Minor roster decisions can make major differences in fantasy football.
In contests that are routinely decided by just a few points, the gurus that start high-upside sleepers over starters with bad matchups are likely to end up on the winning side.
It’s never easy to bench a proven player, but sometimes it just makes sense based on the situation. If you're looking for some quality starters that are a bit under the radar and possibly available in your league for cheap, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s a look at some fantasy sleepers for Week 5 of the 2013-14 NFL season.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Oakland Raiders
Rashad Jennings is going to have a chance to capitalize on yet another injury to brittle starting running back Darren McFadden.
According to Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com, there’s little chance that Run DMC will appear in Sunday’s contest against the San Diego Chargers. With Marcel Reece also banged up, that makes Jennings a strong start in many formats.
The Raiders are going to look to pound the ball at home against the Bolts, a team that is giving up over 120 yards per game on the ground. It’s one of the best ways to beat them and could open things up for signal-caller Terrelle Pryor to take a few shots downfield.
Jennings proved his worth after taking over for McFadden in Week 4, gashing the Washington Redskins' defense for 45 yards on 14 carries. His real damage came in the passing game, though, as he hauled in eight receptions for 71 yards.
PPR owners are definitely going to want to give this five-year veteran a go in their flex spot, and most others should consider him as a bye-week starter or injury replacement.
He clearly has the talent as well as the trust of his quarterback and coaching staff to get the job done in Week 5.
Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo Bills
Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel has been spreading the ball around, but often found himself looking in Woods’ direction this past week in a big win over the Baltimore Ravens. The first-year receiver out of USC caught four passes for 80 yards and a score on the day.
He could have had even more, as Woods was targeted eight times—the most of any receiver in the game.
Stevie Johnson, the team’s top option, was thrown at just six times and only came up with one reception for a one-yard loss.
Owners looking for a legit WR3 option should look no further than this emerging star, but they have to act quickly. The Bills only had a short week of rest and will take the field on Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns.
It’s a decent matchup, although the Browns' secondary is conceding just 212.5 yards per game through the air. However, after top corner Joe Haden—who will almost assuredly be assigned to Johnson—there isn’t much depth at defensive back for Cleveland.
Give Woods a go and hope for the best if you need to replace an injured starting wideout, fill a bye-week vacancy or aren’t sure who to use as a flex this week.
Brandon Myers, TE, New York Giants
The New York Giants haven’t done anything to inspire confidence in fantasy owners in 2013, but this may be the week it all turns around.
The winless G-Men have a chance to right the ship against the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles and their atrocious defense. It could be the game in which Myers finally steps up and has his first breakout performance as a member of the franchise.
Myers put up a big zero in the points department in Week 4, leading many fantasy owners to dump him on the waiver wire.
Fortunately, it’s hard to imagine that same result happening again and you should be willing to give him a shot on Sunday if you aren’t starting a top-tier tight end.
Philly is giving up a ridiculous 325 yards per game through the air and that isn’t going to change—even against a team with a turnover-prone quarterback and dysfunctional offensive line like Big Blue.
There should be plenty of scores in this one, so don’t be surprised if Myers snags at least one and eclipses the 75-yard mark with ease.