It’s hard to know what a sleeper even is anymore when it comes to Fantasy Football, but, for the purposes of this article, we’ll use the term to mean an asset that’s likely to be undervalued heading into a given week. A player that’s going to be overlooked when it comes to ownership, yet one that has a reasonable path to make people regret that decision. Someone who might set your lineup apart from the pack in a GPP, if you will.
With that in mind, let’s go position-by-position for an early look at Week 17’s slate on DraftKings.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans, $7,000
It kind of goes without saying that this is going to be a bit of a weird week. Heck, by the time Sunday’s slate locks, it will literally be a different year. Anyway, with a jam-packed 15-game schedule staring us down, I don’t think you’ll have to worry too much about variance at the QB spot. That said, Kirk Cousins ($6,300) is going to be super chalky against a Lions secondary that appears to have given up, which will likely make Tannehill — the next highest priced quarterback — not overly popular. To be fair, I can see the critiques some people might have. First and foremost, Derrick Henry ($9,400) could just dominate the league’s worst rush defense all by his lonesome. Secondly, Tannehill is coming off an ugly performance against Green Bay on Sunday Night Football. Still, the former first-round pick has managed to exceed 30.0 DKFP four times this season and he remains fourth in the NFL in fantasy points earned per drop back (0.64). Tannehill’s highly efficient, he presents an obvious ceiling and it’s not like the Texans are all that great against the pass, either.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $7,600
Running back is insane this week. Not only do you have Alvin Kamara ($9,500), Henry and Dalvin Cook ($9,200) all in fantastic situations; but David Montgomery ($7,700) and Jonathan Taylor ($7,400) are also in spots to feast with their respective teams needing a victory. So, with everyone’s attention on those five RBs, why not grab a piece of Chubb in a matchup that could end up just as enticing? As of writing, the Steelers have not announced that any specific defensive players will be joining Ben Roethlisberger on the sideline this weekend, however it isn’t exactly a jump in logic to assume that guys like Cam Heyward or Stephon Tuitt might also get Sunday off considering Pittsburgh hasn’t had a real bye week in 2020. The Browns on the other hand are full speed ahead after dropping a 23-16 decision to the Jets in Week 16, making this a “win and get in” scenario. That should all translate to a lot of opportunities for Chubb, who has mustered six rushing touchdowns in his past five games, yet somehow received a modest 11 carries versus New York. Look for Kevin Stefanski to overcompensate for that mistake.
Richie James, San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks, $3,100
Ironically, you could simply make the case that paying up at wide receiver is the best possible variance in Week 17, but allow me to present a value option instead. With Brandon Aiyuk (ankle) and Deebo Samuel (hamstring) already ruled out for this Sunday’s matchup with the Seahawks, somebody’s going to have to run routes for the 49ers in what will likely be a negative script for the team. One of the remaining wideouts is James, who is coming off logging a massive 91.1% snap share in last Saturday’s win over Arizona. Yes, that’s also a contest where the 25-year-old was held without a single catch; yet James has proven to be explosive with the ball in his hands, averaging 16.4 yards per reception this season and 17.8 yards per reception to this point in his career. With Seattle conceding the most raw targets to opposing WRs of any team in football (406) and the fifth-most DKFP to the position, this has the potential to be a very volume-heavy opportunity for James. At what basically amounts to the minimum price, he’ll be a difficult asset to ignore.
Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills, $4,200
Well, it only took a 15-game slate, but tight end is sort of loaded this week and that’s even when taking into account that Travis Kelce ($8,600) will likely be resting. Darren Waller ($7,100) is matchup proof, George Kittle ($6,000) is basically the last man standing in San Francisco, Mark Andrews ($5,800) has been a targets machine as of late and even Rob Gronkowski ($4,500) is on the heels of a two touchdown performance. Anyway, with ownership likely to be pretty flat, I don’t have any real issue leaning on that group of names, yet I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Gesicki. No AFC tight end has averaged more PPR points per snap than the Penn State product going back to the beginning of Week 13 (0.41), which is the same span Gesicki has led the Dolphins in targets (23) despite playing in only three contests. He also registered eight catches for 130 yards and a touchdown when these two teams met in Week 2, so you can definitely say he likes the matchup.
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