One way in which things are actually looking up in the Fantasy Football landscape is on the injury front. At the risk of upsetting the Fantasy Gods, I'll point out that we've mostly managed to avoid significant injuries over the past couple of weeks, and some of the most significant injuries of the past few weeks are starting to turn around.
I wrote yesterday about David Montgomery and James Conner's expected returns from their multi-week absences this week, and Tuesday saw the return of Khalil Herbert to full practice as the Bears get set for Thursday's game against the Panthers. That likely means we'll see Herbert back, though likely to a three-way split in Chicago's backfield with D'Onta Foreman and Roschon Johnson, making it tough to trust any of the three in what would otherwise be a great matchup. That's tough, but still, it's nice to have a skilled player like Herbert back.
Justin Fields' status for Thursday is a bit more up in the air as he continues to be limited by a thumb injury, but we should know one way or the other by tomorrow afternoon. And Kyler Murray's return looks all but official, as he was activated from the PUP list Tuesday, a good sign.
And, don't look now, but Aaron Rodgers is starting to put a soft timetable on his return from an Achilles injury, telling his buddy Pat McAfee Tuesday that he's "a few fortnights" away. It was a classic, vague, saying-something-while-saying-nothing answer from Rodgers, but it adds to the expectation that the Jets offense could, potentially, maybe, see a boost from the future Hall of Famer before the end of the season.
So, hey, good news almost all the way around. That's nice to hear -- see, I can be positive, too!
In the rest of today's newsletter, we've got Heath Cummings' previews for every position for Week 10, along with my favorite buy-low and sell-high candidates in trades. Let's get to it:
My Week 10 Rankings:| | |
As always, before you make any trades,. Here are some buys and sells to help get the conversation started:
Three to buy-low
Yep, I'm here again. I called Pollard a buy-low candidate last week, and he proceeded to put up just 63 yards against a tough Eagles defense. That's an easier one to explain away than most, except that the Eagles defense hasn't actually been as dominant as you might think this season, and Pollard hasn't really looked any better even in easier matchups. He hasn't had more than 53 rushing yards in a game since Week 3, and has just one game with more than 40 receiving yards all season, as the big play element has largely disappeared from his game; just 3.3% of Pollard's carries have gone for more than 15 yards this season, compared to 8.3% last season.
But I'm just going to keep betting on Pollard, who remains fourth in expected Fantasy points so far this season. He's getting the opportunities, and even an average back would presumably be doing better than he is right now; I'm willing to bet on Pollard being at least an average back moving forward. If he is, he's going to be a lot better moving forward than he has been. It helps that the schedule is about to get a lot easier, with the Giants, Panthers, and Commanders over the next three weeks. He's going to get rolling here – and I'll point out that Pollard lost a touchdown last week on what seemed to be a kind of iffy illegal formation penalty. I'm not paying full price for Pollard's draft value, but I do still think he would be a second-round pick if we were re-drafting right now.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams
In his first two games, we saw Kupp look exactly like what he's been since the start of 2021: The best player in Fantasy Football. Then, he had a bad game in Week 7 with Matthew Stafford healthy, had a bad game in Week 8 with Stafford playing half the game, and then a bad game with Stafford out in Week 9. Which is to say, he's had one bad game where there aren't obvious extenuating circumstances to explain his struggles.
The Rams added Carson Wentz Tuesday, but they also waived the other two quarterbacks on the roster, which I'm actually taking as a sign of confidence about Stafford's chances of playing coming back from this week's bye. Wentz is, presumably, an upgrade at the backup QB spot, which raises the floor for the whole offense, but would they really roll into Week 11 with Wentz and no other backup quarterback on the roster? I'm guessing Stafford will be ready to go in Week 11, and if not, Wentz should present an upgrade over what Brett Rypien gave them. Better days are ahead for both Kupp and Nacua and if you're positioned well for a playoff run, I'd love to buy both this week.
Trey McBride, TE, Cardinals
I think we can just give McBride a mulligan for last week, playing with a clearly overwhelmed Clayton Tune. I'm not sure Kyler Murray is just going to step on the field for the first time since tearing his ACL 11 months ago and play like an All-Pro, but I don't see why he can't give the Cardinals at least what Joshua Dobbs was. We only saw McBride play one game with Dobbs after Zach Ertz' injury, and he was targeted 14 times, catching 10 of them for 95 yards and a touchdown. And, obviously, the ceiling for the offense should be higher if Murray can get up to speed quickly, with McBride potentially set to be the No. 2 option in the passing game. I've got McBride as a top-10 TE for this week, and he might just be a top-10 guy the rest of the way. Coming off an awful game, you might be able to buy him for basically nothing in trade.
One to buy-high
Higgins is certainly moving in the right direction, with 11.9 PPR points on five catches in Week 8 followed by 19 on eight catches in Week 9. I'm pretty sure he's just back, and so is this Bengals offense. Higgins averaged 15.6 PPR points last season when you take out the two games where he didn't have a target while barely playing due to injuries, and that's pretty much my expectation for him moving forward, making him a fringe WR1 … but there's a path to even more upside than that, especially in the short term.
Ja'Marr Chase played through a back injury in Sunday's game, but there were some ominous quotes about that injury when he spoke to the media Monday, most notably when he said, "I'm just going to support my teammates, man," Chase said on Monday. "Let those guys do what they got to do. The only thing I can do is get healthy for the team and try my best." That doesn't necessarily mean Chase isn't going to play this week, but it sounds like there's at least a chance of that, which could put Higgins in line for a gigantic role as Joe Burrow's No. 1 target. If it doesn't happen, I still think Higgins is a must-start WR moving forward; if Chase does miss any time, however, that could nudge him toward top-five upside.
Three to sell-high
Jahan Dotson, WR, Commanders
I'm not sure how much people are buying into Dotson's good stretch here, but I'm still very much viewing this as an opportunity to sell him if I can. Dotson has been terrific the past few weeks, catching 12 passes for 177 yards and a couple of scores, nearly doubling his production from the first seven games of the season. But some context is worth keeping in mind here, as as that has come with Sam Howell attempting 97 passes over the past two games – giving Dotson a pretty middling 18.6% target share even during his best stretch of the season by far.
Over the past two weeks, only two players have run more routes than Dotson, one of them being his teammate, Terry McLaurin. When you zoom out to a per-route rate, you see that Dotson still just isn't doing much to demand targets – his 20% target per route run rate is 31st among all players in that span. If the Commanders keep dropping back to pass 50 times per game, it might be enough to keep Dotson in the starting-caliber tier, but I'd rather take the opportunity to try to move Dotson for someone a bit more stable – could I get Nacua or Higgins for him? What about DeAndre Hopkins or Davante Adams? Any one of those might seem like a long shot, but it's worth putting a feeling out just in case.
Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens
Edwards is just running hot on touchdowns right now and really isn't doing anything else particularly impressive. Remember, from Weeks 3 through 6, he had just 23.1 PPR points across four games while totaling 47u rushing yards per game; over his past three, he's averaging a slightly better but still pretty underwhelming 65.3 rushing yards per game, but with 22.7 PPR points. A totally fluky 80-yard reception played a part in that, but the bigger thing is he has six rushing touchdowns in those three games, including two on five carries in Week 8. Even in a very good offense, this pace isn't at all sustainable, and there's some real downside risk here if rookie Keaton Mitchell's big performance last week opens up more opportunities for the most explosive back in this offense. Edwards will always have a decent role in this offense, but he's on an unsustainable touchdown heater, and that's always something to fade.
Tank Dell, WR, Texans
I'm struggling with this one because I really like Dell and have since the preseason. But I had people telling me he was a better Dynasty prospect than Puka Nacua this week, and that just says to me that there's probably a bit too much excitement around Dell coming off his huge Week 9 performance. I don't think Dell is just the No. 1 WR for the Texans moving forward, and I expect they'll continue to spread the ball around quite a bit, as C.J. Stroud has been all season. There will be more big games for Dell moving forward, but there will also be plenty of opportunities for Nico Collins, and even Noah Brown and Robert Woods, to put up numbers here. Dell remains a WR3 for me the rest of the way, but you might be able to get more than that coming off Week 9.
One to sell-low
Raheem Mostert, RB, Dolphins
Mostert is coming off a pretty solid game in Week 9, as he rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs, but there continue to be some pretty alarming signs here. He has just two catches over the past two games, as Jeff Wilson and Salvon Ahmed have taken on much of the receiving work for the Dolphins in recent weeks, and Mostert hasn't had more than 13 carries in a game since Week 6 – and only has two such games all season. The touchdowns have helped cover up for that over the past couple of weeks, but what does that look like when De'Von Achane is ready to play, which could happen when the Dolphins return from the bye in Week 11. Mostert could be left with a 10-carry role where his only chance at Fantasy relevance is a touchdown. He might already be there.
🔍Week 10 Position Previews
Every Tuesday, Heath Cummings previews each position, providing injury insights, key stats to know, the best waiver-wire adds, DFS targets, and more for, , , and . Here's a brief rundown of each position, along with some key details you need to know before you go read Heath's full breakdowns:
"As a rule, we don't list streaming options that are rostered in more than 65% of leagues. So you will not see Russell Wilson listed as one of my favorite streamers for Week 10 because he's rostered in 67% of leagues. Still, if you're in a league where Wilson is available and you're missing Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, or Tua Tagovailoa there is a good chance Wilson is your best bet.
For the season Wilson is tied with Dak Prescott as QB12 on the season. Of the quarterbacks who have outscored him, the three mentioned above are on bye, Kirk Cousins is out for the year, Will Levis has only played two games, and Justin Fields is still questionable as of Tuesday afternoon. In other words, amongst the QBs who have started at least three games and are definitely playing this week, Wilson is tied for QB5."
- On a bye: Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa and Matthew Stafford.
- Injuries: Jalen Hurts (knee), Matthew Stafford (thumb), Justin Fields (thumb), Ryan Tannehill (ankle), Daniel Jones (knee), Tyrod Taylor (ribs), Jaren Hall (concussion) and Kyler Murray (knee).
- Number to know: 41 -- Joshua Dobbs has 41 or more rushing yards in six of nine starts, including 66 yards on the ground last week. Even with his mediocre passing numbers, that makes him a borderline starter.
- Matchup that matters: Lamar Jackson vs. CLE (2nd vs. QB)
- Waiver add/streamer: Joshua Dobbs, Vikings: "Dobbs already has four games this season with at least 24 Fantasy points, which is tied for third-most behind only Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts. He has a difficult matchup against the Saints but they have allowed five different quarterbacks to rush for more than 30 yards and Tyson Bagent ran for 70 against them last week. I like Dobbs as a top-15 QB rest of season, especially if he gets Justin Jefferson back soon."
- Stash: Will Levis, Titans: "Levis has been named the starter moving forward by Head Coach Mike Vrabel so he should be rostered in the majority of leagues as we wait to see whether his Week 8 or Week 9 performance was more indicative of what is to come."
"We're expecting David Montgomery will return in Week 10 and we're ranking both him and Jahmyr Gibbs as starters against the Chargers. That's not because of how bad the Chargers' run defense has been (they're actually much improved), it's because of how heavily the Lions have leaned on their running backs.
Detroit is averaging 30.5 rush attempts per game which ranks fourth in the NFL behind only the Ravens, Eagles, and Browns. Of course, Jared Goff doesn't run near as often as Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, or Deshaun Watson. The Lions are also one of only nine teams that has more rushing touchdowns than games played and their 17% running target share ranks right around league average.
It's not hard to see why the Lions project so well for running back usage. What is more difficult is projecting the share for Montgomery and Gibbs. Week 2 is the only week this season that they both played more than 40% of the snaps. In that game Montgomery saw 17 touches and totaled 74 yards and 14.4 PPR Fantasy points while Gibbs saw 14 touches for 56 yards and 12.6 PPR Fantasy points. Of course, that was before Gibbs exploded in Week 8 without Montgomery."
- On a bye: Raheem Mostert, De'Von Achane, Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon, D'Andre Swift, Kenneth Gainwell, Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman.
- Injuries: David Montgomery (ribs), Kyren Williams (ankle), De'Von Achane (knee), James Conner (knee), Khalil Herbert (ankle), Dameon Pierce (ankle), Emari Demercado (toe), Cam Akers (Achilles), Kendre Miller (ankle), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (illness) and Damien Harris (neck).
- Number to know: 74% -- Jonathan Taylor played a season-high 74% of the snaps in Week 9. He's a top-five running back rest of season.
- Matchup that matters: Gus Edwards vs. CLE (4th vs. RB)
- Waiver add: Keaton Mitchell, Ravens: "Mitchell is in a committee and facing a great defense in Week 10, so he hasn't jumped into must-start territory, but he flashed enough upside in Week 9 to instantly be a must-roster. He averaged 6.9 yards per touch at East Carolina and a handful of running backs have averaged better than five yards per carry next to Lamar Jackson. Mitchell has the upside of a De'Von Achane and you cannot leave that on the waiver wire."
- Stash: Ty Chandler, Vikings: "With the injury to Cam Akers, Chandler should get another crack at the RB2 role in Minnesota. Alexander Mattison has struggled with both inefficiency and fumbles, which makes him one of the more likely backs to get benched for something other than an injury. Chandler would likely be the beneficiary if that happens."
"We've dealt with more than our fair share of quarterback injuries this season and last week they really impacted the wide receivers in a negative way. Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and Jordan Addison all struggled with backup QBs. Well, Marquise Brown has been playing with a backup all season and he currently ranks as WR34 per game. With Kyler Murray coming back in Week 10, we expect Brown to be much better moving forward.
Last year Brown played the first six weeks of the season with Murray, and without DeAndre Hopkins. In those six games Brown caught 43 passes for 485 yards and three touchdowns. He was WR5 for those first six weeks, sandwiched between Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase.
With Murray coming off a long layoff it's unfair to expect quite that much from Brown. I'm projecting him as a top-15 receiver this week and rest of season, which makes him an excellent buy if his Fantasy manager doesn't realize how much better things are about to get."
- On a bye: Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Rashee Rice, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
- Injuries: Justin Jefferson (hamstring), Ja'Marr Chase (back), Deebo Samuel (shoulder), Drake London (groin), Christian Watson (back), Josh Downs (knee), Josh Palmer (knee), K.J. Osborn (concussion), Curtis Samuel (toe), Zay Jones (knee), D.J. Chark (elbow), Michael Wilson (shoulder), Treylon Burks (concussion), Robert Woods (foot) and DeVante Parker (concussion).
- Number to know: 15% -- Amongst players with at least 40 targets this season, Gabe Davis' 15% targets per route run is the third worst, besting only Darius Slayton and Tyler Higbee.
- Matchup that matters: Amari Cooper @BAL (25th vs. RB)
- Waiver add: Demario Douglas, Patriots: "Douglas' 10.5 PPR Fantasy points were a slight disappointment in Week 9, but my outlook for him hasn't really changed. I still like his chances to be the WR1 for the Patriots rest of season and the expectation should be better production in the second half of the season for most rookie wide receivers."
- Stash: Rondale Moore, Cardinals: "I would like to stash Moore and see if his target share changes any with Kyler Murray back. Moore has three or more rush attempts in four of his last five games, so even a modest bump in target share could make him viable as a WR3. At the very least, expect Moore's career-low efficiency to get a boost in the second half when he's catching passes from Murray."
"We've seen the impact of backup QBs across the league and I got pretty concerned for T.J. Hockenson when Kirk Cousins went down. Those concerns are mostly gone now that Joshua Dobbs is not only a member of the Vikings but cemented his place as their starting quarterback with a stunning Week 9 victory. That's because Dobbs has been relentlessly targeting tight ends this season.
It started, this season at least, with Zach Ertz, who saw 10 targets in Week 1 and averaged 6.1 targets for the first seven games of the season. When Ertz went down, Dobbs promptly targeted Trey McBride 14 times in Week 8. Last week, in Dobbs' first game with the Vikings, Hockenson tied his season-high with 12 targets. All told, Dobbs has thrown 33.6% of his passes to tight ends this year, the second-highest mark in the league.
This isn't an entirely new thing. Last year, 29% of his passes with the Titans went to a tight end. That's three different teams across nearly 11 games, where Dobbs peppered the tight end with targets. We should expect that to continue for the rest of the season. Which means that if the Hockenson manager in your league is concerned about the quarterback downgrade, this might be a chance to acquire an elite tight end at a discount. I would try to do it before this week though, because Hockenson projects as my No. 1 tight end for Week 10."
- On a bye: Travis Kelce, Dallas Goedert, Tyler Higbee and Durham Smythe.
- Injuries: T.J. Hockenson (ribs), Dallas Goedert (forearm), Cole Kmet (knee), Darren Waller (hamstring), Pat Freiermuth (hamstring), Zach Ertz (quadriceps), Dawson Knox (wrist) and Greg Dulcich (hamstring).
- Number to know: 1.50 -- Kyle Pitts' yards per route run are all the way down to 1.50. That ranks 12th amongst tight ends with at least 40 targets.
- Matchup that matters: Cade Otton vs. TEN (31st vs. TE)
- Streamer: Logan Thomas, Commanders: "Thomas is coming off a disappointing game against New England, but he's easily the top streamer available in more than 35% of leagues. HIs 275 routes run ranks fourth at the position despite the fact he left Week 2 early and missed Week 3 entirely., he's a must-start tight end. Rest of season he may legitimately be a top-five tight end. He's the No. 1 priority at any position this week if you don't already have an elite tight end."