Fantasy Football: Pre-draft rookie sleepers from the 2023 NFL Draft class

While the first round remains relatively straightforward and predictable, the later rounds allow fantasy managers to uncover real diamonds in the rough. Even if you miss out on someone like Bijan Robinson or Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round, you can still make key investments in the later rounds.

Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh (6) runs with the ball against the TCU Horned Frogs during the second quarter of the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

• Invest in McIntosh: With all the hype surrounding Alabama’s receiving back, Georgia offers one of their own who is just as deserving of praise as a top receiving back in this class.

• Marvin the big play Martian: The Oklahoma wide receiver is as much of a threat for an explosive play as any receiver in this class and has the potential to be one of the steals of the draft.

• Tune in to learn more about Houston’s contribution to the quarterback class: Clayton Tune earned high marks in key passing metrics, scored well athletically and offers rushing upside for fantasy managers to get excited about.

Regardless of your draft slot, you can find league winners in the 2023 rookie class. Let’s explore which late-round rookies you should target once you’re on the clock.

writing a quarterback section at all. Outside of the top three, there just aren’t really any realistic rookie options for this season. While Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson are all likely to be the starters for their teams this year, everyone else is clearly in a backup situation. I decided to include Levis because of the outside chance he starts a few games if Ryan Tannehill gets injured or traded. Last season, Tannehill missed five games, with Malik Willis filling in for him, and although Willis is still listed as the second option on the depth chart, expect that to change as training camp opens. Levis doesn’t offer a ton of upside, but if you somehow forgot to draft a backup quarterback, he’s the only rookie quarterback that could realistically produce fantasy points for your best ball teams.

Running Backs

Devon Achane, Miami Dolphins, Underdog ADP 151.6

The Dolphins re-signed both Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson in free agency, but that didn’t stop them from drafting another young speedster in Devon Achane in the third round. For now, this is set up to be a pure committee backfield, but that doesn’t mean Achane doesn’t have the opportunity for touches. Both Mostert and Wilson have a fairly extensive injury history, and if this trend continues, Achane could see a near 50/50 carry split in their absence. Even if one of them doesn’t get injured, Achane could work his way up in the depth chart on his own merit. He ran an explosive 4.32 40-time at the NFL Combine, and in his final season at Texas A&M, he earned first-team All-SEC honors with over 1,100 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in ten starts. He’s exactly what head coach Mike McDaniel wants in a running back and is bound to have some spike weeks on your best ball rosters.

Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints, Underdog ADP 187.6

Kendre Miller is one of my favorite rookie running backs outside of Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs this season. Yes, the Saints brought in Jamaal Williams in free agency, but the potential suspension of Alvin Kamara could open the door wide open for Miller to immediately produce. During his final season at TCU, Miller’s 1,399 rushing yards were the most for a Horned Frog since LaDainian Tomlinson’s record setting performance in 2000, and he also tacked on 17 touchdowns in 14 games. He’s got all the traits of a bell-cow back in the NFL, so if Kamara is suspended, he could leap-frog Williams and provide immediate value.

University Park, PA, USA; Buffalo Bulls running back Jaret Patterson (26) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Identifying fantasy football sleepers and under-the-radar players is one of the most fun parts of our fake game, but the process has changed over the last few years with so much information now at our disposal. 

With a fresh new crop of rookies comes the opportunity to find draft-day bargains. When it comes to dynasty drafts and rookie sleepers for redraft leagues, we have to dig pretty deep. That’s why I’ve embarked on a search for what I like to call “true sleepers” — small school and Day 3 draft picks who could surprise early in the NFL. 

After researching and writing up my 2021 rookie dynasty rankings, I’ve identified a handful of players who could be this year’s Darnell Mooney, Gabriel Davis or — here’s hoping — James Robinson.


In my quest to find the next James Robinson among the 2021 rookie running back class, I first wanted to take a trip down memory lane and call out some of Robinson’s numbers that could have been key indicators of his success at the next level. 

First, Robinson’s dominator rating at Illinois State was absurd — 45% for his career. It ticked up as high as 48% during his 2019 season. These are just astronomically high market share numbers compared to anyone else in the 2020-21 draft classes. 

Robinson’s career dominator rating and single-season dominator rating were both better than the other top two RBs in his class, Jonathan Taylor (36%, 41%) and Cam Akers (28%, 37%).

Which brings us Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson, who was by far the highest-ranked running back in this class in terms of dominator rating. 

Finding fantasy football sleepers in the late rounds is one of the most important pieces when building fantasy rosters. The goal of this article is to find undervalued, young and talented players who have a clear path to consistent volume.

Note: All top-24 RB/WR and top-12 QB/TE by ADP on Underdog Fantasy are eligible.

Coming off of the lowest interception percentage of his career, a lot of the issues Winston had in Tampa Bay are disappearing, so he is worth a late-round shot. The Saints’ revitalized receiver room brings hope of increased pass-play volume, which is necessary for Winston to be a fantasy-relevant quarterback in 2022.

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