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Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 10


The pressure is on, folks. With just four games left in the regular fantasy football season, now is the time to secure high-upside handcuffs and high-floor fill-ins for those players injured or on bye. Each week, the waiver wire scrap heap appears to get smaller and smaller, but that just means you have to squint a little harder to find the gems.

As a reminder, keep an eye out to see if anyone in your league happened to drop players from teams previously on bye to make space on their roster. It happens more often than you may think.

The following players are owned in approximately 10% or fewer of Yahoo leagues, so they won't be the flashiest names on the market. But if you're looking for a good spot start or just need some high-upside lottery tickets, these are your guys. Let's look at some potential waiver wire adds in deep leagues.

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Free Agent Quarterbacks

Kyle Allen, Carolina Panthers - 8% owned

I'm going to list Allen in this space for one more week, as Cam Newton's immediate future with the team remains bleak, and his long-term status is completely up in the air. So grab Allen off waivers if you're in need of some bye week assistance, and feel great plugging him in against the Packers Defense that just made Philip Rivers look like Ivan Drago.

Granted, Green Bay didn't allow any passing touchdowns to the Chargers due to their surprisingly solid red zone protection, but Carolina has a group of pass-catchers that can score from anywhere on the field. Given that, Allen could serve as an above-average option this week. He also has a plum schedule that will allow him the pleasure of facing Atlanta twice over the following four weeks.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins - 6% owned

Yes, I'll also list Fitzpatrick again. Maybe a little deja vu will serve some of you well. I talked last week about the glint of Fitzmagic we saw in the first quarter of his game against Pittsburgh, and that carried over into his Week 9 contest with the Jets. If you were thinking about dropping him now...don't.

Fitzpatrick gets a date with the Colts, who have a middle-of-the-road pass defense that, most importantly, isn't known for its ball-hawking tendencies. If the veteran QB has truly been unleashed, expect him to take even more chances this time around, as he'll now have to keep up with a respectable offense.

 

Free Agent Running Backs

Ryquell Armstead, Jacksonville Jaguars - 1% owned

This feels like an appropriate time to remind everyone that, to date, Leonard Fournette has missed 11 games due to injury. He's only in his third year in the league. As we've already seen gaggles of running backs sidelined due to injuries both big and small, it's starting to look more and more like handcuff season. Based on his touch count, running style, and injury history, there's a very real possibility Fournette misses at least a game or two down the stretch.

If that happens, Armstead should take over those reigns. He looked great against Houston last week, notching his second double-digit fantasy performance of the season on the strength of five receptions for 65 yards. To be fair, he didn't receive a carry in that game. (To be doubly fair, he didn't need to.) It will be interesting to see if the Jaguars decide to use him more in the passing game after this performance as a true complement to Fournette. Regardless, Armstead is a perfect handcuff to scoop up during this bye week.

Bilal Powell, New York Jets - 0% owned

Every year, you think you've finally escaped him. But every year, Powell finds his way into game action. He's like Michael Meyers in a Jets uniform. That could once again be the case for the 31-year-old backup, as Le'Veon Bell underwent an MRI on his knee after the Jets' loss to Miami. Bell could see the bench, especially considering how quickly this has become a lost season for the team.

And while no one's excited to roll Powell out in their lineups, it's worth remembering he was the RB30 through the first six weeks of 2018 before suffering a neck injury in Week 7 and going to IR. Ty Montgomery could factor into the mix, as well, though it's a bit suspicious that he hasn't touched the ball whatsoever for two straight games. Still, Montgomery is certainly closer to Bell's rushing profile than Powell. Maybe Adam Gase is keeping Montgomery's legs fresh for just such an occasion? Or maybe we're giving the coaching staff too much credit and it's almost certain Powell gets shoehorned into the lead role for what feels like the millionth season in a row...

 

Free Agent Wide Receivers

Alex Erickson, Cincinnati Bengals - 6% owned

We can't continue to ignore that Erickson has become much more involved in this offense as of late. He's seen no fewer than six targets over his last three games, and has posted 234 yards over his last two. Whether you want to believe it or not, Erickson is now a focal point in this offense. How much that changes now with Ryan Finley taking over for Andy Dalton is debatable, and of course A.J. Green could come in like a wrecking ball and destroy Erickson's fantasy value in one fell swoop.

And yet, given his production lately, we can't be so sure Erickson doesn't still find meaningful playing time in that situation. There's also the fact that it would make zero sense for the Bengals to actually trot A.J. Green out onto the field for the second half of this lost season. We shouldn't always presume rational coaching, but re-injury risks with Green are grave. In any case, Erickson is deserving of a stash in case ration coaching wins out this time around.

Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders - 3% owned

Amazingly, Renfrow is still barely-owned in Yahoo leagues. Let's not make the same mistake this week. Renfrow led the Raiders in targets by a surprisingly wide margin in their win over Detroit, pulling in six of his seven targets for 54 yards and a touchdown. The rookie out of Clemson has really started acclimating himself to this Oakland offense and could very well become Derek Carr's best pal.

The team doesn't have many other options to utilize on underneath routes, as their best offensive player is a tight end that stretches the field like Antonio Brown was supposed to. Renfrow is worth picking up to see if his target share can remain consistent now that opposing defenses are scheming to take away Darren Waller and Tyrell Williams.

Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams - 2% owned

Brandin Cooks has now sustained his second concussion of the season, and the fifth known concussion of his NFL career. Rams head coach Sean McVay has made it clear the team will consider Cooks day-to-day given the nature of this injury and the totality of his injury profile. That tentativeness makes Reynolds a must-stash, even if Cooks looks like he might play this week against the Steelers. He's a ticking time bomb and Reynolds is your flak jacket.

Reynolds filled in admirably for Cooper Kupp last season, putting together 26 receptions for 365 yards and five touchdowns over the eight games he started. In Cooks' stead, Reynolds played 88 percent of offensive snaps against Cincinnati in Week 8, amassing more targets than any Rams player besides Kupp.

 

Free Agent Tight Ends

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings - 2% owned

As his offensive snap percentage steadily climbs (from 48% in his first game to over 60% in each of his last two), so does his path to fantasy relevance. He's not there yet, as he has to compete with veteran Kyle Rudolph in an offensive scheme that doesn't lean on the tight end position. But Smith now has six targets in two of his last three outings and is quietly becoming a frequent target for Kirk Cousins in high-pressure situations.

It wouldn't be surprising if the Vikings start actively searching for ways to get Smith more involved as they start their playoff push.

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins - 4% owned

This probably looks like chasing points, given that Gesicki just scored double-digit fantasy points for the first time this season. But we should also keep in mind the second-year tight end's path to a continued target share is suddenly much less cluttered. With Preston Williams ruled out for the season and Mark Walton serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, Gesicki could continue to play around 60% of offensive snaps.

Williams was leading the team with 60 targets, so there should be plenty more to spread around now. And Walton's absence means the team will likely rely on some combination of Kalen Ballage and either Myles Gaskin or Patrick Laird. In essence, their "running game" might now consist primarily of tight end screens. I'm only partially kidding about that.

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