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 3 to Week 6, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Tight ends
John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals
Fantasy value: Low-end No. 1
- Carlson hasn't been able to take advantage of the target void left by traded wideout Deion Branch. After seeing 24 targets over his first three contests, he has just eight combined - along with just three catches - in his last two contests.
- In the three games before their Week 6 bye, the Cards were one of the most favorable matchups for tight ends. 'Zona faced the Oakland Raiders' Zach Miller (four catches, 64 yards, one touchdown), the San Diego Chargers' Antonio Gates (7-144-2) and the New Orleans Saints' Jeremy Shockey (3-30-1). Carlson isn't used as often as the first two, but he's closer along the lines of Shockey - a matchup play.
- Carlson had results akin to a bye week fill-in against his divisional foes last year: 2-55-0 in his Week 6 meeting and 1-31-1 in Week 10.
- He faces Arizona again in Week 10 after taking on the Oakland Raiders in Week 8. Both clubs are favorable fantasy dances for this position, and Carlson deserves a waiver wire look for those whose tight ends are approaching a bye.
Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Don't give up just yet
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Shiancoe was a bit hobbled by his hamstring in Week 6 and didn't see a target. He was looked at seven-plus times in three of his first four games, but Randy Moss' arrival adds a more important presence in the receiving game to take away targets. Also, Brett Favre's elbow tendonitis has thrown off his accuracy, so the passing game isn't as dangerous as it has been in the recent past.
- If you need to consider playing Shiancoe this week, at least he faces the Packers, who have allowed 80.3 yards and 0.50 touchdowns on 7.00 receptions per game to this position. Linebackers Brandon Chillar and Brady Poppinga are out this week. A.J. Hawk or a shaky safety - Anthony Smith or Charlie Peprah - might be covering Shiancoe, which would favor the Viking.
- In his two '09 meetings with Green Bay, Shiancoe caught just four passes for 30 yards, but he found the end zone once in each game.
NEW - Bo Scaife,
Tennessee Titans vs. Philadelphia
Fantasy value: No. 1 or flex
- Scaife (groin) has caught four passes for 172 yards and one score so far
this season. Last week's effort against the Jacksonville
Jaguars was his best as he came away with four receptions for 53 yards
and one score.
- Philly is allowing only 3.75 receptions (sixth fewest) for 45.8 yards (10th
fewest) per game to this position, though they're giving up 1.00 touchdown
catch per game to tight ends. Philly has been a productive fantasy matchup
for tight ends in the past few seasons.
- Utilize Scaife as a one-week play against the Eagles. He's available in
around 86 percent of leagues polled.
- Scaife missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. He's expected back for practice
Friday but check to make sure he returns before adding him.
NEW - Anthony Fasano,
Miami Dolphins vs. Pittsburgh
Fantasy value: No. 1 or flex
- Fasano's work is sporadic; he has just 11 catches for 149 yards and two
scores this year.
- Still, he's part of the game plan, most games, and given Pittsburgh's strong
run defense, Miami could choose to rely on him a bit more. If Miami wants
to get the ball out quickly against an aggressive defense, Fasano could be
a valuable safety valve.
- Against tight ends, the Steelers' defense has been yielding 5.67 receptions
(seventh most) for 84.3 yards, the most in the NFL,
per game. They've also allowed one score to this position in their last three
games (four weeks).
- Fasano makes for a solid one-week play that is available in around 88 percent
of leagues polled.
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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