15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 10
As a new dad, one thing I learned quickly was to always be one step ahead.
Don't wait for the cry to hit -- have the bottle ready for when the crying begins. Don't sit there and waste time while the baby is sleeping -- get your to-do list done, because you know it's not going to get done when the kid's awake.
This was something I realized in fantasy football long ago, too. Simply reacting to what happened in the previous week won't get you very far. If you want to win -- at least, if you want to win consistently -- you've got to look ahead. Sometimes, far ahead.
That's kind of why this column exists, if you haven't realized by now. But this time of year, that "look ahead" is more of a panicked "get your ish together, because the fantasy football playoffs are coming, and it's time to get your lineup set for Weeks 14 through 16."
So when you read 15 Transactions this week and moving forward, do know that some of the transactions aren't for short-term gain. They're longer-term ones. They're for the playoffs. They're for winning the most important weeks of the season.
Buy JuJu Smith-Schuster
After a hot start to the 2018 season, JuJu Smith-Schuster has cooled off a bit. He's failed to reach 35 receiving yards in two of his last four games, and he's scored just once since Week 2.
Everything looks really good for JuJu, though. He has a strong 22.6% target share in an offense with alternatives, and he's second in the NFL in red-zone targets, behind only Alvin Kamara. That's a big reason to expect positive touchdown regression, too. JuJu's scored just twice while tallying 672 receiving yards, finding the end zone on every 336 yards. Over the last seven years, wide receivers have scored for every 167 yards receiving. So he's underperforming in the touchdown column despite seeing a lot of looks close to the end zone. That screams positive regression.
And then there's the playoff schedule. The Steelers' passing attack has a real chance to ball out in Weeks 14 through 16, with contests against Oakland, New England, and New Orleans. The Raiders and Saints have allowed the two highest net yards per attempt rates this season, while the Patriots rank 16th. And that New England game is being played in Pittsburgh.
Sell Jordan Howard
Howard's now scored four touchdowns across his last three games and, during this time, he's out-attempted Tarik Cohen 48 to 17. There are your selling points: he's seeing volume on the ground, and he's scoring touchdowns.
The truth is, things couldn't have gone better for Howard in this stretch. The Bears played hopeless Jets and Bills teams over the last two weeks, leading to strong positive game scripts for Chicago. The scripts were so good, in fact, that the Bears didn't even run a single play while trailing. And then three weeks ago, against New England, Howard ran the ball for just 39 yards. He just happened to find the end zone.
Howard has just one single target since Week 6, and we know targets are far more valuable than carries. The team's schedule isn't super brutal from here on out, but his touchdown and game script dependency makes him a really volatile fantasy football asset. That's generally not the type of player I'd want on my team.
Hold Tevin Coleman
In most cases, I'd be all over selling a split backfield runner who's coming off a multi-touchdown game. In Tevin Coleman's case, I think he's more of a hold.
Atlanta Falcons running backs haven't been very good this year. Even after Week 9's performance, they rank 25th in team running back rushing yards, and they're 20th in running back receptions and receiving yards. Last year, for some context, they were 10th in rushing yardage while maintaining a similar rank through the air.
Coleman's receiving usage yesterday is what should excite fantasy managers. He saw seven targets, when his previous single-game high this year was just four. Forget the fact that two of those targets went for scores -- an 18.4% target share is fantastic for a back in that offense.
Now, we probably shouldn't expect that type of workload to continue, but it's smart to wait and see if Atlanta continues to get their backs more involved in the passing game. They get the Browns this week, so even if they don't utilize Coleman the same way as a receiver, it may not matter, as Cleveland's allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs. Meaning, Coleman should still hold his current value through Week 10. And if they do throw it his way more often, then we're looking at more of a trend, and that's great for those who've got Coleman on their roster.
Add Keke Coutee
A large part of me wants to sell the entire Houston Texans' passing attack -- aside from DeAndre Hopkins -- given Deshaun Watson continues to be this low-volume, low-yardage quarterback for them. Over the team's first five games, Watson averaged 38.4 attempts and 324.2 passing yards per game. Across Houston's last four, that attempt number has dropped to 23.3, while Watson's yards per game rate has fallen to 192.0.
Maybe some of that has to do with Watson's chest injury, but competition is playing a role here, as well. The Texans are on a six-game winning streak, and during their last four games, they've faced Buffalo, Jacksonville, Miami, and Denver. They've seen struggling teams, or at least below-average offenses. And when that's the case, a quarterback and his receivers have to rely on efficiency instead of volume.
The good news is that they've got a bye this week, so Watson can rest up. And out of their bye, they really don't have a scary matchup until after the fantasy football season is over. In the playoffs -- in Weeks 14 through 16 -- they'll face Indianapolis, New York (Jets), and Philadelphia, all plus matchups from a fantasy perspective.
So that's why Keke Coutee is an add once again this week. He's still available on 73% of Yahoo! waiver wires, and he will have his slot role in the offense when he's back and healthy. Keep in mind, in Coutee's four games played this year, he's had a 22.2% target share, which is pretty strong. Considering the team's bye this week, he shouldn't be hard to snag off the wire if he's still out there in your league.
Buy Keenan Allen
Keenan Allen had arguably his best game of the season on Sunday, catching 6 of 10 targets for 124 yards. Unfortunately, he didn't find the end zone, and he still hasn't scored since Week 1. That's really the main reason you're buying this week. Well, that, and the Chargers get a plus matchup against the Raiders in Week 10.
But the touchdowns -- Allen has just one score on 630 yards receiving, when his yardage total (based on wide receiver data going back to 2011) tells us he should have closer to 3 or 4 touchdowns. At that normal rate, Allen would be averaging two more points per game, which would make him easily a top-15 wide receiver in PPR formats. So if the manager who's got Allen is down on him due to the lack of scores, it's not a bad idea to try to buy based on positive touchdown regression alone.
Add Elijah McGuire
In Elijah McGuire's first game action of the season, he carried the ball 6 times versus teammate Isaiah Crowell's 13, but the able pass-catcher out-targeted Crowell 5 to 2. And, somewhat surprisingly, McGuire was on the field for 13 more snaps. That probably had a lot to do with the Jets facing a negative game script situation, but, uh, New York is likely to face that type of script a lot across the rest of the season. They do face Buffalo in two of their next four games, which could mean more Crowell, but with this being McGuire's first game of the season, there's always a chance the Jets want to feature him more than they did on Sunday, too. He continues to be an interesting flier off the wire.
Drop Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford has been OK enough from a fantasy standpoint this year, but he certainly has lacked upside. He's actually finished as a top-12 quarterback (QB1) just once this season. In a lot of leagues, there are probably options who are equal to Stafford on your waiver wire, especially when you consider Detroit's schedule from here on out. They still have to face the Bears twice, and in the fantasy playoffs, they'll be on the road against Arizona and Buffalo before hosting Minnesota. Each of those teams are top-11 in fewest fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position. It's just not attractive enough to hold onto Stafford, especially without Golden Tate at his disposal. Your league may not allow for it, but know that Stafford doesn't have that high of a ceiling from here on out.
Hold Duke Johnson
With Hue Jackson and Todd Haley this year, Duke Johnson, the leader in running back receptions from 2015 through 2017, averaged 3.6 targets per game. Without the two goons in Week 9, Johnson saw his target total leap to nine.
Like Tevin Coleman above, maybe this was just a matchup thing. After all, Kansas City entered the week ranked second in receptions allowed to the running back position, and according to numberFire's expected points model, the Chiefs also allowed a top-10 Success Rate to the position through the air. It's not like we saw an abnormally high snap rate from Johnson (46.7%, when he's hit that in three other games this year), and while his routes run number was one of the higher ones at running back in Week 9, the 26 routes run, per Pro Football Focus, was on par with what we'd seen from him in Weeks 5, 6, and 7.
I love me some Johnson, but I'm being as level-headed as possible here. Really, there may be just as much of a chance that he's not "back" than he is. But you don't need to bet on that this week. Because in Week 10, Cleveland just happens to be facing Atlanta, who have easily given up the most running back receptions over the last few seasons. So you may want to hold onto Johnson for one more week, get his value even higher, and then reevaluate.
Add Mike Davis
Chris Carson is banged up with a hip injury, and he played only 10 snaps on Sunday as a result. In his place was mostly Mike Davis, who was on the field for 72.8% of Seattle's snaps. He ended the game with 15 of a possible 27 running back carries for Seattle, and he was heavily involved as a receiver, catching 7 of 8 targets. If Carson misses time, then Davis instantly becomes fantasy relevant. And seeing work in the short-term could be big -- definitely as a receiver -- with the Seahawks facing the Rams and Packers over their next two games.
Buy Devin Funchess
Funchess has sort of had a rough time over the past two weeks, tallying just 7 catches for 71 yards. One of his matchups was tough against Baltimore, but we all expected a little more out of him in a perfect spot versus Tampa Bay on Sunday. Instead, we got five targets and four catches.
Clearly, this would make for a "buy low" moment. And the top reason you'd be buying isn't so much that his target share has been remarkable of late, or that he's this dominant wide receiver that you absolutely need to roster. It's that Carolina has a crazy-good fantasy playoff schedule. In Week 14, they'll get the Browns, who've allowed the 10th-most points per game to opposing wideouts this year. Then they'll get the Saints, who've given up the most. And in Week 16, you're looking at the Falcons, who rank third-worst against opposing wideouts.
Sure, Funchess pooped the bed in a great matchup this week, but that playoff schedule is tough to ignore. You could consider most Carolina players as buys, to be honest.
Add Theo Riddick
Riddick ran 30 routes in Week 9, according to Pro Football Focus, tying Kerryon Johnson's Week 8 mark for a Detroit season high at the position. The Lions also put Riddick in the slot for five of his snaps, and he was targeted there once. We know there's a void in the Lions' passing attack with Golden Tate gone, and while Riddick didn't simply take on that slot role in Week 9, there's enough potential for him as a pass-catcher to be added off the waiver wire this week. If you can accurately predict the Lions being in a negative game script, then you'll be able to get some production from Riddick down the stretch.
Add Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Another repeat transaction is to add Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who's second among Green Bay Packers wide receivers in routes run over the last two weeks. He's played more snaps than Randall Cobb in both games, and he's hit almost 150 yards receiving. With Geronimo Allison sidelined, MVS could play a decent-sized role in the coming weeks, so grab him if he's still on your waiver wire. This will probably be the last time I mention it in this column.
Buy Courtland Sutton
In Courtland Sutton's debut as the Broncos' number-two receiver on Sunday, he saw 5 of 42 Case Keenum attempts, good (bad) for an 11.9% target share. That's actually a lower share than he had with Demaryius Thomas active this year.
Sutton clearly ran as the team's number-two wideout, though, and in the spirit of looking ahead, Denver has a really nice fantasy football playoff schedule, making Sutton a nice "buy low" target. Week 14 features a game against San Francisco, then Denver will face Cleveland in Week 15 and Oakland in Week 16. Those are all plus matchups for a fantasy wideout. With Sutton's down game, now's the time to act.
Add Blake Bortles
There are a lot of quarterbacks who are rostered in the 30% to 70% range on Yahoo!, putting them outside the typical streaming range. But if someone like Baker Mayfield or Ryan Fitzpatrick are available, given their Week 10 matchups, they're probably better options than this week's more traditional streamer, Blake Bortles.
Bortles has been pretty bad this year, but he's had some fine performances in fantasy football -- half of his games have essentially been usable. He'll face a Colts defense this week that's surrendered a top-15 quarterback outing in four of their last five games, with Derek Anderson being that one passer not hitting the mark. And their competition hasn't been very strong, having faced Sam Darnold and Derek Carr in that span.
The game has a decent-enough 47.0-point over/under, and the Jags as 3.0-point underdogs. If you've got to stream Bortles, you could do worse, but just don't watch the game. Don't do that to yourself.
Add the New York Jets' Defense
New York is rostered in 37% of Yahoo! leagues, making them a fringe streamer this week. You dedicated readers would be hitting my Twitter mentions hard if I didn't mention the Jets this week, because they're facing the Bills. And the Bills are an abomination offensively.
Fantasy defenses against Buffalo have finished in the top-six in weekly scoring in seven of nine games played this year. Defenses are averaging 3.7 sacks, 6.4 quarterback hits, and 1.8 interceptions against them per game. That alone gives you a floor of nearly eight fantasy points. The Jets are a top option this week.