It is officially time to place the results of Week 9 in the rear view mirror and begin examining the Week 10 sleepers in fantasy football.
As always, this week’s sleepers were either drafted toward the latter half of your fantasy drafts, or spent time residing on your leagues’ waiver wires until this week. Either way, a combination of their ability, and their specific matchups, has propelled them into a position to enhance your scoring total should you decide to start them.
With that, here are the sleepers for Week 10:
While Smith has been exceptionally accurate (69%), he is a better QB for the 49ers than he is for fantasy owners. Because a considerable number of QBs are allotted more passing attempts every week, and therefore have a better opportunity to deliver fantasy points. 30 other signal callers have now thrown more passes this season, and 26 have produced more yardage. But this week, Smith will face a St. Louis pass defense that has plummeted from a respectable sixth to just 17th in the rankings, after being pillaged for 646 yards and seven TDs by Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in Weeks 7 and 8. While Smith will not be allowed to launch an all-out aerial assault, he should assemble sufficient numbers for anyone in need of a one week starter.
The high ankle sprains that have impacted Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson will enhance the roles of both Reece and Taiwan Jones in Oakland’s offense. But the coaching staff has been hesitant to trust Jones due to his propensity to fumble, and Reece is virtually a lock to capture a sizable percentage of RB touches. He is an exceptional talent, who has been utilized far more as a receiver this season. 26 of his 27 touches have been receptions, including the eight that he collected while producing 95 yards and a TD in Week 9. Reece is a much better athlete than one would usually expect of a 255 pound fullback, and he will now have a chance to generate yardage on the ground while continuing to provide Carson Palmer with a reliable and dangerous target. If you were one of the owners who secured him for your roster, he will deliver much needed fantasy points until McFadden or Goodson return.
Bell is a third-year back had never touched the ball prior to this season but has now done it 66 times, including a season high 16 in Week 9. In that game, he also produced 109 total yards, with 73 being generated on 13 carries. Plus, he accumulated over 30 receiving yards for the fifth time this year. Performing the role of receiving back in Detroit’s offense takes on added significance, since they are the NFL’s top ranked passing offense (307 YPG), and attempt more throws than any other team. Even though Bell remains the backup to Mikel Leshoure, he has been allotted double digit touches in two consecutive contests. The coaching staff has displayed sufficient confidence in him throughout the season, and you in turn can trust him as a flex to solve bye week or injury issues.
With Antonio Brown unlikely to perform this week due to a high ankle sprain, Sanders ascends into an expanded role just in time for a dream matchup. Kansas City currently ranks 30th in scoring defense, and is allowing 30 points per game. The Chiefs have also permitted 17 TDs through the air, which is a number that is exceeded by only two teams. Ben Roethlisberger is averaging 37 attempts per game this season, and it is reasonable to expect him to surpass that average this week. His current OC Todd Haley just might enjoy attacking the team that fired him as HC, with an aerial assault that they will be ill-equipped to neutralize. Roethlisberger should operate with extreme proficiency against the Chiefs, whether the team decides to throw vertically, or chooses to utilize a collection of shorter passes. And regardless of the approach that is ultimately embraced, Sanders will be the beneficiary of sufficient opportunities to deliver a productive performance.
Donald Jones vs. Patriots
While Ryan Fitzpatrick is hardly among the most trustworthy signal callers to rely on during most weeks of the season, he does possess enough weaponry to deliver respectable production if the matchup is favorable. That is certainly the case this week when the Bills travel to New England. The Patriots rank just 28th against the pass, while allowing 281 YPG and a whopping 17 TDs. Even though they have added Aqib Talib, it is unlikely that he can make a difference this early in his tenure with the team. All of which supplies Jones with an opportunity to build upon the success that he attained in Weeks 8-9. He collected 10 receptions, and amassed 112 yards and a TD during that span, and is a strong candidate to generate another successful outing for owners in need.
Myers has been entrenched within Oakland’s offensive strategy throughout the season. But until recently the vast majority of owners have refused to embrace him, and he has remained on most leagues’ waiver wires. However, in two of the past three games he has received double digit targets, including an NFL best 13 in Week 9. That enabled him to collect a career high eight receptions, and score the first two TDs of his career. He leads the Raiders with 39 receptions, and is one of Carson Palmer’s few trustworthy weapons. That will cement him as an integral part of the team’s offensive attack this week in Baltimore.
TE Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts
Allen began the regular season sharing touches with fellow rookie Coby Fleener, and was only targeted 18 times in the Colts first six contests. However, he has received 12 targets in the past two weeks, and has delivered his most productive games of the year. He established a new season high with 56 yards on four receptions in Week 8, then surpassed it with 75 yards on six catches in Week 9. Fleener will be out for this week’s matchup against the 25th ranked pass defense of Jacksonville, and Allen should remain highly effective.
Dolphins vs. Titans
For fantasy owners who have yet to capture a defense that they are confident in employing on a weekly basis, the Dolphins have several appealing matchups on their remaining schedule. That includes this week’s encounter with Tennessee. While the Dolphins have struggled to defend the pass, they have consistently defused opposing ground games this season, as their stellar 84 YPG is the NFL’s third best average against the run. They are rank 10th in generating sacks (23), and are sixth in scoring defense, permitting just 18.6 points per game. This week they will line up against a Tennessee offense that ranks just 24th in total offense, 22nd in scoring (20 PPG), and a mere 24th in rushing (99 YPG). The Titans also hand delivered four turnovers to the Bears in Week 9, and could be equally hospitable to the Dolphins in Miami.
Lions @ Vikings
Detroit’s seventh ranked defense returns to this section of the column, because they will matchup against a Minnesota offense that has regressed considerably in recent weeks. The Vikings are now only 22nd in total offense, even though Adrian Peterson has propelled them to the league’s fifth best rushing attack (145 YPG). Their issue is a passing game that has plunged to 30th, as Christian Ponder is not performing with the same effectiveness or confidence that he displayed earlier this season. In two of the past three games, he has failed to throw for 100 yards. Detroit’s eighth ranked pass defense will not make it easy for him to rebound this week, and it is even feasible that Ponder will struggle to surpass the feeble 111 yards that he managed against the Lions in Week 4.