Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 10
The end of the fantasy football regular season is quickly approaching which means every match becomes a must-win whether you’re 9-0 or 0-9. Okay, if you’re 0-9 your chances of a playoff berth are probably zero, but for everyone else, winning or losing could determine not only if you make the playoffs but also your draw come playoff time. This week, knowing who may over-perform is more essential than usual. With the Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles, and Rams taking this week off, managers find themselves without the services of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, Jaylen Waddle, Jalen Hurts, De’Andre Swift, A.J. Brown, Cooper Kupp, and Puka Nacua. That’s a lot of high-end fantasy assets to be missing. The chances of any of these sleepers replicating the exact production you have been getting from the names above aren’t great, but they could produce just enough to be the difference between a win and a loss. As always, it is important to stress that any of the names below could disappoint, and make sure you know your own team’s needs before inserting any of these players into your lineups. Don’t replace a player who has been coming through for you just because someone appears in this article. But if you are like many managers who are without players due to injury or being on bye, the names below may be people you should consider.
Kyler Murray (QB)
Arizona Cardinals vs. ATL (27% Start)
Since the beginning of the season managers everywhere have been wondering “Will he or won’t he” about Kyler Murray. Well, if head coach, Jonathan Gannon is to be believed it would appear that in week 10, he will. The Cardinals officially activated Murray from the reserve/PUP list on Tuesday and he isn’t listed on the week 10 injury report indicating that after nine weeks, Murray will finally make his 2023 debut. It’s difficult to trust someone in their first week back after such a long absence, but after observing the Clayton Tune Experiment there is no way for things to be worse with Murray under center. In 2022, Murray was a top-12 QB in all but one of his starts. Coming off an ACL injury, Murray’s rushing upside could be capped, but that would mean more throwing upside, and he gets a soft place to land in his first game action since week 14 of last season. The Atlanta Falcons are allowing the seventh most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The last two QBs they faced were Will Levis and Joshua Dobbs, and the Falcons made them look like Pro-Bowlers, allowing them to score 34.62 and 28.92 fantasy points respectively. It’s hard to imagine that if the Cardinals feel comfortable starting Murray, he can’t at least play at a similar level. For those who were smart enough to stash Murray earlier in the season, he could start paying dividends as early as week 10.
Joshua Dobbs (QB)
Minnesota Vikings vs. NO (32% Start)
It’s hard not to root for Joshua Dobbs. In one of the best Cinderella stories in recent memory, Dobbs has managed to revive his career. Less than a week after being traded by the Arizona Cardinals to the Minnesota Vikings, Dobbs was abruptly flung into action against the Atlanta Falcons when rookie Jaren Hall left the game with a concussion. All Dobbs had to do to win the hearts of fans everywhere was make a decent showing of it. Rust and mistakes would’ve been understandable. It was reported that Dobbs didn’t know the playbook or even the players’ names before taking the field on Sunday. Still, not only did he put up decent numbers, but surpassed all expectations throwing for 158 yards and two touchdowns while adding seven rush attempts for 66 yards and another score. Although, while he didn’t throw a single interception, he did fumble twice, but that didn’t matter in a game that saw Dobbs lead his team to victory in the most unlikely way. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said after the game that it was one of the most impressive performances from anyone he’s ever seen. This week he does get an opponent that should present a tougher challenge, but with his rushing upside Dobbs provides a nice floor and with all the quarterback injuries throughout the league you may have been streaming the position. If that’s the case Dobbs could be the answer. He is currently the QB10 and with better weapons than he had in Arizona (especially once Justin Jefferson returns) he could be a weekly starter moving forward.
Jaylen Warren (RB)
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. GB (34% Start)
It finally happened. Warren had the mini-breakout we all knew was in him. It wasn’t a week-winning performance, but Warren did manage to finish as a top-15 running back in half-PPR formats, rushing 11 times for 88 yards, and adding three receptions for another 25 yards. Najee Harris still had four more touches and scored the only rushing touchdown for the Steelers, but Warren’s much more efficient performance was an encouraging sign of things to come. Harris has maintained a higher snap share throughout the season, but just barely, with Warren seeing anywhere from 40-50% of snaps. If he continues to be more productive with his touches we could see Warren take on an even bigger workload in the second half of the season. Quarterback Kenny Pickett is still a major work in progress and incapable of supporting more than one fantasy-relevant receiver in any single game, making the run game and the role of the running backs in the passing game essential to the Steelers’ success. This week Warren and the Steelers will be facing a beatable Packers team that is ranked 22nd against the run, allowing over 23 fantasy points a game. Warren has enough talent and usage to warrant flex consideration, and if he is the Steelers running back that finds his way into the end zone this week he could end up giving you RB2 production.
Keaton Mitchell (RB)
Cleveland Browns vs. BAL (7% Start)
Looking at Mitchell’s week nine performance a few things stand out that concern me a little that we may have just seen his best performance of the season. First, the game was way out of hand when he entered the game. Secondly, even with that he only managed 18% of snaps compared to 63% for Justice Hill. Finally, he is a rookie who could be in a three-headed committee, making it impossible to predict which of the three will have the start-worthy performance from week to week. Still, what he did on the field can’t be overlooked. When he touched the ball, Mitchell looked like the most explosive Ravens running back, running for 138 yards and one touchdown on just nine carries, resulting in nearly 20 half-PPR fantasy points. While it’s true that a majority of those points came on just two plays, those two plays showed the type of upside Mitchell possesses. It’s possible that in a game that is likely to be much more competitive, Mitchell gets game scripted out of it, but it may be hard not to give him opportunities after what he did in week 9. The matchup is not an ideal one. The Browns are top-5 against opposing running backs, but this Ravens offense is still built around the run, and having a quarterback like Lamar Jackson who is a running threat in his own right, opens up lanes that could help Ravens running backs succeed where others have failed. Mitchell also showed that he may not need a lot of work to be productive. He’s a big play waiting to happen and if you’re struggling at the running back position this week Mitchell could be worth the risk.
Tyler Allgeier (RB)
Atlanta Falcons vs. ARI (21% Start)
You may not know it, but Allgeier has been quietly producing for his fantasy managers over the last few weeks with two double-digit half-PPR performances in the last three games, averaging over 15 touches a game. He has also out-produced Bijan Robinson twice in fantasy over that same span. Unfortunately, it’s likely he’s been doing this while on your bench. I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea what Arthur Smith is doing with this team. No one knows what Arthur Smith is doing with this team. He has a first-round, generational talent in Bijan Robinson and yet he refuses to make him Atlanta’s workhorse running back. It would make sense if Allgeier was lighting it up on the field, but he hasn’t been particularly efficient averaging 3.19 yards per carry compared to 5.01 for Robinson. Still, the why doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is no indication it is going to change anytime soon, and as long as Allgeier remains this involved, he will have fantasy value. This week Allgeier should once again be busy going up against a Cardinals defense that has surrendered the third most fantasy points per game to the running back position. Look for both running backs to be involved, but Allgeier has a great shot to once again end up as the more productive fantasy running back come Sunday.
Khalil Shakir (WR)
Buffalo Bills vs. DEN (10% Start)
Admittedly, this is a bit of a deep cut, but with the number of injuries we’ve seen this season and no fewer than five WR1s on bye, managers may be looking to the waiver wire to fill some gaps. Enter Shakir, possibly one of the best young wide receivers that no one has heard of…yet. The 2nd-year wideout has been moderately involved throughout the season, hauling in 18 of 19 targets for 224 yards and a touchdown, but his involvement has increased over the last two weeks. Prior to week 8, Shakir had seen under 40% of the snaps in every game, but in the last two weeks, he has been on the field for over 65% of snaps. That’s a significant increase. But it’s not just the rise in snap share that should make people take notice, he has also been targeted 10 times over the last two games after being targeted just nine times in the previous seven. The Bills clearly see something they like in the young receiver. As he continues to become more involved we should see his production increase. The Broncos are middle-of-the-pack against opposing wide receivers, but Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II should spend most of the contest locked in on Stefon Diggs, which should allow the other pass-catchers to find room to operate. The Broncos have allowed the most yards, the second-most points, and the fourth-most passing TDs in the NFL this season, so it would not surprise me if Shakir finds himself dancing in the end zone on Sunday.
Rashid Shaheed (WR)
New Orleans Saints vs. MIN (19% Start)
There’s no way around it, Shaheed has been a boom-or-bust wide receiver throughout his short career. In week 10, another boom week could be in store. Shaheed’s usage has been all over the place in 2023. While his snap share has been over 50% in all but two games, he has received four or fewer targets in five games this season and only has one game of more than seven targets. He also has three top-12 wide receiver performances and six outside the top-50. The difference for Shaheed between a top-12 performance and a top-50 one is whether or not he gets a big play. Shaheed is the type of player that can get you double-digit points on a single play and in a week with many consistent, high-floor wide receivers on bye, the upside Shaheed possesses could make him a worthy replacement. The Vikings are 24th against opposing wide receivers allowing nearly 38 fantasy points a game to the position. It’s possible that Shaheed once again once again lays an egg in a plus matchup like he did in week 9 against the Bears. Without an explosive play that will most certainly be the case. Still, with the Vikings’ defense focusing on stopping Alvin Kamara and Chris Olave, Shaheed could find himself busier than usual on Sunday and has a good shot of rewarding anyone who chooses to start him with a big play TD. Besides, if I keep suggesting him, eventually I’ll hit on one of his big weeks, right?
Tank Dell (WR)
Houston Texans vs. CIN (36% Start)
So far through nine weeks, Dell has been inconsistent, to say the least. He has three weeks within the top-20 at the position (two of which he was top-6) and four weeks outside the top-40, but after his week 9 performance I expect more consistency. In a week 9 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback C.J. Stroud went nuclear and every pass catcher benefitted as a result. It might seem like that should make it hard to gauge how things will be moving forward because Stroud’s performance seems like such a unique experience. Still, what was telling to me was that when Stroud was in trouble and needed to make a play he wasn’t looking for Nico Collins (the presumed WR1 for the Texans), he was looking for Tank Dell and Dalton Schultz. Dell caught six of 11 targets for 114 yards and two touchdowns (including the game-winner) and looked electric and impossible to cover while doing it. Not every game for Dell will be a 25+ point game, but since most managers got him off the waiver wire, that type of game isn’t needed for him to be a worthy starter on any roster. This week he faces a Bengals team that has been solid against wide receivers, but with how Stroud is playing and a non-existent run game, combined with how the Bengals offense is playing, I expect Stroud to keep airing it out and looking Dell’s way. He is a solid WR2 in a week that has a lot of WR1s on bye.
Hunter Henry (TE)
New England Patriots vs. IND (20% Start)
It’s taken several weeks, but it seems Henry is back on the fantasy radar. Through the first two weeks of the season, it looked like Henry might end up being a draft-day steal. He was a focal point of the Patriots’ offense, receiving 13 targets, and finishing as the TE1 and TE2. Between weeks 3-8, though, Henry began to fade into obscurity with only one finish inside the top-20 and receiving 5 or fewer targets in every game. In week 9, he was once again a top-10 TE, securing four of six targets for 39 yards and a score. While the targets and production were nice to see, it was his playing time that has me optimistic about Week 10. Henry played 88% of the snaps in Week 9. This was the first time he’d been on the field for more than 65% of the snaps since week 5, and he looks to be a primary red zone option for the Patriots going forward. The Pats will continue to be without Kendrick Bourne for the rest of the year and DeVante Parker’s status for Week 10 is still uncertain while he recovers from a concussion. But it’s the matchup that makes Henry really appealing. The Patriots will face the Indianapolis Colts in Frankfurt, Germany this week. Indy has been incredibly friendly to opposing tight ends this season giving up the fifth-most fantasy points per game to the position. Quarterback Mac Jones should look Henry’s way often in this one and if he again finds the end zone you’ll be glad you started him.
Taysom Hill (TE)
New Orleans Saints vs. MIN (57% Start)
This one could end up looking like a poor suggestion a week from now. Teammate Juwan Johnson continued to get more involved in his second game back from injury with a 75% snap share, compared to 46% for Taysom Hill. Johnson also saw the same number of targets as Hill and found the end zone. The difference between the two is that Hill is a human cheat code who does a majority of his damage on the ground. In week 9, Hill saw 15 touches (including 11 rushing attempts) and scored a TD en route to 20.62 half-PPR points and a TE4 finish. If week 9 was an outlier I’d think nothing of it, but Hill is currently the TE6 on the season, and over the last four weeks has finished no worse than TE9, with a TE1 finish in week 8. It’s possible that as Johnson, after reclaiming his position as the actual starting TE for the Saints, continues to be more involved, Hill’s opportunities and production could go down, but they’re such different players and Hill scores his points in such unique ways that I believe they can both find success in this offense. In a week 10 contest against the Minnesota Vikings, Hill could again be the more successful tight end. The Vikings have been decent against opposing tight ends ranking middle-of-the-pack against the position. But Hill isn’t your typical tight end and has looked matchup-proof over the last four weeks. The range of outcomes for Hill is wide, but he also may have more upside than most tight ends this week.
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