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 7 through 10, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Defensive teams
Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals
Fantasy value: High-end No. 1
The Dirty Birds released defensive end Ray Edwards Tuesday, but he wasn't helping Atlanta anyway. They could've used some aid; they've sacked the QB just 1.33 times per game, to go with an underwhelming average of 0.33 interceptions.
Miami's D to cause big Wake
- In his last three contests, John Skelton has been brought down 13 times and has surrendered a pick in each game. The offensive line remains patchwork enough that the Cards will offer up plenty of chances for Atlanta to disrupt this offense.
With the injuries and aging of their defensive studs, Baltimore seemingly will nevermore perform at its formerly elite abilities. They've looked more like that of late, though, averaging 2.0 sacks, 1.0 INTs and 0.67 fumble recoveries per contest, much of this coming in their last two games versus the Cleveland Browns
and Oakland Raiders
Without Ben Roethlisberger
(shoulder), the Steelers
will much more closely resemble tin foil. Byron Leftwich
's throwing motion invites sacks and favorable route-jumping for takeaways. He's ill-equipped to drive Todd Haley
's offense, which takes a big hit. Sure, maybe another week to prepare will help, but if he could only complete 50 percent of his passes versus the Kansas City Chiefs
, imagine what he'll sink to against an experienced, if not at-its-peak, unit.
On top of that, Antonio Brown
(ankle) is unlikely to play, so there goes another Pittsburgh weapon.
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Fantasy value: No. 1 or bench
- Washington's pass rush and resistance took a hit when Brian Orakpo (pectoral) was lost to Injured Reserve earlier in the season. The 'Skins have registered only 0.67 sacks and 0.67 interceptions per contest since Week 6.
- Nick Foles should continue the sack- and takeaway-friendly opportunity Michael Vick offered Philly's opponents. This offensive line will struggle to protect whoever is back there.
- This matchup is less advantageous if your league heavily penalizes defensive units for points and yardage allowed, but taking a chance on a squad that'll face a green slinger often pays off.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Fantasy value: No. 1 or bench
- Miami hasn't taken full advantage of its ... well, advantageous schedule, but they've notched 2.0 sacks, 0.33 interceptions and 0.33 fumble recoveries per contest while allowing just 12.0 offensive points per contest. Cameron Wake has woken up the pass rush, but their secondary remains susceptible.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick has been sacked seven times over his last two games and lost a fumble in three of his last four. He's hardly as efficient as he was in the past, so Miami, even if they give up aerial production, should at least notch some fantasy counting stats.
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, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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