7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 4
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 ESPN'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.
Update: The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots game has been postponed and is expected to be played on Monday or Tuesday. Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play this week.
Joe Burrow (62% Rostered) - There are quite a few pick-ups and streaming candidates out there at the quarterback position, but if Burrow is available in your league he makes for a great play. Not only has he out-scored Lamar Jackson through the first three weeks, but the highly touted rookie gets to face off with the league's worst passing defense, according to our rankings. In fact, Jacksonville's 0.4 Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play is 0.03 clear of the next-closest team, and they are fresh off a game in which Ryan Fitzpatrick tallied 198 total yards, 3 touchdowns, and 24.2 fantasy points on a mere 20 attempts.
Jeff Wilson (24%) - If you thought the 49ers' backfield couldn't get any more shorthanded you were wrong. In addition to both Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert sitting with injuries on Sunday, Jerick McKinnon came away from the lopsided win with a rib injury. With the chance that all three backs are forced to sit, Wilson would be the unquestioned top guy for Kyle Shanahan and company -- and that could mean big things. Just this week Wilson turned 15 touches into 69 yards and a pair of scores, totaling 18.9 fantasy points in the process.
Carlos Hyde (14%) - Hyde is another guy poised to benefit from an injury to his fellow backfield mate. Chris Carson suffered a knee sprain that will likely keep him out this week against Miami, and the 30-year-old is the most likely candidate for the early-down role in Seattle. So far this year he is second on the team with 16 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown, as well as 3 catches for 26 yards over his 52 total snaps. Expect him to get somewhere between 12 to 20 carries in a positive game script (Seattle's a 6.5-point favorite) against a Dolphins defense that ranks 26th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play through three contests.
Allen Lazard (51%) - In Week 3, Lazard broke out in a big way, hauling in 6-of-8 targets for 146 yards and a score. His 20.4 fantasy points were 1.7 more than his two-week total leading up to that, while his 14.1 Reception NEP put him second among all pass-catchers in Week 2. It's clear that Aaron Rodgers trusts Lazard, especially in the absence of Davante Adams. Adams' status is unknown at this time, but either way, Lazard is worth a look. He draws an Atlanta defense that's allowed the third-most points and second-most yards to opposing receivers this season.
Justin Jefferson (38%) - Believe it or not, but Jefferson -- at 15.5 Reception NEP -- was the only receiver to surpass Lazard in efficiency this past week. The former LSU star had his first true breakout game as he turned 9 targets into 7 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown. He increased his snap rate from 54% to 78%, but also played and won all over the field. His roster percentage will without a doubt increase in the next day or two, but whether you added him or not he's going to be a factor this week against Houston. The Texans are 29th against the pass and have allowed 95 points through three games -- a number bested by only three other teams early on in 2020.
Tee Higgins (9%) - The same logic for rolling out Burrow applies to his young yet talented pass-catcher. The Jaguars are vulnerable through the air, giving Cincinnati a healthy 26.25 total in what should be a close game on their home turf. Add in the fact that Higgins logged a season-high 79% snap rate with John Ross a healthy scratch a week ago, and you have the makings for a nice spot start in Week 4 -- and maybe much more if the Bengals go into the tank and focus on developing their young players.
Dalton Schultz (35%) - Jimmy Graham will be a hot buy with Nick Foles now under center, however, in the event you missed out on Graham, or simply decided to save your FAAB, don't fret. After a more quiet Week 3 (4.8 points on 6 targets), the Dallas Cowboys' starting tight end is going overlooked as he heads into a pretty tasty matchup. Dallas plays host to Cleveland in an NFC-AFC clash featuring the week's highest over/under at 55 points, and the Browns have ceded 3 touchdowns on a 25.8% target share to tight ends.
Others to Consider: Jimmy Graham (17%), Mo Alie-Cox (13%)