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 1 to Week 4, unless otherwise specified.
Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs
Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints
Fantasy value: Low-end No. 2
- Following a promising 14-carry, 75-yard Week 3 outing, Wells ran for just 19 yards on five carries in Week 4. Beanie is steaming about his infrequent role with the Cards.
- Wells might not need that much time to work around the Saints' run D, which has allowed opposing backs to gain 121.5 rushing yards, 5.25 catches, 51.8 receiving yards and 1.50 offensive touchdowns per game so far. Though the receiving stats would apply more to Tim Hightower, Wells owners have to like New Orleans opponents' 4.5 yards-per-carry average.
- Since the Cards' offense has struggled to get going, maybe Arizona will mimic what the Carolina Panthers, who totaled 118 rushing yards to keep the powerful Saints attack off the field. For that reason, this would be a good week for Wells to be ushered into action more often.
Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
F-Jax to see an increased role
Fantasy value: No. 2 or No. 3
- The Bills' trade of Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks opens up time for Jackson to split the workload with C.J. Spiller and increases the fantasy value of both options, even in the Bills' shaky offense.
- Jacksonville has only allowed 88.5 rushing yards per game to enemy backs in 2010, but the Jags have also yielded 4.25 catches, 38.8 receiving yards and 1.25 offensive scores per game to them. Though Spiller will see ample work in that form often, Jackson can also do damage in that mode.
- Jackson ran for just 35 yards on nine carries against the Jags last year, but he added four catches for 20 yards. As usual, Jackson is worth slightly more in point-per-reception setups.
NEW - Ladell Betts, New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals
Fantasy value: Midrange No. 2
- Betts, filling in for Pierre Thomas (ankle) last week, ran the ball 13 ties for 47 yards last week. He also caught four passes for 23 yards. Chris Ivory saw 12 carries last week but also fumbled for the second straight week; if he keeps that up, New Orleans might rely more heavily on Betts.
- Arizona has given up 151.8 rushing yards (third most) and 1.25 rushing touchdowns (tied for second) per game to opposing backs. They're also allowing 5.50 receptions (tied for 11th) to runners.
- Keep an eye on Thomas' status prior to game time. PT is improving and head coach Sean Payton is hopeful he'll go, but Thomas wasn't able to practice Wednesday.
If you have the room, speculate on Betts, who is available in 85 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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