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Sleeper WRs for Fantasy Football in 2024

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Here at FTN, we continue to prepare for the 2024 season by analyzing the different sleepers and busts heading into the 2024 season. So far, we have broken down the quarterback sleepers and busts as well as the running back sleepers and busts. Next up are the wide receivers.

 

Below, you’ll find a list of wide receiver sleepers to remember heading into the 2024 season. Check them out below.

Check out our whole sleepers/busts series here: QB sleepers | QB busts | RB sleepers | RB busts | WR busts | TE sleepers | TE busts

2024 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide Receiver

Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders

There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes and underrating Terry McLaurin in fantasy football.

McLaurin has been through many versions of bad quarterback play during his tenure with the Commanders, playing with Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen in 2020, Taylor Heinicke in 2021, Heinicke and Carson Wentz in 2022 and finally Sam Howell in 2023. Despite the rotating cast of mediocre quarterbacks, McLaurin has averaged 129 targets, 80 receptions, 1,091 receiving yards and 4.5 touchdowns over the last four seasons.

Terry McLaurin Washington Commanders 2024 Fantasy Football Sleepers Wide Receiver

Those stat lines have been good enough to produce two WR2 and two WR3 seasons for McLaurin. The veteran receiver isn’t flashy, but he’s shown the ability to stay on the field and produce regardless of the situation around him.

Now, for the first time in his career, the Commanders are in a position to draft a quarterback of the future to serve as the cornerstone of the franchise with the second overall pick. The team will not be getting the top prospect, but either Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels or J.J. McCarthy will be a significant upgrade over what they have had in recent seasons. Rookie quarterbacks historically struggle, but that shouldn’t lead to a decrease in statistical output for McLaurin, who is the unquestioned top option in the team’s passing attack.

Diontae Johnson, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers made one of the biggest trades of the offseason when they acquired Diontae Johnson to function as the team’s top wide receiver for Bryce Young. During the last two seasons with the Steelers, Johnson became the king of empty calories for the wide receiver position with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The veteran receiver earned constant praise for his ability to get open thanks to his route-running skill but failed to surpass 1,000 receiving yards thanks to poor quarterback play.

Injuries in 2023 limited Johnson to just 13 games and led to a modest 51 receptions on 87 targets for 717 yards and five touchdowns. However, FTN’s advanced receiving stats show that Johnson was just as effective when he was on the field. Johnson finished 34th in targets per route run (21.6%) in his final season with the Steelers ranked 20th in weighted opportunity rating (WOPR) with a .626. More impressive though, were his metrics against man coverage.

Johnson ranked sixth among all wide receivers (minimum 50 targets) in yards per route run against man coverage. He remains one of the most productive receivers against man coverage, which is an area the Panthers sorely lacked in Bryce Young’s rookie season. Teams played man coverage against Young on 49.5% of his dropbacks blitzed Young the sixth most of any quarterback in 2023 (30.4%) per FTN’s advanced quarterback stats. Johnson provides an immediate answer to those issues and should command a hefty target share with very little target competition in Carolina.

Uncertainty about Bryce Young and a shift to the Carolina Panthers will likely keep Johnson’s price in drafts at a reasonable level throughout the summer. He’s a solid WR2 (who can touch WR1 levels with volume) who will be drafted as a WR4. Capitalize on the value.

Jakobi Meyers, Las Vegas Raiders

Jakobi Meyers quietly had a strong season in his first season with the Las Vegas Raiders despite the turmoil at the quarterback position. The veteran receiver posted his second-best season in terms of targets (106), receptions (71) and receiving yards (807) and finished with a career-high in touchdowns (8) while sharing the field with Davante Adams and catching passes from Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer and Aidan O’Connell.

Meyers was also a steady fantasy producer, finishing as the WR22 in weekly PPR scoring with 13.7 points (minimum 10 games played). He finished the season with nine top-24 scoring weeks at the wide receiver position, including four weeks as a top-12 producer.

Most importantly, Meyers emerged as a fantastic weapon in the red zone. According to FTN’s red zone opportunities tool, Meyers was second on the Raiders in targets inside the 20 (16, well behind Davante Adams’ 30). However, Meyers was far more efficient on those targets. Adams converted 17 of his 30 targets for six touchdowns while Meyers caught 12 of his 16 targets (75%) for six touchdowns.

Even if we can’t expect the same efficiency from Meyers in the red zone, the team has seemingly upgraded their quarterback position with Gardner Minshew, which will generally give Meyers a higher quality of targets. Heading into the draft, Meyers is the unquestioned WR2 behind Davante Adams and should once again see a steady stream of targets to provide solid fantasy production in 2024. 

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Wan’Dale Robinson, New York Giants

The start of Wan’Dale Robinson’s career has been hampered by an ACL injury suffered during his rookie season. However, when on the field the third-year receiver has been able to produce.

Robinson has played in just 21 career games during his time with the New York Giants but is averaging 5.2 targets and 4.0 receptions during that stretch. He has at least five targets in 12 of 21 games and six career games with over 50 receiving yards. The Giants also seem to have a grasp on his playmaking ability as evidenced by his 11 career carries for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Wan'Dale Robinson New York Giants 2024 Fantasy Football Sleepers Wide Receiver

The Giants can add a top-end wide receiver with the sixth pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, but the team has been rumored to be heavily scouting second-tier quarterback prospects. Worst case scenario, Robinson ends up sharing a wide receiver room with a top prospect who plays on the outside. At best, the team opts to upgrade the quarterback position and addresses wide receiver on the second or third day of the draft, giving Robinson a chance to lead the team in targets.

Either way, the veteran receiver will be free in fantasy drafts and could provide a solid floor in fantasy as a WR3 or flex option with a much higher upside.

Marvin Mims, Denver Broncos

Marvin Mims was highly touted heading into his rookie season after the Denver Broncos selected him in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft. However, Mims found himself buried on the depth chart behind incumbent starters Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy and rotating with players like Brandon Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey. All in all, the rookie produced just 22 receptions on 33 targets for 377 yards and a touchdown in his first season. Many fantasy managers, burned by his lack of production in 2023, will undoubtedly be out on Mims in his second season.

However, there are reasons to be optimistic. Sean Payton acknowledged that the team needed to get Mims more involved in the offense and then the team promptly traded Jerry Jeudy (and his 87 targets) to Cleveland. That seemingly clears the runway for Mims to do what he did best at Oklahoma: make explosive plays down the field (19.5 yards per reception in three college seasons). It also opens up targets for him in the slot.

The Broncos also aren’t in a position to draft another wide receiver with the 12th overall pick (and no round 2 selection) and only added Josh Reynolds in free agency. This team has a ton of holes on defense and will likely trade back and target a third-tier quarterback (like Bo Nix) to develop behind Jarrett Stidham to start the season.

Mims should see a greater role in Denver’s offense in 2024 and offers something that no other receiver on the depth chart does, which is explosive playmaking ability. Fantasy managers will let him fall in their drafts (especially due to Denver’s uncertain quarterback room), which will make him a great target that could pay huge dividends.

Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens

At this point it is stubborn, but I refuse to quit on Rashod Bateman. It has been a rough start to Bateman’s career as injuries have limited him to just 34 games played through three seasons. In 2023, Bateman was coming off a season-ending foot injury and found himself competing with Odell Beckham and first-round pick Zay Flowers (along with Mark Andrews) in the target pecking order. That forced the third-year receiver into a complementary role. He had just three games with a 70%-plus snap share and had just one game with four receptions and over 50 receiving yards.

Still, there are reasons to believe that 2024 will finally be the season that Rashod Bateman happens. The Ravens already helped the first domino fall, letting Odell Beckham walk into free agency, leaving their top three receivers as Zay Flowers, Bateman and Nelson Agholor. For years our biggest question in Baltimore was the passing volume, but those concerns were alleviated with Lamar Jackson attempting a career-high in passing attempts (457) and setting a career-high in completion percentage (67.2%) under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

Do any of these things mean that Rashod Bateman will finally stay healthy and hit his potential? No. But in the final rounds of a draft, taking a highly regarded receiver who has had bad injury luck just four years after being a first-round pick is a gamble worth taking. 

Darnell Mooney, Atlanta Falcons

Darnell Mooney Atlanta Falcons 2024 Fantasy Football Sleepers Wide Receiver

2023 seemed like the year it was all going to come together for Darnell Mooney. The Bears finally acquired a true WR1 to take pressure off of the veteran receiver, giving him a chance to flourish in a downfield role. Unfortunately, Mooney finished his final year in Chicago with the worst-career of his season despite playing 15 games. Mooney set career lows in targets (61), receptions (31), receiving yards (414) and touchdowns (1).

While Mooney didn’t do much to help himself, he was also a victim of poor downfield passing from Chicago’s quarterbacks. FTN’s advanced stats show that Mooney converted on just 3 of 12 of his targets past 20 yards in 2023. Mooney accounted for 21.6% of Chicago’s air yards (627), but 394 of those air yards were unrealized. Entering 2024, Mooney will be in a completely different and much better situation.

The Falcons signed Mooney to serve as the deep receiving complement to Drake London and Kyle Pitts in their new offense with Kirk Cousins under center. Over the last three seasons, Kirk Cousins has completed 45.0% of his deep passes. In 2023, Justin Fields completed just 40%.

It stands to reason that Mooney will not only see more targets in a more passing-centric offense, but these targets will be far more accurate. He will also get the benefit of defenses working to stop Drake London and Kyle Pitts, giving him more single coverage. It wasn’t long ago that Mooney had a 1,000-yard season with the Bears and 2024 could give him a chance to repeat that performance.

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