We have quite a few potential shootouts on our hands this week. Lions at Packers, Eagles at Giants, and Broncos at Cowboys should all be high-scoring affairs. Chargers at Raiders also has some potential to be a fun one late Sunday night. I’ve featured a few players from these matchups below. There are four teams on their bye weeks: the Vikings, Steelers, Bucs, and Redskins. Okay, let’s get to it. You ladies and gentlemen know the drill. This is the fifth edition of weekly Sleepers with many more to come.
Giants QB Eli Manning vs. Eagles: Manning has been downright terrible through four games. He’s tossed six touchdowns and leads the league with his nine interceptions. Eli’s quarterback rating is 69.1. This may be the week he and the entire Giants offense gain some confidence, however. The Eagles can’t stop anyone on the ground or through the air. They’ve allowed the tenth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. They’re allowing 325 yards per game through the air. Manning is a borderline QB1 this week. The Eagles haven’t been sacking quarterbacks with any regularity, either.
Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor vs. Chargers: I love Pryor this week. He’s symptom-free after suffering a concussion in Week 3. Coach Dennis Allen confirmed Wednesday that Pryor would start Sunday night’s late game versus San Diego. The Chargers have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks after four games. Michael Vick totaled 462 yards and three touchdowns against the Bolts in Week 2. Jake Locker followed that up with 367 yards and two touchdowns the next week. The San Diego defense is allowing quarterbacks to escape the pocket with regularity. Dwight Freeney (quad) is also done for the season. Pryor is a legit back-end QB1 in Week 5. I prefer him over guys like Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck this week.
Rams QB Sam Bradford vs. Jaguars: Bradford has been pretty terrible the past two games. He completed just over 53 percent of his passes and averaged a pitiful 5.0 YPA against the Cowboys and 49ers. Teams aren’t throwing much on the Jaguars, but that’s because Jacksonville can’t stop the run. The Rams don’t have a working ground attack at the moment, so this could be a game where Bradford attempts another 40 passes. I also expect this to be a close game. Both teams are playing bad football. OC Brian Schottenheimer has faced some criticism the past week or so. It could be an opportunity for him to call some deep shots to Chris Givens and company, setting up Bradford to have a solid afternoon. Bradford is a start-able quarterback in 14-team and two-quarterback leagues.
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Raiders RB Rashad Jennings vs. Chargers: Darren McFadden is out with a hamstring injury. After DMC went down last week, Jennings racked up 116 total yards on 22 touches. The Chargers have yet to surrender a touchdown to an opposing running back, but they’re allowing backs to average 4.5 YPC. Jennings is going to play the majority of snaps in the Oakland backfield. With Terrelle Pryor back under center, it should open up more holes that weren’t there last week while Matt Flynn was quarterbacking the Raiders. Jennings is a decent Week 5 flex option based on volume.
Giants RB David Wilson vs. Eagles: We’re still beating the Wilson drum here at Rotoworld. If Wilson is ever going to break out this season, this is the week to do it. The Eagles are getting killed in every phase on defense. The Giants released passing-down running back Da’Rel Scott on Monday, setting Wilson up for an even bigger workload. Brandon Jacobs will still handle goal-line and short-yardage work, but it’s easy to envision Wilson breaking off a few big gains in Week 5. He’s been close the past couple games. Wilson has had a few runs called back due to penalties. He’s right in the thick of the RB2 mix. I’m not going to miss out on Wilson’s big week. I’m starting him.
Chargers RB Ryan Mathews vs. Raiders: Vick Ballard averaged 4.8 YPC against this defense in Week 1. Broncos running backs went off for 166 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries versus the Raiders in Week 3. Alfred Morris and Roy Helu had no trouble picking up yards last week. The Raiders have been solid in coverage against running backs. Mathews doesn’t play on passing downs, so this won’t affect him. He totaled 101 yards on 20 touches last week against the Cowboys. There’s an opportunity here for Mathews to boost his confidence and put up solid back-to-back games. Mathews is on the RB2 radar.
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Jets WR Jeremy Kerley vs. Falcons: Kerley and Clyde Gates are expected to be the Jets’ starting receivers on Monday night with Santonio Holmes (hamstring) and Stephen Hill (concussion) likely to sit out. Geno Smith is going to have to throw the ball to someone. Kerley played all but eight snaps last week. The Jets like him in the slot in three-wide sets. The Falcons, particularly slot corner Robert McClain, can’t cover anyone right now. They’re getting scorched by opposing wide receivers. Kerley is in the WR5 conversation this week, but there’s some upside here.
Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon vs. Rams: The Rams’ secondary is severely banged up and Blackmon is coming back from a four-game suspension. Coach Gus Bradley says Blackmon has looked good in his first week back at practice. Cecil Shorts (groin) hasn’t practiced at all this week and will enter the game at less than 100 percent. St. Louis has struggled badly on defense. This game may wind up being a closer one than most think. Blackmon is firmly on the WR3 radar this week.
Chiefs WR Dexter McCluster vs. Titans: The Titans have been extremely solid on defense this season. One weakness, however, is slot corner Coty Sensabaugh. According to Pro Football Focus, quarterbacks have a 114.1 rating when throwing at Sensabaugh. Alex Smith is a dinker and dunker. He targeted McCluster five times last week. McCluster secured all five of them. Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery have tough matchups with Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty on the outside. McCluster has some sleeper appeal here. Look for him to see at least 5-8 targets.
Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew vs. Packers: With Nate Burleson (broken arm) out of the lineup, Pettigrew saw a season-high seven targets last week. He reeled all of them in, uncharacteristically. While I wouldn’t expect that to be the plan of attack for the Lions moving forward, Pettigrew does have a favorable matchup this week. The Packers are the sixth-worst defense when it comes to stopping tight ends. Don’t expect a ton of yards from Pettigrew, but an end zone visit is a possibility in what should be a shootout. Pettigrew is middle-of-the-pack TE2 in Week 5.
Eagles TE Brent Celek vs. Giants: Celek hasn’t been doing much in the passing game in coach Chip Kelly’s tight end-friendly offense. He hasn’t seen more than five targets in any game this season. Celek should see that with ease this week in a dream matchup. The Giants have already allowed four touchdowns to opposing tight ends. Their linebackers are struggling badly. Celek is a TE2 with some upside.
Ravens TE Dallas Clark vs. Dolphins: Clark has seen the ninth-most targets among tight ends through four games. He hasn’t been a good real-life player, but we’re here for fantasy purposes. Clark gets a ton of looks from Joe Flacco simply because there aren’t many options. The Ravens plan to get Ray Rice more involved in the passing game, which could lessen Clark’s role. But he should still see 5-7 balls. The Dolphins have been getting torched by tight ends. Philip Wheeler has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ single-worst 4-3 outside linebacker in terms of coverage. Safeties Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones were roasted last week. Clark wouldn’t be a horrible fill-in for a desperate owner.