It's Week 5 of the 2011 NFL season and that means the bye weeks have begun. It sucks if your favorite team is on a bye but it sucks even more if half of your fantasy football team is one bye weeks. Fantasy sleepers aren't just nice to have sitting on your bench anymore, now they're a necessity to have on your starting lineup.
Here are some sleepers for week five of the 2011 fantasy football season.
|Curtis Painter QB Indianapolis Colts|
Curtis Painter isn't a good guy to pick up and keep on your team for the rest of the season, but if your quarterback happens to be Tony Romo or Joe Flacco and you're in a pretty deep league, he could fill the quarterback gap on your team just for this week.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Painter completed less than half of his passes but he did throw for 281 yards and two touchdowns. That game was on the road on Monday Night Football. Against the Kansas City Chiefs and in front of a home crowd, Painter could have a pretty solid game. Let's not forget, he's got one of the best supporting casts when it comes to receivers in the league.
|Mark Sanchez QB New York Jets|
Mark Sanchez is on rosters in 86 percent of ESPN leagues but he's only started 17 percent of the time. This week, the Jets will face off against their division rivals, the New England Patriots, in Foxborough.
While the Patriots have the best offense in the NFL, they also have the worst defense, specifically against the pass. Best case scenario, the Patriots get up to a decent lead and for Sanchez to sling the ball to Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller for three hundred-plus yards and a few touchdowns.
|Dexter McCluster RB Kasas City Chiefs|
McCluster averages 5.9 yards per carry every time he runs the ball. That's now what makes him dangerous though. What makes him dangerous is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Thomas Jones just isn't looking too great and McCluster may get more shares of the carries against the Colts.
Furthermore, quarterback Matt Cassel will likely be under constant pressure from both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. He may find the need to dump the ball off to McCluster more than usual. In PPR leagues, McCluster could rack up some points as a bye-week stopgap running back.
|Isaac Redman RB Pittsburgh Steelers|
If Mendenhall is held out of Sunday's game against the Titans, Isaac Redman will likely be the main man in Pittsburgh's backfield. He has averaged 4.9 yards per carry when he's been handed the ball so far in 2011 and if he does get the start, the Steelers will likely ask a lot of him in order to keep their banged-up quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, out of harm's way.
If you have Mendenhall on your roster and you don't have a lot of depth at running back, Redman may be a decent acquisition just to be on the safe side.
|Titus Young WR Detroit Lions|
Tutus Young has yet to have a 100-yard game or even a touchdown this year but Calvin Johnson has scored eight. That means that pretty soon defenses are going to assign all 11 defensive players to guard Johnson while the others run free. Young has a ton of upside and he appears to be passing Nate Burleson as the team's No. 2 receiver. As he's on the field more and as teams begin to do whatever they can to stop Johnson from looking like a god amongst men, Young could net a decent amount of points as a bye-week wide receiver.
|Pierre Garcon WR Indianapolis Colts|
Like Mark Sanchez, Pierre Garcon is owned on over 80 percent of ESPN fantasy teams but he's only starting 22 percent of the time. Of course that had a lot to do with the Colts' quarterback situation but now that Curtis Painter is in the mix, Garcon could benefit the most.
Last week, Garcon caught only two passes but on those two receptions, Garcon netted 146 yards and two touchdowns. Going up against the Chiefs, Painter and Garcon do some damage.
|Scott Chandler TE Buffalo Bills|
Yes, the Bengals completely shut down Chandler last week but they also have the top defense in the NFL. Before week four, Chandler had four touchdowns in three games and there's no reason to believe why he couldn't add another touchdown this weekend against the Eagles at home, especially if the Eagles jump out to a lead and force Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills to throw the ball to play catch-up.
He's only owned in 55 percent of ESPN leagues so there's a safe bet that he'll be available for you.
|Jermaine Gresham TE Cincinnati Bengals|
Jermaine Gresham is one of the most physically talented tight ends in the NFL and he is a red zone mismatch from hell for any team to deal with. It appears that Gresham and rookie quarterback Andy Dalton are starting to mesh and you may want to jump on the train before that happens because when it does, Gresham can be one of the best tight ends in the league.
This week he'll be facing the Jaguars who have given up 23 catches for 290 yards and three touchdowns in the last three weeks to opposing tight ends.
The Bengals have the No. 1 defense in the NFL and they're owned in less than 30 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. They'll be facing the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have the No. 30 ranked offense in the league. The Bengals will have to deal with Maurice Jones-Drew, who they faced only once in 2008 (10 carries for 33 yards and one touchdown in that game) but if they can shut him down, they can benefit from Blaine Gabbert's inexperience.
The Bengals defensive line has been getting constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks which is good news for the secondary and for you if you start the Bengals defense on Sunday.
The Titans defense is only owned in 35 perent of ESPN fantasy leagues and they're facing the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road. If you have the Ravens defense, you may want to grab the Titans defense to start this week. The Steelers offensive line may as well consist of cardboard cutouts of players right now. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 14 times so far this season, tied for the third most in the NFL, and the Titans have found their way to opposing quarterbacks 10 times.
The Titans could help your team to a victory, especially if the bye week has you worried about your team's defense.