You want Week 9 sleepers? We got Week 9 sleepers!
Matt Schaub, QB, HOU vs. BUF
The Texans have been leaning heavily on Arian Foster this year, and with Ben Tate out they seem poised to do so again. However, with Buffalo’s defense beatable through the air as well as on the ground, I think they keep the ball in the air in the first half to limit Foster’s workload. Schaub should have multiple TDs by halftime, which makes him worth consideration over marginal starters in fantasy.
Brandon Weeden, QB, CLE vs. BAL
If you have to turn to the FA list for your QB, Weeden is probably your best bet this week. He’s at home facing a banged up Ravens defense, and if his line gives him a little time to throw, he should be able to take advantage of defensive schemes that will likely be tuned to stopping the running game. He’s only worth starting if you’re hurting at the position this week, but at least he has upside.
Isaac Redman, RB, PIT at NYG
Both Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer are listed as doubtful for this game, leaving Redman the opportunity to garner most of the touches at running back, if he can stay healthy himself. Any back projected to get 20-plus touches deserve a RB2 play in fantasy, and that’s just what Redman is this week, even against a tough defense like that of the Giants.
Pierre Thomas, RB, NO vs. PHI
Darren Sproles broke his hand in practices this week, leaving him out indefinitely. The main beneficiary should be Pierre Thomas, the most well-rounded of Saints backs. In fact, if Mark Ingram doesn’t do a complete 180 on his season, Thomas could wind up as one of the backs with the biggest workload from here on out. Add him if he’s available, and consider starting him on Monday night as a RB2.
Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA at IND
Discounting the Week 6 game Thomas missed with injury, he has managed at least 10 carries and one rushing TD in three of his last four games, including 15 carries and a TD last week against the Jets. His YPC has been awful, but that should change against a soft Indy rush defense. If the Dolphins continue feeding Thomas this week, he’ll make fantasy owners very happy.
Justin Forsett, RB, HOU vs. BUF
Looking for a sleeper in deeper leagues this week? Forsett has a chance to see plenty of second-half action this week if the Texans are up big as expected. He has 14 combined touches over the last two weeks, and even seven touches against a defense as terrible as that of the Bills could mean 40 yards and a TD. Worth a flier if you’re desperate.
Travaris Cadet, RB, NO vs. PHI
While Pierre Thomas is expected to be the main beneficiary of the Sproles injury, Cadet could be a surprisingly good play in PPR leagues as well. After he had an excellent preseason, the Saints have been looking for ways to get Cadet more involved, including giving him work at receiver. It wouldn’t be completely out of left field to see Cadet simply move into Sproles’s snaps moving forward.
Ryan Broyles, WR, DET at JAC
Titus Young is getting all the pub, but Broyles is also making the most of the injury to Nate Burleson, catching TDs in each of his last two games. He’s only managed three catches in each game, but it’s fair to think he could see his targets continue to rise if teams remain wisely focused on shutting Calvin Johnson down. Jacksonville has an average defense against WRs, so Broyles is worth a deep-league look.
Justin Blackmon, WR, JAC vs. DET
This guys is just too talented to keep under wraps week in and week out like has happened over the first half of the season. He showed signs of moving forward last week against Green Bay, racking up a season-high 67 receiving yards (it’s the little things that count). He’s received at least eight targets in three of his last four games, so the Jaguars remain committed to getting him the ball.
Donnie Avery, WR, IND vs. MIA
Miami will certainly focus attention on shutting down Reggie Wayne, Andrew Luck’s preferred target on virtually all passing plays. That opens up the possibility that a guy like Avery could have a nice game. He’s shown a decent floor, catching four passes in each of his last three games. With the Dolphins getting abused by WRs this season and Luck at home, I like his chances.
Donald Jones, WR, BUF at HOU
Houston has been the best at the league at shutting down No. 1 receivers but terrible against No. 2 receivers, according to Football Outsiders. That means Stevie Johnson could struggle while a guy like Jones has a breakout game, especially if the Bills have to throw 50 times. Jones has just 20 receptions this year, but three of them are for TDs. I think he scores again this week.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, PIT at NYG
The Giants have been beaten consistently by team’s No. 3 and No. 4 receivers, and a guy like Sanders could continue the trend. He’s caught three or four passes in all but one game this year, but this could be the week he steps up with season highs in receptions and yards while scoring his first TD. Deep leaguers should consider using him.
Logan Paulsen, TE, WAS vs. CAR
Paulsen has become the TE1 in Washington with Fred Davis out for the year, and it’s translated into 119 yards on eight catches and 12 targets over the past two weeks. The mobility of Robert Griffin III makes the tight end very dangerous as linebackers and safeties always have to keep their eyes on the QB. He’s worth a look if you’re desperate at TE.
Brandon Myers, TE, OAK vs. TB
I keep coming back to Myers, who is virtually guaranteed to chip in a few fantasy points every week, as a sleeper, as he’s seemingly just a TD away from a big week. He caught all three of his targets last week and had 17 total targets in the two weeks preceding that performance. On the year he has 31 receptions on 37 targets — only six TEs have more catches.
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to CBSSports.com's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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