Each week during the NFL season FST brings you our Fantasy Football Sleepers of the Week column, which takes a look at lesser-known players that could deserve a start due to a favorable matchup, injury, or other circumstances. Let’s take a look at some sneaky plays for Week 12. If you have any fantasy football roster questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.
Big Ben looked like he had just gotten out of some prison facility with those bumble bee look-a-like old school uniforms last week. This week he takes on a Browns team that is vying to stay out of the cellar in their division, one that the Steelers currently hold. Traditionally Big Ben plays well against Cleveland and after a huge game and monster effort last Sunday against the Lions expect the momentum to continue. Subtle sleeper pick who could post 20 plus big points.
Eli’s got the Giants back in the playoff question for the NFC East. This is their biggest game to date this season. The Cowboys are known to have holes in their secondary. Without Rob Ryan as the defensive coordinator the main area of weakness exposed by their opponents is the big play and long bombs. If Eli can connect on 2 or 3 of those he’ll make Giants fans and fantasy owners happy. I expect Eli to find some success in a back-and-forth high scoring affair.
Stills is the ultimate boom or bust candidate each week. Most owners steered clear last week against the Niners and that was the right call. This week on Thursday night is another dilemma, but if own him then you should start him. The Falcons are near the bottom in the NFL against the pass on defense and Stills is a burner. Colston and Graham get all the targets, but all it takes is one or two big gains to Stills to get what you need. Insert this sleeper into your lineup this week.
A more consistent sleeper option than most is this Bears wide receiver. Although must of the love goes to Brandon Marshall, Jeffery is on pace for a banner year and probably a nice payday at the end of the season. The Rams defense is particularly generous to wide receivers and has given up nearly a dozen touchdowns to them as a result. Expect another TD for Jeffery on Sunday in St. Louis.
Even though Bell is labeled as questionable it appears he’ll suit up and play on Sunday against the Bucs. Bell scored a touchdown again on Sunday in their blowout loss to the Steelers. The obvious starter is Reggie Bush, but Bell does get in the action towards the red zone. I expect the Lions will be busy on offense and that will give Bell more opportunities to make an impact and steal away another score. If you’re desperate here is a sleeper option for the week.
Rainey isn’t exactly a true sleeper candidate, but he did come out of nowhere last week. The Bucs might have discovered a gem in Rainey and he’ll carry a majority of the work load again this week. At 5’8” he’s low to the ground and can make defenders miss like Ray Rice. The Bucs will need him to give them a lift to compete with the NFC North’s division leader. Rainey might not put up 3 TDs again but at least one and 80 yards rushing seem more than fair.
When Walker wasn’t getting his helmet ripped off his face and getting helmet head-butted he was torching Indy last week to a tune of 10 receptions and a TD. Oakland is generous to opposing tight ends, just ask Garrett Graham from the Texans last weekend. This could be a 2 TD and 100 yard performance if the Titans can sustain offensive drives. Walker is a sure fire starter and sleeper this week.
In Cook I trust this week. He’s coming off the bye week and even though the Bears have only allowed a couple TDs to tight ends all season this could be the time Cook outperforms expectations. With the back-up quarterback under center Cook will be a much needed safety valve to bail out the offense. In the red zone he’s a beast and if the running attack can keep those chains moving then Cook stands an excellence chance of finding the end zone and fantasy points.
St Louis Rams
Cutler is still sidelined for the Bears and even though Josh McCown has filled in suitably there is plenty to like about the Rams as a sleeper this week. Football is about averages, numbers and matchups. McCown has yet to throw an interception in his limited action this season or fumble the ball away. Given it’s only 100 throws, this bound to catch up to him and I suspect 1 interception and 1 fumble. I also like the Rams’ special teams and Tavon Austin’s speed to take it the distance. They’re playing at home and the last time this defense took the field they posted monster fantasy football defense numbers against a very good Indianapolis Colts offense. Don’t sleep on these Rams!