Week 10 of the NFL season begins on Thursday with the Washington Burgundys versus the Minnesota Vikings at the Mall of America Field. For those unaware, the teams on BYE this week are the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, and NY Jets. I know a bunch of you are looking for Josh Gordon, Jamaal Charles, and Tom Brady (he’s back!!) replacements, so read along as I provide the info you’ll need to gain another Fantasy Football victory.
Washington Burgundys at Minnesota Vikings
First it was Roy Helu with 3 rushing TDs, and last week it was Darrel Young. Between those two Helu is most likely to score any given week, but I’m not relying on any Washington RB other than Alfred Morris. He’s scored a TD in 3 of the last 4 weeks and is clearly the #1 guy when you look at how often he’s used. I predict a good game for RG3 and Garcon as the Vikings are bad all around. It was nice to see Adrian Peterson unleashed on Sunday, and hopefully Leslie Frazier is smart enough to continue to feed him. No one else on the Vikings is worth a start (or even being owned), but Sleeper Special goes to Greg Jennings due to being the #1 WR and the fact that Kyle Rudolph is out.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Percy Harvin is unlikely to make his Seahawks debut, which means the WR carousel continues for Seattle. Until Harvin arrives I think Golden Tate is the best option. Yes Doug Baldwin will have his games, but overall Tate has been slightly more productive. Marshawn Lynch had a good bounce back game and he should roll through the Falcons defense. Matt Ryan is going to have a tough game, and I would actually suggest benching him if you have a respectable backup (Pryor, Locker, Roethlisberger). I don’t have faith in any of the Falcons WRs, but I rank Harry Douglas the highest among them. You can actually run on the Seahawks, so Steven Jackson isn’t a bad Flex here. Sleeper Special is the Falcons defense simply because the Seahawks tend to play much worse on away games.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
It looks like the battle for the NFC North is between these two teams and I expect them both to play hard. Matthew Stafford, Megatron, and Reggie Bush are all starts. Leave the defenses at home as I think the turnovers will be minimal and this has potential to be a mid-to-high scoring game (mid 20’s at the least for each team). On the Bears side it looks like Jay Cutler will be back to start and even if he isn’t Josh McCown seemed pretty comfortable running the offense. Whoever plays can be a nice bye week fill in and you shouldn’t have any worries playing Brandon Marshall. Sleeper Special is Nate Burleson if he plays. Stafford hasn’t found a #2 WR in Burleson’s absence, so if he returns he could have a nice game especially in PPR formats.
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Was I the only person upset Nick Foles didn’t throw for the record breaking 8th TD? No one expected him to play the way he did, but he definitely put himself in prime position to shoot up fantasy QB rankings everywhere. He should have a good game against the Packers who are 20th in the league against the pass, and it’s nice to see DeSean Jackson reach the end zone for the first time in a while. For Packers fans I think the passing game plays better this week. Seneca Wallace was thrown in a situation he was completely unprepared for. With a week of practice and a horrible Eagles defense, Wallace should play much better, and I’m not worried about keeping Jordy Nelson in my starting lineup. I do advise benching James Jones and Jarrett Boykin at least for this week, but if you have Eddie Lacy you better have him playing. 5 weeks in a row with at least 20 carries, and this offense will need to lean on him more wit Rodgers out. Sleeper Special is Riley Cooper, as he and Foles seem to have some chemistry going.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
I feel like this game either ends in a high scoring battle or a low scoring one. Both defenses aren’t bad against the pass, but maybe that’s because they’re so bad against the run that people prefer to do the latter. Chris Johnson’s play last week certainly makes me confident to use him this week, and MJD should have at least a Flex worthy day ahead. I like Jake Locker as a QB, and I think he’ll serve as a good bye week fill in, even more so as a Rodgers place holder. Sleeper Special is Mike Brown. With Blackmon gone, Henne will need someone to throw to other than Cecil Shorts, and Brown’s last two games have resulted in double digit fantasy points.
St. Louis Rams at Indianapolis Colts
Welcome aboard the Zac Stacy bandwagon. The Colts are giving up 127 rushing yards a game, 3 yards less than Stacy’s rushing total last Sunday. I have no faith in the Rams passing game, so I think they continue to feed Stacy a lot (at least 26 carries the past 2 weeks). Trent Richardson may not be dropped in most leagues due to what people had to spend to get him, but he should be benched until he can at least outperform Donald Brown in a game. TY Hilton had no problem picking up the slack for Reggie Wayne’s absence, and is a top-15 WR (borderline top-10) for the rest of the season. I expect Coby Fleener to get more involved going forward, and Darrius Heyward-Bey will hopefully be able to bring more to the table this week. The Rams are 9th against the pass, but Luck shouldn’t have any issues getting you fantasy points especially factoring in his rushing ability. Sleeper Special is Donald Brown, who is the better RB on the Colts.
Oakland Raiders at NY Giants
Surprise surprise, Darren McFadden is injured. I guess I’ll get this out of the way early and declare Rashad Jennings as the Sleeper Special. 7 receptions for 74 yards shocked me coming from him, so if he’s going to be involved in the passing game then his value rises substantially. Terrelle Pryor continues to pick up big yards on the ground, which keeps him as a quality start. Rod Streater and Denarius Moore are Flex worthy plays. I’m not going to forget how bad the Giants defense is just because they had a week off. Speaking of bad, how many people have faith in the Giants offense? Eli Manning gets the bench for me, even factoring in how Nick Foles performed Sunday. Victor Cruz is a WR1, but his last 4 weeks have been barely Flex worthy. If you have him you’re likely starting him, but I wouldn’t feel confident. I also wouldn’t feel confident about the running game. Andre Brown is expected to return and if he does come back I think he’s a Flex worthy play. He’s the best RB on the team and they’re desperate to get the running game going. Let’s be serious, Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs were simply fill-ins until Brown’s return. Sleeper Special is the Raiders defense, because the human turnover is the opposing QB.
Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers
For the first time in a long time, CJ Spiller outperformed Fred Jackson. Hopefully for Spiller owners this means that his explosiveness has returned and he will play more like the 1st round draft pick that owners spent on him. While the Steelers are good against the pass (I’ll excuse Brady’s game), they’ve been really and against the run, so Spiller and Jackson are both startable. I rank them both as RB2s for this week. Lost in the Patriots’ offensive breakout is the fact that Big Ben threw for 400 yards and 4 TDs. I think Ben is a quality bye week fill-in/QB2, and I’d have confidence playing Antonio Brown (WR2) and Emmanuel Sanders (Flex). I’m not willing to crown Jerricho Cotchery as anything more than a guy who just had a good matchup. Le’Veon Bell had another good outing, but I still think he’s a Flex level guy. Sleeper Special goes to EJ Manuel who should be making his return. The Steelers will limit at least one of his WR options, but he played well 4 out of 5 weeks before going down in Week 6.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
So are we getting the good Dalton or the bad one? He had his 4th consecutive game of 300+ yards, but 3 INTs and 0 TDs wasn’t pretty. The Ravens are decent defensively, but if Jason Campbell can go for 262 yards and 3 TDs you’d hope that Dalton could at least have a top-15 QB day. Giovani Bernard had less than half the number of carries Law Firm did, but grossly outperformed him. I’m not sure how long it’ll take the Bengals to realize that this shouldn’t be a time share anymore, but Bernard remains an RB2 until he can get more carries and break away from this tag team. Marvin Jones came down to Earth, and I think 4 catches for 66 yards is the typical stat line you should expect from him going forward. Ray Rice is one of the biggest busts of the season, and if you ignore the name you’d bench him immediately. Torrey Smith is a WR2 and Marlon Brown remains a Flex play. I don’t have a sleeper for this matchup, as there are no under the radar players on either team.
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers
The Panthers are on a 4 game winning streak and their defense has done a great job limiting opposing offenses. The defense hasn’t given up more than 15 points in that span and none of those QBs managed more than 300 yards or multiple TDs. They’ve been able to cause turnovers and provide Cam Newton with more opportunities on offense. Where am I going with this? Kaepernick has thrown for over 200 yards or 2 TDs only twice this season. I think he has a lot of trouble this game and the 49ers have to rely on the running game. If it wasn’t for Kaep’s running game he’d be bench worthy. Although the Panthers have been great against the run, I don’t think anyone is stopping Frank Gore this season. On the WR side I think all of them are benchable. The TEs are your best bet in the passing on both teams. Sleeper Special continues to be Mike Tolbert as he’s the only consistent scorer on the Panthers other than Newton, even with Stewart and Williams getting most of the carries.
Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals
Well at least Case Keenum revived Andre Johnson. The Cardinals give up a lot of passing yards, but their defensive backs are very good and have recently gotten 4 INTs out of Matt Ryan, so don’t be so quick to put Keenum in your starting lineup. Arian Foster has added a new injury and I believe is doubtful to play. Even if he does play, can you trust him to last? I feel more confident starting Ben Tate at the Flex than Foster this week. For the Cardinals, Andre Ellington will reportedly receive more carries, which gives him solid RB2/Flex appeal. The Texans aren’t great against the run, so if Ellington does get around 20 touches I think he could have another RB1 level day. The Texans give up the least amount of passing yards per game, so I would leave Palmer on the bench if you can and start Larry Fitz at WR2. Sleeper Special is the Cardinals defense. If they could rattle Matt Ryan, why not Case Keenum?
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
As with most Broncos games this season, I expect a shootout. Every Broncos skill position is a viable fantasy option, so you’re starting them all whether it’s a WR1 or Flex spot. For the Chargers, Philip Rivers continues to do great things in the passing game, and Keenan Allen is looking like the top option now. Antonio Gates is still a startable TE, but he isn’t the most productive guy on the team like he was earlier in the season. Since this will be a more pass heavy game, Danny Woodhead is the more valuable RB play over Ryan Mathews. Sleeper Special goes to Eddie Royal, who has scored over the past two games and may be back from the grave.
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints
I fail to understand why the Cowboys refuse to give DeMarco Murray a respectable amount of carries. He's a top-15 RB, but they won't even give him 15 carries on a weekly basis and because of it his fantasy value is being lowered. I firmly believe Murray is a RB2, and against a Saints defense that just got ran over by Chris Ivory I think he can produce top-20 output. Terrance Williams didn't get a TD last week, but the Cowboys are a passing offense and Romo will try to get the ball to Williams, Dez, and Witten often. For the Saints, Marques Colston just isn't valuable anymore and if you haven't dropped him yet you should. Kenny Stills was cold last week, but I think he'll be hot Sunday against a bad passing defense. If Sproles does play he's a Flex consideration, but it looks like Pierre Thomas is taking over his responsibilities. Sleeper Special is Nick Toon, because if Colston is out again I expect Brees to continue to get Toon involved.
Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Whoever decided to keep this as the Monday Night Football game clearly hasn’t watched either of these teams lately. Both teams aren’t playing too well defensively, but I think the Dolphins could limit the Bucs here if they focus on stopping Mike James. My Sleeper Special for this matchup are the Dolphins defense simply because I think James’ game last week was fluky and teams will focus on him more. Lamar Miller and Brian Hartline remain as Flex plays for me. Mike Wallace is a WR2, and Charles Clay gets the TE start from me even though he’s cooled off recently. Clay in particular I think scores this week as I expect his targets to go back up. For the Bucs, Vincent Jackson had his worst game of the season and I doubt he produces like that two weeks in a row. If you picked up Mike James I say use him as a Flex, but don’t expect another 158 yard, TD game.
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