My criteria for qualifying as a sleeper for NFL Week 5 is as follows: A player must currently be out of the top 20 in scoring at his position and have a shot to provide starting caliber value for your lineup this week.
If the following players are available in your league, and you're suspect at their positions, they might just be worth a shot for Week 5.
ELI MANNING, QB, NYG
Eli is coming off a putrid game against Minnesota where he put up just 261 yards passing, zero touchdowns and one interception. His chemistry (or lack thereof) with top wide out Odell Beckham Jr. has been the driving force behind his subpar play four weeks into the season.
Manning has thrown just four touchdowns to counter four interceptions and a lost fumble. However, Eli does have two games already where he has thrown for 350+ yards. Manning and his trio of talented receivers (OBJ, Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz) are too talented, and have produced too consistently in the past, to have this continue much longer.
This week, Eli and the Giants travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers and their suspect pass defense. This figures to be a higher scoring game than usual, and with OBJ due for a major bounce back, Eli should benefit from that as well. Look for Manning to toss a couple touchdowns and hover around the 275+ mark for passing yards this week.
JORDAN HOWARD, RB, CHI
Last week, after getting just 12 carries in the first three games and totaling 67 rushing yards, Howard got his first start for the Bears with Jeremy Langford out with an injury. At home against the Lions, Howard rumbled for 111 rushing yards on 23 carries, to go with three receptions for 21 yards receiving.
Heading into Indianapolis this week, Langford is still out and head coach John Fox has stated that the Bears will keep feeding their rookie 5th round pick. The Colts are bad on defense and Howard is averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season.
Jordan Howard should be able to approach the 100 yard mark for the second week in a row, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he crossed the goal line a few times either.
TERRANCE WEST, RB , BAL
With starting running back Justin Forsett being released, Terrance West was given the starting role last week against the Raiders. He responded with 113 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 21 carries. This week, West and the Ravens are at home against Washington, who is almost dead last in the NFL in rushing defense so far this season.
The combinations of a talented starting running back and a horrible run defense should provide a decent point floor this week. West should at least be able to get 70 yards rushing and might get one trip to the end zone as well.
TYRELL WILLIAMS, WR, SD
Essentially taking the place of the injured Keenan Allen, Williams is putting up about half the production. In four games he only has 16 receptions for 241 yards receiving and a touchdown. However, Williams was still second on the team in targets last week against the Saints (8), and has shown the ability to make plays by averaging 26.4 yards per reception over the first two weeks of the season.
This week, the Chargers are traveling to Oakland to take on a Raiders pass defense that is one of the worst in the entire league. There should be a lot of passes thrown in this game, which should give Williams plenty of opportunity to provide a nice point floor. Williams should be able to get at least 65 yards receiving and has an outside chance at finding the end zone, with the potential for much more.
TERRANCE WILLIAMS, WR, DAL
With it looking like Dez Bryant will miss another week with a fractured bone in his knee, that leaves Williams as the #1 wide receiver for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. Despite costing the Cowboys by not getting out of bounds on the last play of the game in Week 1, and then fumbling after a long gain against Chicago, Williams has shown flashes of potential.
Against Chicago in Week 3, he had four catches for 88 yards, and followed that up with four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown last week against San Francisco. This week Dallas hosts the Bengals, who have been surprisingly susceptible to big play threats down the field.
Williams should have decent floor this week as he sees more passes thrown his way as the team’s current #1 receiver. Even if Dez does play, Williams would still have potential as a big play threat this week. Look for Williams to have a lower floor with around 40+ yards receiving, but have the potential for some long receptions on Sunday. He is more of a boom or bust than the other sleepers, but his boom could be the loudest.
Keep an eye on Blake on Twitter @blakegibbs for more thoughts on the NFL season.