It’s starting to get down to crunch time as the end of the fantasy football regular season draws nearer. Most owners can’t afford to lose as they jockey for playoff position, but injuries and bye weeks are having an impact on the players in which owners can trust. Streamers in favorable matchups and end-of-bench sleepers are needed more than ever to help carry teams to victory. If you know you’re going to have issues in the next few weeks or you’re one of the lucky few that already has a playoff berth effectively wrapped up, it’s important to look ahead. That means that owners are both simultaneously looking at players on the free agent wire as streaming options not only for the Week 9 waiver period, but also for Week 10 and beyond.
Finding the right pickups isn’t an exact science. You may add someone in hopes of playing them next week only to watch them get injured or benched this week. Still, if you have a revolving door roster spot or a player that you’re not planning on playing this week, you can look ahead and add a player you may be more likely to use in Week 10. Handcuffs are nice, and keeping guys like Alexander Mattison and Brian Hill can pan out, but sometimes, you have to sacrifice potential for a practical play that you will use, especially if you’re in a must-win situation.
WEEK 9 FANTASY: Top pickups | FAAB budget planner | Buy-low, sell-high
Sometimes, speculative pickups can backfire, but that’s just the nature of the beast in fantasy football. Everything is an educated guess. Injuries pop up, benchings happen, and unexpected breakouts occur. It’s hard to predict everything exactly right and when you guess wrong, it hurts. But if you guess right, there’s no better feeling that already having your guy around without having to use a waiver wire claim or FAAB money to get him.
WEEK 9 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Once again, the waiver wire is looking solid. There are good streamers available at QB and TE, and while the D/ST ranks are a bit thinner than we’d like, there are still some solid streamers out there. Per usual, there are plenty of RBs and WRs to target for teams needing depth in those areas. Guys like Joshua Kelley, Sterling Shepard, Nyheim Hines, and Allen Lazard could all be strong starters in the coming weeks, and they’re all available in more than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
You don’t have to make a move at this point in week. If you’re happy with your roster, don’t feel the need to shake it up just to shake it up. Still, you should familiarize yourself with the potential waiver wire targets that are available to ensure you know what to expect heading into Week 10. If you want to make a move, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger, so long as you’re not making a massive downgrade, of course. Worst-case scenario, you end up having a new player in a revolving door spot. Best-case scenario, he becomes a staple of your lineup and you gain an edge on your leaguemates.
WEEK 9 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watchlist
Reminder: This list was put together in the lead-in to Week 9, looking forward to the players that could be waiver-wire targets to scoop before the season starts to use in future weeks. If you have a roster spot to play with, these are options you could pick up early to beat the waiver buzz.
All these players are below 50-percent ownership on Yahoo unless otherwise specified.
Week 10 Waiver Wire Watchlist: Quarterback
Key QBs out because of byes: Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan, Sam Darnold, Cowboys QBs
Derek Carr, Raiders vs. Broncos (41)
In five games prior to a rain-soaked, windy contest against the Browns, Carr was averaging 297.4 passing yards and 2.4 TDs per game for the Raiders. He should have a chance to get back on track playing indoors at Allegiant Stadium against a Broncos team that has allowed 21.1 fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs this year, tied for the 10th most. Carr is a high-floor backup, so he should be owned if you’re worried about your QB situation.
Baker Mayfield, Browns vs. Texans (38)
Mayfield has been up and down at times this season, but he has posted at least two TDs in six-of-eight starts. That includes a five-TD outing against the Bengals two weeks ago, and he did that without the services of Odell Beckham Jr., who went down with a knee injury in that contest. In better weather against a Texans team that allows 21.3 FPPG to QBs, Mayfield could put up strong numbers in what should be an offensive battle.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins vs. Chargers (29)
Tua didn’t look awe-inspiring in his first game, but that came against a tough Rams defense. In Week 10, he’ll get to take on a Chargers defense that is tied for the third-most FPPG allowed to QBs on the season (23.2). That will be his first favorable matchup of the season, so feel free to grab him as a potential streaming option.
Drew Lock, Broncos @ Raiders (11)
Lock threw for three TDs against the Chargers in Week 8 and seemed to gain confidence as the game went along. He should continue to build on that against a weak Falcons defense in Week 9 before taking on a Raiders defense that has had its share of issues against QBs (21.2 FPPG allowed, ninth most). Lock could stay hot and become a solid quarterback to trust down the stretch, so don’t be afraid to pick him up and keep him around as a speculative matchup-based streamer.
WEEK 9 DFS TOURNAMENT LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel
Week 10 Waiver Wire Watch List: RB
Key RBs out because of byes: Ezekiel Elliott, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, Frank Gore, La’Mical Perine
Joshua Kelley, Chargers (43) | Troymaine Pope, Chargers (2)
It looks like Justin Jackson has established himself as the backfield leader for the Chargers as long as Austin Ekeler (hamstring) is sidelined, but there is still value in owning the other Chargers backs since Anthony Lynn has mixed them up so frequently. Last game, Pope outworked Kelley, but he took a shot to the head, which could open up an opportunity for the fourth-round pick. Until one emerges as the true No. 2 to Jackson, both should be owned, especially with the Chargers set to face four straight AFC East opponents in the coming month.
Nyheim Hines, Colts (39) | Jordan Wilkins, Colts (11)
Hines is coming off a two-TD game against the Lions where he functioned as a part of a three-man committee. Hines won’t get many carries, but perhaps with T.Y. Hilton (groin) on the mend, he will get more targets from Philip Rivers, who has historically loved throwing to RBs. Meanwhile, Wilkins outworked the banged-up Jonathan Taylor last week and could continue to receive carries given how good he’s looked this season. The Colts get to face the Titans and Packers in the next two weeks, so both could put up solid numbers, especially against the Packers.
DeeJay Dallas, Seahawks (38)
Pete Carroll is always optimistic about Seahawks injuries, so it’s unclear when Chris Carson (foot) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring) may return to action. As long as at least one of them is out, Dallas should get some carries and serve at least as a top handcuff. If both continue to be out in the coming weeks, Dallas would be a starter. The Seahawks are playing the Rams in Week 10, so Dallas may not be an appealing start there, but as long as he’s getting volume, he’ll have a chance at TDs.
La’Mical Perine, Jets (35)
We feel like a broken record on this one. Yes, the Jets are bad. Yes, Frank Gore is taking carries away from Perine. Yes, you should still own the fourth-round rookie. Perine will eventually be given closer to a full workload, and the Jets are facing the Chargers, Dolphins, and Raiders in the coming weeks — three teams that can be beaten on the ground. He may be a flex in those games, and his upside is greater than some of the handcuffs that fantasy owners are hanging onto.
Matt Breida, Dolphins (26) | Jordan Howard, Dolphins (19)
With Myles Gaskin (knee) on IR and out for at least three games, Breida and Howard will each have a shot at taking over the lead back role. Both have potential, but both have warts, as well. Breida was favored to be the lead back, but he’s dealing with a hamstring injury, so he may have to miss a game or two. Meanwhile, Howard is a TD threat (three on the season), but he has a ridiculous 11 yards on 19 touches this year. Still, as long as Gaskin is out, these two will be involved in the RB rotation, so feel free to scoop them up — and keep an eye on Patrick Laird, too.
J.D. McKissic, Washington (25)
Antonio Gibson is the lead back in Washington, but don’t discount what McKissic has done this season. He has averaged 5.3 catches for 36.3 yards per game in his past five outings making him a legitimate flex threat in PPR leagues. He’s done all that while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. With games upcoming against the Lions and Bengals in Weeks 10 and 11, McKissic is a solid bench stash with starting upside in PPR leagues.
Wayne Gallman, Giants (22)
Devonta Freeman (ankle) is still a question mark and Gallman just put up 62 yards and a TD against one of the NFL’s better defenses. The volume will be there for him if Freeman continues to miss time, and if Gallman continues to perform well, he may overtake Freeman for the starting role. The Giants play the Bengals in Week 11, so that’s a potential juicy matchup for Gallman if he’s still the starter at that point.
MORE WEEK 9 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder
Week 10 Waiver Wire Watch List: WR
Key WRs out because of byes: Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Jamison Crowder, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson
Sterling Shepard, Giants (48)
In two games since returning from a toe injury, Shepard has averaged nine targets, seven receptions, and 66.5 yards while catching a TD from Daniel Jones. Shepard is Jones’ security blanket and should continue to be a massive threat in PPR formats. With the Giants playing the Eagles, Bengals, and Seahawks from Weeks 10-12, he needs to be owned, as he’ll have WR3 upside against three weaker pass defenses.
Sammy Watkins, Chiefs (44)
Any time now, Watkins should return to action for the Chiefs. He has been out since Week 5 after suffering the injury, but he did return to practice ahead of Week 9. Even if Watkins isn’t ready to play in Week 9, scooping him up now would be smart. He’ll surely be healthy after the Chiefs’ Week 10 bye and then will get to take on a weak Raiders defense in Week 11.
Allen Lazard, Packers (35)
Lazard (core) seems ready to return to action and well may play on Thursday night against the 49ers. When healthy, Lazard was Aaron Rodgers’ clear-cut No. 2 target, and he posted a six-catch game with 146 yards and a TD in his last outing. Lazard should be a WR3 most weeks, but he will have an even higher ceiling against the Jaguars in Week 10.
Jalen Reagor, Eagles (24)
Reagor (thumb) returned to action for the Eagles against the Cowboys in Week 8 and caught the first TD of his career. He figures to be the Eagles’ No. 2 receiver, and his deep speed will make him a big-play threat. He needs to be added even though he may be a bit boom-or-bust. Helping his cause is a four-game stretch against beatable pass defenses (Giants, Browns, Seahawks, Packers).
Tim Patrick, Broncos (19)
The Broncos are taking on the Raiders in Week 10, the Dolphins in Week 11, and the Saints in Week 12. The Dolphins may be a tough matchup for Patrick, but he could do well against the Raiders and Saints. When healthy, Patrick has put up big numbers, including a couple of 100-yard games. With Drew Lock back and throwing better (at least against the Chargers), Patrick is worth owning.
Randall Cobb, Texans (17)
Over his past four games, Cobb has averaged 6.3 targets and appears to be developing a rapport with Deshaun Watson. He nearly topped 100 receiving yards in his last outing and should be a big-time PPR threat moving forward. The Texans are playing the Browns, Patriots, and Lions the next three weeks, and Cobb should do well in those matchups if his opponents pay more attention to Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks.
N’Keal Harry, Patriots (12) | Jakobi Meyers, Patriots (2) | Isaiah Ford, Patriots (1)
Look, somebody is going to have to step up for the Patriots when Julian Edelman (knee) is out. Harry, a former first-round pick, has the highest ceiling of the bunch, Meyers is coming off a game where he led the team with 10 targets, six catches, and 58 receiving yards, and the Patriots just traded for Isaiah Ford. It’s hard to recommend which of these players to trust now, but if you have an open roster spot, adding one and hoping they pop off surely wouldn’t hurt.
Darnell Mooney, Bears (8)
Mooney actually ranks 19th among WRs in the NFL in air yards this season at a mark of 635, per FTN Fantasy. His stats don’t look as good as those air yards because Nick Foles has routinely missed him downfield, but the opportunities for Mooney are there. He’s a big-play threat averaging 6.2 targets per game since Week 3. If Foles starts playing better, Mooney could really rise.
Marvin Hall, Lions (1)
Kenny Golladay (hip) is out and Hall is the next man up at receiver for the Lions. He had over 100 yards after Golladay left against the Colts, and with games against Washington, Carolina, and Houston coming up, he could work his way into the flex category at least once.
WEEK 9 DFS CASH LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel
Week 10 Waiver Wire Watch List: TE
Key TEs out because of byes: Travis Kelce, Hayden Hurst, Dalton Schultz, Chris Herndon
Eric Ebron, Steelers (50)
In his past two games, Ebron has been targeted 13 times, catching 10 for 98 yards and a TD. Ebron should continue to find opportunities over the middle of the field as teams focus on stopping Pittsburgh’s trio of talented receivers. Pittsburgh’s Week 10 opponent, Cincinnati, has allowed the most yards to TEs this year (545) and third-most FPPG (11.8). Grab Ebron now if he’s still available.
Austin Hooper, Browns (39)
Hooper is on bye in Week 9, but in Week 10, he should return from an appendix issue that kept him out the previous two weeks. Before he fell ill, Hooper was averaging 7.7 targets, five catches, and 47.7 yards over a three-game span, and with Odell Beckham Jr. out, he could see more opportunities to catch passes. The Texans have allowed the 10th-most FPPG to TEs this year (9.4), so this is a good matchup for him to do damage in.
Trey Burton, Colts (22)
In his past two games, Burton has posted three TDs. Amazingly, two have been rushing TDs on designed plays for him near the goal line. If he continues to get red-zone touches and averages five targets a game, he will be a solid start against weaker opponent like the Titans, who are only middle-of-the-pack against TEs this year.
Jordan Reed, 49ers (11)
As long as George Kittle (foot) is out, Reed will have a chance to serve as the top TE for the 49ers. Reed caught two TDs against the Giants early in the season, and in Week 10 against a Saints team that has allowed the fourth-most FPPG to TEs (11), he can be trusted.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Broncos (1)
He has played in just three games this season, but Okwuegbunam has five red-zone targets, which is good for second on the team behind Noah Fant (6). Albert O will continue to demand attention from his college teammate Drew Lock near the goal line, and if the Broncos offense keeps playing well, Okwuegbunam will have a chance to find the end zone against a porous Raiders defense in Week 10.
WEEK 9 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em
Week 10 defense streamers and sleepers
D/STs out because of byes: Chiefs, Cowboys, Falcons, Jets
Green Bay Packers (34) | Week 10 opponent: vs. Jaguars
Washington Football Team (34) | Week 10 opponent: @ Lions
Minnesota Vikings (20) | Week 10 opponent: @ Bears
Detroit Lions (3) | Week 10 opponent: vs. Washington
Even with the Cowboys off this week, there are plenty of offenses to target for a variety of reasons.
The two potential streamers that stand out are Green Bay and Washington. Both teams are taking on opponents with quarterback questions. The Jaguars are starting Jake Luton in place of an injured Gardner Minshew while the Lions may have to start Chase Daniel depending on Matthew Stafford’s status (COVID). Even if Stafford starts, Washington should be able to get pressure on the Detroit QB while the Packers will have no problem forcing Luton into a few mistakes.
The Vikings also qualify as a potential streaming option for Week 10. They get to take on a lackluster Bears offense that may have trouble exploiting the weakness that the Vikings have at the cornerback position. That, coupled with the fact that Nick Foles has turned the ball over at least once in every game this year, should give the Vikings a high floor.
Finally, the Lions are worth trusting against Kyle Allen and Washington. Allen has had some rough turnovers at times this season, and the Lions have put forward some solid games against weaker competition. Washington would qualify as such on the offensive side of the ball, so feel free to use Detroit as a deeper sleeper.
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