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
Good week to try ARI
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Fantasy value: Midrange No. 1
- Two caveats off the bat: Arizona's secondary remains weak, and they travel to a rough road stadium. Does your league penalize heavily for yardage and points allowed? Either way, the Cards could still be a productive play. They have recorded five sacks so far this season, four in Week 1, along with three picks.
- They've already taken advantage of two typically turnover-friendly QBs in Cam Newton and Rex Grossman. Seattle's Tarvaris Jackson has already thrown two picks and suffered 10 sacks. Any DT playing against him should be given extra fantasy consideration, especially with the Seahawks' current O-line problems.
- Arizona's upcoming games against the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings have fantasy appeal, as well, and make them a DT to look into acquiring if you're playing matchups. This system is supposed to be more aggressive in creating takeaways in its best form, so maybe that'll happen in the next few weeks with more practice time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Fantasy value: No. 1 or bench
- Tampa has recorded just two sacks, one INT and one fumble recovery on the season; they couldn't take full advantage of the Minnesota Vikings' Donovan McNabb last week.
- Matt Ryan has been sacked nine times already this season and has thrown three picks. The Chicago Bears, who also employ a Cover 2/Tampa 2 defensive scheme, gave Ryan fits in Week 1, resulting in Atlanta settling for shorter passes than desired. They probably won't do the job as effectively as Chicago - especially in suppressing points - but if your wire is thin and you're playing matchups, give them a try.
- The Bengals' unit has some upside thanks to aggressive DC Mike Zimmer, who showed impressive blitz schemes in the second half Sunday against a similarly stumbling offense in the Cleveland Browns. The Cats logged two sacks and a pick. Cincy should be able to slow the pace of Week 2 against a shaky Denver run D; a diet of Cedric Benson equals keeping Denver off the field.
- The Chicago Bears' Cover 2 tendencies gave Ryan and the Falcons trouble in Week 1.
NEW - Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers
Fantasy value: No. 1 or bench
- The Jags make for a low-end fantasy gamble this week because of their opponent and not their own prowess. Two games into the season, Jacksonville has averaged just 3.5 fantasy points per game, so understand the risk you are assuming. They have recorded 1.50 sacks, 1.50 interceptions and no fumble recoveries per game this year.
- The Cam Newton-led Panthers' offense sure is something, huh? Do you know what something they are not? A team that protects their quarterback and subsequently the football. Newton has thrown four picks in two games and has been sacked eight times.
- Jacksonville is still finding their groove on defense, but that could be expedited this week against the Panthers. Check out the Jags if you are looking to dig deep for a one-week play.
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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