Every week we aim to identify players who might produce at a much higher level than their percent owned rate and general fantasy-buzz might lead one to believe. These sleepers are players that are available in most leagues and could be picked up off the waiver wire to replace an injured, struggling, or bye-week player. Frank Gore, Colin Kaepernick, Vernon Davis, and Rashad Jennings owners (bye week); and C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, A.J. Green, and Calvin Johnson owners (injury) should pay particular attention. With that in mind, let’s get to the week 8 sleepers:
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill gets a great matchup this week in the Jaguars. In two of his last three games, he has put up 20+ fantasy points in standard leagues — those results coming against coming against the Raiders and Bears who rank 19th and 21st respectively in points allowed to opposing QBs. Jacksonville ranks 22nd, so there’s reason to expect another 270 yard, 2 touchdown game from the ‘Fins QB.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Smith likewise has a favorable matchup this week agains the Rams — a team riding high after a shocking upset against the defending champion Seahawks. All mediocre teams have to fall back down eventually and their subpar defense might aid in that effort this week. The Rams have allowed the third-most rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks, something Smith can definitely do, as well as the third-most fantasy points per game to QBs.
Kyle Orton, QB, Buffalo Bills
Yet another QB sleeper is facial-hair disaster that is Kyle Orton. Since replacing E.J. Manuel as the starting QB, Orton has attempted no fewer than 38 passes and ranked up 283 yards per game. Sure, he’ll probably turn the ball over once or twice a game, but his volume alone is enough to make him a legitimate fantasy option. This week is especially enticing as he goes up against the Jets who have allowed a league-leading 18 passing touchdowns.
Owen Daniels, TE, Baltimore Ravens
Daniels goes up against a Bengals D that has allowed the most yards to opposing tight ends so far this season. He should build off his momentum last week in which he saw nine targets from Joe Flacco. Add in the wave of recent injuries to the Bengals D and Daniels could be in for a big week.
Travaris Cadet, RB, New Orleans Saints
Cadet was one of my sleepers in week 5 and he’s making another appearance in week 8. Since that initial week 4 game in Dallas that got him on fantasy owners’ radars, Cadet has been OK, hauling in nine catches for 70 yards and a touchdown in two games. The guy impeding his involvement in the offense has been Pierre Thomas who’s now out for two to three weeks. Cadet is now firmly the team’s pass-catching back heading into a desperate game against the Pack.
Brandon LaFell, WR, New England Patriots
As Brady’s big downfield option, LaFell has been on and off week by week. After every big week (like weeks 4 and 6 which resulted in 10 catches for 216 yard and three TDs), LaFell will drop off (like he did last week with just four catches for 55 yards). Keeping up with the trend of one week on and one week off, I’m banking on LaFell to have a big game against a Bears D that hasn’t be great against the pass this year.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Despite being his team’s most consistent receiver all season, Robinson is only owned in 2% of leagues. Since Bortles stepped in behind center Robinson has seen at least seven targets every game. Expect Robinson to continue to get the first look from Bortles this week against the Dolphins who had yielded 451 yards and three touchdowns to opposing WRs before shutting down the crumbling Bears last week.