Now that we’ve finished processing the various performances of week 6, it is time to examine the week 7 sleepers in fantasy football such as Felix Jones and Josh Gordon. They were not previously in your starting lineups, but could now provide a scoring boost if you use them this week.
As always, this week’s sleepers are players that were either selected toward the latter half of your fantasy drafts, or spent time residing on your leagues’ waiver wires until this week. Either way, a combination of their ability, and their specific matchups, has propelled them into a position to enhance your scoring total should you decide to start them.
With that, here are the sleepers for week 7:
Freeman propelled himself into a higher plane of fantasy relevance after he established new season highs in both yardage (328) and TDs (three) by thoroughly dissecting Kansas City’s surprisingly vulnerable secondary in week 6. His numbers were generated primarily due to the Chiefs’ deficiencies, including four catches for 113 yards and a touchdown yielded by Stanford Routt in his ill-fated attempts to cover Mike Williams. This week, Freeman will matchup against a New Orleans pass defense that is even less capable. The Saints rank just 26th (283 YPG), and have yielded nine TDs through the air in their initial five games. Freeman should find great success locating both Williams and Vincent Jackson, which will help him generate another excellent performance at home. If you are in a deeper league, or are searching for a bye week replacement, this is the rare occasion in which Freeman is an enticing option.
Felix Jones vs. Panthers
After collecting just nine touches during the initial four games of the season, Jones suddenly became the Cowboys’ feature back in week 6, after DeMarco Murray was sidelined with a foot issue. Jones then received 19 touches, generated 105 total yards, and scored for the first time this year. Murray is definitely out for this week’s enticing matchup against Carolina’s 23rd ranked rush defense (127 YPG), which elevates Jones' role, and provides the potential for him to accumulate a massive number of fantasy points. Jones will be allotted the vast majority of RB touches against this vulnerable unit, and there is an excellent chance that he will produce 90+ rushing yards while amassing additional real estate as a target for Tony Romo. Any Murray owners who wisely secured Jones for this type of situation should unequivocally start him. And if he is available in your leagues, then you now know what to do. Just prepare yourself to watch Phillip Tanner pilfer a portion of the red zone opportunities.
Now… you didn’t really think that Ahmad Bradshaw was done having foot issues did you? Unfortunately for his owners, that chronic problem has resurfaced yet again. Which places his status in doubt for week 7, and supplies uncertainty regarding how many games that he can be counted upon for the remainder of the season. While Andre Brown did perform extremely well when Bradshaw missed time earlier this season (184 yards and three TDs), the more explosive Wilson has emerged from the dog house, and possesses significantly more upside. But while he is certainly the better RB to have on your roster over the long term, is he also the better sleeper option in week 7 among the Giants’ backup RBs? Yes, because he is a threat to burst for sizable yardage every time that he is given the ball. Secure him for your roster now if he is available. And if Bradshaw is sidelined this week, Wilson is a high risk sleeper.
Montario Hardesty vs. Colts
It’s difficult not to become excited about any RB’s impending matchup with the Colts after Shonn Green ran roughshod for 161 yards and three TDs against them in week 6. Indy is now just 29th against the run, and is surrendering 159 YPG, which bodes well for any Cleveland RB who garners touches this week. That opportunity could easily be presented to Hardesty, who was allotted his first touches of the season when Trent Richardson suffered a rib injury. He responded by accumulating 56 yards and a TD with his 15 carries against the Bengals (3.7 YPG), and could provide fantasy owners with even better numbers this week if Richardson is sidelined for a significant portion of their contest. If you are a Richardson owner whose roster already contains Hardesty, monitor Richardson’s health closely as Sunday approaches. And if Hardesty is available in your leagues, he is definitely a worthy addition who could provide huge dividends this week.
In the past two games, this dynamically talented rookie has exploded for 181 yards and three TDs on just five receptions (and 12 targets). That includes a 62-yard score in week 5 at the Giants, and a 71-yard TD against Cincinnati in week 6. All of which equates to a ridiculous 37 YPC average. Now he will line up against a Colt defense that has been scorched on multiple occasions. They surrendered 119 yards to Brandon Marshall in week 1, permitted a game changing 80-yard catch and run by Cecil Shorts in week 3, and a 31-yard score by Randall Cobb in week 5. Indy will be bolstered by the return of CB Vontae Davis, who has missed the past two contests. But their defense has managed just three takeaways all season will be susceptible to yielding at least one big play. Gordon is the most likely beneficiary.
Kevin Ogletree vs. Panthers
Ogletree became an enormously popular roster addition following his two-TD, 114-yard performance in the Cowboys’ season opener. But he only caught one pass for 26 yards in week 2, and manufactured only 107 yards in his last four games. It became very fashionable to drop Ogletree during that statistical freefall, and he is almost assuredly on your league’s waiver wire. Or at least he was, until Dez Bryant was listed as questionable on the injury report heading into a matchup with Carolina’s 19th ranked pass defense (250 YPG). If you can still add Ogletree, do it right now. Then, monitor Bryant’s status as Sunday’s game time approaches. If Ogletree ascends into the Cowboys’ starting lineup, he becomes an excellent choice for yours.
He garnered five catches for 89 yards and two scores in his NFL debut. Then he evaporated from fantasy relevance with the same swiftness. Hill failed to generate a single catch in the next two games, then missed the following two contests due to a hamstring issue. But he returned last week to score his third TD, which was among his three receptions. While those aren't overwhelming numbers, his return does place him in position to deliver a highly productive performance in this week’s appealing matchup. New England's 28th ranked pass defense is surrendering 289 YPG, and has yielded 15 TDs, which is the NFL’s highest total. Hill should have his best yardage total since opening day, and is a candidate for another score.
Sam Bradford desperately needs a go to WR now that Danny Amendola is unable to fulfill that role and Givens is a strong candidate to become that preferred weapon. The same could be said of Brandon Gibson, and both wideouts will certainly split targets. While Gibson might appear to be the safer option for fantasy owners, he is now in his fourth season, and had yet to construct consistent production during his career. Meanwhile, the speedy Givens supplies more upside. Not only is capable of exploding for big plays, but has actually done it. Givens has produced a catch of 50+ yards in three consecutive contests, and is averaging 28 YPC. If bye weeks have limited your options, he is worth using as flex or even WR3 against a Green Bay pass defense that permits 230 YPC.
In addition to scoring four TDs this season, he has amassed over 50 yards in receptions twice. But he has also been held to less than 40 three times, including his season low of just four yards in week 6. But the best remedy toward improving his output will be his matchup with Tennessee. The Titans rank just 29th at stopping the pass, and struggle mightily to contain TEs. Their dubious resume to date includes allowing 119 yards and two scores to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on opening day, followed by 48 yards and three TDs to Dante Rosario, 61 yards to Brandon Pettigrew, 72 yards and a TD to Owen Daniels, 23 yards and a TD to Kyle Rudolph, and 67 yards to Heath Miller. Seven of the 13 TDs that they have permitted this year have been scored by opposing TEs, and there is an excellent chance that Chandler will register number eight.
Raiders vs. Jaguars
Wait… What?... Raiders??… Yes. Even though they performed horribly in week 4 versus Denver, they made effective adjustments during their bye, and the unit performed significantly better in week 6. After failing to generate even one INT through their first four games, they pilfered three Matt Ryan passes. Michael Huff appears far more comfortable in his transition from safety to corner. OLB Philip Wheeler continues to quietly perform at a high level, averaging 10 tackles per game in Oakland’s last three contests. Plus, they improved their 3rd down conversion percentage simply by benching former first round pick MLB Rolando McClain in passing situations, after he had proven to be a consistent liability in those situations. And, they have also bolstered their pass rush with the recent signing of Andre Carter. They could wreak havoc with Blaine Gabbert, who has already been sacked 15 times in five games, and completes less than 55% of his passes.