Week 10 waiver wire targets for standard scoring fantasy football leagues:
Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles (owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Nick Foles became the seventh player in NFL history to throw for seven touchdowns in a game. He was also the second to do it in nine weeks; Peyton Manning threw seven touchdowns week one. That brings Foles’ season total to 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. The second-year passer has improved his accuracy to 62.7 percent this year, up from 60.8 percent last season. On Sunday against the Raiders, Foles earned a perfect passers’ rating of 158.3. That doesn’t happen too often. He has started three games this year, and played significant time in a fourth game. With the sustained success he’s shown, it would be hard to imagine the Eagles moving away from this guy. But remember his abysmal performance against Dallas in week eight; he completed only 37.9 percent of his passes for 80 yards and no scores.
Houston quarterback Case Keenum (owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Case Keenum holds the NCAA record for career passing yards with 19,217. That’s more than 2,000 yards ahead of second place Timmy Chang, who threw for 17,072 yards for Hawaii. The former Houston Cougar is in his second year in the NFL, as an undrafted player. He has now started two games for the Texans, against the Chiefs and Colts. He has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 621 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also revived Andre Johnson’s season, who entered week nine without a single score. Keenum took care of that, giving Johnson 13 targets for nine receptions, 229 yards, and his first three touchdowns of the year. Before Houston’s game Sunday night, Johnson was on pace for 1,334.9 yards, 109.7 catches, and no touchdowns. He is now on pace for 1,626 yards, 114 receptions, and six scores. Keenum could certainly retain the starting job with more of the same. And Johnson’s value takes a serious hike as a result, returning him to the top five wide receiver conversation that he commanded for so many years.
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Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder (owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Christian Ponder is a former 12th overall pick from 2011. He has started 31 games in his career, including all 16 games of 2012. Ponder made his fifth start of the year Sunday, completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 236 yards, a touchdown and an interception. For the season, the former Florida State Seminole is completing 62 percent of his throws, while averaging 214.4 yards, 0.6 touchdowns and 1.2 interceptions per game. Since returning as starter two games ago his accuracy has improved. In weeks seven and eight, Ponder had a completion percentage of 67.2, while passing for 381 yards, a touchdown and a score. He also has run for four touchdowns in his last three starts, and has 143 yards rushing this season (6.0 yards per carry). He may have done enough to regain his job and hold off Josh Freeman.
Cincinnati running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (owned in 67 percent of Yahoo leagues)
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is still the starting back in Cincinnati. Only once this season has rookie Giovani Bernard rushed for more carries than the sixth year veteran. In week four against the Browns, Bernard rushed 10 times for 37 yards, while catching six passes for another 38 yards. In that game, Green-Ellis rushed just six times for 13 yards. On the season, Green-Ellis has 120 rushes for 391 yards (3.3 yards per carry) and three scores, to Bernard’s 76 carries for 343 yards (4.5 yards per attempt) and four touchdowns. Bernard is a lot more involved in the passing game, with 29 receptions for 258 yards and two more scores, whereas Green-Ellis has only caught two passes this season, and none after week two. Green-Ellis has more rushes than Bernard in the red zone, within the 10-yard-line, and within the 5-yard-line. He is the lead back and the goal line back. Every owner in 33 percent of Yahoo! leagues seems to have gotten a little too excited about Bernard. Surely you can drop someone in favor of a starting back.
Arizona running back Andre Ellington (owned in 63 percent of Yahoo leagues)
With starter Rashard Mendenhall out of the lineup in week eight, rookie Andre Ellington ran 15 times for 154 yards and a touchdown. In every game that Mendenhall has played, he has received more carries than the sixth round pick. Mendenhall, though, is clearly not the best runner on the team. The sixth year veteran is running for an average of 3.1 yards per attempt, compared with Ellington’s 7.7 yard average. Mendenhall has run 92 times for 281 yards and three touchdowns, while Ellington has needed only 43 rushes for 333 yards and two scores. The younger back is also more involved in the passing game, with 22 receptions for 198 yards and another touchdown. Mendenhall has only 10 catches for 66 yards and no receiving scores. Head coach Bruce Arians said that when Mendenhall returns to health, “I’m sure he’ll resume his role.” After the electric week eight performance, Arians also said he would like to find a way to get Ellington more involved. This will likely remain a committee for the foreseeable future.
New England running back Shane Vereen (owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Shane Vereen returned to practice last week, after missing every game since week one. In case you missed it, the third year veteran led all Patriots in offense, rushing 14 times for 101 yards, and catching seven passes for another 58 yards. Only Danny Amendola made more receptions in that game, and no one received more carries than Vereen. The Patriots have spread the ball around quite a bit since Vereen’s departure. Stevan Ridley has rushed 118 times for 514 yards (4.4 yards per attempt), and LaGarrette Blount has taken 70 carries to 312 yards (4.5 yards per carry). Vereen still leads the team in yards per attempt, with an average gain of 7.2 yards. The joker back spent training camp lining up in the slot and at wide receiver, and could return as a versatile cog in an improving offense. He can return to the starting lineup in Week 11, after the team’s bye.
San Francisco wide receiver Mario Manningham (owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Sixth year veteran Mario Manningham has yet to play a snap in 2013. The former Super Bowl champion New York Giant tore his ACL and PCL in week 16 of last season while playing the Seahawks. Manningham has never had a 1,000 yard season, nor has he ever caught double-digit touchdowns. His best year was 2010, when Eli Manning completed 60 passes to him, for 944 yards and nine scores. That was also the only year in which Manningham played all sixteen games, though he has still never started more than ten in a season. The team’s leading receiver is Anquan Boldin, who has 38 catches for 551 yards and two touchdowns. He is on pace for 76 receptions, 1,102 yards and four scores. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick could sure use some help on the outside. Manningham was activated from the physically unable to perform list on Monday, and may play as soon as Sunday.
Indianapolis tight end Coby Fleener (owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues)
The second-year tight end from Stanford has a great opportunity in this young offense. After quarterback Andrew Luck was taken with the Colts’ first overall pick in 2012, Fleener was the team’s second round pick. They came to Indianapolis together from Stanford last year, and this offseason, offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton followed them. Tight end Dwayne Allen was placed on injured reserve after playing just one game this year. And Reggie Wayne joined Allen on I.R. last week, after tearing his ACL. In Sunday night’s game against the Texans, Fleener caught three passes for 64 yards, while T.Y. Hilton lit up scoreboards with seven receptions, 121 yards, and three scores. Fleener looked great on a 44-yard catch in the first quarter, and should see a significant increase in attention for the rest of the season.
Philadelphia tight end Brent Celek (owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Brent Celek’s best season came in 2009, when the opening day starter in Philadelphia was Donovan McNabb. The retired Eagles quarterback started 14 games that year. The 6-foot-4, 261 pound tight end caught 76 balls for 971 yards and eight touchdowns that year. Since then, he has never reached any of those numbers in a season. So far in 2013, Celek has caught 17 passes for 241 yards and three scores. If quarterback Nick Foles can continue his impressive performance, Celek could experience a resurgent year for his otherwise fading career.
New Orleans wide receiver Kenny Stills (owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Starting quarterback Drew Brees has brought the New Orleans offense back to form. The Saints currently rank third in passing offense (317.6 yards per game), and second in passing touchdowns (2.63 per game). Wide receiver Kenny Stills is a rookie from Oklahoma, who was taken in the fifth round of last April’s NFL Draft. In his final collegiate season, Stills made 82 receptions for 959 yards and 11 touchdowns. Stills leads all Saints wide receivers in receiving yards (368) and touchdowns (3). New Orleans loves to use tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Darren Sproles in the passing game, but there is definitely some room for production outside the numbers. Brees called Stills a bigger version of Lance Moore this summer. The young wideout could have a bright career, especially considering who’s throwing the passes.
Some guys still relevant from previous weeks include Darrius Heyward-Bey, Donald Brown, Jordan Reed, Andre Brown, Tim Wright, Montee Ball, Percy Harvin, Keenan Allen, and Mike James.
Stats and data courtesy of pro-football-reference.com, footballguys.com, profootballfocus.com, and wikipedia.org.