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Fantasy football 2023 Week 10 sleepers: Navigating the rocky QB stream

I'm starting to feel like a broken record, but injuries are going to be the death of fantasy managers. The quarterback position is going to feel particularly thin this week. Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts and Matthew Stafford all have the week off. That's before we get to guys like Kirk Cousins and Daniel Jones, who recently went down with season-ending injuries.

And that's to say nothing of the other positions across fantasy football. Plenty of notable names have been felled by the injury bug recently. Not to mention the big-name skill position guys who get the week off by quirk of schedule.

Week 10 will see plenty of fantasy managers scrambling to fill their lineups. A lot of them won't look very pretty. That's why this column is here. Helping you make sense of the nonsensical. Or at the very least, giving you plausible excuses for why you started a guy who only scored you three points. You're welcome in advance.


Geno Smith
Seattle Seahawks SEA · QB
Washington Commanders
2023 · 4-5-0

I’m not ready to say 2022 was a fleetingly magical season for Geno Smith. But by now, we should realize that his encore won’t be as captivating. He’s topped 15 fantasy points just once all season. He hasn’t even reached 15 points since Week 3. Meanwhile, he’s registered four touchdowns and eight turnovers since coming off the team’s Week 5 bye. 

Up next is a potential get-right game against the Washington Commanders. The Commanders have allowed a top 10 quarterback in six straight games. That streak came to an end last week with Mac Jones tallying just 11 fantasy points. But I’m not convinced that Washington’s defense has suddenly turned a corner. Smith’s overall fantasy totals look similar to those of Jones. The difference is that Smith has better pass-catching weapons. That should inspire more confidence. Smith has QB2 vibes in Week 10.

Will Levis
Tennessee Titans TEN · QB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2023 · 3-5-0

Week 9 featured plenty of fawning over rookie quarterbacks. C.J. Stroud was undoubtedly the headliner with his monster performance against the Buccaneers. But let’s not forget Will Levis on Thursday night. Levis’ praise didn’t come from the numbers but from the eye test. Against a defense that pressured him at every turn, the Titans quarterback stood tall and made several solid throws. 

Where people might consider starting Stroud weekly, Levis is a streaming option in most leagues. Here’s your chance! Tennessee takes on the same Bucs defense that just allowed 470 passing yards and five touchdowns to Stroud. It’s been a rough stretch for Tampa. Three of the last four QBs the Bucs have faced have gone for more than 300 yards with multiple touchdowns. It’s not a hot take to suggest that Levis won’t have a record-setting day, but he should be worthy of a start in two-QB formats.

Taylor Heinicke
Atlanta Falcons ATL · QB
Arizona Cardinals
2023 · 1-8-0

Yep, it's a quarterback-heavy week here in the sleepers column. That's what happens when so many guys are missing at the position. Chances are, you or someone you know will be forced to start a player they never imagined would grace their roster at the start of the year. Sometimes, you've just gotta yell “YOLO!" and take a chance in your lineup. That would put you in similar company with Taylor Heinicke

The journeyman gets another start for Atlanta this week. Fantasy managers love his gunslinging style and what it can do for the skill position players in the lineup. This week, we kind of love what he might mean for your lineup. We've praised the Cardinals for being scrappy, but let's not confuse that with being good. Arizona is very much in the middle of the pack with the NFL's 17th-ranked pass defense, and it's allowing 7.8 air yards per attempt. With Kyler Murray likely back in the lineup, Arizona could put some points on the board. That should force Heinicke to try and match throws. He has QB2 potential this week. 

Bryce Young
Carolina Panthers CAR · QB
Chicago Bears
2023 · 2-7-0

Since we’re touting rookie quarterbacks, let’s throw some love toward the No. 1 overall pick. It’s been a rough year for Bryce Young, though not all of his struggles are his fault. Besides Adam Thielen, the wide receiver corps hasn’t offered much support. The run game has been non-existent. Most importantly, the offensive line has been a mess. The Panthers have given up 29 sacks this season -- tied for the fifth-most in the league.  

That deficiency could be mitigated this week against the Bears. No team pressures the quarterback at a lower rate than Chicago. No team has logged fewer sacks this year than Chicago. That’s a large part of the reason the Bears’ pass defense ranks 28th in the league. There’s still the issue of Carolina’s pass catchers getting open and earning targets. But it should be easier for Young to find open receivers when he’s not constantly under duress. With a slew of quarterbacks either injured or on a bye, Young should be started in two-quarterback formats this week. 

Running backs

Aaron Jones
Green Bay Packers GB · RB
Pittsburgh Steelers
2023 · 5-3-0

It only took nine weeks, but the Packers have finally unleashed Aaron Jones. It's been a rough start to the season for the veteran back. He's been dealing with nagging injuries. He's been dealing with AJ Dillon snaps. And he's been dealing with a Packers offense that has simply been bad for much of the season. Yet some of our worries were assuaged when Jones earned 20 carries against the Rams last week. 

This week, he’s out to prove Week 9 wasn't a fluke. The Steelers' defense should help. It ranks 29th versus the run and are allowing the ninth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. Pittsburgh is also surrendering more than eight yards per catch to RBs. With Jones averaging four targets per game, he could also make hay through the air. It's taken more than two months, but Jones is back to having high-end RB2 potential. 

James Cook
Buffalo Bills BUF · RB
Denver Broncos
2023 · 3-5-0

The Bills are struggling to find a consistent run game. James Cook has been efficient with his rushing opportunities, yet Buffalo continues to give touches to Latavius Murray, while also signing veteran free agent Leonard Fournette. Make it make sense. This might be me trying to speak something into existence, but it seems that Buffalo has the answer to its issues already standing in the backfield. 

The Broncos’ defense hasn’t been the pushover it was earlier in the season. But it also hasn’t been great. Since shutting down the Raiders in Week 1, Denver is giving up 5.4 yards per carry. That number is inflated by what the Dolphins did in Week 3, yet even without that, things look bleak for the Denver run defense. Even if he’s not getting the touches fantasy managers would like, Cook has still logged 12 or more carries in seven of nine games this year. Double-digit carries (with a few targets thrown in) should be enough for Cook to return solid RB2 value in Week 10.

D'Onta Foreman
Chicago Bears CHI · RB
Carolina Panthers
2023 · 1-7-0

D'Onta Foreman has been very productive for the Bears' offense since taking over for the injured Khalil Herbert, who has been cleared to practice but isn't expected to play in Week 10. But it’s hard to imagine Chicago abandoning Foreman after his performance over the last month. He was good enough to limit Roschon Johnson to two touches in Week 9. Foreman should see work against the Panthers -- especially with Herbert just getting back into action. 

If this is Foreman’s last hurrah as the lead Bears back, he couldn’t ask for a better matchup. The Panthers have routinely been run over by opposing offenses. Carolina ranks in the bottom five in the NFL in run defense. It has given up more than 100 rushing yards in every game but one. It has allowed multiple rushing scores in six of eight games. Even if Foreman is splitting opportunities, he should see enough volume in a good matchup to warrant flex consideration in deeper leagues. 

Tyler Allgeier
Atlanta Falcons ATL · RB
Arizona Cardinals
2023 · 1-8-0

Marlo Stanfield once said, "You want it to be one way, but it’s the other way." A perfect evaluation of the Atlanta Falcons' running back usage. We want it to be a heavy dose of Bijan Robinson every week. But we're through nine weeks of the NFL season and Tyler Allgeier isn't going away. (Even if he’s not doing much with his opportunities.)

This week, however, opportunity is likely all he’ll need in order to have some level of fantasy success. Here’s the thing about the Cardinals' run defense ... it’s bad. It has allowed at least 113 rushing yards in seven of nine games. It has allowed multiple rushing touchdowns in three games. If Arthur Smith insists on giving Allgeier touches, then we should adjust accordingly. Is this me calling Allgeier a deeper-league flex? Yes. Is this also an elaborate ruse to reverse psychology more touches for Bijan Robinson? Also, yes. 

Rhamondre Stevenson
New England Patriots NE · RB
Indianapolis Colts
2023 · 4-5-0

The story of Rhamondre Stevenson in 2023 has been “one step forward, one step back.” In Week 9, Stevenson took another step forward with a big game against the Washington Commanders. Here’s to hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself and instead we take another step forward in Week 10. 

To help in that effort, enter a matchup against the Colts. Indy’s run defense leaves much to be desired. The Colts are allowing 125 rush yards per game and a league-high 15 rushing touchdowns. Six times this season, Indianapolis has allowed multiple rushing touchdowns in a contest. Try as they might, the Patriots can’t muster a consistent passing game. If this game doesn’t get too one-sided, there should be plenty of touches available for Stevenson. He’s a high-end RB2 this week. 

Tight ends

Irv Smith
Cincinnati Bengals CIN · TE
Houston Texans
2023 · 4-4-0

It took a couple of years, but I finally got to use this hashtag in earnest. 

Irv Smith's potential never fully hit in Minnesota. Going to Cincinnati seemed good on the surface, but with so many quality targets in the Bengals offense, it was always going to be hard for him to make a big contribution. That's largely been the case this season. When you have Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon, targets will be hard to come by.

But Smith found his way into a few targets last week -- including one for a touchdown. That's encouraging on its own. What's even more encouraging is a matchup against a Houston defense that has allowed five top-10 weekly tight end finishes. The most recent one was a two-touchdown performance by Tampa Bay's Cade Otton. If you're streaming Smith, you'll certainly take a pair of touchdowns. But even just one would be good enough. Consider him a TE2 in most formats this week.

Hunter Henry
New England Patriots NE · TE
Indianapolis Colts
2023 · 4-5-0

Last week on NFL Fantasy Live, I called Hunter Henry a sleeper against the Commanders. That worked out well, with Henry posting four catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. The veteran tight end had seen a decline in production about the same time Kendrick Bourne saw a boost in his numbers. With Bourne out, the numbers didn’t totally swing back toward Henry, but he did have his best game since Week 2. 

Let’s double down with Double H in Week 10 against the Colts. Indy has really only allowed one massive tight end performance. That was Taysom Hill going for almost 22.5 points in Week 8. But it has given up a steady stream of decent fantasy points to tight ends this season. If Hunter can maintain a target share like the first few weeks of 2023 (as well as in Week 9), he can put up high-end TE2 numbers.


Pittsburgh Steelers
2023 · 5-3-0
Green Bay Packers
2023 · 3-5-0

Starting a fantasy defense is usually more about the offense on the other side. The Steelers aren’t a bad stop unit. The Packers offense, on the other hand, has been straight ungood. Green Bay scored 20 points in a win over the Rams last week. It was just the second time the Packers reached that mark since Week 3. Maybe they’re getting better. Or maybe they faced a Rams offense that couldn’t move the ball with Brett Rypien at quarterback. 

I’m banking on the latter. Jordan Love continues to underwhelm. He’s thrown for less than 230 yards in four straight games and has more interceptions than passing touchdowns since Week 2. If Pittsburgh’s pass rush can make Love uncomfortable, it will have a good chance to force multiple turnovers. Start the Steelers in all formats. 

Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for and a man who should consider getting to bed earlier. Send him your sleep conundrums or fantasy football questions on Twitter @MarcasG or TikTok at marcasgrant.

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