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Rookie Wide Receiver Sleepers: Rookie WRs With Massive Upside in 2021 Fantasy Football Season

Max Staley
Elijah Moore is the top rookie WR sleeper of the 2021 fantasy football season.
Elijah Moore is the top rookie WR sleeper of the 2021 fantasy football season. / Adam Hunger/Getty Images
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Everyone should take note of what Justin Jefferson did last year. The rookie from LSU didn't win full-time starting duties until Week 3, but he grabbed hold of the job and never looked back. He finished with 1,400 receiving yards, setting a new NFL record, and finished the year as fantasy's WR6 in PPR leagues.

That's not going to happen every year. But a whopping 10 wideouts went in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. It's very possible that one or two could have a Jefferson-esque breakout campaign as a rookie.

With that in mind, here are the three best rookie WR sleepers to target this season.

Rookie WR Sleepers 2021

Note: Only rookies with an average draft position (ADP) of WR50 or higher were considered for this list. All ADP info is via FantasyPros.

3. Josh Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers (ADP: WR82)

As a pure prospect, Josh Palmer isn't the player that the other two WRs on this list are. He was a third-round pick of the Los Angeles Chargers and many believed he was more of a day-three talent. Still, it's hard not to love the situation he's found himself in. This Justin Herbert-led offense could explode this year. The 6-foot-1 wideout could easily emerge as this team's third option behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, who have both had injury issues in the past. That's particularly true of Williams, who always seems to be banged up. If one or both of these guys goes down, Palmer could find himself being the second option for one of the NFL's brightest stars. That's some great upside for a guy who is virtually going undrafted.

2. Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens (ADP: WR59)

The Rashod Bateman hype train was getting ready to leave the station, but a core injury has derailed that for now. Don't let that throw you off the scent, though. He's reportedly expected back sometime in September, so there's a chance he only misses a game or two. And when he hits the field, he still has big-time upside. Bateman is joining a Baltimore Ravens' passing attack that has needed a legit WR1 ever since Lamar Jackson took over. And he'll primarily be competing with Sammy Watkins and Marquise Brown for snaps. It's very possible that a healthy Bateman tops both players for WR1 duties. Fantasy managers will have to be patient, but drafting Bateman could pay off in a big way.

1. Elijah Moore, New York Jets (ADP: WR57)

Elijah Moore is one of the most under-drafted players in fantasy football right now. Moore has reportedly been tearing up training camp, drawing support from beat writers and teammates alike. He has a shot to have as big a role as any other rookie wideout, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him finish the year as the New York Jets' most productive pass-catcher. His combination of athletic ability and collegiate production is not something you see every day. He has a chance to be a legitimate every-week starter as a rookie and is being drafted outside the top-50 WRs. That's as smart a gamble as you'll find this season, and it's very reminiscent of the position Justin Jefferson was in this time last year.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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 their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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