Fantasy Football Sleepers 2024
Is there a better feeling than nailing a fantasy football sleeper?
You get a few puzzled looks from your leaguemates when you draft him.
By November, that same guy is dumping fantasy points on your opponents.
There are lots of ways to define a fantasy football sleeper. We’re going with any player typically available in the double-digit rounds of drafts.
But the key point is -- these guys are set to return big value for your fantasy team as late-round picks.
Without further ado, here are our six favorite 2024 fantasy football sleepers.
Don't Miss The Next League-Winning Sleeper
Jayden Daniels, Rookie
Born to score fantasy points
Daniels has yet to play an NFL snap. We don’t even know which team he’ll be suiting up for in 2024.
So how can we already feel confident in tabbing him a fantasy football sleeper?
Because Daniels’ college profile suggests he’ll be excellent in two areas that are key for QB fantasy production: Deep passing and running.
Daniels led all 125 qualifying FBS QBs with a huge 11.5 yards per pass attempt last year.
He was deadly throwing deep, completing 35 of 55 passes 20+ yards downfield for 1,347 yards, 22 TDs, and 0 INTs.
Daniels led the FBS in throws 20+ yards downfield in all of these categories:
- Completion rate
- Yards per attempt
- Passer rating
- Pro Football Focus passing grade
An Elite Runner
Daniels also racked up 1,134 rushing yards with 10 TDs in his Heisman-winning 2023 campaign.
And if we remove the negative yardage from sacks taken, Daniels climbs to 1,250 rushing yards on 10.4 yards per carry.
Explosive as any QB we’ve seen since at least Lamar Jackson, Daniels had eight runs of 15+ yards last year, including this 85-yard TD vs. Florida.
How High is the Fantasy Ceiling?
We’ll see exactly where Daniels lands in this spring’s draft, but he’s widely expected to be a top-3 pick.
And if he gets that type of draft capital, he’ll likely start most or all of the season. 12 of the 15 QBs picked with a top-3 selection over the past 10 years have started at least 12 games as rookies.
When Daniels is on the field, he’ll be a good bet for top-10 fantasy production, with upside well beyond that.
Of 31 QBs with 500+ rushing yards in a season over the last 10 years:
- 20 (65%) finished top-10 in fantasy points
- 14 (45%) finished top-5 in fantasy points
- 11 (35%) finished top-3 in fantasy points
Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears
Herbert has done nothing but produce when given opportunity.
In 11 career games with more than 12 carries, he has averaged:
- 18.6 carries
- 95.5 rushing yards
- 0.55 rushing TDs
- 5.1 yards per carry
- 16.4 PPR points
That PPR scoring average would have made Herbert RB7 last year and a top-10 RB in both 2021 and 2022.
A Highly Efficient Runner
Herbert’s 4.9 yards per carry over the last three seasons ranks ninth among 63 RBs with 200+ carries during that stretch.
And it’s not like he has played behind dominant offensive lines. Herbert has done much of the damage on his own, ranking top-12 among those 63 RBs in both yards after contact per attempt and broken tackles per attempt.
Looking for More Work
Despite all that, Herbert has not cracked the top 40 RBs in total PPR points or PPR points per game in any of his three NFL seasons.
Because he has tallied just 103, 129, and 132 carries in those three seasons.
Herbert played behind David Montgomery in 2021 and 2022 and then worked in a committee alongside D’Onta Foreman and Roschon Johnson last year.
He hasn’t been a big part of Chicago’s passing game either, totaling only 43 catches over the last three years.
A Buying Opportunity
You could certainly use the fact that he hasn't claimed big workloads as an argument against Herbert in 2024.
But we see it as an opportunity to buy low on a guy who just needs one thing to turn in his favor to deliver big fantasy value.
RBs don’t just suddenly become efficient runners. But we do see RBs suddenly capture significant workloads.
Herbert’s odds of getting that significant workload in 2024 are boosted by two things:
- The arrival of new OC Shane Waldron, who figures to take a fresh look at Chicago’s backfield.
- The likely departure of D’Onta Foreman, who will hit free agency in March.
And, unlike last year when Herbert was a top-30 RB pick in many fantasy drafts, his 2024 ADP is sitting outside the top 40 at the position.
See where Khalil Herbert ranks in YOUR fantasy league
Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints
Rookie Season Wiped Out by Injuries
Miller’s 2023 rookie season was marred by injury.
A sprained MCL suffered in his final college game kept Miller sidelined for much of last offseason. He reinjured that knee in the preseason opener and then hurt his hamstring late in August.
He missed the first two games of the season, played in the next seven, and then missed the next seven with an ankle injury.
Miller wound up with just 41 carries and 11 targets across eight outings.
Reasons for Optimism
He saved his best for last, though.
With Alvin Kamara sidelined for the season finale, Miller split work with Jamaal Williams, taking 13 carries for 73 yards (5.6 YPC) and a score against a Falcons team that finished 11th in run defense DVOA.
Consider it a reminder of this guy’s talent.
Miller averaged 7.4 yards per carry across his first two seasons at TCU and then had a huge 2022 junior campaign. He ranked top 15 in the nation in rushing yards (1,399) and TDs (17). Miller ripped off 6.2 yards per carry and ranked 27th among 168 qualifying RBs in PFF rushing grade.
Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams remain under contract with the Saints for 2024 – which might be good news for Miller.
Kamara will turn 29 in July. And, although he has remained effective as a pass-catcher, he’s clearly declining as a runner. Kamara averaged just 3.9 yards per carry last year, finishing with career lows in both missed tackles forced per attempt and yards after contact per attempt.
Williams was simply one of the worst runners in the NFL last year. Among 49 RBs with 90+ carries, he ranked:
- 48th in yards per carry
- 49th in NFL Next Gen Stats’ rush yards over expected per attempt
- 48th in yards after contact per attempt
- 48th in PFF elusive rating
- 49th in PFF rushing grade
This backfield is ripe with opportunity for the explosive, fresh-legged Miller.
Bucky Irving, Rookie
Irving was one of the most electric runners in college football over the past two seasons, averaging a hefty 6.5 yards per carry.
He ranked among the top 17 in the nation both years in:
- Yards after contact per attempt
- PFF elusive rating
- PFF rushing grade
Excellent Pass Catcher
Irving was also a big-time weapon in the passing game at Oregon.
He caught 31 balls for 299 yards and 3 TDs as a sophomore in 2022 and then racked up 56 receptions, 413 yards, and two scores this past year.
Only one RB in the country totaled more catches than Irving over the last two years.
So why is Irving not widely considered the top RB in this year’s rookie class?
Because he’s only 5’10 and 195 pounds.
That frame will likely preclude Irving from workhorse usage as a pro. But it won’t preclude him from being a fantasy asset, especially in PPR leagues.
PPR Cheat Code
Over the past three seasons, a RB target has, on average, been worth 2.5 times as many PPR points as a RB carry.
So even if Irving doesn’t get big rushing volume, a significant role in his NFL team’s passing game can make him a valuable PPR producer. Think Jaylen Warren kind of usage.
We’ll see exactly when and where Irving goes in April’s NFL Draft. But there’s a good chance that his ADP climbs after we get his landing spot.
3D Projections help you land the fantasy football sleepers you need to win your league.
Dontayvion Wicks, Green Bay Packers
A Sneaky-Strong Rookie Season
Wicks didn’t see consistent enough playing time to be a real fantasy factor as a rookie last year.
But his underlying metrics show a guy we want to invest in heading into Year 2.
Wicks drew a target on 20% of his pass routes and averaged 1.94 yards per route.
Those marks ranked 43rd and 22nd, respectively, among 78 qualifying WRs.
More importantly, Wicks beat teammates Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in both targets and yards per route.
Jayden Reed led all three guys in both of those categories as part of a strong rookie season. He’s likely locked into a big 2024 role. Watson’s big-play ability and second-round draft capital make him a good bet for heavy snaps.
But there’s an opportunity for Wicks to snatch the No. 3 WR job from Doubs, who has been just OK through two NFL seasons.
An Ascending Passing Game
This is a passing game that we want pieces of in 2024.
Last year’s Packers ranked 12th in passing yards and third in TDs.
QB Jordan Love was especially excellent over the second half of the season, ranking top 3 league-wide in completion rate, passing yards, passing TDs, and PFF passing grade.
Still just 25 and entering his second season as Green Bay’s starter, Love could certainly take another step forward in 2024.
Cole Kmet, Bears
Better Than You Think
Kmet has quietly developed into one of the better pass-catching TEs in the league.
He has improved his yards per target, yards per route, and PFF receiving grade each season.
Among 45 TEs with 30+ targets last year, Kmet ranked:
- ninth in yards per target
- seventh in yards per route
- seventh in PFF receiving grade
Only three other TEs ranked top-9 in all three categories: Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and George Kittle.
Kmet has fared well in target share, too, ranking among the top 12 TEs in each of the last three seasons.
A Volume Problem
But his fantasy production has been capped by Chicago’s low passing volume.
The Bears ranked eighth in pass attempts in Kmet’s 2020 rookie season but have finished 23rd, 27th, and 32nd the past three years.
That’s bound to change in 2024.
New OC and (Likely) New QB
Chicago canned OC Luke Getsy shortly after the 2023 season wrapped up and hired OC Shane Waldron a couple of weeks later.
Waldron spent the past three seasons as Seattle's OC, where the Seahawks ranked 31st, 15th, and 17th in pass attempts. Waldron’s attack finished top-14 in passing yards the last two years and top-9 in pass-offense DVOA in all three.
Perhaps more importantly, the Bears look set to make a change at QB, from run-prone Justin Fields to rookie Caleb Williams, who has as much arm talent as any QB to enter the league in recent memory.
That move would likely mean a shift to at least league-average pass rate – and potentially more.
If Kmet can maintain his previous target shares and efficiency metrics on increased passing volume, he could threaten for top-5 fantasy production.
See where Cole Kmet sits in the 2024 fantasy football TE rankings.
Deep Sleepers to Monitor
Michael Carter, RB, Cardinals
James Conner remained very effective last year and will return as Arizona’s lead back in 2024.
But there’s room for Carter to carve out a secondary role behind Conner and, more importantly, win the fantasy handcuff job.
Conner has had trouble staying healthy, missing multiple games in all seven of his NFL seasons.
That gives Carter plenty of handcuff appeal. He sports a solid 4.2 career yards-per-carry average and has tallied 101 receptions across his first three pro campaigns.
Zay Jones, WR, Jaguars
Jones missed eight games and most of another with injuries last year.
But he averaged 7.4 targets on an 18.5% share in eight healthy games. That’s a full-season pace of 126 targets that would have landed Jones 21st among WRs.
He’s capable of repeating that level of volume in 2024. Remember that Jones saw 121 targets back in 2022, posting an 82-823-5 line and WR26 PPR finish.
That all came without Calvin Ridley. But Ridley is set to hit free agency in March and might not be back in Jacksonville.
Marvin Mims, WR, Broncos
Mims flashed a few times as a rookie last year, finishing with a big 17.1 yards per catch.
He didn’t see enough playing time or claim enough targets to be a real fantasy factor, but we’re not ruling out the possibility of a big second-year leap from a guy who entered the NFL with a strong prospect profile.
Mims broke out as a true freshman at Oklahoma and led the Sooners in receiving yards in all three years on campus. He left school with a huge 19.5 yards-per-catch average and blazed a 4.38-second 40 time at the Combine.
Mims’ fantasy value would get a big boost if the Broncos cut ties with WR Jerry Jeudy, as has been rumored as a possibility since last offseason.
Demario Douglas, WR, Patriots
After a buzzy summer, Douglas caught 49 balls as a sixth-round rookie last year.
In eight games with a snap rate of 60+%, he averaged:
- 6.6 targets (21.2% share)
- 4.1 catches
- 46.1 receiving yards
Those numbers look more impressive when you consider that New England ranked 28th in passing. Douglas’ 49 catches were actually second-most on the team, behind only RB Ezekiel Elliott’s 51.
If the Patriots find an answer at QB this offseason, Douglas could take a nice second-year leap.
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