Fantasy Football Sleepers: RB - Week 7 (with video)

by Cory J. Bonini on October 17, 2012 @ 16:15:40 PDT


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 3 and 6, unless otherwise stated.

Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills

Fantasy value: High-end No. 1

  • New England Patriots RB Danny Woodhead
    Woodhead a reliable safety valve
    Johnson has picked it up a tad lately, averaging 18.3 attempts, 70.0 yards, 2.00 catches and 12.3 yards per outing. Defenses have to respect the pass more with Matt Hasselbeck under center, and Johnson seems to be running with a purpose again. While he still jitterbugs a little too much, he has shown a marked improvement in this area of his game.
  • Buffalo's run defense is giving up yardage like it is going out of style - 169.3 total per game, to be precise - to enemy rushers. Backs have ripped off 5.5 yards per tote, while averaging 1.75 offensive TDs along the way.

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints

Fantasy value: No. 1 or No. 2

  • Martin has averaged a mere 13.3 attempts for 54.0 yards, 2.00 receptions and 28.3 aerial yards; he has not scored in the last month.
  • Martin had a prime opportunity last week to enjoy a strong game, but the stars didn't align as Josh Freeman took it to the air early and often. While this week's matchup could play out in a similar manner, it is still a good thing for the versatile Martin. The Saints have permitted running backs to average 8.67 receptions for 72.0 yards. New Orleans has given up 157.3 rushing yards and 0.67 touchdowns, too.

NEW - Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers

Fantasy value: No. 1 or No. 2

  • DeMarco Murray (ankle) is on the shelf this week, which moves Jones into the starting lineup. His first start of the year couldn't come at a better time for fantasy owners to take advantage of a prime matchup. In relief of Murray last week, Jones rushed 18 times for 92 yards and scored one; he chipped in one catch for 13 yards.
  • A versatile back like Jones can exploit this defense in a number of ways, as most backs have recently. Rushers have recorded per-matchup figures of 20.0 standard fantasy points, 111.7 rushing yards, 55.0 receiving yards, 6.67 receptions and 1.00 total offensive scores.

NEW - Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts vs. Cleveland Browns

Fantasy value: No. 2 or flex

  • Ballard probably would have seen more touches last week if the contest wasn't so lopsided. He rushed eight times for 25 yards and added two for 17 in the passing game. Not impressive numbers by any stretch, but he is their lead back and should see more work in what figures to be a closer game.
  • The Browns have surrendered 133.0 rushing yards and 0.50 ground touchdowns to the position, on average. It doesn't stop there. Cleveland's defense of running backs through the air equally inept. Enemy RBs have garnered averages of 7.25 catches, 61.8 yards and 0.25 scores.

Danny Woodhead, New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

Fantasy value: No. 2 or flex

  • Woodhead's involvement has averaged out to 8.5 utilized plays per game in 2012, but he has found the end zone through the air and on the ground in the past four weeks. He was Tom Brady's primary safety outlet when things broke down in the backfield versus the Seattle Seahawks, and Woodhead has offered modest PPR value four weeks running.
  • The Jets have allowed 160.8 offensive yards and 1.25 total scores to the position, 30.3 yards of which came through the air each game. All of the scores came via the run.
  • Woodhead makes for a better play this week with six teams, including several potent offenses, enjoying the week off.
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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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