Fantasy Football

10 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week Seven

Ito Smith

Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 7

Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 7

Six weeks of the 2018 NFL season are in the books and teams are beginning to form their identity. Following their seemingly perennial rough start, the Patriots are looking like the Patriots once again with an outstanding win over the Pat Mahomes-led Chiefs, a game which could have been a preview of the AFC Championship game.

And how about the Cowboys laying out the Jaguars in all phases of the game. Is Dallas poised to make a run or did they just catch Jacksonville sleeping?

And let’s not overlook the Week 6 finale on Monday Night Football. C.J. Beathard went toe-to-toe with the great Aaron Rodgers, only to see the future Hall of Fame quarterback doing what he does best, leading the Packers down the field with ease and setting up Mason Crosby for the game-winning kick, one week removed from costing Green Bay a division win over the Lions. From start-to-finish, Week 6 was filled with tremendous parody both on the field and in the fantasy football world. Folks, I can’t get enough of this and I don’t think you can either.

Most-Productive Players from Week 6
Rank ESPN Start% Player Pos Points
1 99.8 Todd Gurley RB 34.5
2 99.6 Melvin Gordon RB 33
3 97.7 Tyreek Hill WR 32.2
4 44.2 Jameis Winston QB 30.9
5 6.6 Dak Prescott QB 29.5
6 28.5 Drew Brees RB 28.9
7 BYE Aaron Rodgers QB 28.4
8 79.3 Matt Ryan QB 27.5
9 15.9 Mitchell Trubisky QB 27.3
10 92.6 Pat Mahomes QB 27
10 2.5 Albert Wilson WR 27
11 0.2 Brock Osweiler QB 26
12 BYE Davante Adams WR 25.2
13 10.7 Marquise Goodwin WR 25.1
14 33 James Conner RB 24.9
15 54.9 Carson Wentz QB 24.5
15 98 Kareem Hunt RB 24.5

While the top 15 overall fantasy football scoring leaderboard was dominated by some of the most notable names in the NFL last week, there were quite a few sleepers in the mix as well. Jameis Winston (44.2), Dak Prescott (6.6), Mitchell Trubisky ( 15.9), Albert Wilson (2.5), Brock Osweiler (0.2) and Marquise Goodwin (10.7) are all being started in fewer than 50 percent of fantasy leagues at ESPN this week and finished amongst the top 15 most productive players for Week 6. For the purpose of this article, any player with less than a 50 percent start-percentage at ESPN Fantasy will meet the criteria of eligibility to qualify as a sleeper despite their notoriety — hey-hey Jameis Winston.



Sleepers Week 6: Full-Disclosure

Player Pos STD Rank STD Points PPR Rank PPR Points
Jameis Winston QB QB1 30.9 QB1 30.9
Andy Dalton QB QB17 17.2 QB17 17.2
Tevin Coleman RB RB18 10.1 RB22 11.1
Bilal Powell RB RB30 5.9 RB38 5.8
Tyler Lockett WR WR35 8 WR41 11
Josh Gordon WR WR48 4.2 WR46 9.2
Cameron Brate TE TE12 7.5 TE17 8.5
C.J. Uzomah TE TE17 5.4 TE13 11.4
Nyheim Hines WR RB39 3.5 RB39 5.5

Week 6 Full-Disclosure by the Numbers

The story of my Week 6 was summed up by Geronimo Allison’s inactive designation on Monday night. I thought he was a lock to play after clearing the concussion protocol, but his hamstring proved not yet ready for a return, which makes sense as the Packers are heading into their bye week and want to make sure their injured assets are fully ready for Week 8. However, I did feature the Jameis Winston-to-Cameron Brate connection in my article last week, which makes it better for those who started them.

  • Jameis Winston looked as-advertised, finishing as the QB1 on 395 yards passing and four touchdowns. While he will throw picks, he’s going to produce with his surplus of weapons.
  • Andy Dalton wasn’t terrible, but he also didn’t reach the 20 fantasy points plateau I set for my QBs to be considered a hit. Still, despite his QB17 finish, he did manage to score 17.2 fantasy points, which is not too shabby.
  • While Bilal Powell flopped, Tevin Coleman had a solid game in a spot-start for Devonta Freeman. However, it will be spot duty no-more as Freeman is now on the injured reserve list and Coleman is primed to finish the year as the Atlanta RB1. Or is he? Don’t sleep on Ito Smith emerging. And spoiler alert, I will tell you why below.
  • At WR, I already went over my Geronimo Allison debacle, but he wasn’t the only letdown. While Josh Gordon failed to go off, he is seeing more running more routes and garnering more targets. It is only a matter of time. Tom Brady’s trust is there, the production should quickly follow.
  • Tyler Lockett didn’t do much outside of scoring a touchdown. No complaints there. He is still off to a career-year and appears to be the WR1 in Seattle, a spot formerly held by a continuously-ailing Doug Baldwin.
  • While C.J. Uzomah had double-digit points in PPR formats, he did not fare too well in standard leagues. Hopefully, you started him in PPR.
  • Cameron Brate was out-produced by O.J. Howard but is picking up where he left off as Jameis Winston’s top red zone target. I love Brate’s ROS upside.

The following is a recap of the players from my Week 6 Fantasy Football Sleepers article. You can read that here.

Entering Week 7, some fantasy owners may be forced to shop the waiver wire due bye weeks and a handful of notable injuries around the league. With players that include Cooper Kupp, Josh Allen, and Quincy Enunwa all succumbing to injuries last week, some more significant than the others, be sure to check out Andrew Erickson’s Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 7 to help you fill the vacant holes on your fantasy football team’s rosters. You can read that here.

Week 7 QB Fantasy Sleepers

10. Joe Flacco

ESPN Start-Percentage: 16.2

Joe Flacco Fantasy compressor e1534542661934Despite a fast start — he was the QB14 with 77 fantasy points in the first four games in 2018 — Joe Flacco has descended back down earth of late. Flacco is the QB26 with 23.3 fantasy points in two games since week 5. However, after playing his past three games on the road — he only had one game exceeding 11.9 fantasy points, which was a 22.2 point outing back in Week 4 at Pittsburgh — Flacco is coming home for an outstanding matchup against the Saints.

The third easiest opponent for opposing QBs yielding 25.1 FPPG, the Saints present a defense that Flacco could go-off against after combining for 536 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in his last two games. Not only has the New Orleans defense given up 629 yards and six touchdowns combined in their two road games this season but with a 50-point consensus over/under, Flacco is in position for a shootout with Drew Brees on Sunday afternoon.

And while Brees has the superior supporting cast, Flacco’s is nothing to scoff at. The three-headed wide receiver combo of Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead are all holding it down this season and could ultimately go off in their own right — more so Brown and Snead, as Crabtree will likely draw Marshon Lattimore in coverage.

Since Patrick Robinson on IR with an ankle injury, Brown and Snead could ultimately exploit their WR/CB matchups against Ken Crawley and P.J. Williams. And while their matchups are favorable ones, Flacco’s wideouts could get open too. Flacco is the second-ranked QB in receiver-target separation (1.66). The No. 3 ranked QB in team pass-plays per game (46.8), No. 2 ranked in attempts (264) and No. 1 ranked in deep ball attempts (39), the stars are aligning for Flacco to bounce back this week. Deploy him as a fringe QB1 for Week 7.

9. Eli Manning

ESPN Start-Percentage: 4.2

Eli ManningEli Manning is coming off of a treacherous start on the road against the Eagles in Week 6. Completing only 24-of-43 passes for 281 yards and an interception, Manning is coming off one of his worst outings in recent memory. However, while things are bad in New York and you can make the case that the Giants should have taken a quarterback over Saquon Barkley in April’s draft, Manning is a borderline Hall of Famer who could still exploit a favorable matchup. And with the Falcons on the plate on Monday night, Manning could certainly do just that.

Not only are the Falcons the No. 2 ranked defense in fantasy points allowed to QBs giving up 25.5 FPPG, but they’ve surrendered at least 26.1 fantasy points in each of the past five games, only shutting down Nick Foles in the season opener. Moreover, with Odell Beckham Jr. boiling up due to his lack of production, blaming Manning as he often struggles to get him the ball — right or wrong — this could be a game to ease the tension between the two and keep the poisonous wideout at bay. Expecting to draw a matchup with 25th ranked CB Desmond Trufant, Beckham could have one of his better games of the season, which obviously benefits Manning fantasy outlook.

Down their top safeties, Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, who are both on the injured reserve list with their respective knee and Achilles injuries, Sterling Shepard could have himself a game as well. And let’s not forget Evan Engram, who practiced on Tuesday and remains on track to make his return to the starting lineup after missing the past three games with a sprained MCL.

With all of his premier weapons expected to be active, I love Manning to rebound in Atlanta this week. In a projected shootout — the consensus over/under is falling at 54.5 points — Manning could return back-end QB1 upside in Week 7. While he is a fine plug-n-play option in single QB formats, he should be starting in leagues in which you can start two QBs.



Week 7 RB Fantasy Sleepers

8. Kerryon Johnson

ESPN Start-Percentage: 14.6

Kerryon JohnsonDespite an obvious timeshare scenario with LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick, I believe that Kerryon Johnson will still generate significant fantasy production. While Blount and Johnson are going head-to-head in carries this season — Johnson has carried the ball 50 times to Blount’s 47 — the rookie is generating a greater amount of production with his opportunities. Although Blount has one more touchdown — he has two compared to Johnson’s one — Johnson is doubling Blount in yards gained 286-to-117. Averaging 5.7 YPC to Blount’s 2.5 YPC through five games, Johnson is the clearly the superior running back in the Detroit backfield.

And I know Riddick remains a presence in the passing game, but he did not practice on Thursday with a knee injury and is trending toward an inactive designation for Sunday’s matchup in Miami. As a result, Johnson, who has caught 13-of-15 targets for 68 yards this season, could be an every-down player while the Lions utilize Blount as a change of pace option. If Riddick sits and the Lions elect to see what they have in Johnson in terms of an all-purpose running back, it could be his breakout game facing the sixth-ranked Dolphins defense in fantasy points allowed to RBs yielding 24 FPPG.

Although the Miami defense was lit up by Mitchell Trubisky last week, their strength is containing the opposition’s passing attack — they rank 25th and 22nd in fantasy points allowed to QBs and WRs respectively. As a result, Johnson could see in excess of 20 touches, a mark that he has yet to reach through five career games. He’s come close, however, touching the ball 18 times for 110 yards earlier in the year against the Patriots. Surrendering at least 80 total yards AND a touchdown to an opposing RB in each of the first three games of the season, allowing the top-scoring running back in each game to accumulate at least 14 fantasy points in that timespan, Johnson is in the RB2 conversation for Week 7.

7. Peyton Barber

ESPN Start-Percentage: 27.4

Peyton BarberI was one of the biggest beaters of the Peyton Barber drum entering the 2018 season and seemingly since the end of last season when he took Doug Martin’s job. However, without Jameis Winston in the lineup, Barber was ineffective. While he dominated the Buccaneers backfield with 52 touches (two receptions), he only converted them for 161 total yards (13 receiving), which equates to an atrocious 3.1 yards per touch.

Oh, how things have changed. While at one point it looked like Ronald Jones II was going to take the starting job from Barber following Tampa Bay’s Week 5 bye — he out-touched Barber 11-to-8 in Week 4 — Jones once again squandered away his opportunity, only totaling 28 yards to Barber’s 30 in Week 5.

Fast forwarding to last week, Barber is coming off of his best game of the year. Not only did he out-touch Jones 17-to-4, but he out-played him as well. While Jones only totaled a comical 19 yards, Barber accumulated 106 total yards and a touchdown, finishing Week 6 as the RB10 with a season-high 16.6 points. Barber clearly further cemented himself as the Buccaneers RB1 in Jameis Winston’s first start of the year coming off his suspension last week. With Winston under center, it appears that the Buccaneers can run the ball now. And I expect that to continue heading into Sunday’s home game against the Browns.

Although the Browns are playing better in all facets of the game, there are still the growing pains for a franchise that has been the basement dwellers of the NFL for a long time. And that statement includes a Gregg Williams-led defense which I believe will eventually improve. However, I don’t see it happening this week. Currently, the Browns defense presents the seventh easiest matchup for opposing RBs surrendering 23.6 FPPG and could be run on. I expect the Buccaneers to exploit that matchup in search of their third win of the season.

While Jameis Winston is putting up big numbers, he has also thrown four interceptions in six quarters. You’re not going to win football games that way. As a result, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Dirk Koetter utilize Barber more often to control the clock and take some pressure off of his QB. After all, it is a wise decision as both Koetter and Winston’s jobs could be on the line come year’s end if there is not a turnaround. This could be a game in which Barber draws at least 20 touches, which bodes well for his fantasy owners.

Allowing an opposing running back to accumulate at least 130 yards rushing or a touchdown in 4-of-6 games this season, Barber is poised to go-off against the Browns. Consider him as an upside Flex option for Week 7. I’m glad I didn’t panic and move on from my Barber stock in the wake of his struggles. If he is on waivers, pick him up. While the Buccaneers may not win many games, their offense will be a tough-out, Barber included.

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