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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Joe Flacco is next quarterback to face
the Browns, meaning he's a viable QB1 for Week 10.
Flacco, BAL – Flacco isn’t a very exciting fantasy
option, but he’s got one of the best matchups of Week 10, at home
facing the winless Browns. Opposing QBs are adding on average
about 33 percent more fantasy points to their weekly tally against
Cleveland’s putrid pass defense. This week, byes have removed
Tyrod Taylor, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck and Derek Carr from
consideration and the only more beneficial fantasy matchup is
Alex Smith. Flacco is owned in about 25-50 percent of fantasy
leagues, so there’s a decent chance he’s available in yours.
UPDATE: With Steve Smith off the
injury report and the Ravens sporting a bevy of healthy receivers,
this could be a great week for a Flacco plug-and-play.
Smith, KC – As I just mentioned, the Chiefs matchup
(@CAR) is a favorable one, though it remains to be seen whether
or not the Chiefs offense can bring the kind of vertical passing
game that others have used to defeat the Panthers. Smith missed
Week 9 because of a concussion (a fate that also befell his lead
RB, Spencer Ware), but Nick Foles barely allowed the Chiefs to
beat the Jaguars and Smith (25-35 percent owned) appears to be
on track for a Week 10 return. He could also get Ware back, which
would improve the entire offense.
UPDATE: There’s a “good chance” that Ware plays
this week, which helps Smith and the entire Chiefs offense tremendously.
Smith still comes in as an inferior fantasy option to about 15-20
QBs this week, but he could be worth a flier in DFS formats and
Prescott, DAL – Prescott performed as expected, tallying
247-3-0 with 20 rushing yards against the Browns. He deserves
another fantasy start in Week 10 against the struggling Steelers.
UPDATE: Despite whatever nonsense comes out of Jerry Jones’s
mouth this week, Prescott is the starter in Dallas and it would
take an injury or a five-INT game to change that.
Mariota, TEN – Despite turning it over three times
against the Chargers, Mariota had a solid fantasy day throwing
for 313 yards and three TDs, adding 14 rushing yards and a TD
on the ground.
UPDATE: Mariota is looking more and more like a Top 10 fantasy
QB and he should post decent numbers against the Packers in Week
Bradford, MIN – Bradford burned me in a couple of my
DFS lineups, as I predicted a much better day than 273-1-0 against
the Lions weak pass defense. He faces a similarly exploitable
Washington unit in Week 10, though Josh Norman and company have
played much better over the past several weeks.
UPDATE: I may be in the minority here, but something is telling
me that Bradford posts solid fantasy numbers at Washington. He’s
got plenty of dynamic receivers and there’s no need to throw
Barber, TB – Barber (10-35 percent owned) is poised
to inherit a big workload in Week 10, with injuries to the other
Bucs RBs, including Doug Martin (hamstring), Jacquizz Rodgers
(foot) and Antone Smith (knee), who is actually done for the year
alongside Charles Sims (knee). Barber ran well in the loss to
Atlanta on Thursday night and should be owned in all formats moving
UPDATE: Barber will likely get the majority of touches in Week
10 (Rodgers is reportedly a “long shot” to play),
and the Bears defense doesn’t scare me. Ivory (below) is
the safer play, but Barber is a decent RB3/flex play this week.
Ivory, JAC – Ivory (40-60 percent owned) rushed for
107 yards but lost a fumble and didn’t score against the Chiefs
– a tough matchup in which he performed relatively well. An inefficient
runner who favors contact over cutting, Ivory’s north-south style
bodes well as a change-of-pace back or against poor tackling units,
but he’s not much of a lead back anymore. Still, the Jaguars need
someone to run the ball and the Texans (the Jags’ Week 10 opponent)
are a weaker front-seven without J.J. Watt.
Perkins, NYG –UPDATE: Perkins is probably the
most talented back on the Giants depth chart and he’s finally
getting more opportunities alongside Rashad Jennings. He had 32
rushing yards on 11 carries in Week 9 and has shown ability in
the passing game. If there’s a higher-upside RB on this
team – somebody who can break a big TD run or two –
it’s probably Perkins. He should be owned in all 12-team
Dixon, BAL – Terrance West continues to struggle in
his lead role and it’s only a matter of time before Dixon (8-58
percent owned – a huge disparity based mainly on redraft versus
dynasty/keeper format) gets more carries. For now, he’s stuck
behind a veteran with more experience and less talent and if you’ve
followed my column, you’d know I’ve been cautioning against adding
him for several weeks, while many other fantasy writers have been
wasting your time with promises of some sort of impending offensive
explosion. Sometimes it pays to be patient because a lot of valuable
backs have come and gone since the other pundits started recommending
picking up the rookie. A favorable matchup against the Browns
provides the perfect opportunity for the Ravens to let him loose.
UPDATE: Dixon (chest) was a full participant at practice Monday
and could get more carries this week if the Ravens jump out to
Bibbs, DEN –UPDATE: Bibbs isn’t getting the volume
of touches typical for one of my waiver wire recommendations,
but Booker isn’t what I’d call a durable guy, and Bibbs already
has one monster home-run score – an impressive 69-yard TD reception
that the coaching staff admitted will earn him more touches. Some
are even hinting that Bibbs could take over lead-back duties and
out-touch Booker against the high-powered Saints offensive in
Starks, GB –UPDATE: I’m not too enthusiastic
about the prospect of a less-than-100-percent Starks trying to
supplant Ty Montgomery as the Packers lead back in Week 10, but
the veteran hasn’t been ruled out and he’s got the
requisite experience and talent to succeed. Stay tuned, but make
sure you temper your expectations since he probably won’t
be getting close to a full workload.
Sproles, PHI – Sproles gained 57 tough yards on 13
carries and caught 3-17-0 on nine targets in Sunday's 38-23 win
over the Giants. He’s not much of a red zone tool outside his
pass-catching abilities and he’s only available in about 10-30
percent of leagues after being such a hot pickup following Week
Hightower, NO – Hightower came through with flying
colors on Sunday, rushing for 87 yards and a TD on 23 carries
(1-15-0 receiving) even though the 49ers also yielded 15 carries
and a huge fantasy day to Mark Ingram (158 rushing yards, TD;
2-13-1 receiving). Big ups if you owned the pair and had the foresight
to start both of them.
West, KC – I’m not much of a West fan (Charcandrick
or Terrance – though you know I love Kanye if you check the name
of this column) because there’s just not the upside despite ample
opportunity. However, I included him in the update after some
readers pointed out his conspicuous absence, and he was a relative
bust in both DFS and season-long fantasy. He finished with 39
rushing yards on 13 carries and 3-35-0 on four targets.
UPDATE: If Ware plays in Week 10, West is a desperation flex
play at best and low-upside handcuff.
Kelley, WAS – On a Week 9 bye, we’ll see what he can
do next week facing the Vikings.
UPDATE: Kelley is getting a lot of hype from other writers this
week, and for good reason – he’s got the confidence
of the coaches and has played well with limited touches while
Matt Jones (knee) has steadily lost favor. Consider him a low-end
RB2/high-end RB3 or flex play this week.
Smith, TB – See the Barber writeup above. Smith fumbled
early against the Falcons, totaled 25 rushing yards (3-37-0 receiving),
got hurt and is done for the year with a knee injury.
Henry, TEN – What is happening? Henry tweaked a calf
injury in pre-game warmups and missed the entirety of Week 9 action.
UPDATE: The prognosis on Henry is already infuriating, as we
are hearing he could practice this week or be out for several
games. I’m cutting bait.
Prosise, SEA –UPDATE: Prosise was second fiddle this
week despite playing more snaps. He touched the ball just four
times, totaling 15 yards of offense. He’s clearly the passing
down back and one they don’t trust much to catch the ball.
Morris, DAL – Morris rushed for 56 yards on 17 carries
in Week 9 and needs to be owned in all formats for his latent
Lewis, NE – He could make his season debut in Week
10, though he may be eased into action.
UPDATE: The Boston Herald is reporting that the Pats are “holding
out hope” Lewis will be available for Week 10 against the
Seahawks — a game where they’d love to have all their
offensive weapons at their disposal. He’s definitely worth
adding for his upside down the stretch, it’s just difficult
to predict if he’ll get any touches this week.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Wallace, BAL – Wallace is about 70-95 percent owned,
which means he could be available in more shallow formats despite
his best season since his days in Pittsburgh. After his big week
against his former team in Week 9 (4-124-1), he’s a must-add in
a great matchup against the Browns.
Witten, DAL – Witten hauled in 8-134-1 against the
Browns, who blew several coverages against him and had no answer
for the Cowboys offensive weaponry. They seemingly focused all
their attention on the still-injured Dez Bryant. Silly, isn’t
it? It’s unlikely that Witten (about 75 percent owned) will be
easy to acquire or that he’ll have another game even close to
that in Week 10 against the Steelers, but he’s worth including
here if somebody recently dropped him.
Ertz, PHI – I should have included Ertz as a possible
pickup for his Week 9 matchup with the Giants. They’ve been hinting
that he could have a breakout game and his 8-97-0 qualifies, though
he’s yet to find paydirt this season. Ertz is about 25-50 percent
owned and looks like a moderate-upside TE2 for Week 10 facing
Patton, SF – Patton’s 6-106-0 could be a sign of things
to come as the Niners have essentially thrown away 2016 and have
to be looking to the future. Patton was targeted nine times against
the Saints and the playmaker in his fourth season could be in
for a similar workload facing the Cards. He’s available in all
Matthews, TEN –UPDATE: I should have been more attuned
to the developing rapport between Mariota and Matthews, who seems
to excel in unheralded spots and grind out solid fantasy numbers
as a popular red zone target. He’s a good pickup and could easily
snag another TD this week against the Packers.
Miller, CHI –UPDATE: This could be a good time to
check out which TEs got dropped in Week 9 – because Miller (55-75
percent owned) is a high-upside player who could be available.
The Bears TE has a great matchup facing the Bucs and is a Top
10 TE play this week.
Fiedorowicz, HOU –UPDATE: Fiedorowicz (20-50 percent
owned) doesn’t have as good of a matchup as Miller (and
isn’t as highly owned), but he gets consistent targets from
the new check-down king of Houston, Brock Osweiler, and he’s
caught three TDs in his last five games.
Sanu, ATL – Sanu had 5-74-0 on Thursday and could get
some looks facing the Eagles in Week 10.
Hill, KC – Hill’s 3-11-0 and 21 rushing yards were
a disappointment, but Week 10 could yield better results especially
if Jeremy Maclin (groin) is sidelined.
Coates, PIT – Coates failed to haul in a catch despite
five targets from Ben Roethlisberger, who was clearly not 100
percent in his hurried return from a knee injury.
Wright, TEN – Wright’s 2-65-0 on five targets may have
been a more robust stat line had Delanie Walker not played – or
had Rishard Matthews not hauled in two of Mariota’s three TD passes.
Nelson, ARI – Nelson was on a Week 9 bye, but we’ve
been promised that he’s taken over as a starter in three-WR sets.
Crowder, WAS – Crowder was also on a bye, and also
needs to be on your radar for Week 10.
Pitta, BAL – The Ravens preferred the quick-hitting
deep ball approach against the Steelers and Pitta finished with
just 2-14-0 on three targets.
Brate, TB – Brate’s 4-53-1 only came together as a
solid stat line after a late TD from Mike Glennon, who may or
may not get the start in Week 10 depending on Jameis Winston’s
UPDATE: Winston is practicing without a brace so far this week,
so that’s a good sign for Brate and the Bucs offense. Mike
Evans (concussion) is also practicing, which means he’s
on track to play.
Hooper, ATL – Hooper’s 3-46-1 was a welcome fill-in
for fantasy production in a pinch, and he’s on my list for
Week 10 pickups as well. Hooper is still available in about 80-90
percent of fantasy leagues.