Week 8 Fantasy Sleepers: Underrated Players Who Are Worth Starting

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 21, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 20:  Charles Clay #42 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates a touch down in the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL regular season has been one of the most unpredictable in recent history. The only team that's undefeated had the top pick in the 2013 NFL draft, and only two division winners from a year ago are currently in first place.

If anything has remained the same, it's that fantasy football is immensely popular and every owner is looking for an edge. The question is, where can you find that glimpse of hope and how can you use it to your advantage?

For starters, you can stop sleeping on some of the most productive fantasy football players in the league.

Owned and started percentages provided via ESPN.


Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

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Position: Running Back

Owned93.5 percent

Started11.1 percent

2013 Season Statistics

3 GP; 51 ATT, 184 YDS, 2 TD; 8 REC, 55 YDS

The Pittsburgh Steelers are notorious for their dedication to the ground-and-pound approach. Unfortunately, injuries have ravaged the Steelers' hopes of playing that way, thus leading to an 0-4 start.

Now, Pittsburgh has won two consecutive games, and the presence of rookie Le'Veon Bell is a major reason why.

Bell has 51 carries for 184 yards and two touchdowns in three games. The former Michigan State Spartans star also had eight receptions for 55 yards, thus developing into a reliable source of offense for fantasy football owners.

After being started in just 11.1 percent of leagues during Week 7, you need to start Bell in Week 8.

Pittsburgh will play the Oakland Raiders, which does boast one of the better run defenses in the NFL. Oakland also has a pass defense that's filled with gambling defensive backs, which means Ben Roethlisberger will get Pittsburgh into the red zone.

Seeing as Bell is Pittsburgh's red-zone running back and its featured player, look for the rookie to find the back of the end zone during Week 8 as Pittsburgh looks for three straight wins.


Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins

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Position: Tight End

Owned43.7 percent

Started24.3 percent

2013 Season Statistics

6 GP; 24 REC, 34 TGTS, 304 YDS, 3 TD

When it comes to finding a tight end in fantasy football, it's one of the most difficult things to do. Unless you find one of the few established stars at the position, it can often be a week-by-week evaluation.

If you're looking for a player you can trust, try Charles Clay of the Miami Dolphins.

Through six games, Clay has 24 receptions on 34 targets for 304 yards and three touchdowns. He's caught a touchdown in three straight appearances and has at least four catches in four of his first six outings.

Going up against the New England Patriots during Week 8, Clay will have opportunities to shine.

The Patriots have defended tight ends well, but due to an injury-depleted linebacker corps, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill should have his fair share of chances to shine. If there's anything we've come to learn, it's that Tannehill favors certain receivers, and Clay is one of those players.

Miami still doesn't have a star running back, so look for Clay to break out as an eligible receiver on a consistent basis.


Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

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Position: Quarterback

Owned24.5 percent

Started5.8 percent

2013 Season Statistics

7 GP; 93.9 RAT, 65.9 CMP%, 1,924 YDS, 11 TD, 6 INT

The Cincinnati Bengals have a very difficult matchup during Week 8, as they face the defensive-minded New York Jets. After watching Tom Brady struggle to do much of anything against New York during Week 7, it's likely that owners will refrain from starting Andy Dalton.

Don't rush to judgement.

Dalton has thrown for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in back-to-back games against the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions, respectively. With A.J. Green finding his stride and Marvin Jones emerging as a consistent option, there's no reason to suggest Dalton will slow down now.

If that doesn't convince you, try this: The Jets have allowed 10 passing touchdowns to just two interceptions.

As for New York's pass rush, the presence of running back Giovani Bernard will alleviate pressure. With his checkdown option, deep threat and possession receivers all established, Dalton is in for an impressive outing.

It won't be the biggest fantasy football performance, but if your starter is on a bye and you need quality production, Dalton is your guy.


Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys

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Position: Wide Receiver

Owned50.1 percent

Started26.7 percent

2013 Season Statistics

7 GP; 24 REC, 28 TGTS, 380 YDS, 3 TD

Over the course of the 2013 regular season, Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver Terrance Williams has become a critical piece in the offense. In seven games, Williams has 24 receptions and continues to emerge as a top red-zone target.

With the success he's experienced during Dallas' past four games, it's reached that time where Williams should enter your starting lineup.

During his past four appearances, Williams has 19 catches for 320 yards and three touchdowns. He's received at least seven targets in two of those games and has thus become one of Tony Romo's most trusted targets.

It's all about efficiency.

On the season, Williams has caught 24 passes on 28 total targets—a percentage of 85.7 percent, per ESPN. During his past four games, Williams has caught 19 of the 21 passes sent his way.

If Romo throws to him, and all signs suggest he will, Williams will catch the ball and give you quality numbers.