The NFL's schedule in Week 9 and Week 10 is the most difficult stretch for fantasy football owners in the 2014 season. Twelve teams have their byes in the two-week period, forcing fantasy owners to replace some of the league’s top performers. Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Arian Foster and Alfred Morris are just a few players that won’t be on the field in Week 10.
With the fantasy football playoffs quickly approaching, having to replace one or two of their best players is an important task for owners. While most of the players worth starting at this point in the season can’t be added, a few big performances on Sunday have given owners a few additional options.
Let’s look at which players should be targeted for Week 10’s waiver wire. Remember, always drop and add at your own discretion.
Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins
The tight end has been a disappointment in 2014, and only caught one pass in Week 8. A lot of owners gave up on Clay, but he might be ready to turn his season around, He caught a first-half touchdown against the Chargers, and Ryan Tannehill’s improved play could mean big things for Clay in the second half of the season.
Clay began Week 9 available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues, even though he finished last year seventh in points at his position. He had been battling a knee injury, but he can be a strong starting option if he’s finally healthy.
Mark Sanchez, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
If Nick Foles’s shoulder injury prevents him from playing, Sanchez is a realistic starting option for owners who start Foles or another quarterback that has a bye in Week 10. Sanchez made an immediate impact when coming into the Week 9 game, throwing a touchdown on his first drive.
Playing in Chip Kelly’s offense and with weapons like Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy, Sanchez has a chance to throw multiple touchdowns when playing a full game. Philadelphia hosts Carolina in Week 10, and the Panthers began Week 9 ranking 26th in scoring defense.
Chris Johnson, RB, New York Jets
Fantasy owners have forgotten just how valuable Johnson can be. Against the Chiefs, he totaled over 100 combined rushing and receiving yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. He got just three carries in Week 6 and Week 8, and Rex Ryan should give him more touches going forward. Johnson is available in just 51 percent of Yahoo leagues.
It might not be the best idea to start someone on the Jets’ offense, but they are still capable of scoring a few touchdowns, especially at the running back position. Owners that start Foster might find that adding Johnson is their best option.
Bobby Rainey, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin was inactive in Week 9, and Rainey made the most of his opportunity, rush for 87 yards and catching a pass for 34 yards. The running back showed what he could do when given the ball earlier in the season, totaling 144 rushing yards on 22 carries in Week 2. Since then, however he hasn’t gotten more than 11 attempts in a single game.
Even if Martin is healthy in Week 10, Rainey could see his touches increase as the year progresses. Martin has been awful in 2014, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry and failing to get more than 45 yards in a single game.
Others to watch: Dallas DST; Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles; Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs; Taylor Gabriel, WR, Cleveland Browns; Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins