Knowing which players are in potential breakout spots, or otherwise poised to exceed expectations, can give fantasy football managers a huge edge over their competition.
Using FullTime Fantasy’s data and metrics, here are some sleepers to consider for Week 4.
Jacoby Brissett (QB) Miami Dolphins
Brissett doesn’t have an abundance of upside but also has a solid floor if you’re looking for a desperation start this week. Last week he threw the ball 49 times and ran the ball seven. Granted those 49 pass attempts only resulted in 215 yards and no touchdowns with his rushing attempts garnering 37 yards and a TD. However, the opportunity is there, he’s not mistake-prone and he has weapons like Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker, who can turn nothing plays into big plays.
He seems to have a nice connection with Waddle and Mike Gesicki who exploded during Brissett’s first start as a Dolphin. Brissett has also proven to be a defacto goal-line runner in the past, so the rushing TD upside is always a possibility. This week he matches up with the Colts who are allowing the eighth-most points to Fantasy quarterbacks. If he can turn a couple of those attempts into touchdowns or one of his weapons can break a big play, Brissett could be a nice streaming option this week or QB2 in Super Flex leagues.
Jameis Winston (QB) New Orleans Saints
Jameis got off to a red-hot start in Week 1 as the Saints starter against the Packers then crashed and burned Week 2 against the Panthers before having a mediocre Week 3 against the Patriots. That’s the thing with Winston though, you just never know exactly what you’re going to get. This week he plays the Giants, which is a perfectly average matchup. Nevertheless, the matchup unless it’s unbelievably good or bad doesn’t even matter.
Winston is essentially the exact opposite of Brissett. He always has massive upside and week crushing downside. For this reason, he should always get consideration as a weekly sleeper. He deserves looks in DFS formats and if you are facing a team better than you and need a high-upside lineup. One word of advice if you ever do decide to plug him into your lineup. Don’t watch the game and don’t follow his scoring. Just check it at the end because you are almost certainly in for a roller-coaster ride otherwise.
Brandon Bolden (RB) New England Patriots
The Patriots lost James White for the season last week to a hip injury. This opens a large void in the offense that someone needs to fill as the pass-catching running back. While we can only guess Bill Belichick’s plans with his running backs going forward, so this is a bit of a dart throw, but I’m throwing my dart at Bolden.
The first and most obvious clue we have is last week when White went down Bolden stepped into this role receiving four targets and catching three of them for 23 yards. We have also seen Bolden excel with limited opportunities in the past both with the Pats and Dolphins. With that said, JJ Taylor and Rhamodre Stevenson are both very much in the mix as well if they can find a way to separate themselves from the pack and earn the vacated touches.
Kyle Juszczyk (RB) San Francisco 49ers
With Elijah Mitchell along with what feels like 15 other running backs injured for San Fran last week, the Niners backfield was down to the bare bones led by rookie Trey Sermon. Sermon looked okay, but not special. The surprising development was fullback Kyle Juszczyk’s workload.
He handled five carries for 14 yards and caught all four of his targets for 37 yards and a TD. Should Mitchell not suit up again, there is no reason this role can’t remain or even expand. I don’t expect him to get much work if any on the ground between the 20s, nonetheless, he looks to have a real shot at being the third-down and goal-line back. If you are scrambling for a running back off waivers, he’s a guy that may have earned himself the lion’s share of the most valuable touches.
Royce Freeman (RB) Carolina Panthers
With Christian McCaffrey out Chuba Hubbard is slated to be the starter in Carolina. He was the top waiver-wire target this week. The fact remains that there isn’t anything special about Hubbard outside of opportunity. Don’t expect him to get the full CMC workload either. Freeman will see his opportunities.
After CMC went down last week with a hamstring injury, Freeman saw five carries and one reception to Hubbard’s 11 carries and three receptions. If the rookie doesn’t outperform Freeman, has issues in pass protection or ball security, you could see a lot more touches swing towards Freeman in the coming weeks. Plugging Freeman into your lineup this week would be bold. Still, adding him as a sleeper option while CMC is out could be a smart move.
Kadarius Toney (WR) New York Giants
The Giants lost both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton to hamstring injuries last week and neither looks promising to play this week. Combine that with Toney’s explosiveness and playmaking ability, and he could be a high-upside sleeper this week. We finally saw him get real work last week and that looks to only expand Week 4.
Look for Toney to step in as the starting slot receiver for New York. A role Shepard has thrived in. If he can get close to the opportunity Shepard has seen, even half, Toney has the skillset to do much more with the touches after the catch. If you’re hurting this week and searching for a potential game-breaking Flex option, look no further.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (WR) Tennessee Titans
AJ Brown is week to week with a hamstring injury and looking unlikely to play Week 4 and Julio Jones also left the game last week with a hamstring injury of his own and is far from a lock to suit up. The next man up is Westbrook-Ikhine. With both receivers going down last week he led the team in snaps, routes run, yards, targets, and scored a TD.
Is there anything left to say after that? If Jones can’t get on the field he looks to be the WR1 against the New York Jets’ terrible secondary who just lost their best player. He is likely sitting on your waiver wire and this is as good of an opportunity anyone could ask for. I like him as a flex in deeper leagues and a DFS smash play.
Tim Patrick (WR) Denver Broncos
Patrick should no longer be a sleeper. However, as I peruse the interwebs for Fantasy rankings and tell myself how much smarter I am than everybody else I’ve noticed Patrick is often found ranked outside of the top 45. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish as a WR2 this week. He is now the clear-cut WR2 in Denver with both Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler out with injuries.
Last week, Patrick caught five passes for 98 yards and grabbed a TD in each of his first two games. If Patrick is available in your league right now I implore you to pick him up and if you don’t have great options don’t be afraid to plug him in. He should be rostered in every league with more than eight teams in it.
Jaylen Waddle (WR) Miami Dolphins
Brissett got his first start in Miami last week and he targeted Waddle 13 times. He caught 12 of those targets which gives him a high floor right there, even though he only gained 58 yards. These are going to be mostly screen, dump-offs and short routes, however, he has the playmaking ability to break one and take it to the house. He is another player who is being far too overlooked this week against a Colts team giving up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts.
Pat Freiermuth (TE) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers rookie tight end whose name I don’t want to type twice has begun to separate himself as the top TE in Pittsburgh. He saw a career-high five targets this past week and scored his first NFL TD. The TE waiver is often barren and I love him as a waiver wire add not only for this week but perhaps moving forward. Don’t be surprised if he breaks out and is the Steelers starter for a long time. He’s particularly valuable this week as the Steelers may be without Diontae Johnson for a second straight week and possibly Juju Smith-Shuster who is yet to practice this week with a rib injury. My money is where my mouth is here as I am in two leagues where I need a tight end and I’ve added and will be starting him this week.
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