Fantasy Football Week 10 Cheat Sheet: Identifying Sleepers for Deep Leagues

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2018

Marcus Mariota took a step up with his solid performance in Week 9 against the Cowboys.
Marcus Mariota took a step up with his solid performance in Week 9 against the Cowboys.Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

It is difficult to make moves as we approach the homestretch of the fantasy football season, particularly when we are talking about 12-team leagues and your team resides in the bottom half of the standings.

Your opponents might have stars like Patrick Mahomes, Todd Gurley, DeAndre Hopkins or Travis Kelce, and you are hoping to capture a lightning strike like the one that Nick Mullens brought about in Week 9. Mullens sliced and diced the Oakland Raiders defense while quarterbacking the San Francisco 49ers.

Raise your hand if you were on that development. Exactly. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan may have done an expert job of preparing Mullens and getting him ready to play, but there was no way anyone who wasn't watching every San Francisco practice could have anticipated Mullens throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

However, there are moves to make involving deep sleepers. We will offer our choices of players who are on 40 percent of Yahoo rosters or fewer who should have at least a reasonable chance of helping to win your Week 10 fantasy matchup.



Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns, 38 percent

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, 27 percent

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys, 38 percent


Marcus Mariota

Mariota took a step up in Week 9 when he played a key role in the Titans' Monday night road victory in Dallas.

The fourth-year pro completed 21 of 29 passes for 240 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. However, more than those numbers, Mariota bore some resemblance to the quarterback he was during his college days at Oregon.

Mariota showed off his athleticism and intelligence that he displayed for the Ducks. The Titans are hoping that the former No. 2 overall draft choice can continue to show excellent leadership while building on his production when the New England Patriots come to town Sunday.

This is a huge test because no head coach can figure out strategies for stopping an opposing quarterback like Bill Belichick. If Mariota can pass this test, he could be ready to make a huge move up over the rest of the season.


Wendell Smallwood can be a dangerous runner when he gets to the second level.
Wendell Smallwood can be a dangerous runner when he gets to the second level.Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Running backs

Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles, 39 percent

LeGarrette Blount, Detroit Lions, 16 percent

Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks, 26 percent


Wendell Smallwood

The Eagles have to start turning things around right now if they have any hope of winning the NFC East or getting one of the two wild-card spots. 

Last year's championship team was so consistent from the start of the season, but great teams can get off to less-than-inspired starts and then build. The 4-4 Eagles certainly need Carson Wentz to perform at a high level, but he does not have to do it alone.

Smallwood has inherited the No. 1 running back position and leads the Eagles with 257 rushing yards on 60 carries. The yardage is not impressive, but Smallwood is averaging 4.3 yards per carry and has six carries of 10 yards or more.

That last figure is the one that makes Smallwood a potentially dangerous runner and well worth an investment by fantasy managers. Smallwood has the ability to make big plays, and that could help you earn a win this week.


Wide receivers

Robby Anderson, New York Jets, 34 percent

Cordarrelle Patterson, New England Patriots, 7 percent

Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints, 28 percent


Cordarrelle Patterson

Patterson is still listed as a wide receiver, and while he has always had potential at that position, he has rarely delivered.

The 2013 first-round pick has explosive speed and that has been his calling card since entering the NFL. His speed (clocked at 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash during the NFL Scouting Combine) has been a factor in the return games for years.

Leave it to Belichick to get something else out of the Tennessee product. Injuries have depleted New England at the running back position, and the Pats have given Patterson a chance to line up at in the backfield. The 6'2", 228-pounder has carried the ball 28 times for 135 yards with six carries of 10 or more yards.

Patterson had 11 carries for 61 yards against the Green Bay Packers in Week 9, and he looked dangerous and confident running with the ball. Even if the Pats get healthier at running back, Patterson's explosive speed makes him a key factor for the New England offense.

Acquired from Oakland for a fifth-round pick, Patterson has not caught more than three passes in any game this season, but if he gets eight or more carries and makes one big receiving play when the Patriots play at Tennessee, fantasy general managers will be ahead of the game.


Tight ends

Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers, 10 percent

C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals, 23 percent


C.J. Uzomah

The Bengals have turned to Uzomah at tight end as a result of injuries, and even though he has a shoulder problem that is limiting him in practice, he should be ready to compete this week against the New Orleans Saints.

Uzomah has been targeted 23 times this year and he has caught 17 passes, so that should put him top of mind for quarterback Andy Dalton.

A.J. Green is not available as a result of his toe injury, so that should make receivers like Uzomah and Tyler Boyd top targets.