Week 7: Fantasy Football Super Sleepers
With Stevan Ridley out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL, New England's rushing duties fall to the trio of Bolden, Shane Vereen and James White. In a Bill Belichick offense, it is always a crapshoot to predict which running back will see the most touches, but it appears that Bolden will start tonight and get the goal-line work. Vereen may end up with the most touches while White, the rookie, is the big wildcard in the mix. Bolden should get some goal-line and short-yardage looks against the Jets. If he does get those opportunities, he should be able to gain some valuable yardage and even find the end zone. Broncos running backs gained 138 yards from scrimmage against the Jets last week.
Knowshon Moreno has been placed on the injured reserve due to a torn ACL, and that leaves Lamar Miller as the primary back in Miami. Who will back him up? For now, it appears that the Dolphins will go with Daniel ThomasorDamien Williams. But they shouldn't forget about James. The 2012 second-round pick does not have much to show on his NFL resume to date, but he has exceptional quickness and play-making ability. A few weeks ago, he was picked up by Miami and placed on the practice squad to bolster its running back depth. He just needs a chance; he might get it if one more injury befalls the Dolphins' backfield.
Detroit's rushing attack has not really lived up to the hype this season. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have each been sidelined for one game and have had up-and-down production while on the field. Riddick is being nagged by a balky hamstring but has shown his ability to play a Bush-like role in the Lions' passing attack. Riddick's fantasy value is dependent upon gaining screen pass yardage in huge chunks. He has speed and can shake tackles. He caught five passes and led Detroit with 75 receiving yards last week when Bush was in street clothes. Bush appears ready to return to action following his absence due to a sprained ankle, which means Riddick's opportunities will likely be limited, but he could be worked into the rotation to spell Bush on passing downs. If the Notre Dame product can get over his hamstring injury and play this weekend, he makes for an interesting super sleeper in a favorable matchup versus New Orleans. Riddick is a guy to keep on your radar as the season progresses and Detroit's passing options dwindle.
In Week 6, Austin finally saw more action in the passing game with a season-high five targets Monday night versus the 49ers. But Austin is a dual threat given the Rams' desire to push him into rushing schemes (he has eight carries for 42 yards this season). He has value when lined up as a true running back out of the backfield and in the slot. Austin is a long shot in Week 7 against a stout Seattle defense. However, the super sleeper tag fits nicely given the trick plays and increased looks he might receive in an otherwise tough outing for his squad.
Victor Cruz tore his right patellar tendon on Sunday night and is done for the year. It's a major loss for the Giants' offense, but it will present more opportunity for receivers further down the depth chart. The obvious candidates for more receptions are Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr.andPreston Parker, but a deeper sleeper on the roster might be Washington, a 6-foot-4 undrafted rookie who has the speed and size to be a red-zone and deep-pass threat. Washington showed his prowess in the preseason, grabbing passes in coverage and finding ways to make his natural talent count. The downside for Washington is that he is unproven with Eli Manning, but as this offense struggles, any wideout can have value on any given day. Washington has super sleeper value this week versus Dallas and in those that follow New York's Week 8 bye.