7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 8
The injury bug hit the NFL hard in Week 7, which has forced many of us to turn to our bench and the waiver wire to plug some newly-developed holes in our lineups. Fortunately, we're deep enough into the season to have a pretty strong grasp on the strengths and weaknesses of each team, allowing us to identify some sleepers who might provide a temporary fix for your broken lineups.
For the purposes of this list, we'll limit sleeper selections to any player with less than 75 percent ownership on Yahoo's fantasy football platform. Additionally, I'll select one super-sleeper, with under 10 percent ownership, to help out those of you who may be playing in deeper leagues. All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
Yahoo Ownership: 14 percent
In his first start for the Tennessee Titans, Ryan Tannehill completed 79.3 percent of his passes while averaging 10.6 yards per attempt -- numbers which Marcus Mariota has matched just three times in 61 career starts. Perhaps it was just a one-game fluke, but it certainly looked like the offense runs more efficiently through Tannehill. This week he draws a favorable matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Mason Rudolph, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yahoo Ownership: 11 percent
Mason Rudolph has cleared the NFL's concussion protocol and is available to face the lowly Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Five of six starting quarterbacks have posted at least 20 fantasy points against the Miami defense this season -- only the Washington Redskins' Case Keenum was held under 20, and he still reached 15.6 points. According to Sports Info Solutions, the Dolphins have generated pressure on just 21.2 percent of opponents dropbacks, which bodes well for Rudolph who has been an efficient passer when provided a clean pocket this season.
|Rudolph vs pressure||50.0%||4.7||2-1|
|Rudolph in clean pocket||73.5%||7.7||5-1|
Ty Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions
Yahoo Ownership: 64 percent
Rookie Ty Johnson had barely seen the field before last week, but after Kerryon Johnson was forced out of the game due to injury, Ty Johnson played 75 percent of the Detroit Lions remaining offensive snaps. According to Sports Info Solutions, during his senior year at Maryland, Johnson averaged 4.6 yards-after-contact per attempt, which ranked second in the Big Ten. To put that number into perspective a bit, Philadelphia Eagles rookie Miles Sanders averaged 3.5 yards after contact at Penn State while facing similar competition. It's risky to insert a first-time starter into your lineup, but Johnson draws a great matchup against the New York Giants. Detroit is favored by seven points, so there's a strong chance Johnson sees a significant second-half workload while the Lions are running out the clock with a solid lead.
Benny Snell Jr., RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yahoo Ownership: 10 percent
Benny Snell Jr.'s value depends on the health of Jaylen Samuels, who has returned to practice in a limited role. Samuels was originally expected to miss four to six weeks, and he's only been gone for two, so chances are Snell will remain James Conner's backup versus the Miami Dolphins. Connor, who's dealing with a quad injury of his own, is expected to play. However, this game with Miami could easily turn into a blowout (Pittsburgh is favored by 14.5 points). Given Connor's shaky health, Snell is likely to see an increased role if the game gets out of hand. In his first game serving as Connor's backup, Snell picked up 75 yards on 17 carries. A similar workload is possible against the Dolphins.
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans
Yahoo Ownership: 52 percent
How you view Corey Davis should coincide with your view of Ryan Tannehill. Davis had a season-high six receptions on seven targets in Tannehill's first start of the year last week, and the Titans offense as a whole performed at its best since Week 1. If you believe Tannehill is a viable short-term solution for Tennessee, Davis' stock should be on the rise. This week he gets to face a struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to receivers.
Kenny Stills, WR Houston Texans
Yahoo Ownership: 45 percent
The injury to Will Fuller has given a significant boost to Kenny Stills, who is likely to see a portion of Fuller's workload. This week's matchup against the Oakland Raiders amplifies his value even more. According to Sports Info Solutions, Oakland has allowed an NFL-worst 18 receptions on throws of 20 or more yards, including eight touchdowns. That bodes well for Stills, who has been a reliable deep threat for Houston this season with 37 percent of his targets coming at least 20 yards downfield. Fuller leads Houston in deep targets this season with 17, so in his absence, it appears likely Stills will see an increased workload in that role.
Super Sleeper: Olabisi Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Yahoo Ownership: 3 percent
Adam Thielen has been ruled out for Thursday's game against the Washington Redskins, which opens the door for Olabisi Johnson. After Thielen went down with an injury last week against the Detroit Lions, Johnson stepped in and saw eight targets, including a touchdown reception. So while we haven't seen much of Johnson yet, a rookie out of Colorado State, it appears as though the Minnesota Vikings trust him to step right into Thielen's role in the offense. Given this coaching staff's success developing Thielen, who was undrafted, and Diggs, a fifth-round selection, we should probably trust their judgment if they're willing to rely on another late-round wide receiver.