I know last week I promised that the hardship of multiple bye weeks was over, and on the plus side - it is! it’s not all good news though, as a ton of top-tier fantasy producers have extremely tough matchups this week. But this just means that it’s another week for some under-the-radar guys to really shine through. Here’s a look at five guys who could surprise with big performances this week.
Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill has been a low-end QB2 all season and has struggled at times, due mostly to the fact that he’s been sacked a league-high 37 times through the first 10 weeks of the season. But in a week with a lot of tough matchups for fantasy quarterbacks, Tannehill is a definite sleeper going up against the San Diego Chargers and their 30th power-ranked defense.
So far this season, the Chargers secondary has allowed 2,681 passing yards and 14 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. Look for Tannehill to have a sneaky good day.
Shane Vereen, Running Back, New England Patriots
If you’re looking for under-the-radar starts for this week, be cautious with Vereen. He could have a huge return a la Andre Brown last week, but he could also be limited in his first game back. If New England does work him into the game plan regularly, he should be able to put up big numbers. The Carolina Panthers’ defense, which is currently ranked second, has done well against the run all season, but has struggled against running backs in the passing game, allowing 62 receptions for 439 yards. That's the third most in the league. Since Vereen’s forte is as a pass catcher, he should be a solid PPR guy if he sees enough targets.
Rishard Matthews, Wide Receiver, Miami Dolphins
I’ve seen Matthews in some sleeper articles for the past few weeks now, as people have been salivating for him to have a breakout game replacing Brandon Gibson in the slot. Well he finally had that game last week, going off with 11 catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns. With Mike Wallace banged up and the current state of San Diego’s secondary, Matthews could have another big day this week.
Marquise Goodwin, Wide Receiver, Buffalo Bills
Goodwin is a personal favorite of mine and someone I’ve been waiting on to have a breakout game. Things seem to finally be lining up for just that, with Robert Woods already ruled out for Sunday and Steve Johnson seriously doubtful. Goodwin has seen 13 targets over the last three games, a number that will definitely increase this weekend with the potential to become the team’s top target. The New York Jets’ 11th-ranked defense has been dominant against the run all year - ranking as a top-5 rush defense according to our metrics - but has struggled in coverage, allowing over 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
Rob Housler, Tight End, Arizona Cardinals
Housler finally stepped up last week - playing two-thirds of the offensive snaps and reeling off 57 yards and a score. Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald as the only healthy pass catchers. This means an almost certain increase in targets and field time for Housler against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Also good news is the fact that the Jaguars’ 29th-ranked defense has struggled heavily against tight ends this season, allowing 561 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, which is the second most in the league. Remember what Delanie Walker did last week?