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Weekly Surprises

Week 5 Sleepers

by Nick Mensio
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

After six teams were on the bye last week, we have a fuller slate for Week 5 with just the Dolphins and Raiders getting the week off. There's just one game with an over-under of 50 or higher and that's the Falcons at the Giants (50.5). As I mention below, you're going to want to start all your players from that game. Rashad Jennings should run wild, and both passing games have a chance to burn up the turf. Everybody knows the deal with Sleepers by now. In parentheses is Player X's FanDuel price. For quarterbacks, anything below $8,000 is value. I've set the limit at $6,000 for running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends. Let's get to it.

QB Jay Cutler at Panthers ($7700): It's hard to justify Cutler as a "sleeper" since he's fantasy's No. 4 quarterback on the season, but he's just so cheap on FanDuel this week (QB13). It's going to be hard to not play Cutler in a lot of DFS lineups. The Carolina defense isn't near the level it was in 2013. The Panthers have just eight sacks, are allowing the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, have benched RCB Melvin White, and have surrendered a league-worst 5.7 YPC on the ground. We can't be afraid to play our Bears. Again, Cutler should be owned in all re-draft formats. With Brandon Marshall (ankle) nearing full health, fire Cutler up in daily games.

QB Eli Manning vs. Falcons ($7300): Just as I said above about playing your Bears, this is the week to roll out all your Giants. The Falcons are leaking like a water main break on defense. They surrendered 558 total yards to the Vikings and Teddy Bridgewater last week, and are 31st in the league in yards allowed. People are leery about Eli, but he appears to be the real deal as fantasy's No. 5 quarterback. The matchup doesn't get any better, and it's at home. Manning looks like he's back. I mean, sure he'll have his hiccups along the way, but Eli looks like a Philip Rivers clone in a quick-hitting offense that is getting the ball out of the quarterback's hand and keeping Eli upright.

QB Blake Bortles vs. Steelers ($6400): Making his first NFL start on the road in San Diego against one of the better teams in the league last week, Bortles was held under wraps a bit by OC Jedd Fisch. He attempted just three passes 15-plus yards downfield on 37 total throws. Look for the Jaguars to let Bortles loose more at home in a tasty matchup with the Steelers, who are missing "top" CB Ike Taylor and several other key members of the defense. This is the same defense that let Mike Glennon throw for 302 yards and two touchdowns last week in a home game for the Steelers. Bortles is a fine QB2 option because of his high floor. You can bank on Bortles getting a few points as a runner. The Jaguars are going to want to showcase Bortles for the first time in front of the home crowd.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $350,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 5's games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts Sunday, October 5th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

RB Jeremy Hill at Patriots ($5000): The Patriots are on a short week, fresh off getting run over by the Chiefs when Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis combined for 227 total yards and three touchdowns on 38 touches. New England has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and now gets the 3-0 Bengals who are coming off their bye week. Giovani Bernard is an elite RB1 play, while Hill is on the back end of the RB2 map with potential for more. He's scored a touchdown in two straight games and will likely get a couple series to himself in addition to giving Bernard a breather here and there. OC Hue Jackson has done well to get both backs involved.

RB Darrin Reaves vs. Bears ($5000): As RotoPat mentioned in his Week 5 Rankings, Reaves is Week 5's "No. 1 shot in the dark." With DeAngelo Williams (ankle), Jonathan Stewart (knee), and Mike Tolbert (leg) all sidelined, Reaves is next man up. The Panthers will undoubtedly employ a committee attack with Reaves, Fozzy Whittaker, and Chris Ogbonnaya, but we'd expect Reaves to lead the bunch. The Bears are better against the run in 2014, but they're still not playing defense to write home about. Reaves has some FLEX appeal for owners in a bind. At 5'7/209, he ran a 4.54 forty at UAB's Pro Day in March.

RB Khiry Robinson vs. Bucs ($4900): All of us here at Rotoworld have been on the Khiry Express the past couple weeks, but the returns haven't been great. After a miserable start to the game for Robinson and the Saints in Dallas last week, Robinson still managed to post 105 total yards on ten touches. In a home game the Saints should win over Tampa, Robinson will have a chance to rack up more volume in this one against a defense going all-out to stop the pass. Khiry's a locked-in RB2.

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WR Rueben Randle vs. Falcons ($5400): Randle has drawn double-digit targets in back-to-back games, and has averaged nine per week the past three games. He was inches away from a couple touchdowns last Thursday night against the Redskins and is knocking on the door of a blowup. It very well may come this week against Atlanta's Swiss-cheese defense. Randle has seen most of his targets against right cornerbacks. Robert Alford plays that spot for the Falcons, and he's allowed three touchdowns in his coverage to go along with a 124.4 passer rating. Look for Eli Manning to attack him with LCB Desmond Trufant playing well on the other side where Preston Parker/Odell Beckham will line up. Play Randle and Victor Cruz with confidence.

WR Justin Hunter vs. Browns ($5000): I know. I know. Everyone is getting sick and tired of seeing Hunter's name in this space. But I can't give up on him and am in need of help. Hunter finally putting it all together against the Browns this Sunday would give me peace. All three Cleveland CBs Joe Haden, Justin Gilbert, and Buster Skrine have been roasted in coverage. The Browns have been so bad against the run that teams aren't passing on them much, but they're allowing over 15.0 YPR to receivers. Hunter is the clear big-play threat in this offense, and he's been close to scoring a couple times. Jake Locker (wrist) will be back in the lineup, and the Titans are at home. I can't stay away from the raw ability Hunter possesses.

WR Jermaine Kearse at Redskins ($4600): Kearse has seen just nine targets on the season, posting a 7-91 line, but he's playing over 81 percent of the snaps and is Seattle's big-play threat out wide. He's touchdown scorer and high-pointer of the football. The Redskins have been nails against the run, but are getting picked apart by the pass. Kearse is going to run most of his routes against either E.J. Biggers or Bashaud Breeland because of DeAngelo Hall's season-ending torn Achilles' in Week 3. Breeland was taken advantage of by Rueben Randle and Preston Parker last week, while Biggers is a run-of-the-mill corner. Kearse is known for a big game here and there. He should be given opportunities Monday night.

TE Heath Miller at Jaguars ($5900): After a quiet start to the season, Miller busted out for a 10-85-1 line on 11 targets against the Bucs in Week 4. He now gets a Jaguars defense that has been awful at covering tight ends. Ben Roethlisberger is a good bet to eclipse 300 yards passing in this one with the Jaguars 32nd in the league in total yards allowed. Miller is locked and loaded as a back-end TE1 with a high ceiling for Week 5.

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins at Saints ($4700): After missing two games with a foot injury, Seferian-Jenkins returned to play all 71 offensive snaps against the Steelers last Sunday. The Bucs know he's better than Brandon Myers, and ASJ out-targeted Myers 7-1 in Pittsburgh. Now Mike Evans (groin) is hurt, and ASJ, the No. 38 overall pick in May's draft, is in line to be the No. 2 option in the passing game behind Vincent Jackson, who is playing with a slightly fractured wrist. Seferian-Jenkins stands 6'5/262 and saw plenty of reps with Mike Glennon in the summer. The Bucs are likely to be playing from behind in New Orleans. ASJ is a rising TE2.

TE Luke Willson at Redskins ($4500): With Zach Miller (ankle) sidelined, Willson will get the starts at tight end. Willson, a 2013 fifth-round pick, stands in at 6'5/251 and runs a 4.51 forty with a 38-inch vertical. He's the future at tight end in Seattle, and we should get out first real look at him Monday night. Volume is the concern with all of Seattle's pass catchers. But the Redskins got destroyed by Larry Donnell last week. If I were picking between starting Willson or Austin Seferian-Jenkins, I'd go with ASJ ten times out of ten. But Willson needs to be monitored, especially for those in Dynasty leagues.

Nick Mensio

Nick Mensio has been covering the NFL for NBC Sports Edge since 2012. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.