7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 16
We're onto the fantasy football semifinals. There's never been a more important time to identify diamonds in the rough for our lineups.
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 salary listed next to their Yahoo! roster percentage this year.
Mercifully, there are no more bye weeks for the rest of the season, so we are finally working with the full player pool once again.
Of course, with sleeper recommendations, they can't all be hits, but the results positively matched the process once again in Week 15's article. Brock Purdy delivered as the QB14, Tyler Allgeier was the RB7, Jahan Dotson was the WR8, and Juwan Johnson was the TE2. Mack Hollins, Elijah Moore, Demarcus Robinson and Chigoziem Okonkwo all delivered usable PPR floors.
Let's aim for more strong results in Week 16.
Gardner Minshew (14% | $6,100) - We've lost Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, and now Jalen Hurts in recent weeks, so undoubtedly, some fantasy managers are in need of quarterback streamers. While Jared Goff and Daniel Jones are safer options if available, Minshew is likely the best option that fits the sleeper criteria.
On the surface, the matchup against the Dallas Cowboys isn't appealing, but as John Daigle notes, Dallas is a much easier matchup while missing defensive starters Jayron Kearse, Leighton Vander Esch, Johnathan Hankins, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. After all, they just gave up the QB5 performance to Trevor Lawrence in Week 15.
We've seen Minshew have fantasy viability in his stints as a starter. In his two starts for the Philadelphia Eagles last year (without A.J. Brown mind you), Minshew was the QB10 and QB17, respectively, combining for a 4:1 TD:INT ratio and an additional 21 rushing yards. He averaged 21.6 rushing yards per game during his time on the Jacksonville Jaguars. It can only help Minshew's case that the Eagles activated Dallas Goedert off injured reserve this week.
Even with Jalen Hurts out, this game has a 47.5-point implied total, tied for the second-highest among all games. In a sneaky solid matchup and potential shootout, Minshew checks the boxes as a streaming candidate and under-the-radar DFS stacking option.
Zack Moss (37% | $5,100) - With Jonathan Taylor leaving on the second snap of the game last week, Moss came in and recorded 24(!) carries. That's probably all you need to know against a Los Angeles Chargers run defense that ranks dead last in our schedule-adjusted metrics. In a game that the Colts are just 3.5-point home underdogs, Moss is legitimately set up for another 18-plus touches this weekend.
There's even more to like here than meets the eye. Per Dwain McFarland, Moss surprisingly also played 67% of the long down and distance snaps, similar to Taylor's previous usage. Deon Jackson enjoyed the lion's share of the two-minute work, but he otherwise projects as a change-of-pace role to Moss' bell-cow touches if last week's usage is any indication. Moss is a legitimate plug-and-play RB2 right away in this optimal matchup.
Chuba Hubbard (38% | $6,000) - Facing a negative game script last week, Hubbard quietly set a season-high in snap rate (63%), blowing his previous high of 43% out of the water. It's clear Hubbard is the preferred passing game option with a solid 19% target per route run rate on the season. Per Dwain McFarland, Hubbard also has the two-minute offense and long down and distance role all to himself.
This should come in handy this week, as the Carolina Panthers are 2.5-point home underdogs to the Detroit Lions. And while many are likely scared of the Detroit Lions' apparently now vaunted run defense, it's worth noting Detroit still grades 31st against the run, per our schedule-adjusted metrics.
Hubbard isn't an exciting option, but he should have a decent PPR floor for desperate managers this week.
Demarcus Robinson (15% | $6,000) - We probably need Tyler Huntley to play for Robinson to be a viable streamer, so monitoring the Baltimore Ravens' injury report will be important. Robinson has recorded a target share of 21% or higher in three straight Huntley starts, leading the team in catches and receiving yards on throws from Huntley.
Robinson gets to face the Atlanta Falcons' pass defense, which ranks 32nd, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. The Ravens are 7.5-point home favorites, as well. Robinson is on the WR3 radar and should be rostered in far more leagues, especially with Devin Duvernay ruled out for the rest of the regular season.
Marquise Goodwin (19% | $5,800) - This is another situation where we need to monitor the injury report because Goodwin was limited with wrist and ankle injuries on Wednesday. Still, it's probably just maintenance after the Seattle Seahawks played on just three days' rest last week. That short week provides them effectively a mini bye ahead of their Week 16 tilt with the Kansas City Chiefs.
With Tyler Lockett likely out (finger), Goodwin is next in line in this wide receiver group. Remember, back in Week 7, D.K. Metcalf played just 28% of the team's snaps after suffering an injury, and Goodwin stepped in to catch four balls for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Even with Lockett and Metcalf in the lineup last week, Goodwin recorded five targets in an offense that skews heavily toward the pass.
Seattle will likely have to pass a ton again this week as 9.5-point road underdogs in Arrowhead. Kansas City has allowed the fourth-most PPR fantasy points to wide receivers this season and is an attackable matchup. Goodwin is a legitimate WR3 with upside this week -- assuming Lockett is ruled out.
Corey Davis (16% | $5,700) - In Week 13, Davis quietly had five catches for 85 yards on 10 targets. Then, in Week 14, Davis had a 15-yard catch on the first drive of the game and was subsequently ruled out with a concussion, causing him to miss last week's contest.
Davis is off the injury report, and even though his quarterback is Zach Wilson, his matchup is ideal. Jacksonville is a top-10 wide receiver matchup and a classic run funnel, grading 6th against the run but just 29th against the pass, per our metrics. Last week, CeeDee Lamb tagged the Jags for 126 yards, and Noah Brown caught 49 yards and two touchdowns.
Assuming Davis is back to full health, he should resume number-two receiver duties in this prime matchup.
Jordan Akins (1% | $4,900) - If you've read this column, you know I love me a 1% rostered sleeper. Akins has quietly run a route on at least 55% of the team's drop backs in four straight weeks and is coming off a season-high 25% target share. He also registered 100% of the team's end zone targets in Week 14 and 50% in Week 15, showing a legitimate red zone role for the Houston Texans.
This week, Akins gets a Tennessee Titans defense that has allowed the sixth-most PPR points to tight ends this season. In a week incredibly light on qualifiable tight end sleeper options, Akins fits the bill and has the athleticism to get there on just a few targets.
Honorable Mention: Noah Fant (23% | $5,300)
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.