As we get ready to turn all of our attention to Week 10, there are those whose fantasy aspirations for the rest of the season are focused on a championship, while others are simply hoping to avoid frustration the rest of the way. It happens. The person in your league who drafted Patrick Mahomes might soon be wearing the league championship belt. The person who used a premium pick on Le'Veon Bell might not be so fortunate. If you play fantasy long enough, you wind up on both sides of the ledger.
But, at the risk of sounding moribund, let's focus in on those who need a ladder to see the top of the standings in their respective leagues and consider this to be a call to action. Don't mail it in. Sure, you could be staring at 2-7 with no shot of reaching the fantasy playoffs and nothing left to play for but pride. But that should be enough!
I remind people around this time every year that we spend all offseason waiting and clamoring for football to be back. We spend months tinkering with pre-draft rankings and examining every NFL move through a lens that might carry some fantasy relevance. The 17 weeks of the regular season are a blitz but an entirely enjoyable, awesome, insanely fun time. You should enjoy them and play to win each week, even if the odds are stacked against you. Do it for the good of your league as a whole, do it for the good karma it will bring you in future years, and, oh yeah, do it for the fun of it.
Keep setting lineups, continue to explore trades, and, of course, actively monitor the waiver wire and make claims.
To help you with the last part, the Week 10 waiver wire column is here.
Reminder: Players must be available in more than 50 percent of leagues on ESPN.com to be eligible for this column. Teams on a bye this week: Broncos, Ravens, Texans, Vikings
Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks (18.5 percent rostered): Though Chris Carson started in Week 9, he left the game at the half due to a hip issue that bothered him throughout the week. Davis handled the heavy lifting after that, picking up seven catches to go along with his 15 carries for 62 yards. His usage was encouraging in almost every way (attempts, snaps, passing game involvement, etc.). He's a must-add in the event that Carson is forced to miss time.
Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Cleveland Browns (49.5 percent): Johnson's usage has been puzzling throughout the season, and, either by coincidence or design of new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, he had a breakout game in Week 9. The excellent pass-catcher snagged nine receptions for 78 yards and two touchdowns. The hope is that Johnson's involvement is a sign of things to come, with a savory matchup against the Falcons (who have a gaping defensive hole against running backs in the passing game) in Week 10.
Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons (31.8 percent): The Falcons were phenomenal on the ground in Week 9, stomping a previously dominant Redskins run defense. Smith found the end zone and had 10 carries for 60 yards. Until Devonta Freeman returns (which is no certainty), he remains a weekly flex consideration and a smart add in leagues of all sizes.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers (20.7 percent): With Geronimo Allison nursing a groin injury and potentially headed towards surgery, the Packers will have to tap into their receiving depth once again. "MVS" has shown so well in fill-in duties this year, surpassing 100 yards in Week 9 on the strength of excellent speed and body control to find chunk plays. While not a weekly starter in 10-team leagues, he's a capable flex in larger leagues. He's a talented dude.
Adam Humphries, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2.7 percent): It feels as though almost every offensive player on Tampa Bay has made this column at some point this year, with Humphries as the latest entrant to the party. He scored two touchdowns in Week 9 -- which was great -- but the real value here is his recent role. He has totaled 38 targets over his past five games, hauling in 28 of those passes. He's a consideration in a 12-team (or larger) league, with value in the flex position.
Willie Snead IV, WR, Baltimore Ravens (22.4 percent): If you play in PPR leagues, a nice floor for your receivers is double-digit points (certainly more for studs, but you get the point). Snead has delivered 10-plus points in 7 of 9 games played this season, including in Week 9, when he reeled in seven more catches. He's on pace for over 120 targets this season in an offense that remains exceptionally high-volume, passing-wise. Snead is a weekly flex play in 12-team (or larger) leagues when the Ravens return to action in Week 11.
Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts (41.0 percent): The Colts were on a bye this past week, which likely kept Doyle's roster percentage at a reasonable level. Don't wait any longer, however, as he returns after a seven-catch outing in Week 8. At a position with virtually no depth, Doyle is a potential top-12 option each week.
Elijah McGuire, RB, New York Jets (9.0 percent): The Jets' offense stumbled in Week 9, but it was at least good to see McGuire on the field. While Isaiah Crowell is the unquestioned starter right now, McGuire is a reasonable add in 12-team (or larger) leagues in the event that he takes over the job (or at least a larger workshare) at some point. He had 10 total touches in Week 9, including three catches.
Danny Amendola, WR, Miami Dolphins (47.6 percent): You're going to be hard-pressed to find strong starters on the waiver wire at this time of the year, but if you're just looking for a wideout who can fill your flex spot? Yep, those are more common. Which brings us to Amendola, who has 31 targets over his past four games and is the most consistent pass-catcher in the Miami passing offense. He merits a roster spot in any size league, with flex value in those of 12 teams or larger.
Tre'Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints (17.0 percent): We got another taste of Smith's ability in Week 9, as he caught a touchdown on one of his two grabs against the Rams. While he hasn't yet vaulted into weekly-starter status, he might be one of my favorite upside adds available. The Saints' offense has incredible potency, and Smith has remained busy, playing the second-most snaps among all New Orleans wideouts once again in Week 9. He's an add in a 12-team (or larger) leagues, in my view.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (31.4 percent): Williams is a low-volume, high-upside player who now has four touchdowns over his past three games. Ideally, he's not a weekly starter for you, as he has just one game with four-plus catches this season. However, if you need a bye-week WR/flex replacement and want to roll the dice, his big play upside (he averages 20-plus yards per catch) makes him an option in 12-team (or larger) leagues.
Benjamin Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints (48.1 percent): The TE position can be a difficult one at which to find players, though Watson has had some effective moments this season, catching four-plus passes in half of his games. He also has a touchdown in two of three games (which admittedly sandwiched a game with zero catches), working as a useful part of an awesome offense.
Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets (10.6 percent): After three straight games with a touchdown, Herndon did not find the end zone in Week 9. However, he did tie a career high with four catches. There's little in the way of reliable passing options for the Jets right now, so he figures to stay busy going forward as a possible top-15 TE option.
Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions (16.0 percent): My sense is that some will interpret Riddick's seven-catch effort in Week 9 as a direct result of Golden Tate being traded, opening up more opportunities in the passing game. I viewed it more of a byproduct of the game flow, with Detroit trailing for much of this contest and generating very little on the ground. All that said, he's an excellent pass-catcher who carries PPR value.
DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers (46.9 percent): There's plenty of ability and eventual upside in Moore, but the volume and consistency aren't yet there. He has seen either one or zero catches in four of his eight games this season, with Carolina relying on a widely distributed passing game. For now, he's an add to stash on your bench.
Maurice Harris, WR, Washington Redskins (0.1 percent): A run of bad luck has decimated the Redskins on the injury front, which includes Paul Richardson being out for the year because of a shoulder issue. Harris had easily the best game of his career in Week 9, with 10 catches for 124 yards. The ideal matchup in Week 10 against Tampa Bay opens the door to Washington throwing it a ton again, with Harris among the top options to benefit.
Cordarrelle Patterson, RB/WR, New England Patriots (9.8 percent): In the absence of Sony Michel, it has been the versatile Patterson who has seen the bulk of work alongside James White, as Patterson has 21 carries over the past two weeks. While Adam Schefter reports that Michel may return as soon as this Sunday, it's at least worth snagging Patterson for the potential of increased usage for what is a fantasy-useful role. He has added RB eligibility in ESPN leagues, as well, which can give fantasy managers additional lineup options.