*Based off ESPN percentages – qualified sleepers started in under 50% of leagues
Ryan Fitzpatrick (25.4% Own, 15.1% Start) – Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t live up to his sleeper label last week, but he benefits from Mike Evans’ return to action in week 11. With a number of byes still on the docket, you could do far worse than the journeyman quarterback against a middle-of-the-road Miami defense.
Jay Cutler (14.9% Own, 8.5% Start) – Jay Cutler has thrown the ball 79 times for 5 touchdowns, 1 interception, and 48 points (6-pt TD leagues) since the Ajayi trade. He will be suiting up at home against a defense that has allowed five games of 20 or more points to opposing quarterbacks and has not held a quarterback under 14 since week two against Mike Glennon. It’s admittedly tough to trust Cutler, but you aren’t supposed to trust sleepers. You’re supposed to gloat to friends after no one saw it coming.
Kenyan Drake (66.3% Own, 38.6% Start) – Although Damien Williams remains an impediment to the backfield belonging entirely to Kenyan Drake, the young running back has undoubtedly earned a larger share. Drake has shown more explosiveness while combining for 32 points the last two weeks. Tampa Bay has allowed the 25th most points to running backs. Both Drake and Tampa Bay should remain true to form this Sunday.
Duke Johnson (75.1% Own, 35.5% Start) – Isaiah Crowell has finally looked as advertised the last two games, but Johnson still outsnapped him last week in Detroit. Although Jacksonville’s defense is a fearsome challenge, they don’t excel at shutting down receiving backs. Add the fact that Cleveland will likely play from behind, and you’re looking at a safe floor from Johnson.
Jeremy Maclin (61.5% Own, 9.2% Start) – Jeremy Maclin returned from injury for weeks of 14 and 17 points. He has the opportunity (averages more than six targets a game) and talent to make it a third straight week with a double digit effort. Green Bay’s secondary is a sieve. The defense routinely fails to get off the field, and they are especially woeful when missing safety Morgan Burnett. Luckily for Maclin, Burnett has not practiced all week.
Dontrelle Inman (5.1% Own, 0.9% Start) – This is the deepest of sleepers, reserved for those who play in 12+ team leagues or those who want to watch the world burn. Inman stepped right into a number one role in Chicago and earned eight targets from Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears’ conservative offense and the fact that Darius Slay may shadow Inman this week tempers expectations, but he is undoubtedly one to stash.
Austin Hooper (54% Own, 29.5% Start) – Richard Sherman’s injury provides an immediate spark to the value of Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, but it also creates more space for Austin Hooper. Seattle is already 21st against tight ends in fantasy. They’ll need to devote extra resources to slow down Atlanta’s receivers. Matt Ryan should pepper Hooper with short passes whenever he senses pressure.
Tyler Kroft (46.8% Own, 22.3% Start) – If Tyler Kroft’s worst week as Cincinnati’s starting tight end is scaring you off, just know that Denver’s defense against tight ends is the polar opposite of their reputation against wide receivers. The Broncos have surrendered the second most points to opposing tight ends in the NFL. Their ability to shut down running backs and number one wide receivers sets the stage for Kroft to succeed.
Bengals (59.2% Own, 46.6% Start) – Denver has given up a defensive/special teams touchdown in four of the last five games and hasn’t had a day without multiple turnovers since week four. Their offense has completely fallen apart and is a surer bet for streaming defenses than Cleveland at this point. Cincinnati isn’t just a sleeper. It’s a must start.
Chargers (41.7% Own, 36.5% Start) – Most people who own the Chargers are starting them. More people should add them and follow that trend. The Bills threw in the towel on the 2017 season in order to see what they have in Nathan Peterman. Los Angeles is already a sneakily effective defense. They’ll make it a difficult debut for the rookie.
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