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With 2021 fantasy football drafts approaching, here are some deep 2021 fantasy football WR sleepers to draft in the late rounds. We’re focusing on 2021 fantasy WR sleepers typically selected after Pick 100 in 2021 fantasy football drafts.
2021 Fantasy Football WR Sleepers: Late-Round Breakout Wide Receivers To Draft
Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars
The biggest offseason headline for Jacksonville was drafting franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick. While Lawrence is considered a generational signal-caller, the Jags have quietly assembled an excellent group of skill-position talent around him as they look to revamp their offense.
One of those players is second-year wideout Laviska Shenault Jr., who finished 2020 as the WR45 in full PPR scoring and enters his sophomore season with a lot of momentum. Over his last five games, Shenault snagged 25-of-36 targets, scored four touchdowns, and averaged a healthy 15.3 fantasy points per game.
2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Top Sleepers • QB • RB • WR • TE • D/ST
The addition of WR Marvin Jones, who is expected to primarily man the slot, will also open things up for Shenault on the perimeter, as defenders must account for Jones, D.J. Chark, and two excellent pass-catching running backs.
Throwing to Shenault was the most efficient strategy for Jacksonville’s offense last year, as their quarterbacks posted a team-high 116.0 QBR when targeting Shenault, who was equally effective lined up inside or out. Accordingly, look for the Jags to get him more involved in the offense this year.
With a year’s experience under his belt, an improved supporting cast, and an aggressive new offense, Shenault has breakout potential and looks like a fantastic value in the 10th round of fantasy football drafts.
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Curtis Samuel, Washington Football Team
After posting the best numbers of his career in 2020, Curtis Samuel parlayed his success into a three-year, $34.5 million deal with Washington, where he’ll be the unquestioned No. 2 wideout behind Terry McLaurin. A versatile weapon who can line up anywhere, including out of the backfield, Samuel was a top-25 PPR wide receiver last season and is regularly available in double-digit rounds of PPR drafts.
While a significant portion of Samuel’s 2020 production came as a runner, head coach Ron Rivera is known for being aggressive and embracing analytics. Rivera knows that continuing to get the ball into Samuel’s hands is vital, particularly downfield.
Enter QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who finished second in the league with a 56.5% completion rate on throws of 20-plus yards last season and has a reputation for challenging defenders downfield. Fitzpatrick is a major upgrade for a Washington offense that finished last season 30th in passing yards per attempt.
Samuel has been limited by a groin injury in OTAs, but as long as he’s healthy he should exceed 100 targets and threaten 1,000 receiving yards this year. An additional 25 or more rushing attempts should pad his stats as well and make him an even bigger bargain at his current ADP.
Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints
In his final year at UCF, Tre’Quan Smith averaged nearly 20 yards per catch and scored 14 touchdowns. Smith looked like a future downfield threat, but his potential was undermined by Drew Brees‘ waning arm strength.
With Brees retired, new QBs Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston are both more capable of challenging defensive backs downfield. That should result in more opportunities for Smith, who averaged 2.29 fantasy points per opportunity from 2018-2020, which trails only A.J. Brown among NFL wide receivers.
Speaking of opportunities, with Emmanuel Sanders and his 82 targets in Buffalo, Smith is now the unquestioned No. 2 wideout in the new-look New Orleans offense after Michael Thomas. On his 50 pass attempts last season, Smith had the highest QBR (122.8) on the team when targeted, and that target share should increase considerably this year.
Smith is in a good position to post career-high numbers across the board in his fourth season and is regularly available in the 14th round or later in most fantasy football drafts. View Smith as a low-risk, late-round draft target who has the potential to post usable WR3/4 totals in 2021.
DeSean Jackson, Los Angeles Rams
If you’re looking for a late-round option that has the potential to blow up for a handful of huge games, DeSean Jackson is your guy. Even though Jackson is now 34, he still has the wheels to score anytime he touches the ball, as evidenced by Jackson’s final reception with the Philadelphia Eagles — an 81-yard touchdown in Week 16 that helped deliver many championships to bold fantasy managers.
While Jackson is past his prime, he’s averaged 18.3 yards per reception from 2018-2020 and brings an explosive speed element that was sorely missing from the Rams’ offense last year. Knowing this, Sean McVay brought in Jackson on a one-year deal, hoping the aging wideout could rekindle some of the magic he displayed while playing for McVay in Washington.
Jackson’s lengthy injury history and advanced age preclude him from being the kind of player fantasy managers want to rely on. But as a high-upside player who is going undrafted in many fantasy leagues, Jackson is the perfect target as a final-round flier, especially in best-ball formats.
More 2021 Fantasy Football WR Sleepers To Watch & Consider
- Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
- Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears
- Tyrell Williams, Detroit Lions
- Elijah Moore, New York Jets
- Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
- Byron Pringle, Kansas City Chiefs
- Marquez Callaway, New Orleans Saints
- Olamide Zaccheaus, Atlanta Falcons
For more of The Game Day’s 2021 fantasy football draft tips, listen to our Take The Points podcast with Marcus Mosher and Adam Kramer: