Week 4: Sleepers of the Week
Bridgewater and Ryan Fitzpatrick were both considered to be the quarterback sleeper of the week, but Bridgewater was ultimately chosen because of expected game flow. The Vikings will face the high-flying Falcons' offense while the Texans will face the respectable but not high-flying Bills. It's probably not worth reading too much into Bridgewater's performance in relief of Matt Cassel on Sunday since he didn't get to spend the week preparing as the starter. However, it was encouraging that he ran six time for 27 yards. It's tough to evaluate what Bridgewater did with his legs in college since college statistics count sacks against rushing totals. But if Bridgewater uses his legs -- or is forced to use them – he could be a useful fantasy option.
Oliver and Marion Grice were thought to be in competition for the fourth and final running back spot on San Diego's roster, but both ended up making the team. With Ryan Mathews out for a few more weeks and Danny Woodhead out for the season, Oliver is now second on the depth chart behind Donald Brown. His placement was cemented when the Cardinals signed Grice off the Chargers' practice squad Monday. Oliver, who gained 11 yards on three carries against the Bills, is a really deep sleeper here, but the Chargers have a cake matchup against the Jaguars awaiting them. If San Diego gets out to a big lead, someone other than Brown may help run out the clock. Oliver seems to be the man for that job.
According to average draft position, Sankey was taken 26th among running backs and was a late sixth-round pick in 12-team leagues. For those who were deploying the "Zero RB" strategy, Sankey was a popular mid-round choice for running back depth. Unfortunately for those counting on Sankey, he has been out-touched by Shonn Greene, 30-19, through three weeks. But Sankey and Greene each got 10 carries in Week 3 with Dexter McCluster getting only three touches. Greene got the one goal-line carry Tennessee was able to generate against Cincinnati, but it's still encouraging that Sankey got an equal number of carries, and he outgained Greene, 61-33. It's not uncommon for rookies to be worked into the offense, and hopefully this is a sign that Sankey's role is increasing. The Titans will face the Colts, who allowed 53 fantasy points to running backs in the first two weeks of the season before keeping a putrid Jacksonville ground game in check.
Johnson would have actually been an excellent candidate for this space last week if this article came out later in the week. When it became clear that Vernon Davis was really in danger of not playing, it would have been reasonable to think that Johnson might be the beneficiary. And it looked like he was. His nine targets trailed only Michael Crabtree's 11, and Johnson was on the field for 59 percent of the 49ers' offensive snaps against the Cardinals. That's quite a bit more than the 42 percent of snaps he played in the first two weeks.
With "sleeper" being loosely defined as players who could be worth starting and are widely available on most waiver wires, Johnson certainly qualifies, even if he already had a breakout game. He could easily repeat his Week 3 performance (nine catches, 103 yards) if Davis misses Sunday's game versus Philadelphia. The Eagles are allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
For the second straight week, Robinson tied for the Jaguars' lead in targets. He has also had at least 75 receiving yards in consecutive weeks. The Jags' defense is horrendous, so any decent opposing offense is going to have the Jags playing from behind, which is obviously a boon to Robinson. And they will be facing more than a decent opposing offense this week in San Diego. That may not be evident when you see that San Diego is averaging just 23 points per game, but keep in mind that so far, the Chargers have played three of the seven teams who allowed fewer than 5 yards per play last year. The fact that Blake Bortles will be starting is probably additional good news for Robinson. We don't know if Bortles will be good, but it will be hard for him to be worse than Chad Henne. Through three weeks, Henne has the fourth-worst mark in adjusted yards per attempt.