Gillie & Wallo's Knockout Party | Replay Available Until 12/17BUY NOW

The Fantasy Football Over-Sleepers: Which Hyped 2022 Duds Were Just Held Back A Year From Breaking Out

Todd Kirkland. Getty Images.

As the old saying goes: "Hell hath no fury like a fantasy manager who takes a chance on a break-out candidate that ends up shitting the bed". This is just a psychological fantasy football fact. A PFFF if you will. We'd draft Brett Favre in a charity league benefiting welfare recipients before getting fooled by that guy again. So what do we do? We evolve and make better decisions. Like drafting someone else's failed prospect to "get good value" while they do the same thing with ours. This is just a fact of life. This is a PFFF. 

But it's time to rethink this. No proud fantasy football manager wants to admit they're wrong, right? If I was ever wrong on a take I wouldn't either. So instead of writing guys off entirely that did you wrong in 2022, why not dig in those heels with the "I was right - I was just a year early" play in the group chat? That's what this blog is about. We'll explore some names of potential stars in the making that are worth the risk of getting fooled twice by. 

The only thing worse than swinging and missing on a player is watching said player blossom into a star the following year by your friend who buys his cologne from Kroger. That's the worst thing possible. The ultimate fantasy football cuckhold. Plus, you're also stuck with Brett Favre on your roster to remind you how dumb you are. 

Let's avoid that. Here are some names of guys yet to fully break out. Some are sure fire over-sleepers rested and ready to rumble. Others are probably going to remain comatose. We'll discuss a small handful. 

Gabe Davis

I've already blogged about my irrational man love for one of 2022's biggest disappointments, so I'll keep this brief. Dude suffered a high ankle sprain very early last season and after missing just Week 2, he toughed it up and played for the rest of the year. This tells you something. Namely - the Bills are fucking stupid for letting him play hobbled instead of shutting him down for a few weeks to properly heal. You might look back and say Davis was a disappointment, but it was really McDermott and Brandon Beane's dumbfuckery that delayed what we all saw blossoming in the playoff game vs the Chiefs in 2021. 

The Bills never got enough shit for this if you ask me. Let's see what Brandon Beane said about Davis's injury just a few months ago:

“Not to make excuses, but it definitely bothered him… You can just watch the film when he was coming out of his cuts, he was taking an extra step which allowed that defender to stay attached to him as well."

Please tell me whatever reporter speaking with him immediately followed this up by asking why the hell they didn't shut him down then? Let's load up that clip…

Giphy Images.

Does anyone know how to do their job anymore? Whatever. 

Davis is still the second option at wide receiver for his team, which should be taken into account. So let's take it into account. Here they are - the current ADP of all wide receivers who have a wide receiver ranked higher in ADP on their team. Let's see where Gabe falls. 

There Gabe Davis hides at an average ADP of 100.5, almost two rounds below rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba who is…

Wait… what???

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is being drafted higher than Gabe Davis and is only the THIRD highest drafted wide receiver on his team? Did I miss something here? Unless he got traded to the Chiefs or the 1999 Rams this makes none of the sense. Someone remind me - Geno Smith is still the quarterback of the Seahawks, right?  Did the Bills do another stupid thing and trade Josh Allen straight up for Geno Smith? That would explain everything. 

I see three names I'd take over Davis from this list. The top-three. Waddle, Smith, and Higgins. That's it. If you're league is only four weeks long in total, then sure, I'll grant you Mike Williams too. 

D.J. Moore

Pretty weird to have a sixth year receiver on a potential "breakout" list, but I'd like to make the case that Moore belongs. All I really need to make my case is this chart of every quarterback to attempt a pass to D.J. Moore. 

Justin Fields

You really couldn't ask for a more similar carbon copy of Jalen Hurts than Justin Fields. Sure, Fields was supposed to be a blowup candidate last year but his coaches wisely brought him along slowly. Hard to blame them when the offensive line was in shambles and their wide receiving firepower consisted of Equanimeous St. Brown, Darnell Mooney, Dante Pettis and a can of Byron Pringles. 

At ADP 45, there's no better value at quarterback. As much as I love taking a top-three QB this year in late Round 2 / early Round 3, I love Fields in Round 4 even more. Yes, I'm a homer. Yes, I bought a lot of his rookie cards when they were cheap as a psychological means to root that much harder for the kid to succeed. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong. Jalen Hurts ended up being worth a first round fantasy pick last year. Fields has a great chance to do the same in 2023.

Trey Lance

OK Trey Lance truthers. Go ahead and sit down for this one. It's over. How do I know it's over? Well, when you're battling it out with Sam Darnold over the starting job for the backup job to a draft day Mr. Irrelevant, that's how you know. Was the Trey Lance draft trade the worst trade since Ricky Williams? I think it's fair to ask. But don't worry truthers, maybe next year I'll do a super over sleeper list so Lance can be excluded from that too. 

Diontae Johnson

Pumping the breaks on this one too. Johnson looked like he was developing into something while catching passes from a mummified Ben Roethlisberger before catching 86 passes with zero touchdowns last year. Certainly the zero touchdowns thing mathematically has to regress upwards to the mean. But I think George Pickens starts demanding more target shares along with Freiermuth in an offense that isn't exactly going to be chucking it down the field. Diontae might be alright. Maybe a fringe flex/bye week guy. But nothing more. 

And for the record - Pickens does not qualify as an over-sleeper candidate. But if he sucks this year I'll pencil him in for 2024.

Kyle Pitts

If Pitts has a quarterback this year capable of being "moderately functional" on a good day, he might finally be able to showcase his elite athleticism and skill. That's the problem. Desmond Ridder just doesn't strike me as a guy that can make anyone around him shine. Maybe he ends up being competent enough to hold a job. But nothing else. At best he's Kyle Orton all over again. That makes my skin crawl just thinking about. With that said - I'm actually OK if you desperately cling on to Pitts for another season. It's tight end. Outside of a just a few select stars you may as well give it a shot. 

JK Dobbins

The last thing you want a player to be named when he dupes you into thinking he'd break out into a stud running back on a power running team is "JK". Will he be a healthy and productive JK this year? Or will he JK us again? Tells the truth JK! 

JK. I'm not worried about him and think you can get him at a value. He won't be kidding us this year as all reports indicate he's healthy and good to take the reins on a rejuvenated Ravens offense. Going as the #20 RB after Miles Sanders who's stuck in Carolina hell, I'd take my chances on getting JK'd again. 

Elijah Moore

This one is for my guy - fantasy football analyst Scott Barrett. He's the worlds biggest Elijah Moore stan and has been since the kid entered the league. You could go to a Taylor Swift concert and hear less compliments about her than he has tweets about Elijah Moore. Last year was supposed to be the year for Moore, but it ended in a cold shower. But was Scott right all along? Is Moore just an over-sleeper? We're about to find out but things seem to be positive if you ask me. Moore seems poised to be a true weapon. They're lining him up everywhere on the field. He's telling us to draft him in fantasy. And Watson should finally be able to run the offense at full speed. 

That's enough. Good luck to all your prospective over-sleepers out there! 

- Jeffro