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Into the deep for Week 9

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.

Quarterback

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Andy Dalton (at TEN): Dalton is playing like a rookie quarterback. He has some good moments and some inconsistent play. He has two games with at least 17 Fantasy points in his past four outings, but he also has five interceptions over that span. I can see him once again reaching 17 Fantasy points in this matchup with the Titans. Tennessee has allowed multiple touchdown passes in three of the past five games with 10 touchdowns over that span. Dalton can be a useful bye-week replacement for Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton in deeper leagues. (Started in 38 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Carson Palmer (vs. DEN): Palmer will make his first start for the Raiders this week, and he will definitely do better than his previous outing when he came on for Kyle Boller in Week 7 against Kansas City at halftime. He was 8 of 21 passing for 116 yards and three interceptions, but he had the bye week to improve, which should help against the Broncos. Denver has allowed six quarterbacks to score multiple touchdowns, and Palmer will look to make a good impression in front of the home crowd. The Raiders invested a lot in Palmer, and he should be able to reward them with a favorable matchup this week. (Started in 4 percent of leagues in Week 7)
Sam Bradford (at ARI): Bradford has to prove his injured ankle is OK after missing the past two games, but if he plays this week he should be considered a good starting option. The Cardinals have allowed four quarterbacks to throw for at least 300 yards and four to throw multiple touchdown passes. Bradford has yet to play with his new weapon in Brandon Lloyd, who has made a seamless transition from Denver to St. Louis, and the two should develop a solid rapport. In deeper leagues, if Bradford is out then consider using A.J. Feeley since he could exploit this Arizona pass defense as well. (Started in 12 percent of leagues in Week 6)

Running back

Willis McGahee (at OAK): McGahee is expected to play this week after sitting out Week 8 with a broken hand. He should pick up where he left off in this matchup with the Raiders. McGahee has four games with double digits in Fantasy points in his past five outings, and he has four games with at least 76 rushing yards over that span. Oakland has allowed five rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs and five to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and the Broncos might lean on McGahee this week to take some pressure off Tim Tebow. And if for some reason he's out with his hand problem then you can plug in Knowshon Moreno in this spot. (Started in 78 percent of leagues in Week 7)
Chris Ogbonnaya (at HOU): Peyton Hillis (hamstring) is questionable to return this week against the Texans, but Ogbonnaya should still get the chance to get some touches even if Hillis plays. And if Hillis suffers a setback then Ogbonnaya, who played for the Texans earlier this season, could be the starter. He has done a good job catching the ball the past two games with at least five receptions in each game against Seattle and San Francisco. The Texans also have allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs and four to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Additionally, in terms of Ogbonnaya catching the ball, Houston has allowed three running backs to catch at least five passes. (Not started yet this season)
Reggie Bush (at KC): Daniel Thomas (hamstring) might return this week, and the former Kansas State standout could also play well against the Chiefs. But Bush has done a solid job the past three weeks, including in Week 8 at the Giants when he had 15 carries for 103 yards. He is averaging 6.2 yards per carry over that span, and the Chiefs have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing running backs and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points. If Thomas is out then Bush is a great option in all leagues, but you can plan on using Bush as a starter in deeper formats even if Thomas is back. (Started in 39 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Brandon Jacobs (at NE): Jacobs has the chance to start this week with Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) either out or limited, and we could be looking at Jacobs like a potential starter in all leagues for the rest of the year depending on Bradshaw's status. Jacobs is still working his way back after being out two games with a knee injury, but if he gets double digits in carries he could get double digits in Fantasy points as well. He has two games with double digits in Fantasy points already and three touchdowns on the season. The Patriots have allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points. (Started in 35 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Marion Barber (at PHI): If you're stuck at running back this week then take a flier on Barber. He has a touchdown in consecutive games and has scored in three of his past four. The Eagles have also allowed seven touchdowns to opposing running backs, and the Bears should lean on their ground game this week. Matt Forte will obviously dominate the carries, but Barber has done a nice job in short-yardage situations when called upon. (Started in 6 percent of leagues in Week 7)

Wide receiver

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Jon Baldwin (vs. MIA): Baldwin had a solid game against the Chargers in Week 8, and he's looking for an encore performance against the Dolphins this week. He had five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown against San Diego, and Miami has allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing receivers and seven to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Dwayne Bowe should be the best receiver for Kansas City this week, but Baldwin also has an opportunity to shine based on the matchup. (Not started yet this season)
Eric Decker (at OAK): Decker is going to have inconsistent outings with Tebow starting, but the two played well together last week against Detroit with six catches for 72 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets. Decker now has three games with double digits in Fantasy points and five touchdowns on the year. The Raiders have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers and five to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Decker is clearly the only receiver to use for the Broncos right now with the way Tebow is playing. (Started in 35 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Michael Crabtree (at WAS): Crabtree is starting to look like a quality receiver the past two games with 14 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown, and he has 24 targets over that span. Alex Smith appears to finally feel comfortable with Crabtree, and his foot problems are hopefully over. He has a favorable matchup in Week 9 at Washington, and Crabtree could be a potential starter in all Fantasy leagues against the Redskins, who have allowed double digits in Fantasy points to four No. 1 receivers they have faced this year in Hakeem Nicks, Larry Fitzgerald, Jeremy Maclin and Steve Smith. Crabtree isn't as talented as those guys, but he can be a No. 3 Fantasy option this week based on his recent play. (Started in 22 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. DEN): Heyward-Bey comes into this matchup against the Broncos playing at a high level. He has at least eight Fantasy points in his past four games, and the Broncos have allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing receivers and nine to reach double digits in Fantasy points. We'll see how he does in his first start with Palmer, but Palmer should look in his direction a lot. Heyward-Bey has 39 targets in his past four games, and he's quickly shedding the bust label that he had for the first two years of his career. (Started in 48 percent of leagues in Week 7)
Doug Baldwin (at DAL): Baldwin has done a good job filling in for Mike Williams, and Williams is likely out this week with a hamstring injury. He has two games with double digits in Fantasy points, and in the two games Williams has sat out -- Week 5 at the Giants and Week 8 against the Bengals – Baldwin has 13 catches for 209 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys have allowed six touchdowns to opposing receivers and four to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and Baldwin could be a useful No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week in deeper formats. (Started in 13 percent of leagues in Week 8)

Tight end

Jake Ballard (at NE): It says a lot about how Ballard has improved that the five Fantasy points he had in Week 8 against Miami were his low in his past four games. Ballard is averaging more than eight Fantasy points over that span, and he has the chance to play well against the Patriots. New England has allowed just two touchdowns to opposing tight ends and five have reached at least seven Fantasy points. (Started in 42 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Joel Dreessen (vs. CLE): Dreessen has been the player to benefit the most with Andre Johnson (hamstring) out. Since Johnson was hurt in Week 4 against the Steelers, Dreessen has three touchdowns in three of the last four games. The Texans have done a nice job of using both tight ends with Dreessen and Owen Daniels, and Dreessen can be added in deeper leagues as long as Johnson remains out. The Browns have allowed five touchdowns to opposing tight ends and four to reach at least nine Fantasy points. (Started in 3 percent of leagues in Week 8)
Ed Dickson (at PIT): Dickson played well against the Steelers in Week 1 with five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown, and Pittsburgh has allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends and three to reach at least nine Fantasy points. Dickson hasn't scored since Week 1, but he could be on the verge of another quality game. He had nine targets in Week 8 against Arizona, and the Ravens will likely need him to help their passing game. It should help Dickson that the Steelers are without two linebackers in James Harrison (orbital bone) and LaMarr Woodley (hamstring). (Started in 14 percent of leagues in Week 8)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Report: Buccaneers bringing in Dan Connolly for a visit
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(9:11 pm ET) Former Patriots offensive guard Dan Connolly will visit the Buccaneers on Tuesday, per a report by Fox's Ross Jones, citing a source. 

Connolly has played in 87 games for the Patriots in the last seven years and hasn't played in fewer than 13 games in a season since 2008. 


Steelers RB DeAngelo WIlliams says signing was easy decision
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(9:03 pm ET) After playing his first nine seasons with the Panthers, running back DeAngelo Williams signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Steelers this offseason. Among his many thoughts on the signing, he called it an easy decision, according to the Sporting News.

“I didn’t know they wanted me. I had never been on a visit before,” Williams said. “I was with the same organization for nine years. When I got the call and they said, 'hey we want to bring you in for a visit' I took it as that. Had they said we wanted to bring you in for a signing I would have had a different mindset. I had no idea what was going to transpire when I got here.”

Williams added that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get the team to the next level.

“It’s the opportunity to take maybe one or two reps or whatever it takes to make this team better,” Williams said. “That is what I will do. I want to make it to a Super Bowl and win it. I know this team has that potential and they can do it.

“Coming here was an easy decision. This is a Super Bowl contending team. Every veteran out there, veteran or rookie, they want to go to the Super Bowl and win it and get the best opportunity. I think the best opportunity is here in Pittsburgh.”

Williams has rushed for 6,846 yards on 1,432 carries with 46 rushing touchdowns in his career.


Lions WR Golden Tate doesn't feel pressure due to loss of Suh
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(8:49 pm ET) Although Lions wide receiver Golden Tate feels the loss of Ndamukong Suh is a blow to the team, he doesn't believe it puts more pressure on the offense, reports ESPN. 

When asked specifically about the subject, Tate was clear about his thoughts.

"No, I don't think it adds any pressure," Tate said by phone Monday. "We just need to be who we are. We know that we have a lot of weapons all over the field. We just need to reach our potential each and every week.

"We just need to go out there and play fundamentally sound football and I have no doubt our defense is going to be really good again this year and we just got to do our jobs. There's no pressure on anyone but to be ourselves and to play good football."

Additionally, Tate recognizes that Suh was a game-changing player for the Lions, but he likes the addition of Haloti Ngata.

"Obviously, losing Suh is a big hit," Tate said. "I don't care what team you are, he's the guy that can change the game. Change an opposing offense's game plan. He affects the game so much. But with that being said, I'm thankful to have [had] the opportunity to play with him for a year and be a part of something special. But the show must go on.

"The guy we got, [Haloti] Ngata, is a heck of a player. I think it's a good pickup for us. I know he has a past with coach Caldwell so he knows the ins and outs of the system, probably. But we're ready to move forward. We can't live in the past and football season must still go on. We're preparing to have a great year and build from last year."

The 26-year-old stated that he plans on focusing on the intricacies of the offensive playbook heading into this season.

"One thing I really want to focus on is learning the playbook a little bit better," Tate said. "I felt like I knew it for the most part, but details, running the plays exactly how Joe Lombardi draws them up, could help us win more games and create more opportunities for myself and our team."

Tate finished his first season with the Lions catching 99 passes for 1,331 yards and four touchdowns.


Report: LB Rolando McClain ends Patriots' visit without contract
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(7:52 pm ET) After visiting the Patriots on Monday, linebacker Rolando McClain and the team did not agree to terms on a contract, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The same report states that the visit was a positive one.

McClain played in 13 games last season for the Cowboys, collecting 81 total tackles and one sack. Over his four-year career, the 25-year-old has accumulated 327 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, 23 passes defensed, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.


Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu looks forward to being healthy
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(6:56 pm ET) Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu believes that he is regaining his health and he's ready to make an impact this season, according to the team's website.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been healthy,” Mathieu said Monday. “Last year I felt like I took a back seat. I played well my rookie year and then last year it was kind of, eh, I was there but I wasn’t there. This (year) is more important for me because I really want to let everyone know I’m back and I can still make some plays.”

Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL toward the end of the 2013 season. He recently said that the comeback was "way harder than I thought."

Head coach Bruce Arians talked about how Mathieu was not himself last season.

“You saw him fight through it last year,” Arians said. “He was not the player he was used to (being) and it was very frustrating for him.”

Mathieu was aware of the chatter from the outside world and he is using that as motivation going forward.

“You hear people talk and I had time to listen to them talk, so it’s like … I hear it,” Mathieu said. “Like I said, I didn’t feel like I made enough plays last year to help our team. I am looking forward to this year because I know I can do it.”

The 22-year-old has registered 106 total tackles, one sack, three interceptions and one forced fumble in 26 games played during his two-year career.


Saints plan to rework Jahri Evans, Cameron Jordan contracts
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:27 pm ET) Saints coach Sean Payton said that the team has a plan in place to rework guard Jahri Evans' contract to help create salary cap space, per ESPN's Mike Triplett

Evans is scheduled to make $6.8 million salary in 2015 and cost $11 million against the cap. 

The team might also extend defensive end Cameron Jordan's contract. Jordan is entering the last year of his contract and is scheduled to make $6.969 million this year.


Rams have agreed to terms with OL Tim Barnes
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(6:16 pm ET) The Rams have agreed to terms with offensive lineman Tim Barnes, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The one-year deal has a maximum value of $1 million. 

Barnes recently visited had a visit with the Chiefs before signing with the Rams. The 26-year-old spent all three of his previous seasons with the Rams, starting four of the 45 games he appeared in.


Report: Brandon Tate visits Chiefs
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:14 pm ET) Free agent wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Tate visited the Chiefs on Monday, according to a report from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, citing a source.

Tate had 17 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals last year. He also had a combined 571 yards in kick and punt returns. 


Lions' Riley Reiff open to playing right tackle
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:10 pm ET) Lions coach Jim Caldwell said that Riley Reiff might start at right tackle next season. 

Reiff has started 32 games at left tackle over the last two seasons. The Lions aren't sure that last year's right tackle LaAdrian Waddle will be fully recovered from knee surgery, and backup tackle Cornelius Lucas is better on the left side. 

Reiff told the Daily Republic he doesn't care where he plays. 

 "I like playing, and wherever they want to put me, that's fine. I'll play," he said.


Broncos OL Michael Schofield looking to compete for starting job
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(6:05 pm ET) Broncos offensive lineman Michael Schofield is ready to come in and compete for a starting job this season, reports the Denver Post.

After not dressing for a single game as a rookie, Schofield added weight and he looks forward to fighting for a starting job.

"I am going in there with that mentality. In the NFL everybody is competing," Schofield said during a road trip to see family in Illinois. "They are looking for someone to step up and take over. I want to make that jump."

The third-round draft pick of the Broncos in 2014 struggled with weight issues, but he is now up to 305 pounds. He also recognized that his pass protection needs improvement.

"Personally, I felt there were reasons I wasn't out there (for games). I wasn't consistent enough in pass pro (protection). And my weight was really fluctuating," Schofield said.

Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak believes that the team's zone-blocking scheme can help Schofield elevate his game, and Schofield agrees.

"We like the Schofield kid, so we'll see. We think he's got some flexibility (in where he can play)," Kubiak said. "It will be very competitive."

"I feel like I am better suited for this," Schofield said. "You have to be able to reach block, and I feel the steps required fit me better."


 
 
 
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