It’s time for a TGIF edition of Deep Sleepers and DFS Bargains. Last week Andy Dalton produced and Josh Doctson found the end zone, but my other picks bottomed out. Let’s try to do better this go-around.
To review … all of these players are owned in less than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues (at time of writing) and/or are a significant value in our daily game. They’re not the obvious picks, and they’re not without their risks, but that’s why they’re so cheap and available! I’d never advocate taking all of these guys, but rather utilizing them if a manager were in a pinch at a position or aiming to build a “stars and scrubs” sort of DFS lineup.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Los Angeles Rams ($13)
He may be owned in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues, but he’s only being started in 28 percent of them. And that make sense. Between a limited number of reps to start the season, and a litany of brutal matchups, Watkins has been living in LA’s shadows instead of the spotlight. Throughout the season, however, Sean McVay has vowed to “get the ball in Sammy’s hands.”
In Week 7, Watkins was more involved, targeted by Jared Goff whenever Patrick Peterson switched up his coverage. While the former Bills’ 3-42-0 stat line is nothing to boast about, it’s worth noting that he saw his second-highest target total of the season (five) and his first red zone look since Week 3. Coming off a bye, it seems the team would prioritize getting Watkins involved, especially facing a Giants squad that will be without stud CB Janoris Jenkins.
Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas Cowboys ($15)
I’m not the only one expecting Dak Prescott to air it out with Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension back on. Vegas has the over/under set at 48.5, which is the second-highest point total (behind TB @ NO) for the day. And while Dez Bryant figures to eat, Beasley has proven to be a chain mover for the Cowboys’ offense. Less than a year ago, much to everyone’s surprise, the Lilliputian-esque receiver emerged as Prescott’s favorite target, leading Dallas’ corps in looks.
Currently, he’s only averaging 4.5 targets per game, but the Chiefs have absorbed over 90 targets in the slot … which is where Beasley does most of his damage. Admittedly, Steven Nelson is an upgrade on Philip Gaines, but he’s shaking off rust after a knee injury kept him out for the first seven weeks of the season. Additionally, Beasley is averaging a target separation of 1.65, which means there are only 24 receivers getting a better cushion from DBs. The hope here is that between the volume and the separation, Beasley can shuffle his way into PPR production. The odds aren’t high … but this is a deep sleepers column, and there are six teams on bye.
Update: If Beasley isn’t cleared from the team’s concussion protocol, take a look at Ryan Switzer ($10). Scott Linehan loves the rookie. In fact, this past spring Dallas’ offensive coordinator called Switzer’s role in the offense “significant” and specifically mentioned his value behind Beasley.
ANOTHER update: Zeke will play in Week 9, making this matchup much less tantalizing via the air. For a replacement dart throw, take a look at Adrick Robinson ($10). Pierre Garcon’s season is officially over (neck), which makes room for the journeyman receiver (who has played under Kyle Shanahan in Washington and Atlanta, before joining him in San Francisco). Robinson saw 12 targets in the stead of Marquise Goodwin last time San Fran faced Arizona (Week 4) and has an exploitable matchup against Tramon Williams.
Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens ($13)
Talk about seizing an opportunity. With Terrance West (calf) sidelined since Week 6, Collins has managed double-digit touches, culminating in a breakout game last Thursday night. Rushing for 113 yards on 18 carries, the Seahawks’ cast-off received post-game praise from John Harbaugh, who admitted that the Arkansas product had earned a larger role.
If coach-speak doesn’t do it for you then take a look at the numbers. Collins has managed the most breakaway runs (10) in the league, has evaded nearly five tackles per contest, and has juked at a rate that is absolutely through the roof (39 percent). The matchup at Tennessee isn’t ideal, but the volume should be enough to keep Collins in top-20 contention.
Vernon Davis, TE, Washington Redskins ($15)
Jordan Reed is breaking fantasy hearts like only Jordan Reed can. After beasting in Week 7 with a two-score effort, the anything-but-durable TE limped off the field after securing his first (and last) catch of Week 8. Current reports suggest he’ll be out for Week 9, which puts Davis in play.
With Jamison Crowder banged-up (hamstring) and the Redskins’ outside receivers in constant volley, Davis could be the team’s surest pass-catching option (save Chris Thompson, of course). At the very least he’ll see a larger role. Add in a Seahawks defense that can be had across the middle (allowing an average of nearly five catches and 55 yards per game), and that’s likely to be without Earl Thomas, the 33 year-old vet has top-10 appeal come Sunday.
Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans ($10)
He’s not officially out for Week 9, but Delanie Walker doesn’t look like he’s going to be on the field come Sunday. Assuming he sits, Smith would have an expanded role. The rookie has flashed, scoring in Weeks 2 and 3 (@ JAX, vs. SEA). Drafted by the Titans in the third round, Smith is an athletic “move” tight end with excellent after-the-catch ability who, ironically, drew Walker comps during the pre-draft process. Facing a Baltimore defense that’s given up six scores to opposing tight ends and is allowing the sixth most fantasy points to the position, Smith is a solid stream.
Dig Deep with Liz on Twitter @LizLoza_FF.