Rank's 11 sleepers: It's Lorenzo Taliaferro time

Print

Oh man, last year I played Kirk Cousins in the Super Bowl of our NFL Fantasy Live league and it almost ended in disaster. Cousins was the "darling" because he had a great matchup, but he didn't really produce. And I was lucky to survive with my third title in four years.

So you'll forgive me if I was a little hesitant to play Cousins this week because he had a great performance in relief of RGIII in Week 2. But now we have a larger sample size (not super large, mind you) after he played so well against the Eagles and it's time to get excited about Cousins for the rest of the season.

And to fully understand why, we need to go back to the 2011 NFL Draft. Bengals owner/GM Mike Brown was hyper to select Colin Kaepernick. But then-offensive coordinator Jay Gruden lobbied hard for Andy Dalton. He reasoned the accurate, pocket-passing Dalton would be a better fit for his offense. Cousins entered the league as an accurate pocket passer who has looked like a great fit for Gruden's offense.

So if you landed Cousins on waivers (or he's inexplicably still on your league's waiver wire), make sure you add him to your team. He could be a bye-week replacement for the elite, a replacement for the struggling (Tom Brady) or a trade pawn as well.

And here are the rest of Rank's 11 for the coming week:

Donald Brown, RB, San Diego Chargers

Brown carried the rock 31 times for the Chargers on Sunday, and that figure shouldn't dip too much considering both Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead are out (Woodhead for the year). And don't be bummed out about Brown's YPC. The Bills D is pretty good. Plus, the Chargers just wanted to bleed the clock at the end of the game with Brown. And this week he faces, the Jags have allowed the most points to fantasy running backs this season.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Baltimore Ravens

If you just went by what your eyes were telling you, Taliaferro is the best running back for the Ravens. He's perfect for the zone blocking scheme. But unfortunately, politics being what they are in football sometimes, the Ravens are a little slow to install him as the starter. But pick him up. And have him ready to go. Because if the Ravens were to select him as the starter, or Bernard Pierce couldn't go against the Panthers, then I would totally rush to get him into the lineup. The Panthers defense has allowed a lot of points to running backs, thanks to the gashing the Steelers just put on them. Even Joique Bell had some success against them in Week 2. Modest success, but still.

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills

Why did I start Chris Johnson this week? That one is on me, boys and girls. Why I let Action Jackson toil on my bench is beyond me. But I'm starting him this week against the Texans who are very vulnerable on the ground. Which of course means, I've just jinxed him and I will again apologize to everybody. I swear, I'm not feeling great about any of these right now.

Khiry Robinson, RB, New Orleans Saints

We got a glimpse of Robinson in Week 3 and it wasn't bad. He stepped in and immediately held Mark Ingram's workload, which was what was expected. The matchup this week against the Cowboys isn't great. But six teams are on a bye this week, which in and of itself is just ridiculous. I'm telling you, what the heck.

Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

I know, I'm Mr. Never Chase the Points. However; HOWEVER, the 49ers have allowed the most fantasy points to receivers this season. John Brown got after them pretty good. So I like Matthews a lot this week. Especially with six teams on a bye.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

This is a new day down in Duuuuuuval! I'm really excited about Blake Bortles. He hasn't become a factor individually on fantasy teams (yet), but he's going to have a domino effect. Toby Gerhart should be a lot better. And players like Robinson will benefit, too. He's already the team leader in targets and receptions. The matchup against the Chargers isn't great for him, but again, six teams on a bye. And even if you want to look long term, you need to get in on the ground floor now. It's like buying Apple stock back in the day.

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

This guy caught our attention way back in training camp. I mean, we're going way back to training camp. That's a while ago, right? But Kelce has become a bigger part of the offense in recent weeks. And despite limited opportunities, is the club's leading receiver. His athleticism and ability is too great for Andy Reid to ignore. Oh wait, that's exactly what Reid does. The Patriots are a tough matchup this week. But bye weeks, injuries and other stuff make Kelce somebody to play this week.

Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis Colts

The Titans are one of the most generous teams when it comes to fantasy points surrendered to tight ends. Whoa, did that sound almost too formal right there? It won't happen again. But I like Allen a lot. If he's available in your leagues (not likely) pick him up and play him this week. Because the Titans aren't looking good. They are like my Cal State Fullerton basketball Titans. (We're not very good. Don't bother to Google it or anything.)

Atlanta Falcons D/ST

Well, I hope you picked them up last week. They will remain a good start, at least for this week. The Vikings will start a rookie quarterback, so it's always worth a gamble. Plus, Devin Hester. The Falcons are a team you can hold on to.

Washington /DST

But there is a chance somebody else in your league either picked them up last week, or you missed out on them via the wire. (Expletive) happens, I suppose. Washington is a nice play this week. In case you've missed it, home defenses on Thursday nights have done well the last two weeks. Plus, Eli Manning has historically struggled against Washington, so this is a really nice play.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank. He surprisingly answers a lot of questions.

Print