Fantasy Football Week 10: Underrated Players in PPR Leagues

Week 10 is upon us and we enter the second consecutive week of brutal bye weeks with six teams on bye again. Winning your matchup during these weeks requires savvy and taking some calculated risks.

Last week’s picks netted a total of +45.4 points, which hopefully helped you to a victory. This week, I hope to help you navigate through the labyrinth once again, but first, let’s review last week’s results. Note that the +/- for my Lorenzo Taliaferro pick is not included as it was contingent on Forsett missing the game (as noted in last week's post).

Performance Breakdown

Week 9 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-0.5+30.1-5.3+21.1+45.4
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+7.8+148.0-91.8+48.7+112.7

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over). YTD stats are from Week 5 with my first post.

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over). YTD stats are from Week 5 with my first post.

Best of the week: Mark Ingram +30 – Ingram was a repeat pick from the previous week, as I again loved his matchup and guaranteed workload. He did not disappoint with 24 points on Thursday night, which put him in the top tier of RBs for Week 9. Ingram solidly outperformed LeSean McCoy and Branden Oliver, the former of which had a solid game in his own right. These past two weeks will likely be Ingram’s best of the season with Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson expected back as soon as this week, each of which will cut into his workload in some respect.

Runner-up: Dwayne Allen +21 – Another repeat pick, Allen disappointed in Week 8 but had a very solid performance Monday night. With limited targets (five), Allen was able to produce 14.8 points while scoring his 7th TD of the season. Whenever Pep Hamilton realizes Allen is far superior to Coby Fleener, Allen’s targets and production will only rise. Anquan Boldin should get an honorable mention here as he outscored V-Jax, Eric Decker, and Allen Robinson by a combined 20.5 points, falling just short of runner-up status.

Worst of the week: Andrew Hawkins -25 – I apologize to Hawkins owners, I believe I can be blamed for his poor performance. I do not own any shares of Hawkins, but have used him twice this year in daily leagues. Those two weeks equate to Hawkins two worst performances of the season. Outside of a zero-point performance against the Steelers earlier in the season, Hawkins had averaged 15 PPG with a minimum of nine targets in each week. Against a porous TB secondary, I still don’t know what went wrong this week, but alas, his performance negated the Boldin pick and left my WR picks negative on the week.

Runner-up: Joe Flacco -5 – Flacco had a solid game, going for 23.4 points and a top-10 finish at his position. The real reason for the negative +/- this week was Ryan Tannehill’s spectacular performance against a suddenly weak San Diego defense. Can’t feel bad for choosing Flacco, but hats off to Tannehill for a great game.

Now, on to this week’s picks.

Quarterbacks

Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
FantasyPros ECR – 14

I’m not sure if it’s the six-team bye weeks or just a product of circumstance, but here I go again with a repeat selection from the previous week. It worked out with Ingram and Allen last week, so I guess I will ride this train until it derails! Flacco was solid last week from a fantasy perspective and has a good matchup against the Titans this week. While Tennessee ranks 11th in FPA, this can be a deceiving stat. Through the first eight games of the season, the Titans have faced one QB currently ranked inside the top 18 in average fantasy ppg – Andrew Luck, who went off for 393 yards and 4 TDs. The next highest ranked QB they have faced is Tony Romo, but that was in Week 2 when he was still shaking off the rust after missing much of the offseason. After those two, it has been a plethora of low-end starters (Cousins, Fitzpatrick, Hoyer, and Bortles to name a few). The efficiency stats tell a different story, as the Titans rank 22nd in pass defense. Flacco is no stud, but he’s better than that group, and should be able to take advantage of a poor pass defense. Coming off an embarrassing loss to the Steelers and finding themselves in last place of their division, the Ravens are going to come out with a purpose. I expect a no-mercy, run up the score, prove a point type game – with Flacco leading the way offensively.

Consider starting him over:
- Russell Wilson – ECR 9
- Matt Stafford – ECR 11

Mark SanchezPhiladelphia Eagles
FantasyPros ECR – 12

I was screaming at myself as I wrote “butt-fumbles” name. I never thought he would be fantasy-relevant again, but here we are. This isn’t to suggest I have a whole lot of confidence in Sanchez’s ability, but more a confidence in Chip Kelly’s offense. The dude is going to throw a lot, and is he really that much worse than Foles has been this season? Foles has made bad decisions and missed receivers regularly this season, which almost reminds you of Sanchez in his last years with the Jets. But I digress. Sanchez is listed here largely because he has a great matchup against the Panthers this week. Carolina ranks 26th in defensive pass efficiency, and allows the 7th-most fantasy points per game to QBs. Against a much tougher defense last week, Sanchez put up 202 yards with 2 TDs (and 2 INTs) in just over three quarters of play. In a week where the likes of Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Luck are on bye, Sanchez has top-10 potential.

Consider starting him over:
- Cam Newton – ECR 7
- Matt Stafford – ECR 11

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Running Backs

Chris IvoryNew York Jets
FantasyPros ECR – 19

Ivory can be hard to trust on a weekly basis. He has averaged a more than solid 4.6 YPC this season and is clearly the Jets best RB. The problem is, you never know when the Jets will abandon the run, for a variety of reasons. In most cases, it is due to a large deficit. While this game could get out of hand given how well the Steelers offense is playing, it’s interesting to note Ben Roethlisberger’s home/road splits this season. The simplest way to summarize is looking at his passer rating, which is an amazing 130.5 at home, and an average 84.1 on the road. It should be noted that his last three games were at home. This is not to suggest the Steelers will struggle, as it wouldn’t be shocking to see them continue to roll against a poor Jets pass defense. But I am willing to bet they slow down a little this week, and this game is relatively close until the 4th quarter. Regardless, the Jets best chance of winning is to keep their offense on the field and play ball control. Luckily for them, the Steelers are vulnerable against the run, ranking middle of the pack in efficiency and fantasy points allowed. I think they will commit to the run from the get go, and I don’t think the Steelers will be as productive offensively this week. I may be hoping for a perfect storm, but that’s what happens when six teams are on bye.

Consider starting him over:
- Denard Robinson – ECR 15
- Darren McFadden – ECR 18
- Joique Bell – ECR 16

Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
FantasyPros ECR – 31

Really scraping the bottom of the barrel here, no question about that. But since Stewart returned from injury three weeks ago, he has accumulated 202 total yards. Even with DeAngelo Williams in the mix last week, Stewart saw 61% of the snaps and significantly outperformed Williams on an equal amount of carries. Stewart has always had the talent, he just can’t stay healthy. The Panthers get a Philly team that is mediocre against the run, but not egregious by any means. However, they do rank 31st against RBs catching balls out of the backfield. Stewart is the passing down back in this offense and they may be passing a lot in this game. Now, there is no question this is a timeshare, but this game will feature a lot of plays due to the Eagles fast-paced offense. I like his chances of seeing 12-15 total touches, with a few catches mixed in. In a week where 10 of the top 36 RBs are injured or on bye, Stewart is a viable RB3.

Consider starting him over:
- Anthony Dixon – ECR 29
- Bishop Sankey – ECR 27

Wide Receivers

Larry FitzgeraldArizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR - 22

The demise of Larry Fitzgerald has been largely overstated. He checks in as the 23rd WR in PPR leagues, which is respectable for a guy on the backend of his career. But since Week 5, he ranks 9th. Many thought he would be somewhat of an afterthought as the underneath receiver in a vertically-oriented offense. However, he has produced well in that role and is averaging 14.7 YPC – not bad for an “underneath” receiver. The Rams rank last in defensive efficiency against No. 2 WRs and have given up the 8th most fantasy points to the WR position as a whole. With Michael Floyd struggling to breakout this season, Palmer has started looking to Fitz more consistently. He has the matchup to take advantage of those targets and produce as a mid-high end WR2 this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Mohamed Sanu – ECR 18
- Mike Wallace – ECR 20

Roddy WhiteAtlanta Falcons
FantasyPros ECR – 16

In Week 3, Atlanta hung 56 points on Tampa Bay in a rout. Unfortunately, White sat out that game with an injury. But it illuminates the fact that Atlanta has the capability to exploit this Bucs team, especially through the air. Atlanta’s strength on offense is Tampa’s weakness on defense, as they rank 31st in defensive pass efficiency and give up the most fantasy points to WRs. Specifically for White, TB ranks 25th against WR2’s. This is about as good of a matchup you can ask for, and in a pass-heavy scheme, White should have plenty of chances to exploit it.

Consider starting him over:
- Sammy Watkins – ECR 12
- Alshon Jeffery – ECR 14

Anquan Boldin – San Francisco 49ers
FantasyPros ECR – 24

11, 11, 22, 12, 21. Those are the point totals for Boldin in his last five games. During that span, he has seen a minimum of seven targets, and caught at least four passes, and had at least 50 yards. Boldin isn’t the physically dominant player he once was, but he is still a big-bodied receiver with strong routes and knack for making contested catches. The Niners travel to New Orleans for what is a big game in both teams playoff quest. The Saints offense has been coming on as of late and they are dominant at home. The Niners are going to be forced into throwing the ball early and often, which bodes well for Boldin. The Saints are ranked 27th in defensive pass efficiency against WR2’s, as well as 27th in FPA to WRs. Look for Boldin to have another big game and flirt with WR1 numbers.

Consider starting him over:
- Mike Wallace – ECR 20
- Golden Tate – ECR 15

Tight Ends

Heath MillerPittsburgh Steelers
FantasyPros ECR - 9

Miller has been wildly inconsistent this season but has a dream matchup this week against the Jets. I mentioned before I think the Steelers are going to come back to earth this week, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be productive. I mean, they are still facing the Jets. The same Jets that rank 31st in FPA to TEs. Defensive pass efficiency backs up that putrid ranking, coming in at 30th. In layman’s terms, the Jets flat out stink against TEs. Miller may be inconsistent, but he can still put up big numbers, going over 20 points twice this season. If there was ever a spot for him to do it again, this would be it.

Consider starting him over:
- Jason Witten – ECR 8
- Travis Kelce – ECR 5

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 10! Follow me on Twitter @rw11687.

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