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 2011 Week 1 through Week 16, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Tight ends
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Remember the name: Bennett
Fantasy value: 1 or flex
- Fantasy owners have an inviting opportunity test the quality of a popular preseason sleeper: The Jags were among the worst at defending against the tight end last season; they allowed 5.56 receptions, 62.9 yards and 0.44 TDs per game to players at the position.
- The second-year tight end developed a strong bond with his quarterback, Christian Ponder, who won't have a suspended Jerome Simpson at his disposal for the first three weeks of the season. He's expected to play on most downs and be much more involved in 2012.
Martellus Bennett, New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- The Giants targeted their tight ends 77 times - a middling number - last year, but they involved Jake Ballard more as the season wore on. In Bennett, the team hasn't had as good of an athlete at the position since the departure of Jeremy Shockey.
- Dallas yielded an average of 5.25 receptions, 61.9 yards and 0.38 TDs to players at the position last season. This defense has shored up its secondary a great deal, but that may prompt Eli Manning to go away from his wideouts more often than he'd like. The Cowboys didn't upgrade their linebackers and safeties quite like they did their corners.
- Hakeem Nicks (broken foot) is expected to play in this edition of the division rivalry, but he probably won't be at full speed, creating a likely need for Manning to look to others at times.
Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings
- Last year, the Vikings were sieve-like versus the pass, and tight ends were in on the fun. They put up 5.50 catches, 52.2 yards and 0.44 touchdowns per game against Minnesota.
- Lewis is trying to rebound from a lost season, when he was required to block more often than he'd have liked and was an oft-missed target for a rookie QB who looked like he often feared for his life. This season, the Jags' offense is expected to utilize his abilities as a receiver more often, and he'll serve as a reliable outlet and red zone weapon for a much more mature Blaine Gabbert.
- Jacksonville is expecting some worthwhile contributions from offseason signee Laurent Robinson, but the previously oft-injured receiver hasn't been able to get on the same page as Gabbert yet. L-Rob is looking like a potential disappointment, at least early on, creating a bit more of a need to rely on other weapons in the passing game.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
Don't miss these great reports....