15 FANTASY FOOTBALL SLEEPERS FOR WEEK 3
For the seven of you who were wondering, yes, your boy over here has been a bit M.I.A over the past few months.
The takes have not been numerous, the statistical analysis has dried up and my content game overall has been lacking.
It was always late in the week but my weekly matchups column was a popular read on this here site and I always appreciated you hardcore, loyal RP fans gracing me with page views each and every week.
So I get that it’s a little odd that I’m popping up here in Week 3 like nothing happened. So if you would indulge me for a storytelling sesh I’ll certainly give you all the sleepers you asked for at the end of it. (Or if not, skip on down, I promise I won’t be offended!)
Have you ever reached the pinnacle of your profession? I can honestly say that for the previous 5 years that’s what it felt like for me working over at DIRECTV’s Fantasy Zone.
I certainly wasn’t the biggest name in the industry by any stretch of the imagination but my job at DIRECTV allowed me to do what I do best: talk on TV in a fun, hyper-energetic and intelligent way.
I got to flex my creative muscles. I mean, to keep it 100, I was goddamn Arnold Schwarzenegger flexing in this bitch with some of these skits. I won awards for doing stupid stuff like pretending to be a Fantasy Attorney, I got to parody Die Hard, basically my stuff was so bulletproof my bosses let me do pretty much whatever the hell I wanted to; and this was all BEFORE the actual show itself came on every Sunday where I got to watch every game with my cast mates, joking, laughing and debating fantasy football.
I’m not using hyperbolic language when I say it was the best job in the world.
Then DIRECTV fumbled the bag and lost their Red Zone rights and just like that, the job I loved was gone forever.
Knowing that the show wasn’t coming back, I haven’t been quite myself this entire offseason. Try as I might, I could never quite turn the lights on fully. Everything was just a bit muted.
Oh, I did things to try and light that fire: I competed in my first boxing match (I lost), I went to the Masters and the U.S. Open golf tournaments for the first time and I spent a lot of time overhauling and redesigning the website. And job interviews… lots and lots of job interviews.
Listen, I love writing, I love podcasting with my brother Matt Harmon, I do. I’m blessed to co-own this website with him. I love my job doing all the business-y stuff for Reception Perception. But I reallllllly love doing TV.
I’ve been doing television for 15 years guys. I’ve been doing sports TV for the past 11. And I like to think that I’m quite good at it. Sure, I have PLENTY of detractors but I also have a case full of industry awards that I can look at proudly… But maybe the haters are right because as we sit here today, I’m not doing TV this season. I’m not doing the thing that I love, the thing that I’m really good at doing. And that bums me out.
For the past 6 months I’ve been a lesser version of myself because I just could not find that spark. Essentially what happened was that I climbed that mountain, found my dream job and then I lost it. Finding the motivation to make that climb again? It’s awfully hard to do.
So why write all this?
Well, when the season actually kicked off, as stupid as it sounds, it felt like I got kicked right in the gonads. I realized I had to get my shit together and stop feeling sorry for myself. It took me a few weeks to sharpen my tools again and here we are, ready again for war.
I’m writing all this to essentially keep myself accountable. I’m going to be making a lot more videos, I’m going to be writing a lot more, I’m going to be making more content… basically I’m going to be more myself. For those of you who are with me, I appreciate you all. Now let’s find that goddamn mountain.
WEEK 3 SLEEPERS
Gus Edwards vs IND
- I suppose it’s a bad paper matchup because the Colts are such a pass funnel defense but with Justice Hill trending the wrong direction (foot), there could be significant work available for The Bus.
- Edwards posted 62 yards on 10 carries last week vs CIN
- Bold prediction: 70 rush yards, 1 rec, 10 rec yards, TD
Kendre Miller vs GB
- Obviously keep an eye on the injury reports but Miller sounded close to returning last week and this week he’s practiced in full Wed/Thurs. Tony Jones will likely work in too but Miller could get the lion’s share of backfield touches.
- GB is currently bottom 10 in fantasy points, yards/car, yards/game and rec/game allowed to RB.
- This tracks as GB was poor vs run last year (every year???).
- Bijan obviously had a huge game last week (172 total, 4 rec) but remember Khalil Herbert working out of that dumpster fire of an offense, posted 64 total yards and 3 grabs. I think Kendre Miller gives you an easy 10 points this week with upside for more if he can punch one in.
- Bold prediction: 85 total yards, 4 rec
Jaylen Warren vs LV
- Warren has seen 6 targets in back to back weeks, this is important because the Raiders apparently have idea how to stop RBs from catching the ball. Last year they allowed the 7th most receptions and the most receiving yards to running backs. This year they’re off to similar start (4th and 8th worst in rec and rec yards respectively).
- James Cook in WK2 posted 4 catches for 36 yards and then another 123 on the ground good for 19.9 points.
- Warren is being targeted on an insane 41.3% of his routes run. Pickett is clearly looking for him when he’s out there. If he sees another 6 targets again this week, he’s posting an easy double-digit ppr game.
- Bold prediction: 35 rush yards, 5 rec, 45 rec yards, TD
Josh Downs vs BAL
- Downs has very quietly been an integral part of the IND pass offense. He’s 3rd on the team in routes run, second in targets (6 per game) and second in air yards (14.1% of team’s total).
- Baltimore gave up a lot of production to slot pass catchers last year (6th most fantasy points) and this year it’s seemingly more of the same (5th most through two weeks).
- The 84% comp rate allowed to slot receivers is 3rd worst, they were 7th worst in this mark last year.
- Bold prediction: 7 tar, 6 rec, 65 yards
Adam Thielen vs SEA
- The Hawks have given up 9.25 yards/tar (4th worst) and the 8th most fantasy points to receivers in the slot through two weeks.
- Not only is Riq Woolen banged up (chest), starting slot corner Coby Bryant missed practice Wed/Thurs with a toe injury.
- Thielen, who plays about 75% of his snaps out of the slot, is coming off of a 9 tar game (7 rec, 54 yards, TD). Don’t be surprised to see Andy Dalton lean on the vet early and often.
- Bold prediction: 8 tar, 6 rec, 70 yards, TD
MVS vs CHI
- The Bears are a mess and are perhaps the worst defense in the NFL. They’ve given up the 5th most fantasy points to outside WRs and the 10.9 yards/tar allowed is 2nd worst.
- CHI has already allowed 3 TDs to outside receivers through 2 games.
- After a couple of slow offensive games to start the season, don’t be surprised to see KC open it up, especially at home versus a team that is in disarray.
- Bold prediction: 3 rec, 55 yards, TD
Gabe Davis vs WAS
- Good matchup for both Stefon Diggs and Davis. Commanders have given up the 10th most fantasy points to outside receivers and the 11.96 yards/tar allowed is dead last to start the season. They were bottom 5 in this category last year.
- The fact that WAS has tended to give up big plays to outside WRs obviously bodes well for a big-play specialist in Gabe Davis (13.8 air yards per target).
- Davis has seen 11 targets through 2 games and he is out there quite a bit. His 75 routes run are second only to Diggs (78 routes).
- Bold prediction: 4 rec, 65 yards, TD
DEEP SLEEPER: Allen Robinson vs LV
- LV was gashed by slot receivers last year (2nd most fantasy points) and this year looks no different. Three of the five passing touchdowns allowed thus far have gone to pass catchers in the slot. The Raiders ranked dead last in TDs allowed to the slot last year.
- The eye-popping 87.5% catch rate allowed to the slot is the worst in the NFL.
- Robinson plays about 80% of his snaps lined up inside. He’s seen 11 targets over his first 2 games.
- Bold prediction: 6 rec, 70 yards
DEEP SLEEPER: Desmond Ridder vs. DET
- DET was one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last season and they’re off to a rocky start in 2023 having given up the 5th most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
- Geno Smith had a big bounceback game in WK2 against this pliable Lions defense (328 yards, 2 TD) and honestly if not for Kadarius Toney, Mahomes most likely would have put up a monster game. Instead he “struggled” posting 226 yards, 2 TDs and a pick.
- Ridder threw 32 times last week because the Falcons defense was pressed by an average Green Bay offense. The Lions on the other hand have what I would consider a good offense. With Detroit at home as well, expect them to put up numbers forcing the Falcons to try and keep up.
- Bold prediction: 250 yards, TD, 40 rush yards, 18+ fantasy points
DEEP SLEEPER: Kenny Pickett vs LV
- The Raiders seem a bit of a mess, especially defensively. Chandler Jones remains away from the team and the defense has already given up 5 scores through 2 games.
- The Raiders gave up the 5th most fantasy points to QB last year and this year they’ve allowed an insane 81.7% comp rate, easily the worst in the NFL.
- Russell Wilson was solid in WK1 (2 TDs) and of course Josh Allen was on cruise control and still threw for 237 yards and 3 scores.
- Matt Canada needs to be arrested but I saw enough from the likes of George Pickens and Calvin Austin to be intrigued by Pickett this week.
- Bold prediction: 275 yards, 2 TD, 18+ fantasy points
Jake Ferguson vs ARI
- Ferguson is averaging 5.5 targets per game over his first two contests.
- Arizona was the stone cold worst defense vs TE last year ranking dead last in fantasy points, touchdowns and receptions allowed to the position. All this while allowing the second-highest completion percentage as well.
- The Cards have allowed the 2nd most yards thus far. Logan Thomas posted an 8/4/43 slash line in WK1 (8.3 ppr). Darren Waller in WK2: 8/6/76 (13.6 ppr)
- ARI has yet to give up a TE touchdown but considering they allowed the most scores to the group last year, I think that dry spell ends with Ferguson.
- Ferguson has played just 65% of the team’s offensive snaps but just behind Tony Pollard in routes run (5th most overall). His 32 total routes well outpaces Peyton Hendershot (19 routes).
- Bold prediction: 6 tar, 5 rec, 40 yards, TD
Cole Kmet vs KC
- Solid matchup as the Chiefs have allowed an 86.7% catch rate to TE (3rd worst) and are bottom 10 in yards allowed to the position.
- Kmet has been an integral part of the passing game (albeit a disgusting passing game) garnering 7 and 6 targets in back to back games.
- Bold prediction: 6 rec, 65 yards
Hayden Hurst vs SEA
- Hurst is 3rd on the team in routes run, targets and air yards.
- Frank Reich offenses have generally featured tight ends (think Antonio Gates, Ladarius Green, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton and even Eric Ebron).
- The Hawks gave up the 2nd most fantasy points to the position last year and this year have given up the 4th most yards to TE thus far (they ranked dead last last year in yards allowed last year).
- SEA continues to give up chunk plays to the position as well. The 14.78 yards per catch allowed this year ranks dead last, this after ranking dead last in this stat last year.
- Bold prediction: 6 rec, 55 yards
David Njoku vs TEN
- Njoku’s run 62 routes thus far (3rd most on the team) vs Harrison Bryant’s 16 routes.
- His 11% target rate thus far is nearly half of his target rate from last year (21.5%). There should be some course correction coming soon and I think it happens this week because it’s potentially a great matchup as the Titans have allowed the 7th most yards to the position thus far.
- In 2022 TEN allowed the 3rd most fantasy points, the 3rd most yards and the 2nd most rec to TE. Now Juwan Johnson (3 for 36) and Gerald Everett (3 for 47) had meh weeks but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Njoku cash in this week.
- Bold prediction: 5 tar, 4 rec, 50 yar, TD
DEEP SLEEPER Adam f’n Trautman vs MIA
- This is a desperation play and/or a DFS tournament play but MIA is getting burned by TEs. Gerald Everett and Donald Parham combined for 5 grabs and 43 yards and a score WK1. In WK2 Hunter Henry collected a 6/51/TD slash line.
- The Dolphins have given up the 2nd most fppg to TE this year after giving up the 6th most points to the position last year.
- Trautman played 82% of the snaps last week and ran 29 routes good for 3rd most on the team. No other TE ran a route for Denver.
- Bold prediction: 3 rec, 35 yards, TD
James Koh is the co-owner of Reception Perception, a fantasy football analyst and an award-winning journalist. He’s probably wrong, but you never know. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram or TikTok @JamesDKoh.