NFL Fantasy Football Week 2 Sleepers to Start

Adam Barone@ap_barone33Contributor IISeptember 15, 2012

NFL Fantasy Football Week 2 Sleepers to Start

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    When you do a search for "fantasy football sleepers," you're looking for the same garbage you've already read in 48 other places, right?

    You want to be told that Alfred Morris and C.J. Spiller were good in Week 1, don't you?

    No, of course you don't. You already know that Kevin Ogletree was good against the Giants because you own a television.

    Unfortunately, there are only so many usable players in the NFL, but there are certainly some who are either widely available or buried on your bench that have value.

    Here's a few guys you may not have considered who could help you win your week.

1. Brandon LaFell: WR, Panthers

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    The Panthers couldn't get much going last week against the Bucs, but LaFell still managed 65 yards and a score on just three catches.

    Carolina will need to air it out to keep up with New Orleans, and the Saints defense will be keying on Steve Smith and Greg Olsen. LaFell could post a line similar to that of Pierre Garcon's in the Saints' opener—four catches, 109 yards and a touchdown.

2. Curtis Brinkley: RB, Chargers

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    San Diego's Curtis Brinkley should receive the bulk of the carries against the generous Titans defense Sunday with starting running back Ryan Mathews questionable. According to's Dan McLellan, it's unlikely that Mathews will play.

    Patriots' running back Stevan Ridley racked up 152 total yards and a touchdown in Tennessee's opener, and Brinkley could receive similar charity.

    Though he wasn't especially effective against Oakland on Monday night, Brinkley is a good receiver and could be a sneaky Week 2 play.

3. Dexter McCluster: RB/WR, Chiefs

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    McCluster, who conveniently qualifies at running back and wide receiver in many leagues, has found a regular role as the Chiefs' slot receiver.

    He saw 10 targets last week against Atlanta and recorded team highs of six grabs and 82 yards. He'll face a Bills defense that was amazingly generous to the less-than-mediocre Jets offense in their opener, surrendering 266 passing yards to Mark Sanchez

    McCluster should be flex-worthy going forward, barring injury, because of the versatility he brings to the Chiefs offense.

4. Andrew Hawkins: WR, Bengals

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    Hawkins was impressive in the Monday night opener against Baltimore, pacing Cincinnati with eight grabs and 86 yards. At 5'7", he's tiny, but there's a job available opposite A.J. Green for which Hawkins has already made a strong case.

    Opposing defenses will continue to key on Green, creating opportunity for Hawkins to make his mark. The Bengals' upcoming opponent, the Browns, will be without suspended cornerback Joe Haden, significantly weakening their defense.

5. Roy Helu: RB, Redskins

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    Helu was not exactly a sleeper on draft day, but the emergence of Alfred Morris has pushed him to fringe status. Don't write him off, though.

    Easily the team's best receiving threat out of the backfield, the former Nebraska Cornhusker caught three passes for 25 yards in the opener in New Orleans. The 'Skins upcoming opponent, the Rams, surrendered four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown to the Lions' Kevin Smith, who also amassed 62 yards rushing at a 4.8 yards-per-carry clip.

    Morris is obviously the best bet to be the primary back again this week, but don't be surprised if Redskins' coach Mike Shanahan favors Helu and his receiving ability against St. Louis.

6. Christian Ponder: QB, Vikings

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    Ponder will face the leaky Colts defense Sunday that surrendered 333 passing yards to Jay Cutler last week. Cutler's struggles against Green Bay make the Colts defense an even more appealing opponent.

    Ponder was an impressive 20-of-27 passing against Jacksonville for 270 yards in Week 1, leading his team to an overtime victory. Adrian Peterson's apparent return to full health will keep pressure off of Ponder, giving him time to connect with underrated targets Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, Devin Aromashodu and Michael Jenkins.

    Ponder could submit a performance Sunday that will make him a hot claim on the waiver wire, so don't hesitate to grab him if you need a quarterback.

7. Marcedes Lewis: TE, Jaguars

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    Lewis, a 6'6", 270-pound giant, had five catches in the season opener and caught a touchdown.

    He could become a reliable safety valve for second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who's struggled so far in his career. Lewis was a disappointment in 2011 with Gabbert adjusting to the NFL, failing to score a touchdown.

    The additions of receivers Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson on the outside, however, should open up space in the middle of the field for Lewis to return to his 10-touchdown form of 2010.

8. Chargers Defense

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    San Diego's defense is being widely overlooked in fantasy football and is currently almost universally available in standard size leagues.

    The Chargers boast a potentially dynamic young core that includes safety Eric Weddle; linebackers Melvin Ingram, Larry English and Jonas Mouton; and end Corey Liuget. They slowed Darren McFadden to just 32 rushing yards on 15 carries Monday night and nearly held the Raiders to just six points.

    A Week 2 battle with Chris Johnson and the Titans could be rewarding for potential fantasy owners, as Johnson was pathetic Sunday, rushing for four yards against the Patriots. He looks slow and uninterested, similar to his start to 2011. Expect San Diego to take advantage.