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 Week 4 to Week 7, unless otherwise specified.
Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs
Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Fantasy value: Midrange No. 2
- In the three games following the Cowboys' Week 4 bye, Jones touched the ball 18.3 times per game, validating Dallas' promise to increase his workload and essentially make him the majority back. He tallied 58.7 rushing yards, 5.67 catches and 35.0 receiving yards in that time but didn't find the end zone.
- The Jags have coughed up per-game averages 131.5 rushing yards, 2.50 receptions, 16.5 receiving yards and 1.50 total touchdowns to opposing backs. Their defense overall has been shaky.
- With Tony Romo (clavicle) out for at least six weeks and Jon Kitna now likely taking snaps, the Cowboys should run the ball more and rely heavily on Jones to carry the workload. This is a good week to start on that track.
Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
King Felix rising
Fantasy value: Midrange No. 2
- Though he only had 35 yards on 20 carries in Week 5, Wells rebounded last week for 54 yards and a touchdown rumble on 14 carries. He's the majority back now, and Tim Hightower might be in the doghouse again thanks to resurfacing fumble issues.
- Against backs, the Bucs have allowed 164.7 ground yards, 3.33 receptions, 39.0 receiving yards and 0.67 touchdowns per game. Max Hall being the quarterback makes an improved ground game more important, and few teams present a better opportunity for opposing carriers to shoulder the work.
Derrick Ward, Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Ward has become a useful complementary back to Arian Foster, averaging 53.7 offensive yards and 1.00 touchdowns per game along with 9.1 yards per carry.
- Remember Week 1, when the Texans' backs trampled the Colts for 260 rushing yards? Well, the Colts haven't improved much, allowing 134.3 offensive yards, 4.67 receptions and 1.67 offensive touchdowns to opposing backs.
- Houston beat Indy by keeping Peyton Manning off the field; don't expect them to deviate from that strategy this time. Expect Ward to have a decent hand in that; he wasn't a Texan in Week 1.
NEW - LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
Fantasy value: Midrange No. 3
- Given his first extensive reps this year, Blount ran for 72 yards on 11 carries (6.5 yards per carry) last week. He'll split the load with Cadillac Williams moving forward.
- Arizona is surrendering 132.7 rushing yards and 0.67 rushing touchdowns per game to this position. They're also allowing 4.4 yards per carry to backs over the last four weeks (three games).
- Two heavier backs had success against Arizona earlier this year. The San Diego Chargers' Mike Tolbert (5-foot-9, 243 pounds) and the Atlanta Falcons' Michael Turner (5-foot-10, 244 pounds) each averaged 6.3 and 8.3 yards per carry, respectively, against the Cards. Blount (6-foot, 247 pounds) has a similar build to each of those backs.
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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