Top 4 Long-Shot Fantasy Sleepers to Watch, Week 5
Never forget about the little guys. In fantasy football, there are always players that come out of nowhere to put up huge points. Your main job as a fantasy owner is to identify those players before they break out, and here at numberFire, we make it easier.
I'm going to give you four guys to keep an eye on this weekend. These aren't guys that I'm saying to pick up right away unless you're in the deepest of leagues. In fact, I'll say the opposite: you'll probably get made fun of if you drop a solid player to pick them up. But these are guys with potential who you may just see taking a bigger role in the next couple of weeks. There is only one common denominator among these players: they are all owned in less than 1% of ESPN leagues.
Top 4 Long-Shot Fantasy Sleepers to Watch, Week 5
RB La'Rod Stephens-Howling - Arizona Cardinals
Week 4 Fantasy Points: 0
Week 5 Projected Points: 2.85 (#48 RB) Leagues Owned: 0.4%
Earlier today, I recommended Ryan Williams as a must-start candidate for tonight's game, mostly because there is nobody in the backfield behind him. With Stephens-Howling sitting as a game-time decision still as of this writing, that looks to be the correct call. But what if Stephens-Howling does come back? The Cardinals' week 3 game against the Eagles gives us an indication of how that timeshare might look. Williams is still the clear #1 back as long as he's effective; he had 13 carries in that game. Beanie Wells was the starter, but he's out for the season after eight carries in that game. Most people forget that Stephens-Howling saw a good deal of time before getting injured as well, though, as he had eight carries in that game. Granted, those eight carries were for -14 yards. (Yes, that little symbol is correct, that's "negative 14".) But with the Arizona timeshare not yet established, and Williams looking ineffective in his first game as a full-time starter last week, Stephens-Howling is worth watching to see if he gets his carries.
WR T.J. Graham - Buffalo Bills
Week 4 Fantasy Points: 3
Week 5 Projected Points: 2.25 (#72 WR) Leagues Owned: 0.1%
Donald Jones received most of the Bills' receiver accolades in week 4, as he went off for 90 yards and a touchdown. What most people do not realize, however, is that those 90 yards came on only three Ryan Fitzpatrick targets, which tied for fourth on the team. So who was the Bills' #2 receiver, tied with tight end Scott Chandler with eight targets? That would be T.J. Graham, and you should get to know him. Those eight targets represent 21% of all of Ryan Fitzpatrick's throws on Sunday, building on a connection that started back in week 3. In that game, against the Browns, Graham had the third most targets on the team with five, one behind Jones and three behind Stevie Johnson. Fitzpatrick trusted him in the red zone as well - his nine yard TD reception was the first points of that Cleveland game. If the speedy rookie is able to break out against either San Francisco or Arizona the next two weeks, keep an eye on him as an excellent bye week filler in week 7 against the Titans.
WR Josh Gordon - Cleveland Browns
Week 4 Fantasy Points: 1
Week 5 Projected Points: 6.10 (#45 WR) Leagues Owned: 0.3%
Coming into the season, Josh Gordon was the savior of the Browns' offense. OK, maybe that's a little bit of a stretch. That would have been Trent Richardson. Or Brandon Weeden. Or Travis Benjamin. Or really anybody else. But the Browns did not use a supplemental draft pick on the receiver from Baylor for nothing, and indeed, reports have come out of Cleveland this week that coach Pat Shurmur would like to get Gordon "more involved" moving forward. This week against the Giants, Shurmur may not have a choice. Both Mohammed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin are listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Giants, and Gordon would be next in line to move into the starting slot opposite Greg Little. Especially considering Little's catching problem this season - his catch rate sits at a pathetic 44% - Weeden may be forced to rely on his fellow Big 12 rookie. And that's not a bad thing at all for Gordon's fantasy prospects: the Giants have the #24 opponent-adjusted defense in the league.
TE Kellen Davis - Chicago Bears
Week 4 Fantasy Points: 6
Week 5 Projected Points: 3.31 (#24 TE) Leagues Owned: 0.9%
Perhaps we should have seen Kellen Davis's 62 yard game against the Cowboys coming, considering the looks he's been getting from Jay Cutler since week 2. You know the saying, how a struggling QB's best friend is his tight end? We've been seeing that more and more from Davis. His six targets against the Packers were tied for most on the team, but he was only able to corral one of them (and that being for a touchdown). In week 3, he got the catching under control, but he only saw three targets his way. Still, those three targets were fourth on the team, and he had the third most receiving yards on the team in that game. So when Davis had four targets on Monday night, only one behind Alshon Jeffery for second on the team, I was only slightly surprised. If he can keep his catch rate up, and over the past two games it sits at 71%, the targets will come in time. And playing numberFire's #22 opponent-adjusted defense, the Jacksonville Jaguars, is a good place to start.