2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers Projections Week 9 | Start ‘Em Picks & Matchup Plays

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2023

We are entering Week 9 of the 2021 NFL season, and this very Fantasy Football Sleepers column might be one of the most valuable ones of the year.

Week 8 was chock full of NFL injuries that will, in fact, compromise the fantasy football landscape.

Not only did we lose RB Derrick Henry to a significant foot injury, but we also saw QB Jameis Winston fall to a knee injury. While Winston is already deemed out for the season, Henry is not far behind him. Fantasy’s No. 1 back is already on the injured reserve list, but it is a safe bet he is indeed done.

While Henry and Winston are the primary losses, there were more injuries that were less significant to the player but equally as impactful to the fantasy landscape in the short term.

James Robinson (ankle), Rob Gronkowski (back), and Sam Darnold (concussion) all left their Week 8 matchups with their respective injuries. Their Week 9 playing statuses are up in the air.

With all of the aforementioned injuries, as well as four teams on their bye in Week 9, some of this week’s fantasy football sleepers you will be reading about could help you win your matchup. And with the fantasy football playoffs not far away, you will need every win you can get.

Week 9 Byes: Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team

Please note that all NFL Week 9 odds and lines below are current as of 2:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 2.

2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 9: Quarterback

Daniel Jones, New York Giants vs. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Raiders-Giants Total: 47 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 47 (-110), Under 47 (-110)

I am going back into the Daniel Jones well in Week 9. While he only finished with 17.1 against the Cheifs on Monday night, Jones was still a solid play in a Week 8 full of backup quarterbacks. Matt Ryan would have been the letdown play.

Jones’ matchup with the Raiders isn’t the most favorable, as they are allowing the 12th fewest FPPG (21.8) to quarterbacks, but the Giants’ offense is getting healthier by the week, which only helps his fantasy outlook. Jones has now managed 17.1+ in 5-of-7 games this season, including two straight.

The Raiders have surrendered 25.6 points to Teddy Bridgewater and 24.9 points to Jalen Hurts in each of their past two games, both season highs. To make matters worse, the Raiders have to travel East to New York coming off their bye.

Jones should have no issues producing for his fantasy managers in Week 9.

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Deep QB Week 9 Sleeper: Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets

  • Jets-Colts Total: 46.5 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 46.5 (-110), Under 46.5 (-110)

Carson Wentz has been one of the hottest quarterbacks in fantasy as of late, accumulating 20.3 fantasy points in three of his past four games. Wentz has totaled 2+ scores in each of his past five games, including back-to-back games with three total touchdowns. He’s also thrown for at least 223 yards in four of his past five.

Wentz will take his touchdown streak into a Week 9 matchup with the Jets, whose defense has been gashed through the air following a solid start to the year.

While they are only allowing 20.6 FPPG to quarterbacks, New York’s defense has surrendered 23.9+ points to each of the last three they’ve played (Matt Ryan, Mac Jones, Joe Burrow).

Wentz could go off in Week 9.

More Week 9 QB Sleepers To Consider

  • Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints

2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 9: Running Back

Michael Carter, New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts

  • Jets-Colts Total: 46.5 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 46.5 (-110), Under 46.5 (-110)

Michael Carter has been one of the hottest running backs in fantasy football, but you might have missed it because he plays for the Jets. Carter has accumulated 10.4+ PPR points in five of his past six games, including four straight.

In fact, he’s progressively improved, putting up 10.4, 14.8, 18.4, and 32.2 sequentially in four games since Week 4.

Carter has drawn double-digit carries in every game in that four-game period but is doing immense damage as a receiver. Carter has drawn 3+ targets in every game since Week 2 but has had nine and 14 targets in each of his past two.

Carter is taking a stranglehold over the Jets’ backfield and will look to keep it rolling in Sunday’s matchup with the Colts. The Colts aren’t the best matchup for enemy backs on paper, but since the Jets are expected to trail, Carter should once again be busy in the passing game playing within a negative script.

Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans

  • Texans-Dolphins Total: 46 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 46 (-110), Under 46 (-110)

Myles Gaskin has been disappointing and inconsistent this season, but if there is any game in which you should deploy him confidently in your fantasy lineups, it’s in this week’s matchup against the Texans.

The Texans have been fruitful for running backs, ceding the ninth-most FPPG (26.2) to the position. Houston’s defense is calling a league-high 1,033 rushing yards and 10 total scores to enemy backs. They’ve also allowed nine different backs to drop 10+ PPR points on them.

Gaskin has managed 12+ carries in consecutive games for the first time this season. He’s also drawn 4+ targets in four straight. As long as the opportunity is there, Gaskin will deliver in Week 9.

Deep RB Week 9 Sleeper: Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Chargers-Eagles Total: 50 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 50 (-110), Under 50 (-110)

With Miles Sanders sidelined, most believed it would be Kenneth Gainwell handling the primary running back duties for the Eagles. However, rather than Gainwell, we saw a heavy dose of Boston Scott and Jordan Howard last week against the Lions.

Scott led Philadelphia backs in Week 8 snaps with 27. Scott also finished the game with 18 PPR points, which included 60 total yards and two scores. Expect to see Scott lead the backfield once again in Week 9 against the Chargers, one of the best matchups for running backs this season.

The Chargers can defend the pass better than most, but they are yielding the fifth most FPPG (28) to backs. The Chargers are allowing the second-most rushing yards (925) and 10 total scores to rushers this season.

Scott will share the workload with Howard and Gainwell, but he should be the top back in the timeshare.

More Week 9 RB Sleepers To Consider

  • David Johnson, Houston Texans @ Miami Dolphins
  • Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos @ Dallas Cowboys

2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 9: Wide Receiver

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns

  • Browns-Bengals Total: 47 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 47 (-110), Under 47 (-110)

Tyler Boyd has been quiet this season but is coming off one of his best games of the year. He dropped a 5-61-1 line (8 targets) on the Jets last week, good for 20.2 PPR points. Boyd has now drawn 7+ targets in back-to-back games.

Despite the presence of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, there is enough opportunity to go around in Cincy’s high-octane offense.

Boyd gets an exploitable matchup against the Browns in Week 9. The Browns are only allowing 36.8 FPPG to wide receivers, good for middle-of-the-pack amongst other clubs, but in his career, Boyd has shown up when facing Cleveland.

Boyd has finished with 10+ PPR points in 6-of-9 games against the Browns, including in five straight. He’s also scored in four of his past six games against them, including in two straight.

Jamison Crowder, New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts

  • Jets-Colts Total: 46.5 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 46.5 (-110), Under 46.5 (-110)

With Corey Davis’ (hip) playing status in question for Thursday Night Football, as he missed Week 8 with a hip injury, Jamison Crowder should operate as the No. 1 wideout for the Jets against an exploitable Colts’ secondary.

While Crowder has only finished with double-digit PPR points in 2-of-4 games played this season, he does have 6+ targets in all four. Crowder had 8 catches for 84 yards on 9 targets in last week’s win over the Bengals, good for 16.4 PPR points.

The Colts are giving up the eight most FPPG (39.5) to wideouts, including the second-most touchdowns (13). I like Crowder’s high floor with or without Davis in the lineup.

Deep WR Week 9 Sleeper: Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans

  • Texans-Dolphins Total: 46 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 46 (-110), Under 46 (-110)

Jaylen Waddle has been the best wide receiver for the Dolphins this season. While the rookie has his ebbs and flows, Waddle has accumulated 10.8+ PPR points in 5-of-8 games.

Waddle has drawn 6+ targets in each of his past four games. In that period, he had one game with eight and two with 12+. If he maintains a similar target share in Week 9, Waddle should bring another double-digit PPR point floor.

Waddle will get a tough but exploitable matchup with the Texans. Surprisingly, Houston plays receivers better than expected, but they have loosened up of late. Five different receivers have finished with 10+ PPR points against them in the past two games.

Waddle may not go off, but I love his opportunity and floor in Week 9.

More Week 9 WR Sleepers To Consider

  • Nico Collins, Houston Texans @ Miami Dolphins
  • Tajae Sharpe, Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints

2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 9: Tight End

Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers @ Philadelphia Eagles

  • Chargers-Eagles Total: 50 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 50 (-110), Under 50 (-110)

Jared Cook has been inconsistent this season, but in the right matchup, he can pop.

Not only is he still fending off Donald Parham, dominating him in snaps and other primary statistical categories, but with Justin Herbert’s recent struggles, the second-year signal-caller might lean on his veteran tight end in a terrific matchup against the Eagles.

Cook has drawn 5+ targets in 5-of-7 games this season. Despite garnering the opportunity, Cook has only returned 10+ PPR points three times. His fourth will come Sunday facing an Eagles defense that is surrendering the third-most FPPG (17.4) to enemy tight ends.

The Eagles are allowing the most receptions (56) and touchdowns (6) to tight ends while yielding the 10th most yards (471).

Deep TE Week 9 Sleeper: Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears

  • Bears-Steelers Total: 40 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 40 (-110), Under 40 (-110)

With or without Eric Ebron (hamstring) in the lineup, I am in on Pat Freiermuth. The rookie tight end is benefiting from JuJu Smith-Schuster’s absence on short and intermediate routes.

In the past two games, Freiermuth has accumulated season highs in snaps (43, 53), targets (7, 7), catches (7, 4), and yards (58, 44). He also scored his second touchdown of the year last week. Freiermuth has scored 12.8+ PPR points in each of his past two outings as well.

With Ben Roethlisberger struggling with the deep ball, expect Freiermuth to once again be featured on Monday night against the Bears. The Bears defend the tight end very well, which is why I like Freiermuth’s PPR floor more than his overall ceiling in Week 9.

Freiermuth should return 10+ PPR points, but I wouldn’t expect much more than that. Only one tight end has scored against the Bears all season.

More Week 9 TE Sleepers To Consider

  • Evan Engram, New York Giants vs. Las Vegas Raiders
  • C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns

2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 9: Kicker

Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos @ Dallas Cowboys

  • Broncos-Cowboys Total: 49.5 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 49.5 (-110), Under 49.5 (-110)

Brandon McManus is averaging 7.5 kicker points per game in fantasy this season. He is attached to a Denver offense that sometimes struggles to punch the ball into the end zone.

The Broncos will get a Cowboys defense that you can drive the ball on but should pester Teddy Bridgewater enough to stall drives, leading to additional field-goal tries.

More Week 9 PK Sleepers To Consider

  • Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears
  • Zane Gonzalez, Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots

2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 9: Defensive Team

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears

  • Bears-Steelers Total: 40 via Caesars Sportsbook
  • Over 40 (-110), Under 40 (-110)

Normally, the Steelers would not be deemed a sleeper defense by name and preseason fantasy football average draft position. However, they have not lived up to expectations or their ADP. In fact, the Steelers are the 16th ranked fantasy D/ST entering Week 9 with only 46 points.

The Steelers D/ST should have one of their better outputs in Monday night’s tilt with the Bears. The game is at Pittsburgh, one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. What’s more, the Bears, though playing better in the past two games, are still one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

A competent quarterback can throw on the Steelers this season. But I wouldn’t exactly call Justin Fields competent. The Steelers could pop for 10+ points in the Week 9 finale. They should swallow up the highly touted rookie and the meager offense he commands.

Other Week 9 D/ST To Consider

  • Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos
  • Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans

Want more Week 9 fantasy football advice? Check out our Week 9 Fantasy Football Best Waiver Wire Adds.

NFL Week 9 Injuries to Monitor

  • QB Jameis Winston (knee, IR)
  • QB Sam Darnold (concussion)
  • RB Derrick Henry (foot, IR)
  • RB James Robinson (heel)
  • RB Damien Williams (knee)
  • WR Jalen Reagor (ankle)
  • TE Rob Gronkowski (back)
  • K Chris Boswell (concussion)

Anthony’s Accountable: Sleeper Pick Success Rate

This is a recap of my plays from Week 8 (skill position players only). I consider a sleeper a hit if the player scores 10-plus PPR points (15-plus for QBs):

Anthony’s Sleepers are 53-42-1 this season.

  • QB Ryan Tannehill (20.4)
  • QB Daniel Jones (17.1)
  • RB Javonte Williams (6.8)
  • RB Zack Moss (11.8)
  • RB Darrel Williams (11)
  • WR Julio Jones (INACTIVE)
  • WR Marvin Jones (8.5)
  • WR Randall Cobb (16.5)
  • TE Tyler Higbee (5.5)
  • TE Hunter Henry (4.3)
  • K Graham Gano (5)
  • DST Bengals (7)


Anthony Cervino

Anthony Cervino is an NFL Writer and Betting Analyst for The Game Day. He is also a lifelong NFL savant and self-proclaimed league historian. In the industry, Anthony has excelled in both the fantasy football and sports betting space with fantasy his proverbial bread and butter. Anthony has made appearances on SiriusXM, amongst other publications. He is also the co-creator of the FF Faceoff (Faceoff Sports Network) and the FF Faceoff Mental Health Podathon partnered with the Hayden Hurst Foundation. Industry Clout: 15th most accurate ranker in the FantasyPros ECR for both draft and in-season accuracy (2019) | 8th most accurate ranker in the FantasyPros ECR for sleepers (2020) | 13th most accurate ranker in the FantasyPros ECR for in-season accuracy, including 2nd at quarterback and 3rd at tight end (2021).

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