SleepersOctober 13, 2012

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Sleeper Watch

By R.J. White

Our Week 5 sleeper list received a big boost from Josh Gordon’s two TDs, and while picks like Tim Tebow and James Starks may have been premature, they still look like long-term sleepers. Last week brought a rash of injuries to running backs around the league as well as a key Rams receiver, and a few returning Jets should also add to our potential breakout options for Week 6.

William Powell, RB, ARI vs. BUF

The awfulness of Buffalo’s run defense has been well-documented, culminating in surrendering over 300 yards rushing to the 49ers in Week 5 and allowing the 49ers to become the first ever team to pass and rush for 300 yards in the same game. The Bills now face a Cardinals team that is down two running backs but could still have success on the ground. That bodes well for Powell, who figures to be the lead back in a committee with LaRod Stephens-Howling. Both Powell and LSH are firmly on the sleeper list this week, but if I’m going with one, it’s Powell.

Stephen Hill, WR, NYJ vs. IND

The rookie hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring in Week 1, but he’s probable to return this week against the Colts. It’s great timing for his fantasy stock, as the Jets had to roll with Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and Jason Hill as their top three receivers last week. Hill’s talent blows all of those guys out of the water, as is evidenced by his two-TD game in Week 1. Kerley will probably be the No. 1 receiver from a catch basis in this offense, but Hill has the potential to make a Demaryius Thomas-like impact in his return, especially against a defense giving up massive points to fantasy receivers. If you have a free roster spot, grab him now and beat the rush.

Kevin Kolb, QB, ARI vs. BUF

As mentioned above, the Bills rush defense has been terrible, but the pass defense hasn’t been much better, ranking as the third-easiest against fantasy QBs by allowing 291 passing yards and 2.4 passing TDs per game. The Bills don’t have anyone capable of shutting down Larry Fitzgerald, and they may even struggle to keep Andre Roberts at bay. If you need a desperation play because of byes, as I do in my league with Drew Brees and Jay Cutler, he’s probably your best long-shot bet, especially since Mark Sanchez (another guy with a good matchup) could get benched at any time.

Brandon Gibson, WR, STL at MIA

The loss of Danny Amendola forces the Rams to look in another direction for pass-catchers, and while that could mean more playing time for rookies Chris Givens and Brian Quick (or should I say, some playing time for Quick), Gibson is the guy who really benefits as the guy with the most experience catching balls from Sam Bradford. He had a team-leading three receptions last week in a game where Bradford completed just seven passes while the Rams ran the ball 32 times. He should see more work moving forward. Teams looking for deep sleepers could give slot receiver Austin Pettis a look.

Lamar Miller, RB, MIA vs. STL

Miller has been impressive when he’s gotten the ball this year, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and scoring a TD in Week 2. He didn’t get any work in Week 5, but that’s going to change this week against the Rams. Daniel Thomas is out with a concussion and Reggie Bush is still playing through a knee sprain. Over the last two weeks, Bush has averaged 3.9 yards per carry against the Cardinals and just 2.5 yards per carry last week against the Bengals. I expect Miller to get a significant amount of touches spelling Bush, and if he winds up with 10-plus carries, he should be worth a flex play at least.

Dustin Keller, TE, NYJ vs. IND

Like Hill, Keller is expected to be back from a Week 1 injury this week after being listed as probable on the injury report. The Jets passing game obviously needs the help, and Sanchez could lean on Keller if he wants to make safer throws and try and keep the offense on the field for longer drives. With the running game not working too well, Keller could function as an extension of the running game, running four-yard and five-yard routes. Teams in PPR leagues should definitely see if he’s available.

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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