Week 10: Sleepers
After only allowing five passing TDs in their first four games, Tampa Bay has allowed eight TDs over their next four. Tannehill struggled last week against Cincinnati during Thursday Night Football, but that likely has to do with the fact that the Bengals have an above-average pass defense. Miami desperately needs more production from their WRs, specifically Mike Wallace. Tannehill has provided Wallace with sufficient targets (72, 14th-most in NFL), but the pair have only connected for a single TD. Another problem is a lack of big plays. Miami ranks 23rd with just 23 pass plays of 20-plus yards. In order for Tannehill to become more than just a backup in any given week, all these numbers need to improve. With a few extra days to rest and prepare, Tannehill should be better prepared for a rebound game in Week 10.
There's no such thing as job security for Ponder, but for the immediate short-term, he appears to have his starting job wrapped up. Ponder was his usual effecient self last week against Dallas, completing 67.6-percent of his passes for 236 yards, one TD and one INT. He also added 29 rushing yards and a score and in fact, he has four rushing TDs over his last three games. Ponder has an underappreciated ability to extend plays; however, you won't confuse him for Cam Newton or Robert Griffin III. Speaking of the Redskins, Minnesota hosts Washington in Week 10. The Skins are allowing the second-most fantasy points to QBs and in their previous two games, they've given up 695 passing yards and six TDs to opposing QBs. Ponder should be used if you're in a pinch and need a bye-week fill-in.
Ellington exploded in his last game back in Week 8, rushing for 154 yards and a score. He saw a bigger workload due to an injury to Rashard Mendenhall. Coming off their Week 9 bye, Mendenhall is questionable to play against the Houston Texans. Even if the former Pittsburgh Steelers back returns, Ellington has clearly carved out a role in this offense and provides explosion the Cards have lacked out of their backfield for years. This also isn't the same Houston run defense we've grown accustomed to seeing in seasons past. The Texans are average against opposing RBs annd have allowed a RB to hit double-digit fantasy points in all but one game in PPR formats. The only thing that could slow Ellington is if Arizona opts to limit his workload.
Jennings was called back into action last week against the Eagles and made the most of his limited opportunity. He carried the ball 15 times, rushing for 102 yards and a TD. He also earned seven receptions for 74 yards. Oakland's Week 10 opponent, the New York Giants, aren't as porous as Philadelphia though. With the potential of Darren McFadden missing significant time due to his recurring hamstring injury, Jennings has value this week and beyond. Jennings can obviously contribute on all three downs and given how volatile the RB position has been, the 28-year-old should at least be added for use in the future if you can't squeeze him into your starting lineup. Just be sure McFadden doesn't make a miracle comeback before investing in Jennings.
What year is it?! Well, Cotchery is playing like he's back on the Jets in the mid-90s. He came alive last weekend, catching seven passes for 96 yards and three scores. Don't expect that to continue; however, his playing time has been on a huge upswing. From Weeks 7 to 9, his snap count increased steadily from 28, to 43 and then 59. Something seemed to finally click for Ben Roethlisberger, who tossed four TDs in Week 9. He only had eight TDs in his previous seven games. If it was a fluke, Cotchery's fantasy value will return to irrelevancy, and if you'd rather wait-and-see, the increased snaps will be more predictive of future success. Fantasy owners will likely be hesitant to add Cotchery, so he should be yours for the taking.