NFL Fantasy Football Sleeper Picks

2023 NFL Fantasy Football Sleepers: Time For Bateman Breakout?

We're nearing the 2023 NFL season which means it's time to draft.

Everybody knows the players at the top of the draft and the general strategies you need to succeed. But, nailing your sleeper picks is often the difference between a successful season and 17 weeks of Ls.

Here are my five best sleepers for the upcoming fantasy year:

Top 5 2023 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Every year it gets harder and harder to define a breakout star or a deep sleeper. But, for the sake of this list, I've kept my sleeper definition to players available OUTSIDE of the top 100 in average draft position:

Saints WR Michael Thomas (106 ADP)

We all know what Michael Thomas at his best looks like. Across 2018 and '19, the Saints receiver caught over 3100 yards, 18 touchdowns, and won Offensive Player of the Year.

It’s been a few years since then, and Thomas has managed just three games across the last two seasons. But, entering 2023 he's allegedly healthy and looking to show he's still got that top form in him. At this draft price, I'll give him a chance to prove it.

“Oh man, the chip [on my shoulder] is very big,” Thomas told reporters in training camp. “It’s very big. It grows every day I feel like.”

Ravens WR Rashod Bateman (121 ADP)

Bateman played three games before suffering a foot injury last year. In those three contests he had 226 yards (75 per game) and two touchdowns — that’s top-tier WR stuff.

Obviously Baltimore’s receiver room is a lot busier in 2023, with Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers in the mix. But, Bateman has long been a PPR sleeper if he can stay on the field. Even with Flowers and OBJ out wide, I think Bateman will still see plenty of targets across the middle this year.

Bears RB Roschon Johnson (150 ADP)

Bijan Robinson was the Texas Longhorns' bell-cow back last year. He rushed for 1580 yards on 258 attempts and rightfully got himself drafted in the first round this year.

But, in terms of per-carry efficiency, Bears 4th-round pick Roschon Johnson was right there with RBob at Texas. Johnson has the chance to be the steal of the draft and doesn’t have much in front of him (Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman) to prevent him from a breakout.

TE Michael Mayer (157 ADP)

I like Mayer as a player. He's coming off back-to-back 800+ yard receiving seasons with Notre Dame and earned his way into first-round pick consideration. But, this sleeper status is just as much about the guy throwing him the ball.

New Vegas QB Jimmy G has a habit of elevating tight ends. In Garoppolo's only two full seasons as 49ers QB (2019 and 2021), San Fran TE George Kittle posted two of the best 25 seasons we've had from tight ends since 2015. Plug Mayer into the same role in the Las Vegas offense, and we could have immediate sparks flying.

Deep Sleeper: WR Darius Slayton (ADP 247)

Darius Slayton is being drafted as the 90th best receiver in fantasy this year, but he's the best one they've got in New York. Slayton was the only Giants' receiver to snag over 600 yards last year (724) and they didn't improve the receiver room much this offseason.

While most of the NY offense will come from Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, somebody has to catch the ball. Slayton is best positioned to be that guy, and will be a fantasy asset because of it.