Is anyone else curious as to why there are no teams with byes in Week 10? Seriously. I, like Tiki Barber, am flabbergasted by this. Twenty-eight teams had their byes prior to this week, and the final four will have their byes in Week 11. Yet there’s none this week. Is the NFL now taking bye weeks on doling out bye weeks?

Anyway, onto more pretend football related things. Whilst this lake of byes does befuddle me, it does make all of our fantasy lineups look a bit less replacement-y, so that’s definitely a good thing. So though you may not need it as much this week, let’s talk about some easy-to-be-had waiver wire fodder that can benefit you in Week 11.

Same deal as usual here: these aren’t player you necessarily wanted to start this week, but due to injury, byes or general suckery, you have to. It’s your backup plan. Here’s a rundown of some of the top widely available fill-ins by position and which guys they’ll be better than this week.

Quarterbacks

Matt Hasselbeck vs. Carolina

Yahoo: 56 percent owned, ESPN: 54 percent owned

Game Manager! Matty-Hass has been exceptionally decent this season, making him the premier waiver wire spot start. He’s averaging 20 fantasy points per game, and while he definitely won’t ever win you a week, he likely won’t lose you one either. It’s clear the Titans can’t rely on that dreadlocked man who they’re paying $30 million to average three YPC, so Hasselbeck will have to continue throwing. You need 20 points from your QB? Hasselbeck’s got it for you.

Guys he’s better than this week: Jay Cutler, Mark Sanchez

Christian Ponder vs. Green Bay

Yahoo: 15 percent owned, ESPN: 11 percent owned

We know two things about the Packers: 1) Aaron Rodgers is literally a god among quarterbacks and should be praised as such, and 2) The Packers’ defense is kind of a travesty. For as good as they are, they rank 31st in the league in pass defense, and those are numbers us fantasy players should exploit. Enter: Christian Ponder. C-Ponds totaled 220 yards and two scores in his first start against Green Bay, and improvements should continue in his third career start.

Guys he’s better than this week: Josh Freeman, Matt Cassel

John Beck vs. Miami

Yahoo: 8 percent owned, ESPN: 3 percent owned

Clearly one of the most anticipated games of the season. John Beck is returning to Miami to face the team that drafted him; can you say revenge? Honestly, I’m surprised that NBC didn’t flex this game into primetime. Anyway, Beck has actually been decent of late, if you can call 200+ yards and maybe 1 touchdown “decent.” But Miami ranks 30th in the league against opposing quarterbacks, so expect Beck to go H.A.M. all over his former team.

Guys he’s better than this week: Andy Dalton, Alex Smith

Running Backs

Roy Helu vs. Miami

Yahoo: 52 percent owned, ESPN: 33 percent owned

The Shanahanigans will not stop in Washington First, Tim Hightower was Shanahan’s guy. Then it was Ryan Torain. Now it’s Roy Helu. At this point, it wouldn’t even that surprising if former Broncos running back Reuben Droughns was called in for a tryout. But with nearly 150 total yards last week, Helu is the current star of Shanahan’s “I can get anybody on the planet to run for 1,000 yards” rushing attack, so roll with him if you got him.

Guys he’s better than this week: Marshawn Lynch, every other Washington RB

Maurice Morris vs. Chicago

Yahoo: 29 percent owned, ESPN: 10 percent owned

Mediocre Maurice “Mo Mo” Morris. Mmm-Mmm adequate. Morris has meticulously matriculated down the mat this month, mounting up 22 marches for 108 yards and one scoring mark. And with Jahvid Best still marred with a head malady, Mo Mo Morris should have miniature misfortune maiming the Chicago munitions this week. The letter M.

Guys he’s better than this week: Brandon Jacobs, BenJarvus Green-Ellis

Chris Ogbannaya vs. St. Louis

Yahoo: 25 percent owned, ESPN: 14 percent owned

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of Ogbonnaya. While his name is super fun to say, it’s definitely not super fun to read it on a box score. With 13 carries for 28 yards last week, Ogbonnaya almost became the NFL’s single-game leader in rushes for no gain. But the St. Louis defense does allow more than 23 standard fantasy points to opposing RBs per game, so if there’s ever a week OGB will be good, this is it.

Guys he’s better than this week: Delone Carter, James Starks

Wide Receivers

Antonio Brown vs. Cincinnati

Yahoo: 75 percent owned, ESPN: 43 percent owned

He’s got 21 receptions, 278 yards and one touchdown in his last three games. He’s scored 13 standard fantasy points in each of them. Yet, somehow, after three weeks of solid WR2 play, he’s owned in less than 60 percent of leagues. Which is ridiculous. If he’s unowned in your league, get him in your lineup. Like right now, even against a good Bengals defense.

Guys he’s better than this week: Brandon Marshall, Brandon Lloyd

Steve Breaston vs. Denver

Yahoo: 40 percent owned, ESPN: 41 percent owned

Stevie “Big Breasts” Breaston (that’s not his real nickname) is going to have a big game this week against the Broncos. Mark it down on your calendars. His buddy Dwayne Bowe is going to draw the best efforts of Champ Bailey, so Breaston, who had seven catches for 115 yards last week, will be left to run wild against Andre Goodman. Advantage: Stevie Breasts.

Guys he’s better than this week: Pierre Garcon, Jonathan Baldwin

Laurent Robinson vs. Buffalo

Yahoo: 37 percent owned, ESPN: 7 percent owned

Why have you forsaken us Miles Austin? After scoring 56 standard fantasy points in the first two weeks this season, Austin has been M.I.A., scoring just 16 points in the past six games as he’s been “hamstrung” by injuries (get it?). But with injury comes opportunity, and that’s where our friend Laurent Robinson comes in. He’s scored a touchdown in each of the past two weeks as a fill in, and should continue to find success opposite an inconsistent Dez Bryant.

Guys he’s better than this week: Greg Little, Deion Branch

Tight Ends

Brent Celek vs. Arizona

Yahoo: 30 percent owned, ESPN: 16 percent owned

After apparently not knowing he existed last season, Michael Vick has finally started getting Celek involved in the Eagle’s offense. B-Cels saw nothing more than a few balls per game early this season, but Vick has targeted him like eleventy-hundred times in the past two, where Celek has totaled 14 catches, 154 yards and a score. Arizona has only been decent against opposing tight ends this season, so with Celek’s role growing, it would behoove you to start him.

Guys he’s better than this week: Owen Daniels, Dustin Keller

Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Green Bay

Yahoo: 20 percent owned, ESPN: 22 percent owned

Consistency in fantasy is usually a pretty good thing; unless you’re consistently as bad as Visanthe Shaincoe. Shaincoe hasn’t caught more than six balls in a game yet this season, hasn’t topped 60 yards receiving and only has two touchdowns. Three strikes, that sucks. But, of his two scores, one of them came against the Packers, who rank 30th against opposing tight ends. Are we willing to bet on how bad the Green Bay defense is? Yes. Yes we are.

Guys he’s better than this week: Greg Olsen, Jermaine Gresham

Defense/Special Teams

Cleveland vs. St. Louis

Yahoo: 8 percent owned, ESPN: 22 percent owned

There are a lot of words one can use to describe the Rams’ offense this season: tepid, stagnant, abortion, or, my personal favorite, Josh McDaniels. The Rams have topped 20 points scored just once this season, and there’s a decent chance they won’t ever do it again. Hell, they scored just 13 against a Cardinals defense that ranks in the bottom-five in the league. Is Cleveland a good defense? No. Is the St. Louis offense really that bad? Yes.

Defenses they’re better than this week: Green Bay, Cincinnati

Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis

Yahoo: 10 percent owned, ESPN: 3 percent owned

Peyton Manning is this season’s NFL MVP. There is no question about this. The Colts were perennial 12-win team with him at the helm, but without him, they’d be ecstatic to finish with one. Streaming the Jacksonville defense against Indianapolis in years past would have been fantasy suicide. But streaming them against a 2011 Colts team led by Curtis Painter? That’s something you almost have to do.

Defenses they’re better than this week: San Francisco, New York Giants

Follow me on Twitter at @JoshVitale.

  1. herschel says:
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    @Josh: ppr league, who do you like between bjge, battle and tate? I wanna start tate vs tampa, but don’t know if I trust a guy who may not get 10 carries.

    Also, you got it right last week, who do you like more between tebow and big ben?

    Thanks.

  2. Dough Boy says:
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    I have been bitten by the Miles Austin and injury bug,

    Breaston or Robinson this week , I cannot decide. Any help please

  3. HotRod says:
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    Ogbannaya vs. STL or DeAngelo vs. TEN…PPR?

    Thanks!!

  4. Howard says:
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    Hi Josh, Am starting Breaston and Robinson over Fitz and Bryant. Does that sound right to you? Fitz has got no one to throw the ball and Bryant has been as you said inconsistent.

  5. HotRod says:
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    Howard, is that an honest question? Bryant should have a huge day w Austin out, and really, you are going to sit Fitz for either of those cumps?

  6. Plainville says:
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    I need to start 2RBs, 2WR and a Flex from these:
    Megatron
    Manningham
    Santonio Holmes
    Decker
    MJD
    Mendenhall
    Maurice Morris
    Helu

    Who would you start?

  7. Charles says:
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    I need some help! I was offered Peterson and Big Ben for Cam Newton. It may seem like a no-brainer, but Cam can be kept for $10, $25, and $30 over the next 3 years. Standard 12-teamer, no ppr, $200 auction budget. All input requested!

  8. Howard says:
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    @HotRod It IS an honest question. Breaston is going against a terrible Denver D with Champ Bailey covering Bowe, he should see more targets. Fitz will be thrown to by who? Robinson has been getting the TDs with Austin out so yes I think it’s a viable play.

  9. Chris says:
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    @Howard:

    I wouldn’t sit Bryant for Robinson. That doesn’t seem to make sense.

    I could see Breaston over Fitz though…. Fitz hasn’t done much the last few weeks, and it’s not gonna be getting this time around w/ Skelton and against PHI/Nnamdi. I’m sitting him for Julio Jones in 1 league and I can certainly see it with Breaston too.

    If I was gonna guess Fitz’ line this week, it’d be something like 3/42/0 or 4/55/0.

  10. Chris says:
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    getting easier*

  11. Howard says:
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    @Chris A compromise is in order. Will sit Fitz and play Bryant.

  12. Robert says:
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    DST Question : I have the Lions and Jaguars.

    Love the Lions DST, but they play the Bears who just gashed the Eagles.

    Jacksonville plays the laughable Colts.

    What do you think?

  13. Jeff says:
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    Need help picking 2 out of a crap bucket of RBs.
    Have Battle, Stewart, Starks, Ogbonnaya, Daniel Thomas, D.Williams.
    Also, none should be starting over Brandon Marshall or Desean Jackson in the flex right?

    Different league, which 2 receivers do I use out of these:
    Lloyd, Fitzgerald, Julio Jones?

    Thanks for the help!

  14. blueblazzer says:
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    Would you go with Jax D over the Pittsburgh D?

  15. JR says:
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    need help picking my wr3 spot.

    eric decker
    nate washington (prob)
    torrey smith
    joshua cribbs

    thanks

  16. Josh Vitale says:
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    @herschel: I don’t think any are great this week, but I would say BJGE just because he’s the best bet for consistent touches.

    @Dough Boy: Damn you, Miles. And I love Big Breasts Breaston this week. With Champ on Bowe, I think he has a big game.

    @HotRod: Hard to endorse either, but OGB because he’s got more opportunities. Won’t have Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart busting his balls all game.

    @Howard: Strangely, I do agree with Breaston over Fitz, just because John Skelton is incredibly ill-equipped to play quarterback. But I would start Dez over Laurent. Romo will look his way first.

    @Plainville: Most of that is pretty easy. You don’t ever, EVER, bench the Megatron, and I would start Holmes there too. Then definitely MJD and Mendenhall at RB, and I loke mo Mo for the flex.

    @Charles: I can’t force my brain to say anything other than Big Ben and AP. AP is still the man, and Big Ben is solid enough to be well worth that trade.

    @Robert: I still like Detroit. Cutler is playing on borrowed time. No way he doesn’t turn the ball over tonight.

    @Jeff: I would go J Stew and Thomas and just pray a little bit. And Lloyd and Julio.

    @blueblazzer: I don’t think so. Pitt hasn’t been great, but a consistent 10-15 points.

    @JR: Because I go to Maryland, Torrey Smith for the win. Seattle pass defense is atrocious, and he could make a big play.

  17. herschel says:
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    @Josh: thanks. and who do you like between tebow and rothlisberger?

  18. Josh Vitale says:
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    @herschel: I have that exact same predicament in my league, herschel. I think Tebow has a chance to score a lot more than Ben this week, but he’s not on a level where he can be trusted yet. If you need to go safe at QB, then Big Ben. If you’re willing to take a risk to get a big game, then Tebow.

  19. keithr says:
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    Pick 3 WR (.5ppr)

    s johnson
    j jones
    a brown
    l robinson

    to me it’s a toss up between robinson and brown. with brown playing the better D i’m leaning robinson. thoughts?

  20. dayoftentacle says:
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    Hi, I have a question about who to start for week 10: Jackie Battle or Reggie Bush?

    I know you guys have Battle ranked higher than Bush but it’s hard for me to start Battle coming off a bad game from last week. Also, Bush has been doing really well so…who do you think I should start? Thanks!

  21. Josh Vitale says:
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    @keithr: Stevie, Julio and Brown, IMO. Laurent has been OK, but not as good as Brown.

  22. Josh Vitale says:
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    @dayoftentacle: I like Reggie this week. Battle hasn’t done much recently, and the Broncos defense has been surprisingly good against opposing running backs.

  23. Cowboys says:
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    Stevie Johnson or Steve Breaston and Josh Freeman or Christian Ponder

  24. Josh Vitale says:
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    @Cowboys: Johnson and C-Ponds.

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