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 3 through Week 6, unless otherwise stated.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
Don't expect the young Dolphins passer to light the world ablaze versus division-rival Buffalo this week, but he makes for a nice replacement if you're looking at a vacationing Drew Brees on your roster. Tannehill has averaged 264.0 yards and 1.33 touchdowns per game -- not exactly stellar figures, but enough to work with.
Buffalo has afforded quarterbacks to post per-game stats of 309.3 yards and 2.25 offensive touchdowns.
Eli Manning, New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings
This season really can't get much work for Manning, and just when you are completely ready to give up on him, the Vikings come to town. Could it turn around this week? The numbers suggest it certainly is a possibility.
Minnesota has given up the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the position, at 25.3. That figure stems from an average of 315.3 yards and 2.33 passing scores against.
DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers vs. St. Louis Rams
DAW took the backseat to Mike Tolbert's two touchdowns last week. Williams, for the record, has averaged 17.3 carries, 74.3 rushing yards, 2.67 catches and 26.7 receiving yards per game, but he hasn't found the end zone in the last four weeks.
St. Louis has given up 160.5 rushing yards per contest to running backs, which is an insane number -- 47.5 more than the next closest average. Furthermore, they have given up 39.3 additional yards to through the air and 1.25 offensive scores, on average.
Roy Helu, Washington Redskins vs. Chicago Bears
PPR owners have to get Helu into their lineups. He is seeing enough work to matter, and clearly is Washington's third-down back. With a shaky defense of his own, Robert Griffin III is forced to pass more than the coaching staff would like to see.
The Bears' run defense is suspect, at best, with all the injuries they've faced. Also, they give up a lot of points to receiving backs (average of 7.5 receptions, 51.5 yards and 0.50 touchdowns). In all, rushers have averaged 154.8 offensive yards and 1.25 scores to the position.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Fresh off his largest, most productive workload of the season -- 22 carries for 102 yards -- Mathews gets to enjoy a matchup with the Jaguars.
While most of the Jags' numbers against (second-worst against the position) came in Week 6, they still showed the ability to be gouged. This D has given up a touchdown per game in the last month, even if three came to Denver's Knowshon Moreno.
Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
No team has given up more points to opposite wideouts than the Bills, and Hartline should be the recipient of single coverage as they try to keep Mike Wallace in check. Hartline is better in PPR setups, but he is a fine play in standard leagues, as well.
Miami has given up a whopping 35.0 non-PPR points, on average, to the position. Surrendering per-game figures of 13.0 receptions, 253.3 yards and 1.75 scores will do that.
Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars
In his last three games, the rookie has caught at least five balls for 80 yards in each outing. His last two games have been particularly impressive, logging a 15-222-2 line. Allen has the explicit trust of quarterback Philip Rivers.
Jacksonville's terrible defense is very friendly to receivers, as you probably guessed. The position has notched 12.75 receptions, 190.3 yards and 1.75 trips to paydirt, on average, against the Jags.
Jerome Simpson, Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants
Sure, the QB situation in Minnesota is worrisome, but Simpson could be the primary focus in the passing game if the Giants' defense pays theirs to Greg Jennings. Simpson is a risky, all-or-nothing type of guy.
New York has done a good job of limiting receivers' receptions and yardage totals, but they cannot seem to keep pass catchers from finding the end zone (1.75 TDs per game). Are you brave enough to gamble with Simpson as a flex play?
Mike Brown, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Diego Chargers
As if Simpson wasn't risky enough, Brown, who made his return in Week 6 from a lower-back fracture, caught five balls for 63 yards. He could have a larger role if Cecil Shorts (sternum) is incapable of playing, and even if he does suit up, his range of motion could be limited.
Brown has mild PPR appeal as a flex play. He faces a Bolts' D that has permitted wideouts averages of 14.0 receptions, 186.8 yards and 1.25 end zone trips each week.
NEW - Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
After a stinker in his return from a hamstring injury last week, Austin is fully participating in practice and should be nearing 100 percent. The Cowboys gave him the day off Thursday to rest and ensure he's ready to go. He has an ideal matchup to get back on track.
Only the Buffalo Bills have surrendered more points to the wide receiver position. On average, wideouts have accosted the Eagles to the tune of 31.5 non-PPR points, 16.5 receptions, 212.0 yards and 2.0 touchdowns per outing.
Jeff Cumberland, New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
Cumberland, a waiver wire target, should be on your short list of Jimmy Graham replacements for this week. Rookie quarterbacks tend to rely on the tight end position. The loss of wideout Santonio Holmes (hamstring) and the suspension of veteran Kellen Winslow points to more work for Cumberland.
The Pats have given up two touchdowns in the last month to tight ends, in addition to averages of 6.75 receptions and 75.0 yards -- not bad figures for a bye week replacement to strive for.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants
Rudolph is coming off his best game of the season and hopes to keep it going versus a reeling Giants team. He has averaged 7.0 targets per game, even if it hasn't translated into much product, so you can take solace in knowing the looks are there.
NYG has yielded 9.5 standard fantasy points per game to the position, which is a reasonable number to accept for Rudolph's week to be successful. The position has accounted for per-matchup numbers of 5.5 receptions, 74.5 yards and 0.5 scores.
Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
While you'd prefer field goals to extra points, Henery still has managed to keep his leg exercised each week. He has four games with multiple field goal attempts this year and has kicked two or more XPAs in all but one game.
Dallas has given up 2.75 point-afters and 2.50 field goal attempts (2.25 made) to the position, good for 9.5 standard fantasy points, on average.
Kai Forbath, Washington Redskins vs. Chicago Bears
A healthy Forbath deserves fantasy attention. He kicked three of his four field goal attempts in Week 6 and made his lone point-after try. The offense in Washington is just good enough right now to move the ball and struggle to find the end zone.
Chicago is tied for the most fantasy points per game allowed to the position with 11.0. Kickers have been perfect, nailing a matching 2.75 field goals and XPAs per outing.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Despite coming off the bye, Miami makes for an intriguing matchup for a spot-play defense, like Buffalo. The Dolphins had given up 5.0 sacks, 1.33 interceptions and 0.67 fumbles to opposing defenses in the three showings before their week off.
San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Look, San Diego's defense hasn't been fantasy-friendly this year, but Jacksonville's offense has been so very bad. They have thrown nine interceptions in their last four games, giving up 3.0 sacks and 0.5 fumbles per matchup in this time.
NEW - Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
In what could be a fairly ugly game, Miami needs to join Buffalo in our list of defensive team recommendations this week. With all due respect to Bills quarterback Thaddeus Lewis for his admirable Week 6 effort, he was still sacked five times and lost a fumble. Now he has a sore ankle that could limit him or affect his ability to drive the ball.
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.