7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 2
"Sleeper" is an ambiguous term. I'm defining anyone on less than half of Yahoo! rosters as a "sleeper" in the interest of providing clarity. Typically, I'll aim to feature players on fewer than 40 percent of rosters. However, this provides me some wiggle room.
Don't worry, large-league gamers, this piece is intended to help folks in leagues of all sizes. There will be honorable mentions as well, so if the featured players are already rostered in your league, the honorable mentions should provide you with players to consider as well. Whether filling in for an injured starter or player on their bye week, sleepers sometimes become a necessity.
Note: The featured players at each position are my favorite sleepers for the given week, but the honorable mentions are listed in descending order of the percentage of rosters they're on.
Teddy Bridgewater (11%) - Bridgewater's debut with the Denver Broncos couldn't have gone much better. He carved up the New York Giants for 264 passing yards, 2 touchdown passes, and a 77.78% completion rate. He also added three carries for 19 yards. As a result of his excellence, he earned Pro Football Focus's third-highest passing grade in Week 1.
He should continue rolling in Week 2 against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that the lowly Texans thoroughly trounced. Jacksonville's embarrassing showing left them with the eighth-worst pass defense rank in our Power Rankings. Tied to a robust implied total of 25.75 points, it's easy to understand why we rank him tied for 15th in projected quarterback scoring this week. Thus, he projects as a fringe starter in most leagues -- and I agree.
Elijah Mitchell (11%) - The percentage of rosters Mitchell is on will surge. However, he's a must-add player in leagues of all sizes. He erupted for 104 rushing yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. Beyond the box score, he tallied some impressive advanced metrics, too.
Elijah Mitchell in Week 1 | among RBs:
6 missed tackles forced (2nd)
3 rushes of 10+ yards (T-2nd)
73 yards after contact (3rd) pic.twitter.com/tT0HVREKJE
— PFF (@PFF) September 13, 2021
RB Trey Sermon is a healthy scratch for the #49ers. The coaches determined Raheem Mostert (obviously), as well as JaMycal Hasty and Elijah Mitchell are simply better players at this stage.
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) September 12, 2021
— Raheem Mostert (@RMos_8Ball) September 14, 2021
Presumably, Sermon will be active going forward. He could carve out a role in the backfield as well. However, I'm fully enamored with Mitchell's athletic profile. He's a must-have player.
Cordarrelle Patterson (3%) - While I prefer James White and Kenneth Gainwell, outright, Patterson's Week 1 usage was worth mentioning, as it thrusts him into the fantasy-relevant picture in deep leagues.
In the Week 1 review of the Eagles/Falcons game, Anthony Treash notes Patterson lined up all over the field. Specifically, he took 19 snaps from the backfield, 3 inline, 2 in the slot, and 3 out wide. Furthermore, Patterson ripped off four carries of 10 or more yards on his seven carries, rumbling for 54 yards on seven carries. In addition, he secured both of his targets for 13 yards. He also returned a kickoff, giving him a long-shot chance to score a touchdown on special teams; he has housed eight kick returns in nine seasons, after all. If he's going to flirt with double-digit touches weekly, Patterson boasts the explosiveness to make them count and help fantasy squads.
Honorable Mentions: James White (34%), Carlos Hyde (16%), Kenneth Gainwell (9%)
Cole Beasley (45%) - The Buffalo Bills didn't get off on the right foot, losing to Pittsburgh at home. The Steelers' defense was outstanding last year, though, and they looked to pick up where they left off. Regardless, the Bills continued to deploy a pass-happy approach. According to Sharp Football Stats, they passed at a 68 percent clip -- well above the league average of 60 percent.
Beasley was a favorite of Josh Allen. According to Pro Football Reference, Beasley's 13 targets tied for the seventh-most in Week 1. He dropped one pass but still finished with eight receptions for 60 receiving yards. We can work with his voluminous workload. Using FanDuel's half-point point-per-reception scoring (PPR), we rank him as WR46 this week. I'm a tick more bullish, expecting a top-40 finish, putting him in the fringe WR3 mix.
Sterling Shepard (40%)- Shepard was the top pass-catching option for the New York Giants in their opener. According to Pro Football Focus, he played all 43 passing snaps, running a route on a team-high 40 of them. He also lined up in the slot 65.1 percent of the time, resulting in a lower degree of difficulty passes with an average depth of target of 9.9 yards downfield compared to Darius Slayton's mark of 12.0 yards and Kenny Golladay's mark of 16.3 yards.
The Washington Football Team didn't generate pressure at a high percentage in the opener, and Big Blue's offensive line held the Denver Broncos to a pressure percentage of 4.5 percent per Pro Football Reference -- the lowest in Week 1. However, Washington's front-seven is widely considered among the league's best, and it's possible the lack of pressure allowed to the Broncos can be attributed to a game plan to get the ball out quickly. To that point, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, Daniel Jones' average time to throw of 2.58 seconds tied for the eighth-fastest mark last week. Both of those factors benefit Shepard, and he seems locked-in WR3 until something changes.
Sammy Watkins (14%) - Reunited with offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Watkins dazzled in his debut, and that harkened memories of thriving with Roman in Buffalo. He led the Baltimore Ravens in targets (8) and receiving yards (96), while also finishing second in receptions (four). Digging deeper provides more reasons for encouragement.
Pro Football Focus credited Lamar Jackson with 39 dropbacks. Watkins was on the field for 38 of them, and he ran a route on 37. Additionally, he moved around the field, playing 71.1 percent of his snaps out wide and 28.9 percent in the slot. Finally, out of 67 receivers targeted at least four times, he ranked 17th with 2.59 yards per route run.
After Baltimore's dreadful defensive showing against Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1, they now must contend with Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs. Thus, I'm expecting the Ravens to be forced to pass more than they'd like, creating the opportunity for a useful target volume for Watkins again this week.
Adam Trautman (11%) - I provided three of my favorite tight end streamers in a separate column Tuesday. Trautman wasn't included there. However, he's in the same tier as the others due to his Week 1 usage. Juwan Johnson, who's listed below, stole the headlines with a pair of touchdown grabs. However, he's a touchdown-or-bust option since he was infrequently used last week, playing only 10 passing snaps and running a route on 9 of them. Comparatively, Trautman played 19 passing snaps and ran a route on 18. The editor-in-chief here at numberFire, JJ Zachariason, sang the praises of Trautman on Tuesday's 15 Transactions for Week 2 Late-Round Podcast, and I'll second his endorsement on the basis of being intrigued by his tremendous role against the Packers.
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.