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 Weeks 1 and 4, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Wide receivers
(groin) is likely to miss as much time as it takes to heal his injury, which has paved the way for Jones to see increased playing time. He scored twice in Jennings' stead last week, and has averaged a 4.00-47.8-0.75 line on 5.75 targets per game.
Indy may be coming off a bye week of preparation, but one has to question their state of mind following the news of defensive head coach Chuck Pagano
's cancer diagnosis. This terrible discovery could go either way for team morale, but the raw data says the Colts' secondary is doomed against Aaron Rodgers
. They have allowed receivers to average 13.67 receptions, 189.3 yards and 1.33 scores per contest.
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers vs. Buffalo Bills
Fantasy value: High-end No. 3
Before a two-catch, 15-yard dud in Week 4 (a 34-0 win in which San Fran didn't need to pass much), Crabtree had logged at least six receptions in his previous three games. He leads all Niners WRs and TEs with 31 targets.
Hawkins' week looking up
- In standard scoring leagues, the Bills have allowed the fourth most fantasy points (27.0) per game to this position on the back of 12.5 receptions, 181.0 yards and 1.75 scoring grabs. Buffalo's secondary and pass rush haven't pressured opposing slingers much this year.
Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints
Fantasy value: No. 3 or flex
Royal hasn't seen more than five targets in a contest so far, but Philip Rivers has a certain level of confidence in his slot receiver, who caught a TD to make a three-catch, 16-yard Week 4 better. He should still see a decent share of midrange looks moving forward. Robert Meachem has been a disappointment; Antonio Gates has been relatively quiet; opponents are now keying on Malcom Floyd; and Ryan Mathews' workload is in flux.
- The Saints have allowed 14.5 receptions, 199.5 receiving yards and 1.25 scores via catches per game to this position. This lines up to be a shootout type of contest, and Royal could be in line for a healthy PPR day as a one-week play.
Andrew Hawkins, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins
Fantasy value: No. 3 or flex
- Since his nine-target Week 1, Hawkins has totaled 12 over the last three weeks. He has caught seven of them and found paydirt twice. That 16.5 yards-per-reception average is alluring for weeks when bye weeks cripple your team, and Andy Dalton has recorded 224-plus aerial yards and two-plus TD tosses in each of the last three games.
- Miami's defensive backfield will be busy dealing with A.J. Green, which will leave the rest of the weak defensive backfield scrambling. This defense has surrendered 14.0 catches, 191.3 yards and 1.25 touchdowns per game to this position, and Hawkins' speed should present a problem for them.
Norwood caught only four of his 10 Week 4 targets and went for just 56 yards, but the positive is that he was thrown to double-digit times. The inexperienced youngster has been in the NFL
since 2009 and is very familiar with the West Coast offense. He will see plenty of playing time with the injury woes currently crippling Cleveland's wide receiver corps.
Speaking of being decimated by injuries, the Giants' secondary is finally coming around a little. They have permitted 10.25 catches for 186.5 yards (18.2 per reception) and 1.50 aerial scores per game to the wide receiver position. While Prince Amukamara
is back on the field, Corey Webster
(hand) and Antrel Rolle
(knee) are banged up.
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 competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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