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Fantasy Football Sleepers and Deep Sleepers Tool | Updated Daily 2021

Alex Baker



With the fantasy football draft season upon us, Alex ‘Awesemo’ Baker brings you his top fantasy football sleepers, breakouts and busts for the 2021 Fantasy Football Season.  Alex is the world’s best daily fantasy sports player, having won over $7 million since he began playing seven years ago. After graduating with a degree in mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008, he began developing advanced statistical models and applied his unique skill set first to poker, then as a full-time DFS player. Now, he’s loaning his expertise in predictive analytics to fantasy fooball.

Awesemo’s sleepers breakouts and busts tool is designed to help drafters find value in your fantasy football drafts during the mid and later rounds, while also steering you the pitfalls of poorly projected players in our rankings. The tool highlights the difference between current ADP and our rankings – giving you a look at which players provide the most and least value. You dont necessarily have to reach to take these players where they are projected in our rankings if they are going many rounds later, but a reaching round or two early from their ADP is usually a good idea. The fantasy football community doesn’t really have an exact definition of what constitutes a sleeper, or a deep sleeper, so for the purposes of this tool, theses are how sleepers, deep sleepers, busts and breakouts are defined.

2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers, Deep Sleepers, Breakouts & Bust Tool

Breakout: An established, high-level player who will exceed his prior performance and expectations (as measured by average draft position) going into the season.

Sleeper: A mid-range player who is projected to outperform his ADP.

Deep Sleeper: An end-of-draft flier who has the potential to be a diamond in the rough.

Bust: A player who is expected to underperform relative to other players in his ADP range.

The table below has a tab for each of (1) breakouts, (2) sleepers, (3) deep sleepers and (4) busts. For each player, you can see the player’s rank, his ADP and most importantly the differential between the two.



Deep Sleepers


What are Fantasy Football Sleepers, Breakouts & Busts?

Most fantasy football fans are very familiar with terms like sleepers, breakouts and busts. But the industry has never really set out to define each term. What specifically constitutes a deep sleeper vs a regular sleeper? What percentage of points do you have to increase or decrease to be considered a bust?

Here at Awesemo we have set out to better define what fantasy football sleepers, breakouts and busts are by categorizing them in our rankings relative to their average draft position. With each set of fantasy football sleepers, busts and breakouts listed, we have created a differential column relative to their average draft position so you can see how player rank.

Awesemo’s data table allows you to compare our projections vs. the average draft position, see which players projected to bust in 2021 and which players make for great mid- to late-round steals. Breakouts are determined by how far ahead Awesemo has a player projected over his ADP. Sleepers are similar but have an ADP of 50 or lower, while deep sleepers have an ADP of 100 or lower. Busts are players that Awesemo has ranked much lower than their ADP.

Fantasy Football Breakouts

A breakout is an established, high-level player who will exceed his prior performance and expectations (as measured by average draft position) going into the season. Unlike the traditional definition of breakout, which implies a first-time record performance for a player, our breakouts are simply put in comparison relative to their average draft position. Laviska Shenault is our top breakout option for the 2021 fantasy football season, ranked 60 spots above his ADP.

Fantasy Football Sleepers + Deep Sleepers

The only difference here is how highly each player is ranked. Fantasy football sleepers are ranked from 50 to 110 in Awesemo’s rankings, while deep sleepers are ranked 110 beyond. You will find a number of under-the-radar receiver options ranking highly in the Awesemo’s sleeper score.

Top 2021 Running Back Breakout: Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams

The complexion of the Rams backfield completely changed one month ago when Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles while training. Akers saw the lion’s share of carries for Sean McVay’s offense at the tail end of 2020 and looked to be in store for even more work this season. But now it is next man up for one of the Super Bowl favorites, and that man appears to be Darrell Henderson.

Henderson is far from the worst of insurance plans for the Rams, having graded as PFF’s 11th-best running back in 2020. He put up 624 yards and five touchdowns on the year while only receiving a 31% snap share yet averaged a robust 4.5 yards per carry in the process. And with Akers on the shelf and Malcolm Brown now with the Dolphins, it appears Xavier Jones is the only who could cut into Henderson’s workload.

Top 2021 Wide Receiver Breakout: Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers

A 2020 free agent acquisition from the Jets, Robby Anderson excelled in year 1 with Carolina. Anderson posted a career-best 95 catches and 1,096 yards in his first year in Carolina. This offseason, Carolina reunited Anderson with his former quarterback Sam Darnold. While Darnold has struggled, offensive coordinator Joe Brady continues to maximize talent in his system. Anderson now has four straight seasons of at least 752 yards and 94 targets. After leading Carolina with a 26% target share last season, Anderson is a solid bet to finish in WR2 territory. Right now he is slightly ahead of D.J. Moore in seasonal rankings, but both look like solid mid-round options. Anderson is projected for 5.6 receptions per game, on 8.4 targets per game with 70.1 receiving yards.

Top 2021 Tight End Sleeper: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Smith has been a backup tight end, but with Kyle Rudolph leaving, there is an open in Minnesota. With Rudolph Smith only averaged 2.88 targets and 1.88 receptions per game, but without Rudolph those numbers jumped to five targets 3.75 receptions. This also led to an increase in yards touchdowns, going from 22.75 yards 0.25 touchdowns per game to 45.75 yards and 0.75 touchdowns. These stats should give a clear idea of Smith’s upside. Adam Thielen is also unlikely to score 14 touchdowns again, so some more touchdowns could go Smith’s way.

Top 2021 Fantasy Football Running Back Breakout: Damien Harris, New England Patriots

Many will be shocked to know he received PFF’s second-best grade among all running backs in 2020. It is less surprising when considering his 5 yards per attempt (ninth in the NFL) despite playing in an offense helmed by Cam Newton and his limitations as a thrower. Regardless of whether it is Newton or rookie Mac Jones behind center, Harris will be given ample opportunity to be the Patriots’ main offensive catalyst in 2021, making him severely undervalued at his current ADP. Expect him, James White and Rhamondre Stevenson, a 2021 fourth-round pick, to be the three guarantees to make the Patriots Week 1 roster at the position.

Top 2021 WR Fantasy Football Sleepers: Marquez Callaway, New Orleans Saints

With injury uncertainty swirling around star wide receiver Michael Thomas, Marquez Callaway projects to see a production boost. Awesemo’s Fantasy Football Sleepers Tool gives Callaway with a Sleeper Score of 88, and his ADP is 192. He is being drafted in the range of fellow wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Awesemo’s Fantasy Football Rankings rank Callaway 104th, among Odell Beckham Jr and Curtis Samuel. His Awesemo Rating of 49 is just ahead of Jerry Jeudy, who has seen an ADP surge of late. Callaway also projects for a fantasy season total of 149.79 points, with per-game projections of 9.82 fantasy points, 50.6 yards, and 6.3 targets.

In 11 games last year Callaway managed 27 targets for 21 receptions and 213 yards with no touchdowns scored. Those numbers should climb rapidly since Callaway appears to be the Saints’ new No. 1.

Top 2021 WR Fantasy Football Deep Sleeper: DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins

Devante Parker is the Dolphins best receiver, yet his ADP is low. Awesemo’s Fantasy Football Sleepers Tool projects Parker for a 77.3 Sleeper Score, but his ADP of 161.3 and real draft position of 137.3 suggest he is falling roughly five rounds past his projected value. Awesemo ranks him 84th overall, in the same range as Jarvis Landry, Will Fuller and Robby Anderson. In 2020 Parker played 14 games and totaled 63 receptions on 103 targets for 793 yards and four touchdowns. Without a quarterback carousel to muddy the production this season, Parker should improve those numbers. As such, Awesemo projects him for 10.75 fantasy points per game, similar to production expected for Antonio Brown.

Top 2021 WR Fantasy Football Bust: Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

While Odell Beckham Jr is a big name in the football world, he has not lived up to that name recently. Some of that has to do with how much the Browns run the football under head coach Kevin Stefanski. With such talented backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, it is easy to run an offense this way. Last year Cleveland ran at a 47.78% clip in 2020, the fourth-highest rate in the league. With how effective the rushing attack is, there should be no reason to stray away from the rushing attack. The craziest part about Beckham is that in friends-and-family leagues his draft price is extremely high. This is because his name value is a positive to many players. While his ADP places him around a sixth-round pick, he normally goes far earlier than that. The goal in middle rounds is to find upside, and a top-24 finish is not in Beckham’s wheelhouse this season.

Top 2021 QB Fantasy Football Bust: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

After playing just 10 games in his rookie season before suffering a torn ACL injury, Burrow is back on track to resume quarterbacking duties for the Bengals for the 2021 season. The Bengals also added his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase to an already stacked wide receiver corps consisting of Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, which should make for some highlight reel-worthy plays throughout the year. Burrow will also be playing behind the offseason’s fourth-most improved offensive line according to PFF, although they are still a far cry from good (or perhaps even competent).

But with so many quarterbacks with so much rushing upside to elevate their floors, Burrow would have to really outperform passing projections to pay off his current ADP of 98. In fact, Burrow only averaged 14.2 rushing yards per game, and logical thinking would suggest head coach Zac Taylor will not put his franchise quarterback at risk with any sort of designed runs less than a year removed from major knee surgery. With so many other available quarterbacks that can get things done on the ground at far later stages of the draft, Burrow is a pass to be the relied upon passer for season-long lineups.

Thanks for reading to the end of this article! If you appreciate this free content and want to see more of it every day, you can help us out by sharing this article on social media! If all that free content isn't enough for you to dominate your Fantasy Football draft this year, check out the Awesemo Fantasy Football Draft Kit, which includes sophisticated tools and proprietary fantasy data that you can only get from us. We've also got a brand new Fantasy Football YouTube Channel where you can tune in every day for the best fantasy videos in the business. Check out our NFL fantasy rankings, our NFL fantasy football cheat sheet, our fantasy football sleeper picks and our fantasy football player profiles. Want more daily fantasy football picks?

A self-proclaimed U.S. history buff, stats enthusiast, and rabid fan of anything Detroit (yes, even the Lions), Alex started playing daily fantasy sports in 2013 and never looked back. After graduating with a degree in mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008, he began developing advanced statistical models and applied his unique skill-set first to poker, then as a full-time DFS player. He has since dominated DFS, becoming a fixture on leaderboards and cementing his position as the top-ranked overall player according to RotoGrinders. Competing in most guaranteed prize pool tournaments, he has ranked in the top 3 across major sports, including NBA, NFL, NHL, PGA, and MLB. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of fantasy sports with new and experienced players alike. Career Highlights: No. 1 Overall Ranking; 14x FanDuel $100k winner, 11x DraftKings Hundred-Thousandaire; 20x Live Final qualifier. You can contact him on Twitter @awesemodfs or by emailing [email protected].

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