July 28, 2021

Week 9 Sleepers in Fantasy Football

Fantasy football in 2020 requires patience, flexibility, and a whole lot of woooooosaaaah. The most dedicated and passionate managers get that … since they continue to find zeal in exploring the concepts and happenings occurring under the radar. While there are times your roster may allow for snoozing on sleepers, it’s always beneficial to keep tabs on emerging trends and players. This weekly column is for those who understand the satisfaction of digging deep.

All of the listed players are rostered in under 60 percent of Yahoo leagues (at time of writing) and/or are a significant value in our daily game. They’re not the obvious picks, and they’re not without their risks … but that’s what makes them so intriguing. In Week 8, the wins included slam dunks Brandon Aiyuk (8-91-1) and bonus pick DeeJay Dallas (RB4). On the other hand, Derek Carr, Rashard Higgins, La’Mical Perine, and Richard Rodgers all underwhelmed.

Let’s focus on the future and see what fantasy damage we can do in Week 9!

Drew Lock, QB, Denver Broncos (13% rostered / $24)

We’ve got four teams on bye, Jimmy G is out, there’s a QB competition in Dallas, and Matt Stafford is on the COVID list. Drew Lock may not be the Week 9 stream we wanted, but he is who we deserve (in #2020). While I have an admitted affinity for the second-year player out of Mizzou, his professional performance has been suspect at best. Still, the green gunslinger is coming off an impressive Week 8 OT victory in which he earned a QB rating of 94.4. Throwing for 248 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT, Lock closed out Sunday as the QB8 in fantasy.

This Sunday, he’ll take on a Falcons defense that’s allowing an average of over 320 passing yards and the most FF points per contest. Atlanta’s pass rush has been anemic, logging just 13 sacks on the season. That trend doesn’t figure to change in Week 9 given that Takk McKinley (groin) and Dante Fowler (hamstring) are both banged up. Furthermore, Denver’s defense is hobbled, which means this could turn into a bit of a ping-pong match, as reflected by the 50 point projection set by Vegas. With Tim Patrick working his way back on the field, Noah Fant’s rebounding health, and the emergence of (my Week 8 Fantasy Damage pick) Albert O, Drew Lock demands top-15 consideration.

Matt Breida, RB, Miami Dolphins (27% rostered / $12)

Matt Breida has done as much for the Dolphins as Max Boyens did for the last cycle of “Vanderpump Rules.” Unlike Max, however, Breida has a chance to redeem himself. With Myles Gaskin (MCL) sidelined, the former 49er is in line for a larger workload.

An explosive talent with top-end speed (remember this play?), Breida could rip off a few long runs versus a Cardinals defense that’s better against the pass than they are the run. Allowing a YPC of 4.7 to opposing rushers, Arizona’s run-stopping unit has also given up six runs over 20 yards. With a rookie QB under center and Miami trying to play keep away from Kyler Murray, the volume for Breida additionally figures to remain steady. Assuming he’s GTG (Breida has struggled through obvious durability issues and is currently dealing with a hammy tweak), the 25-year-old could close out Sunday inside of the top-25 fantasy producers at the position.

Marvin Hall, WR, Detroit Lions (1% rostered / $12)

In what’s shaping up to be a pretty boring week, Hall offers some out-of-the-box excitement. With Kenny Golladay (hip) out for Week 9, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola will probably see a bump in targets drawn. But gross. And who cares? If you’re chasing points and need to splash, then throw a dart at the lid-lifter coming off a career effort.

Converting four-of-seven looks for 113 yards last Sunday, Hall showcased his deep-play ability versus a formidable Colts defense. This week he’ll face off against a banged-up Vikings unit that listed four of its CBs on Wednesday’s injury report. Heading into Week 9, Minnesota’s secondary has allowed the most receptions over 40 yards (7), the most TDs (15), and the third-most fantasy points to opposing pass-catchers. Over his career, Hall has not been consistent, but when he booms, he booms hard and a ceiling game is entirely possible given the matchup and Golladay’s absence.

Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears (8% rostered / $14)

Tall shouts to Andy Behrens who mentioned Mooney as an under-the-radar play during last Sunday’s edition of FFL. The rookie speedster has become increasingly more involved as the year has progressed, logging a season-high 65 snaps (93%) in the team’s Week 8 OT loss to New Orleans. After a frustrating number of failed attempts, Foles and Mooney finally connected on a 50-yard pass that was not only the Bears’ longest completion of the season but also set up an Allen Robinson TD.

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The Tulane product closed out the contest with a 5-69-1 stat line. He’s now scored in back-to-back efforts, averaging over 6 looks per game since Week 3. Mooney has a solid shot at finding the end zone again in Week 9, as he’ll take on a Titans defense that’s allowed the fourth-most (17) receiving scores on the season and is giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing WRs. Mooney is a high-ceiling flex in the WR40 range.

Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team ($27 percent rostered / $13)

Thomas’ performance over the season has been frustratingly erratic. However, he’s been legit consistent with Kyle Allen under center. In each of his last two games — which featured Allen for eight total quarters (mind-blown emoji) — he drew 4 targets and found the end zone, posting consecutive top-nine fantasy efforts.

Heading into the weekend, he’s a widely available option (assumedly because people dropped him due to his team’s Week 8 absence) facing a Giants defense that let Gronk into the end zone last Monday night. It’s concerning that Thomas picked up an ankle issue since coming off bye, but as of now, he’s expected to go on Sunday. Obviously, keep an eye on Friday’s practice report and plan on using the converted QB as a low-end fantasy starter.

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