Last weekend fantasy owners had to face the ordeal that they had been warned about weeks in advance (by us) that Week 9 was going to test roster depth. With six teams on bye – for no explicable reason the NFL admits to – many fantasy rosters were forced to go with weak lineups, because they had a couple key players with the Browns, Broncos, Cowboys, Giants, 49ers and Steelers. That’s a rough group to have on bye. The good news is that it’s over. The bad news is that it’s coming again at the worst possible time.
In Week 14 – the final week of the regular season in most fantasy leagues when everything is on the line for the playoffs – the NFL is going to have six more of its 32 teams on a bye. The good news is that those teams are the Packers, Bears, Saints, Falcons, Colts and Commanders. There aren’t a ton of critical fantasy players from those teams, but there are enough. If you’re locked into players from any of those teams, you don’t want to put your seeding (or your season) on the line by not being prepared. It’s coming. You’ve been warned.
Here is the Week 10 Fantasy Football Market Report.
Fantasy Football Risers
Minnesota Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson – In Detroit, Hockenson was viewed as one of the primary receiver in the offense and often garnered double coverage. In Minnesota, where the Vikings already have Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook as primary receiving options, Hockenson is just one of the boys. Despite not joining the team until last Wednesday, Hockenson was targeted nine times – catching all nine passes for 70 yards. In Minnesota, he will likely be single-covered on almost every play, which makes him an even more lethal weapon.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman – When the Chiefs draft Hardman, the first comparison that was made of him was to then-teammate Tyreek Hill. Hardman has never lived up to that comparison but has started coming into his own as a fantasy receiver. In his last five games, he has scored five touchdowns (three receiving, two rushing). What’s more impressive is that, while known as a downfield threat, four of those five touchdowns have come from the 8-yard line in, making Hardman a sneaky (and effective) red-zone weapon.
Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett – There were many who devalued Seahawks fantasy players because of the departure of Russell Wilson. While DK Metcalf maintained some of his fantasy value, Lockett’s draft stock dropped. However, in his last eight games, he has topped 60 yards in six of them, has five or more receptions in seven of them and has scored four touchdowns in his last five games – making him almost impossible to bench.
Houston Texans RB Dameon Pierce – Pierce is the only Texans player who is consistently starting in fantasy leagues and, while the team is taking its lumps on a weekly basis, Pierce is getting his. In his last six games, he has scored four touchdowns and produced weekly rushing totals of 80, 92, 99, 131 and 139 in that stretch. He is making a strong case to be a RB1 candidate in 2023 fantasy drafts, and his value will only go up if Houston upgrades at QB.
Miami Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle – Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill are stealing all the fantasy headlines, but Waddle is having a Pro Bowl season as a No. 2 option on his own team. He has six touchdowns (twice as many as Hill) and four 100-yard receiving games. In his last four games, Waddle quietly posted huge numbers – catching 23 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns. Hill gets on the highlight films more often, but Waddle isn’t far behind him in terms of weekly fantasy production.
Fantasy Football Fallers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady – In Week 4 against Kansas City, Brady threw three touchdown passes. In the other eight games he has played, he has thrown just seven TD passes – one touchdown in seven games and none in the other. For someone who is on pace to throw for almost 5,000 yards and surrounded by so much talent, it’s hard to imagine he has struggled so badly to get to the end zone. With one of the worst running games in league history, Brady isn’t a reliable fantasy quarterback being this one-dimensional – and unproductive.
Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones – It isn’t that Jones has been awful, but his role has seemingly been all or nothing. In his last four games, he has nine or fewer rushing attempts in three of them and 25 or fewer receiving yards in three of them as well. Following a 3-1 start, the Packers have lost five straight and can’t seem to find any answers on offense, whether it’s passing or running the ball.
Indianapolis Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. – Pittman was expected to be a breakout fantasy player this season after quietly catching 88 passes for more than 1,000 yards last season. While he is still catching passes (54 in eight games), he hasn’t hit 60 yards in five of his last six games, and his only touchdown came in Week 1. With disarray in Indy – benching Matt Ryan to save money and firing the head coach Monday – nothing seems to be going right for the Colts these days.
New England Patriots TE Hunter Henry – Two years ago, the Patriots uncharacteristically paid handsomely to land the top two tight ends in free agency – Henry and Jonnu Smith. Smith has been a complete bust (44 catches and one TD in 24 games), but Henry caught nine TD passes last season. This year, it’s another story. In nine games, he has just 19 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown. His season high is 61 yards, and he has 22 yards or fewer in six of nine games. For a guy who signed a three-year, $37.5 million deal in 2021, he’s at the point of stealing money now.
Washington Commanders RB Antonio Gibson – Gibson was viewed as late-RB2 in a lot of leagues because he had carved out a spot for himself in Washington. However, through nine games, he has just 328 rushing yards with a season high of 59 and six with fewer than 40. Since coming back from being shot in the preseason, Brian Robinson has almost twice as many carries than Gibson, and the handwriting appears to be on the wall that Gibson is no longer the main man. It was a good run.