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 Week 1 through Week 3, unless otherwise stated.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings
Big Ben, meet, well, the real Big Ben. The Steelers travel to London this week to face the Vikings, a team that has played poorly versus the pass and is allowing 324.7 offensive yards per game to the position. Quarterbacks have averaged 2.67 touchdowns against them. Last week, Browns fledgling quarterback Brian Hoyer embarrassed this defensive backfield.
Roethlisberger is fresh off a 400-yard passing a day and needs to right the ship in the Steel City. The Steelers will show up in the United Kingdom with a chip on their shoulder and a yearning for a W at all costs. The burly passer is begging to enter your fantasy lineup.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs vs. New York Giants
Smith is a shining example of how to protect the football. He hasn't turned over the ball in three games but is on pace to take a ton of sacks. As long as he holds up to the pounding, Smith should be a near weekly lineup consideration.
You shouldn't need to think much about getting him into your lineup in Week 4 with the reeling Giants on the docket. This defense has permitted quarterbacks 264.3 yards and 2.33 touchdowns per outing. Passers have completed 68.1 percent of their throws on the way to an average of 24.3 standard fantasy points.
Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Ahmad Bradshaw's neck injury could limit him or even force the veteran to miss the contest. Either would be nice for Richardson owners, but the latter is an ideal situation to create the perfect storm. T-Rich should know enough of the playbook to contribute in a meaningful way.
Jacksonville has given up 17.7 standard fantasy points per contest and 5.1 yards per carry to the position. The Jaguars' pass defense is equally as miserable, which means they won't be able to sell out against the run.
Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers
An aggravated foot injury forced Richardson to miss all but one play in Week 3. He is expected to be ready for Thursday's tilt with the 49ers, which isn't as scary as once perceived. San Fran has yielded the most fantasy points per game (24.7) to running backs this year.
Don't expect a huge return from D-Rich. Nevertheless, he is still worthy of a fantasy lineup spot in deeper leagues. Consider him in all formats as at least a flex play.
Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Royal caught just two balls in Week 3 after scoring five times in the prior two weeks. He actually found the end zone against the Titans, but it was called back by offensive pass interference against a teammate that didn't affect Royal's would-be touchdown. Sour grapes, perhaps, but providing an illustration of what could have been is the point.
Dallas has given up a lot of big plays to wideouts, as evidenced by the 18.3 yards-per-reception average against them. This defensive unit has given up only 9.67 catches for 177.3 yards.
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders
Moss is quickly proving to be one of Robert Griffin III's most trusted targets. He has been thrown to 7.67 times per game, resulting in an average of 5.0 receptions through three games. Pierre Garcon remains Washington's No. 1 wideout, but Moss should be earning your attention.
He gets to enjoy a visit to California to take on the Raiders, whose defense is faulty when it comes to stopping pass receptions. Moss' Week 4 opposition has surrendered a league-high average of 18.33 catches to the position each time out.
Donnie Avery, Kansas City Chiefs vs. New York Giants
Avery enjoyed a monster game in Week 3, but it doesn't get a lot better than facing the Giants -- in KC, no less. The G-Men are spiraling downward and have a lot to prove, but traveling to the Chiefs isn't a likely scenario to help turn things around.
New York has allowed 15.33 receptions, 174.7 yards and 1.33 scores to matchup to this position. They'll do everything in their power to limit Dwayne Bowe and keep KC's best weapon, Jamaal Charles, at bay.
Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears
Just as Nate Burleson (arm) was coming on and finding a role in this offense, a car accident derailed his 2013 season. Broyles made his season debut last week and caught all three of his targets. While he isn't 100 percent and may not be ready for a full-time starter's workload yet, Broyles warrants a roster spot in all formats. He needs to be in your Week 4 lineup.
Chicago's pass D hasn't been particularly admirable through three weeks. They have allowed 13.33 receptions, 214.3 yards and 1.33 touchdowns per game. That is good for 28.0 standard fantasy points, on average.
NEW - Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills vs. Baltimore Ravens
Woods is proving to be a bit of a deep threat for the Bills -- by circumstance, if nothing else -- and should see a career high in looks this week. He has averaged 17.3 yards per catch but on only seven grabs this year.
The Ravens are susceptible through the air, and if they build an early lead, the Bills will have to play the comeback game. Baltimore has given up 14.33 receptions for 180.3 yards and 1.67 scores per game to the position.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings
Miller returned to action in Week 3 after sitting out the first two games of the year following a devastating knee injury suffered last season. He looked pretty good in his first game back and is Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target. Antonio Brown's standout performance will draw attention from Minnesota's defensive game plan, freeing up the veteran tight end to possibly see more looks.
Minnesota was massacred by Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron in Week 3, and they have allowed the second most standard fantasy points to the position this year.
Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills vs. Baltimore Ravens
Six. Six. Six. It's the sign of the beast, and apparently his name is Scott Chandler. Actually, it's the number of passes to come Chandler's way in each of the first three games. He has caught two-thirds of them, and finally found the end zone in Week 3. The position is a vital part of this offense, but Chandler hasn't been 100 percent healthy. He is nearing that status.
Tight ends have registered an average of 11.3 fantasy points in standard scoring and a 5-78-0.67 line against the Ravens' defense.
NEW - Kellen Winslow, New York Jets at Tennessee Titans
Winslow was blanked in Week 3 and is a risky start at any time, but he showed in Week 1 that there is still something left in the tank. He caught seven for 79 and a score. He could have added PPR worth this week.
The Titans have been pretty good on the outside but don't seem to know how to stop tight ends from finding the end zone. Houston's Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham each scored once two games ago, while San Diego Chargers veteran Antonio Gates found paydirt in Week 3. Tight ends have scored 33 standard points in three games against the Titans this year.
Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Walsh has averaged 9.0 fantasy points, stemming from 2.33 field goal attempts and 2.67 point-after tries, per game. The Vikings' offense matches up fairly well with Pittsburgh's defense, at least enough to permit Walsh a few opps from downtown.
The Steelers have given up 2.67 field goal kicks and 1.67 extra points, on average. This isn't your father's Steelers' D, but they are still good enough to keep Walsh from booting more XPAs than FGAs.
Jay Feely, Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Feely isn't exactly a hotspot for fantasy points among his kicking peers, but he has seen enough work to warrant consideration this week if you need a foot off the wire.
Tampa Bay provides a fine matchup for the veteran. They've allowed kickers to attempt 10 field goals through three games and average 1.33 touchdown cappers.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New York Giants
KC has come on strong and was an amazing play for fantasy owners a week ago. Oftentimes loyalty doesn't get you very far in fantasy football, but we're looking at a situation in which you can go to the well more than once.
New York's offense has endured 11 sacks of Eli Manning. The Giants also have accounted for 13 giveaways through the start of this young season. You cannot ignore those numbers, especially with an unraveling franchise heading to a tough venue like Arrowhead Stadium.
Tennessee Titans vs. New York Jets
Mike Munchak's group has taken down the quarterback nine times through three outings. The Jets have given up the same number of sacks in this time. New York has a rookie quarterback learning the ropes, and occasionally he makes crucial mistakes.
The Titans have logged three total interceptions and two fumble recoveries on their way to 8.33 fantasy points per game in 2013.
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.