Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 5 players to start

by Cory J. Bonini on October 3, 2013 @ 12:45:34 PDT

 

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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 through Week 4, unless otherwise stated.

Quarterback

Eli Manning, New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Eli has had a rough go of it this season, becoming a turnover machine for defenses to feast on. The Giants' offense has been in shambles, primarily because of injuries along the protection front. Hosting the Eagles may be just what the doctor ordered for the ailing G-Men.

Philly has allowed quarterbacks to post the third most fantasy points per game to the position, stemming from 339.5 yards and 2.25 TDs, on average, each outing.

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Look for the Rams to open up their playbook in effort to not be so predictable. Jacksonville is a welcomed sight for an offense that cannot get over the hump and has been plagued by inconsistency.

The Jags have surrendered 231.8 yards and 2.25 touchdown passes per matchup, playing especially poorly in the last two weeks -- the worst defense against QBs in that abbreviated time.

Running back

Johnathan Franklin, Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions

Green Bay's backfield touch breakdown is sketchy, at best, right now, but Franklin should be the frontrunner for third-down duties. He showcased what he is capable of before the Packers' bye week with 103 rushing yards on just 13 carries, and Franklin chipped in three catches for 23 yards. Furthermore, running back James Starks (knee) may miss the divisional tilt in Week 5.

Detroit has given up two aerial touchdowns in four games to the running back position. While they have permitted only 87.5 rushing yards per outing to the position, RBs have ripped off 5.0 yards per attempt against them. You could do worse than taking a shot on Franklin in deep PPR leagues in a week that is without Alfred Morris, Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin because of byes.

NEW - Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Richardson simply hasn't been able to get the job done this year. He is averaging 2.7 yards per tote on the season and hasn't found the end zone. Look for Stacy and Cunningham to share the workload, perhaps with a little Isaiah Pead sprinkled in, against a porous Jaguars team.

Jacksonville has given up 127.3 rushing yards, 31.5 receiving yards and 0.75 touchdowns per game to running backs. They have yielded 5.0 yards an attempt this season.

David Wilson, New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Has anyone been a bigger disappointment at running back than Wilson? He has averaged a measly 3.4 yards per carry, has failed to find the end zone, and has fumbled away the ball twice, which is exactly as many receptions as he has logged. The Giants cut running back Da'Rel Scott, so Wilson could see more work this week.

Philadelphia has allowed 151.8 offensive yards and 0.75 scores to running backs. Wilson could rip off a long run or two and give fantasy owners enough points to warrant playing him. He undoubtedly is a risky play.

Wide receiver

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams

Wideout Justin Blackmon returns this week and should give the Jags' offense a much-needed boost, all while helping take some pressure off Shorts. Blackmon's sidekick is a natural deep threat and should not have a hard time sneaking past the Rams' maligned secondary once or twice ... whether or not Blaine Gabbert can get him the ball is another story. Shorts tweaked his groin in practice, an injury that is being called minor. Monitor his gameday status.

St. Louis has been victimized of late by wide receivers. The position has averaged 25.8 points per contest, which comes from the Rams giving up weekly figures of 13.8 receptions, 179.8 yards and 1.5 scores.

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Jets

White's ankle sprain recovery is finally starting to near 100 percent. He played in all but two of the team's Week 4 offensive snaps and was targeted nine times -- as many as he had in the first three games combined.

The Jets are likely to put their best defensive back (Antonio Cromartie) on Julio Jones, because they match up very well from a physical standpoint. Doing so will leave White to work his magic against a rookie much of the game. New York has allowed wideouts to manage 13.3 receptions, 185.8 yards and 1.25 touchdowns on a weekly basis.

Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Following a Week 4 goose egg, Broyles has savory matchup against the Packers. Matthew Stafford looked to tight end Brandon Pettigrew aplenty last Sunday, which was a big factor in Broyles not registering on the stats sheet. He makes for a risky play but should be on your radar, especially in PPR affairs.

Green Bay has given up the third most points per game (30.3) to the position this year, which originates from 14.67 grabs, 234.0 yards and 1.67 touchdowns against.

Greg Little, Cleveland Browns vs. Buffalo Bills

Little has been virtually nonexistent for fantasy purposes, despite seeing 30 targets through the first three games. Quarterback Brian Hoyer has injected some life into this team, although it hasn't translated to Little, who sports an anemic 34.4 percent reception rate (30 percent with Hoyer starting).

The Bills likely will pay most of their defensive attention to wide receiver Josh Gordon and may be without free safety Jairus Byrd (foot) again. On top of all of that, Buffalo has given up the second most non-PPR points (32.5) to the position this year.

NEW - Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor (concussion) is expected to return to the starting lineup, which should give the Raiders' offense a considerable boost. Their running back situation is somewhat shaky with Darren McFadden (hamstring) likely sidelined, but that isn't all bad. Look for the passing game to play a larger role this week in Oakland's offensive plans.

San Diego hasn't fared well against the position, ranking in the bottom five of the league through the first month. Wideouts have logged averages of 16.5 receptions, 224.3 yards and 1.25 scores per game.

Tight end

Dallas Clark, Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins

Playing Clark relies on a good deal of misfortune and willingness to take a leap of faith. He has 29 targets on the season but has not done a lot with the 16 receptions he has produced. Clark is a PPR gamble this week.

Miami has been demolished by the tight end position the past few weeks -- albeit players above Clark's skill set. They'll likely look to stop Torrey Smith and Ray Rice, which should keep Clark in checkdown situations for Joe Flacco. The Dolphins have given up 6.3 receptions, 82.3 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game to the position this season.

Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens

Clay has taken the bull by the horns since moving to tight end on a full-time basis. He has caught 20 of the 23 passes thrown his way, which is good for an 87.0 percent reception rate. Look for him to keep up the strong play against the Ravens.

Don't be fooled by the Ravens' reputation. The 2013 version has been picked on by big-play tight ends. The position has averaged 4.5 catches, 72.5 yards and 0.5 trips to paydirt against this group.

Place kicker

Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions

Prior to Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, when he knocked through all three of his field goal attempts, Crosby wasn't relied on for much more than extra point kicks (12-for-12 after three games). He is 4-for-4 on the year from three-point land.

Kickers have averaged 9.3 fantasy points per game against Detroit this year, which is good for the eight most allowed in the league.

Nick Folk, New York Jets at Atlanta Falcons

Folk has averaged a pair of field goal attempts and 1.5 touchdown cappers, on his way to 7.5 fantasy points per game. Folk has made all eight of his distance kicks, with a long of 48 yards.

Atlanta's defense is quite banged up right now and may be on its heels. The Jets could move the ball in an effective manner. Folk faces a team that has given up 2.25 field goal tries and 2.75 extra points per game.

Defensive team

St. Louis Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

This analysis really could begin and end with "Blaine Gabbert." Jacksonville has given up 19 sacks in four contests and has turned over the ball twice per game (with Gabbert being responsible for three INTs and four sacks last week).

Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns

Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer has been better than many expected, but he still has taken six sacks and turned over the ball three times in two games. Buffalo has averaged 3.0 sacks per game on the year and could get after Hoyer enough to make them a worthwhile fantasy play.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

While the Giants should be better this week than they have been, it doesn't detract from how frequently they have turned over the ball. Philly's defense often is exhausted because of how much they're on the field, but that may not matter against a decimated New York offensive line. The Giants have handed over the rock 4.0 times per outing and have given up 14 sacks on the year.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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