Week 11: Super Sleepers
There's a reason we call these guys super sleepers. Often times they are filling in for a starter or we believe they'll get enough touches in garbage time to make them fantasy worthy. These guys aren't going to carry your team to the playoffs, but they could come in handy during a bye week or to fill a gap due to injury. If you're looking for someone then check these guys out. A good number of these guys are still available in a majority of leagues.
It's hard to call a veteran like Carson Palmer a super sleeper, but I like the match-up this week so I'm adding him to our list. Palmer has played in two full games now since returning to action. In those games, he has thrown for 332 and 299 yards with 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Not too bad for a guy who missed the first 6 weeks of the season. The Raiders may like to run the ball, but they are going to find it difficult to move the ball against the league's 6th ranked Vikings defense this weekend. On the other hand, Minnesota's pass defense is ranked 30th in the league -- allowing over 270 yards a game. In addition, the Vikings have allowed 18 passing touchdowns, which is second most in the league to the Colts' 19. This means Palmer should be able to air it out and it's very likely we'll see another 300 yard game from Carson.
I know two starting quarterbacks on this list doesn't sound like much of a super sleeper list, but look at who we're talking about here. Sanchez hasn't exactly lit it up this season. Sure he threw for 300 yards on Sunday night against the Patriots, but everyone is doing that this year. In the previous four games Sanchez threw for 230 or fewer yards. Not exactly quality fantasy starter numbers by any stretch of the imagination. In addition, Sanchez has thrown just 8 touchdowns and yielded 4 interceptions in the Jets' last 5 games. With numbers like this, you're probably wondering why Mark is on this list. It just so happens that I like the match-up this week and I believe Sanchez could throw for 300 yards again come Thursday night. The Jets are coming off a late Sunday game and head to Denver to face the run happy Broncos. The Jets corners should have no trouble covering Denver's receivers, which leaves the defense to play 8 men in the box. This SHOULD shut down the Broncos' run game and force Tebow (who completed 2 of 8 pass attempts last week) to throw the ball. I don't believe Denver can move the ball through the air so New York should have the ball for a large portion of the game. Denver's defense is ranked 20th against the pass, allowed the second most passing touchdowns (18), and opposing quarterbacks have a rating of 100.2 (3rd worst in the league) against them. I know Sanchez looked bad last Sunday night, but I don't expect that to happen Thursday night in Denver.
It sounds like the Chiefs may have lost starting quarterback Matt Cassel for the remainder of the season. Cassel suffered a severe injury to his throwing hand in Sunday's loss to the Broncos. This means Kansas City will be going with Palko under center when the Chiefs head to New England on Monday night. In an effort to relieve some of the pressure from Palko, I would expect to see a good number of carries from the Chiefs backs. This means we could see 60-80 yards on the ground from McCluster. In addition to the rushing yards, we should see a fair amount of receiving yards. McCluster will likely be used as a safety valve for Palko this weekend. What this means for fantasy owners is 10-12 points from McCluster with plenty of opportunities to find the end zone. If you're looking for a flex start or possibly a bye week filler in deeper leagues then McCluster may be a good option.
If you're looking for a running back to fill in for a bye this week then D.J. Ware may be a good choice. With Ahmad Bradshaw out of last Sunday's game against the 49ers, Ware had 9 carries for 34 yards and 5 receptions for 34 yards. Not great numbers unless you're in a ppr league. Keep in mind the 49ers' run defense is ranked #1 in the league, allowing just 73 yards per game. Ware's 34 yards on just 9 carries doesn't sound so bad now. If Bradshaw can't go again this week then Ware would be a nice pick up. The Giants host an Eagles team that is all but out of playoff contention on Sunday night. The last time New York played Philadelphia Bradshaw ran for 86 yards on 15 carries. These yards could easily fall into Ware's lap this weekend.
If there's one thing we can count on this weekend it's that Tampa Bay will be playing catch up for most of the game. The Bucs head to Wisconsin this weekend to face the defending Super Bowl Champ and sole remaining undefeated Green Bay Packers. I don't believe more than a handful of folks (all Bucs fans) believe Tampa Bay will win this game. What this means is Tampa will be forced to throw the ball in order to keep up with the high scoring Packers offense. This should amount to plenty of opportunities for Bucs receivers to score on the league's 31st ranked pass defense. One beneficiary this weekend should be Arrelious Benn. The second year receiver has not seen a lot of action this season, making just 19 receptions on 33 targets for 312 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Benn is however only 95 yards from being the team's leading receiver. Also, if you're looking for a big play receiver then Benn may be just your man. Arrelious leads the team in yards per catch (16.4) and has 5 receptions of 20+ yards. I wouldn't make Benn my number one or two receiver, but a flex start is a definite possibility.