Fantasy football in 2020 requires patience, flexibility, and a whole lot of woooooosaaaah. The most dedicated and passionate managers get that … since they continue to find zeal in exploring the concepts and happenings occurring under the radar. While there are times your roster may allow for snoozing on sleepers, it’s always beneficial to keep tabs on emerging trends and players. This weekly column is for those who understand the satisfaction of digging deep.
All of the listed players are rostered in under 60 percent of Yahoo leagues (at time of writing) and/or are a significant value in our daily game. They’re not the obvious picks, and they’re not without their risks … but that’s what makes them so intriguing.
Coming out of Week 12, I am thankful for picks that delivered as deliciously as my husband’s smoked turkey. Except for Derek Carr — who clearly hadn’t detoxed the tryptophan out of his system — all of ‘em hit. Wayne Gallman Jr. and Frank Gore recorded over 85 yards each while both David Moore and Tyler Eifert found the end zone. Let’s focus on the future and see what fantasy damage we can do in Week 13!
Full disclosure: I am required to feature a sleeper at every position.
There are, of course, safer options who are rostered below the requisite 60 percent. But I trust you are savvy enough to have considered Taysom Hill or even (cringe emoji) Mitch Trubisky. So I’m leaning into the chaos of #2020 and throwing a dart at a bad Colt McCoy in a good matchup.
As someone who has been in a long term committed relationship with a lifelong Washington Football Team fan, I am fully aware of McCoy’s limitations. From the knocks on his size to the concerns about his arm strength, the former third-round pick has proven to be the bust everyone saw coming. Heading into Week 13, a career TD:INT ratio of 29:27 doesn’t exactly breed confidence. (Though that’s better than Daniel Jones’ current showing of 8:9.)
What McCoy does have working in his favor, however, are solid weapons and a willingness to use his legs.
Obviously, Darius Slayton’s skill set doesn’t align with McCoy’s, but Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram could pull the 34 year old into production. Both have been consistent chain movers for the Giants and should continue to produce against a Seahawks defense that has allowed the most receptions (30.5/gm) and yards (343/gm) on the season. Interestingly, Seattle is also getting run on by opposing QBs, recording the second-most rush attempts (65) for the sixth-most yards (267) and the third-most ground scores (5). Colt isn’t as quick as he used to be, but he’s still willing to work as a rusher, as evidenced by the 5 rushing attempts he logged in relief of Jones last Sunday.
None of this figures to be pretty. After all, it’s a clash between teams in two diametrically opposed divisions. As the 10-point underdogs, the McCoy-led Giants figure to be chasing points any way they can to stay alive in the sham that is the NFC East playoff race. Plus, I’m guessing Colt wouldn’t mind keeping his old team out of the postseason.
Devontae Booker, RB, Las Vegas Raiders (10% rostered – $14) @ NYJ
Booker’s viability is obviously dependent on Josh Jacob’s availability. After suffering an ankle sprain in Week 12, Booker checked in for the stud RB. He only touched the ball six times and for a laughable amount of yardage, but it is worth noting that the former Bronco drew a season-high four targets (1RZ look).
After playing through a host of nagging injuries, it seems reasonable to rest Jacobs, especially in a soft matchup. But far be it from me to predict rational coaching. The Jets have allowed the fourth-most receptions (71) to opposing RBs, which makes Booker’s work in the passing game all the more intriguing. Given the “chance” that Jacobs sits, his backup would offer RB2 appeal to needy managers.
BONUS: Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams (30% rostered – $16)
I’m not chasing points, I’m leaning into the hot hand … just like Sean McVay. Since Darrell Henderson exited Week 8 early with a quad injury, Akers has taken on an increased role in the offense. This is still a three-headed hydra, but the rookie has now scored in back-to-back efforts. In last Sunday’s narrow loss to the 49ers, Akers was far-and-away the team’s best back. The matchup versus Arizona in Week 13 is admittedly tough, but the Cardinals have given up three rushing scores to the position (two to James White in Week 12) over the last two weeks. Akers is my RB30 heading into the weekend.
Breshad Perriman, WR, New York Jets (12% rostered – $16) vs LV
After being unleashed by Joe Flacco, Perriman refused to go unnoticed by Sam Darnold in Week 12. Leading the Jets pass catchers in yards and tying Denzel Mims for a team-high eight looks, Perriman continued to emerge as New York’s alpha receiver, recording 79 yards in the primary coverage of Xavien Howard (+63.3 coverage rating, CB4).
The 27-year-old has now cleared 75 yards or scored in each of his last three efforts. He’s additionally logged the highest burn rate (28.6%) among eligible receivers and a top-seven dominator rating. (34.3%). This Sunday, he’ll take on Vegas’ bottom-eight ranked secondary that’s likely to be without Damon Arnette (concussion). Expect Perriman to rise to the occasion, once again. FF: 5-77-0
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts (38% rostered – $16) @ HOU
I’ve been honking about Michael Pittman Jr. since the spring but snaps to Hilton for his Week 12 throwback effort. With Indy playing catchup, Rivers connected with Hilton for a 50-yard gain and a five-yard score in the game’s fourth quarter. It was Hilton’s first score and effort over 70 yards all season. Game flow pushed Hilton’s production, but he figures to be in a similar situation this Sunday.
Despite being third in the division, Houston is still fighting for a playoff berth. It’s a longshot (and hard to imagine Tennessee falling apart down the stretch) but the Texans’ remaining schedule is exploitable. That means they’re likely to come out swinging and force Philip Rivers to throw the ball. Per BetMGM, the projected point total for this game is 51.5. With Bradley Roby shut down for the season (suspension), the Colts may have more luck in the passing game, as Phillip Gaines (-15.1) and Vernon Hargreaves (-19) have earned negative coverage ratings over the season. Hilton offers WR3 appeal in a potential Week 13 shootout.
Ryan Izzo, TE, New England Patriots (0% rostered — $10) @ LAC
Is Austin Hooper a better option? Yes. Could Kyle Rudolph do some damage? Sure. But you already knew that, right? Maybe I’m walking cockily coming off the high of Eifert’s Week 12 touchdown, but at a position as frustrating as tight end, I feel inclined to present less-than-obvious options.
Izzo didn’t draw a single look last Sunday. He was also facing the Cardinals, which as we discussed with Dalton Schultz, consistently quiets the position. The Chargers, on the other hand, have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points and four scores (including a wide-open Dawson Knox last Sunday) to opposing TEs over the last four weeks. The pass-catching options in New England are decidedly thin, and Izzo is consistently logging a snap share above 80 percent. He won’t get peppered and he’s touchdown-dependent, but that’s the position in 2020. FF: 3-38-1
Dig deep with Liz on social @LizLoza_FF