Surviving Week 15 took a lot of skill or a lot of luck. Either way, congratulations on advancing to Week 16. Finding the right sleepers can really help fantasy football managers maximize their lineups in a week that is severely depleted.
Here are some sleepers to consider ahead of Week 16.
Tyler Huntley (QB) Baltimore Ravens
Huntley appeared on this list last week and beyond delivered giving you high-end QB1 numbers. With Lamar Jackson still on the mend and Huntley looking better than Jackson has in weeks, I can’t discount him as a sleeper this week against the Bengals. Jackson is yet to practice this week, but we will have to keep an eye on the injury report. However, if you need a quarterback for this week Huntley should be scooped off waivers in anticipation of him getting another shot this week against a lesser defense than he played last week when he totaled 288 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Justin Jackson (RB) Los Angeles Chargers
Austin Ekeler has found himself on the Covid list and is now very much a question mark for Week 16. The next man up is expected to be Jackson. While generally, I would tend to shy away from a Chargers’ rusher who is not Ekeler, the Texans are their opponents this week. In a positive game script against a terrible rush defense, you can’t ignore the Chargers’ lead back. The Texans are also decimated at linebacker currently. Jackson needs to be added off waivers immediately and on standby as a plug-in option.
Duke Johnson (RB) Miami Dolphins
With Covid issues running rampant through the Dolphins’ running back room during their Week 14 bye, Johnson served as the lead back for Miami last week despite Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed being active. He rewarded their faith in him with the team’s first 100-yard game of the season and earned a contract following the game. Still, there are a lot of questions about how this backfield will shake out and they play the Saints this week who are brutal against the run. Nevertheless, if Johnson is the RB1 in Miami and is in line for 20-plus carries, a few targets, and goal-line work, he has to be considered a sleeper.
Keshawn Vaughn (RB) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Leonard Fournette has landed on injured reserve and Ronald Jones is the expected next man up. However, we’ve all seen how this plays out in Tampa before. Jones inevitably fumbles or misses a block and is banished into the void by Bruce Arians never to be heard from again. The next man up I believe will be Vaughn despite the recent signing of Le’Veon Bell. Vaughn is more of a stash than a sleeper or a deep DFS sleeper, but he is worth mentioning and keeping an eye on. Especially if your league plays through Week 18.
Jaret Patterson (RB) Washington Football Team
J.D. McKissic is on IR and Antonio Gibson is now dealing with a turf toe injury for the second time in as many years. If Gibson can’t go or is limited, Patterson is the next man up. He would be in for a full workload against the Cowboys should Gibson be forced to sit this one out. Gibson was listed as DNP on Wednesday so we will have to watch the injury reports and monitor this situation closely.
Tyler Johnson (WR) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs lost Chris Godwin for the season and Mike Evans for the foreseeable future last week. This leaves Antonio Brown and Tyler Johnson as the starting wideouts this week with Brown returning from Covid and injury for the first time in months. Johnson could be heavily targeted and utilized as a red-zone threat. He will likely be close to an every-snap player and with Brady at the helm looking to redeem himself from last week, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Johnson get a big piece of a potentially abundant pie on Sunday.
Josh Palmer (WR) Los Angeles Chargers
Jalen Guyton is the Chargers’ primary deep threat and has scored a touchdown in three straight games. Unfortunately, he has landed on Covid IR. This leaves Josh Palmer to slip into his role. He was a popular sleeper amongst the fantasy community and in training camp this summer. He has flashed explosive ability and could be in line for an expanded role this weekend. With the Texans’ defense on the other side of the ball it would shock no one to see explosive plays made by the offense all over the field.
Nico Collins (WR) Houston Texans
Brandin Cooks has been hot lately and is now on the reserve/Covid list and likely out for Week 16. The Texans have a bad matchup and against the Chargers with an equally bad quarterback in Davis Mills, but if Collins is sliding in as the WR1 in Houston he is worth mentioning as a potential sleeper option for owners looking for a deep flex option. He would be a desperation play, but perhaps a necessary one with all the injuries and Covid around the league as of late.
Keelan Cole (WR) New York Jets
The Jets have already lost Elijah Moore and Corey Davis, and now Jamison Crowder missed practice on Wednesday with a calf injury which could force him to miss Week 16. While I hesitate to encourage anybody to start anyone from this putrid Jets’ offense, Cole should be the WR1 and they are facing a Jags’ defense who has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to wideouts. In theory, this is a great opportunity to plug in Cole, a guy who has flashed massive games before in the fantasy playoffs. However, the big concern is that Zach Wilson will be the guy throwing him the ball. You may have to hold your nose and play him this week if you need a flex option.
Zach Gentry (TE) Pittsburgh Steelers
Gentry is looking like he will be the starting tight end for the Steelers this week. A role that is proven to provide fantasy production. Pat Freiermuth suffered his second concussion of the year last week and it’s hard to see him returning without missing a game. With Eric Ebron already done for the season, this is a massive opportunity for Gentry. If you’re scraping to find a viable tight end on your waivers, he could surprise and be a solid option this week and until Freiermuth can return to action.