Starts and Sleepers of the Week

For my weekly Starts and Sleepers of the Week column, I will give you a player at every position who I believe will outperform their current projection, not necessarily who I believe will end up being the No. 1 performer of the week, though sometimes that could be the case.

This column will also feature my sleeper picker for every position. The definition of a sleeper is open to interpretation, but for my purposes I will define it as someone projected outside of the top 20 at their position who I believe can finish as a top-20 player for the given week.

Also, please check my weekly rankings for all your start/sit questions.

Projections are based on consensus rankings at

Quarterback Start of the Week

Matt Ryan at Arizona (projection: 20.1)

Here are Ryan's numbers from Atlanta's first five games: 32.9, 15.7, 23.5, 22.1, 20.6.

Only once has he not surpassed the 20.1-point mark this season and the Falcons have played pretty good defenses so far. The Cardinals are giving up the ninth-most passing yards per game (269.2) and are tied for the second-most touchdowns given up (12).

Ryan will have a field day this week and should easily exceed his projection. He may even end up as the No. 1 quarterback this week.

Quarterback Sleeper of the Week

Gardner Minshew II vs New Orleans (projection: 15.7)

Minshew has been nothing short of spectacular since taking over the starting duties when Nick Foles got hurt in the opening game. He's completed 66.7% of his passes for 1,279 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception.

The Saints are right in the middle of the pack in terms of pass defense, and Minshew has shown great rapport with his receivers, particularly DJ Chark. The injury to tight end James O'shaughnessy will hurt, as Minshew often turned to him in desperate times, but he still has enough weapons to distribute the ball to.

The rookie QB won't blow you away with points, but he provides a steady floor for those who would rather go for consistency rather than a boom-or-bust streaming option.

Running back Start of the Week

Devonta Freeman at Arizona (projection: 11.7)

My Start of the Week at QB and at RB are both Falcons players going up against Arizona. Sense a theme here? It's going to be a high-scoring affair in the desert, which means fire up all Atlanta players this week.

Freeman disappointed to start the season, but those numbers were skewed considering Atlanta played Minnesota and Philadelphia to start the season. Both are top teams at stopping the run (the Eagles are No. 1 in the league in rushing yards allowed at only 63 per game), so it would make sense that Freeman would struggle.

He's come into his own the past few weeks, finishing with a season-high 13 points last week and has already caught 22 passes in five games. I think he easily surpasses his projection this week.

Running back Sleeper of the Week

Adrian Peterson at Miami (projection: 7.9)

Ever heard the popular real estate phrase: location, location, location?

Well for fantasy football it's: matchup, matchup, matchup.

I know Peterson's numbers are underwhelming. I know the Redskins are underwhelming. I know we aren't even sure who is going to be the starting quarterback this week for Washington.

But I also know Peterson and his teammates are going up against the Dolphins, who are allowing a league-high 175.8 rushing yards per game.

You might not feel comfortable starting Peterson, but with key players on bye this week and injuries piling up, this would be the week you fire him up.

Wide receiver Start of the Week

Cooper Kupp vs San Francisco (projection: 11.7)

It's not a surprise to see Kupp near the top of the wide receiver rankings, but his projection for this week is a shocker.

Kupp has been Jared Goff's go-to pass catcher, and the young slot receiver could be in line for more targets this week if Brandin Cooks doesn't play.

I'm expecting over 10 targets, at least one touchdown and a top-5 finish for Kupp this week in what could end up being a tight game with the 49ers.

Wide receiver Sleeper of the Week

D.J. Moore at Tampa Bay (projection: 8.8)

Depending on where he was drafted, Moore can be considered a slight disappointment so far this year.

His highest-scoring output came in week three with just 12.4 points, but he did catch nine of 14 targets for 89 yards in his first matchup with the Buccaneers, who are ranked dead last in pass defense.

Start Moore with confidence this week, as this might be the breakout performance we've been waiting for.

Tight end Start of the Week

Austin Hooper at Arizona (projection: 7.6)

And the theme of the day continues, as my Start of the Week is another Atlanta player who is going up against Arizona.

Did you know that Hooper is currently the second-highest scoring tight end in fantasy? Did you know the Cardinals are the worst team at defending the tight end?

Hooper has proven to be a set-it-and-forget it type player this year and will continue to be a solid start moving forward.

Tight end Sleeper of the Week

Gerald Everett vs San Francisco (projection: 4)

First of all, only four points projected? Really FantasyPros?

Everett will undoubtedly earn more than four points this week, but his long-term prospects are favorable as well.

After getting just seven targets in the first three games combined, the tight end has received 19 targets over the past two weeks and turned that into 12 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown.

I think Everett will see a handful of targets again against San Francisco and could put up a top-7 result at the tight end position.

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