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Fantasy Overview, Week 10 - Footballguys

Get yourself caught up on what's going on in the league as we enter Week 10 of the NFL season. Here's my take on the fantasy landscape around the league and how you can benefit. 

Can you believe we are in Week 10 of the NFL season? This week's topic is geared more towards those in deeper leagues with 12+ teams and 20+ roster spots. Some comments and thoughts will still apply to others who don't specifically fit those criteria, but for the most part, this is for those who have limited choices on the waiver wire.

The Week 6 Fantasy Overview included my thoughts on players to target for the fantasy playoffs (Week 14, 15, 16). Feel free to revisit that article, because a lot of those thoughts and opinions still apply. This week I want to focus on some proactive waiver wire claims that could propel your team forward if one or more of these pickups hit. Keep in mind, a proactive waiver claim isn't intended to be a quick solution, but more of a shark move that has the potential to give your lineup a boost. Examples of proactive waiver pickups from this year include Ryan Fitzpatrick, Latavius Murray, Adam Humphries, Curtis Samuel, David Moore, among others. Last year, Alex Collins and Keelan Cole fit these criteria and were league winners for many teams. These waiver pickups weren't expected to amount to much when picked up, but the potential for success was there. Making good on such moves can fix or strengthen your team and/or your season. Here's a look at some players to target at each position.

PROACTIVE & REACTIVE WAIVER PICKUPS

QUARTERBACK

Reactive & Proactive

Nick Mullens, SF - Jimmy Garoppolo is the future of the 49ers but Nick Mullens sure looked good against Oakland. Granted Oakland isn't a big measuring stick for efficiency, but his debut was impressive and potentially sustainable. C.J. Beathard is dealing with a wrist injury, but Kyle Shanahan may want to see what Mullens can do going forward. He has already agreed to start him this week vs the Giants. For those in two-quarterback leagues or super-flex format, you could do worse than Mullens.

Reactive

Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB - It's still possible that Fitzpatrick is still on your league's waiver wire. If he's there and you need quarterback help, he's an excellent option. He has three 400-yard games and four games with 3+ touchdown passes. He may be a better option than your current QB1 starter.

Proactive

Josh Rosen, ARI - Yes, the Cardinals offense has struggled to score points this year (13.7 PPG), but Josh Rosen has shown flashes of potential with excellent accuracy and strong-armed throws. Plus, the addition of Byron Leftwich at offensive coordinator with a bye week to get acclimated with his system - there could be a spike in production in the coming weeks. Four of the next six games are against favorable defenses against the pass, notably Oakland, Detroit and Atlanta. Throw in the Chiefs this week too, even though they have improved on the defensive side of the ball lately. Targeting him in one-QB leagues may not be ideal, but if you need help in a league with two quarterbacks, Rosen is a gamble, who could pay off.

Proactive

Joe Flacco, BAL - Baltimore may be on the outside looking in for a playoff spot in the AFC, but that doesn't mean they can't produce for your fantasy team down the stretch. Joe Flacco hasn't been a world-beater this season, but he has been consistent in putting up high pass attempts game after game. He has not had a game under 34 pass attempts, and he has four games of 40 pass attempts or more. Generally speaking, quarterbacks who fire passes at will, game in and game out, tend to have positive fantasy games. Matthew Stafford is a good example of a player meeting these criteria. Joe Flacco and the Ravens have a bye this week, but they have only two tough matchups against the pass in their remaining schedule. They still have Oakland, Atlanta and Tampa Bay on their schedule. You could do worse for a quarterback during those weeks (12, 13 and 15).

Proactive

Blake Bortles, JAC - Say what you want about Bortles, but there are factors at play that suggest his second half could be better than his disappointing first half. It starts and ends with the Jaguars schedule. They still have to play the Colts twice, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Miami. Of their seven games remaining through Week 16, only two are not favorable against the pass and Buffalo is one of the poor games. Weeks 10, 11, 13, 14 and 16 are all strong games for the Jaguars passing offense.

RUNNING BACK

Reactive

Duke Johnson Jr, CLE - Freddie Kitchens is inserted as the Browns offensive coordinator and Duke Johnson Jr goes off for 9 catches for 78 yards and two scores in the Week 9 game against Kansas City. Expect him to be involved more in the second half of the season. This stat tweeted by colleague and friend of the site, Raymond Summerlin, speaks volumes - "Baker Mayfield is now 26-of-30 for 266 yards and two touchdowns when targeting Duke Johnson Jr this season." He may not be available on the waiver wire, but he might be on your bench. It's time to consider him as a weekly starter, especially in PPR leagues. He gets Atlanta this week, who have struggled to cover running backs this season.

Reactive & Proactive

Mike Davis, SEA - Chris Carson is dealing with a hip injury and could miss some time as a result. Mike Davis had an eyebrow-raising performance in Week 9 that included 7 receptions for 45 yards and 15 carries for 62 yards. Not powerful numbers, but decent enough to put him on the radar of your fantasy team. For more of a proactive play, take a gamble on Rashaad Penny, who may see more involvement in the second half of the season, especially if Seattle falls out of the playoff race.

Proactive

Elijah McGuire, NYJ - Week 9 was the first active game for McGuire this year, after returning from the reserve/injured list. He was given 36 snaps (55% of offensive snaps) and finished with 7 carries for 30 yards and 3 receptions for 37 yards. The neck injury to Bilal Powell opens the door of opportunity for McGuire and there could be some meat on the bone in the second half. Here's what our game recaps had to say about McGuire's season debut - "It was McGuire's first day back in action after a preseason injury, but given the way things went he would probably rather be back on the PUP list. McGuire did seem to have a little more success running the ball than Isaiah Crowell did, and he was much more involved in the passing game. He showed some elusiveness in space, with a sharp 20-yard catch and run near the end of the first half, helping to set the Jets up for a field goal."

Proactive

Chris Thompson, WAS - Thompson has been dealing with a painful rib injury and has missed some time. When healthy, he's a big part of the game plan as a receiver. He merits attention as a fantasy start, especially in PPR leagues. He may return this week but might not be fully effective for another week or so. He's been a disappointment for owners this year due to injuries and might be available on the wire. He could help your team come playoff time and is worth adding to your roster.

Reactive

T.J. Yeldon, JAC - Leonard Fournette should return in Week 10 after being out since Week 5 with a re-injured hamstring. His presence will be felt, but it doesn't spell the end of production for T.J. Yeldon. Look for Yeldon to stay active, especially as a receiving back. He has 37 receptions in 8 games which is a pace of 74 for the season. Don't throw him to the bench just because of Fournette's return, especially in PPR leagues.

WIDE RECEIVER

Proactive & Reactive

Maurice Harris, WAS - Washington has injuries at wide receiver, which opens the door for players like Maurice Harris to come in and make a difference. Wide receiver is the best area to find diamonds in the rough and Harris could be a good one. Here's what the game recap staff had to say about his eye-opening 10-124 performance in Week 9. "Maurice Harris had a career day versus the Falcons. He constantly took advantage of the Falcons third cornerback and backup safeties. Leading the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards he was the main source of offense for Washington. Maurice constantly found open space over the middle of the field as Alex routinely found him on what looked to be seam routes. His twelve targets show that Alex felt they had an advantage with his matchup. This was the most involved Maurice has been all year."

Proactive

Alex Erickson, CIN - Who? The foot injury to A.J. Green and groin injury to John Ross opens the door for someone to emerge as a consistent target for Andy Dalton. Tyler Boyd is the biggest beneficiary of the injuries, but at the same time, we don't know how he'll do as the team's WR1. Erickson has seen the most snaps as next in line at the receiver position. Don't also rule out Giovani Bernard as someone who could see an increase in receptions as a pseudo-receiver. Erickson had just one catch for 5 yards last week, but his number could be called more often moving forward. Consider taking a flier on him in deeper leagues. He has Even with Green healthy, Erickson was on the field for 77% of the team's offensive snaps and he has 9 targets in the last three games. A spike could be in the cards.

Reactive & Proactive

Curtis Samuel, CAR - Curtis Samuel has only 11 touches this year, but he has scored four times. In short, when he touches the ball, he makes plays. The Panthers are starting to gel, scoring 99 points since being down 17-0 to Philadelphia in the fourth quarter in Week 7, more than any other team in that span. Samuel is one of many weapons on offense, so he won't be a consistent go-to target week in and week out, but he has made good on the limited chances he's received so far. Look for his role to increase in the second half of the season and Carolina has one of the better schedules against the pass in the next 7-8 games.

Reactive & Proactive

Anthony Miller, CHI - The groin injury to Allen Robinson has given life to Anthony Miller, who is now healed from a shoulder injury. He has shown that he can be a factor on offense for the Bears. He has 20 targets in the last three games, which is the most on the team in that span. Chicago also has the fortunate scenario of playing Detroit in two of the next three games. The Lions are 30th in pass defense efficiency.

Reactive

Adam Humphries, TB - Humphries is more than a one-week wonder. He has 19 receptions and 2 scores on 26 targets over the last three games. Ryan Fitzpatrick makes the Buccaneers a pass-happy offense and that all feeds into the value that Humpries brings to the table. He's definitely a reactive pickup if he's still available, but he's a worthy spend considering the offensive prowess of Tampa Bay and the building rapport and confidence that he's building with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Proactive

D.J. Chark Jr, JAC - Chark has 12 targets in the last two games with four receptions in each game. His involvement is starting to increase while Keelan Cole's presence is going the opposite direction. Cole was last year's playoff darling, so it's already proven that a Jaguars receiver can make a fantasy difference. This year it may just be Chark. Also on the wire could be Dede Westbrook - who has played in 73% of offensive snaps or higher in each of the last five games.

Reactive

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB - Geronimo Allison was recently placed on IR for a groin injury, which is good news for both Valdes-Scantling and Randall Cobb. Cobb is more of a short-intermediate route receiver, while Valdes-Scantling can stretch the field with a higher chance for long scores and higher yards per catch numbers. After Adams, it's Valdes-Scantling who has the most value on the Packers moving forward this season. He may still be available on your waiver wire.

Proactive & Reactive

Keke Coutee, HOU - Coutee is nursing a hamstring injury that has kept him from returning to action. Houston is on bye this week and it's possible that he could miss another game. When he does return, he figures to be a key piece to a growing Texans receiving corps that includes DeAndre Hopkins, Demaryius Thomas and now Coutee, who should thrive in the slot role. When healthy Coutee has the potential to be a sizeable addition to an offense on the rise.

Proactive

Danny Amendola, MIA - The injury to Albert Wilson means Amendola will see more action as the Dolphins primary possession receiver. He has 20 targets in the last three games with 16 catches and a score in that span. He's a flex start at best, but there may be some lightning in the cloud going forward with an emphasis on favorable matchups.

TIGHT END

Proactive

Hunter Henry, LAC - The last time Henry played, the Chargers were still in San Diego. No, not really, but it feels like it. There's a slight chance that he could return this season after suffering a torn ACL back in May. The time range for recovery is getting closer. He could see action later in the season, which would be prime for fantasy the playoffs. Consider him an option for your roster bench if he's available on the waiver wire in your league. If you're desperate for help at tight end, perhaps Henry could help.

Proactive

Hayden Hurst, BAL - The Ravens first-round pick has come along slowly in the first half of the season, largely in part to a foot injury, but that could increase in the second half. Since Week 6, Hurst's snap count percentage has increased and he has three catches in the last two games with one score. His stock is rising and the Ravens have one of the best schedules against the pass in the second half of the season.

Proactive

Jonnu Smith, TEN - Like Hurst, Smith is coming along slowly, but there is a reason for optimism. In Smith's case, the injury to Delanie Walker gives him a chance to make a difference as the primary receiving tight end for the Titans. There is some competition with Luke Stocker, but Smith has dominated snaps and is the likely beneficiary of an increased role in the offense in the second half of the season. Smith has four catches in the last two games with one score.

Reactive

Chris Herndon, NYJ - Herndon has 9 catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 13 targets over the last three games. He has been a spark for the last three weeks, so he may not be available on the waiver wire in your league, but he appears to be someone who can make a fantasy difference going forward. He has established a good rapport with Sam Darnold and the confidence on both sides is increasing each game.

Good luck this week and go make those moves that will get you the trophy!

Questions, suggestions, and comments are always welcome to haseley@footballguys.com