After the horrible injury news came out about Deshaun Watson tearing his ACL in practice earlier in the week, Pierre Garcon missing the rest of this season due to a neck injury, the Colts saying Andrew Luck won’t play at all this year, and in addition to the uncertainty of Jay Ajayi’s immediate role in Philadelphia (after they acquired him via trade from the Dolphins), it makes Week 9 possibly the thinnest week in terms of top talent.
Take a look at some of the guys that are not available this week:
All Patriots running backs
This means that there are going to be a lot of fantasy teams looking for replacements. Before we get to the three sleepers at each position that could help you, let’s take a look at how we did last week.
- Tyrod Taylor – 27 fantasy points, 320 total yards and 3 TD
- Andy Dalton – 18 points, 243 passing yards, 2 TD
- Jalen Richard – 9 points, 5 receptions
- Dion Lewis – 7 points, 17 total touches for 54 total yards
- Mohamed Sanu – 19 points, 6 catches for 74 yards and a TD
- Tedd Ginn Jr. – 8 points, 2 receptions for 68 yards
- Jared Cook – 9 points, 4 receptions for 57 yards
- Tyler Kroft – 9 points, 5 receptions for 46 yards
- Jack Doyle – a HUGE 35 POINTS, 12 receptions for 121 yards and a TD
- Trevor Siemian – 7 points, threw 3 interceptions
- Theo Riddick – 6 points only 6 touches and 45 total yards
- Jermaine Kearse – 5 points, only 2 receptions for 38 yards
We had our best week of the season last week, going nine out of twelve on our sleeper picks. That makes us 58 out of 92 overall on the season, giving us a 63% success rate so far. Let’s keep that ball rollin’ and take a look at your sleepers for Week 9:
(REMEMBER, these are players who are owned in less than 70% of leagues)
Eli Manning, New York Giants
He is a veteran quarterback coming off a bye, which is always a plus. He also gets Sterling Shepard back this week, who will most definitely be his top wide receiver target. Manning will be at home against the Rams, who haven’t been dominant against opposing quarterbacks this season, which should open the door for a solid performance.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Goff had a solid outing (18 fantasy points) going into last week’s bye week, which probably made his fantasy owners feel better after two back to back poor performances. He will be on the road against the Giants, who are surprisingly giving up the eighth most points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks. Goff probably won’t have a big day, but he should be solid.
Tom Savage, Houston
Savage is a shot in the dark after the Texans lost Deshaun Watson for the season. Savage started the season as the Texans quarterback, but was quickly replaced by Watson at halftime in the season opener. With plenty of offensive weapons around him, and facing a bad Colts defense, Savage should come out with something to prove.
Alex Collins, Baltimore
It finally happened! Alex Collins finally had his breakout game we have been preaching about. Last week Collins busted onto the scene 20 touches for 143 total yards against the Dolphins. He is currently leading the NFL averaging six yards per carry, and is by far the most talented runner on the Ravens’ roster. His coaches are already saying they are going to continue to get him involved more, and considering how badly their offense was struggling going into last week, they would be smart to do just that.
Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants
Ignore his poor showing in his last game, Darkwa (like Collins) is clearly the most talented runner on his team. The Giants are going to try to shorten the game, if at all possible, by running the football if the score allows. New York will be hosting the Rams who are giving up the second most points to opposing fantasy running backs. It is hard to trust a Giants running back at this point, but Darkwa has the talent, is in a great matchup, and in a game that will probably favor the run.
Kenyan Drake, Miami
With the shocking news of running back Jay Ajayi being traded to the Eagles, this essentially puts Drake and Damien Williams in a battle to take over the starting role. Early reports have suggested the Drake will take over more of the early down role, while Williams will be more of a receiving back. If that is the case, Drake should hopefully be in line for 10+ touches, which gives him a decent floor.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
In the four games he played in before his injury, Shepard was averaging 15 fantasy points per contest. Now, assuming he is healthy, Shepard is clearly the Giants number one wide receiver and should only be battling tight end Evan Engram for targets. The Giants will probably try to shorten the game more than usual by running the ball, but Shepard should still be a target monster if he can get open.
Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta
Amassing 17 targets over the last two games, Sanu has been one of the most consistent wide receivers in fantasy. If you take away the game in which he left early due to injury, Sanu is averaging 13.2 fantasy points per contest and has scored in double digits in all five of those games. Sanu should be owned in every league.
Tedd Ginn Jr., New Orleans
In the three games since his bye week, Ginn Jr. is averaging 4.3 receptions, 91.6 receiving yards and 16.6 fantasy points per game. It seems that he and Drew Brees are developing more chemistry, which should lead to good things at home against the team giving up the most points to opposing wide receivers in fantasy (Tampa Bay). Ginn Jr. will always be a little bit of a “boom or bust” options, but he won’t have a better opportunity to “boom” than this week.
Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati
Over his last four games, Kroft is averaging 13 fantasy points per game to go along with three touchdowns. Owned in only 37.9% of ESPN fantasy leagues, Kroft has become a consistent part of the Bengals passing offense and should be owned in every league
Austin Hooper, Atlanta
Still being very undervalued, Hooper has averaged 9.6 fantasy points per game this season. In three of his last four games he has scored in double digits, averaging 11.6 points in those three matchups. There are a lot of mouths to feed on the Falcons’ offense, but Hooper seems to have carved himself out a pretty sizeable role.
Ben Watson, Baltimore
Since Week 2, Watson is averaging 8.8 fantasy points per game. If you take away his Week 1 and Week 5 duds, he is averaging 10 fantasy points per game in the other six outings. If you are looking for a fill in for this week, you could do a lot worse than Watson.
Need more tips for your fantasy team? You can find Blake for advice on Twitter @blakegibbs.