Fantasy Sleepers: Week 16
This week should be an automatic for a lot of fantasy owners. The idea of getting out of what works is classic fantasy football over-thinking. Sleepers should only be used to fill in for injuries.
Gridiron Experts is using ESPN’s starting fantasy football player percentage to create a weekly Sleeper challenge for bragging rights. Each Writer must recommend one player who is being started in less than 25% of all ESPN fantasy leagues.
Quarterback | ESPN ST% 15.5
According to ESPN, Eli Manning is currently being started at a higher clip in fantasy leagues than Jay Cutler.., maybe a majority of leagues have already hit hibernation for the winter?
Despite a couple of interceptions, Cutler still ended up as a great start last week by tossing three touchdowns en route to a 26-point fantasy performance. This week, the Bears get one of the worst defenses in the Philadelphia Eagles. Making the match-up even more intriguing is the fact that this game could mean absolutely nothing to Philly, while it means everything to the Bears. If Dallas, as expected, beats a hapless Washington squad, then Week 16 won’t matter at all in the Eagles’ bid for the NFC East, meaning they may be tempted to rest some of their starters on both sides of the ball. This makes what is already a nice match-up for the Chicago passing game even better.
Wide Receiver | ESPN ST% 9.2
Victor Cruz underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Thursday and is now done for the season. While Eli Manning isn’t exactly the most trusted fantasy quarterback, his production has arguably been at it’s best when he targets Rueben Randle. With more touchdowns than Nicks and Cruz combined, Randle is key for the Giants to move the chains. Jerrel Jernigan was a frustrating distraction last week and I expect Randle to make more plays and see more balls this Sunday.
Tight End | ESPN ST% 16.1
Over the course of a football season, one tends to develop what many call a “man crush” on specific players. This said man crush has manifested itself in the form of Delanie Walker for me this year. He’s one of the most athletic tight ends in the game and a huge weapon for the Titans’ offense. Last week saw Walker receive a season-high 11 targets. This week he faces the second worst fantasy defense against tight ends, the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s a Top 5 TE for me this week.
Wide Receiver | ESPN ST% 2.9
Even with Denarius Moore back, Streater was the Raiders’ top target against the Chiefs with 9 looks for 4 receptions and 59 yards. San Diego has a very generous pass defense and odds are the Raiders will need to play from behind and look to the passing game. ESPN projects: 5 receptions for 71 yards, but I’ll go with 6 for 94 and a score.
Quarterback | ESPN ST% 12.5
The Washington Redskins have elected to go with their back-up QB, Kirk Cousins, for the second time in place of Robert Griffin III. Last weekend Cousins torched the Atlanta Falcons going 19 for 35 with 381 yards and 3 touchdowns. This week Cousins gets a Dallas Cowboys defense who has been abysmal against the pass this year.
Running Back | ESPN ST% 4.9
With the Texans placing Ben Tate on IR this week, Dennis Johnson will get the start against the Broncos on Sunday. Denver has been shredded for almost 500 yards and six rushing touchdowns over the last four weeks and they’ve kept opposing running backs out of the end zone just twice in 14 games this season. We don’t have a lot to go on with the rookie from Arkansas, but he averaged 5.3 yards per carry against SEC competition last year and sometimes in the fantasy game it’s all about opportunity.
Running Back | ESPN ST% 2.9
With MJD being questionable for this week’s game, Todman could be inline for another great fantasy day. He will go up against a Titans defense that ranks 23rd in the league in rushing defense. Todman could be a nice RB2 and a true sleeper that can give you an edge in a championship this week.