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11 Sleeper Starts and Duds: Week 9 (Fantasy Football)

Nov 2, 2018

Don’t sleep on Michael Gallup because of Amari Cooper’s arrival in Dallas

How about that Thursday night game? A near perfect quarterback rating in his first NFL start earned Nick Mullens a verified checkmark on Twitter mid-game, and perhaps more importantly for him, the starting job for the remainder of 2018. On the opposite end, the Raiders managed to possibly cement their label as the worst team in the NFL and it doesn’t look like they have a single player that’s a weekly lock for being startable in fantasy (unless you play in two QB leagues).

That game, however, is in the past and it’s time to look at the matchups for the weekend. As you consider all your options, we reached out to our featured experts below to get their thoughts on who might surprise owners this week in both good and bad ways. Looking at our expert consensus rankings, the pundits are naming who they believe could under and outperform their rankings.

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Q1. Who is a player outside of our top 100 flex rankings that is a deep sleeper start and why do you think he has upside this week?

Michael Gallup (WR – DAL): vs. TEN
“Gallup is my favorite deep sleeper for Week 9 against a Titans pass defense that I love to pick on when possible. Gallup had three catches for 81 yards and a TD in the Cowboys Week 7 (pre-bye) game and actually led Cowboys WRs in offensive snaps with 85%. The only two teams to not have a WR score against the Titans in 2018 are the Jaguars and Bills, and we know the story with those alleged passing games. Four of the Titans’s other five opponents have had two TDs to WRs, and I expect Gallup to sneak one in on Monday night as well, even with Amari Cooper on the field.”
– Donald Gibson (Fantasy Fusion)

“I get that everyone is excited for Amari Cooper’s arrival to Big D, but if you are desperate for WR help, maybe take a look at rookie Michael Gallup. The past two games he finally made the jump to real starter snaps, playing over 80%. That lead to his best game as a pro against Washington 3/81/1. It’s possible that Cooper being inserted into the offense opens things up more for Gallup than himself.”
– Mike Wright (The Fantasy Footballers)

Hayden Hurst (TE – BAL): vs. PIT
“Hurst has an excellent matchup against the Steelers, who have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to enemy tight ends. Recently, the likes of Seth DeValve (2-28-1), C.J. Uzomah (6-54), and Austin Hooper (9-77) have put up quality stat lines against them. I like Hurst because I know the Ravens have had a long affinity for throwing to tight ends, because Hurst scored last week, and because the coaching staff recently said they need to make an effort to get the rookie more involved. Hurst has a GREAT rest-of-season schedule, too. I’m all-in, and I think Hurst’s awakening starts this week.”
– Heath Capps (Fake Teams)

Paul Richardson (WR – WAS): vs. ATL
“In a game where the Redskins will have to score some points, I’ll go with Paul Richardson. He has seen at least five targets in 5-of-6 games played, so there’s appeal in this matchup, as the Falcons have allowed 2.06 PPR points per target to wide receivers, which ranks as the fourth-highest in the league. Richardson has also caught two of the three Redskins wide receiver touchdowns this year, and the Falcons have allowed 12 wide receiver touchdowns on the year, so there’s hope. He moves all over the formation, so there isn’t a specific cornerback matchup he’ll have all game. ”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Kapri Bibbs (RB – WAS): vs. ATL
“Chris Thompson has been ruled out for week 9 against Atlanta so take a look Kapri Bibbs who had four catches on five targets for 43 yards and a touchdown in Week 7, when Thompson was sidelined. The Falcons allowed a league-high (110) catches to running backs last season and have given up a league-high 62 to them this season. Bibbs may be a sneaky DFS play or worthy of a roster spot in deep PPR formats. Tajae Sharpe who racked up seven catches and 101 yards on nine targets in Tennessee’s last game is also an option.”
– Chris Meaney (Fantrax)

Zay Jones (WR – BUF): vs. CHI
“Jones is a reasonable start this week, he has averaged 6+ targets per game over the past 5 games and has the talent to make a difference at a position where Buffalo could really use a spark. Regardless of the QB throwing him the ball, he should still see a slow rise in fantasy relevance in the second half of the season. Speaking specifically about the Chicago game in week 9, Buffalo will likely be trailing for the majority of the contest and forced to turn to their wide receivers.”
– David Biggs (Drink Five)

Q2. On the flip side, what player inside the top 40 flex rankings is likely to disappoint fantasy owners this week?

Marvin Jones (WR – DET): at MIN
“I think Jones is in a spot to completely destroy his owners’ souls this week. He’s coming off his most productive game since September 2016, and Golden Tate’s departure makes his future look brighter. The Lions are playing in Minnesota, and the Vikings have been very good against WRs this year. If you take out the Week 4 onslaught that the Rams bestowed upon them, the Vikings have given up 10 receptions, 113 yards, and 0.3 TDs per game to opposing wide receivers (and that isn’t just the WR1, that’s all of the wide receivers). I don’t think Jones puts up a total dud, but his production won’t be what his owners are seeing in their post-trade-deadline dreams.”
– Donald Gibson (Fantasy Fusion)

Kerryon Johnson (RB – DET): at MIN
“There’s a chance Johnson gets a few more touches moving forward with the departure of Golden Tate, but he’s in a tough spot this week. The Minnesota Vikings are allowing the fifth-fewest rushing yards (91.8) against per game and fifth-fewest yards per carry (3.7). They’ve yet to allow a 100-yard rusher and they held Todd Gurley to 83 yards, which is saying something. Minnesota has only surrendered five rushing touchdowns and if Detroit does decide to run the ball near the goal line, you know it’s going to LeGarrette Blount.”
– Chris Meaney (Fantrax)

Phillip Lindsay (RB – DEN): vs. HOU
“Houston has not been an ideal matchup for fantasy RBs this year. There’s a real reason to love Phillip Lindsay with Royce Freeman ruled out once again, but a tough defense plus the possibility of Watson scoring at will could force a negative game script for the Broncos run game. I’m not looking to bench Lindsay, but adjusting my expectations vs the consensus.”
– Mike Wright (The Fantasy Footballers)

Keenan Allen (WR – LAC): at SEA
“Allen is averaging 6.7 targets over the last four weeks, which ranks 35th among all wideouts. That dip (mostly over the last two weeks) wouldn’t be as big of a deal if he weren’t being so overlooked in the red zone. In 2017, Allen totaled 35.14% of red zone looks for the Bolts. This year, he sits at only 15.63%. That’s an issue for a guy who doesn’t do damage down the field (only a 7.5 aDOT). By all means, hold him in your PPR leagues… but he’s not the auto-play he once was.”
– Heath Capps (Fake Teams)

Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI): at BUF
“Cohen has been electric and his snap count has been increasing over the course of the season, but he is likely to play second fiddle to Jordan Howard in a game where the Bears will be running out the clock after amassing an early lead against the Bills.”
– David Biggs (Drink Five)

James Conner (RB – PIT): at BAL
“It hasn’t been all roses for James Conner, as he struggled from Week 2 through Week 4, but he’s been a man on a mission the last three games, totaling at least 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns in every contest. Unfortunately, one of those weeks he struggled was against the Ravens, who have now allowed one top-12 performance on the year, thanks to a tipped ball that wound-up in the hands of Christian McCaffrey. Without that deflected ball (that was intended for Devin Funchess), McCaffrey would have finished as the RB21 last week. It was the first time they allowed any running back more than 15.5 PPR points, and they’d already played Alvin Kamara/Mark Ingram, Joe Mixon, Carlos Hyde, LeSean McCoy, and Phillip Lindsay/Royce Freeman. They’re the best run-defense in the league and have not allowed a single player to finish with 87 total yards against them.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for giving their sleeper starts and duds for Week 9. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter if you’re not already doing so and check out our latest podcast below for more great advice.

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