7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 3
Week 2 offset everything we knew about the NFL. Boy, it's great to be back.
Sleeper is an ambiguous term. For the purpose of this article, we'll define anyone on fewer than half of Yahoo! rosters as a sleeper. Typically, I'll actually aim to feature players on fewer than 40 percent of rosters.
Don't worry, deep-league gamers, this article is intended to help folks in leagues of all shapes and 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 a player on a bye -- or for whatever other reason you're diving into the free-agent pool.
While this article is primarily written through a season-long lens, sleepers are certainly viable as daily fantasy punts in certain builds, too. Keep that in mind when you're looking for cash-game savings or trying to gain cheap leverage in tournaments. That's why you'll see every player's FanDuel price listed next to their Yahoo! roster percentage this year.
If you read this column in Week 2, you likely found success in your season-long leagues and/or DFS lineups. Carson Wentz was the top quarterback recommendation, and he delivered yet another top-five fantasy performance at the position. Jeff Wilson was a solid flex play. Gerald Everett had six catches for 71 yards, while Josh Palmer and Curtis Samuel both found paydirt. We won't discuss Rex Burkhead and Robert Tonyan.
Jared Goff (34% | $7,100) - With Carson Wentz now above the 50% threshold, we'll aim for his Week 2 counterpart in Jared Goff. Coming off a strong Week 2, Goff checks in with the ninth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks so far this season.
He plays in one of the game environments we want to target this week, going on the road in the Minnesota Vikings' domed field. The Vikings' defense took advantage of some key offensive line injuries to the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 but looked much more vulnerable on Monday Night. Now they are playing on a short week. They also check in with the 21st-ranked pass D through two games, per numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. In short, this is not a matchup to fear.
Goff may not be anyone's idea of an elite quarterback, but he plays behind a dominant offensive line and is getting the ball in the hands of his playmakers. The combination of Amon-Ra St. Brown, D'Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson and D.J. Chark is enough to keep Goff streamer-worthy at worst, and the Lions' 31st-ranked defense, per our metrics, will keep Goff in plenty of shootouts.
Sure enough, this game checks in as a likely shootout. The total is 53.5, tied for the highest on the slate. In a high-totaled game with strong weapons and an attackable matchup, Goff has a good shot at another QB1 performance again this week.
J.D. McKissic (25% | $5,300) - If you went with a version of a Zero-RB approach in your draft, now might be the time to get McKissic into your lineup. He's about as game-script dependent as any back, but we know his best weeks are likely to come when the Washington Commanders are trailing. Last week, that was exactly the case, and McKissic racked up seven catches for 54 yards (and an additional three carries) in comeback mode.
Washington projects to face another negative game script this week; even at home, they are 6.5-point underdogs to the Philadelphia Eagles. The game still carries a decent total (47.5), and the matchup might be better than meets the eye. After getting clobbered by the Lions' backfield in Week 1, the Eagles' run defense currently ranks 32nd in our schedule-adjusted metrics.
Although the sample size is small, we've also seen plenty of targets funneled to running backs in Philly's first two matchups. In Week 1, D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams combined for four catches for 33 yards, and then in Week 2 Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison added another seven receptions in a negative script. McKissic is a worthy RB2/flex play in PPR leagues this week.
Darrel Williams (23% | $4,900) - We publish this on Wednesdays, which is before the first practice report of the week rolls in. So we have to work with the information available at the time. And right now, we know that James Conner left last week's game with an ankle injury. Even if it's "not considered serious," it could easily keep Conner out of this week's matchup.
Based on training camp and the preseason, Eno Benjamin seemed like the number two back for the Arizona Cardinals. Last week, however, Williams bestes Benjamin in snaps, carries, and routes (per Dwain McFarland), and also dominated red zone usage. Based on all that, it's certainly possible Kliff Kingsbury views Williams as the direct backup to Conner.
If Conner is out this week, Williams is a decent flex play against the Los Angeles Rams. The matchup isn't great on the ground, but considering Williams is getting more of the high-value touches in the red zone and the passing game, it helps that this game has a strong 49.5-point total.
Jakobi Meyers (46% | $6,200) - Even if the touchdown ceiling isn't there, it's downright shocking that Meyers is rostered in fewer than half of Yahoo! leagues. He had 13 (!) targets last week, tallying up nine catches for 95 yards. That target share (37%) alone puts him on the PPR WR3 map every week, and now he gets to face an injury-riddled Baltimore Ravens secondary.
You can probably recall what Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle did to the Ravens last week. I'm certainly not claiming Meyers is the caliber of either of those receivers, but the point stands this matchup is a good one. Baltimore checks in with our 24th-rated pass defense.
Meyers is a plug-and-play WR3/flex in PPR leagues this week. If Baltimore continues to deal with injuries in the secondary, here's betting he also finds the end zone for once.
Russell Gage (40% | $5,700) - Mike Evans is suspended. Chris Godwin doesn't seem close to returning after missing practice all of last week. Julio Jones also missed Week 2 and should be considered questionable at best for this week's tilt against the Green Bay Packers.
So, that leaves us with Gage -- among others -- as the next man up. Gage has undoubtedly disappointed so far this campaign, but he was also dealing with a hamstring injury and has yet to log a full practice this year. If Gage is able to practice fully this week, he should be in line for a better performance against Green Bay.
We know historically Tom Brady loves to pepper his slot receivers with targets. Gage is competing for looks with the likes of Breshad Perriman, Cole Beasley and Scotty Miller, so he will be the easy favorite to lead the Buccaneers in target share this week if Julio is again ruled out. Against the Packers' zone defense, that should come in handy in PPR leagues.
Josh Palmer (27% | $5,600) - Let's run it back, shall we? This one is pretty simple. If Keenan Allen is out again, Palmer is an easy flex option. With Allen out last week, Palmer managed four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown on eight targets -- good for a decent 17% target share.
Palmer is tied to one of the best offenses and quarterbacks in the league. The Los Angeles Chargers have the fourth-highest implied team total of the week (27.25) and are 7.0-point home favorites. Palmer is even a viable desperation play if Allen gives it a go because Allen might be on a pitch count.
Hayden Hurst (17% | $5,100) - Despite ranking sixth among tight ends in targets through two weeks (16), Hurst is available in more than 80% of Yahoo! leagues. He's part of an offense that should have brighter days ahead; the Cincinnati Bengals are 4.5-point road favorites with a 25.0-point implied team total.
Hurst has played well, has a meaningful target share, and is tied to a good offense and quarterback. The New York Jets, meanwhile, sport the 31st-ranked pass defense, per numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. Hurst should be rostered everywhere considering the state of the tight end position. It's criminal that Cole Kmet and Austin Hooper are on more fantasy rosters than Hurst is.
Eli Weiner is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Eli Weiner also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Eweiner2. 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.