7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 9

Josh Palmer should continue to shine in a starting role for the Chargers for as long as Mike Williams is sidelined. Which other low-rostered players could save your week with an add?

I was off last week, which I'm sure flipped your entire weekly research routine upside down. We're back and better than ever with another edition of your favorite fantasy football column.

Sleeper is an ambiguous term. For the purpose of this article, we'll define anyone on fewer than half of Yahoo! rosters as a sleeper. Typically, I'll actually aim to feature players on fewer than 40 percent of rosters.

Don't worry, deep-league gamers, this article is intended to help folks in leagues of all shapes and sizes. With that in mind, I'm following my predecessor's lead, including honorable mentions. If the featured players are already rostered in your league, the honorable mentions should provide you with players to consider filling in for an injured starter or a player on a bye -- or for whatever other reason you're diving into the free-agent pool.

While this article is primarily written through a season-long lens, sleepers are certainly viable as daily fantasy punts in certain builds, too. Keep that in mind when you're looking for cash-game savings or trying to gain cheap leverage in tournaments. That's why you'll see every player's FanDuel salary listed next to their Yahoo! roster percentage this year.

With bye weeks in full swing, identifying sleepers is even more important for your season-long and daily fantasy needs. This week, the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers are all on bye.

Let's aim for strong results in Week 9.


Justin Fields (42% | $7,400) - It is simply wild that Justin Fields is rostered in fewer than half of Yahoo! leagues (as of this writing). Among quarterbacks that have played at least six games, Fields is the QB15 in terms of points per game. Since Week 5, he's the QB6!

Most important for Fields' value is his rushing prowess. He has at least seven carries in every game, averages 53 rushing yards per game, and has three rushing touchdowns. That production alone is enough to keep him on the QB1 borderline each week.

Fields' matchup is especially juicy this week against a Miami Dolphins that's allowed the seventh-most fantasy points and fifth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks (per Pro Football Reference). Notably, also per Pro Football Reference, Miami ranks bottom five in both pressure rate and hurry rate. Per our schedule-adjusted metrics, Miami's defense ranks 25th overall and 29th against the pass.

Fields' situation has improved as well. On Tuesday, the Chicago Bears traded for talented wide receiver Chase Claypool -- a significant upgrade to Chicago's receiver room. They've also recently traded key defensive pieces in Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, which will hurt Chicago's already downtrodden defense. Playing from behind means Fields should get a few more drop backs, which will help lead to more rushing upside.

Fields deserves to be rostered everywhere and is a legitimate QB1 play this week in both season-long and DFS leagues. It actually makes no logical sense that Matthew Stafford is rostered in 30% more leagues than Fields.

Marcus Mariota (26% | $7,400) - If you're a weekly reader, playing Mariota is nothing new. Our best advantage when it comes to streaming quarterbacks is tapping into rushing value, and Mariota ranks top seven among quarterbacks in rushing yards (280) and touchdowns (3). He is the QB13 on the year, yet you wouldn't know by how many leagues still have him on the wire.

It's likely that Mariota's low passing volume is keeping his roster rate down, but he's getting the right usage. Per PFF, his average depth of target (ADOT) is second among all quarterbacks (behind Justin Fields), meaning he's throwing the ball deep. 48% of his pass attempts are coming on play-action throws -- the highest rate in the league. And, as we know, he's running a ton.

The matchup isn't imposing. The Atlanta Falcons are just three-point home dogs against the Los Angeles Chargers but should be able to impose their will on the ground against Los Angeles' 24th-graded run defense (per our schedule-adjusted metrics). I prefer Fields if forced to pick, but Mariota is definitely deserving of QB1 streaming this week. This game is sneakily tied for the second-highest total of the week (49.5).

Honorable Mentions: Andy Dalton (13% | $6,700), Taylor Heinicke (7% | $7,200)

Running Backs

Caleb Huntley (4% | $6,000) - This is a tricky week for streaming running backs, so focusing on injury reports will be extremely important. Note the honorable mentions below. If Gus Edwards (hamstring) can't go or is less than 100%, Kenyan Drake is a solid option. With Nyheim Hines traded to the Buffalo Bills, Deon Jackson will be a worthy play if Jonathan Taylor (ankle) is still hurt.

Huntley is in a similar boat. Technically, Cordarrelle Patterson is eligible to come off Injured Reserve this week, but there haven't been any official reports that he will play. In fact, the team just designated him for return, which makes a return this week seem dicey at best. If he's out, Huntley fits the sleeper process.

Per Sam Hoppen of 4for4 Football, the Falcons are second-last in pass rate over expectation this season. That's helped Huntley record exactly 16 carries in two of his last three games. Considering Atlanta is just a three-point home dog this weekend, they should keep the game close. The Chargers' defense is a run funnel, which plays perfectly into how Atlanta wants to run its offense.

He doesn't catch any passes, so this is less stellar of a PPR-league recommendation, but Huntley is a passable flex play this weekend if Patterson sits.

Honorable Mentions: Rachaad White (30% | $5,300), Kenyan Drake (32% | $6,200), Deon Jackson (8% | $5,000)

Wide Receivers

Rondale Moore (37% | $5,900) - It has become my burden to singlehandedly try and get Rondale Moore above the 50% roster-rate threshold. Arguably the second target on a team that's second in pass attempts, it's ridiculous he's available in two-thirds of leagues (as of this writing).

Excluding his debut game, in which he was a part-time player coming off an injury, Moore has seen eight targets or more in three of four starts this year. Since Week 5, he's been the WR26 in PPR leagues.

Moore's opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, has tightened the screws a bit recently, but they're still a defense to attack. Seattle's pass defense ranks 25th per our schedule-adjusted metrics, and they are better against the run, which could create extra pass volume. Moore is a PPR WR3 until we're proven otherwise.

Romeo Doubs (48% | $6,100) - The Green Bay Packers rookie bounced back from a Week 7 goose egg to post a top-20 score at the wide receiver position last week (not to mention this insane touchdown catch). Notably, that came against the stingy Buffalo Bills, and even more notably, it's clear Doubs hasn't lost Aaron Rodgers' trust.

While the Packers' offense has been abysmal, Doubs is still Rodgers' top option, which puts him on the WR3 map. He led the team with a strong 56% air yards share in Week 8.

This is simply a game and matchup to target. The Detroit Lions rank last in our schedule-adjusted metrics in pass defense, run defense, and overall defense. A triple crown! As a result, this game quietly is tied for the second-highest total on the week (49.5), and Green Bay has the fourth-highest implied team total (26.5).

You may have better options in season-long leagues, but I'll be targeting Doubs in all game stacks for daily fantasy this week.

Josh Palmer (39% | $6,200) - We've been down this road before with Palmer several times this year to mixed results. It's notable, though, that with Keenan Allen mostly out of the lineup, Palmer has recorded at least eight targets in three of six games this year. He clearly has Herbert's trust, and this is an offense projected to score points. The Chargers have the fifth-highest team total this week (26.25) and as mentioned above the game has a strong 49.5 game total.

Of course, now that Allen is back, Mike Williams is out with an ankle injury. This is why we can't have nice things. Palmer should continue a near full-time role; while he missed Week 7 with a concussion, he ran a route on 91% of Justin Herbert's drop backs in Week 6.

The matchup? Pristine. The Atlanta Falcons allow the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers. The pass defense ranks 30th in our schedule-adjusted rankings and, per Pro Football Reference, ranks dead last in both pressure rate and hurry rate. I'm betting on a big bounce back for the Chargers' offense this week, and Palmer fits the process.

Honorable Mentions: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (35% | $5,800), Demarcus Robinson (1% | $5,500), Zay Jones (20% | $5,500)

Tight Ends

Isaiah Likely (6% | $5,000) - It's early in the week, so we don't yet have the first injury report for Week 9.

Here's what we know so far about Mark Andrews' health. He didn't practice at all on the short week last week due to a knee injury and then was listed as questionable for the Thursday Night game. He started, caught 3 passes for 33 yards, then left with a shoulder injury and didn't return. We also know that the Baltimore Ravens have their bye next week.

At best, Andrews will likely be at less than 100% this week while battling through injuries to two key body parts. At worst, he'll miss the week entirely. The practice reports will be important to monitor.

It's likely that you've heard of his backup by now. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Rookie Isaiah Likely was a team preseason darling this year and was insanely productive in college. The wide receiver-turned-tight end is similar to Andrews in that he is more so a pass catcher than an all-around tight end, which is exactly what we want in fantasy.

Sure enough, with Andrews injured Likely put up career highs in targets (7), catches (6), receiving yards (77), and touchdowns (1). Even if Andrews plays, we know that Rashod Bateman is out (foot) which could open up more opportunities for Likely once again.

If Andrews sits, Likely is a legitimate top-five tight-end option. But, even if Andrews is in, he's on the streaming radar in an evolving role.

Honorable Mentions: Evan Engram (44% | $5,200), Juwan Johnson (10% | $4,900), Cade Otton (12% | $4,800)

Eli Weiner is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Eli Weiner also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Eweiner2. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.