Desperation is a Stinky Cologne: Deep Sleepers for Week 14

Sneak into the playoffs and praying for an first-round upset? Dominant all season but now scrambling to fill in for an injured player so you don’t get humiliated by some bottom-seeded punk? These players are available in over 50% of ESPN and Yahoo leagues (on average) and might just be able to keep you in the hunt for one more week.

Quarterbacks

Shaun Hill, SF – Shaun Hill rolls into this nice matchup with the Jets’ 29th-ranked pass defense with a bit of a head of steam – a 94.6 passer rating and an 8-3 TD-INT ratio. I don’t blame you if you’re reluctant to trust such an inexperienced QB in a late-season fantasy matchup, but if you’re reading this post, odds are you don’t have a better option. There’s plenty of upside here to go with a heaping helping of risk. I think he’s worth the gamble, but hey, feel free to start someone else, you big wuss.

Joe Flacco, BAL – Flacco comes in at just under 50% owned in both Yahoo and ESPN, so considering his performance of late (11 TDs and 2 INTs in his past 6 games), I’ve got to mention him here. Washington’s a top-10 pass defense, though, so temper your expectations.

Running Backs

Brandon Jackson, GB – If you start Jackson this week, you’re gambling that at least one of the following two conditions plays out: 1) Ryan Grant’s thumb continues to be an issue.  2) The Packers decide that Jackson was good enough last week (11 carries for 80 yards) to convince them that he should get a significant share of the carries. At this point, neither is a sure thing, but he’s at least worth picking up and seeing what happens.

Wide Receivers

Domenik Hixon, NYG – Eli threw to Hixon seven times last Sunday (connecting on five of those throws for 71 yards), and there’s no reason to think that trend won’t continue. The Eagles have a well-rounded defense that’s equally effective against the pass and the run, so while Jacobs & Company will get their carries, you can also expect Eli to spread the ball around and look Hixon’s way on at least one deep route. The Eagles have given up more than their fair share of passing TDs (18) this year.

Deion Branch, SEA – There are few bigger busts in the NFL right now than this former Super Bowl MVP, and I’ve certainly been duped into starting him when I shouldn’t before. But how many other guys on your waiver wire were targeted 11 times last week? He’s far from a thrilling start, but against the Patriots’ so-so pass defense, and considering that Hasselbeck is clearly desperate for someone to throw the ball to, he’s got some upside.