There’s a pile of fantasy stars on the shelf — and we just got Ben Roethlisberger back, what the heck!? And this week there are some huge one-name names — Devonta, Julio, Luck — taking a rejuvenating week off. That means people will be scrambling for the scraps leftover after 9 weeks of waiver bids.
It might be best to go into this week’s waiver wire hunt with beer goggles on. The one saving grace is that somebody — two thumbs pointing right at this guy after Week 9 — had to drop a big name to roster a complete lineup last week. Take advantage if you can.
My leagues are full of savvy owners who don’t let many players sit around long and who don’t let you snipe players at a cheap price. But I’m still always surprised to find a number players available who should not be each week . They’re out there, make sure you look.
Here are some of the players I considered this week and you should consider too.
Week 10 daily fantasy: Draft Kings sleepers | FanDuel sleepers
Marcus Mariota, TEN — “Since 1970, there have been 4 performances in which a rookie threw 4 TD & 0 INT in a game. Marcus Mariota has 2” — @RLiuNFL on Twitter. He’s available in 65% of Yahoo leagues, but none of mine because I spent all my waiver money one him after Week 1 and wasn’t about to let him go.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ — Is available in 80% of Yahoo leagues despite a near 2:1 TD:INT ratio (13:7) and he gets to face the Buffalo Bills this week, who have allowed 15 passing touchdowns. He’s one of the players I had to drop last week to cobble together a viable starting lineup.
Blake Bortles, JAC — Surprisingly he’s only owned in about half (53%) of Yahoo leagues despite being a top-10 quarterback. “Starting Blake Bortles is never comfortable, but here are his weekly finishes so far: QB25, QB10, QB16, QB6, QB3, QB6, QB17, bye, and QB10.” — @GrahamBarfield on Twitter. That is a lot of top-10s.
Sam Bradford, PHI — Bradford was 5-for-5 for 61 yards, including a game-winning 41-yard touchdown to Jordan Matthews in overtime against the Cowboys on Sunday night. He’s available in 50% of Yahoo leagues. I wouldn’t trust him to be a fantasy starter every week, but with four teams on bye and other injury concerns, he shouldn’t be avaialable on waivers.
Kirk Cousins, WAS — I have created one Week 10 DFS lineup so far, a tournament lineup, it features a Cousins-Jordan Reed stack against the New Orleans Saints. Cousins is available in 90% of Yahoo leagues. Like Bradord above, I don’t trust Cousins week-to-week, but he’s serviceable as a spot starter, especially when Jordan Reed has a killer matchup.
If you’re truly desperate or play in very deep or two-QB leagues you may also find these backup-level starters of some use: Matt Cassel, Landry Jones, Shaun Hill, Blaine Gabbert.
Karlos Williams, BUF — Just as I expected, Karlos Williams’ return also meant the return of a committee in Buffalo. Fortunately for LeSean McCoy owners, Shady still got his. However, Williams is the current goal-line back and a budding NFL superstar. He’s still available in 60% of Yahoo leagues. Rectify this, Ninja.
James Starks, GB — Starks has earned playing time by outplaying Eddie Lacy. Lacy is banged up, but did run through the full Monday workout, according to Twitter reports. Still, I like Starks to take over the starting job or at least be the lead back in a committee unless Lacy miraculously improves over his performance so far this season.
Antonio Andrews, TEN — Stow that David Cobb hype because Andrews has turned 19 and 20 touches the last two weeks into 82 and 111 yards. He’s still available in 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Charles Sims, TB — Where Doug Martin was disappointing for the second week in a row, Sims was a burst of refreshing air. Don’t be surprised if there’s more opportunities for the second-year pro after his 59-yard run in Week 9.
James White/Brandon Bolden, NE — Somebody is going to fill the Dion Lewis’ (IR) role in New England. These two guys get the first crack at it. Either could churn out big fantasy points for owners the rest of the season.
Andre Ellington/David Johnson, ARI — From 2009 to 2014 Chris Johnson didn’t miss a game. However, if the 30-year-old were to suffer an injury, Ellington and David Johnson would be two of the hottest commodities on the waiver wire. Hopefully, this time of year you are in a position where you want to roster running backs who handcuff to your starting running backs or, even better, running backs with high upside if the starter in front of them gets hurt.
Isaiah Crowell, CLE — Had a 13-yard run and caught a 15-yard pass in his best performance in a month. And despite those performances he’s been the most effective runner in the Browns backfield.
Jay Ajayi, MIA — Ajayi, fresh off injured reserve, looked like the kind of player we want to see more of as a complement to Lamar Miller. He fits the Ellington/Johnson discussion about backups with a high ceiling if the starter in front of them gets hurt.
Other backups with upside or deep flex value to target: Thomas Rawls, Javorius Allen, Tevin Coleman, Taiwan Jones/Marcel Reece, Jerick McKinnon
Danny Amendola, NE — Amendola could benefit greatly from Dion Lewis’ season-ending injury. He caught seven-of-nine targets for 109 yards last week. He’s always been a catch machine so Tom Brady won’t be afraid to throw his way. He’s available in 74% of Yahoo leagues.
Cole Beasley, DAL — We don’t want to overreact to one game, but Beasley’s was huge last week, benefiting from coverage on Dez Bryant and the current starting quarterback situation in Dallas. He had 111 yards and two touchdowns, converting nine of 11 targets. He’s now second on the team in receptions and catches of 20+ yards, third in targets and yards and tied for first in receiving touchdowns.
Jamison Crowder, WAS — In his last six games, Crowder has 48 targets, an average of eight per game (his total last week), six catches (also his total last week) and 55.8 yards (he had 50 last week). That’s an awful lot of usage and production — especially in PPRs — for a player only owned in 92% of Yahoo leagues.
Devin Funchess, CAR — Funchess has a whopping 26 targets but only 10 catches this season. The concern/excitement in the preseason was the rookie’s raw talent and the loss of Kelvin Benjamin for the season. For the first time all season we got glimpse at the player he could be. He converted three of four targets for 71 yards and a touchdown. He’s available in 85% of Yahoo leagues and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he emerges as the WR1 in CAR.
Marvin Jones, CIN — Jones converted six targets into five catches for 78 yards last week. He also has two 90+yards-and-a-touchdown performances this season. He’s the epitome of a bye-week flex or WR3 with huge upside. He’s available in more than half (52%) of Yahoo leagues.
Bryan Walters, JAC — Had five catches for 54 yards and his first career touchdown last week on seven targets. Three weeks ago he had 11 targets and turned in an 8-87. He’s playing well and getting opportunities despite (or maybe because of) the Allens threat. Allen Hurns is questionable this week. If he can’t go against the Ravens, Walters value jumps.
Dorial Green-Beckham, TEN — With Kendall Wright out, the super-athletic rookie achieved season highs in targets (10), catches (5) and yards (77). We’d like for the catch percentage to be better, but he’s worth a stash if you have the bench space, especially in dyansty/keeper leagues. He’s available in 86% of Yahoo leagues.
Harry Douglas, TEN — Douglas only had five catches and 73 yards last week. Not much to get too excited about on a week when Mariota threw four touchdowns and Kendall Wright was out. However, as long as Wright is out we may need to consider Douglas at flex or WR3.
Kenny Stills, MIA — Stills has 6 catches on 12 targets for 132 yards in the last two games. In theory, he should get more targets for the rest of the season, but I’m not going to blow what’s left of my free agent acquisition budget on him unless I’m desperate at WR.
Jacob Tamme, ATL — Tamme can’t help you this week because he’s on bye, but he’s available in 74% of Yahoo leagues which is absurd considering his current usage. He was targeted 10 times last week after 12 the week before. He has 43 targets, 30 catches, 326 yards and a touchdown in the last five weeks — averages of about 8, 6, 65 and .20 per game, respectively. He’s also advanced to second on the team leaders chart in targets, receiving yards, catches of 20+ yards and catches for first downs. Any tight end getting 8-10 targets per game should be owned in every league.
Owen Daniels/Vernon Davis, DEN — Davis is only available in 28% of leagues, but he’ll probably be dropped by a lot of people this week after his dud of a debut in Denver and because Owen Daniels had a vintage performance, catching six of nine targets for 102 yards and a touchdown. Daniels is available in 69% of Yahoo leagues. Davis lack of value could be tied to needing to learn the offense. Daniels could have had his one good week of the season. If you won Davis, you really should hold him. If you need tight end help, you really should consider picking up Daniels in case his rejuvenation is real.
Richard Rodgers, GB — Rodgers caught five of nine targets for only 19 yards last week but two of them went for touchdowns. Guess who’s getting Jordy Nelson’s red zone targets the rest of the season? Rodgers is also third on the team in receptions, targets, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Zach Ertz, PHI — Ertz has averaged seven targets and almost five catches per week over the last four. He’s second on the team in catches, targets, receiving yards, catches of 20+ yards and catches for first downs. Ten different Eagles have caught passes this season, seven of them have scored touchdowns. Despite all the targets and catches, Ertz is not one of them. That will change before the season is over. He’s available in 42% of Yahoo leagues.
Coby Fleener, IND — Fleener has 17 catches, 29 targets and a touchdown in the last four weeks. He was targeted 11 times two weeks ago. He can’t help you this week because he’s on bye, but he could provide game-changing fantasy points if the Colts passing game can stay on track.
Kickers and defenses
Chinstrap Ninjas don’t waste waiver priority or free agent bucks on kickers or defenses. Stream on, Ninja.