Week 10 is on the horizon and with 5.5 teams on a bye (sorry, not sorry, Washington) you may be trapped in bye week jail. And not only that, you whiffed on your waiver pickup life preservers and now you’re despondently looking upon the wire, wondering who in the blue hell you can add to help push your roster to a much-needed win.
Well, that’s why I’m here because truth be told, there is nothing I enjoy doing more than trying to unearth extremely deep sleepers for those of you in extreme need. I mean, in all honesty, it’s part of my brand to hit the people with deep sleepers, going back to the Danger Zone (RIP) a few years back and more recently with Mad Fantasy.
So with that, here are some guys that maybe, possibly — you never know — could help you and are widely available (<10% rostership in Yahoo leagues) to add.
Ted Ginn, WR, New Orleans Saints (vs ATL) — 6 percent rostered
Check, check, check to see if Teddy “KGB” Ginn is available on your wire. Ginn is the clear cut number 2 wide receiver in this offense and Drew Brees has repeatedly shown love to the guy.
Ginn must have alligator blood because even at 34 years of age he is still hanging around and hanging around because of his ability to test defenses deep. It helps explain why over the last seven games a healthy Brees has played with Ginn, KGB has very quietly seen more air yards than Michael Thomas, averaging 84.9 air yards and 5.4 targets per contest. That level of volume puts Ginn squarely in the WR2 mix in most leagues.
If Brees gives Ginn a couple deep shots against this awful Atlanta secondary this week, he very well could splash the pot, getting you off your couch screaming, “Pay that man his money!”
Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens (vs CIN) — 4% rostered
Over the last three games, Gus Edwards has seen increased playing time, accumulating 79 total snaps to Mark Ingram’s 88. Doing the math: Ingram is only averaging three more snaps per game than Edwards over the last three games, meaning the opportunity for Edwards to make plays is increasing.
This week the Ravens take on a Bengals defense that is giving up the most rushing yards per game in the NFL. Opposing teams are averaging an outrageous 177.6 rush yards per game on Cincy. The next highest is Miami with the Dolphins allowing 150.8 yards rushing per contest.
You add in the 54.4 yards receiving they allow to opposing backs and as you can tell there is a lot of meat on this bone to feed multiple runners.
If Edwards sees close to the 40 percent snap share he’s seen in recent weeks, I could easily see him racking up 50-75 yards with good, solid exposure to touchdowns as well. Not bad upside for a waiver wire back that can be had for free.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins (@ IND) — 5%
Yeah, yeah I know what you’re thinking: “It’s the Dolphins dude!” I get it. They’re bad. But even bad teams have an occasional viable fantasy option and the volume stats really aren’t bad for Gesicki.
Over the last four weeks, the young tight end out of Penn State is averaging five targets and 50 air yards per game.
It’s unfortunate that Preston Williams is gone for the season but considering Williams was the team’s leader in targets and air yards, the volume for both Parker and Gesicki should increase in Williams’ absence.
Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t the greatest quarterback in the world but he’s also not the worst, meaning the quality of volume Gesicki will see in the coming weeks won’t be terrible.
Considering we’re talking about a fill-in tight end, there is a lot to like from a volume standpoint.
Josh Reynolds, WR, Los Angeles Rams @ PIT — 2%
When Brandin Cooks went down with a scary-looking head injury, Josh Reynolds came on in relief and promptly saw 8 targets, corralling 3 receptions for 73 yards and a score.
It doesn’t appear that Cooks will be returning for Week 10, meaning Reynolds will once again be a prominent figure in the Rams passing attack.
With an entire bye week to prepare, I don’t anticipate Reynolds will be featured again as prominently (expect Kupp and Woods to see the lion’s share of targets) but 4-6 targets seem like a reasonable expectation.
It should also be noted that even though Kupp took home 220 yards receiving, Reynolds actually led the team in air yards with nearly 140 in that department. Again, he was filling in the Cooks role that week so following the bye, I’m not expecting Reynolds to fill the same role but at the very least, we can say that Goff isn’t shy about throwing him deep balls.
Let’s say Reynolds ends up with 5-ish targets and around 75 air yards. That’s solid WR2/Flex volume stats. Again, considering you’re getting him for free of the waiver wire, you could be doing a lot worse.
Patrick Laird, RB, Miami Dolphins vs IND — 0.00000000000000%
With Kenyan Drake traded away and Mark Walton suspended for four games, the Dolphins are expected to go with an all Pac-12 backfield mixing in some combination of Kalen Ballage (ASU), Myles Gaskin (Wash) and my guy, Patrick Laird (Cal).
It’s fair to assume that Ballage will see a good chunk of work but my god, it is so painfully obvious he is not the answer as he is an absolute liability as a receiver.
Gaskin was a seventh-round pick this year who indeed had a strong college career and was much more productive than Laird, who signed with Miami as an undrafted rookie free agent.
But the idea that Gaskin is a better athlete than Laird just doesn’t hold up. Laird ran a smidge faster 40 (4.56 versus 4.58) and was significantly quicker running the 3-cone and the 20-yard shuttle.
A converted wide receiver, Laird is a solid pass catcher and his tape would suggest he’s a much more powerful runner than his 205-pound frame would indicate. I thought he showed good patience finding holes in college and then powering through. He won’t wow you but I think he can be a solid professional NFL running back.
Is this a total dart throw? Yes. But I like his skillset and believe if given the chance, Laird could be productive.
James Koh is a fantasy football analyst and an award-winning journalist. He’s probably wrong, but you never know. Follow him on Twitter @JamesDKoh.