Sleeper, of course, is a nebulous term. Use whatever definition works for you. Likewise, this column is whatever you want it to be. Perhaps it helps you make a start/sit call this week, or a DFS decision. Maybe you apply the information to an over/under prop. Perhaps you’ll add a player to your fantasy bench as depth, but don't deploy him this week. There’s no wrong way to digest this piece
Last week wasn't a legendary sleeper sheet, but we had some hits. Carson Wentz came in. Greg Dortch scored. Treylon Burks hasn't gone off yet, but he's still a reasonable depth grab; the tape is encouraging.
Let's get you some winners for Week 3.
Joe Flacco, QB, Jets (vs. Bengals)
We spent the summer telling you how wonderful Elijah Moore is. And we spent the last week gushing over rookie receiver Garrett Wilson.
With those ascending Jets in hand, don't we have to say some nice things about Flacco?
The Jets receiver room — Corey Davis isn't bad, either — can drag Flacco into fantasy relevance. Flacco is quietly the QB9 through two weeks, having a ball as he navigates through his AFC North revenge tour. And while volume is driving much of that value, so what? The Jets defense ranks dead last in DVOA, so the New York offense will likely have to throw to keep up. The ball will be in the air for three hours.
I approve Flacco as a sneaky Superflex QB2 or a pay-down DFS option at $23. I might punch some Flacco props this week, too.
Ashton Dulin, WR, Colts (vs. Chiefs)
As bad as the Colts were in Week 1, they hit a new low in the Week 2 shutout loss at Jacksonville.
Matt Ryan's not just on the back nine of his career, he might be teeing off on 18. Take Michael Pittman Jr. off the field and the Indianapolis passing game looks toothless.
Maybe there's some sneaky bite here after all. Dulin picked up a start last week and was credible in the loss, posting a 5-79-0 line on seven targets. His snap share nearly doubled from Week 1; he was on the field 64 percent of the time at Jacksonville.
This role could stick or possibly expand. Parris Campbell shows no signs of being a bonafide NFL receiver, and the Colts apparently don't know how to unleash tight end Mo-Alie Cox. Dulin is worthy of a depth add for speculative later-season value, and he's likely to return profit on his modest $11 tag in Yahoo DFS.
Travis Etienne, RB, Jaguars (at Chargers)
The James Robinson comeback is fun, it's inspiring, and it's glorious. And Etienne has made some young-player mistakes in the opening two weeks. We can't ignore that Jacksonville is leaning into Robinson; he has 37 touches through two games, against just 18 for Etienne.
But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Efficiency matters, too. Etienne is making 6.6 yards per touch, compared to a modest 4.0 for Robinson. Eventually that sort of playmaking skill should force a more level time share, or perhaps an Etienne-led backfield.
The Jaguars are a plucky bunch in 2022, but deserved underdogs at Los Angeles, catching seven points in the spread. It's possible Jacksonville will be in catch-up mode for most of the day. Sunday could be the game where Etienne justifies why he was so hotly contested during draft season. It's a good time to tell a leaguemate "you want to acquire a running back" and see if he suggests a move where you get his disappointing Etienne. See if you can time the market.
Irv Smith, TE, Vikings (vs. Detroit)
The Lions are the NFL's peak carnival right now, an offense that scores and a defense that waves opponents through. You want points, you got em. You want fantasy points, get out a calculator.
Smith might feel like an obvious call after he scored a touchdown Monday (and dropped a second one, a long one). But given that he stands just TE18 on the year, perhaps there's room for growth. And Smith is the stone minimum in Yahoo DFS, $10. That's a free square.
I've been an Adam Thielen fan and even an apologist for many years, but perhaps Thielen at age 32 is finally in a decline phase. That could be an accelerant to a possible Smith breakthrough year.
Eagles DST (at Washington)
Philadelphia is a hot team right now. The Jalen Hurts MVP odds have come way, way down. A.J. Brown smashed in the opener, DeVonta Smith flashed in the second game. Dallas Goedert cannot be stopped by conventional methods. Even Miles Sanders is scoring again.
You want exposure to this NFC East juggernaut but can't add anyone from the above paragraph? Check on the Eagles DST. Even with some active movement this week, it's still available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Week 3 pits the Eagles against Carson Wentz — Washington's offense has fun pieces, but Wentz will make some mistakes every week, too. And it's possible you might add the Eagles and hold on for a while. Philadelphia could be favored for the remainder of its 2022 schedule, as ludicrous as that might sound. It's the right year to draw the AFC South as your crossover division.
Whenever possible, you want a DST that's expected to win. You want leverage, you want to play with a lead. More often than not, that will be the 2022 Eagles. Let it rip.