It is harder to find breakout players as the fantasy season goes on. Not sure why that is … perhaps because after 10 weeks of action, we all have an better idea of which teams will give up a ton of points to certain players and which players are looking good in a reserve role and ready to break out.
Looking at Week 11 matchups and factoring in the most recent news, here are my sleeper starters you can likely pick up off waivers and run with:
Mark Sanchez, NYJ. Sanchez continues to gain more momentum as he gains confidence at the NFL level. His receiving corps got a nice shot in the arm with Santonio Holmes in the fold now. However, the biggest reason he is set to explode this week? A matchup against the worst pass defense in the NFL … the Houston Texans. He’s available in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment.
Jon Kitna, DAL. Want someone more abundantly available? Kitna is coming off a huge statistical week. Jason Garrett has gotten the Cowboys firing on a few more cylinders than Wade Phillips was able to, and Kitna, who’s owned in just 26 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment, gets a savory matchup this week vs. Detroit.
Shaun Hill, DET. Speaking of Detroit, Hill makes an intriguing play against Dallas, which has been inconsistent at best against the pass. He’s able to utilize a young and very talented core of offensive weapons and owned in just 22 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment.
Felix Jones, DAL. Again targeting the matchup with Detroit here (sorry Lions fans … not trying to pick on your boys or anything), but Jones could have a nice game this week. He fared well last week against a Giants run defense that was pretty solid previously. Jason Garrett wants to appease Jerry Jones, and how better to do that than to give Jones’ favorite offensive toy (Felix) as much attention as possible?
Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE. Everyone focuses on the QB battle between Manning and Brady in this contest, but smart fantasy owners remember that the Colts run defense isn’t exactly dominant. The Pats will want to exploit that deficiency, and both Woodhead and Green-Ellis make intriguing options this week.
Mike Goodson, CAR. With the news that DeAngelo Williams would be placed on the IR, Goodson’s value took an upwards spike. The only Carolina back to top 100 yards rushing when he did it last week, Goodson will see little competition from a constantly dinged up Jonathan Stewart. This week’s matchup with Baltimore isn’t exactly stellar from a fantasy standpoint, but then again, Goodson did well against an improving Tampa defense last week. And, Goodson is owned in just 28 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Mike Tolbert, SD. A primetime matchup against a beatable Denver defense would be appealing factors for starting Tolbert anyway. However, the pot gets sweeter with news that Ryan Matthews will likely sit, meaning Tolbert will get the primary workload with a little extra dishing to Darren Sproles.
Keiland Williams, WAS. Was the best thing going for the Redskins in an embarrassing loss to the Eagles last Monday. Now, word from Redskins-land is that Ryan Torain is likely to miss again this week and Clinton Portis may get some carries. Still, it is the younger, more athletic Williams who will see most of the action against a Tennessee squad that is tough, but not impossible to run against.
Bernard Scott, CIN. When Cedric Benson was slowed last week by injury, Scott slipped into the starting lineup. While he didn’t set the world on fire, the matchup this week is just too appetizing. Benson looks as though he’ll play this week, but there should be plenty of stats to go around against Buffalo, especially if Benson gets dinged up again. Scott is owned in just four percent of Yahoo leagues.
Mike Williams, SEA. Those who listened to this column last week started Williams and reaped the benefits of an 11-catch, 145-yard game. This week against the Saints, Williams is startable again in fantasy circles in a game where Seattle will likely be passing early and often in catchup mode. The fact that Williams is available in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues shows that even the weakest teams can prevail if owners work the waiver wire correctly.
Mike Thomas, JAX. Another hit from last week’s column, Thomas is owned in just 40 percent of Yahoo leagues despite an eight-catch, 149-yard (and one TD) game against the Texans last week. This time, the Jags play a Browns unit adept at stopping the run, but so-so at best against the pass. Word that Mike Sims-Walker has been declared doubtful for the game means that Thomas will get the lions share of the targets once again.
Lance Moore, NO. Everyone already knows about Marques Colston, and he won’t be sitting on anyone’s waiver wire. However, Moore is in half of leagues right now and will benefit from a returning Reggie Bush drawing defensive attention away from him. The matchup with Seattle is appealing and Moore has quietly done very well the past several weeks, especially in PPR formats.
New York Jets receivers. In desperate need of a deep sleeper receiver? Simply see who’s playing against the Texans and their league-worst fantasy points allowed to receivers and take your pick of who’s still available on the waiver wire. Santonio Holmes (owned in 76 percent of Yahoo leagues) and Braylon Edwards (88 percent) may already be snatched up, but what about Jerricho Cotchery (18 percent)?
Ben Watson, CLE. It isn’t often that a tight end is consistently the most consistent receiver on his given team. Such is the case for Watson, who continues to produce decent PPR numbers and should smoke the Jaguars defense this week. Watson is still amazingly available in 63 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Jermaine Gresham, CIN. The rookie has produced some very nice fantasy games in spurts. Chance are this week, against a Buffalo team that struggles to defend tight ends very well, that Gresham should fare well, and he’s available yet in 66 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Who are your emergency starts for this week? We’d love to hear about them below!