Fantasy Sleeper Challenge: Week 9
The word “Sleeper” is usually avoided in our business, mainly because a sleeper in an 8-man fantasy league is not a sleeper in a 16 man PPR IDP league. To get around the definition of the word, we’re using ESPN’s starting percentage to create a weekly Gridiron Experts Sleeper challenge for bragging rights.
- Each Writer must recommend one player who is being started in less than 50% of all ESPN fantasy leagues.
Keenan Allen | WR
Starting in 21.4% of All ESPN Leagues
To our readers, Keenan Allen isn’t a sleeper, but in 4 out of 5 standard fantasy leagues, the first-year star is being left out of starting lineups. Allen has emerged with two 100 yard performances and a couple of touchdowns in the last three games the Chargers have played, mostly against weaker defensive units. For Week 9, the match-up is superb for Allen and San Diego, as the Chargers play a Washington secondary that ranks 29th in the league’s defending fantasy wide receivers.
Lance Moore | WR
Starting in 7.8% of All ESPN Leagues
Lance Moore is owned by 67% of all ESPN leagues, but is only being started in 7.8% of them. The Jets, despite an embarrassing performance last weekend are a stingy defense at home and should force Drew Brees to look at other options than TE Jimmy Graham. Moore is a trusted target and Brees targets the veteran wide receiver often. Moore has been nagged with an injury all season, but played well last week against the Bills. I think if you’re looking for a nice sleeper flex starter, Lance Moore is your guy.
Zac Stacy | RB
Starting in 40.3% of All ESPN Leagues
The world finally saw what rookie running back Zac Stacy is capable of on Monday night against the Seahawks, carrying the ball 26 times for 134 yards. This week he gets the Titans, who are the seventh worst fantasy rush defense in PPR leagues this season. As long as Stacy’s ankle is fine, which it sounds like it is, he should be a nice RB2 in Week 9.
Darrius Heyward-Bey | WR
Starting in 3.9% of All ESPN Leagues
If not for the Colts’ bye week, there would have been a big rush on DHB after week 7. With Reggie Wayne out, he moves up to compete for the Colts’ WR1 spot. Expect double-digit fantasy points from DHB in most weeks from here on out. Andrew Luck is much better than any QB he had in Oakland.
Ted Ginn Jr. | WR
Starting in 3.0% of All ESPN Leagues
As Cam Newton continues to heat up, Ginn becomes an intriguing fantasy spot-start. If not for a few miscues against the Bucs, he could have had a 150-yard day with multiple touchdowns. In a favorable match-up, I like Ginn to breakout against the Falcons.
Denarius Moore | WR
Starting in 36.6% of All ESPN Leagues
Philly is bad against the pass. Like, last in the NFL… Denarius Moore will break one off this week. Terrelle Pryor is going to have to throw a little better, but the two of them have hooked up for a big play before and I think they will do it again.
Jake Locker | WR
Starting in 15.2% of All ESPN Leagues
Before a Week 8 bye, Jack Locker threw for 326 yards and 2 touchdowns against a 49ers team that ranks 8th in the league at defending the pass. In terms of passing yards allowed per game, the Rams look like another tough opponent, but that is primarily a function of teams having success against them on the ground. While St. Louis has faced the second-fewest pass attempts per game this season, they are giving up the second-most yards per attempt. The Rams also enter this game on a short week following a hard-fought loss on MNF, from which there is likely to be a hangover. Look for Locker to continue the strong play that has seen him throw for almost 800 yards and 6 touchdowns over his last three starts.
Kendall Wright | WR
Starting in 5.8% of All ESPN Leagues
I have a gut feeling here that Wright has a big day. St. Louis is 22nd against opposing WR’s and has given up at least 1 TD in all but one game. Jake Locker and Wright have developed a nice rapport and Wright has definitely become the Titans’ number 1 receiver. He is averaging almost 6 grabs a game and while he isn’t a big red zone threat, (only 1 TD on the year) the Rams are susceptible to the big play. I expect Wright to haul in at least his average in catches for over 100 yards and his second TD of the year.
Case Keenum | QB
Starting in 1.0% of All ESPN Leagues
The Texans’ running backs are playing hurt and to keep up with the Colts, I think they will lean on Keenum this week. He performed better than expected with 14.3(espn) fantasy points against the number 1 ranked Chiefs defense in week 7. He’s a nice bye week replacement if you’re in a bind.
Week 8 Fantasy Sleeper Recap
|Writer||Recommended Sleeper||WK 7 Fantasy Points (FP)||Winners|
|Jody Smith||WR||Reuben Randle||zero catches (0 FP)|
|Mike Rigz||WR||Jarrett Boykin||5 rec, 89 yrds (5FP / 13 PPR)|
|Zach Greubel||TE||Jordan Reed||8 rec, 90 yrds (9 FP / 17 PPR)||2nd Place|
|Darren Collette||WR||Jeremy Kerley||3 rec, 27 yrds (3 FP/ 5 PPR)|
|Bob Talbot||WR||Pierre Thomas||65 rush yrds, 3 rec, 29 yrds (8 FP/ 11 PPR)|
|Shawn Luskey||QB||Eli Manning||246 passing yards (9 FP)|
|Jason Willan||WR||Michael Floyd||3 rec, 30 yrds, TD (9 FP/ 13 PPR)||3rd Place|
|Joshua Griffiths||RB||Andre Ellington||154 rush yards, TD, 2rec 8 yrds (21 FP/ 23PPR)||1st Place|
|Zhan Mourning||TE||Joseph Fauria||zero catches (0 FP)|