Week 11: Super Sleepers
There's a reason we call these guys super sleepers. Often times they are filling in for a starter or we believe they'll get enough touches in garbage time to make them fantasy worthy. These guys aren't going to carry your team to the playoffs, but they could come in handy during a bye week or to fill a gap due to injury. If you're looking for someone then check these guys out. A good number of these guys are still available in many leagues.
Last weekend Fitzpatrick and the Bills nearly beat the New England Patriots in the final moments of the game. Unfortunately for Ryan his last second pass to rookie T.J. Graham was intercepted. In this game Fitzpatrick threw for 337 yards with 2 touchdowns and a last minute INT. This Thursday the Bills host the Miami Dolphins and their 28th ranked pass defense. With Miami's pass defense being just slightly better than New England's, one has to believe Ryan will post numbers similar to what we saw last Sunday. Owners looking for a bye week filler could do well starting Fitzpatrick Thursday night.
With starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out indefinately, the Steelers will be going with Byron Leftwich under center for a week or two or more. On Monday night Leftwich stepped in to replace Roethlisberger against the Chiefs and completed just 7 of 14 attempts for 73 yards. While not great fantasy numbers, owners need to take into consideration the lack of preperation Leftwich has had this season. Backup quarterbacks get very little time (if any) with the starting unit. That is until this week when Byron steps on to the practice field as the starter. With a full week of practice under his belt, Byron should have a much better performance Sunday night when the Steelers host the Ravens. Owners looking to find a starting quarterback on the waiver wire likely won't find someone in a better position than Leftwich. The Steelers' run game has started to pick up, this is a home game for Pittsburgh and the Ravens defense has struggled a bit since losing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb. If you're looking to replace Roethlisberger than look elsewhere, but if you need to fill a bye week opening or a gap due to injury then Leftwich could be a nice stop gap.
Prior to the Packers' bye week, Green Bay leaned on running backs Alex Green and James Starks to carry the workload against Arizona. In that game Starks carried the ball 17 times for 61 yards and Green added 11 carries for 53 yards. It would have been nice to see Green with the majority of the carries, but his yards per carry being higher are nice. It will be interesting to see who gets the lion's share of the carries against the Lions this Sunday. We don't believe either back is going to be great this week, but both could finish the game with 60-80 yards. If you're looking for a bye week filler or a flex start then Green could be a nice option.
When one mentions the New Orleans Saints, the first thing that comes to mind is Drew Brees and the passing game. With the Saints passing game being as good as it is, the running game plays second fiddle and thus Saints running backs tend not to post great fantasy numbers. Add to this the fact that New Orleans' running game is split between three backs -- Ingram, Ivory and Thomas -- and trying to figure out who to start each week can be a nightmare. Last week against the Falcons Mark carried the ball 16 of the Saints' 28 attempts for 67 yards. The plus here is that Ingram got more than half of the ,with the down side being Mark finishing the game with just 67 yards and didn't find the end zone. The Saint scored just one rushing touchdown last week and that went to Chris Ivory on a 56 yard run. Not that you can take away a run, but had Ivory not broke that run for 56 yards Mark would have easily been the best Saints back in the game. This weekend New Orleans heads to Oakland (whose run defense is allowing nearly 120 yards per game and through the first 9 games has allowed the third most rushing touchdowns in the league). If Ingram gets a majority of the carries again this week, he could finish the game with 80-90 yards and a touchdown.
If there's one thing fantasy owners know it is that starting a rookie no matter what the position is always a risk. No better example of how rookies can reward owners one week and burn them the next was the performance of T.Y. Hilton these past couple of games. Two weeks ago against Miami, Hilton pulled in 6 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. Just when owners felt comfortable starting Hilton he follows up that performance with no receptions on just one target against Jacksonville last Thursday. Simply put, starting Hilton this weekend could yield great fantasy numbers, but then again you could end up with a goose egg. We believe that Hilton's performance this weekend should be on the higher end due to the fact New England's 29th ranked pass defense has struggled mightily this season. The Patriots secondary has allowed 19 touchdowns this season, second most in the NFL and an average of 285 passing yards per game. The Colts offense has been improving as the season progresses and this game could easily become a high scoring affair. Don't be shocked if you see Hilton with another 100 yard game this weekend.