With the exception of Cowboys-Giants on Monday night, Week 9 is in the books.
There now remains just one undefeated team in the NFL after fantasy superstar Lamar Jackson led the Baltimore Ravens to a big win over the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. The Pats’ loss leaves Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers as the final team with a record unscathed by a loss.
The toughest week for fantasy players this season awaits, as Week 10 features six NFL teams who will be on a bye week: Jacksonville, Houston, Washington, Philadelphia, Denver, New England.
If you’re like me (and just about anyone else on earth who plays fantasy football) you’re going to need some fill-ins as the playoff push continues.
Here are four non-quarterbacks who could help you stay competitive in a week with the most teams on bye of any in the 2019 NFL season, all of whom are owned in 20 percent or less of fantasy leagues.
Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts, WR
20 percent owned in Yahoo leagues
With T.Y. Hilton expected to be out at least another few weeks with a calf injury, the Colts’ No. 2 receiver will pick up most of the slack for Indianapolis in the passing game. Pascal caught five of his six targets Sunday against the Steelers, finishing with 76 yards and a touchdown.
He’s topped 50 yards in four of his last six games and will likely receive the lion's share of the targets for the team in the coming weeks. The one holdup on Pascal is the injury to quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who left Sunday’s loss with a knee injury and did not return.
There’s been no clarity yet on how long the QB will be out, but backup Brian Hoyer did toss three touchdowns in his absence, so it’s not like they’ll abandon the pass without Brissett.
There is a matchup with the lowly Miami Dolphins coming in Week 10, so Pascal is at least worth a roster spot for this week, and could be a sneaky play down the stretch.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, TE
7 percent owned in Yahoo leagues
Don’t even get me started on how much of a bust O.J. Howard has been for fantasy players this season, but the Buccaneers have only scored under 20 points in a game once this season. When “Mr. Turnover” himself (it’s catchy, I know) Jameis Winston can actually complete a pass, he likes to look for Brate, especially in the red zone.
Howard missed Week 9 and isn’t expected to suit up for Week 10, leaving Brate as a potential value play as a bye week fill-in. The Cardinals have given up the most fantasy points to tight ends of any team this season, so at least give Brate a look if you’re in need of a tight end.
J.D. McKissic, Detroit Lions, RB
12 percent owned in Yahoo leagues
I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you: the running back situation on the waiver wire is brutal as Week 10 begins. With six teams on bye, coupled with a litany of injuries at the position, every league has at least two or three teams in need of a tailback this week.
One decent option for Week 10 could be McKissic. He got just four carries in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders but caught three of his four targets for 40 yards and a touchdown.
So if you’re in a PPR league, and are desperate for a running back, there are worse options than McKissic.
Olabisi Johnson, Minnesota Vikings, WR
3 percent owned in Yahoo leagues
If you’re like me and reached on Adam Thielen in your fantasy draft, you’ve experienced a wide range of emotions in fantasy football this season. From that dominant two-touchdown game against the Giants in Week 5 to combining for one catch over the past three weeks, it’s been a mixed bag.
After Thielen left Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs with a hamstring injury, Johnson caught just one pass for four yards -- but it was for a touchdown. If Thielen continues to miss time, the Vikings don’t have many options outside of Stefon Diggs to throw to.
Johnson has two touchdowns over his last three games and could be a deep sleeper if you need a plug-in at the flex.