Start’em Sit’em Week 10
Hopefully, you survived the apocalypse known as the week 9 byes. As for this upcoming slate of games, Week 10 should hopefully serve as a week in which you have fewer teams on bye and therefore, more at your disposal to put together the best possible lineup to crush the competition. So catch your breath, kick back, relax, and get ready to dominate week 10 with some Gridiron Experts starts and sits.
Scoring and stats are based on half-point per reception scoring and come from fantasydata.com
As always, one of the biggest things to keep in mind when figuring out who to start and who to sit is to take a look at the teams that have a bye week. In week 10, the four teams that are on bye are the Ravens, Vikings, Texans, and Broncos.
To recap week 9, listen, I’m not going to sugar coat anything when I tell you that my picks last week were inexcusable. Right out of the gate, I whiffed on the quarterback position as I suggested folks start Derek Carr on Thursday Night. I also thought the Rams could force the Saints to focus on running the ball and therefore slow down Drew Brees. Again, plain and simple, I whiffed and whiffed hard. If there was a bright spot for me in week 9, it was suggesting that your start OJ Howard at tight end. So, after this past week, I took my justifiable lumps on twitter. And now, I dust myself off as I look to redeem myself in week 10.
Start’em Sit’em Quarterbacks
Falcons at Browns
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 52.9%
Even with the quarterback see-saw in Tampa Bay, from a fantasy football standpoint, the NFC South has been one of the better divisions at the quarterback position. That success continues in week 10 when Matt Ryan and the Falcons head to Cleveland to take on the Browns. With the exception his heavily criticized week 1 performance, Ryan has been inside the top 20 in each game this season. That consistent play includes four games inside the top five, one of which came last week against the Redskins. In regards to his opponent, the Browns may not be the doormat they once were but they are still allowing the ninth-most points to the quarterback position. In Ryan’s last three outings, the Boston College alum has had eight touchdowns, one interception, and 350 passing yards or more in each game. His home and road splits may favor Ryan at home but I still like the Falcons quarterback to come up big against the Browns.
Bears vs. Lions
- ESPN Starting Percentages: 40.8%
Yes, my start option currently has a higher starting percentage than my sit option. Given bye weeks and the fact that as of this writing, it is still early in the week, starting percentages could always change. With that in mind, I’m suggesting that you make sure that Mitch Trubisky stays on your bench. Last week, for the first time since week 3, Trubisky found himself finishing the week outside the top 20 at his position. While I still maintain that Trubisky will be a fantasy relevant quarterback the rest of the way, he is not matchup proof and will have trouble this week against a divisional foe. So far this season, the Detroit Lions are allowing the sixth-fewest points to the position. Through Trubisky’s rise in 2018, the fantasy community has taken note of his ability to tuck the ball and run. That may be a problem in week 10 as the Lions are allowing a league-low, 37 yards rushing to the position. Again, Trubisky and Nagy are building something in Chicago, but with the Lions only allowing one top-five game to the position this season, I think this is a week to sit the Bears signal caller.
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Start’em Sit’em Running Back
49ers vs. Giants
- ESPN Starting Percentages: 36.4%
Every year in fantasy, there is always a name or two that induces immediate anxiety. So with that, I get it, recommending that you start Matt Breida in a Monday Night game could make some folks uncomfortable. That being said though, the gruesome injury to Raheem Mostert has yet again opened up an opportunity for Breida to get more work. On Monday Night, the 49ers will take on a dazed and confused Giants team that is allowing the thirteenth most points to the running back position. Over their last three games, the Giants have allowed running backs to finish the week in the top 15, including a top-five performance to Adrian Peterson in week 8. There is no doubt that Matt Breida has been a tough play this season. He hasn’t finished in the top 20 since week 6 and has proved to be about as durable as a wet sheet of paper. With all of that being said, he is still a running back that is leading his team in total touches, and for the time being, is off of his team’s injury report. I like Breida to have a noteworthy game under the bright lights of Monday Night.
Browns vs. Falcons
- ESPN Starting Percentages: 19.9%
If you are looking for a flex and find yourself in a half point or full point per reception league, I think that Duke Johnson is just the player for you. Up until last week, Johnson was nonexistent in the Cleveland Browns offense. However, the exit of Todd Haley may have been all that Johnson needed in order to break free. Last week, with Freddie Kitchens as offensive coordinator, finally, Johnson was given ample opportunity to succeed. The Browns back would cash in on each and every opportunity as he would catch all of his team-high nine targets on his way to 78 yards receiving and two touchdowns. That production came against a Chiefs team that is allowing the second most receptions and yards to the running back position. In week 10, Johnson will go up against the only defense allowing more than the Chiefs, the Atlanta Falcons. Currently, this Falcons team is allowing 9.5 receptions and 82.2 yards receiving to running backs on a per game basis. While I’m not suggesting that Johnson is going to guide you to a fantasy football championship, against a favorable opponent, I am suggesting that you ride the hot hand in week 10.
Lions at Bears
- ESPN Starting Percentages: 63.3%
If there is anyone that the fantasy community has been waiting on to break out and deliver, it’s been Kerryon Johnson. And sure, against the Patriots in week 3, and again against the Dolphins in week 7, we have seen glimpses of the rookie’s potential. Don’t expect to see much this weekend however when the Lions head to Chicago to take on the Bears. Currently, the Bears are the only defense in football that has yet to allow a rushing touchdown. As if the touchdowns aren’t enough, they have allowed just 68.5 rushing yards per game this season. All of that being said, it should come as no surprise that the Bears are allowing the fourth-fewest points to the position, and since their bye in week 5, they have only allowed one running back to finish inside the top 15 in scoring. Between his opponent and Johnson be given over 15 carries just once this season, I do not envision a way, in week 10, in which Johnson can grind out a fantasy relevant performance.
Start’em Sit’em Wide Receiver
Bengals vs. Saints
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 49.3%
When looking back at the first eight games of the 2018 Bengals season, it is hard to not admire what Tyler Boyd has been able to do. The Bengals pass catcher is ranked fifteenth in scoring among wide receivers. On top of being productive, he’s been reliable. Among wide receivers with 60 targets or more, Boyd has the third highest catch rate with 74.2%. Following the Bengals bye week, Boyd will look to add on to his productive first half and will look to do against the New Orleans Saints. Currently, the Saints are allowing the most points to the wide receiver position and that includes being tied with allowing a league-high 14 touchdowns. So, he has been playing great, has a favorable opponent, and now, will be the team’s number one receiver. The Bengals dodged a bullet as their star receiver, A.J. Green, will not need surgery on his injured toe. Despite dodging that proverbial bullet, Green will be out at least two games and that opens the door even further for Boyd. Last week, the Saints would allow two Rams’ receivers to finish inside the top 10 and given their average of allowing 41.7 points per game, it is undeniable that Boyd is in line to have a nice start to the second half of his season.
Cowboys at Eagles
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 48.4%
Last week would mark Amari Cooper’s first game as a member of the Dallas Cowboys and at least for the most part, he delivered. The former Oakland Raider would finish his Cowboy debut with five receptions for 58 yards, and a touchdown. That performance would be good for the thirteenth highest scoring receiver in week 9 and would mark his second best game of the 2018 season. With first impressions now out of the way, Cooper will look to build on his Cowboys’ career as he heads to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles. The defending Super Bowl champion, Eagles are allowing the seventh most points to the wide receiver position. The Cowboys are going to continue to have their struggles in the win/loss column and it will ultimately cost Jason Garrett his job. In the meantime though, from a fantasy football standpoint, Cooper will finally warrant his average draft position and become a weekly must-start player.
Chiefs vs. Cardinals
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 70.4%
I would like to preface all of this by saying that Sammy Watkins may very well miss week 10 with an injured foot. That being said though, with his start percentage currently sitting at 70.4%, I feel compelled to list him in this week’s column. Last week, Watkins was a player that I recommended you should start. After a poor outing in week 9, and a bad matchup in week 10, I now am recommending that you sit the Chiefs wideout. Yes, the Cardinals are in fact a tough matchup. While the focus in 2018 has been on the offensive woes for the Cardinals, their defense is currently allowing the sixth-fewest points to the wide receiver position. That ranking includes the Cardinals being just one of three teams to allow a league-low five touchdowns to the position. Tyreek Hill’s week 9 availability had appeared to be in doubt but the speedster receiver still managed to play and looks like a go for this upcoming game as well. With just one game in the top 10 this season, Watkins has been hit or miss in 2018. In week 10, even if he winds up playing, this is a time in which Watkins will fall short.
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Start’em Sit’em Tight End
Colts vs. Jaguars
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 17.2%
His low start percentage could very well be due in large part to the Colts having their bye last week. Whatever the case may be, I would like to include Jack Doyle as a player worth starting in week 10. Folks who drafted Doyle over the summer were concerned as the Colts tight end would miss five games with a hip injury. In week 8 though, Doyle would not only return to the field, he would ease the minds of his fantasy owners as he hauled in six receptions for 70 yards, and a touchdown. Just he entered the bye with nothing but good vibes, Doyle will look to do more of the same in week 10. This week, the Colts will take on a Jaguars defense which isn’t exactly a matchup dream for tight ends. Currently, the Jaguars defense is outside the top 20 in points allowed to the position. That being said, this selection has more to do with what Doyle means to his offense than it does the Jaguars defense. Since the start to the 2017 season, Doyle has only had two games in which he has been targeted less than five times. Week 10 will be no exception and I say that Doyle is worthy of a start.
Saints at Bengals
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 23.9%
This is another one of those recommended options to keep an eye on. As I type this blurb, Dez Bryant is being signed by the Saints on a one-year deal. Assuming they hold off on playing Bryant in week 10, I feel as if Benjamin Watson owners have one more week of reliable fantasy production left. If this is Watson’s swan song to production, it couldn’t come against a better opponent. In week 10, the Saints will take on a Bengals defense that is allowing the fourth most points to the position. Most recently, in the two weeks prior to the Bengals bye, they had allowed opposing tight ends to finish in the top 10 in scoring. Over the last three weeks, Watson has had over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Again, with Dez Bryant on the way, if you are facing some bye week troubles, this may be your last chance to squeeze some fantasy production out of Watson.
New England Patriots Tight Ends
Patriots vs. Titans
After suggesting that you sit Rob Gronkowski last week, this may seem like I have some sort of vendetta against the Patriots. I assure you though, I do not. One of the reasons why I’m coupling the Patriots tight end depth chart is the uncertainty around Rob Gronkowski and his playing status. With week 11 serving as a bye week, the Patriots may elect to give their star player an extra week of rest. So to me, no matter who lines up for the Patriots at the tight end position, they will have a tough time against a Titans defense that is allowing the fewest points to the position. They are one of two teams that have yet to allow a tight end touchdown and in half-point formats, they are allowing an average of 5.2 points per game. On top of that, I like a number of tight end matchups this week and I feel as if this will be one of the more productive weeks for the position.
Start’em Sit’em Defense
Patriots at Titans
After nine weeks this season, the Patriots defense is fourth in the NFL in takeaways and has been playing well as of late. They have allowed teams to score 23 points over the last two weeks and in weeks’ 7 and 8, the Patriots were top 5 in fantasy points scored. The Tennessee Titans may be able to squeak out a win here or there, but the Patriots defense always breaks late. Now is the time to continue investing in New England.
Packers vs. Dolphins
After week 4 of this season, the Green Bay Packers haven’t finished a week inside the top 10 of fantasy scoring. They are also one of fourteen teams to have less than 10 takeaways on the season. Even though the Packers are playing the Dolphins, this is not a defense that you can trust in fantasy.
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