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 4 of the NFL and fantasy football season on the horizon, here are some sleepers to keep in mind when setting your lineups.
Week 4 fantasy football sleepers | Quarterbacks
Jared Goff, Detroit Lions vs. SEA
I keep thinking that at some point, Jared Goff will no longer fit the sleeper category, but when you have so many options at QB, it’s hard for Goff to climb the QB rankings ladder significantly.
Goff did come back down to Earth a bit on Sunday, throwing only one touchdown instead of four the week prior, but did have over 250 yards for the second straight week (277) against Minnesota to finish as the QB19 on the week.
It is worth noting that Amon-Ra St. Brown was injured for the second half of the game, which could have very well impacted Goff’s stats, but he should be good to go next week in a more favorable matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. With D’Andre Swift’s status up in the air, more emphasis will be placed on Goff and the passing game. If you need a starter in a deeper league, Goff is on the short list of streamers I would consider for fantasy in Week 4.
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints vs. MIN
Despite coming into the game with a back injury that did appear to limit him at times, Jameis Winston had a vintage day on Sunday—completing over half of his passes (25 of 41), Winston threw for 353 yards against the Panthers’ defense, with one touchdown and two interceptions. The touchdown is what stood out as Winston threw it into triple coverage, and Marquez Callaway came down with a one-handed touchdown.
Even in his 33/30 season in 2019, Winston will throw the ball up and let his receivers bail him out. He’s got the talent to do the same in New Orleans, especially with how Chris Olave is turning into the world-beater they expected. We need to monitor Michael Thomas’ injury, but Winston is facing the same Vikings defense that surrendered 277 yards to Goff and the Lions and allowed Jalen Hurts to throw for 333 yards against them. The QB17 on the season, Winston should be an upper-QB2 in Week 4.
Week 4 fantasy football sleepers | Running backs
Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears at NYG
Odds are Khalil Herbert will be the chalk name on the waiver wire and in sleeper articles this week, and for a good reason. Thrust into action following the injury to David Montgomery, Herbert rushed 20 times against the Texans, rushing for 157 yards with two touchdowns, ending as the RB1 in PPR formats with 30.9 PPR points.
Herbert shined when in a similar situation last season. Between Weeks 5 and 8 of last year, Herbert recorded 78 carries, 344 yards, and 22 opportunities a game. The only concern is the potential impact of Hurricane Ian as it makes it trek up the East coast, but that’s still a ways off, and a ton can change with hurricane tracks, seemingly by the hour.
Given how run-heavy the Bears are offensively (72%), Herbert could quickly see in excess of 25 carries. Volume alone pushed Herbert from not only sleeper status but to a legitimate RB2 in Week 4. In deeper leagues, I would also consider Trestan Ebner a fascinating sleeper as well after his impressive preseason and seven rushes in Week 3.
Craig Reynolds, Detroit Lions vs. SEA
The potential absence of Swift is massive. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported early on Monday that Swift suffered a shoulder sprain in Sunday’s loss but that it is not expected to require surgery.
However, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell alluded to the fact Swift could benefit from having a couple of weeks off to heal up until after the bye. Detroit has the earliest bye of the season, coming in Week 6, placing a possible return for Swift in Week 7 on Oct. 23 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Jamaal Williams will see the most significant boost, having already been a factor in game plans and finding paydirt four times in three games. But the Lions like to use multiple RBs to lighten the load. Craig Reynolds would be the next man up and did see some work in Week 3, playing on 11 snaps with four of those in short-yardage situations. With Williams set to take the No. 1 role, look for Reynolds to see in the neighborhood of 10 to 12 rushes, with some even in the red zone. Reynolds is an intriguing sleeper worth adding to rosters ahead of any concrete Swift ne
Week 4 fantasy football sleepers | Wide receivers
Mack Hollins, Las Vegas Raiders vs. DEN
This might be somewhat chasing points, but Mack Hollins has been impressive, something I must admit I did not see coming. With Hunter Renfrow out of commission due to a concussion, Hollins and Derek Carr get to work quickly, combining for 158 yards and a TD on eight of ten receiving.
Hollins’ fantasy value is directly tied to the status of Renfrow. If Renfrow is active, Hollins won’t see a 97% snap rate or a 95% route participation. However, if Week 3 taught me anything, it is that, apparently, I know nothing about concussions, so who knows what Renfrow’s status will be against the Broncos.
I wouldn’t be rushing out to get him, but I would add Hollins to a list of potential sleepers for Week 4 if we see Renfrow is not progressing in the NFL’s concussion protocols quickly enough.
Isaiah McKenzie, Buffalo Bills at BAL
I was all over Isaiah McKenzie after we thought he won the starting slot role for Buffalo, but through two weeks, he had been disappointing. McKenzie was splitting time with Jamison Crowder and would have scored single-digit fantasy points in both games if not for a touchdown in the season opener.
Week 3 was different. McKenzie dominated the snaps and volume, catching seven of his nine targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. He also took his lone carry for six yards. McKenzie did see some boost likely to Jake Kumerow leaving the game but was featured on two-wide sets before that took place.
With Baltimore and everyone else focused on Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, McKenzie will always have an advantageous matchup. If these trends hold, one of the top sleepers of the season could become a weekly flex option in a high-powered offense.
Week 4 fantasy football sleepers | Tight ends
Tyler Conklin, New York Jets at PIT
While the fantasy football world was looking at C.J. Uzomah after he joined the Jets in the offseason, Tyler Conklin has been the TE fantasy managers have wanted but is still going under the radar, likely due to not being a coveted name.
But the stats back it up. Conklin caught all eight of his targets for 84 yards and though three weeks, has 18 receptions for 140 yards with a TD, currently sitting as the TE3 in PPR scoring, averaging 12.7 PPR/game. He sits tied for third in targets with 24 and is second in receptions and seventh in yards amongst TEs.
The sheer volume of the Jets offense with Joe Flacco under center has allowed so many Jets players to become weekly starting options, something that could flip on its head once Zach Wilson returns. Unfortunately, that is something we won’t know the extent of until we see it take place on the field.
With that said, I don’t see Conklin being written out of this offense as tight ends are a critical component of a “Shanahan-Esque” style offense that Mike LaFleur and many use who are a part of the QB Collective. Given how barren the TE landscape is for fantasy at the moment, Conklin is one of the few sleepers with top-12 upside depending on the matchup.
Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals vs. MIA
Personally, I wouldn’t take too much away from the TE usage of the Bengals over the weekend. Hayden Hurst is their guy. He came into the game with a groin injury and reportedly suffered a setback on Friday, which led to his reduced snap count (38%) and opportunities, catching one of two targets for seven yards.
However, Hurst still led the Bengals TE in snaps in the first half and was rested when the Bengals had a decent lead. Assuming better health come Thursday, Hurst should be busy, having seen 15 targets in the first two weeks and facing a Miami defense that you can attack from the inside out and has allowed the most fantasy points to the position on the season (25.9 PPR/game).