Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 7
Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 7
Identifying sleepers in fantasy football becomes more important with each week that passes. Injuries and Bye Weeks affect even the strongest assembled rosters and lineups, and there's plenty of both going on right now!
In this edition of Fantasy Football Sleepers, we'll reveal six players who are rostered in fewer than 60 percent of ESPN leagues, who are either carving out a bigger role within their offense due to talent, while others are benefitting from injury and playing well within their particular offensive scheme. Sure, some of these prospects may not have had blow-up games yet, but this is why we label them sleepers. Before long, they will hit a double-digit outing in PPR formats, or settle into an expanded role, like what we're seeing from Kansas City rookie wideout, Rashee Rice.
Not every sleeper prospect winds up panning out because it's hard to be consistently good in the NFL. Volume varies frequently, seemingly week to week depending on player health and the upcoming matchups, while others build a rapport within their offense. With a whopping six teams on Bye in Week 7, these players should be claimed off of league waiver wires, and potentially flexed into fantasy lineups, in the first week with six teams on Bye this season.
NFL fantasy analyst, Matt MacKay, shares his latest analysis of six players who stand out as clear-cut sleeper candidates ahead of waiver wire claims being processed on Wednesday morning. All data referenced in this article uses half-PPR scoring format.
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Chuba Hubbard (RB - Panthers)
The Panthers' massive offseason contract awarded to Miles Sanders once again looks like another reason why NFL general managers shouldn't pay most running backs a second contract. Chuba Hubbard has been healthier, the more effective receiver out of the Panthers' backfield, and is averaging 4.5 YPC, versus 3.1 YPC for Sanders. Hubbard, a former fourth-round draft pick in 2021, is finally emerging as a viable second option alongside Adam Thielen. Against a good Miami defense in Week 6, Hubbard handled 19 carries for 88 yards and his first touchdown of the season, hauling in his only target for a two-yard reception as well. With head coach Frank Reich no longer at the helm play-calling, we could see Hubbard's usage become even more efficient. For now, Hubbard is a mid-range RB2, with low-end RB1 upside if Sanders continues to miss time with a shoulder injury.
Ezekiel Elliot (RB - Patriots)
Rhamondre Stevenson remains RB1 in New England, but that doesn't mean two running backs can't exist, especially in the league's worst offense. Ezekiel Elliot may not be feasting like he did during his prime in Dallas, however, he's still being fed a 33.3 percent rushing share, while seeing a 7.5 percent target share. Stevenson's numbers are at 53 percent rush share and 11 percent target share, but Elliot is receiving equal usage in the red zone, as both players have at least two touches, while both scored against Las Vegas in Week 6. Elliot is a boom-or-bust RB3, but if the Patriots turn to Malik Cunningham at quarterback over Mac Jones, this offense could quickly become much better, resulting in more red zone trips for Elliot to convert into fantasy points.
Rashee Rice (WR - Chiefs)
Rookie wideout Rashee Rice leads Kansas City in targets (28) through six games. Rice scored in the first game of his career against Detroit, clearly displaying the rapport he's built with Patrick Mahomes while scoring another touchdown in Week 5 against the Vikings. Rice is averaging 8.8 yards per target and 11.7 yards per reception, but his season snap count is the lowest amongst any Chiefs wideout at 38 percent. His 17.7 percent target share is nine percent higher than Skyy Moore's, so expect Andy Reid to continue getting Rice more snaps, as he's highly effective with a limited workload. Rice is a mid-range WR3 with WR2 upside.
Curtis Samuel (WR - Commanders)
Curtis Samuel has found himself a solid role within Washington's offense, playing in the slot and being used as a ball carrier, resulting in three touchdowns and over 300 scrimmage yards this season. OC Eric Bienemy and quarterback Sam Howell clearly trust Samuel in big spots, as he's caught 87 percent of his targets, which is easily the best amongst all Commanders wideouts. Samuel is also averaging 9.2 yards per target, compared to just 4.5 yards per target for Jahan Dotson, so his downfield usage is also encouraging. Buy low on Samuel, who remains undervalued, stashing him as a WR3 that can be flexed into lineups during this upcoming six-team Bye Week.
Jonnu Smith (TE - Falcons)
As soon as Kyle Pitts got going in Atlanta's offense, Jonnu Smith revived his career, slightly leading Pitts in receiving yards (282) and yards per target (8.8) this season. Smith made a name for himself in fantasy with the Tennessee Titans, before losing all of his value in New England. Now, in a run-centric offense under head coach Arthur Smith, which prefers to use two tight end sets, plus quarterback Desmond Riddler constantly looking to his safety blankets, like Smith, he's become a viable streaming tight end in most fantasy formats. There are a lot worse options than Smith at tight end, so he can be plugged into lineups as a low-end TE1 with upside if he finds the end zone once again in a bottom-12 matchup against Tampa Bay in Week 7.
Joshua Dobbs (QB - Cardinals)
Yes, the Cardinals are 1-5, but quarterback Joshua Dobbs has delivered a solid fantasy football floor during his six weeks as Arizona's signal caller. Dobbs is highly valuable in fantasy formats, particularly due to his rushing ability, as he's recorded at least 40 rushing yards in four of his six games played. This rushing floor is extremely useful. Dobbs failed to rush or throw for a touchdown for just the second time this season against the Rams in Week 6, but in Week 7, he receives a top-12 fantasy quarterback matchup against Seattle. Dobbs is a high-end QB2 that will likely be featured in many fantasy football lineups this week.
Matt is an avid writer and enjoys analyzing the game within the game that is fantasy sports. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his fiancé and three pets, which typically involves some type of outdoor exercise or adventure. He likes to read, listen to Podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the fantasy sports industry. Pat McAfee is a massive inspiration to Matt, along with his parents and friends. He is guilty of ordering the same menu item at restaurants.