With four NFL teams on bye this week, there is a good chance that you’re having to dig a little deeper to fill out your starting lineups. If you are having a difficult time deciding on who the sleeper pick of the week could be, this is a great place to start. This week’s Featured Pros lineup have handpicked a few position players who could be “sneaky starts” for your fantasy lineups.
If you read last week’s Featured Pros article, you may have noticed a couple of our experts selected Danny Woodhead as the sneaky start of the week. Kudos to fellow experts Jordan Tozzi and Pat Fitzmaurice for making that great call last week. Read on to see who the experts like in week 5…
Q1: What RB outside of our top top 36 RB consensus is a good “sneaky start” in week 4?
Zac Stacy (STL vs JAX): “With Daryl Richardson and Isiah Pead failing to produce as expected thus far, the Rams gave Benny Cunningham a shot last week to the tune of 25 snaps. However, speculation around Rams camp is that Stacy may be given the start over Richardson against a Jaguars team that is giving up the 10th most fantasy points per game to running backs through four weeks. If Stacy can prove he is capable of pass protection, which should not be an issue against a week Jag’s pass rush, expect Stacy to see snaps on first, second and third down, which greatly increases his value as a depth play.”
Brandon Jacobs (NYG vs PHI): ”Brandon Jacobs is in line to see an uptick in carries with the release of Da’Rel Scott. As the team’s preferred goal-line option, he could see himself plunging into the end zone from the one-yard line multiple times in Week 5 thanks to a bad Eagles defense that has allowed nearly 122 rushing yards per game and three rushing TDs in four weeks. Jacobs works as a bye-week plug-in, as he should receive a fair amount of carries and does have touchdown-scoring potential.”
Legarrette Blount (NE at CIN): “New England Patriots’ running back, Steven Ridley, missed practice again on Friday with a knee injury, opening the door for more playing time in week five for LeGarrette Blount. A Tampa Bay Buccaneers cast away, Blount has shown early this season for the Patriots that he can still be a featured back averaging 4.6 yards per carry. It won’t be easy for Blount, as the Patriots face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, but 70+ yards and a touchdown at the flex position will make you look like a stud!”
Brandon Bolden (NE at CIN): “If I’m looking for a guy that is a sneaky start and available on some waiver wires, it would be the Patriots Brandon Bolden who is currently RB44 in the consensus rankings. When searching for a flier, I take the guy with the most upside and it’s him with a banged up Ridley who may not play.” (*Editor’s note: Bolden is battling his own knee injury and should be monitored by fantasy owners.)
Q2: What WR outside of our top top 36 WR consensus is a “sneaky start” this week?
Jeremy Kerley (NYJ at ATL): “Kerley will be the top WR this week in the Jets’ matchup at Atlanta with both Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill dinged up. In a game in which the Falcons are currently favored by 10.5 points, look for QB Geno Smith to rack up some GTP (garbage time production) with his primary receiver. Moreover, while Atlanta does relinquish the 14th most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, they are even more vulnerable to opposing WRs – they are giving up the 5th most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts. The Falcons are stout against TEs, but their secondary should have difficulty covering a quick WR who runs sharp routes.”
“Jeremy Kerley is in for a treat Monday night. The Jets could be without both starting receivers due to injury, leaving Kerley as the de facto No. 1 option in the passing game. His team is projected to lose big in this game, with the Falcons favored by over a touchdown, so it’s likely the Jets will be looking to throw for much of the second half. He’ll also have the added benefit of facing a Falcons secondary that has had trouble stopping receivers, surrendering three 100-yard games and six TDs to WRs this season. I’m looking at him as a quality fill-in in all leagues this week.”
Austin Pettis (STL vs JAX): “Who has more targets on the season than Marques Colston, Mike Wallace, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Dwayne Bowe? That would be St. Louis Rams’ WR Austin Pettis. Opportunities are what matters at the wide receiver position and Pettis is making the most out of his. A flex player in 12-team leagues, Pettis faces the Jacksonville Jaguars in week five and could turn in double-digit fantasy points.”
Ryan Broyles (DET at GB): “I remember just a week ago when everyone ran to the waiver wire to grab Ryan Broyles. A lot have given up on him after a donut vs the Bears. If you want an upside guy this week, grab him in what should be a high scoring game against Green Bay’s terrible secondary.”
Q3: What TE outside of our top 15 TE consensus is a “sneaky start” this week?
Sean McGrath (KC at TEN): “Through four weeks, the Titans have given up the 7th most FPG to opposing tight ends. If Anthony Fasano is out again, look for Alex Smith to lock in on McGrath if his WRs are covered downfield, which should happen as the Titans are 6th best against opposing wide receivers. If Smith is able to open up the field with a few passes to his wideouts and Charles can open up the box, McGrath should be open over the middle and will be a large target in the redzone.”
Coby Fleener (IND vs SEA): “I am surprised that Coby Fleener sits outside the consensus top 15 considering his matchup this week against the Seahawks. While Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton will be matched up outside with Sherman and Browner, Fleener may be Luck’s top option this week.”
Brandon Pettigrew (DET at GB): “I’ve avoided Detroit Lions’ tight end Brandon Pettigrew all season, until now. The Lions haven’t won in Green Bay since you probably started watching football. This week however, is probably their best chance. Look for the Packers to isolate the outside receivers opening up the middle for the Pettigrew. Inside the 20-yard line we all know that Calvin Johnson is option 1 and 1a, but Pettigrew is the next look. For the first time all season, I’m saying Pettigrew is a must start.”
Dallas Clark (BAL at MIA): “Dallas Clark gets a whopper of a matchup this week when he faces the Dolphins. Despite Miami’s great beginning to the season, they’ve been eviscerated by tight ends in the early going, giving up one TD to a tight end in each of the first three weeks before allowing Jimmy Graham to score twice and Ben Watson to add another TD in Week 4. Graham and Jordan Cameron both had at least 100 yards against this defense, and Coby Fleener kicked in 69. Baltimore is looking for a reliable second option in the passing game, and Clark could emerge as that guy this week.”
That will do it for this week’s Featured Pros article. A big thanks to the experts for sharing their thoughts with us. If you’d like to read more of the experts’ advice, please be sure to check out their sites and follow them on Twitter. Best of luck this weekend!