I’m looking to hit it big once again this week with my top five fantasy football sleepers.
5- Bishop Sankey (TEN), $8,300 @ (WAS)
Sankey saw his most extensive work in his rookie season last week, and Pro Football Focus (PFF) credited him with 29 snaps played, just one fewer than Dexter McCluster, Leon Washington, and fullback Jackie Battle combined. The former Husky carried the ball 18 times for 61 yards and added one reception for seven yards. Not exactly a huge output, but the rushing yardage total matched his two previous games combined. His 2.3 YCo/Att rank tied for 23rd among running backs on the field for 25% or more of their team’s snaps, not great, but in the top half of the 56 backs that reach that threshold. With Shonn Greene already ruled out, the ball is once again in Sankey’s court to take the running back job and make it his, and that’s good enough for me to make him one of this week’s top five fantasy football sleepers. Depending on what advanced NFL stats site you prefer, Sankey either has a favorable matchup or a tough one. PFF ranks Washington 27th defending the run, but Football Outsiders (FO) ranks them seventh against the run. There is enough here to roll with Sankey on a handful of DFS rosters.
4-Davante Adams (GB), $7,050 vs (CAR)
Adams had the best game of his young career on Sunday tallying six receptions for 77 yards receiving against the Dolphins. Probably not surprisingly, the rookie receiver played the most snaps he’s played in a game, and he was on the field for 62 or 80 plays according to PFF. He ran 49 pass routes, just three fewer than team leaders Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. His increased role in the Packers offense could pay off handsomely this week, and that’s why he’s in my top five fantasy football sleepers. The Panthers rank 23rd in pass coverage according to PFF, and they have the same rank defending the pass at FO. Even more encouraging, the Panthers rank 28th defending “other” wide receivers (non-number one or two receivers) according to FO. I expect big things from Aaron Rodgers, and nabbing a cheap piece of the passing game is too enticing to pass up.
3- Isaiah Crowell (CLE), $7,500 @ (JAX)
When I touted Ben Tate as one of my top five fantasy football running backs for this week earlier in the week, I indicated Crowell might get the nod as one of my top five fantasy football sleepers, and here he is. The Jaguars rank 30th against the run according to PFF, and FO ranks them 14th at stopping the run. The undrafted rookie free agent has already leapfrogged fellow rookie Terrance West on the depth chart (West was inactive last week), and the former Georgia Bulldog that was dismissed for being a knucklehead, is flashing the talent that made him a desirable prep signee for the SEC school. His 2.0 YCo/Att is no great shakes, but his 5.4 yards-per-carry is nice, and his four rushing touchdowns are eye catching. Crowell only played 17 snaps compared to 42 for Tate last week, but the Alabama State University product made the most of his minimal snaps carrying the ball 11 times for 77 yards and a touchdown. That’s just one fewer yard than Tate totaled on 25 carries. The Browns trounced the Steelers, and they are currently 5.5 point favorites against the Jaguars this week according to Vegas Insider. Their run heavy approach (11th in rush attempts as a team and next to last in pass attempts this year) can yield fruitful returns for more than one back this week, especially if they’re able to get ahead and attempt to salt away the lead.
2- Storm Johnson (JAX), $4,000 vs (CLE)
The Jaguars backfield has been a steaming pile of dung this season, but Johnson should get another crack at distancing himself from the stench. The University of Central Florida rookie was the leader in carries for the club last week with 10, and while he turned those carries into just 21 yards, he delivered for gamers that heeded my advice touting him as one of the top five fantasy football sleepers last week by reaching the end zone. Toby Gerhart once again missed practice on Thursday, and that leaves Johnson in prime position to be the lead runner for a second straight week. Both Denard Robinson and Jordan Todman saw more snaps than Johnson in week six, but neither is built to carry the load. Johnson offers enough intrigue that the winless Jaguars would be wise to get an extended look at him against a Browns defense that ranks in the bottom half of the league defending the run according to both PFF and FO. Checking in at the bare minimum salary, the bar is so low for Johnson to once again be worth his cost of being rostered that he’s a no brainer to include as one of this week’s top five fantasy football sleepers.
1- Blake Bortles (JAX), $11,250 vs (CLE)
Bortles has shouldered a heavy work load since taking over the starting quarterback reigns for the Jaguars. In his three starts, his low for pass attempts is 36, and his season high of 46 attempts came in week six. He eclipsed 300 yards passing for the first time in his career in that contest, and even with the huge number of pass attempts, he threw just one interception. The lone interception is noteworthy because he’s thrown a pair in each of the other three games he’s played in. The interceptions hurt his PFF QB Rating, but one positive stat to glean from Bortles profile is a 67.8% completion rate that ranks as the sixth best among quarterbacks that have taken 50% of their club’s dropbacks. His 7.01 Yds/Att ranks 20th, which isn’t great, but he’s not far from the middle of the pack. Essentially Bortles has been average-ish in many respects, and at a high volume against a bad pass defense that makes him a hell of a value at his cost. The Browns rank 18th at PFF in pass coverage and 26th in pass defense according to FO. In addition to Bortles being able to pick up fantasy points through the air, he’s also nimble on his feet. He’s rushed for more than 20 yards in three games, and his season low of 14 yards rushing isn’t worthless either. With 106 yards rushing in four games, he can add a little something to the fantasy bottom line with his legs, and that pushes him to the top of my top five fantasy football sleepers this week.