7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 12
Everybody loves a good sleeper pick.
Throughout the season, of course, sometimes sleepers aren't just luxuries to gawk at but necessary fill-ins for our fantasy football lineups.
Not every situation requires benching your starters for a sleeper, but every fantasy team and situation is different, and I'm sure we're all playing daily fantasy football on FanDuel anyway. That's where sleepers really can pay off.
Because there is no consensus definition of what a sleeper is, I'll keep it consistent throughout the season. Using ESPN's fantasy football platform, I'll choose quarterbacks and tight ends outside the top 15 in roster percentage and running backs and wide receivers outside the top 40.
I'll also list some honorable mentions because there's nothing worse than realizing that every player mentioned in an article is already rostered in your league. We're seeking non-obvious plays who can put up starting-caliber performances. I'd rather list too many options than too few.
Derek Carr (38%) - It's really simple. You should be targeting quarterbacks against the Atlanta Falcons on a weekly basis. According to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, they rank 27th as a defense and 32nd against the pass alone. This past week, they allowed Taysom Hill to throw for 233 yards and rush for 51 more and 2 touchdowns to total 24.4 fantasy points -- all in his first career start. With that, Atlanta has given up at least 300 passing yards in 7 of 10 games and an average of 321 in their home dome. Now, enter Carr, who is fresh off another three-touchdown game against a tough Kansas City Chiefs defense. But he's been awesome all year. With more weapons at his disposal, Carr ranks in a tie for eighth among all quarterbacks in our Passing NEP per drop back. Streaming or not, Carr is a fantastic option against these Falcons.
Salvon Ahmed (43%) - Ahmed's roster percentage has increased 30% from only a week ago, and justifiably so. He has served as the team's lead back in Myles Gaskin's stead, and that continued even with a healthy Matt Breida available to coach Brian Flores. Per Pro Football Reference, the rookie back logged at least 66% of snaps for a second straight week while also garnering double-digit carries and six targets. He converted 5 of those for catches and 31 yards (74 total yards). That was despite a low-scoring affair against the Denver Broncos and a brief trip to the sideline due to injury. Week 12 brings a favorable matchup with the New York Jets and a 25.5 implied total thanks to a 6.5-point spread for the favored Dolphins. Feel confident to fire up Ahmed for at least one more week.
Gus Edwards (7%) - It would be shocking if Edwards didn't have the single largest roster bump on the week. Both J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram have been ruled out for Thursday night's game due to COVID-19, making him the Baltimore Ravens' de facto starter and bellcow against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers slot in 12th against the run on the season, but they have had a few blips on their resume. On the year, they've surrendered 100 yards in four games, which includes a 265-yard game to the Ravens in Week 8, a contest in which Edwards took 16 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. He's a must-add for anyone dealing with injuries or lacking a decent RB2 this week.
Cole Beasley (48%) - The Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers will square off in one of the more intriguing, offense-inviting matchups of the week. The over is set at a healthy 53.5, and a 5.5-point spread gives the Bills a share of the highest team total at 29.5 points. They're going to score points, but while Stefon Diggs likely draws Chris Harris duty, Beasley could benefit in the slot. After all, the veteran wideout is having a monster year, particularly for PPR purposes. On his 67 targets, he's compiled 55 catches for 642 yards and 3 scores, while his 0.93 Reception NEP per target rates first among Buffalo's top three receivers. A solid day is very likely, and a monster performance is well within the realm of possibilities in a game environment like this.
Jalen Reagor (22%) - Despite the rise of Justin Jefferson elsewhere, Reagor has shown some promise despite what are flat-out OK numbers. In an injury-plagued start to his career, the Philadelphia Eagles' highly-regarded rookie has just 16 catches to his name, however, he is first on the Eagles with 0.95 Reception NEP per target (better than Beasley), and his 94% Reception Success Rate trails only six other receivers across the league. And his 63 snaps a week ago marked his fourth healthy game with at least a 73% share so far this season. Luckily, we should get to see exactly what he can do this week against a Seattle Seahawks squad that has been decimated by receivers, having allowed nearly 500 more yards to receivers than any other team.
Nelson Agholor (10%) - Believe it or not, Agholor has quickly become the primary target (outside of Darren Waller, of course) for Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders. Despite the draft pedigree of Henry Ruggs, the traveled vet has been the one to step up in the absence of Tyrell Williams and Bryan Edwards. He has turned 38 targets into 24 catches, more than 400 yards, and 6 touchdowns. His 14.4 average depth of target (aDOT) trails only Ruggs and shows his upside as a deep-ball threat. He most recently went for 88 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs, and the Falcons check in fourth-worst against his position. Agholor figures to be owned in more than 50% of leagues come next week.
Jordan Reed (13%) - Here's what we know about the Los Angeles Rams' defense. They are the second-best unit in the league, and our efficiency metrics place them third against the pass. Jalen Ramsey has performed as expected, as one of the league's top corners, thereby limiting the production of opposing wideouts on the outside. L.A. has given up the third-fewest fantasy points per game to the receiver spot, while they are 12th against tight ends. The 49ers are going to be forced to throw in negative game script so long as the seven-point spread plays out in the Rams' favor, so someone is going to be seeing targets and potential fantasy points. Reed might be the best candidate coming off a six-target, five-catch game last time out.