What Is the Meaning of the Phrase Football Sleeper?


A fair number of football terms won't make sense taken out of context, and "sleeper" is no different. Don't worry, the term isn't asserting that football players are secret agents or taking naps, it simply identifies an undervalued or overlooked player or team that may soon break out. This term isn't unique to the NFL, but it is most often used when talking about fantasy football.

Clearing Up

  • Any player who is a household name is generally not a sleeper. Once a player has broken out, that designation can't apply again unless the player has since fallen back into obscurity. According to NFL.com's Fantasy Football Glossary, sleepers are often wide receivers and are typically late-round draft picks or waiver-wire selections that outplay their projections. This designation can also apply to a team that is expected by many to be bad or has a history of poor play, but possesses the ability for a breakout year.

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