We have four teams on byes in Week 10: The Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings. So expect heated competition on waivers as many look to stream replacements for bye-week players.
But not to worry. Each week I break down top waiver-wire targets to help your fantasy team navigate byes, injuries, suspensions, running-back committees and probably some relationship problems along the way.
I highlight players who are owned in fewer than 50% of ESPN fantasy leagues. I also recommend an auction price (in parentheses) for each player for leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget system (which I highly recommend, by the way). All recommendations are made based on a $100 FAAB budget.
It’s Cuffing Season
In life there are few absolute certainties: Death, taxes and fantasy football injuries. In this section, I highlight players to target on waivers when top players inevitably get hurt or suspended.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers ($20)
Geronimo Allison is reportedly expected to undergo surgery on a core muscle and could miss multiple weeks. Allison has already been dealing with an injured hamstring for the past several weeks, while Valdes-Scantling has established himself as Aaron Rodgers’ No. 2 receiving option behind Davante Adams.
Valdes-Scantling caught three passes for 101 yards on six targets against the Patriots and now has at least 100 receiving yards or a touchdown in four straight games.
With Allison out, Valdes-Scantling has fantasy WR2/WR3 upside for the second half of the season.
Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks ($15)
Chris Carson left this past week’s game with an injured thigh, and Davis filled in admirably, rushing for 62 yards and catching seven passes for another 45 yards on his way to 17.7 PPR points.
It’s unclear what Carson’s status will be for this week’s matchup against the Rams, but it’s notable that he was already battling a hip injury.
Meanwhile, Davis has been trending upward since Week 4 and flashed receiving upside in Week 9 on eight targets. Even while splitting time with Carson, Davis has posted PPR RB25 numbers since Week 4 and offers starting running back upside if Carson remains out.
Top Streaming Quarterback
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns ($2)
Mayfield is coming off one of his better games, completing 29-of-42 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns to one interception.
Since earning the starting job in Week 4, he’s averaged 261.2 passing yards per game while providing nifty rushing upside. Now he draws an excellent matchup against the Falcons, who are conceding the fifth-most passing yards (316.9), second-most touchdowns (2.25) and fifth-highest QB rating (102.4) to quarterbacks this season.
Top Streaming Tight End
Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts ($8)
I highlighted Doyle as a top waiver wire target last week, and I’m running it back to emphasize just how valuable he could be.
Doyle posted a 6-70-1 receiving line in Week 8 and out-snapped Eric Ebron 57 to 17 in that game. Doyle finished as TE7 in PPR last season and is still one of Andrew Luck’s favorite targets.
Between 2012 and 2016, Luck threw the fourth-most touchdowns to tight ends in the NFL. That trend has continued with Luck completing eight of his 23 passing touchdowns to either Ebron or Doyle this season.
Buy and Hold
The following players with season-long upside deserve immediate roster consideration.
Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Cleveland Browns ($14)
Following the firings of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, it seems the remaining coaching staff suddenly remembered that Johnson can ball.
While he only earned one rush attempt this past week, he drew nine receiving targets and caught all nine. He parlayed that receiving volume into 78 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs. While Johnson’s production is encouraging, he will still likely be game-flow dependent.
Thankfully he faces the Falcons this week, who have been one of the worst defenses in football and schematically funnel receiving production to running backs. That matchup makes Johnson a borderline RB2 candidate this week.
Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons ($13)
While backfield-mate Tevin Coleman carved up the Washington defense, Smith quietly provided yet another high-floor rushing game for the Falcons with 10 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Smith now has rushing touchdowns in four of his past five games, and the Falcons have proven their commitment to feature him in a 40-60 split with Coleman.
Smith is a reliable, high-floor streaming candidate each week due to his high red-zone usage.
Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears ($10)
The highly-touted rookie has started to make a greater impact in recent weeks, averaging 6.7 targets per game dating back to Week 7. His receiving yardage has improved in four consecutive matchups, and he has three touchdowns over his past six games.
Meanwhile, Allen Robinson (groin) and Taylor Gabriel (leg) have seen their production plateau and are questionable this week.
The Bears draw an advantageous matchup against the Lions, who rank 30th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA and 30th in pass defense DVOA.
Elijah McGuire, RB, New York Jets ($9)
McGuire returned from Injured Reserve this past week and immediately supplanted Trenton Cannon as the Jets’ No. 2 running back alongside Isaiah Crowell.
McGuire rushed for 30 yards and added three receptions for another 37 yards. Moreover, he actually out-snapped Crowell 36 to 23. McGuire offers upside as a streaming play for the rest of the season.
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The Watch List</h3
Every week, I highlight players who should be on your watch list — players to monitor who aren’t necessarily worth an add this week but who could develop into viable season-long options. Current ESPN ownership percentage for each player is in parentheses.
- Adam Humphries, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2.7%)
- Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets (12.6%)
- Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals (17.4%)
- David Moore, WR, Seattle Seahawks (16.8%)
- D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers (46.8%)
- Donte Moncrief, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (13.2%)
- Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (33.1%)
- Jeff Heuerman, TE, Denver Broncos (7.9%)
- Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans (19.7%)
- Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts (33.8%)
- Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions (16.5%)
- Tre’Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints (17.0%)
- Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (31.4%)
Pictured: Elijah McGuire
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports