Fantasy Football Sleepers Week Four
Another week into the 2017 fantasy football season, another week of diverse names amongst the overall fantasy scoring leaders. Nine of the top 15 most productive fantasy players from Week 3 were quarterbacks. Aside from the four notable names that we are accustomed to seeing this high that include Tom Brady (1), Russell Wilson (2), Kirk Cousins (9) and Aaron Rodgers (12), the remaining five signal callers on this list had unexpectedly outstanding fantasy weeks. Yes, I’m referring to Case Keenum (5), Jacoby Brissett (6), Blake Bortles (7), Brian Hoyer (11) and Jared Goff (15). They came out of nowhere, likely leading most of the fantasy teams that started them to a victory, and for some, an unexpected one.
Most-Productive Players from Week 3
Fantasy Sleepers Week 3: Full-Disclosure
Entering Week 4, some fantasy owners may be forced to shop the waiver wire due to a handful of notable injuries around the league. With players that include Darren Sproles, Matt Forte, and Kelvin Benjamin all succumbing to injuries last week, be sure to check out Andrew Erickson’s Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 4 to assist you with filling the vacant holes on your fantasy rosters.
Here are my Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week Four.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 11.3%
Following a tremendous start to the year in which he averaged 22.7 FPPG through the first two games, Trevor Siemian was shut down in Buffalo last week. He threw for 259 yards and two interceptions, failing to toss a touchdown pass, after totaling six in the two weeks prior. However, he is entering a favorable matchup against the division-rival Oakland Raiders, whose defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs, surrendering 20.5 FPPG.
In his short career, Siemian has had success versus Oakland. In two starts, he’s passed for 489 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions while completing 58.2 percent of his passes. Fast forward one year, and this is not the same Siemian who faced the Raiders last season. He is improved and comfortable in his second year as the Broncos’ starter. Expect a bounce-back performance from Siemian in Week 4.
Did I mention that Siemian is a fine streaming option at QB for Week 4? No? Well, Jason Willan has. Check out his Fantasy Football Streaming for Week 3 article right here.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 4.6%
Following a surprisingly rocky start to the 2017 season, Carson Palmer finally showed a sign of life in Week 3 loss to the Cowboys. Although he was pressured for the majority of the game — he was sacked six times — Palmer completed 29-of-48 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns. He fished is the QB13 with 21.7 fantasy points.
In a Week 4 home meeting with the NFC West division-rival 49ers, Palmer could be in line for his second consecutive productive fantasy outing. Although they are improved from a year ago, San Francisco’s defense is young and have had growing pains through the first three games of 2017, especially while facing opposing signal callers. They are ranked 10th in fantasy production allowed to the position surrendering 17.3 FPPG.
While WR John Brown, who missed the last two games with a quad injury, returned to practice this week in a limited capacity, he remains uncertain to play in Sunday’s matchup. However, that shouldn’t deter fantasy owners from inserting Palmer in their starting lineups. J.J. Nelson and Jaron Brown appear to have passed [John] Brown on the depth chart. Moreover, Arizona is still adjusting to life without David Johnson, which translates to expanded Palmer dropbacks. Leading a team that has thrown 69.08 percent of the time this season, Palmer has top 10 QB upside in an outstanding Week 4 matchup.
Running Back Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 47.9%
For those of you panicking about Bilal Powell through the first three games this season, you have every right to — myself included. He is currently ranked as the RB43 with 14.9 fantasy points. Terrible for a player whom many experts projected to have a big year. However, Powell picked up some momentum in Week 3. He scored for the first time this season and finished the week as the RB20 with 9.7 fantasy points after only totaling 5.2 in the two games prior.
Additionally, with Matt Forte expected to be inactive in Sunday’s tough matchup against the Jaguars — he has yet to practice this week with a toe injury — Elijah McGuire would likely be the only other Jets rusher competing for touches this week. Newly acquired Travaris Cadet, who signed with the team on Tuesday, is only expected to be active in an emergency role. Cadet is more than likely unfamiliar with the offense.
Not only do I expect Powell to lead New York in opportunities on Sunday, but I also believe he could have his breakout game of 2017 despite the seemingly difficult matchup. Yes, Jacksonville’s defense is stout, but they can be had. They’re ranked 18th in fantasy-production allowed to RBs yielding 16.8 FPPG. Since the strength of the Jaguars’ defense is the secondary, Powell could see ample work on the ground as well as a backfield receiver. He is an upside Flex option in Week 4 whose value peaks in PPR scoring formats.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 26.9%
Chris Thompson began the 2017 season on fire. Through the first three games, the pass-catching specialist caught 13-of-19 targets for 231 yards and two touchdowns while adding another 119 yards and two TDs on 14 carries as a rusher. Currently ranked as the third most productive fantasy RB with 59 points in standard scoring, Thompson will look to continue his success in Monday night’s primetime matchup against Kansas City.
The Chiefs’ defense is no slouch, even without Eric Berry, who is out for the remainder of the year with a ruptured Achilles. However, from a fantasy perspective, they present a favorable matchup to opposing RBs. They have surrendered the 11th most points to the position allowing 18.8 FPPG.
Although Washington’s offense saw a boost in production last week — they put up 427 total yards and 27 points on the Raiders, the Chiefs’ defense could hold the slow-starting Redskins unit and get off to a big lead with their home-run hitting offensive playmakers that include Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt. In that scenario, Kirk Cousins will be forced to drop back more times than not, opening up expanded opportunities for Thompson as a receiver. Scoring at least one TD in each of the first three games this season, Thompson is a boom or bust RB2/ Flex option for Week 4. His reward tremendously outweighs his risk.
Wide Receiver Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 17.0%
To open the season, Brandon Marshall has been one of the most disappointing wideouts in fantasy football. After totaling two receptions for 27 yards in the first two games, he finally put together a decent outing in Week 3, catching 8- of-11 targets for 66 yards against Philadelphia. Although his production only totaled 6.6 points in standard leagues, he was the WR29 in PPR with 14.6.
Now that New York’s is off life support, they scored 24 points in the fourth quarter last week against the Eagles, Marshall is becoming a more intriguing fantasy asset, especially since they are passing 72.67 percent of the time in 2017. With Odell Beckham Jr. commanding the opposing defense’s top cover corner and at times, double coverage, Marshall is lined up against the No. 2 corner more times than not, something the 33-year-old receiver is not used to. Facing a Tampa Bay defense that gives up the most fantasy production to WRs allowing 36.3 FPPG, expect Marshall to exploit his cornerback matchup which will likely be against Brent Grimes. He is a boom or bust Flex option in Week 4.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 4.6%
Although Allen Hurns leads the Jaguars in receiving — he’s caught 12-of-14 targets for 144 yards and two touchdowns through the first three games of the year — Marqise Lee is regarded as the team’s WR1. He leads Jacksonville in targets with 23, while Hurns, the next most targeted player, only has 14. However, Lee isn’t too far behind Hurns in production. He’s caught 11 targets for 141 yards with no scores. While Lee hasn’t made the most of his plethora of opportunities, his time is coming to surpass Hurns in fantasy production. It could begin in Sunday’s meeting with the Jets.
New York’s defense played well last week, holding the Dolphins to 226 total yards and a mere six points. However, I don’t believe that will continue. They allowed the Bills to put up 21 points in the season opener and the Raiders to gash them for 45 in Week 2. As a result, Jacksonville’s offense appears poised for another big game after hanging 44 points on Baltimore last week in London, which bodes well for Lee’s production outlook. Facing a New York defense that ranks fifth in fantasy points allowed to WRs yielding 26.9 FPPG, Lee is a strong Flex play in PPR scoring formats for Week 4.
Tight End Sleepers
ESPN Start Percentage: 0.9%
Since C.J. Fiedorowicz on the injured reserve list with a concussion, the Texans had a void at TE1 which they filled with Ryan Griffin. A five-year veteran, Griffin quietly had a career year in 2016 accumulating a 50-442-2 stat line, which wasn’t very much less than Fiedorowicz’s 54-559-4 line from that same period. However, Fiedorowicz opened 2017 as the TE1 while Griffin waited in the wings. In Week3, the first game without Fiedorowicz, Griffin once again proved he could be effective as the starter. He caught 5-of-6 targets for 61 yards and a TD. He finished as the TE3 with 12.1 fantasy points.
Although Will Fuller will make his 2017 debut on Sunday against Tennessee, I believe Griffin could still be productive despite the additional weapon on the outside. Facing a Titans defense that’s yielded the 13th most fantasy points to TEs allowing 8 FPPG, Griffin could be started with confidence in both standard and PPR scoring formats. He’ll likely emerge as Deshaun Watson’s safety blanket as the season progresses.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 2.0%
Cameron Brate is coming off of a solid four catch, 33-yard and one TD performance last week against a stout Vikings defense. He finished as the TE10 with 9.3 fantasy points, despite the presence of O.J. Howard, who has been invisible thus far in 2017. Although Howard has out-snapped Brate 80-64 on offense, the latter is out-producing the rookie from a fantasy perspective. Brate has accumulated 11.7 fantasy points to Howard’s 2.9 in two games.
Brate is entering a matchup with the Giants whose defense plays soft against the tight end. They’ve surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to the position allowing 10.9 FPPG. While Howard may still break out at some point in 2017 — rookie TEs are not normally uber-productive in fantasy — expect Brate to be Tampa Bay’s top TE for the foreseeable future. Brate is a TD-dependent TE2 for Week 4.
Two Sleepers in Case You’re Desperate
ESPN Start-Percentage: 28.1
Chris Carson has emerged as Seattle’s top running back in recent weeks. In his last two games, he’s accumulated 127 yards on 31 carries while adding a 3-25-1 stat line as a receiver out of the backfield. He’s fantasy’s RB16 with 21.2 points in that time span. Now, with C.J. Prosise ruled out for Sunday’s matchup against the Colts with an ankle injury, it appears Carson could garner the bulk of the RB touches for the Seahawks, especially since Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls have been ineffective this season. Facing an Indianapolis defense that’s allowed the 13th most fantasy production to RBs surrendering 18 FPPG, Carson, one of fantasy football’s hottest waiver wire adds, could be in line for his best game of his young career in Week 4.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 6.1%
Although the 49ers’ defense has improved, they are still being gashed by fantasy running backs. They’ve allowed the sixth most points to the position yielding 22.1 FPPG, which bodes well for Chris Johnson’s fantasy outlook for Week 4. While Arizona’s RBs have been non-existent since losing David Johnson to a wrist injury in Week 1, a matchup with the 49ers could be what the doctor ordered to right the ship, at least for this week. The veteran rusher may not have very much fantasy value moving forward, but this is one of those weeks to roll the dice. Johnson is a desperation start for Week 4.
Thank you for reading about my sleepers for Week 4. I hope you enjoyed it! Want more? Mike Hauff and I debate fantasy football news, notes and yes, sleepers, on our show, the Faceoff, a Gridiron Experts podcast. Check it out.
Oh, and before I forget, we will answer your questions on our show! All you have to do is Tweet us with your question @FFfaceoff.
Anthony Cervino is a lifelong NFL enthusiast, especially of the Dallas Cowboys. He has been infatuated with the game since childhood and was introduced to fantasy football as a young teen. Back then, the league commissioner typed out the weekly newsletter and used the Daily News to tally scores. In a statistic-driven game of fantasy football, Anthony believes that sometimes you have to rely on that good ole gut instinct. Anthony resides in New Jersey where he lives with his wife, son and a pomeranian that is named Roman (after Tony Romo). When Anthony is not immersed in the NFL or fantasy football related activities, he enjoys bodybuilding and spending time with his family. Anthony is committed to giving you his best analysis and most accurate statistics to help you win championships. Don’t hesitate to tweet Anthony @therealnflguru about anything NFL or fantasy-related topics. He will always respond in a timely fashion.