Deep Sleepers and DFS Bargains is back just in time for the weekend! Last week I went 3-2, hitting on RB Karlos Williams, WR Marvin Jones, and TE Crockett Gillmore. This week there are a lot of banged up tight ends, so I’m mixing things up and offering two options at the position.
This week’s parcel of players is owned in less than 20 percent of Yahoo leagues (one of them is completely un-owned). They’re not the obvious picks, and they’re not without their risks, but that’s why they’re so cheap! I’d never advocate taking all of these guys, but rather utilizing them if a manager were in a pinch at a position or aiming to build a “stars and scrubs” sort of DFS lineup.
Charles Clay, TE, Buffalo Bills ($18)
The Rex Ryan led Bills don’t exactly boast a high-volume passing offense, but of the team’s receivers, Clay has been the most consistent. He was second in team targets in both weeks one and two, finding the end zone last Sunday in Buffalo’s eight-point loss to New England. A reliable check down option for a quarterback who got sacked eight times in Week 2, Clay could see an increased role at Miami this coming Sunday.
The Dolphins’ secondary has some real issues, as Allen Robinson owners enthusiastically discovered last weekend. Over two weeks, Miami’s pass defense has given up a total 461 yards through the air. In Week 1, the Phins proved weak against the middle of the field, gifting TE Jordan Reed with a 7-63-1 stat line. Add in the fact that Clay should be motivated to perform against his old team and, all of a sudden, the 6-foot-3 and 255 pound tight ends has real streaming appeal.
Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts ($14)
Dwayne Allen is far and away the superior option over the middle in Indianapolis. However, he’s probably going to be in street clothes on Sunday afternoon. Allen exited last Monday night’s tilt against the Jets with an ankle injury and has yet to practice so far this week. If Allen is indeed out, Fleener should receive a massive uptick in targets.
In Week 11 of last season, Allen suffered a high ankle sprain that kept him sidelined through Week 13. In that time, Fleener produced two 100 plus yard outings and scored a pair of touchdowns. When Allen missed the final regular season contest of 2014, Fleener once again showed up, finding the end zone two separate times.
Teammates dating back to their college days, Luck and Fleener share an obvious familiarity with one and other. Given Chuck Pagano’s recent statements about needing to get the tight ends more involved in tandem with Allen’s current affliction it seems supremely probable that Fleener will garner a good amount of attention from his quarterback this weekend.
Lance Dunbar, RB, Dallas Cowboys ($13)
In two short weeks, Dallas has lost both of its most valuable players. As a result, Brandon Weeden will be starting under center for the ‘Boys this Sunday. In an attempt to hide his quarterback’s ineptitudes, I have to imagine that Scott Linehan will attempt to focus on the ground game. While this may mean more opportunities for Joseph Randle, I think Dunbar is the sneaky play in this backfield.
With Dez Bryant on the shelf and Jason Witten all kinds of banged up, Weeden’s passing options will be decidedly limited. Yet Dunbar has proven to be an integral part of this passing attack, catching 11 of 13 targets for a total of 115 receiving yards. Facing a Falcons defense that gave up seven catches for 76 yards to Darren Sproles in Week 1, and then eight catches for another 76 yards in Week 2 to Shane Vereen, it seems likely that Dunbar could put up similar numbers. If that were that the case, Dunbar could be RB1 fodder in PPR formats this week.
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Rishard Matthews, WR, Miami Dolphins ($12)
With Kenny Stills disappointing and DeVante Parker coming back from foot surgery, Matthews has emerged as Ryan Tannehill’s second favorite target. Jarvis Landry remains the apple of Tanny’s eye, but over the past two weeks Matthews has gobbled up looks, catching 10 of 13 targets for 149 yards and a score. Currently the WR17 in fantasy, Matthews presents above average size, reliable hands, and solid after the catch ability.
This week he’ll matchup against the Bills who have allowed five passing scores so far this season. Admittedly three of them came with Tom Brady under center, but it’s still reasonable to expect Tannehill to find traction via the air. After all Bill Lazor called 631 passing plays in 2014 and his lead running back (Lamar Miller) is currently battling an ankle injury. My best guess is that Rex Ryan will try to limit Jarvis Landry, which should free things up for Matthews. Given that Jordan Cameron is also banged up, this under the radar receiver figures to be a target hog who could easily sneak into the end zone for the second time in just three contests.
Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cleveland Browns ($12)
After finding the end zone four times in two weeks, Travis Benjamin is the toast of the Browns receiving core. What’s interesting, however, is that the bulk of Benjamin’s production has come with Johnny Manziel under center. The two certainly have a brah-licious rapport, but Johnny Football isn’t getting the start this Sunday. Rather, the much less reckless Josh McCown will be signal calling for Cleveland, giving the speedy Baby Hawk a potential boost in value.
Hawkins has actually led the team in targets and has the same number of receptions as Benjamin. His average depth of target, however, is nearly half of Benjamin’s, which helps to explain the vast difference in yardage totals. This week he should start to pad those stats while being covered by CB D.J. Hayden, who has struggled mightily since the season opener.
Over two weeks Hayden has allowed 12 receptions on 17 targets. A bottom ten cornerback as ranked by Pro Football Focus, Hayden is proving to be another leak in Oakland’s sinking secondary. While the Browns are likely to lean on the run, I expect McCown to target Hawkins early and often. He may not reach the end zone, but he should rack up enough catches to pay off in PPR formats.