I'm not going to sugarcoat it, y'all. This is an AWFUL waiver wire week. It's the heart of the fantasy playoff push and I wish I could offer you something spicy and league-winning. I've got neither. If D'Onta Foreman (who disappointed this week) and Kadarius Toney (who looked great but wasn't used extensively) were jalapeños, we've got a couple bell peppers and a bushel of tomatoes in Week 10. But hey, you know what they say: You can't make a supreme pizza without bell peppers and tomato sauce. Pretty sure that was Confucius or Sun Tzu ... definitely not me.
OK, I've stalled as long as possible. Gotta get to these names.
To the wire!
(And if you want more guys, more explanations, or more answers, hit me up on Twitter @MattOkada!)
Rostered percentages are from NFL.com's fantasy football player trends. Players are roughly ordered by priority within position.
Mike McDaniel’s ongoing attempt to reunite the full 49ers backfield from his years as the San Fran run game coordinator is going splendidly on the opposite coast. Mere days after being acquired in a trade, Wilson led the Dolphins with 51 rushing yards and scored a receiving TD to boot. The even 9-9 carry split with Raheem Mostert was less than ideal -- for anyone who started either player -- and I think we may be in store for an unfortunate committee in the coming weeks, so I’m not breaking the bank to acquire Wilson. But in an otherwise barren waiver week, he is arguably the closest thing to a startable piece and has plenty of upside in a humming Miami offense.
For the second consecutive game, Pacheco out-carried Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Of course, he also got out-carried and out-rushed by Patrick Mahomes ... which was not hard to do given Pacheco's stat line of five carries for 5 yards. Sunday Night Football was historically lopsided in its pass volume for the Chiefs, so there's (limited) hope that the production will improve in more typical game scripts moving forward. But like it or not, this offense runs through Mahomes (no pun intended) and the RB upside is severely limited without multiple touchdowns (see CEH's early season). Still, Pacheco is a 'stache with slightly more value than the handcuffs below, so he gets his own section. This is where we're at in Week 10.
Guys to 'Stache: We are nearing the time of the season where unexpected autumn handcuffs pop up and win fantasy championships. If you have the roster space, get ahead of the curve and just pick up any of the backups behind the league's top running backs. A few of note: the Eagles' Kenneth Gainwell, the Chargers' Isaiah Spiller and the Bengals' Samaje Perine.
The good news for me this week is that a couple of the wideouts I recommended last week had solid games and were NOT widely added, which allows me to recycle them again for Week 10. Chief among those names is Moore, who is still available in more than 80% of leagues. I don’t expect his rostership rate to remain that low after he led the Cardinals with 10 targets on Sunday and converted them into nearly 15 fantasy points. As I outlined in last week’s column, Moore has settled into a pretty ideal role in Arizona and has been consistently productive in that role for about a month now. He should be a weekly FLEX play in most leagues and absolutely be rostered in all leagues.
In Week 9, absolutely everything lined up for Palmer to have a strong performance. No Keenan Allen. No Mike Williams. DeAndre Carter dealing with illness. A porous Falcons defense. Sometimes, it feels like when that many things line up, it’s a trap and we end up disappointed. Not so for Palmer. The third-year receiver was a focal point in the Chargers’ offensive attack and led the team with 10 targets, eight catches and 106 yards. While this kind of production should not be expected with Williams and Allen both healthy ... I’m not too confident we will ever get that again this season. Williams is expected to miss at least a couple more games and Allen’s hamstring is going backwards. Fire up Palmer for the near term.
Let’s be clear. Marshall has “broken out” over the last two weeks -- but in this case we’re defining “breakout” as 12+ fantasy points in consecutive games as the WR2 on perhaps the worst offense in football with a rocky-at-best QB situation. Marshall has a long way to go before we’re considering him a weekly starter. Still, he has had more receiving yards in the last two weeks (140) than he did in his entire rookie season and he scored his first career touchdown on Sunday as well. After shipping away both Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson, the Panthers had to find a new No. 2 target behind D.J. Moore. Marshall appears to be that guy, which makes worth a passing glance at the very least.
Guys to 'Stache: Here's another reminder about Titans rookie Treylon Burks, who could be back any day now and has the potential to step up as his team's leading receiver whenever he does. You can't say that about any many (or any) other guys across the entire league. With Romeo Doubs likely to miss a month or more, Samori Toure becomes a mildly interesting name as a potential pivot for Aaron Rodgers and the floundering Packers. You want a REALLY bold 'stache? How about Odell Beckham Jr.? Reports have surfaced that Beckham could be back as soon as this week, with teams like the Bills, 49ers, Rams and Cowboys floated as potential landing spots. You'd have be in a decently deep league or have major wide receiver issues to make this move, but it could have sneaky payoff come playoffs.
I will accept that literally -0.5% of you picked up Dulcich this past week (i.e. he was dropped more than he was added), as the Broncos rookie was on bye and it’s not easy holding extra tight ends through byepocalypses. But now is the time to rectify that mistake. Dulcich will return from his bye having scored 11+ fantasy points in three straight games and increasing his yardage in each of those games. He had 14 targets and 10 catches over his last two games before the bye and has now had an extra week to build chemistry with Russell Wilson after missing much of the offseason with injuries. I would not be surprised to see Dulcich in the second tier of fantasy tight ends on a consistent basis the rest of season -- which means that unless you have Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews, you should consider adding Dulcich.
With a pair of scores on Sunday, Kmet is now up to three in the last two weeks. He had two in the previous two-plus SEASONS. And while we could write this off as the general flukiness of touchdowns, I tend to disagree. This is more about the continued improvement of Justin Fields and the Chicago offense. Fields has multiple passing touchdowns in consecutive weeks (for the first time in his career) and had three in Week 9 (for the first time in his career). Also, Kmet’s touchdown-per-reception numbers were mathematically nonsensical, especially for a 6-foot-6-inch target on a team without another decent red zone threat (all due respect to N’Keal Harry). I’m not saying he’s hitting double-digit tuddies in 2022, but I am buying into Da Bears and their no-longer-hibernating offense.
Each week seems to bring another new reason to believe the Seahawks won the Russell Wilson trade, and in Week 9 it was Fant. The former Broncos tight end had his best game in Seattle, racking up five catches for 96 yards (14.6 fantasy points), including a 51-yarder on what became the game-sealing drive in Sunday’s win. Now, admittedly, the Cardinals defense has been terrible against tight ends all year, so this was at least as much matchup advantage as it was Fant himself. As it happens, Fant gets the Bucs and the Raiders in the next three weeks (bye in between) who are both bottom-five against tight ends this season. I’d consider him one of the better streaming options available over the next few weeks.
Guys to 'Stache: Tom Brady had a spring in his step after his comeback win over the Rams on Sunday and it was Cade Otton who caught the game-winning touchdown with 0:09 on the game clock. This one is more narrative than numbers, but I could see Otton continuing to progress as he seeks to fill the gigantic shoes of Rob Gronkowski. Honestly more of a dynasty 'stache than redraft, but it felt worth a mention.
Pick Up If Available: Justin Fields (60% rostered)
NOTE: Unless Fields is available (top-tier add if he is), there's not much else with any staying power on the Week 10 wire. So here are some streamers.
While he hasn’t been quite the breakout we had hoped to see after a strong start to the season, Lawrence does have 16+ fantasy points in three of his last four games -- thanks in large part to his rushing production. In Week 10, he draws a Chiefs defense surrendering plenty of points to the position and feels like as good a bet as any streamer to cobble together 18-20 fantasy points (likely more than a few of which will come in garbage time).
You’ve got to ask yourself one question. “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk? For those of you under 30 years old, that is a Clint Eastwood reference. Oh. Clint Eastwood is an actor ... you know what, never mind. The point here is that adding and starting Ehlinger would take an incredible helping of desperation and an even larger pile of luck to pay off. But when you’re a quarterback facing the Raiders, luck is typically on your side. And by luck, I mean the terrible Las Vegas defense surrendering 23 fantasy points per game to the position. Again. Desperate play only. But the glory would be great if it works.
Guys to 'Stache: There are none. Hopefully you have Allen, Hurts, Mahomes, Burrow or Tua. Or at least don't have to face any of them.
The Bears D/ST has scored -1 fantasy points in back-to-back weeks ... so add them for Week 10? Simply put, the Lions are not the Cowboys or Dolphins. In fact, they've allowed more fantasy points to D/STs over the last month than any other team in the league. Chicago is my top streamer option. Not far behind Chicago, however, is the opportunistic Cardinals D/ST, who lead the NFL with five defensive touchdowns. They've averaged 11 fantasy points per game over the last month and get the turnover-prone Rams in Week 10. Yes, please. The Falcons D/ST scored eight fantasy points in their Week 8 matchup with the Panthers ... whom they get again in Week 10. That game was an offensive shootout. I don't expect that many points again, which is good for D/ST play.