Fantasy football involves playing both the short and long games well, or at least attempting to play each of them to the best of your abilities. And while Week 10 offered up some intriguing performances for many players, either ones that were already on your roster radar or not, you have some interesting decisions upcoming for your league waiver wire.
But have no fear – our weekly projections are here. Stacked full of potential and educated predictions, our top waiver wire pickups for this upcoming week, which are based on a full-point, point-per-reception league format.
10. Jameis Winston, QB
New Orleans Saints
0.6 percent rostered
Reports are beginning to circle about the health of incumbent Saints’ starting quarterback Drew Brees, but none of them sound positive enough to say that Brees has any chance of playing this upcoming week. With that being the case, the two-horse race between traditional QB Jameis Winston and gadget-guy Taysom Hill begins, something that will be a huge determinant of how well the Saints position themselves for the postseason.
On paper, Winton should be the penciled-in starter for fantasy football owners, as his pedigree certainly lends itself to be a much safer option than that of Hill, but his turnover-prone ways certainly also give head coach Sean Payton pause before naming his starter moving forward.
Facing an Atlanta Falcons defense that is very, very, very awful against the pass, Winston makes the most sense as the plug-in guy with the kind of arm that he has, plus his familiarity with schemes with having played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers helps him out as well. If you are in desperation mode for a QB, Winston certainly can fill a hole – just be aware that the Saints play on Thursday night this week, so a short week could get a little dicey early on (watch the reports that come out).
9. Tim Patrick – WR
15.5 percent rostered
Drew Lock’s inconsistencies certainly make it hard for pass catchers, just like Tim Patrick, to maintain a safe fantasy-relevant floor for Denver, but Patrick has done a solid job maintaining a flex value alongside Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant.
Now, Lock’s turnover-prone ways lend themselves to having to throw the ball more than the Broncos would like to, but that certainly works in the favor of Patrick, as his value only increases as his volume and attention does as well. For Patrick, he seems to have nailed down the WR2 role on this Broncos squad, although he slots in as the third option, behind both Jeudy and Fant.
Patrick gets a tough Dolphins secondary this week that will most likely force Denver into many passing instances, so the volume alone for Patrick justifies a pick-up if he is still out on your wire.
8. Rex Burkhead – RB
New England Patriots
23.2 percent rostered
The carousel that continues to revolve in New England surrounds their running backs, and while Damien Harris (more on him later) seems to have a strong grip as the main carries guy, Rex Burkhead is forced to fight it out with James White for passing work, and whenever Sony Michel returns to full strength that will just add another mouth to feed.
But for now, Burkhead’s attention in passing situations certainly warrants a look for your fantasy football roster, especially with how solid he was against a stout front seven for the Ravens. While only securing six carries on the ground, Burkhead’s 4/35/2 through the air was quite enough to make him fantasy relevant this week.
As a caveat, Burkhead (as have all NE backs) is certainly a threat to put up goose eggs or low points in certain situations due to the volatility of the NE offense, but his ceiling becomes the second-highest on this team, behind Harris’. With Houston, Arizona, and the Chargers next up, passing situations will be frequent, boosting Burkhead’s chances of earning consistent work.
7. Michael Pittman Jr. – WR
5.0 percent rostered
The crazy fact that T.Y. Hilton has not put up over 90 yards since Andrew Luck retired speaks very much to how great of a relationship both he and Hilton had, something that Phillip Rivers may be finally establishing with USC rookie Michael Pittman Jr.
Even with having misses three games, Pittman has picked up big time since his return, as he recorded seven catches for 101 yards and took a carry for 21 yards in their week 7 win against the Titans. Pittman is that solid slot guy that certainly uses his speed and agility to get open, two elements that Hilton has not had for some time.
Green Bay, Tennessee, and Houston are upcoming for the Colts, boasting three beatable secondaries that could provide WR2/3 numbers for Pittman and would be a great under-the-radar addition for anyone looking for a lottery ticket to add to their fantasy football rosters.
6. Kalen Ballage – RB
Los Angeles Chargers
29.9 percent rostered
When Kalen Ballage was released by the New York Jets, his addition to the Los Angeles Chargers’ roster was seen as an afterthought and not something that would actually make a difference – well, things have funny ways of working out.
With both Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson on injured reserve, it has come down to Ballage and UCLA rookie Joshua Kelley, and while Kelley started out the year with a bigger role, it has been Ballage who has come on as of late.
Filling the lead-back role quite well, Ballage went 18/68 on the ground and 5/34 through the air in LAC’s loss to the Dolphins, and with upcoming games against the Jets, Bills, and Pats, Ballage’s value certainly is high now – just be aware of the impending return of Ekeler.
5. Jakobi Meyers – WR
New England Patriots
23.3 percent rostered
Julian Edelman was supposed to be the guy for Cam Newton in NE this year, yet his inconsistencies and injuries have helped pave the way for another player to break out – Jakobi Meyers. Across the past four games, Meyers has produced games of 4, 6, 12, and 5 catches, respectively, recording no less than 58 yards.
Add in a passing touchdown against BAL on Sunday Night in Week 10, and Meyers produced just under 16 PPR points, a very respectable total for a sloppy game due to the weather. Facing the Texans, Cardinals, and Chargers next, Meyers should be able to continue his solid relationship with Newton moving forward.
4. Nyheim Hines, RB
41.1 percent rostered
The type of vulturing that Nyheim Hines has done this year to rookie Jonathan Taylor’s production has been quite sad for JT teams to watch unfold, but Hines has clearly looked like the best back on the IND roster (even if he is not).
A better receiving threat than what both JT and Jordan Wilkins brings to the table, Hines has had his fair share of rushing attempts too lately, really cutting into what JT can bring to the table. Even if you are not a fantasy football owner who rosters Taylor, Hines is certainly a solid option to look at moving forward.
3. Cole Beasley – WR
46.1 percent rostered
Even with Stefon Diggs setting the league on fire and John Brown being ahead of him on the depth chart, Cole Beasley has turned around the stigma of being a slot receiver and ran with it, creating fantasy-relevant production on almost every week this season.
As WR26 in a PPR format, Beasley recorded his third 100+ yardage output and his second 11-catch game, being on the same page as Josh Allen all night against the Cardinals.
Now, Beasley is certainly susceptible to a low floor being a slot guy with other options ahead of him, but he certainly has earned enough attention to justify him being a guy worthy of getting picked up moving forward.
2. Salvon Ahmed – RB
7.0 percent rostered
A name that you probably had never heard of until now, undrafted rookie Salvon Ahmed converted 21 carries and one catch into 90 total yards and a rushing TD, as he now may end up being the RB1 for the Dolphins until Myles Gaskin returns.
For Ahmed, the former Washington Husky seems to have made a name for himself out of nowhere, and the Dolphins certainly offer a solid floor from an RB perspective, something that Ahmed can provide against the Broncos and Jets for sure, depending on how long Gaskin is on IR.
1. Damien Harris – RB
New England Patriots
43.6 percent rostered
A player that absolutely not still be on your waiver wire, NE RB Damien Harris has a solid hold on carries from the Pats backfield, something that his 21/121 line can prove.
Harris is the power guy for the Pats on their roster, and he certainly looks to be able to continue in that role, even though game script certainly dictates his usage. If he is available in your fantasy football league, do what you can to get him, as he can be a plug-and-play RB2/FLEX option for the rest of the season.