7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 8
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.
Teddy Bridgewater (39% Rostered) - Funny enough, Teddy Two Gloves found his way into this conversation just three weeks ago when he faced these same Atlanta Falcons -- but that's no coincidence. Atlanta's pass defense has rightfully been the target for many streaming options of late, having allowed 23.7 and 18.4 fantasy points to Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford since Bridgewater last hit them up for 20.8 fantasy points and a top-12 finish at the quarterback position. By our metrics, they rank dead last versus the pass, giving up 0.19 more Passing NEP per play than the league average through seven weeks. For that reason, our projections have Bridgewater as a top-10 play with his Carolina Panthers taking the field on Thursday night.
Boston Scott (66%) - Scott didn't do a ton to impress in the absence of the injured running back Miles Sanders last week, but the workload was very encouraging for as long as he operates as the Philadelphia Eagles' lead back. On his way to 17 total opportunities (carries-plus-targets), he played more than 69% of snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. He took 12 of the 16 running back carries and 5 of the 7 running back targets, as the secondary work was split between Jason Huntley and Corey Clement. This week, he will go from facing the New York Giants' 10th-ranked run defense to the Cowboys' 30th-ranked unit against the run. With the Eagles favored by 7.5 at home, it's easy to see a big day for Scott.
JaMycal Hasty (7%) - The San Francisco 49ers' backfield is a mess. Raheem Mostert remains on injured reserve, and Jeff Wilson just joined him. Meanwhile, Tevin Coleman could potentially return from his stay on IR this week, so it will likely be some combination of him or Hasty coupled with Jerick McKinnon in more of a complementary role. If Coleman is either out or on a snap count Hasty figures to get the bulk of the work against the Seattle Seahawks. In Week 7 he took 9 carries and caught 1 target in what tied a season-high for 15 snaps. The undrafted rookie has shown flashes in little playing time, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and 0.09 Rushing NEP per carry. Wilson is the only 49er producing more efficiently on a per-carry basis. It's hard to go wrong with a running back in a Kyle Shanahan offense, even if it is against a top-10 team against the run. Monitor the Coleman situation and snatch up Hasty if you have a need this week.
A.J. Green (76%) - With the Tennessee Titans on tap, you can consider a number of Cincinnati Bengals' players this week. That includes locking in Tyler Boyd and in most cases Tee Higgins, but don't forget about the elder statesman. After a very slow start to the year, Green has returned to being a productive receiver both in real life and in the fantasy realm. Over the last two games, he's received 24 targets, and has turned them into 15 catches for 178 yards. He has averaged 8.9 fantasy points, but that's with zero touchdowns to his credit -- a trend that has held true through all seven weeks. Green is far overdue for a score given his team's recent scoring -- 61 combined points over the last two weeks -- and he gets a nice matchup. The Titans, ranked 19th against the pass are fresh off allowing 14 and 15 targets to the Pittsburgh Steelers' number-one and -two receivers. Green could post a big day even if Boyd or Higgins pop off.
Brandon Aiyuk (27%) - To say it has been an up-and-down season for the 49ers' rookie wideout would be an understatement. After missing Week 1 and opening his year with a two-catch performance against the New York Jets, Aiyuk has had games of five, two, three, two, and six catches. He has maxed out at 16.1 fantasy points (with a rushing score) but with a low of just 4.4 three weeks back. The good news is that his playing time has gone rather unchanged, never once dipping below 72% of snaps with or without Deebo Samuel. And now that Samuel is set to miss some time it will be Aiyuk operating as the top dog for looks, a game after his first 100-yard game. Things are set up well for the dynamic rookie as he goes up against a Seattle team that has been smacked for 5.8 more wide receiver points than any other team on a per-game basis. Aiyuk should be much higher-owned this week and moving forward.
Rashard Higgins (0.5%) - Higgins is another clear candidate to be added in more than half -- if not more -- of fantasy leagues. With Odell Beckham ruled out for the rest of the season, Higgins will be counted on as the second wideout opposite Jarvis Landry, after taking over most of Beckham's snaps in Week 7. His snap rate jumped to 85% from 60% in Week 6, and with it, the 26-year-old hauled in all 6 of his targets for 110 yards and finished with at least 7.3 fantasy points for the third straight week. The Browns draw the Raiders on Sunday in a game with a meaty 53.5-point total at FanDuel Sportsbook. Higgins is a worthwhile option for those looking for a WR3 or flex option amid this week's byes.
Richard Rodgers (7%) - No Zach Ertz? No Dallas Goedert? No problem for the Eagles' tight-end happy offense. With both of the team's top two options unavailable last week it was Rodgers who played 85% of the team's snaps against the Giants. His 8 targets came out to a 19% target share and resulted in 6 catches, 85 yards, and 8.5 fantasy points. That was enough for a TE9 finish despite the Giants holding tight ends to only 5.8 points per game. The Cowboys give up 9.7 a game and have allowed five TE1 performances in seven weeks. With Carson Wentz in need of passing weapons, it wouldn't be surprising to see Rodgers turn in another at this rate.