Fantasy football sleepers: RB - Week 16

by Tim Heaney on December 24, 2009 @ 00:00:00 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 that you wouldn't necessarily consider that you need to get into your lineup.

Note: All statistics are from Week 12 to Week 15, unless otherwise noted.

Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs

Derrick Ward, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Fantasy value: No. 2 or flex

    Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens
    Now is the week to use Ward
  • The Bucs have refocused their offense, keeping things simple for quarterback Josh Freeman and aiming to run more. Ward was used 20 times last week, compared to 13 for typical starter Cadillac Williams. He probably won't outduel Caddy again, but Ward receives enough work even as a No. 2 to be owned.
  • N'awlins has had to work through another injury to defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (knee), and if he's out again this week, it means continued issues with opposing backs. Enemy runners have averaged 149.0 offensive yards, 4.75 receptions and 1.25 total scores per game versus the Saints.
  • Since Tampa Bay faces the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17, Ward could also be a useful flex play for next week. He should be acquired for teams with such a need; he's available in about 66 percent of polled leagues.
Larry Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Fantasy value: Flex or bench

  • The Bengals have talked about resting workhorse back Cedric Benson. What more perfect time could they do this than against LJ's former team, one of the NFL's pushovers?
  • KC could provide a warm welcome for their old "friend." The Chiefs, coming off Jerome Harrison's beatdown, have allowed 240.5 total yards, 1.75 touchdowns and 5.00 receptions to enemy backs per game. Even before the average-skewing Harrison romp, the Chiefs were already one of the worst run defenses in football.
  • If you believe in motivation and intangibles, that only further solidifies this matchup. Johnson could slot into your flex position, ready to be plucked off the wire for a rental in about 30 percent of surveyed setups.
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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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