I intend to see a Fantasy Football Hall of Fame during my lifetime. Even if it's just in my basement, it's going to happen. And when it does, I intend to create a special Ryan Grant wing.
The Ryan Grant Wing will be for those players who are complete afterthoughts, absolute non-factors who come from nowhere to singlehandedly win fantasy leagues. Its namesake, former Packers RB Ryan Grant, had exactly six carries on the 2007 season before being forced into starting duty on Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos.
In that particular game, Grant only had 10 Fantasy Points (FP) behind 104 rushing yards and no TDs, but it was only the start of the Grant roller coaster ride to Fantasy Heaven. Grant would have seven double-digit fantasy point games in his 10 starts, with only games against Kansas City (5 FP), Carolina (8 FP), and St. Louis (9 FP) as the outliers. Against a tough Bears defense in a Week 16 matchup that coincided with many fantasy championships, Grant had exactly 100 yards rushing and a touchdown. For those with a Week 17 championship, he kept the juices flowing; he finished with 11 FP despite only six touches on the game.
For one half season, Grant was truly a god among mere fantasy mortals.
Seemingly one or two players every year are inducted into the Ryan Grant wing. This is who numberFire thinks may have a shot starting in Week 10. These guys can all be solid contributors to your team moving forward if you have the space. And as a (general) rule, I only include guys who are owned in less than half of ESPN leagues.
Top 6 Fantasy Football Waiver Pickups for Week 10
RB/FB Marcel Reece - Oakland Raiders
Week 9 Fantasy Points: 15
Leagues Owned: 0.2%
I've touted Reece for a while as a solid PPR-league only play, and it would take something dramatic for him to be used in all leagues. Dramatic, like say, Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson both being diagnosed with high-ankle sprains? That should do the trick quite nicely.
The next running back on the Oakland depth chart is technically Taiwan Jones, but it's Reece who should have the real value in the Oakland backfield. After McFadden and Goodson were injured in Sunday's game, Reece received his most touches on the season with eight on nine targets. He didn't carry the ball at all, but then again, Jones barely did either (he had one rush for two yards). In total, the Raiders threw the ball on 85% of their offensive plays.
And with Baltimore and New Orleans coming up the next two weeks, I don't see that trend changing any time soon. View Reece as a bigger, angrier version of Darren Sproles; even if he gets his carries, his primary value (and solid value at that) will come from the passing game. For now, that might be too much to give up.
RB James Starks - Green Bay Packers
Week 9 Fantasy Points: 6
Leagues Owned: 5.0%
Yes, he's on a bye week. No, I don't care. Because the running back pool gets progressively weaker near the end of the season, if you don't pick him up now, you're likely not going to have the chance next week.
As the result of an announced attempt to get Starks more into the gameplan, the Green Bay back received a team-high 17 carries this past week against the Cardinals. He might not have been the most efficient back at only 61 yards on his carries, but then again, the Cardinals entered the game with numberFire's #3 opponent-adjusted defense.
After the Packers' bye, the holes should be open for a Green Bay back to break out, and right now, the smart money's on Starks. The Packers only play one top-ten defense the rest of the way (Chicago - Week 15), and Starks did have at least 90 total yards in four of his ten games with at least nine carries last season.
WR Danny Amendola - St. Louis Rams
Week 9 Fantasy Points: N/A
Leagues Owned: 44.0%
Forgot about him? Maybe those injury reports were a bit premature, but if you're in a league with active players that already dropped Amendola, get ready to pounce.
The reasons are owning Amendola are easy - he was in the top five in the league in targets, receptions, and receiving yards when he fell to injury. Even if he gets back 60% of his numbers pre-injury, he's worth owning in every single league.
It's not like any current Rams are playing strongly enough to keep him out of the lineup. Chris Givens has a "Wait, that's possible?" 40.6% catch rate. Brandon Gibson hasn't had a double-digit fantasy day since Week 2, when Amendola was still in the lineup. And the Rams have still thrown on 55.6% of their offensive plays this season. Don't overthink it; if he's there, just do it.
WR Jerome Simpson - Minnesota Vikings
Week 9 Fantasy Points: 1
Leagues Owned: 3.3%
I'm currently feeling physical pain at the thought of recommending a Vikings receiver this week. I don't think it's my small intestine acting up again, at the very least. Ponderitis induces the most nausea of any diseases.
But with Percy Harvin's outlook appearing grim for Sunday's game against the open wound that is the Detroit secondary, Ponder's going to have to throw to somebody. Enter Jerome Simpson.
Michael Jenkins may have more targets over the past couple of weeks for what it's worth, but Simpson is the receiver who has gotten the start opposite Harvin the past couple of games. He has received five targets in two of his five games so far this season, and in two of those other games, not a single non-Harvin receiver had more than two. If he's going to step up, this is going to be the week.
Chief Analyst Keith Goldner gives Simpson the full go-ahead; he's the #42 receiver on our early projections for Week 10.
WR Donald Jones - Buffalo Bills
Week 9 Fantasy Points: 6
Leagues Owned: 1.1%
But it isn't just Harvin that's feeling the injury bug; the early word out of Buffalo is that Steve Johnson's questionable for this Sunday's Patriots game with a thigh injury. Enter Donald Jones as the savior!...type...thing.
Donald Jones's efficiency has been there since stepping into the starting role in Week 2 - his 63.4% catch rate is first on the Bills among all non-backs. But he hasn't quite had the opportunities that Steve Johnson has. Trailing Johnson's 70 targets by 29 (Jones's 41 are tied for second on the team with Scott Chandler), he has never been able to get a rhythm going.
Thrusting Jones into the #1 receiver role would go a long way towards changing that trend, however. The Bills have thrown the ball on 55.4% of their offensive plays so far this year, and Week 3 against New England, that proportion was as high as 59%. In that particular game, Fitzpatrick had his best game on the season with 350 yards and 4 TDs (but also 4 INTs). Jones himself was a beneficiary with a season-high 15 FP.
TE Brandon Myers - Oakland Raiders
Week 9 Fantasy Points: 17
Leagues Owned: 7.0%
You may have noticed Brandon Myers from our MVP Watch last, oh, every single week so far this season. He's been one of the most efficient and productive tight ends so far this season. And now, he finally has the touchdowns to catch up to the rest of his productivity.
The top fantasy tight end this week, Myers has been Carson Palmer's favorite weapon in disguise this entire season. Myers's 50 targets are second on the Raiders, only 10 behind Denarius Moore and ten ahead of #2 receiver Rod Streater. And perhaps more importantly, he's been able to convert those targets - his 39 receptions (from an excellent 78% catch rate) is first on the team.
With Baltimore and New Orleans on the docket the next two weeks, expect Palmer to be throwing early and often. And Myers is likely to be the beneficiary of a few of those throws.
Who I would pick up this week, in order (with auction waiver $, assuming a $100 spending limit)
1. Amendola ($24)
2. Starks ($19)
3. Reece ($16)
4. Simpson ($15)
5. Jones ($12)
6. Myers ($6)