*Based off ESPN percentages – qualified sleepers started in under 50% of leagues
Josh McCown (39.2% Own, 15.1% Start) – Josh McCown has consistently stayed right outside QB1 territory all season long and currently sits 14th. He might be a scary name to turn to on the eve of most fantasy playoffs, but his floor is well established. McCown hasn’t had a game without a touchdown pass since week four. Since then, he’s thrown for multiple scores in all but two games. Even in one of his one-touchdown efforts (against Buffalo), he added an additional score on the ground. If you’ve been burned by your quarterbacks and are looking elsewhere, feel confident starting McCown versus Kansas City this weekend. At the very least, he won’t be the reason you lose.
Brett Hundley (8.1% Own, 3.1% Start) – Brett Hundley had his best game as a pro on Monday night against the Steelers. Many have been quick to point out that the top five defense uncharacteristically blew coverages, but Hundley faces a defense that characteristically does that this weekend. Tampa Bay is all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, and the team knows it. That could negatively impact their defensive effort. There are other options in one quarterback leagues, but he’s worth a Hail Mary in two quarterback leagues. After all, the Packers are pretty good at those.
Kenyan Drake (68.0% Own, 33.6% Start) – Kenyan Drake has seen this list before. He has put up points – three double digit games since Ajayi’s departure. Drake has also produced two complete duds. The inconsistency came down to a lack of volume. Damien Williams’ shoulder injury rectifies that problem. The next obstacle becomes Denver’s defense. Luckily for Drake owners, Denver has become soft all around. Their offense doesn’t put up points and their defense doesn’t provide the stops it used to. Drake is a solid flex this week.
Duke Johnson (76.2% Own, 32.9% Start) – Duke Johnson is as consistent as they come for a player who is not considered among the top PPR running back options. He’s reached double digits in eight of eleven games this season. He’s posted double digits in his last three contests. He’s facing the 29th ranked Chargers in a game that the Browns will once again be trailing, meaning Johnson fits the script better than Crowell. Put him in your lineup.
DeSean Jackson (88.1% Own, 40.8% Start) – More than half of DeSean Jackson owners don’t trust him this week in Green Bay, but they should. Jackson has put up double digits in all three of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s starts. If Fitzpatrick sees the field again, Jackson should absolutely continue that trend. Things become murkier if Jameis Winston returns to action. Winston’s inconsistency earlier this season is scary and his shoulder remains a question mark, but Green Bay barely covers wide receivers. Kevin King will miss the game. Davon House likely shadows Mike Evans. Jackson will have the necessary space to make big plays regardless of who throws him the ball.
Seth Roberts (12.4% Own, 6.2% Start) – You could do worse than Seth Roberts if you’re in a bind at wide receiver. Michael Crabtree will spend the weekend shopping for a third chain while on suspension. Amari Cooper won’t return to action. Who else is Derek Carr going to target? Roberts led the team in routes last Sunday after the top two receivers left the game. Although it didn’t lead to points then, New York’s defense provides a cushy game to hit pay dirt. Cordarrelle Patterson is also worth considering thanks to his big play ability.
Julius Thomas (27.7% Own, 12.9% Start) – Julius Thomas has fallen far from his early days in the league with Peyton Manning, but he has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in the last month, averaging just over 11 points a game. This week will serve as a revenge game against Denver. The Broncos struggle against the position, and the tight end fantasy market is a mess outside of the top five or six. It’s worth a shot.
Ricky Seals-Jones (19.5% Own, 7.7% Start) – Seals-Jones has come out of nowhere to accumulate 47 points in the last two weeks. He doesn’t receive enough snaps at the moment to fully trust him, and there’s no way the young tight end maintains his current pace, but he should absolutely be rostered for the playoffs. Gabbert and Seals-Jones clearly have a connection, so it’s possible he provides more sparks this week against the Rams.
Bears (38.4% Own, 25.6% Start) – Jimmy Garoppolo has proven he’s no slouch in limited action, but that was with New England. Making your first start for the 1-10 San Francisco 49ers is an entirely different beast. The Bears have an opportunity to get back on owners’ good sides against a team that doesn’t possess an offensive identity.
Raiders (29.4% Own, 25.0% Start) – Do you want to start a defense that didn’t force its first interception until week 12? Not necessarily. However, do you want to start a defense against a Geno Smith-led team with no line and few pass catching options? Absolutely. The Raiders showed they can come through against weak offenses by getting five sacks and a pick against Denver last week.
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