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 4 and 7, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs
Still climbing that Hill, man
Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
Fantasy value: Midrange No. 1
- It has hardly been the season many DMC owners had hoped for, and his past three games sum up his 2012 campaign: 2.6 yards-per-carry average, a single touchdown, one fumble lost and eight receptions for 60 yards. He looks out of place in Oakland's system and, in McFadden's defense, hasn't had the best blocking efforts in front of him.
- From a fantasy perspective, KC has been the third worst team against the position. They've yielded 24.3 attempts, 121.0 rushing yards (5.0 per carry) and 0.67 touchdowns on the ground. Rushers have exploited them through the air for 5.67 receptions, 75.3 yards and 0.33 scores in the aerial game. That's 196.3 offense yards allowed per contest!
Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos
Fantasy value: No. 2 or flex
- His numbers aren't pretty: 11.3 offensive touches, 38.3 total yards and 0.33 combined scores per game. Thomas has a limited role in a pass-first season in a congested backfield. Enticing, eh?
- The Broncos' defense of the running back position should make this recommendation a little more palatable. Denver has surrendered 133.0 rushing yards on 31.0 attempts and 0.67 scores on the ground per game to the position, while giving up a line of 6.00 receptions for 40.0 yards, on average, in the passing game.
- Thomas has slightly more worth to PPR owners this week, as with most others, because of his versatility and Denver's willingness to let quarterbacks check down to running backs out of the backfield.
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans Saints
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Digging even deeper for help: Denver's rookie RB2 has touched the ball sparingly as he learns the ropes of the NFL. Hillman has averaged a microscopic 6.00 touches for 26.3 yards per outing and hasn't scored.
- New Orleans has been friendly to running backs by giving up 159.0 offensive yards, 61.3 of which have come through the air. The Saints have allowed 7.33 catches to rushers, which is Hillman's forte. The position has accounted for two offensive scores (both rushing) in the last three games against the New Orleans.
- Hillman is a worthwhile PPR gamble in deep leagues this week, but be aware of the risk you are assuming.
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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