Fantasy football sleepers to target in Week 9

by Cory J. Bonini on October 31, 2013 @ 06:11:43 PDT

 

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In this article KFFL breaks down the fantasy football sleepers of the week. We will avoid marquee names because players of that caliber are rarely benched, regardless of their matchup. Instead, we will focus on the players that make your fantasy lineup decisions stressful each week. Read on to learn which midrange to low-end players you wouldn't necessarily consider that you need to get into your lineup.

Note: All statistics are from Week 5 through Week 8, unless otherwise stated.

Quarterback

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills

Smith threw his first touchdown pass -- a pair of them, actually -- in Week 8 for the first time since a three-TD effort in Week 4. He has thrown for at least 225 yards in three of his last four games, completing 67.1 percent of his attempts in the last two weeks ... aside from the percentage, not exactly awe-inspiring numbers. Buffalo can help turn that around.

Bills vs. QB position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Com
Att
Com%
PaYds
PaTD
Int
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
Sck
30
4
23.8
22
35
61.9
271.3
3.00
0.75
4.5
8
0.00
0.25
3.5

Case Keenum, Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts

For his second ever start, Keenum gets a shot at division-rival Indy after a bye week to prepare. The Houston product was better than expected in his first start, versus Kansas City in Week 7, by throwing for 271 yards and a touchdown. He took five sacks and lost one fumble, which is acceptable in situations of fantasy football desperation.

Colts vs. QB position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Com
Att
Com%
PaYds
PaTD
Int
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
Sck
28
3
23.3
22
38
58.4
277.7
2.00
0.67
5
33.3
0.00
0.33
2.7

Running back

James Starks, Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

Green Bay worked in Starks seven carries for 57 yards (8.1 per attempt) worth of action in Week 8, marking his first work in more than a month. It is still the Eddie Lacy show, but Starks will be sprinkled in, and his 6.0 yards-per-carry average this year shows he is capable of getting it done with limited touches. Also, Chicago's run defense has been decimated by injuries.

Bears vs. RB position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
RuAtt
RuYds
YPC
RuTD
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
32
3
26.7
28.3
108.3
3.8
1.67
6.33
40.0
6.3
0.67
0.0

Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins

Woodhead has exactly nine carries in each of his last three games and continues to be involved in the passing game with 6.0 receptions per outing in this time. San Diego had the bye week to plan creative ways to attack Washington's defense, and I suspect you'll see a few designed screen passes for Woodhead.

Redskins vs. RB position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
RuAtt
RuYds
YPC
RuTD
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
30
3
25.0
21.3
80.7
3.8
2.00
4.00
47.7
11.9
0.33
0.0

Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams vs. Tennessee Titans

Closely monitor Zac Stacy's status after he suffered a normal ankle sprain Monday night. He could be limited or, worse, outright miss the contest. Either way, Richardson may have a more involved role.

Titans vs. RB position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
RuAtt
RuYds
YPC
RuTD
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
29
3
23.7
25.0
95.0
3.8
1.67
5.67
66.7
11.8
0.00
0.3

Wide receiver

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills

Bowe has been terrible this year, so your hesitation to play him is understood. He is working through a minor groin injury and has a great matchup this week. Six teams worth of receivers on bye help make Bowe a worthwhile gamble.

Bills vs. WR position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
32
4
31.5
12.75
202.5
15.9
2.00
0.8
12.5
0.00
0.0

Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints at New York Jets

While wideout Kenny Stills may be garnering more attention, Moore might just be the better bet for long-term value and a trip to paydirt for the second week in a row. PPR owners can look to Moore, who will help pick up the slack while Jimmy Graham (foot) works his way back into a full-time role.

Jets vs. WR position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
23
4
23.5
13.00
175.3
13.5
1.25
0.0
0.0
0.00
0.0

Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders vs. Philadelphia Eagles

With three straight games of at least four receptions and 45 yards, Streater is a worthy option to cover a bye. He scored once in that time. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor's play has been inconsistent, sure, but he his mobility makes for dangerous big-play passing situations when he rolls out of the pocket and his receivers break free from coverage.

Eagles vs. WR position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
28
4
27.3
17.75
210.3
11.8
1.25
0.3
1.5
0.00
0.0

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Receiver Sidney Rice (knee) will miss the rest of the year, which should thrust Baldwin into a larger role. Watch wide receiver Percy Harvin's status for Week 9; he suffered a setback last week in his recovery from hip surgery, so it wouldn't be surprising to see his name on the inactives sheet once again. Regardless, Baldwin is capable of taking advantage of single coverage, although he makes for a risky option to cover a bye.

Buccaneers vs. WR position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
25
3
25.3
13.00
188.0
14.5
1.33
0.0
0.0
0.00
0.0

Tight end

Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Fleener has seen at least five targets in three of his last four games and could be relied on heavily going forward after Reggie Wayne (knee) suffered a season-ending injury. Fleener (even though it has rarely shown) has extensive history and displayed collegiate chemistry with quarterback Andrew Luck. Now is Fleener's time to shine. It all starts with a great matchup against the Texans, whose defense has struggled mightily against the tight end position.

Texans vs. WR position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
28
3
10.7
4.00
55.0
13.8
1.00
0.0

Dallas Clark, Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

Following several failed attempts on my part of promoting Clark as a sleeper, he decided to find the end zone in back-to-back weeks. The veteran is a risky play, no doubt, especially considering he posted a meager 3-9-1 line last week. A trip to Cleveland could make it three weeks in a row of end zone visits.

Browns vs. WR position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
31
4
11.0
5.00
57.5
11.5
1.00
0.0

Place kicker

Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

A week after missing two of his three field goal attempts, fantasy owners may be souring on Suisham. Don't give up just yet. He has a quality matchup, and the takeaway from Week 8's poor effort was the three attempts. A kicker can't score three-pointers without attempting them (11 in last three games)!

Patriots vs. WR position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
FG
FGA
XP Made
XP Att
Max Kick Pts
18
4
8.3
2.00
2.50
2.25
2.25
12

Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

Gano's production has been erratic, and that is being kind. He has three multi-field goal games and four appearances with fewer than two three-point tries. The Jets' offense matches up rather well with the battered Falcons' D.

Falcons vs. WR position (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
FG
FGA
XP Made
XP Att
Max Kick Pts
29
3
10.7
2.67
2.67
2.67
2.67
12

Defensive team

New Orleans Saints at New York Jets

The Saints' D probably doesn't qualify as a true sleeper, but the matchup is too good to ignore. Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith has not done a very good job of protecting the ball and could be baited into mistakes (16 turnovers in 2013), especially if the Saints' offense puts the Jets in comeback mode.

Jets offense (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Int Thrown
Sacks Allwd
Fum Lost
TO/Gm
26
4
1.25
3.75
0.00
5.00

St. Louis Rams vs. Tennessee Titans

What an effort by the Rams' front four in Week 8! A sack-happy team from 2012, St. Louis is finding its stride, even if much of the 2013 success came against a patchwork Seattle Seahawks line. The numbers with Jake Locker at the helm don't support this recommendation, however, but pressure leads to turnovers.

Titans offense (per-game averages, Weeks 5-8)

Rank
G
Int Thrown
Sacks Allwd
Fum Lost
TO/Gm
24
3
1.67
3.00
2.00
4.67

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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