Week 4 Fantasy Sleepers: Sneaky Value Players to Utilize This Weekend

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs warms up prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 19, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Not every fantasy football player has to wow owners with superstar upside.

As much as we enjoy chasing the sleeper with monster upside, that often leaves disgruntled owners stuck with David Wilson. Sometimes a medium-risk, medium-reward pick is better than the all-or-nothing gambit.

There's no shame in playing it safe once in a while with a low-profile selection. Your opponent may laugh while looking at the matchups and think "I can't believe I'm facing that guy," but he or she will then fume at the sight of that unheralded name posting a commendable point total.

Consider plugging in these players for Week 4.


QB Alex Smith (vs. New York Giants)

Need to replace Aaron Rodgers or Cam Newton during their bye week? Instead of taking a swing for the fences on an E.J. Manuel-type filler, consider holding the fort down with Alex Smith.

Boring, I know, but also super safe against an opponent that is spiraling out of control.

Smith has passed for 669 yards and four touchdowns for the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs without firing a single interception. He's a game manager who should be promoted to top billing against the Giants.

While Peyton Manning's 307 passing yards now looks like a brilliant defensive performance considering his other two games, the Giants allowed a trio of passing touchdowns to Cam Newton, who entered their game on fumes.

It helps that the defense has only generated three sacks, so Smith should have all the time in the world in the pocket. Maybe even enough time to find Dwayne Bowe again.

His yard total has increased with the passing of each game under Andy Reid's tutelage. He recently compiled 273 passing yards against the Philadelphia Eagles. Against New York, don't count out a rare 300-yard day from Smith.


RB Jason Snelling (vs. New England Patriots)

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jason Snelling #44 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts to scoring a touchdown during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Someone has to fill Steven Jackson's shoes. Scatback Jacquizz Rodgers is the more enticing choice due to his breakaway speed, but Jason Snelling is becoming the more proficient option.

Snelling made the most of his touches against the Miami Dolphins, gaining 53 rushing yards on 11 carries while adding four receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown.

While Rodgers possesses the big-play potential, the larger Snelling should receive goal-line touches and also factor into the passing game. Averaging a career 3.7 yards per carry, Rodgers has not shown enough consistency running between the tackles.

New England's passing defense ranks 24th this year with 120.7 rushing yards allowed per game. Since Jackson is no longer around to snatch the touches, look for Snelling to receive around 15 carries, which can lead him to a fine outing in a couple come deep down the red zone.


WR Terrance Williams (at San Diego Chargers)

On second thought, maybe some owners need to take a complete shot in the dark to win their matchup.

This space would have fit Miles Austin perfectly this weekend, but ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon reported that the veteran wideout will not face the San Diego Chargers due to an injured hamstring.

That's a shame, because the Chargers are awful at stopping the pass.

They have surrendered 341 passing yards per game, and they can't blame their shortcomings on a loaded schedule. So far they have faced Matt Schaub, Michael Vick and Jake Locker, all solid quarterbacks, but not ones known to pile up the passing yards.

Tony Romo will become the best passer they face all year, so it's easy to envision him securing 350 passing yards or more. Most of that yardage will be directed at Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, but some other receiver has to line up on the other side.

Enter Terrance Williams, a rookie from Baylor selected in the third round who registered 20-yard catches in each of Dallas' first two games. He went completely unnoticed against the St. Louis Rams, but that was with Austin on the field.

Unless you're counting on Bryant and Witten to each corral 150 receiving yards, someone else is likely to have a nice day for Dallas. Williams is next in line.


TE Coby Fleener (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

INDIANAOPLIS, IN - DECEMBER 30: Coby Fleener #80 of the Indianapolis Colts spikes the ball after scoring against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 30, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Texans 28-16.(Photo by Jonathan
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

While Coby Fleener doesn't feel too safe, he has not yet received a chance to establish such security.

Fleener quickly flourished in Dwayne Allen's place against the Miami Dolphins, catching four passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. With Allen now out for season, the position is all Fleener to party with his old Stanford pal, Andrew Luck.

Except he offered two catches for 13 yards against the San Francisco 49ers.

Not great, but savvy owners saw that coming against the 49ers, who have only allowed nine receptions to tight ends through four games. Besides, virtually no tight end other than Jimmy Graham is a reliable source of weekly points.

Fleener now faces the Jaguars, who have allowed opponents to complete 65.5 percent of their passes. The Indianapolis Colts should control this game through the ground, but Fleener could follow in Zach Miller's footsteps and receive red-zone targets. The Colts should make plenty of visits down the field.

Give Fleener a mulligan for last week and see what he is made of this Sunday.


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