It’s easy to tell fantasy football players to start Matt Forte or Aaron Rodgers but you aren’t going to find them on your bench or waiver wire. That is why I look at the sleepers. They may get no respect from ESPN but I am here to give them their props and recommend some savvy starts.
The theme of this week’s sleeper list is reputation. A lot of guys are being devalued simply due to the reputation of defenses. However, a closer look at the numbers will tell you that these defenses are more bark than bite and those reputations open up some valuable opportunities for you. For consistency I am comparing my sleeper ranks to the overall ESPN rankings of Week 6.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys – Romo is the 15th ranked QB by ESPN this week and I think that is ridiculous. Don’t be scared by this Seattle Seahawks defense. It’s good but it is not nearly as good as its reputation, especially against Tony Romo. Romo has played very well historically against the Seahawks. As a matter of a fact, Romo has thrown at least 1 TD in every game against the Seahawks. Going back further he has scored over 23 fantasy points in his last 3 of 4 games against the Seahawks. The Seahawks are ranked a mere 22nd against fantasy QBs. Kirk Cousins was even able to throw 2 TDs against this D. The attention paid to DeMarco Murray should open up all kinds of opportunity for the Cowboys QB on Sunday.
Austin Davis, St. Louis Rams – Even more ridiculous than Romo’s 15th spot is ESPN ranking Davis as the 20th best QB this week. That is just insane! Austin Davis is a guy who probably isn’t on your fantasy radar yet he should be. This kid has put up over 50 FF points over the last two weeks thanks to a struggling running game and disrespectful defenses. This week they play a San Francisco 49ers defense that like the Seahawks, are highly overrated. Thanks to an inept Nick Foles, the 49ers are ranked 4th against FF QBs but that number is misleading. They gave up 7 passing TDs the first three weeks and have struggled on the road. Davis is going to need to put this team on his shoulders Monday thanks to an injured Zac Stacy and I expect big numbers on Monday.
Bishop Sanke, Tennessee Titans – Sanke is the 27th ranked RB this week on the ESPN board. He is being highly undervalued in my opinion but it is not without merit. The lack of commitment to Sanke has hurt expectations but this week should be different. Shonn Greene is hurt and even better, they play the very sliceable Jacksonville Jaguars defense. The Titans have to give Sanke more carries this week and while the Jags don’t give up rushing TDs, they give up a ton of yardage.
Chris Ivory, New York Jets – This is a tough call. Ivory is the 23rd ranked RB this week and while I understand it, I think there is bigtime sleeper potential here. The idea that the Jets will need to throw to keep up is highly logical. However, the Broncos have a very poor rushing defense. They are 27th against RBs and have given up at least 1 TD in each of their last three games. The Broncos have had one road game thus far and I think that is going to come into play here. I think the Jets are going to surprise the Broncos and a guy like Ivory is the type of RB who can really punish this defense through four quarters. The Broncos don’t give up a lot of yards but they do give up TDs and for a red zone guy like Ivory, that’s all you need to know.
Malcolm Floyd, San Diego Chargers – I am reaching really, really high here as Floyd comes in as the 48th ranked WR this week. I am basing this a lot on player history. Floyd has owned the Raiders scoring 3 TD in 4 games including a 213 yard bonanza. I am not as convinced as most that the Chargers are going to trust Brandon Oliver. I think they keep it in the air and look for Floyd in the red zone. Floyd has been fairly dependable as a WR2/3 and for a guy ranked 48th, he should highly exceed expectations.
Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins – Reed ranks 11th this week among TE projections. As of today he is questionable although the majority of reports indicate he will play. There is certainly reason to be conservative because Reed hasn’t played since the first week. However, Reed is playing an Arizona Cardinals team that have been decimated by tight ends. The big question here is whether you expect Reed to finish the game. If you do, you have to roll him out against this generous defense.