By Matt Citak
(CBS Boston)- Well folks, Week 10 is here, which means we have entered the final month of the fantasy regular season.
For most leagues, the fantasy postseason kicks off in Week 14. This means there are only four more weeks to clinch your spot in the playoffs, rise in the standings, or even seal that first-round bye.
For the first time in what seems like a while, we survived a weekend of games without any significant injuries to fantasy contributors. Several players suffered concussions, paving the way for short-term relevance for some backups, while other lowly-owned players put up solid performances.
While it may not be the biggest week on the waiver wire, there are still some solid pickups available. With that said, here are the top waiver wire adds for Week 10.
QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins- After a rough first start, Tua rebounded in a big way on Sunday. The fifth overall pick in this year’s draft completed just over 71 percent of his passes against the Arizona Cardinals, finishing with 248 passing yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, adding seven carries for 35 yards. Over the next three weeks, Tua will face off against the Chargers, Broncos and Jets, all of whom rank in the top 10 in most fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. The rookie has a fantastic opportunity to string together a few good performances in a row, making him a great streaming option for at least the next three weeks.
QB Drew Lock, Denver Broncos- The Broncos offense has been difficult to trust all season, but there is no denying that the unit performs significantly better with Lock under center. In Denver’s disappointing Week 9 loss to the Falcons, Lock completed just 52 percent of his passes. However, he threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns, while picking up 47 yards and an additional touchdown on the ground. This upcoming week, Lock and the Broncos will face off against the Las Vegas Raiders, who just allowed Justin Herbert to throw for 326 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Lock is firmly on the streaming radar in Week 10.
RB Duke Johnson, Houston Texans- One of the players to suffer a concussion in Week 9 was Texans running back David Johnson. Following the injury, Duke Johnson stepped into the role of the team’s lead back, and while he wasn’t terribly effective, he did end up having his best game of the season. Johnson finished with a season-high 16 carries, gaining 41 yards and scoring a touchdown, and caught all four of his targets for 32 yards. If David Johnson is unable to suit up this week, Duke Johnson will make a solid fantasy play for a Week 10 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. While we won’t know David Johnson’s game status until late in the week, add Duke Johnson now in case he’s thrust into the lead role again.
RB J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team- Antonio Gibson is clearly the most talented running
back in Washington’s backfield, but that hasn’t stopped McKissic from getting his fair share of touches. Now with Kyle Allen out indefinitely and Alex Smith under center, McKissic could see his role grow even more. In the Week 9 loss to the Giants, McKissic was targeted a whopping 14 times, turning it into nine receptions for 65 yards. In the two games Smith has filled in for Allen, he has attempted 49 passes with 18 of them going in McKissic’s direction. That is an incredible 36.7 percent target share. While that mark is likely not sustainable, Smith does have a history of targeting his running backs a lot. Allen could be the starting QB for the remainder of the season, which should bode well for McKissic’s fantasy value moving forward. If he’s still available on the wire, grab McKissic and don’t think twice about it.
RB Jordan Wilkins, Indianapolis Colts- Following Marlon Mack’s season-ending injury in Week 1, Jonathan Taylor was supposed to take over as the Colts’ bell cow back. But after receiving 26 carries in Week 2, Taylor has topped 13 rush attempts just once over the last six games. Taylor got just six carries in Week 9 after seeing only 11 the week prior. Meanwhile, Wilkins has carried the ball 31 times in the last two weeks combined, gaining 128 yards and a touchdown. It appears as if there has been a changing of the guard in Indy, and while this backfield may be hard to trust moving forward, it looks like Wilkins is now the preferred ball-carrier. Over the next six weeks, the Colts get to face off against the Titans, Packers, Titans again, Texans, Raiders and Texans again. All four of those teams are currently in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. If Indy commits to Wilkins as the lead back, he could end up being a league-winner.
RB Kallen Ballage, Los Angeles Chargers- The other running back injury to occur in Week 9 was Justin Jackson’s knee injury suffered on the first play of the game. Brutal luck for anyone who had Jackson in their lineup, but it did pave the way for journeyman back Kallen Ballage to see his first significant action as a Charger. Ballage finished with a team-high 15 carries for 69 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and a touchdown while catching two of three targets for 15 yards. Joshua Kelley has been disappointing since Austin Ekeler’s injury, but the rookie fourth round pick did end up catching five passes for 31 yards in Week 9. It’s unclear how serious Jackson’s injury is, although the fact that he got hurt so early in the game and did not return is not a good sign. Couple that with Austin Ekeler’s likely return in the near future, and it does not look like Ballage will remain fantasy relevant for too long. However, until Jackson and/or Ekeler are back, Ballage looks like the Chargers’ lead runner, placing him on the fantasy radar.
WR Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers- Don’t look now but Samuel has registered a touchdown in three consecutive games. The fourth-year receiver enjoyed the best game of his 2020 campaign against the Chiefs in Week 9, catching a season-high nine passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Samuel has also earned several rush attempts each game, as he added three carries for 13 yards and recorded a touchdown run in both Weeks 7 and 8. It is clear that the Panthers want to get the ball in Samuel’s hands as much as possible. After being held out of the end zone in the first five weeks of the season, Samuel now has four total touchdowns over the last three games. Samuel should be a priority add for anyone in need of some help at wide receiver.
WR K.J. Hamler, Denver Broncos- While the Broncos are certainly disappointed by their Week 9 loss to the Falcons, the team must be encouraged by the performance of some of its young offensive players. We already touched on Drew Lock, while Jerry Jeudy just had the best game of his rookie campaign, and he’s not the only receiver to do so. Hamler was targeted 10 times against Atlanta, catching six of those passes for 75 yards and adding one run for 15 yards. After a hamstring injury sidelined him earlier in the season, Hamler finally appears fully healthy and his production supports this. Hamler also returned one punt and one kickoff return in Week 9, highlighting the fact that the Broncos want the ball in their rookie third round pick’s hands. Hamler could step up as the number two option in the Broncos’ passing game behind Jeudy, a role which should plant him firmly on the fantasy map.
WR Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions- Kenny Golladay missed this one due to the hip injury suffered in Week 8, which allowed Amendola to fill in as Matthew Stafford’s favorite target. In the first two weeks of the season with Golladay sidelined, Amendola was targeted seven times each game. In Week 9, Amendola led the Lions with 10 targets while no other receiver had more than five. The slot receiver turned those targets into seven receptions for 77 yards, but was held out of the end zone yet again. Amendola is yet to score this season, but offers a solid floor when Golladay is not on the field. If Golladay is unable to go this week, Amendola should make a solid FLEX play against Washington, who’s strength in the secondary lies on the outside with Kendall Fuller.
TE Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns- Hooper missed the last two games leading up to Cleveland’s Week 9 bye, which is why he has seemingly fallen off the radar for many fantasy owners. In the three weeks prior to that, Hooper was targeted a total of 23 times, finishing with five receptions for either 50+ yards or finishing with a touchdown in each contest. Hooper has yet to take the field since Odell Beckham’s season-ending injury, which will likely lead to Baker Mayfield leaning on his tight end even more. In Week 10, Hooper and the Browns will welcome the Houston Texans to Cleveland. In one game against the Texans last year, Hooper, then a member of the Falcons, caught six passes for 56 yards. Hooper is a TE1 in this matchup, and could end up being a reliable option at fantasy’s weakest position for the rest of the season depending on the play of Mayfield. With Travis Kelce and Hayden Hurst both on byes, you’d be hard pressed to find a better replacement than Hooper this week.