Week 7: Super Sleepers
These guys aren't going to carry your team to the playoffs, but they could come in handy at some point in the season. Whether they're filling in because your starters are injured or on a bye week, these guys could be valuable pick ups. If you're looking for someone then check these guys out. A good number of these players are still available in a majority of leagues.
For the first time in his short career Sam Bradford finished a game without throwing an interception. This may not seem like a huge accomplishment but considering the Rams won and played without their two top receivers, this was quite a big deal. It should also be noted that last week's win over the Chargers was the third win for the Rams this season. Three wins happens to be the total number of victories St. Louis had in their previous 36 prior to Bradford taking over under center. Things seem to be headed in the right direction for the Rams and it all starts with Bradford. In the next couple of weeks St. Louis will square off against two defenses that are allowing more than 134 rushing yards per game; this should be good news for Bradford. Steven Jackson should be able to establish the running game, which in turn should allow for success in the passing game. While in theory this all sounds good, the reality is Bradford is still a rookie and anything can happen with rookie quarterbacks. I don't know as though I'd count on Sam to carry my team to victory, but if he can string together a couple of good games he may be worth a spot on some fantasy rosters.
A few weeks back I told fantasy owners to keep an eye on Derrick Ward; if you're an Arian Foster owner, you have to add Ward to your roster. I think it's clear by now that Ward is second on the depth chart. Last week with just 3 carries Derrick ran for 58 yards and a touchdown. That makes the third week in a row with a touchdown for Ward. Should anything happen to Forster, it will be Ward who gets the carries. If Derrick's performance while filling in for Foster is any indication of what we could see then it would be silly for fantasy owners not to have him on their roster. I know Ward is on a bye this week so don't pick him up thinking you can start him on Sunday. Seeing as this is his bye week, many owners will pass him up. If you have the room to add him to your roster this is a good week to sneak in and grab him before the Arian Foster owners snatch him up next week.
Bennett had his most productive outing of the season last week when he pulled down 3 receptions for 55 yards. While numbers like these are not fantasy worthy, they are important. With the exception of week 5 when Chicago took an early lead and controlled the game against Carolina; Bennett has been second on the team in receiving yards each week. Not only has he been near the top in yards, but in targets too. Bennett has been one of the top two targeted receivers in each of those games. While the numbers are not quite there yet, the opportunities for good numbers and an occasional touchdown are there. Bennett is still available in nearly 94% of fantasy leagues so if you're looking for someone with potential then Bennett is your man.
For the first time in his career Phillip Rivers may be without stud tight end Antonio Gates this weekend when the Chargers take the field against the Patriots. Gates was knocked out of last Sunday's game against the Rams after suffering a left ankle injury. Gates left the game with just 2 receptions for 12 yards. With three tough opponents on the schedule before their week 10 bye, San Diego can't afford to lose Gates for yet another game. If Gates is unable to return in the coming weeks then someone will need to step it up if the Chargers are going to win; that someone could be Patrick Crayton. After both Gates and Floyd left the game on Sunday it was Crayton who stepped up leading the team with 6 receptions for 117 yards. If you're in need of a receiver with potential then keep an eye on the injuries to Gates and Floyd. If either guy will miss time in the coming weeks then Crayton may be a nice addition to your team.
It's hard to call someone a sleeper a few days after they led their team in receptions and yards, but that's what we're doing this week. Gaffney has been hit or miss this season for fantasy owners. In week 3 against the Colts he pulled down 12 receptions for 140 yards. On the flip side, in week 2 he had just 2 receptions for 15 yards. However, Gaffney's play the past couple of weeks seems to be a little more consistent. Gaffney had 9 and 6 receptions for 87 and 81 yards against two very good defenses in the Ravens and Jets. As long as Orton continues to throw the ball well it will be hard for anyone to pass up Denver's receivers. If you're looking for a bye week fill in with the potential to score you some points down the line then take a look at Gaffney.