The playoffs are just about here and fantasy football managers are focusing all of their energy on either making the playoffs or spoiling it for those who are. That’s where the sleepers come in.
Finding sleepers on a weekly basis is one of the most important and one of the most difficult aspects of fantasy football. Having that extra player go off in your starting lineup along with your studs is one of the best feelings in the world. One might even say it rivals the feeling of when the biggest guy in the gym calls you “big man.” It’s the ultimate serotonin booster.
In order to qualify as a sleeper, we will be using the expert consensus rankings (ECR) from FantasyPros. We’ll be taking a look at players ranked outside of the top-12 for quarterbacks and running backs, the top-24 for wide receivers and the top-10 for tight ends (adjusted for the utterly barren landscape).
Let’s take a quick look at nine sleepers in fantasy football for Week 13:
QB Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts
Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Fantasy Pros ECR: QB13
Week 13: at Houston Texans
Though the Texans matchup might seem modest on paper, this is a great opportunity for Wentz to creep into the top-12 in Week 13. Jonathan Taylor will get his, and there is some risk that he could completely take over. But given the options available and the way Wentz has been playing, it’s worth it. Over the last six weeks, Wentz has finished as a weekly QB1 (top-12) in four of those games. Since Week 4, he has multiple touchdown passes in all but two of those games and that’s mostly because of the aforementioned Taylor going bonkers. Wentz is a safe option with some upside against a Texans defense that has given up the fourth-most air yards in the NFL.
RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
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FantasyPros ECR: RB22
Week 13: at New York Jets
Did you know that Sanders has yet to finish as a weekly RB1 (top-12) this season? There’s a good chance that changes in Week 13. Sanders draws the best matchup for a running back in fantasy football by taking on the Jets, who are allowing the most adjusted fantasy points to running backs this season by a ridiculously wide margin, per Jake Ciely of The Athletic. While this game isn’t expected to be a barn burner, Sanders should benefit from the matchup and the fact that Jalen Hurts isn’t playing. This means likely more goal-line touches and passing game work with Gardner Minshew under center. With Jordan Howard out and Boston Scott expected to play through an illness, it could very well be the Miles Sanders show in Week 13.
RB Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions
David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
FantasyPros ECR: RB16
Week 13: vs. Minnesota Vikings
Williams will be getting the start against the Vikings in Week 13 with D’Andre Swift ruled out due to a shoulder injury he suffered on Thanksgiving. In that Week 12 game against the Bears, Williams saw a 79% running back rush share and a 20% target share. Those are elite numbers. Now, he could see similar usage against a Vikings defense that has allowed the eighth-most adjusted fantasy points to running backs this season. Williams has the upside to finish as a weekly RB1 with his potential workload and a score.
RB Sony Michel, Los Angeles Rams
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
FantasyPros ECR: RB27
Week 13: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
You might be hesitant to start Michel due to the questionable nature of starter Darrell Henderson, who is dealing with a thigh injury. Even if Henderson is active, which is growing more doubtful by the hour, you might still be able to start Michel as a FLEX play with upside. If Henderson is active but banged up, we will see more of a committee approach with Michel mixed in. The Rams are 12.5-point home favorites, which means they are likely going to be running the ball a lot. Even if Henderson is active, that could mean it’s the Michel show for the second half as to not further the former’s injury. And then if Henderson is out, Michel will get all of the work in a matchup against a very beatable Jaguars defense that has allowed the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in the NFL.
WR Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
FantasyPros ECR: WR37
Week 13: at Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s a bit hard to trust the rookie Bateman because of his volatile usage in recent weeks. Since making his debut in Week 6, Bateman has finished as a weekly WR2 (top-24) just once. In the last two weeks, he’s finished as WR57 and WR55, respectively. The matchup on paper looks scary for Ravens wide receivers. That said, the Steelers are actually allowing the fifth-most adjusted fantasy points to the wide receiver position. Bateman hasn’t posted a 20% target share since Week 10 but he’s still hit that mark in three of his six games. Bateman isn’t a must-start by any means but if you’re looking for a deeper FLEX play, the rookie has a solid opportunity.
WR Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
FantasyPros ECR: WR29
Week 13: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
This is more of a confidence booster to start Jefferson if you have him. Because if you do, you’re already contemplating starting him. It seems there is a chance Odell Beckham Jr. plays through a hip injury in Week 13, but that shouldn’t keep you from starting Jefferson. In four of his last five games, Jefferson has seen a target share of 17% or better and is coming off of a career-high 23% target share in Week 12. In that span, Jefferson hasn’t seen fewer than six targets in a game. Couple that with the fact that Jaguars are allowing the ninth-most adjusted fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position, and Jefferson is in a good spot to boom this week.
WR Kenny Golladay, New York Giants
AP Photo/Steve Luciano
FantasyPros ECR: WR42
Week 13: at Miami Dolphins
Trust me, I know. As a Giants fan, the season that Golladay has had is nothing short of disappointing. He’s been injured for the majority of the season and when he’s healthy, it hasn’t done much for fantasy purposes. So this is a deeper play at the wide receiver/FLEX position. But given my optimistic nature, I have hope for this week. Even without Daniel Jones, Golladay faces the best matchup for fantasy wide receivers. The Dolphins are allowing the most adjusted fantasy points per game to the position while Golladay himself is coming off of seven targets in Week 12. It was just the second time this season he posted a target share above 20%. It’s risky, obviously, but if you’re looking for a deep sleeper with some potential to boom in Week 13, Golladay just might be your guy.
TE Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team
AP Photo/Nick Wass
FantasyPros ECR: TE12
Week 13: at Las Vegas Raiders
After spending six games and a bye week on the injured reserve list, Thomas returned to action in Week 12. It was a modest outing but it did include six targets. Given that it doesn’t take much for a tight end to perform well in fantasy football, we should expect Thomas to return to glory as a borderline top-five option at the position. He’s coming off of a season-high 18% target share while the Raiders have allowed the third-most adjusted fantasy points per game and the third-most touchdowns to the tight end position this season.
TE Foster Moreau, Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
FantasyPros ECR: TE13
Week 13: vs. Washington Football Team
We’re sticking with this game at the tight end position. With Darren Waller ruled out, we will get to see Moreau in action as a starter for the second time this season. The last time we saw Moreau as the starter was Week 7 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He finished as the TE4 on the week while posting six receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown on the back of an 18% target share. Washington is a favorable matchup for tight ends, allowing the 12th-most adjusted fantasy points per game to the position. Moreau is a strong start for those in need this week.