7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 5
I've always been a bit odd when choosing favorites.
I preferred Luigi to Mario. Batman? Give me Robin -- or Alfred, even. Aragorn? Nah. I'm all about Faramir.
What does that have to do with fantasy football? Not much, really. Well, nothing at all. But I've always enjoyed the non-obvious, and that's why I like recommending deep sleepers more than these regular sleepers.
I like trying to give dap to some players who would normally go dap-less entering a week.
Here are seven such guys.
Week 5 All-Deep-Sleeper Team
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins (Started in 3.4% of ESPN Leagues | Owned in 7.0% of ESPN Leagues)
I can't think of many things less exciting than rostering Cousins, but you don't get any bonus points for exciting plays. Not in most leagues, at least. Cousins has put up at least 290 yards in consecutive games, and he gets to face an Atlanta team that ranks 21st in our Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play metric. That means they're a below-average pass defense.
They're 11th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, but they haven't exactly played a murderer's row through four weeks. Cousins is at a big disadvantage, too, in that Jordan Reed is dealing with a concussion and Pierre Garcon is banged up too. However, DeSean Jackson could play. Washington is a 7.5-point underdog, which isn't what we're looking for with a quarterback, but they should have to throw. Cousins ranks ninth in Passing NEP in the league, too. He can get it done unless the pass rush overwhelms him, and that's why I think he's worth it.
Running Back: Chris Thompson (Started in 1.4% of ESPN Leagues | Owned in 4.9% of ESPN Leagues)
The running back situation in Washington is muddied already, so why not throw Thompson into the mix? Thompson has seen 18 touches in the past two weeks, and he's produced with them. Thompson has also played 38 and 33 snaps on offense in the past two games (compared to 28 total in the first two games). We already know that the Falcons are favored by 7.5 in this game, so that's probably bad news for the stone-handed Alfred Morris.
Matt Jones was the rage, but his snap count looks to be slipping (10, 31, 26, and 15 through Week 4), so Thompson might be the guy. Thompson had 8 catches in Week 3 and 2 in Week 4. If playing from behind, he could be the best bet for fantasy production of the trio. Thompson ranks eighth in Reception NEP (9.87) among all running backs through Week 4.
Running Back: Theo Riddick (Started in 4.7% of ESPN Leagues | Owned in 13.6% of ESPN Leagues)
Riddick's situation isn't much different. He's the pass-catching back in a crowded backfield, a backfield that seemed to be ripe for claiming. For Washington, it was Jones. For Detroit, Ameer Abdullah.
Riddick's snap count isn't as promising as Thompson's (35, 15, and 21 in the past 3 games), but he's managed at least 5 targets and receptions in that span (and he caught a touchdown in Week 1 on 2 catches and 2 targets). The game script might not be as favorable either, as Detroit is a 2.5-point home underdog to Arizona. Their implied total (based on a 44-point over/under) is an unexciting 20.75. But with Riddick, you're looking more for receiving production than scores. He leads all backs in Reception NEP (13.22) through Week 4, so he can get it done.
Wide Receiver: Willie Snead (Started in 11.8% of ESPN Leagues | Owned in 24.1% of ESPN Leagues)
In a game with an over/under of 49.5, there should be points for both sides. New Orleans is a 5-point road underdog against the Eagles this week, so that could mean a pass-heavy game script. That's good for Snead, who got some love in this article last wek. That's not a tout, but it's nice to see that he's been a logical play in the past. That's why his ownership shot up from basically zero to where it is now.
Snead caught all 6 of his targets for 89 yards last week, and he's played on at least 39 snaps three weeks running. Philadelphia is ninth in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play; they're 10th in the rushing category. It probably won't be easy to move the ball, but trusting a guy with at least 6 targets in three straight weeks (not bad for a player of this renown and ownership level).
Wide Receiver: Marlon Brown (Started in 0.3% of ESPN Leagues | Owned in 0.7% of ESPN Leagues)
With Steve Smith ruled out for Week 5, Kamar Aiken is a popular sleeper pick -- or value pick in daily formats. Makes sense. Aiken saw seven targets last week. Brown has seen 15 all season. But he's not an infrequently-used player. Brown played 70 snaps in Week 2, 56 in Week 3, and 72 in Week 4.
Yes, Baltimore is a 6.5-point favorite against Cleveland, so playing catch-up isn't in the cards (if we're being rational). Cleveland ranks 24th in Adjusted Passing NEP per play and 26th in fantasy points allowed to receivers. The snaps were there, the matchup is nice, and some volume could go his way in Week 5.
Tight End: Derek Carrier (Started in 2.4% of ESPN Leagues | Owned in 2.9% of ESPN Leagues)
Yeah, sorry to hit you with three Washington players, but somebody is going to have to put up statistics for this squad. Carrier is going to slide into the primary tight end role in Washington, as Reed is probably going to miss this contest. You'll have to keep expectations low, but we already went over the reasons for considering Cousins. The same apply for Carrier.
He's our 25th-ranked tight end on the week, which isn't bad considering his role until now. A few catches could be enough if you're looking this deep for a tight end play.
Flex: Dontrelle Inman (Started in 0.1% of ESPN Leagues | Owned in 0.3% of ESPN Leagues)
Inman's ownership percentage increased by 0.3% this week. Yep, now it's at 0.3%.
The Chargers depth chart is full of question marks at the pass-catching positions, and Inman is the type of guy who can take advantage. Last week, he played 50 snaps, saw 5 targets, caught 3, and turned in 88 receiving yards. There's kind of no point in bringing it up, but his Reception NEP per target (1.85) is best among receivers with multiple targets. The point is: he was good last week.
Malcom Floyd is dealing with a concussion but did practice Thursday. Stevie Johnson pulled a hamstring last week. Ladarius Green and Antonio Gates should both be in the lineup in Week 5. This really comes down to Floyd and Johnson. Even if he's the fourth option, he could pay off with just one play.