Four of our five fantasy sleeper recommendations last week met or exceeded their projections, and the one who missed (Joshua Kelley) was due to injury. That's a solid week. Let's keep the momentum going.
Sleeper, of course, is a nebulous term. Use whatever definition works for you. Likewise, this column is whatever you want it to be. Perhaps it helps you make a start/sit call this week or a DFS decision. Maybe you apply the information to an over/under prop. Perhaps you’ll add a player to your fantasy bench as depth, but won't deploy him this week.
Onto the fresh slate.
TE Greg Dulcich vs. Jets
Maybe you think we're making too much of this Dulcich kid, given all the pub he's received on Yahoo. He had a modest 2-44-1 in his debut, on just three targets. Alas, the incomplete pass was a goal-line look, and the Broncos utilized Dulcich the way we love our fantasy tight ends to be deployed — as a movable chess piece, as a slot man and jumbo receiver. Dulcich charted TE9 last week on those two catches, and although it's difficult to trust the Broncos passing game right now, surely Denver will want to exploit the Jets seam coverage like Robert Tonyan (10-90-0) did last week.
You can still add Dulcich in 91 percent of Yahoo leagues. He's also the $10 minimum in DFS.
[Play in Yahoo's Week 7 $250K Sunday Baller DFS contest]
RB Jamaal Williams at Cowboys
Obviously Williams isn’t someone you can go out and add this week — he’s rostered in 84 percent of Yahoo leagues. But given that he’s merely RB37 in the automated stat projections (not run by your Yahoo editorial friends), I worry some managers might be looking away from Williams in this spot. The return of D’Andre Swift might also make you nervous, or Detroit’s poor performance in Week 5. At last check, Williams is starting in a modest 19 percent of Yahoo teams with him on their roster.
Just remember Williams has double-digit carries in every game this year, and he’s the auto-call when Detroit gets in scoring range (six touchdowns, nine carries from the five and in). And while Dallas has an outstanding defense, it’s a funnel defense — third in DVOA against the pass, but just 17th against the run. The Lions have a terrific offensive line, and two capable backs. Williams should easily outkick his stat projection of 7.08 points in .5 PPR leagues.
RB Brian Robinson Jr. vs Packers
Robinson is another loosely-fitting sleeper pick this week; in many leagues, he’s well-respected and well-utilized. And we also have to note his low YPC and the fact that the Commanders have yet to target him in the passing game. But Robinson is a virtual lock for double-digit carries, he’s the clear goal-line back in DC, new quarterback Taylor Heinicke probably can’t be worse than Carson Wentz, and the Packers have a horrendous rushing defense (4.9 a carry, dead last in DVOA). Robinson is currently starting in a third of Yahoo leagues; given how shallow things are at running back, I’d prefer to see that number over 50 percent, at minimum. He's $16 in DFS.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Chiefs
I understand why Garoppolo has become such a lukewarm fantasy commodity in recent years. The 49ers like a run-heavy offense with occasional downfield shots. Garoppolo hasn’t passed for more than 300 yards all season, or made it to three touchdowns. He offers little as a runner.
But with Patrick Mahomes and friends in town, points are expected. The total of 48.5 is one of the highest of the week, and KC has the fifth-worst pass defense per DVOA. Kyle Shanahan is smart enough to cast where the fish are biting, and Garoppolo showed excellent chemistry with his three primary targets last week. Jimmy G is long gone in the deeper pools, but his roster tag still lags under 50 percent — in some leagues, he can be a temporary answer or perhaps a longer-term one. He's also an option to go cheap at QB in DFS at $24. If I can get 20 points from my starting fantasy quarterback, I'll want to start hugging strangers.
WR Chase Claypool at Dolphins
Let’s play detective with this Pittsburgh passing game. Do the Steelers want to trade Claypool? It’s been speculated. Was Claypool good last week? Actually, he was excellent, snagging all seven targets — some of them high degree of difficulty — for 96 yards and a score. Does the matchup work? Absolutely: Miami stuffs the run, and gives it away against the pass.
I understand Claypool hasn’t been consistent and the Pittsburgh QB room has its own problems. But perhaps there’s some showcasing going on here, and even if you don’t buy that narrative, Claypool did look sharp against Tampa Bay and now he gets a secondary with leaks all over it.
[Week 7 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]
DST Las Vegas vs. Houston
Streaming at defense and special teams is all about following the point spread and trying to pick on the shakiest quarterback you can. The Raiders are rested, seven-point favorites at home, and going up against Davis Mills, who's regressed in his second season.
The Raiders are merely rostered in about 20 percent of Yahoo leagues, perhaps because the DST has scored poorly in four of five weeks. But consider the opposing quarterbacks in those games — Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray, Ryan Tannehill (no star, but a caretaker), Patrick Mahomes. Obviously Mills does not belong in that company.
I do not have loyalty at this position. I’ll try anyone when the spot is right, and then move onto the next thing next week. Attack your seasonal game like it’s a DFS contest — where Las Vegas is the minimum salary of $10. Stream like a champion today.
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