The fantasy playoffs are just around the corner and Week 13's matchup is going be a pivotal one for many owners.
It’s important to end the regular campaign with a victory, whether you need the win to make it into the playoffs, score a bye or just cap off the end of a dismal season on a positive note.
One way you can get an edge heading into the upcoming slate of contests is to identify and start a handful of star-caliber sleepers. Let’s take a look at some under-the-radar talents that should be lurking in the free-agent pool of your league that are worth a gamble.
Benny Cunningham, RB, St. Louis Rams (at San Francisco 49ers)
The St. Louis Rams running game finally came alive under Zac Stacy, but the emerging rookie star suffered a possible concussion in Week 12 against the Chicago Bears.
While the organization is still waiting to see the results from a series of tests Stacy must pass in order to return to the field, it has nothing to worry about since the team unearthed a high-level replacement in Cunningham.
Is Cunningham worth owning if Stacy is healthy?
The first-year man out of Middle Tennessee State saw limited action in eight previous games this season but finally had a chance to assume a bigger role this past Sunday. He made the most of it, going off for 109 yards and a score on just 13 carries.
Cunningham should be considered a must-add handcuff option for all Stacy owners, while those in deeper leagues or lacking production at the RB spot should be willing to gamble their waiver-wire position on the young man.
He’s shown head coach Jeff Fisher that he has what it takes to shoulder the load in the NFL and should continue to get a solid amount of touches upon Stacy’s eventual return.
Rod Streater, WR, Oakland Raiders (at Dallas Cowboys)
Much like the Oakland Raiders as a team, Rod Streater has been anything but consistent this year. The second-year wideout finally seems poised to deliver regular production with Matt McGloin under center.
Streater has delivered in back-to-back weeks with the rookie quarterback starting, compiling 93 yards on nine receptions in Week 12 and eight receptions for 84 yards and score in Week 11.
He’s led the team in targets over that two-game span and should continue to be locked in as McGloin’s favorite target for the remainder of the 2013 campaign.
With a Thanksgiving Day trip to Dallas on the horizon, Streater should be considered a high-end WR2.
The Cowboys have allowed opponents to throw all over them this year, ranking 31st in the league by conceding an average of nearly 300 yards per game.
Don’t be afraid to plug-and-play this talented receiver with an “A+” matchup into the lineup.
Mike Glennon, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Carolina Panthers)
Glennon can no longer be considered a rookie having a good stretch of games, but rather a legit signal-caller who is capable of putting up numbers on any opponent.
The Bucs are in the midst of a three-game winning streak and much of the credit for that is due to their quarterback’s precise, accurate and efficient passing. He’s been dicing up opponents through the air and putting up big numbers on a limited amount of throws.
Here’s a look at how consistent Glennon has been in standard scoring fantasy leagues since taking over as the starter in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals.
|Week 4 vs. ARI||24||43||193||55.8||1||2||5|
|Week 6 vs. PHI||26||43||273||60.5||2||1||18|
|Week 7 @ ATL||26||44||256||59.1||2||0||17|
|Week 8 vs. CAR||30||51||275||58.8||1||0||15|
|Week 9 @ SEA||17||23||168||73.9||2||0||15|
|Week 10 vs. MIA||11||21||139||52.4||1||0||7|
|Week 11 vs. ATL||20||23||231||87.0||2||0||17|
|Week 12 @ DET||14||21||247||66.7||2||0||17|
Unless you own one of the major stars at the position—Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tony Romo, etc.—you should highly consider Glennon as a starter this week against the Carolina Panthers. The Bucs signal-caller should find success in Week 13, even against the No. 7-ranked passing defense.