Week 16 Fantasy Sleepers: Unheralded Players Who Will Win You a Championship

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 15:  Kirk Cousins #12 of the Washington Redskins rolls out against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 15, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

You want to put the best players in your lineup once you get to the fantasy championship. However, the top scorers might not necessarily be the ones you think.

While Jamaal Charles led all of fantasy in Week 15 with his ridiculous five-touchdown performance, there were plenty of lesser-known players who also had big days for those willing to start them. Alex Smith, Matt Asiata and Ryan Fitzpatrick certainly exceeded expectations with strong efforts. 

It is not always easy to project which sleepers will come through, but this selection of players should post big numbers on Sunday. If you do not have an established starter at these positions, feel free to make the switch this week.


Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins

There were many reasons for benching Robert Griffin III, but one benefit is that it gives the Redskins and other teams a chance to look at Kirk Cousins in a starting role. Additionally, it also provides fantasy owners an opportunity to get a legitimate starter off the waiver wire.

Although Cousins made a lot of mistakes in his first start of the year against the Atlanta Falcons (two interceptions and a lost fumble), he also threw for 381 yards with three touchdowns. Imagine what could have happened if he was consistently hitting his targets.

Things only get easier for him this week as he will face the Dallas Cowboys. Not only does "America's Team" have the worst pass defense in the NFL, but it also allows the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Cousins will get the opportunity to throw the ball a lot on Sunday, and he should be able to torch a poor defense to provide fantasy owners with a big day.


Jordan Todman, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 15:  Jordan Todman #30 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs for yardage during the game against the Buffalo Bills at EverBank Field on December 15, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Maurice Jones-Drew is the starting running back in Jacksonville when healthy, but that might not be the case on Sunday after missing the Week 14 game with a hamstring injury. 

Jessica Blaylock of Fox Sports Florida reports that the veteran is progressing in his rehab, though he is still a question mark for the upcoming game:

If he is unable to play, Jordan Todman immediately becomes a solid starter after bursting for 109 yards on 25 carries against the Buffalo Bills. He also added four catches for 44 receiving yards in a big game.

The Tennessee Titans have had a hard time stopping the run this season, and only the Washington Redskins have allowed more touchdowns to opposing running backs. Todman should be on all rosters at this point and started as long as MJD is inactive in Week 16.


Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 27:  Marvin Jones #82 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It is likely Marvin Jones has frustrated plenty of fantasy owners throughout the season.

After posting his 122-yard, four-touchdown game against the New York Jets in Week 8, he was one of the most added players off waivers. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep this up and only had eight catches over the next four weeks with zero touchdowns. 

The good news, however, is that he is back on a hot streak with a touchdown in each of the last two games. Going against a Minnesota Vikings defense that has been dominated through the air this season should help keep up this strong play.

At this point, the only thing you should be scared of is inconsistency, but that has admittedly been part of the offensive plan for the Bengals. Jones told Coley Harvey of ESPN:

I'm the type that wants to get into it early. Get the ball in my hands as early as possible. We have a lot of playmakers, so if it's their day, so be it. That's the beauty of our team and offense. If someone takes away a certain part, there's always someone that is going to produce. But it's good to get all of us in a rhythm early.

Still, the Vikings have a hard time defending anyone, which should leave Jones open for a big day.

Other Potential Sleeper Options
Jason CampbellQBCleveland BrownsNew York Jets
Ryan FitzpatrickQBTennessee TitansJacksonville Jaguars
Edwin BakerRBCleveland BrownsNew York Jets
Marcel ReeceRBOakland RaidersSan Diego Chargers
Aldrick RobinsonWRWashington RedskinsDallas Cowboys
Rod StreaterWROakland RaidersSan Diego Chargers
Dennis PittaTEBaltimore RavensNew England Patriots


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