7 Deep Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 9
Bye weeks can be a big nuisance if they strike at the wrong time. They might come in bunches for your team, or right when your starter gets injured, rendering that handcuff useless. Maybe you're squaring off against a very strong opponent, and you need to squeeze every point out of your roster that you possibly can. Sure enough, here comes that pesky bye week to ruin the flow of your team.
This week, six teams are on bye (Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee), and that means some fantasy football studs are riding the pine for all squads. How can you make up for these off weeks? Try one of the sleeper picks recommended earlier in the week. But if you're in a deep league full of competitive players, you may need to rely on some of these lesser-used NFLers listed below.
Week 9 All-Deep-Sleeper Team
Quarterback: Brian Hoyer (Started in 3.9% of ESPN leagues | Owned in 12.3% of ESPN leagues)
Hoyer isn't going to light up the stat sheet, even in a very positive matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To sum up Hoyer, he has not failed to reach 200 passing yards in a game this year, and he has only 2 interceptions so far. But he's thrown for multiple touchdowns just once.
He has a floor of 12 points, which he has failed to reach only once this season, and against the Bucs, he should be able to add a bit more to that total. Tampa Bay ranks 32nd in the NFL in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. They do, though, rank third against the run on a per play basis.
The loss of center Alex Mack has the Browns struggling to run the ball like they have been, and the best way to beat the Bucs is with the pass, making Hoyer a safe bet for fantasy points this weekend.
Running Back: Charles Sims (0.0% | 1.2%)
Sims is working his way back from the injured reserve list with an ankle injury, and he could play in Week 9. Compound that with the fact that Doug Martin sported a walking boot instead of practicing on Wednesday, and Sims could be in store for some significant touches.
The Browns aren't quite as fortunate as the Bucs are while stopping the run and rank just 20th in our per-play metrics. This recommendation comes with caution, of course, because the situation isn't guaranteed, but Sims could provide a spark for your team not only in Week 9 but for the rest of the season.
Running Back: Travaris Cadet (0.2% | 0.4%)
Mark Ingram is undoubtedly the main man in the New Orleans backfield. Cadet played just 14 snaps against Green Bay in Week 8, and 13 of them were pass plays. His only carry resulted in just 7 yards.
So, why recommend him? Well, the Panthers allow the 30th-most fantasy points to running backs, they rank 31st in our per-play rush defense metrics, and they have given up 5.8 receptions per game to running backs. They also have given up eight or more receptions to backs in three of their eight games.
He's best suited for PPR leagues, but the Saints need to keep rolling, and the Panthers, aside from Week 8, haven't shown the ability to limit the run or backs out of the backfield. If you're digging deep for a running back, think about Cadet.
Wide Receiver: Kenny Britt (0.1% | 0.9%)
Britt should benefit from the season-ending injury of Brian Quick. Britt certainly hasn't been great this year, and of 93 receivers with 20 or more targets, he ranks 44th in Reception NEP per target. The mediocre Britt has potential, though. He has opportunity now that Quick, the team's leading target-man and former deep sleeper recommendation, is sidelined.
The 49ers rank 23rd in fantasy points allowed to receivers, good news for Britt. San Francisco does, though, rank 12th in adjusted pass defense per play, according to our metrics. Still, it's hard to ignore a number-one receiver with any semblance of a good matchup.
Wide Receiver: Allen Robinson (2.7% | 6.2%)
I think it's safe to assume that if Robinson didn't play in Jacksonville, he wouldn't be available in so many leagues. He has touchdowns in two consecutive games, and he hasn't seen fewer than 7 targets since Week 2.
The matchup is tough, sure. The Bengals rank first in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play and third in fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers. Robinson is projected as our 36th-best receiver this week, and that's certainly useful in leagues as shallow as 12 teams. In deeper leagues? He's a solid play even against a tough opponent.
Tight End: Jared Cook (9.5% | 15.0%)
Okay, so I'm kind of hedging my bet here by recommending both Cook and Britt, but until a quiet two weeks, Cook was a very consistent tight end option. He had at least 4 receptions and 44 yards in 5 games to start the season, and there are now more targets to go to Cook.
He hasn't scored a touchdown and has to lead the league in dropped touchdowns, but I don't have statistical proof of that one.
Even though the 49ers are better against the tight end (they rank 10th in fantasy points allowed) than against receivers (23rd), Cook can bring solid volume to a very volatile position.
Flex: Odell Beckham (7.8% | 24.0%)
Beckham owners might be scared off of a bit because of his matchup against the Colts even though the Steelers just threw all over them for over 500 yards. Ben Roethlisberger was already having success against the secondary before Vontae Davis exited the game. Without Davis especially, the Colts secondary is vulnerable.
They still rank seventh against fantasy points to opposing receivers and ninth in per-play passing defense according to our metrics, but they dropped eight spots from our top-ranked pass defense unit in one week. That's how bad things were for them. Beckham and the Giants are coming off the bye desperate for a win, and he has already shown touchdown potential in his short NFL career.