Free Agent Sleepers Week 5 and Onward
Hello, fantasy enthusiasts! Welcome to the Free Agent Sleepers Week 5 edition! As always, we’re here to seek those fantasy diamonds in the rough. Hopefully last week you took my advice and grabbed Will Fuller, as he had a nice 2 TD outing on Sunday last week. But now we’re on to week 5! If you have an open bench spot, an injured player or you just finally want to cut an underperformer, then fill that space with one of these guys! There’s still a lot of season left, so stay vigilant on the waivers and in free agency. There’s always value to be had.
Anyway, let’s dive right into Free Agent Sleepers Week 5!
(All ownership values are based on ESPN leagues)
Low % Owned Free Agent Sleepers (<10% owned)
Austin Ekeler RB LAC (1.0% owned)
Last week Austin Ekeler scored 11.8 points in standard leagues (13.8 in PPR) thanks to a long TD run. One bit of advice that I always offer is to not chase points in fantasy football. And that is the case with Ekeler too. You will not be starting him for at least a couple weeks. There are some good reasons to grab him though. The main reason is that Melvin Gordon is nothing more than a pedestrian runner. Gordon had such a good season last year that people forgot how inefficiently he runs the ball. He’s currently sporting an abysmal 3.1 YPC and his breakaway run rate is just 1.9%, good for being the 47th ranked RB in that stat. He’s extremely TD dependant, just like he was last year. The way things are trending, I doubt they continue to feed him 20+ touches per game.
Welcome Austin Ekeler. He’s pretty much an unknown player, coming from a small school: Western State Colorado University. He has a really cool story about making it to the NFL, which you can read here. He may be small at 5’9″ and 199 lbs, but guys like Tarik Cohen are proving that size doesn’t mean everything in the NFL. Ekeler is a fantastic pass-catcher, and that’s likely where his value lies. He had 203.9 all-purpose yards per game last season in college. In 2015 he totaled 2,903 yards (1,676 rush, 1,227 rec), this kid is electric when he gets his hands on the ball. Keep an eye on him moving forward.
P.S. Ekeler didn’t even make it into Kevin Steele’s waiver list this week, so he is low-key.
Mike Williams WR LAC (5.8% owned)
The time is coming. If you were one of the few that decided to draft and hold Mike Williams, I’m sure you’re about fed up with waiting. The way things are going in Los Angeles (that’s still weird to say) it looks like Williams will be able to earn a role quickly. Through 4 games, the Chargers are 6th in passing yards, but only 24th in points per game. Additionally, they have only scored a total of 14 points in the first and third quarters this season. What the Chargers have been lacking in the red zone is a solid jump-ball receiver.
Mike Williams two main roadblocks are the human 9-route Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams. There should be no reason that Mike Williams can’t pass Travis Benjamin, but Tyrell at least has shown he can be reliable when Keenan went down last season. Mike Williams is still out for week 5 with a herniated disc in his back. Once Mike Williams is healthy, he’s going to have to show off what made him a top ten draft pick. In an offense that’s 8th in pass attempts, there will be targets available for Mike Williams.
Tyler Kroft TE CIN (8.7% owned)
Speaking of people with injured backs, Tyler Eifert is injured again. Tyler Kroft has had one bad game and one good game since Eifert went down. The tight end field has been a complete mess this year, so I know some of you are clamoring for a decent startable TE. This week he gets a tough matchup against the Bills who haven’t allowed a receiving TD to a TE yet this season. That being said, they are giving up just over 47 yards per game to the position. If you need a desperation PPR play, then Kroft could be your guy.
But this week isn’t why you’re grabbing him… (or next week because he has a bye). Let me list you some numbers: 13th, 25th, 27th, 18th, 26th, 31st. Those are the rankings against TEs for Kroft’s weeks 7-12. The only top half defense against TEs is the Steelers, but that game is in Pittsburgh so the game script will likely be in favor of Kroft. If you need a TE really badly, there’s hope for Kroft if Eifert remains out.
Medium % Free Agent Sleepers (10-50% owned)
Andre Ellington RB ARI (49.3% owned)
Wait, what year is it? Did we warp back to pre-David Johnson era somehow? No, we didn’t. Unfortunately, we are living in a post-DJ apocalyptic wasteland for RBs. Last week I mentioned Chris Johnson, but it appears that his time is done in the NFL from a talent perspective. CJ2k couldn’t even get much done against the terrible 49ers run defense. Luckily, there is still some fantasy gold flakes left to be mined in this backfield, and yes it is Andre Ellington.
Ellington now leads the league in targets for running backs, with 30 on the year. Last week, he garnered 14 targets and turned them into 9 receptions for 86 yards. Carson Palmer has been playing fairly impressive, considering his age and the state of the Arizona Cardinals. In week 4, Ellington played 53% of snaps for the Cards backfield and his opportunity share was 50% of all touches, including two red zone touches. He is absolutely worth owning going forward.
Alex Collins RB BAL (31.6% owned)
Alex Collins has usurped Terrance West. He’s had exactly 9 carries for 82 yards in both weeks 3 and 4. He’s very clearly showing the most explosive play-making ability in the Baltimore backfield. The coaching staff in Baltimore have already expressed that they want to give Collins more work going forward. They have also noted that his two fumbles in the past three weeks are concerning, but at this point, they need to brunt the fumbles and put their best back forward.
Collins did receive two targets last week but failed to catch either one of them. Buck Allen seems to still be the main passing option in for the Ravens. Alex Collins will hopefully crest the 10 carry mark going forward, making him a decent flex in standard leagues.
Wayne Gallman RB NYG (22.3% owned)
And another case of usurping the lead back. Paul Perkins has been absolutely awful for the Giants for pretty much his whole career. Granted, their offensive line has their own problems. They are currently ranked 29th in run blocking by Football Outsiders. However, Wayne Gallman suited up for his first career game on his birthday and turned 13 touches into 50 yards and a TD. He showed good vision and patience (well, as much as you can have with that O-line). Seeing a couple of targets is a nice bonus too, considering Shane Vereen projects to be the typical pass-catcher for the Giants.
Paul Perkins is now dealing with a rib injury and might as well be the final nail in his fantasy coffin. So far this year, he’s only obtained 61 rushing yards. Wayne Gallman has shown in one game that he deserves to lead this backfield.
Drop Watch Alert: Jack Doyle TE IND (44.6% owned)
I mentioned earlier how the TE situation is tough going. Well, some people have been dropping big Doyle in search of guys who will provide them with any points at all. Jack Doyle was held out of week 5 with neck stiffness following his concussion protocol. The general consensus seems to be that the Colts were erring on the side of caution here in an effort to keep their assets healthy. Jack Doyle has had 23 targets through 4 weeks, and Andrew Luck has begun practicing again. If Doyle gets dropped to free agency in your league, snatch him up quick and look forward to some TD connections in the second half of the season.
So that was free agent sleepers week 5! These are guys that I’m grabbing now that the waivers have settled. Keep The Fantasy Authority on your favorites bar, as we have tons of awesome weekly content this season! I’ll be back next week with a new batch of free agent sleepers for you to scoop up. You can follow me on Twitter: @CCNP_Kent. Impress your league-mates by grabbing a sleeper a week before he goes off!