The top five fantasy football sleepers this week are oh so cheap.
5- Jace Amaro (NYJ), $4,650 vs (DEN)
Putting any faith in Geno Smith or possibly Mike Vick is tough, I get it, but when the Jets get drubbed by the Broncos, some garbage time points should be available. At such a small salary, Amaro makes for an intriguing pick as one of week six’s top five fantasy football sleepers. His usage leaves something to be desired, but the rookie tight end’s numbers have been stellar. When the ball is thrown Amaro’s way, something that’s happened 16 times this year according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), those passes are often catchable as all but one target was deemed catchable. He’s reeled in 14 of those passes. Amaro has also been extremely efficient tallying 1.92 yards per route run (YPRR), seventh best mark among tight ends receiving 25% of their teams targets this season. The upside isn’t likely sky high, but at such a low cost, the bar isn’t high for him to deliver on being one of this week’s top five fantasy football sleepers.
4- Brandon LaFell (NE), $5,050 @ (BUF)
I have legitimate concerns about the Patriots line protecting Tom Brady against a Bills defensive front that can generate a pass rush (PFF ranks the Bills 12th in pass rush and the Patriots last in pass blocking). However, if they keep him upright, LaFell has the potential to far exceed his minimal cost. Look no further than week four performance in which he caught six passes for 119 yards receiving and a touchdown. After playing less than 40 snaps in each of his first two games with the Patriots, and getting no targets in either contest, he’s played 44 snaps, 50 snaps, and 77 snaps over the last three weeks. He’s second among Patriots pass catchers in routes run, and he’s run more routes than Rob Gronkowski. The Bills are stout against the run, but PFF ranks them just 21st in pass coverage, and Football Outsiders (FO) ranks them ninth defending the pass compared to third defending the run. Perhaps more importantly, FO ranks the Bills 26th defending number two wide receivers. LaFell is a sneaky good selection for this week’s top five fantasy football sleepers.
3- Brian Hoyer (CLE), $11,550 vs (PIT)
With Peyton Manning and his monstrous price tag earning my tout as the top quarterback this week, it’s worth adding another cheap QB2 to the mix. Hoyer fits the bill as a worthwhile gamble. Vegas Insider has the Browns currently sitting as 1.5 point favorites in a game with a 47 point total. Ben Tate is my favorite Browns offensive player to use this week, but Hoyer is a nifty and thrifty option in his own right. He ranks in the middle of the pack, 17th, in PFF QB Rating, his 7.64 yards per attempt ranks 14th, and he’s doing a ton of the work through the air ranking third with 68.4% of his yards coming in the air (% YIA). He has also taken care of the football throwing only one interception. In other words, he’s been average or better, and he’s facing a defense that wishes they were average defending the pass. PFF ranks the Steelers 19th in pass coverage and FO grades them 20th defending the pass. Mix the third ranked player in my top five fantasy football sleepers for this week onto some of your rosters.
2- Bishop Sankey (TEN), $7,100 vs (JAX)
Sankey burned me as one of my top five fantasy football sleepers last week, ranking second then, but here he is again. It’s important to have a short memory in DFS, as daily sports are incredibly volatile. His 150 yards rushing rank second to Shonn Greene on the Titans this season, but the rookie runner has been the best back on the team. His 2.6 YCo/Att are best among Titans backs that actually sees work (sorry Leon Washington, your two carries disqualify you from this discussion). He’s a tough back to tackle forcing six missed tackles on just 32 rushing attempts. Sankey has been the leader in the Titans backfield in snaps each of the last three weeks, and it’s just a matter of time before Sankey carves out a larger role in the running game. Things shape up nicely for him to shine this weekend against a soft Jaguars run defense. PFF ranks them 25th defending the run and FO ranks them 17th. He’s not risk free, but I’m willing to roll the dice again.
1- Storm Johnson (JAX), $4,000 @ (TEN)
A minimum salary running back with a pulse and a chance at carries is worth a looksy. Toby Gerhart has flopped hard in year one with the Jaguars, and he’s been hurt. Gerhart didn’t practice on Thursday, and that could yield playing time to Johnson. Denard Robinson has been awful in the backfield as well, and Johnson is a bigger back built to carry the load, making him the favorite to be the feature back with Robinson serving as a change-of-pace option. The former college teammate of Blake Bortles joined him in the Jaguars backfield for the first time last week, and played seven snaps. In those seven snaps he managed to receive four carries and lead the team in rushing yards with 27, including a 20 yard rush. The body of work in the pros is tiny for analyzing, but with the Jaguars needing to shake things up, and Gus Bradley gushing about Johnson’s play against the Steelers, a minimum investment could result in a hearty return from a back that was highly productive in his last year in college football. Further encouragement can be gleaned from his opponent, the Titans. They rank 29th in run defense according to PFF and 26th defending the run according to FO. The top pick in my top five fantasy football sleepers for week six is a huge gamble, but the risk comes with a potentially great return.