Week 10 Sleepers

A look at the best under the radar plays for Week 10,

Quarterback

Joe Flacco (vs CLE) **Thursday** - Flacco has been reliably disappointing this year - except when facing the Browns. He had a 302-yard, two score performance against them in Week 2, and that’s who the schedule has on slate this week. The Ravens will be at home on a short week of rest for the already thin Browns defense. Steve Smith is getting healthier and Breshad Perriman is further removed from his offseason knee issue than he was in the Week 2 matchup. Flacco is a high floor, high ceiling streaming quarterback play this week.

Jay Cutler (at TB) - Cutler has done nothing of note in fantasy this year, but the only games he has started and finished were against the Texans and Vikings defenses. This week’s opponent, Tampa Bay, has given up multiple pass scores to every opponent they have faced except Derek Anderson and Colin Kaepernick. Don’t worry about the Bears going balanced with a lot of Jordan Howard, four of the opponents to notch multiple passing scores had 34 or fewer attempts.

Carson Wentz (vs ATL) - Wentz stalled out in the red zone last week, but was effective hitting on big gains to the likes of Bryce Treggs and Trey Burton. Atlanta’s offense has been as hot as any in the league and should still be able to find weaknesses in the once vaunted Eagles defense. The Falcons have given up at least three passing scores in six of their nine games to date. In the other three, Philip Rivers threw for 371 yards, the Seahawks scored three times on the ground, and the Falcons faced rookie Paxton Lynch in his first start. Wentz is a fine option to turn to on the waiver wire to cover Andrew Luck, Derek Carr, or Matthew Stafford.

Running Back

Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon (vs CLE) **Thursday** - There’s little subtlety to some sleeper calls. Play everyone you can against the Browns (and 49ers, more on that later). The Browns did slow down Terrance West and Justin Forsett in the first matchup between these teams, but Cleveland had 20-2 lead early in that game and now deposed offensive coordinator Marc Trestman was calling the shots. The Browns have given up multiple running back scores in five of the six games since that meeting, and two different backs have scored in three of those games. The Ravens are at home and should control this game, which gives both West and Dixon the potential to have at least RB2 level games. If you have to pick one, go with West because Dixon still hasn’t proven he can stay on the field under a moderate NFL workload and West has been a 20+ carry workhorse twice already this season.

Chris Ivory (vs HOU) - The Jaguars are the latest team to undergo an offensive coordinator change in season and immediately (and successfully) take on a different offensive identity. Last week against the Chiefs, Ivory ran with speed, agility, and power to post a 107-yard game on 18 carries that would have been bigger without a fumble at the goal line. The Texans weakness on defense is against the run, and Brock Osweiler isn’t going to light up the scoreboard and force the Jaguars to abandon the run.

Darren Sproles (vs ATL) - Sproles has been acknowledged as the lead back for the Eagles just in time for a matchup against the Falcons that should give him a lot of targets and opportunity for big plays. Every team except Don Jackson/Knile Davis Packers has completed at least six passes to running backs against the Falcons this year. They’ve given up three running back receiving touchdowns. Sproles has a chance to put up a PPR RB1 week at home.

Andre Ellington (vs SF) - Ellington is facing a 49ers run defense that is on their way to an historically bad season. After shocking everyone to shut down Todd Gurley in Week 1, the 49ers have allowed a 100-yard rusher every week since then. The #2 running back has gotten at least 60 yards in each of the last three games and all three of them have also scored. Ellington is an explosive player who has more talent than a typical backup, so he might do even more with that opportunity than Mike Gillislee, Tim Hightower, and Devontae Booker did.

Rob Kelley (vs MIN) - The Vikings seem like a tough draw for any and every offensive player facing them, but two weeks ago Jordan Howard ran roughshod over them for 153 yards and a score, and the Lions feeble running game managed 96 yards on 24 carries for a reasonable four yards per carry. The reality is that the Vikings offense is low wattage and allowing teams to stay balanced and wear down their defense while the game is close. Kelley is the lead back and showed the ability to stay strong through a 21 carry workload against Cincinnati heading into the bye.


Wide Receiver

J.J. Nelson, John Brown (vs SF) - The 49ers aren’t just a money play for running backs. They have allowed multiple scores to wide receivers in each of the last five games. Carson Palmer’s vertical passing game could easily strike for long scores to one or both of Nelson and Brown. Nelson is probably the more enticing play with his momentum of a two-score game going into the bye, but Brown is underrated and can break open a fantasy week with a few well-thrown bombs from Palmer.

Sterling Shepard (vs CIN) - Victor Cruz is looking very unlikely to play this week, which greatly brightens Shepard’s outlook. Eli Manning is coming off of his best game of the year, including a 32-yard score to Shepard. The Bengals secondary gave up well over 200 yards to wide receivers in Week 8 the last time out and over 100 yards and at least a score to both members of the Sanders/Thomas duo in Cincinnati. The Giants running game is embarrassing, so look for Manning to test the Bengals secondary as often as he can, with Shepard drawing single coveraged.

Dontrelle Inman (vs MIA) - Travis Benjamin couldn’t finish the Week 9 matchup and hasn’t practiced yet this week, so it is setting up for another solid Dontrelle Inman week. The Dolphins secondary has given up at least 170 yards to opposing wide receivers in each of the last two weeks, and it looks like the Chargers will only have Tyrell Williams and Inman, and Inman is healthier. He has a lot of experience with Philip Rivers and remains a sleeper every week as long as he has a good-sized role in the offense.

Chris Conley (at CAR) - Conley hasn’t had his breakout game of 2016 yet, but that could change in Week 10. Conley has flashed his freakish athletic ability earlier this year against the Steelers, and with Jeremy Maclin likely sidelined against the Panthers, he’ll be in Alex Smith’s crosshairs against the defense that greatly encourages opposing quarterbacks to test their young secondary instead of probing their stiff front seven with a heavy dose of running plays. Opposing wide receivers have scored six times in the last three games against the Panthers, so Conley’s ceiling is enhanced as long as Alex Smith gets some boldness in his passing mentality this week.

Kenny Britt, Brian Quick (at NYJ) - Todd Gurley might be limited or out this week, and the Rams had been having trouble committed to the run anyway. It’s going to be a pass-heavy week against the Jets, whose run defense is among the best in the league. Their secondary can be prone to breakdowns, which means that Quick and Britt will have the chance to post big plays against a defense that has allowed huge games to the likes of Marquise Goodwin and Sammie Coates Jr.

Tight End

Zach Miller (at TB) - The Buccaneers are vulnerable in their secondary as Matt Waldman detailed here, which sets up Zach Miller for a big game this week. Tampa should be cheating to take about blunt force trauma object Jordan Howard, which will likely leave the middle of the field open for Miller. He had great chemistry with Brian Hoyer and emerged mid-season, and then Miller posted 7-88 in his first game with Cutler. He’s a streaming TE option this week.

Martellus Bennett (vs SEA) - Bennett has been forgotten since his three touchdown game, but with his ankle healed up a bit over the bye and the Seahawks up, he might take center stage again in prime time. The Seattle defense is more vulnerable to tight ends than wide receivers, and they haven’t faced anything like the Patriots tight ends this year. Levine Toilolo scored a long touchdown against them, and Lance Kendricks averaged over 15 yards a reception on four grabs against them. If they forget about a Patriot downfield, it’s probably going to be Bennett, who is more dangerous after the catch than Kendricks and he doesn’t need to be timed with a sundial like Toilolo

Lance Kendricks (vs NYJ) - Kendricks might have graduated from sleeper status with at least five catches in four of the last five games. He is facing a Jets defense that should incline the Rams to pass more this week. They have given up scores to Jesse James and Dominique Jones this year, and good tight ends like Travis Kelce and Jimmy Graham have lit them up for at least 6-89 this season. Kendricks falls somewhere in the middle, which should be good enough for tight end streamers this week.

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