Week Three Fantasy Football Sleepers
Last week was as unpredictable and wacky as any week in recent memory, but we still managed to have a solid showing with out Week Two sleepers. Week Three is off to a great start, as we recommended Giants RB Andre Brown as a solid play on Thursday and he delivered in a huge way. Now it’s time to keep the positive momentum going with some more under-the-radar picks for Sunday.
Matt Cassel (QB)- The Chiefs have found themselves in very fantasy-friendly positions in 2012’s first two weeks: falling behind early and racking up garbage-time stats in the second half. There’s an excellent chance that trend continues this week as Kansas City travels to New Orleans to take on a Saints squad that is desperate for a win. Cassel is averaging 279.5 yards per game through the air with 45 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. Meanwhile the Saints have the NFL’s worst-ranked defense and opposing signal-callers are posting an unreal 135.5 QB rating.
Michael Bush (RB)- Those fantasy owners who were fortunate enough to draft Michael Bush as an RB3 or handcuff to Matt Forte have to be licking their chops at this matchup. Forte (ankle) will miss this game, meaning that Bush will receive nearly all of the carries. St. Louis had one of the NFL’s all-time worst run defenses last year, and though they have improved to 21st through the first two weeks, the Rams have still surrendered two scores on the ground in both contests. Bush is a top-ten start for this week and has a excellent shot at 100+ yards and a touchdown or two for a Bears squad that will be eager to move past their humiliating Week Two defeat.
Isaac Redman (RB)- Another back who hasn’t lived up to the preseason billing is Redman, who’s yards per carry is somewhere down in the Chris Johnson territory. With Rashard Mendenhall (knee) still out, Redman and Jonhathan Dwyer have been splitting carries out of the Pittsburgh backfield. But Dwyer is battling a turf toe injury and Redman could have the opportunity to see an increased workload this week. Pittsburgh is on the road in Oakland, where the Raiders are really struggling to defend the run. Opponents are averaging 147.5 yards per game with four touchdowns allowed in two weeks. Look for the Steelers to put an increased emphasis on attacking this glaring weakness. Fantasy owner is deeper leagues could take a look at Redman as a flex-play for this game.
Donald Brown (RB)- It’s been a quiet start for Indy’s new starting running back. Brown is averaging under four yards per carry behind the Colts’ rebuilt offensive line and has yet to catch a pass. Brown did manage to score in Week One and did see some work around the goal line last week and appears to be the team’s best runner. Fantasy owners struggling with injuries in their backfields might want to consider Brown as an RB2 or flex play this Sunday. For Week Three, the Colts play their second straight home game and host the NFL’s 31st ranked run defense in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Along with the Saints, the Jags have surrendered an NFL-high five rushing scores so far in 2012.
Cowboys Receivers- After pulling a big upset win out on National tv in 2012’s opener, the Cowboys put up a clunker last week in Seattle. But let’s not go over-reacting to one bad game. Generally, you want to stick with your studs and this is about as good a matchup as you can get. Dallas will play their home opener as an angry team and have the good fortune of hosting a new-look Tampa Bay secondary that’s allowing an incredible 400.5 yards per game so far. Both Miles Austin and Dez Bryant look like top-ten plays at wide receiver and tight end Jason Witten is a top-five starter at tight end. Those in deeper leagues might even want to consider taking a look at Kevin Ogletree as a viable option. This isn’t the kind of game where you want to over-think things: if you have a Cowboy on your roster, try to squeeze him in.
Leonard Hankerson (WR)- The design of the Washington offense puts the “X” receiver in a position to make big plays and be the focal point of the passing attack. A good example of this would be the first half of Week One when Pierre Garcon exploded for over 100 yards and a TD bomb. Garcon (foot) is doubtful to play, and Aldrick Robinson failed to make an impact in Week Two. Enter Leonard Hankerson as the starter for Week Three. Hankerson caught a deep touchdown pass last week and looks like has the size (6′ 2″ 215 lbs.) to give a struggling Cincinnati secondary some serious problems. Hankerson is available in over 42% of ESPN fantasy leagues, so fantasy owners hurt by Sunday’s inactive list can consider the second-year receiver a high-upside option.
Lance Moore (WR)- Not surprisingly, we’re expecting a high-scoring affair when the league’s two most-scored-upon defenses take the field. New Orleans always fields a potent offensive attack, but they’re even more deadly when they’re at home. This is especially true for Lance Moore, as he has historically thrived in the Superdome. Moore grabbed six passes for 120 yards in Week One’s home contest, while falling to two for 30 last week in Carolina. Fantasy owners looking for a third receiver or flex play should feel confident to start Moore this week.
Brandon Pettigrew (TE)- Pettigrew was a popular pre-season sleeper target, especially in PPR formats. After a 10 target, 77 yard performance in Week One, Pettigrew’s numbers took a dip last week in San Francisco, but he did manage to find the end zone. For Week Three, the matchup is about as tasty as it can get. The Lions are traveling to Tennessee to take on a struggling Titans team that has no idea how to cover the position. Through two games this season, the Titans have surrendered an average of 10 catches for 113 yards per game, just to tight ends. Even better, tight ends have already scored an astounding five touchdowns so far against Tennessee. Additionally, second tight end Tony Scheffler is doubtful for this game, so Pettigrew should play all of the snaps.