Bye teams take a chunk of good receivers out of the mix this week, but that is not all there is to consider. Some of the remaining top receivers face tough defenses, putting their NFL fantasy value at risk, too. Doug Baldwin goes against Josh Norman, for example. Marshon Lattimore will probably shadow Mike Evans… or maybe DeSean Jackson? AJ Green faces the Jaguars. It could be a series of sleepers who break through to lead their teams to victory, like maybe one of these guys:
Best Bet: Cooper Kupp, LAR at NYG
New York suspended their top cornerback, Janoris Jenkins, for Week 9. That means Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will join Eli Apple on the outside of the Giants pass defense. But that is still not a bad enough matchup to make Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods fantasy locks. Instead, it will be the slot receiver, Cooper Kupp, taking on the Giants’ fourth corner, Ross Cockrell, who gets the bump in value.
Cockrell has been playing well, too. But Kupp will be targeted a lot as the Giants’ defense still hasn’t figured out how to defend the middle of the field. Look for Kupp to have a productive day against New York. And if any receiver will break a long touchdown, it is more likely to be Tavon Austin than Watkins or Woods this week.
Good Bet: Jeremy Maclin, BAL at TEN
Tennessee is tired of hearing about how Alex Collins is suddenly a premier NFL running back who is about to save the Ravens offense. You know who else is tired of hearing about it? The guy who was supposed to save the Ravens offense, Jeremy Maclin, and Joe Flacco.
While the Titans front seven show Collins what it is like to run against a good NFL rush defense, Flacco and Maclin make use of a suddenly effective play-action option to put up at least one big play and a bunch of chain-moving ones. Maclin catches only four passes, but they are good for a touchdown and enough yards to make him a worthy sleeper play in Week 9.
Not a bad bet: Dede Westbrook, JAC vs CIN
Jacksonville’s rookie receiver, Dede Westbrook, takes the field for the first time this week against a good pass defense. Westbrook led all Jaguar receivers in yardage in the preseason before an injury derailed his year. The plan was to work him into the Jaguars offense slowly, but losing Adrian Robinson and Marqise Lee’s injury status will put Westbrook into the starting lineup in Week 9.
The Jaguars are enjoying a magical season so far and their good luck will continue as Westbrook, the fastest player on the field, takes at least one pass to the house. That’s all he will need to be a worthy second receiver in Week 9.
I’d put your money on this bet: Corey Davis, TEN vs BAL
Marcus Mariota likes Rishard Matthews and appreciates Eric Decker, but he has been champing at the bit for the return of Corey Davis. Mariota is mobile and accurate enough to throw against the Ravens’ pass rush, who are still grinning over what they did to Matt Moore last week. Davis is fast and strong enough to give his quarterback a good target. Look for five catches and a touchdown in Davis’ first game back since Week 1.
Need more? These guys are more comatose than sleepers, but I keep getting these nagging urges to play Curtis Samuel in Carolina and Aldrick Robinson in San Francisco. I won’t do it, but let me know how it works out if you do!
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