Fantasy Sleepers to Pick up for This Week

Falcons at Ravens 10/19/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

Four weeks into the regular season and fantasy football is still in a whirlwind. Talent from last year isn’t transferring over to this year and backups like Devonta Freeman are becoming instant legends and making the person who started him look like a modern day Vince Lombardi. Quarterbacks aren’t putting up very high numbers and unless you own Rob Gronkowski or the tight end that is playing the Raiders, chances are your tight end isn’t performing well on a consistent basis. Running backs such as C.J. Anderson are producing little to no points week in and week out but then there are the rare outbreaks like the one Matt Jones had in week 2. It’s impossible to know who is going to have a good week based off of the previous Sunday and even last year. The waiver wire targets are really making or breaking most fantasy player’s seasons, and I’m here to help you identify which of these sleepers to pick up, and which ones to leave behind.

Allen Hurns, WR Jacksonville Jaguars

It might not be known to a lot of people, but the second year man leads Jacksonville in receptions and is not far behind his wide receiver counterpart, Allen Robinson, in targets. He’s quietly developed quite the rapport with quarterback Blake Bortles and has caught a touchdown in back to back games. With a favorable matchup against Tampa Bay this week, Hurns is definitely in the mix for the Flex spot in your lineup on Sunday.

Advice: Pick up if available and Start if in need of a Flex

Leonard Hankerson, WR Atlanta Falcons

In case you haven’t been paying close attention to the Falcons this year, Hankerson has zipped past the aging Roddy White in terms of production so far. It’s clear that Hankerson is Matt Ryan’s number 2 option behind Julio Jones and he has proved to be quite the commodity in the passing game. He hasn’t dropped too many passes and has tallied a pair of touchdowns in the past three weeks. He’s not someone I would start for this week, but he’s certainly a receiver I would pick up now before he starts making more headlines.

Advice: Pick up if available

Duke Johnson Jr., RB Cleveland Browns

At the beginning of the season, many of the fantasy analysts predicted this the rookie out of Miami would have a breakout year due to the production issues the Browns backs had last year. However, it was Isaiah Crowell who got most of the touches through the first couple of weeks, although Johnson did get his fair share. After a lackluster week 3 for Crowell however, Johnson got his chance in week 4 and made the most of it. It wasn’t in the rushing game where he succeeded, but the passing game, where he caught 9 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Pair that with 6 catches the week before and a decent amount of carries out of the backfield, and you’ve got a risky Flex play, which is what Johnson is at this point.

Advice: Pick up if available and Start if in need of a Flex

Eddie Royal, WR Chicago Bears

To be honest, there should only be three players on the Bears that you should own: Alshon Jeffrey, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte. Yes, Eddie Royal did have a touchdown last week but that that was without Jeffrey in the lineup and now that he’s back from injury, Royal should see only about 4-5 targets a game, nothing that will justify dropping another player for him.

Advice: Don’t Pick up

Alex Smith, QB Kansas City Chiefs

With weapons surrounding him at all angles, the Chiefs quarterback should merit more consideration in the starting QB conversation. He’s got Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin, and Travis Kelce, who are all dynamic and reliable player makers. He’s had one off game that came in week 2 but other than that has put up at least 17 fantasy points each game. If you own Cam Newton or Ryan Tannehill, who are on bye this week, and need a quarterback, Smith is a solid option as he plays a weak Chicago secondary.

Advice: Pick up if in need of a quarterback

Robbie Gould, K Chicago Bears

In a league where there are no safe options at kicker, except for Stephen Gostkowski, Adam Vinateri and Justin Tucker, you should always be on the prowl for kickers in your fantasy league. Robbie Gould of the Bears proved last Sunday that he is capable of being trusted. He hasn’t missed this season and came up clutch last Sunday against the Raiders, kicking the game winning field goal. If your kicker is on a bye or isn’t performing well, Gould is as close to a sure fire option as you’re going to get this year.

Advice: Pick up if in need of a kicker

Charles Clay, TE Buffalo Bills

After a disappointing start to the season, Charlie Clay has emerged as a top tight end in the league. Tyrod Taylor has connected with him for 14 catches and 193 yards over the past two games with a touchdown, makes him an extremely solid option at tight end.

Advice: Pick up if available

As a side note, there are multiple players that are returning from suspension this week. Greg Hardy and Ronaldo McClain return to the Cowboys defense, making them a little tougher but they face a difficult task in defending Tom Brady. On the offensive side of the ball, both Antonio Gates and Martavis Bryant come back to their

respective teams, with one being way more valuable than the other. Bryant is behind Antonio Brown and has Mike Vick at quarterback, making his fantasy value less than that of Gates. Last year, he and Phillip Rivers developed a great connection, especially in the redzone. If he’s available, pick him up and start him no matter what (except if you have Gronk). Bryant on the other hand, if you’re in need of receiver depth, give him a shot but it’s more likely that he won’t see great production until Big Ben returns.

Other Notable Waiver Wire Targets: Crockett Gilmore, Ronnie Hillman, Sam Bradford, Kendall Wright, Kamar Aiken, Michael Crabtree, Doug Baldwin, Reuben Randle, Darren McFadden, Stevie Johnson, Tavon Austin, Jamison Crowder.

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