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Sleeper Watch - RBs & WRs for Week 2
By Matty N
Welcome to the FF Cafe's Sleeper Watch. Got a spot at the end of your bench? Here are some RB and WR sleepers to consider picking up for week 2. All players below are unowned in a decent percentage of either ESPN or Yahoo Fantasy leagues. (Ownership percentages are listed next to each player). The further down the list you go, the deeper the sleeper.
Darren Sproles, Eagles (owned 99% ESPN, 65% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 11 caries for 71 yards and 1 TD in week 1. He always adds receiving yards to his totals. Looks to be the same dynamic player we remember from New Orleans.
THE BAD: He is already owned in most leagues. In fact, it is hard to call him a real sleeper. But Yahoo says he is available in 35% of leagues. Grab him if you can. Somewhat injury prone. McCoy will poach more of Sproles fantasy points many weeks.
Chris Ivory, Jets (owned 96% ESPN, 33% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 10 carries for 102 yards and 1 TD in week 1. Did more with his touches than CJ2K and his big bruising running style may well win Rex Ryan’s favor. Matchup at Green Bay next week looks good.
THE BAD: Likely to split carries with CJ2K all year and figuring out who will have the big week may be a tricky. The Jets were playing the Raiders to open their season. We’ll see how these RBs do against better defenses as the season progresses.
Shonn Greene, Titans (92.1% ESPN, 32% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 15 carries for 71 yards in week 1. If Greene had found the end zone he would have had a real nice fantasy day. Good at running through tackles. He is clearly the Titans featured back (for now) and is a strong inside runner.
THE BAD: Lacks quickness and elusiveness. Limited upside. Has McCluster and Sankey nipping at his heels. Now in his sixth season he has yet to really explode although he did eek over the 1000 yard mark twice (2011 and 2012). Not a great pass catcher.
Terrence West, Browns (owned 89% ESPN, 39% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 16 carries for 100 yards in week 1. Obvious feature back with Ben Tate injured (knee). Runs with a ton of power. Has great vision. Runs well between the tackles.
THE BAD: Fumble prone in college (Towson). Lacks elite quickness and elusiveness. Will likely split carries with Crowell or Tate or both.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts (owned 20% ESPN, 26% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 85 total yards in week 1. Bradshaw looked more elusive than Trent Richardson and saw all the reps in the Colts two-minute drill. A good receiving RB who appears to have nice chemistry with Andrew Luck.
THE BAD: Injury prone. Stuck in an offense that seems determined to give Trent Richardson a ton of reps no matter how mediocre his performance.
Justin Forsett, Ravens (owned 1.2% ESPN, 11% Yahoo)
THE GOOD; 11 carries for 70 yards and 1 TD in week 1. With Ray Rice gone and Bernard Pierce in the doghouse here is a rare starter at RB available on the wire. He is a veteran back with passing catching ability.
THE BAD: While Forsett may carry the load for the time being it is very possible that the Ravens give rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro a chance to snare the starting role or look to bring in another player in now that Rice is gone. Forsett may start next week but he is better suited to change-of-pace scatback duties.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons (owned 3.3% ESPN, 8% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 6 carries for 34 yards and 1 TD to open the season. Although Rodgers is behind Steven Jackson on the depth chart he made the most of his touches. He looked great eluding tackles on his 17 yard TD run. If the Falcons jump ahead in a game (instead of playing catch up with the high scoring Saints) look for the running game to be a bigger factor.
THE BAD: It will probably take an injury to land Rodgers the starting job. A RBBC approach looks to be the name of the game in Atlanta and Steven Jackson is going to see more touches.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns (owned 1.6% ESPN, 3% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 5 carries for 32 yards and 2 TDs in week 1. Crowell would have been a big college football name but he got kicked off the Georgia football team for a felony weapons charge. Hits the hole fast and has great burst. Took both TDs in with authority and surely raised the eyebrows of the Browns coaching staff.
THE BAD: Stuck in a committee with Terrence West and Ben Tate who are both above him on the depth chart for now. Productivity likely hinges on Ben Tate’s availability (knee). Very prone to off-field trouble.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (owned 99% ESPN, 73% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 4 catches for 89 yards and 1 TD in week 1. Hopkins clocked over 800 receiving yards last year and looks primed to improve on that number. He has a nice chance to be a solid WR2.
THE BAD: As with Sproles above, it is hard to call him a sleeper. He is likely already owned but if you can grab him do it. His QB situation is not perfect but Ryan Mallet will step in if Fitzpatrick starts to struggle.
Steve Smith Sr, Ravens (owned 96% ESPN, 41% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 7 catches for 118 yards and 1 TD in week 1. Everyone expected Steve Smith’s production to decline this year but so far, so good. He was far and away Joe Flacco’s favorite WR target and it showed in his numbers.
THE BAD: His production may drop off as the season grinds on. Torrey Smith looks to get some of the balls that were thrown Smith’s way in upcoming games.
Justin Hunter, Titans (owned 87.3% ESPN, 69% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 3 catches for 68 yards in week 1. Great YPC. Should find the end zone soon. Shows good separation.
THE BAD: Will likely be somewhat inconsistent but should have some nice games this year.
Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers (owned 40.4% ESPN, 79% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 6 catches for 92 and 1TD to start the season. Number one WR option in the Panthers offense. Led the ACC with 15TDs last year, a Florida State record. He has Cam coming back at QB very soon which can only help.
THE BAD. No obvious faults. He is a rookie so he may face a learning curve but looks ready to produce in the NFL.
Markus Wheaton, Steelers (owned 30.1% ESPN, 63% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 6 catches for 97 yards in week 1. The 2nd year receiver seems to be developing a good rapport with Big Ben in a Steeler offense that started the season strong. He is extremely quick off the line with very good speed.
THE BAD: Not great at making players miss once he has the ball. Can be out muscled by physical corners but the 2014 rule changes help him there.
Andrew Hawkins, Browns (owned 11.7% ESPN, 25% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 8 catches for 87 yards to start the season. Very good slot receiver. Should be one the primary options in the Browns offense. Brian Hoyer looked for Hawkins frequently with 10 targets. Great for PPR purposes.
THE BAD. Somewhat limited upside. May not find the end zone very often. His fantasy ceiling is likely WR3.
Allen Hurns, Jaguars (owned 7.6% ESPN, 13% Yahoo)
THE GOOD. 4 catches for 110 yards & 2 TDs is a pretty nice way to start the season. Hurns also had a strong preseason with 236 yards and another TD. The undrafted rookie from Miami is the 7th leading WR in Miami history behind names like Reggie Wayne & Michael Irvin (one spot ahead of Andre Johnson).
THE BAD. He was penciled in on the Jags roster as the number two WR because Cecil Shorts was side-lined by injury. The Jags were planning to start Shorts and Marquise Lee in two WR sets. Shorts (hamstring) will be healthy soon. Will Hurns continue to get lots of run from Gus Bradley? More likely he'll be inconsistent. This big game will probably be an outlier.
Malcom Floyd, Chargers (owned 5.9% ESPN, 13% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 4 catches for 50 yards and 1 TD in week 1. Veteran receiver. Great route runner. Has good chemistry with Philip Rivers. Should get free easily with defenses keying on Keenan Allen.
THE BAD: Coming off a nasty neck injury. Has lost some of his speed.
Devin Hester, Falcons (owned 2.2% ESPN, 2% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 5 catches for 99 yards in week 1. Speed demon. The Falcon’s offense looks to be one of the best in the league. Should be able to get find space with Julio Jones and Roddy White to distract defenders.
THE BAD: Veteran in his 9th year who has only gone over 500 yards for a season twice (665 in 2008 - 757 in 2009). There are lots of other mouths to feed in the Falcons offense. Good for spot starts only.
Robert Woods, Bills (owned 1.5% ESPN, 4% Yahoo)
THE GOOD: 8 catches for 87 yards in week 1. Can play in the slot or split wide. EJ Manuel looked for him early and fairly often. He out produced Sammy Watkins in catches, yards and targets.
THE BAD: Dropped his share of balls at USC. Lacks great speed. On the small side for an NFL receiver at 6’0. Watkins will likely see his targets increase as the season progresses.