- Everything you need to craft a winning fantasy football lineup in Week 10.
Every Sunday, the combined SI.com and 4for4 Football team will answer a question about the day that is to unfold before our eyes. The question will change every week. Some weeks, it will be quite specific, and others it will be broader in nature. No matter what the question is, though, we’ll strive to give you a last few pieces of wisdom before you officially set your lineups for the week, kick up your feet, and enjoy the football. Let’s get to it.
Last week, we put ourselves in the shoes of owners safely headed to the playoffs. This week, let's look at the other side of the coin. Say you are 4-5 or 5-4, desperate to get at least two more wins to get to the postseason. Give the readers a player you'd target who could be a monster down the stretch of the fantasy regular season. This can't be Todd Gurley or Adam Thielen. It has to be someone a fantasy owner could realistically trade for or grab as a free agent right now. Who's the potentially available difference-maker for borderline playoff teams?
Michael Beller: If I’m desperate for a couple of wins over the next few weeks, and in need of a player whose owner won’t put up too much of a fight to keep him to help put me over the hump, I’m putting in a call to whoever has Golden Tate in my league. The conventional wisdom is that Tate’s fantasy value took a hit with the trade to Philadelphia. Indeed, I said the same thing in my fantasy breakdown of the trade, and I still believe it. He had a 27% target share with the Lions, and that’s not going to be the case now that he’s playing alongside Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery. Still, the Eagles went and got Tate for a reason, and it’s because of his incisive route-running ability that makes him such a danger in tight spaces, on short and intermediate routes, and on third down. He should immediately vibe with Carson Wentz, and the fact that he had a bye before playing his first game with the Eagles should have given him plenty of time to get comfortable with the offense, especially with him being a savvy veteran. On top of that, take a look at the Eagles’ schedule for the rest of the fantasy regular season. Their next four opponents, including this week, are the Cowboys, Saints, Giants and Redskins. The Saints are ranked 32nd against receivers in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric (aFPA), while the Redskins are ranked 23rd. The Cowboys and Giants are tougher on receivers, but the Eagles will be huge favorites in both games, and are laying a touchdown to the Cowboys at home on Sunday night. Plus, Tate had his best game of the season when the Lions played the Cowboys back in Week 4, catching eight passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. He could be in line for a huge month, and likely won’t be hard to pry away from his current owner.
T.J. Hernandez: It’s possible to go on a miracle run if you squeak into the playoffs, but the fact of the matter is that the best teams usually win. This complacent thinking often keeps owners around the .500 mark from shooting for the stars, if they even try to pull the trigger on trades at all. Still, the winning strategy is to be aggressive rather than passive.
There are two ways to make a trade when you’re in the middle of the standings—look for owners at the top of the standings that want to unload their depth, or target a desperate three-win team that still has an outside shot at making the playoffs. I prefer the latter, since you might be able to get the better end of a two-for-one with an owner that is willing to unload a good player in hopes of filling massive holes.
A team that could easily fit this bill the one with David Johnson. Through 10 weeks, Johnson is barely an RB1 in PPR formats, and he hasn’t exceeded 15 PPR points in a month. Here’s the thing, though. Arizona actually showed some signs of life with Byron Leftwich taking over play-calling duties. In Week 8, the Cardinals exceeded 300 yards on offense for the first time all season, and Johnson hit 100 total yards for the first time since Week 4. The beauty is that Arizona immediately went on a bye, so it went largely unnoticed. If this trend continues, DJ is set for a huge close to the season. He’s the only player that has accounted for at least 40% of his team’s touches in every game this season, and the Cardinals have the third-easiest rest-of-season schedule for running backs, according to 4for4. Any owner that is mathematically alive but struggling to even make a starting lineup just may be willing to part ways.
Chris Allen: Eugene Marquis Hilton. The "T.Y." stands for "Thank You." Actually, it doesn’t (it’s short for his father’s name, Tyrone), but you’ll think it does if you make a deal for him. His season has been a disappointment to date, but there’s good reason to believe he will turn it around the rest of the way. Hilton missed much of the preseason with a shoulder sprain. It didn’t affect his availability when the regular season started, but it might explain his diminished on-field impact. When he finally got over that, he suffered hamstring and chest injuries that cost him more time and further depressed his value. Heading into Week 10, Hilton, who was the 11th receiver off the board in a typical draft, has just 353 yards and four touchdowns. All this adds up to make him a great trade target. He got healthy two weeks ago, went into fantasy hiding with the Colts on bye last week, and gets a tough matchup with the Jaguars on Sunday. All this makes him eminently gettable for fantasy owners looking to make a deal with high upside. Hilton maintains the greatest target share on a team that has a nearly 2:1 pass-to-rush ratio in neutral game situations. He’s healthy, will get the volume, and on a team that will be placed in positive passing scripts because of their defense. Go get him now.