In this article KFFL breaks down the fantasy football sleepers of the week. We will avoid marquee names because players of that caliber are rarely benched, regardless of their matchup. Instead, we will focus on the players that make your fantasy lineup decisions stressful each week. Read on to learn which midrange to low-end players you wouldn’t necessarily consider that you need to get into your lineup.
Note: All statistics are from Week 1, unless otherwise stated.
Fantasy football sleepers: Wide receivers
Worth barking up this tree
Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams vs. Washington Redskins
Fantasy value: Midrange No. 2
- Gibson made a tough grab for paydirt in Week 1 and totaled 51 yards and four grabs from five looks. The Rams' wideout depth behind primary target Danny Amendola is in flux, but Gibson has been in the Gateway City for nearly four years, and many forget how long he's been catching tosses from Sam Bradford.
- If you need a receiver spark, he faces a Redskins squad that gave up 26 standard points to the wideout position Sunday. Sure, that was against the New Orleans Saints, but St. Louis will probably have to play catch-up, as well. (Theirs wouldn't be surprising, unlike New Orleans'.) Plus, this secondary doesn't match the competency of its front seven.
Kevin Ogletree, Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks
Fantasy value: No. 2 or No. 3
- One of the hottest pickups following Week 1 is primed to fill the role Laurent Robinson inherited last year, at least in production if not in red zone hawk. Though Ogletree had plenty of things go in his favor during Week 1 (shaky New York Giants coverage included), there's a weekly role for him with Dallas and in fantasy lineups.
- This matchup fits that bill. Seattle allowed over 200 yards combined between John Skelton and Kevin Kolb, who led the Arizona Cardinals to a comeback victory. Dallas' more potent passing game should enjoy this matchup even more. Seattle's strong run D might bring Dallas back to its typical offense of having Tony Romo sling it at will.
- Jason Witten probably will remain in block-first duties as Dallas treats his spleen injury with care. Ogletree should fall into his targets as a result for as long as he's not at full strength.
NEW - Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Fantasy value: No. 2 or No. 3
- Greg Jennings (groin) is unlikely to play in Thursday's tilt with the Bears, which vaults the dynamic Cobb up the pecking order. It didn't seem to matter last week with a healthy Jennings, as Cobb was targeted nine times and caught every ball. He lines up all over the field and can play any wide receiver position.
- Chicago's best defensive back, Charles Tillman (shin), is questionable for Week 2. Without him, Reggie Wayne was permitted to go nuts in Week 1. Jordy Nelson probably will fill that role, with James Jones sliding into Nelson's spot. That is ideal for Cobb, who will see single coverage most of the day.
- Chicago allowed the Indianapolis Colts' receivers to catch 15 passes for 208 yards and score once in the opener. PPR owners are thrilled for the chance to play Cobb, and you should add him off your waiver wire in all formats.
Andrew Hawkins, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
Fantasy value: Low-end No. 3
- The shifty snare caught eight passes for 86 yards Monday night, finding holes in and burning past the Baltimore Ravens defense at times. A.J. Green's supporting cast hasn't done much, and the 5-foot-7, 180-pound sophomore gives Cincy a potential big-play commodity that might see single coverage most of the year as an alluring West Coast offense fit.
- Speaking of defenses with issues, the Cleveland Browns' secondary will be without the suspended Joe Haden, and their linebackers are either injured or green besides D'Qwell Jackson. Hawkins' pure speed is a decent bet to torment them this week, one week after the Philadelphia Eagles catchers had their way with the Dawg Pound.
- We'll have more on this tomorrow in the Waiver Wire report, but Hawkins deserves a trial if you're hurting at wide receiver.
NEW - Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- OK, maybe we are picking on Buffalo at this point! The Bills' pass defense was atrocious, and KC's aerial game should be as competent as the New York Jets' most weeks. McCluster has blossomed as a full-time slot receiver and was the target of 10 passes in Week 1. He hauled in six of them for 82 yards. He is ever-dangerous in open space.
- Buffalo's defense allowed Jets receivers to register 36 standard fantasy points, which was the third most by a team in the opening week. New York's pass-catchers snared 14 balls for 210 yards (15.0 per catch) scored three times.
- McCluster has more value in PPR leagues and should be consider a last-resort in standard-scoring setups.
Louis Murphy, Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints
Fantasy value: Flex or bench
- Carolina needed to try something to wake up their offense versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1. Murphy did his part, hauling in three throws for 63 yards, including a 51-yarder. Oakland disposed of the big-play threat and sent him to Carolina, who needed more weapons. Murphy has a role as a deep complement to Steve Smith.
- N'awlins is still getting their Bountygate-hit defense together. They allowed mobile QB Robert Griffin III to go nuts on them last week. Fleet-footed Cam Newton has an equally prime opportunity to test the Saints' secondary.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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