Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 10
When you choose to diligently expend time and energy toward constructing a roster that appears capable of completing for a league championship, that feeling of accomplishment when you believe that your roster is both formidable and deep, remains one of the most satisfying aspects of fantasy football ownership. Unfortunately, many of those rosters are destined to be depleted by injuries. With some owners having to endure repeated pillaging of players that had been considered to be foundations of their weekly lineups.
That mentally devastating process occurred yet again in Week 9, when Deshaun Watson owners were jolted by the news that he would no longer be performing this season. Some players are less replaceable than others, and the harsh reality for those who had been utilizing the talented rookie, is that locating another quarterback that can replace his level of production is highly unlikely. Meanwhile, other owners were impacted by less routine scenarios in which their players were suddenly unable to deliver fantasy points. As anyone who owns A.J. Green or Leonard Fournette is already acutely aware.
However, as with all situations that necessitate roster modification, owners must persevere, and continue their efforts to building the strongest possible roster. This Gridiron Experts Week 10 Start’ Em Sit’ Em column is designed to assist you in that process, by recommending your best starts, along with the players that should be excluded this week.
There is good news concerning bye weeks, as we have moved beyond the more cumbersome absence of six teams that owners were forced to endure in Weeks 8-9. Instead, anyone who owns Ravens, Eagles, Raiders, and Chiefs will be impacted this week. The most encouraging news, is that there will only be one more installment of these unwanted byes next week. In order to help circumvent the potential of a sudden predicament from being unprepared for the remaining teams that are affected, you can locate which teams are included in the two comprehensive bye weeks directly below.
- Week 10 Byes: Ravens, Eagles, Raiders, Chiefs
- Week 11 Byes: Jets, Panthers, Colts, 49ers
As always, this Gridiron Experts Week 10 Start’ Em Sit’ Em column will not confiscate your precious time by discussing the players that you selected at the onset of your drafts, along with the consistent leaders in fantasy points. Unless the recommendation is that you need to sit any off those players. Kickoffs are approaching, so let’s examine the players that are featured in this Gridiron Experts Week 10 Start’em Sit’em column. Enjoy the games, and good luck in Week 10.
Ben Roethlisberger at Colts
It is doubtful that many owners are reveling in the lackluster 10:9 touchdown to interception ratio that Roethlisberger has constructed through his first eight games, although the 258 YPG average that he has produced is more palatable. Still, he is averaging just under 18 fantasy points per game (17.8), and has not merited inclusion among this year’s unquestioned QB1s with any regularity. Roethlisberger has generated 55 different 300-yard performances during his career, although he has only eclipsed that mark twice this season. However, one of those occurred in Week 8, and the emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster as a complement to the still incomparable Antonio Brown, provides legitimate reason for optimism that having another dynamic receiving weapon will boost Roethlisberger’s output during his remaining games. He could easily surpass 300 yards again this Sunday, when he has the opportunity to dissect the beleaguered Colt secondary. Indianapolis has consistently near the bottom of league pass defense rankings, and still ranked 31st after receiving an undemanding matchup in Week 8 against the now immobilized Houston offense. Indy has yielded 280 YPG, as Jared Goff (306), Carson Palmer (332), Russell Wilson (295), Brian Hoyer (353), Marcus Mariota (306), and Blake Bortles (330) have all stockpiled over 300 yards against the Colts. whose secondary remains highly vulnerable even after the return of cornerback Rashaan Melvin. Those of you who have persevered with Roethlisberger through his many undistinguished performances this season, should be rewarded this week.
Also Start: Josh McCown at Buccaneers, Jared Goff vs. Texans
Philip Rivers at Jaguars
The 14-year veteran entered his bye week with the league’s fifth-highest yardage total (2,028), although his 254 YPG average placed him 12th. He was also seventh overall with 13 touchdowns, even though he has only manufactured multiple scores in four contests, after accomplishing it 12 times in 2016. While his output is respectable, Rivers is not necessarily an every week QB1, and his matchups remain a critical element for owners to consider when determining whether to use him. If this decision-making process applies to you, the forbidding nature of this week’s opponent should compel you to locate another option. Jacksonville currently leads the NFL in pass defense, has allowed just 156 YPG, and has yielded only four touchdowns through the air. They have also surrendered the fewest fantasy points to opposing signal callers, as Deshaun Watson (102), Marcus Mariota (215), Joe Flacco (28), Jared Goff (124), and Jacoby Brissett (200), have all manufactured unimpressive yardage totals. While Ben Roethlisberger did accumulate 312 yards in Week 5, the Jaguars pilfered five of his passes, and did not allow a touchdown. In fact, Watson, Mariota, and Goff have been the only starters to even manage one touchdown against this stellar unit, which has also captured 10 interceptions. Rivers will also encounter great difficulty establishing a comfort zone, when contending with a sustained Jaguar pass rush that has generated a league-best 35 sacks. All of this should present owners with sufficient evidence that Rivers is destined to struggle during this matchup.
Also Sit: Kirk Cousins vs. Vikings, Jay Cutler at Panthers
Matt Forte / Bilal Powell at Buccaneers
We will progress beyond clear RB1s who have favorable matchups, in order to examine two less obvious options, who could also boost the point totals of their owners. One week after questioning his OC’s unwillingness to dial up the Jet ground game during a steady downpour, the 31-year old Forte received a season-high 14 carries last Sunday, while proceeding to burst for 77 yards (5.5 YPC) and his first two touchdowns of the year. This served to escalate the frustration level of Powell owners, although he also maximized his nine carries by rumbling for 74 yards (8.2 YPC). It would be preferable for one of these backs to be the unwavering recipient of an extensive workload on a weekly basis. But even though there are varying degrees of instability that will be inherent with any committee situation, both runners are capable of being deployed as RB3/flex options. As Forte has now exceeded 80 total yards in four of his last six contests, while Powell has surpassed 60 total yards in four of his last five. This week, their viability elevates further. When they face a Tampa Bay run defense that has surrendered the second most fantasy points to opposing runners, and was just gashed for a combined 231 yards by Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in Week 9. The Buccaneers have also yielded significant yardage totals to Dalvin Cook (169 total yards), Adrian Peterson (134 rushing yards), and LeSean McCoy (122 total yards). Forte and Powell can deliver satisfactory results against this unit, provided that they are used at the aforementioned RB3 or flex slots
Orleans Darkwa at 49ers
Also Start: Mark Ingram / Alvin Kamara at Bills, Christian McCaffrey vs. Dolphins
Doug Martin vs. Jets
The proverbial wheels have officially come off in Tampa Bay. Since Week 5, the Buccaneer offense has managed a grand total of 16 points combined in in the first half of those five contests. That includes their woeful performance in Week 9, which resulted in just 200 total yards, and one fourth-quarter touchdown. Jameis Winston’s lingering shoulder injury has been a factor in their recent offensive shortcomings, although he has also failed to elevate his performances toward the higher-level that many had anticipated heading into his third season. Martin’s output has not been immune to the offensive deficiencies, as he was limited to just seven yards on eight carries (0.9) YPC. Although this should not be the only concern for his owners. As his season-long YPC has dropped to 3.8, while he has failed to reach 4.0 since his Week 5 debut. Plus, Martin has not generated a touchdown since Week 6. Winston’ health issue will sideline him for this Sunday’s matchup with the Jets, and Mike Evans will also be absent. Which will blend with the other glaring weaknesses within the Buccaneer roster, to negatively impact their time of possession, and their ability to remain competitive. All of which diminishes the likelihood that Martin will collect a sufficient numbers of opportunities to accumulate a desirable yardage total. When he does receive the ball, he will face a Jet defense that ranks just 23rd against the run, although their performances have improved since Week 7. The unimposing nature of this matchup keeps Martin as a starting option. But only as a risk laden RB3 for owners who are desperate.
Kenyan Drake / Damien Williams at Panthers
We have now absorbed the initial installment of Drake and Williams splitting Miami’s workload distribution, along with the level of proficiency that they displayed during the process when they faced Oakland in Week 9. Drake out touched Williams 15 to 13, and was able to generate 104 total yards, largely on the strength of one 42-yard dash. He also maintained a steady role during the contest, despite losing a fumble. Meanwhile, Williams 61 total yards were constructed primarily through the collection of six receptions for 47 yards, although he also registered a touchdown. The tandem should accumulate sufficient total yardage to become regular components on the RB3/Flex options, similar to the scenario with Forte and Powell that was discussed earlier. However, the duo is included among the Week 10 sits or downgrades, directly as the result of this week’s imposing matchup. As their task will be far more arduous, when they are confronted by Carolina’s fourth-ranked run defense. The Panthers are permitting just 81.6 YPG, and are now yielding the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. They have not allowed a rushing touchdown since Week 5, and Tevin Coleman’s receiving touchdown last Sunday was the first that they have surrendered all season. There will be better weeks to start Drake and Williams.
Also Sit: Aaron Jones at Bears, Ameer Abdullah vs. Browns
Robby Anderson at Buccaneers
When Anderson amassed 104 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta in Week 7, his production was generated primarily while being confronted by coverage from Desmond Trufant. At that point, it became apparent that he had commandeered New York’s WR1 role, while establishing himself as a realistic WR3 option for his owners. His status was solidified in Week 8, when produced a touchdown for the third consecutive game, against Buffalo, which was his fourth of the season. That lifted him into a tie for first among all Jets in that category, and also lead the team in targets (57), and yardage (483). Plus, Anderson is now sixth among all receivers with nine receptions of 20+ yards. If there is a concern, it would reside in the fact that he has averaged 5.6 targets per game, if the 12 that he was allotted in Week 6 are excluded from his season-long average. Still, owners can utilize him with confidence this week, As he will have the opportunity to demonstrate his big-play capabilities while exploiting a burnable Tampa Bay pass defense. The Buccaneers rank a lowly 30th in that category, have allowed 14 touchdowns, and have also surrendered the third most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Their unattractive resume contains a distinct and repeated vulnerability. As Stefon Diggs (173/1), Adam Thielen (98), Odell Beckham Jr. (90), Chris Hogan (74/1), Brandin Cooks (85), John Brown (63/1), Ted Ginn (59/1), Michael Thomas (65), and Deonte Thompson twice (57/1 – 107), have manufactured either 74+ yards or a touchdown during the season-long assemblage of inadequacies. They should also be forced to remain on the field with increased frequency, as the Tampa Bay offense is in borderline freefall. Anderson should create space running routes versus against Brent Grimes and Robert McClain, while sustaining his recent momentum in the process.
Mohamed Sanu vs. Cowboys
Also Start: JuJu Smith-Schuster at Colts, Cooper Kupp vs. Texans
Keenan Allen at Jaguars
Upon your initial glance, lack of opportunity may not appear to be a problem for Allen. Who placed fifth overall in targets (72) entering the Chargers’ Week 9 bye. But after he averaged 10 targets during his first six games, that number has plunged to 6 during Los Angeles’ last two contests. Including a season-low five during his matchup with New England in Week 8. While that particular result was a byproduct of the additional level of focus that the Patriots placed upon containing him, the sizable number of potential receiving weapons that Rivers can locate has also impacted his production. However, from Weeks 1-4, Allen collected 24 receptions, and averaged 83.5 YPG, which included two contests in which he accumulated 100+ yards. But in the Chargers’ last four games, his output dropped noticeably (16 receptions/53.5 YPG). Plus, he has failed to generate a touchdown since Week 1. Even if owners remain optimistic that his immense talent will propel a statistical rebound, this week’s arduous matchup makes the concept of starting him more even more problematic. The smothering nature of Jacksonville pass defense was mentioned earlier. As the exceptional cornerback tandem of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye has been instrumental in lifting the entire defensive unit into elite status, while also neutralizing the wide receivers that they encounter. The Jaguars have yielded the fewest fantasy points to the position, As only two receivers have exceeded 59 yards, and none have generated a touchdown since DeAndre Hopkins in Week 1. The combination of stifling coverage, and what is expected to be a continued reduction in opportunities, will curtail Allen’s numbers this week.
DeAndre Hopkins / Will Fuller at Rams
The shocking and premature conclusion to be a rookie season that appeared destined to become historic in nature, not only deprives Deshaun Watson owners of reaping any further rewards from his multi-threat capabilities but will also drastically alter the output that Hopkins and Fuller can deliver for the remainder of the year. As Houston’s Week 9 matchup with Tom Savage under center, clearly revealed what a devastating effect the transition back to Savage will have on other Texan skill players. The Texans had difficulty sustaining drives, and even though Savage will target Hopkins with great frequency, it will be virtually impossible for either receiver to deliver anything remotely resembling their most recent output through connections with Watson. As the results of Houston’s encounter with a very beatable Indianapolis pass defense demonstrated that Hopkins should only be utilized as a WR3 moving forward, and the risk is significant in utilizing Fuller in any capacity. The outlook for Week 10 becomes more bleak when they contend with a Ram defense that is far more imposing. As Los Angeles currently ranks ninth against the pass, and has surrendered the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. The Rams have also pilfered 10 passes, generated the league’s sixth highest sack total (25), and both numbers should rise during this contest. Los Angeles will should sustain continual pressure on Savage, which will only add to an already frustrating experience for anyone who starts either Houston receiver. The Rams should forge a comfortable lead during this contest, which could allow Hopkins to theoretically collect garbage time yardage. Unfortunately for owners, that is the extent of any optimism that can be reached toward starting him as a WR3. While the touchdown dependent Fuller is a WR4 at best this week.
Also Sit: Jordy Nelson / Davante Adams at Bears, DeSean Jackson vs. Jets
Kyle Rudolph at Redskins
At this point, many enlightened owners have already become accustomed to quickly perusing the upcoming weekly schedules, in hopes that their tight end will be lining up against the Giants or Browns. Or, that an available streaming option will be the beneficiary of that enticing matchup. However, I cannot strongly recommend George Kittle (vs. Giants), or Eric Ebron (vs. Browns), unless your level of desperation is beyond massive. But, Rudolph will be the recipient of an excellent matchup in his own right, when Minnesota travels to Washington. The Redskins have yielded the most yardage to tight ends to this point of the regular season (637), and have now surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. This unit has also been and already failed to contain Gerald Everett (95 yards), Travis Kelce (111 yards/1 touchdown), and Zach Ertz during both of their NFC East matchups in Weeks 1 (93 yards) and 7 (89 yards/1 touchdown). Since Week 5, Rudolph has garnered at least five receptions in his last four games, amassed 43+ yards in three of those contests, and has also scored twice. His statistical upturn should continue on Sunday, when Rudolph has a legitimate opportunity to collect at least six receptions, and surpass 60 yards.
Also Start: Austin Seferian-Jenkins at Buccaneers, Tyler Kroft at Titans
Jason Witten at Falcons
Also Sit: Austin Hooper vs. Cowboys, Hunter Henry at Jaguars