Drew Magyar
Rock and a Hard Place - Week 10

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This week, Cleveland, Kansas City, New England and the New York Jets all have a bye. That means there’s a stud quarterback, three good running backs and several pass catchers who will be unavailable to fantasy players. Late-season matchups seem to become even more important, as every performance is under the microscope.

If, as we near the playoffs, you find yourself comfortably in the playoff mix, it’s time to set yourself up for postseason success. If you have a stud quarterback, you may not need that backup. If there’s a guy like Randall Cobb or Percy Harvin out on the waiver wire that will come back for the playoffs and you can afford to wait, grab him.

Below, I’ll list a player with some upside for this week, their Week 10 matchup, and the percentage of leagues in which he is owned according to our friends at fleaflicker.com .

DISCLAIMER - The hope is that you don’t find yourself in a situation like this. The hope is that you dodge the bullet. But hope won’t help you come Sunday.

Let’s move on to this week’s targets, keeping in mind that these aren’t every week starters. Instead, these are guys that should only be used if you’re in some kind of roster emergency.

QB

Case Keenum at Arizona – 30 percent. Keenum lit Indianapolis up in the first half last week, eventually finishing with 350 passing yards and a trio of passing scores. For the first time in what seems like a really long time, the Houston offense appeared to have some life to it. It’s amazing what happens when you bench the guy who keeps throwing touchdowns to the other team. Anyway, I like him to put up decent numbers again in Week 10 in Arizona. Our projection of 270 yards and two scores seems very doable.

E.J. Manuel at Pittsburgh – 18 percent. Manuel started the season out well enough as a rookie. He was averaging around 200 yards a game and had thrown a few scores, but he was still getting his feet wet when he hurt his knee. He’ll make his comeback in Pittsburgh – usually not a good thing – but this year that’s not as tough a task as in past years. We’ve projected 225 yards and a score through the air, and I think those are pretty reasonable.

RB

Mike James vs. Miami – 42 percent. It’s surprising that James is still unowned in so many leagues. He ran for 158 yards against Seattle last week, but it was more surprising how he did it. He didn’t break a long run, but rather several 8-10 yard runs. He was effective for a Tampa Bay offense with a rookie quarterback. Now he has a Week 10 date with a Miami defense that has been a mess against the run. I think he hits our projected 100 total yards and touchdown.

Rashad Jennings at New York Giants – 35 percent. When Darren McFadden went down last week, Jennings filled in to the tune of 102 yards and a score. McFadden is still out, and Jennings draws a Giants run defense that has actually improved recently. I still like Jennings, though, since I expect the volume of touches to make him worth starting. We project 85 total yards and a touchdown. I think he can get the yards, but it’ll all come down to the score.

WR

Riley Cooper at Green Bay – 39 percent. With Nick Foles putting on a show in his return, Cooper blew up last week, catching five balls for 139 yards and three touchdowns. That type of performance can’t be expected on a weekly basis, but he’s clearly got Foles’ trust. It could be a sign of things to come, with DeSean Jackson taking up so much attention that Cooper can win his matchup. Our forecast of 75 yards and a score sounds about right.

Kenny Stills vs. Dallas – 39 percent. This game could turn into a shootout on the fast turf in New Orleans on Sunday night. If that’s the case, I like Stills to continue his strong rookie campaign. He’s typically been used as a deep threat to take a safety deep. That will help open things up for his teammates, but Drew Brees will eventually take a shot, and Stills has capitalized on his opportunities. We’ve projected 85 receiving yards on four catches, but the difference will be if he can get in the end zone.

TE

Tim Wright vs. Miami – 25 percent. Vincent Jackson is the top target on the Tampa Bay offense, and Wright is No. 2. He’s made a number of plays in recent weeks, and Mike Glennon clearly looks for him in the red zone. Wright has touchdowns in two straight contests, and the Miami Dolphins have had their struggles against tight ends. They’ve been better lately, but I still like Wright to reach the 50 yards and touchdown we’ve projected.

Garrett Graham at Arizona – 28 percent. With Owen Daniels out, Graham has stepped in as the starting tight end. Case Keenum clearly prefers to go downfield, as opposed to Matt Schaub who liked to dink-and-dunk more. Graham’s role has steadily grown in recent weeks, and now he gets an Arizona defense that’s had issues against opposing tight ends. We project Graham for 60 yards and a score – pretty good from a guy on the waiver wire right now.

Good luck in Week 10.

Drew Magyar is a fantasysharks.com staff writer and member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He can be reached at drewmagyaratgmail.com.