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: Running backs
Law Firm optimism not out of order
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders
Fantasy value: High-end No. 2
- The Law Firm hasn't garnered much work yet this season for the Patriots, averaging only 11.00 attempts per game. He is posting 40.3 rushing yards per outing. He has scored twice on the season.
- Oakland has given up the third most average fantasy points per game to the position this year, which translates to 101.7 rushing yards, 94.3 receiving yards and 1.33 total touchdowns per game.
- BJGE could find the end zone and may be used to chew up the clock if the Patriots are playing with a late lead. He is a bit of a gamble, but the matchup is definitely in his favor as could be the game flow.
Tim Hightower, Washington Redskins at St. Louis Rams
Fantasy value: Midrange No. 2
- Hightower has been a workhorse for the Redskins this year, and he should be given a healthy dosage of carries against the Rams this week. The Redskins have employed a balanced offense that also utilizes his receiving skills out of the backfield. Hightower is averaging 19.7 attempts, 3.00 receptions, 94.3 offensive yards and 0.67 total scores per game in 2011.
- The Rams have been gashed on the ground and through the air by opposing backs after three matchups. They have yielded averages of 133.0 rushing yards, 62.3 receiving yards and an offensive touchdown per game to the position.
- You probably wouldn't be benching Hightower at this point, but he is a must-start this week in all formats.
NEW - Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Hunter entered Week 3 action with Frank Gore (ankle) nicked. He mustered 26 yards on nine carries but found the end zone. The rook looked fresher than Gore has of late, and San Fran will look to mix in the youngster more both to keep Gore healthy and diversify their offense. The veteran rusher is uncertain for Week 4.
- Opposing carries have trampled Philly, whose 135.3 rushing yards yielded per game is the most in the league. The Iggles have had ample trouble containing power runners. Though not a true bruiser, Hunter (5-foot-7, 199 pounds) has enough oomph to cause similar matchup problems.
- Owners of Gore or a weak fantasy backfield overall should snatch up Hunter immediately. This offense, given its erratic game through the air, will rely on a heavy dose of the run for most of the season, and Hunter's likely increased workload should pay off in a flex spot in many weeks.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Minnesota Vikings
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- The ground game is not where McCluster will make his money. He is a speedy, shifty joystick but struggles mightily between the tackles - and rarely will be used there anyway. The Chiefs cannot count on him to hold up for a lot of carries, and Thomas Jones will be worked in regularly. Catching passes out of the backfield is McCluster's forte; he has averaged seven receptions per game in 2011.
- The Vikings have not done a great job at limiting running backs in the passing game this year. They have given up 9.00 receptions for 85.3 yards and 0.67 aerial scores per game in this fledgling season.
- Fantasy football owners in point-per-reception setups need to consider McCluster as no worse than a flex option in Week 4. In standard scoring formats, he is not worth more than a flex play.
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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