7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 13
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.
Baker Mayfield (20%) - This past week was one part Jekyll and one part Hyde for the Cleveland Browns quarterback. While he threw for more than 250 yards and a pair of scores in the win over Jacksonville, he also missed some obvious throws -- particularly this wide-open slant for a score. But overall, Mayfield played a solid game and did what he could with his 31 drop backs. And this week, he'll have full opportunity to produce a top-12 performance. According to Pro Football Reference, the Tennessee Titans are fifth-worst against quarterbacks despite their 11 interceptions, while they check in as six-point favorites over at FanDuel Sportsbook. The Browns might need to pass more than they have in recent wins, meaning we could see a ceiling game out of Mayfield and the Cleveland passing game.
J.K. Dobbins (50%) - The Dobbins breakout game finally happened. In the Ravens' Week 11 loss to the Titans, the rookie back took 15 carries for 70 yards and a score, and he added 2 catches for 15 yards through the air. His 17 opportunities accounted for 77% of the backfield's chances, as Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards failed to notch a single target. A lot has transpired since then, with the COVID outbreak in Baltimore, but Dobbins figures to be active against the Pittsburgh Steelers when they eventually play the Week 12 matchup. He may be fatigued going into the short week to follow, but a weak Dallas Cowboys run defense -- 28th by our metrics -- awaits him. As long as he's getting the lion's share of the carries moving forward, he should thrive in this Baltimore rushing attack.
Devontae Booker (5%) - Dobbins is a must-add in a vacuum, but Booker is a must-add based on an injury to his backfield mate, Josh Jacobs, who went down in the Las Vegas Raiders' shocking loss at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. Jacobs appears to have a chance to play, though it wouldn't be shocking if Jon Gruden and staff opted for caution given the soft matchup. With the New York Jets on tap, the Raiders are 7.5-point road favorites and possess a 27.25 implied total as a result. Whoever leads the Las Vegas backfield should eat in positive game script, even if the Jets are much better against the run than the pass. And that should especially be the case for Booker, who has six targets to Jacobs' eight over the last three games.
Sterling Shepard (61%) - It's pretty simple: the Seattle Seahawks hemorrhage fantasy points to opposing receivers. This past week might fool you, given the Philadelphia Eagles' struggles, but don't let one game overshadow just how bad their secondary has been. To this point, they've allowed 49 targets, 42 catches, and 336 yards beyond what any other defense has given up to the position. That bodes well for the New York Giants' offense as a whole, and Shepard has been the go-to guy in recent games, hauling in 33 of 40 targets over his last five contests. In that time, his 7.3 fantasy points are enough to warrant a look for those hurting for fill-ins at the receiver slot.
Breshad Perriman (14%) - Admittedly, the Jets are a mess on both sides of the ball. But that hasn't stopped them from some semblance of fantasy relevance offensively. Operating from a deficit in most cases, they have been forced to throw it 30 or more times in 7 of their 11 games, leading to targets for guys like Perriman. The big-bodied receiver has seven-plus targets in three games this season, including eight his last time out in a tough head-to-head with Xavien Howard and the Miami Dolphins. This week's game against the Raiders provides him a much higher floor and ceiling with their defense checking in 31st in passing efficiency.
Keke Coutee (0.3%) - Coutee is going to be a hot waiver-wire commodity. On Monday, news broke that Will Fuller would be out the rest of the season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Normally, that would do more for Randall Cobb, but Cobb is on injured reserve, and it's since been confirmed that Coutee will operate as the number-two opposite Brandin Cooks. So far this year, Coutee's accounted for only six catches on nine targets, but over the previous two seasons, he was counted on to catch more than 20 balls over 15 games. And of his seven career starts, he has at least 5 catches or 50 yards in five of them, including two of at least 72 yards. The Indianapolis Colts don't present a cupcake matchup, but the Texans are underdogs and, as such, will likely be throwing 30 to 40 times as they play catch-up.
Jordan Reed (15%) - As fantasy players have become accustomed to, Reed's 2020 has been yet another rollercoaster ride. Though he was expected to do little behind George Kittle, an injury to the San Francisco 49ers' star tight end has allowed him to appear in six games when healthy. In four of those, he's managed to see six or more targets, hauling in at least five balls for 50-plus yards on two occasions. This past week, he was held to only two catches on a half-dozen looks, but the Los Angeles Rams are a very tough defense. This week's matchup with the Buffalo Bills isn't at the top of the list, but Buffalo has allowed the third-highest target rate to tight ends, according to JJ Zachariason. That puts Reed in a good spot for Week 13.