Fill a variety of positions with this week’s top five fantasy football sleepers.
5- Jeremy Hill (CIN), $7,150 @ (NE)
Recency bias can cause problems in DFS, and putting too much stock in the Patriots getting gashed by both Jamal Charles and Knile Davis would be unwise. That said, both of the Bengals backs are talented, and the Patriots run defense isn’t very good. Hill has a solid 2.7 yards-after-contact per rush attempt(YCo/Att), and he’s turned his 26 carries into 132 rushing yards and two touchdowns. After a quiet debut, Hill has seen 22 carries come his way. The Patriots rank 18th defending the run by Pro Football Focus (PFF) and 25th in rush defense by Football Outsiders, and both sites grade the Patriots as tough against the pass. It would make a great deal of sense for the Bengals to attack the achilles heel of the Patriots defense, and that should yield a bit of extra work for the rookie runner.
4- Kenny Britt (STL), $6,800 @ (PHI)
Two of Britt’s pass catching teammates made positional top five lists for me this week, and Britt joins the party as one of the top five fantasy football sleepers. The former Titan had his best game of the year as a member of his new club in week three, and he’ll look to continue building on that in their first game out of the bye. According to ESPN, he received seven targets in week three, and turned those into five receptions for 69 yards receiving. One thing has been consistent for Britt on a week-to-week basis, and that’s steady playing time. PFF credits him with receiving more than 40 snaps in each of the team’s games. If his last game was a sign of him building rapport with Austin Davis, his stock (like the stock of Brian Quick and Jared Cook) is up with news that Davis will remain the team’s starting quarterback. The Rams number two receiver might just be his favorite target this week, too, since Football Outsiders ranks the Eagles 21st covering number two wide outs. The price is right for gambling on Britt.
3- Toby Gerhart (JAX), $8,400 vs (PIT)
Gerhart’s inclusion as one of my top five fantasy football sleepers this week requires something of a leap of faith. His snap count of just 21 compared to 36 for Denard Robinson is a bit troubling, but Gerhart is the bell cow back built to carry a heavy workload if the Jaguars can avoid being blown out and playing catch up. The Steelers have done a fantastic job of letting teams they’re favored to beat stick around, and their porous defense is rather inviting for Gerhart to have his coming out party for the team that ponied up for his services in free agency this offseason. The Steelers rank 28th defending the run according to PFF, and they check in 22nd at Football Outsiders. The former Viking hasn’t shined in his first year as the bowling ball in the Jaguars backfield, but he’s posted a 3.0 YCo/Att in two of his last three years with the Vikings (2011 and 2013), so I’m not ready to give up on him yet. Also, when the Jaguars end up near the goal line, Gerhart is the back that should be expected to get the bulk of the touches given his smash mouth, between the tackles running style. The entire offense will get a lift from not-Chad Henne at quarterback, I mean Blake Bortles, and that includes Gerhart.
2- Bishop Sankey (TEN), $7,050 vs (CLE)
Much like recency bias, coach talk can get DFS gamers in trouble. However, in the case of coach Wisenhunt indicating Sankey will get more work, and earlier in this game than prior games, it makes sense. The Titans’ head coach has cited issues with Sankey’s footwork as being the primary reason why he hasn’t seen more work, but as The Tennessean noted, Wisenhunt sees improvement from Sankey in that area. The rookie running back has seen just one fewer snap than Shonn Greene thus far, but the balance of touches should be shifting his way since he’s been the best back on the club. Now is a prime opportunity to take advantage of his depressed price tag before he goes nuts against a Charmin-soft Browns run defense. Ranking 27th and 28th against the run according to PFF and Football Outsiders respectively, the Browns are the perfect team for Sankey to have a coming out party against. The number two ranked member of my top five fantasy football sleepers this week is an especially enticing tournament play since DFS gamers are looking to hit a home run as opposed to a double in those contests (apologies to the baseball pun, happy MLB playoff season!).
1- Austin Davis (STL), $10,150 @ (PHI)
With so many of his pass-catching threats getting the green light, did you have any doubt that Davis would be included in my top the top five fantasy football sleepers this week? Despite repeated claims by Fisher that Shaun Hill would be the Rams starting quarterback when he got healthy, Davis earned the job with his stellar play and Fisher rightfully isn’t pulling the plug on the youngster. All Davis has done this year is earn the seventh highest PFF QB rating, complete the highest percentage of passes among quarterbacks who have taken 25% of their club’s dropbacks, and tally the seventh highest yards-per-attempt. He’s also doing most of the work himself as opposed to relying on his receivers to pick up yards after the catch, and that’s evident by him totaling the fifth highest percentage of his passing yards through the air (% YIA). The Eagles are rather stout against the run, but exploitable through the air ranking 15th in pass defense by Football Outsiders and 12th in pass coverage by PFF. Ranking just 16th in pass rush by PFF, they’ll have trouble getting after Davis, and the accurate passer should be in store for a strong showing. He’s a great QB2 option that will allow heavy spending elsewhere on your DFS rosters.