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Week 9 Deeper Sleepers: Things Are Going to Get Wild

Welcome to our season-long segment at RotoBaller where we will be targeting players owned in 25% or less of Fleaflicker leagues.

Week 8 was not kind to fantasy owners or my picks. Le'Veon Bell, Steve Smith Sr., Reggie Bush, Matt Forte, and Ryan Fitzpatrick all went down with injuries, with the first three names out for the season. We're still awaiting word on the severity of Forte's knee injury, but it was an ugly weekend on the medical report. The only pick that hit on my end was Jacob Tamme, and with a lack of a second option in Atlanta at the moment he should have value going forward.

Same as last week, I'll include a player from every position (including D/ST) each week - as long as the options are worthy of discussion. Don't forget this section only highlights the players under 25% ownership, so make sure to submit a claim for DeAngelo Williams (54%) if he's available. Let's get to it.


Digging Deeper - Potential Week 9 Waiver Wire Sleepers

Kirk Cousins (QB, WAS)

17% Owned in Fleaflicker

Trusting Kirk Cousins to have consecutive solid performances is the definition of playing with fire, but at these ownership levels it's between him and Matt Cassel. Cousins is coming off the bye week after a sizzling Week 7 performance (317 yards, four touchdowns) to face the undefeated Patriots in Foxborough. Again, you must be thinking I'm crazy.

Here's the key factor -- the Patriots are opening as a -13.5 favorite, implying New England will have a sizable lead throughout the contest. Under this logic the Redskins will be forced to abandon the run and air it out, allowing Cousins and crew to accrue "garbage-time" points. Another key factor is the return of Jordan Reed. Reed was targeted 13 times in Week 7 and hauled in 11 of them for 72 yards and two scores. Cousins makes for a QB2 gamble or a deeeeep league play. Other choices that are above 25% to consider include Jameis Winston (30%) and Jay Cutler (41%).

FAAB: $1

Jeremy Langford (RB, CHI)

10% Owned in Fleaflicker

Just a rough, painful season for running backs. First Arian Foster, now Le'Veon Bell and Matt Forte. For our topics sake we are focusing on Forte. Forte left the game with a knee injury that is being reported as an MCL injury. Thankfully he avoided ACL damage but MCL strains can still keep players out multiple weeks. His replacement, Jeremy Langford, had a decent outing on Sunday, rushing 12 times for 46 yards (3.8 yards per carry). He did have a big drop on his lone target on the Bears final drive but luckily for Langford's sake Jacquizz Rodgers, a much better receiving-back, is on injured reserve.

Quick rundown on Langford. A fourth round pick out of Michigan State, Langford showed good vision between the tackles in college and had the 4.43 40-speed to execute stretch plays. He's not a big-body (6'0, 208) but his elusiveness should come in handy. His first chance as the lead back comes on Monday Night Football at San Diego, a team that is ranked 31st against the run per Football Outsiders. It's going to cost a pretty penny for Langford's services, but he instantly becomes RB2/Flex material.

FAAB: $25

Robert Woods (WR, BUF)

15% Owned in Fleaflicker

I was tempted to discuss Woods last week but given the bye week and the uncertainty surrounding the receiving corps at the time, it felt necessary to draw attention elsewhere. A week later and we still don't have clarity regarding Sammy Watkins or Percy Harvin, which makes Woods a sneaky Week 9 play. Watkins did not practice Monday, a scary sign considering they had a week off, and Harvin is still working with the team to determine the extent of his hip injury. Which brings us to Woods.

Woods performed admirably in Week 7, hauling in nine catches for 84 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets. Woods and Charles Clay are the current suspects for targets versus the Dolphins this Sunday, a team that was just gashed for 356 yards by Tom Brady. Sure, everyone gets rocked by Brady, but the point remains. Tyrod Taylor is expected to return this week which is a ginormous boost from E.J. Manuel and Woods should benefit from the switch. The 15 passing touchdowns allowed by Miami is fourth-most in football. Go grab a Woods share before they're gone.

FAAB: $5

Jared Cook (TE, STL)

15% Owned in Fleaflicker

Remember when the Rams offense was so porous that Jared Cook was the best option? Good times. The Pre-Gurley days are over and teams are going to be forced to stack the box more often, opening up the passing game for Nick Foles and company. That's a bold claim considering Foles hasn't eclipsed 200 yards since Week 1, but teams cannot continue to let Gurley beat them. Although if we're being honest, I'm not sure you can stop "The Gurley Man".

Cook has been relatively quiet this season and only saw three targets on Sunday. He turned those into 57 yards thanks to a 49-yard scamper but was easily the third wheel behind Gurley and Tavon Austin in the offense. That may change on Sunday when the Rams visit Minnesota. The Vikings are ranked 27th versus Tight Ends according to Football Outsiders and have allowed big games to Travis Kelce and Eric Ebron in the last three weeks. If you're desperate at TE, grab Cook on the low-low.

FAAB: $2

Dallas Cowboys Defense

15% Owned in Fleaflicker

Slim pickings at defense, so we're going to gamble with the home team on primetime. The Cowboys performed surprisingly well on Sunday, holding the Seahawks to 13 points and Marshawn Lynch to 71 rushing yards on a 3.4 ypc clip. Sam Bradford has not been the quarterback Chip Kelly envisioned, throwing six picks in his last three games. Look for the Cowboys to come out and try to prove a point that DeMarco Murray was a product of their offensive line in this divisional matchup.

FAAB: $1


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