We’ve entered the double digit weeks of the NFL season and that means the fantasy playoffs are almost here! Only four weeks remain to decide the fate of your fantasy squad, how have you done so far? By this point in the season, if you’re reading start em sit em articles, it probably means you’ve got some tough decisions to make. Anyone can tell you to start Travis Kelce or to sit Blake Bortles. Those aren’t tough decisions, but what if you have Matt Ryan and Drew Brees?
Who do you play when you’ve got 3 receivers all in the top 24 but can only start 2 of them? If I told you in week one that James White would be a better start than Leonard Fournette you would have told me I was crazy! In week 10 however, that isn’t crazy, it’s reality. Don’t be afraid to make bold choices, every point matters and every win gets us one step closer to the playoffs. Let’s dive into the starts and sits!
Fantasy Football Week 10 Start Em Sit Em
Did you know that Matt Ryan, not Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers leads all quarterbacks in passing yards per game? Ryan is back to his 2016 MVP caliber form and were it not for the insane season Mahomes is having, Ryan would be the number one QB in fantasy. Most owners will set and forget Ryan, but scenarios do exist where you may have to choose between guys like Ryan and Brees, Wilson, or Wentz. While these are all guys I feel comfortable starting this week, I would put Ryan above all of them. Denzel Ward is hurt and while he may play he will be limited at best. Mahomes and Rodgers are the only two I would consider above Ryan this week, so unless you have one of those guys it’s Ryan all the way.
How fun is it to say “Fitzmagic”? It really rolls off the tongue. Despite early struggles and only passing for 243 yards, Fitzpatrick managed to throw 4 touchdowns to save his day last week. It seems that whoever the quarterback is for Tampa Bay, it isn’t going to be pretty, but the fantasy points will be aplenty. Assuming the guy doesn’t get benched during the game of course!
Fitzpatrick was named the starter immediately for week 10, which means the organization has shown confidence in him. While Mike Evans had an underwhelming week 9, Fitzpatrick did target him 10 times. Quarterback changes can be rough on receivers who must adjust to receiving different kinds of throws, so I expect a bounce back from Evans which will, in turn, help Fitzpatrick regain some of that magic.
While Rivers does not lead the league in passing TD’s, he has thrown at least 2 in every single game this year. Let that sink in for a moment. Philip Rivers is a model of consistency. No less than 200 yards passing and no less than 2 touchdowns thrown. While Rivers does not have as high of a ceiling as some of his peers, his floor is fantastic. Against Oakland, Rivers will undoubtedly score, it’s just a question of how much. It’s possible late in the game the Chargers let up on the gas and just run the ball, but Rivers should have already put up the number you’re looking for by that point.
Stafford did not fare well in his first game without star receiver Golden Tate. Throwing for just under 200 yards and no touchdowns provided Stafford with his worst game of the season. Stafford was under duress all day though, in a tough matchup with rival Minnesota, Stafford was sacked 10 times. Things won’t get any easier this week in another divisional clash with a tough defense. Going into Chicago, Stafford will be running for his life likely all day and likely pressured into poor throws which could result in some turnovers. Bye weeks are tough to navigate but stay away from Stafford if you have other options.
Trubisky is a classic case of a good real-life player who doesn’t always translate to a good fantasy player, or sometimes, vice-versa. Trubisky has 3 games this year throwing for 3+ touchdowns, but he also has 3 games throwing for 1 or less including a 0 TD game in week 3. While averaging about 38 rushing yards per game certainly helps boost Trubisky’s value, but the matchup this week projects to be a more run-heavy approach from Chicago. It may be hard to get away from the upside presented by Trubisky as many still point to his 6 TD performance in week 4, but until he can be more consistent he is a sit in a run favorable matchup.
There are some quarterbacks that elevate the play of their receivers, and some quarterbacks that are elevated by their receivers. Andy Dalton is the latter. Without A.J. Green in the lineup, Dalton has historically struggled. In 11 games without Green in his career, Dalton has thrown for 253 yards, 1 TD and 0.7 INT per game. Those numbers are not enough to be a top 12 quarterback in today’s NFL. While the Saints are a good matchup and have allowed consistent production from opposing QB’s, Dalton just isn’t trustworthy without his number one receiver.
Chubb has averaged 5.4 yards per attempt since entering the NFL and has a nice match up against the Atlanta Falcons in week 10. Duke Johnson may benefit more from this match up when Cleveland inevitably falls behind, but Chubb should still get enough volume to reach RB2 status with RB1 upside. Only Ezekiel Elliott has had a bigger share of touches since Carlos Hyde left the Browns than Nick Chubb. He’s an every week start.
Who would have thought coming into this season that David Johnson would be perfectly healthy and not an automatic start? The Arizona offense has really been that bad, it’s quite impressive how bad they’ve been, to be honest. The Chiefs have allowed the most receiving yards to running backs in the league, and the highest YPC in the league as well (5.2). Running backs are in prime position against the Chiefs and Johnson is no exception despite his struggles. Realistically Arizona will be down early and likely abandon the run, but Johnson can do a lot of damage through the air. Consider him a high end RB2 in standard leagues and a low end RB1 in PPR this week.
Howard has been a bit of a disappointment this year, and it seems he was being phased out of the offense in favor of the shifty Tarik Cohen. However, Howard has still posted double digit fantasy points in PPR in 6 of 8 weeks. Howard also has scored in 3 consecutive weeks. Against a Detroit team who has allowed 5.1 YPC, Howard should have decent fantasy day on volume alone with a good chance to continue his streak of scoring.
Don’t fall into the trap of the returning superstar with Fournette. Sure, he’s talented but in 2 games this season he’s only gone for 20 rushes and 4 receptions total. What that means is that it’s week 10 and Fournette has only touched the ball 24 times in 2018. T.J. Yeldon has done well in Fournette’s absence, and the addition of Carlos Hyde means that backfield should be an absolute mess this week. Going forward, if Fournette proves he can survive a full game I do expect him to regain his workhorse role, but not this week. Keep Fournette on your bench for another week to see how he does, then we’ll talk about starting him next week.
Tampa Bay has no run game to speak of. Ronald Jones had his crack at the job and didn’t do much with it. The running back for Tampa Bay should be a situation to be taken advantage of, however even in PPR Barber has only had double digit fantasy points twice so far this season. Washington had not allowed more than 61 yards on the ground until week 9 against Atlanta, and Peyton Barber won’t be the one to continue that trend in week 9. The rest of the Buc’s offense is a full go but look elsewhere for your running back.
Gone are the days of LeSean McCoy being an every week fantasy option. PPR is the only format to even consider McCoy in as he’s averaging a pedestrian 3.1 yards per attempt. Defenses have no reason to respect the passing game of the Bills and can take away McCoy and the run game with little consequences. Consider him a bye week fill in or RB3 option if you’re stuck.
Evans has been fantastic this year, failing to post double digits in PPR only once. Unfortunately, that one week was last week and fantasy owners may be weary of Evans as a result. Despite the poor performance, Evans was targeted 10 times in week 9 so Fitzpatrick is still looking for his top guy, they weren’t on the same page last week. Unless it becomes a trend, set it and forget it with Evans.
This is the test. We will find out if Boyd has what it takes to be the number one option in the Cincinnati offense. No A.J. Green and a great matchup against the Saints is as good an opportunity the third year wideout could ask for. Boyd already has more yards than he had in either of his first two seasons, and more touchdowns than both combined. He’s certainly in the midst of a third-year breakout and now we will see if he can beat top coverage. While I wouldn’t rely on Dalton without Green, Boyd has a real shot to put up numbers.
Similar to Tyler Boyd, MVS has an excellent opportunity ahead of him due to injuries to guys above him on the depth chart. Geronimo Allison is out and Randall Cobb is not at 100% even if he plays. Scantling has double digit PPR points 4 weeks in a row and has 2 touchdowns during that period. He’s gaining chemistry with Aaron Rodgers which is a huge deal. When Rodgers trusts a guy he will make the tough throws and put the ball in tight windows for that guy. MVS has an opportunity to become another one of Rodgers “guys” and I think he seizes that opportunity.
Smith is a strong up and coming option for the Saints, but don’t jump the gun just yet. Cincinnati could be a matchup where the Saints are able to run the ball successfully and won’t need to rely as much on the pass. Dez Bryant coming to town would have severely limited Smith’s upside but unfortunately, as of this writing, Bryant has already torn his Achilles. Stash Smith for the playoffs as the Saints have a great fantasy playoff schedule but he’s not quite ready to break out this week.
Nelson has had three consecutive performances with 2, 1, and 2 catches for under 20 yards in each game. With Amari Cooper gone the thought was that Nelson would step up in the offense but that just has not happened. The only player in Oakland worth starting is Jared Cook and he may even be turning into a pumpkin as well. Oakland is a fantasy wasteland, don’t start anyone unless you have no other choice.
Baldwin is certainly making strides to return to the player he once was, but there is still a long way to go. Russell Wilson’s volume is a concern for his receivers. Unless you’re catching a touchdown, you’re probably not having a good fantasy day, and Baldwin has yet to score in 2018. Against a tough Rams secondary this week Wilson should be forced to throw more, but the matchup favors Tyler Lockett more than it does Baldwin. In a standard league you can’t start Baldwin, in PPR he’s a WR3 but one that I would stay away from if I have other options.
Prior to a week 8 dud, Njoku had been putting up consecutive weeks of at least 4 catches. In Week 9, Njoku got back on track with 4 catches for 53 yards which is a respectable performance for a tight end. A great match up against Atlanta in week 10 should give another opportunity for Njoku to catch at least 4 balls if not significantly more. Play him with confidence.
Doyle is back! Again! While he will be splitting time with Eric Ebron, Doyle is still worth starting as he has solid chemistry with Andrew Luck. Ebron may be a bigger physical presence in the red zone, but Doyle had 6 receptions for 70 yards and a TD in his first week back from injury before the bye. Set and forget for the rest of the year.
Jordan Reed should have himself quite a day against Tampa Bay. They have allowed the second most fantasy points to tight ends this year. Reed has some health concerns, as he has often had throughout his career, and if he is unable to play then Vernon Davis would instantly become a starting option. After the devastating injuries to the offensive line last week, it is unlikely Washington will be able to find much success on the ground. This profiles to be a high-volume passing attack by both offenses. Monitor the situation up until kickoff, and which ever tight end suits up for Washington, get him in your lineup!
Engram has averaged 31 yards per game in 2018. That’s not good enough to start. Even with the state of tight ends what it is, you can find someone to get over 31 yards most weeks. In addition to this, San Francisco has not allowed a touchdown to a tight end since week 4. With such a crowded offense and Eli Manning nearing the end of his career, Engram won’t have much value for the remainder of 2018.
Chris Herndon IV
Herndon has not seen enough targets to merit starting in a seasonal fantasy league. He’s caught 3 touchdowns in the last 4 weeks, but other than the TD’s he’s not seeing enough volume to be fantasy relevant on a poor passing team.
It’s that time of year again. The time of year when Jared Cook remembers he’s not very good. In 3 of his last 4 games, Cook has not topped 20 yards receiving. The Oakland offense is a wasteland, see Jordy Nelson above. The difference between these two is that it’s much harder to sit a tight end that has produced earlier in the year. You may not have a better option than Cook, but if there is anyone else with a pulse you can plug in at tight end, at least consider starting that player over Cook.
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