There's going to be a lot of value in the Chiefs passing game in 2023, at least according to my Fantasy Football Today colleagues. It's easy to see the case – this is, after all, maybe the most prolific passing offense in the league, with Travis Kelce as the only returning player who had more than 81 targets last season.
There's room for someone to break out here, for sure, and Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney are going to be popular picks in drafts this summer for good reasons. Both are recent top-55 NFL Draft picks in their early 20s, and the Chiefs let Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster walk in free agency this offseason, an implied vote of confidence for their young incumbents.
The key, for me, at least, will be the price point for both. In my post-FA rankings reset last week, I didn't have either Moore or Toney in my top-40 WRs, so I probably won't be the one reaching for them in my drafts. But if they fall to the right spot, I'd certainly like to have them on my team.
This week in the FFT Newsletter, we'll be continuing our post-free agency, pre-NFL Draft reset by releasing our first round of Sleepers, Breakouts, and Busts, and we've got sleepers up first. And Toney and Moore were picked by both Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard as sleeper picks for the 2023 season. I've got the rest of Jamey and Dave's picks plus some more from Heath Cummings, as well as my own first round of sleepers, and we'll have breakouts and busts for you later on in the week.
We'll also have a lot of NFL Draft preview content for you next week, so there's plenty of FFT Newsletter coming for you in the next few weeks.
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For now, here are my sleeper picks:
- Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals – Murray had surgery to repair his torn ACL in January, and the Cardinals haven't put a timetable on his return to action yet. Being ready for Week 1 might be asking too much, and even if Murray is ready to go, he probably won't be fully healthy for a while after that. Given how much he relies on his athleticism for production, Murray could be in line for a tough season. But we're still talking about a supremely talented player with a very Fantasy-friendly skill set when healthy, and though he hasn't progressed the way we hoped over the past few seasons, I'm hopeful that getting a new voice in his ear can only help after the way the Cardinals offense stagnated under Kliff Kingsbury. You can't draft Murray expecting him to be your starter, but as a high-upside QB2 if you don't invest in the position early? I think he makes a lot of sense.
- Rashaad Penny, RB, Eagles – Injuries have limited him to just 42 games over five seasons, but Penny has been pretty tremendous when healthy over the past few seasons. In 11 starts since the start of 2021, he's rushed for 1,017 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 6.8 yards per carry. He's a big play waiting to happen who can be effective near the goalline, and now he's in an Eagles offense that was one of the most efficient in the league on the ground last season. You can't expect Penny to stay healthy for 17 games at this point, but you won't need him to do that to be worth drafting – Penny went 85th in the most recent mock draft we did, and I'd be fine with him at that price, especially if I go with a zero-RB approach.
- Samaje Perine, RB, Broncos – Perine seems like the platonic ideal of a backup running back. He's perfectly content to come off the bench for a handful of snaps in any given game, but he's also well-rounded enough to step in in case of injury and keep the offense moving along. Is he as talented as Joe Mixon? Probably not, but the Bengals offense didn't seem to suffer for it when Perine had to start in Mixon's stead, as Perine had 248 total yards and played 80% of the snaps in the two games Mixon missed last season. Perine's plug-and-play skill set means he's a perfect backup RB for Fantasy too, because if Javonte Williams has to miss any time, Perine will likely see a healthy, three-down role. Seeing as we're not even sure Williams will be ready for Week 1, that makes Perine a very valuable player to target in the second half of drafts this season.
- Rondale Moore, WR, Cardinals – In his first game last season, Moore had just three catches for 11 yards; in his final game, he played just two snaps and didn't have a target. In six games in between, he put up a 108-catch, 1,142-yard pace. This is a different Cardinals offense, so Moore may not have as many schemed touches as he did under Kliff Kingsbury, but that kind of production was what we hoped to see from him when he was drafted. With DeAndre Hopkins seemingly likely to be traded, Moore could be the No. 1 option in this offense, and he isn't being valued anywhere close to the kind of upside he showed last season.
- Tim Patrick, WR, Broncos – The Broncos have publicly denied reports that they are shopping Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton, but ESPN reported they "aren't hanging up the phone" when teams call to ask about their availability. Whether they do end up moving on from one of their top two wide receivers will probably tell us a lot about how they feel about Patrick coming off his torn ACL. I think it's unlikely Patrick has much value if both Jeudy and Sutton are back in Denver next season, but if either is moved, Patrick becomes a very interesting target – and, given that both Jeudy and Sutton have struggled with injuries over the past few years, I'll be looking as a late-round target either way.
- John Metchie, WR, Texans – Metchie missed his entire rookie season following a Leukemia diagnosis – which came after he tore his ACL in the 2021 SEC Championship game – but he's seemingly been cleared for offseason workouts and looks to be on track for the start of the 2023 season. He's had to overcome a lot in his first year in the NFL, but he's still just 22, and the Texans liked him enough a year ago to take him with a second-round pick despite the ACL tear. He's on a pretty barren WR depth chart and could have a chance to play with former college QB Bryce Young or another highly touted young QB if the Texans opt to take one at No. 2 overall, and he could be in a position to make an impact right away.
- Irv Smith, TE, Bengals – I tend not to mess around with sleeper tight ends too much, so I'll admit, I had some trouble coming up with an answer here. This year's rookie class at tight end could provide some more options to consider in the later rounds, but for now, I'll tab Smith, a talented player who didn't make much of an impact across three seasons with the Vikings due to injuries, but won't turn 25 until training camp. The Bengals have a crowded receiving corps, but Hayden Hurst still had 85 targets in 16 games last season, including the playoffs. If Smith gets that kind of role in Cincinnati, he should be a viable starter, if not a star.
- Kadarius Toney, WR, Chiefs – Toney only had 17 targets in seven games with Kansas City in the regular season, but he showed flashes of his potential. He had four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown on five targets in Week 10 against Jacksonville, and he had four catches for 71 yards on four targets against Denver in Week 17. And in the Super Bowl win against Philadelphia, he had a 65-yard punt return and a 5-yard touchdown on his lone catch. As a rookie in 2021 with the Giants, Toney had four games with at least nine targets, and he scored at least 11 PPR points in three of them, including two outings with at least 19 PPR points. Injuries are definitely a concern for Toney, as Reid alluded to, and he missed eight games as a rookie and eight games between both teams last year. But his potential is what Fantasy managers are looking at, especially in this offense, and he should be drafted as a No. 3 wide receiver with huge upside. I wouldn't be surprised if Toney was a top 20 Fantasy receiver this season -- if he stays healthy.
- A.J. Dillon, RB, Packers – Dillon falls into the category of post-hype sleeper after he was a breakout candidate in 2022 but failed to break out. He had plenty of good moments, most of them down the stretch, when he averaged 13.8 PPR points per game over his final six outings. The main reason was he scored six touchdowns over that span, but he also had 11 of his 28 receptions during that time. Dillon will still play Robin to Aaron Jones' Batman, and Dillon would likely need a Jones injury to maximize his production. But this season, we could see even more of an emphasis placed on the ground game in Green Bay with Jordan Love the likely starter for the Packers. Last year, Dillon had an ADP of No. 62 overall on CBS Sports. Now, he has an ADP of 96 on NFFC and 99.6 on FFPC, and that could be a steal. I'm targeting Dillon as a No. 3 running back in all leagues with the chance to be a star if he starts any games for the Packers this year.
- Gabe Davis, WR, Bills – Davis is another post-hype sleeper candidate who failed to deliver as a breakout in 2022. His CBS ADP last year was No. 60 overall, but he finished with just 48 catches for 836 yards and seven touchdowns and averaged 12.8 PPR points per game. That number is a little skewed because he had four games with at least 16 PPR points and six games with six PPR points or less. Now, you can make a couple of valid excuses for Davis, who injured his ankle in Week 1 and missed Week 2. He seemed fully healthy in Week 5 against the Steelers when he had three catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns on six targets, and he followed that up with three catches for 74 yards and a touchdown on six targets at Kansas City in Week 6. Then, in Week 9 at the Jets, Josh Allen hurt his elbow, and the Bills passing game wasn't as explosive. As a result, Davis averaged just 10.0 PPR points per game in his final eight outings. I'm expecting Davis to bounce back in 2023 since he's still a big part of Buffalo's offense, and you can get him much cheaper this year with an ADP of 91 on NFFC and 117.8 on FFPC. He can still be an excellent No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues, and we know he can win you a few weeks during the season with his big-play ability.
- Jordan Love, QB, Packers – If we're drafting today, and I wanted to spend my last pick on a quarterback who could be the rags-to-riches story that Justin Fields was last year, it would be Love. What we've seen from him in the NFL isn't impressive -- three touchdowns and a 60% completion rate over 83 pass attempts, many of which were dinks and dunks -- but his mobility is still just as dangerous as when he was in college. He also has no one impeding him from playing in the Packers offense, which should be tailored to his strengths. Lining up with Christian Watson worked for Aaron Rodgers (which you probably just read), and it should give some sort of lift for Love too. Preseason reports from Green Bay will go a long way in determining whether Love deserves your late-round attention or not.
- D'Onta Foreman, RB, Bears – What will it take for you to believe in Foreman? Averaging 4.3 yards per run with modest results in terms of avoiding tackles and succeeding against eight in the box? What about averaging 4.6 yards per run and thriving on after-contact metrics and even being useful at explosive run and avoided tackle rates? The one-time bust has rejuvenated his career as a backup-turned-starter on two separate teams and now has an opportunity to begin a season working in a tandem with a talented but unproven lead guy in Khalil Herbert. Bears coach Matt Eberflus raved over his size, mentioned his ability to burst downhill between two defenders for extra yards and added that there would be competition between them for playing time. Foreman's worst-case scenario is splitting with Herbert but still grinding for a few short-yardage touchdowns. That's enough to call him a bench RB in Fantasy.
- Skyy Moore, WR, Chiefs – Let's do some math: The Chiefs didn't re-sign JuJu Smith-Schuster nor Mecole Hardman this offseason. Combined, they averaged 11.8 targets and totaled six receiving touchdowns through the Chiefs' first eight games. There's no doubt that Kadarius Toney will lay claim to many of those targets for however many games he's healthy, but so too should Moore -- and Toney will get drafted first. There isn't a lot of statistical evidence that suggests Moore will break out; it's more about being on the right team at the right time. Besides, someone as slippery as Moore should be just as big of a problem for defensive players as anyone else on the Chiefs ... besides Travis Kelce. You could do worse than tossing a late-round dart on a young Chiefs receiver with a good pedigree.
- Jameson Williams, WR, Lions – In terms of upside, Williams has the most of any sleeper I'll name today and nearly as much as any receiver in football. While the recovery from his torn ACL stole most of his rookie season, the Lions knew that was a possibility and still took him with the 12th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. That's because Williams possesses elite, 4.3-level, speed and because before he tore his ACL in his junior season at Alabama, Williams had turned 79 catches for 1.572 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging 19.9 yards per reception. As good as last year's rookie class was, there's still a chance Williams could be the best of the bunch.
- Michael Thomas, WR, Saints – There is not a whole lot to say about Michael Thomas. We know he has elite upside. We know he is staying in New Orleans with Derek Carr. We have no idea how healthy he is or how many games he will play. Still, a player with his upside is a top 100 player unless we have confirmed they are no longer the same guy or they will miss time. We've confirmed neither with Thomas.
- Greg Dulcich, TE, Broncos – Dulcich has four games with at least eight targets and five games with double-digit Fantasy points. That would be impressive for any rookie tight end, especially one who only played in 10 games. Sean Payton's offenses have a long history of good tight end production and Dulcich, if he can stay healthy, has the talent to fill that role. If you miss on Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews the next best value may be to wait until the double-digit rounds and select Dulcich.