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 13 to Week 16, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Wide receivers
Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
Fantasy value: No. 3 or flex
- Legedu Naanee (foot) won't play in Week 17. LaFell slides into a starting role in a situation when Carolina will probably have to pass often. He caught all three of his targets last week for 103 yards and a touchdown, his first since Week 7; LaFell has been looked to at least five times in four of his last six games.
- New Orleans has been friendly to opposing wideouts, especially with teams having to throw frequently against them in comeback mode. Receivers have marched on the Saints for 14.25 receptions, 212.0 yards and 0.50 touchdowns per contest. Steve Smith will probably receive most of the Saints' defensive attention, which should open up some opportunities for LaFell.
David Nelson, Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
Applying the full Nelson on NEP
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Nelson has been a recipient of a Ryan Fitzpatrick look at least five times nine of the last 10 games; the Bills are looking to bring some potency back to their passing game with more no-huddle work. Nelson's place in the slot, his natural locale, has kept him involved.
- The 6-foot-5 receiver could be a slightly better play in PPR formats; he caught six balls for 84 yards in his Week 3 battle with the Pats.
- The Patriots have been the supreme fantasy matchup for opposing wideouts this season, and Nelson should continue aiding the staggering numbers against this secondary: 14.75 catches, 244.0 yards and 1.75 touchdowns receptions per game by this position.
Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Brown could receive more work in Week 17 if the Chargers decide to rest Vincent Jackson (groin). San Diego can't make the postseason, so there's little point of pushing V-Jax if he can't go. Brown had a nice run in the middle of the season in replacing Malcom Floyd and would carry just as much upside if he takes more reps in this case.
- The Raiders rival the New England Patriots in their ineptitude versus wideouts: 14.25 catches, 213.5 yards and 1.75 touchdown snares allowed per game to this position.
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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