7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 9
By this point in the NFL season -- Week 9 -- you know what your fantasy football teams are.
Maybe you can ease your way into the playoffs. Maybe you've abandoned ship (don't do that). Maybe you're in a jumbled mess of mediocrity. Fret not. There is always time to come back, and you should never take any weeks for granted.
Week 9 features the second straight (but thankfully final) week with six teams out on bye. Things lighten up the next two weeks with four teams on bye in Weeks 10 and 11.
But odds are -- whether from injuries, byes, or matchups -- if you're in a 14- or 16-team league, you need some fill-ins. Consider these seven guys.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (Owned in 19.0% of ESPN Leagues | Started in 14.0%)
This week, Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers host the New Orleans Saints in a game featuring an over/under of 52.5 points. Yes, the 49ers are 4-point home underdogs but still offer an implied team total of 24.25 points, based on the over/under and spread. The Saints have the sixth-worst pass defense, by Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play among teams in action this week. Kaepernick should be able to produce some points, garbage production, and rushing yards in this matchup.
C.J. Prosise, Seattle Seahawks (18.4% | 10.0%)
Last week, C.J. Prosise played 23 snaps for the Seattle Seahawks, which amounted to 43% of the team's offensive plays, per FantasyData. Christine Michael played 28 (52%). Prosise did get a carry or target on 35% of those snaps, compared to 43% for Michael. It's not to say that Prosise is the lead guy, but his receiving presence certainly has a place in this offense.
The Buffalo Bills do rank eighth against the run, per NEP, among teams in action in Week 9, so maybe some out-of-the-backfield action goes to Prosise to elude a fairly tough matchup. As 6.5-point favorites, this is certainly more of a Michael game, but Prosise showed his upside and promising snap rate last week.
Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints (35.7% | 18.1%)
We don't want to overreact to one game, but Mark Ingram was limited to six snaps last week, a career low. After Ingram fumbled early on, the Saints turned the backfield over to Tim Hightower, who played 62% of the snaps.
Even before the short leash last week, Ingram had played more than 58% of the team's snaps just once this year, and there should be extra plays for this offense come Sunday, given the 49ers' pace. There should be production aplenty against this 49ers defense, which is the worst run defense in action in Week 9. Hightower -- even with Ingram as the starter -- could produce.
Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins (18.1% | 8.3%)
Kenny Stills has seen his snap share drop a bit, but that's really because of how involved he was early in the year. He had played 100%, 99%, 97%, and 100% of the snaps in his first four games before dipping to 80% and 77% in Weeks 5 and 6. He played 93% of the snaps against the Bills in Week 7, and now, he draws the New York Jets, who rank 15th against wide receivers in half-PPR points allowed.
More importantly, they are the fourth-worst pass defense by NEP in action in Week 9. The Jets have allowed five touchdown passes of at least 40 yards, tied for most in the league, per Rich Hribar, so Stills could hit a home run.
Brian Quick, Los Angeles Rams (7.3% | 3.1%)
Brian Quick has netted 11.2 or more half-PPR points in three of his past five games and has produced at least 6.6 in each. He's played between 51% and 72% of the Los Angeles Rams' snaps each game this year. Those aren't week-winning marks, but he does draw a Carolina Panthers team that ranks 31st against fantasy receivers and is about league-average from a NEP standpoint against the pass. You could do worse at this level of ownership.
Lance Kendricks, Los Angeles Rams (10.9% | 9.3%)
Speaking of the Panthers, they're also pretty leaky against tight ends, ranking 29th, per our DFS tools. Kendricks is the only Rams tight end to play on 50% of snaps in any game this year, and he's been above 85% in each contest. He has 12 catches in his last two games and at least 7.7 half-PPR points in three of his last four games.
This game should be ugly, and you certainly don't want to load up on the Rams' receiving options, but either Quick or Kendricks makes sense in such a bye-heavy week.
Phillip Dorsett, Indianapolis Colts (18.1% | 3.2%)
The Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers have the highest over/under of the week at 54 points, and the Colts are 7-point underdogs as they travel to Green Bay. Everyone is in the know about Donte Moncrief's return, but T.Y. Hilton tweaked his hamstring last week. He did play 82% of the team's snaps, but Phillip Dorsett saw 85%, and he's been above 80% in six of his last seven games.
Dorsett doesn't get targeted much, but he should be on the field in this matchup -- and that's enough reason to like him, considering the shootout potential here. And if Hilton is less than 100%, perhaps it's Dorsett who breaks off a long touchdown against the Packers' defense, which ranks 23rd against receivers, per our DFS tools.