7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 3
Week 2 wasn't kind to fantasy owners and -- more importantly -- to NFL players.
A rash of injuries hit the league in 2016's second slate of games, and that's opened up some potential for some would-be sleepers to have grander roles than usual. Of course, along with the injuries have led to shifts in ownership percentages for obvious replacement players.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (Owned in 33.9% of ESPN Leagues | Started in 17.0% of ESPN Leagues)
Ryan Tannehill is being touted as one of the best streaming options of the week, and it's hard to deny that. The Miami Dolphins are 9.5-point favorites over the Cody Kessler-led Cleveland Browns, who rank 21st against the pass, according to numberFire's metrics, through two weeks. Making things more enticing is the fact that Joe Haden missed practice on Friday, and his status is uncertain for Week 3.
Additionally, per Rotoviz's Game Splits App, Tannehill has averaged 22.4 fantasy points in nine games with DeVante Parker since the start of last season compared to 19.0 without him. Things shape up nicely for Tannehill and the Dolphins, whose running game is suspect this week.
If Tannehill's 33.9% ownership is too high for you to snag him, then consider Joe Flacco on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which is a less enticing matchup but could get the job done if you're digging deep for quarterback this week.
Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina Panthers (15.2% | 2.8%)
Cameron Artis-Payne is the nominal starter this week for the Carolina Panthers, who are seven-point favorites over the Minnesota Vikings. This is a spot where you'd be wary of starting Jonathan Stewart, even, given his concerns around the goal line and the tough defensive matchup, but if you can snag a potential starter on a team favored by a full touchdown and an extra point, you have to do it if you're looking in this range. We should expect Fozzy Whittaker to see a pretty equal workload to Artis-Payne, but Whittaker is more appropriate in a pass-catching role, which we shouldn't expect given the point spread
The unfortunate bit is that the Vikings are the top rushing defense in the league through two weeks, per our metrics.
Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins (27.2% | 7.3%)
Remember what we said about potential starters on a team favored by a big margin? Well, Kenyan Drake doesn't have the starter name tag entering Week 3, but that might not matter with Arian Foster ruled out already. Jay Ajayi has had issues with head coach Adam Gase, and the current coaching staff selected Drake in the third round of the draft this year. Drake might not see enough touches to make a splash against the Browns' top-10 rushing defense (based on our metrics through two weeks), but he could emerge as the lead back in Miami if Ajayi sputters and Foster remains sidelined.
Playing a running back with a shot at touches as a 9.5-point favorite is never a terrible way to approach these deep sleeper options, and you might wind up with a starter on your roster as a result.
Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns (25.8% | 5.1%)
Isn't fantasy football great? Would you really have cared about a quarterback, running back, and wide receiver in a tilt between the Browns and Dolphins without it? Maybe if you were a fan of either team, sure, but Terrelle Pryor is another deep fantasy option in Week 3. The Browns are big underdogs, which isn't a good sign for efficiency, but there should be passing volume -- and that's what Pryor needs.
Pryor has been on the field for 87.1% of Cleveland's offensive snaps, and that shouldn't go anywhere after Corey Coleman broke his hand at practice this week. Further, Pryor has already drawn a target on 16.7% of his snaps, which ranks him seventh among 33 receivers to see at least 85% of their team's snaps. It won't be pretty, but Pryor has some potential in this one.
Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets (8.8% | 38.5%)
Even with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker on the field, Quincy Enunwa has started the year out hot. Marshall practiced in a limited capacity on Friday, but he is shaping up to be a game-time decision on Sunday afternoon. This Kansas City Chiefs pass defense ranks 16th through two weeks, and that's with a Week 1 matchup against the San Diego Chargers, who lost Keenan Allen during the game.
The game sets up to be fairly gross overall with a 42-point over/under and the Chiefs favored by 3, but Enunwa without Marshall is a strong option in this range.
Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers (27.6% | 7.5%)
The Green Bay Packers are 7-point favorites over the Detroit Lions this week in a game with an over/under of 47 points, tied for the third-highest of the weekend. That gives them an implied team total of 27 points, second behind only the New Orleans Saints at 28.25. As 7-point favorites and with a 72% chance to win, per our algorithm, Green Bay has as good a chance as any team to be scoring points and moving the ball, which is a good sign for tight ends historically.
Cook has been on the field for 56.4% of Green Bay's offensive snaps, placing him outside the top 25 among tight ends, but he's drawn a target on 10.1% of snaps, ranking a less-terrible 18th among 35 tight ends on the field for at least 50% of offensive snaps. He's not a surefire start in shallow leagues, but his matchup is worth it in a deeper format.
Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears (10.2% | 2.1%)
Eddie Royal and the Chicago Bears aren't an ideal team to target given that they're transitioning from Jay Cutler to Brian Hoyer in a game where they are seven-point underdogs to the slow, slow, slow Dallas Cowboys' offense. But Royal should have a promising individual matchup against Orlando Scandrick in Week 3, and the Bears should be forced into throwing often.
Further, Alshon Jeffery is dealing with a sore knee and is questionable for Sunday night's game. Whether he plays or not, Royal, who has played on 67.3% of Chicago's snaps so far, should see significant targets in this type of game, as he's just one target shy of Jeffery and Kevin White for the team lead.