7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 13
The 2020 NFL season -- like everything about 2020 -- is unique. While turning to the waiver wire or free agent pool for streaming options is a common practice in normal years, the need for deeper options could be even greater this year as the NFL tries to navigate playing through a pandemic.
This is your weekly home for finding deep sleeper options across the board this year with plug-and-play options listed at quarterback, running back, receiver, and tight end. Whether you set out to stream or circumstances have changed for your roster and dictate streaming on the fly, I've got you covered with a full roster's worth of low-rostered choices in Yahoo! leagues.
Philip Rivers, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 33%
Philip Rivers' first year with the Indianapolis Colts got off to a slow start from a fantasy perspective, but given the unusual offseason, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise. He's heated up of late, though. Since Week 6, he ranks 14th in total fantasy points among quarterbacks -- despite having a bye -- and 16th in fantasy points per game at the position, per FantasyPros.
He and the Colts have the fifth-highest implied total this week at 28.00 points, as you can see on our Heat Map page. He also has a great matchup. The Houston Texans have the sixth-worst pass defense, according to the numberFire Power Rankings. The numberFire projection algorithm projects Rivers to finish as QB18 in scoring, but I'm a bit more bullish on his outlook and anticipate a top-15 finish in scoring among signal-callers.
Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 28%
Picking from the widely available running backs is a crapshoot. The pickings feel a bit better than usual this week, and Boston Scott is my second-favorite deep sleeper at running back behind a forthcoming grizzled veteran. Scott checks two major boxes; he has home-run ability as evidenced by his 56-yard touchdown run in Week 10 against the New York Giants, and he's a talented pass-catching option with eight receptions on nine targets over the last two weeks and multiple receptions in five of his last six games.
Scott's receiving chops have allowed him to cut into the playing time of Miles Sanders when the Philadelphia Eagles are trailing. To that point, over the last three weeks with Sanders back from injury, he's rushed 29 times for 128 scoreless yards and caught 6 of 11 targets for 29 scoreless yards on just 9 air yards. Comparatively, Scott has rushed 7 times for 82 yards and a touchdown -- on the aforementioned 56-yard scamper -- and reeled in 9 receptions on 10 targets for 77 receiving yards with 30 air yards.
Scott's receiving acumen should come in handy if the road tilt against the Green Bay Packers goes according to the betting line. The Packers are tied for the fourth-largest favorite, laying 7.5 points to the visiting Eagles. Green Bay's also quite giving to backs through the air. In fact, no one's allowed more receiving yards (601) to the position than they have, and the five touchdown receptions they've coughed up and 68 receptions they've ceded to them are tied for the second-most and the fifth-most, respectively. The Eagles have been a mess, creating a low floor for everyone involved in their offense, but the matchup's right for Scott providing flex or emergency running back value to gamers in need at the position.
Frank Gore, RB, New York Jets
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 25%
Is rostering and starting Frank Gore exciting? No. Although, he's seen a steady diet of touches and done enough to warrant a look in a plus matchup this week. Gore's reached double-digit carries in nine of 11 games this year, and he's in his most fantasy-friendly form of late. He's caught multiple passes in three straight games, totaled at least 59 yards from scrimmage in three straight, and hit or exceeded that mark in five of his last six games.
The New York Jets continue to employ Adam Gase as their head coach, and he continues to force-feed his veteran back. This week, the Jets host the cross-country traveling Las Vegas Raiders and their porous run defense on the heels of them suffering a beat down at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. The Raiders rank as our fifth-worst run defense this year, and Gore projects to finish as RB26 in point-per-reception (PPR) formats. That'll do.
Breshad Perriman, WR, New York Jets
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 12%
Am I a glutton for punishment? One could make the argument I am by pointing to the inclusion of two Jets in this space, but Breshad Perriman warrants streamer usage as well. Since Week 9 (which includes a bye week in Week 10), Perriman's 370 air yards rank as the 12th most. Of course, two of those games came with Joe Flacco at quarterback, but he didn't skip a beat with the return of Sam Darnold last week.
Perriman accounted for 42.15 percent of the Jets' intended air yards last week, good for the 15th-highest mark, per NFL Next Gen Stats. Over his last three games, he's totaled 19 targets, 11 receptions, 234 receiving yards, and 3 touchdown receptions. During that stretch which started in Week 9, Perriman's 17.5 points per game in PPR formats is tied for the 14th-highest average, according to FantasyPros.
The veteran burner has been used as a field-stretching weapon this year, and his average depth of target of 14.8 yards is tied for the ninth-deepest depth among receivers and tight ends targeted at least 30 times, per Sports Info Solutions. Getting deep requires time, and a matchup with the Raiders should award Darnold time to allow Perriman to get deep. The 12 sacks totaled by the Raiders this year are the second-fewest to the 11 tallied by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Raiders are also in the middle of the pack in pressure percentage, according to Pro-Football-Reference.
The numberFire projection algorithm has a top-50 outlook for Perriman this week with a WR47 projection in PPR formats, but I'm more optimistic and view him as a top-40 option. Having said that, any investment in the Jets is a risk, and Perriman's vertical usage adds to the volatility given the lower percentage of completions on deep balls relative to shorter throws. All things considered, Perriman's my second-favorite receiver featured in this space behind a fellow AFC East option forthcoming.
Gabriel Davis, WR, Buffalo Bills
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 3%
I teased him in the sentence above, and Gabriel Davis is my favorite deep sleeper at receiver this week. With John Brown on Injured Reserve, Davis is bumped up the pecking order of pass-catchers for the Buffalo Bills. In Smoke's absence last week, Davis hauled in 3 of 4 targets for 79 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. It marked the rookie's third game of 70 or more receiving yards and his fourth game scoring a touchdown -- all the more impressive considering his lower standing on the depth chart for most of this year.
Like Perriman above, Davis is used as a vertical option. Using the same 30 target minimum, Davis' average depth of target of 14.0 yards downfield is 17th deepest. Last week, he accounted for a rock-solid 70 air yards. The matchup isn't the easiest with the San Francisco 49ers ranking 11th in pass defense, but I'm not shying away from a slightly above-average pass defense. He checks in as WR58 in PPR projection, but, like Perriman, I view him as a top-40 receiver this week and have him ahead of the Jets' speedster by a hair.
Jordan Akins, TE, Houston Texans
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 4%
By now, you're probably aware Will Fuller is suspended for the remainder of the season. The Houston Texans are also without Randall Cobb and recently released Kenny Stills. The receiver room is thin, and it should lead to increased opportunities for their top pass-catching tight end, Jordan Akins. It should, in theory, also lead to more slot snaps for him. For the year, Player Profiler credits him with a 16.9 percent slot rate and 63.9 percent route participation.
This week, the numberFire projection algorithm pegs Akins as TE13, putting him right in the starter mix. I'm on board with that projection.
Andy Isabella, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Yahoo Roster Percentage: 1%
The Arizona Cardinals are coming off of a disappointing road loss to the New England Patriots, and they now have a tough matchup with their division-rival Los Angeles Rams. The Rams rank as the second-best pass defense in the Power Rankings, and they've allowed the fewest standard-scoring fantasy points and FanDuel points to receivers this year, according to Pro-Football-Reference.
Andy Isabella is not a matchup-driven suggestion, and he's only a deep league option with a caveat, to boot. Larry Fitzgerald missed last week's game as a result of testing positive for COVID-19. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has voiced optimism about Fitzgerald being available this week, and given that he reportedly tested positive right before Thanksgiving, Kingsbury's optimism might be well placed.
If Fitz returns, Isabella becomes an even riskier play who I'd advise pivoting off of to an alternative-- perhaps to Josh Reynolds from the same contest. If Fitz remains out, though, Isabella makes for an intriguing deep-league option given his usage without Fitz last week.
Andy Isabella with Larry Fitzgerald out yesterday:
* 44-of-73 snaps (60%)
* 33 of them in slot
* 6 targets for an 18% share
* 4-33-0 line
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) November 30, 2020
As the tweet above from Adam Levitan points out, Isabella played the majority of his snaps from the slot and accounted for a healthy 18 percent target share. Fitz typically operates in the slot, and Isabella's move into the slot resulted in a different usage from the norm for the speedster. For the year, Isabella has an average depth of target of 11.8 yards downfield. However, last week, he accounted for only 11 air yards on his 6 targets.
His wheels make him a threat for a long play, but receiving shorter targets offers a higher chance of a completion while awarding him the opportunity to do damage after the catch. Isabella's fantasy utility this week is tied to Fitzgerald's availability, so monitor the news the rest of the week while preparing to pivot to an alternative if he's activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Joshua Shepardson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Joshua Shepardson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username bchad50. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.