Week Four is here, and it’s once again time to turn our attention to the weekly sleepers! We are starting to get a better idea of who teams are, especially on defense, so it’s around this time of the year that we start to shift from betting on talent while the league sorts out the haves from the have-nots, and instead it’s the team to focus on attacking bad defenses with players who qualify! This article includes only players available in at least 50% of Yahoo! Leagues. For those of you in the deepest of leagues, we also include one player available in at least 90% of leagues in each roster category.
Matthew Stafford at Indianapolis (49% rostered)
Matthew Stafford has been a prolific real-life quarterback this season. He ranks first in air yards, eighth in money throws, and tenth in yards per pass attempt (and eighth in air yards per pass attempt). He also ranks fourth in raw passing yardage and second in passing attempts. He’s throwing the ball a lot and he’s… just not very successful from a fantasy football angle. Stafford doesn’t run (he has 35 rushing yards in three games) and the Rams have struggled to find paydirt outside of week one, scoring 39 points in their last two games, with Stafford getting just two passing touchdowns on the season. Stafford has also had to put the entire offense on his shoulders, which has led to four interceptions thus far.
That should all change this week, as passing touchdowns are fluky, but passing yardage isn’t. Neither are Matthew Stafford’s upcoming prospects. He plays Indianapolis this week, who allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. While I doubt he gets 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns like Lamar Jackson last week, both C.J. Stroud and Trevor Lawrence found the end zone twice against them in weeks one and two. Then, it’s Philadelphia (#6 in fantasy points to quarterbacks) and Arizona (#8) after this one. It could be a nice little get-right run for Stafford, who might have star wide receiver Cooper Kupp back soon.
Handsome James Garoppolo (14%)/Brian Hoyer (0%)/Aiden O’Connell (0%) at L.A. Chargers
At this point, I believe it will be Garoppolo who gets the start this weekend for the Raiders in Los Angeles. The Chargers allow the most fantasy points to quarterbacks on the year. While I doubt Garoppolo is in the same tier as Kirk Cousins & Tua Tagovailoa (who combined for 833 passing yards and six passing touchdowns against them), I do believe he will get into the backend QB1 ranks this week. A lot of that has to do with the fact that he has lived in those backend QB1 ranks, to begin with: Garoppolo has finished inside the top twelve in two-of-three weeks, with his only blemish coming against the Buffalo Bills in week two.
Bryce Young at Minnesota (10% rostered)
Bryce Young, the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft Class, is yet to prove to the NFL that he was worth the Panthers’ investment in him. Granted, he has what might be the worst skill position group in the NFL, but Andy Dalton was able to get them production last week, so maybe that isn’t a great excuse. Or maybe it’s a situation where mid recognizes mid, so Dalton is comfortable throwing to Chark and Thielen.
But, despite Bryce Young not yet doing anything, he’s not getting the Justin Fields treatment. The Panthers are letting him let the ball fly, as he averages 38.5 dropbacks per game. More importantly, he is widely available and playing the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are fourth in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, which includes 29-point and 26-point efforts from Justin Herbert & Jalen Hurts, respectively. But, it’s Baker Mayfield’s 16 points in week one that have me feeling like this matchup might just be for real. He’s a deep-league streamer, but Bryce Young should help you this week.
Roschon Johnson versus Denver (49% rostered)
De’Von Achane burst onto the scene last week against these Denver Broncos, why not make it two-for-two? Johnson is ostensibly the RB2 in Chicago, but it feels every week like Khalil Herbert is about to give up that role. Either way, Johnson has double-digit touches in two of three games this season, and again, it’s the Broncos, who just gave up seventy points to the Dolphins. I’d be stupid to not at least shoot my shot here.
Elijah Mitchell versus Arizona (41% rostered)
The Cardinals aren’t the best matchup on paper, playing essentially neutrally against running backs (they allow the 14th-most points to the position). Mitchell spelled Christian McCaffrey to the tune of 14 opportunities as the 49ers salted away the Giants last week, something that is likely to happen again this week. While Mitchell is a touchdown play, he also provides a nice floor, with what is likely to be 8 PPR points. He’s not the best stream, but the 49ers are angling to trounce the Cardinals, which means plenty of Elijah Mitchell time as they strive to keep Christian McCaffrey healthy.
Latavius Murray versus Miami (8% rostered)
Latavius Murray is the designated goal-line back for the Buffalo Bills, and instead of getting mad at the fact that he’s stealing from James Cook, I am once again going to lean into it. The Dolphins thoroughly trounced the Broncos last week, so there wasn’t much opportunity for the running backs to do anything. Despite that, they still allow the eleventh-most fantasy points to running backs after giving up three touchdowns to the position in the first two weeks.
Robert Woods versus Pittsburgh (22% rostered)
Houston quarterback C.J. Stroud is sixth in the NFL with 121 pass attempts through three games, which is tied for fourth in the league with Justin Herbert in pass attempts per game. So, there’s one clear thing: the Texans are going to let the ball fly. Thanks to said ball-flying propensities, Robert Woods has 25 targets through three games, which ties him for 20th in the NFL in wide receiver targets. You can’t get away from that kind of volume, especially against Pittsburgh. The Steelers allow the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers on the year, with five different receivers hitting double-digit PPR points in the first three games of the season.
DJ Chark vs MIN (15% rostered) (#3)
Much like Bryce Young, this is a bet that the Panthers’ volume on offense breaks through in a soft matchup against the Vikings. Chark played just one full game this season—last week—and he finished with eleven targets. While that was Andy Dalton and not Bryce Young, it still speaks to the volume he can attain in this offense. The Vikings have given up the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers, including five touchdowns to the position and three games of at least 120 yards to a receiver in three weeks.
Wan’Dale Robinson versus Seattle (3% rostered)
Wan’Dale Robinson is the best receiver on the Giants, mostly because the Giants’ receiver corps is terrible. The former second-round pick made his NFL debut against the Niners and the Giants eased him in, allowing him only 11 snaps. But, he had five targets on those snaps, which is, and I don’t have to tell you this, an incredible target rate. This week, they get a somewhat softer opponent than the 49ers: the Seattle Seahawks. Opposing wide receivers chew up the Seattle secondary thus far this season, allowing the second-most fantasy points to the position. They’ve given up seven games of 13.7 or more PPR points to wide receivers in three weeks. Seven. SEVEN! Wan’Dale is the best chance for the Giants to make that eight.
Gerald Everett versus Las Vegas (32% rostered)
With Mike Williams on the shelf for the season, everyone rushed out to add Quentin Johnston and Josh Palmer. Here’s my basic issue with that move: Gerald Everett had as many targets as Palmer through the first two games of the season, and more than QJ. The Chargers did a plug-and-play with Mike Williams targets, tossing them toward Josh Palmer. While that was the game plan last season (Palmer had 4 extra targets per game in the three games that Mike Williams missed last season) I am standing by the fact that Gerald Everett is straight up the best player of the three. This week, he gets the Raiders, who yield the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends on the season without playing a lock-down starting tight end. Adam Trautman, Dawson Knox, Dalton Kincaid, and Pat Freiermuth all finished with at least 8 PPR points against them, which is the platonic ideal of a backend streaming TE1.
Logan Thomas at Philadelphia (5% rostered)
When Thomas plays, he’s a key part of the Commanders’ game plan, even way back when their name was still a racial slur. Ron Rivera just loves Logan Thomas, almost as much as Logan Thomas loves getting hurt. In week one, Thomas had 8 targets, which he turned into 4 catches for 43 yards on 58 snaps. In week two, Thomas had played exactly half as many snaps in week two (29 snaps) but left with a concussion. Thomas saw 3 targets in 40% of game action and was well on his way to the platonic ideal streaming tight end line (2/22). The Eagles are terrible against tight ends, especially when it comes to stopping them from scoring; Philly’s allowed three tight end touchdowns in three games this season, and two games of at least 16 PPR points because of that. The Commanders, around the goal line, throw to the tight end almost exclusively: Cole Turner, John Bates, and Logan Thomas account for six of the seven pass attempts inside the ten for the commanders this season.
Jonnu Smith versus Jacksonville (0% rostered) (in London)
Now, hear me out. Jonnu wasn’t a part of the game plan in week one, especially since Bijan did everything to let the Falcons cruise to a 24-10 victory over the Panthers. In weeks two and three, however, he’s averaged 7 targets per game, and averaging 8.7 PPR points without touchdowns in those contests. The reason we are all up in arms at Arthur Smith is not because the Falcons don’t pass, it’s because they don’t pass, and they keep doing stupid things like passing to Jonnu Smith. Instead of getting mad, lean into it. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a top-25% matchup this week, as they are eighth in fantasy points allowed to tight ends on the year. While playing Travis Kelce will do that to a team, they were unable to shake it off last week and allowed 9.3 PPR points to Brevin Jordan. This week, Jonnu Smith reignites his bad blood against his former AFC South rivals.