When I see week 10, my fantasy brain queues on to the fact that the fantasy playoffs are looming. Many NFL players say that you see a team’s true potential based on their play in November, I say the same about your fantasy team. Each win is crucial in securing a playoff spot or even a playoff bye. Here’s your list of pinch pick-ups you can make to keep your season rolling.
The obvious choice: Jay Cutler, CHI
I know this is a skeptical choice, but at this point in the season most of the relevant quarterbacks have been scooped up. Cutler is coming back from injury and we all hope he is motivated to keep a QB job in the NFL. He’s playing the 29th ranked pass defense in Tampa Bay this week. What makes this the obvious choice? This game will most definitely post over 50 total points. Two terrible defenses face off against offenses that can score. Also, don’t be surprised if the Bears newly found running game opens up some more throwing windows for Cutler to try to hit. After a miserable beginning of the season, Cutler has been abandoned and is likely on your wire this week, as he is only owned in 9% of ESPN leagues and 2% of NFL leagues. Wow.
Brock Osweiler, HOU
This list is essentially turning into the disappointment list of the NFL season for quarterbacks; I know. But in fantasy when in doubt, play the match ups. Osweiler is an average quarterback this year, and this week he’s playing an average defense (16th) in Jacksonville. Amukamara and Ramsey on the outside have played well this season, but the Jags offense has been putrid. Houston’s defense on the other hand has been exceptional this year; 4th against the pass. The Jags don’t have a running game so that isn’t much of a factor. This will provide for extra opportunities for Osweiler to stack yardage and touchdowns if he can refrain from turnovers. If Lamar Miller gets going too, this offense is scary — especially with the potential of Will Fuller coming back this week. I think this will be a good game to watch and I think you can expect 15+ points from Brock this week.
Trevor Siemian, DEN
Trevor Siemian is going up against New Orleans this week, expect a shoot out. I think Brees will be somewhat stunted by this Denver defense, and the Raiders just showed the league exactly how to play against this Denver defense; running the football. That being said, I can still see 50+ points going up in this game and I don’t see Davante Booker doing all of that by himself on the ground. Much like Osweiler, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 15-20 point game this week from Siemian.
The stretch: Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ
The disappointment list continues. Fitzpatrick this year has been a huge disappointment; he a was a top 10 QB last year, but now runs the leagues worst offense in terms of giving points to opposing defenses in fantasy. Yes, worse than the Browns. But, he’s still capable of going off with that offense. Tough thing is, he’s playing the Rams. The Rams CB’s have been banged up recently and like I said, Fitzy can go off whenever. Consider this a last resort, but an option in 12+ team or 2 QB leagues.
The obvious choice: Dion Lewis, NE (James White, NE)
Dion Lewis was a full participant in practice this week and I foresee him being active against the Seahawks this week. Remember how crucial Shane Vereen was to beating the Seahawks in the Super Bowl? Against such a solid defense, you need as many mismatches as possible. That being said, if the Pats don’t activate Lewis from the PUP this week, James White is still available in a vast majority of leagues. I anticipate either one of these guys to be integral to the Patriots game plan this week; but the bonus to Dion Lewis is that he will be the guy moving forward at the satellite back position in New England.
Robert Kelley, WAS
I’d have Robert Kelley in the stretch position this week due to an unfavorable match up against the Vikings. The reason I have chose to leave him in limbo here is because he now seems to be the RB1 in Washington; and that makes him a must add in all fantasy leagues. It’s a rare thing to get a starting RB this late in the season. Temper all expectations for a big play this week, but he still warrants a start as the number one guy in Washington. A touchdown is all he will need to make it a worthwhile start for your fantasy team this week.
Paul Perkins, NYG
Ever since Tiki Barber the Giants have needed a go-to running back. Rashad Jennings has never really lived up to his potential and can’t seem to stay healthy. I’ve been saying all season it was a matter of time that Paul Perkins would take over this backfield. He’s a big guy who can run over defenders but is elusive enough to make people miss. Imagine that combo of a bruising back complimenting that passing game? Yeah, exactly. Give this guy a pick up. He’s playing Cincinnati this week and they haven’t been as dominant in stopping the run as they have been in years past. They’ve given up 15+ fantasy points to running backs in 6 of 8 games this year and he’s only owned in 32% of ESPN leagues and 6% of NFL leagues.
The stretch: James Starks, GB
Ty Montgomery has served well in the backfield the past few weeks. Well enough that they tossed Knile Davis to the curb after 2 weeks. But, you have to think Mike McCarthy wants a “traditional” running back in the backfield and allow them to move Montgomery into other positions for mismatches. Starks performed well in Lacy’s absence last year and I don’t see why McCarthy wouldn’t rely on him again to do the same. But, if McCarthy has enjoyed Montgomery in the backfield, Starks may see too few touches to warrant a start. I see him as a high-ceiling, low-floor type play this week against the Titans — if he plays. He’s a game time decision.
The obvious choice: Tyrell Williams, SD
Why is he on here you might ask? Well first off, this is “the obvious choice,” and that’s exactly what he is. But then you’re thinking “well, duh you should add him,” but the thing is — he’s only 41% owned in NFL leagues. What are you guys doing?! He’s the number one passing option in a San Diego offense that keeps performing due to the sheer greatness of Philip Rivers and emergence of Melvin Gordon. ESPN peeps, better job; but still not good enough. He’s owned in 70% of your leagues. Check if this guy is on your wire; and if he is, grab him.
J.J. Nelson, ARI
Michael Floyd has under performed as of late. He hasn’t had a 1,000 yard campaign since 2013 and he doesn’t seem likely to this season either. John and Jaron Brown are both one-trick ponies, and J.J. Nelson has emerged as Arizona’s #2 option. We all know how high-octane that offense can be and J.J. Nelson is absolutely worth a start this week against that putrid San Francisco defense. To put the quality of that defense into perspective for you, David Johnson is predicted to score 24 points against them this week. I have never seen a prediction like that before on any player that isn’t a quarterback. Start him this week, he could go off for you if you’re in need of a WR. He’s also worth owning down the line if he can produce in that offense that needs help through the air.
Rishard Matthews, TEN
Rishard Matthews likely won’t blow you away with a 20+ point week, but what I love about him right now is Mariota is looking his way often. He was targeted 10 times last week which was tied for 10th highest in the league. He has also scored 8+ fantasy points in 5 of his last 6 games with 5 touchdowns in his last 5 games (he’s tied for the league lead in TD’s). Those are worthy numbers for at least a spot start this week. If he can continue to produce at this rate he’s a worthy flex start against good match ups moving forward. This week’s match up against Green Bay is just that. They’re 23rd against the pass and if Green Bay can, and most likely will, run up the score on Tennessee this week, Matthews could be the beneficiary of quite a few fantasy points.
The stretch: Eli Rogers, PIT
There are so many weapons in this Pittsburgh offense. The trend this year, though is someone not named Antonio Brown needs to step up. A few weeks ago it was Sammie Coates and now it’s Eli Rogers. I don’t think the Steelers defense is good enough to stop the running game of the Cowboys this week, and I think this is another high scoring game. If it’s Rogers’ week to shine this week it could be a huge play. Consider him a deep sleeper in standard leagues or a bargain in daily leagues.
The obvious choice: Zach Miller, CHI
With Jay Cutler back at the helm, Zach Miller is a must add for anyone who needs TE help. Cutler has relied on Zach Miller in the past when at QB and that shouldn’t change now as he needs to cement himself as the QB of this team for the remainder of the season; and if he’s lucky, next year. Alshon Jeffrey isn’t a #1 option and really only excelled when Brandon Marshall was taking the opponents CB1. Cutler will look for Miller in the red zone and as we all know with fantasy TE that aren’t named Greg Olsen, Rob Gronkowski, or Jordan Reed; they’re pretty touchdown dependent. I love the match up this week against Tampa Bay where Miller may be in for a multi-touchdown day.
Lance Kendricks, LA
I would like Lance Kendricks to actually catch the ball in the end zone this week. He’s playing a Jets team who is 24th ranked against opposing TE’s and has a solid pass rush. Todd Bowles loves sending pressure and I can imagine that will cause plenty of check downs for Case Keenum. We may even get to see Goff this week and that could mean even more reliance on the trusty tight end position. If Kendricks can get into the end zone expect a 10+ point performance from him this week. Kendricks is only owned in 21% of ESPN leagues and 3% of NFL leagues.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU
I told you guys to pick him up weeks ago and here we are again. A trend every fantasy player needs to pick up on is that tight ends in offenses with struggling quarterbacks often heavily rely on their tight ends in 3rd-and-short and red zone scenarios. Fiedorowicz has gotten in the end zone 3 of his last 5 games and hasn’t had less than 35 yards in those 5 contests. Fiedorowicz has the potential to do just that this week against the Jaguars. Both team are in need of a win and I hope to see a good game this week from these teams.
The stretch: Jesse James
Big Ben Roethlisberger is back and we all know he loves his TE’s in the red zone. If you can’t grab one of the guys above, Jesse James is a huge hit-or-miss option this week. If this game against the Cowboys turns to be a shoot out, James could absolutely go off this week. Consider this the epitome of a high-ceiling, low-floor play. James has scored only 1 point in his last 3 games; not good. But, we all know how Heath Miller used to serve this offense and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him absolutely go off this week. Any given Sunday, right?
Defense / Special Teams:
The obvious choice: New York Jets
The Rams offense sucks. I’m so tempted to leave my justification at just that, but I will continue. The Jets defense line is dominant and the Rams offensive line has been close to useless. Gurley can’t run and Keenum can’t win games by himself. The Jets will stymie the running game and Keenum will give up the ball numerous times this game; I can assure you of that. Check if the Jets are available, as this match up is as good as any this week. I’ll also save you time and tell you don’t bother watching this game unless you enjoy watching heavily defensive sided games. This could be the ugliest game of the year.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams play the pick-happy New York Jets as seen above. Even without Janoris Jenkins in the secondary this season, Trumaine Johnson and Lamarcus Joiner have held up well. The Jets are tied for 10th in sacks allowed and this Rams defensive line is arguably better than the Jets’. Like I said about the Jets above, this is a terrible offense and I entirely expect this game to a defense bout; thus warranting a start from both teams. It’s likely one of these teams are available for you and if you’re streaming defenses or need a spot start, these are your best options.
The Jaguars are at home against Houston who have been entirely inconsistent all year long. The game plan against the Texans is to stop Lamar Miller and put as much pressure on Brock Osweiler as possible, because he can’t handle it thus far. I like the potential of this defense, even if they haven’t lived up to it just yet. If they can stop Lamar Miller, and Blake Bortles and the offense can put up enough points to ensure that this Houston offense has to throw the ball, I’m confident that Amukamara and Ramsey can cause fits and force turnovers.
The stretch: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chicago has been abysmal with Cutler at QB. While I expect this game to be a shootout, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the rusty Jay Cutler throws multiple interceptions. I expect this defense to try to shut down Jordan Howard and Co. and force Jay Cutler to beat them through the air. The kicker here is that Alshon is a big man and Grime and Hargraves are small CB’s so Cutler will have a viable option all day that he hasn’t been able to rely on all year. If Cutler does continue his streak of being garbage, the floor will be high enough to warrant a start this week from the Bucs.