We are back for Week 3 and players are already starting to panic. One of the strangest weeks I can ever remember is finally put to rest and it is time to look ahead at this week’s sleepers and there are a few that should be on your radar.
For consistency purposes I will once again use the ESPN consensus FF rankings as my baseline.
Let’s take a look at how my projected sleepers panned out last week.
I could sit here and make excuses but I was fairly average on my predictions. I loved Josh McCown last week and he certainly lived up to expectations. Ryan Matthews left the game early but he was on pace to deliver a double-digit game, possibly on the higher end with the way the Chargers owned the Seahawks D. Allen Hurns got hurt and unfortunately dropped a big pass before he left the game. Unfortunately Fitzpatrick was the casualty of a great running game. As for Cooks, I should have known that the Saints are terrible on the road.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans – I am going to go to the well with Fitzy one more week. Fitzpatrick is ranked #24 by the ESPN gurus which I think is a bit of an overreaction to last week. Here is what you need to know about the matchup. He plays the Giants and they stink! Their defense is ranked 18th against the QB but that is highly inflated thanks to the inept Drew Stanton. I do think the Giants offense is back and I think the Texans are going to need to throw to keep up. Plus, the Giants gave up 29 points to Matt Stafford in week 1. They aren’t that bad but they aren’t as good as the 6 they gave up against the Cards. I love Fitz to have 16+ this week in standard scoring leagues.
Geno Smith, New York Jets – Geno is a guy you really need to start looking at if you need QB help or play in a 2 QB league. The guy is putting up consistent numbers and looks much better thus far after two weeks than he did last season. This week Geno comes in at #20 which I think is way too low. The Bears defense is not very good. They are ranked 22nd against QBs and have given up two big games to fairly average QBs in Kaepernick and Manuel. The Bears will also be playing on the road going cross country from playing in San Francisco last week to New York. The one thing that the Bears do have going for them is Jay Cutler and the Jets are going to need points to stay in this one. I look for a 17-20 point game out of Geno.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts – The 26th ranked RB deserves a lot more love this week. Bradshaw when healthy is a beast and guess what? He’s healthy! He is tearing it up and even as the number 2 RB he is putting up great numbers. He is ranked eighth among all RBs thus far. How in the world is he still ranked in the high 20s by experts? He is facing the 31st ranked team against the run in the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags have a lot of work to do and there is a very good chance that the Colts will get up early and run for two quarters. It’s a division game so they won’t want to get cute. I love Bradshaw to put up top 10 or maybe even top 5 numbers this week.
Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers – Don Brown comes in at #33 on the consensus rankings list, a little low in my opinion. The Chargers looked great in week 2 and while week 1 was not as pretty, their running game was impressive. Quite honestly this offensive line has been one of the most underrated in the NFL in regards to run blocking going back to mid-last season. I love Brown behind this line and I think that the Bills are a great opponent for him. The Bills were lit up in Week 1 against Matt Forte yet played tight last week against the run. I think they are somewhere in the middle and I love Brown to put up about 60 yards and a TD which isn’t too shabby for #33.
DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins – Jackson comes in at a bargain with a 25 ranking by the ESPN boys. I think the revenge factor is being highly overlooked here. Plus, the Eagles defense is not very good…as usual. The Redskins will need to score to stay in the game and throwing is their only means of doing so. Jackson is bound to get at least 1 TD. Jackson always played well for the birds against rival opponents. The Eagles are now his rival, the Eagles players are still wondering why he isn’t in Eagle green, and I think Jackson takes advantage of the situation and goes off in a big way on Sunday.
Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens – Smith comes in at #30 and I think he could put up top 15 numbers. Smith is quietly having a real nice season as a WR2/3 in Baltimore thus far. What I like here is what wide receivers have been able to do playing the other side of the field away from Joe Haden. Haden is likely to cover Torrey Smith which will leave a rookie CB on Smith. Smith could have a field day with this kid and the Ravens are going to want to keep the momentum of the Pittsburgh steamroll going. Smith is number three in targets among all WRs this season. The Ravens also have a few extra days to prepare. I love Smith thanks to all of the above.
Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins – Clay comes in at #15 which is fairly respectable although I think he could be a top eight this week. Clay gets a juicy matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs who are hardly the demolishing defense they were last year. The Chiefs are 27th against the TE and more importantly, have given up three TDs to tight ends already this season. Granted two went to Julius Thomas but Delanie Walker also nabbed one in Week 1. I think Clay is underrated and the Dolphins offense is struggling. With a shaky running back situation I think Tannehill looks to his tight end to exploit this favorable matchup.
Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks – I am going to go real deep here on a sleeper play. Miller is the 23rd ranked tight end by ESPN experts this week. They may be right but there are some things going his way although to be fair this is a big reach. One and most importantly, is a terrible defense against tight ends. The Denver Broncos cannot stop tight ends. They have given up double digit points to TEs each week thus far, including a TD in week 1. The Seahawks need to get back on track and they need to take advantage of this matchup. Playing at home also bodes well for Miller.