Here are some unheralded players to consider picking up and starting as fantasy football sleepers in Week 9.
Week 9 byes: Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team
Taysom Hill (QB) New Orleans Saints
The Saints lost Jameis Winston to a torn ACL last week and hope to get Taysom Hill back from a concussion this week. After Winston went down Trevor Siemian led the team to victory against the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If Hill does not make it back you can insert Siemian in this spot, but to a lesser degree.
New Orleans will take on the Atlanta Falcons this week who are putrid against opposing fantasy quarterbacks. They are currently allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to the position. Hill proved last year he can put up numbers as a passer and brings a clear upside on the ground. Hill is on waivers in almost all leagues and if he’s able to suit up could immediately step in and be a contributor on your fantasy team this week.
Tyrod Taylor (QB) Houston Texans
Taylor is another quarterback expected to return from injury this week. He will attempt to make his return from a hamstring injury that has kept him out since Week 2. The Texans take on the Dolphins this week who Taylor has some of his best career numbers against and they’ve been atrocious against fantasy quarterbacks so far this season.
This is an extremely risky move starting a low-upside quarterback coming off a serious soft tissue injury that kept him out for almost half a season, however, if options are thin he may be worth that risk. Week 1 Taylor put up 291 passing yards, two touchdowns and added 40 yards on the ground. That’s essentially the only true sample size we have. That was against the Jags. This week he will be taking on Miami who has been even worst against QBs so far this season.
Jeremy McNichols (RB) Tennessee Titans
Adrian Peterson will be the hot name in Tennessee this week with Derrick Henry out for the rest of the fantasy season or at least the vast majority of it. Nonetheless, this week I prefer McNichols, especially in PPR leagues. AP will eventually soak up most of the early-down work, but not necessarily this week just days after joining the team.
I expect McNicholas to push double-digit carries this week while maintaining his pass-catching role. It’s not clear how this backfield plays out without Henry there and Peterson maybe the rest of the season answer. This week I’m going with McNichols though and he may hold an advantage all season in PPR leagues.
Rex Burkhead (RB) Houston Texans
One week after trading away Mark Ingram the Texans’ backfield was in flux. We weren’t sure if the man was going to be David Johnson or Philip Lindsay. Well, turns out the top fantasy back on the team was Rex Burkhead this week. Almost no one saw that coming.
I still believe Johnson is the back-to-own in Houston as Burkhead dominated carries in garbage time, which was essentially the whole second half. Still, I can’t just ignore what we just saw and this trend may continue. That’s why Burkhead is one of my sleepers this week. I’m taking the wait-and-see approach on this backfield, but if you’re running back desperate Burkhead is a guy at least looking into as a potential sleeper option.
Darius Slayton (WR) New York Giants
Slayton is the last man standing for the Giants. We saw Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney get hurt again this week and Kenny Golladay is still sidelined for now. This leaves Slayton with a massive role in New York despite doing nothing Week 8.
Slayton will be overlooked after his goose egg and John Ross will be the talk of the town. I’d prefer to role with Slayton though. He saw just one less target than Ross last week and was a victim of a missed pass and a drop. He was coming off an injury and should only get more healthy and more incorporated into the offense this week. He could be a sneaky good flex option Week 9 and should serve as Daniel Jones’ top option the way things are looking right now.
Mohamed Sanu (WR) San Francisco 49ers
Sanu finished second in receiving yards behind just Deebo Samuel last week catching three passes for 59 yards. Deebo is currently dealing with a calf injury that could limit him again this week. If Deebo is more limited than expected and if Brandon Aiyuk continues to struggle, Sanu could be the 49ers’ top wideout this Sunday.
I have no reason to believe Aiyuk is just back after one mediocre performance. If Sanu can see his three targets go to five or six targets this week you could have a nice sleeper in Sanu. Especially with his ability to catch deep balls and his red-zone potential.
Tajae Sharpe (WR) Atlanta Falcons
Calvin Ridley is now out indefinitely for mental health reasons and Russel Gage is coming off a game where he saw not one target. Sharpe led the team in both targets and receiving yards. He has quietly put together a solid season at wideout as an injury fill-in and No. 2 or No. 3 receiver. However, he could be the WR1 in Atlanta right now and any WR1 is at least a sleeper to consider. I’m adding Sharpe this week and stashing him on my bench. If you are a more desperate team and need a WR3 or flex option this Sunday, Sharpe is worth consideration.
Josiah Deguara (TE) Green Bay Packers
Robert Tonyan was finally putting together a second solid game in a row and promptly tore his ACL. Marcedes Lewis is the more well-known name, but I expect Deguara to slot into the pass-catching tight end role for the Packers. Which we saw last year can be a productive role.
After Tonyan went down Deguara saw two targets and caught both for 20 yards. Lewis saw just one target the entire game. If you are looking to capitalize on the Tonyan injury Deguara is the guy to own, not Lewis. The Packers just so happen to be taking on the Chiefs this week who are allowing the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. So if you are looking for a dart throw at the position, Deguara may be as good as any.
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