Week 11: Fantasy Football Sleepers
People have completely given up on RG3 as a fantasy starter. If you need proof of that, Alex Smith is owned in more leagues. In the two full games he has played this year, Griffin has totaled just 22 fantasy points. But that doesn't seem like enough of a reason to write the guy off.
For starters, Griffin averaged 15.3 fantasy points per game in the 13 games he played last year, which made him the 13th-highest scoring fantasy quarterback on a per-game basis. That's hardly poor. And even though he hasn't racked up the fantasy points this year, he is completing 72.1 percent of his passes and averaging 8.2 yards per attempt, both excellent numbers. For context, Griffin completed 65.6 percent of his passes and averaged 8.1 yards per attempt in his big rookie year of 2012.
Griffin's low rushing totals are the foremost reason why he isn't producing like he used to. He averaged 54.3 yards per game on the ground in 2012 and scored seven rushing touchdowns. He hasn't scored on the ground and is averaging fewer than 40 rushing yards per game since then. If there's an encouraging sign Griffin might use his legs more going forward, note that he did carry the ball seven times in Week 9, his first game back from injury.
Whether Griffin runs or not this week, he could have a nice week simply because of his matchup. He'll face Tampa Bay, which is in top 10 in most fantasy points allowed per game to quarterbacks. That gives him a nice floor. And if he happens to run a bit, he obviously has nice upside. If you need a bye-week fill-in for Tony Romo, give Griffin a shot.
If want to take a stab in the dark at running back this week, look to Denver's backfield. Montee Ball could be back, but it remains to be seen how healthy he really is. And there are reports that Ronnie Hillman will miss at least a couple of weeks due to a foot sprain. As such, It's not too much of a stretch to envision Anderson carrying the load against St. Louis.
While Hillman was limited this past Sunday, Anderson gained 163 yards from scrimmage on 17 touches and scored once. Among running backs who have played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps since Week 5, Anderson is fourth in points per opportunity (carries plus pass routes).
All four teams on bye this week have a top-24 fantasy RB on their roster, so it's certainly possible you need a long shot at the position this week. It's never a bad idea to try to hit it big with a player in a Peyton Manning offense.
As of this writing, there was no official word on whether Ryan Mathews will be good to go this week. The general perception seems to be that he'll play, but if he were to sit out, Oliver would certainly be worth playing as he still carried the load even with Donald Brown back in the mix in Week 9. And who's to say Oliver won't have a significant role in the offense even if Mathews is active? Oliver has 22 receptions on the year, and he essentially didn't play for the first three weeks. You have to imagine he'll at least be active in the passing game a la Danny Woodhead. But in Mathews' first game back, it's not hard to imagine Oliver getting quite a few carries just for the purpose of easing Mathews back in. If that's the case, he should be able to do enough damage to be worth starting in a matchup against Oakland that is about as good as it gets for a running back.
When trying to find sleeper running backs, you're essentially looking at marginal running backs with a killer matchup or guys who have a shot to see a lot more work than they have in recent weeks. With Tate, we're talking about the latter circumstance. Terrance West has seen more than double as many carries as Tate over the past two weeks, but this backfield has been constantly in flux this year.
In Cleveland's first three games, West shouldered most of the load with Tate injured. But in the next three games, with Tate back in the lineup, Tate got 63 carries to West's 12 with Isaiah Crowell chipping in 24 carries. Maybe West has earned the job full-time, but it'd be silly for you to be shocked if Tate led the team in carries this week. Plus, even with the work being split three ways, each player scored in Week 10. If you've been holding on to Tate hoping he gets the lead gig back and you need a bye-week replacement, put him in your lineup and hope that he does.
Prior to recording just one catch for 10 yards in Green Bay's blowout of Chicago on Sunday night, Adams had four straight games with either a touchdown or 75 receiving yards. With Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb being such studs, it's no surprise to see Adams left out sometimes. But with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, there is certainly enough room for Adams to have big days as the Packers' No. 3 wideout.
This week's matchup may be perfect for Adams. The Eagles are very friendly to opposing passing games, but they can score enough, even with Mark Sanchez at the helm, to match the Packers and force them to keep their foot on the gas for the whole game. Look for Adams to bounce back in this one, potentially in a big way.