The league is full of mid-range wide receivers who might give you ten points in any given week. But there are always unexpected names that pop ahead of them on the leaderboard. Look for these three sleepers this week.
Best Bet: Kenny Stills, Miami (vs New Orleans)
Miami is coming off an offensive disaster against the New York Jets when only a last-second touchdown pass prevented a shutout. The Dolphins need to put points on the board this week and reestablish their offensive identity. What better opponent than the Saints for that purpose?
Many NFL fantasy prognosticators named DeVante Parker as a sleeper or must-play this week. We all agree that Jay Cutler will throw the ball deep a bunch of times. What receiver is he more likely to throw to deep? It’s a coin flip. Kenny Stills has exactly the same number of targets over 20 yards as Parker. But the Saints only have one shutdown corner and I am guessing he will lean toward Parker.
Against the lesser defensive backs of the Saints, Stills will haul in at least two deep balls and a few of the shorter variety. A touchdown will make him a top-20 wide receiver in Week 4.
Good Bet: Bruce Ellington, Houston (vs Tennessee)
Houston may get Will Fuller back on the field this week after his broken collarbone. Braxton Miller is already back but has not gotten into the flow. Last week, Bruce Ellington was second only to DeAndre Hopkins in targets and receptions. He and rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson appear to be on the same page already.
Rookie quarterbacks tend to lock into the players they have success with. Thus, Hopkins will still get the most targets. But second-most isn’t bad when you go against a team giving up the third most NFL fantasy points to wide receivers, while also playing the run tough.
Fuller may get a sampling from Watson, but Ellington will get enough targets to bring in double-digit fantasy points.
Not a bad bet: Willie Snead, New Orleans (at Miami)
Normally, I would not recommend playing a receiver in his first week back from injury or suspension. You can’t be sure how they will keep up with the flow or what kind of condition they are in. Here, I will make an exception.
This is not so much a nod to Willie Snead’s skills as it is to the state of the New Orleans Saints receiving corps. It is true that Snead had a good preseason. Drew Brees hit him in stride as often as not… and that is something Brees is not doing with any of his other receivers. The quarterback is getting his fantasy numbers, but it is not as smooth or predictable as years past. He needs a comfortable target and Snead will provide it. I believe Snead scores in his first game back and grabs enough yards to be a worthwhile play.
Last week’s best bet, DeSean Jackson, scored 14.4 points, good for the WR-18 spot to save my week. Both my good bet and longshot scored touchdowns early and then got blanked the rest of the way. Jaron Brown dropped a couple of passes and had a second touchdown called back for holding. He finished with 8.7 fantasy points to Hurns 8.0, only good for the WR 36 and 37 spots on the leaderboard.
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