Passed Out at Your Desk: Pick Up Bucs
When I posted last week's sleepers, I hoped to hit on half of them. I felt great about Joe Flacco and Mike Bell. I thought Julius Jones and Fred Jackson were in great situations to succeed. But I also hit on a couple of deep-league sleepers, with Robert Meachem pulling out a 39-yard TD against the hapless Lions (as well as throwing in a bunch of extra points for those that count kick-return yardage) and Todd Heap exploding back onto the scene with five catches for 74 yards and a TD.
Enough with the review -- you're not here for that. On to our sleepers, first for shallower leagues, then for you deep-league owners.
Byron Leftwich, QB, TB @ BUF
Almost all of you can stop right here, as Leftwich is available in most fantasy leagues. Why do I rate him this high? Start with the 61% completion rate in Sunday's game and then factor in his opponent, whom Tom Brady just shredded by completing 39 of 53 passes for 378 yards. With Paul Posluszny out, how will the Bills handle Kellen Winslow? Leftwich should be good for 250 yards and two TDs.
Cadillac Williams, RB, TB @ BUF
Man he looked good Sunday, didn't he? I was expecting Tampa to go with a Derrick Ward-Earnest Graham split at RB this season, but Caddy looks like he'll do just fine. There may be weeks where he doesn't get a lot of carries and hurts your team, but he has huge upside as a flex in certain situations. Playing the Posluszny-less Bills is one of those situations.
Justin Gage, WR, TEN vs. HOU
While Kenny Britt got much of the fantasy love after his 57-yard grab in the kickoff game against Pittsburgh, when things were tough Kerry Collins defaulted to Gage and tight end Bo Scaife. The fact that Britt's big play overshadowed Gage's 7-catch, 78-yard night should work to your advantage as you pull him off the wire. Jerricho Cotchery had six catches for 90 yards against Houston, and Gage should have about the same.
A Good Night's Sleep
Brady Quinn, QB, CLE @ DEN
Quinn had a tough time trying to beat Minnesota's elite defense, but he faces a much easier challenge in Week 2. Denver did a great job of stifling the Cincinnati offense last week, but right now I see that as being the exception, not the rule. Quinn and Braylon Edwards should do a lot of hooking up in Week 2, but I'm more excited to see which receiver establishes himself as the go-to No. 2 guy. I see that happening in this game.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG @ DAL
I had Bradshaw pegged as one of my main sleepers heading into the year, and landed him in both my main drafts. I was very glad to see the Giants give him a dozen carries in the first game, a workload he parlayed into 60 yards. Brandon Jacobs might get the goal-line work, but Bradshaw is plenty capable of breaking a few long runs this season. He makes an excellent flex against Dallas, who couldn't stop either Buc back last week.
Chansi Stuckey, WR, NYJ vs. NE
Stuckey has quickly established himself as a solid option in New York. I had multiple people tell me he showed great chemistry with rookie QB Mark Sanchez, making me think that the 30-yard TD strike on Sunday could pop up several times this year. The Jets will have to throw to keep up with the Pats, and while New England pools their resources into defending Cotchery and Dustin Keller, Stuckey should be able to score another TD.
Michael Bush, RB, OAK @ KC
Bush showed enough to make me think he'll be the primary between-the-tackles back for Oakland, sort of a Jacobs-lite. That should lead to success against Kansas City. Some shrewd owners are already adding Bush, but I think his ownership numbers take off after Week 2. Look for a Darren McFadden/Bush split over the course of the season; McFadden will catch the headlines, but Bush is definitely worth owning.
Pierre Garcon, WR, IND @ MIA
As you know by now, Anthony Gonzalez is out. He's projected to return sometime between "in quite a while" and "we'll get a second opinion on that." Peyton Manning favored Garcon to rookie Austin Collie on Sunday, which leads me to believe Manning will look for him again next week. As we know, Manning can really make any receiver worth starting in a deep league. Pick Garcon up now, because if he has a big Week 2 he'll be snatched up quickly.
Falcons Defense, TM, ATL vs. CAR
Raise your hand if you want your defense playing against a QB that's thrown nine interceptions in his last two games and was recently benched for a McCown. OK, you can all put your hands down now, but only because you'll have to scroll in a second. The Falcons D didn't get a lot of love in preseason fantasy drafts, but they did an excellent job containing Miami in Week 1. They should make a good one-week plug-in against Carolina.
Random great fantasy line of the week? I like Jermichael Finley, who did a great job turning heads this preseason. I like him to get into the end zone this week, which will start endearing him to fantasy owners looking for the next breakout TE.