Top 4 Fantasy Football Deep Sleepers for Week 2
We've all been there, getting screwed on the waiver wires. In one of my leagues this week, I tried to pick up Alfred Morris, Stephen Hill, and Randall Cobb. Naturally, being eighth on the waiver order, I missed on all three. But that's life, and as a successful fantasy owner, you need to turn your turn your attention to what's coming up next. There are always guys ready to break out, and the smart fantasy owner can see them ahead of time. Think of us as a cheat sheet: we like to help you be that smart fantasy owner.
I've picked out four fantasy guys to keep an eye on this weekend, players who are owned in less than 3% of ESPN leagues but are poised to make that number jump way up soon. One of these guys is a handcuff, another a new starter due to injury, and a third an old name that has never quite gotten it going. But all of these unknown names have one thing in common: if picked up at the right time, they can bring you fantasy glory.
WR Andrew Hawkins - Cincinnati Bengals
Week 2: 0.81 Projected Points (#103 Ranked WR)
Percent Owned: 1.2%
Brandon Tate may be listed as the starter opposite AJ Green on both the Bengals' official website and the numberFire official projections, but it's Hawkins who has me excited moving forward. I have a soft spot for anybody who spent two seasons for the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL as it is, but Hawkins has proven just how effective he can be as an NFL receiver as well. Hawkins finished fourth among wideouts on the Bengals last year with 23 receptions on 34 targets, but his catch rate of 67.65% was highest among those top four guys. He proved his ability to catch the ball once again in week 1, with a team-high eight receptions on nine targets from Andy Dalton. Meanwhile, supposed starter Tate only received two targets and caught one ball. Ouch. The Cleveland Browns this week should prove to be an easier match-up than the Baltimore Ravens last Monday, giving Hawkins the opportunity to go off. If there is one guy on this list that you will want to pick up before he becomes big, Hawkins is it.
WR Donald Jones - Buffalo Bills
Week 2: 5.21 Projected Points (#52 Ranked WR)
Percent Owned: 0.4%
Ryan Fitzpatrick receivers may not be in high demand right now, but if you're looking for a guy who can guarantee you targets, look no further than Donald Jones. With former starting receiver David Nelson out for the year with a torn ACL, Jones steps back into the starting role he had in 13 games during his first two seasons in Buffalo. The main reason he didn't achieve success those two years was his catch rate: he only snagged an atrocious 44% of balls thrown his way his rookie season, then tripped and semi-gracefully landed forward with a 50% catch rate last season. He performed a little better in week 1 this year, catching five of the seven balls thrown his way, but I need to see more to consider his hands fully clean of his butterfingers. With that said, the main reason I would consider him is quantity over quality. The current #3 and #4 receivers on the Bills' depth chart, Ruvell Martin and C.J. Graham, combined for a big goose egg in targets in week 1. C.J. Spiller will need to transfer more to a lead back role with Fred Jackson out, limiting his pass-catching opportunities out of the backfield. And tight end Scott Chandler has never been a top-flight passing catching option; less than 8% of Bills targets in 2011 were thrown his way despite Chandler playing in 14 games. So then, behind Steve Johnson you have... what exactly? Jones will get his chances; whether he converts them is the part you should be watching for.
TE Anthony Fasano - Miami Dolphins
Week 2: 5.68 Projected Points (#11 Ranked TE)
Percent Owned: 1.3%
There have been a fair share of breakout tight ends so far this season in the NFL; chances are, you don't need to add one to your roster. If Fasano is even on your radar right now, I'd highly suggest seeing if Dennis Pitta, Coby Fleener, or Martellus Bennett are available first. For those in deeper leagues, however, Fasano represents a chance to steal some easy points. He received five targets from Ryan Tannehill in the rookie's pitiful week 1 performance, good for fourth on the Dolphins team and only three behind Brian Hartline's team-leading eight targets. But those numbers aren't out of the norm for Fasano: he has received at least 50 targets on the season every single year since coming to the Dolphins in 2008. The reason he has never been able to top 87 fantasy points in a standard league is his catch rate: his career-high rate as a starter is 65% (2010) and last season's rate sat at a sad-for-a-tight-end 59%. He went three-for-five (60%) on catches in week 1, but with a rookie QB, that may be solid enough to help him develop into a consistent target. This week is the true test: the Raiders held Antonio Gates to 43 yards receiving last week. If Fasano can bust out against them as numberFire predicts, then he'll be next week's big TE pick-up. But wait on him to see if that day comes. And if it doesn't... forget this paragraph ever existed.
RB Daryl Richardson - St. Louis Rams
Week 2: 1.17 Projected Points (#73 Ranked RB)
Percent Owned: 0.3%
In case you were wondering how deep of a sleeper I could get to, this is it. Most people came into 2012 assuming Isaiah Pead would be Steven Jackson's back-up, and he was promptly picked up in 6.8% of ESPN leagues as a handcuff because of it. That's a good call too, considering S-Jax's age and history. Steven Jackson is entering his ninth NFL season and is currently 29-years old; the only RB in numberFire's top 20 this week who is older is Frank Gore (and he only has Jackson by four months). Jackson has missed at least one game due to injury in four of the past five seasons and all but two seasons of his career, meaning that his back-up will likely see at least one start. Well, in week 1, it wasn't Pead, but instead the rookie seventh-round pick out of Abeliene Christian who received two carries to spell Jackson. Granted, I'm not going to get carried away by two rushing attempts, but an 11-yard gain and a nine-yard gain is nothing to sneeze at. The brother of the Bengals' Bernard Scott, Richardson is a home-run hitter; it wouldn't surprise me if he were to bust one deep at some point this year even if he remain's Jackson's spell guy. He's not worth the start in even the deepest leagues, but if you have an empty spot and are worried about Jackson's health (especially as a Jackson owner), there are worse "stash and wait" candidates.