Wide receivers are taking over the fantasy football world: 25 rookie wide receivers played at least 250 offensive snaps last season, and NFL teams selected another 20 in the first four rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. The depth at receiver allows fantasy managers to stock up on the position during the second half of drafts after targeting top-tier tight ends and running backs early. Even if a fantasy manager drafts a few wide receivers early, it can’t hurt to get a sixth or seventh — or even eighth — late.
The following are five sleeper wide receivers typically available in Round 10 or later who could be league-winners in 2021 fantasy football leagues.
Chicago selected Mooney with the 173rd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but his draft status didn’t stop him from gaining a role immediately in the Bears offense. He caught all three passes thrown his way in Week 1 on 12 routes run, a workload that was followed by at least 20 routes in every game the rest of the season. The Tulane product graded out at 63.6 overall before the Bears bye week and improved to 72.7 after.
Mooney’s role in the offense is secure heading into 2021. The Bears added a number of wide receivers this offseason, including Marquise Goodwin, Damiere Byrd and rookie Dazz Newsome. They all are fighting for the third receiver spot, as Mooney has the WR2 role locked down.
Mooney’s big-play potential should excite fantasy managers. He led the Bears with 23 deep targets but only caught four, as 70% of his deep targets were uncatchable — the second-lowest rate for a receiver. Bears quarterbacks in general had the third-lowest accuracy rate on deep passes.
This problem should be fixed the moment Justin Fields takes over as the starting quarterback. The first-round rookie led all college quarterbacks last season with a 66.7% accuracy plus percentage on deep passes. He’s also the most accurate quarterback in the PFF College era.
Mooney already has the target share to be a starting fantasy wide receiver. He should be a known name and starter every week if Fields earns the starting job and his talent successfully translates to the NFL.
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
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