Week 10 Waiver Wire: Examining Top Fantasy Football Targets

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2018

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers looks for an open receiver during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Levi's Stadium on November 1, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Raiders 34-3. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

Hopefully, you've had enough success in your fantasy season to be closing in on a playoff berth. Heading into Week 10, it's time to solidify your spot—or to push for a resurgence if you haven't been so fortunate.

There's a good chance you'll have to navigate the bye-week blues in order to do so. The Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings are all on bye in Week 10. This means top-tier players like Adam Thielen, DeShaun Watson, Phillip Lindsay and the Ravens defense won't be available.

Even if you have quality depth on your bench, you should always be scouring the waiver wire for improvements. If you don't, adding a bye-week replacement is as much. We're here to help both endeavors. We're going to identify the top players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and take a closer look at our top pick for each skill position.

All fantasy statistics and rankings courtesy of FantasyPros.


Week 10 Waiver-Wire Targets

Alex Smith, QB, Washington Redskins (43 percent owned)

Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns (38 percent owned)

Nick Mullens, QB, San Francisco 49ers (3 percent owned)

Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns (48 percent owned)

Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons (44 percent owned)

Frank Gore, RB, Miami Dolphins (28 percent owned)

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers (38 percent owned)

Taylor Gabriel, WR, Chicago Bears (48 percent owned)

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Atlanta Falcons (45 percent owned)

Vernon Davis, TE, Washington Redskins (4 percent owned)

Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets (14 percent owned)

Nick Vannett, TE, Seattle Seahawks (2 percent owned)


QB Nick Mullens vs. New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens saw his first-ever NFL action last week against the Oakland Raiders. The former undrafted free agent was phenomenal, putting together one of the best quarterback debuts in league history. He finished with 226 yards and three touchdowns. 

"I think everyone in this locker room knew that he was ready for this moment," offensive tackle Joe Staley said of Mullens, per Jennifer Lee Chan of NBCSports.com. "He was ready because he prepared for it."

We expect Mullens to get the start again this week, and while he doesn't have a tremendous matchup, he does have a fair one. The New York Giants rank 13th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Mullens has a good grasp of Kyle Shanahan's offense, and the duo should be able to draw up some big plays against a Giants defense that recently traded away cornerback Eli Apple and defensive tackle Damon Harrison.

New York also has to travel across the country for this matchup, which gives the 49ers a decided home-field advantage. Expect Mullens to take advantage and to have another multi-touchdown game.


RB Duke Johnson vs. Atlanta Falcons

New Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens isn't afraid to utilize Duke Johnson the way Todd Haley seemed to be. There's a good reason for this. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson ranks second among back with at least 50 touches at creating yards on his own.

In his first game with Kitchens at the controls, Johnson exploded with 86 combined rushing and receiving yards, nine receptions and two touchdowns.

We should expect Johnson to have a similar role this week against the Atlanta Falcons. Cleveland will need to pass to keep pace with Atlanta, which averages 28.5 points per game. Since receiving is Johnson's forte, this is good news for those lucky enough to scoop him up.

Atlanta allows the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and the second-most to opposing receivers. Johnson is a combination of the two positions and could be in for a huge day. If you need running back or FLEX help, he should be your top waiver priority.


WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. Miami Dolphins

FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 04:  Marquez Valdes-Scantling #83 of the Green Bay Packers makes a reception against Jason McCourty #30 of the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  (Ph
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Rookie receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling has yet to emerge as a must-own in fantasy, but he is emerging as a key player in the Packers offense. He has two 100-yard games in his last three outings and has produced 249 receiving yards and a touchdown in that span.

Valdes-Scantling is also earning the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who relied on the rookie when trailing early in the second half.

"I told him at halftime, 'I’m going to come back to you,'" Rodgers said, per Zach Kruse of Packers Wire. "And sure enough, on that first drive, they brought empty pressure, we picked it up,  and hit him for a big play that got us back in the game."

Rodgers may need to rely on Valdes-Scantling more in the coming weeks, as fellow receiver Geronimo Allison suffered a groin injury that appears to be serious.

Michael Cohen @Michael_Cohen13

McCarthy says WR Geronimo Allison has a big injury. Sounds like he will be out for quite a while. Fortunately, Marquez Valdes-Scantling is making significant strides each week. #Packers

The Packers return home in Week 10 to take on a Miami Dolphins team ranked 22nd in pass defense (257.9 yards per game allowed). Rodgers should have opportunities to make big plays this week, and a couple of them are likely to involve Valdes-Scantling.


TE Nick Vannett at Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams have a lot of playmakers on their defense, but they're average against opposing tight ends. The Rams rank 16th in fantasy points allowed at the position.

This makes Seattle Seahawks tight end Nick Vannett a good waiver target for players looking to replace Kyle Rudolph during the bye or still struggling to replace Tyler Eifert or Delanie Walker.

Vannett isn't a receiving machine, but he has come on as of late. Against the Los Angeles Chargers last week, he racked up 52 yards and a touchdown on six receptions.

There are few must-start tight ends in fantasy, and you're not going to find one on the waiver wire. As a fill-in, though, Vannett is a quality choice.