Although we rely on big-name players to guide our fantasy football teams to victory, knowing how to locate the sleepers in a given week could be what pushes your team over the edge. With Week 14 of the NFL and fantasy football season on the horizon, here are some sleepers to keep in mind when setting your lineups.
Top Fantasy Football Sleepers in Week 14
Brock Purdy, QB, San Francisco 49ers
I don’t know what San Francisco did to anger the football gods, but their injury luck in recent years has been absolutely awful. Unfortunately, it happened again on Sunday as Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a broken foot and will miss the remainder of the season.
With Trey Lance (ACL) already on the IR, this means Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, is the starting quarterback. At least for now.
Purdy stepped up in a big way on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. The former Iowa State QB completed 25 of his 37 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns and an interception to finish as the QB16.
Aside from his fourth-down interception, Purdy looked reasonably comfortable in the pocket. In 1QB leagues, I wouldn’t worry about this, but if you’re in a 2QB or Superflex league, Purdy is an interesting sleeper to consider with a matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14.
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Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions have just been a fun team this year, and one of those reasons is the play of Jared Goff. In a high-scoring game against the Jaguars, Goff completed 31 of 41 passing attempts for 340 yards with two touchdowns as the QB4 overall.
Goff sits seventh in the NFL in passing with over 3,000 yards while also ranking 10th with 19 touchdown passes. Additionally, all four of his starting wide receivers are healthy for the first time all season. The Lions have a favorable schedule, including a game next week against the Minnesota Vikings, who have allowed the fifth-most points to quarterbacks.
Mike White, QB, New York Jets
If not for a dropped Braxton Berrios touchdown, they would be naming streets after Mike White at this point. After a 300-yard debut against the Bears, White threw for 369 yards on 31 of 57 passing with a touchdown and two interceptions.
White has 684 passing yards and three touchdowns in his two starts, and if you’re a manager who lost Lamar Jackson or Garoppolo, there is certainly value to be had with White as a sleeper QB for Week 14.
Zonovan Knight, RB, New York Jets
With 103 total yards and 17 touches in his first game, Zonovan Knight rushed for 90 yards on 15 carries and caught all five targets for an additional 38 yards against the Vikings in Week 13. With 118 scrimmage yards and 20 touches, Knight proved that last week was no coincidence.
Although Ty Johnson remained the third-down back and handled a few early snaps, Knight, at the moment, is the RB to roster on the Jets outside of Michael Carter. If Carter is inactive again, Knight will be in Flex territory in a difficult matchup against the Buffalo Bills.
James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills
After laying a near goose egg in Week 12, James Cook was far busier than anyone expected in Week 13. Cook rushed 14 times for 64 yards and caught all six of his targets for an additional 41 yards on the day.
The concern is a potential repeat of Cook being schemed out of the offense. That was the case in Week 12, where Cook only had two carries and five targets after an 11-carry game in Week 11.
The matchup against the Jets isn’t the best, but even if you want to take the wait-and-see approach on Cook, he’s a sleeper that needs to be rostered due to his upside for the fantasy football playoffs.
Travis Homer, RB, Seattle Seahawks
It’s the next man up in Seattle all over again. On Sunday, Kenneth Walker III injured his ankle in the second quarter and did not return to action.
In his place, DeeJay Dallas initially took over the early-down role, but unfortunately, he also had to leave due to an ankle injury. Unlike Walker, he managed to return but did not play much and was hampered by his injury.
Travis Homer missed this game due to an illness, but at this point, is the healthiest RB in this offense. There’s absolutely no certainty about what will happen this early in the week. Still, if you want to take a shot in the dark, as the potential No. 1 RB against a soft Panthers rush defense, Homer is an intriguing sleeper to consider for Week 14.
Corey Davis, WR, New York Jets
I promise I didn’t intend for this to be all about the Jets. It’s just the way things happen.
Corey Davis caught five of his 10 targets for 85 yards against the Vikings in Week 13, which was his highest target volume since Week 1 and the most receptions he’s had since Week 4.
Despite the hope that Elijah Moore would see an uptick in production, Davis is the only other pass catcher I would want for fantasy outside of Garrett Wilson. The rest can be dropped. Similar to White and Knight, I don’t love him for this week against the Bills, but I think it’s a name to keep in mind with the playoffs approaching.
Nico Collins, WR, Houston Texans
Nico Collins led the Texans in targets on Sunday while catching three of his 10 looks for 35 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Browns. He’s become the No. 1 option for Houston since the trade deadline fiasco, which clearly left Brandin Cooks disgruntled that he was not moved.
In fairness to Cooks, he did miss this game with a calf injury, but the trends were already moving in this direction.
Three of the Texans’ next four opponents are also in the bottom 10 in points allowed. Although neither Davis Mills nor Kyle Allen enables Collins to hit his ceiling, it’s rare this time of year to find a team’s No. 1 option labeled as a sleeper for fantasy.
Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions
Nothing that happened on Sunday surprised me. The minute the Lions announced Jameson Williams would be making his return, the majority of reactions said they were plugging him into their lineups automatically. I was against that.
The Lions had been very clear all year they were going to take it easy with Williams’ return, and this year, when someone has made a return from injury, they’ve aired on the side of caution.
That was precisely the case on Sunday, as Williams played on only eight snaps against the Jaguars. Two of those snaps even came at the end of the game when the team was kneeling out the clock.
The Lions are simply protecting their investment. And with Williams’ upside, who could blame them?
If you’re a fantasy manager with some dead weight on your roster or an open spot, consider Williams due to the upside that he possesses. However, I would also take a wait-and-see approach. Wait until we see his snap count hit a stable threshold before risking your fantasy football playoffs on a gut feeling.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Tennessee Titans
Tight end is so hit-and-miss for fantasy football. It’s primarily that way for rookies, where more time than not, I look at whoever is the most athletic person and hope that shines eventually.
That happened on Sunday as Chigoziem Okonkwo led the Titans’ pass catchers on Sunday, hauling in four of his five targets for 68 yards against the Eagles.
With Treylon Burks leaving the game due to a concussion, Okonkwo showed some flash, but more importantly, his athleticism. Not only does Okonkwo lead the league in yards per route run by a tight end at 2.75, but his 10.4 yards after the catch per reception are also by far the highest for any tight end with 10 or more targets this year.
I would still leave him in sleeper territory right now, but until we find out more about Burks, Okonkwo could become their next Jonnu Smith.
Evan Engram, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
I mentioned Evan Engram last week as one of my potential streamers due to the juicy matchup, and he delivered, catching five passes for 30 yards and the Jaguars’ only touchdown against the Lions.
Sunday was Engram’s fifth game as a top-12 tight end. While his numbers haven’t always been great, volume and pace have certainly helped, as Engram now sits third in routes run.
The upcoming schedule is demanding against Tennessee, Dallas, and the Jets, but if you’re looking for a potential sleeper in Week 14, Engram fits the bill.
Daniel Bellinger, TE, New York Giants
Making his return after a gruesome eye injury, which required surgery, Daniel Bellinger was busier than ever. Bellinger was on the field for all but two plays on Sunday, which was his highest snap share all season. Unfortunately, the fantasy production didn’t necessarily match, as he caught all four of his targets but for only 24 yards.
The big thing here is consistency. Bellinger was trending towards weekly high-end TE2 status before his injury. With the Giants’ offense consisting of inconsistent pass-catching options outside of Darius Slayton, there’s certainly reason to believe Bellinger’s utilization will continue. He’ll come in as a mid-TE2 against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14.
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