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 2011 Week 1 through Week 16, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Place kickers
Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Hanson benefits from offense
Fantasy value: High-end No. 1
- The Cowboys' offense might be missing a key piece in their red zone game (Jason Witten, spleen) - and another might be hobbled (Miles Austin, hamstring). DeMarco Murray is a fine goal line option, but they might stall frequently against a stout Giants defense.
- The G-men allowed an average of 2.0 field goal attempts and 2.87 extra points per contest. Even if Dallas' offense is in top form, that'll still provide a few chances for Bailey to line up often even if just to accumulate touchdown cappers. In two games versus New York last year, Bailey tallied four three-point tries (making just two, and having his infamous previously frozen attempt follow-up blocked) and six XPs.
Jason Hanson, Detroit Lions vs. St. Louis Rams
Fantasy value: High-end No. 1
- The Lions' offense has one of the highest ceilings in the NFL. Last year, they set up Hanson for 1.80 field goal tries and 3.40 TD punctuations per contest.
- In this indoor contest, Detroit figures to trample a shoddy Rams defense that in 2011 surrendered 8.9 fantasy points (standard scoring) per contest to opposing boots. That included 2.33 FGAs and 2.93 XPAs. Come on. What kicker wouldn't you play against the Rams?
Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
Fantasy value: No. 1 or bench
- Seattle's offense is more dynamic now with Russell Wilson taking the starting snap-taker job. This boosts the possibility Hauschka builds on his 1.80 field goal attempts and 2.13 touchdown enders per game last year.
- Not a bad week to start that trend: Now that they've had time to jell, the Cards' defense should improve compared to last year's dreadful Week 1 performance. Still, last campaign they allowed an average of 8.7 kicker points per game, along with 3.0 FGAs and 2.07 XPAs.
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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