Top 4 Fantasy Football Deep Sleepers for Week 3
Hey, maybe this whole "picking deep sleepers" thing isn't a bad idea after all. After hitting on both Andrew Hawkins and Daryl Richardson last week, plus seeing Anthony Fasano pick up a touchdown of his own, I'm back to tell you another four players to look at this week. All of these players are owned in less than 3% of ESPN leagues, meaning that if they're not available, chances are you're in a league with one of their family members. I'm not saying to run out and pick these guys up right away if you have no holes on your team. But if you have a spot available, there are much worse stash-and-wait candidates out there.
Top 4 Deep Sleepers for Week 3
RB Jamie Harper - Tennessee Titans
Week 3: 2.35 Projected Points (#55 Ranked RB)
Percent Owned: 0.1%
The CJmaybe.5k fiasco in Tennessee has gotten almost laughable. Through two games of the NFL season, Chris Johnson has 21 rushing yards. Twenty-one. I might get fired if I tried to list all of the 70 NFL players that have more rushing yards than him entering week 3, but they include Browns WR Travis Benjamin (50 yards on three rushes), Our Savior Tim Tebow (33 yards on six rushes), and even Johnson's own QB Jake Locker (32 yards on four rushes). Johnson's broad jump at the NFL combine was 130 inches - that is roughly 90 inches longer than his current 1.1 yards per carry average. He's been pitiful, as many Johnson fantasy owners can attest.
If you're the Titans, where do you draw the line? If Johnson starts out week 3 against the Lions just as poorly, you'll likely be seeing some Jamie Harper action this weekend. Currently second on the Titans depth chart, Harper has only received one actual carry this season, where he went for three yards (AKA one-seventh of Johnson's season total). No other non-Johnson Titans running back has received a single carry. But numberFire sees Harper starting to get into the rotation this week - projections have him getting 3.81 carries and 1.17 receptions from his backup running back slot. And if he's more effective than Johnson, the Titans might be in a tough position to get Harper some playing time. Harper was a fourth-round selection out of Clemson in 2011, and he rushed for 47 yards, one TD, and a 29% success rate coming off the bench for Tennessee last year.
WR Mohamed Massaquoi - Cleveland Browns
Week 3: 6.46 Projected Points (#38 Ranked WR)
Percent Owned: 1.2%
The "Don't trust Cleveland Browns" fantasy mantra is usually solid advice, unless you're a masochist or just a really, really sad Browns fan. And it rings doubly-true when it comes to wide receivers: no Browns receiver has put up over 750 yards since Braylon Edwards "graced" Cleveland with his presence in 2008. With that said, Brandon Weeden looked halfway decent against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 2 going for 322 yards, two TDs, and no interceptions. Looking good may not be hard to do when your only other NFL game of reference was a week 1 single-digit-QB-rating-implosion, but at least he's trying trying here. And if there's anybody who is going to benefit from Weeden actually throwing the ball like a competent QB, it's going to be Mohamed Massaquoi. Many expected Greg Little to be the Browns' #1 receiver this year, but it's Massaquoi who leads the team in targets (15), yards (131), and catches of at least 20 yards (2). Those 15 targets are 21% of all throws Weeden has made, and Little is the only other player on the team even in double-digit looks (11 targets). And this may be his break out week: the Buffalo Bills have given up two straight 300-yard passing games to moderate QBs in Mark Sanchez and Matt Cassel. If you would ever dare to trust a member of the Browns' passing attack, he's the pick.
WR Golden Tate - Seattle Seahawks
Week 3: 5.80 Projected Points (#50 Ranked WR)
Percent Owned: 0.8%
After missing the opener due to a knee injury, Golden Tate came back in a big way in week 2. No, I'm not talking about his JACKED UP!-style on Sean Lee that provoked a $21,000 fine. I'm talking about providing a new, more trustworthy weapon for rookie Russell Wilson. Notice how much Braylon Edwards saw the field on Sunday after playing most of week 1? You didn't? That's because he was barely out there and did not receive a single target; Tate took the majority of the snaps. On the game, Tate had four targets thrown his way, one behind the team lead shared by Sidney Rice and Anthony McCoy. That's a low number compared to receivers on other teams, but Russell Wilson threw a low number of passes: the same 20% of targets would have corresponded to 6.8 catch opportunities in week 1 given Wilson's 34 pass attempts. And unlike any other receiver in the Seattle offense, Tate can do one important thing: catch the football. He went three for four on receptions Sunday, and he enjoyed an average 60.3% catch rate in 2011. Rice, meanwhile, only has a 54% catch rate this season and had a 56% rate last season in Seattle, while Braylon Edwards has never had a catch rate above 52% in his entire career. Golden Tate could develop into the rookie Wilson's favorite target given some time because of those sure hands.
TE Todd Heap - Arizona Cardinals
Week 3: 4.76 Projected Points (#21 Ranked TE)
Percent Owned: 1.1%
2005 called, they want their fantasy analysis back. Did I ever think I would be writing Todd Heap's name in a fantasy article ever again? No, no I did not. But the numbers don't lie: Heap is first on the Cardinals with eight receptions and 94 yards receiving, and he's second on the team behind Larry Fitzgerald with 13 targets. Perhaps even a bigger boon to fantasy owners, though, is what he did last week with Kolb at QB instead of Skelton: 35% of Kolb's passes looked Heap's way, and he received four more targets than anybody else on the team (Fitz was second with five targets). Kolb will be the starter again this week against the Eagles, and Philly let Baltimore tight end Dennis Pitta run wild last week to the tune of a team-leading eight catches and 65 yards. The injury bug is always a concern, and Heap indeed comes into this weekend with a strained left PCL. But if he's healthy, don't be surprised if you're partying like it's 2005 again and Heap is on the top of the tight end leaderboard.