NFL - Fantasy

Fantasy Football Sleepers That Can Win Your League in 2021

Jason Schandl
Five fantasy football sleepers to win your league in 2021, including Henry Ruggs, Jamaal Williams, Marquise Brown and Leonard Fournette.
Five fantasy football sleepers to win your league in 2021, including Henry Ruggs, Jamaal Williams, Marquise Brown and Leonard Fournette. / Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Dominating your fantasy football draft is about way more than just nailing your top draft picks.

It's also crucial that you nail your mid- and late-round picks. Some of these "sleepers" can be relatively safe bets, but without much upside.

Other sleepers can be true league winners. They may be riskier picks, but the upside if they hit can be enough to make or break your fantasy football season.

With that in mind, here are The Duel's top fantasy football league-winner sleepers for 2021.

Top Fantasy Football Sleepers 2021

5. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

Henry Ruggs III
Henry Rugs' fantasy football outlook makes him a top sleeper in 2021. / Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Do you remember back when people were patient enough with young wide receiver that the "third-year breakout" was something we targeted? Well Henry Ruggs III may not be entering his third season yet, but it's certainly far too early to write off the 2020 12th-overall pick the way that fantasy football managers are doing this year. Ruggs showed every bit of the big-play ability that earned him the high draft slot as a rookie, averaging 17.4 yards per reception and 10.5 yards per target. If he had enough volume to qualify for the leaderboards, those numbers would have ranked fourth and eighth in the NFL, respectively. If he continues to make strides, Ruggs could establish himself as the No. 1 WR in the Las Vegas Raiders' offense, and that role could combine his impressive efficiency with some serious volume.

4. Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette is a fantasy football sleeper in 2021. / Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It's hard to imagine that "Playoff Lenny" is a sleeper, but Leonard Fournette is not being drafted as even a top-30 running back according to FantasyPros' average draft position (ADP) data in 2021. He clearly established himself as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' RB1 down the stretch in 2020, playing at least 69% of the team's snaps in all four playoff games. For context, the last time Ronald Jones did that was Week 5. Getting the clear RB1 in the offense of the reigning Super Bowl champs brings a massive amount of upside.

3. Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Marquise Brown
Marquise Brown's fantasy outlook makes him a 2021 sleeper candidate. / Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Speaking of third-year breakouts, Marquise Brown is heading into year three and has made clear strides across his first two NFL seasons. He saw his workload expand from 4.7 targets per game as a rookie to 6.25 per game in 2020. His late-season surge makes his fantasy outlook particularly interesting in 2021. Across his final nine games he tallied 4.1 receptions for 59.3 yards per game with 6 touchdowns — up from 3.6 for 47.9 yards per game with 2 touchdowns across his first nine. Rashod Bateman is scaring people off, but this could be the year we truly see Hollywood break out.

2. Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Laviska Shenault Jr.
Laviska Shenault's sleeper appeal comes from an intriguing fantasy football outlook. / Justin Casterline/Getty Images

DJ Chark is undergoing finger surgery, which could really open the door for Laviska Shenault Jr. as Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars look to establish their offensive identity. Shenault is an incredibly versatile receiver, having tallied 91 yards on 18 rush attempts as a rookie, but he's more than a gadget player. He also saw plenty of downfield usage, averaging 10.3 yards per reception. He really came on late in the year as well, averaging 14.1 fantasy points per game across his last six after returning from injury. If Chark misses any or is limited upon returning, the sky could be the limit for Shenault.

1. Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions

Jamaal Williams
Jamaal Williams' fantasy outlook in the Lions' backfield makes him a fantasy football sleeper. / Leon Halip/Getty Images

The No 35 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, D'Andre Swift took over as the Detroit Lions' lead back down the stretch last year. With a new front office and coaching staff in place, however, his leash may not be as long as a typical high draft pick gets. This new regime has already made a significant move at running back too, signing former Green Bay Packer Jamaal Williams. This is the guy who impressed coaches enough that the Packers only had Aaron Jones on the field for 52% of their offensive snaps last season. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn has said he sees Williams as a classic "A" back (blocker and between the tackles runner), and that he sees Swift as a speedy complement to Williams. Williams should have a big role to start the season. And if Swift hits any speedbumps, Williams' role could expand into that of a true lead back.

SIGN UP AND GET AN INSTANT DEPOSIT BONUS UP TO 500! We'll match 20% of your first deposit on FanDuel Fantasy Sports. Max bonus $500

Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.