Moving the elite wide receivers to the tippity top of your fantasy football rankings is all the rage these days. But ranking those guys at the top of ADP is honestly boring. And my esteemed co-worker Britt Flinn already sorted out the Wide Reciever Breakout Candidates for you, which covered the midrange guys from WR10 to WR50 or so. So I’m here to step in and handle the funnest, most rowdy part of the wide receiver rankings. The deep sleepers that might even be available on the waiver wire. The guys that truly make the difference in you winning your fantasy football league or not. So saddle up partners and I’ll let you know which late round wide receivers it’s worth pulling the trigger on.

There are a lot of different formats and league depths in the modern fantasy football landscape. One man’s “sleeper” is another man’s first man off the bench. So, to accommodate everyone, I’m going to give you four different tiers with two guys I like at each depth based on our composite ADP from across the industry. That way you’ll have a few names that range from rounds 13-15 where you “Will Need To Draft” them if you want them all the way down to round 20+ where we can be fairly certain they are not being drafted at all in redraft. So let’s get to it. 

Will Need To Draft: ADP Rounds 13-15

Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs


2022 College Stats: 96 receptions for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns

2023 ADP-WR66

We become conditioned to certain expectations at times as football fans. When the Pittsburgh Steelers draft a wide receiver, we have high hopes for that player because, historically, they’ve been great at drafting them. With the New England Patriots, it’s quite the opposite. In recent years with the Kansas City Chiefs, looking at guys like Sammy Watkins, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Juju Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, and Skyy Moore, we’ve come to expect these guys to simply play a role and underperform alongside the legendary Travis Kelce. This year there are high hopes in the fantasy world for Kadarius Toney going off the board at WR37 (and it’s not a bad bet as he had the most efficient yards per route run of any of the recent Chiefs wide receivers). But we have our eyes set on an even more affordable Chiefs lottery pick based on ADP. 

The Chiefs decided to make Southern Methodist University’s Rashee Rice the seventh wide receiver off the board with pick 55 in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. At 6’0” 200 pounds with a 4.51 forty, he’s not going to blow you away with athleticism but he has the size and speed to be an every down player as he can line up anywhere on the outside and doesn’t get bullied vs. the jam. What he does do exceptionally well is the most important aspect of the WR position - catch the football. He has great hands and body positioning which makes him a big time winner on contested catches. In fact, his 16 contested catches tied him for 8th in all of college football in 2022 and he led all players that were drafted in 2023. I know we want the next Tyreek Hill in terms of speed and flashiness but reliable hands like that are what allow similarly sized guys like DeAndre Hopkins and Keenan Allen to win without dominant speed. At his ADP, it’s fun to ask yourself - what if the Chiefs actually hit on a stud for Patrick Mahomes with the high draft capital they spent?

Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts

2022 PPR Finish-WR61

2022 PPG Finish-WR82

2023 ADP-WR68

There are some similarities between Rashee Rice above and Alec Pierce. Both have the size to play on the outside (Pierce is 6’3”, 211 pounds). Both were second round picks (Rice was 55 overall this year, Pierce went 53 overall last year). The difference with Pierce however is that he DOES have the speed as he ran a 4.41 forty at the 2022 NFL combine, good for 90th percentile among wide receivers. So why didn’t he break out last year?

The simple answer is that, as a rookie, he was only a part time player. Michael Pittman actually led all wide receivers in snap percentage - he played 97%+ of the snaps in 11 different games. What the Colts then did is have Parris Campbell play slot in three wide receiver sets with Pierce on the outside then, when it came time for two WR sets, Campbell moved outside and the rookie came out. That (along with an injury to Pierce) is why Campbell played 85% of the snaps on the season with Pierce playing 63%. With Parris Campbell now gone to the giants, the bet this year is simple. We’re betting that Alec Pierce is now the every down player along with Pittman and that the rookie Josh Downs is the guy who plays the limited snap share and comes out for two wide. It’s a brand new QB with Anthony Richardson, so we don’t know who his favorites will be. Josh Downs also goes undrafted and he goes later than Pierce so be ready to pivot to Downs if he’s the guy, as we laid out in our early waiver pivots article. But, if we have to pick one, Pierce is the guy we like and he has the highest upside given his profile.

Might Not Be Drafted: ADP Rounds 16-18

DJ Chark, Carolina Panthers

2022 PPR Finish-WR75

2022 PPG Finish-WR58

2023 ADP-WR70

In 2020, the Carolina Panthers brought in a new coach, new offensive coordinator, and new quarterback. We all thought it would DJ Moore that led the team but, with all that uncertainty, it actually ended up being Curtis Samuel and Chosen Anderson (then known as Robby). This year, the Panthers are once again setting themselves up for uncertainty with a new coach, new OC, and new QB. And all new wide receivers. 

Currently Adam Thielen comes off the board at WR59, rookie Jonathan Mingo at WR63, and DJ Chark at WR70. In an ambiguous situation, it’s incredibly easy to wait and simply take the cheapest option - which is often DJ Chark. And Chark just so happens to be a 6’3”, 200 pound WR with 97th percentile speed that is smack in the middle of the age apex at age 27. He even has a 1,000+ yard season with 8 touchdowns on his resume. There aren’t any Vegas lines out right now for rookie Mingo but Ceasar’s sports book has the over/under yardage total set for Adam Thielen at 525.5 yards and DJ Chark set at 675.5 yards. The best way to arbitrage that info seems to be to bet on the over for Thielen if you like him or draft Chark at ADP if you like him. 

Jayden Reed, Green Bay Packers


2022 College Stats: 55 receptions, 636 yards, 5 touchdowns

2023 ADP-WR72

If you are starting to feel like there is a bit of a pattern developing here - you should. In the early rounds of fantasy football drafts we want certainty. In the later rounds, uncertainty is your friend. So rookies going to a team with an ambiguous target pecking order and a first time starting quarterback could make for very good friends at this part of the draft. If he eats breakfast with Jordan Love enough, maybe even best friends.

With Jayden Reed we have to have some trust. Michigan State was not a particularly explosive offense - far from it. So the stats and highlights for Reed weren’t super prolific. But he was a highly touted high school prospect coming in. So we are simply betting here on the profile and hoping that the Packers did their homework. Physically, Reed’s best comparable player on Player Profiler is Stefon Diggs and the Packers thought enough of him to draft him as the sixth WR off the board in the mid second round so there’s a lot to like. And, even if we think Christian Watson is the top dog in this offense, fourth round pick Romeo Doubs isn’t necessarily insurmountable competition for Reed to become a favorite of Jordan Love’s right away. 

Likely On Waivers: ADP Rounds 18-20

John Metchie, Houston Texans

2022 PPR Finish - N/A

2022 PPG Finish- N/A

2023 ADP-WR78

As most of you probably know by now, the reason that you are seeing N/A above for 2022 stats is that John Metchie missed his entire rookie season after being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. Reports are that he’s healthy and good to go for 2023 however and he wouldn’t be the only professional football player to suit up after undergoing cancer treatment. In fact, he wouldn’t even be the only currently active player as both James Conner and Foster Moreau were treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The reasons we liked John Metchie in rookie dynasty drafts in 2022 haven’t changed. He’s a prolific wide receiver (96 catches for 1,142 yards and 8 TDs his junior year), from a prestigious school (Alabama) that got the draft capital we like to see (44th pick overall in the second round). The new coaching staff in Demeco Ryans and Bobby Slowik is bringing over an offense that heavily features a fullback as we’ve seen in San Francisco (Kyle Juszczyk) and Miami (Alec Ingold). With them signing fullback Andrew Beck to a two year deal, that could highly consolidate targets among the top two WRs the way it does with Tyreek Hill/Jaylen Waddle and Deebo Samuel/Brandon Aiyuk. Nico Collins is expected to be the split end and he’s drafted in the 11th round then it’s Robert Woods, John Metchie, and rookie Tank Dell for that other full time spot. Metchie is a guy I’m taking with my last draft pick in a lot of spots but his ADP is in the 18th round so you might not even have to draft him in your league. Just make sure he’s close on that watch list if he pops off Week One.

Chase Claypool, Chicago Bears

2022 PPR Finish - WR67

2022 PPG Finish- WR82

2023 ADP-WR86

Chase Claypool has been a bit of a running joke in NFL circles as of late and some of that is his own doing - like when he said he was a top three wide receiver in the league. The Bears trading what amounted to the 32nd pick of the 2023 NFL draft for him didn’t help him either. But sometimes public sentiment like that works in our favor if folks are fading him too far for things that aren’t quite related to on field production. And we haven’t really seen what he can do with the Bears yet - here are the snap counts for both him and Justin Fields during Chase’s limited time with the Bears.


Wk 9

Wk 10

Wk 11

Wk 12

Wk 13

Wk 14

Wk 15

Wk 16


Wk 18

Justin Fields











Chase Claypool












Claypool started off slow as he learned the new playbook and, by the time he was ramped up, Fields got hurt and missed Week 12. The closest they came to playing a “full game” together was Week 13 when Claypool caught five of six targets before leaving the game with a knee injury. From that point forward, they never really got on the field at the same time. It’s so easy for us to forget that Claypool’s rookie year of 13.43 PPR points per game was better than both Chris Olave (13.2) and Garrett Wilson (12.7). If this team actually decides to throw at a reasonable level, Claypool could surprise some folks. 

Not Being Drafted: ADP Rounds 20+

Michael Wilson, Arizona Cardinals


2022 College Stats: 26 receptions, 418 yards, 4 touchdowns

2023 ADP-WR100+

We are truly in the land of the dart throws here - outside the top 20 rounds so going undrafted in virtually every league. He doesn’t even have an ADP on a few sites but he is being drafted in some leagues based on our composite ADP so he does get drafted deep in sharp leagues like FFPC and NFPC. So he’s on someone’s radar out there. And he’s on ours.

This is actually another one that boils down to a pretty straight forward bet. Michael Wilson didn’t have great college stats because he was on an anemic offense and he got hurt three years in a row. Yet the Cardinals still felt he was a solid bet on Day Two of the NFL Draft. If you take the tallest height and biggest weight out of Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, and Greg Dortch, Michael Wilson is four inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than that so he has a real chance to be the starting split end right away with DeAndre Hopkins gone. And, with the new regime and a backup quarterback playing, we really don’t know who the top dogs are going to be in Arizona. He doesn’t really need to be drafted at his ADP so put him on your watch list or stash him in your dynasty league to see what happens.

Sterling Shepard, New York Giants

2022 PPR Finish - WR129

2022 PPG Finish- WR38

2023 ADP-WR100+

There might not be a player in the league right now that has had worse luck than Sterling Shepard. In 2021 his season ended with a torn Achilles in Week 15 - not only is that a bad injury but being that late in the season does not leave a lot of time for recovery. He battled back to get on the field early in 2022 then tore his ACL in a Week 3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. That injury history is obviously a huge part of why he goes undrafted in most leagues.

The other reason he’s being faded is the increase in competition now in New York. But the reality is that Darren Waller is likely the top dog and then it’s fairly wide open after that. Wan’Dale Robinson is coming off a knee injury himself and is unproven. Jalin Hyatt is a rookie. Isaiah Hodgins was an undrafted free agent that really only had two good games - both vs. the Vikings. And Shepard is in the mix with a ton of options for that slot role. Over the last three years Shepard has 20 games where he’s played more than 35% of the snaps and, in those games, he’s averaged 8 targets a game. There are clips of him looking healthy on the field this year so it might not be crazy for him to pick up where he left off. 

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