Week 9 Fantasy Football Sneaky Starts & Sleepers

Nov 01, 2023
Week 9 Fantasy Football Sneaky Starts & Sleepers

All but the luckiest fantasy owners at some point need to find the proverbial diamond in the rough—a waiver wire or bench player capable of putting up some points in a pinch. This weekly feature is dedicated to that part of fantasy football. It's not pretty, but it's part of the game.

Our signature strength-of-schedule (SOS) metric, adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA), is now using only 2023 data. Unlike SOS tools at other sites, we can adjust a defense’s fantasy points allowed by its schedule bias, so it provides a better “apples-to-apples” comparison. I’ll put the defense’s aFPA rank in parentheses below. The higher the number, the better the matchup.

Last week, several of my Sneaky Starts delivered moderate-to-monster games, including Sam Howell (QB1 for the week!), Derek Carr, Gardner Minshew, Gus Edwards (RB1 for the week!), Kareem Hunt, Darrell Henderson, Kendrick Bourne, Josh Downs, Taysom Hill (TE1 for the week!), Trey McBride (TE2 for the week!), Dalton Kincaid, and Jake Ferguson.

Let’s see who might surprise in Week 9.


It’s a bad week for quarterbacks, with four of the top 13 players on bye.

Sam Howell, Commanders (@ NE, 6)

As I mentioned in the intro, Sam Howell was the overall QB1 last week and he carried a couple of my teams to victory against the pass-funnel Eagles. The Patriots aren’t as much of a pass-funnel defense, though they’ve allowed the eighth-most pass attempts this season. As the fantasy QB8 on the season, Howell should deliver a solid fantasy line this week.

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