8 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 2
The injury bug has already hit the NFL, with fantasy studs such as Tyreek Hill and Hunter Henry already being ruled out for at least a few weeks. Hopefully your squad is still healthy, but if you're one of the unlucky few already forced to fill some holes, here's a look at some under-the-radar options who are likely to be available on the waiver wire.
For the purposes of this list, we'll limit sleeper selections to any player with less than 50 percent ownership on Yahoo's fantasy football platform. Additionally, I'll select two super-sleepers, with under 10 percent ownership, to help out those of you who may be playing in deeper leagues.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Yahoo Ownership: 32 percent
Josh Allen is one of the most aggressive quarterbacks in the league, attempting 28.9 percent of his career pass attempts at 15 or more yards downfield -- the second-highest rate since the start of 2018, according to Sports Info Solutions.
Allen has been a boom-or-bust fantasy option in his brief career, but he's typically been able to take advantage of poor defenses. In two games against the Miami Dolphins last season, for example, he racked up totals of 40 and 29 fantasy points.
Chris Thompson, RB, Washington
Yahoo Ownership: 31 percent
Chris Thompson tends to be a game-script dependent fantasy option, only showing up when the Washington Redskins are losing. In 2018, he finished second on the team -- behind the since-released Josh Doctson -- with 37 targets when Washington was trailing by a field goal or more.
Here's a breakdown of Thompson's 2018 target share by various game situations.
|Losing by 3+||13.6%|
|Losing by 7+||15.4%|
|Losing by 10+||18.5%|
This trend held true in Week 1, as Thompson led the Redskins with seven targets while the team was trailing. In Week 2, the Dallas Cowboys are favored by 4.5 points, likely creating another favorable game script for Thompson.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Yahoo Ownership: 33 percent
Giovani Bernard's appearance on this list is strictly due to Joe Mixon's ankle injury, which puts his status in question for Week 2. In 2018, Bernard was held under five fantasy points in every game Mixon played. In the two games Mixon missed, however, Bernard posted PPR scores of 19.6 and 25.6 fantasy points. Given Bernard's upside, he's worth stashing on your bench for now while you monitor Mixon's status throughout the week.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Yahoo Ownership: 43 percent
In the offseason, I wrote about a stat I labeled high-yield targets (combining red zone targets with deep ball targets). These opportunities produce the most fantasy points per target, making receivers who dominate these specific plays in their offense the most valuable guys to own.
Based on this measurement, one of the big winners of Week 1 was D.K. Metcalf, who not only had a 31.6 percent overall target share for the Seattle Seahawks, but also had a 50 percent high-yield target share. Three of Metcalf's six opportunities were of the high-yield variety (two over 20 yards, one in the red zone), according to Sports Info Solutions. If this is a sign of things to come for Metcalf's usage, he will remain fantasy relevant despite playing in Seattle's run-heavy offense.
James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yahoo Ownership: 31 percent
Dating back to the start of the 2017 season, no quarterback has attempted more passes of 20 or more yards than Ben Roethlisberger (166 attempts), according to Sports Info Solutions. So there are always valuable deep-ball targets available in the Steelers offense. Entering the season, however, we didn't know who -- other than JuJu Smith-Schuster -- was going to be on the receiving end.
After Week 1, that picture is starting to come into focus. James Washington was on the receiving end of four of Roethlisberger's seven deep ball attempts. Even if Washington continues to be out-snapped by Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief and Ryan Switzer, a high volume of deep targets will make him a fantasy-relevant receiver.
Danny Amendola, WR, Detroit Lions
Yahoo Ownership: 20 percent
Danny Amendola led the Detroit Lions with 13 targets in Week 1, 11 of which came while lined up in the slot, according to Sports Info Solutions. It appears as though he's going to play the Golden Tate role in the Lions offense this season. Prior to being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles last season, Tate averaged 9.9 targets per game, including 7.5 targets per game in the slot.
Even though Amendola is not an explosive weapon, at that target volume, he's a viable option for your fantasy lineup -- especially when the game script is likely to dictate the Lions throw the ball (they're 2.5-point underdogs versus the Los Angeles Chargers).
Super-Sleeper: Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills
Yahoo Ownership: 6 percent
In last week's sleepers column, I included the Cowboys' Randall Cobb due to the Giants' inability to defend slot receivers. And sure enough, Cobb finished with 4 receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown (16.9 PPR fantasy points).
This week, Buffalo Bills slot receiver Cole Beasley draws the Giants' inept secondary and will have an opportunity to put up a similar stat line. According to Sports Info Solutions, opposing quarterbacks picked up 9.4 yards per attempt last season when targeting their slot receiver against New York, and in Week 1, Dak Prescott was 8-11 for 132 yards and a touchdown throwing to the slot.
Super-Sleeper: Dare Ogunbowale, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yahoo Ownership: 6 percent
Dare Ogunbowale had the highest snap count among Buccaneers' running backs in Week 1, so Bruce Arians clearly has a plan for him this season. If his Week 1 usage is an indication of that plan, it's to be the pass-catcher in the backfield.
While the Bucs were trailing by six points or more, Ogunbowale led the team with four targets (22.2 percent target share). While the Bucs were winning or trailing by fewer than six points, Ogunbowale saw just one target (6.7 percent target share). If this trend holds true, Ogunbowale's fantasy value will be game-script dependent. In Week 2, Tampa is a seven-point underdog on Thursday at Carolina, which could mean a significant opportunity for Ogunbowale.