Week 9 Offensive Sleepers

A look at the best under the radar plays in Week 9


Dak Prescott (vs Tennessee) - Prescott gets a home prime time game against a Titans defense that has allowed multiple passing scores to Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and Deshaun Watson. Even Joe Flacco had over 200 yards passing and a score in the rain against them. The addition of Amari Cooper should help Prescott, who was coming on as a passer and a runner before the bye, with at least 16 standard points through the air and a rushing score in Week 6 and Week 7.

Derek Carr (at San Francisco - Thursday) - Carr is coming off of his best fantasy game of the year other than the wild overtime shootout with the Browns. He was nearly flawless as a passer against the Colts and also notched his first rushing score. This week he faces a 49ers defense that has only held Josh Rosen under two passing scores and 200 passing yards, and only in their first meeting. Carr is a high floor streamer this week.

Alex Smith (vs Atlanta) - If Smith is going to come out of his shell as a passer, this week would be a perfect time to do it against the generous Falcons pass defense. Since Nick Foles’ opening week dud, the Falcons have allowed at least three passing scores to everyone except Eli Manning, who still threw for 399 yards. The Washington defense has been keeping games low-scoring, so Matt Ryan might have to do his part to force Smith to pass more downfield and test this Falcons secondary that has repeatedly failed this year.

Running Back

Doug Martin (at San Francisco - Thursday) - Martin ran well in Week 8 and should get more than 15 touches in a game that the Raiders have a distinct advantage in on Thursday night. Martin has the new starter fresh legs and he’s facing a 49ers defense that has allowed multiple running back scores in four of the last six games and might be starting a third-string quarterback.

Dion Lewis (at Dallas) - Lewis has easily been the best player in Tennessee’s offense this year even though they haven’t always used him like he is. Hopefully, the bye gave the Titans a chance to re-assess priorities in the offense and use Lewis even more as a receiver out of the backfield, which has been a problem for the Cowboys defense. Alfred Blue had eight catches for 73 yards and Kapri Bibbs had receptions for 43 yards and a score before the bye, and Lewis offers more burst, quickness, and natural receiving ability than either of them.

Duke Johnson Jr (vs Kansas City) - The Browns don’t seem to be willing to feature the back they signed to an extension this offseason, but they might not have a choice against the Chiefs. The new offensive coaching staff under Freddie Kitchens could use Johnson more anyway, but even if they don’t make a point of emphasizing Johnson, the game script should put Johnson in the crosshairs. He had 33 of his 74 receptions and three of his four total scores when the Browns were down by multiple scores last year.

Frank Gore (vs New York Jets) - The Jets team is showing signs of wear and have lost two straight games by double digits, allowing multiple running back scores in the process. Gore had over 100 yards in his one 15 carry game and at least 50 yards in his two 12 carry games. This matchup in Miami against an opponent the Dolphins already beat on the road this year should give Gore ample opportunity to rack up carries if you need a desperation waiver wire running back play because six teams are on bye.

Isaiah Crowell (at Miami) - Crowell has been banged up and the Bears corralled him easily last week, holding him under two yards per carry, but that is unlikely to happen this week against the Dolphins. Miami has allowed over 100 rushing yards to opposing backs in five of the last six games and at least 175 in each of the last two games. Crowell still hasn’t had more than 16 carries in a game this year, so he could set a season-high in carries in a very favorable matchup.

Wide Receiver

TreQuan Smith (vs Los Angeles Rams) - Smith was quiet last week and if the Saints can keep this game on the script they like, they’ll run more than pass and Smith will likely be quiet again this week. Jared Goff and the Rams should have something to say about that, as the Rams have had two quarterbacks go for 40 or more attempts against them, and one for 50. When they have faced good quarterbacks, the Rams allowed 263 yards and a score to Green Bay receivers last week, 338 yards and three scores to Minnesota receivers, 147 yards and two scores to Chargers receivers (on only nine receptions), and 137 yards and three scores to Seahawks receivers on only seven receptions. The Broncos receivers also posted 230 and two scores on them. The secondary is vulnerable for the Rams and Smith is the best situated to hang a big play or two on them.

Chris Hogan (vs Green Bay) - Hogan had his highest target and catch totals of the year in Week 7 when Rob Gronkowski was out, and Gronkowski has already missed a practice this week. He should also have the advantage of not facing rookie star Jaire Alexander, who handled Brandin Cooks last week, and instead will be getting a favorable matchup against a Packers secondary that has allowed two scores to opposing receivers in each of the last three weeks and five of the last six. This could be a high-scoring game, fueling the numbers of both passing attacks.

Tyler Lockett, David Moore (vs Los Angeles Chargers) - Are the Chargers a good pass defense? Against Marcus Mariota, Baker Mayfield, C.J. Beathard, Derek Carr, and Josh Allen they only allowed two scores to opposing receivers. Against Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes II, they allowed six. Russell Wilson has routinely been posting multiple pass scores on low attempts and at least one of these two prolific scorers will be avoiding Casey Hayward on any given play. The floor is low, but Moore and Lockett have combined for seven scores in the last three games, and each has scored in every game of that stretch.

D.J. Moore (vs Tampa Bay) - Don’t you dare put Moore back on your bench after his usage highlighted his immense abilities in what looked like a tough Week 8 matchup against the Ravens. He should flourish against a woeful Bucs defense at least one score to an opposing receiver in every game this year, and multiple scores in over half of their games to date. They’ve also allowed a receiver to go for at least 88 yards in every game, and usage trends point to that being Moore this week.

DeVante Parker (vs New York Jets) - Parker’s biggest play last week was on a fluke deflected ball, but he still had a solid night against the Texans without that play and should have ample opportunity to post another good game against an ailing Jets secondary. The Jets have allowed multiple scores to receivers in three of the last four games, and they have also allowed six 100-yard games to receivers this season. Parker is finally healthy and involved in the offense, and with six teams on bye, he might be of use to you this week.

Tight End

Chris Herndon (at Miami) - Herndon has scored in three straight weeks, and if the Dolphins have anything to say about it, he’ll make it four this week. They allowed two scores to Michael Roberts two weeks ago, and two scores to Jordan Thomas last week. It’s a good time to be a young tight end facing the Dolphins, who allowed 54 receiving yards to Jets tight ends in the first meeting between these two teams.

Michael Roberts (at Minnesota) - Roberts could get a few more targets this week with the big downgrade at slot receiver for the Lions after Golden Tate was traded to the Eagles this week. The Vikings have been vulnerable to opposing tight ends, giving up 4-42-1 to Chris Herndon last week and 5-69 to Ricky Seals-Jones the previous week, not to mention 5-90 to George Kittle, 6-95 to Jimmy Graham, a 10-110-1 to Zach Ertz earlier this year.

Jordan Thomas (at Denver) - Thomas is coming off of a two-score performance against Miami, and this week he’ll face a Denver defense that allowed 3-105-1 to Will Dissly and 2-59 to Mark Andrews earlier this year. Demaryius Thomas just joined the team and Keke Coutee is coming back from his second hamstring injury this year, so Thomas could play a larger role in the passing game again this week even though starter Ryan Griffin is due back from an illness.

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