7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 5
Regardless of the motivation for turning to the waiver wire/free agent pool, this is the place to find streaming options -- even for gamers in leagues as large as 14- or 16-team formats. Every week in this space, you'll find a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, and a flex who are low-owned options in Yahoo! leagues and offer plug-and-play appeal.
Chase Daniel, QB, Chicago Bears
Yahoo Ownership: 3%
If Andy Dalton is available in your leagues, I'd prefer him as a streamer at quarterback and discussed him as a waiver wire target earlier in the week. He's owned in 34 percent of Yahoo! leagues, though, so there's a decent chance he's already rostered in most deeper leagues. Enter Chase Daniel as a widely available alternative in a plus matchup.
The Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders square off in London this week, and Mitchell Trubisky is expected to be out with a shoulder injury. We rank the Raiders as the 10th-worst pass defense this season. It's likely a primary reason for their struggles in pass defense is their inability to generate pressure. The Raiders are tied for the second-fewest quarterback hits (13) and have the second-lowest sack percentage (3.4 percent), per Pro-Football-Reference.
Daniel isn't a flashy option, but against the much more formidable defense of the Vikings in relief of Trubisky last week, he completed 22 of 30 passes for 195 passing yards and 1 touchdown. He also took only one sack and didn't turn the ball over. The veteran signal-caller made two starts for the Bears last year and passed for 515 yards (257.5 per game), 3 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and completed 69.7 percent of his passes. There's enough here for our algorithm to project Daniel to finish 20th in point scoring at quarterback this week, and that feels about right.
Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Yahoo Ownership: 21%
Nyheim Hines is the first of two backs from the Indianapolis Colts to receive the nod in this space, and he's my favorite option of the two. Starting running back Marlon Mack hasn't practiced yet this week, according to the team's official injury report. Mack's injury threatens his availability, yet, even if he does play, it's possible he'll be ineffective and cede snaps to Hines anyway.
Additionally, the game script could call for a heftier workload for Hines even if Mack is active and showing no ill effects from his injury. The Colts are 11-point underdogs in Kansas City, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, against the high-powered offense of the Chiefs. When the Colts were down by seven points or more last year, Hines totaled 56 touches compared to only 26 touches for Mack. Although, this year when the Colts have trailed by seven points or more, Mack has 34 carries and zero targets compared to 7 carries and 10 receptions on 10 targets for Hines.
Hines' heavy involvement in the passing game -- he's tied for third on the team in targets (16) and is second in receptions (14) -- should get him on the field if the game goes according to the expectations created by the massive spread favoring the host Chiefs. The second-year back's receiving prowess makes him a more desirable option to stream in point-per-reception (PPR) formats, but he's a defensible option in standard leagues, too. Our algorithm projects Hines to finish tied for 35th at running back in scoring in PPR formats this week.
Jordan Wilkins, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Yahoo Ownership: 3%
Jordan Wilkins is a riskier option since a negative game script would cause his value to nosedive. Furthermore, he's only an option if Mack is inactive. Having gotten the disclaimers out of the way, he should be tasked with the bulk of the early-down work if Mack is out. Early-down work carries significance against a Chiefs defense that's coughed up the fourth-most rushing yards (509) to running backs this year, per Pro-Football-Reference, at a whopping 5.78 yards per carry.
In theory, the Colts should want to keep the ball of out Patrick Mahomes' hands. With backs gashing the Chiefs on the ground, there could be some early-game potential for Wilkins to rack up points with the Colts playing keep away. For Wilkins part, he's not a total slouch, either.
Last year, Wilkins' 0.12 Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per Carry was identical to Mack's mark, and his 48.33 percent Rush Success Rate was nearly identical to Mack's 48.45 percent Rush Success Rate. He's an adequate replacement for Mack, and a fine deep-league streamer if Mack's inactive.
Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yahoo Ownership: 31%
Rookie Diontae Johnson didn't start the first two games of the year for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he's rewarded them for inserting him in the starting lineup beginning in Week 3. Over the last two weeks, he's produced lines of 3 receptions on 6 targets for 52 yards and 1 touchdown in Week 3 -- adding 1 rush for 6 yards for good measure -- and 6 receptions for 77 yards and 1 touchdown in Week 4, respectively. Additionally, he's been on the same page and playing at a high level with Mason Rudolph.
Rudolph has attempted 74 passes this year, and he's directed 15 of them Johnson's way, good for a 20.3 percent target share. Johnson's hauled in 10 receptions for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns from Rudolph. The rookie receiver should continue his strong play against a Ravens' pass defense that we rank as the second-worst this year. Our models are bullish on his outlook in PPR formats this week and project him to finish 31st in scoring among wide receivers.
Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills
Yahoo Ownership: 19%
Cole Beasley's ownership has risen to 19 percent after sitting at 12 percent earlier in the week when I touted him as a waiver wire target. You can check out that piece to see my general thoughts on Beasley, but I'll add a few nuggets of info here specifically pertaining to this week.
Slot receivers have been solid if unspectacular against the Tennessee Titans this year. In Week 1, Jarvis Landry caught 4 passes for 67 receiving yards on 7 targets and rushed 1 time for 10 yards. In Week 3, Dede Westbrook reeled in 5 receptions for 46 receiving yards on 9 targets and rushed once for 4 yards. Last week, Mohamed Sanu parlayed 12 targets into 9 receptions for 91 yards. Our algorithm projects Beasley to finish as WR44 this week, putting him firmly in the streamer mix.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
Yahoo Ownership: 21%
Since writing about Tyler Eifert as one of three streaming options at tight end for Week 5 earlier in the week, his ownership has gone up from 15 percent to 21 percent. Frankly, I expected his ownership to rise more after waivers processed this week, but it hasn't. On that note, he's still my favorite streaming option against an Arizona Cardinals defense that's vomited all over itself attempting to contain tight ends this year.
Auden Tate, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Yahoo Ownership: 14%
The Cincinnati Bengals are still without A.J. Green, and they'll now be without the services of injured John Ross as well. Even with the latter healthy to this point in the year, Auden Tate has emerged as a key cog in the Bengals' passing attack.
Over the last two weeks combined, Tate's tallied 16 targets, 10 receptions, and 138 receiving yards. He's also played 88 percent of the team's offensive snaps in Week 3 and 91 percent of them in Week 4, per Pro-Football-Reference. His steady diet of targets was already solid of late, but he could be in line for some more looks with Ross out.
Tate's downright slow, as his 4.68-second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Draft Combine indicates. Having said that, he's a huge target standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 228 pounds. In the link to Tate's slow 40-yard dash time, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein did compliment the youngster's ability to use his size.
Tate used his size to be a red-zone weapon with the Florida State Seminoles, totaling 16 receiving touchdowns in 22 games played, according to Sports-Reference. Dalton also appears to be cognizant of Tate's size advantage in the red zone. Dalton's thrown 14 passes in the red zone this year, and Eifert's 4 targets are the highest on the team while Tate's 3 targets in the red zone are the second highest.
The Bengals have a tasty implied total of 24.75 points this week. All of Cincinnati's offensive players should get a boost from playing against the Cardinals and their uptempo pace. Football Outsiders credits the Cardinals with playing at the fastest overall pace and fastest situation neutral pace as well. For their part, the Bengals are playing pretty quickly, too, ranking seventh in overall pace and 12th in situation neutral pace.
Of the three touted receivers in this piece, our projection model likes Tate the second best this week, ranking him one spot ahead of Beasley in PPR formats as WR43. I'd rather have Beasley if picking between the two, but the margin is small, as our model indicates.