7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 9
If you're looking for some sleepers to boost your fantasy lineup, there are a couple specific games that could help you out this week. Five of the seven sleepers on this week's sleeper list come from just two games, based on a bad matchup (New York Jets versus Miami Dolphins) and a potential shootout (Detroit Lions versus Oakland Raiders).
For the purposes of this list, we'll limit sleeper selections to any player with less than 75 percent ownership on Yahoo's fantasy football platform. Additionally, I'll select one super-sleeper, with under 10 percent ownership, to help out those of you who may be playing in deeper leagues. All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
Yahoo Ownership: 37 percent
This matchup between the Raiders and Lions carries the highest total of the week (50.5 points) and Oakland is favored by just two points, making it one of the best bets of the week to turn into a shootout. The Lions have allowed 18 or more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in six of seven games this season, including four games over 20 points. The Lions' defense also might be a good matchup for Derek Carr due to their coverage scheme. According to Sports Info Solutions, Detroit plays the highest rate of man coverage (68.9 percent). Versus man coverage this year, Carr is averaging 10.1 yards per attempt, tied for the second best rate in the league. Versus zone, he's been limited to 7.5 yards per attempt, which ranks 25th.
Ty Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions
Yahoo Ownership: 51 percent
If you're desperate for help at running back, there's not much out there for you this week. Tra Carson surprisingly got the start over Ty Johnson last week and led the team with 12 carries. However, Carson did not see a single target in the passing game, while Johnson hauled in one reception on four targets. Since Detroit led last week's game with the New York Giants from start to finish, it likely created an inflated role for Carson. On Sunday, the Raiders are favored, which could tip the scales back in Johnson's favor, assuming he remains the passing-game running back
Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets
Yahoo Ownership: 52 percent
In three games since Sam Darnold's return, Jamison Crowder is tied for second on the team with a 21 percent target share. As the Jets' primary slot receiver, he should be in line for a significant workload on Sunday against Miami's porous defense. According to Sports Info Solutions, Miami is allowing an NFL-worst 11.1 yards per target to receivers lined up in the slot.
Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yahoo Ownership: 17 percent
In Mason Rudolph's four starts, Diontae Johnson has seen 27 targets, just one fewer than JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Indianapolis Colts pass defense is solid, but it has yielded some big games to receivers this year. In four of seven games, a wide receiver has topped 20 fantasy points against Indy. According to Sports Info Solutions, receivers lined up wide -- where Johnson primarily plays -- are averaging 10.0 yards per target against the Colts defense, the third-highest rate in the league. Since Smith-Schuster lines up in the slot, where Indy is allowing a more respectable 8.8 yards per target (12th-highest), Johnson may actually have the higher ceiling of the two Pittsburgh Steelers receivers.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, New York Jets
Yahoo Ownership: 10 percent
With Xavien Howard now on injured reserve, Demaryius Thomas will face a depleted Dolphins secondary featuring a stable of unproven cornerbacks such as Ryan Lewis, Ken Webster, Nik Needham and Jomal Wiltz. Since Darnold returned three weeks ago, Thomas has emerged as his primary downfield weapon, leading the team with 5 receptions on 10 targets at 15 or more yards downfield. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 51.7 percent of their passes at 15 yards downfield against Miami's defense, per Sports Info Solutions.
Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennsesee Titans
Yahoo Ownership: 29 percent
Jonnu Smith's fantasy value is tied to Delanie Walker's health, so be sure to monitor Walker's status before starting Smith. If Walker is out, however, Smith appears to be one of the top tight ends of the week. In his first full game without Walker on the field in Week 8, Smith led the Tennessee Titans with 78 yards on 7 targets and tacked on a touchdown. He could see another significant workload this week against a struggling Carolina Panthers defense. Carolina's defense has been unable to consistently get off the field this season, allowing opponents to run 68.7 plays per game, the second-highest rate in the league.
Super Sleeper: Hunter Renfrow, WR, Oakland Raiders
Yahoo Ownership: 1 percent
Prior to breaking out with 88 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans last week, Hunter Renfrow had been irrelevant in fantasy. That could change this week in a potential shootout against the Lions. As previously mentioned, Detroit uses the highest rate of man coverage in the league. That bodes well for Renfrow, who leads Oakland with a 28 percent target share versus man coverage, according to Sports Info Solutions.