The home stretch of the NFL fantasy football season is here, and it's time to make the final push for the playoffs.
For those in the top two positions of their respective leagues, the advice is fairly straightforward. Keep on keeping on. If you are in one of those positions, its probably because you have stars on your roster that you have been smart enough to keep in your lineup on a regular basis. There's no need to try anything that's out of the box, just make sure your stars are where they need to be—in your lineup.
However, even the most accomplished fantasy players may have a hole in the lineup or have to deal with an injury or two.
Adjustments have to be made, and those adjustments don't include inserting a star like Todd Gurley or Julio Jones. Superstars are not available. However, fine-tuning can be done to rosters and lineups by picking up free agents who might be able to help for a week or more.
Here's a look at our deep sleepers for Week 12, with the percentage owned in Yahoo fantasy leagues next to each player's name. Deep sleepers are defined as players who have ownership rates of 25 percent or less, and they will most likely have an impact in a 12- or 14-team league.
QB Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts (18.0 percent)
QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (14.0 percent)
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11.0 percent)
RB Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles (15.0 percent)
RB Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks (16.0 percent)
RB Jamaal Charles, Denver Broncos (11.0 percent)
WR Bruce Ellington, Houston Texans (7.0 percent)
WR Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati Bengals (5.0 percent)
WR Taylor Gabriel, Atlanta Falcons (12.0 percent)
TE Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints (20.0 percent)
TE O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore
Flacco is a high-profile quarterback who has won a Super Bowl with the Ravens, and it's quite telling that a well-known and highly paid signal-caller is on the list of deep sleepers.
But facts are facts, and fantasy owners have stayed away from him in droves. Those owners that had Flacco in their lineup or on their roster got rid of him fairly quickly.
However, the time may have come to give Flacco strong consideration and give him a shot if your team has a big need at quarterback.
The Ravens are a .500 team as they head into the final six games of the season, and they have won two of their last three. That's good news, because the Ravens can make a run at a playoff spot in the final weeks of the season. They are not going to catch the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they are currently the No. 2 wild-card team in the AFC and can cement their position.
Flacco has unimpressive season-long numbers, as he has thrown for just 158.0 yards per game with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. However, he completed 22 of 28 passes in the Ravens' 23-0 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 11 with a TD and an interception. That game comes on the heels of a 261-yard, two-TD effort against the Tennessee Titans in a Week 10 loss.
The Ravens host the Texans Sunday, and Flacco can be a difference-maker. He will approach 300 yards and at least two touchdowns.
RB Jamaal Charles, Denver
While fantasy football may not technically fall into the category of gambling, it's impossible to believe that for those who are going to give Charles a shot in their lineup.
Charles has played in every game this season for the faltering Broncos, and his numbers are not impressive. He has 65 carries for 281 yards and just one TD.
When Charles was with the Kansas City Chiefs, he was known for his explosiveness and big-play ability. Those days appear to be a distant memory. He had just four touches in the Broncos' Week 11 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Broncos travel to Oakland this week, and the Raiders rank 26th in yards allowed. The thought process is that if Charles can get off to a decent start, he can get 10-15 touches and get into the end zone once or twice.
The Raiders fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. this week, and their defense is likely to be quite vulnerable. That's why we believe Charles is worth a shot.
WR Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati
The battle of Ohio is not one of the glamour games on the Week 12 NFL schedule, but the Bengals are coming off a road victory at Denver, and they may be getting ready to play their best football of the year.
They are facing the Browns at home this week, and that should represent one of the team's best opportunities for an explosive offensive game.
LaFell is a solid receiver who has moved into the No. 2 role with the Bengals behind a star in A.J. Green. While LaFell does not have huge numbers this year, he has shown he can make a contribution by catching 34 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns.
LaFell is in his second year in Cincinnati, and he is still in the process of developing his relationship with quarterback Andy Dalton. The quarterback will be looking to LaFell when he needs to convert first downs. This could be a fine opportunity to install LaFell into your lineup and pick up some key yardage points and perhaps a touchdown.
TE O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay
After a brutal five-game losing streak from Week 5 through Week 9, the Bucs have won two in a row and may be starting to turn their season around.
The Bucs have won both of those games with Ryan Fitzpatrick in the lineup, and that's difficult to fathom considering that Jameis Winston appeared to be a star on the rise as the 2017 season began. Winston is out of the lineup with a shoulder injury, and Fitzpatrick has played adequately.
Howard is the kind of tight end who can go downfield and create big problems for the defense. Howard has caught just 17 passes to this point in the season, but he is averaging 16.4 yards per reception and has found the end zone four times.
He caught three passes in the 30-20 Week 11 win over the Dolphins for 52 yards and one TD. That effort should result in even more opportunities for Howard this week when the Bucs engage the Falcons in Atlanta.
The defending NFC champions are coming off a tough and emotional Monday night road victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The Falcons have a key game coming up in Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings, so the defensive focus against the Bucs in general and Howard, in particular, may not be great.
It's worth taking a fantasy shot with Howard.