Are we really already 10 weeks into the NFL season? That’s crazy. We seemingly wait and wait for it to get here, and then it flys by in an instant. Even crazier, is that even though we’re 10 weeks in and we think we have a good idea of what’s to come, by Week 17 we’ll look back at the Week 10 landscape and not even recognize it. That’s the nature of the game, and that’s why we love it.
That same chaos translates directly to fantasy. There are a lot of 3-6 teams out there right now in fantasyland that are gonna end up in the playoffs. Nobody will have seen it coming, especially not the 8-1 team at the top that has already written them off, but when the playoffs get here that’ll be the team nobody wants to face in the first round.
Because just like in reality, the hottest team, the one with momentum, is the most dangerous team… So how do you get hot and shock the world* (the 11 other people in your league*)? Well, you’ll need a little luck and… you gotta “pick ’em up!”. It all starts here. As always, all players are less than 50% owned in Yahoo! leagues…
The Running Backs:
Ronald Jones II, Bucs (42%) – Jones has been listed here a few times in anticipation of what finally happened this week. After turning 20 touches into 82 yards and a TD at Seattle on Sunday, Bruce Arians has finally anointed RoJo as the starter/lead back in Tampa. This is no surprise and should have happened weeks ago.
Jones has been productive in every game that he’s seen at least 15 touches, averaging 15ppg in those games. And while 15-20 touches is probably the ceiling for a RB in this pass-first offense, that’s plenty on a team that moves the ball and finds scoring opportunities the way Tampa Bay does. Meaning, goal-line touches will be there, and he’ll never see a loaded box due to the respect their passing attack commands.
Kalen Ballage, Dolphins (11%) – Last week Mark Walton was featured in this spot. Drake had just been shipped to Arizona, Walton had shown flashes, and the schedule was promising. Then he went out and had an underwhelming game against the Jets on Sunday and got suspended for 4 games for violating the league’s conduct and substance abuse policy on Monday. Perfect. Exactly what we should have expected. It is the Dolphins after all…
So let’s try this again. Hello, Kalen Ballage. I’ve mentioned Ballage here before, but it’s never been flattering. But hey, he’s a starting RB now with an open path to full time 3 down work. Maybe with some expanded touches, he finds a rhythm and proves right all of those Kalen Ballage truthers who would like you to forget they were once Kalen Ballage truthers. I don’t have much for you beyond that. No numbers cause they’re not gonna be pretty, you’ve just gotta bank on volume here for now.
Notable: I can’t feature a guy after only 7 touches, but JD McKissic’s (12%)performance was definitely notable. 72 total yards, 3 receptions, and a TD might have opened some eyes and opened the door for more touches going forward. That Detroit job is up for grabs and he could take it and run with it. He would likely be pretty good fantasy-wise if he does, due to his high-level receiving ability. Le’Veon Bell had his 2nd knee MRI of the season yesterday, and while we don’t have any word on the results as of right now, that situation just seems like a guy on a terrible team that might be ready to check out soon. That puts Ty Montgomery (3%) back on the radar as a speculative add in deeper leagues. One more on the bad knees speculation committee, Darrell Henderson Jr. (25%) was dropped by a lot of people during the Rams bye week. He out-touched Gurley in Week 8, and Gurley’s knees remain a concern in every game he plays.
The Wide Receivers:
Zach Pascal, Colts (22%) – Featured here last week, Pascal produced in a big way in Week 9 with TY Hilton sidelined. Despite his QB going down early in the game to a knee injury, Pascal put up a 5/76/1 day. Brian Hoyer stepped in admirably (how deep was that Colts QB room this summer?), and showed that Pascal will once again be a good option this week even if Jacoby misses the game.
This was Pascal’s 2nd big game in 3 weeks, and with Ty Hilton looking like he could be out for a few more weeks and Parris Campbell (who would have made this section if he had not been injured) fracturing his hand, Pascal could have a nice pretty nice run here. Teammate Chester Rogers (0%) could find some nice work during this favorable stretch, too.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins (37%) – We’re making progress, 37% + the boost this week, we might actually graduate DeVante out of this space (it’s about time). It’s unfortunate that it probably comes as that expense of another one of our favorites, his teammate Preston Williams, who had his season ended by a knee injury on Sunday. I’ve talked about both of these guys all season, and they just keep producing.
Williams is done now, but he had a monster game against the Jets, and Parker continued his string of solid lines with a 4/57/1 game. That’s Parker’s 5th straight double-digit PPR game, and 6 in 8 games on the season. His target share should only rise with the loss of Williams, which leaves him as the undisputed WR1 in that offense going forward. In deeper leagues, keep an eye on either Allen Hurns or Albert Wilson to step up and take on a relevant role as well.
Notable: Cole Beasley (29%) scored. Again. Hunter Renfrow (3%) had his 2nd straight nice game, following a 4/88/1 performance up with 6/54/1. While I’m not sold yet, as most of his production in that first game came on one 75 yard TD, the follow-up game says he’s somebody to keep an eye on. Alex Erickson (6%) is coming off 3 straight nice PPR games of his own before the Bengals bye week. We’ll have to see how he’s impacted by AJ Green’s return, but he’s averaged over 16ppg in his last 3 without even finding the endzone, and could have earned him some staying power. AJ Brown (19%) has seen 7+ targets or scored a TD in his last 3 games with Ryan Tannehill taking over.
The Tight Ends:
Noah Fant, Broncos (12%) – I’ve talked about the rookie and his talent and upside before, and it’s potentially starting to come to the surface. Fant has caught 8 of 12 targets for 141 yards and a score since Emmanuel Sanders’ departure to San Fransisco, and he was spectacular on his long, game-breaking TD catch against the Browns. With new QB Brandon Allen in for the foreseeable future, it could be a good thing for Fant as the rookies build chemistry together. The Broncos have a pretty generous schedule for TEs going forward as well.
Jacob Hollister, Seahawks (1%) – Although this one has a question mark with the coming addition of Josh Gordon to Russell Wilson’s arsenal, Hollister made some big plays in big moments while doing his best Will Dissly impression against Tampa. Like I said, Gordon is coming, and Tampa is soft against the TE, but he was on the field for 59 snaps compared to Luke Wilson’s 14 and saw 6 targets. If he can stay on the field that often, and catching the game-winning TD in overtime should help his cause, then I think he can find some solid value in an offense that continues to trend upon the wings of their MVP hopeful.
Chris Herndon, Jets (30%) – Finally. Finally, after weeks of listing him here in anticipation, weeks of stashing him on my bench, Chris Herndon is going to play in Week 10… We think* (hope*)… And while I joke, I think it’s all gonna be worth it. The Jets are not good, and Sam Darnold is looking for a life raft. He has a good connection with Robby Anderson, but Robby just isn’t a high volume guy that he can lean on. He’s a blow the top of guy that gets most of his production on big plays and deep balls. That’s where Herndon will come in. The Darnold/Herndon connection is real, and I expect Darnold to lean on it for all of his check down needs and more now that he’s back. Especially if Le’Veon ends up shelved, it’d add even more value. Regardless, a big chunk of those Demaryius Thomas and Jameson Crowder check-downs should get filtered to Herndon now, because he can actually do something with it once he gets the ball in his hands.
Notable: Irv Smith Jr. (2%) and Dallas Goedert (26%) have each seen 5 targets per game in their last 3 and 4 games respectively, and turned those into some very serviceable TE games. Due to their situations (Goedert timeshare with Ertz and Irv timeshare + run first Vikings offense) neither have very high ceilings right now, but they can get you by in a bye week, and as I’ve said all year, both guys are absolute studs when it comes to ability. I favored Smith over both Hockenson and Fant in this year’s draft class when comes to pass-catching. Mike Gesicki (5%) and Jack Doyle (26%) are 2 more guys coming off decent Week 9 performances that will be serviceable this week. As mentioned in the receiver section, both of their teams are dealing with losses at WR (Preston Williams/TY Hilton) and have some extra targets to spread around and face soft TE opponents (each other). Last but not least, don’t forget about the potential OJ Howard (35%) week that’s coming. I mentioned this last week, but he gets Arizona this week, and if a breakout game is ever coming this season, this is likely it right here. Add in that Cameron Brate could be out this week, and I like the play even more.
Good luck in Week 10.
- Michael Hogan, PSR/SouthtownUnscripted