Now that the bye weeks are descending upon us, looking for that perfect fill in player is more and more important. Sometimes it is all about match ups, in some cases it is opportunity and in more cases than any of us care to admit, it is just plain luck and the beauty that is the “gut feeling”..
We have a little bit of all of the above in the fantasy sleeper candidate picks for Week 4:
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers – He has no doubt felt the losses on the offensive line, literally and figuratively. That said, he seems to be getting his timing down with his wide receivers and with the availability of rookie RB Le’Veon Bell, there should be some needed balance that will be beneficial to the overall offensive flow. The Minnesota Vikings are not as stout as the Chicago Bears were a week ago, so look for the Steelers signal caller to have a solid afternoon overseas.
Eli Manning, New York Giants – The best thing that could have happened to the Giants was the drubbing they received last week against the Carolina Panthers. Say what you want about this regime, but head coach Tom Coughlin will rally his troops and this will be clearly evident in Manning’s play. The Chiefs are indeed playing solid football, but I am not ready to label them dominant yet. They handled the Jaguars, squeaked by Dallas and barely beat a mistake-laden Eagles squad. Quite honestly, the jury is still out. The Giants have a slew of weapons and Manning will put things together for sure.
Matt Flynn, Oakland Raiders – With rookie QB Terrelle Pryor listed as questionable and unlikely to play, Flynn becomes an interesting deep sleeper / bye week option this week against the Washington Redskins. He couldn’t ask for a better team to attempt to reestablish himself in Oakland, as the Redskins are allowing over 350 yards passing per game and surrendered nine touchdown passes.
Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts – He wears this moniker as the new kid on the block, learning the system and getting settled in with the team in general. We saw teammate RB Ahmad Bradshaw step up in a big way leaving many Richardson owners leery regarding his upcoming role. Well, good news Richardson owners. Bradshaw has been ruled out of the contest, leaving the newest Colt a full workload against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
David Wilson, New York Giants – One of these weeks I will give up, but not this week. There is no doubting Wilson has skills. There is also no doubting in all my years of watching Andy Reid coach my Philadelphia Eagles that he is in for a hiccup in a big way. I have a sneaky suspicion the Giants get things right this week in an upset of the Chiefs at Arrrowhead and Wilson plays a dominant role in the win.
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers - It may be a week premature, but that is why I am confidently listing Bell as a sleeper candidate for week four. The Steelers need a breath of fresh air, and Bell and his healthy foot may do just that. The Minnesota Vikings are banged up defensively and Bell could very well start his NFL career on yes, the right foot. Good God.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs – Like many of my fantasy football brethren, I am not just ready to write Bowe off. It’s widely mentioned that the Chiefs are paying Bowe 56 million dollars to play, and while that is a fine reason, it bears mentioning that Bowe is a pretty solid football player. The inefficiencies displayed by the Eagles in the middle last week resulting in a huge game from WR Donnie Avery should be somewhat alleviated, forcing QB Alex Smith to look to the superior receiver in Bowe. Expect a nice bounce-back performance.
Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers – Look, the guy can’t score 2-3 touchdowns every week, so don’t let last week’s tepid performance get you down. You can fully expect the game against the Dallas Cowboys to be a bit of a shootout, and when QB Phillip Rivers looks downfield for a receiver, he looks in two directions. One is in the direction of Royal and the other in the direction of his trusty tight end, TE Antonio Gates.
Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders - His teammate WR Denarius Moore has been stealing some of the fantasy headlines, but this is the week that Streater could step up and turn some heads. If Washington CB DeAngelo Hall is locked up with the aforementioned Moore, look for Streater to take advantage of mismatches against a weak Washington secondary.
Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills – While you might be hesitant to start Johnson this week against the Ravens, let me run a few things by you. First, this is not the same Ravens defense from a few years ago. So far in 2013 they are yielding 270 yards of passing offense a game. Second, rookie QB EJ Manuel looks to Johnson early and often, with plenty of targets. This ultimately spells receptions, yards and in all likelihood, a trip to the end zone.
Jason Avant, Philadelphia Eagles – In this weekend’s game against the Denver Broncos, there will probably be plenty of stats to go around. One player I think will be the benefactor of this windfall is Avant. Coming off a solid performance against Kansas City a week ago Thursday, Avant will be eager to keep the momentum going. He is simply a better option at the number two spot than WR Riley Cooper and while the latter is the WR2 on paper, in my opinion it’s really Avant. Look for him to show why this Sunday.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers – He was back this past week, but this Sunday afternoon in London look for Miller to really assert himself against a sketchy Vikings defensive unit. Miller’s presence in the middle will no doubt open things up for the Steelers offense much to the delight of QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills – It was a pleasant surprise to see QB EJ Manuel look in the direction of his big sure-handed tight end last week. To have some semblance of success this week against the Baltimore Ravens, this pattern must continue and I strongly believe it does. Sleeper aside, Chandler makes a solid bye week fill in moving forward this season.
TE Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers – See WR Eddie Royal, above. Gates has looked really solid this season and he’ll be a big part of the attack at home this week against the Cowboys.
Best of luck this week! Catch me here, Thursday nights and Sunday Mornings on the FP911 FFCentral Google+ Hangouts… follow or drop me a tweet – @djleason
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