Man, it doesn’t get any easier does it? Monday brought us a new wave of injuries like Big Ben and Dion Lewis while Tuesday crushed a lot of fantasy football team’s dreams when Andrew Luck was presumed to miss the duration of the fantasy football season.
Add into the fray that Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Stevie Johnson, Frank Gore and T.Y. Hilton are on a bye, and you have your hands full in a pivotal week of fantasy football. Don’t worry yourselves about a thing. We’ve done the research for you and have nice pieces for your teams to start, and tricky pieces to avoid.
As always, let’s find out where our experts went right and wrong in Week 9.
I thought Big Ben was a good start and he was, piling up 334 yards and two TDs before succumbing to another injury. I said to start Chris Ivory, who looked absolutely terrible in the rushing game, but he snuck in two one-yard TDs to save me and still put up a respectable 19-point day in PPR and 17-point day in standard scoring leagues. Stevie Johnson was a bit of a disappointment, but as I told you, he would become valuable as Rivers No 1 WR threat in PPR leagues, in which he dropped 13 points.
T.J. Yeldon was an advised sit, and he couldn’t even match Ivory’s output, so it was clearly the right move. I also told you to be patient with Vernon Davis (the fourth highest waiver wire pickup last week) and to sit the Panthers defense against the high-octane Packers offense, both good calls.
I did err by saying to sit Andrew Luck and Blake Bortles (although I projected the two TDs and three turnovers correctly, I did not project the 381 yards passing). I also said to sit Brandin Cooks who looks like he may be back in top form. The Raiders finally played defense against a TE, so my Heath Miller start wasn’t so hot either (even though he outscored Gary Barn-kowski).
Teddy Ballgame was right in telling you to sit Eddie Lacy. Apparently, the Packers brass were reading, because they have done it as well! He also told you to start Brandon LaFell — one of Wayniac Nation’s five players to save your fantasy season — and he had a solid day posting five for 102.
So who’s on the menu for Week 10?
(Note to the reader: These picks are made by a collection of experts (I have put the name of each expert ahead of their respective picks). I don’t necessarily agree with all of theirs, and they certainly don’t agree with all of mine. It is the same order every week: Dunton, Teddy Ballgame, JD, Saucy T, The Wifeyiac, and myself (The Wayniac) closing it out. Keep in mind as you read, that these are not always consensus picks, and should you find as the season goes on that you feel more comfortable with one of our experts starts, by all means, make he or she your go-to expert.)
Starts of the Week: There are some tough QB matchups this week so this may be an important position as we head to the playoff push in most fantasy leagues. One matchup that really intrigues me is QB Blake Bortles against the Ravens. Bortles is playing a banged up, shell of themselves Ravens defense in a game that screams shoot out. 300 yards and 2-3 TD’s is not out of the question.
At RB I like Lamar Miller. He has at least one TD in his last four games and is averaging 21.25 fantasy points during that same time period. This week he is up against an Eagles defense that should have a MASH unit on the sidelines. Miller will get multiple touches via the run or pass coming out of the backfield.
Sits of the Week: Earlier this year I picked QB Jay Cutler as the Comeback Player of the Year. I am pleasantly surprised by his performance up to week 10. This week he scares me, and so does WR Alshon Jeffery. That Rams defense is something to be reckoned with and this week if you can sit Cutler and Jeffery for better options you may be wise.
Starts of the Week: I love the Packers. How often does a real team take your fantasy advice? With Lacy on the bench, I like RB James Starks to have a big game at home against the Lions. Looks like he’s got the starting job, and he should see plenty of touches in a game that could become a blowout. I would start TE Jordan Reed against the Saints at home. This will probably be a big shootout and Reed seems to be Cousins favorite target.
Sits of the Week: WR Jeremy Maclin has been struggling recently and this is a bad matchup against a Denver defense with something to prove after last week. I would also sit QB Tyrod Taylor on the road. The Jets D has struggled against QBs the last three weeks, but I expect them to step up and play tough in Rex’s first game back in New York.
Starts of the Week: QB Blake Bortles– We may have found the next young QB to step into the elite conversation in the coming years. Jacksonville’s offense is taking shape and he has good weapons all around him with the return of Orange Julius and the emergence of Allen Hurns and T.J Yeldon to go along with the consistancy of Allen Robinson. Bortles still throws some picks, but he is moving the ball down the field with 11 TD’s in his last 4 games. Baltimore is 29th against the pass, so this sets up to be a huge game for Bortles. Goodbye Andrew Luck, enter Blake Bortles to my latest QB crush.
RB Doug Martin– Last week I tried to edit my start suggestion to DeAngelo Williams from Jonathan Stewart, but it was already in the 3rd quarter. Williams is clearly a must-start in all leagues. Martins has struggled the past 2 weeks, but he should get it going this week against Dallas, who allows loads of points to RB’s.
WR Travis Benjamin– Another struggling players as of late will get a boost by playing a weak Steelers pass defense. It’s possible he could get another boost by the return of the ageless Josh Mccown. Benjamin hasn’t seen the endzone since week 3, but that should change this week.
TE Jordan Reed– It’s no secret how much I love Jordan Reed. He’s healthy again and entering what has looked like 7-on-7 drills against the Sanits pass defense the past 2 weeks. Reed should get plenty of balls his way with at least a TD catch.
Sits of the Week:
QB Marcus Mariota– He looked great at throwing balls litterally off Saints defenders for touchdowns last week. The Panthers tricky coverage scheme will be the toughest test Mariota has seen in his career. It will not go well.
RBs James White/Brandon Bolden– As I mentioned in last year’s blog, I don’t even pay attention to the backfield of the Patriots anymore. Just when you think Belichick has gone with a certain back, he finds a Jonas Gray to throw everyone for a loop. Blount is obviously a solid play here on out, but trying to figure out the Dion Lewis role is not worth your time. Someone we haven’t heard of is sure to be the latest waiver pickup next week.
WR Larry Fitzgerald– Insert Seahawks’ opponent #1 receiver here. Enough said…
Starts of the Week: RB Karlos Williams – Williams and the Bills play in the Thursday Night Football game this week which usually means big games for running backs. LeSean McCoy is trying to play, but even if he does expect Williams to be heavily involved.
QB Kirk Cousins – Fact 1: The Saints pass defense is TERRIBLE. Fact 2: The Redskins play the Saints this weekend. That should be all you need to know to start Cousins this week. The Saints have given up 10 passing TDs over the last two weeks to Eli Manning and Marcus Mariota. Cousins weapons are finally back to 100 percent with a healthy Desean Jackson and Jordan Reed, and he should be able to have a top ten fantasy QB day.
Sits of the Week: QB Sam Bradford – We are entering the home stretch of the fantasy football season, and most of us need every win possible. Don’t get cute. Bradford finally had a game with no turnovers, and maybe you think the Eagles offense is finally turning the corner. Think again. Before the final TD pass in OT, Bradford only had 252 yards with no scores. One decent game doesn’t suddenly make Bradford a good QB. There are simply too many better options at QB to put your faith in Bradford.
RB Latavius Murray – Murray was having a good week 9 before suffering a concussion. Murray may be lucky enough to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol before his matchup with Minnesota in week 10, but to expect a good game may be asking too much. Only seven teams give up fewer fantasy points to running backs than the Vikings, and last week the Vikings held Todd Gurley to 3.7 yards per carry. Murray won’t finish inside the top 20 at the RB position even IF he is able to make it through the game without taking another big hit.
Starts of the Week: It’s hard to argue with Saucy T on this one. Manning and Mariota are not amongst the fantasy elite in QBs, but they sure have been made to look like it. Rob Ryan is perhaps the worst defensive coordinator in the history of the game, so you can bet Cousins will shred them to pieces. If he doesn’t, maybe RGIII should start getting some practice time.
I, too, like Karlos. He has scored in four of his five games that he has played this year, and doesn’t need many carries to make a lot happen.
Sit of the Week: WR Larry Fitzgerald has had a reemergence this season. But Richard Sherman is still the best DB in the league. Fitzgerald has only snagged one TD in his last four outings and that trend should reach five against the Legion of Boom.
Starts of the Week:
QB: Like the Mrs. and Saucy T, I also love Cousins this week. I also like Landry Jones if you are in a pinch. The Browns pass defense has improved some over the past few weeks, but it is still bad. They have allowed 18 TDs through the air, while only causing five INTs. Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Heath Miller should all be open a bunch on Sunday.
RB: If DeAngelo Williams is healthy (he is nursing a sore foot right now), he too is a solid start against the Browns NFL worst rush defense. I also really like Charles Sims this week. Doug Martin is probably the safer play, but the Cowboys have allowed nine TDs on the ground this season, and Sims looks to me like the guy who — not only already dominates the passing game — but is about to take over the scoring game as well.
WR: The Tampa Bay Bucs have allowed the second most TDs to WRs this year, so it is certainly time to get Dez Bryant back into your lineup. He should go off this week. I also love Allen Robinson against the Ravens. The Jacksonville Allens are a super fun duo to watch and both are the real deal. If Hurns goes (he missed practice yesterday), he too is a start.
TE: Gary Barnidge and Jordan Reed both need to be in your lineups this week. They should have very nice games. Despite being a huge disappointment this season, I am going to give Jordan Cameron the nod. The Eagles are stout against TEs (only one TD allowed), but their defense is also banged up. At some point, you would assume former-TE and interim head coach Dan Campbell is going to figure out how to use Cameron’s talents.
Def: If your league hurts you with yardage and points, the Ravens aren’t a good play. But if they reward you heavily with turnovers, they are. Bortles and this young Jags offense is fun to watch, but they do turn the ball over. That equals fantasy points. The Cardinals — who are pretty much must starts anyway — face the Seahawks in a huge division matchup. I would assume their bye week gave them fresh legs and are ready to pounce.
Sits of the Week:
QB: See my defense pick? That’s why I think it’s a good week to sit Russell Wilson. I simply don’t believe in him as a real QB. He is better for fantasy because of those rushing yards he gets, but he looks like he has taken a step backwards in the passing game this year, and against a solid Cards D, it could be a long day.
RB: There has been a buzz on the waiver wires this week around James White. Are you nuts? The Pats finally had a steady RBBC with Lewis and Blount — and depsite White having the same skill set as Lewis — they will be back to the confusion Belichick creates. White could easily have a huge game against a lackluster Giants defense, but he could just as easily not see a single snap as Brandon Bolden steals his carries. Take a wait and see approach on the Patriots backfield.
WR: Jeremy Maclin. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. The Broncos defense is still sick. The Colts played inspired football in The Manning Bowl, but Alex Smith is not Andrew Luck. Maclin is in for a long day.
TE: Jimmy Graham has been a nightmare to fantasy owners this year. Part of me wants to believe that the Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell took the bye week to figure out how to save his job — I mean, figure out a way to get their best receiving threat involved in the offense. Part of me believes that he is incapable of figuring that out. Graham’s inconsistent stat lines are reason enough to sit him against a tough Cards defense.
Def: The Tennessee Titans have a top ten defense. The Carolina Panthers have the NFL MVP in Cam Newton. Don’t read too much into numbers this week. Sit em.