NFL

7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 16

If you're still alive in your season-long fantasy leagues, your roster probably doesn't need much work at this point. However, if you do find yourself in need of some help from a sleeper or two, you should have some decent options. Since most people eliminated from the fantasy playoffs aren't active on the waiver wire at this point, there are quite a few players due for a strong end to the season available in most leagues.

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 two super-sleepers, 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.

Patrick Laird, RB, Miami Dolphins

Yahoo Ownership: 42 percent

In two starts, Patrick Laird has yet to reach the end zone, which explains his modest fantasy production. However, he still holds value in PPR leagues due to his usage in the passing game. Laird has seen at least five targets in three straight games. This week he faces the Cincinnati Bengals, who have struggled to contain running backs who operate as pass-catchers. According to Sports Info Solutions, Cincinnati is allowing 7.9 yards per target to players lined up in the backfield, the second-worst rate in the league.

Mike Boone, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Yahoo Ownership: 27 percent

The path to Mike Boone becoming fantasy-relevant this week is complicated, because his value relies on the status of both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. According to Chad Graff of The Athletic, the Minnesota Vikings gave players Tuesday and Wednesday off -- the team doesn't play until Monday night -- so we probably won't hear anything about their status until Thursday at the earliest. That said, given the Vikings run-heavy offense, Boone should be rostered. In 14 games, the Vikings trio of running backs have combined to score double-digit fantasy points (PPR scoring) 16 times. So if Boone is forced into a starting role, he's a safe fantasy play.

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

Yahoo Ownership: 63 percent

Since returning from injury in Week 12, Sterling Shepard leads the New York Giants with a 27 percent target share. During that span, 56 percent of Shepard's targets have come while lined up in the slot, as he's cut into Golden Tate's workload. The Washington Redskins have struggled to defend the slot, allowing a 75.1 percent completion rate and 8.5 yards per target to slot receivers, according to Sports Info Solutions.

Kenny Stills, WR, Houston Texans

Yahoo Ownership: 16 percent

As the third option in the Houston Texans offense, Kenny Stills typically carries a modest ceiling, but his projections should be bumped up this week based on a potential shootout on Saturday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Stills' fantasy production has been strongly tied to the Texans' overall offensive output, as he's averaged 11.4 points per game (PPR scoring) when the team tops 21 points, compared to 4.6 when the Texans fall under the 21-point plateau. Houston carries an implied total of 26 points in this game, as three-point favorites over the Bucs.

O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Yahoo Ownership: 42 percent

O.J. Howard made last week's sleepers' list based on an assumed spike in usage due to Mike Evans' absence. With 42 yards on 4 receptions he didn't quite cash in, but he did see a season-high eight targets, proving the logic correct. With a similar workload against Houston, Howard should have a higher ceiling. Over the last six weeks, the Texans are allowing 11.7 yards per target and an 80.6 percent completion rate to tight ends -- both the worst rates in the league according to Sports Info Solutions.

Super Sleeper: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington Redskins

Yahoo Ownership: 3 percent

If you've made it this far in your fantasy playoffs you probably don't need to dig too deep for quarterback help. But if you do find yourself in that situation, Dwayne Haskins could be in line for a big game against the Giants. All but two starting quarterbacks have scored at least 18 fantasy points against New York (Kyler Murray and Case Keenum). Haskins' overall numbers aren't inspiring, but he's making progress and this could be his breakout performance. Check out the breakdown of Haskins six starts:

Comp PctYds/AttTD-IntFantasy Pts/G
First 3 Starts54.7%5.982-29.75
Last 3 Starts60.0%7.233-111.41


Super Sleeper: Steven Sims, WR, Washington Redskins

Yahoo Ownership: < 1 percent

Targeting slot receivers against the Giants has been a profitable strategy all season and Steven Sims is next in line to benefit from New York's defensive struggles. According to Sports Info Solutions, the Giants are allowing an NFL-worst 9.84 yards per target to players lined up in the slot. Since Trey Quinn was placed in injured reserve due to a concussion two weeks ago, Sims has seen a team-high 18 targets (15 from the slot). Haskins is comfortable throwing to the slot -- 48 percent of his targets were to his slot receiver last year at Ohio State -- so it's probably safe to assume Sims till continue to see a significant workload down the stretch.