Just two running backs rushed for more than 100 yards in Week 10. Lucky for the New Orleans Saints, both running backs are on their team.
In what has become one of the best addition-by-subtraction moves this season, the departure of Adrian Peterson has unleashed a dangerous backfield for the Saints. Mark Ingram rushed 21 times for 131 yards and three touchdowns for his most productive game of the year. Alvin Kamara rushed 12 times for 106 yards and a touchdown, in addition to catching five passes for 32 yards. I suggested starting both in my start-sit column last Thursday because there’s enough opportunity to go around.
In a game in which the Saints nearly scored 50 points, it was somewhat puzzling that Drew Brees didn’t have a touchdown pass. The Saints were so successful rushing the ball that they didn’t need to put up points through the air. Even Brees rushed for a score while only throwing for 184 yards.
A good amount of Brees’ passing yards went to Michael Thomas, who isn’t getting the credit he deserves this season as a fantasy asset. He may not be an exciting, high-ceiling type of player, but he’ll give you a nice scoring minimum each week. Thomas hasn’t caught a touchdown pass since Week 4, but he crossed the century mark for the first time this season with 117 yards receiving Sunday.
Robert Woods had the best week catching passes, hauling in eight balls for 171 yards and two touchdowns for the Rams. His biggest play came on a 94-yard connection with Jared Goff. It was Woods’ second straight week scoring two touchdowns. I suggested you pick him up last week and if you did then he paid off for you right away.
Goff was one of my starts of the week and he came through with 355 yards passing and three touchdowns. He has nine touchdown passes and just one interception over his last four games. Goff is nearly a must-start every week. His three worst games came against the Redskins, Seahawks and Jaguars.
Speaking of the Redskins, Kirk Cousins had a nice bounce-back performance as he faced the Vikings. He threw for 327 yards and a touchdown in addition to rushing for two more scores. Cousins has had a solid season in terms of fantasy production despite lacking a true No. 1 at the wideout position.
A couple of quarterbacks that had some surprisingly productive days were Case Keenum and C.J. Beathard. Keenum put up 304 passing yards and tossed four touchdown passes for the Vikings. Beathard led the 49ers to their first win of the season as he threw for 288 yards and a touchdown pass.
Keenum’s success was due in large part to the play of Adam Thielen, who had eight catches for 166 yards and a touchdown. He’s the top receiver for the Vikings, even when Stephon Diggs is healthy in my opinion, and has been targeted at least eight times in every game since Week 3.
Another No. 1 receiver, who hasn’t been playing like one, is A.J. Green of the Bengals. The big-play receiver didn’t even finish last week’s game due to being kicked out for fighting in the first half. Green finally broke out of a three-week funk in Week 10 as he caught five passes for 115 yards and a 70-yard score.
One receiver who has been thrust into a No. 1 role is Sterling Shepard. With both Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall out for the season, Shepard will have to be Eli Manning’s top wide receiver target. The second-year player hasn’t disappointed for fantasy purposes. He caught 11 of his 13 targets for a career-high 142 yards receiving. I saw him as a top waiver wire target last week and he could end up being worth it with a great schedule coming up.
One final top-trending wideout I’ll mention is JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Steelers. I suggested picking up the rookie after his huge Week 8 performance even though he was off last week. If you waited out the Pittsburgh bye then you were rewarded with a great performance. Smith-Schuster caught five passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Even the return of Martavis Bryant didn’t put a damper on the rookie’s three-game TD streak.
On the defensive front, the Falcons led the way by sacking Dak Prescott eight times, forcing two fumbles and allowing just seven points to a once potent Cowboys offense.
Without Ezekiel Elliott and starting right tackle Tyron Smith, Prescott definitely struggled to get going. He rushed for a touchdown early but was disappointing after that. Of course, if Prescott struggles that means Dez Bryant wasn’t productive either.
Other disappointing performances were turned in by Tyrod Taylor, Adrian Peterson, Devonta Freeman and Jordy Nelson.
Taylor was a victim to an emerging Saints defense. Peterson couldn’t match his Week 9 performance on a short week in which he rushed 21 times for 29 yards. Freeman left his game early due to a blow to the head and Nelson still can’t get on the same page with Brett Hundley.
You don’t have much room for poor performances as you ready for a playoff push. Here are the top waiver wire targets heading into Week 11.
Top waiver wire picks
Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers: 10 rushes, 42 yards, 5 rec., 77 yards, 2TDs. He’s a must-own handcuff for all Melvin Gordon owners.
Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars: 6 rec., 55 yards, TD. He’s still owned in less than 60 percent of leagues on some platforms. He has caught at least 72 yards or at least one TD in his last four games and has a favorable schedule coming up.
Orleans Darkwa, RB, Giants: 14 rushes, 70 yards. Darkwa is definitely the No. 1 running back for the Giants at this point. He passes the eye test and just needs a handful more touches in order to have real value.
Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots: 10 rushes, 36 yards, 3 rec., 27 yards, TD. He’s getting involved and could end up being a winning flex play as you hit the playoff push.
Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cardinals: 5 rec., 64 yards, TD. He’s scored in each of the last two weeks and has a favorable schedule coming up and through the fantasy playoffs.