The week 10 byes may be one of the most troublesome fantasy bye-weeks to date. With Atlanta, Indianapolis, San Diego, and San Francisco all on bye this week that leaves a number of teams without their usual starting quarterbacks (no Ryan, Rivers, or Luck). It also leaves a number of squads without their starting running backs including the touchdown machine known as Devonta Freeman (ATL). Not to mention Julio owners will be looking for a suitable replacement for their WR1. Fortunately, with recent bye weeks and injuries over the last few weeks there’s a good amount of quality talent out their available to fill-in for your bye week troubles.
**Owning percentages are based off of ESPN Fantasy formats**
Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders – Owned in 58.3% of leagues
His stock is soaring and rightfully so. I’ve had him on my list the last few weeks and despite being owned in over half of ESPN leagues I figured it was only appropriate to add him to this week’s list considering three top tier quarterbacks are all on bye this week. At this stage Carr is simply a must-have quarterback. Since the Raiders bye week Carr has posted 923 yards through the air with an 11:1 TD/INT ratio.
Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins – Owned in 8.8% of leagues
Captain Kirk is looking like a legit fantasy stud this week. He’s going up against the worst passing defense in the NFL. The Saints just surrendered four touchdowns to rookie Marcus Mariota (without Kenny Wright in the lineup) and the week prior Eli Manning carved them up for six scores. Whatever reservations you may have for Cousins’ fantasy value; this is the week to put them aside.
Brian Hoyer – Houston Texans – Owned in 12% of leagues
Yes, Hoyer is going against the undefeated Bengals on Monday Night. And no, that shouldn’t scare you away from this matchup. Since Hoyer’s taken over under center in Houston he’s piled up 1,345 yards and a 12:2 TD/INT ratio. Considering he’s owned in less than a quarter of leagues, Hoyer is a bargain especially in two-quarterback leagues. Plus, the Texans are coming off their bye-week, so expect a rejuvenated running game to help complement their potent passing game.
Landry Jones – Pittsburgh Steelers – Owned in .8% of leagues
With Big Ben out, the former Oklahoma product will fill-in as the Steelers’ signal caller. Jones is taking over the reins to a very potent offense with their wide receiving core at full-strength. In two-quarterback leagues Jones is a very viable pickup and should offer some solid fill-in play this week against the less-than stellar Browns defense.
Karlos Williams – Buffalo Bills – Owned in 41.5% of leagues
Plain and simple, Williams is a solid handcuff to have and he also boasts a tremendous amount of upside as a touchdown vulture. He suffered a concussion earlier this year that kept him sidelined for the last few weeks, but bounced back Sunday with a 110-yard 2TD game against Miami. Even with a healthy Shady McCoy, Williams is a player worth owning the rest of the season.
James Starks – Green Bay Packers – Owned in 40.5% of leagues
I’m still not a big Starks fan, but considering how ineffective Eddie Lacy has been this year, it’s difficult to argue against Starks’ fantasy relevance. He’s got a nice matchup against Detroit this weekend and offers significant upside in PPR leagues. Plus it doesn’t hurt he’s coming off a six-catch 83yd performance (with a score) against the formidable Carolina defense.
Marcel Reece – Oakland Raiders – Owned in 2.8% of leagues
With Latavius Murrary’s undergoing the NFL’s concussion protocol, Reece may see an expanded role in the running game. Fellow Raiders’ running back Taiwan Jones (owned in 2.7% of leagues) is worth keeping an eye on as well, but Reece offers a greater upside especially in PPR leagues. If Murrary can’t go this weekend, Reece might be a very nice flex option this weekend.
Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – Owned in 30% of leagues
The Lions recently cleaned house with their management and are coming off their bye week. The rookie sensation Ameer Abdullah seems to have fallen out of favor with the coaching staff leaving Bell to get the lion’s share (pun intended) of backfield touches. This is more of a hunch since Bell is coming off just a 7-carry 56yd performance two weeks ago, but I like Bell emerging as the Lions top running back the rest of the season.
Running backs to keep an eye on:
Shaun Draughn – San Francisco – Owned in 3.4%
Brandon Bolden – New England – Owned in .4%
James White – New England – Owned in 1.7%
Draughn is on bye week, but depending on how the SF injury-plagued running back situation shapes up he may be the new lead back in their offense (he posted 96 all-purpose yards this past weekend). With the Dion Lewis injury, we can all expect a new pass-catching threat to emerge out of the Patriots offense. The question is will it be Bolden or White? Both are worth keeping tabs on this week and as the season progresses.
Marvin Jones – Cincinnati Bengals – Owned in 41% of leagues
Jones has an extremely favorable matchup this weekend against the Houston secondary. Jones has multiple 5-plus catch games, but has failed to break the century mark this season. I’d expect that to change this weekend.
Kamar Aiken – Baltimore Ravens – Owned in 28.7% of leagues
I’ve been big on Aiken since Steve Smith’s injury. Granted, he has not broken out quite yet, but Baltimore is coming off their bye week and if there was ever a time to see how potent the Aiken and Flacco connection can be this is it. They’ll be facing off against a Jaguars secondary that has been considerably generous to wide receivers this year, giving up 5 touchdowns to wideouts over their last three games.
Dorial Green-Beckham – Tennessee Titans – Owned in 9% of leagues
Green-Beckham had a nice 5-catch 77yd game this past weekend against the porous Saints’ defense. With Kenny Wright still nursing a MCL injury, the rookie could emerge as a legit threat in the Titans offense. He’s got a tough matchup against Carolina this week, but has a tremendous amount of upside. If you have the roster space DGB is worth picking up.
Pick your poison
Richard Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – Owned in 29.7% of leagues
Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions – Owned in 28.5% of leagues
Green Bay and Detroit always turns into a fantasy firestorm and I like both tight ends this week to see pay dirt. Rodgers clearly has the better quarterback throwing to him, but Ebron plays a larger role in his team’s offense. This is a juicy matchup for both players and comes down to which player (or team) you fancy more.
The fantasy playoffs are right around the corner. Good luck to all of you out there making a postseason push!