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Teddy Bridgewater (vs Philadelphia)
The Eagles have allowed an 80% or better completion rate to their opposing quarterback in 5 of 9 games this year, which should play right into Bridgewater’s penchant for high percentage decisions. Eagles shutdown corner Darius Slay is also banged up to diminish or maybe even take away one of their only assets. The Broncos just discovered their running game last week, but offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur loves the pass, so Bridgewater should still be central.
Taylor Heinicke (vs Tampa Bay)
Heinicke actually performed admirably against the Bucs in the playoffs last year, and he should get to throw the ball a ton in Week 10 because the Bucs run defense is basically impenetrable and the Washington pass defense isn’t going to put up much resistance to Tom Brady. Heinicke has been adding a lot of value as a runner to help raise his floor and ceiling, with at least 40 rushing yards or a rushing score in 4 of the last 6 games.
Mike White (vs Buffalo)
White was on his way to a big game last week if he hadn’t left with a nerve issue in his throwing arm that cleared up after the game. Josh Johnson made sure that the Jets passing game had their second straight 400+ yard performance with three or more scores, so the passing environment is rich with fantasy opportunity for White and his targets against the Bills.
Ryan Tannehill (vs New Orleans)
The Saints run defense is #1 in the league by a good margin, so no matter how much the Titans want to run in the wake of the loss of Derrick Henry, they should be inclined to put the offense on the shoulders of Tannehill and the passing game. Daniel Jones threw for 402 and two scores and Sam Darnold threw for 305 and two scores earlier this year against this defense, so that makes going pass heavy against them even more enticing.
Devonta Freeman, Le’Veon Bell (vs Miami) **Thursday**
The Ravens shouldn’t need to come back from a big second half deficit against the Dolphins this week, who eked out a win against the Texans last week while turning the ball over five times and relying on a terrible Tyrod Taylor interception to basically account for the winning margin in the game. Freeman and Bell should get a lot of run behind an offensive line that will likely get back Nick Boyle, whose blocking is the key to the running game.
Mark Ingram (at Tennessee)
Alvin Kamara missed the first two practices this week. While he is the kind of play that can play without practice, he’s obviously not 100% and the Saints were already using Ingram almost as much as Kamara last week. This week, Ingram should be the lead back, and he has also been getting opportunity in the passing game, with five catches last week. Only the Buffalo and Kansas City backfields have failed to notch a running back touchdown against the Titans since Week 2.
Brandon Bolden (vs Cleveland)
Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris still haven’t practiced as of Thursday, so things aren’t looking good for their chances to play in Week 10. Bolden should be the closest thing there is to a lead back for the Patriots, and he can also make big contributions in the passing game. The Patriots may have trouble passing downfield against a Browns secondary is coming off pf a tremendous week against Joe Burrow on the road.
Jeremy McNichols (vs New Orleans)
Because a rational offense would choose to go pass heavy against the Saints, McNichols has to be a sleeper consideration this week. He’s the clear passing down back, and he is trusted as much as anyone on the roster by Ryan Tannehill outside of A.J. Brown and maybe Julio Jones. McNichols has already had a eight catch game and has posted at least three catches in over half of the games this year.
D’Ernest Johnson (at New England)
Johnson has made it to Thursday without a positive covid test despite being in a running back room that was cleared by the virus this week. That sets him up to be the starter, which has to get your attention when he put up 168 total yards and a score in his first start this year. Monitor the status of Nick Chubb, who only needs two negative tests in a 24 hour period to play.
J.D. McKissic (vs Tampa Bay)
The Bucs, like the Saints, encourage teams to throw the ball a lot more than they run, and unlike the Saints, they have a passing game to take advantage of the Football Team’s weak pass defense, so it should be a play from behind game script for Washington, which means a lot of McKissic. He has two eight catch games in the last three and the Bucs have allowed five backs to post at least five catches. Running backs have also caught four scores against Tampa this season.
Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole (vs Buffalo)
Everyone will have Elijah Moore (who graduated from sleeper status last week) in their lineups, but don’t overlook Crowder and Cole as beneficiaries of playing in an offense that has put up over 400 passing yards in each of the last two games. Crowder had 8-84 in Mike White’s first start, and Cole should be close to a full-time receiver with Denzel Mims landing on the covid list this week. Corey Davis is ready to return, but that’s good news for Cole with Davis likely drawing Bills #1 corner Tre’Davious White.
James Washington (vs Detroit)
Washington should almost surely get the start with Chase Claypool week-to-week and not practicing through Thursday. The Lions are a great draw for him as he tries to build his free agent resume for 2021. Detroit has given up 147 yards or more to the opposing wide receiver group in every game this year except the last one when the Eagles morphed into a run-heavy attack in a 44-6 win.
Tyler Johnson (at Washington)
Chris Godwin hasn’t practiced yet this week with a foot injury that sidelined him even though the Bucs are coming out of their bye and he should be rested and healthy. That sets up Johnson to have a massive opportunity against Washington with Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski both sidelined. The Football Team has given up multiple scores to opposing wide receivers in three of the last four games.
Russell Gage (at Dallas)
The Cowboys pass defense has given up a score to an opposing wideout in every game this year except one, and Kadarius Toney had 10-189 in that game before he got thrown out for his role in a fight. The Cowboys allowed the Broncos running game to break out to the tune of almost 200 yards from their tandem and still gave up 203 yards to Broncos wide receivers. Gage led the Falcons receivers in snaps and the whole team in targets last week in a great performance on the road against the Saints.
Marvin Jones (vs Indianapolis)
Every team that has faced the Colts this year has thrown a score to a wideout except the Texans, and of those teams, every team has thrown at least two scores to opposing wide receivers except San Francisco. So a passing touchdown by Trevor Lawrence to a Jaguars wide receiver is likely, but which one? Jones has been the best red zone and downfield target in this group, so he’s he best bet.
Ricky Seals-Jones (vs Tampa Bay)
It doesn’t look like Logan Thomas will be ready for Week 10, so it’s another week of Seals-Jones and his converted wide receiver game at tight end for the Football Team. Tampa has already allowed four touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year, and the opposing tight end group has posted at least four catches in every game this year.
Rob Gronkowski is going to need at least one more week, and more likely 2-3 to get back on the field after the Bucs bye, so he’ll miss Week 10 against Washington. That sets up Howard and Brate for bigger opportunity with the Bucs also missing Antonio Brown and maybe Chris Godwin.
Ryan Griffin (vs Buffalo)
Griffin drew seven targets last week and should lead the Jets tight end group now that Tyler Kroft has been sidelined by a chest injury that landed him on injured reserve. The Jets tight end group as a whole drew 12 targets last week after getting only three in Mike White’s first start, so we’ll have to hope that White looks to the tight ends more if we need to dig deep enough to use Griffin this week.