Fantasy Football Week 9 Rankings: Early Look at Top Sleeper Plays
We've hit Week 9 of the 2012 NFL season, and that means that across the land fantasy football teams are beginning the push for the playoffs, whether that means jockeying for a top seed or scrambling to make the postseason at all.
It's never too early to start looking ahead to next week's action, so in an effort to give you an early leg up on the competition here's a look at some Week 9 sleeper options that have the sort of favorable matchup that can portend fantasy success.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens (at CLE)
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It's been an up and down 2012 season for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, and his last game was definitely one of the down weeks.
The fifth-year pro had an absolutely horrific outing in Week 7 against the Houston Texans, completing fewer than half his passes and throwing two interceptions in a blowout loss.
With that said the 27-year-old should be set to bounce back this week against the Cleveland Browns.
Flacco torched the Browns for more than 350 yards through the air back in Week 4, and the Browns have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (at NO)
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After reports swirled that the Philadelphia Eagles were prepared to bench quarterback Michael Vick it appears that for at least one more game, Vick's fantasy owners can breathe easy, as NFL.com's Marc Sessler reports that head coach Andy Reid "isn't ready" to bench Vick just yet.
That benching may yet come, but desperate fantasy squads should give serious thought to gambling that the 32-year-old southpaw can make it through this week's tilt with a New Orleans Saints team that has been historically awful on defense this season.
Mikel LeShoure, RB, Detroit Lions (at JAX)
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Detroit Lions running back Mikel LeShoure had a tough go of it in the team's Week 8 win over the Seattle Seahawks, as the second-year pro managed only 55 yards on 13 touches against a stout Seattle run defense.
The sledding should be significantly easier this week when the Lions travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, who rank 25th in the NFL in run defense and are the sixth-friendliest fantasy matchup for running backs this season.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers (at WAS)
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Wide receiver Brandon LaFell of the Carolina Panthers made only three catches in Carolina's loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, but the third-year pro made the most of those receptions, racking up 88 yards in the process.
Things should go even better for LaFell this week when the Panthers square off against the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins have made a habit of making opposing wide receivers look good all season long, giving up the most fantasy points per game to the position by a significant margin.
Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders (vs. TB)
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As wide receiver Denarius Moore of the Oakland Raiders has gotten healthy and back up to speed, the second-year pro has re-emerged as quarterback Carson Palmer's favorite target in the Oakland passing game.
Moore has reeled in 14 catches for 236 yards and three touchdowns over his past three contests, and that hot streak should continue in Week 9 against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts in 2012.
Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. DEN)
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The Cincinnati Bengals are mired in a three game losing streak, and over that stretch tight end Jermaine Gresham has been slumping as well, managing only 11 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown.
The Bengals may be hard pressed to defeat Peyton Manning and the red-hot Denver Broncos Sunday but things are looking up for Gresham's fantasy prospects, as he faces a Denver defense allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year.