Fantasy Football Week 4: 3 Sleepers at Every Position
Week 4 of the 2011 NFL season is already upon us, and some of us are looking to scrap together sleepers for numerous reasons.
Injuries, tough matchups and players simply underperforming may have you looking for some sleepers to propel your team to victory in Week 4.
Some of the players on this list may be owned, but in terms of where they are ranked for the week via ESPN.com will tell us whether they are a sleeper or not.
For this article, any team defense, quarterback or tight end that ranks outside the Top 15 will be considered a sleeper for the week. All the while, any running back or wide receiver ranked outside the Top 40 will be considered a sleeper.
Without any further ado, let's check out three sleepers at every position who will surprise in Week 4.
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Minnesota Vikings (17th)
The Vikings have underachieved as an overall team defense, but they get the Chiefs in Week 4.
The Vikings have stuffed the run by only allowing 67.3 rushing yards per game; fourth best in the league. They have struggled against the pass, though, allowing 299.3 passing yards per game; 29th worst.
Luckily for the Vikings, the Chiefs are a good running team that struggles passing the ball. Not only that, but the Chiefs are without their best runner in Jamaal Charles.
The Chiefs have only scored 27 points on the season, and Jared Allen will lead a hungry Vikings team searching for their first victory.
Buffalo Bills (19th)
Did anyone see what the Bills were able to do to Tom Brady last week? Yes, the Bills did allow 31 points to the Patriots, but they were able to intercept Tom Brady four times.
The Bills are ranked 19th, but with an easy matchup against the Bengals on the road, they could easily creep into the Top 10.
Expect the Bills to take full advantage of rookie Andy Dalton, as the 49ers did in Week 3.
Cleveland Browns (25th)
The Browns are the biggest sleeper among defenses as they come in ranked 25th. After three straight easy matchups to start out the season, the Browns get the Kenny Britt-less Titans.
Teams have been able to run against the Browns as they have allowed 128.7 rushing yards per game; 29th worst.
With Kenny Britt out for this game, it would be wise for the Browns to stack the box and force Matt Hasselbeck to beat them.
The Browns have not allowed more than 20 points all season, and I expect more of the same from Cleveland in Week 4 at home.
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Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (15th)
Kellen Winslow is right on the cusp of being a sleeper at 15th, but I really like him in Week 4. He has averaged four catches and 43 yards per game, all the while totaling 20 targets through three weeks.
Tampa Bay gets Indianapolis in Week 4, and I believe this will be the week we see the Tampa offense flourish. Kellen Winslow is a key component to the Bucs passing game, and he will get the ball early and often en route to getting his first touchdown of 2011.
Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals (17th)
Gresham's stats are a little weaker than Winslow's, but the Cincinnati tight end has a touchdown on the season. He has totaled 12 catches for 117 yards, while totaling 21 targets.
Gresham is a safety valve for rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and will be targeted often by the young quarterback.
Benjamin Watson, Cleveland Browns (19th)
I typically stay away from teams that use two tight ends often, but Watson is clearly the favorite tight end of Colt McCoy.
So far in 2011, Watson has 10 catches on 20 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown. Evan Moore, the other Cleveland tight end, has half the targets than Watson, although he has two touchdowns.
Watson is obviously the better overall tight end, and Colt McCoy will continue to find him.
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Jason Campbell, Oakland Raiders (17th)
Nobody has allowed more passing yards than the New England Patriots. That being compared to the Jets, who are sixth best in the NFL against the pass.
Last week, Campbell was not really needed with the way Darren McFadden ran the ball. This week may be a bit different as McFadden is dealing with a groin injury.
Jacoby Ford should be back in the lineup for the Raiders, which figures into Campbell's production for Week 4. This game has shootout written all over it, and the Raiders may have to pass more than in previous weeks.
Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos (21st)
Kyle Orton has struggled mightily in each of the past two weeks throwing for less than 200 yards in each. Luckily for Orton in Week 4, the Packers have given up the second most passing yards in the NFL.
Also, the fact that Denver will be behind for nearly the entire game against the Packers bodes well for Orton.
Brandon Lloyd gets on track in Week 4, and Orton has a successful game through the air.
Donovan McNabb, Minnesota Vikings (25th)
Funny how the ESPN.com rankings only go up to 25 when it comes to quarterbacks. McNabb ranks dead last, but Week 4 could be the week this offense gets the road on the show.
Don't be too frightened by Adrian Peterson's demand for more carries. McNabb has struggled in 2011, but the Chiefs defense is not very intimidating.
The Chiefs are the 21st-ranked passing defense, and are an injury away from being the worst passing defense in the league. Look for McNabb to finally have a fantasy-worthy week.
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Plaxico Burress, New York Jets (40th)
Burress has not been overly impressive in 2011, but still has accumulated seven catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns. All the while he was shut out in Week 2 against the Jaguars.
Burress at 40, making an exception to my sleeper rule, seems way to low as the Jets will be behind early against the Ravens.
The Jets have not been able to run the ball well in 2011, and I don't expect things to change this week against the Ravens.
Jabar Gaffney, Washington Redskins (42)
Gaffney has actually been targeted 21 times in 2011, five less than Santana Moss. Gaffney has accumulated 13 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown thus far.
Rex Grossman has been very impressive in 2011, while the Rams defense is a mess. Anyone remember what Torrey Smith did to the Rams last week?
Titus Young, Detroit Lions (NR)
Titus Young, Victor Cruz and Torrey Smith all rank outside the Top 50 on ESPN.com. All three present huge upside, but something sticks out about Titus Young.
Young plays on a pass-happy team in Detroit, while both the Giants and Ravens want to run the ball. He has nine receptions for 140 yards on 16 targets this season.
Young is only owned in 3.2 percent of all ESPN.com leagues. Pick Young up as his upside is huge in the high-flying Lions offense.
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Roy Helu, Washington Redskins (45th)
Roy Helu didn't have a huge Week 3 performance against the Cowboys with only five carries for 15 yards, and two catches for 17 yards.
Luckily for Helu, he is going up against the horrible St. Louis Rams defense. The Rams have allowed a league worse 174.3 rushing yards per game.
Tim Hightower will get a majority of the carries, but Helu will certainly get plenty of opportunities in what could be a blowout.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers (46th)
Frank Gore simply is not getting it done for the 49ers in 2011 as he has only averaged 2.5 yards per carry.
Kendall Hunter has not done all that better with a 2.7 yards per carry, but he looks much more explosive than Gore.
With Gore being questionable in Week 4 with an ankle injury, Hunter will see his role increased big time against an Eagles defense that has allowed 131.3 rushing yards a game.
Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (48th)
Call it a hunch, but I feel like Ridley is going to be the running back to emerge out of the crowded New England backfield.
Ridley has averaged a team best 6.4 yards per carry, and was by far the most impressive back during the preseason.
Ridley saw six carries in Week 3 for 42 yards and added a catch for eight yards. Week 4 will be the week that we see Ridley break out.