One of the most satisfying achievements for fantasy football owners is starting a sleeper who ends up going ballistic.
Nobody predicted Marvin Jones would match Calvin Johnson as the top fantasy football stud last weekend, but the owners who started the young Cincinnati Bengals receiver were pleasantly surprised with his four-touchdown performance.
With so many stars out of action in Week 9, thanks to a bye week, there's a good chance a few sleepers will break out with monster games this weekend.
With that in mind, here's a look at a few sleepers with a chance to show up big.
Josh McCown, QB, Chicago Bears
When Jay Cutler went down with his groin injury against Washington, Bears fans held their collective breaths hoping the season wasn't lost.
However, Josh McCown stepped in and played extremely well, completing 14 of his 20 attempts for 204 yards and a touchdown, earning 15 fantasy points in ESPN.com standard leagues in what was essentially one half of play.
Granted, he was playing against one of the league's worst secondaries, but McCown looked comfortable running Marc Trestman's offense. Given a week off to get used to the idea that he's the starter, McCown has a chance to shine on national television in Week 9.
The Bears are traveling to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.
The Packers are banged up on both sides of the ball, while Chicago's offense is fully intact, minus Cutler. McCown won't have to win the game by himself, thanks to the dynamic rushing attack Matt Forte provides, but he'll have his opportunities to make big plays.
Projected Stats: 275 yards and three touchdowns.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Indianapolis Colts
In the NFL, one of the mantras known throughout the league is "next man up."
With Reggie Wayne out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, Indy needs one of its younger receivers to step up in a major way.
Darrius Heyward-Bey has plenty of raw talent, but he's struggled to put the mental and physical aspects of the game together in a consistent way. He has caught just 18 passes for 190 yards this year, but he finally caught his first touchdown pass of the season in Week 7 before Indianapolis took its bye.
Quarterback Andrew Luck is the kind of quarterback and leader who will give his receivers a chance to make plays.
With Wayne out of the lineup, he'll be looking for Heyward-Bey to pick up the slack this weekend against the Houston Texans, and you can expect the former first-round pick to be targeted early and often.
Projected Stats: Five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
Rookie Keenan Allen's last game was forgettable for fantasy owners. He caught just three passes for 67 yards before the Chargers disappeared for a week on their bye.
However, in his two previous appearances, Allen had raised his fantasy stock to must-start levels, catching 15 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chargers are in Washington this weekend for a battle against the Redskins.
Washington features the league's third-worst fantasy defense against receivers, allowing an average of 26.7 points per game. Philip Rivers is going to shred this defense, and Allen will be one of the receivers to benefit from his big day.
Projected Stats: Eight Catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
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