Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 10: Martellus Bennett, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jacquizz Rodgers

With the fantasy football playoffs approaching, I know team owners are reading this in one of two situations:

  1. It’s still not clear whether you’re in the playoffs or not, so you need big-time help now
  2. A playoff spot is lock up, or nearly locked up, so you need some longer-term sleeper advice

Well, I’ve got some advice for both situations. Here’s my fantasy football sleepers for Week 10.

Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 10

Martellus Bennett

Putting a tight end first, huh? I know it’s not what you normally see, but I figure that more teams than not play without a stable week-to-week tight end, so why not start off with a guy unlikely to be in too many of your starting lineups this week.

Bennett has had an interesting year, as he started off with touchdowns in the Giants’ first three ball games but hasn’t really done much at all since then outside of his 5-catch, 79 yard performance in Week 7 against Washington.

I think Bennett will have a game this week similar to that, including some red-zone targets like we saw back in September.

Bennett has proven he can go up & get it in the end zone over just about anybody. Credit: ESPN

 

With Hakeem Nicks listed as questionable for the game and thought of by most as a long-shot to be a big part of the game plan even if he does play, Bennett’s Week 10 stock rises automatically.

With Nicks out or being a minor factor, more attention from the opposition shifts to number 1 target Victor Cruz, so QB Eli Manning will likely have to look elsewhere more times than not. Sure, the likes of Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden will get a handful of targets, but the Bengals are 10th in standard ESPN leagues against WRs, while they’re a much worse, 27th, against TE’s.

Even before you see those numbers you know that Bennett is a better red-zone target than Hixon or Barden, but now you can really start to see why I’m so high on the ex-Cowboy in Week 10.

While Bennett is still ranked as the number 8 TE in standard ESPN leagues, he’s available in over 1/3 of ESPN’s leagues and only started in 27.3% of them. I definitely see at least 6 or 7 targets going Bennett’s way, and given how much of a freak of nature he is, I’d expect at least 4 receptions from him Sunday afternoon – or in other words, some of what we’ve seen in 5 of the 9 games he’s appeared in.

The Giants are fresh off of a loss and haven’t looked great on a couple occasions of late, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get back to the basics: pounding the ball on the ground, getting it to their tight end Bennett, and letting the wide receivers get open downfield after Eli builds that foundation.

Emmanuel Sanders

With Pittsburgh Steelers’ number 2 wideout Antonio Brown already ruled out for their Monday night contest at home against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs, Emmanuel Sanders will move into the starting lineup opposite Mike Wallace, and Jericho Cotchery will be the team’s number 3. But the guy I like out of those two is indeed Sanders.

Last week, while Brown was out for a good portion of the game against the Giants, Cotchery had 4 receptions for 50 yards while Sanders only hauled in 2 passes for 20 yards, though one of ‘em did go for a score.

I like Sanders to walk away with more fantasy points again in Week 10 because he’s a very similar receiver to Antonio Brown, which makes it a very smooth transition for QB Ben Roethlisberger. Like Brown, Sanders is a quick, shifty guy who runs very precise routes and helps move the chains. Obviously Mike Wallace and Heath Miller are more likely to haul in TDs than Sanders, but don’t let that worry you too much.

Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs fired their then head coach, Todd Haley. Where’s Haley now? He’s back with the Steelers as their offensive coordinator. I expect Haley to try to take it to the Chiefs in this primetime Monday Night Football matchup in Pittsburgh every way he can … and Sanders will certainly be on the field for more plays than not, which is why I think at least 5 or 6 targets will go his way.

The best part is, he’s only owned in 3.2% of ESPN leagues … so go get him!

And just for good measure, Sanders has put up very consistent numbers even without the starting gig to this point (right).

Jacquizz Rodgers

In a return appearance to my sleepers’ list, we’ve got the Atlanta Falcons backup RB Jacquizz Rodgers, who faces the NFL-worst New Orleans Saints defense Sunday afternoon. Is picking a backup for this list a bit risky? Definitely. But nonetheless, I feel good about putting the ex-Oregon State Beaver on the list. Here’s why:

As I already mentioned, the Saints defense will be on the field against the Falcons. Although they have looked much worse than they did this past Monday against the Philadelphia Eagles, they still let up rushing yards at will to Andy Reid’s unit. So no matter how you slice it, there will be a lot of yards to be had for the Atlanta offense. I’d be surprised if they didn’t walk away from the game with 400 or even 450 total yards of offense.

While starting running back Michael Turner probably had his best all-around rushing performance of the season last week against Dallas (20 rushes, 102 yards, TD), I think his numbers will revert back to what we saw through their first 7 games of the year. After not carrying the ball more than 18 times in any of their first 6 games, Turner has run it 24 and 20 times the last two weeks … so I see that number closer to about 16 in week 10 at New Orleans in an attempt to make sure he’s fresh for the end of the year.

No matter how the other Falcons perform, Rodgers has found himself on the field plenty in 2012. Credit: Getty Images

But even with all of those carries going Turner’s way, Rodgers has gotten fantasy owners 8 and 5 points in ESPN standard leagues the past two weeks. Although the carries may not be consistent, he’ll probably have about a handful on Sunday and will continue to be on the field when the Falcons want to spread the offense out and have more of a pass catcher in the backfield than Turner.

When you pair all of that with how poor the Saints defense is, I see about 60-80 yards going Rodgers’ way in week 10, and who knows … maybe he can find the end zone.

Make sure to post your fantasy football questions in the ‘comments’  box below or tweet them to @zach_gropper!



About Zach Gropper

Zach Gropper is a sports broadcasting major at Indiana University in the beautiful town of Bloomington, IN. He is from Flossmoor, IL, a small Chicago suburb.
Zach was was the sports director for WHFH 88.5 FM Flossmoor his junior year of high school and Television Station Manager of Viking Television during his senior year.
He runs a White Sox blog at GrabSomeBench.com and also contributes and reports for AssemblyCall.com. Last summer, Zach interned for ESPN 1000 AM Chicago, working on programming for the Waddle and Silvy Show.
He is currently eager to get out into the professional world of sports media, wherever that may take him.

Speak Your Mind