Week 16: Sleepers

Football > Week 16 > Sleepers

Week 16: 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 Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, Bobby Rainey, Jordan Todman, and Michael Crabtree.

Big Ben played well enough to win in Week 15 against Cincinnati after posting 11 TDs in his previous four games. The problem was quantity, not quality. While highly efficient (completed 20-of-25), he only managed 191 yards and one TD. He will have a much more favorable matchup against the Packers this week. Green Bay has allowed 330 or more passing yards in two of their last three games and seven TD passes over their last three. Assuming the weather cooperates on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, Roethlisberger can contribute a low-end QB1 performance for those in need of a big win when it matters most.

Don't sell that Cousins rookie card just yet! He has an excellent opportunity to pile up more points against the always vulnerable Cowboys secondary in Week 16. The second-year QB nearly pulled out a victory against Atlanta last week while airing it out for 381 yards and three scores. He did struggle with turnovers (two INTs and a fumble), but this is another juicy matchup you can't pass up. Dallas is allowing the most fantasy points to QBs. They've allowed nearly 650 passing yards in their last two, including eight TDs, four of which were thrown by Matt Flynn last week. As Flynn's career has shown, if he can do it, there's probably somebody else right behind him who can do it even better.

Rainey couldn't get much traction against the 49ers last week as he was held to just 27 yards on 11 carries. He should have a much easier time against the Rams. They've allowed four RB TDs over their previous four contests. On the year, the Rams rank as the fifth worst fantasy defense against opposing RBs. Rainey should have no problems if used as a RB2 or even a flex in your lineup. His hot or cold, up and down production has been hard on fantasy owners, but like usual, he performed well when the matchup was in his favor. The second year back has seen a slight dip in his percentage of snaps played; however, he is still earning enough touches and playing time to qualify as the Bucs' No. 1 backfield option.

Assuming Maurice Jones-Drew is unable to play again in Week 16 due to his nagging hamstring injury, Todman should be at the forefront of your mind and at the top of your waiver claim list. It's been a bumpy road for the third-year runner. He was drafted and cut by San Diego, didn't make the final roster in Minnesota and has toiled deep on the depth chart for the Jags. He finally had his time to shine last week and made the most of it by rushing for 109 yards on 25 carries and four receptions for 44 yards. Even if MJD does play, Todman is worth consideration in deeper formats. This is a fantastic matchup for him as well. The Titans have given up 301 rushing yards and four scores to RBs in their last two games. Look at Todman as a strong RB3/flex play in Week 16 if he can stick as Jacksonville's RB1.

Maybe you're not back on the bandwagon yet, that's fine and understandable. Crabtree played well last week, but he wasn't amazing and this is still the 49ers' passing attack. They haven't exactly lit up any team as of late. What should be under consideration though is Atlanta's terrible pass defense, which allowed Redskins WRs to accumulate 23 receptions for 325 yards and two TDs last week. There is something to be said about gut feelings though. Let me share with you where I feel the 49ers are as a collective mindset: They lost two close games to Carolina and New Orleans by a total of four points and were written off as a good, but not great NFC team. Since then, they beat Seattle (at a time when everybody said the Seahawks were the best team in the NFL) and three other cupcakes (Washington, St. Louis and Tampa Bay). Now the season is winding down, the whole team is on a roll, Crabtree gets an extra day of practice and a full week to get back into game shape and Kaepernick always seems to play better on Monday nights. This one just feels good.