Are you struggling with match-up decisions or dealing with an injury-depleted roster? Here are my sleeper picks worthy of starting for your team this week.
BYE: New Orleans, Oakland
Seahawks vs Cardinals: Zach Miller; The combination of being a blocking TE coming off a hamstring injury playing on Thursday night doesn’t bode well for Miller’s chances at an offensive outburst, but given the Cardinals’ inability to contain TE production and Miller’s annual return to Arizona, his home state where he also played high school and college football, why not?
Bills vs Dolphins: Brian Hartline; Last week’s sleeper pick of Scott Chandler stands to do well against a Dolphins defense ranked 31st against TEs, but I also expect a good game from Ryan Tannehill coming off the bye, and for Hartline to be the main beneficiary of a pass attack against an equally-inept Bill secondary.
Rams vs Panthers: DeAngelo Williams; The lack of TDs always hurts Williams’ overall production, but playing against one of the worst rushing defenses at home makes him a sell-high candidate and a low-end RB2/FLEX.
Bears vs Redskins: Alshon Jeffery; Brandon Marshall got his last week against a poor Giants pass defense meaning Jeffery can safely get his this week against an even worse Redskins secondary.
Bengals vs Lions: Joseph Fauria; Fauria’s shaping up to be the Kyle Rudolph of 2013, meaning sustainable fantasy numbers aren’t likely on a weekly basis. But with Calvin Johnson expected to be a healthy start at home against the Bengals, the 6-foot-7 presents interesting match-up problems for defenses in the red zone; the Lions get nearly 4 red zone opportunities a game and convert nearly 62% of the time against a Bengals team with a propensity to allow TDs to big TEs.
Cowboys vs Eagles: Nick Foles; I expect Foles to continue rolling against a banged-up Dallas defense that gives up the most fantasy points to opposing QBs.
Chargers vs Jaguars: Ryan Mathews; He’s losing passing downs and goal-line work to Danny Woodhead, but for an RB still averaging 16 touches a game playing against the Jaguars’ 26th-ranked rush defense, think of Mathews as the DeAngelo Williams of the AFC.
Patriots vs Jets: Bilal Powell; The absence of Vince Wilfork and recent loss of Jerod Mayo in the middle means the Patriots average run defense becomes increasingly suspect to opposing RBS, giving up 249 yards and 2 TDs over the past two weeks. Mike Goodson’s season-ending knee injury also means increased touches for Powell and Chris Ivory.
Buccaneers vs Falcons: Harry Douglas; A WR3 by sheer opportunity alone.
49ers vs Titans: Shonn Greene/Jackie Battle; Even if Chris Johnson is healthy, Greene/Battle is the Titans’ best chance to score, especially with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s penchant for turnovers to TDs.
Ravens vs Steelers: Heath Miller; He’s about as rock-steady an option playing outside the top 10 with an established rapport with Ben Roethlisberger in an offense beginning to find its stride. The touchdowns with eventually come as Miller continues to sneak under the radar as a TE1.
Browns vs Packers: Chris Ogbonnaya; The change-of-pace back saw an increased workload last week against the Lions and stands to continue his production against a 29th-ranked Packers pass defense generous with TDs all season; he’s a decent bye week option.
Texans vs Chiefs: Sean McGrath; Given his usage in Week 6 (read: ZERO), McGrath isn’t exactly the beacon of dependability. But the Texans have given up 3 TDs to TEs over the past two games, including scores to the likes of Lance Kendricks and Cory Harkey (who?) last week, so how bad could McGrath be as a sleeper, right? RIGHT?
Broncos vs Colts: Coby Fleener; Chances Fleener redeems himself after Monday night’s debacle? Total gut call.
Vikings vs Giants: Brandon Jacobs; As the only remaining option in the Giants backfield besides the recently-signed Peyton Hillis and rookie Michael Cox, Jacobs becomes a solid RB2 with a great match-up against the Vikings’ 31st-ranked running defense at home.
Always remember: Start your studs, play the match-ups, and don’t be afraid to make the trade!