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: Running backs
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints
Hunter ready to feast
Fantasy value: No. 1 or No. 2
- San Diego's coaching staff appeared to have punished Mathews last week by starting Jackie Battle and resigning Mathews to a change-of-pace role. He finished with 14 carries for 61 yards and displayed flashes of his natural big-play ability. Battle probably will continue to have a role, but it may be diminished as soon as this week.
- The Saints offer San Diego such a good matchup for the running back position that all hands may be on deck this week. The Saints have allowed the most average standard points (26.3) in the league to rushers, having permitted 30.8 attempts, 147.3 rushing yards, 1.25 ground scores, 4.75 catches, 42.0 aerial yards and 0.25 receiving touchdowns, on average.
- This recommendation comes with some risk, given the volatility of the situation. Even if Mathews rushes 14 times again, he'll have a great chance to hit a home run against a defense that has allowed the most running plays of at least 20 yards in the league.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers vs. Buffalo Bills
Fantasy value: No. 2 or flex
- This recommendation comes on the heels of Hunter's most productive outing of the season in what was a blowout win. Well, that situation could very well play out again. As a spell to Frank Gore, Hunter has averaged 7.3 offensive touches for 35.8 yards and 0.25 scores per game.
- Buffalo permitted two 100-yard rushers in Week 4, and while that is a rarity, it paints a picture of how out of sync this defense really is. The 49ers are coming off a 245-yard team rushing effort and have all the momentum in the world on their side. The Bills' D has yielded 127.0 rushing yards, 40.0 receiving yards and 1.50 total touchdowns.
Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Bye weeks call for desperation plays for some owners, especially those in deep leagues, and this is exactly what a Pierce backing is all about. He has averaged 4.5 utilizations per game and has produced a mere 24.5 yards per contest. If Baltimore hammers KC early, Pierce could see a nearly double-digit workload.
- The Chiefs have permitted ball carriers to average 22.3 standard fantasy points per game, which stems from 102.5 rushing yards, 58.0 receiving yards and 1.25 offensive touchdowns per contest. Jackie Battle, a similar back to Pierce, racked up 20.1 standard fantasy points last week in a timeshare. There is reason to have hope here if you're willing to take a chance on the boom-or-bust Pierce.
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.
Don't miss these great reports....