Identifying sleepers is paramount in fantasy football, as the NFL’s premier players typically perform at a similar level each week. Thus, it’s the guys who round out your roster who oftentimes decide whether you flounder, or bask in victorious glory.
Many fantasy football owners are in a tough spot as we head into Week 5 of the 2016 NFL season. Injuries are piling up in the NFL, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, and New Orleans Saints have a bye week, which waters down the player pool.
While it’s undoubtedly difficult to overcome losing a starter, it’s not impossible. With that in mind, here’s a look at five potential fantasy football sleepers who could provide tremendous value in Week 5.
Eddie Royal, WR – Chicago Bears *Update* Use Cameron Meredith – Chicago Bears If Royal’s Injury Status Remains Unclear
Eddie Royal has been surprisingly solid thus far in 2016, tallying 18 receptions for 241 yards and two TDs. In Week 4, Royal electrified for the Chicago Bears, racking up up seven receptions for 111 yards and one TD all over the Detroit Lions.
According to Kevin Patra of NFL.com, Bears WR Kevin White (fibula) was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday. Naturally, this means Eddie will be asked to pick up some of the slack and should receive an abundance of targets from QB Brian Hoyer on Sunday against Indianapolis.
Thus, Royal appears to be primed to have a big outing against the abysmal Colts defense and is currently a fantasy football sleeper. However, according to CBS Chicago, Eddie missed Thursday’s practice with a calf injury, so monitor the situation and act accordingly.
Terrance West, RB – Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens struggled mightily to run the ball through the first three weeks of the 2016 NFL season. However, in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, they finally got the ground game going thanks to Terrance West, who tallied 113 yards and one rushing touchdown.
Earlier this week, the Ravens and veteran RB Justin Forsett mutually parted ways, which means there’s a solid chance Baltimore plans to start West for the foreseeable future.
Whispers that are vociferous in tone suggest the Ravens want to get Kenneth Dixon some carries in his NFL debut on Sunday. However, it’s hard to imagine Terrance not receiving most of the backfield touches against the Washington Redskins, who have been absolutely putrid against the run this season.
If you need a fantasy football sleeper at running back, look no further than West.
Richard Rodgers, TE – Green Bay Packers
Richard Rodgers hasn’t done much this season but did tally two receptions for nine yards and one TD in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions.
The Green Bay Packers were on a bye in Week 4 but still haven’t made a move to replace first-string tight end, Jared Cook, who could be out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury.
Thus, Richard Rodgers should be QB Aaron Rodgers’ go-to tight end in the red zone this week against the New York Giants, who aren’t exactly an impregnable defensive juggernaut.
Quincy Enunwa, WR – New York Jets
Quincy Enunwa’s been one of the lone bright spots for the struggling New York Jets this season. Through four games, Enunwa’s tallied 23 receptions for 241 yards and two TDs.
According to Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News, No. 2 wide receiver, Eric Decker, isn’t sure if he will be able to return this season.
“At this point, (there) isn’t a definite answer,” Decker said when asked if he expects to play again in 2016. “I’m more focused on every day getting better and getting to that point where I can be ready to go.”
With Decker out, Quincy will incontrovertibly remain heavily involved in New York’s offense, especially in Week 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are vulnerable in the secondary.
Thus, Enunwa will be targeted enough to warrant a start in all leagues and formats.
Sterling Shepard, WR – New York Giants
The New York Giants must be thrilled with what they are getting out of rookie WR Sterling Shepard thus far in 2016. The former Oklahoma Sooners standout has tallied a solid 20 receptions for 263 yards and two TDs through just four games.
It’s no secret that New York’s No. 1 wide receiver, superstar Odell Beckham Jr., has struggled this season, and has been a distraction with his outrageous behavior.
In Week 5, it’s fair to assume the Green Bay Packers will attempt to get in Beckham Jr.’s head, so there’s no telling if he will be able to avoid the nonsense and focus on producing in the passing attack.
Thus, Shepard, who could be targeted up to 10 times by QB Eli Manning against the Packers, is undoubtedly a fantasy football sleeper this week.
[Featured Image by Rob Carr/Getty Images]