Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups: Sleepers Who May Still Be Available

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2018

Nick Mullens hopes to make it two winning performances in a row when the Niners host the Giants in Week 10.
Nick Mullens hopes to make it two winning performances in a row when the Niners host the Giants in Week 10.Ben Margot/Associated Press

Sharp moves are needed at this point in the NFL fantasy football season as each game could have an impact on which teams make the fantasy playoffs and which teams will be left on the outside in just a few weeks.

Injuries, disappointments and bye weeks impact all fantasy players, and smart general managers have been looking ahead at key matchups to determine which players they will add and which ones they will drop.

We have several recommendations when it comes to upcoming roster changes, and we are looking at sleepers. For our purposes, sleepers are players who are on no more than 40 percent of Yahoo rosters.

In addition to the quality of players that we are considering, we are also looking at the matchups they have this week. We are looking for players who are competing against vulnerable defensive opponents whenever possible.


Week 10 Sleepers

QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns, 38 percent

QB Nick Mullens, San Francisco 49ers, 3 percent

RB Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions, 9 percent

RB Frank Gore, Miami Dolphins, 28 percent

RB Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles, 39 percent

WR Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Green Bay Packers, 39 percent

WR Robby Anderson, New York Jets, 34 percent

WR Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars, 23 percent

TE Nick Vannett, Seattle Seahawks, 2 percent

TE Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers, 10 percent


QB Nick Mullens, San Francisco

If you had never heard of Mullens prior to his start last Thursday night against the Oakland Raiders, you are not alone.

However, Mullens took advantage of his opportunity and threw for 262 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Mullens was calm and in control as he completed 22 of 29 passes against Jon Gruden's team, and he did not look like a quarterback who was making his first start.

It may not be easy for Mullens every week, but after getting a chance to exploit the Raiders last week, he gets to show what he can do against the 1-7 New York Giants. Talk about a favorable matchup, because the Giants are the 23rd-ranked defensive team in the league.

He gets the Monday night football stage, and while the Niners are struggling with a 2-7 record, Mullens gives them more life and hope than the moribund Giants have at this point. There's no reason Mullens can't meet or exceed what he did last week against the Raiders.

RB Frank Gore, Miami

While Mullens is an unknown player who is getting an opportunity, Gore is the NFL's version of a metronome because of his incredible consistency of effort.

Great teams can slow him down, but Gore is never going to give in or mail it in. He is setting the tone for the Dolphins, although not all of his teammates follow his example. The Packers have lost back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, so they could be vulnerable.

Green Bay came up with a solid effort in both games but fell short, and the Packers have a losing record at this point. We don't expect the Dolphins to win at Green Bay, but they could move the ball, and Gore is their best ball carrier with 438 yards and a 4.2 yards per carry average. While he hasn't gotten into the end zone as a runner, he does have one TD reception.

The Packers ranks 22nd against the run, and Gore will take advantage of every crease he can find.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay

The Packers have had a difficult run of it in recent weeks because they played the Rams and the Patriots, but this game is one where they should have the advantage in terms of talent.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers should be able to probe the Dolphins defense with his accurate mid-range-to-deep passing attack, and Valdes-Scantling is taking advantage of his opportunity with 17 receptions for 358 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Valdes-Scantling is getting a chance to play because wideout Geronimo Allison (groin) is on the IR list. The former South Florida Bull showed off his speed, leaping ability and solid hands against the Patriots, and he caught three passes for 101 yards in that game.

The Dolphins rank 26th in yards allowed, and they could have a difficult time stopping Valdes-Scantling because they will have to concentrate on stopping Devante Adams, Randall Cobb and tight end Jimmy Graham.

They will likely pay minimal attention to Vales-Scantling, and a big game could be at hand.


TE Nick Vannett, Seattle

Vannett has been virtually ignored by the fantasy crowd to this point, as he is on just two percent of rosters. While most fantasy owners have never given Vannett any consideration, he has 19 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown.

This is not huge production, but Vannett was targeted eight times in Week 9 against the Los Angeles Chargers, and he caught six of those passes for 52 yards. That's production far above what one should expect from a player on just two percent of the rosters. 

The Seahawks have a tough assignment against the Rams in Los Angeles Sunday, but they are no longer an undefeated team, and Seattle head coach Pete Carroll may figure out a way to help his team challenge Los Angeles Sunday.

Vannett just may provide a surprise or two for fantasy owners.