We’re back with another edition of deep league searching. Once again, the purpose of this series is to find potential players for deep leaguers (16+ teams) to consider. This also applies to standard leaguers with deep benches. Yahoo % owned is used as major criteria, as well as simple subjectivity (for example, you won’t see Nate Washington in this series even though he’s only owned in one-third of Yahoo leagues). Let’s dive right in.
Earnest Graham, RB, TB (7% owned): Graham is a complete PPR special. Through 3 games, he has a paltry 11 carries, yet has 20 receptions, which means he’s catching almost 7 balls per game. In fact, he’s tallied 34.60 points on Yahoo for PPR scoring, which means he’s definitely rosterable and even flex-worthy in deep leagues. Graham will have a hard time being relevant as a runner this year, as even with a LeGarrette Blount injury, he’d likely split carries with someone else (my guess would be Kregg Lumpkin). The only thing to caution is that the 7 catches per game is clearly unsustainable, but even at 4-5 per game, a 10 point per game guy on your bench never hurts.
Dane Sanzenbacher, WR, CHI (1% owned): Sanzenbacher has benefited from Earl Bennett’s absence in a sizable way. While his yardage totals in Week 2 and 3 were a mere 60 combined, he had 14 targets during the course of those games as well as a touchdown in each. The touchdown rate is unsustainable, but with flux and injuries in the Chicago WR corps, the decent target totals are certainly something for PPR players to take notice with. In fact, during Weeks 2 and 3, Sanzenbacher had more targets than Devin Hester and tied Johnny Knox in targets. He’ll never be a big YPR guy, but he should be stashed in deep PPR leagues. Consider any touchdowns a bonus.
Titus Young, WR, DET (4% owned): Probably my favorite player on this week’s edition of DLS, Young has 9 catches and 140 yards in only 2 games. That may not sound like much, but keep in mind this is a rookie who missed the entire preseason. Given that fact combined with shortened training camps and OTAs, the rapport he has displayed with Matthew Stafford is remarkable. 13 targets in 2 games is nothing to scoff at, and the good news is that 4 of those targets have come 20+ yards down the field. Young actually cut into Nate Burleson’s targets in Week 3 (he only registered 3), and his role could continue to expand as he gets more and more comfortable with Detroit’s pass heavy system. I’m buying in all formats.
Alfonso Smith, RB, ARI (0% owned): Beanie Wells isn’t exactly known for being tough, and when Wells was inactive in Week 3 with his hamstring issue, it was Smith and not Chester Taylor who got the workload. Smith didn’t turn any heads with his 3.2 YPC, but he was given 20 total touches. Keep in mind he was playing against the Seahawks as well, who boast PFF’s 4th highest rated run defense. Smith likely won’t ever be a back you can lean on, but he’s definitely one to scoop up and potentially stick in your flex slot in the event that Wells’ injury issues continue, which is a distinct possibility. The only thing to keep an eye on is if the Cardinals bring on another back to the committee behind Wells, which is entirely possible (Steve Slaton anyone?).
Kendall Hunter, RB, SF (7% owned): With Frank Gore’s injury history and recent news, Hunter is a back that needs to be owned in leagues with 12 or more teams. He looks like a better runner than Anthony Dixon just using the straight eye test, and Dixon registered a mediocre -2.2 rush rating on 134 snaps last year. Keep in mind that Gore is struggling this year as well – he has only 148 yards on 59 carries, which is a grotesque 2.5 YPC over quite a big sample size. The Niners aren’t run blocking very well (-20.2 as a team), but that’s still no excuse for such paltry numbers. If he’s floating around out there on your waiver wire, snag him.
Laurent Robinson, WR, DAL (0% owned): There was a time when Laurent Robinson was considered a super sleeper in fantasy world. Then he went and got injured a bunch and got dumped by the Rams. However, with the injury situation to Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, Robinson looks like he may take hold of the third WR job in Dallas. Tony Romo was clearly not on the same page as Kevin Ogletree, while he found Robinson on more than one occasion for critical throws. Robinson has his own injury history as aforementioned, but in an offense that has the potential to be as high powered as the Cowboys’, he makes for a decent stash in case Austin and Bryant’s injuries keep nagging them.