Update: Our Week 10 start em, sit em advice is posted, and this week’s post includes an opportunity for one MSF reader to win free NFL tickets. Make sure you check it out after you finish going through the waiver pickups.
There are no teams on bye in Week 10, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security.
The Texans, Colts, Saints, and Steelers are all on bye in Week 11, which means a lot of fantasy firepower will be sitting on benches during one of the final weekends of playoff positioning.
Don’t get caught snoozing; take this opportunity not just to improve your lineup for Week 10 but also to plan ahead for any lineup vacancies impending next week.
Andy is out this week, which means that I’m manning the ship for this week’s waiver wire advice and pickups. As always, every player listed here is owned in 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues.
Fantasy Football Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups: Quarterback
Matt Cassel, Kansas City (45%)
You never really know what you’re going to get with Matt Cassel. He will sometimes put up decent numbers in a game you don’t expect him too, and sometimes he’ll piss away good matchups with bad outings…like he just did in Week 9 against Miami.
Cassel’s Week 10 matchup against Denver should be a good one for he and the KC offense, and his Week 11 matchup against New England on Monday night definitely is based on the numbers. I’ll let you decide whether you trust Cassel enough to play him in either. (After what I saw this week, I’d have to be desperate to do so.)
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (36%)
I don’t particularly like Andy Dalton this week against Pittsburgh, for obvious reasons, and he has Baltimore the next week and then Pittsburgh again two weeks later, but it’s hard to ignore Dalton after a 3 TD, 0 INT game against Tennessee.
Also, know this: despite the four games remaining against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, Dalton and the Bengals face St. Louis and Arizona during weeks 15 and 16 – the fantasy playoffs for most leagues. That’s promising, and it could be worth stashing the young Dalton for.
Colt McCoy, Cleveland (35%)
McCoy and the Browns offense are nothing to get excited about, but even the worst offenses can sometimes put up serviceable fantasy numbers against equally poor defenses. With the Browns schedule to face St. Louis this week, McCoy could have some value if you’re desperate or in a two-QB league.
Carson Palmer, Oakland (28%)
Palmer and the Raiders face the Chargers on Thursday night. I hate having players play in Thursday night games, and Palmer still worries me considering this is like the equivalent of his third preseason game, but the Chargers can be thrown on, so Palmer is at least worth thinking about.
The young Ponder has already had one decent fantasy day against the Packers (219 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs in Week 7), and it’s safe to assume that he’s going to continue to improve. He won’t be in the friendly confines on his home dome this time around, but the Packers’ suspect pass D and the probability of Rodgers and Co putting up big points makes Ponder a not-terrible option.
Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville (4%)
I didn’t really want to list Gabbert here, but the fact that he’s available for almost everyone (I want to know what leagues he’s actually owned in!) and facing the Colts in Week 10 makes him at least worth mentioning. Understand that Gabbert is only an option if you’re desperate or in a three-QB league, but if he’s going to do anything productive this season it will be against the Colts.
Fantasy Football Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups: Running Back
Maurice Morris, Detroit (29%)
As long as Jahvid Best is out, Morris is going to have value because of the strength of the Detroit offense. With no clear line of sight on when Best might return, performances like Morris’ in Week 8 could because the norm: 65 total yards and a touchdown. In Week 7, Morris had 63 total yards but didn’t score. That seems about right; 65 or so yards and a TD every other week. That’s certainly worth owning, especially if you count on any of the backs who will be on by in Week 11.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for finally happened: Helu became the guy for Mike Shanahan and the Redskins. Though he was only able to muster 41 yards on the ground in a tough matchup against San Francisco, he did accumulate that yardage on just carries for a solid 4.1 yard average per carry.
Where Helu really did work was in the passing game, which is just putrid for the Redskins right now. Helu had a whopping 14 receptions for 105 yards because all John Beck could do most of the day was just dump it off. Helu won’t get receptions like that every week, but he clearly will be a factor out of the backfield, making him especially intriguing in PPR leagues, but valuable in all.
This is the gold star RB pickup of the week. I think he’ll be the ‘Skins main ball carrier from this day forward.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland (25%)
As I said with Colt McCoy, there isn’t much to like about Browns offense…except when they’re facing St. Louis’ defense. With Peyton Hillis’ name written in pen on the Browns’ shit list, and Montario Hardesty a constant injury risk, Ogbonnaya has stumbled into a great situation in terms of touches, and you might stumble into a decent flex option or filler player if you pounce now. Granted, “Silent G” as he’s been called, only had 41 total yards against the Texans, but he should have more running more against the room.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco (13%)
Hunter is not a guy you want to pick up with the intention of playing right now, but if you have an extra roster spot he’s a great guy to take a flyer on. Frank Gore has rushed for 100 yards in five straight games, both because he’s an excellent back and because the 49ers’ offensive line is very good. Gore also has a history of getting nicked up. If anything happens to him, the ball would be Hunter’s, and I think he’d be 85-90% of what Gore’s been.
Donald Brown, Indianapolis (5%)
Brown has apparently become the guy in Indianapolis. He is the only one of their RBs scoring TDs, and he had 16 carries in Week 9 as opposed to only 4 for Delone Carter. If you’re desperate, Brown will at least get touches each week.
Fantasy Football Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups: Wide Receiver
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco (48%)
Crabtree is featured in this column every week, and will continue to be featured until his ownership percentage jumps over 50%, which surely will happen this week. What more do you need us to say? I know his stats in Week 9 were underwhelming – 5 receptions, 51 yards – but he’s a great guy to at least have on your bench who is assured of 7-8 targets every week. Pick this guy up.
Mike Thomas, Jacksonville (46%)
The same theory that forced me to tell you that Blaine Gabbert is playing Indianapolis is at work here. Thomas is a good possession receiver stuck on a crappy offense. Against the crappy Colts, even Gabbert and Thomas should be able to make a few connections.
Torrey Smith, Baltimore (44%)
Mr. Hit or Miss could very well be a hit in Week 10 with the Seattle Seahawks on the schedule. Seattle is strong against the run, but not so strong against the pass. I think Joe Flacco will be airing out more than a few bombs in Smith’s direction throughout the course of this game.
Steve Breaston, Kansas City (35%)
Coming into Week 9, everyone was ready to anoint Jonathan Baldwin as the next great fantasy WR, and certainly Baldwin’s production would eclipse Steve Breaston’s, right? Well Baldwin proved why I’m always wary of rookie WRs (1 reception, 12 yards) and Breaston proved that he’s more than just a 5 catch, 50-yard guy (7 receptions, 115 yards). Granted, I would have played Baldwin over Breaston too last week for the upside, but this just goes to show that sometimes going with the “safe” pick over the “upside” one is the right decision.
Braylon Edwards, San Francisco (22%)
Braylon has been slow to get involved in the San Francisco offense, but I have a feeling he has an explosive game or two coming with five NFC West games left for the 49ers. Both of Braylon’s catches in Week 9 were nice catches, showing that he’s getting his sea legs under him after missing some time. There is some upside here.
Greg Little, Cleveland (18%)
Go back and review what I wrote about Colt McCoy and Chris Ogbonnaya if you’re wondering why I dare recommend Browns’ offensive players. Little has some value this week if you need a WR fill-in. His 2 receptions weren’t particularly encouraging in Week 9, but I’d still rather have him than Joshua Cribbs, even though the latter had the better day yesterday.
The Arizona Cardinals do not stop the pass very well, and the Philadelphia Eagles love to toss around with little abandon. Avant does not get near the attention that Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin get, but every now and then he busts out with a big performance. At a minimum, he’s usually good for at least 3-4 catches, which isn’t bad for a guy that is out there in 89% of leagues.
Laurent Robinson, Dallas (9%)
This is my gold star WR pickup of the week. Miles Austin got hurt, again, in Week 9, and Dez Bryant continues to be the most mercurial wideout in the NFL. Enter the steady Robinson, who continues to put up surprisingly good numbers as he earns the trust of Tony Romo.
He only caught 5 balls for 32 yards in Week 9, but one of them went for a TD. And in two of Robinson’s previous four games with the ‘Boys he totaled over 100 yards. There is a lot to like here.
Fantasy Football Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups: Tight End
Scott Chandler, Buffalo (36%)
If we know one thing about Chandler, it’s that he only has value in the weeks when he scores touchdowns; but good luck predicting when that will be. So I’ll put this one on you: if you think Chandler will score this week against Dallas, he’s a decent option; if not, he’s not. My best guess? Hell if I know.
Jake Ballard, New York Giants (31%)
Out of the all the tight ends discussed in this post, Ballard is the one I like the most long-term; but I don’t like him all that much against San Francisco’s great linebackers in Week 10. So tread carefully this week, but the potential remains there down the stretch.
Jared Cook, Tennessee (31%)
Cook’s huge breakout into a star hasn’t really happened, but he has been occasionally useful. He’s no sure thing, but you could do worse in Weeks 10 and 11 if you need someone.
Brent Celek, Philadelphia (26%)
Fantasy owners have been burned by Celek in the past, and he’ll probably never be consistent, but he does seem to have a larger role in the Eagles’ offense now. With Arizona on the schedule this week, the potential is there for a big day.
Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota (21%)
Shiancoe caught a TD from Christian Ponder in the Vikings’ last matchup against Green Bay. That makes him worth a look this week with Green Bay on the schedule again.
Benjamin Watson, Cleveland (20%)
The Browns are playing the Rams. You get the idea.
Streaming Defenses of the Week
Washington Redskins (25%)
Washington isn’t a very good team because of their woeful offense, but they do have a good defense. With Miami on the schedule in Week 10, it should be a good week to own and play the Redskins.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2%)
I was amazed just now to find out that the Jaguars’ D is the least-owned defense in fantasy. Why? This is a pretty good defense, certainly one that should be able to put up a strong fantasy day against Indianapolis in Week 10.
Feel free to ask roster-specific questions below, and make sure you’re following @FantasyMSF on Twitter. And stay tuned for the Start/Sit column tomorrow.