Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 8
After a lackluster Week 6, I promised a bounce-back effort in Week 7 and the PPR Sleepers delivered. While I was frustrated by the incomprehensible zero-catch-on-one-target performance from Dorial Green Beckham, several of last week’s picks came through in a big way. Nate Washington led the way with nine catches on 16 targets, totaling 127 yards and two touchdowns. Robert Woods had a big game in London, with nice catches of his own on 13 targets for 84 yards and a score. Ladarius Green and Danny Amendola each saw nine targets and found the endzone, as well. And then there was Darren McFadden, who didn’t have the receiving game I would have envisioned, but you can’t argue with 162 total yards and a score.
But the PPR Sleepers don’t rest on laurels, so it’s back to the grind for Week 8. After a brutal weekend for byes last week, things aren’t quite as difficult on that front this time around. But fantasy players will contest with a week of rest for players like LeSean McCoy, Allen Robinson, DeMarco Murray, and PPR machine Jordan Reed. If your league utilizes a points-per-reception scoring format or you’re playing on one of the major DFS sites (DraftKings awards a full point per reception, while FanDuel scores a half point per catch), players that accumulate catches without the fanfare of big yardage totals and frequent trips to the endzone can help to fill holes on your roster.
Below are ten PPR sleepers (five WR, two RB, and three TE) that can offer your team sneaky fantasy value in the eighth week of the NFL season.
10. Tyler Lockett
Wide Receiver, Seattle
The do-everything rookie receiver has been ramping up his involvement in the passing game over the last month, with five targets in three of his last four games. In Week 7, Lockett led the Seahawks in targets, catches, and receiving yards, and he registered his first offensive touchdown of the season. Dallas’ defense has been solid against the pass this year, but the Cowboys have also been susceptible to big gains through the air. Seattle will certainly focus on running the ball first with Marshawn Lynch, but they will also look to get the ball into Lockett’s hands as much as possible, and the talented playmaker should be able to make the most of his opportunities.
9. Jarius Wright
Wide Receiver, Minnesota
After working his way back from a hand injury, Wright has nine targets since the Vikings’ Week 5 bye and his six targets a week ago were second only to Stefon Diggs for the team lead. Despite the return of Charles Johnson in Week 7, Wright continued to serve as Minnesota’s third wide receiver, operating primarily out of the slot. This week’s opponent, the Bears, have been among the most generous to wide receivers this season for fantasy purposes, and ahead of their bye last week allowed five catches, 106 yards, and a touchdown to Lions number-three receiver Lance Moore. Wright has sneaky PPR upside in this matchup.
8. Jacob Tamme
Tight End, Atlanta
The veteran tight end has been on a bit of a run lately in terms of involvement in the Atlanta passing game. Tamme has seen at least five targets in each of the Falcons’ last three games, with a total of 21 looks over that period. He played a bigger role last week after Leonard Hankerson left the game with an injury and Hankerson has already been ruled out for Week 8. Tampa Bay has been just a middle-of-the-road defense against tight ends this season, and in a home game with a short-handed receiving corp, Tamme should have a chance to contribute in PPR scoring formats.
7. Duke Johnson
Running Back, Cleveland
Cleveland’s running game is a mess and Johnson has only seen double-digit carries once this season. But anything he contributes on the ground is really just icing on the cake that is the rookie’s involvement in the passing game. Johnson has at least seven targets in four of his last five games and has also caught at least six passes in four of five contests.
Arizona’s defense has been stout against opposing passing attacks this season, but has surrendered 46 receptions to running backs, tied for fifth worst in the league. With the Browns likely to be playing from behind against Carson Palmer and company, Johnson should continue to see a high volume of passes, and the matchup is more favorable than it appears at first glance.
6. Justin Hardy
Wide Receiver, Atlanta
Leonard Hankerson has been productive as Atlanta’s number-three wide receiver this season, but he injured a hamstring in Week 7 and has already been ruled out for this weekend’s game against the Buccaneers. Nick Williams assumed the WR3 role after Hankerson went down last week and produced three catches for 43 yards on five targets. However, Williams is also dealing with a hamstring issue and could miss Week 8, as well. All of which could elevate Hardy to the number-three receiver role for Matt Ryan, even though he has been inactive all season. The fifth-round rookie is a bit of a dart throw since we don’t have any professional data to go on, but a variety of players have found success in this role for the Falcons in 2015 and Hardy has the tools to be an effective NFL receiver. The matchup is also favorable, as Tampa Bay gives up the third most fantasy points to opposing receivers on average this year.
5. Crockett Gillmore
Tight End, Baltimore
Gillmore is coming off a solid five-catch, 53-yard game in Week 7, where he was targeted seven times by Joe Flacco. He benefited from the absence of fellow tight end Maxx Williams a week ago, and while the rookie will tentatively return to the field this week, Williams is less than 100% with knee and ankle injuries and Gillmore has firmly established himself as the primary tight end for the Ravens. Gillmore has been targeted 26 times in five games this season and faces a Chargers defense that ranks in the bottom-10 in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends. The Baltimore/San Diego game is expected to be among the highest scoring of the week and Gillmore should continue to be heavily involved on the Ravens side.
4. Mohamed Sanu
Wide Receiver, Cincinnati
The Bengals enter a Week 8 matchup with division-rival Pittsburgh off a bye and quarterback Andy Dalton has been playing great this season. Sanu is firmly behind A.J. Green and Marvin Jones at the wide receiver position for Cincinnati, and Tyler Eifert is more consistently the third option. But Sanu has seen at least four targets in each of his last four games, and he faces a Steelers defense that has given up a whopping 101 receptions to opposing receivers this season. If Ben Roethlisberger returns for Pittsburgh this week as expected, this game could turn into a shoot out, benefiting all receiving options including Sanu.
3. Jermaine Gresham
Tight End, Arizona
Gresham had his best game as a Cardinal in Week 7, sharing the team lead in targets with six and hauling in four balls for 62 yards. Darren Fells missed that game with a shoulder injury and has already been ruled out for Week 8. While Bruce Arians’ offense is not known for highlighting the tight end position, Gresham is a talented pass catcher that enjoyed several productive seasons in Cincinnati, and Arizona will likely need to continue relying on him as a result of injuries.
In addition to Fells absence this week, the Cardinals could be without wide receiver John Brown, who is questionable with a hamstring injury.
2. Stevie Johnson
Wide Receiver, San Diego
There are a number of factors favoring San Diego pass catchers in Week 8. The Chargers/Ravens game has the highest over/under of the week in Vegas, Baltimore has been an absolute sieve in its defensive secondary, and Philip Rivers has averaged 57 pass attempts per game over the last three weeks.
The primary beneficiary of this should be Keenan Allen, but there should be plenty of opportunities for other receivers to get involved. Johnson returned from a two-game absence last week to record five catches on eight targets and 40 yards receiving.
Other Great Week 8 Articles!
- FanDuel Lineup Advice Week 8
- Analyzing Fantasy Targets Week 8
- 5 Fantasy Starters with Outstanding Matchups
- Start’Em Sit’Em: Week 8
- Key Statistics for Every Week 8 Matchup
- Fantasy Trade Advice Week 8
- Buy Low Sell High: Week 8
Week 8 Fantasy Projections
- Week 8: QB Projections
- Week 8: RB Projections
- Week 8: WR Projections
- Week 8: TE Projections
- Week 8: Flex Projections
Johnson has at least five targets in every game that he has played this season and should continue to benefit from the absence of Antonio Gates. Johnson is a great PPR value play this week.
1. Charles Sims
Running Back, Tampa Bay
Doug Martin is enjoying a fantasy renaissance in Tampa Bay this season and he is a great DFS play in Week 8. But there should be room for Sims to enjoy PPR success, as well. He has twelve targets in the last three weeks and could see a boost in activity with Vincent Jackson likely to miss this week’s game with a knee injury.
Sims has also seen double-digit carries in each of the last two games, but should enjoy his greatest success in the passing game. While Martin is a good pass-catcher in his own right, Sims is ahead of him in targets, receptions, and receiving yards on the year. And now he gets to face a Falcons defense that has given up a league-leading 64 receptions to running backs in 2015.
Self-described fantasy degenerate that has been participating in fantasy sports leagues since the spiral notebook scoring era. If you can make a fantasy league out of it, I’m in.