Fantasy Football: Top 10 Sleepers heading into Week 9

Fantasy football sleepers are just what your lineups need to fill this week’s bye players.

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Oct 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) runs after a catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the first quarter at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the dreaded Week 9 of fantasy football. This week there are six bye teams. Yes, last week there were six teams on a bye as well. But, this week’s players are beyond valuable on final lineups.

This week’s bye teams include the New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Washington Redskins. Let’s put this in perspective. Tom Brady and Carson Palmer are off! In QB2 leagues that use Andy Dalton or Kirk Cousins, you’re going to have to fill them as well.

David Johnson who has carried you through the season won’t be there this week. RB2 players like LeGarrette Blount and Lamar Miller won’t be able to be in your Week 9 lineup. Star wideouts like A.J. Green, Larry Fitzgerald, and DeAndre Hopkins will be forced to be placed on your bench heading into Week 9. And don’t forget about Rob Gronkowski and Tyler Eifert.

Now that that’s out of the way, don’t panic! Yes, it’s bad, but it’s not terrible. Last week, we got a glimpse of a few players whose fantasy value has increased. We also have a few players coming off a bye week and some teams whose matchups are ideal on paper.

I have identified 10 key players who deserve a spot on this week’s starting lineup. The wait is finally over; here are the top 10 sleeper picks of Week 9.

10. Davante Adams, WR – Green Bay Packers

The best thing about the Green Bay Packers is no matter who the receiver is, they always manage to earn fantasy football points. Especially now, during a time when the Packers are having running back issues.

Everyone rushed to draft Ty Montgomery after Eddie Lacy was placed on injured reserve. Ironically, he missed last week due to an illness and the No. 1 wire pickup sat on the bench. Davante Adams is probably most thankful for that illness. In the last two weeks, Adams has been targeted 30 times.

In Week 7 he earned over 40 fantasy points and in Week 8 he earned almost 20. This week the Packers take on the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts secondary ranks 31st in the NFL. Last week the Colts gave Jeremy Maclin his second touchdown of the season and double-digit fantasy football points.

Expect Adams to have double-digit targets, 90 yards, and a touchdown in his Week 9 game. Start Adams in a WR2 position this week.

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Oct 2, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Terrance West (28) runs for a gain ahead of Oakland Raiders linebackers Khalil Mack (52) and Cory James (57) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

9. Terrance West, RB – Baltimore Ravens

Terrance West is definitely not a dependable fantasy football starter. In his last seven games, he has only earned double-digit points in two of his outings.

West had his worst season performance against the New York Jets in Week 7, earning less than one fantasy point. But, he’s coming off a bye and has a good matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers defense lacks against the run. They give opponents almost 100 rushing yards per game. The Steelers also have offered the third most fantasy football points per game to the position.

Surprisingly, West is owned in about 80 percent of leagues, so if you have him stashed on your bench start him this week. He’s had at least 87 yards in three of his last four games and is expected to have a good week. Look for West to have a little under 90 yards and a touchdown in his Week 9 game. He’s a must start.

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Oct 30, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) prepares to pass the ball n the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

8. Trevor Siemian, QB – Denver Broncos

Trevor Siemian is not the fantasy football quarterback you want to get stuck within a 12 plus team fantasy football league. He has only earned double-digit fantasy points three times this season.

Siemian has only thrown over 250 yards three times this season. He has only two games in which he didn’t throw a touchdown. But, up until has lost fantasy value due to a run-focused game. However, Siemian is a great QB2 filler option given the right weekly matchup. This week he takes the Oakland Raiders who are ranked 27th in passing yards allowed.

On average, the Raiders give opponents a little over 285 passing yards per game. Ironically enough, their offense is ranked among the top five which means, Siemian will be forced to stay afloat with a pass heavy game.

With the Raiders offering the 10th most passing touchdowns and yards per game, we can expect to see Siemian explode. With only 10 percent fantasy football ownership, he’s probably still available to draft.

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Oct 27, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs for a first down in the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

7. Derrick Henry, RB – Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry should definitely be considered when setting this week’s fantasy football lineup. He may also more value than we know in weeks to come.

Henry is talented. The only reason he doesn’t have fantasy value is because he’s not the starting back and loses touches to DeMarco Murray. But, when the opportunity arises, he performs well, like we saw in last week’s game. Murray left the game with a toe injury and Henry was given a chance to be great. He had his first double-digit fantasy football game earning almost 20 points.

He had 16 carries; a season high, 97 yards, and a touchdown. Given his recent performance, we can expect to see Henry continue to get carries, even if Murray suits up this week. This week the Tennessee Titans take on the San Diego Chargers who rank sixth against the run. However, last week the Titans gave Devontae Booker 54 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown; he also added 30 yards on five pass completions.

Look for Henry to take charge in this week’s matchup. Expect him to have almost 70 yards and a touchdown and should be considered an RB3 or flex position in Week 9. He’s a great handcuff as Murray is showing signs of chronic injuries.

6. Cameron Brate, TE – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cameron Brate has been a huge fantasy football disappointment. When he became the starting tight end after Austin Seferian-Jenkins was released, fantasy owners jumped at the opportunity to draft him.

However, Brate hasn’t shown any value since his Week 3 double-digits fantasy football points. In Week 3, he has two touchdowns and hasn’t earned double-digit fantasy points since. Although Brate barely earned double-digits last week, he had his first touchdown since Week 3. He completed 3-of-5 targets for 22 yards.

Now, by no means is that a good fantasy outing. But, keep in mind this week’s pickings are slim, and Brate has an ideal matchup. This week he takes on the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have offered eight touchdowns to the position this season. Two of those were from Brandon Myers and Seferian-Jenkins in Week 1 during this same matchup.

Look for Brate to keep his momentum going against a defense that fails to defend the position. Brate enters Week 9 a TE2 filler option.

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Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson (29) gets tackled by New York Jets free safety Marcus Gilchrist (21) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

5. Duke Johnson Jr., RB – Cleveland Browns

Duke Johnson Jr. is the true definition of a fantasy football sleeper pick. Having double-digits in at least four of his outings, he hasn’t been a complete bust all season.

Johnson even managed to earn double-digit against the New York Jets top run defense. Johnson only rushed four times for 29 yards but, added 87 yards on six targets. This week Johnson takes on the Dallas Cowboys top run defense. The Cowboys haven’t offered the position more than 50 rushing yards this season.

Keep in mind, last week the Cowboys gave Darren Sproles 86 rushing yards as well as 17 receiving yards. Sproles brought home about 14 fantasy football points.

With Isaiah Crowell seeing the most carries, look for Johnson to be a great flex option with his receiving capabilities. Expect Johnson to earn double-digits in his Week 9 matchup.

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Oct 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) catches the winning touchdown pass against the Green Bay Packers with 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Packers 33-32. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

4. Mohamed Sanu, WR – Atlanta Falcons

Mohamad Sanu hasn’t been what fantasy football owners hoped for this season. In his last eight matchups, he has only had three double-digit fantasy outings.

This season, we have seen star receivers like Julio Jones get shut down by secondaries. This is the chance for players like Sanu to explode. Although it doesn’t happen often, when it does you have to take advantage of it.

Last week, Sanu had his season best game. He completed 9-of-10 targets for 84 yards and a touchdown. He earned almost 20 fantasy points in most leagues. This week, Sanu takes on the Buccaneers. In Week 1, Sanu had five completions, 80 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers. Overall, they gave the Falcons over 500 passing yards.

If this is anything like his Week 1 matchup, expect Sanu to have double-digit targets, at least 80 yards and a touchdown. This is the week to chance it with Sanu.

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Sep 18, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

3. Charcandrick West, RB – Kansas City Chiefs

Charcandrick West shouldn’t have been on your fantasy football roster until now. He hasn’t earned double-digit points and some weeks barely earned one fantasy football points per game.

However, the Kansas City Chiefs are dealing with running back issues. Jamaal Charles may need another surgery and is expected to miss more time. Backup Spencer Ware has dominated in his absence. During Week 8’s game, Ware exited the game with a concussion. West stepped in and played the entire second half of the game.

Last week, West had 52 yards on 14 carries. He earned about eight fantasy points, and that was only half of the game. With Ware going through the league’s concussion protocol, West is presumed to be the starting back against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars have one of the worst run defenses in the league.

They have offered opponents a little over 124 rushing yards per game; they rank 27th in the league. This could be West’s breakout week. Expect him to see 100 yards and a touchdown in his Week 9 matchup. Look for West to shock us all in this week’s game.

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Oct 23, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) throws a pass against the New York Giants during the second quarter at Twickenham Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

2. Case Keenum, QB – Los Angeles Rams

The good news about Case Keenum is he’s only owned in about five percent of fantasy football leagues, should you find yourself in a quarterback situation this week. The bad news is, it’s Keenum, and his is very inconsistent.

In his last eight games, Keenum only earned double-digit fantasy football points in four of his matchups; that’s if your leagues are generous. And yet, he had two weeks where he earned over 30 points. His abilities are there. He’s just not a quarterback you can trust every week. Luckily enough, Keenum has a great matchup on paper the same week six quarterbacks are off.

This week, the Los Angeles Rams take on the once intimidating Carolina Panthers. So far this season, the Panthers gave opposing teams over 2,000 passing yards; they rank 30th in the league at defending the pass. The Panthers have also given up 16 touchdowns in their last seven games. In three of those matchups, opposing quarterbacks had three passing touchdowns.

If ever there was a week to chance it with Keenum, it’s Week 9. Look for him to be a true sleeper this week.

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Aug 11, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Tim Hightower (34) runs past New England Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones (24) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

1. Tim Hightower, RB – New Orleans Saints

One man’s mistake is another man’s treasure. That was the case for Tim Hightower; unfortunately, it was at the cost of Mark Ingram owners.

We haven’t seen anything from Hightower all season. One or two fantasy football points a week was all he was good for. Then, last week, Ingram fumbled the ball earning a spot on the sideline; that’s when Hightower went to work. He rushed 26 times for a little over 100 yards and earned over 20 fantasy points in some leagues.

Although Ingram isn’t expected to be sidelined often, Hightower has proven his ability, and his Week 9 matchup offers great results. This week the New Orleans Saints take on the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have the worst run defense in the league and offer opposing running backs 185 rushing yards per game.

Expect Hightower to continue the momentum. Hightower should see another 100-yard game and a touchdown in this ideal Week 9 matchup.

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