Happy December, Fam! There are just 5 more weeks of genius tinkering. Of course, the most dedicated and passionate managers find zeal in exploring the concepts and happenings occurring under the radar. While some weeks your roster may allow for snoozing on sleepers, it’s always beneficial to keep tabs on emerging trends and players. This weekly column is for those who understand the satisfaction of digging deep.
All of the listed players are rostered in under 60 percent of Yahoo leagues (at time of writing) and/or are a significant value in our daily game. They’re not the obvious picks, and they’re not without their risks … but that’s what makes them so intriguing.
Last week was a mixed bag. Jimmy Garoppolo handed the ball off more than he threw it. Ty Johnson was out-touched by an undrafted (2019) “spark plug” out of Rice. Josiah Deguara continued to earn playing time, but his season-high four looks weren’t of the high-value variety.
On the positive side, Rex Burkhead (15 total touches for 54 scrimmage yards) finished inside the top-30 RBs. The biggest win of the week was Kendrick Bourne, who found the end zone twice and closed out Week 12 as fantasy’s WR3.
On to Week 13!
Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions (6% rostered, $22)
We have washed, rinsed, and repeated with Carson Wentz, Tua Tagovailoa and Taylor Heinicke in this column. I trust the intellect of sleeper enthusiasts to know that the aforementioned trio of signal callers are QB14-18 options with regular appeal in Superflex formats.
The narrative (and losing record) attached to Jared Goff, however, may have him more mired in the fantasy muck than called for, given his matchup this weekend.
Goff ripped off two scores in his return from an oblique injury on Thanksgiving. He’ll have had 10 days of rest before taking on a Vikings defense that’s been ravaged by injuries. Minnesota has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing QBs and has given up 9 passing scores over the last four weeks. The opposing offenses (BAL, LAC, GB, SF) have been decidedly more potent than the Lions, but with Patrick Peterson on the COVID list, Goff (who has managed a top-11 true completion percentage of nearly 73%) could put up a second straight multi-td game.
DeeJay Dallas, RB, Seattle Seahawks (6% rostered, $10)
Seattle can’t run the ball. And it’s hurting the entirety of the offense. Alex Collins is coming off of a feeble 8-touch, 27-yard effort (his lowest of the year since taking over as the starter in Week 5). With Rashad Penny (hamstring) likely headed for IR and Travis Homer struggling with a calf injury, DeeJay Dallas could see his role grow this Sunday at San Francisco.
Dallas is coming off of his highest snap count of the season (26). He was out-carried 3 to 7 by Collins and far from efficient on the ground (1.3 YPC) in Week 12 at Washington. However, the second-year player tied Tyler Lockett for second in team targets, converting all 5 of his looks. Despite infrequent usage as a pass-catcher at Miami, Dallas appears to have evolved his skill-set, which could be a boon opposite the 49ers.
San Fran boasts the No. 2 ranked run defense, per DVOA. The team has been less successful at stopping running backs via the air though, allowing the sixth-most receiving yards to opposing RBs over the last four weeks. Dallas could draw a season-high number of targets with Russell Wilson struggling and checking down versus the Niners' defensive front (top-10 sack percentage). That’s good enough to give Dallas desperation flex-appeal in PPR-friendly formats.
Denzel Mims, WR, New York Jets (0% rostered, $10)
Denzel Mims crushed the 2020 Combine, soaring up draft boards (IRL and fantasy) as a result. Since then the Baylor product’s name has cued sad trombone sound effects web-wide. He’s far from a reliable play but could get some run in Week 13 versus the Eagles.
Corey Davis is day-to-day with a groin issue and Keelan Cole is on the COVID list. Mims, therefore, figures to record snaps on the outside. He was limited to nine games last year and hasn’t done much of anything yet this season. He was, however, beginning to take on a larger role before missing three games due to COVID. Mims ran a season-high 32 routes and drew five looks in the Jets’ Week 5 loss to the Colts.
New York’s offense definitely doesn’t scream "fantasy gold mine." Mims is a fit in deeper leagues that require starting three WRs — where managers are regularly forcing dusty options into action. The Eagles have given up the third-most receiving yards (4,619) on the season and Steven Nelson is allowing a passer rating of 121.1 (CB159). Force him into action (because he’s being forced into action) and pray Mims' measurables show up on the field.
Bonus WR: DeAndre Carter, Washington Football Team (3% rostered, $13)
DeAndre Carter has been sneaky good, recording 3 TDs (4rz looks) and averaging 2.34 fantasy points per target (WR7) over his last four games. Deployed primarily via the slot, Carter should continue to draw looks even as Curtis Samuel is eased back into the game plan. If J.D. McKissic fails to clear the concussion protocol (more probable than possible, at this point), Carter could see a bump in volume. That’s a boon versus a Raiders secondary that’s allowed a league-high 13.2 YPR and 36 TDs.
Foster Moreau, TE, Las Vegas Raiders (15% rostered, $11)
If Darren Waller is out (knee) then Foster Moreau is in. The LSU product subbed in for Waller back in Week 7 when the starter was dealing with an ankle issue. Moreau recorded a snap share of nearly 90 percent in that effort, ran 22 routes, and converted all six of his looks for 60 yards and a score.
He’s deserving of top-12 consideration in a matchup against Washington with an over/under of 49.5 points. The Football Team gave up 7 of 11 to the Seahawks’ TEs in Week 12, providing Gerald Everett with a 5-37-1 stat line (TE5). Fire up Foster if Waller needs bail.
Brevin Jordan, TE, Houston Texans (0% rostered, $10)
As if this list of sleepers wasn’t deep enough … enter: Brevin Jordan. The rookie was used largely as a receiver at Miami, recording 38 catches for 576 yards and 7 TDs over eight games in 2020. His route running and YAC ability was lauded by draftniks throughout the draft process.
Jordan’s role in the Texans offense has grown since earning his first start in Week 8.
The fifth-rounder has leapfrogged Jordan Akins and Anthony Auclair on the team’s depth chart and is coming off his most productive outing of the year. Jordan converted all three of his looks for 23 yards and a score in last Sunday’s contest versus the Jets. The TD was his second over his last four games. More importantly, he ran a season-high 18 routes, besting Pharaoh Brown, who recorded just seven.
The Week 13 matchup sets up well for Jordan, as the Colts have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Given Tyrod Taylor’s proclivity towards peppering tight ends (see: Charles Clay’s stats from 2015-2017) and Indy’s inability to shut down the middle of the field, Jordan’s could be a touchdown worth chasing.
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