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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
Texans waive DT Brandon Ivory
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:13 pm ET) The Texans waived rookie defensive tackle Brandon Ivory on Thursday, according to ESPN.com

Ivory was arrested on first degree burglary charges in Tuscaloosa, Ala. just one day ago. Ivory's agent Jeff Guerriero said Ivory is not guilty of the charge. 

"I spoke to Brandon he is not guilty and his name will be cleared of all charges," Guerriero said. 


Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4:09 pm ET) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4:01 pm ET) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended four games for 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:56 pm ET) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake. I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error," McClain said in a statement, via CSN Bay Area. "I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


Jets DL Sheldon Richardson suspended four games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:22 pm ET) Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Thursday.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in a statement via the Jets, per Fox Sports. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don't want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won't be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I'm able to return to the field.”

Richardson, who was a 2013 first-round pick, is entering his third season in the NFL. He was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

He has totaled 84 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in 32 career games. He also has one safety.


Texans DT Brandon Ivory arrested on burglary charge
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Texans defensive tackle Brandon Ivory was arrested Wednesday morning in Alabama and charged with first-degree burglary, according to a Tuscaloosa Police Department report obtained by SportingNews.com.

Ivory and another man were allegedly involved in a home burglary when the two entered the residence by kicking open the back door and then demanding money from the residents. The two stole money and two Ipads from the residence. Ivory and the other suspect were arrested at their apartment shortly after the incident with the stolen money and property.


Embattled Brandon Spikes pleads guilty to leaving scene of crash
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Former Patriots and Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a recent car crash and has received a fine and year of probation, per WBZ, which is further reporting that he has lost his license and will be forced to attend a driver's safety class.

Spikes has lost far more than his license. He has lost his livelihood, having been cut by New England for hitting another car and abandoning his vehicle on the highway. He later told the police that he had hit a deer.

No other teams have been rumored to be targeting Spikes for the coming season.


Terrelle Pryor ready to embrace new role with Browns
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Terrelle Pryor once declared that he could not play football if he could not play quarterback.

Reality has since set in.

Pryor has been cut twice and is now playing on a Cleveland Browns team desperate for a quarterback, but apparently not desperate enough to give him a shot. He is instead embracing what he is calling a "slash-player" role.

"I'm going to give (it) a chance," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I just want to play football. I'm a playmaker, and I believe if I can touch the ball, I can go to the house, especially if I have space. This should definitely open up some opportunities."

Pryor has already taken the first step by contacting Steelers receiving stud Antonio Brown and making plans to work out with him and Randy Moss so they can teach him the nuances of the position.

He also figures there's another reason he's ahead of the game.

"The thing that helps me is that I played quarterback, and I know what the quarterback wants," Pryor said.


Lions new DT Haloti Ngata too busy to think about new contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata had his contract in mind in his last days with the Ravens, but he's too busy to think about it now that he's been traded to the Lions.

Ngata admitted that he suspected a deal could take place.

"The closer we got to free agency, I thought it could be a possibility," he told Monday Morning Quarterback. "It didn't surprise me ... since we weren't getting closer to any kind of contract stuff, I just figured there were a lot of things that could happen. I definitely started to have a trade in my mind as a possibility."

Ngata added that he's not thinking about a contract extension with Detroit.

"I'm just trying to get to know my teammates, get my playbook down, and my technique and terminology," he said.


Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon claims he'd pick himself in Fantasy
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon doesn't have a Fantasy football team, but if he did...

"If ... I could take myself, I would," he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Never mind that Adrian Peterson has returned to the backfield. Never mind that Peterson has traditionally not yielded many carries to teammates. In 2012, for instance, he totaled 348 of his team's 401 rushing attempts.

The Vikings, however, are expected to use a more balanced approach in 2015. And McKinnon, who flashed as a starter with Peterson sidelined last season, is feeling dandy after undergoing lower back surgery in December.

"Two hundred percent," he declared in regard to his health. "If there is a 300, I feel 300. It's all good."

McKinnon averaged 4.8 yards per carry a year ago, which buoyed his confidence.


 
 
 
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