Fantasy football sleepers are more important than ever during the bye weeks as we search for hidden heroes to replace our sidelined stars. That was a nice line, wasn’t it? Alliteration god, right here.
Luckily, the week 5 byes are pretty friendly as only the dreadful Dolphins and Raiders are sitting out. Still, if you’re looking for a spot starter to replace an under performer or if one of your reliables is injured, peruse this procured selection of tantalizing talents:
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Last week I wrote about Matt Asiata being a volume play, not a talent one. That assessment is still holding true as he’s only averaging about 3 yards per carry. While he’ll continue to see the bulk of playing time and goal line carries, Jerick McKinnon is a sneaky player who might surprise some people. While Asiata was pounding in 3 TDs in week 4, McKinnon was raking up 152 yards on 19 touches. He also showed the hard-cutting and quick-accelerating skills Asiata sorely lacks. McKinnon could be in line to break out with more touches in week 5.
Darrin Reaves, RB, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers’ injury report is littered with running backs. It seriously looks like a battleground. DeAngelo Williams suffered a sprained ankle in week 4 and has already been labeled doubtful for Sunday. Mike Tolbert is out and Jonathan Stewart looks questionable at best. That’s how you end up with a fourth-string player as your starting running back, folks. Even if Williams or Stewart do play, they’ll be limited at best, giving Reaves a nice opportunity to pick up some fantasy points.
Travaris Cadet, RB, New Orleans Saints
While the Saints were getting punched in the teeth by the Cowboys in week 4, Cadet had a nice game with six catches for 59 yards. Most people surely pegged Pierre Thomas to be the Saints RB who would get most of the passing game action, but Cadet stole his thunder last week. Whether he sustains that is shaky at best, but if you’re looking for a deep flyer, Cadet might be your guy.
Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
While Miller is not the stud he used to be, he’s still a great matchup play. Week 5 against the Jags is one of those matchups. After a slow first three weeks, Big Ben connected with Miller 10 times for 85 yards and a score on Sunday. Factor in his opponent who has given up touchdowns to four different tight ends already this season, and Miller looks like a solid play this week.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Flacco has two things going for him in week 5: 1) Momentum. He easily enjoyed his best game of the season last week against a stingy Panthers defense, throwing for 327 yards and three TDs. 2) His week 5 opponent is the Colts. Luck has been airing it out like crazy this year, and chances are the Ravens are going to need to keep pace. Flacco could find himself in a shootout with lots of deep bombs to rack up points for fantasy owners.
Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Jones returns to action from a broken foot this week. While he’ll probably be the third receiver in week 5 behind star A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu, there are reports he could start getting redzone targets right out of the gate. If Jones can shake off the rust quickly during practice this week, he might show up big in week 5.
Miles Austin, WR, Cleveland Browns
He’s appeared on this list before and I’m putting him on it again. In his last two games before the Browns’ week 4 bye, Austin was targeted 17 times, catching 12 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Don’t sleep on Austin heading into week 5 against the Titans.