7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 8
We should get real about the NFL schedule.
With 16 games in 17 weeks, players need time off. I'm fine with that. Heck, give them two or three bye weeks and stretch out the season if that's what it takes. But when we have two teams on bye in Week 4, then four, two, two, six, six, four, four, zero, and two through Week 13, then I think we should reconsider.
Because right now, with six teams on bye, we're down three full games for Week 8. Thursday Night Football has come and gone, so we have just 12 games to target for some deep sleepers this weekend. If that was the norm over more weeks and more byes, fine. We could adjust.
But the bye-week roller-coaster has started that gut-wrenching drop.
And we're left with some unappealing options in Week 8 if digging deep on your waiver wire. Who can we scrounge up to salvage a depleted, deep-league roster?
Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans (10.5% | 3.4%)
So, by our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, Brock Osweiler is the worst starting quarterback in football. Also by our metrics, the Detroit Lions own the worst pass defense since 2000. It's kind of a wash. But with just 24 quarterbacks to play on Sunday and Monday, it's not inconceivable that Osweiler wrangles a top-14 type of performance. In deep leagues, that'll do the trick. Plus, Darius Slay was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, making the matchup even nicer.
C.J. Prosise, Seattle Seahawks (5.0% | 2.5%)
I'm not sure what C.J. Prosise's ceiling really is this week, but against the New Orleans Saints' league-worst run defense according to our metrics, he shouldn't have a tough time in his first chance at extended action since returning from a broken hand. His return let the Seattle Seahawks cut C.J. Spiller, and while Christine Michael is a locked-in fantasy stud in this matchup at the Superdome, the 48-point over/under suggests offense will be plentiful.
The 2.5-point spread in favor of the Seahawks suggests they'll be able to run with Michael more than check down to Prosise, but the short home favorite, the Saints, have a 51.2% chance to win, per our algorithm. Prosise could be involved if New Orleans gets ahead, and he needs only one big play to make it worthwhile in a deep PPR league.
Knile Davis, Green Bay Packers (27.9% | 3.8%)
Again, it's hard to know what Knile Davis' workload will be, but Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that Davis is part of the game plan. The Packers-Atlanta Falcons game is the only matchup with a total greater than 50 points (52.5) this weekend, and the Falcons rank just 28th against fantasy running backs, per our DFS tools. He'll be competing with Don Jackson and Ty Montgomery, but if Jackson's hand keeps him out and Montgomery plays more of the receiver role, Davis could be a cheap way to access the best fantasy game of the weekend and be a useful asset moving forward, too.
Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati Bengals (13.9% | 4.4%)
You may not have known, but Brandon LaFell has played at least 90% of the Cincinnati Bengals' snaps in every game this year, and he's scored four times in his past three games. Per ESPN Fantasy, LaFell actually leads the team in routes run this year. That's absurd to think about, considering A.J. Green has played at least 84% of snaps each week. Washington ranks 24th against the pass, per our metrics, and LaFell is playing like the team's top receiver (though we all know he's not).
J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals (0.6% | 0.2%)
J.J. Nelson saw his snap rate jump up to 84% last week for the Arizona Cardinals. He was at 21% the week before, the only game during which he played on more than 5% of offensive snaps. Well, Jaron Brown tore his ACL, John Brown was limited in practice on Thursday, and Michael Floyd didn't even practice Thursday.
The Cardinals face the Carolina Panthers this week, who rank 22nd in pass defense, according to our metrics. Nelson should be on the field plenty, and he drew seven targets last week.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans (9.0% | 5.6%)
If you're okay enough to trust Osweiler, you should be willing to consider C.J. Fiedorowicz, who has an 18.03% target market share in his last three games. For context, Delanie Walker is at 18.07%, and Fiedorowicz ranks 12th at the position. The Lions rank 30th against tight ends from a fantasy perspective. There isn't much else to say. If you didn't snag Cameron Brate last week, go with Fiedorowicz.
Jermaine Kearse, Seattle Seahawks (2.2% | 0.8%)
While we can feel fairly confident with quarterbacks and running backs this week -- even tight ends -- we can't say that for receiver among low-owned options. We already discussed the matchup in the Superdome this week, and the Saints happen to rank just 23rd against fantasy receivers. Jermaine Kearse has played at least 73% of his team's snaps in every game. Plus, he's coming off a season-high 89% in Week 7. Kearse should be on the field, and he's had nine targets in his past two games.