2012 Fantasy Football Week 16 Sleepers: Mark Ingram, Sam Bradford, Ryan Tannehill and More
Each week during the NFL season FST brings you our Fantasy Football Sleepers of the Week column, which takes a look at lesser-known players that could deserve a start due to a favorable matchup, injury, or other circumstances. Let’s take a look at some sneaky plays for Week 16. If you have any fantasy football roster questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.
Running BacksMark Ingram NO VS. DAL
Now I wouldn’t start him, but my bet is that he’ll surprise some people with his output on Sunday. In fact, I like Sproles in the passing game for those owners in .5 or full point PPR leagues. I don’t like Ingram especially but I’ve got a funny feeling about getting 50 yards and a goal line plunge. I think he’ll get that scoring opportunity this weekend for some reason. He’s a fantasy unknown and lives in consistent limbo. In fact he’s sometimes less valuable than Chris Ivory, who I can never figure out why he doesn’t get the touches with his explosiveness. So Ingram won’t start for anyone this week, but he’ll probably produce 10 fantasy points on someone’s bench.
DeAngelo Williams CAR VS. OAK
DeAngelo is the guy here. If you are in need of an option at RB for the RB II or flex spot you’ve come to the spot where Williams could be of service to you. Now DeAngelo has always had game-breaking speed but without much of time-share, with Stewart being injured most of the season, DeAngelo has made the most of it coming on particularly strong of late. The Raiders allow the third most points to fantasy running backs and are a putrid unit overall. If you’ve had DeAngelo on your bench and watched him rack up plus 20 point weeks the last two then you must start him this week. Put him in coach! The matchup has never been ripper for him and it’s about time he lived up to expectations even if it’s coming really late this season. Better late than never, start this sleeper!
QuarterbacksSam Bradford STL VS. TB
Bradford is not going to be your go-to-guy but he offers considerable upside to the worst defense against the pass in the NFL. Tampa Bay and Washington are the worst defenses broken down statistically in football. Bradford should find success with his wide outs and spread offense. I think we could have a track meet out there on Sunday and I would put stock in Bradford. So if you’ve got Stafford or an ailing RGIII and are uncertain of his status, then store this guy away for safety purposes just in case. He’s got big upside potential against a very willing opponent.Ryan Tannehill MIA VS. BUF
Tannehill obliged and dropped over 20 points on the Jaguars last week with his sleeper worthy performance. Next up is the Bills at home, where he’ll try to exact some revenge on the unit that limited him just over a month ago up in Buffalo. I like Tannehill for numerous reasons. The first being that all the other rookie QBs are killing it so he’s going to do the same. Next, he now knows all the teams in the AFC East division even though on Hard Knocks he had trouble during preseason reciting them. Lastly, he’s got a health Reggie Bush to dump the ball off to and his team is playing their best football right now. I think the offense will move those chains and they’re carrying momentum into the offseason. The first season for Coach Philbin has been interesting but the progression of Tannehill is undeniable. He’ll be a good back up next season on someone’s fantasy roster.
Wide ReceiversBrandon Gibson STL VS. TB
The endorsement of Amendola and Bradford stem from the same train of thought for Gibson. I would never typically have any trust in an alumnus from Washington State University, but here you go. This former Coug is fast and I expect him to torch the secondary from Tampa with a quick hit/TD bomb. I think St. Louis is a team to watch that will put up great fantasy championship points this weekend. Stack the deck in favor of your Rams!Leonard Hankerson WAS VS. PHI
OK, the ultimate boom or bust play of the week. Do you trust Hankerson to strike lightening in a bottle 2 weeks in a row? I wouldn’t…but I would. You see, if I was playing in a championship game I wouldn’t, but since I’m not I definitely would. So that means I definitely would since I’ve been eliminated in my league’s playoffs already. Alright, that’s horrible logic but Hankerson is sometimes option #3 or 4 for the Skins at wide receiver. It’s really Pierre Garcon and whoever RGIII or Cousins finds open. Cousins found nice chemistry with Hankerson last week and Hankerson definitely gets the benefit of an RGIII deep bomb about once a game. Sometimes it comes up heads, other times it goes begging. So if you are big underdog and need someone with legit upside, this could be the play that snags you a championship. If you anticipate a tight matchup or you’re favored, then I would be more conservative and veer away from the Hanky-Panky. We’ll see if he can fly like an Eagle and catch lightening in a bottle again.
Tight EndsAnthony Fasano MIA VS. BUF
Fasano found fantasy glory last week! One of my better predictions were him and Tannehill, which made up a little bit for my atrocious pick of Danario Alexander on my start’em report. Fasano is reliable down around the goal line and I like him and Tannehill again. Buffalo certainly can have mental lapses on defense, just see the full game tape from last Sunday’s beat-down by the Seahawks. If Fasano doesn’t perform well, then just Fasano your opponent’s face. He’s a worthy sleeper consideration this weekend.Brent Celek PHI VS. WAS
Celek always has one big game against the Redskins. He’s yet to have that game this season, so will it come out on Sunday? Is he teasing everyone and just saving it for next year? I think the Redskins will be generous with the yardage so Celek should have some shots down the middle for big gains. I don’t love Maclin as a WR, maybe a Flex though. I think Celek has potential in the red zone too, but he’s a deep deep sleeper option that digs into the football pockets. The Celek can be rough and at times rigid so be gentle and don’t get burned if you are already favored.
DefenseSan Diego Chargers SD VS. NYJ
The San Diego Super Chargers are coming off a debilitating defeat that eliminated them from playoff contention last week. The same can be said of the New York Jets who plunged to even lower lows with their UGLY and borderline asinine and pathetic loss on Monday Night football. The game was so horrible that it makes me a believer in Greg McElroy. Wait, just kidding….I have no faith in Rex Ryan’s offense or team at all. This could be one of the ugliest games in recent memory, but I think Rivers does a better job of protecting the football and the Chargers defense finds way to make McElroy miserable. A defensive TD and perhaps safety could come into play in this one. Chargers D is big time sleeper that should rise up on Championship Sunday and propel your team to the fantasy title! Good luck!