NFL Week 9: Fantasy Football Sleeper Picks
As the season grows, true diamonds in the rough become harder and harder to uncover. Most who have flashed brilliance have long been swept up, and those who haven’t really make you question how valuable they are. With that said, here are a handful of waiver wire options that look very intriguing heading into Week 9 and beyond.
As always, my criteria for weekly sleeper selection are players owned in less than 50 percent of leagues on Yahoo! who look interesting for the week ahead as well as some long term plays.
WR Jonathan Baldwin (Kansas City Chiefs)
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WR Jonathan Baldwin (Kansas City Chiefs) – When Chiefs first round pick Jonathan Baldwin hit the injury list due to a fight in preseason with teammate Thomas Jones, it looked as if they’d won the 2011 first round bust bowl. So fast forward to week 8 where Jonathan Baldwin saw his first real action of the season. He caught five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown, outpacing all Chiefs receivers on production. He started his career highlight reel with a stunning 39-yard touchdown grab that showcased his first round talent. Right now, Haley has him in the slot which seems a comfortable fit, but expect him to leapfrog Steve Breaston on the depth chart in the coming weeks to take that dual wideout spot across from Dwayne Bowe. Matt Cassel should be the happiest QB in the NFL serving up weekly to this combo.
Owned in 8% of Yahoo Leagues – 7% Change from Last Week
RB Javon Ringer (Tennessee Titans)
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RB Javon Ringer (Tennessee Titans) – So, how did that holdout work out for you Chris Johnson?
Dare I say there is no bigger disappointment this season than CJ2K. Instead of the elite back he tricked us into thinking he was, he looks more like some scrub who just got the call up from the practice squad, producing an average of 43 rushing yards per game. Patience is wearing seriously thin on the Titans sidelines as they have to realize that if they want to make a serious run at the playoffs, Chris Johnson isn’t the man to carry them to the promise land.
Up steps Javon Ringer. Ringer saw 33 snaps last week to Johnson’s 30 and pretty much was the featured back throughout the fourth quarter. Coach Munchak said Johnson is still his starter, but also said they’d be taking a committee approach, playing the hot hand. You can’t get much colder than Johnson so look for Ringer to slowly take over the bulk of the Titans carries in the weeks to come.
Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo! Leagues – 6 percent Change from last week
WR Early Doucet (Arizona Cardinals)
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WR Early Doucet (Arizona Cardinals) – Doucet hasn’t been particularly flashy, but he keeps posting solid numbers week over week. He took in 20 yards and a touchdown last week against Baltimore, which isn’t the easiest thing to do.
The biggest concern with Doucet is Kevin Kolb. Kolb is battling turf toe so he’s a large question mark for Week 9, and even when he’s been given a clean bill of health, he hasn’t exactly lived up to his lofty offseason billing.
Owned in 25 percent of Yahoo! Leagues – 1 percent change from last week
TE Heath Miller (Pittsburgh Steelers)
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Of all the various weapons at his disposal, his favorite target was TE Heath Miller who tallied 85 yards receiving on seven catches. Miller was largely a boom or bust candidate through the first quarter of the season, but in the last few weeks his production has been very respectable. If he keeps it up, he could end the season as a top five tight end.
Owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! Leagues – 0 percent change from last week
WR Doug Baldwin (Seattle Seahawks)
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WR Doug Baldwin (Seattle Seahawks) – Doug Baldwin is a great story. The undrafted wide receiver out of Stanford went from fighting tooth and nail for a roster spot in August to scaling the Seahawk’s depth chart to settle into the number two receiver slot weeks later. His fantasy production is promising even if a bit erratic.
After a banner Week 6 effort, he got bageled in Week 7 only to come back with 73 yards receiving last week. Hopefully, Pete Carroll has finished his quarterback shuffling experiment and is locked in on Tavarius Jackson going forward. Though the results will probably continue to be varied in the weeks ahead, Baldwin is a decent fill-in option and potential bench warmer as we see if his role continues to grow in the Seahawk’s passing attack.
Owned in 28 percent of Yahoo! Leagues – 0 percent change from last week
QB Sam Bradford (St Louis Rams)
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QB Sam Bradford (St Louis Rams) – I can feel the collective eye roll of all those owners out there who on draft day put their hopes and dreams squarely on the shoulders of Sam Bradford only to have them rudely squashed. I’ll be the first to admit that things have looked pretty bleak for Sam Bradford through the first half of the season. Injury has ravaged the Rams in every respect and they seemed to forgot to bring back their mojo from the lockout.
Bradford is finally ready to shed the walking boot that has had him sidelined for the past two weeks. He finds himself with a nice new weapon in Brandon Lloyd. More importantly, Steven Jackson is showing fresh legs, meaning defenses will have to start respecting the punch of the Rams’ running game again. That all spells good things for last year’s rookie sensation who certainly isn't lacking of talent, but just needs the right pieces in place to succeed.
Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo! Leagues – 0 percent change from last week
DEF Oakland Raiders
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DEF Oakland Raiders – If you are looking for a one week fill-in or if you have simply had it with your under performing band of merry misfits on defense, you’ve got to take a serious look at this week’s prime matchup. The Raiders draw Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos this week. Look at this statline—seven sacks, one interception, two fumble recoveries, two touchdowns, 10 points allowed. That is crazy, but it is Tebow’s disastrous day against Detroit last week.
The Leos were the top defense of Week 8 because of Tebow's giving nature and love of the grass. Look for the Raiders to capitalize on Tebow’s frenetic play and complete inability to read defenses in Oakland.
Owned in 21 percent of Yahoo! Leagues – 5 percent change from last week
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