The nightmare week for byes has finally arrived. Six teams are inactive in Week 10: the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. That means fantasy managers will be scrambling more than usual to set their lineups. We’re here to help.
Below are players I recommend adding who are owned in fewer than 40% of leagues on Yahoo and/or ESPN. All point totals referenced are for half-PPR leagues.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Tannehill has been a pretty decent fantasy player since becoming the Titans’ starter in Week 7. He’s put up 19.2, 19.4 and 23-point performances over the last three weeks, respectively. With the Chiefs on tap, Tannehill has a decent shot at 20 points yet again. Kansas City has allowed at least 21.3 points to fantasy quarterbacks in six of their nine games this season. They’ve allowed three passing touchdowns in four games this season, including each of the last two weeks. The potential return of Patrick Mahomes only increases the odds of a shootout.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets
Fantasy managers may be frustrated with Darnold’s meh Week 9 performance in a glorious matchup against the Miami Dolphins, but he’s an option yet again for those in a bye week pinch. Although it hasn’t manifested in 2019, Darnold was a significantly better player in home games as a rookie. While it’s more of a double home game with the Giants next on the docket, the matchup still favors Darnold. The Giants' defense has been torched through the air this season by everyone except Kyler Murray and the combo of Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum. Heading into their Monday night matchup with the Cowboys, the Giants allowed six of their eight opposing quarterbacks to cross the 20-point threshold this season.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Jones has been as boom-or-bust as they come at the quarterback position this season. However, he has taken advantage of vulnerable pass defenses to the tune of 28.2 and 34.2-point performances earlier this season. Before Week 8, the Jets' defense for fantasy purposes could’ve been described as 'bend but don’t break.' They broke the last two weeks. They rank as one of the 10 worst passing defenses in the league and just allowed three passing touchdowns in back-to-back games. Can Jones make it three in a row?
Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jones is starting to have a bigger role in Tampa Bay’s offense. After getting 12 touches in Week 8, Jones had 20 last week against Seattle and found the end zone for the third time in his last five games. Arizona’s defense is below average when it comes to defending fantasy running backs, allowing an average of more than 100 yards per game to the position. Jones’s explosiveness should pay off in spades in this matchup.
J.D. McKissic, Detroit Lions
There still isn’t a ton of clarity in the Lions' backfield with Kerryon Johnson on IR. But it appears McKissic’s role as the passing-down back is safe. He went 3/40/1 through the air and added 32 yards on four carries in Week 9. McKissic’s Week 10 matchup with the Bears isn’t as daunting as it would’ve been last season. Latavius Murray, Austin Ekeler and Miles Sanders were all perfectly fine in the receiving game over the previous three weeks.
Trey Edmunds, Pittsburgh Steelers
There’s a very good chance James Conner and Benny Snell are out again this week, and the back that looked the best in his absence in Week 9 wasn’t Jaylen Samuels. Edmunds ran for 73 yards on 12 carries, which included a 45-yard dash in the first quarter. Given Samuels’s huge fumble late in the game and his overall inefficiency on the ground, it’s likely that a bigger role is coming for Edmunds at home against a Rams defense that’s nothing special against fantasy running backs.
Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins
This is a move you make a week in advance. The Redskins are on bye this week, but there is a lot of optimism that Guice will return to the field in Week 11. If you’re one of the few who are not in bye week trouble this week, you’ll likely have first dibs on a potential starting RB down the stretch. Guice won’t take all of Adrian Peterson’s touches, but Washington’s next four games are against teams ranked in the bottom 10 against fantasy running backs.
Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams
This is more of a speculative add than anything because Henderson had three more touches and played only two fewer snaps than Todd Gurley against the Cincinnati Bengals before the bye week. Henderson had 12 touches on his 26 snaps the week before against the Atlanta Falcons. The Steelers’ run defense has been quite stingy since Week 4, so it’s not the best matchup, but there aren’t many backs with the high potential for a dozen touches available.
DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
Parker has leaped back into fantasy relevancy with touchdowns in four of his last five games. He’s averaging eight targets per game over the last three weeks and may get a boost if Preston Williams misses time. The Colts are a middle-of-the-road defense against fantasy WRs as a whole, but really struggle against other teams’ No. 1 option. Parker is a WR3 this week.
Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts
It’s hard to trust any Colts WR with T.Y. Hilton on the sidelines and Jacoby Brissett being banged up, but any No. 1 option is worth rostering. Pascal has had two huge fantasy performances in the last three weeks, with a complete dud in the middle. The biggest thing in his favor is a matchup with the Dolphins' defense at home in Week 10.
A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
Brown has been a really effective fantasy WR since Ryan Tannehill took over. He’s averaging six targets and more than nine fantasy points per game with Tannehill at QB. Those aren’t mind-blowing numbers, but it’ll get the job done during bye weeks. The Titans will need to throw a lot to keep up with a (probably) returning Patrick Mahomes, so Brown could easily see another seven or eight targets.
Auden Tate, Cincinnati Bengals
Tate has been nothing if not productive so far this season. He’s averaging nearly nine targets and 9.3 fantasy points per game since Week 2. The only week in that span in which he had fewer than 50 receiving yards, he scored a touchdown to make up for it. The Ravens have shut down teams’ WR1s but have struggled against all other wide receivers so far this season. There’s no guarantee A.J. Green returns to the field this week, and if he doesn’t, Tate is a solid WR4.
Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears
I don’t recommend going out of your way to watch the Bears attempt to play offense, but if you need some help at WR in deeper leagues you may want to consider Gabriel. He’s leaped Anthony Miller in terms of usage and production the last two weeks and has a favorable matchup at home against the Lions in Week 10—and I expect the Bears to have a positive amount of passing yards in the first half of that game. He’s a low-end WR4 this week.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Death, taxes, tight ends succeeding against the Arizona Cardinals. Brate is always a risky play because he’s so touchdown dependent, but the Cardinals are literally the worst team in the NFL against tight ends and that trend holds longer than just this season. All but seven or eight TEs are risky plays week to week, so why not take a shot on a guy in a high-powered offense that should attack a glaring weakness that the head coach is well aware of?
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
Doyle has very quietly worked his way into a bigger offensive role in recent weeks. He’s averaging five targets and nearly four catches per game since Week 4. He found the end zone courtesy of a Brian Hoyer pass early in Week 9, so I’m not sure if it matters which QB starts this week. The Dolphins have struggled against TEs this season, so there’s plenty of reason for optimism that Doyle can be a top-12 TE this week.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
After being essentially invisible for the first five weeks of the season, Kirk Cousins has looked Rudolph’s way a bit more lately. He has touchdowns in two of his past three games and is averaging nearly five targets per game in that timeframe. Dallas has been one of the five worst defenses in the NFL against TEs this season, so the juicy matchup makes Rudolph an intriguing play.
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