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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)

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Player News
Texans bring in Charles James, Kendall James
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:16 pm ET) The Texans have signed cornerbacks Charles James and Kendall James to the practice squad. 

Charles James was undrafted, but did make an appearance with the Giants in 2013. He recorded two tackles and induced a fumble. Kendall James was drafted by the Vikings this year, but did not make the 53-man roster. 


No sense choosing between Colts tight end duo
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7:16 pm ET) Torn between Colts tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener? It's easy to see why. Both scored a touchdown for the second straight game Week 4 against the Titans, but neither stands out between the 20s. Allen had 64 receiving yards in Week 1, but otherwise, neither has topped 50 in a game.

Well, the good news is that in Week 5 against the Ravens, you probably don't want either. Through four games, the Ravens have allowed the fewest Fantasy points per game to tight ends and have yet to have one score on them.

Maybe one of Allen and Fleener reverses the trend this week, but which one? And what happens if he doesn't? I don't know about you, but I don't like the thought of getting two measly points from my tight end spot.

Owners in 12-team leagues can do better. With the emergence of Larry Donnell, Delanie Walker, Travis Kelce, Heath Miller and even Clay Harbor, tight ends aren't exactly in short supply.


Andre Ellington limited in practice Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:10 pm ET) Cardinals running back Andre Ellington was limited in practice Wednesday.

Ellington has been dealing with a foot injury all year, but has managed to play through it. With the team on a bye last week, Ellington should be a bit healthier entering Week 5. 


Status quo for Trent Richardson
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7:07 pm ET) Prior to Week 4, you probably weren't the least bit excited about starting Trent Richardson in Fantasy. But then he scored a touchdown, which, combined with an uncharacteristic 52 receiving yards, led to a 15-point showing in standard CBSSports.com leagues.

But here's what he still didn't do against the Titans: run the ball effectively, which is saying something considering they rank 22nd against the run, allowing 127.0 yards per game. On a daring 20 carries, Richardson picked up only 47 yards for an average of 2.4 yards per carry.

I don't see him doing any better against the Ravens in Week 7. They rank seventh against the run, allowing 82.5 yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry.

No one can predict whether or not Richardson will get a carry at the goal line -- for some reason, the Colts keep going back to him -- but if he doesn't, just like the first three weeks, you won't like what he does for your Fantasy team.


Time to shy away from Ahmad Bradshaw?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:59 pm ET) Fantasy owners who had been relying on Ahmad Bradshaw since his two-touchdown effort against the Eagles in Week 2 lucked out when he found the end zone on a 15-yard pass from Andrew Luck in the fourth quarter Week 4 against the Titans. He hadn't played much of a role up to that point, finishing the game with just 11 touches.

Looking back, even when he seemed like such a find those first two weeks, he wasn't getting all that many touches. His value was largely a function of him playing a bigger-than-expected role in the passing game, but he has just two catches in each of his last two games.

Bottom line: I'm getting nervous about using Bradshaw in Fantasy. He played only 36 percent of the Colts' snaps in Week 4, down from about 60 percent the first two weeks. The Colts seem content with the plodding Trent Richardson carrying the load, using Bradshaw as just a change-of-pace guy.

Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard still like him for Week 5 at Baltimore, ranking him among their top 20 running backs, but I think his luck finally runs out. The Ravens rank seventh against the run, allowing 82.5 yards per game, and have given up the seventh-fewest Fantasy points to running backs this season.


Report: Mychal Kendricks unlikely to go Week 5
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:57 pm ET) Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks is unlikely to play Week 5, according to 94 WIP.

Kendricks has already missed two games due to a calf injury, and it appears he'll miss another Sunday. Kendricks has 10 tackles and one sack through two games. 


Cam Newton hoping to run soon
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:46 pm ET) Panthers quarterback Cam Newton expressed that he may run more soon, according to the team's website.

Newton is still dealing with the effects of offseason ankle surgery. A rib injury during the preseason has also impacted his ability to use his legs more. Newton stressed that he's looking to be more of a pocket passer, though, even when he's fully healthy. "I look at myself as a pocket passer with the ability to run," Newton said. He added, however, that he's feeling healthier and might be able to show off his running skills soon. "Hopefully I will be able to display my running talents soon," he added.


Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson risky for Week 5
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:41 pm ET) If the last two weeks are any indication, as quarterback Kirk Cousins goes, so go wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Both were complete busts in Week 4, when Cousins threw four interceptions in a laugher against the Giants.

The correlation is especially troubling with the Redskins set to host defending champion Seattle in Week 5. The Seahawks, in case you haven't heard, are pretty stellar on defense. Though statistically, they don't rank as high against the pass as you'd expect thanks to some tough matchups against Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning to begin the season, Cousins isn't of the same caliber. And not all of them did so hot anyway. Rodgers threw for just 189 yards in Week 1.

If you're going to pick one, Garcon is probably the better choice since his role as the possession receiver should theoretically make him a little more consistent than the boom-or-bust Jackson, but neither Jamey Eisenberg nor Dave Richard has either higher than 32nd at wide receiver this week.


No reason to trust in Eric Ebron yet
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:31 pm ET) Lions rookie tight end Eric Ebron scored his first career touchdown Week 4 at the Jets, which is nice and all, but frankly, given the circumstances surrounding the performance (star wide receiver Calvin Johnson hobbled by a sprained ankle, fellow tight end Joseph Fauria in a walking boot, etc.), I would have hoped for more.

He caught only three passes for 34 yards, and his four targets weren't even a season high. The Rams' Jared Cook has had more catches and targets in all three of the games he's played this season, and you don't see anybody rushing to add him.

The Lions host the Bills in Week 5, who rank 25th against the pass, allowing 266.3 yards per game, but I wouldn't consider Ebron any sort of sleeper yet, at least not in standard 12-team leagues.


Golden Tate's value tied to Calvin Johnson
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:19 pm ET) As Chris Towers so deftly noted Sunday, Golden Tate's breakthrough performance in which he caught eight passes for 116 yards Week 4 at the Jets may have had something to do with Calvin Johnson playing only 57 percent of the Lions' snaps because of a sprained ankle. So presumably, Tate owners would like to know how Johnson is doing now.

Well, he missed practice Wednesday but recently told The Detroit News his ankle is "definitely better" than it was last week. He missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday leading up to that game.

I'm thinking the Lions would rather give Johnson a chance to get healthy than run him out there as a decoy every week, so if he's active again Week 5 against Buffalo, I wouldn't be particularly optimistic about Tate's chances.

Then again, the floor is pretty low for Tate. In four games, he has yet to go for less than 51 yards. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard rank him in the 20-30 range at wide receiver, which would make him an advisable starter in 12-team leagues. That sounds about right.


 
 
 
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