Working The Wire: Week 10

Ryan Tannehill

I think the inimitable Chris Wesseling said it best when he tweeted last week that fantasy football is a patient man’s (or woman’s) game. Keep that firmly in mind as you poke around your various waiver wires this week.

You may land a nice waiver wire player on Wednesday or Thursday. Bravo, friend. But don’t play Cecil Shorts over Hakeem Nicks. Don’t substitute Tony Gonzalez for Brandon Myers. Stay patient. Use your waiver guys when you have to — maybe to replace an injured Percy Harvin if he can’t go Sunday against Detroit.

Don’t chase points. Tens of thousands of fake footballers did just that in Week 9 when the nabbed Lions wide receiver Titus Young from waivers and plugged him into their lineups after he roasted the Seahawks’ secondary in Week 8. They were rewarded with two whole fantasy points as the Lions took an uncharacteristically ground-heavy approach.

Here are your best options in an increasingly slim waiver pool.


Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws a pass while being pressured by Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) during the third quarter at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 35-13. Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Ryan Tannehill is the real deal and worth a look on your week 10 waiver wire Steve Mitchell US PRESSWIRE

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins — Offenses have been roasting the Titans’ defense on a spit. Now it’s Tannehill’s turn, as the rookie has looked more comfortable since mid-October. Just watch the rookie work: He makes consistently good pre-snap reads, he throws at an unbelievably accurate clip when under pressure, and he doesn’t force throws into impossibly tight windows. In short — he’s the real deal, a half a tier below Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

The Titans are giving up 272 yards per game, and a league-worst 20 touchdown tosses. Tennessee’s defense is a total and complete dumpster fire. Tannehill had his way with the Colts’ secondary last week, throwing for 290 and a score. Keep him rolling if you’re hurting for signal callers.

Running backs

Marcel Reece, RB, Raiders — Darren McFadden has finally shifted from breaking your heart to shattering your skull. He has what may or may not be a high ankle sprain. So does his backup, Mike Goodson. Enter Reece — the big back with good hands.

You’ll hear all week to stay far away from Reece, who has carried the ball precisely once this year. Even so, he’s the last man standing (besides Taiwan Jones, a speedster who hasn’t earned the trust of Raiders’ coaches). Reece piled on 95 yards and a touchdown during Carson Palmer’s Week 9 aerial assault on the Bucs’ defense, and this week, he gets the Ravens, who are allowing 19.6 points per game to running backs. Baltimore gave up a jaw-dropping 81 fantasy points to ball carriers between Week 5-8. Reece is the gem of the waiver wire this week, even if he splits carries with Jones, or Run DMC, if the fantasy killer has an entire leg replacement by Sunday afternoon.

Vick Ballard, RB, Colts — Ballard is owned in less than a quarter of leagues. That, folks, needs to change before Thursday, when the Colts play the marshmallowy soft Jaguars’ front seven.

Teams are pouring on the yards on the Jaguars, who are allowing the fourth most fantasy points to running backs. It’s Donald Brown’s various injuries that make Ballard a prime waiver pickup this week. Brown has been limited in practice this week, and didn’t touch the pigskin a single time last week after his oft-injured knee began bothering him during the weekend. Ballard is averaging 11 points per game over the past three weeks.

He’s a fine flex spot plug and play in Week 10.

Joique Bell, RB, Lions — Mikel Leshoure’s backup brought me 19 much-needed points in Week 9 against the Jaguars. Bell, a replacement level talent with very little wiggle or long speed, won’t score 19 for you this week, but he’s worth a grab in PPR leagues. Bell could have serious value if Leshoure gets dinged up down the stretch. He’s an ideal add for owners with deep benches.

Wide receivers

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts — Hilton had a monster game against Miami — posting 102 yards and a touchdown — even after dropping two potential scores. He could’ve been Week 9’s top pass catcher. The little guy has serious downfield skills, he’s not afraid to go after jump balls, and Andrew Luck and Indy’s offensive coaches have had rave reviews about the the rookie’s aggressiveness and route running.

Now for the bad news: Donnie Avery, after suffering what appeared to be a semi-serious hip injury late in Week 9’s contest, was able to practice Tuesday, a potential killshot to Hilton’s Week 10 value. Keep close tabs on Avery’s practice participation this week — especially Wednesday. Hilton becomes a rock-solid top-30 receiver if Avery sits for Thursday Night Football.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers – Antonio Brown, dear readers, isn’t going to play this week. Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin said as much on Tuesday, so I think you can safely remove him from your various lineups. Sanders will reap the benefits against a  brutally generous Kansas City defense on Monday Night Football.

Starting cornerback Stanford Routt was axed this week in Scott Pioli’s Nixonian midseason freakout, a move that could somehow make the Chiefs’ secondary more sieve like (they’ve allowed 17 passing touchdowns this year). The Steelers, however, could brutalize the Chiefs’ defense on the ground, leaving scraps of fantasy glory for the team’s receivers. Keep expectations well in check, but play Sanders as a top-35 wide receiver.

Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers — Alexander has been a fantasy analyst muse for years. He has the size, speed, and hands to be a fake football stud. He’s also one of the most fragile skill players in recent memory — the Kevin Smith of wide receivers. The poor guy is always hurt. When he’s not though, he’s borderline awesome, and after just a short time with San Diego, Alexander went for 61 yards against the Chiefs last week.

Don’t worry about Robert Meachem coming back from injury. The guy stinks — thoroughly and completely. Philip Rivers hardly hides his vitriol for Meachem. Alexander is the guy to own here, if you must own a Chargers’ receiver, and I think he could catch a bomb or two against a Tampa Bay secondary that has been destroyed over the past month.

Tight ends

Brandon Myers, TE, Raiders — Oakland, I think, will make Al Davis’ ghost smitten over the next few weeks. They’ve lost their offensive centerpiece, Darren McFadden, and Carson Palmer gave you a preview of life after DMC when he threw for 414 yards and four touchdowns last week.

He’ll throw a ton again this week against a bad Ravens’ secondary, and he’s proven time and again that he likes his big, plodding tight end. Myers finally busted his amazing touchdown slump against Tampa in Week 9, snagging two touchdowns in the Raiders’ failed comeback attempt. And this might shock you into prioritizing Myers this week: He’s a top-10 fantasy tight end — far superior, I think, to guys like Kyle Rudolph and Greg Olsen. Myers totaled 13 targets last week, and 50 for the season, just 10 behind team leader Denarius Moore.

Myers has long-term value in a Raiders’ offense that could chuck the ball 40 times a game while McFadden begins his annual healing process.

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C.D. Carter Fantasy Football Analyst
C.D. Carter is a reporter, author of zombie stories, writer for The Fake Football and XN Sports. Fantasy Sports Writers Association member. His work  has been featured in the New York Times.