Week 9 Sleepers: Rashad Jennings and Unheralded Players You Must Start

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 23: Running back Rashad Jennings #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars escapes linebacker Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens during the preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore Ravens won 48-17. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Rashad Jennings replaced Maurice Jones-Drew in the Jacksonville Jaguars backfield, and now he should replace your running back.

This weekend's game against the Detroit Lions might seem a fantasy black hole for any Jaguars players. Detroit's defense is without a doubt very talented. They're ninth in the league in total defense.

It doesn't get any better when you consider Jacksonville has had the worst offense in the league in terms of total yards. A fantasy owner's first reaction might be to sit any Jaguars player.

That shouldn't be the case with Jennings.

Inevitably, the Jaguars are going to have to get yards from somewhere. Blaine Gabbert has thrown only 1,209 yards on the season, so Jennings is likely to get some touches.

Over the last couple of weeks, Jennings has performed well. His rushing numbers aren't spectacular, but Jennings does provide a threat in the passing game. He's caught seven and six passes, respectively, against the Raiders and Packers. Jennings is likely to surpass 100 yards of offense.

Here are three other players who should be starting on your fantasy team:


Jeremy Maclin

Fantasy owners might feel a little burned by Maclin so far this season.


Like many of the Eagles' players, the receiver has underperformed this season. His 26 receptions for 328 yards and three touchdowns aren't numbers that jump off the page.


His performance two weeks ago against the Lions shows what Maclin is capable of: He caught six passes for 130 yards and one touchdown.

Maclin might not recreate that kind of showing against the Saints this week, but he's likely to put up some big numbers. New Orleans is giving up over 300 yards a game through the air.


John Skelton

Skelton has done a respectable job since replacing the injured Kevin Kolb. Over the last two weeks, he's thrown for over 250 yards a game but with only one touchdown.

Skelton has been extremely consistent in one aspect this season: In the four regular season games in which he's appeared, he's thrown an interception. This quarterback isn't exactly the most attractive of options.

However, the only thing that has been worse that the Cardinals' passing game is the Cardinals' running game. That means despite going against a good Green Bay defense, Skelton has a very good chance to put up some big numbers. He'll be looking for at least 30 pass attempts.



Kendall Wright

The Chicago defense has been stout all season, so much like in the case of Jennings, starting a Titan would appear fantasy suicide. The Bears will be heavily favored against the Titans this week, so that could actually open up some avenues for owners.

If Tennessee has to get themselves out of a large hole, head coach Mike Munchak will be forced to open up the offense and chuck the ball downfield. Plus, Chicago has been the best defense against the run in 2012.

You can bet that Wright will be targeted by Matt Hasselbeck, as Nate Washington will be getting the most attention from the Bears' secondary.