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 9 to Week 12, unless otherwise noted.
Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
Fantasy value: Midrange No. 2
- Charles has contributed at least 66 total yards and one touchdown per week in three games since assuming the No. 1 duties in KC's backfield.
- The Broncos, formerly a force against the run this year, have more recently been susceptible to opposing backfields. Carriers have trampled Denver for 147.3 ground yards, 27.8 receiving yards, 3.75 receptions and 0.75 offense touchdowns per game.
- With Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey likely taking away a chunk of the receiving game downfield, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel should continue dumping off passes to the shifty Charles. Denver stopped the Giants' rushing attack last week, but the Big Blue doesn't boast a receiver as talented in their backfield.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fantasy value: No. 2 or flex
- Stewart has a pair of two-touchdown performances in the last five weeks and has averaged a healthy 4.6 yards per tote this year. Stewart has eight red zone utilizations, one behind Williams.
- The Bucs come in as a top-10 fantasy matchup in rushing yards (148.0) and ground scores (one) allowed to backs per contest. Their return to the Tampa 2 showed an improvement in their run stuffing last week, but their opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, didn't have Michael Turner for most of the second half.
- In his last two games against this divisional rival (one coming last year, Week 14), Stewart has averaged 112.5 yards and 1.5 touchdowns. The Panthers have averaged 281.5 rushing yards per outing in their last two games against Tampa Bay. In fact, Stewart's only 100-yard rushing game of the season came in Week 6 ... against the Bucs.
- The Panthers will have even more reason to lean on the run. They'll probably be without quarterback Jake Delhomme (finger), and Carolina probably won't be trusting Matt Moore with much passing, especially against a defense that is typically inept against the run.
Shonn Greene, New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
The RB is always Greener....
Fantasy value: No. 2 or flex
- Greene's 11 utilizations in Week 12 matched his total from the previous two weeks combined. As quarterback Mark Sanchez (knee) struggles to regain his early-season promise, the Jets probably will look to the run more often.
- The Bills offer some utility for No. 2 backs; Buffalo has given the position 159.0 rushing yards, 4.00 receptions and one touchdown per game. Sanchez threw five picks in the Jets' earlier game against Buffalo, and they'll probably look to have the rook do less in the offense.
- Though he's probably owned in many deeper leagues, Greene makes for a Week 13 rental for your flex spot; he's available in about 49 percent of surveyed setups.
NEW - Rock Cartwright, Washington Redskins vs. New Orleans Saints
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
With Clinton Portis (concussion) expected to miss Week 13, Cartwright will start in his place. In his two games of starter-level work, The Rock caught 10 passes for 99 yards and ran for 105 yards on 28 carries (3.75 per tote).
- The Saints' D-line got a shot in the arm with defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis' return, but they still haven't handled the tailback position well. They have yielded 172.0 offensive yards and 1.25 total scores to this class; both are bottom-10 numbers in the league.
- Expect quarterback Jason Campbell to be dumping off a lot of passes considering the Saints' solid pass rush.
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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