News & Analysis

Sunday morning fantasy football decisions: Rankings, start/sit, sleepers, and busts for Week 10

(It’s Week 10 of the NFL season. This and every Sunday morning, we’ll wrap up the week in fantasy football content with our Study Session, a last-minute guide to our top advice of the week, featuring the highlights of that week’s analysis.)

Both my biggest strength and greatest weakness in sports analysis is my belief in a player’s long-term history over new developments.

I’m relatively immune to the Kevin Ogletree-esque hype based off of one or two games of performance that belies a player’s history — on the one hand, that’s great, because, well, Kevin Ogletree. But on the other, it can hurt me when it comes to breakouts like Robert Woods. My biggest flagpole QB this year was Drew Brees, because I believed in his track record over a down 2017; my biggest red-flag QB was Deshaun Watson, because I believed in his good-not-great pedigree over a crazy seven weeks.

Am I right or wrong? Eh. Honestly, I’m both, and I’m neither. The point isn’t that I should change, or that you should change to be like me. The point is merely to acknowledge that I know this about myself.

It’s important to know your “thing.” Do you regularly overrate receiving RBs? Do you wait on drafting QBs, but end up waiting too long? Stepping back to figure out your own particular quirks — be they strengths or weaknesses — is as important as evaluating players in fantasy. The next time a player has a breakout, and I’m skeptical, I’ll wonder whether the skepticism is warranted or if I’m just being me. The next veteran who slumps, I’ll at least think twice before counting on a bounceback. I might still decide the same things, but at least I’ll give the thought more time.

Know yourself. It’s as important as knowing the game.

On to the Week 10 advice.

Live chats

We’ve added live chats to our weekly repertoire of advice Maybe your questions were answered, or maybe you can just use this resource to find answers to questions you had but never got to ask. We hold four each week — Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tuesday’s through Saturday’s chat are linked below, and Sunday’s will be live two hours before gametime.

Rankings and start/sit

These are the big-ticket items. Our overall look at what we’re doing and how we make those decisions. On Tuesday, Jeff Ratcliffe breaks down the best waiver claims of the week. Wednesday, he publishes his top 150 for that week. Thursday, Scott Barrett attempts to solve some of the top start-or-sit questions. Tuesdays also feature Mike Castiglione and Walton Spurlin offering advice for the key streamers (QB and DST, respectively). And Friday is the big blowout, where Jeff Ratcliffe highlights all the key lessons of the week and prepares fantasy players for the weekend to come. If you only read one piece of fantasy advice a week, it’s that.

Previewing the weekend in fantasy

There’s no good blurb to pull from this, because the whole thing is gold. Just click. Trust me on this.

A snapshot of the flex rankings

20. Tyler Boyd, CIN vs NO (WR10) — With no A.J. Green, Boyd stands to benefit the most from this plus matchup.
21. Joe Mixon, CIN vs NO (RB10) — The Bengals return from bye and will look to lean on Mixon as home underdogs to the Saints.
22. David Johnson, ARI @ KC (RB11) — Arizona’s offense hasn’t been pretty this season, but Johnson is seeing a ton of volume and gets a plus matchup in this one.
23. Brandin Cooks, LAR vs SEA (WR11) — Cooks is coming off one of his better performances of the season and figures to continue to roll this week.

Two starts, two sits

START Duke Johnson in medium-sized leagues: I don’t think it’s a coincidence Johnson saw his best usage of the season (nine targets) last week. This came in former running backs coach Freddie Kitchens’ first game as offensive coordinator and in an ideal matchup up against a Chiefs defense that was giving up the most receiving fantasy points to opposing running backs.
START Elijah McGuire in deep leagues: McGuire saw surprisingly good usage in Week 9 following an eight-week IR stint. McGuire led the Jets’ backfield in snaps with 36 (of 66), while drawing seven (of 20) carries and five (of eight) targets.
SIT Adrian Peterson in shallow leagues: Peterson averages just 6.8 fantasy points per game and 10.7 touches per game in losses. In all other games, he’s averaging 19.7 fantasy points and 23.2 touches per game.
SIT C.J. Uzomah in medium-sized leagues: A.J. Green is out for Week 10 and Uzomah averages 4.3 targets per game across his last three games, which I suppose keeps him in consideration given the brutal state of the tight end position this year. Still, I have no interest in him this week against the Saints. For the second year in a row, the Saints rank best in schedule adjusted fantasy points per game allowed to opposing tight ends.

Sleepers and busts for the week

SLEEPER: Josh Gordon: Gordon has been trending up in New England’s offense, and he’s fresh off his best game yet after dropping 130 yards with a touchdown against the Packers. Gordon should see a lot of ex-Patriot Malcolm Butler, who has given up the most touchdowns while in coverage this year (7).
BUST: Jared Goff: The Seahawks no longer have the “Legion of Boom,” but they have still given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points per dropback to opposing quarterbacks.

Waiver claims to make

ADD Mike Davis in shallow leagues: Davis is one of this week’s top adds with Chris Carson banged up and unable to stay healthy for any extended period of time.
ADD Jeff Heuerman in medium-sized leagues: Heuerman racked up a massive 10 catches on 11 targets in Week 9.
ADD D’Onta Foreman in deep leagues: Will he return this season? We don’t know, but Foreman’s upside is worth a speculative add.

Players to drop

Javorius Allen: Over the past four weeks, Allen has accrued touch totals of six, three, six, and four. The addition of Ty Montgomery to this offense likely isn’t going to make those numbers rise.
Kelvin Benjamin: The Bills do not have a healthy quarterback capable of throwing the ball downfield to Benjamin. He has one game with more than 50 receiving yards, has yet to catch more than five passes in a game, and hasn’t reached the end zone since Week 2.

QB streamers

Eli Manning, New York Giants: Manning is actually averaging his most passing yards per game (291.1) since 2011 despite taking a league-high 31 sacks (some of those are undoubtedly on Manning for holding the ball too long). However, his touchdown rate (2.5%) also marks the lowest of his 15-year career and about half his career average (4.6%).

DST streamers

Los Angeles Chargers: Things are definitely trending in the wrong direction for the Raiders as they allowed 8 sacks in their Week 9 loss to the 49ers. The offensive line has struggled in the past three games to protect Derek Carr, allowing an average of 4.6 sacks per game.

Deeper dives

You come to use for more than the surface material. Our writers go deeper with thoughts on situations down the road and looking deeper into each week’s games.

Long-term sleepers

Maurice Harris, WR, Washington: Falling behind two touchdowns in the first 20 minutes of a game creates a lot of passing opportunities. The normally conservative Alex Smith threw the ball 46 times in the Redskins’ 14-38 drubbing by the Falcons. That’s a reason why a receiver like Maurice Harris should enjoy a productive fantasy day.

Snaps, Pace, and Stats

Saints at Bengals: This matchup has the potential to produce an elevated play total, although there’s a strong likelihood only one offense benefits. The Saints are coming off of a 70-play, 45-point blitzkrieg of the previously unbeaten Rams. They head into an apparent letdown spot, on the road against a wounded Bengals team coming off of their bye week. If the game indeed stays close, New Orleans should continue passing and keep the pace up.

Trade value chart

Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots: This week’s biggest riser was Julian Edelman. There has been no decrease in performance from the 32-year-old despite the fact he missed all of last season. Edelman is averaging over six receptions and 64 yards per game with work in the red zone, as a punt returner, and on gadget plays.

Weather and venue adjustments

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers (+1.7) is impervious to cold weather, so the borderline-freezing temperatures forecast for his game in Lambeau against the Dolphins should be of little concern. But Rodgers does show the typical home/road splits of mere mortals. Since 2012, he has scored 2.6 more fantasy points per game at home than on the road.

RB committee report

Dion Lewis trending UP: Lewis has nearly tripled Henry in snaps over the past two weeks, including a 59-14 edge against Dallas Monday night in a positive gamescript.
Latavius Murray trending DOWN: Upon his return in Week 9, Cook out-snapped (28-22), out-touched (14-11) and out-produced (109-47)  Murray. Mind you, Murray had been a bona fide fantasy RB1 during Cook’s absence, and Cook entered Week 9 with fewer than 100 rushing yards in what was looking like an injury-lost season.

DFS advice

First things first: We introduced a new DFS piece this week, and it’s a doozy. Scott Barrett’s guide to all things DFS hits Week 9 from every DFS angle, taking you through the process of an expert as he prepares for the weekend. It’s a home run.

We hit weekly DFS from all angles — bargains, stacks, fades, locks. We also look at the best ways to build a DFS lineup on DraftKings (tournament or cash game) and FanDuel (tournament or cash game). And Scott Barrett offers up his favorite tournament plays of the week on both primary sites.

Bargains

Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers: Rivers is the most expensive play in the bargains column, and although he’s price in the mid-QB1 range, he should be more expensive. Rivers threw for two touchdown passes again last week on fewer than 30 attempts — he hasn’t thrown for fewer than two in a single game this season.
Benjamin Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints: Watson is priced in the bargain-bin range this week, but we love him as a bargain play against a Bengals defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Locks

Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton and the Bengals play host to the New Orleans Saints in Week 10. The Saints have given up the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this year, yielding 2,601 passing yards (fourth-most) and 18 touchdowns (tied for third most) while creating just four interceptions.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Green Bay Packers: Graham, who found the end zone last week, takes on a Dolphins defense that has been struggling against tight ends over the last month. Miami has surrendered five touchdowns to tight ends in their last four games.

Stacks

Philip Rivers, QB; Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, WRs, Los Angeles Chargers: Rivers hasn’t played a game this season without multiple touchdowns, and that’s highly unlikely to change against a Raiders defense that is lacking talent in the secondary and has been accused of quitting. Allen will get the best matchup on the slate when the Chargers line him up in the slot against aging veteran Leon Hall, who probably shouldn’t be starting based on his PFF grade this season. Williams should have a chance to make one big play (all he needs) to return value on his salary against Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley.

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