7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 2
Everybody loves a good sleeper pick.
Throughout the season, of course, sometimes sleepers aren't just luxuries to gawk at but necessary fill-ins for our fantasy football lineups.
Not every situation requires benching your starters for a sleeper, but every fantasy team and situation is different, and I'm sure we're all playing daily fantasy football on FanDuel anyway. That's where sleepers really can pay off.
Because there is no consensus definition of what a sleeper is, I'll keep it consistent throughout the season. Using Yahoo's fantasy football platform, I'll choose quarterbacks and tight ends outside the top 15 in roster percentage and running backs and wide receivers outside the top 40.
I'll also list some honorable mentions because there's nothing worse than realizing that every player mentioned in an article is already rostered in your league. We're seeking non-obvious plays who can put up starting-caliber performances. I'd rather list too many options than too few.
Ryan Tannehill (45% Rostered) - Tannehill put up 21.96 fantasy points in Week 1 despite a few concerns: he didn't attempt a single pass longer than 16 air yards, and he ran "only" 3 times for 14 yards. Despite a lowly 6.26-yard average target depth, Tannehill picked apart the Denver Broncos' defense with a 0.26 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back rate and a 59.1% Passing Success Rate. The Tennessee Titans possess the ninth-highest implied team total for Week 2 in their matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who sit 29th in Passing Success Rate allowed despite a Week 1 win.
James Robinson (60%) - Robinson played 68.0% of the Jaguars' snaps in Week 1, the eighth-highest rate among all running backs. He handled 16 carries with a single target, though it led to 28 yards. Robinson ran a pass route on 45.8% of the Jags' pass plays, via Pro Football Focus, a viable rate for a back entering a game as an 8.5-point underdog. We just shouldn't sleep on such a solid snap rate.
Adrian Peterson (56%) - Similar to Robinson, we're looking at a primary runner as an underdog (the Detroit Lions are 6.5-point 'dogs against the Green Bay Packers), and he played just 30.8% of the snaps in Week 1. However, Peterson got looks when on the field. In terms of adjusted opportunities (targets multiplied by two plus carries to adjust for the value of a target compared to a rush) per snap, Peterson ranked first among all backs with at least a 30.0% snap rate. He also handled three targets and wasn't exactly a non-factor in the passing game.
DeSean Jackson (50%) - Jackson's box score looked pretty bleak in Week 1 (depending on which box score you're looking at, of course). Jackson hauled in just 2 passes for 46 yards. That's the bad news. The good news? He had 7 targets for a league-high 214 air yards (good for a 30.6-yard average target depth). Six of his seven targets were downfield. He played only 54.4% of the team's snaps but is expected to increase that moving forward. With a 47.0-point total against the Los Angeles Rams on tap, Jackson is an in-season post-hype sleeper.
Emmanuel Sanders (76%) - Sanders comes in right under the cutoff and is coming off an unassuming 5-target, 15-yard, 1-touchdown game. Sanders got four red zone targets and ran a route on 71.9% of the New Orleans Saints' drop backs. With target monster Michael Thomas out, Sanders becomes a default top option for the Saints. numberFire projects him for 7.5 targets this week in a game with a 49.5-point over/under.
Parris Campbell (35%) - Campbell's Week 1 involvement was really promising: he had 9 targets plus a carry for 80 total yards. Of his nine targets, three were downfield, and he led all Indianapolis Colts receivers in snaps. The Minnesota Vikings' secondary was torched last weekend not only by Davante Adams but also Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard for a combined 1.21 Reception NEP per target (including 1.83 from just MVS and Lazard).
Logan Thomas (12%) - Mike Gesicki (71%) is right above the cusp of our cutoff, so I'd prioritize him if possible. Gesicki ran 87.1% of routes last week and drew 3 downfield targets. That's elite tight end usage. But because he's the 15th-most rostered tight end, I'll go with Thomas. Thomas ran a route on 91.2% of the Football Team's pass routes, ranking him third among all tight ends in Week 1. He also drew a downfield target and a red zone target. With both Arizona and Washington top-five in situation-neutral pace, play volume could boost Thomas to another strong tight end week.