Free-agent recommendations refer to 12-team league formats, unless specifically stated. FAAB $ amounts are based on a $100 budget.
Bye weeks: Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, Patriots, Eagles, Redskins
1-Week Plug & Play
Daniel Jones, New York Giants at New York Jets
Jones probably isn’t available in more competitive formats, so be mindful of this, but it is worth taking a look in shallow settings. The Jets have yielded at least 279 yards and three TD passes in each of the last two games to the likes of Gardner Minshew and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jones may get Sterling Shepard back from a lingering concussion in Week 10, and he has shown capable of racking up meaningful fantasy work if sans Shepard, as well. Gang Green will have its hands full trying to contain Saquon Barkley, freeing up Golden Tate and Evan Engram to do some work — and don’t dismiss the gains made by rookie Darius Slayton to date.
Brian Hoyer, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins
While Jacoby Brissett (MCL) hasn’t been ruled out yet for Week 10, it would be wise for Indy to let him sit and rest a game as he, not Hoyer, is their future. The veteran journeyman has a tremendous matchup ahead and can do enough damage to warrant a start with six teams on bye. Miami has given up eight TD passes in the last four games, picking off only one pass in that time. At least six quarterbacks have posted 20-plus fantasy points, so if you’re just hoping to scrape by, Hoyer is good enough to give at least low-end starter points.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
Plug your nose … Trubisky stinks, no doubt, but this is what happens when six teams are on vacation. The Lions have been pounded on the ground and through the air, allowing 2.5 touchdown passes per game and 314.5 yards, on average, in the last four contests. The Bears certainly could unload with David Montgomery, who has come to life in recent weeks, but the attack also involves screen passes, and underneath work to the tight end position has been a keen way to exploit the Lions in 2019. There are only so many quality choices one week has to offer when six teams are away, so don’t automatically write off Trubisky.
Grab & stash
Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars (bye week)
Update: Foles has been named the starter.
The Jags are off this week, and while we don’t know for sure if Foles will return as the Week 11 starter, it’s rather likely that will be the outcome. For as well as Gardner Minshew has played in Foles’ absence, he has a pair of three-turnover games in the last five outings, compiling a .500 record with the veteran out of the lineup. Then there’s that big ole contract looming over Foles should he be on the bench. A much-needed bye also will help the receivers regroup and rest up. Jacksonville comes back to face Indianapolis on the road and then Tennessee, also on the road. In Weeks 13-16: TB, LAC, at OAK and at ATL.
priority free agent
Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers
Refresher from last week in the off-chance Samuels is available in your league: James Conner (shoulder) could miss time beyond Week 9, and rookie RB Benny Snell is expected to miss several games. The Steelers will continue to rely on the run, particularly in the passing game, and have a few matchups of utility for the young back in the coming weeks (IND, LAR, @CLE, @CIN). Check the wire in basic formats, but he owned in deeper and more competitive leagues.
RB Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins
The bruising back was included in this space recently and now he’s in a must-add situation. The Dolphins lost starer Mark Walton to a four-game suspension, making the second-year Ballage a primary back for meetings at Indy (23rd), vs. Buffalo (3rd), at Cleveland (12th), and vs. the Philadelphia (16th). Miami will get Walton back for the Week 13 game at the New York Jets. The ranking figures per matchup reflect the upcoming non-PPR schedule (1st being easiest). Ballage has utility in at least two matchups and could be a viable play in all four, depending on need. Volume should help overcome a lack of efficiency.
1-week plug & play
J.D. McKissic, Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
There is significant risk here, but we’re talking about one of the finest matchups to exploit for pass-catching backs. Detroit has virtually no rushing attack, especially between the tackles, so turning to the flats for McKissic to act as an extension of the running game with short-area passing is a wise approach.
priority free agents
Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts
Judging by his still low ownership rate, gamers likely dropped him after a one-catch game — understandable. Pascal belongs on all conventional rosters after it was revealed T.Y. Hilton (calf) will be out three or four weeks. The Colts lost QB Jacoby Brissett (knee) in Week 9, turning to veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer, although the injury isn’t expected to be severe. The Colts looked to Pascal six times in Week 9, connecting on five for 76 yards and a score at Pittsburgh. Miami is ahead, making the 6-foot-2 wideout a strong starting option ahead of a tougher divisional meeting with Jacksonville in Week 11. Tennessee and Houston are scheduled the following two weeks, and Pascal scored two TDs against the Texans in Week 7.
1-Week Plug & Play
Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams
Caveat: His playability is 100 percent dependent on the status of WR Brandin Cooks (concussion). The standout veteran has suffered two concussions this season, and he is still iffy for a return even after the bye week. Monitor this situation before investing, and it’s best to not spend on Reynolds.
1-Week Plug & Play/grab & stash
Bisi Johnson, Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys
He’s a risk-reward gamble this week if Adam Thielen (hamstring) cannot play after exiting early in Week 9. The rookie wideout found the end zone again, his second in three weeks. While the matchup ahead isn’t ideal, Johnson is a crafty route-runner and could once again sneak into the end zone as Dallas will have extra eyes on stopping Dalvin Cook in the red zone. Should it look like Thielen will miss more than Week 10, Johnson could stick around on rosters. Minnesota faces Denver in Week 11 before a Week 12 bye.
Grab & stash
Josh Gordon, Seattle Seahawks
Short and sweet: He belongs on a roster, even if the expected returns are low. Seattle has found something special in rookie WR D.K. Metcalf, and this offense remains committed to the ground. Gordon doesn’t have the sizzle of his breakout season, which was six years ago at this point. It says something if a talent-starved offense in New England couldn’t make him stick around, let alone succeed. Nevertheless, he’s a fringe matchup play over the final month or so of the season.
Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders
The rookie has scored in consecutive weeks in very different ways. The Raiders are finding targets for him even with Tyrell Williams back on the field. Renfrow is known for his sure hands and has made the most of his uptick in looks over the past two contests, landing all but one of his 11 total targets. Oakland desperately needed someone to step up behind Williams; given how Darren Waller has slumped in the corresponding games we’ve seen Renfrow score, it should be considered no coincidence which player it has been.
Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints
Repeating last week’s inclusion as the Saints return from the bye: Smith (ankle) has missed five straight outings prior to his bye week and is likely on no one’s fantasy radar. Use that to your advantage once waivers process. Add him via first-come, first-served waivers and stash Smith. The Saints face the seventh-best remaining fantasy schedule, and having Drew Brees back is a boost for the young wideout.
Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons
Reminder after the bye week: Gage saw nine targets, landing seven of them for 58 yards in Week 8. The Falcons are searching for a reliable replacement after trading Mohamed Sanu, and Gage could be their man. He may share reps with Justin Hardy (4 targets, 2-23-0); Gage outplayed him in Week 8. Wait to see what kind of involvement he has vs. the Saints in Week 10 with Matt Ryan presumably back. Gage won’t be better than a matchup play but is worth keeping an eye on since Atlanta has a need and no defense.
Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals
Isabella landed his lone target in Week 9 and housed it from 88 yards, showing off his blazing speed under the lights. The rookie may have earned himself a larger role in the offense, but it is not worth investing just yet. The Cards face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10, which is a pristine matchup for getting a glimpse of what he could be capable of doing with a larger target count. Given there are six teams on bye, including several starting fantasy receivers, it is conceivable someone could feel compelled to chance it with Isabella. It’s not recommended, however.
Keep an eye on the ball distribution in Week 10 after the Dolphins lost impressive WR Preston Williams (knee) for the rest of the year. There is room for Allen Hurns to step up as a similarly sized receiver, and Jakeem Grant is dynamic enough to make a little noise with limited targets.
1-Week Plug & Play
Trey Burton, Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
How desperate are you feeling? As mentioned above with Trubisky, the Bears will find that targeting Detroit underneath with tight ends has been a successful course of action for opponents. In the last four games, this is the third-best matchup to exploit in PPR, and all three of the scores given up to the position have come in the past three outings. There’s a nauseating layer of risk incurred when taking a chance on someone with Burton’s anemic level of involvement, so it’s understandable to feel queasy.
Josh Hill, New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons
Another one with a major caveat: The Saints return from their bye week and could get TE Jared Cook (ankle) back from a multi-week absence. In the event this happens, Hill is not worth a lineup spot in any conventional setting. Should the first-year Saint remain on the mend, there is touchdown appeal for Hill vs. a Falcons defense that has granted four of them to tight ends in the last four games, spanning just 18 receptions. Keep tabs on this situation. If Cook plays, Hill’s chances of scoring drop dramatically, but it’s not entirely out of the question to chance it with him during “Bye-mageddon.” Either way, wait for waivers to process.
Jacob Hollister, Seattle Seahawks
The well-traveled Hollister found the end zone in Week 9 and has 14 targets over the last three games, including two six-look outings. Seattle has continued to utilize the spot with Will Dissly done for the season. The San Francisco 49ers host the ‘Hawks on Monday Night Football in Week 10, rendering Hollister effectively useless in fantasy for the week. The 49ers have not yielded a touchdown to the position since Week 2. While the opponents haven’t been known for their tight ends, it’s not like Hollister has earned himself a redeeming reputation. Seattle goes on bye in Week 11.
1-Week Plug & Play
Daniel Carlson, Oakland Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Even though he has attempted only four field goals in the past month, making all, Carlson should warrant fantasy attention for the matchup. The Chargers have granted 13 three-point tries in their last five games, and 10 extra points have been attempted vs. this unit. The week is short, which can lead to sloppy football, so points could be at a premium.
Aldrick Rosas, New York Giants at New York Jets
The Jets have permitted the fourth-most fantasy points per game to kickers in the last three weeks, mostly fueled by seven of eight field goal attempts splitting the pipes. A matching number of PATs have connected, as well, and only two teams have provided more three-point tries in that window.
1-Week Plug & Play
Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Fitzpatrick has helped the Dolphins look competent on offense in the past few weeks, but he is still prone to making costly mistakes. Indianapolis is coming together along the front seven, registering 2.75 sacks a game in the past four. The takeaways haven’t been up to snuff, though, and that’s where Fitz comes into play. This is a chancy situation, but the heavy number of bye weeks makes it all that much easier of a gamble.
New York Giants at New York Jets
The “New York Football Giants” have averaged a trio of sacks and nine fantasy points per game since Week 4 entering Monday night. They have two defensive scores on nine takeaways and shouldn’t have much trouble exploiting Sam Darnold and Co. The Jets have turned it over 10 times in the last three games alone, surrendering nearly four sacks, on average, in that time.