Fantasy Football Week 10 Cheat Sheet: Identifying Sleepers for Deep Leagues
At this point of the 2020 NFL season, it's not a stretch to think a deep sleeper could emerge as a league-winner.
Granted, that will ring hyperbolic, but one week can make all the difference between securing a playoff spot or watching the festivities from the outside. Time and again, this campaign—unique in its heavy demand for roster reinforcements—has reminded everyone of the importance of snagging a sleeper before the rest of your leaguemates can.
In Week 9, the stars aligned for Richie James (nine receptions for 184 yards and a score) and Jakobi Meyers (12 catches for 169 yards). Who might emerge this time around?
We have scanned the waiver wire and identified three deep sleepers—available in 50-plus percent of Yahoo leagues, per FantasyPros—worth adding in a critical Week 10.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins (24 Percent Rostered)
It's been a tale of two dramatically different performances since Tua Tagovailoa seized control of the Miami Dolphins offense.
He barely made a peep during his debut start, completing just 12 passes for 93 yards and a single score against the Los Angeles Rams. But he rocketed into fantasy relevance this past weekend by blitzing the Arizona Cardinals 248 yards and two scores on 20-of-28 passing and rushing seven times for 35 yards.
Maybe the volatility means he shouldn't be trusted until the sample size increases, but that's assuming fantasy managers have time to wait. If you're desperate for a quarterback streamer in Week 10, you don't, in which case it might be worth hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with this year's fifth overall pick going against an exploitable Los Angeles Chargers defense.
"Tua presents intriguing value given the Chargers have ceded the fourth-most fantasy points per game (21.5) to quarterbacks," Jim McCormick wrote for ESPN.com. "Los Angeles entered the season with serious upside as a defensive group, but injuries and an underwhelming pass rush (ranked 16th in pressure rate) has allowed opposing passers to light up the scoreboard."
Duke Johnson, RB, Houston Texans (16 Percent Rostered)
The injury report can make or break a waiver-wire target, and that's the case with Duke Johnson.
The potential impact he offers is substantial enough to make him worthy of a claim now. However, all eyes will be on the status of Houston Texans starting running back David Johnson, who exited Sunday's game with a concussion. If he can't make it back by Sunday, then Duke Johnson could be handling a massive workload.
"The Houston depth chart is razor thin at running back, so Duke Johnson figures to be extremely busy if David Johnson is unable to return by Week 10," ESPN's Field Yates wrote. "He's a must-add in all leagues."
Duke Johnson isn't the most efficient rusher around—career-worst 2.8 yards per carry this season—but at the volume he could be receiving, it shouldn't matter. He entered in relief on Sunday and still finished with 16 rushes and four receptions for 73 scrimmage yards and a score.
Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos (21 Percent Rostered)
Tim Patrick's breakout is back on after a hamstring issue held him out of Week 8.
The third-year wideout returned to action in Week 9 and was immediately greeted with nine targets. It was the third time in his last four games that at least seven passes have headed his direction.
Broncos quarterback Drew Lock isn't shy about giving Patrick opportunities down field, and Denver needs those big plays with the dynamic Courtland Sutton lost for the year. Patrick may not haul in everything that comes his direction, but he usually makes his catches count. He has a pair of 100-yard performances under his belt and three receiving touchdowns in his last five contests.
This could be another big outing, as Patrick draws a Los Angeles Raiders defense allowing the fifth-most yards per catch (14.1) to wide receivers, per McCormick.