Michael F. Florio's Week 9 fantasy football sleepers

Cole Beasley is currently the WR35 and is on pace for 81 receptions and just under 1,000 yards this season. Last week was his worst game of the season, but prior to that he had scored double-digit fantasy points in six straight games, including having his best game of the season two weeks ago. Despite all that, he is far from a player that you consider starting each week in fantasy. But that should change this week against the Seahawks, who have really struggled against receivers this season. Seattle has allowed the most fantasy PPG (57.76) and yards per game (269.3) to wide receivers. They’ve also given up 11 receiving touchdowns to the position, which puts them in a tie for the fifth-most allowed in the NFL.

This is clearly a great matchup for the Bills WRs, so you may be wondering why Beasley over John Brown? Well, Seattle has allowed an average of 21.61 fantasy PPG to receivers lined up in the slot this season, which is where Beasley runs 86 percent of his routes. The Seahawks are allowing an average of 118.9 receiving yards per game to receivers lined up in the slot. Not only does that lead the league, but it is over 30 more per game than any other team is giving up currently. Beasley comes with a pretty safe floor, but he has some upside as well this week. He is a borderline WR2 this week.

Here are more Week 9 sleepers!

Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr probably has not gotten enough credit for how well he has played this season. He’s scored over 19 fantasy points in four of his last six games. He’s also finished as a top-12 fantasy QB in two of his last three games. Carr is also running more as of late, putting up between 19 and 41 rushing yards in three of his past four games. They may not sound like a whole lot, but it is two to four bonus fantasy points, which certainly helps his weekly outlook. This week, he faces a Chargers defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to QBs (22.59), including allowing a top-12 QB in four of the last six games. Carr is a borderline QB1 this week.

Drew Lock, QB, Denver Broncos

Drew Lock scored the second-most fantasy points of his career last week (19.82) and he has a good chance to be even better this week against the Falcons. Atlanta has allowed the most fantasy PPG to QBs this season (25.63). They also have allowed five passing touchdowns of 20+ air yards and that is important for Lock because he currently leads the NFL in air yards per pass attempt (9.5). Lock has an opportunity to connect on a long TD in this favorable matchup. He is a strong streaming option this week.

Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots

Damien Harris has been playing well, putting up a season-high 102 yards and a TD last week. He has put up over 70 yards in three of four games this season and has seen at least 11 touches in those three games. That opportunity can lead to more fantasy points than normal against the Jets, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy PPG to RBs (26.28). The Jets have allowed a top-10 fantasy RB in three of the last five weeks. Given the state of running backs right now, Harris is a low-end RB2 this week, as long as Sony Michel is not activated off IR before kickoff.

Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos

Last week was more of a split in the Broncos backfield than we had previously seen. Phillip Lindsay played 45 percent of the snaps and had a season-high three targets. He also scored his first TD of the season and scored just under 16 fantasy points. While Melvin Gordon has been the back used more in the passing game this season, the uptick in targets for Lindsay could be a sign of things to come. That is big this week as the Falcons have allowed 6.5 catches per game to RBs, the sixth-most in the NFL. This is a week to get your Broncos into your lineups and that includes Lindsay, who is a strong flex option this week.

Jordan Howard, RB, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins placed Myles Gaskin on IR this week and Matt Breida’s status is up in the air. That could lead to Jordan Howard being a lead RB by default. That workload alone puts him in the RB2 or flex discussion, but it is also a good matchup. The Cardinals have allowed the ninth-most fantasy PPG to RBs (25.69). The secondary is the strength of the Cardinals defense and I am expecting the Dolphins to not ask too much of Tua Tagovailoa this week. That should just lead to even more rushing opportunities here. 

Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Detroit Lions

Kenny Golladay is expected to be out this week with a hip injury. He missed much of last week and Marvin Jones posted a season-high 18.9 fantasy points. He has scored over 13 fantasy points in two straight games. This week, he faces a Vikings team that has allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to WRs (45.91). That includes a league-leading 15 receiving touchdowns to the position and 191 yards per game. You will have to monitor if Matthew Stafford is clear to play this week, but if he is and Golladay is in fact out, Jones becomes a high-upside WR3.

Hunter Renfrow, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

Hunter Renfrow has been up and down all season, but he is coming off his second-best fantasy performance of the season. This week, he faces the Chargers who have allowed 17.44 fantasy PPG to slot receivers this season, the fifth-most in the NFL. That includes 85 receiving yards per game to receivers lined up in the slot. Renfrow runs 60 percent of his routes from the slot this season, the most on the Raiders. If you have to dive deep and get a starter off the waiver wire this week, Renfrow is an option for you.

Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Did you notice the volume bump for Mecole Hardman? He had a season-high nine targets and made the most of them – catching seven for 96 yards and a TD. He finished with a season-high 22.6 fantasy points. He also ran 31 routes, the second-highest amount he’s ran in any game. The Panthers have struggled against the run, but have been pretty tough against the pass this season. Still, that is no reason to be fearful for Patrick Mahomes and this Chiefs offense. Hardman is so explosive and comes with a high ceiling every week. His one concern has been the lack of volume, but if Week 8 was a sign of things to come, giddy up!

Darren Fells, TE, Houston Texans

Darren Fells flopped before the bye week, but in his two prior games, he scored 20.5 and 13.7 fantasy points. That 13.1 point performance came against the Jaguars, when Fells finished as the TE6 that week. A performance like that would be enough to put him in the TE1 discussion. The Jags remain a favorable matchup for tight ends as they have allowed the fourth-most fantasy PPG to tight ends (16.61).

Texans DEF

The Texans will be facing the Jaguars and rookie QB Jake Luton will be making his first career start. Luton is an unknown at the NFL level, but his college numbers are pedestrian. He never threw for 3,000 yards in a season and averaged 7.6 yards per attempt or lower in every season. The jury is very much still out on him and he could surprise. But again, he is an unknown on a team that has been struggling to put up much points, averaging 21 offensive points per game, the sixth-fewest in the NFL. The Texans are a strong streaming option that can be had off the waiver wire this week. 

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