After six straight weeks of a 54% or higher hit rate, the streak has come to an end. In week 9, I only managed a 40% hit rate. I know, I know. I am the worst!
There is nothing much to do except make like Red Dead Redemption 2 and get back up on that horse. So let’s saddle up, cowpokes, and RIDE!
Andy Dalton vs. New Orleans Saints
Dalton has scored more than 17 fantasy points in every game except week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs. In a regular year, this would put him around QB1 territory. This is no ordinary year. Dalton has also produced five games of 21 or more fantasy points. He has been good this season.
Dalton faces a Saints defense that is very good against the run and very poor against the pass. The Saints rank third in DVOA against the run and 29th against the pass. They have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2018, including five games of over 20 points.
The Saints have scored the second-most points per game this season. Yes, Dalton will not have his top pass-catcher in AJ Green, but he will likely have to throw to keep up. Start Dalton in week 10.
Marcus Mariota vs. New England Patriots
Mariota made my list last week as a sit. He proved me wrong. Mariota looked great against a good Dallas Cowboys defense coming off of the Titans bye week. Perhaps Mariota is closer to being fully healthy and offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur made some changes to the offense to help Mariota be successful during the bye week. Regardless, Mariota looked good and that bodes well for the Titans offense moving forward.
Unlike last week, Mariota has a great matchup in week 10 in the Patriots. The Patriots have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season and the third-most over the last five weeks. This includes four games allowing over 30 fantasy points and six games of over 20 fantasy points.
Much like the Saints, the Patriots are high scoring with the fourth-most
Philip Rivers @ Oakland Raiders
Rivers has been one of the top real world and fantasy quarterbacks for a while now. However, in 2018, Rivers is only the QB16. Of course, that is likely due to the surge in passing and scoring. Regardless of his current ranking, Rivers is still having a great season. He has 19 touchdowns to only three interceptions as well as over 2,200 yards.
Rivers and the Chargers face a dumpster fire of a team in the Raiders in week 10. The Raiders rank dead last in the league against the pass in DVOA. They have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season. Over the last five weeks, the Raiders have allowed the 7th-most points. The Raiders have allowed 23.8 or more fantasy points in their last six games and have not allowed less than 18.7 fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
The Raiders defense is bad. Philip Rivers is good. Start Philip Rivers.
Matthew Stafford @ Chicago Bears
Stafford has been disappointing this season. Trust me, I was the “Matt Stafford is underrated” train’s conductor. However, Stafford currently ranks as the QB22. While his numbers are not bad, 2018 has not been an ordinary season in terms of quarterbacks, as was mentioned above. The Lions have also shown a commitment to the run, ranking 20th in rush yards per game versus dead last in 2017. Stafford no longer has one of his favorite weapons in the now Philadelphia Eagle Golden Tate either. This likely affected his week 9 performance, throwing for less than 200 yards and no touchdowns.
The Bears defense has emerged as one of the better defenses in 2018. They rank fourth in DVOA against the pass and second against the run. This is in large part thanks to trading for Khalil Mack. The Bears have allowed the 10th-fewest yards and have the second-most interceptions.
Week 10 may be a rough one for the Lions offense. Best to avoid.
Tom Brady @ Tennessee Titans
This is not going to be popular. Brady is a stalwart atop fantasy quarterback rankings. Like Rivers, this is not the case in 2018. To beat a dead horse, 2018 is not a normal season. Brady is QB17 on the season. This is not due to bad numbers; Brady has produced nearly 2,500 yards, 17 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Numbers are just up across the board for quarterbacks.
The reason that Brady is a sit this week for me is his matchup. The Titans have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2018. The last five weeks they have allowed the fifth-fewest points. Sony Michel also returns in week 10, so the Pats may be relying on the run as well.
Do I expect you to actually sit Brady? No. But there may be better options at QB in week 10.
Nick Mullens vs. New York Giants
This is for the streamers out there thinking about starting Mullens or those owners who are trying to get too cute after a successful debut. DO NOT DO IT! Mullens finished week 9 with 262 yards and three touchdowns against the Raiders. This says more about the bad Raiders defense than anything, which is part of the reason Philip Rivers is a start. This also says a lot about Kyle Shanahan’s coaching ability.
Mullens faces the Giants in week 10. The Giants have allowed the 10th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. I would not expect a repeat performance from Mullens.
Tevin Coleman @ Cleveland Browns
Coleman, like Mariota, made my list in week 9 as a sit. Coleman made me look very stupid. Against Washington, Coleman ran wild with 88 yards on the ground, 68 yards receiving, and two touchdowns. On the season, Coleman ranks as RB16 in fantasy points per game.
The Browns have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde defense. They have been great against the pass, ranking 2nd overall in DVOA. Against the run, they rank 30th. The Browns have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs in 2018 and the most over the last five weeks. They have been beaten by running backs on the ground and through the air, allowing the fifth most yards rushing and receiving on the season.
Coleman has a fantastic matchup in week 10. Start him with confidence.
Aaron Jones vs. Miami Dolphins
Jones is finally getting the touches he deserves. After splitting touches between three running backs, the Packers traded away Ty Montgomery. The result was Jones getting his most touches of the 2018 season. Against the Patriots, Jones was given 14 carries for 74 yards, also adding two receptions for 10 yards. While not spectacular, it is a start. On the season, Jones leads the league in yards per carry.
The Dolphins are bad against the run. They allow fifth-most rushing yards per game and sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs.
This game is likely going to be a blowout by the Packers. Jones could see plenty of work killing the clock. Start him.
Jalen Richard vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Richard is not much of a runner, which seems counterintuitive when it comes to running backs. Richard excels in catching passes, a valuable skill for a running back in today’s NFL In all but one game, Richard has received four or more targets and caught three or more of those targets. In terms of fantasy football, Richard has produced double-digit fantasy points in 5-of-8 games.
The Chargers have struggled against pass-catching backs. They rank 21st in DVOA covering running backs. They have allowed the third-most receiving yards to running backs.
The Raiders are awful and will likely fall behind early in week 10. This is the perfect game script for Richard. He is a good flex play this week.
Leonard Fournette @ Indianapolis Colts
Fournette is FINALLY practicing. He returns to a crowded backfield, however. The Jaguars traded for Carlos Hyde before the trade deadline. The question is why? Do the Jaguars plan to split carries between Hyde and Fournette? Is Hyde an insurance policy in case Fournette goes down again? We also cannot forget TJ Yeldon. How does he factor into the touches? Does Fournette automatically get the same number of carries as he did last season?
The Colts are not pushovers either. The Colts defense has allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to running backs over the last five weeks.
With so many questions, I am avoiding this backfield until things shake out.
Sony Michel vs. Tennessee Titans
Like Fournette, Michel is returning from injury. Before his injury, Michel was on a tear. In the three games before his injury, Michel accumulated 316 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Michel returns to a tough matchup. The Titans have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs in 2018. Over the last five weeks, the Titans have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game.
I do not like this matchup for the Patriots offense. Sit Michel in week 10.
Kerryon Johnson @ Chicago Bears
I love Kerryon. He has been a phenom for the Lions. Kerryon is the first Lions running back to cross the 100-yard threshold since 2013. He also had double-digit fantasy days in 7-of-9 games this season.
As was mentioned above, the Bears rank 2nd in DVOA against the run. The Bears allow the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs in 2018.
The Lions offense has not been good this season. That likely continues against the Bears in week 10.
Tyler Boyd vs. New Orleans Saints
Tyler Boyd is in the midst of his breakout season. Boyd ranks as the WR15 in fantasy points per game. He has 620 yards and five touchdowns on the season. With the Bengals WR1, AJ Green, set to miss time with a foot injury, Boyd is now thrust into the WR1 role.
As was discussed above under Andy Dalton, the Saints are poor against the pass. Against wide receivers, the Saints rank last in DVOA against both WR1s and WR2s. They have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers on the season.
This game is likely going to be high scoring with the over/under set at 54. The Bengals will have to throw to keep up with the Saints high scoring offense. Boyd is the Bengals defacto WR1 and will receive more targets in Green’s absence. Start him in week 10.
Josh Gordon @ Tennessee Titans
Gordon seems to be gaining the trust of Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels. Since joining the Patriots, Gordon has accumulated 396 yards and two touchdowns in six games. This includes 100 plus yards in two of the last three games. In week 9, Gordon was second on the Patriots in targets and led the team in receiving.
The Titans rank 24th in DVOA against the pass. Against WR1s, the Titans rank 31st in DVOA. They allow the 11th most fantasy points per game to wide receivers on the season. Over the past three weeks, the Titans have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game.
I do not love the matchup for the Patriots offense, but Gordon could be a bright spot in week 10.
Jarvis Landry vs. Atlanta Falcons
Landry has had an up and down season. Despite being second in the league in targets, Landry ranks as the WR26. While he has been serviceable, with double-digit fantasy days in 8-of-9 games, he has not been the receiver most owners expected.
Landry should have an up week against the Falcons. The Falcons defense ranks 28th in DVOA against the pass. Against wide receivers, the Falcons rank 30th against WR1s, 18th against WR2s, and 29th against other wide receivers. In fantasy, the Falcons have allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
The Falcons are bad on defense. Landry should be able to take advantage.
Devin Funchess @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Funchess, not DJ Moore, is the Panthers top wide receiver. Unfortunately, that only amounts to a top-36 wide receiver. The Panthers do not throw a lot, ranking 26th in pass attempts. In his last two games, Funchess only has 71 total yards and zero touchdowns.
The Steelers have gotten progressively better on defense. On the season, the Steelers allow the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. However, the Steelers have allowed the 14th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers over the last five weeks and the eighth-fewest over the last three. The Steelers also rank 10th in DVOA against WR1s.
The Panthers lack of passing and Steelers improvement on defense equate to a bad day for Funchess. Sit him in week 10.
Dede Westbrook @ Indianapolis Colts
Blake Bortles. That should really be the only reason you need to sit Westbrook. Westbrook is also very inconsistent, almost alternating good and bad games. Westbrook is the Jaguars fantasy WR1, ranking WR37 in fantasy points per game. That should tell you how bad the Jaguars pass game is.
The Colts allow the 11th-fewest fantasy points per to wide receivers on the season. They have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game over the last three weeks. Combined with a bad offense, Westbrook is not a good option in week 10.
Larry Fitzgerald @ Kansas City Chiefs
We all know about the offensive woes for the Cardinals offense. Thus why former offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was fired. Fitzgerald did not avoid the downturn. Fitz currently ranks as the WR57. However, week 9, new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich’s first game, the offense seemed to have taken a step forward. Fitz has his first 100 yard game of the season, adding a touchdown.
The offensive progress may stall in week 10. Usually, when this Chiefs defense makes this list, it is part of the starts list. However, the Chiefs defense has shown some improvement. Last week the Chiefs moved from 26th in defensive DVOA to 14th this week. They rank third against WR1s and second against WR2s. The Chiefs top cornerback, Kendall Fuller, works in the slot and will largely be on Fitz.
The Cardinals offense still is not good. The Chiefs defense is improving. Fitz is going to have a bad week 10.
Vance McDonald vs. Carolina Panthers
McDonald got the targets last week. He just did not get the yards or touchdowns. McDonald as the potential to be an absolute beast. He has just been up and down this season. McDonald has four games of 47 or more yards and three of 26 or less.
McDonald gets a fantastic matchup to hopefully explode. The Panthers rank 27th in DVOA against tight ends. They have allowed the most fantasy points per game to tight ends in 2018. The Panthers have allowed eight double-digit fantasy games to tight ends as well.
McDonald’s athleticism and the Panthers poor defense against tight ends could lead to a huge day for McDonald. Start him in week 10.
Jordan Reed @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
O the irony. Reed has been known for his top-five ability but the inability to stay on the field. In 2018, Reed has played in every game but has been mediocre at best. Reed ranks as TE18 in fantasy points per game.
The Buccaneers rank 31st in DVOA against the pass and 29th against tight ends. They have also allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to tight ends.
Washington lost wide receiver Paul Richardson for the season. They also lost two starting lineman for the season. The running game might be less effective and with the loss of a top pass-catcher, Reed should see more targets.
Jimmy Graham vs. Miami Dolphins
Jimmy Graham has actually been relatively effective this season, ranking as TE11. He just has not scored touchdowns. Graham has seen four or more targets in every game this season. He also has double-digit fantasy days in five games.
The Dolphins have struggled against tight ends of late. Over the last five weeks, the Dolphins have given up the ninth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. Over the last three, they have allowed the fifth-most.
Graham has become a top target for Rodgers. He should be started in week 10.
Evan Engram @ San Francisco 49ers
Evan Engram is the fourth pass-catching option on the Giants. Because of this, Engram ranks as the TE22 in fantasy points per game. Engram did have a double-digit game against Washington last week, however.
The 49ers have gotten better against tight ends. They allow the 13th fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends. Over the past five weeks, they have allowed the fifth-fewest. Over the last three weeks, the fourth-fewest.
Charles Clay @ New York Jets
The Bills have a bad offense. Unbelievable, I know. Clay has 169 yards and no touchdowns. In fantasy points per game, he ranks as TE49. In overall fantasy points, he ranks as TE32.
The Jets have been good against the pass. They rank sixth in DVOA against the pass. The Jets allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends.
This game is going to be ugly. Two bad offenses versus two relatively good defenses. Avoid any and everyone.
CJ Uzomah vs. New Orleans Saints
As bad as the Saints are against wide receivers, they are that good against tight ends. The Saints rank eighth in DVOA against tight ends. They allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends in 2018. The Saints have yet to allow a double-digit fantasy game to tight ends.
While this game should be high scoring, Uzomah will likely not take part.
Time to hit the dusty trail again. Until next time, thanks for reading pardner.
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