7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 7
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.
Justin Herbert (59% Rostered) - With all eyes on the rookie quarterback set to take over in Miami, let's not forget about Herbert and the great start he is having to his NFL career. Through four starts, the youngster has completed nearly 69% of his passes en route to 21.8 fantasy points per game. He is 11th of all usual starters in our own Passing Net Expected Points per drop back metric, at 0.26, putting him directly in front of his predecessor, Philip Rivers. This week, he draws one of the most quarterback-friendly matchups at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 31st against the pass and fresh off allowing 34 points to the Detroit Lions. If for some reason he's available in your league, now is the type to pick him up for an easy stream of the week play.
Justin Jackson (67%) - Herbert's teammate, and the Los Angeles Chargers' new leader in the backfield, Jackson is poised for just as much success in Week 7. Not only are the Jags bad against the pass, but according to Pro Football Reference, they are fifth-worst against opposing running backs. They've allowed the third-most rushing yards to backs while having given up nine combined pass and rush touchdowns to the position. And despite all the hype around Joshua Kelley last time out before the bye, it was Jackson who led Chargers backs in snaps with 42 to Kelley's 25. He turned 21 opportunities into 94 yards and 9.4 fantasy points without getting into the end zone. A 28.25 implied total only boosts Jackson's appeal ahead of this week's juicy matchup.
Boston Scott (12%) - This is the obvious place most in need of running back help will go on waivers this week. Scott is widely available and in line to see the lion's share of work for the Philadelphia Eagles, given that Miles Sanders is expected to miss this Thursday's game against the New York Giants. Even if only for one week, Scott's proven he is up to the task of producing on the field and in the stat sheet for fantasy managers. Before a Week 2 dud this year, he ended 2019 by posting five games with at least 9 touches for an average of 80 scrimmage yards a game. He ran for four scores in that time with all four against these Giants. If the rushing work is there to go with the targets out of the backfield, Scott could shoot across the sky with a week-saving performance in Sanders' stead.
Travis Fulgham (62%) - Speaking of Eagles, Fulgham has been the guy of late for Carson Wentz and the passing offense. While drawing more than 25% of his team's pass targets, all he's done is produce the second-best passer rating when targeted (trailing only Chase Claypool), according to Pro Football Focus. He has really come out of nowhere as a fantasy darling, but we should expect him to stay. That should especially be the case with Zach Ertz now out with an injury and Jalen Reagor's return still unknown. Oh -- and did I mention the Giants are 29th against the pass? Expect Fulgham to be an 80%-rostered guy by week's end.
Tee Higgins (59%) - Higgins has proven to be a baller early on for the Cincinnati Bengals. While making John Ross an afterthought, the former Clemson Tigers star is second among the team's core pass-catchers with 0.8 Reception NEP per target. He's not far off the pace of Tyler Boyd and has nearly doubled the efficiency of what seems to be a shell of A.J. Green. He's accomplished all of this while getting at least seven targets in each of the last four games and accumulating a 13.6 average depth of target (aDOT). Against the Cleveland Browns, he should do anything but slow down, as Cleveland ranks 25th against the pass and 25th against WR2's, per numberFire's defense-versus-role (DVR) stats.
Christian Kirk (48%) - Like Cleveland, Seattle is another defense that boosts opposing receivers in a big way. In allowing the most targets, catches, yards and fantasy points to the position, the Seahawks' secondary is 32nd against all receivers and 20th against WR2's. Game script also favors a more pass-happy version of the Arizona Cardinals' offense because the oddsmakers have them as 3.5-point underdogs in a projected shootout owning a 56.5-point total. That should be enough, but to boot, Kirk's shown off some explosiveness in recent games. Over his last three, he's turned only 10 catches into 183 yards and 3 touchdowns. Imagine what he could do with more opportunities against this abysmal defense.
Dalton Schultz (53%) - The same early-season excitement has just not been there lately for Schultz. Without Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton serving in his place, the offense as a whole has gotten a downgrade. After all, Dallas was held to 10 points in Monday's blowout loss at the hands of the Cardinals. But things aren't all bad for the team's primary tight end. Dalton was forced to throw it 54 times and for 266 yards, resulting in 35 yards on 4 catches and 5 targets for Schultz. And maybe the most encouraging note is that his snap rate actually dropped 7% with Dallas going to a lot of four-wide sets in full-on comeback mode. He's due for a bounce-back against a Washington Football Team that -- per JJ Zachariason -- has allowed a 29% target share and 5 of 10 passing touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season.