DeAndre Carter beat his reception prop last week and Isaiah Likely scored a touchdown, albeit just on one catch. Otherwise, the fantasy sleeper page was mostly asleep last week, especially with the Colts, where Deon Jackson received opportunity but did nothing with it.
There will be weeks like this. Let’s attack Week 10.
Sleeper, of course, is a nebulous term. Use whatever definition works for you. Likewise, this column is whatever you want it to be. Perhaps it helps you make a start/sit call this week or a DFS decision. Maybe you apply the information to an over/under prop. Perhaps you’ll add a player to your fantasy bench as depth, but won't deploy him this week.
Case Keenum vs. Minnesota
This is as conditional as it gets, as we don’t yet know the status of Josh Allen and his elbow. But considering how the point spread has already dropped a handful of points, that’s a decent sign that Allen might not be available. So Keenum might get the pilot’s chair for the Minnesota matchup.
Don’t get blinded by Minnesota’s 7-1 record, there are cracks in the infrastructure. The Vikings defense merely ranks 19th in DVOA, and this team has allowed 400 or more yards of offense to three opponents. Keenum isn’t meant to be a long-term starter, but he’s a high-end backup who will enjoy throwing to Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Heck, Keenum was QB14 for the Vikings just five years back. He’s a professional quarterback.
You might be the Lamar Jackson or Joe Burrow manager who’s looking for a Week 10 miracle. Or perhaps you’re the Josh Allen manager and you don’t have a backup at all. Keenum is capable of giving us 265 yards and a couple of touchdowns, and those numbers play in fantasy football 2022. The quarterback position is no longer the easiest thing to fill.
Cole Kmet vs. Detroit
I wasn’t sure Kmet was a fair qualifier for this column until I noted his industry rank was a mere TE17. We need to appreciate that a player once left for fantasy dead is now producing.
Kmet has three touchdowns in two weeks, which is enough to get fantasy mangers to start hugging strangers. It’s never been a problem with snap share, because Kmet rarely comes off the field. But last week the Bears finally prioritized Kmet as a receiver, giving him a season-high six targets. And those touchdowns can often be simple productions, courtesy of play design and defenses that are selling out to stop Justin Fields’ dynamic rushing ability.
And then there’s the Lions, who are the third-most charitable when it comes to handing out tight end points. You love when the schedule plays along. Kmet belongs in everyone’s top 10 this week, a solid answer at fantasy’s most challenging position.
Pat Freiermuth vs. New Orleans
One tight end I would not start Kmet over is Freiermuth, who is coming off his own little binge. Freiermuth collected 12 catches for 132 yards in his two games before the bye, after missing Week 6 due to an ankle injury.
The Steelers aren’t hiding it, the Chase Claypool trade frees up a lot of routes that Freiermuth can excel at. And while the Saints are a strong team when it comes to marking the tight end, they’re not flawless — Isaiah Likely did get them for a touchdown Monday. I won’t be surprised if Freiermuth leads the Steelers in targets or receptions in Week 10.
Rachaad White vs. Seattle
I understand if you want zero part of this Buccaneers offense, and White’s per-touch metrics are hard to look at. But Leonard Fournette has also been running in mud of late, and White is coming off a season-high 11 touches in the Week 9 win over the Rams. At some point, the Bucs could start to rely more on their first-year back. Maybe White doesn’t have front-line privileges in Tampa right now, but he’s starting to enter the Tom Brady Circle of Trust.
We already have too many tight ends in this week’s write-up, but Cade Otton deserves a quick mention. A 6-58-1 line is nothing to sneeze at, and he had the game-winning score against the Rams. Even if Cameron Brate comes back for the Germany game, Otton has earned the right to be the team’s featured tight end.