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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.
With Beathard showing very little in his
last two starts, the 49ers may turn to Nick Mullens in Week
Mayfield, CLE – Mayfield is still just 50-65 percent
owned and should be one of the top streaming options this week
at home facing the Falcons. It may be your last opportunity to
give Mayfield a fantasy start in 2018, as he’s on a Week 11 bye
and gets a much tougher schedule when the Browns return for the
next five weeks (@CIN, @HOU, CAR, @DEN, CIN). He’s coming off
a 295-2-1 game and appears to be comfortable running the Cleveland
Mullens, SF – After turning in one of the best, most
unexpected debuts in league history on Thursday night (262-3-0)
the 49ers are likely starting the 23-year-old UDFA QB against
the Giants in Week 10. While one game isn’t an indication of future
stardom, there are much worse options than Mullens, who is at
home facing a decimated defensive unit. C.J. Beathard had been
trending in the wrong direction before his injury, putting Mullens
on the Week 10 streaming radar.
Fitzpatrick, TB – Fitzmagic was a bit erratic and couldn’t
notch a win for the Bucs, but he did keep the game competitive
and threw for 243-4-2, adding 23 rushing yards in the loss to
Carolina Sunday. He’s a low-end QB1 with plenty of upside and
is a fantasy starter in most 10-team leagues. Washington awaits
in Week 10.
Prescott, DAL –UPDATE:
The Cowboys offense looked sharp in the first half, and after
an end-zone INT that took away a scoring opportunity, they turned
conservative. Prescott finished with 243-2-1 and a lost fumble.
In his weekly radio spot, Jerry Jones confirmed the Cowboys still
view Prescott as the quarterback of the future and promised the
QB an extension. He may be happy with Dak’s approach, but
fantasy owners prefer their QBs a bit more reckless. He’s
a QB2 until he learns to forget about turnovers and throw the
Smith, WAS – Smith threw for 306-1-1 and rushed for
22 yards in the loss to Atlanta. He’s best left on fantasy benches
but could be considered a desperation fill-in or moderate upside
QB2 facing the Bucs in Week 10.
Rosen, ARI – The Cards were on a Week 9 bye but travel
to Kansas City in Week 10 to face the Chiefs – a defense that’s
struggled to keep points off the board while the offense scores
nearly at will. There could be some upside here – and possibly
some cheap value in DFS.
Davis, SEA – Davis (about 20-55 percent owned) rushed
for 62 yards on 15 carries and hauled in 7-45-0 in a 25-17 loss
to the Chargers in Week 9. If Chris Carson (hip) remains limited
or is forced to sit, he’ll be flirting with RB2 upside against
the Rams in Week 10.
Johnson, CLE – With the coaching staff in turmoil following
the long-overdue ouster of Hue Jackson, Johnson had his finest
game of the season in Week 9 against the Chiefs. New offensive
coordinator Freddie Kitchens called Johnson’s number frequently,
as Johnson caught 9-78-2. This revelatory performance immediately
vaults Duke to low-end RB2 status in PPR leagues, and he’ll likely
see a huge target volume in Week 10 facing the Falcons pass defense
– a unit that’s given up big points to receiving backs this year.
Patterson, NE – I’m not sure if the sites will change
his designation to RB from WR anytime soon or give him dual flexibility,
but I’ll include him here as an RB since that’s his new role in
the Patriots offense. Once Sony Michel returns this recommendation
could be moot, but Michel has struggled to stay healthy and Patterson
ahs rushed for 99 yards and a TD on 21 carries in his last two
games. He’s owned in just 5-10 percent of fantasy leagues.
UPDATE: Sony Michel is expected to return this week against the
Tians, which effectively removes Patterson from fantasy consideration
except in the deepest of formats.
Smith, ATL – Smith (30-65 percent owned) bounced back
with a nice game on Sunday, rushing for 60 yards and a TD on just
10 carries. Despite little fanfare heading into 2018 (because
of the presence of both Devante Freeman and Tevin Coleman) and
a limited workload, Smith has been a solid fantasy contributor.
He’s scored four TDs in his last five games and get a decent matchup
with the Browns in Week 10.
Bernard, CIN –UPDATE:
Bernard (knee) has been out since Week 4 and the Bengals may be
looking at using him in more receiving sets if John Ross (groin)
is still out this weekend. With A. J. Green expected to miss some
time and Joe Mixon shouldering a heavy backfield load, Bernard
offers some flexibility if the Bengals want to spread the offense.
He practiced Tuesday and should be in action Sunday.
Barber, TB – Barber rushed 11 times for just 31 yards
in the Week 9 game against the Carolina Panthers. He had just
two grabs for nine yards on three targets and has struggled to
find fantasy relevance with the gunslinging Fitzpatrick at QB.
There’s only some minimal flex value here – though weeks 10-12
(WAS, @NYG, SF) could mean increased usage for Tampa RBs.
Smallwood, PHI – The Eagles were on a bye in Week 9
and face the Cowboys in Week 10 – not a very exciting matchup
as Dallas isn’t letting folks run wild on them.
Jones, GB – Jones finally saw an increased workload
and rushed for 76 yards on 14 carries (2-10-0 receiving in four
targets) but lost a costly fumble in the second half that turned
the tide of the game. He’s still the Packers most explosive backfield
option and should fare well against the Dolphins in Week 10.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Harris, WAS – With a few of the Washington primary
pass catchers injured, Harris blew up for 10-124-0 on 12 targets
from Smith Sunday. He was also minimum salary on DraftKings, which
helped get some of the more expensive RBs (Hunt, Kamara, Conner)
in lineups. He has certainly earned a higher target volume moving
forward and gets the Bucs in Week 10 – so stay tuned to the injury
report and news that he might see an increased role if Jamison
Crowder and/or RB Chris Thompson is forced to sit again.
Valdes-Scantling, GB – MVS had another solid day with
3-101-0, and continues to be a deep threat and sneakily productive
WR in the GB offense. He’s seen 27 targets over his last four
games, has 15-317-2 in that span and is owned in just 20-45 percent
of fantasy leagues.
Sutton, DEN – Sutton (50-85 percent owned) caught just
3-57-0, somewhat disappointing considering the expectations of
his expanded role with Demaryius Thomas traded to Houston. We’ll
have wait until Week 11 to see him back in action, as the Broncos
have a Week 10 bye.
Davis, TEN –UPDATE: Davis (50-75 percent owned)
was targeted 10 times by Mariota Monday night, finishing with
6-56-0 in the win over Dallas. He gets a favorable matchup against
the Patriots, a team he lit up for 5-63-2 in the playoffs last
season. He’s a solid pickup heading into Week 10.
Heuerman, DEN – It was Heuerman, not Sutton, who saw
the monster target volume on Sunday finishing with 10-83-1 on
11 targets from Case Keenum. This performance vaults Heuerman
(5-10 percent owned) into the low-end TE1 conversation and the
second tier of fantasy TEs.
Humphries, TB – Humphries exploded for 8-82-2 in the
loss to Carolina and was a key cog in tournament-winning DFS lineups
on Sunday. He’s owned in just 5-10 percent of fantasy leagues
and has shown great rapport with Fitzpatrick the past two games.
He’s a fine WR3 moving forward as defenses double-up on Mike Evans
and force more throws his way and to TE O.J. Howard.
Bryant, FA –UPDATE: Bryant is working out for
the Saints on Tuesday, and is worth considering as a speculative
waiver wire add if it looks like he’ll sign a deal. The
Saints are thin at WR with Austin Carr almost non-existent and
Cam Meredith showing only flashes of competence this season.
Jones, DET – The Lions offense was tame on Sunday and
Jones, expected to see an increased target volume in the absence
of Golden Tate, finished with 6-66-0 on eight targets from Matthew
Stafford. Despite the modest performance in Week 9, he has huge
upside and should be owned in all formats.
Watkins, KC – Watkins failed to follow up on his big
day with Cleveland natives Travis Kelce and Kareem hunt hauling
in three TD receptions in their hometown as the Chiefs emerged
victorious yet again. Watkins contributed 5-62-0 and has solid
upside next week against the Cards secondary.
Parker, MIA – Parker had just 1-8-0 on two targets
against the Jets – as Kenny Stills returned for Miami and also
finished with just one catch. It’s going to be tough to rely on
thee Miami WRs for consistent production with Brock Osweiler at
the helm, though the Packers matchup in Week 10 offers much better
Bourne, SF – Bourne was relatively quiet (two catches
for 6 yards) but one of his catches went for a score on Thursday
night. It’ll be interesting to see his usage if Nick Mullens gets
any more starts at QB.
Doyle, IND – The Colts were on a Week 9 bye but face
the Jaguars in Week 10 – which isn’t a terrible matchup for opposing
TEs. Stay tuned.
Dickson, SEA – Dickson saw just one target and went
without a catch in Week 9 – though he could be used more
liberally in Week 10 against the juggernaut Rams.