Fantasy Football: Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 10

Fantasy football is all about being a step ahead of your competition, and this weekly column aims to help you achieve that in a couple of ways.

First, I will identify players who could ultimately provide some value for your teams before they become hot waiver-wire adds. This will save you from spending an exorbitant amount of your free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) or using a high waiver priority on them, ultimately allowing you to save each of these for when you most need it.

Second, I'll dig through the data and player trends to illustrate why these players will be worth taking up a spot on your roster. I'm going to try to find the diamonds in the rough that inevitably emerge each and every year so that you don't have to sweat over whether or not you claimed them on waivers -- because you will already own them!

My goal each week is to provide you with starting and flex-caliber players at each of their respective positions. That means I'm looking for top-12 quarterbacks, tight ends, and defenses, as well as top-36 running backs and wide receivers. If I've done that, then I've done my job.

So let's take a look at this past week!

Player Positional Ranking Half-PPR Points
Sam Darnold 21st 13.5
A.J. Brown 29th 10.1
Jason Witten 10th 9.8
Cleveland Browns D/ST 14th 5.0

It seems like Sam Darnold is still seeing ghosts as he couldn't get anything going against the hapless Miami Dolphins. Fortunately A.J. Brown and Jason Witten provided serviceable days for fantasy owners. Unsurprisingly, the Cleveland Browns' season of disappointment continued as they were beaten by Brandon Allen.

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders

ESPN Ownership: 37%

Derek Carr, Jon Gruden, and the Oakland Raiders finally seem to be finding their groove. With a fully healthy Tyrell Williams, surging Josh Jacobs, and breakout Darren Waller, the Raiders have been providing fantasy owners with tons of joy. The backbone of all that, though, has been Carr. He hasn't played otherworldly, but that's because he hasn't needed to, and that's worked out perfectly for him.

Over the past three weeks, Carr has averaged 19.9 fantasy points per game, good enough for QB11 on a points-per-game basis in that span. Furthermore, Carr has thrown multiple touchdowns in each of those three games. A huge factor contributing to his success has been the outstanding play of his offensive line and ability to get rid of the ball quickly. Week 9 was the first time he got sacked since Week 4. He's also among the top-10 fastest in the league in terms of average amount of time to throw, according to Next Gen Stats.

After playing five straight games away from The Black Hole, Carr and the Raiders will get to play at home in half of their remaining eight games. This includes a Week 11 visit from the pitiful Cincinnati Bengals, who have been exploited week after week. They currently offer opposing fantasy quarterbacks the fifth-best matchup in the league, and Carr clearly has the weapons to put up big numbers against this defense.

Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams

ESPN Ownership: 21%

At this point in the season, it's important to start securing as many handcuffs as your roster construction allows, even if you don't own the primary running back. Darrell Henderson is a prime candidate for a roster addition because not only is he a great handcuff, he's also been getting worked into the Los Angeles Rams offense more and more.

In each of the two games leading up to the Rams' bye, Henderson had 11 carries. While Malcolm Brown's return may lead to fewer opportunities for Henderson, there's no guarantee that Todd Gurley is able to finish the season healthy. Henderson has also clearly shown how shifty he can be -- per PFF, Henderson leads the league in Elusiveness Rating among running backs with at least 25 rushing attempts.

The Rams have indicated that they want to get Henderson more involved, which would bode well for his fantasy value. While the matchup in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears doesn't seem that enticing, the Monsters of the Midway haven't been as ferocious as they once were. In three of their past four games, the Bears have allowed over 140 rushing yards to the opposing team.

Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers

ESPN Ownership: 9%

Outside of George Kittle and newly-acquired Emmanuel Sanders, Deebo Samuel has been the most consistent option in the passing game. In the seven games he's played, Samuel is averaging just under five targets per game and has played just over 60 percent of the teams' snaps.

Samuel, because of his speed, has also been used as a weapon in the ground game with five rushes for 37 yards. While that's not a tremendous amount of opportunity, he displayed his explosiveness as one of those carries went for a 20-yard touchdown just a couple weeks ago. Further demonstrating his quickness is his 6.9 yards after catch per reception, which is a top-12 mark in the league.

Last week, when the San Francisco 49ers played the Arizona Cardinals, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. In that game, Samuel dropped an easy touchdown pass, but hopefully Garoppolo continues to trust Samuel as he has all year. With Sanders likely being shadowed by Patrick Peterson in their Week 11 matchup with Arizona, Samuel has a chance to feast against one of the league's worst passing defenses.

Jared Cook, TE, New Orleans Saints

ESPN Ownership: 57%

As of Wednesday, Jared Cook has returned to full practice after missing a couple of games due to an ankle injury. With Drew Brees back at the helm, this offense can turn back into one of the most explosive in the league.

Even though Brees has been out for most of the season, Cook is still third on the team in targets per game behind only Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Cook was also able to find the end zone in each of the two games prior to suffering his injury. Furthermore, Cook has been one of the more efficient tight ends. Of tight ends with at least 25 targets this season, Cook ranks 11th in Reception Net Expected Points per target (0.76).

In Week 11, the New Orleans Saints will get to face their division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have been a sieve to the tight end position (and pretty much every other position in the passing game). The Buccaneers are one of three teams to allow double-digit fantasy points per game to tight ends. At a tight end position that provides so little value, finding a matchup advantage can be the difference between a solid outing and an absolute stinker.