Nov 3, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Mike James (25) carries ball during the 2nd half against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Tampa Bay 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Several unexpected heroes appeared in NFL fantasy leagues for week nine. Can owners expect the same to happen again in week 10?
Mike James against the Miami Dolphins
If any performance came out of left field in week nine, it was backup running back Mike James stampeding the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle for 158 yards. That offers plenty of hope for him in week 10 against the Miami Dolphins. TampaBay has clearly found their new identity with rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. They want to feed the ground game and let him dictate through play actions in manageable yardage situations. For that they will continue to feed James which is good news for NFL fantasy owners.
Seneca Wallace against Philadelphia Eagles
Most backups tend to struggle when they are called up during a game and that is what happened with Seneca Wallace during Monday Night. However, with week now to prepare and a great head coach in Mike McCarthy, the Green Bay Packers are confident the veteran can keep the ship afloat until Aaron Rodgers returns from his fractured collar bone. Luckily he has a favorable matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles defense on tap next. Their pass rush and coverage are among the worst in the league. If Wallace gets some quality production from his running game, he should be able to hit some big plays.
Kenny Stills against Dallas Cowboys
Drew Brees is coming off one of his worst games of the season in New York. So as he returns home it really doesn’t matter which team he faces. They could be in for a long day. His teammates certainly hope to benefit from that expectation. Considering it’s the Dallas Cowboys and their 31st ranked pass defense coming to town, the game is prime real estate for finding sleeper potential. In this case owners should keep a close eye on rookie receiver Kenny Still. With Jimmy Graham likely to draw the attention from the Cowboys secondary, the young burner should have a terrific chance to draw one-on-one coverage with no help from safeties over the top. That is a recipe for big plays.
Josh McCown against Detroit Lions
Scoring 51 points in six quarters of action is all a team could ever hope for from a backup quarterback. That is what Josh McCown has done for the Chicago Bears. It still isn’t clear whether Jay Cutler plans to return early from his groin injury, which means McCown stands a good chance of starting his second-straight game. He would face a Detroit Lions defense that has struggled most of the season, allowing 381 yards and 24 points per game. They come to Soldier Field facing a coach in Marc Trestman who has proven adept at finding weaknesses to exploit. What could he have in store for the Lions given it’s their second meeting? McCown would be the key either way.
St. Louis Rams defense against Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck has played some excellent football over the past month even as key pieces around him on offense continue to go down. His comeback against Houston was only the latest example. However, he could be running into a bad matchup in the St. Louis Rams. Despite their ongoing problems stopping the run, their defense is tied for third in the league with 29 quarterback sacks. Luck has done a good job of avoiding pressure this season but given the speed of the Rams front four and the absence of Reggie Wayne as an outlet receiver he might find the sledding very difficult.