Fantasy Football Week 8: Highlighting Best Sleeper Plays of Weekend

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2013

Sep 29, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (85) makes a catch during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Browns beat the Bengals 17-6. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Week 8 of fake football is short in the sleeper department now that we are about halfway through the season and the majority of fantasy producers and duds have made themselves known.

That being said, several under-the-radar players are still worth a look in the sleeper category. As is the case every year, fantasy late-bloomers arise each week.

Regardless of whether the following players will remain consistently productive the rest of the way is a moot point, but based on favorable matchups, these under-the-radar options are worth a start with major performances on the way.


Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons

Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy owners have every right to laugh at this one.

But take a closer look at the matchup.

Yes, Carson Palmer has thrown two or more interceptions in five straight games behind a porous offensive line that allowed him to be sacked seven times last week.

As bad as Palmer has looked, he's in for a major day against a horrible Atlanta secondary that has allowed every quarterback it has faced to throw multiple touchdowns and allows over 20 fantasy points to the position per game.

So yes, Palmer has been an absolute dud this year, but while the opposing owner scoffs at the move, owners who start Palmer will see sure-fire production at a critical position.


Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots

Oct 20, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA;  Miami Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas (33) runs with the ball in the first quarter of a game against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Last week was a major letdown for Lamar Miller owners.

Miller was given just nine attempts against Buffalo, which he turned into 43 yards, 30 of which came on a single rush. Backup Daniel Thomas was not exactly better, but took 12 carries and went for 60 yards.

The important point here is there suddenly appears to be a committee approach in Miami, which is good news for owners who have Thomas stashed on the bench.

Now Miller faces a New England defense that lost tackle Vince Wilfork weeks ago, and since then has allowed 120 yards to running backs in three straight games with touchdowns in two.

In the majority of leagues, Miller is a great No. 2 back or flex option with the coaching staff giving him more looks than usual. New England is even worse against the rush than Buffalo.


Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The on field-relationship between rookie quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Jeremy Kerley continues to blossom.

Kerley, a 5'9" mismatch for most defenses, had what can be classified as a breakout game last week against New England as he caught eight passes for 97 yards and a score.

Most importantly, Kerley was Smith's highest targeted player with 10 targets, and from an actual reality perspective he was even better—six of his eight receptions went for a first down, and only one of his grabs did not go for a touchdown or move the chains.

That impact on the actual game translates to the fake football realm because the offensive scheme and Smith's trust will continue to shift in Kerley's favor. Add in a matchup with a Cincinnati squad missing its best cornerback in Leon Hall, who is out for the year per ESPN's Coley Harvey, and Kerley is in for a major day.


Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets

Flip to the other side of the Cincinnati-New York showdown and owners will find another diamond-in-the-rough with Bengals' rookie tight end Tyler Eifert. 

Oct 20, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) congratulates tight end Tyler Eifert (85) after catching a pass for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Web
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Eifert himself had a big day last week with three grabs for 45 yards and a score. The Notre Dame star's fake football value is helped by Eifert's fellow tight end Jermaine Gresham, who continues to shoot himself in the foot with undisciplined play that has led to a ridiculous seven flags already this season per Pro Football Focus (subscription required—Gresham is also the worst tight end in the NFL at No. 56). 

Gresham's mistakes will lead to more snaps and thus more opportunities for Eifert. His value has never been higher, and with star receiver A.J. Green locked up by elite corner Antonio Cromartie, Dalton will look Eifert's way plenty in Week 8.

Capitalize on the opportunity, because Eifert surely will.



Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling