7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 13
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, deep-league gamers, this piece is intended to help folks in leagues of all sizes. With that in mind, I'm following my predecessor's lead, including honorable mentions. If the featured players are already rostered in your league, the honorable mentions should provide you with players to consider filling in for an injured starter or player on bye on your roster -- or for whatever other reason you're diving into the free-agent pool for a sleeper.
While it should go without saying, the featured players at each position are my favorite sleepers for the given week. The honorable mentions are listed in descending order of the percentage of rosters they're on.
Sources: The #Saints appear poised to make a QB change. Taysom Hill is taking first-team reps this week in practice in preparation to face the #Cowboys. Trevor Siemian is taking No. 2 reps.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 29, 2021
Sure, Hill doesn't light the world on fire as a passer. Regardless, it doesn't matter. Hill's rushing ability instantly thrusts him into the fantasy quarterback starter equation in leagues as shallow as 12-team formats. According to FantasyPros, in Hill's starts for the Saints last year from Week 11 through Week 14, he finished as QB4, QB11, QB8, and QB11.
Further elaborating, Hill's rushing ability mitigates concerns about his lackluster pass-catching options. Finally, our projections support adding Hill. We project him as the QB15 this week.
Matt Breida (23%) - Diving into the bargain bin for help at running back requires accepting warts for the available options. For Breida, playing time is his biggest issue. According to our snap counts, his 31.82 percent snap share was his season-high. Still, Devin Singletary played more than twice as many snaps, with a 68.18 percent snap share.
However, he has demonstrated juice and fantasy utility in his opportunities. Since Week 10, Breida has rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts, adding 6 receptions for 67 yards and 2 more touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference. Additionally, he has three red-zone carries and three targets compared to five carries and zero targets for Singletary.
Moreover, Breida is supported by an above-average run-blocking line in an offense that might be making significant changes. According to Football Outsiders, the Buffalo Bills are 10th in adjusted line yards. As for the changes on offense, the Bills made two eye-catching changes against the Saints.
First, according to Sharp Football Stats, the Bills pass at the highest rate (68 percent) when the offensive scoring margin ranges from trailing by seven to leading by seven in Week 1 through Week 11. However, last week, they passed at only a 45 percent clip under those scoring conditions against New Orleans' defense that's ranked best defending the run in our power rankings.
Second, according to Sharp Football Stats, the Bills used two tight end or two back (thus, using a fullback) formations on only 17 percent of their snaps before Week 12. In Week 12, that rate surged to 24 percent. Obviously, that's a one-game sample. Nevertheless, it's encouraging for Buffalo's active running backs. Also, Breida is an explosive player who doesn't need a high-volume role to help fantasy teams. So, I'm willing to roll the dice on him this week.
Boston Scott (20%) - This Scott suggestion is a proactive one in case Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard are unable to play this week. Head coach Nick Sirianni is downplaying the significance of the injuries to both backs, voicing optimism about their progression. Still, doctor of physical therapy and medical analyst for Fantasy Points Edwin Porras, DPT hinted at skepticism regarding Sanders' health.
Sanders comes up limping holding his right leg up slightly. His previous ankle injury was on the right. This is likely a setback. PHI claims it’s nbd but the coming days will tell. https://t.co/Xwm33OCjpz pic.twitter.com/ccCMNs3NOz
— Edwin Porras, DPT (@FBInjuryDoc) November 30, 2021
The situation is murky enough to place a waiver claim on Scott before a mouthwatering matchup. According to Pro Football Reference, the New York Jets allow the most FanDuel points per game to running backs by a whopping four points. In the Philadelphia Eagles' run-heavy offense, Scott has touched the ball double-digit times in four of his last five games. If either Sanders or Howard is out, there's enough meat on the bone for Scott to serve as a fringe RB2 in 12-team formats.
Van Jefferson (49%) - The Los Angeles Rams have played two games since Robert Woods suffered a season-ending injury. According to Pro Football Focus, Jefferson has been fourth on the Rams in receptions (six), second in targets (15), and receiving yards (147), tied for first for receiving touchdowns (one), and first in routes (84) for the team. He's also operated as their top deep threat, sporting an average depth of target of 16.3 yards downfield.
The second-year wideout's vertical usage is an ideal fit against the Jacksonville Jaguars. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Jags allow the fifth-highest explosive average pass rate 11 percent). Finally, Jefferson set season-highs for targets (nine) and receiving yards (93) last week while being used differently.
Van Jefferson didn't play more than 20 snaps from the slot in any game before Week 12.
He played 37 slot snaps in Week 12.
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) November 29, 2021
The tangible change to his usage makes me optimistic his blow-up game last week might be a sign of things to come. Jefferson should be on rosters in leagues of all sizes. And, this week, we project him as WR30 in FanDuel's scoring format.
Kendrick Bourne (24%) - At first blush, a matchup against the Bills is a nightmare for Bourne. Unfortunately, Tre'Davious White suffered a season-ending injury last week. As a result, Buffalo's secondary is more susceptible to being beaten up, and Bill Belichick is undoubtedly aware of that fact.
The biggest knock on Bourne remains head-scratching underutilization. Nonetheless, he's making the most of his chances, providing a reason to believe he can stave off regression by commanding an increased role in the offense. To that point, according to Pro Football Focus, among 72 receivers targeted at least 25 times since Week 3, Bourne has ranked ninth with 2.50 yards per route run. Thus, even if Bourne's role doesn't grow immediately, his efficiency is encouraging for avoiding a total dud.
We project him as the WR43 this week. However, I'm a pinch more optimistic, projecting him as a low-end WR3 instead of a high-end WR4.
Quez Watkins (1%) - First, allow me to acknowledge that I prefer all of the receivers in the honorable mentions ahead of Watkins this week. However, the cases for the forthcoming honorable mentions are straightforward, requiring no analysis. Instead, I prefer to make the case for Watkins as a desperation steamer.
Unfortunately, the numbers have been ugly for Watkins most of this year. Specifically, he hasn't bested 40 receiving yards since Week 6. However, a look under the hood isn't as dire. Since Week 7, Watkins has run the second-most routes (150), ranking third on the team in targets (20), receptions (12), and receiving yards (120). He has also netted deep targets, with an average depth of target of 14.3 yards downfield.
The second-year receiver's deep-ball usage is the driving force behind his inclusion in this space. The Jets allow the highest average explosive pass rate (12%) this year. Additionally, he might get a sneaky lift this week. Last week, Jalen Hurts hurt his left ankle on a second-half sack, casting some doubt on his availability this week.
If Hurts is sidelined, Gardner Minshew is the fill-in option at quarterback. Maybe surprising to many folks, Minshew is probably the better deep passer between the two young quarterbacks. Among 33 quarterbacks with at least 20 deep passes (defined as 20-plus yard passes) this year, Hurts has earned Pro Football Focus's 22nd passing grade. In 2020, among 38 quarterbacks with 20 deep passes, Hurts ranked 25th, and Minshew ranked 27th in Pro Football Focus's passing grade. However, in 2019, out of 35 quarterbacks with at least 20 deep passes, Minshew earned Pro Football Focus's third-highest passing grade.
Therefore, Minshew has shown the highest ceiling on deep passes in the NFL between himself and Hurts. However, even if Hurts is the starter, New York's most susceptible defense to explosive passes plants Watkins on the dart-throw radar.
Gerald Everett (27%) - I highlighted my three favorite tight end streamers for this week on Tuesday. Still, you can add Everett to the same tier. The Seattle Seahawks are in an offensive funk. Unfortunately, Russell Wilson's return in Week 10 hasn't saved the offense.
Regardless, Everett is carving out a fantasy-friendly role in Seattle's stagnant offense. In Week 3 and Week 10 through Week 12 (his last four games with Wilson), he has been third on the club in routes (111), second in targets (25), and receiving yards (191), tied for first in touchdown receptions (one), and first in receptions (21).
The bar is low for low-end starter value at tight end, and Everett is clearing it. We project him as TE24 in Week 13. However, his 3.63-point projection is less than a point and a half behind Zach Ertz's projection of 4.89 points as the TE14. There's a logjam mediocrity in that range of tight ends, and Everett is firmly in it.
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.