We’re more than halfway through the season, Fam! That means 8 more weeks of genius tinkering. Of course, the most dedicated and passionate managers find zeal in exploring the concepts and happenings occurring under the radar. While some weeks your roster may allow for snoozing on sleepers, it’s always beneficial to keep tabs on emerging trends and players. This weekly column is for those who understand the satisfaction of digging deep.
All of the listed players are rostered in under 60 percent of Yahoo leagues (at time of writing) and/or are a significant value in our daily game. They’re not the obvious picks, and they’re not without their risks … but that’s what makes them so intriguing.
Last week was, well, not great. I had a feeling things might go sideways when DeVante Parker and Tua Tagovailoa popped up with setbacks. Still, I didn’t expect Jordan Love to throw up on himself or Derrick Gore to disappear. At least, Tyler Conklin (and his 7 targets) was streamable.
Let’s regroup and head into the double-digits, understanding that anything is possible.
On to Week 10!
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (36% rostered, $25)
Are Ben Roethlisberger and Teddy Bridgewater safer “sleeper” options? For sure. Does leading this piece with Trevor Lawrence turn my stomach? Absolutely.
Big Ben and Teddy B. could easily turn to the run, particularly given the talent in their respective backfields, the generous nature of the defenses they’re facing, and the anticipated game scripts.
Lawrence, on the other hand, is going to have to throw the ball.
The Colts’ run defense is one of the stingiest in the league, having allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to the position and just two rushing scores on the season. However, Indy remains gettable through the air. Ranked No. 26 in defensive pass DVOA, Indianapolis has given up an average of 251 passing yards per game over the team’s last four contests. Additionally, they’ve allowed top-six QB performances (Ryan Tannehill and Josh Johnson) in consecutive outings.
The process is sound. The issue is whether or not Jamal Agnew and Dan Arnold are enough (OK, fine … along with Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault) to keep Lawrence’s fantasy stock afloat. Despite the 27 interceptable passes, we’ve seen flashes from Lawrence. He’s top-15 in deep-ball completion percentage (40.7%) and money throws (14). Fantasy productivity doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be hearty. Assuming his ankle isn’t an issue, Lawrence could use the momentum coming off of last week’s upset and deliver solid QB2 numbers in Week 10.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Las Vegas Raiders ($16)
Kenyan Drake has posted top-15 fantasy numbers in each of his last three games. Between the coaching change and Josh Jacobs’ nagging injuries, Drake’s red-zone usage has helped pad his stats, recording 1.5 red-zone opportunities over his last four games. Additionally, the former Cardinal ran an impressive 21 routes and caught a season-high six catches for 70 receiving yards last Sunday at New York.
He figures to stay an integral part of the passing game in Week 10 when the Raiders host the Chiefs. Kansas City has given up 6.5 receptions and over 56 receiving yards to opposing running backs over the last four weeks. With a projected point total of 52.5, Monday night’s clash figures to be high-scoring. That sets up well for Drake, who can be flexed in PPR-friendly formats.
Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona Cardinals (12% rostered, $13)
James Conner was the king of the Cardinals backfield in Week 9 … but don’t sleep on Eno Benjamin.
The Arizona State product demonstrated his 87th percentile burst in relief of Chase Edmonds last Sunday. Carrying the ball 9 times and ripping off a 21-yard run to score, Benjamin earned a larger role moving forward.
Utilized as a receiver in college (77 catches over his last two seasons), the local kid projects to fill Edmonds’ role while the vet is sidelined (high-ankle sprain). Absorbing a snap share close to 53 percent and in a matchup that favors Arizona by 10, Benjamin sits squarely in flex contention. He figures to flirt with 15 total touches and is my RB39 for the week.
Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons (19% rostered, $17)
Atlanta at Dallas features the highest over/under of the week (54.5), per BetMGM. The Falcons are also 8.5-point underdogs, which implies a good amount of passing from Matt Ryan. Kyle Pitts has stepped up as the team’s No. 1 pass-catcher with Calvin Ridley absent. Defenses have keyed in on the rookie as a result, which has opened things up for the rest of the receiving corps (beyond Cordarrelle Patterson).
The Week 8 bagel is tilting for sure, but Gage resumed his steady-eddy ways in Week 9. Converting 7 of a team-high 8 targets, Gage finished inside of the top-24 fantasy producers at the position. Olamide Zaccheaus may have flashed with 2 TDs, but Gage remains the better bet as he is recording more snaps (40.3/ week since Wk7), running more routes (21.3/wk since Wk7), and drawing more looks. FF: 6-69-0
Bonus WR: Deonte Harris, New Orleans Saints (17% rostered, $17)
Undrafted out of Assumption (Massachusetts), Deonte Harris projected to be a return specialist at the next level. Over the last 2+ years in New Orleans, however, he’s emerged as an electric receiver and legit deep threat.
Since returning from a hamstring injury, Harris has been second in NO WR corps snaps, drawn at least 7 looks, and received three red zone opportunities over the past two weeks. He hasn’t been able to ROI on those chances for big-time gains, but he could do some fantasy damage at Tennessee. The Titans have given up the most fantasy points to opposing WRs and are top-12 in receptions over 20 yards allowed.
Gerald Everett, TE, Seattle Seahawks (20% rostered, $10)
Sorry, but I don’t consider Pat Freiermuth or Dan Arnold “sleepers” anymore. If you have one of those guys, definitely don’t mess with Gerald Everett. This is a Hail Mary play, for sure.
Coming off of a bye, and with Russell Wilson back, the former Ram is in a position to prove himself. In what could be a high-scoring affair — especially if Aaron Rodgers is active — Everett figures to be more involved. Before Wilson injured his finger, Everett was running an average of over 20 routes per game and managed two top-15 fantasy performances over the first three weeks of the season.
He’ll face off against a banged-up Packers defense that, over the last four weeks, has allowed an average of 5 catches for 52 yards to opposing TEs. Green Bay has additionally given up 4 scores to the position since September. If you’re worried about Rob Gronkowski or Dawson Knox, or if you’ve been streaming since the start of the season and bummed you can’t use C.J. Uzomah or Cole Kmet, Everett may be your backup dart.
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