7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 7
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.
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Yahoo Ownership: 30%
Daniel Jones just went through a meat grinder of pass defenses in his last two games. Last week, he faced our top-ranked pass defense boasted by the New England Patriots. Additionally, he did so on a short week, as the New York Giants played in New England last Thursday. The week before, he squared off with our sixth-ranked pass defense, the Minnesota Vikings.
This week, Jones will face an Arizona Cardinals pass defense we rank as the fifth-worst -- albeit with stud corner Patrick Peterson returning from suspension. Speaking of returns, Jones could be rejoined by some serious firepower in the form of Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram. Both players reportedly practiced in full Wednesday.
Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram were full participants in practice today. #NYGiants
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) October 16, 2019
They would both lift the tide for the Giants' offense, bumping up the scoring potential for their rookie signal-caller. Jones will also get a lift from Arizona's up-tempo pace on offense. Describing Arizona's offense as up-tempo doesn't do it full justice, either. Football Outsiders credits the Cardinals with playing at the fastest overall pace and fastest situation neutral pace. For the Giants part, they're playing quickly, too, ranking 8th in overall pace and 11th in situation neutral pace.
The projected fast pace coupled with both of these defenses being bad -- we rank the Cardinals and Giants as the 5th-worst and 10th-worst defenses this year, respectively -- helps fuel an eye-catching game over/under total of 50.5 points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Giants are 3-point favorites at home, and they have an implied total of 26.75 points. Our algorithm projects Jones to finish as the QB11 this week, making him an outstanding streaming selection.
Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Yahoo Ownership: 27%
The Los Angeles Rams were thoroughly beaten by their division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, last week. Todd Gurley was out, but he returned to practice Wednesday, and Omar Ruiz of NFL Network tweeted the team is hopeful he plays this week.
RB Todd Gurley back at practice for the #LARams, who are hopeful he plays Sunday in Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/N8FnVtqojz
— Omar Ruiz (@OmarDRuiz) October 16, 2019
Hopeful he plays isn't the strongest endorsement from the club, and it leaves the door open to him possibly missing this week's game in a cushy matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, who we rank as the worst defense overall this year. To add some more context to his return to practice, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN tweeted that head coach Sean McVay said Gurley would only go through individual drills Wednesday.
Rams RB Todd Gurley (thigh contusion) is on the practice field. Sean McVay said he will go through individual drills. pic.twitter.com/m6IhmyH4Wo
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) October 16, 2019
Another missed game from Gurley would certainly enhance the outlook for Darrell Henderson this week. Gurley's not the only banged up back for the Rams, though. Lindsey Thiry reports that Malcolm Brown is also day to day with an ankle injury. I wouldn't advise using Henderson in fantasy leagues this week if both Gurley and Brown are active, but if either are out, he's a defensible flex.
Henderson played 32 percent of the offensive snaps last week, according to Pro-Football-Reference, and he rushed for 39 yards on 6 carries while adding 1 reception (on 2 targets) for 9 yards. His 48 yards from scrimmage bested Brown's 40 yards, all of which came on the ground on 11 carries with 0 targets. Henderson showed off nifty acceleration and elusiveness on his first run of the day, which Matt Waldman of Footballguys broke down in the following tweet.
Watch Darrell Henderson’s acceleration once he dips around Robert Woods pic.twitter.com/rCS3eEU0bb
— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) October 14, 2019
I'd suggest checking out the tweet above and viewing the thread, which also includes video of another solid run from Henderson. The Rams have the highest implied total at a robust 28.75 points this week. Scoop up Henderson now in the hopes that one of Gurley or Brown is inactive, thus, opening the door to fantasy relevance this week.
Mark Walton, RB, Miami Dolphins
Yahoo Ownership: 17%
What if I told you that a starting running back is available in more than 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues, would that interest you? Mark Walton fits the bill, technically. He started for the Miami Dolphins last week against Washington, though Kenyan Drake out-snapped him with 46 offensive snaps to Walton's 32. Drake carried the ball 10 times for 40 yards, and reeled in 6 receptions on 9 targets for 30 yards last week. Walton out-gained him from scrimmage with 32 rushing yards on 6 carries and 43 receiving yards on 5 receptions.
Walton's stellar play caught the eye of his offensive coordinator, Chad O'Shea. You can read O'Shea's praise in this piece by Alain Poupart on the Dolphins' official website.
The second-year back's inclusion in this article as a deep sleeper this week isn't just a product of responding to his showing last week, it's also due to Drake's ineffectiveness.
Out of 34 running backs who have carried the ball a minimum of 40 times this year, Drake's -0.19 Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry is tied for 31st. The Dolphins have the lowest implied total at 12.0 points, so the fantasy outlook is bleak for them as a whole. Having said that, Walton has a decent shot at reaching double-digit touches again, and that puts him in the deep sleeper discussion at a position lacking much in the way of palatable desperation streamers.
Auden Tate, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Yahoo Ownership: 28%
Auden Tate is back again, and he's coming off of a strong game with 5 receptions on 12 targets for 91 yards in Baltimore last week. You can see all of his targets and his impressive work on each of his catches in the following tweet from Joe Goodberry of The Athletic Cincinnati.
Auden Tate had a breakout game for the Bengals. He snagged 5 of 12 targets for 91 yards, but all five catches were eye-popping. pic.twitter.com/oDPChooXUe
— JG (@JoeGoodberry) October 14, 2019
Tate has emerged as a heavily targeted and trusted option for Andy Dalton. To that point, among receivers since Week 3, Tate ranks tied for 10th in targets with 34, per Pro-Football-Reference's Play Index Tool. During that stretch, he's parlayed his hefty target load into 18 receptions for 255 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. Volume is king in fantasy, and he checks in as the 36th ranked receiver in our point per reception (PPR) format projections for this week. His ranking puts him in the WR3 or flex mix.
Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills
Yahoo Ownership: 21%
Ranked one spot higher than Tate in PPR formats at wide receiver at WR35 is Cole Beasley. The slot wideout for the Buffalo Bills is coming off of a bye and taking aim at the hapless Dolphins. Beasley's been a huge part of the Bills' passing attack, tying with John Brown for the team lead in targets with 39, and ranking second on the team in both receptions (27) and receiving yards (267).
Beasley's volume isn't just good relative to his teammates, either. His 24.5 percent target share is tied for 23rd this year among receivers and tight ends, according to Sports Info Solutions. Being heavily targeted should prove to be especially fruitful this week. The Bills have the second-highest implied total at 28.5 points, and they should have little trouble moving the ball through the air against a Dolphins pass defense we rank as the second-worst.
Luke Willson, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Yahoo Ownership: 7%
Luke Willson was the lowest-owned tight end featured among my three streaming options touted earlier in the week, and he's still widely available, despite his ownership rate soaring from zero percent then to seven percent now. The analysis I provided in the previously linked piece remains the primary motivation for streaming him this week. For Week 7, we project Willson to finish 19th in scoring at tight end in PPR formats. Wilson's value is boosted by being tied to the Seattle Seahawks' gaudy implied total of 26.25 points -- the fourth-highest implied total this week.
Chris Conley, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Yahoo Ownership: 2%
The Bengals set up as a dreamy matchup for speedster Chris Conley. Cincinnati is tied for the 10th-most 20-plus yard receptions allowed with 22, and 11th-most 40-plus yard receptions coughed up this season, according to NFL.com. Also, on long passes this year -- which we define as 16-plus yard passes -- the Bengals have allowed a 43-yard touchdown reception to Diontae Johnson, a 44-yard touchdown reception to Tyler Lockett, 2 receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown to Marquise Goodwin, and 2 receptions for 67 receiving yards to D.K. Metcalf.
Conley's been a field-stretching option for the Jacksonville Jaguars this year. Among receivers and tight ends targeted a minimum of 25 times in 2019, his average depth of target of 16.7 yards is third-highest, per Sports Info Solutions. He hasn't been peppered with targets by Gardner Minshew, but he's done a solid job of turning his 23 targets from the rookie quarterback into 13 receptions for 222 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. Conley's 0.57 Target NEP per target mark is second to only D.J. Chark's 0.78, among the six players that Minshew has targeted at least 10 times. We project him to finish 36th in scoring among wideouts this week in PPR formats. Fire up the burner as a deep sleeper in Week 7.