Fantasy Football Week 3: Biggest Sleepers at Every Position
Occasionally, a statistical leader will be available in more than half of fantasy football leagues. Regardless of his upcoming matchup, you should add that player to your roster.
Managers who want a new QB2 to replace Ben Roethlisberger (pectoral) or Carson Wentz (sprained ankles) should search the free-agent pool and pick up one of the NFL's hottest quarterbacks. He's widely available.
Beyond that, invest in versatility. A pass-catching running back with a defined role in the backfield can bolster the RB2 or flex spots in your lineup. With those players, always chase targets and touch volume.
Let's take a look at this week's sleeper picks at every position for point-per-reception scoring settings. All eight players are rostered in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.
QB Derek Carr vs. Miami Dolphins (48 Percent Rostered)
Somehow, the league leader in passing yards still falls into the sleeper category.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has thrown for 817 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception through two weeks. He's played at a high level since the second half of Week 1, and he's spreading the ball around to a plethora of playmakers.
The Raiders have five pass-catchers with 105-plus receiving yards, so they aren't solely dependent on star tight end Darren Waller.
Carr suffered an ankle injury in Week 2, so fantasy managers should keep an eye on his status going into the weekend. However, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden thinks his quarterback will play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
If Carr suits up, he'll face the Dolphins' middling pass defense, which gave up two scores to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen last week. With his current passing volume, the Raiders quarterback could have another 300-yard, multiple-touchdown outing.
QB Daniel Jones vs. Atlanta Falcons (39 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Price: $5,800
Daniel Jones has thrown for only one touchdown in each of his first two games, and he's taken six sacks. While that may scare most managers away, the New York Giants quarterback has an appetizing matchup against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3.
The Falcons have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this season. The unit has already surrendered eight passing touchdowns and could be without 2020 first-round cornerback A.J. Terrell, who suffered a concussion last week.
Jones has a golden opportunity to lead Big Blue to its first victory through the air. He should match or surpass his average in passing yards per game (258) and throw for multiple touchdowns with a talented wide receiver group that features Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.
Jones offers substantive rushing production as well. He's third among quarterbacks in rushing yards (122) and has scored two touchdowns on the ground.
RB J.D. McKissic at Buffalo Bills (38 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Price: $5,200
Don't dismiss J.D. McKissic's involvement in the Washington Football Team's passing game. Last week, he caught five out of six targets for 83 yards against the New York Giants.
While the WFT shuffled through three starting quarterbacks last season, McKissic held a steady role as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. He saw 110 targets and finished second on the team in receptions (80).
Though Washington added wideouts Curtis Samuel, Adam Humphries, third-rounder Dyami Brown and seventh-rounder Dax Milne to bolster its pass-catching group this offseason, McKissic still holds a solid role in the short passing game. He has the same number of targets (seven) as lead running back Antonio Gibson.
With Samuel on injured reserve because of a groin injury, McKissic still has some fantasy appeal, particularly in PPR leagues.
In Week 3, Washington will face the Buffalo Bills' third-ranked pass defense, so quarterback Taylor Heinicke may look to dump off a handful of passes to McKissic to loosen up a stout unit.
WR Darnell Mooney at Cleveland Brown (45 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Price: $4,300
On Wednesday, the Chicago Bears named quarterback Justin Fields the starter over Andy Dalton, who's dealing with a bone bruise in his knee.
Managers should typically fade wideouts set to play with a rookie quarterback in his first start, but Fields showed enough flashes during the preseason to keep Darnell Mooney on the sleeper list.
Fields also has live game experience. Head coach Matt Nagy strategically inserted him into the action through the first two weeks. The Ohio State product has a stronger arm than his veteran counterpart as well.
Mooney, who leads the Bears in receiving yards (92), could make a few splash plays Sunday against the Cleveland Browns with Fields under center. The Browns rank 22nd in passing yards allowed.
Last week, Mooney hauled in six passes for 66 yards, including 11- and 21-yard receptions from Fields. He has some momentum heading into a decent matchup.
WR K.J. Osborn vs. Seattle Seahawks (25 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Price: $3,500
The Minnesota Vikings may have found a reliable third target in their passing game. K.J. Osborn, a 2020 fifth-round pick, has emerged behind Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen as a playmaker on the perimeter.
Through two weeks, Osborn has seen 15 targets and leads the Vikings in receiving yards (167). He scored his first regular-season touchdown during their Week 2 loss against the Arizona Cardinals.
With a healthy share of targets and an 80 percent catch rate, Osborn has likely earned quarterback Kirk Cousins' trust. The second-year wideout could continue to rack up solid numbers against a Seattle Seahawks pass defense that ranks 22nd in yards allowed.
In Week 2, Seattle gave up 347 passing yards to Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who threw for only 212 yards the week prior against Arizona. If Cousins has a good day against the Seahawks, Osborn could be a Week 3 fantasy gem.
WR Darius Slayton vs. Atlanta Falcons (13 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Price: $4,600
Fantasy managers could have a sleeper stack with quarterback Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton.
Not only have the Atlanta Falcons have surrendered the most fantasy points to quarterbacks, but they've also allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
In Week 2 against a stout Washington Football Team defense, Slayton scored on a long touchdown reception and dropped a second one late in the fourth quarter. Jones seems to favor him on deep throws, so the third-year wideout may provide some fantasy fireworks Sunday.
Though Slayton has caught only six of his 13 targets for 119 yards and a touchdown, he doesn't need many catches to produce WR3 or flex value because of his ability to go over the top for a big play.
Averaging 19.8 yards per reception through two weeks, Slayton has boom potential in a matchup with a bottom-tier Falcons defense.
TE David Njoku vs. Chicago Bears (7 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Price: $3,500
The Cleveland Browns could go into Sunday's matchup with the Chicago Bears short-handed at wide receiver.
The Browns placed Jarvis Landry on injured reserve with an MCL injury, while Odell Beckham Jr. has yet to make his 2021 debut coming off a torn ACL. Though he may suit up for Week 3, don't expect him to take on a full workload right away.
As other managers scramble for replacement wideouts on the Browns roster, pay attention to the tight end group. Austin Hooper and David Njoku could play vital roles in the passing game.
Njoku leads the Browns in receiving yards (94), and he's a potential matchup issue in the middle of the field because of his size (6'4", 246 lbs) and athleticism. The 25-year-old wants an extension in Cleveland, so this could be his time to shine as the team moves forward with a depleted wide receiver group.
TE Maxx Williams at Jacksonville Jaguars (2 Percent Rostered)
DK DFS Price: $3,200
Arizona Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams went from an afterthought in Week 1 to a major playmaker in Week 2. He finished with seven catches for 94 yards in the Cardinals' wild back-and-forth win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Though quarterback Kyler Murray has a lot of options in the passing game with wideouts DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green, Williams could carve out a role as a big-bodied target (6'4", 252 lbs) in the seams.
Williams' career resume suggests his Week 2 production isn't sustainable. He hasn't caught more than 16 passes in a single season since his debut NFL campaign in 2015.
However, the seventh-year veteran is in his third season with Murray as his teammate. Perhaps they have established some chemistry.
Williams has a favorable Week 3 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who've allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends through the first two weeks. He's worth a shot in the dark if you're desperate for some points at the position.
Fantasy scoring and points allowed are provided by FantasyPros.
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