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.
Note: All statistics are from Week 7 to Week 10, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs
Starks raving mad
James Starks, Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fantasy value: Midrange No. 2
- Starks probably sees your lineup as a flex play most weeks, but this week his matchup is so strong he has to be among your starters. He has averaged 13.0 attempts and 68.0 yards (5.2 per carry). Starks has not scored in his last three games, but he has averaged 2.33 receptions, albeit for only 14.7 yards, but every bit helps.
- Tampa Bay has given up the most average fantasy points (39.7) per game to the position in standard scoring ... by a long shot. The Indianapolis Colts come in second with 25.5 fantasy points per. The Buccaneers have allowed 33.0 attempts, 180.7 yards (5.5 per carry) and 2.00 touchdowns per contest. That is just on the ground! Through the air, running backs have averaged 5.67 catches, 79.7 yards and 0.67 aerial scores per game. That's 260.3 offensive yards PER GAME!
- Green Bay could be up so much that they will pound the ball to run down the clock.
Joe McKnight, New York Jets at Denver Broncos
Fantasy value: No. 2 or flex
- LaDainian Tomlinson (knee) isn't expected to play this week, and that paves the way for McKnight to see more work. He is a change-of-pace back from Shonn Greene's bruising style and should serve as the third-down back.
- Denver has allowed 23.8 attempts for 96.3 yards (4.1 per carry) and 0.25 rushing scores per game. What is more up McKnight's alley, however, is what the Broncos have allowed on through the air (5.00 receptions, 46.5 yards and 0.75 touchdowns per game). No team has allowed more receiving touchdowns to running backs in the last month than Denver.
- Look to your waiver wire in PPR leagues if you are desperate for a fill-in for the final round of bye weeks.
Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Smith was re-signed last week and played sparingly in Week 10 (4-19-0, 2-10-0). The Lions are likely to be without Jahvid Best (concussion) once again, and Smith's role in the offense should increase. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry against the Bears, but Detroit was down so much early on that they had to get away from the run.
- The Panthers have surrendered an average of 26.3 attempts, 114.3 yards (4.3 per carry) and 0.67 touchdowns per outing to the running back position. Running backs have snared 4.0 passes for 44.3 yards and 0.33 touchdowns through the air, on average, against Carolina.
- Smith truly is a flier choice at running back, but the matchup is right, and Detroit has not seen enough production from the rest of their backs to instill confidence in anyone other than Smith this week.
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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