Congratulations to anyone who owned the Miami Dolphins defense last week. Condolences to anyone who started Philip Rivers last week. The Fins humiliated the Bolts, of course, and in most standard scoring systems Rivers actually put up negative points – you would have been better off with Mike Glennon, for chrissakes! (Note: Do not pick up Glennon. He has now been benched for Josh McCown. The upcoming schedule is actually decent for McCown, fantasy-wise, but that’s for a different column.)
So who has the best shot at domination in Week Ten, and who will help you get there in IDP leagues?
D/ST Sleeper: Pittsburgh Steelers – The newly-rejuvenated Ben Roethlisberger is getting all hype lately (and rightfully so), but a trip to the Meadowlands to take on a rudderless New York Jets squad is enticing if you need a D/ST this week, too. Throw in a 50% chance of rain, and that means a muddy field, which will mean even more fumbles to go around. Of course, this is a Pittsburgh team that lost at home to Tampa, so anything is possible… still, the Terrible Towel wavers are a great snag off of waivers this week, if your league’s resident Yinzer hasn’t gotten them already.
DL Sleeper: Cliff Avril, Seattle Seahawks – The champs have been scuttling a bit, even letting the Raiders believe they had a shot last week. This week the ‘Hawks host a New York Giants team that can’t protect the quarterback, whose receivers seem to have replaced their stick-um with WD-40, and will traveling across the country after a short week. If you weren’t already starting your Seahawks, make sure to do so this week.
DL Sleeper: Chris Long, St. Louis Rams – He’s still on the IR after having ankle surgery in early September – but he’s eligible to come off the IR now, and though he won’t play this week, he could be a sneaky guy to stash away for the fantasy playoffs if you have the roster space. The Rams see nothing but old or injured QBs weeks 13-16!
LB Sleeper: James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers – Yes, he’s still around; yes, he’s still just asking to be suspended again. But he’s had two sacks in each of his last two games, plus this week’s game is at the Meadowlands (mentioned above) – definitely a safe bet for another sack this Sunday.
LB Sleeper: Wesley Woodyard, Tennessee Titans – He’s not dead, he just left Denver for Tennessee. He’s been good for about four tackles per week, plus the occasional sack or pick – and a trip to Baltimore, where Joe Flacco takes the occasional sack and/or throws the occasional pick, give Woodyard a shot to help your IDP squad just a little bit more. We’re not advocating Woody as an every-week starter, but he’s a decent bye-week or injury fill-in right now.
DB Sleeper: Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks – How is the Mouth a sleeper? If you hadn’t noticed, he had zero interceptions until last week. A favorable remaining schedule, including the aforementioned home game verus Eli Manning and the Giants this week, bodes well for increased production, though. Buy low and enjoy.
DB Sleeper: Johnthan Banks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – He’s been inconsistent, but three favorable games upcoming (vs. Atlanta this week, then at Washington and at Chicago) give him a chance to have good games in two out of three, at least. Remember that the Falcons stink on the road, Washington could be starting any of three terrible/injured/terribly injured (McCoy/Cousins/Griffin, respectively, if you’re keeping score) QBs, and the Bears are imploding into a Charybdis-like whirlpool of suck, with a ton of talent on offense but only a chain-smoking cat behind center.