7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 2
Week 1 was marvelous for deep sleepers.
Quincy Enunwa and Eli Rogers posted top-16 PPR performances among wide receivers. Alex Smith finished as the QB3 of the week. And Jack Doyle put forth the top tight end performance of the season's opening week.
Fantasy football is as predictably unpredictable as ever before, and if you're looking for
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (Owned in 24.5% of ESPN Leagues | Started in 11.5% of ESPN Leagues)
In Week 1, Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens didn't put forth a stellar showing, winding up with just 13 points, but that doesn't mean we can't target him against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. Last year, the Browns ranked 23rd in pass defense, per our Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play metric. They allowed Carson Wentz to post a Passing NEP per drop back of 0.26 in Week 1 (the league average last season was 0.11).
As 6.5-point favorites, the Ravens are implied to score a pretty modest 24.25 points (based on an over/under of 42), but Flacco is the best floor play among the deep sleepers at quarterbacks in Week 2.
Chris Thompson, Washington (12.4% | 1.1%)
In Week 1, Chris Thompson played 39 offensive snaps for Washington (67% of them). By contrast, Matt Jones saw just 19 (33%). You'll mostly want to be targeting Thompson when Washington is expected to trail, but he might have more value than we could have anticipated.
Washington is actually a 2.5-point home favorite against the Dallas Cowboys, so this is setting up to be more of a Jones game than a Thompson game, but Thompson did get a carry from the one-yard line, which he converted to a touchdown. Jones saw just one red zone carry, but it was from outside the 10. He might not be as game-script dependent as other third-down backs are, and that's something we need to take advantage of early this season.
Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49ers (7.4% | 0.3%)
Shaun Draughn, on the other hand, can't say the same thing. In Week 1 -- when the San Francisco 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams 28-0 -- it was the Carlos Hyde show. Hyde played 70% of the 49ers' snaps, and Draughn played just 26%. But this week, the 49ers are 13.5-point underdogs against the Carolina Panthers.
Hyde did see 3 targets to Draughn's 2 in Week 1, but on a per-snap basis, Draughn's pass-game involvement is evident. As a flex play in a deep PPR league, Draughn is easy to justify in Week 2.
Eli Rogers, Pittsburgh Steelers (27.6% | 3.5%)
Eli Rogers might be a thing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played 47 snaps (69%) in Week 1, just a smidgeon more than Sammie Coates (44). However, Rogers drew 7 targets to Coates' 3 and caught 6 of them for 86 yards. We'll look past his flukey touchdown that could have easily went to Coates instead, but the target involvement is promising, especially after drawing flak from Ben Roethlisberger after a first-quarter interception.
You can still get exposure to one of the league's best offenses through Rogers, and his usage -- provided it's similar moving forward -- will be hard to find at this ownership later in the year.
Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers (0.9% | 0.1%)
Inman drew all three of his targets after Keenan Allen left the game with what ended up being a season-ending ACL tear and actually led all San Diego Chargers receivers in snaps with 58. Benjamin played 55, and Williams played 44. This replacement situation isn't super clear right now, so Inman should be rostered -- especially with a matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars' 27th-ranked pass defense from last year looming in Week 2.
Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers (18.2% | 9.6%)
It was clear entering last week that Jesse James had a chance to be a key piece in Pittsburgh's offense, but he actually was one of just three tight ends to play every single offensive snap possible in Week 1, joining Greg Olsen and Jason Witten.
He turned that into 5 catches for 31 yards on 7 targets, which isn't great, but he saw 2 targets from inside the 10, making him one of just eight players to see multiple looks that close to the goal line in Week 1. James has season-long appeal, and if he's going to be in on every snap in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals, he's a fine low-end tight end in deep leagues.
Jeremy Kerley, San Francisco 49ers (6.7% | 0.6%)
You simply can't expect the 49ers to score many points on the Panthers, but Kerley looked like the guy for San Francisco in the passing game, if we're putting stock into Week 1.
Kerley played just 54 snaps (66% of the team's snaps) compared to 78 for Torrey Smith (95%) and 71 for Quinton Patton (87%), but he was targeted on 20.4% of his snaps (11 targets). Smith saw just 6 targets (a 7.7% rate), and Patton saw 5 (7.0%).
Overall, Kerley's 31% target market share was a top-seven rate among receivers. This team should be trailing plenty, and if you can get a player seeing receiving volume on a team that will be forced to pass, you have to take it if you're digging this deep.