Week 4 fantasy sleeper candidates and guys who could exceed expectations

How teams do against types of opponents can help you find breakout candidates. Tyler Loechner has some such candidates this week.

| 4 weeks ago
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Week 4 fantasy sleeper candidates and guys who could exceed expectations

We’re continuing to dig through the unique fantasy points per opportunity data we have here at PFF to find potential breakout candidates on a weekly basis.

An opportunity is defined as a rush attempt or a pass route run, so PPO is calculated by dividing total points scored by carries plus routes run. This stat can help you uncover which players are too reliant on volume, and which players could become fantasy studs if they get more opportunities.

Last week’s article did a great job of identifying Week 3 breakout players, including Devonta Freeman, DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry and others.

So who will break out in Week 4? Which players have made the most of their opportunities? Which players have great matchups on the PPO front? Let’s find out.

Wide receivers

Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens

The ageless Smith had a solid game in Week 3, catching eight of 11 targets for 87 yards, but he could be even better in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, who have given up the most fantasy PPO to wideouts so far this year. Smith has yet to find the end zone — but that could change in Week 4.

Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders

If Steve Smith is a breakout candidate, then so is the top wideout on the team he’ll be facing in Week 4. Cooper draws the Ravens secondary, which ranks in the bottom half in PPO ceded to wideouts so far this season. The Ravens also just gave up two touchdowns to Allen Robinson. Cooper, still looking for his first touchdown of the season, should put up big numbers and find the paint.

Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos

The Broncos duo technically broke out in Week 3, but look for them to extend their hot streak through Week 4. The Broncos will square off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have given up the second-most fantasy PPO to opposing wideouts so far this season. Sanders was fourth among all wideouts in PPO last week, and Thomas was 15th. Another big game is in store for both of them.

Running backs

DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans

Murray has technically been breaking out all season long, but he’s primed for perhaps his biggest game yet against the Houston Texans in Week 4. The Texans had already given up the ninth-most fantasy PPO to running backs so far this season, and now they are without J.J. Watt. Murray is a definite option in DFS this week and is obviously a must-start in your season-long leagues.

Jaamal Charles and/or Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs

You mean, the guy who hasn’t played a snap yet this season? Yes, him. Charles is a sneaky good play, assuming he actually does play and reports over the second half of the week are positive. He has been practicing, and while he has remained limited, there’s hope he’s back in action in Week 4.

Even in limited action, Charles could do some serious damage against the Steelers, who have given up the fourth-most PPO to running backs this year. If Charles doesn’t suit up, Ware will also be in line for a big game, particularly through the air, where the Steelers rank second-to-last in PPO ceded out of the backfield. Heck, even if Charles does play, Ware is still viable as a flex player. Just fire up the Chiefs backfield this week.

Dwayne Washington, Detroit Lions

The Detroit running back saw just as many attempts (10) as Theo Riddick in Week 3. Washington gained 38 yards for a subpar 3.8 YPC. Riddick, meanwhile, gained just nine yards for an atrocious 0.9 YPC. Washington might have earned a larger role on the ground, though Riddick will see all of the work out of the backfield. However, Washington could have his breakout game on the ground this week against the Bears, who have given up the 12th-most PPO to running backs through three weeks.

Tight ends

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

You’re obviously starting Olsen in your season-long leagues, but if you play DFS, you might want to consider him there this week as well, even though he’s pricey. Olsen should feast against the Falcons, who have given up the second-most PPO to tight ends so far this season. You might not have noticed because of the presidential debate Monday night, but Coby Fleener shredded this Falcons defense. Coby Fleener! Olsen is a sure thing in Week 4.

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

Dez Bryant is banged up, Cole Beasley doesn’t score any touchdowns, and the Cowboys apparently hate letting Ezekiel Elliott score rushing touchdowns too. Witten, meanwhile, has been quietly productive. He has seen the eighth-most targets among tight ends this season, but he hasn’t been able to score off of those targets. That might change in Week 4 against the 49ers, who have given up the eighth-most PPO to tight ends this season and have given up a tight end score in two straight games.

C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals

This bet is based on the assumption that Tyler Eifert — who is currently doubtful — doesn’t play against the Dolphins Thursday night. If Eifert doesn’t go, Uzomah will have another shot as the main man. He’ll have a solid matchup against a Miami team that has given up the seventh-most PPO to tight ends through three weeks. Uzomah is currently tied for 11th in terms of targets among tight ends, but he has only caught seven of those passes. Three drops haven’t helped. If Uzomah is able to hold onto the ball, he could have his breakout game in Week 4. He’s not a must-start, but he’s a viable streaming tight end option.

Below is a chart showing the top 20 players at each position in terms of fantasy PPO scored so far this season (minimum 25 percent snaps).

2016 Season PPO Leaders (min. 25% snaps)
WR   RB   TE
Player Tm. PPO Player Tm. PPO Player Tm. PPO
Danny Amendola NE 0.75 Damien Williams MIA 0.86 Austin Hooper ATL 0.77
Tyreek Hill KC 0.53 Mike Gillislee BUF 0.82 Geoff Swaim DAL 0.56
Willie Snead NO 0.45 Jalen Richard OAK 0.71 Vance McDonald SF 0.49
Jordy Nelson GB 0.44 Tevin Coleman ATL 0.65 Jack Doyle IND 0.43
Corey Coleman CLV 0.44 Robert Turbin IND 0.64 Marcedes Lewis JAX 0.39
Marvin Jones DET 0.42 Isaiah Crowell CLV 0.55 Kyle Rudolph MIN 0.33
Andre Holmes OAK 0.41 Orleans Darkwa NYG 0.55 Trey Burton PHI 0.33
Kelvin Benjamin CAR 0.4 Ryan Mathews PHI 0.53 Brandon Myers TB 0.33
Stefon Diggs MIN 0.39 Wendell Smallwood PHI 0.53 Jimmy Graham SEA 0.31
Mike Wallace BLT 0.37 DeMarco Murray TEN 0.5 Martellus Bennett NE 0.3
Jaron Brown ARZ 0.36 LeGarrette Blount NE 0.5 Greg Olsen CAR 0.29
Travis Benjamin SD 0.35 Ameer Abdullah DET 0.5 Delanie Walker TEN 0.29
Mike Evans TB 0.34 Melvin Gordon SD 0.49 Jacob Tamme ATL 0.27
Doug Baldwin SEA 0.34 Jeremy Hill CIN 0.47 Travis Kelce KC 0.24
Emmanuel Sanders DEN 0.34 Latavius Murray OAK 0.46 Cameron Brate TB 0.24
Demaryius Thomas DEN 0.34 Carlos Hyde SF 0.43 Zach Miller CHI 0.23
Antonio Brown PIT 0.33 LeSean McCoy BUF 0.43 Richard Rodgers GB 0.23
Jarvis Landry MIA 0.33 Spencer Ware KC 0.43 Clive Walford OAK 0.22
Larry Fitzgerald ARZ 0.32 Devonta Freeman ATL 0.43 Virgil Green DEN 0.21
Julio Jones ATL 0.32 Danny Woodhead SD 0.43 Jermaine Gresham ARZ 0.21

Tyler Loechner is a lead writer at PFF Fantasy. He has played fantasy football since 1999 and has been a part of the PFF Fantasy staff since 2010. Tyler was also previously a fantasy football featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

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