15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 10
You know, I generally open up an article with some sort of childhood story or a stupid movie-related analogy to make things a little more interesting for you to read, but today, that doesn't feel right.
It's Election Day. Some may think it's doomsday, while others may see it as the day they can finally talk to certain friends and family again. But divisiveness aside, let's not forget -- regardless of your political affiliation or beliefs -- about how awesome the day itself actually is. It's a reminder that we live in a country where our voices can be heard. It's a reminder that we do, after all, have freedom.
With freedom comes the ability to do what we wish with our time. Maybe you like fixing cars. Maybe you like walking dogs. Maybe you like binge-watching Netflix.
Or maybe you like fantasy football.
Thankfully, you live in a place where you can play, analyze, and debate the game about a game. And, again, it's because of days like today. It's because of Election Day.
Now that I've undoubtedly gotten you hyped about how great it is to live where you do, go ahead and leave your house to cast your vote. Afterwards, make sure you run back to your computer to know which transactions to make this week in your fantasy league.
Buy Lamar Miller
What an odd year it's been for Lamar Miller. Despite hitting 17-plus carries in all but two games this season and ranking sixth in the NFL in rushing yards, Miller sits in 21st in standard fantasy points scored per game, behind guys like Jordan Howard and Latavius Murray. In PPR formats, Miller has ranked higher than 17th in weekly running back scoring just once.
Among the top-10 running backs this year in yardage, Miller's two ground scores ranks worst. Devonta Freeman is close with just three touchdowns, but he's been able to find the end zone twice through the air (Miller has one receiving touchdown), making him a more fantasy relevant back.
This matters because regression is a very real thing. Last season, a running back scored a touchdown for every 159.8 rushing yards. Judging by that, Miller should have closer to four scores rather than two. And if we regress rushing yards to touchdowns using the last five year's worth of data, that number is actually 4.25.
What this means is overcorrection should happen eventually, as long as his workload and efficiency remain the same. The odds of those touchdowns coming may be higher than you expect, too, as the Texans will face just one top-half rush defense (Green Bay) in terms of fantasy points against from now through Week 16, which is generally the last relevant week of season-long fantasy football.
It's been frustrating to be a Miller owner this year -- I know, because I am one -- but he could really blow up during the second half of the season.
Add DuJuan Harris
I see you, DuJuan Harris. I see those 59 rushing yards and 83 receiving yards you had on Sunday, adding the cherry on top with a score. Sure, Carlos Hyde was sidelined and you were facing the Saints, but it was still worthy of noting.
(Why am I writing like this?)
The big news about Harris' performance in Week 9 was that he didn't just crush it in fantasy, but he dominated the backfield touches and snaps for San Francisco -- it's not like he accumulated these yards by being an outlier. He saw 10 of 12 running back carries for the 49ers, and he played 88% of the team's snaps.
Considering it was a surprise that Hyde wasn't able to play, Harris shouldn't be highly prioritized off the wire. But don't ignore him, either, because there's the off chance Hyde could miss another game.
Sell Latavius Murray
I'm sure if you started Latavius Murray this past week, you're not going to want to give him up. Or let him down. Or run around and desert him.
But the chance that his Week 9 performance happens consistently from here on out is very slim. Despite seeing 20 carries, Murray actually played fewer than 50% of the team's snaps against Denver. This isn't really abnormal for him: on the year, he's played more than 60% of Oakland's snaps just once, and it happened all the way back in Week 1. For reference, 13 backs are averaging 60% or more of their teams snaps over the entire season.
And not only is the split backfield fear very real, but the Raiders don't have the most optimal schedule in the world moving forward, as they'll face -- after their Week 10 bye -- Houston (16th against the run, per our Net Expected Points, or NEP, metrics), Carolina (6th), Buffalo (8th), Kansas City (11th), and San Diego (12th) through Week 15.
Add Jay Cutler
In his return from injury in Week 8, Jay Cutler -- in a tough matchup against the Minnesota Vikings -- finished with 12.34 Passing Net Expected Points, good for a per-drop back average of about 0.40. That's an elite performance -- entering Week 9, only Tom Brady has averaged such a rate this season.
This week, Cutler makes for a good streaming option against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary that's been torched -- and I mean torched -- over the last two weeks by Matt Ryan and Derek Carr. I know you're all like, "Yeah, JJ, but Jay Cutler isn't Matt Ryan or Derek Carr!" I know he's not. But the Bucs have also given up a top-five performance to Carson Palmer this year, as well as strong QB2 games to Colin Kaepernick and Case Keenum. Really, the only quarterbacks to not post decent-enough numbers at the position versus Tampa Bay have been Derek Anderson and the combination of Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian (remember, Siemian was injured in the contest.)
In a game that features a solid-enough 45-point over/under with the Bucs as just one-point favorites, Cutler should be able to get it done for quarterback streamers in Week 10.
Add Peyton Barber
Speaking of the Bucs, how about that running back situation? Peyton Barber -- their fourth-string running back -- may carry the load this week with Doug Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers sitting out of practice on Monday and fifth-string (you could even consider him the fourth-string) Antone Smith now on IR with a torn ACL. Don't forget, Charles Sims' season ended earlier this year with a knee injury.
The matchup isn't bad for Barber this week, and anytime you can get a back off the wire who's in line for touches, you do it. Even if that back was buried on the depth chart throughout the season.
Sell Zach Ertz
Congratulations, Zach Ertz owners. It only took eight weeks for your tight end to be relevant again in fantasy football.
Like, I get it, guys. You were high on Ertz to start the year, and he finally came through with a big game against the Giants. But guess what? A lot of tight ends have come through with a big game against the Giants. In fact, only two teams have given up more tight end receptions per game -- Cleveland and Indianapolis -- than the Giants have this year.
Not only that, but Carson Wentz threw more passes in this Week 9 game than he had all season long thanks to a massive negative game script. Meaning it's only natural for players in the offense to see more volume.
So am I going to buy into Ertz's performance against a defense that often allows tight ends to beat them, or am I going to buy into the previous four games where Ertz finished as the 19th-, 38th-, 28th-, and 27th-ranked tight end in fantasy football? I think you know the answer.
Add Rishard Matthews
Rishard Matthews is why measuring and analyzing snap rates each week matters. Though his production wasn't fully there, in last week's column, Matthews was an add because he had officially surpassed rookie Tajae Sharpe in the snaps department, becoming the first non-Sharpe wideout to lead the Titans in snaps in a game. That happened again this week against San Diego, and he turned his opportunity into 10 targets, 63 yards and 2 touchdowns while playing 89% of Tennessee's snaps. Moving forward, there's no reason to believe this will drastically change and, unlike Sharpe, Matthews is actually producing with his increased role.
Add Kenneth Dixon
Before their bye, the Ravens noted that they wanted to get Kenneth Dixon more involved in the run game. Then they came out against the Steelers and ran him 9 times to Terrance West's 15, with a snap rate split of 29% to 41%, respectively. That's nothing mind-blowing, but it's a step in the right direction for any Dixon hopefuls, as he's saw no more than three carries in a game before Week 9. Perhaps he's able to get some easy work against the Browns' bottom-ranked rush defense (per our numbers, they rank 31st against the run) in a game where the Ravens are 10-point favorites. Even if he doesn't, he's certainly worth the speculative add.
Hold Marvin Jones
The reason I was into selling him after Week 6 wasn't because I think he's a bad receiver -- that wouldn't make much sense considering how I viewed him entering the year -- but because the team's upcoming schedule and his downward trend in target market share were both concerning. Since that time, Jones has seen 17 targets for a grand total of 132 yards, including a 5-yard performance in Week 9. Those 17 targets have equated to an awful 16.19% market share.
That schedule, though. This past week, the Lions faced the Vikings, a secondary that shuts down outside receivers. Two weeks ago, Detroit faced Houston -- only Adam Thielen has ranked higher than 23rd in weekly PPR wide receiver scoring against the Texans this season. Back in Week 7, Jones faced Josh Norman and was actually able to beat him on a sick-nasty deep ball that resulted in a Norman concussion. Jones still finished as fantasy football's 28th-best receiver that week.
The love is deservedly surrounding Golden Tate right now, but a combination of matchups and Theo Riddick being injured has contributed to Tate's 31.43% market share over the team's last three games. The Vikings do show up on the Lions' schedule again in three weeks -- Detroit has a bye in Week 10 -- but the rest of the schedule isn't overly tough for an outside guy like Jones to do some work. That's why he's more of a hold right now -- you'd be selling him low as he enters his bye, when he could still be a WR2 for your fantasy squad moving forward.
Of course, this could just be how it is for the rest of the season, but it's tough to buy into that after two bad games in extremely difficult matchups.
Add Colin Kaepernick
Since being named starter for the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick has posted QB14, QB16, and QB8 performances while averaging 18.14 fantasy points per game. The first two contests showed what he could do with his legs -- he rushed for 150 yards -- while this past week showed off Kap's arm, as he threw 39 times for 398 yards. Sure, it was New Orleans, but there are some really favorable spots for Kaepernick upcoming, including Week 14 and 15 games versus the Jets (11th-most fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks) and Falcons (the most). So while you may not want to necessarily play him against the Cardinals or Patriots over the next two weeks as a streamer, still add him for lots of upside during the fantasy football playoffs. And, who knows -- given his rushing ability, his floor may be matchup proof.
Buy Tyrell Williams
Tyrell Williams seems to be alternating his good weeks with bad weeks, scoring 22.7 PPR points in Week 5, 5.8 in Week 6, 21.0 in Week 7, 1.4 in Week 8, and then 18.5 in Week 9. Except it's actually logical: his two bad games over his last five have come against the Broncos, the team allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
Not only has Williams been the most reliable target for Philip Rivers, but you'll want a part of this Chargers' offense for a potential playoff run. In Week 14, San Diego plays Carolina, who rank fifth-worst in terms of giving up fantasy points to wideouts. Week 15 sees the Chargers against the Raiders, who surrender the 11th-most points to opposing receivers. And then, during championship week, Williams will be matched up against the Cleveland Browns, who've played defense like an expansion team. (Because they basically are one.)
He's seeing volume, his snap rates are good, and the most important part of his schedule is brilliant. Get Williams now before it's too late.
Add Paul Perkins
The Giants finally used Paul Perkins more this week, as he carried the ball just as many times (11) as starting running back Rashad Jennings. The problem is that the Giants haven't gotten much push on the ground this year, ranking in the bottom 10 in rushing offense, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. That showed in Week 9 for Perkins, with the rookie running for only 32 yards.
He also played just 34% of the team's snaps, which means they're really easing him into the game plan. That's why, right now, he's more of a speculative add -- you can't trust him confidently until that snap rate increases and we see more from the Giants' offensive line.
Sell Ty Montgomery
At first, this was going to be all about selling Aaron Rodgers -- you can make a strong argument that no quarterback has a tougher fantasy playoff schedule, and he's coming off a nice stretch of fantasy performances, making him a good sell. So, sure, use that as a 16th transaction.
But let's talk about Ty Montgomery here instead. In his three games without Eddie Lacy, Montgomery has 3, 9, and 7 rushes combined with 12, 13, and 3 targets. His usage and production has made him a legitimate top-15 or -20 wide receiver -- especially in PPR formats -- during this stretch.
My fear -- aside from the aforementioned playoff schedule, which features Week 14 and 16 games against Seattle and Minnesota -- is what's going to happen to Montgomery when James Starks is healthy. It's true that Starks isn't all that great (he has the worst Success Rate, or percentage of positive runs, this year among backs with 10 or more rushes), but he should line up in the backfield quite a bit. Or, at least enough to take work away from Montgomery.
So where does that leave Montgomery? The top-three wideouts in the Packers' offense are very easily Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams (both through general knowledge of the situation and what snap rates have said), which forces Montgomery to a more inconsistent role.
It's a tough situation to read, and I'm not very optimistic. Because Starks could be back as early as this week (he practiced last week), now may be the time to sell Montgomery.
Add Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco hasn't been elite this year, both in real and fantasy football. He's ranked as a top-12, QB1 just once all season long, and his Passing NEP total of -12.47 ranks fourth-worst in the NFL.
But it's the Browns, man. Not only have they surrendered multiple touchdowns to every non-Ryan Fitzpatrick quarterback they've faced, but the Ravens have an implied team total this week, according to Vegas, of over 27 points. That's precisely what you want from a quarterback streamer -- if the Ravens are going to score almost four touchdowns, Flacco has to be part of some of them, right?
And, hey, maybe touchdown regression hits Flacco this week, too. On the year, he's thrown a touchdown for every 346.3 passing yards. Last year, the average passer in the NFL threw one every 156.8 passing yards. Flacco's actually on pace for well over 4,000 yards, when every single 4,000-yard passer in NFL history has thrown at least 17 touchdown passes. Flacco is on pace for 12.
Add the Houston Texans' Defense
There aren't many low-owned defenses (I'm talking like, 10% to 20% ownership), so I'll give a few streaming defense recommendations this week. Houston is owned in fewer than half of ESPN.com leagues, and they face the Jags -- Jacksonville has now surrendered a top-15 performance to opposing defenses in all but one game this year.
If the Texans aren't on the wire, you can consider the Jets (at home against the Rams), the Ravens (at home against the Browns), or the Redskins (at home versus the Vikings).