Top 4 Long-Shot Fantasy Sleepers to Watch, Week 8

Want a few guys to keep an eye on this weekend to pick up down the road? numberFire has 4 guys we're watching in week 8.

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 2% of ESPN leagues.

Top 4 Long-Shot Fantasy Sleepers to Watch, Week 8

RB Jonathan Grimes - New York Jets
Week 7 Fantasy Points: 0
Week 8 Projected Points: 0.31 (#101 RB)
Leagues Owned: 0.0%

It's been a while since I've thrown a real Hail Mary pass for a sleeper, and I feel it's about due time. After his excellent Week 6, Shonn Greene regressed to being Shonn Greene again in Week 7, managing 54 yards on 16 carries against the not-too-tough Patriots defense. The Jets even felt compelled to mix up his carries with Bilal Powell-replacement Joe McKnight, fullback Lex Hilliard, and even some Lord and Savior Tim Tebow action to help shoulder the load. All told, Shonn Greene only had 48% of the Jets' total carries on Sunday.

Against the tough Dolphins run D, I might expect Greene to struggle early again. And if that happens, expect the Jets to again turn to McKnight... and see him on the bench with a high ankle sprain. You see, McKnight ended last week's game standing on crutches, and he's currently listed as questionable (read: closer to doubtful than probable) for this week's game. That means mop up duties go to Mr. Grimes. With exactly one career carry, the Jets may not trust him for a full game. But if something happens to Greene - and Greene does have a lingering head injury coming into this game - they may not have a choice.

An undrafted free agent out of William & Mary, Grimes originally populated the Texans' practice squad before being snatched by the Jets and activated for the first time in Week 6. He's not built like a workhorse back at only 5'10", but then again, neither is 5'11" Shonn Greene. I wouldn't be surprised to see Grimes get at least some touches on Sunday and show what he can do.

WR Ryan Broyles - Detroit Lions
Week 7 Fantasy Points: 11
Week 8 Projected Points: 1.83 (#81 WR)
Leagues Owned: 0.2%

When Nate Burleson went down with an injury in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears, throughout all of Detroit there was... well, I wouldn't really call it panic. Let's say mild agitation.

For owners of Titus Young, the injury could be a boon; Young (I'm assuming) instantly grabs the starting role opposite constant double-coverage-causer Calvin Johnson. But while Young did have eight targets on the game, another receiver showed up out of the woodwork to put up solid numbers and a touchdown as well: Ryan Broyles.

A 2012 second-round selection out of Oklahoma, Broyles has been the forgotten man in the crowded Lions receiving corps. Before this past week, he only had one target all season. But in only one half of football played, Broyles has already shown a strong connection with Stafford. The Lions quarterback looked his way three different times on the final two Lions drives and four times total on the day, including twice in the red zone (one was picked and the other was a TD).

Seattle may be a tough draw for a third receiver to get looks, but the following Jacksonville, Minnesota, and Green Bay games loom large.

WR Josh Cooper - Oklahoma Sta... err, Cleveland Browns
Week 7 Fantasy Points: 5
Week 8 Projected Points: 0.96 (#93 WR)
Leagues Owned: 0.0%

For the second time in this article, I'm going to throw a name out at you that is being owned in less than 1 in 2,000 ESPN fantasy leagues. I swear I don't throw darts at a wall; I have a (sometimes) valid reason for everything that I do.

So tell me, do you know which Browns player has finished second in receiving yards behind Josh Gordon each of the past two weeks? It's not Greg Little. It's not Trent Richardson. It's not even Benjamin Watson. It's this guy, Josh Cooper.

And I say "This guy" because nobody really knows who he is... except for Brandon Weeden. You see, he was Weeden's Oklahoma State teammate before being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Browns this past offseason. Much like Broyles, Cooper was only activated in Week 6, but you can already tell he has a connection with his college QB. Against Cincinnati, Cooper only saw three targets in his first game, but those three targets represented 10.3% of Weeden's throws. He really got into the swing of the offense in Week 7 though with eight targets, or 19.5% of Weeden throws.

Could he go even higher in Week 8? Mohammad Massaquoi seems poised to come back from injury and could cut into his looks, but then again, the Chargers' pass defense has allowed at least 250 yards passing and two passing TDs in each of their past three games.

TE Rob Housler - Arizona Cardinals
Week 7 Fantasy Points: 5
Week 8 Projected Points: 2.71 (#26 TE)
Leagues Owned: 0.1%

Rob Housler finished seventh among all tight ends last week with 7 targets.

Perhaps that wasn't clear, or maybe you just weren't ready to hear those shocking words, so let me repeat: Rob Housler finished seventh among all tight ends last week with 7 targets.

His five catches also finished in seventh among tight ends, and his 54 yards receiving were tied for sixth with Aaron Hernandez and just ahead of Heath Miller. So who exactly is this guy?

He's Todd Heap's injury replacement in Arizona, and he's made the starting position all his own. After three targets in Week 6 against Minnesota, Housler broke out for a big game with new QB John Skelton. You know how they say that an uncomfortable QB's best friend is his tight end? Housler showed that last week; 19.4% of Skelton's throws came his way.

San Francisco represents a tough matchup this week, but if the Niners get up early on their division rivals, Skelton will be forced to throw, throw, throw. And the same could happen in Week 9, when Arizona takes on the suddenly surging Packers. This could be the time to turn Arizona's pain into your gain.