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 11 to Week 14, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs
Catches coming in McClusters
Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Fantasy value: Low-end No. 2
- An erratic four weeks for Thomas: 15 carries, 50 yards in Week 11, 6-25 in Week 12, 13-73 in Week 13 and 7-4 in Week 14. Yikes. Thomas' good games came versus the Bills and Oakland Raiders, respectively - two horrific run defenses. Reggie Bush is the top back here, and Thomas gets his work wherever possible, as he did in those two blowout victories. Mop-up duty is hard to predict in the fantasy world.
- A rematch with the Bills, who are tied for the most standard scoring points allowed to RBs (23.2), could help Thomas get some value back. The Bills have yielded plenty of receiving stats to opposing backfields (6.25 catches, 44.0 yards and 0.25 catching scores per contest) but Thomas' grinder style should also match up well (129.8 ground yards, 4.8 per carry, with 1.00 touchdown rumble per game).
- If the Dolphins have to go without QB Matt Moore (concussion) and have J.P. Losman take snaps, the run game should be overwhelming.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay Packers
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- McCluster's workload has been accurately reflected by his nickname, but he's one week removed from his best game of the year: 61 rushing yards, four catches, 46 yards and his only TD of the season (a catch). Who'll take snaps for KC? Tyler Palko? Kyle Orton (finger)? Ricky Stanzi? Either way, dump-offs and short routes to the playmaking McCluster should be on the menu.
- He could pile up plenty of receptions - let's face it, KC will likely be trying to make a comeback in this game. GB has allowed the 10th most standard-scoring points to the position per game (18.8): 90.8 rushing yards, 8.00 receptions, 54.0 receiving yards and 1.00 total touchdowns per game to the position. The catches category screams utility for McCluster this weekend.
Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders vs. Detroit Lions
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Other than a six-carry, 45-yard Week 11, Reece has contributed little in the ground cats of late: five totes, 22 yards over the last three weeks. His real contributions come in the passing game: 12 catches, 151 yards since Week 10. Even with the potential return of wideouts Denarius Moore (foot) and Jacoby Ford (foot) this week, Reece should remain involved as Carson Palmer tries to check down more instead of throwing interceptions. Reece essentially is another version of tight end Kevin Boss.
- It's an opportune time to slide Reece in if you're desperate in PPRs; the Lions have allowed 5.50 receptions, 58.5 yards and 0.50 touchdowns to RBs catching passes.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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