Each week I will present facts and opinions on 2 Must Start Sleepers. The facts will be based on team and individual statistics from the current year and even trends from the past. When examining facts one needs to consider the offensive and defense of their team as well as the opponent’s team. Keep in mind a wide receiver for instance will be used more if their own team has a weak defensive or if the opposing team has a good offensive. In both these situations typically more passing will be present giving you a better chance of higher stats. In regards to opinions fantasy football is inevitably a crap shoot and when playing sleepers percentages need to be used. We don’t play the game so the more expert opinions you can get the better chance you have of making the right move.
Sleepers of the week:
Aaron Stecker for the New Orleans Saints. He has probably been picked up in most fantasy leagues if not after Deuce McAllister’s injury after his great performance last week with over 100 yards and a touchdown. He is a must start this week in all leagues not only because he is a very talented runner but his opponent is the Arizona Cardinals. New Orleans has a high-powered offense as displayed the past two weeks versus the 49ers and the Rams with 58 points scored. This week will be no different. The Cardinals have shown a lot of energy this year on defense and have looked halfway decent but the numbers don’t lie. The Cardinals are dead last (32) in rushing defense giving up 180.7 yards a game. The 31st ranked team is giving up 166 yards per game; obviously the Cardinals own this category. Looking deeper the Cardinals while being last haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown yet, however this is obviously misleading and Stecker should visit the end zone this Sunday. One final note the Cardinals offense is ranked 30th which says New Orleans should have plenty of opportunities in good field position and will probably be playing with a lead allowing Stecker to rack up the carries. This matchup has game ball honors in the making for Stecker. It’s too good to pass up if you own him.
Laveranues Coles for the Washington Redskins. Personally I have never been a huge fan of his as I think he has been overrated in fantasy circles but after seeing last Monday night’s games versus Dallas I looked at some numbers and believe a good week is in store for Coles. On Monday we all saw Rod Gardner have a career day and Coles drop a few passes from Brunell. When a number 2 receiver has a good day such as Gardner, the following week is usually a different story. Cleveland their opponent obviously wont ignore Coles but after watching the tape versus Dallas they will pay a little more attention towards Gardner allowing Coles to find some soft spots and capitalize on the Cleveland defense that ranks 25th in passing giving up 251 yards per game. Now Cole’s numbers on the year are 6 receptions for 56 yards per game and no scores. I wouldn’t necessary bank on 100 plus yards and a touchdown or 2 but he should be able to hook up with Brunell for 70-90 yards and a good chance of a score.
Byron Leftwich has a great matchup against the Colts. The Colts are last in pass defense giving up 313 yards per game. They have also allowed 7 touchdowns. Yes the Jaguars offense has struggled but Jack Del Rio has attributed much of that to Leftwich’s hand being hurt in preseason and is now close to 100%. If you have Culpepper or Hasselbeck on your team (both on byes) Leftwich who might be a free agent is a great play for you this week.
Jerry Porter should be the primary beneficiary of Kerry Collins being the starting quarterback for Oakland. Porter has yet to get going this year averaging 64 yards a game but had 5 receptions for 84 yards versus Tampa Bay on Sunday night. He looked very good and had a connection with Collins which should continue against Houston on Sunday.
Best of luck as always.