Heading into the home stretch of the NFL regular season, it feels that fantasy football uncertainty is at an all-time high. I mean, we are living in a world where Chase Daniel delivered more DKFP than Drew Brees and Jared Goff combined last week!
It’s OK my DFS compadres. I’ll help get you back on track with four under-the-radar sleeper picks. As always, hit me up with any fantasy football questions on Twitter @AndyMc81 using #AskAndy.
Ian Thomas, TE, Panthers ($2,700)
As teammate Greg Olsen’s season ended with foot surgery, new starter Thomas becomes the best value tight end on the DraftKings Sunday slate.
Thomas emerged from the shadows by flashing chemistry with Cam Newton ($6,300) after Olsen exited the game last weekend. A perfect five catches on five targets for 46 yards gave the athletic rookie some valuable playing time ahead of their matchup in Cleveland.
The Browns have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends. That’s a great looking formula for the 6’4” Indiana product to take advantage of the increased snaps and become Newton’s safety net chain-mover.
Josh Allen, QB, Bills ($5,500)
This is the first time a Bills player has made it into my sleeper picks article in 2018. Congrats, Buffalo! Your plodding offense’s death march under the likes of Nathan Peterman and off-the-couch backup QBs appears to be over with a healthy Allen under center.
The seventh overall pick in this past NFL Draft has become a fantasy darling since returning from an elbow injury in Week 12. Over that stretch, Allen’s used his feet and cannon arm to accumulate a combined 391 passing yards, a 3-to-2 TD/INT ratio, 234 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. That all adds up to an astounding 30.02 DKFP average.
Is the first-year gunslinger’s style sustainable? Who cares?! We only are worried about this Sunday, when he battles a middle-of-the-road Jets defense. In fact, I’m feeling a Bills stack is in order (and no I haven’t hit the spiked eggnog). Go ahead and slot in Allen’s new best friend, receiver Zay Jones ($4,200). Mr. Jones hauled in both of his quarterback’s scoring tosses in the loss to Miami, and the good times will keep rolling against another AFC East foe.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Jets ($3,600)
There will be plenty of scrambling by fantasy owners to slam the likes of Pittsburgh’s Jaylen Samuels ($3,700) and the 49ers’ Jeff Wilson Jr. ($3,800) into their lineups to try to cash in on starting running back injuries. However, I like the Jets’ Crowell for both value and the chance at contrarian contest points. Our friends at FanShare Sports gave him a projected ownership percentage of just 0.80.
“The Crow” isn’t one to surge for many 100-yard rushing outings, but his elevated inclusion in the passing game has made the veteran RB less of a roller coaster in recent weeks. Crowell’s averaging 11.8 DKFPS since Nov. 11 and did rumble in a TD on the turf in New York’s first meeting against the Bills.
Another sign the 25-year-old’s stock is rising is he got his biggest workload of the season last weekend, being handed the ball 21 times. Despite Buffalo’s stingy run D, it’s not like the Jets are bursting with playmakers. Crowell should get plenty of opportunities to carry the rock.
Chris Conley, WR, Chiefs ($3,800)
Much of Conley’s fantasy relevance in 2018 has been tied to the health of Sammy Watkins (foot; $5,000). The Chiefs’ high-octane aerial attack can spread the ball around, but the four-year pro’s three total touchdowns in Weeks 11 and 13 came when the oft-injured Watkins was absent nursing a bum foot. Over that period, Conley’s targets from Patrick Mahomes ($7,000) more than quadrupled compared to the rest of his season.
Watkins is listed as questionable for Sunday; however, this time out I don’t think it matters. Kansas City faces the smothering Baltimore secondary, which could mean a down showing from usual studs Tyreek Hill ($8,000) and Travis Kelce ($6,700).
Interesting note about receivers versus the Ravens’ defense in November — third or lower depth chart options generally outperformed typical stars. Check out a couple examples:
— Mohamed Sanu ($4,300) and Calvin Ridley ($5,200) inhaled more passes and yards than Julio Jones ($7,900) for the Falcons.
— Seth Roberts ($3,500) and Lee Smith ($2,500) delivered more receiving yards than Jared Cook ($5,200) and Jalen Richard ($4,100) for the Raiders.
What this trend means, of course, is Conley has a terrific chance to be the beneficiary of Baltimore focusing on Hill, Kelce and, if available, Watkins. At a salary of only $3,800, the Georgia alum’s sky-high ceiling is worth a flyer.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AndyMc81) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.