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.
Fantasy football sleepers: Running backs
Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers
Fantasy value: Low-end No. 2 or high-end No. 3
- For Johnson and that Chiefs O-line, a 3.6 yards-per-carry performance is a bright spot. LJ posted 83 yards on 23 totes in Week 6 against a steady Washington Redskins run D. They're continuing to pound him into defenses by giving him 23.0 utilizations per contest since Week 2.
The Chargers lost nose tackle Jamal Williams (triceps), a vital part of their
run opposition, for the season last month and have struggled to fill his void.
In the last month (three games), they have given up 130.0 ground yards and
184.7 offensive yards per game to the position – both are bottom-five figures.
Divisional matchup favors LJ
- LJ has posted mixed results against the Chargers. He had 55 ground yards
on 17 carries in Week 15 last season; in his only '07 matchup with them he
totaled 123 hashes on 25 carries. He has shown capable of chipping in receptions
against them, but that's not that big a part of his game anymore. The current
state of San Diego's defensive line definitely makes a repeat of '07 possible,
especially since they're giving Johnson the work.
Justin Fargas, Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets
Fantasy value: Low-end No. 2 or high-end No. 3
- Fargas toted the
pigskin 23 times for 87 yards in Week 6 after slowly working his way back
into the backfield fold. Michael Bush (head) took a blow to the noggin, leaving
Fargas to do work. Head coach Tom Cable favors Fargas, so with Darren McFadden
(knee) ruled out for Week 7 and Bush dinged up, we can presume Fargas will
be used often.
- The Jets have given
up the fifth most offensive yards (176.8) per game to this position in the
last four games while also giving up 1.00 total touchdown per contest to them.
To make matters worse, they just lost nose tackle Kris Jenkins (knee) for
the season, leaving a huge hole in the middle of the line.
- Fargas offered
his owners 74 yards on 28 carries along with two receptions for seven yards
against the Jets in Week 7 last season. He touched the ball 30 times in that
game, and his workload this coming Sunday might not be that far off, despite
JaMarcus Russell showing in Week 6 he could actually complete a pass.
- Even when McFadden
returns, Fargas may remain the tandem option. This outlook, along with him
being in the coaches' good graces, means he should be picked up wherever possible.
He's still available in about 88 percent of polled leagues.
NEW - BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Injuries to Sammy Morris (knee) and Fred Taylor (ankle) have left the Pats depleted in the backfield. After Morris was dinged in Week 6, Green-Ellis saw some work off the bench and was effective with 78 total yards on nine touches, including a 9.6 yards-per-carry average.
- He showed a nose for the end zone in limited time last year and will probably retain a decent role while having to compete with Laurence Maroney, the best bet to start, and Kevin Faulk. Although we're talking about the Pats, the bastions of information on injury reports, you shouldn't count on Morris playing this week.
- We may have to call him "Big BenJarvus" given the way the Pats' London game is lining up. You shouldn't bank on jet lag getting in the way of a matchup with the Bucs, who have allowed 155.5 rushing yards per game to this position since Week 2. That's the second highest average. They also boast a bottom-five per-game ranking against backs in rushing and total offensive scores.
- If you're signing someone from the Pats backfield, Maroney will probably cost the most. You can probably snag Green-Ellis on the cheap, and there's a good chance he can end up being just as effective, given how New England diversifies their tailback work. Green-Ellis can be had in about 96 percent of polled leagues.
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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