With a lot of teams on bye in Week 10, most fantasy owners will have to count on at least one reserve to fill a void this weekend. I’m here to help.
We’ve combed the far reaches of the Internet and culled only the choicest fantasy tips and advice. Below you’ll find easily digestible nuggets addressing some of the critical situations fantasy owners will face from week to week.
Bye weeks: Broncos, Patriots, Eagles, Redskins, Jaguars, Texans.
Cole Beasley, WR, Bills: Beasley is widely available, owned in just 26 percent of ESPN leagues. Week 10 and 11 matchups against the Browns and Dolphins certainly make him a viable candidate for a spot start. Beasley has touchdowns in his past three games so it’s probably asking a lot to get one for a fourth straight week. Still, owners in a bind have to consider a player like Beasley at times. This is one of those times.
Zach Pascal, WR, Colts: Pascal has made his presence known in the Indianapolis passing game in recent weeks and would appear to have another golden opportunity with a home game against Miami. It remains to be seen who will be behind center for the Colts, as quarterback Jacoby Brissett is reportedly dealing with a sprained medial collateral ligament. Additionally, a calf injury is expected to sideline top wide receiver T.Y. Hilton for another game. In a week with six teams on a bye, some owners will be in need of a WR2/flex play, and Pascal’s matchup certainly offers upside. He’s owned in just 28 percent of ESPN leagues.
Josh Reynolds, WR, Rams: With teammate Brandin Cooks likely out in Week 10, Reynolds will join the Rams’ three-receiver sets. Reynolds isn’t so much a recommendation, but is being flagged for owners in search of a spot start. He’s owned in just 3 percent of ESPN leagues.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Browns: Cleveland certainly is giving the impression that Hunt will have his opportunities when he makes his season debut with the team. The Browns are hosting the Bills, who boast a strong defense. Still, with so many teams not on the schedule this week, some fantasy owners may have to consider Hunt as a flex play. It’s a tough recommendation, Hunt’s upside is hard to ignore.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, 49ers: Sanders has wasted no time building a rapport with San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, hauling in seven receptions for 112 yards with a touchdown in just his second game with the club. Since then, Sanders has had another 10 days to continue getting acclimated to the team’s offense and San Francisco has a chance to extend its lead in the NFC West to a full three games with a victory over Seattle. The Seahawks also rank near the bottom of the league in pass defense. His ownership skyrocketed this week and for good reason: Start him with confidence.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Jets: Bell had an MRI exam earlier in the week after banging up his knee in Week 9. It doesn’t appear that he’s in danger for Sunday, but he’s being listed as questionable. The matchup with the Giants is a good one for Bell owners. While he’s averaging career lows, Bell’s ability as a receiver continues to make him a serviceable fantasy starter.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Colts: As mentioned above, Brissett is dealing with a sprained MCL. It appears he has a chance to play in Week 10 in what should be a solid matchup against the Dolphins. An injury like this, however, always leaves me a bit skeptical. Brissett will be a game-time decision, but unfortunately the game is a late afternoon matchup, so owners might have to make a decision before knowing if Brissett is going to play. It’s probably best to figure out that alternative QB now.
James Conner, RB, Steelers: A shoulder injury kept him out in Week 9, and Conner has been ruled out for Sunday’s matchup against the Rams. The tandem of Trey Edmunds and Jaylen Samuels will handle the workload for Pittsburgh. It’s tough to recommend either against a Rams defense coming off a bye week, but some owners may not have other options.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Rams: Despite a bye week, Cooks’s chances of returning this weekend do not look good as he continues to recover from a concussion.
Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys: The Dallas wideout is dealing with a knee injury and is questionable for Sunday’s contest against Minnesota. His owners will need to monitor the situation.
Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints: Does it get any better than this for Kamara owners? Not only is he expected back in Week 10, his return would come against an Atlanta defense that has been downright awful this season. Kamara’s scoring has had its ups and downs, but 70 to 80 yards from scrimmage and a TD seems within reach in Week 10.
George Kittle, TE, 49ers: Kittle did not practice Friday as he has a knee injury. His owners will need to keep an eye on this heading into Sunday. It’s unlikely Kittle owners had much of a backup plan since San Francisco already had its bye week. Grab a reserve tight end now in case Kittle is out.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs: Kansas City will get Mahomes back for Week 10 against the Titans. Mahomes has been practicing with a brace and will likely wear it on the field after missing two games.
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: For those who were concerned, Atlanta Coach Dan Quinn announced that Ryan (ankle) would be the starter in Week 10.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers: A toe injury has Smith-Schuster listed as questionable for a matchup against the Rams. With Conner out, Jaylen Samuels figures to have a big role in Pittsburgh’s passing attack, with or without Smith-Schuster.