- Why Duke Johnson, John Ross and Elijah McGuire should be on your short list of fantasy football players to add before Week 10.
There may be just four weeks left in the typical fantasy football regular season, but that doesn’t mean the waiver wire is closed for business. A coaching change in Cleveland, existing injury in Cincinnati, and return from injury in New York should already have fantasy owners making waiver claims. We’ll talk about all three of those situations in our early look at the Week 10 waiver wire. As always, all players listed here have ownership rates of 40% or lower on at least two of Yahoo, ESPN and CBS.
Duke Johnson, RB, Browns
Johnson came to life in Cleveland’s first game with Freddie Kitchens as interim offensive coordinator, totaling 86 yards and two touchdowns on 10 touches. Johnson still wasn’t a huge part of the rushing attack, but he set new season highs across the board by hauling in all nine of his targets for 78 yards. One mystery of the Browns’ offense this season under Hue Jackson and Todd Haley was Johnson’s disappearance in the passing game. Through the first eight weeks of the season, Johnson had just 20 catches, 29 targets and 203 yards, without once finding the end zone. Compare that with his first three seasons in the league, during which he averaged 62 receptions, 80 targets, 580 yards and 1.7 receiving touchdowns. If Kitchens, a former running backs coach, restores Johnson to a role where he’s getting six-plus targets per game, he’s going to be a fantasy weapon, especially in PPR formats.
John Ross, WR, Bengals
News broke on Sunday morning that A.J. Green will seek a second opinion on his foot injury, and that he will, at the very least, miss a few games. That opens the door once more for Ross, a popular sleeper back in draft season, who has watched as Tyler Boyd has developed into a star this season. Ross is nursing a groin injury of his own, but he’s expected to get back on the field when the Bengals return from their bye in Week 10. Ross is one of the fastest players in the league, an instant deep threat every time he steps on the field, and the Bengals will need to figure out some way to replace all the value that Green brings to the table. Ross can fill some of that void by taking the top off a defense. The catch here is that Ross likely isn’t held back by waivers. Most leagues don’t place players on waivers when their teams are on bye, meaning that Ross is free for the taking right now. If you need help at receiver, take a shot on Ross while you still can.
Elijah McGuire, RB, Jets
McGuire played his first game of the season Sunday after spending the first half of the year on the PUP list because of a foot injury suffered during training camp. He did well with his opportunities, turning nine touches into 60 yards. What’s more, he was third on the Jets in targets, trailing only Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson. McGuire’s largest contributions are going to come through the air, so it was encouraging to see him secure five targets in his first game of the season. The Jets still have their bye ahead of them (Week 11), but McGuire can be a depth option in PPR leagues the rest of the way. The Ravens, Broncos, Texans and Vikings are on bye next week, so McGuire could be of particular interest to owners invested in Alex Collins, Phillip Lindsay, Lamar Miller, Latavius Murray or Dalvin Cook.