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Priority fantasy pickups with quiet NFL trade deadline and a brutal bye week

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Each week, we highlight six recommended fantasy pickups plus a team defense available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. The byes are getting bad, as four teams sit this week, then another six are resting in Week 10. The NFL trade deadline also turned into a dud after a flurry of rumors. If you have roster needs, we offer a full menu of options.


Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (26% rostered)

Carr has thrown multiple touchdown passes in four of his last five games, just in case you hadn't noticed, and he's coming off a three-TD binge at Houston. Tyrell Williams is back from injury and, predictably, he feasted against the Texans...

Next week, Oakland hosts a Detroit defense that's allowed a league-worst 289.7 passing yards per game. Williams seems likely to continue his touchdown streak, now at five games, and Carr is a good bet to produce a top-12 positional finish.

In a week in which Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Jared Goff and Andy Dalton (now also benched) are all on bye, Carr should find his way to someone's roster in your league. He's not a long-term hold, but he can definitely assist for a day.

FAAB bid: $7 of $100 budget

Sam Darnold, New York Jets (23%)

OK, it may seem recklessly aggressive/insane to suggest adding a quarterback who's thrown seven interceptions over his last two games. We're not trying to convince you that Darnold produces a quarterbacking clinic each week. Clearly, he's still developing as a passer.

But as we've mentioned a time or two around here, Darnold's schedule is unbelievably friendly in the weeks ahead. Have a look:

Week 9 - at Miami (3rd most fantasy points allowed to QBs)

Week 10 - vs. the Giants (9th)

Week 11 - at Washington (17th)

Week 12 - vs. Oakland (1st)

Week 13 - at Cincinnati (8th)

Week 14 - vs. Miami (3rd)

It's gonna be hard to screw up that six-game run, assuming good health. If you're desperate for quarterback help (or eying trade targets in super-flex), give Darnold a long look.

[Play in Yahoo’s NFL $250K Baller. $10 entry fee and $25K to first place]

FAAB bid: $5

Other QBs to consider: Cam Newton (we don't yet know his ETA, but there's little question that a healthy Cam is by far the best option for Carolina), Daniel Jones (coming off a 4-TD performance, facing Dallas and the Jets in his next two).

Running backs

Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers (22%)

Samuels is returning from a knee scope and is reportedly good to go according to his head coach. The Steelers will welcome him back with enthusiasm, because James Conner (shoulder) and Benny Snell (knee) were both dinged on Monday night. It’s important to note that the early news on Conner is not dire; he hasn’t been ruled out of the team’s Week 9 matchup with Indianapolis.

It should go without saying that if Conner is unable to go, Samuels is skilled enough to deliver a top-10 or 12 positional finish. He averaged 4.6 YPC last year and he’s an outstanding receiving option, having caught 39 of 44 targets over two seasons. Samuels deserves an aggressive bid if you have Conner on your roster.

FAAB bid: $17

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06:  Jaylen Samuels #38 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on October 6, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Jaylen Samuels is getting healthy as two other Pittsburgh Steelers running backs are banged up. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Mark Walton, Miami Dolphins (26%)

Walton, in case you hadn't noticed, had taken over the starting role in Miami's backfield before Kenyan Drake was dealt to Arizona. Last week, Walton out-snapped Drake 38 to 30 while also handling more touches (15 to 9). We've been pushing him as an add as his role has grown (and as Kalen Ballage's role has shrunk). Walton entered the week's Monday night matchup against Pittsburgh averaging 4.6 YPC on the season, heroic efficiency considering his team context. Walton wasn’t dynamic at Pittsburgh and lost a fumble, but out-touched Ballage 14 to 4.

Miami hosts the Jets next week, which gives Walton a matchup with a defense that's allowed the 12th most fantasy points to opposing backs. New York has been stingy on a per-carry basis (3.3 YPC allowed), but they've also allowed RBs to deliver top-10 positional finishes in each of the past three weeks.

If you play in a shallow league in which all Dolphins can be avoided, cool. But in deeper formats, Walton deserves a roster spot somewhere.

FAAB bid: $16

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks (31%)

We fully expected to update this blurb with exciting trade info on Tuesday, because Penny was reportedly being shopped by Seattle. But, like pretty much everyone else, he didn’t get moved. Had he landed in a spot that guaranteed a significant workload (like, say, Detroit), he would have been considered an immediate must-start fantasy back.

In any case, Penny is currently healthy and coming off a game in which he carried eight times for 55 yards. He's averaged 5.1 YPC this season and 5.0 for his career. It was less than a year ago that he broke off this ridiculous run against Green Bay...

Penny simply needs opportunity. He doesn't lack talent. His value won’t see a spike unless Chris Carson goes down, but Penny is still producing in a limited role.

FAAB bid: $7

Additional RBs worth adding: Alexander Mattison (he's a handcuff with benefits, coming off a 13-carry performance), Gus Edwards (another premier handcuff who probably needs to be rostered by anyone who invested in Ingram), Darrell Henderson (his team is headed into a bye, but the rookie has emerged as a solid rotational back).

Wide receivers and tight ends

Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (24%)

Beasley saw another seven targets on Sunday, which gives him 53 for the year (and 7.6 per week). He's seen as many opportunities this season as John Brown, ranking among the NFL's top 30. Beasley hasn't necessarily built a reputation as a red-zone specialist over the years, but he's managed to score touchdowns in each of his last two games. His upcoming matchups are terrific (Was, at Cle, at Mia), so it's not crazy to expect another house call very soon. He's a familiar name and thus not the spiciest fantasy add, but he deserves a spot in any deep PPR format.

FAAB bid: $5

Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans (19%)

Delanie Walker was in a walking boot on Sunday, sidelined by an injury to the ankle he fractured and dislocated last season. So that's terrible. In Walker's absence, Smith saw a team-high seven targets against Tampa Bay, catching six for 78 yards and one score. Smith has generally been a reliable fantasy asset when he sees significant playing time, and he clearly has Tannehill's trust. Smith is a priority add for anyone in need of TE help.

FAAB bid: $5

Various other WR/TE options: Chris Conley (delivered a 70-yard TD on Sunday via Minshew, plus he's seen seven targets in back-to-back games), Josh Gordon (not likely to be healthy for another week or so, but he's IR-eligible and could relocate in November), Auden Tate (he's headed into a bye and he's a member of the Bengals, so that's two strikes against him), Russell Gage (another player entering a bye, but worth noting that he picked up Sanu's targets in Atlanta), DeVante Parker (if you need a high-volume receiver in a low-yield offense, this is your guy), Demaryius Thomas (he's seen 27 targets over the last four weeks and the Jets' upcoming schedule is a layup line), Darren Fells (two TDs on Sunday and he's tied to a terrific offense), Cameron Brate (he's a longtime Winston favorite and O.J. Howard is trying to return from a hamstring injury after not getting traded).


Philadelphia Eagles, DEF (39%)

Philly has been excellent against the run (3.9 YPC allowed) and vulnerable to the pass, but the Eagles defense is about to face Mitch Trubisky, an overmatched QB who's clearly lost the trust of his coach. It's easy to imagine Chicago turning the ball over a time or two (or three) at Philadelphia.

FAAB bid: $1

Other streamable D/STs: Baltimore (brutal matchup next week against New England, but they travel to Cincy in Week 10), Cleveland (facing Brandon Allen, Joe Flacco's backup, in Denver next week).

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