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 1 and 2, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs
Look what washed on Leshoure
Andre Brown, New York Giants at Carolina Panthers
Fantasy value: No. 1 or No. 2
- Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) won't play in Week 3. David Wilson displayed fumble issues and remains in Tom Coughlin's doghouse. Brown has worked his way back from a broken career after a ruptured Achilles' tendon and practice squad exile. He seems to have confidence back.
- The Panthers have been vulnerable to the ground game since early 2011. In their first two go-rounds this year, carriers have squashed them for 140.0 ground yards, 13.0 catches, 103.5 receiving yards and 0.50 offensive touchdowns per game. Brown is in line for the lion's share if Bradshaw is inactive and still a significant load if Bradshaw convinces the staff that he can go.
Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Fantasy value: Low-end No. 2
- With a 3.7 average, Brown hasn't run all that well outside of a few carries this year, including an 18-yard TD scamper in Week 1. He's faced the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, two capable defenses. Brown remains the majority rumbler for Indy, though, and in the right situation, he's worth your confidence.
- The Jags' pass defense is typically the more vulnerable aspect of their D, but Jacksonville has allowed 160.5 rushing yards, 8.0 receptions, 45.5 receiving yards and 2.5 offensive scores per game to the position. The Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans have top-shelf running games; Indy doesn't fall into that category. But Brown should have a relatively easy day against this front.
Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans
Fantasy value: Low-end No. 2
- Leshoure was reinstated after a two-game suspension and will jump right into relevance in his first game back. He missed all of what was supposed to be his rookie campaign last year due to a torn Achilles' tendon, so this'll be his first ever regulation game action. He looked sharp in limited preseason play and training camp work.
- His split with Kevin Smith, the injury-prone reception-leaning back, keeps his upside tempered, but Leshoure is the more likely entry for goal line work. The Titans have been steamrolled by running backs so far to the tune of 147.5 yards, 5.0 catches, 38.0 receiving yards and 1.50 total scores.
- Peyton Hillis, Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints
Fantasy value: No. 2 or flex
- Hillis' fumble last week cost him playing time, but Jamaal Charles' banged up knee could quickly make Romeo Crennel forget about the cough-up. Shaun Draughn will see touches, as well, but Hillis is a better receiver, in the event we see a Saints offensive explosion. Hillis had a strong offseason and is bound to get on track with the right matchup.
- The Saints offer said matchup. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars have yielded more fantasy points to the position than New Orleans, in fact. This D has given up 117.0 rushing yards, 32.5 receiving yards and 2.50 total offensive touchdowns per game in 2012.
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 competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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