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It’s been a tough season for Eli Manning, but his fantasy-friendly schedule could propel him to a strong second half
The bulk of the byes are over with as we enter Week 10, but they will remain a factor for a little longer. This week Cleveland, Kansas City, New England and the New York Jets are on bye, which means just as soon as the Patriots finally get their offense going, they take a week off. Have no fear though, as the NFL’s record-holder for touchdown passes in a game, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, and a few Texans are among those who may be available if you’re looking for some help this week.
The players listed in Athlon Sports’ weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding onto all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may want to keep an eye on. So without further ado, here are some players you may want to consider.
Teams on bye in Week 10: Cleveland, Kansas City, New England, New York Jets
Week 9 Recap: Alex Smith certainly didn’t fill up the box score (124 yards passing, 7 yards rushing), but his Chiefs are the NFL’s lone undefeated team at 9-0 and get a well-deserved break this week.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
Foles is not a new discovery by any stretch, but any time someone ties the NFL single-game record for touchdown passes, it’s worth taking notice. After missing a game due to a concussion, Foles was one gigantic headache for Oakland on Sunday, passing for 406 yards and seven touchdowns, which tied the single-game record. Foles had more touchdowns than incompletions (six) and did all of this damage in three quarters. While I’m not saying that Foles is the second coming of Peyton Manning, he does have two things going in his favor. First, with Michael Vick nursing a hamstring injury, it appears Foles’ hold on the starting job is secure for the time being. Secondly, the Eagles’ next two games are against Green Bay and Washington, two teams that rank among the top 11 in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
Case Keenum, Houston Texans
The Texans didn’t win on Sunday night, but Keenum certainly did his part. Making his second career NFL start, the former University of Houston gunslinger took center stage on NBC by throwing for 350 yards and three touchdowns and energizing the Texans offense and home crowd in the process. In two games, Keenum has yet to throw an interception, which is one of the main reasons why Matt Schaub lost the starting job, and has re-introduced the vertical passing game into the Texans’ offense. Keenum averaged 10.4 yards per completion against the Colts and leaned heavily on his All-Pro target, Andre Johnson (9-229-3). With the Texans sitting at 2-6 and Schaub’s future with the team up in the air, Keenum figures to get more chances to show the team if he’s the potential long-term solution at quarterback or not.
Eli Manning, New York Giants
Very few things have gone right for Manning and the Giants this season, but now may be the ideal time to get back on the bandwagon, at least fantasy-wise. After throwing at least one interception in his first six games, all losses, Manning has not tossed a pick in the past two, both wins. The Giants come off of the bye, hopefully rested and healthy, and are expected to get running back Andre Brown back. Then there’s the schedule. The rest of the way, the Giants face one team (Seattle) whose pass defense is not ranked in the bottom half of the league. Of those remaining seven games, six are against teams that are 24th or lower in the NFL when it comes to defending the pass, starting with a Oakland defense that just gave up 406 yards and seven touchdown passes to Nick Foles. If there ever was a time to buy low on a guy whose thrown for more than 3,900 yards and at least 26 touchdowns in each of the past four seasons, this could be it.
Week 9 Recap: Chris Johnson was the man for the Titans (150 yards rushing, 2 TDs), against the Rams, but Shonn Greene also got nine carries and was busy around the goal line (5-yard TD). Jonathan Stewart made his season debut and led the Panthers in rushing (43 yards) despite getting fewer carries than DeAngeio Williams (9 to 13). Stewart also caught three passes on three targets, making him a viable flex option from here out. The Giants’ Andre Brown is expected to play in his first game since breaking his leg in the preseason and should get plenty of opportunities against the Raiders. Arizona rookie Andre Ellington was on bye last week, but the memory of his 154-yard rushing effort in Week 8 against Atlanta certainly still lingers and should mean a similar number of touches this week even if Rashard Mendenhall returns (toe).
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
This may be a stretch since Ingram has a grand total of 50 yards rushing this season, but some of this can be attributed to injury. Ingram picked up 19 yards on four carries on Sunday against the Jets in his first action since Week 2. The Saints ran the ball a total of 13 times against the Jets, so game plan played a role in Ingram’s workload as well. Ingram could be in line for more touches this week against Dallas because Darren Sproles sustained a concussion in the first quarter on Sunday. If Sproles isn’t cleared in time to play this week, Ingram and Pierre Thomas figure to be the most active running backs for the Saints. Dallas is allowing 114 yards rushing per game, so this may be just the opportunity Ingram’s been waiting for to get himself back on the fantasy radar.
Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders
Darren McFadden is hurt, again, and Jennings took full advantage of the extra touches on Sunday. Even though the Raiders were blown out by the Eagles, Jennings finished the game with 102 yards rushing and a touchdown on 15 carries (6.8 ypc) and added 74 yards receiving on seven catches. McFadden re-aggravated an earlier hamstring injury, so there’s a good chance he could miss several games. Jennings would replace McFadden as the starter, which immediately makes him one of the most popular potential free agents this week.
Ben Tate, Houston Texans
Despite playing with four broken ribs, Tate rushed for 81 yards on 22 carries against Indianapolis on Sunday night. He got so many carries because Arian Foster, who was questionable entering this game with a hamstring injury, left after suffering a back injury in the Texans’ first offensive series and did not return. With Foster’s availability for this week clearly in question, Tate figures to get the bulk of the carries, as long as his ribs don’t get worse. Dennis Johnson is also someone to keep an eye on, as the undrafted rookie who was among the Texans’ final preseason cuts before re-signing with them last week, picked up 36 yards on eight carries. If Foster’s injuries result him in missing a game or two, Johnson could become Tate’s handcuff, just as Tate is to a healthy Foster.
Week 9 Recap: Emmanuel Sanders led the Steelers in both targets (11) and receiving yards (98) in the shootout loss in New England. Kenny Stills was held in check by the Jets, as he posted three receptions for a modest 35 yards. In that same game, David Nelson, who is dealing with a quad injury, hauled in one pass for 19 yards, as the Jets relied heavily on the run in their win over the Saints. The Chiefs’ passing offense was a non-factor in Sunday’s win in Buffalo, as Dexter McCluster caught two passes for a total of nine yards and went for negative four yards on one carry.
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
Sidney Rice is out for the rest of the season, so someone needs to step up to help Golden Tate in the passing game. The Seahawks should get Percy Harvin back at some point, but he recently suffered a setback in his return from hip surgery, which only further muddies his timetable. That leaves Baldwin, who on Sunday led the team with six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown in the Seahawks’ comeback win over Tampa Bay. Tate may be the de facto No. 1 wide receiver for Russell Wilson, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t enough passes to go around for Baldwin to provide some solid numbers of his own.
Mike Brown, Jacksonville Jaguars
Justin Blackmon has been suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, so someone else will need to line up opposite Cecil Shorts in the Jaguars’ offense. Brown has come on in recent weeks, as the second-year pro has posted 12 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown in the past three games. While Shorts will remain the Jags’ top target, the offense most likely will be throwing the ball quite a lot, as dictated by the likelihood they will be trailing many a game. The Jags are about to find out what (Mike) Brown can do for their team, will you do the same?
Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles
Cooper had quite a game on Sunday, catching five passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns against Oakland. While that accounts for a majority of his season’s worth of production (25 rec., 453 yds., 5 TDs), one important detail should not be overlooked. In two games with Nick Foles as the starter, Cooper has recorded nine catches on 12 targets for 259 yards and four touchdowns. Granted it’s an extremely small sample size, but that type of production plays in fantasy so it may be worth giving Cooper a longer look if you are in need of rounding out your receiving corps. Especially if Foles remains the starter and can play like he did against the Raiders (406 yds., 7 TDs).
Mario Manningham, San Francisco 49ers
Manningham was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Monday and should be see his first action this season against Carolina on Sunday. Manningham has been recovering from a torn ACL and PCL and could be just the boost the 49ers’ passing attack needs, especially with Michael Crabtree (torn Achilles) believed to still be a few weeks away from returning. Colin Kaepernick really needs another wide receiver other than Anquan Boldin to emerge, as the next most-targeted wideout on the 49ers is Kyle Williams with 25 (11 receptions). Manningham posted 42 receptions in 12 games last season with the 49ers, so it shouldn’t take him and Kaepernick too long to get reacquainted. You may want to do the same if you are looking for a proven wide receiver.
Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints
After missing three games because of a hand injury, Moore has returned and had an immediate impact in the Saints’ passing game. Moore has nine catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the past two games and could be in line for more targets if Marques Colston’s knee injury lingers. Moore got off to a slow start this season with just four catches for 44 yards in the first three games, but he did have the hand injury and also has a track record of success with Drew Brees. He posted more than 1,000 yards receiving last season and has recorded six or more touchdown catches in four of the past five. Someone other than Jimmy Graham has to catch passes from Brees, right?
Week 9 Recap: Garrett Graham caught four passes for 46 yards from Case Keenum in the Texans’ disheartening loss to the Colts on Sunday night.
Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams
Entering this season, expectations were that this could finally be the year that Cook breaks out and makes good on all his athletic ability and potential. Unfortunately, that has not transpired so far and to make matters worse, quarterback Sam Bradford is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. While Cook has been a major disappointment, he has shown some signs of progress recently. He has at least six targets in each of the past three games and his touchdown catch on Sunday against the Titans was his first since Week 1. Kellen Clemens, Bradford’s replacement at quarterback, isn’t likely to try and beat many teams deep, which should mean more opportunities for Cook in the middle of the field and on intermediate routes. With no Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Cameron in Week 10, Cook is at least worth a look if you need a fill-in tight end.
Week 9 Recap: Indianapolis had its hands full on Sunday night with Houston. Case Keenum threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns while the Colts’ defense managed just one sack in a hard-fought 27-24 win on the road. The Colts are back at home against St. Louis and backup quarterback Kellen Clemens this Sunday.
Cameron Wake’s return to the starting lineup has seemingly re-energized the Dolphins’ defense. Wake had 3.5 sacks, forced and recovered a fumble and most important of all, was responsible for the walk-off safety that beat Cincinnati in overtime on Thursday night. Besides the five total sacks, the ‘Fins also picked Andy Dalton off three times, one of which was returned 94 yards for a touchdown. The Dolphins gave up a bunch of yards (465 total), but the defense still managed to put together a 24-point effort (Athlon scoring). Next up is a road trip to Tampa Bay to face a 0-8 Buccaneers team that is employing a second-string quarterback (Mike Glennon) and running back (Mike James) and has committed seven turnovers in four home games.
Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point PER 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.