Some weeks I just want to get right to the point, but Week 9 was too much fun.
If you play fantasy football (and you probably do if you’re reading this), things either went really well or really poorly for you this week. It was just one of those weeks.
Before I get to waiver adds, let’s take a look at some of the most absurd stories of Week 9:
—That Doug Martin guy is pretty good. Okay, he’s awesome. Martin rumbled his way to 272 total yards and four touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders. That’s almost as much offensive yardage as the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs totaled in Week 9—and more points than both teams scored combined.
—Chicago’s defense once again won a bunch of matchups in Fantasyland this week. Here’s a fun one, though—so did San Diego’s defense. Each unit scored more fantasy points in standard leagues than did Marshawn Lynch, Chris Johnson and Arian Foster.
—Eli Manning passed for 510 yards in Week 2. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9, Manning threw for 125 yards and no touchdowns. Perhaps that aging Steelers defense isn’t so bad after all…
—If you believe in the Redskins Rule, the Carolina Panthers won the election for Mitt Romney on Sunday. If you don’t, I hope you get out and vote.
—Andrew Luck should probably be in the running for the MVP award this season. His Indianapolis Colts are 5-3 after beating the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, and Luck was impressive. The rookie signal-caller didn’t do anything special in the win unless you count his 433 yards and two touchdowns. Then yes, he was extraordinary.
—Mikel Leshoure plays for the Detroit Lions, and he scored three rushing touchdowns in the first half on Sunday. Again, that was “Lions,” “three” and “rushing touchdowns.” Joique Bell tacked on another for good measure. Go get one of those backs.
—The good news for those of you who have been forced to start Mark Sanchez this season: He didn’t throw an interception this week. More good news: The Jets had a bye this week, so you probably started someone a whole lot better than Sanchez.
But enough of the jokes. Let’s get down to brass tacks.
The fantasy football season is more than half over, and by now you probably have a pretty good idea of what your team will look like heading into the playoffs. The hardest part is actually getting to the playoffs, and for that, you’ll need to be creative.
The completion of Week 11 will mark the end of bye weeks in the NFL. That means two more weeks of fill-ins and roster shuffling. For a list of players you should consider adding in Week 10 for your playoff push, read on.
Carson Palmer vs. Baltimore
Carson Palmer was impressive Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he also flashed shades of Carson Palmer.
Palmer threw for 414 yards and four touchdowns in Week 9, but also added three interceptions to his stat line, including one that cost Oakland the game. Still, his performance on Sunday was terrific for fantasy purposes, and you should consider adding him.
Palmer is still available in nearly half of all fantasy leagues and could make a terrific bye-week add for Week 10. The Baltimore Ravens are not the Ravens of old, due in large part to a number of critical injuries, and came into Week 9 ranked 20th in the NFL in passing defense. Palmer should have a useful game next week in Baltimore.
Russell Wilson vs. New York Jets
Russell Wilson posted a passer rating of 127.3 on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, but you don’t care about that. He threw three touchdowns in the first half, and that you should care about.
Wilson has been inconsistent this season, but he’s been efficient. Seattle’s offense has come around as of late. Excluding their Week 7 game against the 49ers, the Seahawks are averaging 26 points per game in the last month.
Seattle hosts the New York Jets in Week 10, and it should be a good game if you’re a Seahawks fan. New York has been solid against the pass this season, but are tied for 25th in the league in sacks. Expect Wilson to have plenty of time in the pocket to methodically pick apart the Jets.
Alex Smith vs. St. Louis
Alex Smith threw for 232 yards and three touchdowns on 18-of-19 passing in Week 8, and somehow he is still available in more than half of all fantasy leagues.
Smith won’t consistently put up big fantasy numbers (especially with a rough second-half schedule ahead), but he offers a lot of upside this week against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are ranked 22nd in the league in pass defense, and have allowed 238 yards per game to opposing passers this season.
If the Niners can keep Smith on his feet against a tough Rams defensive line, he can have a big game. It may not be pretty, but Smith could tack on a couple more touchdowns in a tough win over the Rams in Week 10.
Blaine Gabbert vs. Indianapolis
This may be the best possible time to pick up Blaine Gabbert.
The Jaguars were dreadful in their Week 9 loss to the Detroit Lions. Even with no running game and conservative play-calling, Gabbert managed a useful fantasy line. He threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns, most of which came in the second half.
Gabbert recorded his first career 300-yard passing game in Week 8, and is playing his best football right in the lead of a putrid offense. Gabbert is the offense, and he should have an opportunity to put up some quality fantasy numbers in Week 10 against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts have allowed just 222 passing yards per game this year, but that statistic is deceiving. Indianapolis had given up 14 passing touchdowns and has afforded opposing quarterbacks an average passer rating of 101.5.
Christian Ponder vs. Detroit
Christian Ponder has been wildly inconsistent from week to week, so I won’t be surprised if some of you voice your displeasure for this pick.
In the last four weeks, Ponder has thrown for 352 yards, 58 yards, 251 yards and 63 yards, respectively. He’s been all over the place, but he’s also getting his second look at the Detroit Lions this season in Week 10.
Adrian Peterson is playing as well as ever, and Ponder hasn’t been asked to do too much with the offense. Peterson will be tested in Week 10 against a Lions defense that allowed 64 rushing yards to the Jaguars last week. Ponder may have to air it out more against Detroit—a team that has been without its two starting safeties due to injury.
Joique Bell vs. Minnesota
Joique Bell is still barely owned, and that’s a problem. He needs to be on your roster.
Mikel Leshoure is the starter in Detroit, but Bell seems to be the closer. He’s gotten the bulk of his carries in the fourth quarter the last two weeks when the Lions needed to keep moving the sticks and winding down the clock.
Jim Schwartz really likes Bell, whom he coached at the Senior Bowl a couple years ago. With the Lions intent on establishing a strong running game this season, Bell is a quality handcuff for Leshoure owners and a solid flex play in deeper leagues.
Marcel Reece vs. Baltimore
Darren McFadden left Sunday’s contest with a high ankle sprain, and is considered week-to-week at this point. That wouldn’t be awful news if you had Mike Goodson on your roster, except that Goodson also left the game with a high-ankle sprain.
Marcel Reece (Oakland’s fullback, by the way) has one rushing attempt on the season, but he still has fantasy value. He caught eight passes out of the backfield for 95 yards and a touchdown in Week 9 and could see a similar role against Baltimore in Week 10.
Monitor Mike Goodson’s status, but don’t be afraid to use Reece in deeper leagues if Goodson can’t go. Baltimore’s defense isn’t as stingy as it has been in the past. Don’t fear the matchup.
Isaac Redman vs. Kansas City
The Steelers offensive line is doing an incredible job busting open holes for whoever it is carrying the rock in Pittsburgh. Jonathan Dwyer went for over 100 yards two weeks ago, and Isaac Redman went for 147 yards and a touchdown against the Giants in Week 9.
Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall are both on the shelf at the moment, and Chris Rainey got dinged up against the Giants. Redman is the best add, and you should go out and get him for Week 10.
Kansas City has been pretty bad against the run this season (126 yards per game), and the Steelers will likely be playing from ahead in this one. Redman should get a nice workload and could easily crack the top 10 in running back scoring this week.
Shane Vereen vs. Buffalo
I would start my grandmother against Buffalo’s defense, so whether Stevan Ridley’s backup is Shane Vereen or Brandon Bolden in Week 10, it’s worth a flyer.
Bolden has been out with a knee injury, and as is always the case in New England, no one knows when he’ll be back. With Bolden on the shelf, Vereen saw backup work from Ridley and totaled 98 yards and a touchdown in two weeks.
The Patriots rushed for 247 yards and four touchdowns against the Bills in Week 4, and Buffalo hasn’t gotten any better. Keep an eye on the injury report, but go get Vereen just in case. If Bolden is still out in Week 10, Vereen will be a solid flex play.
T.Y. Hilton vs. Jacksonville
With T.Y. Hilton, it’s going to be all about potential. He’s not Andrew Luck’s top receiver, but he has a very high ceiling and a quality quarterback.
Hilton had a nice game in Week 9, in which he caught a season-high six passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. He also went for 113 yards and a touchdown in Week 2, so there’s evidence he could continue producing.
Hilton hasn’t been shut out once this season, and that’s good news for owners in extremely deep leagues. He’s a good add this week in nearly any format against a Jacksonville squad that is apparently incapable of getting any pressure on opposing passers.
Golden Tate vs. New York Jets
Golden Tate is one of the most enigmatic potential waiver adds for Week 10. If you don’t like uncertainty, it may be wise to stay away.
Tate hasn’t logged more than 68 receiving yards in a single game this season. He has two games with multiple receiving touchdowns. Tate is averaging 11.8 yards per catch, but only has 283 yards this season. Talk about inconsistent.
The question with Tate is which version you will get from week to week. He has the ability to find the end zone every game, especially this week against the Jets. He’s worth a flyer in deep leagues at the very least.
Ryan Broyles vs. Minnesota
Ryan Broyles has made Detroit’s receiving corps one of the most dynamic in the entire league.
Broyles saw his first action of the season in Week 7, and has played well since. In his three games with the Lions, Broyles has 12 catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
The rookie is one of many dangerous receiving threats in Detroit, so he likely won’t see consistent targets from week to week. Still, you can probably treat Broyles like a mid-level receiver in Green Bay or New Orleans. He has plenty of talent and a good quarterback getting him the ball. The only question is how often Matthew Stafford will look his way.
Jeremy Kerley vs. Seattle
I rip on Mark Sanchez a lot, but he’s still a starting quarterback in the NFL. He also needs a No. 1 receiver.
Jeremy Kerley may not be Sanchez’s No. 1 moving forward, but he’s getting all the looks right now. He’s been targeted 22 times in the Jets’ last two games. Although he parlayed those 22 targets into just 12 catches, it’s reassuring that Sanchez has looked Kerley’s way so often.
Stephen Hill may still be the better add in the long term, but not right now. Kerley will be more consistent for fantasy purposes as long as he keeps seeing the lion’s share of targets from Sanchez.
Kevin Ogletree vs. Philadelphia
I wasn’t a proponent of adding Kevin Ogletree after his big Week 1 performance, and I’m not totally sold on him now. He’s coming off a good game against Atlanta in Week 9, though, and there may be a reason to stash him on your bench.
Dallas seems to be moving the ball pretty well in the hurry-up, which is why Ogletree found the end zone against the Falcons on Sunday. With the Cowboys sputtering and a tough contest against Philadelphia in the cards for Week 10, it’s not outlandish that Jason Garrett may mix in more no-huddle looks.
Ogletree is a deep-league play right now, but here’s the silver lining: Dallas plays New Orleans in Week 16 and Washington in Week 17, so Ogletree may be worth keeping on your roster through the fantasy playoffs.
Brandon Myers vs. Baltimore
It took Brandon Myers eight games to find the end zone, but he scored against the Tampa Bay Bucs in Week 9, and then he scored again.
Myers has been one of the most consistent tight ends in the NFL this season, but he’s flown under the radar due to Oakland’s offensive situation and Myers’ aversion to scoring touchdowns. He’s now fifth in the league among all tight ends in receiving yards, and he should be on your team.
With Carson Palmer slinging the pigskin like his old self, several Oakland receiving targets deserve fantasy consideration, but none are more deserving than Myers.
Joel Dreessen vs. Carolina
Joel Dreessen needs to be owned in more leagues. This has been a weak year for tight ends in fantasy football, but Dreessen has been extremely consistent, albeit a little pedestrian at times.
Peyton Manning has connected with Dreessen for four touchdowns in Denver’s last six games, and Dreessen is averaging 9.1 yards per catch this season. There’s some upside to any Denver receiving option, especially with arguably the softest schedule in the league in front of them to finish the season.
The Broncos face Carolina, Kansas City (twice), Tampa Bay, Oakland and Cleveland in the second half. In other words, stock up on Broncos for your playoff push.
Dustin Keller vs. Seattle
I won’t even make jokes about the Jets here. Dustin Keller is a must-own tight end, regardless of his quarterback.
Keller isn’t going to consistently tally huge numbers, but he’s Mark Sanchez’s best receiving target, and one of New York’s most physically gifted players. If you have a spot on your roster for a backup tight end or you need a bye-week fill-in, go get Keller.
Seattle is in the middle of the league in passing yards allowed, but the Seahawks know how to get to the quarterback. They’ve recorded 25 sacks this season, which means Sanchez will likely be under a lot of pressure in Week 10. Expect Keller to be an effective relief valve for Sanchez, who will look his way often in the short and intermediate passing game.
Matt Prater vs. Carolina
Matt Prater has been a perfect 10-of-10 on field goals this season, including two from 50-plus.
Denver’s cakewalk second-half schedule begins in Week 10 against the Panthers. Prater should again have a couple field-goal attempts against Carolina, which ranks 10th in total defense this season. The Broncos should win this one handily, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Panthers stall out a couple Peyton Manning drives resulting in field goals.
Shaun Suisham vs. Kansas City
Shaun Suisham has been terrific this season—he’s part of the reason the Steelers are 5-3 and winning close football games. His 17 successful field goals in 18 attempts is a career best for Suisham (94.4 percent).
As bad as the Chiefs are this season, their defense is still respectable. Kansas City is 13th in the league in total defense, though it is allowing 30 points per game. Any way you slice it, Suisham is going to have some chances to kick the football, be it field goals or a lot of extra points.
Alex Henery vs. Dallas
Coming in to Week 9, Alex Henery was 12-of-13 on field-goal attempts, with his only miss coming in Cleveland in Week 1.
Dallas has allowed at least one field goal in all but one game this season, and the Giants and Falcons combined for nine field goals in Weeks 8 and 9 against the Cowboys. Henery should have at least a few attempts in Week 10 against Dallas.
Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville
Jacksonville’s 254.4 yards per game is the worst in the NFL by a wide margin, and the Colts have an opportunity to take advantage in Week 10.
Indianapolis is 15th in the league in total defense and 10th in passing defense. If Andrew Luck and the Colts can jump out to an early lead and force the Jaguars to pass the football, Indianapolis has a chance to put up some defensive points.
Miami vs. Tennessee
The Dolphins have not been very good against the pass this year, but they’ve made up for it with a rushing defense that ranks third in the league. Miami is allowing just 83.9 rushing yards per game on 3.6 yards per carry.
Tennessee cannot have a dynamic offense if Chris Johnson can’t establish a running game early in the contest. Miami will make Tennessee one-dimensional on offense, and the Dolphins should be able to sit back in coverage and key in on the pass.
New England vs. Buffalo
I’m not sure an explanation is necessary for this one. You should be adding any defense that opposes the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills are 23rd in the league in total offense, have a turnover differential of minus-seven and are only averaging 202.6 passing yards per game. New England beat Buffalo, 52-28, in Buffalo in Week 4, so expect smooth sailing for the Pats at home in Week 10.