7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 15
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.
Jalen Hurts (14%) - There are quite a few decent options out there at quarterback, even as we head into the second week of fantasy playoffs. The ones you see below have great matchups but don't sleep on the rookie. While, by our metrics, the Arizona Cardinals are 13th against the pass and 12th against fantasy quarterbacks, Hurts possesses the dual-threat ability that leads to big fantasy outings. In his first career start, he completed 17 of 30 passes for only 167 yards and a touchdown, yet he ran for 106 yards on 18 carries. Against one of the league's best defenses (the New Orleans Saints), more than 50% of his 19.28 fantasy points came from his legs. The Cardinals did well to handle Daniel Jones last week, but in three games against mobile quarterbacks, Russell Wilson and Josh Allen they allowed an average of 54.7 rushing yards and 25.5 fantasy points per game. Based on that, Hurts might just be a better Week 15 option than some top-12 quarterbacks to this point this season.
Benny Snell Jr. (39%) - The Pittsburgh Steelers' run game -- or lack thereof -- has been a primary talking point following back-to-back losses. You could say that they are due for a bounce-back game, but if they do get one from the backfield it might not come from James Conner. Conner injured his quad on Sunday, which brings his Week 15 status into question, especially with the Steelers gearing up for a playoff run. That would leave Snell as the guy to step in and lead the backfield -- something he has done at times this season. Prior to a very lackluster start against the Washington Football Team, Snell played a season-high 71% of snaps as he put up 93 yards and 9.3 fantasy points against the Ravens. The Cincinnati Bengals should pose even less resistance, with the league's fourth-worst run defense and an offense that continues to give opposing teams short fields. If Conner's out Snell is an easy guy to lock into your RB2 or flex spots.
Jeff Wilson (14%) - Kyle Shanahan has been Shanahan-ing really hard of late. Even with the return of Raheem Mostert, the 49ers' coach has continued to split the carries across multiple backs. While Mostert saw 14 carries on 49% of snaps this Sunday, Wilson garnered 11 carries of his own to go along with 3 targets on his 48% snap rate. It's an even split, but don't think there's no value in that this week. The Niners' run-heavy approach will play against a Dallas Cowboys defense that rates 25th against the run, having allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to the position (21). Wilson is a high-upside flex option if you are hurting because of injuries, as so many playoff managers are.
T.Y. Hilton (66%) - Seemingly out of nowhere, Hilton has returned to fantasy relevance after a brief, unofficial retirement early this season. Through his first nine games the nine-year veteran had tallied 29 catches (50 targets) for 327 yards and precisely zero touchdowns, but since then Hilton has turned his 23 targets into 17 catches for 277 yards and 4 touchdowns. Philip Rivers' go-to guy is averaging 17.2 fantasy points over his last three games, including a 100-yard game and 17-point outing against these Houston Texans. Absent the suspended Bradley Roby, Houston has no answer for opposing wideouts, and that bodes well for another big game from Hilton.
Rashard Higgins (9%) - Higgins was supposed to be much higher-owned at this point in the season. Following the injury to Odell Beckham, the 26-year-old pass-catcher immediately received more than 80% of the snaps and turned in a big day against the Bengals. But from Weeks 8 to 12 he went quiet, catching a combined eight balls in that time frame with no scores. Now, Higgins has six catches in back-to-back games, coming on 19 targets, with a pair of touchdowns. He'll turn around this week to face the New York Giants, who are eighth against receivers, but Jarvis Landry should draw the harder matchup with James Bradberry. Higgins could get a lot of attention from a hot-running Baker Mayfield.
Lynn Bowden (1%) - Bowden is a type of cheat code this week because of the fact that he is listed on ESPN as both a running back and wide receiver. For purposes of what the Dolphins are utilizing him as, though, the rookie is a receiver. When a number of Miami's receiving options went down against the Chiefs, Bowden drew a season-high 9 targets, turning them into 7 catches and 82 yards. Preston Williams is on Injured Reserve, DeVante Parker is up in the air and Jakeem Grant is week-to-week. Bowden will get a ton of run in this home divisional matchup with the New England Patriots. It's hard to say if he'll get a top-weapon treatment from Belichick, but either way, the usage is there for someone available in nearly 99% of leagues.
Logan Thomas (59%) - Those who have Thomas on their roster might not be so lucky to make the playoffs, as they have been awaiting the breakout for weeks with no end. But wait no more. Over the last two games, the young tight end has a total of 15 catches, 141 yards, and 1 touchdown on his 16 targets. What's just as impressive is that he has done so against the stingy Pittsburgh and San Francisco defenses. This week, he draws the Seattle Seahawks, who are 24th as a unit against the pass, meaning he could be in for a third straight week of fantasy-relevant performances.