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 3 of the 2017 NFL season, as injuries have rendered them in need of finding value in unexpected places.
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 3.
Jermaine Kearse – WR – New York Jets
Despite joining the New York Jets right before the 2017 NFL season started after being traded by the Seattle Seahawks for DL Sheldon Richardson, Jermaine Kearse has already become New York’s clear cut No. 1 wide receiver.
Kearse is coming off a big game in Week 2 in which he tallied four receptions for 64 yards and a surprising two TDs against the Oakland Raiders.
Against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3, Kearse is unquestionably a potential sleeper in redraft leagues, and makes for a solid value play on daily fantasy football sites like FanDuel and DraftKings.
Chris Johnson – RB – Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals were disappointed with what they got from Kerwynn Williams in Week 2 against Indianapolis. Williams couldn’t get anything going on the ground, tallying just 22 rushing yards over nine carries (2.4 YPC).
— EAGSportsManagement (@EAGSports) September 12, 2017
FWIW, Cardinals beat man is expecting Chris Johnson to get "most of the carries" Sunday: https://t.co/kDLSLW9tx3
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 13, 2017
Veteran Chris Johnson led Arizona in carries with 11, and finished with a serviceable 44 yards despite not entering the game until the second quarter.
According to ESPN, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians liked what he saw from Johnson, but as of Wednesday had yet to make a decision about who will start at running back against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
“I liked what I saw in Chris. He’s more than ready to go. We’ll make that determination later.”
Johnson isn’t worried too much about who draws the start and will be ready to play whatever role the Cardinals need him to.
“I just went out there and tried to control what I can control and made the most of my opportunities. That’s all I can do. Everything else is out of my control.”
In a favorable matchup against the Cowboys, expect Johnson to be given between 15-20 touches and finish with no less than 75 total yards and one TD.
Jay Cutler – QB – Miami Dolphins
Jay Cutler led the Miami Dolphins to a win over the Los Angeles Chargers in his debut last week, and threw for a respectable 230 yards and one TD.
— NFL France (@FirstDownFR) September 17, 2017
In Week 3, Cutler has a matchup that projects to be conducive to fantasy gold as the Dolphins travel north to take on the abysmal New York Jets.
— Jon Heath (@JonHeathNFL) September 4, 2017
With his first game back since last season now under his belt, expect to see Cutler air it out a bit against an inferior opponent.
Cutler could easily end up finishing with over 250 yards and two or three TDs, which would make him an excellent play in two-QB fantasy football leagues and a savvy bargain start in DFS lineups.
J.J. Nelson – WR – Arizona Cardinals
With John Brown expected to miss Week 3 for the Cardinals, J.J. Nelson projects to once again be heavily involved in Arizona’s aerial game plan against Dallas on Monday night.
Coming off his five reception for 120 yards and one TD performance in Week 2, Nelson has already gone from 23 percent to 68 percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy football leagues.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) September 17, 2017
Thus, picking him up on the waiver wire will be difficult at this point of the week, but he’s still an excellent value play in DFS leagues.
Mohamed Sanu – WR – Atlanta Falcons
Mohamed Sanu has yet to score a touchdown this season, but has been targeted 15 times through Atlanta’s first two games and has 11 receptions for 132 yards.
In Week 3, Sanu has an ideal matchup as Matt Ryan’s favorite receiver not named Julio Jones against the Detroit Lions.
Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones combined for 193 receiving yards on Sunday night. Matt Ryan said their size is a “game-changer.”
— Kelsey Conway (@FalconsKelsey) September 18, 2017
Jones projects to see double and even triple coverage at times, which consequently means Sanu will have an opportunity to exploit single coverage all game.
Falcons Week 1 target share:
Mohamed Sanu – 27.6%
Julio Jones – 17.2%
Taylor Gabriel – 13.8%
Austin Hooper – 6.9%
— Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) September 11, 2017
Sanu makes for a nice late-week pickup in redraft fantasy football as he’s only owned in 26 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and also should provide tremendous value on all DFS sites.
[Featured Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]