NFL Fantasy: Week 6 sleeper running backs

All your best running backs on a bye week or injured? Try one of these sleepers to save your NFL fantasy week.​

Did you ever need to replace a running back and find that the projected NFL fantasy points on everyone who is available are five or lower? You need to ignore those projections and find players like these sleepers who can help you win this week. 

Best Bet: Jamaal Charles, Den vs NYG 

The Broncos come off their bye to take on the New York Giants and their piecework offense. Everyone knows New York lost all their wide receivers last week. But did you know they also lost their top running back the week before, their best running back is playing with an injured back and calf, and their offensive line will bring their fifth different lineup in six weeks Sunday to play Denver’s top-rated defense? 

Did we mention the Giants’ defense is also having issues? They lost a starting linebacker and a second will be a game-time decision. They suspended their best cornerback and their replacement is blaming game planning for his inept coverage skills. Their starting All-Pro safety is a game-time decision as are two defensive ends.

The Broncos will probably try to get this game over with quickly, meaning a lot of running will take place. The Giants already give up the ninth-most NFL fantasy points to running backs. Even with 30% of the plays, Charles has a chance to put up good fantasy numbers. If the Broncos take a sizeable lead, it is possible Charles will take over 30% of the second half snaps as the Broncos continue to protect their starting running back from getting injured. Both rushers could put up 100 yards and score on Sunday night. 

Good bet: Theo Riddick, DET at NO

Theo Riddick is a highly regarded receiving threat from the backfield. Coach Jim Caldwell noted that teams have been scheming to cover him all season, which explains his slow start. Last week, Riddick showed signs of life. He grabbed four passes for 45 yards and had an eight-yard run, too. 

The Lions travel to New Orleans where the Saints usually put a lot of points on the board. Detroit will need as many offensive options as they can muster. Theo Riddick is due to break out, and it looks like he is on Matt Stafford’s radar now. Put him down for 80 yards and a touchdown in a wild game in the Big Easy. 

Tough bet: Shane Vereen, NYG at DEN

The Giants will field a team full of young skill players Sunday at Denver, but the two old men on the field will combine to put the majority of NFL fantasy points on the board. Eli Manning to Shane Vereen will be the most popular call on the day. Vereen will play more than usual, possibly in the slot at times, as a reliable check down against a strong pass rush. In PPR leagues, Vereen is close to a must-start. Standard league players will hope he bites off chunks of yards after the mostly short passes Eli will keep dumping to him. 

That’s that

Other players I like include Matt Breida, Jalen Richard in relief or support of Marshawn Lynch, and Tevin Coleman. Alvin Kamara and Buck Allen should not be considered sleepers anymore. They could have big games this week, too. 

Do you have an NFL fantasy football question? Send it to [email protected] so we can answer it in our weekly NFL Fantasy Mailbag on Wednesday.

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Pat Opperman


Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.