Bye weeks and injuries leave the waiver wire as a weekly reprieve for desperate fantasy owners looking to replace top-flight players.
However, delving too deep into the waiver wire is also a slippery slope that leads to countless lineup mishaps, as owners choose to trust their new pickups over far better replacements already on their bench.
Essentially, it boils down to the psychological belief that what is new has to be better. You've already seen Jonathan Stewart put up continually poor performances, so of course Marcel Reece is bound to be better, right?
Wrong. Simply put, sometimes it's better to go with the devil you know than the one who could put a goose egg up in your fantasy lineup...or however that saying goes.
With that in mind, here are a few tempting pickups for Week 10 that owners should avoid putting in their starting lineup.
Marcel Reece/Taiwan Jones (RB, Oakland Raiders)
A starting running back is a rare gem to find in fantasy football, and with Darren McFadden out this week, both Marcel Reece and Taiwan Jones are worthy of being owned in most leagues.
However, neither guy is remotely trustworthy as even a flex play in Week 10—even when facing the Baltimore Ravens' paltry run defense. Coming into Sunday, Baltimore ranks 28th against the run, giving up 139.5 yards per game and have struggled mightily without Ray Lewis.
Luckily for the Ravens, they won't have much to worry about against the Raiders. Oakland has averaged just 77.3 rushing yards per game this season, good for 31st in the league.
Most of those struggles can be attributed to the offensive line. According to Football Outsiders' measurements, Oakland has the second worst run-blocking line in the NFL, averaging a minuscule 3.04 adjusted line yards per carry.
Meanwhile, the unit has done far better at pass-blocking and it has made an impact in the statistics. Quarterback Carson Palmer has thrown for 2,355 yards and is fifth in the NFL with 330 pass attempts this season.
Expect more of the same, leaving Reece and Jones fighting over scraps against Baltimore. One may score, but it's impossible to know which one.
Danario Alexander (WR, San Diego Chargers)
Left with a stagnant deep passing attack since Vincent Jackson left in the offseason, the San Diego Chargers could turn to Danario Alexander to fill that void.
Alexander, who signed with the Chargers on Oct. 18, stepped in for an injured Robert Meachem last week and grabbed three passes for 61 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs. A third-year receiver out of Missouri, talent has never been the question for Alexander.
Instead, he has simply been unable to stay healthy. Injuries hampered his time with the St. Louis Rams, who wound up cutting the 24-year-old during training camp because of his struggles to stay on the field.
As it currently stands, Alexander is fully healthy, making him an interesting guy to watch going forward.
In deep leagues, Alexander is a guy you add and hope he breaks out down the stretch. But playing him this week—especially with Meachem expected back in the lineup—is an ill-advised move.
It's unclear how many snaps Alexander will get in the offense, and until we have those raw numbers, he's a wait-and-see guy.
Daniel Thomas (RB, Miami Dolphins)
An under-the-radar trend that has emerged for the Miami Dolphins since returning from their bye week: Daniel Thomas is the team's new leading running back.
Though Reggie Bush has gotten the start, Thomas has been on the field for 74 offensive snaps compared to just 48 for the former USC star.
Unfortunately, that change hasn't led to a breakout fantasy-wise for Thomas. The Dolphins back has combined for just 107 total yards in the past two games, though he did score a touchdown in Week 8.
What's more, it was once again Bush who led Miami in carries last week against the Indianapolis Colts, gaining 41 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
A tasty matchup against the Tennessee Titans is on tap for Sunday, so it's understandable that owners would be tempted to make Thomas a flex play.
Nevertheless, until we see Thomas get more work on the ground and it translates to actual success, he needs to stay on the bench.
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