Winning an NFL fantasy league is about knowing when to take risks at the right times. A lot of owners were burned by being cautious last week.
Mitch Trubisky anyone? Jokes aside this is the time of year where opportunities must be seized. There are a number of players available on the market who could be a good short-term option for this week in hopes of getting some unexpected bonus points. We all like to call them sleepers. With a number of interesting matchups set to happen, there are plenty of names owners should take careful consideration of.
Jesse James vs. Atlanta
The Falcons defense is reeling right now. Nowhere is that more noticeable than in the middle of the field. Opposing tight ends have been having big games against them lately. Ben Watson had 71 yards in a loss to the Saints. Tyler Eifert had 38 yards with a TD and he didn’t even finish the game. Not having Deion Jones or Keanu Neal is killing Atlanta. This should be sweet music for Jesse James who is always capable of a big game when needed by the Steelers.
Aaron Jones vs. Detroit
This has a simple explanation behind it. Aaron Jones has run for 107 yards and a touchdown on just 17 carries since returning to the Packers offensive lineup. Green Bay goes into Detroit against a Lions defense that is dead last in the NFL against the run. They’re giving up 157 yards per game on the ground. It’s not hard to put 2 and 2 together. Jones is a decisive runner with good speed. Put him on that fast indoor turf against a bad defense and it should be a big day.
T.J. Yeldon vs. Kansas City
The Chiefs are 4-0, but they aren’t a pretty 4-0. This is a one-dimensional team. They’re all offense. That defense has a couple nice pieces but a lot of meh too. Their tackling in particular has been atrocious, which explains why their run defense continues to be a serious problem. Jacksonville may not have Leonard Fournette, but they do have T.J. Yeldon who’s been averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Behind that strong offensive line, he can have a big day.
Titans defense vs. Buffalo
Tennessee might have one of the most underrated defenses in the league. They shut down Jacksonville two weeks ago and then held the Eagles to just 23 points through overtime. It’s got a good mix of young talent and veteran leadership along with a top coordinator in Dean Pees. Pit them against a Buffalo offense that just got shut out in Green Bay with a rookie quarterback known for accuracy issues? It could be a feast day for those guys.
Alex Smith vs. New Orleans
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He’s not normally the go-to guy in fantasy leagues but sometimes Alex Smith can deliver a great performance in the right conditions. The Saints defense has been suspect this season, especially against strong passing attacks. They were shredded by Tampa Bay and Atlanta. Jay Gruden is a sharp offensive coach who will know how to take advantage of their weaknesses. Throw in an indoor atmosphere with no weather concerns and Smith is primed.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Cincinnati
The Bengals defense has been weird this year. They look like a team with plenty of talent on defense but haven’t played like it. They’ve been rather soft against the pass. Three of their four games this year have seen them allow over 300 yards through the air. This could be a nice bounce-back opportunity for Ryan Tannehill who just got humiliated with the rest of his team in New England. He’ll need good protection but the opportunities should be there.
Cole Beasley vs. Houston
The Texans defense has not lived up to expectations. Despite getting J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus back on their pass rush, they haven’t been able to stop teams from throwing it all over them. Andrew Luck and Eli Manning both had big games against them the past two weeks. It would be easy for them to relax against Dak Prescott, but they should be wary of Cole Beasley who has been the go-to guy in the receiving corps this year.