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.
Fantasy football sleepers: Defensive teams
Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers
Fantasy value: High-end No. 1
- The Bengals' fantasy stock was boosted by their four picks against the Baltimore Ravens last week, thanks to improved aggressiveness after a more cautious Week 1, but they've only registered one sack this season.
- Cincy was a competent - if not standout - defense for sacks and interceptions last year. They'll go up against a Panthers team that has allowed eight sacks in the first two games this season. Though those came with Matt Moore at the helm, the Bengals will get a shot at rookie director Jimmy Clausen this week.
- Common sense says the Panthers will lean on the running game, but the offensive line, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have gotten off to slow starts. The Bengals were one of the best against ground attacks last year. Clausen attempted 13 passes during a fourth-quarter comeback attempt but still threw a pick and fumbled once; if the Panthers are stuffed on the ground, the Bengals could land in favorable fantasy situations.
Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals
Fantasy value: No. 1 or bench
- These Cardinals have proven to be a positive matchup for fantasy defenses so far. Quarterback Derek Anderson has taken four sacks so far, lost one of three fumbles and thrown two picks.
- Oakland has five sacks so far, having faced the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams - two favorable matchups for that statistic. Bump them up your rankings this week if your league heavily weights QB takedowns.
- Beanie Wells (knee) might be available in Week 3 for the Cards, whose running game has been erratic so far. With cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha potentially shadowing Arizona wideout Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals' passing game might suffer again. But the Raiders are still a sieve against the ground game - always their top warning sign for those who consider using them. If your league values sacks and takeaways more than yardage and points allowed, Oakland could be a cycle play or an optimal No. 2 in two-defensive team lineups.
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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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