Week 9 is here, and some of the notable names in byes are D’Andre Swift, Terry McLaurin, Mike Evans, Tom Brady, and DK Metcalf. This isn’t the most grueling bye week, but we do lose a few players near the top of their positional rankings. To those of you who have leaned on Buccaneers, congratulations, but this week, you’ll have to fill in the gaps. Whether it’s with players on your roster or those sitting on the exemption wire, those always have a sneaky edge in any given week. Jeremy McNichols, Jordan Love, and Taysom Hill are the types of players who start out, feel bubbly thanks to newly discovered roles, and we like their opportunities enough to include them on our Week 9 fantasy sleeper list.
It is worth noting that any of our selections could bust this week. We are taking a chance here, as we don’t want to say that no one is too obvious. A list of easy options would do no one any good. You’re not going to start with the guys below with proven, consistent producers, but you’re probably not looking for fantasy sleepers if your lineup is established. However, even if that’s the case, our sleeper list can help you find value in DFS contests, as these players’ prices should be affordable.
FANTASY OF THE WEEK 9: Busts | Get started, feel them
Last week, Michael Carter was one of our top picks of the season, but he could have been canceled because of the dumpster fire we saw with Kenneth Gainwell. To round out our RB picks, Zach Moss was a weak standard league game but a decent piece of PPR. Our quarterback picks of Daniel Jones, Carson Wentz and Teddy Bridgewater were good overall, with Wentz having the most success. At the pass receiver, Darius Slayton, Laviska Shenault, Jerry Jeudy and Mo Alie-Cox left a lot to be desired, but we took advantage of Evan Engram and Dan Arnold.
All that said, we had some awesome W’s and massive L’s, but hey that’s part of it when you look at fringe fantasy beginners.
Week 9 Fantasy Sleepers: runners
Jeremy McNichols, Titans @ Rams (Jackson Sparks). McNichols’ workhorse dreams were crushed by the acquisition of Adrian Peterson, but McNichols will continue to contribute on this offense, especially this week. We expect Tennessee to become a heavier passing team with Derrick Henry (foot) out, and McNichols will serve as receiving back. That said, Peterson’s signing was a better stage for McNichols than a running back with a catcher profile. The Rams are going to score, Ryan Tannehill will attempt a ton of passes and McNichols will get a lot of goals. In PPR leagues, it seems like a great flexible option.
Myles Gaskin, Dolphins vs. Texans (Iyer). Gaskin should be busy with a positive game script as well as good reception numbers this week.
Derrick Gore, Chiefs vs. Packers (Matt Lutovsky). Gore came out of nowhere to rush 11 times for 48 yards and a TD last Monday, and if Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee) is out again, it seems likely that Gore will have a similar workload against the Packers. As crazy as it sounds, Kansas City is in danger of losing without a hitch in this game (yes, even with Jordan Love at QB), and if that happens, Gore’s ceiling is lowered as well, but he should get major carries early, especially if The bosses surround the goal line. He can still work as a flex in this neutral showdown.
WEEK 9 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Field marshal | Running backwards | Wide receiver | Tight end | D / ST | Kicker
Week 9 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins vs. Texans (Sparks). Tagovailoa averaged 25.45 fantasy points against Atlanta and Jacksonville and will face an equally poor defense in Week 9 against Houston. He knew he would fight Buffalo, but his 16.2-point outing was actually a better performance than many expected. The Dolphins lack a decent running attack, so they’ve had to air it early and frequently for the past three weeks (42 pass attempts per game). Tua is our No. 1 QB streamer.
Jordan Love, Packers @ Chiefs (Iyer). Love has the guns and running game support to score strong numbers against Patrick Mahomes as the Chiefs’ reeling defense scramble to prepare for the unknown.
Taysom Hill, Santos against Halcones (Lutovsky). Hill averaged about 21 Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) in his four QB starts last year. That total puts it around QB10 / 11 this year. He has a high floor / medium ceiling regardless of the opponent, but a poor pass defense like Atlanta only increases his potential. Expect around 200 passing yards, 50 rushing yards, and a couple touchdowns if Hill (concussion) clears and starts.
WEEK 9 DFS LINEUP: FanDuel | DraftKings | Yahoo!
Week 9 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide Receivers
DeVante Parker, Dolphins vs. Texans (Sparks). Parker has averaged 8.6 goals per game this season and came back from a hamstring injury in Week 8 to catch eight of 11 goals for 85 yards. We love Tua, so naturally we love Parker. It’s a strong play in PPR and standard leagues in your flexible position. Houston has been a top-six team against fantasy WR, but the context shows us that it’s more a result of teams taking it easy at the end of games. Is this Dolphins team good enough to beat the Texans?
Jerry Jeudy, Broncos @ Cowboys (Iyer). He was quiet on his comeback last week, but he should eat into the slot against Dallas with high volume for his QB.
Van Jefferson, Rams vs. Titans (Lutovsky). Jefferson has seen 13 goals in his last two games, and with DeSean Jackson out of town, that goal percentage should only go up. Jefferson has great playability and can also be used around the goal line. Against Tennessee’s poor pass defense, he has a high ceiling.
WEEK 9 PPR RANKINGS:
Field marshal | Running backwards | Wide receiver | Tight end | D / ST | Kicker
Week 9 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight Endings
Albert Okwuegbunam, Broncos vs. Cowboys (Sparks). Assuming Noah Fant (reserve / COVID) is out, Albert O should look like a low-end TE1. He has similar physical tools to Fant, and while Dallas has high school playmakers, they are more tight-fisted against the WRs than against the TEs. Teddy Bridgewater has had no qualms about targeting Okwuegbunam when he’s on the field, so we’re not shy about facing him this week.
Tyler Conklin, Vikings in Ravens (Iyer). This is an excellent matchup for Conklin, as Baltimore has allowed the second most FPPGs to the TEs. Expect Conklin to stay more involved with Adam Thielen contained within.
Pat Freiermuth, Steelers vs. Bears (Lutovsky). Freiermuth has consecutive seven-goal games in contests without JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder). It’s not by chance. He will continue to be a big part of Pittsburgh’s dunk and dunk offense, giving him a high floor in PPR (for a TE) against anyone. Chicago has actually allowed the fewest FPPGs to the TEs, so on paper this is a terrible matchup, but their high numbers are largely due to a lack of favorable TDs and matchups. In three games against “good” TEs (Tyler Higbee, Darren Waller, TJ Hockenson) in offenses that feature position, the Bears have allowed an average of 4.3 receptions and 51.7 yards, still impressive, but no lights out. Freiermuth is now closer to that TE level than the rest of Chicago’s TE opponents, so with Hockenson, Rob Gronkowski and Ricky Seals-Jones in goodbye and Dawson Knox (hand) and George Kittle (calf) probably Outside, Freiermuth still works in PPR leagues.
Week 9 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Defense
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Browns (sparks). Cincinnati’s defense was exposed against Mike White and the Jets, but we’re going to point that out as a fluke for now. Before that game, his defense was solid and he was ranked in the top half of the league in fantasy points per game. Cleveland’s injured offense is dump fire right now, so we like that the Bengals’ stopping unit plays well at home.
Las Vegas Raiders at Giants (Iyer). Expect a jackpot, baby against Daniel Jones with an active aggressive D after goodbye.
Green Bay Packers at Chiefs (Lutovsky). In seven games since the start of Week 2, Kansas City has surrendered him 19 times and allowed 14 sacks. Perhaps even more shocking, in three of the last four games, the Chiefs have stayed below 21 offensive points. Meanwhile, the Packers have 14 shots to go and 20 sacks in their last seven games. The trends are too conspicuous to ignore.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.