB
GB Green Bay • #28
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
The Packers have 150 total touches available in their backfield with Jamaal Williams now in Detroit, and hopefully the bulk of those go to Dillon. He could do plenty of damage, even in a secondary role behind Aaron Jones. Last year, in Week 16 against the Titans, Dillon got a chance to be featured on offense with Williams out with a quad injury. Dillon delivered in a big way with 21 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns, along with one catch for 5 yards, while Jones still had 10 carries for 94 yards and two catches for 14 yards. Dillon likely won't be a huge factor in the passing game, but he could steal some of Jones' work at the goal line (Jones has 25 rushing scores over the past two years). And if Jones were to get hurt then Dillon is a must-start running back in all leagues. I look for Dillon as early as Round 8 in all leagues.
Gus Edwards RB
BAL Baltimore • #35
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Like Dillon, I'm also buying plenty of stock in Edwards this year. While J.K. Dobbins should be the lead back in Baltimore, Edwards won't be far behind in terms of touches. And if Dobbins ever missed time due to injury, Edwards could be a star. Edwards had six games last season with double digits in carries, and he had at least 70 total yards in four of them. He also scored six touchdowns on the season, and he's averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry in all three years he's been in the NFL. Now, like Dobbins, he's limited as a receiver with just 18 catches on 22 targets in his career. But you know what you're getting with Edwards, and he's a potential flex play in all leagues, with lottery-ticket upside if Dobbins ever gets hurt.
Sony Michel RB
LAR L.A. Rams • #25
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I never imagined having Michel as a potential sleeper this season, but his trade to the Rams has now made that a reality. His ADP could skyrocket past this range if you believe he's better than Darrell Henderson now, but I still like Henderson more. Michel will complement Henderson with the Rams, and hopefully he plays like we saw in the preseason with the Patriots. He had 13 carries for 60 yards, but he also surprised us with four catches for 37 yards in the second preseason game against the Eagles, which was likely a showcase for a trade. The Rams brought him in to compete with Henderson, and he could eventually become the starter. Michel is coming off a struggling campaign with the Patriots in 2020 because he was limited to nine games due to injury, but he still averaged 5.7 yards per carry. He also had consecutive seasons of at least 900 rushing yards and six touchdowns to start his career, and he could be a valuable commodity with his new team. Start looking for Michel in Round 8, and he has plenty of upside now in Los Angeles.
KC Kansas City • #31
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I'm not sure what the Chiefs will do if Clyde Edwards-Helaire has to miss any time this season, but heading into the year it appears like Williams is the handcuff. That makes him one of the best lottery tickets to target this year. Last season in the playoffs, Williams stepped up when Edwards-Helaire was dealing with an ankle injury. He had 13 carries for 78 yards and four catches for 16 yards in the divisional round against the Browns, and he followed that up with 13 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 9 yards in the AFC Championship Game against the Browns. The Chiefs offensive line was significantly upgraded this offseason, and Williams will hopefully get some work in tandem with Edwards-Helaire. Jerick McKinnon could also have a role, but Williams enters the season No. 2 on the depth chart. He's someone I've been drafting in every league with a late-round pick, and he could pay big dividends this year if he's called upon to start.
TB Tampa Bay • #25
Age: 29 • Experience: 9 yrs.
The Buccaneers have a crowded backfield with Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, but Bernard might be the best value in Tampa Bay. He should have the passing downs role to himself, and Tom Brady should love throwing him the ball. Think about Brady in New England with guys like Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen and James White, and Bernard should fall right in line. There wasn't a player in Tampa Bay like this last season, and Brady threw 119 passes to his running backs, with Fournette catching 36 and Jones at 28. Bernard could catch 50 passes in this offense, and he'll also mix in as a rusher as well, especially if Jones or Fournette get hurt. Bernard doesn't have much upside in non-PPR leagues, but in 0.5 or PPR leagues he could be a weekly flex option. You might consider letting someone else reach for Jones or Fournette on Draft Day and just select Bernard in Round 10 or later.
JAC Jacksonville • #10
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Shenault is my favorite Jaguars receiver for several reasons, and injuries are helping his cause. Travis Etienne (foot) is out for the season, and D.J. Chark (finger) and Marvin Jones (shoulder) are banged up. While Chark and Jones should be fine for the start of the season, Shenault has the chance to lead Jacksonville in targets and likely catches. In the Jaguars second preseason game against the Saints, Shenault led the team in targets with seven, and he pulled in five catches for 36 yards. Trevor Lawrence looks like he's going to lean on Shenault a lot this season, and Etienne's injury should help with plenty of short-area targets. Shenault closed last season on a high note with at least 15 PPR points in three of his final five games. Hopefully, that becomes the norm for him in his sophomore campaign, and Shenault could emerge as a weekly starter in all leagues by the end of the season.
KC Kansas City • #17
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Hardman is expected to be the No. 2 receiver for the Chiefs opposite Tyreek Hill, and that's a great spot to be in as a primary target for Patrick Mahomes. With Sammy Watkins gone, Hardman will hopefully prove the Chiefs made the right decision to select him in the second round of the NFL Draft in 2019 -- he went ahead of D.K. Metcalf, Diontae Johnson and Terry McLaurin. Watkins averaged 6.0 targets per game in 24 games in the regular season with the Chiefs over the past two seasons, and hopefully Hardman absorbs those targets. He has six games in his career with at least six targets in a game, and he averaged 14.2 PPR points per game in those outings. That's a good place to start when looking at Hardman's upside. And, Hardman is like a lottery-ticket wide receiver because if something happens to Hill, Hardman's value would skyrocket. In the second preseason game for Kansas City against Arizona, with Hill out, Hardman had eight targets and finished with four catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. I'm excited about Hardman this year.
CHI Chicago • #11
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
You might have forgotten about Mooney since he didn't play in the first two preseason games, but he should have the chance for a productive campaign. He continues to draw rave reviews in training camp, and Bears coach Matt Nagy was comparing Mooney to guys like Tyreek Hill and DeSean Jackson earlier this offseason. It would be unfair to say that he has the upside of those guys now. But he has a very high ceiling, and that's exciting for Fantasy managers. Mooney will start opposite Allen Robinson, and Mooney closed last season with at least 15 PPR points in two of his final three games. Hopefully, Fields or Dalton will lean on Mooney a lot, and he could emerge as a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver this year.
NO New Orleans • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
With Michael Thomas (ankle) and Tre'Quan Smith (undisclosed) out for the Saints in training camp, Callaway has gotten the chance to be the team's No. 1 receiver. And he's taken full advantage of the opportunity -- in a big way. In the first preseason game against Baltimore, Callaway had three catches for 61 yards on four targets. Then, in the second preseason game against Jacksonville on Monday night, Callaway had five catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns on five targets. He should be featured in the passing game until Thomas returns, which might not happen until Week 7. And if Thomas is out longer than that then Callaway could become a weekly starter in all Fantasy leagues. With Jameis Winston as the starting quarterback, he should lean on Callaway a lot until Thomas plays, and Callaway's two touchdowns against the Jaguars came from Winston. Callaway is an excellent late-round pick in all leagues.
Elijah Moore WR
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #8
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Corey Davis is getting all the love for the Jets right now, which is well deserved. He should also be considered a sleeper if his ADP remains in this range. But don't forget about Moore also. I love that he has written the names of the five receivers selected ahead of him in the NFL Draft -- Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, Kadarius Toney and Rashod Bateman -- on his bathroom mirror, and he looks at that every day and night, according to The Athletic. "A chip? You could say that," Moore told The Athletic. "I think I'm the best. ... I'm going to show them why I should have gone first." Moore made plenty of plays in training camp before dealing with a quad injury, but he should be ready for Week 1. And I expect rookie quarterback Zach Wilson to lean on Moore and Davis quite a bit this year. It won't be hard for Moore, who had 86 catches, 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns at Ole Miss last year, to produce at a high level, and he could quickly become a weekly starter in all leagues.
Mike Gesicki TE
MIA Miami • #88
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Gesicki could have a high ceiling and a low floor this year, and it all depends on the health of Miami's receiving corps. If Jaylen Waddle, Will Fuller or DeVante Parker miss any time -- and Fuller and Parker have been banged up in training camp -- then Gesicki could be a big part of the Dolphins passing attack. But if all three are healthy then Gesicki could just be a bit player for Tua Tagovailoa. Through two preseason games, with Fuller and Parker out, Gesicki has four catches for 99 yards on four targets. We saw last year that the Dolphins leaned on Gesicki when Preston Williams was out, and Gesicki averaged 15.0 PPR points per game over his final five outings. It would be great if he can perform up to that level again, but that could be challenging if Waddle, Fuller and Parker are healthy. For now, target Gesicki with a late-round pick in all leagues, and hopefully he's more than just a streaming option this year.
Jonnu Smith TE
NE New England • #81
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
We have yet to see how the Patriots will use Smith and Hunter Henry after both signed lucrative contracts this offseason. Both have battled injuries, but thankfully Smith is back on the field from his ankle injury heading into the final week of preseason action. He should have the chance for a significant role in the offense along with Meyers, and Smith has been productive when targets have come his way. In 2020 with the Titans, Smith had seven games with at least five targets, and he averaged 16.0 PPR points per game over that span. It's doubtful he has that many targets on a consistent basis, but hopefully Newton or Jones will lean on Smith quite a bit. He's one of the better tight ends to wait for on Draft Day with a late-round pick.
So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.