Week ten is upon us and owners in Individual Defensive Player leagues are making that coveted push for the playoffs. Some defensive players such as Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen are finally coming around and others like Mario Williams are possibly showing signs of life after a disappointing first half of the season.
The bye weeks are drawing to a close after week eleven and the chance to utilize our entire IDP line-ups are nearly at hand. Until then, there is still work to be done in finding the sleeper options that can fill that void for fantasy squads and keep those playoff hopes alive.
With the Cardinals and Packers on a bye there is bound to be a dip in sacks allowed this week but there are still some fine sleeper players that will put up fantasy relevant numbers. Let’s get to it and look at the sleeper plays for week ten.
Javier Arenas, CB, KANSAS CITY, at PITTSBURGH: Arenas played a season high 44 snaps last week and has moved into the starting line up due to cornerback Stanford Routt being released. All five passes thrown to the man he was covering were completed and it was obvious that San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers was picking on the third year cornerback. Arenas racked up eight solos and nine total tackles against the Chargers and will see very similar numbers moving forward now that he is an every down player.
Captain Munnerlyn, CB, CAROLINA, vs. DENVER: After being beaten out of his position by rookie cornerback Josh Norman, Munnerlyn found himself back as an every down player last Sunday after the Panthers placed Chris Gamble on IR. He racked up nine total tackles against the Redskins and will bust out again in week ten. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning is rounding into form and will look to shred the struggling Carolina secondary, which will equal a big fantasy week for Munnerlyn.
LaRon Landry, S, NEW YORK JETS, at SEATTLE: Landry has held up surprisingly well physically this season and has put up over 55 combined tackles along with one forced fumble and an interception. Seattle is not a good match-up for defensive backs in general but Landry is active enough in run support that he still brings fantasy value to the table. Seattle has loosened the reins a bit on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and wide out Sidney Rice looks to be healthy again, so Landry may have the chance to help out in coverage as well.
Asante Samuel, CB, ATLANTA, at NEW ORLEANS: Samuel threw up a goose egg the last time he was on the sleeper list but will redeem himself in this match-up with the Saints. Samuel loves to take chances and jump routes and Drew Brees loves to throw the football, which makes this a golden fantasy match-up. Samuel will absolutely improve on the single pass defended he put up last week and is a prime candidate to snag an interception in week ten.
Atari Bigby, SS, SAN DIEGO, at TAMPA BAY: The Buccaneers have been a fantasy friendly match-up for safeties and Bigby is having an excellent season. In the last three games he has racked up 24 total tackles and is primed for a very nice week. Bigby is dealing with a quadriceps injury and was limited in practice so be sure to keep an eye on his practice participation for the week and make sure he suits up Sunday, but all signs point to him playing. He is a very nice sleeper option in week ten.
Eric Berry, SS, KANSAS CITY, at PITTSBURGH: Berry showed signs of life last week against San Diego by registering his first interception of the season and equaling his season high with eight combined tackles. It may be too soon to tell if he has turned the corner fantasy-wise, but it’s worth the risk to ride the hot hand. The Steelers like to attack defenses vertically and that will represent big play chances for Berry while he continues to come down in the box to support the run.
A.J. Jefferson, CB, MINNESOTA, vs. DETROIT: Jefferson stepped in for the injured Chris Cook at cornerback on Sunday and actually saw 77 snaps which was 45 more than impressive rookie corner Josh Robinson. That was a surprising move by Minnesota and makes Jefferson the cornerback to insert as a sleeper this week against the Lions. Robinson posted seven solo tackles and a pass defended in the Vikings first game against Detroit and Jefferson is in line for those numbers this week.
Patrick Robinson, CB, NEW ORLEANS, vs. ATLANTA: Robinson and the entire Saints secondary will be tested by the high flying Falcons (see what I did there?) offense as quarterback Matt Ryan looks to feed the ball to wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones. Robinson is allowing 57% of the passes thrown to his man to be completed and four of those for touchdowns. Robinson had only a single tackle last week but did return an interception for a touchdown and has flashed big play ability with a sack, forced fumble and two interceptions on the year.
Antoine Cason, CB, SAN DIEGO, at TAMPA BAY: Cason and fellow cornerback Quentin Jammer will have their hands full trying to contain Tampa Bay wideouts Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Cason has picked off two balls this season but is allowing over 70% of the passes thrown to the man he’s covering to be completed and four of those for touchdowns. Look for Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman to target the receiver that Cason lines up over and for that to lead to a very productive fantasy week for Antoine and his owners.
Devin McCourty, FS, NEW ENGLAND, vs. BUFFALO: McCourty seems to have settled in to his new role at free safety for the Patriots and Buffalo is a top ten fantasy match-up for defensive backs. Don’t be put off by his two solo tackle performance against St Louis two weeks ago, as the Rams are a weak passing team. Expect numbers along the lines of the 25 tackles he amassed from weeks three through seven. The Bills will be looking to utilize their running backs in the passing game and McCourty will be very active and productive in week ten.