7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 7
If your fantasy squad is running thin at this point in the year, then you're in luck. There are some very intriguing guys available in a majority of fantasy leagues, and a sizable portion of them have good matchups this week, giving you the chance to roster them as one-week fill-ins if you are heavily-invested in the Eagles offense or (hopefully not) the Buccaneers offense.
These recommendations are geared primarily toward deep leagues, like 14-teamers, but they can also be useful in shallower leagues if your leaguemates are quite savvy. Either way, check out seven deep sleepers for the week below.
Before I go on, though, I'll reference Net Expected Points (NEP), quite a bit. NEP is the numberFire way of quantifying on-field play.
Week 7 All-Deep-Sleepers Lineup
Quarterback: Derek Carr (started in 0.6% of ESPN leagues | owned in 2.0% of ESPN leagues)
It's a bit scary chasing after anomalous performances, which is probably what Carr's 282-yard, 4-touchdown game against the Chargers was, but this recommendation is more about the matchup than about what he managed last week.
The Cardinals, who travel to Oakland this week, have an Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play rank of 15th, so they are neither porous nor stingy. They do, however, allow the 22nd-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Sure, they played the Chargers and Broncos, but they also played the Giants before Eli Manning started to trend upwards and Kirk Cousins, who isn't very good.
The Cardinals allow 318.6 yards, 2.0 touchdowns, and 18.9 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Factoring out Peyton Manning's big day, they still affront 278.5 yards, 1.5 touchdowns, and 15.9 fantasy points.
If the low-owned Carr doesn't entice you enough, my first look at sleeper picks this week features two other quarterback picks who should be in store for some fantasy points. Both are available in over 85% of ESPN leagues.
Running Back: Ronnie Hillman (2.0% | 8.8%)
I recommended Hillman last week, and I'm doing it again. Only one NFL game has an over/under greater than 50, and as you can guess from the placement from that statement, it's the Broncos-49ers game on Sunday Night.
Peyton, because the Broncos are at home, will be fully aware of the chance to set a new NFL record for passing touchdowns on his own field, but Hillman did still have 24 carries for 100 yards last week against the Jets. The 49ers are the 10th-ranked adjusted rushing defense according to our metrics, but Hillman has been able to average 4.21 yards per carry over his past two games against the Cardinals (who rank 6th) and the Jets (16th).
Points will be scored, and Hillman is running the ball well in this Denver offense. Don't be scared off by the matchup.
Running Back: Jerick McKinnon (1.3% | 7.6%)
McKinnon's matchup isn't doing him any favors. The Bills are the toughest team for running backs to score fantasy points against, and they rank third in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play. Compound this with the indication that the Vikings want to give Matt Asiata's more carries and McKinnon fewer carries, and you can't be very excited about playing McKinnon.
But running on the Bills isn't going to be a very efficient process for the Vikings, and McKinnon's nine receptions in the Vikings' past two games is eight more than Asiata has in that span.
McKinnon's touches have gone up from 3.0 per game in the first 3 weeks to 15.3 in the last 3. If he gets 12 touches (5 fewer than the 17 he had in Week 6), you have the right to be disappointed. But if you're a glass-half-full type of guy or gal, then you'll think of it as McKinnon's seeing nine more touches than he had to start the year in a game where his receiving ability will likely be more effective than his rushing.
Wide Receiver: Odell Beckham Jr. (3.3% | 12.2%)
Nothing says sleeper like a glaring vacancy that gives a player an expected bump in usage, which is the case for Beckham going forth. With Victor Cruz out for the year and pass-catching back Rashad Jennings out at least one more week, targets will be available. Prior to Week 6 when he exited with his knee injury, Cruz averaged 7.6 targets per game, and Beckham should see a sizable portion of those going forward.
The Cowboys do rank third in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers and sixth in our per-play passing metrics, but the Giants run the seventh-most plays in the NFL, so Beckham is likely to receive some stats based on attrition so long as the Giants' Week 6 performance was just a hiccup in their impressive recent offense.
Wide Receiver: Malcom Floyd (1.2% | 8.0%)
If there was an NEP Hall-of-Fame and if I had a vote, Floyd would be a first-ballot inductee. When healthy, Floyd is a dominant player in terms of Reception NEP per target, which indicates his big-play ability. Currently, Floyd's per-target Reception NEP of 1.35 is best in the NFL among all receivers with 10 targets or more. Next in line? Terrance Williams (1.12). Only three other receivers have a mark over one.
Kansas City certainly isn't a stingy pass defense like they were last year and rank 18th according to our metrics, so Floyd should have a shot to haul in another big play. If you're looking this deep for a receiver play, he can get the job done with just one catch, and he ranks 23rd in fantasy points among receivers in half-point-per-reception formats.
Tight End: Jared Cook (7.4% | 11.1%)
Tight end streaming fantasy footballers should be very familiar with Cook by this point in the season. While Cook had earned a reputation of being all-or-nothing at the tight end throughout his career, which tends to be the case for some streamable tight end options, he has been amazingly consistent this year. His ceiling is actually capped pretty low, but if you don't want your tight end to post a zero, then Cook could actually be your guy.
Cook has had at least 4 receptions and 44 yards in each game this year but has yet to reach the end zone. Cook faces the Seahawks, who rank 29th against the tight end, in Week 7 and should be able to continue his consistency streak. Cook's 42 targets are 6th in the NFL among tight ends, and he has seen 21 targets - half of his season total - in the past 2 weeks alone.
Flex: Davante Adams (0.2% | 1.0%)
Adams' ownership is frighteningly low considering that he plays with Aaron Rodgers, who is slinging a healthy dosage of 2.5 touchdowns per game (and 2.8 per game if you factor out the Week 1 struggle against the Seahawks). The Green Bay offense has been home to three fantasy-relevant receivers before, and this year might be another instance of just that - especially considering Eddie Lacy's season.
Adams is coming off his breakout game. Despite scoring a touchdown in Week 5, his Week 6 line of 6 catches for 77 yards on 8 targets indicates that he could (and should) be able to be a consistent factor in the offense if given the chance.
Against the Panthers, who rank 22nd in pass defense, according to our adjusted per-play metrics, Adams should be able to take advantage of what could be a new, critical role for the Packers offense.