At NBC Sports EDGE, our goal is to give you the tools to guide you towards winning a fantasy football championship. As such, we'll be providing you with a few looks into a variety of the tools available in our 2021 NFL Draft Guide from the NBC Sports EDGE+ Premium package as we march closer and closer to the start of the regular season.
Complete with content aimed at providing the knowledge you need to make the perfect draft decisions in a variety of league formats — from projections, tiers, rankings, league sync, sleepers and busts to exclusive expert columns — this year's edition is the finest we've ever produced.
Today, we're highlighting some sleepers our expert columnists believe could break out with huge seasons in 2021. To view the second half of our sleepers list, check out the full Draft Guide!
2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers
The departures of Emmanuel Sanders (82 targets), Jared Cook (60) and even Josh Hill (10) vacated 152 looks from the New Orleans offense, and the Saints have only “added” veteran TE Nick Vannett and seventh-round WR Kawaan Baker to try and make up the difference. Vannett is a 28-year-old career blocker with 75 catches across 70 games. He’s joining his fourth NFL team and remains a journeyman. A third-round pick out of Dayton last year after the Saints dealt four picks to move up for him, Trautman stands 6’5”/255 and was insanely productive in college. As a rookie, he reeled in 15-of-16 targets for 171 yards and one score. Saints beat writers have already pegged Trautman as a 2021 breakout candidate in an offense that is lacking pass-catching talent. Whether it’s popgun-armed runner Taysom Hill or more traditional passer Jameis Winston under center, the tight end will be a friend to the Saints’ quarterback. And Trautman has the clear inside track to the starting gig. – Nick Mensio
John Brown, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
Brown could be the Raiders’ No. 1 receiver. So why was he essentially without an ADP this spring? It has been precisely onyear since the Raiders transformed Nelson Agholor from a castoff into their top wideout. It wasn’t necessarily a notable accomplishment. It was because they were lacking better options, but Brown is stepping into a similar void, only with a more accomplished résumé. The Raiders don’t know what they have in Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. Hunter Renfrow is a strict nickel option. Brown profiles as an almost 1-for-1 replacement for Agholor, someone who can both make noise down the field and contribute out of the slot when needed. Brown’s health is his biggest question mark at this stage of his career. If he can stay on the field, he will be a free money WR4 capable of serving as a WR3 in a pinch. – Patrick Daugherty
Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions
The Lions didn’t sign Williams to give D'Andre Swift a breather — they acquired the veteran to split carries with Swift, who profiles as Detroit’s primary pass-catching back, not a backfield touch dominator. Lions OC Anthony Lynn has described Williams as a complement to Swift, calling Williams an “A back,” meaning he can do it all if needed. As long as there’s a gulf between Swift’s and Williams’ ADPs, I’m taking the latter. – C.D. Carter
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