Week 12: Fantasy Football Sleepers
McCown had a great matchup against Washington last week, yet most people didn't have him ranked as a starter in 12-team leagues. But he capitalized on the matchup and actually finished tied for fifth at the quarterback position last week with 19 fantasy points in standard leagues. That marks the second straight week where McCown has recorded 19 fantasy points. This week he'll have another great matchup against Chicago. Chicago is actually a slightly better matchup than Washington as Washington allows the fourth most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks while Chicago allows the second most. McCown may not be ranked as a starter by many again this week, but he'll have another great opportunity to prove people wrong. Aside from the matchup, the development of Mike Evans into a borderline stud along with the talented Vincent Jackson gives McCown one of the better receiving pairs in the league.
Don't be surprised if you see Herron's name pop up on our 'Top Player Adds' page at some point. With Ahmad Bradshaw down with a broken leg, Herron will split time in Indy's backfield. To work his way in to the lead back role, Herron will have to outperform Trent Richardson, and that's about as weak as Herron could hope the competition could be. It's really no secret that TRich isn't that good, but some numbers from this season back up that perception. Among the 60 backs with the most carries this year, Richardson ranks 51st in yards per carry. And Richardson is under producing behind a very good run blocking offensive line. If Herron really does get regular work, he can do some damage behind that line. If they give him work right away, he could have some serious success this week against Jacksonville who allows the fourth most fantasy points per game to running backs.
Trying to use Cleveland running backs in fantasy is like playing whack-a-mole. Three different backs have led their backfield at various points in the season. We discussed that fact last week in this space when Ben Tate was named a sleeper on the theory that West would not continue to be the lead back because the Browns keep changing that role. To some degree that prediction was right as West was not the starter last week and did not lead the team in carries. That distinction went to Isaiah Crowell who had all of one fantasy point in weeks seven through nine. Essentially your best bet to picking the best Cleveland back to use each week is to choose one of the guys who would not have been the best back to use the week prior. With Tate being cut this week, West is now the only option to usurp Crowell.
Ideally you could just avoid this backfield altogether, but they have the matchup of all matchups for running backs this week. The Falcons have allowed just 16 PPR fantasy points combined the last two weeks against the week running games of Tampa Bay and Carolina. Yet the Falcons are still allowing just more than 30 fantasy points per game to running backs, which is the worst in the league. Honestly, West and Crowell could both be worth starting when this one is over. And the return of Josh Gordon could make this matchup even easier on the Cleveland backfield.
In the last two weeks Hogan has a total of 16 targets, which he has turned in to 12 catches, 131 yards and a score. He's one target shy of Sammy Watkins' total in that time frame. It would appear he is Kyle Orton's second favorite receiver over Robert Woods. Hogan has a good matchup this week against the Jets who are mid pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. However, on a per throw basis, the Jets are much worse than mid pack. In other words, because teams have been out in front of the Jets so much, their numbers against the pass don't look as bad as they should. Sure, Buffalo could run out front of the Jets all day and not have to throw too much, but the Bills aren't a great team who are likely to mess up this game having a pretty normal game flow. As long as this one doesn't get out of hand early, Hogan could have a good day.
As of this writing, the status of Emmanuel Sanders is up in the air. If Sanders can't go in Week 12, we could see Latimer activated for Denver's matchup with Miami. It's likely that Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker could be the big beneficiaries of Sanders' absence, but anyone who is potentially getting passes thrown to them by Peyton Manning is worth considering, so Latimer has to be in the back of your mind. He's available in virtually all leagues. If you have a free roster spot, it might be worth adding Latimer on pure speculation that he has a role this weekend. But if you don't have anyone to cut, just keep an eye on the situation as the week moves forward. The matchup isn't great against the Dolphins, but it's possible Latimer as a third receiver might be an afterthought to covering Thomas and Welker.