The season is 10 weeks old and for the most part, you've learned who the mainstays are in your lineup. However, here's a few under the radar players that I like this week who might be worthy of finding your starting roster.
- Arizona Quarterback, ARI (at Houston) - Drew Stanton (knee) was able to practice on Tuesday, which is a good sign for his game this week, but don't rule out Blaine Gabbert getting the nod if Stanton isn't well enough to start. Houston has allowed 10 touchdown passes in the last four games, plus four 300+ yard games in the last five. If Jacoby Brissett can do it, so can Stanton or Gabbert. Someone will need to pass the ball to Larry Fitzgerald, who could have 10 receptions this week.
- Blake Bortles, JAC (at Cleveland) - Blake Bortles had only one game this year with more than one touchdown pass, but this week has the feel of a 250+ yard game with at least two touchdown passes. Cleveland has allowed opposing quarterbacks two touchdowns in seven of nine games this season.
- Alex Smith, KC (at NY Giants) - Smith is hardly an under the radar quarterback, but he's without question worthy of starting this week. In addition to Andy Reid's 16-2 record following a bye, the Chiefs will play the lowly Giants who have been a huge disappointment this season. Coach Ben McAdoo is likely to be replaced after the season, which makes him a "lame duck" coach struggling to make things work. The Giants have allowed an average of 29 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in the last three games, including 9 touchdown passes in that span.
- Rex Burkhead, NE (at Oakland) - Trends have shown an increase in snaps for each of the last three weeks for Rex Burkhead since he returned from injury in Week 7. Conversely, James White has seen a decrease in snaps in each of the last six games finishing with 11 snaps in Week 10 that did not include injury. Mike Gillislee was a healthy scratch last week that resulted in more carries for Dion Lewis (14) and Burkhead (10). Look for an uptick in targets for Burkhead going forward.
- Tevin Coleman, ATL (at Seattle) - The "at Seattle" part of this equation isn't what has me excited, it's the fact that Coleman will have a crack at the lead role with Devonta Freeman in the concussion protocol. Seattle has allowed four rushing touchdowns in the last three games. Coleman is coming off a 20-83-1 game vs. Dallas giving him a touchdown scored in consecutive games. He has only four receptions in the last five games, but he's capable of playing a role as a receiver in the Falcons offense. Despite the tough matchup at Seattle, Coleman is projected to be a Top 12 running back this week.
- Kenyan Drake, MIA (vs. Tampa Bay) - Miami was outplayed on Monday night as well as other primetime games this season. The silver lining is that Kenyan Drake has put up strong fantasy numbers since the Jay Ajayi trade to Philadelphia. In the last two games, Drake has 104 and 92 total yards with one touchdown and a total of 8 receptions. The Buccaneers have allowed the 5th most fantasy points to opposing running backs this year and have allowed 5 touchdowns to backs in each of their last three road games.
- Jerick McKinnon, MIN (vs Los Angeles Rams) - The Vikings return home after two road wins against Cleveland and Washington. They will face a big NFC opponent in the Rams that could have playoff implications. McKinnon has been off and on recently, but the ground game, and the team in general plays better at home. The Rams have not allowed a 100-yard rusher or rushing touchdown by a running back since Week 6. This doesn't appear to be the best matchup for McKinnon, however he should be a focal point in the game due to his receiving ability. This has the feel of a five-catch game for McKinnon with over 80 total yards.
- Sterling Shepard, NYG (vs Kansas City) - Shepard has been a key piece to the Giants offense, so he's not necessarily sneaking up on anyone. However, the matchup this week against Kansas City is a favorable one. Shepard is the biggest outside weapon the Giants have and he's delivering nearly every game by shear volume. Kansas City has allowed 15 touchdowns to wide receivers this year, making Shepard an even bigger play.
- DeVante Parker, MIA (vs Tampa Bay) - When healthy, DeVante Parker can be viable target for Jay Cutler, especially on deeper throws, which the team has gotten away from lately. A tough loss to Carolina may make them think their strategy, which plays right into Parker. The Buccaneers have allowed 10 touchdowns to wide receivers this season and have given up the second most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Miami will either bounce back with a strong passing game or benefit with garbage yards that will favor the receiving corps. Jarvis Landry is more of a short yardage possession receiver, but Tampa Bay's weakness is the receiver on deeper routes - and that's Parker.
- Jeremy Maclin, BAL (at Green Bay) - The Ravens are coming off a bye and unlike the Packers, there's still a chance for them in the AFC Playoff picture. Jeremy Maclin's last game featured 8 receptions for 98 yards on 9 targets. Along with Ben Watson, Maclin is Joe Flacco's go-to target and this week he'll face a Packers secondary that has struggled recently. Since Week 7, Green Bay has allowed the third most fantasy points to wide receivers averaging 15 receptions for 231 yards and 1.3 touchdowns to the wide receiving corps. The Ravens receiving corps is thin, making Maclin the favorite to excel.
- Marcedes Lewis, JAC (at Cleveland) Tight ends against Cleveland average 7 receptions for 66 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game. Marcedes Lewis is the Jaguars clear receiving tight end, while James O'Shaunessy and Ben Koyack handle blocking duties. This is the type of game where Lewis could have 5 catches for 50 yards and a score. Cleveland has allowed at least 33 points in three of the last four games. This is a good, sneaky matchup for Lewis this week.
- Tyler Kroft, CIN (at Denver). The Giants have allowed the most touchdowns to tight ends this year (10) in nine games, but Denver is also one to take note of. The Broncos have allowed the second most fantasy points to tight ends, averaging 6 catches a game for 83 yards and 0.7 touchdowns by the position. Tyler Kroft has 35 targets, the next closest tight end, C.J. Uzomah has only 6. Kroft had a poor box score last week (1 rec, 4 yards), but I expect a bounce back against Denver, who will be looking to stop A.J. Green making Kroft a popular target.
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