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Fantasy Football: Five sleeper wide receivers to target in later rounds

Detroit, Michigan, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney (11) runs after a catch during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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The following are five sleeper wide receivers typically available in Round 10 or later who could be league-winners in 2021 fantasy football leagues.

Marvin Jones Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

Jones has finished as a top-30 fantasy receiver in three of the last four seasons. The one exception was an injury-plagued 2018, and he still finished top-30 in points per game. Jones managed top-five finishes at the wide receiver position three times over a five-week stretch late in 2020. 

No other wide receiver with such proven success is available this late in drafts.

Jones signed with Jacksonville this offseason and could become the team's top target after every Jaguars receiver finished with a PFF receiving grade below 72.0 last season. The veteran has beaten that mark in five of the last seven seasons, including the last two. Jones has been the most exciting skill player in Jaguars camp so far.

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Rookie QB Trevor Lawrence will run the show in Jacksonville. The top draft prospect PFF has ever seen might not live up to expectations as a rookie, but what Jaguars' pass catchers could lack in quality they might make up for in volume. The team is fourth-worst in our Power Rankings and should be passing frequently in the fourth quarter.

Jones' every-down role in the offense is secure based on the preseason. D.J. Chark Jr. has missed time with injury, but the Jaguars have used a few different players opposite Jones in two-receiver sets through two games. Laviska Shenault Jr. has been limited to snaps in three-receiver sets only. The second-year receiver will see his fair share of touches but will be limited based on his playing time. This leaves a clear path for Jones to lead the team in targets.

The Jaguars' best chance to win involves throwing to Jones early and often, so there's no reason to expect his numbers to drop off even in Year 10. 

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears

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.

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