With the fantasy football season entering its final weeks, there's really no better time for finding and starting the right sleepers. Week 13 offers another opportunity to find those game-changers.
Of course, starting "sleeper" players comes with high reward but also high risk. Making the wrong decision can kill an otherwise winning weekly score.
In the following slides, we'll help handicap Week 13's top sleepers. At every position, we'll give you players we think are going to surprise Sunday and Monday. It's not foolproof science, but matchups and recent performance can shed light on who's ready to help your fantasy team this week.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
With his third straight start, Kaepernick may not seem like a "sleeper." But he's still owned in just 43.7 percent of ESPN leagues and started in less than 20, so not everyone is buying in fantasy-wise. Maybe they should. Kaepernick has starts with 18 and 19 fantasy points under his belt, and there's little reason to think he can't match or best those marks Sunday against the Rams.
Chad Henne, Jaguars
Why not? Henne has made two fantastic starts for Jacksonville, and the Bills are the 25th-best fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks. The weather in Buffalo also shouldn't be bad for the first weekend in December. Could 15 to 20 points again be on the table? Henne is averaging 23 the last two games.
Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
Dwyer is back atop the Steelers' depth chart at running back, and it finally looks like he'll get a chance to be the main man against the Baltimore Ravens. Considering Ben Roethlisberger is out again Sunday, Dwyer should get a hefty look. That could mean business against Baltimore's run defense. The Ravens have allowed 10 or more fantasy points to opposing backfields in every game this season.
Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
LeSean McCoy (concussion) won't be back, so the Eagles' running game looks firmly in the hands of Brown again Sunday night. The Cowboys have allowed seven rushing touchdowns over the last seven weeks, plus an average of almost 17 points to opposing backfields. It's not a sure-fire matchup for Brown and the Eagles, but certainly one that can result in starting fantasy points in Week 13.
Davone Bess, Miami Dolphins
Everything about Bess's Week 13 matchup screams positivity. Not only has the Dolphins' slot receiver been targeted a team-high 20 times the last two games, but he's also turned those chances into 179 yards, one touchdown and 23 total fantasy points. Bess is awfully comfortable against New England's shaky pass defense in Miami, too. Over four career games at home against the Patriots, Bess has 392 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers
Alexander is the definition of late bloomer, but those fantasy owners that got him early are reaping the benefits. Since joining the Chargers starting lineup in Week 9, Alexander is averaging five catches and more than 91 yards. He also has three touchdowns during that span. His thigh is fine for Sunday's matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, so don't be afraid to continue riding the wave. Alexander has Vincent Jackson-like potential with Philip Rivers down the stretch.
Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions
Pettigrew finally had one of those high-volume games against the Houston Texans in Week 12, although a late fumble lost killed some of his fantasy worth. Still, the Colts have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends over the last month, and Detroit is sure to be pass-heavy again Sunday. Maybe Pettigrew is ready to turn on the fantasy jets.
Martellus Bennett, New York Giants
Bennett hasn't been fantasy viable since Week 3, when he caught his third (and last) touchdown pass of the season. He's cooled off considerably after a hot start with Eli Manning. That spark could come back Sunday against the Redskins, a team he caught five passes for 79 yards against the first time these two met.
Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys
Bailey has double-digit fantasy points in back-to-back weeks, and the Eagles are allowing the fifth-most points to fantasy kickers this season. In terms of kickers, Bailey's fantasy matchup appears to be a big plus.
Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs
Succop has the matchup on his side, as the Panthers have allowed the most points to fantasy kickers this season. In every week but two, the opposing kicker has amassed 10 or more fantasy points. It's a safe matchup even for the offensively challenged Chiefs offense.
Arizona Cardinals/New York Jets
The Cardinals-Jets matchup is a fantasy dream in terms of defenses and special teams. In fact, both of these offenses rank in the top five of giving away points to fantasy defenses. The Jets are awful with Mark Sanchez under center (15 or more fantasy points allowed to defenses in three of the last four weeks), and the Cardinals might even be worse, with Ryan Lindley averaging 18 points the last two weeks. Start both teams' units with confidence Sunday.
The Cowboys face what can only be considered a turnover machine Sunday. Philadelphia leads the NFC in turnovers and has done so six times the last two weeks. Quarterback Nick Foles should be good for one or two Sunday night. If that's the case, Dallas has as good a shot as any at cracking double-digit fantasy points in Week 13.