The halfway point of the fantasy season is behind us and it’s time to kick our weekly preparation into high gear. This is another week in which six teams are on a bye, increasing the importance of finding those sleeper candidates.
Plowing through the distractions of Halloween week (what can I say … a 10-year-old girl loves candy and 2-year-old cat loves candy wrappers) the staff of the ’53 Deep’ column has come up with the players to help lead teams to victory.
Let’s get to it …
Joplo Bartu, ATLANTA at Carolina:
Since being inserted as a starter in Week 2, Bartu has played more than 93 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. Over the past two games he has posted 15 total tackles and registered half a sack in consecutive starts. Bartu’s versatility (and injuries) has seen him alternate between strong side linebacker and weakside linebacker, ensuring that he will have plenty of tackle opportunities this week.
Daryl Sharpton, HOUSTON vs. Indianapolis:
Sharpton steps into a starting inside linebacker role in place of the injured
. He has never played more than 12 games in a season and carries a huge injury risk (he’s missing practices this week with foot and toe injuries), so utilizing him as soon as possible is a wise move. For as long as he’s healthy, Sharpton will be manning a prime position for fantasy production.
(*Monitor his status on game day. If he is out go with Chicago rookie linebacker Khaseem Greene here.)
Jon Bostic, MLB, CHICAGO at Green Bay:
In his first game as the starting middle linebacker replacing the injured
, Bostic logged 66-of-76 defensive snaps in Week 7. He finished with eight total tackles (six solo) and has a very fantasy friendly matchup this week. The Packers are using their new toy, rookie running back
a ton (97 carries the past four games), showing a commitment to the run. Bostic is in for a huge week as Minnesota middle linebacker
finished with 14 total tackles against Green Bay last week.
David Hawthorne, ILB, NEW ORLEANS at New York Jets:
Hawthorne finally appears to be healthy and is playing as he did back in 2011 for Seattle. He put up eight solo tackles, a sack and a forced fumble last week against Buffalo. The Jets are going to look to limit the touches that quarterback Drew Brees gets this week by pounding the rock with former Saints running back
. Hawthorne will post excellent tackle numbers and also have chances at big play production with the mistake prone
at the helm for New York.
Paul Kruger, OLB, CLEVELAND vs. Baltimore:
Kruger has racked up 1.5 sacks while being credited with eight quarterback hurries and two quarterback hits the past two games. Play the revenge card here and roll the dice with the streaky Kruger against his former team. While he failed to get to quarterback
in their first meeting (Week 2) the Ravens have allowed five sacks to linebackers in their last two games. I’m calling for a pair of sacks for Kruger this week with 2-4 solo tackles.