The sleeper fantasy football performances of Week 15
Who is recapturing their former glory this week?
A lot of this week’s sleepers were non-sleepers a few years ago. Week 15′s numbers has some question marks, but one recurring theme was guys who had some fantasy relevance in, say, 2010 or 2012, but their recent numbers have tailed off. That doesn’t cover all the sleepers, but it gets us a lot of the way there.
The question then becomes whether these were examples of guys recapturing their former glory, or whether they were dead-cat bounces as these players continued on their way to anonymity.
We might not know the answer in some cases until the end of the season. For others, it might take much of next year as well. But we can start looking at it now, and start wondering who found a wayback machine.
Let’s get to it:
Sleeper quarterbacks in Week 15
Derek Anderson, CAR (277 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 14 rushing yards, 16 fantasy points)
If Cam Newton had stayed healthy and played like Cam Newton all year, you’d have to think Derek Anderson’s career would be nearing its end. He’s 31, hadn’t been relevant in four years, and hadn’t been anything approximating good in seven. But since Newton got hurt, Anderson has started two games, and in a stroke of kismet, has gotten to have both of those starts against Tampa Bay. A 2-0 record with 34 combined fantasy points might have gotten Anderson an extension on his NFL career. Unlikely to help for fantasy, but good for him.
Robert Griffin III, WAS (236 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 46 rushing yards, 1 fumble lost, 15 fantasy points)
Griffin was an end-of-the-first-half dive for the end zone away from having a really good fantasy day, maybe appearing in the week’s best performances. As it was, you have to think Griffin did enough to get the starting job back, in the wake of Colt McCoy’s injury and the fact that Jay Gruden appears to like Kirk Cousins even less than he likes Griffin. This is more for next season than the last two weeks — you can’t use Griffin in the fantasy playoffs, geez — but if he can continue to put up decent games, he’ll start to drive his trade value back up. RGIII will be interesting in 2015, wherever he plays.
Sleeper running backs in Week 15
Matt Asiata, MIN (36 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 50 receiving yards, 14 fantasy points)
I still, with every fiber of my being, believe that Asiata is not a good football player. It’s not that relevant, though — he’s the only running back in Minnesota doing anything at all, after Adrian Peterson’s suspension and Jerick McKinnon’s injury. And the team is riding him hard, giving him as many chances to succeed as it can. I wouldn’t be excited about using Asiata in any kind of fantasy game, but the way he’s been going (8.3 fantasy points a game in his last three, four double-digit games this season), if you’re desperate, you could make it work.
Chris Polk, PHI (6 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 12 fantasy points)
In Week 9, Polk had 11 fantasy points, and it seemed like the Eagles might be trying to incorporate him into the offense a bit. Then over the next five games, he totaled 10 points, and we shrugged and said “Oh well, one-game blip.” Sunday night, his randomly vultured two touchdowns shouldn’t change that shrug. It’s interesting that the Eagles are giving Polk some goal line touches, but the only real impact that has on fantasy is in how it hurts LeSean McCoy’s value.
Sleeper wide receivers in Week 15
Harry Douglas, ATL (131 receiving yards, 13 fantasy points)
Devin Hester, ATL (85 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 14 fantasy points)
With Julio Jones out for Atlanta, both of the Falcons‘ next-tier receivers stepped up Sunday. Heck, Roddy White did well too, with 58 yards and a score. With the news on Jones’ hip not yet optimistic, Douglas and Hester might have another chance at New Orleans next week. Neither is a great initial option, but if you’re forced to look deep, these guys in a Jones-less offense are pretty interesting.
Nate Washington, TEN (102 receiving yards, 10 fantasy points)
Washington is the last man standing among the Titans‘ wide receivers, and the Jets have an awful pass defense, so this was not as surprising as “100-yard game for Nate Washington” might normally be. With Justin Hunter done for the year, Kendall Wright no guarantee to be back yet, and a Thursday game at Jacksonville, Washington could be a fun follow-up play for Week 16 as well.
Sleeper tight end in Week 15
Jason Witten, DAL (69 receiving yards, 6 fantasy points)
It’s not that six fantasy points are a special total, or anything that a player of Jason Witten’s caliber should be excited about. But after a total of two fantasy points in his last two games, Witten saw heavy usage Sunday night, catching seven balls on nine targets. He’s always going to be more helpful in PPR formats than he is in standard, but the talk of Witten as a guy who should be dropped was well overblown. He’s fine. Not exciting, but fine.