Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 10
I feel like we left Week 9 with more questions than answers. Not only did the Packers get embarrassed by the Chargers, but the Patriots also dropped their first game of the year to the Ravens.
Let’s begin with Green Bay. I don’t think anyone foresaw the Packers and Aaron Rodgers laying that much of an egg on the road at Los Angeles. And it wasn’t just Rodgers. Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones were quiet, Davante Adams was nonexistent in his return from injury — let’s face it, Green Bay pass-catchers outside the running backs have been terrible in 2019 — and the defense was gashed by the Chargers offense — Melvin Gordon finally looked like Melvin Gordon.
Speaking of the Chargers’ offense and the Chargers as a whole… if the perennially slow-starting Chargers begin to go on a run, this shouldn’t be a surprise as they seem to start slow and finish fast every year. The only difference is that they normally turn it around a little bit earlier. Their saving grace is the fact that they play in a weak AFC, which keeps their postseason aspirations alive. With Melvin Gordon finally looking like he has his “football legs” back under him, plus, the fact that there is a chance we see 2018 DROY Derwin James back sooner rather than later, I wouldn’t count out the Chargers just yet.
For the Patriots and Ravens, we could have witnessed a changing of the guard atop the AFC — at least for the short-term — in the midst of Baltimore’s domination of New England on Sunday night. Sure, the Patriots still only have one loss, but while New England made a deal to acquire Mohamed Sanu from the Falcons with the hopes of making their somewhat struggling — for them — offense strong enough to make a run and save their defense when they falter as they did in Week 9, the Ravens were the team that made the more impactful move near the trade deadline by bringing in Marcus Peters.
While Peters has a stigma following him suggesting that he quits on plays and games at times as well as being a nuisance in the locker room, he is still one of the top play-making defensive backs in the league and is fine for a short-term rental. Pairing him with Jimmy Smith, who recently returned from injury, Marlon Humphrey as well as a healing Earl Thomas and the Ravens may have bolstered their secondary just enough to get their pass-rush — that has struggled at times this season after losing Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley and Za’Darius Smith in the offseason — going, which we saw in the midst of their Sunday night win over the Patriots. And oh by the way, since acquiring Peters, the Ravens have scored a defensive touchdown in back-to-back games. While many may argue, you can make the case that the Ravens are the cream of the crop in the AFC right now.
Peters wasn’t the only significant defensive back to not only be traded but also change the landscape of their landing spot’s defense and possibly season. However, you’ll have to wait until next week for my thoughts on Jalen Ramsey, Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Rams, and the Steelers.
Most-Productive Players from Week 9
Fantasy Sleepers Week 9: Full-Disclosure
|Player||Position||PPR Rank||PPR Points|
|Jacoby Brissett (INJ)||QB||QB29||2.8|
- While Jacoby Brissett had a tough matchup last week against the Steelers last week, especially while being without T.Y. Hilton with his calf injury, I still thought the second-year starter would flourish. However, he exited the game early with a knee injury and did not return. My call to start Brissett wasn’t a terrible one, though. Not only can I not predict injuries, but Brian Hoyer entered the game and threw for a 168/3/1 QB stat line. If only Brissett did not go down.
- Derek Carr finished as the QB12 in a great matchup with the Lions. Carr is beginning to garner weekly fantasy consideration with the Radiers pushing for a playoff run and Hunter Renfrow emerging as a quality WR2 behind Tyrell Wiliams, bolstering Carr’s fantasy worth.
- While Frank Gore and Mark Walton both flopped — we can put a fork in both of their fantasy seasons moving forward barring another injury to Devin Singletary and barring Walton finally figuring out how to exploit an excellent matchup in his return from his four-game suspension in a couple of weeks — Jaylen Samuels had a big game getting the start with James Conner out. Samuels finished as the RB10 with 19.8 fantasy points in PPR. Although Trey Edmunds out-produced Samuels as a rusher — Samuels only carried the ball eight times for 10 yards while Edmunds went for a 12/73/1 RB line — Samuels secured all 13 of his targets for 73 yards, a monster game in any PPR scoring format. Samuels won’t give you much as a runner, but with Mason Rudolph being protected by the Steelers, Samuels will be a one-man wrecking crew catching the ball out of the backfield and around the formation moving forward despite the fact that most of his receptions are right around the line of scrimmage, which is probably the reason why some are not in favor of PPR scoring formats.
- While Robby Anderson, Danny Amendola, and Chris Conley had outstanding matchups and situations last week, they all flopped and all finished between 5.2 and 5.9 PPR points. Yuck.
- Jason Witten finished as the TE8 with 13.8 PPR points without scoring a touchdown. Instead, he gashed the Giants on short and intermediate routes, looking like he jumped into the fountain of youth facing a team he exploits almost every time they play each other. He might drop double-digit points on New York when he’s 70.
- While Darren Fells only finished as the TE22 with 7.1 PR points, I would not consider him a compete miss as his only reception on three targets went for a one-yard score.
Have some tough start/ sit decisions for Week 10? Don’t sweat! My co-host at the FF Faceoff Podcast, Mike Hauff, has you covered with his weekly Start’em/ Sit’em column featured exclusively at Gridiron Experts. You can read that here.
Week 10 QB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 24.3
While Jimmy Garoppolo only had two games this season in which he finished with more than 18.3 fantasy points, including a monster 28.9-point outing in last week’s win over Arizona on a 317/4/0 stat line, I believe he could once again surpass the 20 fantasy-point mark in his upcoming Monday night matchup against Seattle. And while he’s struggled at times this season — and in his career — with turnovers, he did not throw a pick last week. I believe Garoppolo is playing better because of Emmanuel Sanders, who dramatically changes the landscape of the 49ers passing attack.
Sure, George Kittle is one of the best and most versatile pass-catching tight ends in the league and San Francisco employs a trio of backs who can do damage out of the backfield in the passing game, but at wide reiver, the 49ers had a glaring hole. While their wide receiver depth chart is headed by a pair of second-round picks — Deebo Samuel and Dante Pettis — they are in their first and second year respectively and have a lot of growing to do to reach their ceiling. Not only will Sanders help bolter Garoppolo’s worth as a passer, but he also brings Super Bowl-winning veteran locker room experience and he can also teach the young wideouts how to be pros and finely-tune their game. Not to mention the fact that Sanders will draw the top coverage, which opens up the team’s younger weapons that much more.
In his upcoming primetime matchup with the Seahawks, Garoppolo will get a Seattle defense yielding the 11th most fantasy points to enemy QBs at a 19.6 FPPG rate. Although the Seahawks were able to hold two QBs to fewer than 20 fantasy points back in Week 2 and 3, they gave up more than 20.8 in the other seven games played. Normally known for a stout and stingy defense, the Seahawks are now an offensive team ran behind Russell Wilson and Chris Carson and can be exploited defensively, especially on the back end. If this game, which holds a 47.5-point over/ under ends up a shootout, which the total suggests, Garoppolo, who is a top 10 QB in many efficiency categories at Player Profiler including True Completion Percentage (No. 3), Red Zone Completion Percentage (No. 6), Deep Ball Completion Percentage (No. 2), Pressured Completion Percentage (No. 4), Accuracy Rating (No. 8) and Receiver Target Separation (No. 8), could have his second-straight QB1 outing in Week 10.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 9.5
I can’t believe I am using Ryan Tannehill in my sleepers column for the second time since he’s been the starter in Tennessee, but it is true. However, I can’t say that I’m terribly surprised to an extent. After all, I was one of the ones saying he should have opened 2019 as the Titans QB1. I didn’t, however, foresee Tannehill putting up the fantasy numbers he has so far. Since officially taking over as the starter in Week 7, Tannehill is the QB5 with 64.6 fantasy points. What’s more, while he’s thrown for at least 312 yards in two of the three games started, he’s also accounted for at least two total touchdowns in each of his three starts as well with a 21.4-point floor in those outings.
If the Titans’ receiving corps, which has been without TE Delanie Walker since Week 7 with an ankle injury, was an orange, it is safe to say that Tannehill is squeezing every last drop of juice out of it. I mean c’mon, A.J. Brown, Jonnu Smith, Corey Davis, Adam Humphries!!! Considering that cast of misfit toys — the jury is still out on Brown — Tannehill is playing out of his mind (for him).
Tannehill will take his recent success and career rejuvenation into a tough home matchup with the Chiefs. Yes, I did say tough and matchup in the same sentence as the Chiefs. While the Kansas City defense is yielding the 10th most fantasy points to the QB position at a 20.0 FPPG rate, they have played better at times this season and are certainly improved from last season as well. And while the Kansas City defense has played better on the road — they’ve surrendered fewer than 15.7 fantasy points to the enemy QB in 2-of-4 road games — the competition wasn’t the greatest in those two outings — Derek Carr, who wasn’t playing as well as he is now earlier in the season and Joe Flacco, no explanation needed.
Whether Pat Mahomes or Matt Moore is under center for the Chiefs on Sunday, I believe the Titans stout defense will eventually break, which means that Tennessee would be playing from behind, favoring Tannehill’s fantasy outlook this week. Tannehill, who is playing surprisingly efficient football in the past three games — he is a top 10 QB in true Completion Percentage (No. 9), Red Zone Completion Percentage (No. 9), Pressured Completion Percentage (No. 3) and Accuracy Rating (No.1) — could finish as a QB1 for the third time in as many games in Week 10.
Week 10 RB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 22.8
With Alvin Kamara trending toward his return from a two-game absence with an ankle injury, many are likely going to immediately think to fade Latavius Murray. However, I would pump the brakes. While Murray opened the year with a strong outing in which he finished Week 1 with 12.7 PPR points on 47 total yards and a TD on eight touches (two receptions) with Kamara active and healthy, he quickly disappeared for the next four games and appeared dropable in fantasy. That was until Kamara banged up his ankle, forcing Murray into significant playing time beginning in Week 6 in which he ended up with 10.9 points in relief of the injured starter. Then, in the two starts with Kamara out, Murray balled out with back-to-back games with at least 152 total yards, two TDs, and 32.0 PPR points. Not only did Murray blow up sans Kamara, but I also believe that he earned the trust of Sean Payton. So much so that I also believe that he earned additional touches when Kamara is indeed healthy.
Coming out of the Week 9 bye, Murray will get a Falcons defense surrendering the 13th-most fantasy points to enemy backs at a 19.4 FPPG rate. And while Kamara will surely command the lion’s share of the touches, Murray should see enough (10-12) to garner fantasy relevancy. Getting a Falcons defense that has allowed eight different backs to accumulate at least 100 yards rushing or a TD this season, plus, the fact that the Saints could blow the game open early, opening up additional opportunities for Murray to play the closer role, you can safely employ Murray in your Flex spot with six teams on a bye in Week 10.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 13.3
Now that he has served his eight-game suspension, Kareem Hunt will be eligible to play for the first time in 2019 and will make his season and Browns debut on Sunday against the Bills. And although Nick Chubb has been one of the best backs in the NFL this season, Hunt should be involved in the Cleveland offense, especially since the team is 2-6 and in desperate need of a spark. While Chubb will command the lion’s share of the carries, Hunt could make his mark in the passing game where he excelled during his tenure with Kansas City.
In his first game of 2019, Hunt will get a Bills defense at home surrendering the 10th most fantasy points to the RB position at a 20.4 FPPG rate. And although the Buffalo defense is one of the best in the NFL this season, they have a glaring weakness defending the run, which has especially shown in the past three games. In fact, the Buffalo defense has given up 19.2 percent more fantasy points above the 23.5-point league average in the past three weeks.
Three weeks removed from containing Miami RBs back in Week 7 — it was the only game this season in which the Bills did not allow an opposing back to accumulate at least 10 PPR points against them — the Buffalo defense has yielded at least 14 PPR points to three different backs in the past two games (Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Adrian Peterson). If Hunt is granted the opportunity as Browns HC Freddie Kitchens suggests he will upon his return, he will make for a quality Flex option with so many teams on a bye in Week 10.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 5.5
With Kerryon Johnson on IR, many, including myself, believed that Ty Johnson would be the fantasy back to own from the Lions. However, that may not be the case. In fact, it is J.D. McKissic seizing the opportunity at the moment. While it may come to a surprise to most, I’m not too shocked, mainly due to the fact that McKissic has experience in Lions OC Darrell Bevell’s system from their stint together with the Seahawks.
While Ty Johnson is likely going to get more touches — he has out-touched McKissic 20-to-11 in the past two games sans Kerryon Johnson — McKissic slightly has more fantasy upside due to his presence in the passing game as the Lions’ perceived primary receiver out of the backfield. In the past two games with KJ out, McKissic has a 6/42/1 line on seven targets while Ty Johnson has a 4/20/0 line on the same amount of pass-catching opportunities. McKissic has also shown a bit of a spark as a rusher in last week’s loss to the Raiders accumulating 32 yards on four carries with an 8.0 YPC average. Although Ty Johnson appears to be the better fantasy play, I trust McKissic more, even if it is on a gut-feeling and a likely trust-factor with Bevell.
In his upcoming road encounter with the Bears, McKissic could reach the double-digit fantasy-point mark for the second-straight game. Not only are the Bears giving up the 11th most fantasy points to RBs at a 20.3 FPPG rate, but they are also surrendering the fourth-most receptions to RBs, which bolsters McKissic’s fantasy value. Through eight games, the Chicago defense has allowed 11 different backs to accumulate at least 10.3 PPR points, which means that both Johnson and McKissic could have a high floor this week, but as I said earlier, I’d trust McKissic more in the Flex spot for Week 10.
Week 10 WR Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 27.1
There haven’t been many bright spots on the Jets this season, but if there is one at receiver, it comes in the form of Jamison Crowder. While Robby Anderson is perceived to be the deep and big-play threat amongst the New York wide receiver corps, Crowder is Sam Darnold’s safety blanket who can also make some plays. In the past four games since Darnold has been back from his illness (Mono), Crowder has out-targeted Anderson 28-to-26. Moreover, while Anderson went off for north of 20 fantasy points against Dallas in Week 6, he’s gone for fewer than 8.3 points in the three games since. Meanwhile, Crowder has out up at least 15.8 PPR points in two of the past four games including a 22.3-point outing in last week’s loss to Miami with an 8/83/1 stat line on nine targets.
In his upcoming matchup with the Giants, Crowder should produce his second consecutive double-digit point game facing a New York defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs at a 28.0 FPPG rate. They’ve played so poorly that they’ve allowed 14 different wideouts to put up 11.3 PPR points in nine games played so far. Crowder, who has been targeted at least five times in 7-of-8 games as a whole in 2019 and saw at least nine targets in 3-of-5 games played with Darnold under center, is a high-floor Flex option with back-end WR2 upside if he scores in Week 10.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 22.9
Whether it is Jacoby Brissett or Brian Hoyer under center on Sunday against the Dolphins, the bottom line is that while T.Y. Hilton is out, Zach Pascal should be the most productive receiver on the Colts. In last week’s loss to the Steelers, Pascal finished with 18.6 fantasy points with a 5/76/1 line on six targets. What’s more, in 4-of-6 games played this season games even with Hilton active in four of them, Pascal has accumulated at least 11.6 PPR points and is emerging as the clear WR2 on the Colts.
Pascal will look to build off of his success in a favorable home matchup facing a Miami defense yielding the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs at a 26.9 FPPG rate. And while the Dolphins defense has played better of late, holding the opponent’s top-scoring wideout to fewer than 10.8 PPR points in each of the past two games, the Miami defense has shown that it could be exploited at times this season, giving up at least 10.3 PPR points to 12 different receivers in eight games. Pascal brings quality Flex appeal with middling WR2 upside if he scores for Week 10.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 10.5
Very quietly, Cole Beasley has emerged as a quality high-floor Flex option on a weekly basis in fantasy in his first year with the Bills. Not only has Beasley scored a touchdown in each of the past three games, but he has also accumulated at least 10.6 PPR points in 5-of-8 games played this season while drawing at least six targets in 5-of-8 as well. And although John Brown is leading Buffalo in targets with 60, Beasley isn’t too far behind with his 55. While Brown brings a higher ceiling, he also brings a low floor whereas Beasley brings the higher floor but a lower ceiling. In some fantasy weeks, a high-floor is exactly what you need.
In Week 10, Beasley will take his floor into a seemingly tough road matchup facing a Browns defense yielding the 21st most fantasy points to WRs at a 21.3 FPPG rate. And although the Cleveland defense has played well against outside receivers, they’ve struggled to contain those who play in the slot, which is Beasley’s forte. Tyler Lockett, Cooper Kupp and Julian Edelman are all slot receivers who put up at least 12.8 PPR points on the Browns in 2019. While Beasley is not on their level, he can certainly do enough damage to put up double-digit PPR points in Week 10.
Week 10 TE Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 22.0
O.J. Howard hasn’t played since Week 6 with a hamstring injury but is poised to return for Sunday’s matchup with the Cardinals. And while Howard has been one of the biggest fantasy busts of the 2019 season so far, he will get a shot to redeem himself in a cake matchup with a Cardinals defense surrendering the most fantasy points to the tight end position at a pace of 15.0 FPPG. Sure, Howard is a tremendous risk being his 13/176/0 stat line on 18 targets is one that he has the talent to accumulate in one game, but in a week with six teams on a bye, you can do a lot worse.
Howard has the talent to go off at any time as well as a matchup facing a Cardinals unit giving up a ridiculous 110.5 percent more fantasy points above the 12.1-point NFL average in the past three weeks. In fact, since Week 5, they’ve allowed Jared Cook, who has been non-existent to that point, Jonnu Smith, a career backup who flashes at times than fades away, and Jacob Hollister, yeah I said it, Jacob Hollister, to accumulate at least 14.1 PPR points against them while giving up four total TDs to the aforementioned players. In the four-game time period since Week 5, the Cardinals were only able to contain Greg Olsen, who still managed 9.2 PPR points on a 4/52/0 line back in Week 6. If Howard gets the opportunity, which he should — all things considered — he could not only score for the first time this season, but he could return his best fantasy outing of 2019 to-date.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 5.1
While Mike Gesicki entered the NFL with a ton of hype in 2018, he has yet to live up to it. However, in his past few games, he has at least flashed. Since Week 6, Gesicki has finished with at least 8.1 PPR points in 3-of-4 games — he finished with fewer than 7.4 fantasy points in the 20 career games leading up to that point — including a 15.1-point outing in last week’s win over the Jets with a 6/95/0 stat line on six targets. And now that Preston Williams, who was leading the Dolphins in targets (60), is out for the year with a knee injury, Gesicki, who is currently third on the Dolphins in targets (31), could be the prime benefactor of the rookie wideout’s absence.
Gesicki, who has played his best football with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, will look to build on his recent success in a favorable Week 10 matchup with a Colts defense yielding the 10th most fantasy pints to enemy TEs at an 8.6 FPPG rate. And although the Indy defense has played the tight end better of late, surrendering fewer than 7.6 PPR points in two of their past three games, they are coming off of a Week 9 outing in which they gave up 14 points to Vance McDonald on a 5/30/1 line.
What’s more, the Colts defense has given up at least 10 PPR points in their 5-of-8 game played this season, which favors Gesicki’s fantasy outlook for Sunday. If Gesicki, who has received at least four targets in three of his past four games and at least six targets in two of the four games in that time period, continues to get the opportunity as well as Fitzpatrick’s trust, he could be in line for his second straight double-digit PPR-point outing which would also make for only the second of his young career.
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