Fantasy Football Sleepers: WR - Week 8 (with video)

by Tim Heaney on October 24, 2012 @ 16:53:52 PDT


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 through 7, unless otherwise stated.

Fantasy football sleepers: Wide receivers

Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns vs. San Diego Chargers

Fantasy value: No. 1 or No. 2

  • Yeah, it's funny listing someone who has scored four touchdowns in his last three games as a sleeper. (He could've had five if not for a sun-induced drop of an expected six-pointer during his 10-target Sunday.) Only about half of his fantasy owners are starting him, though, and this is a reminder that he's becoming more viable for lineups.
  • The New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos launched bombs against the Bolts before their Week 7 bye. Wide receivers for Drew Brees and Peyton Manning averaged 240.5 yards and 3.50 touchdowns per game versus San Diego's secondary in Weeks 5 and 6.
  • Brandon Weeden does not belong in that class of slingers, but he's logged at least 231 passing yards in each of his last six games, over which he's logged all nine of his scoring tosses.
  • Trent Richardson's ongoing rib problems will limit Cleveland's ground game against an already formidable foe. San Diego had trouble with big plays against these potent offenses - even Devery Henderson and Brandon Stokley made significant touchdown catches. Gordon should test these safeties, who are often lax in coverage.

Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins

Fantasy value: Low-end No. 2

  • Another option that more are starting to learn about and trust, Kerley has been Mark Sanchez's favorite receiver over the last three weeks: 26 targets, 15 catches, 238 yards. Kerley's 17.4 yards-per-grab average ranks third among wideouts with 25-plus catches.
  • Miami has been a top-10 matchup for enemy snares while giving up 26.7 fantasy points on the back of 17.67 catches, 202.0 receiving yards and 1.33 scores per contest. Sam Bradford logged 315 passing hashes against them. Mark Sanchez is in the same present-day QB class and has looked better of late, so they should be able to move the ball through the air.
  • If Kerley is still available on your waiver wire, grab him.

Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams vs. New England Patriots

New York Jets WR Jeremy Kerley
Kerley needs to be owned

Fantasy value: High-end No. 3

  • Gibson has seen 16 targets over the last two weeks (nine and seven, respectively) and has emerged as Sam Bradford's most trusted ally with Danny Amendola (shoulder) shelved. He's showcased a career-best 13.4 yards per grab so far.
  • For another season, any passing game playing the Pats has hopes for a productive day. New England has allowed opposing wideouts to average 29.8 fantasy points, the third most in the last month, with contributions of 11.5 catches, 201.3 yards and 1.75 touchdown hauls.
  • Sure, Peyton Manning contributed to that cumulative beatdown, but so did Russell Wilson (293 yards, three TD) and Mark Sanchez (328 yards, one TD). Writing off Bradford's arm, who's topped 300 yards twice this year and 255 in each of his last two games, would be hasty.

Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts

Fantasy value: No. 3 or flex

  • Quietly, Nate Dubs has 26 targets over the last three weeks, no fewer than eight coming in any contest. He has converted only half of them, though, and continues to be a risky statistical play.
  • His 6-43-1 line last week at least reminded us of his existence, however. And though it reeks of another Chris Johnson stampede, Tennessee and Indy could be a sloppy defensive affair, so Washington could break off a big play against this secondary. The Colts have yielded 12.33 catches, 151.7 yards and 2.33 scoring grabs per game to this position. There are enough bye-week losses at wideout to play this matchup with whoever possible.

NEW - Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns

Fantasy value: High-end No. 3

  • Floyd has registered 5.33 targets, four receptions and 63.7 yards per game. He's cooled just a little from his early-season pace, thanks to a healthy Antonio Gates and a more effective Ryan Mathews.
  • The Bolts may have the luxury of relying on their ground game and D in Week 8, but they're also looking for something to spark a disappointing passing game and Philip Rivers. Cleveland's troubled defense presents a good opportunity to do so.
  • Wide receivers have tallied 16 receptions for 208 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game against the Browns. Those marks are right in line with their full-season averages of 16 catches, 202.9 yards and 1.71 scores a contest allowed to the position.

NEW - Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers

Fantasy value: No. 3 or flex

  • Only one Jacksonville receiver - Shorts - has proven that he'll gain separation consistently when he's on the field. Blaine Gabbert (torn labrum in non-throwing shoulder) has targeted him frequently, and Chad Henne continued to do so when he replaced Gabbert this past weekend.
  • In Weeks 1 through 5, Shorts had to his credit averages of 3.8 targets, 1.6 receptions, 41 yards and 0.4 touchdowns. In Week 7, he received his first start. He saw 10 looks and caught four passes for 79 yards and a score.
  • Gabbert expects to play against the Pack, and he or Henne will have his work cut out for him to keep up with their offense. Fortunately, Green Bay has yielded 16.25 catches, 228.8 yards and one score to receivers in the given time frame. Their D has lost a couple of notable players in recent weeks.


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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 the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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