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Week 3 Sleepers: Last Call for Tyrod Taylor, Hedging Eddie Lacy


Welcome to our season-long segment at RotoBaller where we will be targeting players owned in 25% or less of Fleaflicker leagues. Matt Jones (42%) and Dion Lewis (32%) make for great FAAB claims, but they're too heavily owned for this segment.

Week 2 was not easy on a lot of fantasy teams. Carlos Hyde and Eddie Lacy gave their owners a scare, while Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, and Drew Brees owners have legitimate reasons for concern.

Same as last week, I'll include a player from every position (including D/ST) each week - as long as the options are worthy of discussion. Thanks to the injuries, there's plenty to discuss. Let's get to it.

 

Digging Deeper - Potential Week 3 Waiver Wire Sleepers

James Starks - RB, Green Bay Packers

14% Owned in Fleaflicker

Calling Starks a sleeper at this point may be a stretch, but we're going to discuss him anyways. Eddie Lacy gave fantasy owners a heart attack on Sunday night when he took a rough fall on his ankle, immediately leading pundits to wonder how long Lacy may be out. The rest of us were shamelessly considering the thought that A) an opponent had been severely impacted, and B) there's a starting running back sitting on the waiver wire.

Fortunately for Lacy owners, the team reported yesterday that he avoided a high ankle sprain and is hoping to play Monday night versus the Chiefs. But that does not mean James Starks should go unnoticed in this week's waiver wire.

Starks was excellent in back-up duty, carrying the rock 20 times for 95 yards. He chipped in four catches for 11 yards, useful for PPR leagues, although he did lose a fumble in the second quarter. The Packers have limited depth after Starks, so if Lacy should miss time at any point this season Starks will be in line for a heavy workload. For this reason alone Starks becomes a must-add for Lacy owners, and a worth a waiver claim for RB-shallow teams (although I'd be hard pressed to use my #1 claim).

FAAB: $18

 

Travis Benjamin - WR, Cleveland Browns

25% Owned in Fleaflicker

If you started Travis Benjamin for the first two weeks, bravo. You also better be 2-0. Benjamin went bananas versus the Titans, connecting on two deep balls from Johnny Manziel and adding another in the punt-return game. In total he racked up 269 offensive yards (115 receiving) on just nine touches.

The question becomes can Benjamin be trusted in shallow leagues? My gut instinct is no. He's only been targeted seven times in the season, and carries one of the largest ceiling/floor gaps out there. In return yard leagues, he should be owned everywhere - but in anything less than a 12-team league, owners can save their FAAB budget and waiver claim. That said, Benjamin makes for a nice sleeper this week versus the Oakland Raiders, a defense that allowed 384 yards through the air to Baltimore last week. If you're hurting at WR in a 14-team league or larger, I approve of Benjamin as a FLEX option for week 3.

FAAB: $10 ($35 in return yard leagues)

 

Crockett Gillmore - TE, Baltimore Ravens

4% Owned in Fleaflicker

Watch out AFC North: Joe Flacco has found his next Dennis Pitta, and he's got an awesome name. Crockett Gillmore has emerged as the #2 option after Steve Smith Sr. in the Ravens offense, and has earned the majority of time at TE over Maxx Williams. Coach Jim Harbaugh touted his catching abilities last week - and Gillmore backed up the talk, shredding the Raiders on Sunday with five receptions for 88 yards and two scores.

Gillmore has a huge frame (6'6, 270 lbs.) and has the potential to be a mismatch for linebackers looking to shadow him in man coverage. The Ravens host Cincinatti this week, a team that is stingy on tight ends and just limited Ladarius Green to 47 yards. I'd be hard pressed to use Gillmore in this matchup, but Joe Flacco has always performed best with a safety valve - and I expect Gillmore to flirt with low-end TE1 for the rest of the season.

FAAB: $8

 

Tyrod Taylor - QB, Buffalo Bills

8% Owned in Fleaflicker

I wrote about Taylor in this segment last week - so if you hopped on the train early and plugged him into your lineup, nice work. The rest of you, aka Tony Romo / Jay Cutler owners, listen up.

T-Mobile followed up his solid Week 1 performance with a big fantasy Week 2 outing, completing 23-of-30 passes for 242 yards and three TDs. He also scampered for 42 yards and a score, although he had three INT in the game. The majority of his damage was in the fourth quarter, playing catch-up to the Patriots' commanding 37-13 lead. Last time I checked, garbage time stats count all the same. But don't get used to 25+ point outbursts from Taylor, as the Bills game plan will feature the running game and dink-and-dunk routes most weeks.

He makes for a great QB2, and a solid option for those seeking to "stream" the QB slot after a big injury such as Romo. And you may be wondering why I am about to included Tom Brady owners in this conversation. The reason is Brady's BYE comes Week 4, when Taylor has a tasty home matchup versus the Giants defense. Plan accordingly.

FAAB: $16

 

Cleveland Browns Defense

12% Owned in Fleaflicker

Talk about a complete 180. After registering zero points in standard leagues Week 1, they put 21 this week. The Browns came out in their home opener, and emasculated Marcus Mariota and the Titans. They harassed him for seven sacks and added three fumbles (two by Mariota). Those D/ST points don't even include Travis Benjamin's punt return TD.

The Browns stay at home this week to host the Oakland Raiders, a matchup that no longer should be taken lightly. Derek Carr, Latavius Murray, and Amari Cooper are a legit trio, so don't expect a 20+ point D/ST outburst again. My rationale for this game is if the Browns can build a lead via the putrid Raiders defense, the Raiders will be forced to abandon the run game. The Browns have an excellent pass defense, ranked 8th in the NFL in 2014, but a rushing defense that was dead last. If they can force Derek Carr to throw into that talented secondary, good things will happen.

FAAB: $2

 

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