It is easy to start your fantasy football studs but what about the sleepers? The sleepers are where you can pull off the upset and here are a few you can start with confidence this week to help seal your playoff hopes.
[adinserter block=”1″]The easiest thing for me to do is to write a start/sit blog and drop the obvious names. But what good is that to you? You already know you need to play your studs. But unless you are incredibly lucky this season, your lineup isn’t perfect. You need to fill in some holes and whether you go to your bench or your waiver wire, that player could make or break your playoff aspirations in week 12. That is why I did the dirty work and went through the player histories, the stats, the injuries, and the trends to find you sleepers at every position for this critical week.
Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars – Colin Kapernick is the hot name on most expert’s sleeper lists this week but for me it is Henne. The matchup is much more appetizing than Kaepernick’s and I think that the risk is much lower with Henne. The thing that most people forget about with Henne is that he was actually to come on a bit last season before he went down in Miami. He had a great game last week and has a real chance to shine in this new offense. The Titans are the 25th worst ranked team against QBs in standard scoring leagues. Even Christian Ponder managed 21 points on the Titans. I love Henne as a super sleeper today if you need a sneaky start at quarterback.
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants – Normally a guy with the pedigree of Nicks is not someone you’d call a sleeper but 2012 is a much different year for the Giant. Once a top five receiver in fantasy football, Nicks is now ranked number 15 overall on ESPN’s projections for this week. Nicks has owned the Green Bay Packers in previous matchups. Nicks averages 21.5 fantasy points per game in his career vs. the Packers with 5 TDS in only 3 games. Nicks managed close to 30 fantasy points in their last meeting. The Giants are going to need to air it out and Eli is going to look for his go-to receiver in big situations. The Packers are also without Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews on defense. Look for Nicks to get back on track in a big way against the Packers at home.
Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons – Turner is like Nicks in that he is a guy that I normally wouldn’t call a sleeper, but again things have changed in 2012. I see Turner on a lot of benches on Sundays but this is the week you want to play him. Turner is currently ranked 16th overall coming into Sunday. So why do I like the big man this much? Most importantly, he has owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Turner averages 14.4 fantasy points a game and in 7 games has scored 6 TDs with an average of 4.58 a clip. Turner ran for over 100 in their last meeting and scored 29.2 standards points in fantasy. The Falcons will look to slow down the vaunted Tampa Bay air attack and Turner is likely to see more work than usual. I know all about Tampa’s improved rush defense but they aren’t unbeatable. Their first game allowing 1 yard to the Panthers this season have given the Bucs a much more misleading rushing stats defensively than deserved. I love Turner to get in the end zone today. Don’t be scared, start the Falcon!
Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers – Remember the days when you wouldn’t start anyone against the Baltimore Ravens defense? Me too but those days are over and it is time to start playing your studs with confidence against John Harbaugh’s bunch. Alexander is currently ranked 20th overall by ESPN experts and I think that is ridiculous. Do you think he is going to have a better day than Mike Wallace, Michael Crabtree, and Julio Jones? I do. The guy is on a roll with three TDs and 230 yards in his last two starts against two pretty darned good defenses. These same Ravens were torched by Carson Palmer two weeks ago. Like the Bucs I think their defensive stats are a bit misleading thanks to some lights out games against the Chiefs and Browns. Alexander was top five in wide receiver scoring last week and number two behind Calvin Johnson two weeks ago. I love him this week as a sneaky play over some of your usual suspects.
Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders – I was torn between Myers and Tony Moeaki at the tight end position but after careful consideration I am going Myers. Myers has emerged as a top target in Carson Palmer’s air attack in Oakland. Former Bengal Carson Palmer will be returning to Cincinnati and look to pour it on against his old team. Lucky for Myers the Bengals are awful against tight ends, 28th against TEs to be exact. Myers has three TDs in three weeks and is poised to add at least one more today on the road.
Carolina Panthers, defense – The Philadelphia Eagles are awful…just absolutely awful. After struggling with my drafted Steelers defense earlier this season I have started playing defenses on the wire every week. The last two weeks I have started the Cowboys and Redskins against the Eagles and they have each put up monster numbers. What will be different about this week? The Eagles won’t have LeSean McCoy and will be playing a fired up Panthers team on Monday Night Football. As an Eagles fan this is scary, as a fantasy football player this matchup is fool’s gold and you would be a fool not to take advantage of it. FYI – I was able to grab the Panthers defense off of the wire earlier this week in four out of four leagues.
Bust Alert – Here are a couple of busts that are hot names this week that I think you need to sit if you have better options.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers – Every fantasy football writer and blogger I have talked to or read this week is hot on Kaepernick except yours truly and resident CCB fantasy writer Jeff Porrini. We both feel that he has bust written all over him. One thing that everyone seems to be forgetting is that this is a huge and I mean huge revenge game for the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have had this one circled for months after being upset in last year’s playoffs. The Saints are generally regarded in fantasy circles as a bad defense but that is a misleading myth. The Saints were terrible early on but they have played much better in recent weeks against quarterbacks. So we are looking at an inexperienced QB going up against a rejuvenated defense looking for revenge. I’ll stay away from that QB every time.
[adinserter block=”2″]Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants – As a Bradshaw owner I was tempted to play him until I started doing some research. For one, he still missed practice time this week even after a bye week. That concerns me. Two and most importantly, the Packers have owned Bradshaw in past matchups. A big part of that is that the Giants needed to throw to keep up with the Packers scoring but that doesn’t explain Bradshaw’s measly 3.82 yards per carry in five games against the Packers. In those five games Bradshaw has only scored 1 TD! I know the Packers are missing some key players but this is a guy who never did well against them when they were fully healthy. Let’s not even get into the vulture situation with Andre Brown. Beware of Bradshaw. I benched him for Ronnie Hillman (also a risky play). Hope you have some better options as well.
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[amazon_link id=”1477542981″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft[/amazon_link]