Each week of the NFL season, we will identify fantasy football waiver-wire pickups specifically for those of you looking for streaming options in deeper formats (including IDP leagues). These are players available in a majority of ESPN fantasy leagues (or close) who have enticing matchups in the week ahead that make them worthy of consideration for your lineups.
While you might notice some overlap with Field Yates’ pickup column that publishes on Mondays, an important distinction is the options mentioned in this column are focused solely on this week’s matchup and not the players’ values for the remainder of the season.
There are few fantasy managers who get excited about Ryan. In the past seven games, he has averaged 19.7 fantasy points per game. With other offensive playmakers such as Kyle Pitts, Cordarrelle Patterson and Russell Gage, he can continue to succeed without Calvin Ridley. The Dallas Cowboys are allowing the seventh-most PPG to QBs this season, so Ryan is likely to exceed that average on Sunday, especially after watching Teddy Bridgewater‘s performance against them last week in the same stadium.
Fantasy managers haven’t been pleased with Lawrence’s past two games. He has thrown for just 356 yards, a touchdown, an interception and 17.74 fantasy points. It is worth noting that Week 9 was only the second time this season he has attempted fewer than 33 passes. While he did suffer a low ankle sprain against the Bills last week, he is expected to play against the Colts in Week 10. Lawrence is a viable streamer against an Indianapolis defense that has allowed the fourth-most points per game to quarterbacks and had a dismal performance against the New York Jets last week. Second-string quarterback Mike White and third-string quarterback Josh Johnson combined for 412 passing yards, four touchdowns and just one interception against the Colts defense.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Denver Broncos vs. Eagles (24.7%)
Bridgewater dominated the Cowboys’ defense last week by completing 19 of 28 passes for 249 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran for a touchdown and could have scored even more than his 21.86 points, but the Broncos played with a lead nearly the entire game. During Weeks 5 to 8, he averaged 18.9 points per game. For Bridgewater, that’s a reasonable floor against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that allows 18.15 points per game to quarterbacks. A Broncos offensive line that ranks 12th in pass block win rate is well positioned to slow down Philadelphia’s pass rush, making him a great QB2 in Week 10.
Colts head coach Frank Reich has been criticized for his underutilization of Hines. In last week’s game against the Jets, he rushed six times for 74 yards and a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 34 yards. Considering the Colts offensive line has the 14th-highest run block win rate and the Jaguars defense ranks 24th in run stop win rate, this trend may continue on Sunday.
Jordan Howard, RB, Philadelphia Eagles at Broncos (8.4%)
The Eagles’ statistical results over the past two games suggest Howard feels disrespected by being on the practice squad the first seven weeks. In all seriousness, Howard has rushed 29 times for 128 yards and three touchdowns in those games. He has ignited the Eagles’ offense, and the team’s offensive line, which has the fifth-highest run block win rate, has created running lanes for him. Against a Denver Broncos defense that ranks 23rd in run stop win rate, Howard is an RB3/flex option.
Chase Edmonds‘ high ankle sprain gives Benjamin the opportunity to inherit his opportunity share. Given James Conner‘s injury history, it would be surprising for the Cardinals to increase his workload. From Weeks 1 to 8, Edmonds averaged 14.1 opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets) per game. Last week, Benjamin gained 39 yards and scored a touchdown. Especially in deeper formats, he is a solid RB3/flex option this week.
Nick Chubb and Demetric Felton tested positive for COVID-19. While both players are vaccinated, their status for Week 10 is unclear. You may remember Johnson was outstanding against the Broncos in Week 7, gaining 146 yards on 22 carries and scoring a touchdown.
With how well Bateman has been playing, it is surprising that he’s available in more than 75% of ESPN leagues. Against the Vikings, he caught five of eight targets for 52 yards. In a Ravens offense in which Lamar Jackson has averaged 33.7 pass attempts per game over the past three games, Bateman is a viable WR3. The Dolphins have allowed the third-most points per game to wide receivers this season.
Prior to the Buccaneers’ bye, Johnson caught five of six targets for 65 yards against the New Orleans Saints. Antonio Brown is still wearing a walking boot and could miss his third straight game this week. Brady always throws to his open receivers and Johnson faces a Washington secondary that allows the second-most points per game to receivers.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Cleveland Browns at Patriots (5.4%)
Peoples-Jones is exactly what the Browns need to fill the void created by the divorce between Odell Beckham Jr. and the team. He has caught 11 of 14 targets over the past three games for 257 yards and three touchdowns. The Browns should have a breakout star in Peoples-Jones for the second half of the season. He has flex value against the Patriots.
Last week, Conklin caught five of seven targets for 45 yards, tying Adam Thielen for the team lead in targets and surprisingly leading the team in receptions. Conklin has accumulated 19 targets over the past three games and has a good matchup against a Chargers defense that allows the seventh-most points per game to tight ends.
Dan Arnold, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars at Colts (16.8%)
Arnold has been a favorite target of Lawrence recently, drawing 22 targets over the past three games. This trend should continue against a Colts defense that has given up six touchdowns to tight ends this season.
With Eric Ebron out with a hamstring injury, Freiermuth has thrived over the past two weeks, scoring three touchdowns on his nine catches. Regardless of Ebron’s status, Freiermuth should feast in the red zone against the Lions this week.
Patrick Mahomes struggled against two high safeties last week and the Packers’ defense limited him to 166 yards and a touchdown. In Week 10, Green Bay will play at home against Russell Wilson after he was cleared to play. Wilson has a passer rating of 60.4 with 604 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions in three career games against the Packers on the road.
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Chiefs (22.9%)
The Chiefs have the most giveaways in the NFL with 19. Kansas City has to figure out its offense sooner rather than later, but until then, it’s a good streaming target. Since Week 6, the Raiders rank 12th among fantasy defenses in points per game.
Tennessee Titans vs. Saints (8.0%)
Against the Rams, the Titans’ defense forced two turnovers and sacked Matthew Stafford five times. Tennessee has intercepted a pass in six straight games, its longest streak since 2010. In their upcoming game against the Saints, who are 28th in total yards, the Titans hope to continue this positive trend.
Chase McLaughlin, Cleveland Browns at Patriots (18.8%)
After scoring just 11 points in the previous three games, McLaughlin matched that total in Sunday’s victory. Hopefully, this is the beginning of good things for the Browns offensively. McLaughlin has done well for Cleveland, making 13 of 15 field goals and all 23 extra points. He should have plenty of opportunities against the Patriots.
Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Lions (8.4%)
Over the past five games, Boswell has made all 10 of his field goal attempts. This week, he plays against a Lions team that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to kickers.
Hopkins’ chances of surpassing 10 points are good against a Vikings defense that allows the fifth-most points per game to kickers.
Individual Defensive Players (IDP)
Dawuane Smoot, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars at Colts (0.1% rostered)
Last week, Smoot played 82% of the defensive snaps against the Bills. In Weeks 5 to 9, he recorded 3.5 sacks and 17 pressures, making him someone to target in deeper formats.
Kwon Alexander, LB, New Orleans Saints at Titans (1.6%)
The Saints had desperately been looking for someone to emerge opposite of linebacker Demario Davis after Alexander was hurt earlier this season. He returned to the starting lineup for the Saints in Week 9 for the first time since his injury and played 78% of the defensive snaps.
Sharrod Neasman, S, New York Jets vs. Texans (0.0%)
Marcus Maye is out for the season, so Neasman will fill his place. When Neasman played 60 or more snaps in Weeks 4 to 5, he recorded seven tackles and two pass breakups.
San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel, LB Fred Warner out 1-2 weeks, coach Kyle Shanahan says
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers breathed a collective sigh of relief Monday after receiving important injury news on two of their best players.
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday that receiver Deebo Samuel and linebacker Fred Warner suffered groin and hamstring strains, respectively, in San Francisco’s 34-26 victory Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings.
The bad news is that both will miss at least Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. But Shanahan was more pleased by the fact that both players aren’t expected to miss more than a game or two as the 6-5 Niners make their push for an NFC playoff spot.
“That’s what I was kind of telling you guys last night that I hope for that it was just a strain,” Shanahan said. “And strains usually [last] anywhere from one to two weeks. I think it was very good news considering what it could have been.”
According to Shanahan, both Samuel and Warner could return as soon as the Dec. 12 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Barring a setback, both would be expected back in time for a Dec. 19 home game against the Atlanta Falcons.
While the Niners got relatively good news in the big picture, the loss of Samuel and Warner even for one week is significant.
Samuel has been the team’s most productive offensive player, establishing himself as the league’s premier multidimensional weapon.
On Sunday, Samuel became just the third player in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving yards, five rushing touchdowns and five receiving scores in the same season.
Without Samuel, the Niners will look to second-year receiver Brandon Aiyuk to continue building on his recent surge, as well as the likes of tight end George Kittle, wideout Jauan Jennings and a burgeoning running game.
“He’s been a big part of our offense,” Shanahan said. “But I think we’re in a spot right now that we can overcome that.”
Replacing Warner also won’t be easy, especially since it’s something the Niners haven’t had to do at any point in his three-plus seasons. When he misses Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, it will be the first contest Warner has missed since he came into the league in 2018, snapping a streak of 59 consecutive regular-season starts.
How that plays out this week will depend on the status of fellow linebacker Dre Greenlaw. Greenlaw also left Sunday’s game with what Shanahan described as an “irritation” of the core muscle injury that had kept him out since Week 1. Greenlaw is considered day-to-day this week.
And with strongside linebacker Marcell Harris in the concussion protocol, the 49ers figure to enter the Seattle game woefully thin at linebacker. That puts even more onus on Al-Shaair, who had an interception and a fumble recovery in the win against Minnesota.
“Azeez has been ready for anything we’ve asked him to do,” Shanahan said. “He always runs around and plays like his hair is on fire and he loves playing the football game. That’s not changing, but he’s just getting more and more confident of where to be, what to anticipate … He’s been playing at a high level all year and whether he’s inside or outside, I expect it to continue, we need it to continue, because he’s one of the reasons we’re playing pretty good right now.”
Elsewhere on the injury front, running back Trey Sermon suffered an ankle sprain that Shanahan said will keep him out “for a little while” and makes him a candidate to head to injured reserve with a chance to return later in the season.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers not expected to have surgery to repair broken toe during bye week
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Monday that Rodgers is “gathering other opinions, so we’ll see where that goes,” but a source said those opinions are not expected to lead to surgery during this week’s bye.
The Packers (9-3) are off until Dec. 12, when they’ll face the Chicago Bears in a Sunday night prime-time game.
“The most important thing is healing and taking care of my toe,” Rodgers said Sunday when asked about his bye-week plans.
NFL Network reported earlier on Monday that Rodgers does not plan to have surgery.
Rodgers said he fractured the toe during his COVID-19 quarantine earlier this month, and he has played in the past three games since with almost no on-field practice preparations.
The only full-fledged practice he took part in during that stretch was on Nov. 19, two days before the Packers’ loss at Minnesota. He said he received a pain-killing injection at halftime of the game against the Vikings but did not need one to play in Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Rams.
“The difference is I didn’t have to get shot up again at halftime, so definitely the healing this week not practicing [helped],” Rodgers said after he threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 36-28 win over the Rams.
“Last week, I tried to do some stuff on Friday, felt like we needed maybe a little jolt and that kind of impacted Sunday a little bit from a pain standpoint. This week, I just did a walk-through on Saturday and obviously all the walk-throughs during the week, but no practice time, I think really helped. It definitely helped looking at the scans. The healing, kind of get to a better spot, so I’ve definitely felt better, but third quarter, late third, early fourth and I got stepped on early in the game, there was definitely some pain I was dealing with.”
Rodgers even had a rushing touchdown on Sunday, beating Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey around the edge for a 1-yard score. In the past two games combined, Rodgers has thrown for 692 yards and six touchdowns without an interception.
He said after Sunday’s game that he would make a decision about surgery after additional tests on Monday.
“The toe felt good most of the game,” Rodgers said. “Was just actually in talking with the docs. Not sure at this point; we’re going to do some more testing in the morning and get a better view of what’s going on in there, and then make a decision at that time.”
LaFleur said previously that he would leave the decision up to Rodgers and the medical staff.
“I’m not involved in any of those decisions, so I just take any information and hear it,” LaFleur said. “I don’t have ‘M.D.’ after my name. So I’ll let them handle that.”
Dallas Cowboys DT Trysten Hill suspended two games for punching Las Vegas Raiders OG John Simpson
The suspension was issued by NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan for violations of unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules.
“After the Las Vegas Raiders-Dallas Cowboys game on November 25, you engaged in conduct that this office considers unnecessary roughness and displays a lack of sportsmanship. Specifically, as both teams were shaking hands, you waited more than 50 seconds for your opponent at the 50-yard line. When you located him, you then walked toward him in the opposite direction of your locker room. You both engaged in a verbal chest-to-chest confrontation which you escalated by throwing an open hand punch to his facemask, forcible enough to cause your opponent’s helmet to come off,” Runyan wrote in the letter to Hill.
Hill is appealing the suspension, a source told ESPN’s Todd Archer. Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, who are jointly appointed and paid by the NFL and the NFLPA, will issue a ruling on the appeal.
If Hill’s suspension stands, he would be eligible to return to the Cowboys’ active roster on Monday, Dec. 13. He would miss games against the New Orleans Saints this Thursday and against the Washington Football Team on Dec. 12.
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