Streamers and Sleepers, Week 3
22 September 2020 Fantasy Football
So I’ve been playing fantasy football for a long time, it has to be at least 10 years now, I still remember just playing for fun, it was never about the money it was just who could win the league. We were all young kids back then and we didn’t have enough money lying around to throw in on a fantasy football buy-in, and there wasn’t the big craze there is now to play the game.
I would say with about 95% certainty that in those ten years, I have never seen an injury week as bad as the one we just saw this weekend. Left and right there was injury after injury, and it started right from the 1 o clock window. By the end of the day, we had lost some of the best tier of talent to injury, ranging from mild injuries like Davante Adams, who tried to come back in but was ruled against due to the big Green Bay lead, to Saquon Barkley and Courtland Sutton, who left with season-ending torn ACL injuries.
Naturally, there’s always some really good streamer options on a week to week basis, but given the high rate of injuries this weekend, I wanted to dive deep. So I’m going to pick the very best streamer at each position, and then I’m going to add a sleeper of my own choice that could also be as good. Let’s get into it.
Streamer: Gardner Minshew, Jaguars
Minshew has had a really good start to the season. He completed 95% of his passes in week one against a Colts’ defense that was supposed to be a top-10 unit, and then last week brought the Jaguars to an almost-comeback win against the Tennessee Titans. Sure he makes some boneheaded plays here and there, but he is making plays week after week with very barebones pieces. He can be very good down the line, and for now he is a great streaming option.
Sleeper: Ryan Tannehill, Titans
Last year’s darling, Tannehill is starting off the year on a great track again. He’s been doing great work, completing 70% of his passes with 6 passing TD’s and no picks en route to a 2-0 record, all without AJ Brown, a healthy Corey Davis, or a legit pass-catching back. He’s almost start-worthy at this point, and should only continue to put up points when the injured players get healthy.
Streamer: Jerick McKinnon, 49ers
The 49ers seem to just have an endless stash of viable running backs on their 53 and practice squad rosters, don’t they? In this instance, it’s McKinnon, who hadn’t played in a legit NFL game in over 2 years before this year, being that he tore up his knee in back to back years. He came out strong once Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert went down though, and is an extremely viable starter in one of the most run-heavy schemes in the NFL until they come back. Feel free to pick up McKinnon and immediately throw him into your flex in a winnable game at the Giants.
Sleeper: Devonta Freeman, NFL
As of this writing, Freeman is still a free agent, but is expected to land with the Giants. I would not recommend starting him for another week or 2 as he will need to get acclimated to the playbook and pick up looks, but he could be a league winner down the stretch with Barkley out for the season. He is a true three down back and if he still has the burst left, and it looked at times last year like he didn’t, he can be an extremely good asset for a team that loves to dump the ball off to their running backs. Keep him on the bench for now, though.
Streamer: Russell Gage, Falcons
Gage has burst onto the scene this year after after finishing very strong last year in place of an injured Calvin Ridley, but the fact that he is continuing this great with Ridley back and healthy is nothing short of great. I can’t guarantee he continues to get these heavy looks once Julio Jones gets healthy, but Gage looks like a very competent dart throw. He has 15 catches and 2 touchdowns this year and almost added another through the air on a 50 yarder to Julio. Keep him in your bench, and is an immediate start in a very pass-happy Atlanta offense if one of the two aforementioned receivers gets injured.
Sleeper: Mecole Hardman, Chiefs
Without Sammy Watkins, Hardman is the next man up in potentially the most fantasy-friendly offense of the last decade. Mahomes loves to chuck the ball downfield, and while Tyreek Hill is a little bit faster, Hardman is a speedster in his own right and should pick up some of the touches that Watkins is leaving behind. We don’t know how long Watkins will be out, but Hardman is always a good piece to have your eye on. A bench stash for now, he could be worth elevating in deeper leagues.
Streamer: Jonnu Smith, Titans
Chances are he’s finally going to be rostered in more than 50% of leagues finally after this week. If you know me at all, you know I’m a huge fan of this kid and I was singing all offseason on how I thought he would break out, thus I grabbed him in as many leagues as I possibly could. Somehow he’s still only rostered in 37% of leagues as of today so he qualifies as a streamer, but fear not if you do not have one of the top 7 options, Jonnu is a back-end TE1 for the rest of the season.
Sleeper: Dalton Schultz, Cowboys
Hurts my soul to even talk good about the Cowboys, especially on an Eagles-based site, but Schultz will be a happy person to have Dak Prescott as his QB. Prescott loves his TE’s, he used Witten as a safety blanket and was starting to look Blake Jarwin’s way finally before he unfortunately tore his ACL a week ago. Anyways, Schultz had a great game this week, catching 9 balls for 88 yards and a TD against Atlanta. He’s an obvious mid-tier TE2 for the rest of the year.
Streamer: Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
I’ve been high all year on this Bucs defense, they have a lot of nice pieces down low to stop the run game, and their secondary is really starting to step up. Young guys Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting are coming on as top tier CB’s and they really do look good. I love their outlook this week against a Denver Broncos team that just lost QB Drew Lock for 2-5 weeks and lost Courtland Sutton for the season. They are a must add if you can get them.