Week 12: Sleepers

Football > Week 12 > Sleepers

Week 12: Sleepers

While we're not projecting starting type stats for these players, they have good potential and could surprise. This week's picks include Profiled players include Eli Manning, Case Keenum, Chris Ivory, Rashad Jennings, and Rueben Randle.

The Giants aren't out of it just yet. Winners of four straight games after opening the season with six losses, New York is just 2.5 games out of first in the NFC East. This turnaround can't fully be credited to Eli Manning though. He has limited his mistakes, but has passed for multiple TDs just once all year. What makes this game a breakout opportunity for the younger Manning is the opposition. The Giants host the Cowboys in Week 12 and Dallas is allowing the most fantasy points to QBs. After showing they weren't completely spineless after the drubbing Peyton Manning handed to them back in Week 5, Dallas was back to its woeful ways in Week 10, allowing Drew Brees to pass for nearly 400 yards and four TDs. On the year, Dallas is allowing 28 fantasy points per game to QBs (4-pt TDs).

It's hard to imagine the Texans going back to Matt Schaub at this point. Keenum has simply played too well recently, despite this small controversy regarding who might start this next game. Assuming he is the starter in Week 12, the rookie has an excellent matchup upcoming against the Jaguars. Jacksonville is allowing the third-most fantasy points to QBs, and second-most over the last three weeks. The Jags have only forced one INT since Week 7. The last three QBs they've faced (Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Carson Palmer, respectively) have averaged over 28 fantasy points; not exactly the toughest tests at the QB position. Keenum on the other hand has played pretty well since earning playing time back in Week 7. He's thrown eight TDs and just one INT. While still a bit raw and needing to learn when to simply throw it away, Keenum appears to be Houston's future QB. Look for the Texans to evaluate him further to close out the season. He should fare very well against a really bad defense.

Ivory rushed for at least 98 yards in three of his last four games. It appears, for now anyway, that the Jets are using him as we first expected them to back in the preseason. The tough matchup on paper shouldn't deter you. The Ravens aren't going to blow the Jets out as they have their own offensive issues. Baltimore is also expected to be without DT Haloti Ngata and this will definitely benefit Ivory. Expect this one to stay close and tactically speaking, that should keep Ivory and the Jets' rushing attack viable for four quarters. Over the last five weeks, the Jets have the ninth-best rushing offense (yardage). Ivory makes for a great flex play in standard leagues.

The ownership rates for Jennings are all over the place. He may be locked into someone's starting lineup in one league or possibly buried in the waiver wire in another league. Just trust me when I say he is still available in over 50-percent of ESPN leagues, so he is worth recommending. In any case, since taking over in a larger role back in Week 9 due to injuries to Darren McFadden, Jennings has been killing it. Over that span, he has 57 carries for 340 yards and two TDs as well as 11 receptions for 91 yards. He also has a fantastic matchup this week as the Raiders host the Titans. Tennessee has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to RBs per game. Most recently, they allowed Donald "Freaking" Brown to rush for 80 yards and two TDs (and yes, that's his real middle name). Start Jennings as your RB2 with extreme confidence.

Did you know that Randle has caught the last six receiving TDs for the Giants? Needless to say, Eli Manning is a fan and you should be too. Randle has six receptions for 115 yards and two scores over his last two games. He ranks as a Top 30 WR across all scoring formats. One real concern is his playing time though. Randle only played in 45-percent of the Giants' snaps last week. He is locked into the Giants' number three spot. He is averaging an off-the-charts 0.27 fantasy points per snap in standard leagues and 0.35 FPPS in PPR leagues over his last four games. As a point of comparison, Brandon Marshall is averaging 0.23 and 0.32 over that same span. Too bad Hakeem Nicks is taking away so much playing time from Randle.