Rank's 11 Week 10 Sleepers: Mullens Mania


I'm a little surprised there hasn't been more love for Nick Mullens this week. His debut last Thursday was the stuff that dreams are made of. I mean, if it was me, I might have just retired after that game. Walked away. Left on a high note. Showmanship.

There was one time I played in a filled-in on a flag football team for my chums down here in Costa Mesa, CA. And I played like a maniac. Caught and executed a near-perfect hook-and-ladder on the first series. Caught a few touchdowns. I tried to teach our guy who to block in the second half before I just said, "screw it" and did it myself. It was about as well as you could play (for a bunch of 20-something idiots still trying to pretend they are athletes). When I was asked to play the following week, I told them I was busy. I walked away like Jim Brown retiring to go shoot movies. And the thing is, my friends ended up going to the championship game and losing. To which they said, "if Rank was here, we would have won" which is all that I ever wanted. Because lord knows if that if I had gone back out there to play, I would have been exposed as the fraud that I am, and then I wouldn't have been remembered as the Costa Mesa rec league's Gus Tinsley.

With all of that being said, I am strongly considering going with Mullens this week. He looked really great against the Raiders. And yes, it's the Raiders. And yes, there were times where he made some throws where you were like, "yeah, I might not have done that." But, let's realize that Kyle Shanahan has had success with every quarterback he's been forced to used in San Francisco. C.J. Beathard was a more-than-serviceable option for a number of weeks. I'd be scared of this matchup if it was on the road because the bright lights of New York City can be daunting. But, I'm willing to give the kid a chance this week.

Here are some other sleeper options for you:

Alex Smith, QB, Washington Redskins

You know he's my guy when bye weeks are tough. He's like a peanut butter sandwich. It's not the thing you're hungry for, but you're never going to be truly disappointed with it, either. Always a solid, but unspectacular call. Like when my daughter won't eat anything, I know she's going to eventually eat the PB sandwich. That's what we're looking for with Smith. Now, he's been not-so-great in recent weeks. Smith has yet to score more than 20 fantasy points in a single-game this year, but the matchup against the Buccaneers is too appealing.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers are almost going to guarantee you a Top 10 finish at the quarterback position. We can pretty much count of that. Now, obviously, Todd Monken's offense is a huge part of that. But, the defense ... is not great! Which means Fitzmagic is going to have to work from behind and throw the ball all over the yard. Which has been great. I have just one concern, though. Do we really think Washington is going to score enough points to make this a shootout? Some believe these two teams could combine for at least 51 points, which would be solid. I'm just worried that it might not reach that total. Still, Fitz is an auto-play QB1 at this point while Alex Smith has matchup-based upside.

Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons

He was lost a little bit in Week 9 as Tevin Coleman had a huge game. He did play in 44 percent of the snaps in Week 6-9 and garnered at least 11 touches in those contests, though. He's a touchdown machine with four touchdowns since Week 4. Though, maybe calling him a touchdown machine is a bit too much. I do love the matchup against the Browns who have struggled against the run.

Elijah McGuire, RB, New York Jets

McGuire played on 52 percent of the snaps last week at Miami and end up with 10 touches. The Jets offense has struggled in recent weeks, so this is kind of a tough call. Especially for those who believe in #NeverJets for fantasy. I have McGuire more as a stash to see how things play out, especially considering how scarce resources can be at the running back position.

Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks

You need to make sure Davis is on your squad, especially if you're rolling with Chris Carson. Or even better, to make life miserable for guys who have Carson. But this is important because the Seahawks have become a run-based offense with an average of 32 rushing attempts per game. That's the most in the NFL. Wow, I'm old enough to remember when the Seahawks offensive line was one of the worst in the league. Davis has sleeper appeal if Carson's hip issue keeps flaring up.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers

More people should be on board with MVS. He's had at least 100 receiving yards in two of his last three games and at least 10 fantasy points in every game in this stretch. Plus he's run 39 routes per game, which is second on the team. Green Bay is fifth in the NFL in pass attempts per game (42).

A bunch of Bengals pass-catchers

First, you have John Ross. The guy we've always wanted to be "the guy" for the Bengals, much in the same way we rooted for Nick and Jess in "New Girl" or whatnot. Then, there's the ultra-sneaky Josh Malone. As is Alex Erickson. I also need to add in C.J. Uzomah. I know, I know. We've advocated for him pretty much the entire year since Tyler Eifert (leg) went down. But, there is a litany of targets available for the Bengals. If you want to jump into the mix with me, I would be happy to do it as well.

Maurice Harris, WR, Washington Redskins

Keep a careful eye on the injury situation for the Redskins. Mostly for Jamison Crowder (ankle) and Chris Thompson (ribs). Washington's offensive line has been decimated (again), but we're here for the matchup against the Bucs. Harris had a nice little breakout last week and could be rewarded with more targets at Tampa Bay.

Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets

His touchdown streak is over and it ended against the Dolphins who had surrendered a bunch of touchdowns in recent weeks. Now, Herndon has a matchup against the Bills. Buffalo did a nice job on Trey Burton of the Bears last week (2/28/1), though he was able to wiggle free for a touchdown. But again, this is more of a volume play because he seems to have established a nice bit of chemistry with quarterback Sam Darnold.

Nick Vannett, TE, Seattle Seahawks

Still held a commanding lead over Ed Dickson in snaps (48 to 25). He was targeted a team-high eight times and cashed in for six receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown. All of that sounds great, but understand the Seahawks are a run-based team now so there is a combustible mix where Vannett could be held without a score and you end up with next to nothing. But come to think of it, I've had a bunch of Kyle Rudolph shares this season so it's basically the same.