Byepocalypse: The Sequel.
Six more teams are given the week off in Week 10, creating massive holes in the lineups of fantasy owners. I mean, come on, guys. Can’t you just play all 17 games and give us fantasy football players less stress? Okay, okay. I’m kidding. I actually enjoy the heavy bye weeks, believe it or not. It forces players to know more than just the obvious. It forces players to find the lottery tickets. It forces players to be smart(er). So, you need a bye week fill-in, do you?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
Week 10 byes: Houston, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, San Diego, Washington.
Derek Carr vs Denver Broncos (10% owned in Yahoo! Leagues)- What do we want more than almost anything in fantasy football? Volume. And on Sunday, expect Carr and the Raiders passing game to see plenty of it. Coming into Week 10, Oakland already ranks first in team passing play percentage (68%) and fourth in pass attempts per game (38.9). Why is this? Well, the fact that Oakland is 0-8 and is trailing in games over 50 percent of the time probably helps. And against the Broncos, this game should be 31-0 at the half, meaning Carr and the Raiders will be throwing, throwing and throwing some more. As rookies do, Carr has been inconsistent. Via ESPN, he’s averaging nearly 16 fantasy points per game on even weeks and under 10 per game on odd number weeks. Hopefully he stays strong in this even week. The matchup isn’t horrible, either. Over the last three games, Denver has surrendered 886 yards and nine passing scores. The Raiders will not be able to run the football in this game, making Carr a sneaky good play.
Lorenzo Taliaferro vs Tennessee Titans (30%)- The rookie has leaped Bernard Pierce on the pecking order, serving as both the number two and goal line back in this Ravens offense. That role will make him very fantasy relevant this week, facing a poor Titans defense that is allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs this year. Also, the Titans are surrendering a full rushing touchdown per game this year, and I see Baltimore getting plenty of scoring chances against this defense that is allowing a healthy 3.8 red zone scoring attempts per game on the year, good for the sixth-most in football. And we know Zo is getting that short-yardage work, as he already has more carries from inside the 10-yard line than Justin Forsett on the year.
Peyton Hillis @ Seattle Seahawks (3%)- An ugly, ugly call here, but Hillis makes for a deep sleeper, especially in PPR leagues. Last week, he caught five balls for 50 yards, and Andre Williams only played five more snaps than him (39-34). Now there are reports surrounding Hillis cutting even more into Williams’ workload, and if this game gets out of hand like it should, Hillis may see a lot of passing down work again. The Seahawks are obviously tough against the run, but they are allowing a healthy 6.4 receptions per game to opposing backs this year, good for the second-most in the NFL.
Justin Hunter @ Baltimore Ravens (46%)- This may be “the week” for Hunter, who has been much of a fantasy tease over the course of the season. Things are trending up, however. Hunter has been on the field for the majority of snaps over the past two games and in Zach Mettenberger‘s first career start, he targeted Hunter a nice 10 times. Now he’ll face a depleted Baltimore secondary that just shut down Jimmy Smith for the season and is allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs this year. He’ll finally get some down-field targets with Mettenberger under center, and Tennessee won’t be able to run the football effectively against Baltimore’s front.
Jordan Matthews vs Carolina Panthers (21%)- Matthews is passing Riley Cooper as the number two wideout in Philadelphia, and with Mark Sanchez under center, this could actually help the rookie. The two had a nice connection during the preseason, as Matthews had a massive 10-catch game alongside Sanchez during the preseason this year. Sanchez looked his way early when he came in last week, eventually tossing a nice-looking touchdown to him. An expanding role and a quarterback who looks his way, Matthews makes for a sneaky good play against a bad Carolina pass defense allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season. The Panthers are also allowing about two passing touchdowns per game.
Clay Harbor vs Dallas Cowboys (6%)- Harbor had a goose egg last week against the Bengals, but I’d still give him a look this week if you need to replace Rob Gronkowski or Antonio Gates. Like the Raiders, Jacksonville is also a bad football team, thus, they tend to throw the football a lot. Only the Falcons and Raiders throw the rock at a higher percentage than the Jaguars this year, and Harbor draws a nice matchup against a Cowboys defense that has struggled against tight ends this year, and now has a depleted linebacking corp. John Carlson found the end zone against them last week, and Dallas has now allowed eight touchdowns to tight ends on the season.