Note: This post is from 2009!!!
Head over to MSF Fantasy Sports for our 2010 Week 3 sleeper picks.
So I’m feeling a little under the weather today and decided to stay home from work. Nothing serious so far…just some congestion and a little bit less energy than usual. But, rather than start a Gator-like outbreak where I work, I figured it best to just stay within the confines of my apartment.
Of course, since I work in blogging and social media, “staying home from work” really just means doing exactly what I would be doing at the “office” from my living room table.
Such is life when your real office is a laptop.
I suppose I could have slept in a little longer than usual. No one would have really known. But I’m a morning person and do my best, most focused writing before lunch. I’ve just always been that way.
So rather than hit the snooze the button or sleep in until the last possible second, I get up as early as I think my body can handle and jump right into my day.
In this sense, you could say that I am not a sleeper.
But would you like to know a few guys who are sleepers? Yeah? Well good, because we’re about to discuss a few.
Note: remember how I do all of my weekly sleeper columns. Only players currently on 50% or less of Yahoo rosters are considered. I try my best to highlight players with solid matchups this particular week, but it doesn’t always work out perfectly. Regardless of how they do in Week 3, all of these players are guys I can see being valuable moving forward — unless otherwise specified — especially once the bye weeks hit.
If you want to see how my sleeper works out last week, check out this week’s start ’em, sit ’em post. As usual, I outlined the successes and failures of the previous week’s picks there. I was right on regarding Correll Buckhalter and the Washington D, but my other picks didn’t come through as well in Week 2. I still do think, however, that Shaun Hill, Vernon Davis, and Robert Meachem are solid guys to have on your bench.
Let’s get to it for Week 3.
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Week 3 Sleeper Picks
Week 3 QB Sleeper Pick: Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs New York Giants)
Full disclosure: I do have ESPN on in the background and did catch Matthew Berry talking about Leftwich, but I swear I was going to write about him anyway. And honestly, Leftwich has sleeper written all over him:
- Currently owned in only 25% of Yahoo Leagues.
- On a team with a horrendous defense that gets behind early, meaning lots of pass attempts.
- 572 passing yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs through two games, proving he can take advantage of deficits and passing opportunities.
- Myriad fantasy owners have been burned by Leftwich in the past and won’t touch him…meaning he’s still sitting out there despite being ranked #36 overall in Yahoo currently.
- Even Calvin Broadus agrees that Leftwich’s stock is on the rise.
This week Leftwich and the Bucs play the Giants, so it may not be the perfect matchup. New York has a great defense and harassed Tony Romo into three picks last Sunday. New York also likes to play ball control offensively, so they might not explode to a big lead that forces the Bucs to throw the entire second half.
That said, you could do worse than Leftwich if you’re heading into the bye weeks without a viable QB fill-in.
And make no mistake, that’s all Leftwich is: a fill-in. With consecutive games against the Giants, Redskins, Eagles, Panthers, Patriots, and Packers, Leftwich may see his numbers fall off somewhat. In fact, he probably will. Remember, he put up his big numbers against Buffalo and Dallas, neither of which has a great secondary.
But the promise for “quality” garbage-time TDs is there if you’re trolling for a backup QB.
Byron Leftwich Week 3 projection: 200 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Other QB sleepers I like specifically for Week 3: Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia (vs Kansas City, 9% owned); Jake Delhomme, Carolina (at Dallas, 36% owned)
A quick note on Jake Delhomme: I know it sounds crazy, but he could be a sneaky good start this week. If you’re in a two-QB league, I think he’s a no-brainer. There is no way that Dallas’ secondary can cover Steve Smith, who has not found the end zone this season (he’s due!) and could be in for a huge game Monday night.
And remember this: Dallas has not forced a turnover all year, which is Delhomme’s Achilles’ heel. I understand if you’re still skittish about starting Delhomme in a single QB league — I would be too — just know that he may pop for two or three TDs on Monday night.
Week 3 RB Sleeper Pick: Jerome Harrison, Cleveland Browns (at Baltimore Ravens)
Damnit, I did it again.
In Week 1, my Brady Quinn pick worked out well as he got the garbage-time TD I predicted. In Week 2, Robert Royal disappeared. In Week 3, I think Jerome Harrison has intriguing value — especially in PPR leagues — and I think Harrison could be an interesting player from here on out.
Follow the link to read more about my thoughts on Harrison’s fantasy potential in 2009. This is not the first time I’ve touted him.
Currently, Harrison is owned in only 4% of leagues, so he’s definitely available. Let’s say you own Brian Westbrook and Marion Barber…you could be in need of a deeper sleeper as early as this week.
Here is why I think Jerome Harrison is an intriguing value for Week 3:
- In his first game last week, Harrison caught four passes for 24 yards.
- Cleveland’s offense blows, and swing passes to Harrison are one of the few reliable ways the Browns can get the ball into the hands of a play-maker. Expect his receptions to continue.
- Over the last few years in New York, Eric Mangini proved that he can utilize a back — Leon Washington — with Harrison’s skills and size.
- Until Harrison got hurt during the preseason, Mangini was singing his praises and vowing to do what all Browns fans wished the team would do last year: get Harrison the ball more.
- Baltimore has already proven itself to be susceptible to running backs catching passes out of the backfield. In Week 2, Darren Sproles ripped them for 7 catches, 124 yards, and a TD. In Week 1, Jamaal Charles caught 4 passes for 29 yards. The Ravens are going to stuff the Browns’ running game, there is almost no question. Throwing to the backs will inevitably become a big part of the gameplan.
- Jerome Harrison scored one of his TDs last season against Baltimore on a 19-yard reception. The brilliant Browns’ coaching staff of 2008 didn’t give him another touch in the game.
There are obviously a lot of backs I would not bench for Harrison. And the majority of rosters probably couldn’t handle taking a flyer on him, but keep your eye out. If you need someone at RB this week, I think Harrison could pay modest dividends. Cleveland will get blown out by Baltimore this weekend, but Harrison could get 5-6 catches and possibly even a TD.
And if anything happens to Jamal Lewis (who is, remember, in the dreaded 30+ RB category), Harrison will get more carries as well.
I may once again regret recommending a Brown, but Jerome is a guy I’ve been singing the praises of since last season. I’m sticking with him, no matter how deep of a sleeper he may be.
Jerome Harrison Week 3 projection: 3 rushes for 9 yards, 5 receptions for 38 yards, 1 TD
Other RB Sleepers I like specifically for Week 3: Mewelde Moore, Pittsburgh (at Cincinnati, 13% owned); Justin Forsett, Seattle (vs Chicago, 18%)
I also love Tashard Choice this week if Marion Barber does not play, but Fraschetti already covered Choice in his waiver wire post, so I didn’t want to take the easy way out.
Week 3 WR Sleeper Pick: Chansi Stuckey, New York Jets (vs Tennessee Titans)
Something tells me Chansi Stuckey might catch four passes this weekend against the Titans. Why do I think this? Well, perhaps because he has caught four passes in each of the Jets’ last four regular season games for 43, 50, 64, and 37 yards.
Unlike the final two games of last year, however, when none of Stuckey’s eight catches got him into the end zone, he’s already reached pay dirt once in ’09 (Week 1 at Houston) and barely missed catching a TD against New England in Week 2.
Stuckey is clearly the #2 wideout, is receiving red zone targets, and Mark Sanchez is not playing like a typical rookie QB. I see no reason why Stuckey cannot continue to catch 3-5 balls per game, for 45-75 yards, with the occasional TD. Those aren’t great numbers, but they are solid for a fill-in or a reliable flex play.
As for this week, the 27%-owned Stuckey gets to go up against Tennessee’s last-ranked pass defense. Temper your expectations because the Titans are not that bad and will no doubt play well in desperation mode this week, but Stuckey should still get his usual four receptions.
Chansi Stuckey Week 3 projection: 4 catches, 55 yards, .5 TD (i.e. who the hell knows and why predict it, but he’s getting red zone chances so it would not be a surprise)
Other WR sleepers I like specifically in Week 3: Isaac Bruce, San Francisco (at Minnesota, 47% owned); Brandon Stokley, Denver (at Oakland, 21% owned); Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis (at Arizona, 14% owned); Bobby Wade, Kansas City (at Philadelphia, 9% owned)
Week 3 TE Sleeper Pick: No one
I have now being sitting here for ten minutes staring at the under-50% tight ends in Yahoo and can’t find anyone I want to recommend.
Vernon Davis is still the best of the bunch, but I’ve lauded him two weeks in a row with only 7 catches and 72 yards to show for it. I still like Davis long-term this season, but will wait for a little bit more proof on the field before continuing to fawn over his potential.
Anthony Fasano is intriguing because the Dolphins have targeted him a decent amount, but only 3 catches for 11 yards — and with some key drops — has understandably sullied his value and rep.
I like the two TEs in Green Bay — Donald Lee and Jermichael Finley — against St. Louis this week, but who do you start?
And whoever starts at TE for Tennessee could get some opportunities, but it’s undecided right now because Bo Scaife is dinged up. Alge Crumpler would go if Scaife can’t, and they also have promising rookie Jared Cook as an option.
Instead of recommending anyone specifically, I’ll simply reiterate my support from this week’s start em, sit em column for Brent Celek. He is proving to be a very reliable tight end and is an obvious favorite of Kevin Kolb. With Kolb starting again this week, grab Celek (60% owned) if you can.
Week 3 D/ST Sleeper Pick: Cincinnati Bengals (vs Pittsburgh Steelers)
I know it sounds crazy to recommend the Bengals’ D against Pittsburgh, but my #1 choice is Denver and I already discussed them in the start ’em, sit ’em column. Consider this a bonus sleeper pick.
Pittsburgh has not proven it can run the ball, the game is in Cincinnati, and the Bengals are coming off of two impressive defensive performances. I think we are going to see a low-scoring slugfest on Sunday, with the Bengals having the potential to capitalize on suspect pass protection for Ben Roethlisberger, as well as the fact that the Steelers will probably be throwing a lot.
Lots of passing creates more opportunities for sacks, INTs, and passes broken up, which can all bring fantasy points depending on your scoring system.
I wouldn’t expect the same number of sacks that Cincy got last week as Big Ben is hard to bring down, but the Bengals should have a solid day Sunday and certainly are worthy of being owned in more than 6% of leagues.
Cincinnati Defense Week 3 projection: less than 20 points, 2 sacks, 1 INT
Other team defense sleepers I like specifically in Week 3: Denver Broncos (at Oakland, 37% owned)
And that concludes this week’s sleeper picks. Feel free to ask any questions down in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer you as quickly as I’m able.
* – Byron Leftwich and Snoop Dog photo credit: SnoopDog.com
* – Bengals D v Pittsburgh photo credit: Getty Images via Zimbio