In this article KFFL breaks down the fantasy football sleepers of the week. We will avoid marquee names because players of that caliber are rarely benched, regardless of their matchup. Instead, we will focus on the players that make your fantasy lineup decisions stressful each week. Read on to learn which midrange to low-end players you wouldn't necessarily consider that you need to get into your lineup.
Fantasy football sleepers: Wide receivers
Nate greater than many think
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Francisco 49ers
Fantasy value: No. 1 or No. 2
- Green is the real deal and has chemistry with Andy Dalton. The Bengals' rookie caught one pass for a 41-yard touchdown from Bruce Gradkowski in the opener on a play that caught the Cleveland Browns off-guard as they came out of their defensive huddle. In Week 2, Dalton connected with Green 10 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. Cincy lost wideout Jordan Shipley (knee) for the season, so a steady stream of looks should continue to go Green's way.
- San Francisco was embarrassed last week by Dallas Cowboys wideout Miles Austin, who scored three times on the day. Green, whose skill set is fairly close to Austin's, could have a strong day against this soft secondary. The Niners have given up averages of 12.50 receptions, 213.0 receiving yards and 2.50 touchdowns per game this year. The 49ers have logged only three sacks in two games.
David Nelson, Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots
Fantasy value: High-end No. 2
- Expect Buffalo to be in a situation in which they have to pass a lot this week. New England will likely look to take out the Bills' top offensive weapon, Stevie Johnson, which will open up the 6-foot-5 Nelson to a lot of single coverage. Ryan Fitzpatrick trusts him; so far, Nelson has yet to let him down.
- The Patriots have given up a massive amount of points to the wide receiver position this year. Through two contests, they have yielded aerial averages of 14.50 receptions, 257.5 yards and 1.50 scores per game. They have been susceptible to the deep pass, giving up 17.8 yards per reception.
Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans vs. Denver Broncos
Fantasy value: No. 2 or No. 3
- Washington has found comfort with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck at the helm. The 28-year-old receiver has hauled in 13 passes from Hass the last two weeks, good for 166 yards. While he has yet to find the end zone, Washington is more than capable of breaking free for the big play.
- Denver didn't fare so well against Cincinnati Bengals wideouts last week. Even after holding the Oakland Raiders to 105 passing yards in Week 1, the Broncos have still allowed averages of 13.50 receptions, 184.0 yards and one score per game through the air this year.
- If Champ Bailey (hamstring) doesn't play again, Washington will likely draw Cassius Vaughn, which makes the matchup more promising.
Arrelious Benn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Fantasy value: Low-end No. 3
- Benn has just five receptions through two games - only one last week, but it went for a 25-yard score - and is averaging only 10.4 yards per reception (15.8 as a rookie). He clearly isn't 100 percent from a devastating knee injury late last season, but Benn is working his way back to form.
- The Buccaneers will probably have to throw quite a bit to hang with the Falcons this week. Last year, Benn caught two passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in two games against Atlanta.
- If you're looking for a wildcard play, look Benn's direction in Week 3. He is available in 85 percent of leagues.
NEW - Devin Hester, Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- This endorsement is admittedly lukewarm and has far more to do with the Packers' secondary than it does with anything Hester has done this year or recently against Green Bay.
- Through two games, Hester has four receptions for 77 yards (19.8 per catch). In his two 2010 efforts against the Packers, he logged exactly one catch for 16 yards in each game. He caught four balls for 90 yards and a score in his one 2009 appearance versus Green Bay.
- The Packers have allowed the third most average fantasy points (31.5) in the league to wide receivers this season. Green Bay has permitted averages of 14.50 receptions, 235.0 yards and 1.50 touchdowns per game to the position through two weeks.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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