Starting a sleeper is always a risk, but this week offers a few under-the-radar players who could pay off in a big way for bold fantasy owners.
Here are sleepers at each position to consider for your fantasy matchup.
Quarterback—Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
Ryan Fitzpatrick might not be a championship-caliber quarterback, but he is more than capable of putting up dominating statistical performances. He has a chance to do just that against one of the league's worst pass defenses this week in the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans allow 8.1 yards per pass and have only intercepted four passes all season. Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, has struggled lately, but this is still the same quarterback who threw 12 touchdowns in his first four games.
Fitzpatrick was faced with some tough defenses the past two weeks, playing the 49ers and the Cardinals. He should be salivating at the chance to once again play a porous defense. In fact, the Titans have the worst pass defense that the Bills have played all year.
This should help Fitzpatrick dominate Sunday en route to one of his best statistical performances of the year. If Fitzpatrick is available in your league, grab him.
Running Back—Felix Jones, Cowboys
When the Cowboys are committed to it, they can run the ball with the best teams in the NFL. With DeMarco Murray on the sideline, Felix Jones will be the bell-cow back, and he has a cushy matchup to look forward to against the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers are especially vulnerable to running backs who are solid receivers. Darren Sproles went off against the Panthers for 128 yards—that is, receiving yards. Jones is also a solid receiver, so the Cowboys would be smart to take advantage of the Panthers' inability to defend running backs in the passing game.
Jones, meanwhile, is coming off his best game of the season against the Baltimore Ravens. He was more than up to the task of toting the rock 18 times, as he turned those carries into 92 yards and a touchdown.
As bad as the Ravens' run defense has been lately, the Panthers is worse. Expect a huge performance from Jones.
Wide Receiver—Jeremy Kerley, Jets
Jeremy Kerley has been thrust into the role of being a No. 1 receiver, and while he's found some success, he has yet to have a signature performance. This week could be his chance to break out on to the national scene.
The Patriots are still extremely susceptible to the pass, ranking 28th in the league in pass defense.
Meanwhile, the Jets will need to pass the ball effectively to have even a fighting chance to keep pace with the Patriots dynamic offense. Kerley offers the Jets' best chance to move the ball through the air.
Kerley is averaging over five yards after the catch, as he excels at turning short passes into solid gains. He also possesses the speed to beat a defense deep, making him a tough matchup for the Patriots.
Playing Kerley is definitely a risk, but he has the potential to go off for a massive game. For teams in need of a bye-week receiver, Kerley is an ideal stop-gap starter.
Tight End—Coby Fleener, Colts
Coby Fleener started the season slowly, but he's really starting to heat up with nine catches in two weeks. He will have a chance to finally break out this week against the Cleveland Browns.
Two things are working in Fleener's favor. First, the Colts have no running game to speak of, meaning they will have to pass the ball on a regular basis against the Browns. Second, the Browns have one of the best cover corners in the NFL in Joe Haden, meaning they won't be able to lean on Reggie Wayne as much as they usually do.
The Browns are very solid against the pass, but Brent Celek and Jermaine Gresham were both able to find success, both going for more than 60 yards against the Browns.
Fleener could find a similar level of success against the Browns, as the Colts will likely be relying on him early and often.