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 and 10, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs
Greene risky, potentially rewarding
Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Fantasy value: High-end No. 1
- Ever since a knee injury more than a month ago, Bush has struggled to get on track. Last week, he was benched after just four carries for 21 yards following a fumble. This is a risky endorsement, but the belief here is that talent wins out in the end. For what it is worth, Bush has averaged 53.3 offensive yards and 0.33 total scores per game.
- Buffalo's defense of the running back position has been miserable. They have surrendered the most standard fantasy points (31.3) in the league. The next closest team (Minnesota) has allowed 23.0 points. The Bills have given up 171.0 offensive yards, 26.0 of which through the air, and three offensive touchdowns, on average, to the position.
NEW - Chris Ivory, New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders
Fantasy value: High-end No. 2
- Pay attention to Darren Sproles' status on the practice report as he works his way back from a broken hand. Early reports suggest he may play in Week 11. If not, Ivory makes for a strong play again. He is dangerous even with limited touches, as evidenced by his 17 carries for 120 yards (7.1 per carry) and two scores in as many games. Ivory added two catches for 15 yards during this time.
- Running backs have been strong against the Raiders on the ground and through the air. The biggest problem Oakland has endured has been keeping rushers out of the end zone (1.50 TDs against per game). Ball carriers have averaged 101.0 rushing yards, 37.5 receiving yards and 5.67 receptions.
Shonn Greene, New York Jets at St. Louis Rams
Fantasy value: Low-end No. 2
- Greene exploded in Week 6 for 161 rushing yards and three scores. He hasn't topped 80 ground yards in any contest since, logging only one score in this time.
- Greene's situation is less than ideal, but he can be used with caution this week. This matchup-based recommendation comes from St. Louis' ineptitude versus the running back position. They have allowed 105.0 rushing yards and a score per game, while giving up five catches for 48.0 yards through the air to backs.
Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
Fantasy value: Flex
- As long as the score remains close, Indy should remain committed to the ground game. The matchup is excellent. Donald Brown started the last game and received more carries, although Ballard was the more effective back with his all-around game. Look for a fairly even split, and owners in PPR leagues should consider Ballard the better play. His blocking and hands have kept him on the field. There's a greater chance the Pats will put the Colts in position to pass a lot.
- New England has allowed 170.0 offensive yards, 53.3 by way of the pass, to the position. Running backs have averaged 5.1 yards per carry on 21.7 attempts, resulting in 116.7 rushing yards. The one touchdown per outing allowed came on the ground, although the Patriots have yielded 7.33 receptions per game to help make up the difference. That ties them for the second worst defense against the position in PPR scoring.
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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