1:00 PM ET Games
Houston @ Jacksonville
Vegas Projected Score: Jaguars 22, Texans 20.5
Fresh off a bye to rest his previously-ailing shoulder, Lamar Miller returns for a favorable Week 10 draw against a Jacksonville run defense that ranks No. 27 in DVOA and has given up a rushing touchdown in 7-of-8 games this season. Despite playing hurt in Houston’s pre-bye win over the Lions, Miller logged 18-plus touches for the sixth time in eight games and dominated usage (19 touches, 49% snaps) over Alfred Blue (9, 22%). Blue may stay involved as a “big back” change of pace, but Miller’s featured workload should be secure at full health. A high-volume, all-purpose back facing a sub-par opponent, Miller is an RB1 play against the Jags. … Osweiler has zero fantasy finishes above QB15 this year, and he has thrown for multiple touchdowns in 3-of-8 starts with zero games of 270-plus yards. Pass defense is the Jaguars’ lone strength, ranking No. 12 in DVOA with only one game above 270 passing yards allowed. Quality quarterbacks have still had box-score success against the Jaguars, but a quality quarterback Osweiler is not. After flopping (QB25) in a Week 8 home date with the putrid Detroit pass defense, Osweiler has cemented himself as a low-end two-quarterback-league play regardless of opposition.
Osweiler's target distribution with Will Fuller playing this year: DeAndre Hopkins 61; Fuller 51; Ryan Griffin 33; C.J. Fiedorowicz 31; Miller 24. … Getting strong play from LCB Prince Amukamara and RCB Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars pose a tough draw for boundary receivers like Hopkins and Fuller. Through eight games, only five opposing wideouts have reached 80 yards against Jacksonville. With Hopkins as a season-long fantasy start, you are banking on his talent and volume. Although we’ve long since downgraded Hopkins to a mid-range to low-end WR2, he has drawn eight-plus targets in 6-of-8 games and is on pace for 80 receptions. I think we will see rookie Ramsey chase Hopkins for most of Week 10. … Fuller got off to a white-hot start, then seemed to hit a rookie wall while dealing with shoulder and hamstring injuries. The emergence of Fiedorowicz has also cut into Fuller’s weekly target totals. As Fuller didn’t come off the bye fully recovered from his hamstring injury, he is best approached as a boom-bust WR4/flex until his usage picks back up. … Fiedorowicz has at least seven targets in four straight games and three touchdowns over his last five. The Jaguars have played stingy tight end coverage, notably checking Travis Kelce (5-58-0), Delanie Walker (4-75-0), Zach Miller (6-36-0), Dwayne Allen/Jack Doyle (3-26-0), Dennis Pitta (6-42-0), and Antonio Gates (3-15-1). Still, Fiedorowicz has earned a big enough role as Osweiler’s possession-target safety valve to be worthy of lower-end TE1 discussion.
Blake Bortles committed six turnovers in last year’s two meetings with Romeo Crennel’s Texans defense and now faces it fresh off a bye. Houston’s pass defense ranks No. 7 in DVOA and has permitted top-12 fantasy quarterback finishes in just 2-of-8 games, while Bortles himself has finished above QB15 in 3-of-8 starts. The Texans have surrendered the NFL’s second fewest touchdown passes (6) and second fewest passing yards per game (190.5). A boom-bust fantasy quarterback who’s typically more likely to bust, Bortles is a poor bet this week. … The Jaguars showed more commitment to the running game in Nathaniel Hackett’s first week as offensive coordinator, feeding Chris Ivory a year-high 18 carries against Kansas City. Ivory was a tackle-breaking machine in the first half, but he faded in the final two quarters and had no passing-game involvement while being out-snapped (44%) by T.J. Yeldon (56%), who finished with 12 touches and caught a garbage-time 13-yard touchdown pass. Each back lost fumbles, with Ivory’s being most costly at the goal line in the fourth quarter. While seeing Ivory and Yeldon both handle significant usage under a new playcaller may seem promising at surface level, this remains a timeshare situation in a bad offense. Yeldon is used more in the passing game, where the Texans have allowed a league-low 28 catches to enemy backs. Houston is more vulnerable to interior runners like Ivory, ranking No. 28 in run-defense DVOA. As a home-favorite running back in a plus matchup, Ivory is a passable RB2 this week while Yeldon is a riskier flex play.
Bortles’ target distribution since the Jaguars’ Week 5 bye: Allen Robinson 40; Allen Hurns 33; Marqise Lee 25; Julius Thomas 19; Yeldon and Marcedes Lewis 14; Ivory 8. … The Texans never pose a favorable draw for wideouts, having yielded just four 70-yard games to enemy receivers. Quarterback play and matchup are working against A-Rob, although his usage remains bankable and he finally topped 75 yards in a game last week. Robinson has drawn double-digit targets in 5-of-8 games and ranks fourth in the NFL in red-zone targets (14) and third in targets inside the ten (8). At worst, that makes A-Rob a WR2/3 in season-long leagues with every-week WR1 upside. Robinson’s outlook will be enhanced if Hurns (concussion) can’t play. … Mid-week signs did point to Hurns returning after he practiced on a limited basis Thursday. Hurns has been a weekly crapshoot all year without a particularly high floor or ceiling. If active, Hurns will be a fringe WR3/flex in this challenging spot. … Lee has shown he is a legitimate NFL-quality player this season. He has at least four catches in six of his last seven games and beat Chiefs LCB Marcus Peters for a 52-yard gain last week. With that said, I don’t love the idea of betting on Lee versus savvy Texans LCB Johnathan Joseph in a game where Jacksonville’s passing game as an entity seems unlikely to have much success. … Thomas hasn’t cleared 30 yards since Week 2 and is no longer a full-time player in Jacksonville’s offense, logging snap rates of 47% and 55% in the Jaguars’ last two games. In-line TE Lewis (50%, 48%) has pulled even with Thomas, while No. 3 TE Ben Koyack (14%, 16%) has seen a slight playing-time rise. The Texans allow the NFL’s fourth fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Score Prediction: Texans 23, Jaguars 20
Editor's Note: On FanDuel, "stacking" is a way to raise your potential upside by rostering multiple players from the same game. After you read our analysis here, be sure to check out "Raybon's Rollout: Week 10". over on RotoGrinders to see which players might make the best DFS pairings this week.
Denver @ New Orleans
Vegas Projected Score: Saints 25.75, Broncos 23.25
Strengths collide when Drew Brees At Home meets a Broncos pass defense that ranks No. 2 in DVOA and has not allowed an opposing quarterback to finish above fantasy QB15 since Week 1, most notably shutting down Derek Carr (QB27), Philip Rivers (QB23, QB20), Jameis Winston (QB25), Andy Dalton (QB25), and Andrew Luck (QB29). On the other hand, Brees has accounted for multiple touchdowns in 7-of-8 games this season with weekly finishes of QB2, QB3, QB1, QB9 in four Superdome affairs. Although Broncos LE Derek Wolfe (elbow) and LCB Aqib Talib’s (back) absences provide potential edges, Saints LT Terron Armstead’s (knee) health is just as concerning. Ultimately, I think Brees is best viewed as a usable season-long start and tournament-only DFS play. … We’ve spoken repeatedly of Denver’s run-defense woes in this space, and they were exposed in primetime by the Raiders last Sunday night. Over the past three weeks, the Broncos have been gashed for an 87-462-3 (5.31 YPC) rushing line by enemy backs while plummeting to 20th in run-defense DVOA. This is a favorable matchup for the Saints’ backfield, which at least for the time being is likely to remain a near-even split after last week’s RBBC of Tim Hightower (24 touches, 42% snaps) and Mark Ingram (17, 38%) worked to perfection in New Orleans’ 41-23 beatdown of San Francisco. Superior talent Ingram was more effective than Hightower against the 49ers and should gradually reassume lead back duties, but Hightower has earned involvement. I like Ingram as an upside RB2 play in this underrated matchup and Hightower as a trustworthy RB2/flex.
Brees’ targets since the Saints’ bye week: Willie Snead 33; Michael Thomas 32; Brandin Cooks 30; Coby Fleener 19; Travaris Cadet 12; Josh Hill 10; Ingram 9; Brandon Coleman 7; John Kuhn 6; Hightower 5. … Wide receiver matchups against the Broncos are never favorable even without Talib. Just three wideouts have cleared 60 yards versus Denver through nine games, while only two have scored touchdowns. In the case of Cooks, you are betting on his big-play potential and home splits, where Cooks has scored 13 of his 18 career TDs and is averaging 93.3 yards per game this year. Cooks moves around more so than any NFL receiver, so projecting him to draw an individual corner in coverage would be unreasonable. He is a viable WR2/3 in season-long leagues. … Snead has drawn at least seven targets in 6-of-6 healthy games, but he is scoreless since Week 2 and has cleared 60 yards just twice this season. There is some possibility Broncos shutdown CB Chris Harris will shadow Cooks, but if not Harris will spend most of this game lined up against Snead in the slot. Snead’s imposing matchup and pedestrian box-score results render him a fringe WR3/4. … Thomas looks to have emerged as the highest-floor play in New Orleans’ wide receiver corps with the highest touchdown ceiling. Quietly almost, Thomas leads the Saints in targets (63), receptions (47), red-zone targets (9), and targets inside the ten-yard line (6). Strictly a perimeter player, Thomas also has the best-looking Week 10 matchup against Broncos boundary CBs Bradley Roby and Lorenzo Doss, who are quality cover men but much more attractive to target than Harris. Per PFF’s Pat Thorman, Thomas is Brees’ most-targeted receiver against the blitz. The Broncos have the NFL’s second highest blitz frequency (41%). … Fleener’s snap rates over the last two weeks are 34% and 34%. He has cleared 50 yards in 2-of-8 games this year. Fleener is getting pulled off the field more and more in favor of superior blocker Hill. This has become a situation to avoid in fantasy football.
As Devontae Booker’s on-field performance and box-score results have overwhelmingly disappointed through two games as the lead back in a stuck-in-mud Denver rushing attack, we are left to hang our hats on his usage and matchup in another seemingly prime spot against the Saints. Through two games post-C.J. Anderson, Booker is still dominating snaps (83%, 83%) and touches (24, 11) over No. 2 back Kapri Bibbs (12%, 15%; 2, 3) and in Week 10 takes on a Saints run defense that ranks No. 25 in DVOA and is allowing 4.51 yards per carry to enemy backs while yielding an NFC-high 12 rushing touchdowns and a league-high 6.4 yards per play. Bibbs did pinball a screen pass 69 yards to the house against the Raiders, a play that may earn him more touches at Booker’s expense. Bibbs is suddenly an intriguing season-long stash. Booker has devolved into a risky RB2. I am still not buying beat writer speculation that special teamer Bibbs might overtake Booker. … Is the NFL’s Version of Coors Field enough to turn Trevor Siemian into a viable streamer? The Saints have allowed top-12 fantasy finishes to 6-of-8 quarterbacks faced, including last week’s 398-yard, two-score passing eruption by Colin Kaepernick. One concern resulting from the Broncos’ sputtering run defense is play volume, which allows opponents to keep their offense on the field and dominate the clock. In last Sunday night’s loss, Oakland controlled the ball for 41 1/2 minutes to Denver’s 18 1/2, and the Broncos managed 51 offensive plays. Siemian has finished above the weekly QB17 in just 2-of-8 starts and has two multi-touchdown games. For better or worse, I’m approaching Siemian as an underwhelming streamer and DFS play but a quality start in two-quarterback leagues.
Siemian's 2016 target distribution: Emmanuel Sanders 66; Demaryius Thomas 63; Jordan Norwood 23; Virgil Green 22; Booker 16; Bennie Fowler 14. … Sanders and Thomas are seeing near-equal target shares at this point and play on each side of the formation at a near-equal clip. The Saints got back top CB Delvin Breaux (fibula) in last week’s win over San Francisco, although Breaux didn’t play the whole game and seems likely to operate as a stationary left cornerback against Denver. Thomas has five-plus catches in eight straight weeks and is a WR2 floor play whose upside is enhanced by the favorable matchup. … Sanders came up just short of a deep touchdown bomb in last week’s loss to the Raiders, losing it as he hit the turf. Sanders has at least eight targets in 8-of-9 games and is trustworthy as a WR2 with a higher yardage ceiling than Thomas. … The matchup is also attractive for Green, although he is a low-volume role player in the Broncos’ theoretically run-first offense with a very low ceiling and not-great floor. Green has zero touchdowns and zero 60-yard games through seven appearances.
Score Prediction: Saints 27, Broncos 23
Editor's Note: Free FanDuel Contest: Win a trip to Brooklyn where you'll sit courtside with Brandon Marshall and watch the Warriors take on the Nets. Play FREE.
Los Angeles @ NY Jets
Vegas Projected Score: Jets 20.5, Rams 19
The lowest-totaled game (39.5) on the Week 10 slate is an unlikely source of fantasy goodness for Todd Gurley, who has failed to clear 100 total yards in 7-of-8 games and is scoreless in three straight. As the Rams have understandably lost confidence in their inept running game, Gurley logged season lows in carries (12) and touches (16) in last week’s loss to Carolina. The Jets rank No. 2 in run-defense DVOA and are holding enemy backs to 3.89 yards per carry. One possible shining light is New York’s allowance of the NFL’s fourth most catches (50) and ninth most receiving yards (402) to running backs. Gurley is averaging 5.2 targets per game over his last five after averaging 2.0 targets in the first three games. We’re grasping at straws at this point, of course. Gurley is just a volume-based RB2 in season-long leagues. … Although they remain slow footed in the secondary and get little pass rush up front, the Jets’ pass defense has tightened up a bit recently, holding three of the last four quarterbacks they’ve faced to QB24 fantasy finishes or worse. Case Keenum has finished QB17 or lower in 6-of-8 starts and will stay at risk of in-game benchings as the 3-5 Rams’ season continues to circle the drain with Jared Goff waiting in the wings. Keenum has thrown eight interceptions and taken 12 sacks over his last four starts. He is an inviting target for streamers of the Jets’ fantasy defense. One reason for optimism regarding Keenum as a two-quarterback-league start is Los Angeles’ advantageous outlook at tight end and wide receiver.
Keenum’s targets coming off the Rams’ Week 8 bye: Lance Kendricks 12; Tyler Higbee 7; Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, and Benny Cunningham 6; Gurley 5; Tavon Austin 2. … Emerging as a legitimate fantasy asset, Kendricks quietly has seven-plus targets in four of his last five games and an appealing Week 10 matchup against a Jets defense that has been creamed by Travis Kelce (6-89-1), Jimmy Graham (6-113), and Jesse James (6-43-1) while submitting big plays to C.J. Uzomah (54), Kelce (42), Tanner McEvoy (42TD), Gary Barnidge (32), and Graham (27). The Jets gave up a combined 5-52-1 receiving line to Dolphins tight ends “Dominique Jones” and “MarQueis Gray” last week. Kendricks leads the Rams in targets inside the ten-yard line (4) this year. … Britt has 65-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 6-of-8 games and will run most of his Week 10 routes at Jets backup RCB Darryl Roberts, who is filling in for Marcus Williams (ankle). The Jets have allowed the NFL’s seventh most catches (121), fourth most yards (1,635), and eighth most touchdowns (10) to wideouts. … Quick is a third receiver in a dysfunctional passing game, but he offers big-play ability and has emerged as a near-full-time player. In order, Quick’s snap rates are 55% > 56% > 66% > 69% > 72% > 74% over his last six games. Quick moves around a lot, but he projects to run most of his Week 10 routes at over-the-hill LCB Darrelle Revis. I prefer Kendricks and Britt slightly as superior plays from Los Angeles’ passing attack, but Quick isn’t far behind. He’s worth a look as a fringe WR3/4. … Austin was the Rams’ least visible skill player in last week’s loss to Carolina, managing 18 yards on two touches. Rookie tight end Higbee was more noticeable, making a 31-yard catch off play action. Perhaps Austin will reappear this week. I can’t trust him in fantasy.
Battling a sprained MCL and without LT Ryan Clady (shoulder) and C Nick Mangold (ankle/knee), Ryan Fitzpatrick enters a Week 10 trouble spot against a Rams defense that has held 6-of-8 quarterbacks faced to fantasy finishes of QB16 or worse. Los Angeles’ previously-depleted defensive front got healthy during its Week 8 bye and teed off on Cam Newton in Week 9, piling up season highs in sacks (5) and tackles for loss (9). Fitzpatrick has just barely been playable in two-quarterback-leagues this year. Both of the D/STs in this game are fantasy viable considering the ineptness of each team’s offense. … The Rams have resumed playing shutdown run defense, climbing to No. 7 in DVOA and holding enemy backs to a combined 55-144-1 (2.62 YPC) rushing line over their last three games. This is a brutal matchup for Matt Forte, whose volume is back in question after he managed 13 touches on 55% of the Jets’ Week 9 snaps compared to Bilal Powell’s 10 touches on a 45% playing-time clip. On the field, Forte is running the best he has all year. His usage is more indicative of a fantasy RB2, however, and the losses of Clady and Mangold further threaten his outlook. I still like Forte as a season-long play, but he is dicey in DFS.
Fitzpatrick’s targets over his last six games: Brandon Marshall 56; Quincy Enunwa 35; Powell and Robby Anderson 27; Charone Peake and Forte 13; Jalin Marshall 12. … Continuing to dominate scoring-position work albeit extremely inefficiently, Marshall drew two more red-zone targets in last week’s loss to Miami, narrowly missing a five-yard score when Fitzpatrick’s errant pass flew past him on a play where Marshall was open. Marshall ranks second in the NFL in red-zone targets (17), but he has caught only five and scored on two of them. As Marshall hasn’t topped 70 yards since Week 5, we are left to hang our hats on his consistent volume and above-average Week 10 matchup. He has drawn at least eight targets in 8-of-9 games and the Rams have yielded the NFL’s sixth most catches to wide receivers (122). Still, the inefficiency of Marshall and his quarterback force us to downgrade him to a low-end WR2 in season-long leagues. I still think positive regression is going to hit Marshall soon, quite possibly when the public has written him off for good. … Just when we thought Enunwa was nearing trustworthy status, he laid an egg (1-25-0) against Miami. Enunwa is a hit-or-miss WR4/flex option. … The Jets’ passing game hasn’t been able to support one consistent fantasy pass catcher, so betting on complementary sub-package receivers like Jalin Marshall, Anderson, or Peake seems unreasonable. Although Anderson is playing the most snaps in the group, he has zero touchdowns and zero 50-yard games to show for it.
Score Prediction: Jets 17, Rams 16
Atlanta @ Philadelphia
Vegas Projected Score: Falcons 25, Eagles 25
Coming off ten days' rest following their Thursday night romp in Tampa, the Falcons trek to Philly to face an Eagles pass defense that is beginning to show cracks while conceding top-13 fantasy quarterback finishes in four of its last five games. Philadelphia has been tagged by previously-struggling Eli Manning (QB9), Dak Prescott (QB5), Kirk Cousins (QB13), and Matthew Stafford (QB11), with only Sam Bradford (QB28) failing to pay fantasy dividends during that span. Matchup-proof Matt Ryan dropped top-15 finishes on the Seahawks and Broncos on the road and has posted top-ten fantasy weeks in 7-of-9 starts. The Eagles are weak at cornerback and Atlanta’s passing game is the most explosive in football. Betting against Ryan has been a losing proposition all year. … Philadelphia ranks No. 11 in run-defense DVOA and does not pose an overly attractive matchup for ground games, but the Eagles aren’t quite a shutdown unit, either. Over Philly’s last five games, enemy backs have touched them up for a combined 119-544-1 (4.57 YPC) rushing line with last week’s atrocious performance by the Giants’ unfailingly ineffective RBs (22-58-0) included. As the Falcons go on bye in Week 11, it would be extremely surprising if Tevin Coleman (hamstring) were thrown back into his usual workload against the Eagles, and unsurprising if Coleman were held out one more game. Devonta Freeman was averaging 18.1 touches per game before Coleman went down, anyway, and has dominated scoring-position work in Atlanta’s backfield most of the year. Freeman should have a roughly 18-touch floor with a ceiling well above 20 in this unimposing draw. If Coleman is declared active against the Eagles, I think he’ll be best viewed as a low-floor flex option.
Ryan's Weeks 1-9 targets: Julio Jones 81; Mohamed Sanu 57; Freeman 36; Jacob Tamme 31; Coleman 24; Taylor Gabriel 18; Austin Hooper 17. … As Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan has consistently designed game plans to attack opponents’ most-glaring weaknesses, we should expect a major dose of Julio in this game. Philadelphia’s biggest vulnerability is cornerback play, where all of the Eagles’ CBs have negative PFF coverage grades. Alleged top corner Leodis McKelvin has coughed up four touchdown passes over the last three games and is questionable with a hamstring injury. Although Jones has been more of a spiked-week player than we might like this year, he does have 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 9 of his last 12 games and leads the NFL in receiving yards (970). In a week where most DFSers will pay up at running back and down at receiver, Julio is an incredible Week 10 tournament play and certainly viable in cash. … Sanu’s weekly role has seemingly been game-plan dependent and dictated by how opponents defend Julio, but this is a game where the Falcons’ plan should be to attack the Eagles with their wideouts. Sanu has at least 70 yards and/or a touchdown in three of his last four games and is running nearly 60% of his routes in the slot, where Sanu will primarily draw overmatched rookie CB Jalen Mills. Among 117 qualified cornerbacks, Mills is No. 117 in Pro Football Focus’ pass-coverage grades. … Gadget-guy Gabriel has been a useful role player for Atlanta, but he is playing only 50% of the snaps and has a dangerously low floor with a season high of five targets. … Hooper paid dividends as a Week 9 streamer (3-46-1), but his outlook is more concerning against an Eagles defense yielding the NFL’s second fewest catches (25) and yards (238) to opposing tight ends. Jason Witten (2-16-1), Kyle Rudolph (5-55-0), Jesse James (2-10-0), Zach Miller (4-33-0), and Gary Barnidge (0-0) have notably underwhelmed against Philly this season.
In the case of Carson Wentz, we have a struggling quarterback in a passing game that is poor overall, getting putrid wide receiver play and failing to protect their rookie signal caller with RT Lane Johnson (suspension) and LG Allen Barbre (hamstring) on the shelf. Wentz has recorded weekly finishes of QB22, QB29, QB29, QB23 over the last month while averaging 224.2 yards per game with a 4:5 TD-to-INT ratio since the Eagles’ Week 4 bye. Philadelphia’s offense has failed to generate more than 23 points since the open date. Still, Wentz offers some spiked-week potential against a Falcons team that forces opponents to tee up the NFL’s second most pass attempts per game (42.4) and has allowed a league-high 23 TD passes while ranking No. 21 in pass-defense DVOA. 7-of-9 quarterbacks to face Atlanta have posted top-12 fantasy results. The Falcons will also be without Desmond Trufant (shoulder). While there are obvious reasons to be wary, I think Wentz is worth a long look as a streamer. … Eagles clear-cut lead back Darren Sproles has logged touch counts of 20 and 16 on snap rates of 82% and 80% over the past two games. Ryan Mathews (6 touches, 11%), Wendell Smallwood (2, 5%), and Kenjon Barner (1, 4%) were all bit players in last week’s loss to the Giants. Sproles should remain entrenched atop the depth chart because the Eagles need his sturdy pass blocking due to their line woes. Sproles is always going to be a weak bet for touchdowns, but he is a usable non-PPR flex and low-end PPR RB2 against a Falcons defense submitting a league-high 60.3 receiving yards per game to enemy backs. Only San Diego (73) has allowed more running back catches than Atlanta (69). No. 2 back Mathews has reached double-digit touches once in the last month and would be a painfully low-floor, touchdown-or-bust flex play.
Wentz’s target distribution since the Week 4 bye: Jordan Matthews 39; Nelson Agholor 28; Dorial Green-Beckham 26; Sproles 24; Zach Ertz 21; Trey Burton 9; Mathews 8; Bryce Treggs 3; Smallwood 2. … The Eagles have made a more concerted effort to get slot man Matthews the ball over their last two games with target totals of 15 and 10. Matthews has now cleared 65 yards and/or scored a touchdown in 7-of-8 games. He has been a reliable WR3 play all year with upside enhanced by the absence of Trufant, who has been known to chase opposing top receivers into the slot. Instead, Matthews should end up running most of his routes at linebackers, safeties, and UDFA slot corner Brian Poole. … Green-Beckham has been a trainwreck the past two weeks with several drops and comically-poor effort on routes and contested catches. DGB may be at risk of getting benched for undrafted rookie Treggs, who caught a 58-yard deep ball and drew four targets against the Giants. Treggs played 20% of Philly’s Week 9 snaps and is worth some consideration in especially deep Dynasty leagues. I’m about ready to give up on Green-Beckham. … Agholor has played 21 NFL games and has never cleared 65 yards. I’ll let you know when that changes. … Determined to get Ertz going, the Eagles targeted him (8) early and often versus the G-Men and Ertz paid off with season highs across the board (8-97). It is a trend that absolutely must continue due to Philadelphia’s wide receiver deficiency. Ertz draws a tasty Week 10 matchup with an Atlanta defense surrendering the NFL’s seventh most catches (48), sixth most yards (535), and third most touchdowns (3) to opposing tight ends. Ertz is firmly back in play as a fantasy TE1 in this game.
Score Prediction: Falcons 27, Eagles 24
Kansas City @ Carolina
Vegas Projected Score: Panthers 23.75, Chiefs 20.75
Quietly a fantasy disappointment this season, Cam Newton has managed QB21 and QB17 finishes since Carolina’s Week 7 bye, the first coming in a defense- and run-dominated victory over Arizona and the second in a predictably low-scoring, slow-paced Week 9 win at Los Angeles. Back home where Newton has finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback in 7-of-11 games since the beginning of last season, Cam draws an overrated Kansas City pass defense that has yielded top-15 fantasy quarterback weeks in four of its last five games and struggles to rush the passer, ranking 20th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate metric, 23rd in the NFL in raw sacks (16), and 22nd in quarterback hits (39). By the latter two metrics, 33% of Kansas City’s pass-rush production came in Week 8 against Indianapolis’ nonexistent pass protection. The Chiefs’ man-coverage defense is vulnerable to dual-threat passers, permitting the NFL’s fourth most quarterback rushing yards (149). Cam has seven rushing attempts in each of the Panthers’ last two games and has unluckily come up just short of the end zone several times. As Carolina’s defensive front eliminates rushing attacks, the Panthers should be able to prevent the Chiefs from playing clock-killing keepaway. I like the over on this game’s 44.5-point total and Cam as a DFS tournament play, although the continued absences of LT Michael Oher (concussion) and C Ryan Kalil (shoulder) are significant concerns. The Panthers did catch a break when the Chiefs surprisingly ruled out OLB Justin Houston (knee) on Friday. … To a greater extent, Kansas City poses a plus draw for Jonathan Stewart. The Chiefs are 18th in run-defense DVOA and coughed up a 25-140-0 (5.60 YPC) rushing line to the previously left-for-dead Jaguars backfield last week, yielding chain-moving gains on top of a 42-yard sideline burst by Chris Ivory. Stewart can be feast or famine due to his lack of a passing-game role, but he offers multi-score upside whenever healthy with a secure workload in a run-friendly scheme.
Newton’s 2016 target distribution: Kelvin Benjamin 53; Greg Olsen 49; Ted Ginn 36; Corey Brown 28; Devin Funchess 27; Fozzy Whittaker 22; Stewart 6. … Benjamin is one of my favorite DFS plays of the week against a Chiefs secondary that funnels action toward wide receivers due to Eric Berry’s shutdown tight end coverage, coughing up the NFL’s fifth most receptions (14.8) and sixth most yards (184.8) per game to enemy wideouts. Only seven teams have allowed more wide receiver touchdowns (10) this year. As Benjamin runs most of his routes at right cornerbacks, he will avoid stationary Chiefs LCB Marcus Peters’ coverage for most of this game, much as Allen Robinson (7-76-1) did last week. Benjamin has 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 7-of-8 games on the year. … The sledding will be tougher for Olsen against a perennially tough Chiefs tight end defense that has put clamps on Julius Thomas (2-21-0), Coby Fleener (2-44-0), Clive Walford (2-25-0), Jesse James (2-15-1), C.J. Fiedorowicz (1-1-0), Antonio Gates/Hunter Henry (4-40-0), and Jack Doyle (2-36-0). Olsen, of course, is better than all of those tight ends and remains an obvious every-week starter in season-long leagues with at least five catches in 7-of-8 games. Still, we may need to lower expectations for Olsen this week. … The best dart throw among Carolina’s sub-package wide receivers looks to be Ginn, who quietly has five catches in three straight games on consecutive target totals of 8, 6, 7. Ginn logged 67% of Carolina’s Week 9 snaps compared to Brown’s 52% and Funchess’ 45%. It is perhaps worth noting that Peters got dusted for a 52-yard gain by Marqise Lee last week and gave up a bunch of shorter receptions to Phillip Dorsett the week before.
Back after mysteriously taking Week 9 off, Alex Smith squares off with a pass-funnel Panthers defense that eliminates running games and will likely force Kansas City to attack on short completions through the air. Jeremy Maclin’s (groin) absence weakens Smith’s weaponry, although Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, and Albert Wilson should be capable of picking up most of the slack. A top-15 fantasy quarterback in 4-of-6 games played start to finish, Smith has lower-end streamer appeal against a Carolina defense that has yielded top-ten fantasy finishes to four of the last seven quarterbacks it has faced and gave up 296 passing yards to Case Keenum last week. In addition to Maclin’s loss, one concern for Smith is the reemergence of the Panthers’ pass rush, which has amassed 16 quarterback hits and 12 sacks in two games since its Week 7 bye. Still, this is a matchup wherein Smith is going to have to make throws for the Chiefs to move the chains. … Ranked No. 4 in run-defense DVOA and No. 3 in tackles for loss (51), Carolina has rendered David Johnson (10-24-0) and Todd Gurley (12-48-0) non-factors on the ground in back-to-back weeks since the open date. On a brighter note, Spencer Ware’s value to Kansas City’s offense was reinforced by Charcandrick West’s Week 8 flop (13-39-0) versus Jacksonville. Even in a brutal matchup, Ware is a viable volume-based RB2 play at worst in season-long leagues.
Facing a pass funnel with Maclin out of the equation, this game sets up beautifully for Kelce against a zone-based Panthers defense that has allowed the NFL’s fifth most yards (554) to tight ends and gave up a combined 8-121 stat line to Rams tight ends last week. On paper, Kelce should have every opportunity to reset his season high for targets in Carolina. He’s drawn at least seven in 6-of-8 games. … The Chiefs’ three-receiver set figures to be made up of Chris Conley, Albert Wilson, and Tyreek Hill. All have great matchups against a leaky and inexperienced Panthers secondary. Figuring out which Kansas City wide receiver will capitalize is the trick. As Maclin bowed out after only two snaps in last week’s win over the Jaguars, Conley took over as a full-time player (88%) but failed to score for the eighth straight game and has yet to top 70 yards on the season. It should be noted, however, that Conley dropped a 6-63-1 line on a team-high seven targets when Maclin missed Week 7 with a concussion against the Steelers last year. Slot man Wilson also saw a playing-time boost (71%) after Maclin’s Week 9 exit and drew eight targets from Nick Foles. 4.29 speedster Hill (59%) drew five targets, was used twice in the running game, and may offer the most volume upside in the group as a manufactured-touch player certain to play a bigger role. I don’t pretend to know who will have a big game, but I do think one or two of them will. Hill is arguably the “most fun” play, while Conley probably offers the best floor-ceiling combination.
Score Prediction: Panthers 27, Chiefs 23
Chicago @ Tampa Bay
Vegas Projected Score: Bears 23, Bucs 23
Seemingly energized by his Week 8 black-sheep role, Jay Cutler came out firing in the Bears’ pre-bye upset of Minnesota, attacking an allegedly elite Vikings defense on vertical passes, playing with utmost confidence and aggressiveness, and uncharacteristically acting like a legitimate leader on the sideline. Cutler didn’t quite light up the stat sheet as the fantasy QB17, but enemy passers have lit up stat sheets against Cutler’s Week 10 opponent all year long. Short on pass rush and burnable throughout the back end, the Bucs have been hit by top-six fantasy quarterback performances in 4-of-8 games and top-12 weeks in 5-of-8. Tampa Bay is 20th in pass-defense DVOA, 20th in sacks (17), and 29th in quarterback hits (36). Only three teams have allowed more passing touchdowns than the Bucs (18). Smokin’ Jay’s seemingly renewed attitude, always top-shelf skill level, and mouth-watering matchup make him worthy of QB1 streamer and DFS tournament consideration in stacks with Alshon Jeffery. Cutler has long loved to challenge defenses deep downfield. Tampa Bay has yielded the NFL’s second most completions of 20-plus yards (37) and 40-plus yards (9). Cutler also stands to benefit from the return of efficient slot man Eddie Royal (toe), who can serve as a reliable short-area target. … Restored to feature back treatment against Minnesota, Jordan Howard logged a four-game-high 82% of the Bears’ snaps and parlayed a whopping 30 touches into 202 yards with a touchdown. Considering his normally stout opponent, Howard’s effort was one of the best by any NFL back all year. Ka’Deem Carey (2 touches, 10% snaps) and Jeremy Langford (1, 8%) took deserved backseats. The Bucs rank a middling 15th in run-defense DVOA while yielding a combined 49-228-0 (4.65 YPC) rushing line to Raiders and Falcons backs over their last two games. Certain to benefit from the healthy returns of OGs Josh Sitton (ankle) and Kyle Long (triceps), Howard is back in play as a high-upside RB2 with RB1 potential against the Buccaneers.
Cutler’s Week 8 target distribution: Zach Miller 10; Alshon Jeffery 8; Howard 4; Cameron Meredith, Logan Paulsen, and Josh Bellamy 2; Langford 1. … Jeffery has posted stat lines of 4-105, 5-96, and 4-63-1 in Cutler’s three 2016 starts, while Tampa Bay has been flamed for receiving lines of 8-111-1 (Julio Jones), 12-173-1 (Amari Cooper), and 8-108 (Michael Crabtree) over the past two weeks. The Bucs have allowed the NFL’s fourth most touchdowns (12) and ninth most yards per game (182.4) to opposing wide receivers. Although Jeffery’s season has frustrated in many respects, he has 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown in six of the Bears’ first eight games and target totals of 13, 11, 8 over the last three. Coming off the bye, this is the healthiest version of Jeffery we’ve seen all year. … Miller also has a fantastic matchup against a zone-based Bucs defense that got ripped for 4-78-2 by Falcons tight ends in Week 9, 6-67-1 by Raiders tight ends in Week 8, and 9-181 by Greg Olsen in Week 6. Miller led Chicago in targets, catches (7), and yards (88) in Cutler’s Week 8 start. … Meredith played 87% of the Bears’ Week 8 snaps, but he drew only two targets and could lose playing time with slot man Royal (toe) returning. Cutler’s propensity to lock onto one alpha-male receiver is longstanding. Despite a favorable Week 10 matchup, Meredith and Royal are just low-floor WR4 darts in season-long leagues at this point.
Coming off ten days rest following last Thursday night’s blowout loss to the Falcons, Jameis Winston has an average to below-average Week 10 matchup against a bend-but-don’t-break Bears pass defense that ranks No. 14 in DVOA and has permitted top-15 fantasy quarterback finishes in just 3-of-8 games. Fueled by the return of OLB Pernell McPhee and underrated fellow OLB Willie Young, Chicago has racked up 14 sacks and 27 quarterback hits over its last four games. While Winston has shown a high enough ceiling to be penned into season-long lineups as a QB1, this matchup isn’t quite as attractive as it looks. The Bears’ defense is pressuring quarterbacks, exceeding personnel-based expectations in the secondary, and putting a lid on passing-game production. … With Jacquizz Rodgers (foot) ruled out and Doug Martin (hamstring) still on the mend, undrafted rookie Peyton Barber is expected to serve as the Bucs’ primary back against the Bears. At 5’10/228 with 4.64 speed, Barber is a downhill grinder who drew some Alfred Morris comparisons coming out of Auburn and drew five targets in last week’s loss to Atlanta, although four of them came from backup quarterback Mike Glennon in garbage time. Martin will be eased in lightly if he does make his return after a seven-week layoff and can’t be trusted in fantasy. On Friday, beat writers were skeptical Martin would play at all. Barber is an opportunity-driven RB2/flex against a Bears run defense that ranks a sub-par 23rd in DVOA but is getting back run-stuffing NT Eddie Goldman (ankle) and has held enemy backs to 3.89 yards per carry. Like Winston’s, Barber’s Week 10 matchup may not be quite as strong as it appears at first glance.
Winston’s target distribution since Vincent Jackson went on I.R.: Mike Evans 58; Cameron Brate 20; Adam Humphries 19; Cecil Shorts 12; Russell Shepard 9; Barber 6. … Evans leads the NFL in targets (101) and receiving touchdowns (8) and is playing like a man possessed, routinely manhandling opponents in contested situations and scoring position. The Bears were beaten for big box scores by Stefon Diggs (8-76-1), Davante Adams (13-132-2), and Randall Cobb (11-95-1) in the two games before their Week 9 bye. The only times I have seen defensive secondaries contain Evans this year is when they have gotten away with should-be penalties and/or forced him to work strictly underneath. Evans has double-digit targets in seven straight games. … Brate has scored in back-to-back weeks but cleared 50 yards in 1-of-8 games. He is a touchdown-or-bust streamer option against a Bears defense that has given up the NFL’s eighth fewest fantasy points to tight ends, most notably checking Julius Thomas (2-28-0), Kyle Rudolph (5-31-0), Eric Ebron (4-42-0), and Jason Witten (2-25-0), but yielding solid games to Dwayne Allen (6-50-1) and Trey Burton (5-49-1). Ultimately, this is a below-average matchup for Brate. … Shepard (hip) will miss his second straight game. Rotating complementary receivers Humphries and Shorts are uninspiring fantasy plays. Humphries would be the best option in the group after turning seven targets into a 5-46-1 receiving line in last week's loss to Atlanta.
Score Prediction: Bucs 24, Bears 23
Minnesota @ Washington
Vegas Projected Score: Redskins 22.25, Vikings 19.25
Almost completely devoid of talent on offense, the Vikings have managed point totals of 10, 10, and 16 since their Week 6 bye and in Week 9 resorted to a shortened passing game that was necessary due to pass-protection woes but further condensed an offense that already had no ability to run the ball. This is a bad spot for Sam Bradford and a very good one for the Redskins’ defense, an underrated unit that has surrendered just five touchdown passes over its last seven games while ranking seventh in the NFL in sacks (22) and ninth in quarterback hits (51). Bradford has taken multiple sacks in 6-of-7 starts and 13 over his last three. At home and fresh off its bye, Washington’s D/ST is one of Week 10’s top streamers. … New Vikings OC Pat Shurmur employed an ugly three-man RBBC in his first game calling plays. Matt Asiata (11 touches, 39% snaps) continued to plod and get stonewalled in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Jerick McKinnon (7 touches, 38%) gained eight yards with a long run of four and has been ineffective all year, averaging 3.00 yards per carry. Sadly, Ronnie Hillman (8, 23%) looked like the best option in the group. Regardless of matchups, the Vikings’ running game is a fantasy situation to avoid.
Bradford’s target distribution in Shurmur’s first game as OC: Stefon Diggs 14; Cordarrelle Patterson 8; Adam Thielen 6; Kyle Rudolph and Charles Johnson 3; Asiata 2; Hillman and Laquon Treadwell 1. … As the target numbers suggest, Diggs was the focal point of Shurmur’s Week 9 game plan on quick hitters and high-percentage routes. Diggs now has at least 80 yards and/or a touchdown in 4-of-4 games he has entered after avoiding the injury report, whereas Diggs has finished under 50 yards in 3-of-3 weeks after appearing on the report. Diggs runs over half of his routes in the slot, where Josh Norman does not travel. Diggs’ slot route percentage skied to 70% in Shurmur’s first game calling plays. While this is still not quite an ideal matchup, Diggs is a quality WR3 play with WR2 upside in D.C. … Washington has allowed the NFL’s fifth most receptions (49) to tight ends and got dusted by Tyler Eifert (9-102-1) last time out. I’m not ready to call Rudolph’s target dip (3) in Shurmur’s first game as playcaller a trend quite yet. Rudolph still drew two end-zone targets in last week’s loss to Detroit and has been a solid TE1 play all season. … Patterson out-snapped (58%) and out-targeted (8) Thielen (51%, 6) against the Lions and is the best fantasy dart throw among Minnesota’s complementary wide receivers. Patterson has at least six targets in four of his last five games. Thielen’s target totals since the Vikings’ bye week are 5, 5, 6.
In the second lowest-totaled game of Week 10 (41.5), this is no walk in the park for Kirk Cousins, either, particularly after the Redskins lost stud LT Trent Williams to a four-game suspension. Ranked No. 4 in pass-defense DVOA, no quarterback to face Minnesota has finished better than QB16 over the past seven games. With that said, the nature of the Redskins’ quick-hitting passing attack can offset some pass-protection leaks, and fill-in LT Ty Nsekhe has more than held his own in spot duty over the past two seasons, logging nearly 300 effective snaps. Cousins has finished QB14 or better in 6-of-7 games since Washington’s Week 1 loss to Pittsburgh, mixing in three top-ten results. Cousins’ ceiling is dampened by the imposing matchup, but he’s been a reliable floor play all year. … The Vikings’ run defense has sprung leaks over its last five games, surrendering a combined 105-483-2 (4.60 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs. While UDFA Rob Kelley’s workload may not feel fully secure, this is not a matchup to fear. Kelley was named the Redskins’ early-down back by coach Jay Gruden after sparking Washington’s run game with a 21-87-1 rushing line against a stout Bengals front in London. Fumbling Matt Jones has been benched. Likely to handle 15-plus carries as a Week 10 home favorite, Kelley is a viable RB2 play in non-PPR season-long leagues. Kelley has only three passing-game targets all year, however, and may be a touchdown-or-bust fantasy commodity with a low weekly yardage floor. … Passing-game specialist Chris Thompson narrowly out-snapped (53%) Kelley (47%) in the Week 8 London visit, emerging with double-digit touches for the third straight game (12 > 19 > 12). Minnesota has yielded the NFL’s 11th most receiving yards (386) to opposing running backs. Thompson is a low-end flex specific to PPR leagues.
Cousins’ targets in Jordan Reed’s Week 8 return: Reed and Jamison Crowder 13; DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon 7; Thompson and Vernon Davis 5; Kelley 2. … The Vikings have struggled in tight end coverage in their last two games, submitting 9-101 to Bears tight ends in Week 8 and 7-92 to Eric Ebron in Week 9. Mike Zimmer’s defense has begun to look vulnerable up the seams, where Ebron and Zach Miller beat the Vikings for explosive plays. A volume monster with double-digit targets in three straight games, Reed is likely to have minimal DFS ownership in a game where he is virtually certain to be the focal point of Washington’s passing attack. Jackson's (shoulder) expected absence cements Reed's lofty target projection. … Crowder hasn’t been an easy guy to get a handle on this season, but he continued to play a ton of snaps (70%) in Reed’s Week 8 return and has always been a trusted target by Cousins. Because Crowder mainly runs interior routes and will avoid Xavier Rhodes and Terence Newman’s shutdown boundary coverage, I would rather play Crowder than Washington's outside receivers this week. Crowder's outlook is further enhanced by Jackson's injury. … Just three wide receivers have cleared 65 yards versus the Vikings through eight games, and only six wideouts have scored touchdowns against Minnesota. Garcon has cleared 70 yards in 1-of-8 games and is scoreless in 6-of-8. Whereas the Vikings have given up the league’s 11th most yards to tight ends (511), they have allowed the third fewest receptions (91) and second fewest yards (906) to wide receivers.
Score Prediction: Redskins 23, Vikings 17
Green Bay @ Tennessee
Vegas Projected Score: Packers 26, Titans 23.5
The Packers inexplicably scrapped their five-wide spread passing game in favor of Mike McCarthy’s preferred isolation-route offense in last week’s loss to Indianapolis. Predictably, Green Bay’s receivers resumed failing to win against the Colts’ man coverage. Aaron Rodgers hit a few big late-game pass plays en route to another big fantasy week, but the on-field product wasn’t as attractive as his box score. Still, Rodgers’ results are impossible to quibble with after three straight top-three fantasy weeks and a 10:1 TD-to-INT ratio during that span. Steadily getting worse defensively just as they did last year, the Titans have plummeted to No. 27 in pass-defense DVOA while yielding top-12 fantasy weeks to Cody Kessler (QB9), Andrew Luck (QB1), Blake Bortles (QB4), and Philip Rivers (QB12) all in a row. This is another good spot for Rodgers in another potential high-scoring game. … Eased in after missing Week 8 due to a sickle-cell complication, Ty Montgomery logged a somewhat disappointing ten touches on 45% of Green Bay’s Week 9 offensive snaps but totaled 91 yards and is likely to play more this week. Note to fantasy sites that stubbornly refuse to change Montgomery’s position: He played 20 snaps at running back compared to 11 at receiver. Montgomery has touch totals of 13, 19, 10 through three games as Green Bay’s main back, good for yardage totals of 104, 126, 91. He is an easy RB2/WR2 play at Tennessee. … James Starks has a shot to be active after missing the last month with a knee injury. Highly ineffective before going down (1.75 YPC), Starks is a mere end-of-bench stash in season-long leagues.
As Tennessee plays more zone coverage than man under DC Dick LeBeau, this is a good matchup all around for Green Bay’s passing attack. The Titans have surrendered the NFL’s fourth most pass plays of 20-plus yards (34). Based on where they normally align, Jordy Nelson has the best matchup among Packers pass catchers against Titans LCB Perrish Cox, a weekly DFS moneymaker whom Pro Football Focus has graded No. 112 in pass coverage among 117 qualified cornerbacks. … The Titans fancy RCB Jason McCourty their top corner, but he’s hardly a shutdown force. PFF has charged McCourty with the NFL’s seventh most receiving yards allowed (473). Davante Adams will run the bulk of the routes at McCourty on Sunday. Adams has scored a touchdown in 6-of-8 games this season and has drawn at least eight targets in four of his last five. … The riskiest Green Bay receiver is Cobb, whom the Packers didn’t intend to play in last week’s loss to Indianapolis due to a lingering hamstring injury. Cobb sat out the entire first half, but entered in the third quarter and wound up playing 33% of the snaps, catching 2-of-2 targets for 14 yards and a touchdown. Until he shows he is capable of handling a full complement of playing time, I think Cobb is best viewed as a low-floor WR3 option in season-long leagues. On Friday, McCarthy did insist Cobb "is going to play as a full-time player" this week. … Richard Rodgers finally came alive in last week’s loss to the Colts, parlaying a season-high ten targets into 64 yards. Rodgers entered Week 9 having failed to top 25 yards in each of the Packers’ first seven games. With Montgomery’s role likely to increase and Cobb probable to play more than he did last week, it’s hard to imagine suddenly trusting Rodgers beyond truly desperate deep-league streamer situations. Rodgers would also lose playing time if Jared Cook (foot) can return for a limited role in Nashville.
A top-13 fantasy quarterback in five straight weeks with three top-five performances mixed in, Marcus Mariota has shredded easy matchups and delivered in moderate ones and gets an above-average draw in Week 10 versus Green Bay, which remains depleted in the secondary and ranks a middling 16th in pass-defense DVOA. Playing through a toe injury in last week’s loss to San Diego, DeMarco Murray looked more sluggish than usual and may struggle to run successfully on Green Bay’s stout defensive front, creating a pass-funnel situation for Mariota. Back home in a good-looking matchup with some shootout potential, I expect Mariota to be this week’s most popular DFS quarterback. Mariota's outlook is enhanced by the continued absence of Packers OLB Clay Matthews (hamstring). … The Packers rank No. 6 in run-defense DVOA while holding enemy backs to a combined 164-550-4 (3.35 YPC) rushing line on the year. Even if Murray isn’t quite 100%, his volume is bankable with at least 21 touches in seven straight games and injured Derrick Henry (calf) unlikely to cut into Murray’s snaps. Always a high-floor play due to his passing-game usage, Murray ranks fifth among NFL backs in targets (43) and third in catches (35).
Mariota’s targets over his last five games: Delanie Walker 32; Rishard Matthews 28; Kendall Wright 24; Murray and Tajae Sharpe 22; Henry 8. … The Packers have allowed the NFL’s tenth most yards (514) to tight ends and gave up a combined 7-83 receiving line to Colts tight ends last week. This is a plus draw for Walker, who also stands to benefit if Tennessee struggles to run the ball. Walker has drawn at least eight targets in four of his last six games. … Matthews is the strongest fantasy bet in the Titans’ wideout corps with five touchdowns over his last five games and snap rates of 88% and 89% over the past two weeks. … Slot man Wright logged a season-high 68% playing-time clip in last week’s loss to the Chargers and among Titans receivers is the best bet for big plays. Long underrated in the vertical game, Wright has ripped off gains of 48, 36, 48, and 26 over the last month. The Packers have had problems with slot receivers recently, most notably T.Y. Hilton (6-82), Mohamed Sanu (9-84-1), and Cole Beasley (6-58-2). … Sharpe (83%) continued to out-snap Wright in San Diego, but not because the rookie has earned it. Sharpe has a horrific 46.5% catch rate and zero 60-yard games over the past two months. He hasn’t scored a touchdown all year. Matthews and Wright are the only playable Titans receivers in fantasy.
Score Prediction: Titans 24, Packers 23
4:05 PM ET Game
Miami @ San Diego
Vegas Projected Score: Chargers 26.25, Dolphins 22.25
Getting better every game following offseason microfracture surgery, Melvin Gordon has turned in his best two efforts of the year in back-to-back weeks and draws a mouth-watering Week 10 matchup against the cross-country-traveling Dolphins, who rank a middling 16th in run-defense DVOA and were pasted by Jets backs for a combined 18-114-1 (6.33 YPC) rushing line in Week 9. Running with more aggressiveness, power, and seemingly improved vision the past two weeks, Gordon is no longer leaving yards on the field as he did early in the season and has emerged as the true centerpiece of San Diego’s offense with 27-plus touches in four straight games. A home-favorite running back with multi-score potential every time he dresses, Gordon deserves to be a popular DFS play this week. … A top-12 fantasy quarterback in each of his last four games not facing the Broncos, Philip Rivers takes on a Miami pass defense that has so far overachieved considering its secondary personnel but has still shown a tendency to get lit up by competent quarterbacks. Since Week 2, the Dolphins have given up top-four fantasy weeks to Tyrod Taylor, Marcus Mariota, and Jimmy Garoppolo/Jacoby Brissett. In the other four weeks, they’ve faced Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ben Roethlisberger in a road game where he got hurt, pre-Tyler Eifert Andy Dalton in a game where A.J. Green went off, and Cody Kessler in his first NFL start. The Dolphins’ cover men are subpar and their pass rush is average, ranking 14th in sacks (19) and 18th in quarterback hits (41). Rivers is a strong season-long start and will have very light DFS ownership in a plum spot. Like Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott last week, Gordon and Rivers are playable in the same DFS lineups.
Antonio Gates has led or tied for the Chargers’ team lead in targets in three straight games (10, 9, 9) and enters Week 10 leading all NFL tight ends in red-zone targets (14) and ranked fourth in targets inside the ten (5). His snap rates over the last five games are 35% > 47% > 51% > 68% > 83%. The Dolphins have faced little in the way of tight end talent this year, but they did give up big games to Martellus Bennett (5-114-1) and Delanie Walker (5-66-1). For as long as he is healthy, Gates will continue to be one of the best tight end bets on the board for weekly TDs. … Hunter Henry is tentatively due back from his knee sprain, but his role had waned in favor of Gates’ before the injury with target totals of 3 and 4 on snap rates of 63% and 56% in Weeks 7-8. Henry is a low-floor, low-ceiling, and ultimately unnecessary Week 10 fantasy risk. … Travis Benjamin (PCL) lasted only seven Week 9 snaps and seems extremely unlikely to play ahead of San Diego’s Week 11 bye. Tyrell Williams should be a popular DFS play against burnable Dolphins CBs Byron Maxwell and Tony Lippett. Maxwell couldn’t cover Brandon Marshall without holding him in Week 9, while PFF has charged Lippett with a 120.6 passer rating allowed on throws into his coverage, the NFL’s ninth worst mark among corners who’ve played at least 250 snaps. … Dontrelle Inman is the sneakiest play in San Diego’s wideout corps. The slot receiver has drawn ascending target totals of 6 > 7 > 9 over the past three weeks and played 95% of the Chargers’ Week 9 snaps. Williams is a better bet for big plays and touchdowns, but Inman arguably has the higher catch-total ceiling.
Fast emerging as a top-five NFL running back, Jay Ajayi has parlayed touch counts of 26, 29, 27 over the past three weeks into yardage totals of 207, 216, 130 while shredding the normally stout defensive fronts of Buffalo and the Jets. With Arian Foster out of the picture, Ajayi established a season high in snap rate (72%) and matched his season high in targets (4) in last week’s win over Gang Green. The Chargers have held enemy backs to 3.90 yards per carry and rank second in the NFL in tackles for loss (52), but Miami’s transformation into a run-heavy offense and Ajayi’s extreme-volume workloads have rendered him matchup proof. He is a top-five RB1 play at Qualcomm. The Dolphins can be expected to lean especially heavily on Ajayi with Jarvis Landry (shoulder) banged up, quite probably involving Ajayi more than usual in the passing game. … I made the regrettable mistake of liking Ryan Tannehill as a Week 9 fantasy start against the Jets. Tannehill was held below 35 attempts for the fifth straight game and now has thrown multiple touchdown passes in just three of his last 13 starts. Reduced to a game manager by first-year coach Adam Gase, Tannehill is incapable of paying fantasy dividends in such a low-volume role regardless of opponent. He is a low-ceiling, low-floor two-quarterback-league option.
Tannehill's targets over his last six games: Jarvis Landry 38; DeVante Parker 27; Kenny Stills 24; Damien Williams 13; Ajayi 10; MarQueis Gray and Dominique Jones 8; Kenyan Drake 6. … A volume-dependent fantasy commodity with low yards-per-reception, yards-per-target, and touchdown numbers, Landry’s value is compromised in Miami’s run-first attack. After seeing double-digit targets in each of the first four games, Landry has averaged 6.5 targets and 57.5 yards per game over the last four. Gase did make comments this week indicating Landry will be the “squeaky wheel” at San Diego, openly acknowledging a need to get him the ball more. Until we see that realized, however, Landry needs to be downgraded to a fantasy WR3. His missed Thursday practice with a shoulder injury is additional reason for concern. Rookies Jakeem Grant and Leonte Carroo would figure to share the Dolphins’ third receiver role if Landry is unable to play. … Inefficient in a low-volume passing offense and playing hurt, Parker has been held under five targets in four of his last five games and is scoreless during that stretch. Parker is going to draw Chargers top CB Casey Hayward on most of his Week 10 routes. In one of my deeper season-long leagues, I’m debating between Parker and Cordarrelle Patterson. I’m leaning Patterson. I might lean back toward Parker if Landry gets ruled out. … Stills’ target totals are 3, 1, 3, 8, 1 over his last five games. He’s been held under 40 yards in 5-of-8 games this year. Stills always offers big-play potential, but he lacks any hint of consistency and would be hard to trust this week regardless of Landry’s availability after missing practice time with a calf injury.
Score Prediction: Chargers 30, Dolphins 20
4:25 PM ET Games
San Francisco @ Arizona
Vegas Projected Score: Cardinals 31, 49ers 17.5
A supremely-talented home-favorite running back facing the NFL’s worst run defense by a wide margin, David Johnson is the best fantasy play on the Week 10 board and I’m not sure much else needs to be said. … Season-long owners in desperate bye-week binds may want to consider flexing Andre Ellington versus a San Francisco run defense bad enough that two backs on the same team can pay dividends in the same game, evidenced by Mark Ingram (15-158-1) and Tim Hightower (23-87-1) in Week 9, Jacquizz Rodgers (26-154) and Peyton Barber (12-84-1) in Week 7, and LeSean McCoy (19-140-3) and Mike Gillislee (6-60-1) in Week 6. … Carson Palmer and Johnson are usable in the same DFS lineups against a San Francisco team that plays fast, struggles to sustain drives, and therefore hemorrhages opponent volume, allowing enemy offenses to run the NFL’s second most plays per game (71.4). The Cardinals also play fast, running the second most offensive plays per game (70.8) behind only the Saints, who ran a whopping 86 plays including penalties in last week’s meeting with these same 49ers. San Francisco has yielded top-12 fantasy quarterback finishes in six of its last seven games, including multi-touchdown performances to Drew Brees (3), Jameis Winston (3), Tyrod Taylor (2), Drew Stanton (2), Dak Prescott (2), Russell Wilson/Trevone Boykin (2), and Cam Newton (4). Palmer has been a fantasy disappointment for most of the year, but otherwise there is every reason to believe he can hit big as a Week 10 start.
Larry Fitzgerald has drawn at least nine targets in 6-of-6 full games played by Palmer this season and dusted San Francisco for 6-81-2 in Week 5, even with Stanton quarterbacking. We’ve had success attacking the 49ers’ small-and-frail secondary with plus-sized receivers all year and with Michael Floyd demoted, Fitzgerald (6’3/225) is the biggest member Arizona’s three-wideout set. … Past his early-season sickle-cell scare, John Brown should come off the bye as the Cardinals’ clear-cut No. 2 receiver. Beginning with most recent, Brown’s stat lines in Palmer’s last four starts are 4-49-1, 5-54-0, 10-144-0, 6-70-0. San Francisco has yielded a league-high 15 touchdown catches to opposing wide receivers. … Although his playing time was inflated by injuries to Brown and Floyd, diminutive (5’10/156) speedster (4.28) J.J. Nelson logged target totals of 7 and 12 in the two games before Arizona’s Week 9 bye, playing 84% and 92% of the offensive snaps. Nelson actually worked ahead of Brown in two-receiver sets in the Cardinals’ pre-bye loss to Carolina. Coach Bruce Arians stated during the off week that Nelson is now a permanent starter, a deserved promotion at the expense of injured and ineffective Floyd. While I’m not quite ready to value him over Brown, Nelson needs to be taken seriously as a fantasy starter going forward. Although Nelson seemingly profiles as a feast-or-famine player, he appeared to exhibit genuine chemistry with Palmer in Weeks 7-8 and has the exceptional ability to outrun coverage schemes.
After flaming a cross-country-traveling Saints defense for last week’s QB8 finish, Colin Kaepernick is in for a much stiffer Week 10 test in this visit to the desert, where Arizona’s defense is fresh off its bye and has allowed fantasy quarterback finishes above QB19 in just 2-of-8 games. The Cardinals are No. 3 in pass-defense DVOA and No. 8 in sacks (21), and they have allowed the NFL’s fewest touchdown passes (5). Kaepernick may have a small edge on the ground, where the Cards have allowed a league-high 226 quarterback rushing yards and will remain vulnerable to dual-threat signal callers due to their man-cover scheme. Still, I think this game is far more likely to play out in an ugly than box-score-friendly manner for Kaepernick. I was a fan of streaming Kap as a QB1 versus New Orleans. I think he is best approached as a two-quarterback-league play this week. … Carlos Hyde will be a tough fantasy sell even if he gets medical clearance to return from his shoulder injury. The 49ers are not expected to decide on Hyde’s availability until Saturday. More versatile and arguably more explosive than Hyde, DuJuan Harris has given San Francisco’s offense an all-purpose dimension it lacked early in the season and has likely earned a significant role regardless of Hyde’s status. Harris runs with a ton of energy whenever he gets the ball. The Cardinals play stingy run defense, ranking top ten in DVOA and holding enemy backs to 3.44 yards per carry. If Hyde sits out another week, Harris will remain an attractive RB2. Harris logged 88% of San Francisco’s Week 9 snaps, turning 15 touches into 142 yards with a receiving touchdown.
Kaepernick’s Weeks 6-9 target distribution: Quinton Patton 20; Jeremy Kerley 18; Vance McDonald 14; Torrey Smith 12; Garrett Celek 9; Shaun Draughn and Harris 8; Mike Davis 4. … Patrick Peterson’s Cardinals are playing lights-out coverage, checking Kelvin Benjamin (2-73-0), Doug Baldwin (6-69-0), and Brandon Marshall (3-70-0) over their last three games. Just two opposing wide receivers have reached 75 yards against Arizona all year, while the Cardinals have not allowed a wide receiver touchdown since Week 5. Smith has theoretical big-play ability and Patton is coming off a big game (6-106) against the Saints, but the Cards pose an entirely different challenge. I’m fading all 49ers receivers in Week 10. … That includes Kerley, who gave Arizona fits (8-102-1) with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback earlier this season but has managed stat lines of 2-12-0, 2-15-0, 3-22-0 in Kap’s starts. … McDonald caught a 65-yard touchdown last week and has now drawn target totals of 6 and 6 on snap rates of 77% and 70% in San Francisco’s last two games. The Cardinals pose a brutal matchup for tight ends, however, yielding league lows in receptions (22) and yards (196) to the position. Arizona’s defense has notably checked Greg Olsen (1-11-0), Jimmy Graham (5-53-0), Charles Clay (0-0), and Martellus Bennett (3-14-0).
Score Prediction: Cardinals 34, 49ers 20
DFS Players: 49ers at Cardinals is the RotoGrinders Matchup of the Week. Some of RotoGrinders' top NFL minds break down this game from every angle and help prepare you to set winning lineups this weekend in daily fantasy football.
Dallas @ Pittsburgh
Vegas Projected Score: Steelers 26.25, Cowboys 23.75
As it pertains to Week 10 specifically, the Steelers’ offense is a bit trickier to navigate than usual. We know about Ben Roethlisberger’s massive home-road splits – they are significantly greater than Drew Brees’, for instance – but we also must account for Dallas’ keepaway methods, which have limited their opponents to the NFL’s third fewest plays per game (60.2). Only 2-of-8 quarterbacks to face Dallas have finished QB12 or better, while Big Ben has thrown three or more touchdown passes in six straight home starts. I’m definitely teeing up Roethlisberger in season-long leagues. I’m not sure where to go with him in DFS. Ben’s slow start in last week’s loss to Baltimore was predictable and he got it going in the final quarter. I’m not concerned about his health. … Dallas’ keepaway approach also limits enemy ground games, where the Cowboys have allowed the NFL’s fifth fewest running back rushing yards (591) and 11th fewest running back catches (37). Dallas faces a league-low 20.5 rushing attempts per game. Le’Veon Bell is good enough to overcome this, of course, and the likelihood Ben plays better at home bodes well for Bell’s touchdown outlook. Bell remains scoreless through five games. If forced to decide between Le’Veon and Melvin Gordon in DFS, however, I think I’m going with Gordon this week. In DFS tournaments, Bell seems certain to have lower ownership and may be the superior play there.
Roethlisberger’s targets in his Week 9 return: Antonio Brown 11; Eli Rogers 10; Bell 9; Sammie Coates 5; Jesse James 4. … Brown has a touchdown and/or 100-plus yards in 6-of-8 games and has drawn at least 11 targets in five of Ben’s six full games played. It is also true that just one wide receiver has topped 75 yards against the Cowboys through eight games. In a week where most people will pay up for David Johnson and Melvin Gordon, Brown’s DFS ownership could near its season low. Play volume remains a concern, but when they are matched up Brown should run laps around Cowboys RCB Brandon Carr. … Coates has one catch for four yards on his last ten targets. I want to see Coates do something before reinvesting in him in fantasy. … Slot man Rogers logged 67% of Pittsburgh’s Week 9 snaps and led the team in receiving (6-103), although he didn’t get going until what amounted to garbage time. Rogers’ Week 10 matchup is much tougher against stingy Cowboys slot CB Orlando Scandrick. … James got blown up as a blocker in the Steelers’ first seven games and his snaps were cut coming off the Week 8 bye, logging a season-low 45% playing-time clip. James was out-snapped by Xavier Grimble (61%). With Ladarius Green (ankle) coming off PUP to play a limited role against Dallas, James can safely be cut in all season-long leagues. Green should eventually take over as the Steelers' primary pass-catching tight end, although it will likely take a few weeks.
We’ve learned that the Cowboys’ running game is essentially indefensible regardless of the run-defense strength of their opponents. This is a Matchups column, however, and so it should be pointed out that Pittsburgh’s run defense returned to its usual stout self with ILB Ryan Shazier and RE Cameron Heyward back healthy in last week’s loss to Baltimore, stymieing Ravens backs for a combined 25-36-0 (1.44 YPC) rushing line. Even if Ezekiel Elliott has a less-efficient rushing day than usual, he can compensate on volume and scoring potential. He leads the NFL in per-game carries (22.1) and rushing yards (111.4) and ranks fifth in rushing touchdowns (7). It can’t hurt that Pittsburgh has yielded the NFL’s tenth most receptions (43) and sixth most receiving yards (431) to enemy backs. … Always a high-floor play who mixes in spiked weeks, Dak Prescott has finished no worse than fantasy QB14 over his last six games and has four top-ten weeks. Prescott has accounted for multiple touchdowns in all six of those games. This game’s shootout potential raises Prescott’s ceiling in a favorable matchup. Pittsburgh is No. 18 in pass-defense DVOA and doesn’t generate pressure, ranking dead last in the NFL in sacks (11) and second to last in quarterback hits (35). The Steelers have resorted to higher blitz frequency to manufacture pass-rush production, a tendency Prescott should be able to exploit with high-percentage hot reads like Cole Beasley. Prescott is a confident QB1 start in season-long leagues and sure to be lightly owned in DFS.
Prescott’s targets with Dez Bryant in the lineup this year: Bryant 41; Cole Beasley 38; Jason Witten 33; Terrance Williams 18; Zeke 11; Brice Butler 8. … Bryant has been up and down with a rookie quarterback in a run-based offense that doesn’t force feed him the ball, but his Week 10 matchup is mouth watering against Steelers rookie RCB Artie Burns, who was the primary burn victim on Mike Wallace’s big Week 9 day (4-124-1). Dez was a huge bust (1-19-0) in last week’s win over Cleveland, but he still has 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown in three of his last four games. … A high-floor fantasy play with more upside than his skill set suggests, Beasley’s stat lines in Dez’s five games played this year are 6-56-1, 4-53-0, 7-73-0, 5-75-0, 8-65-0. Beasley is a borderline WR2 in PPR leagues and even in non-PPR an every-week WR3/flex option. … A healthy Shazier changes the complexion of Pittsburgh’s tight end defense, as Dennis Pitta (2-14-0) could attest last week. For better or worse, I’m resisting chasing Witten’s Week 9 explosion against the lifeless Browns. Prior to that, he had fewer than 50 yards in five straight games.
Score Prediction: Cowboys 24, Steelers 23
Sunday Night Football
Seattle @ New England
Vegas Projected Score: Patriots 28.25, Seahawks 20.75
“Versus Seattle” always looks imposing on paper, but the Patriots are returning from a bye to catch Pete Carroll’s club on a short week after the Seahawks’ defense logged snap counts of 95, 76, 86 including penalties in Weeks 7-9. For perspective, an NFL defense averages 66 snaps per game. Also missing difference-maker DL Michael Bennett (knee), Seattle surrendered consecutive 330-plus-yard passing games to Matt Ryan and Carson Palmer in Weeks 6-7, then Week 8’s fantasy QB9 finish to Drew Brees and Week 9’s QB5 finish to Tyrod Taylor fueled by Tyrod’s second highest passing-yardage total (289) of the season. This won’t be the same version of Seattle’s defense it’s been ingrained in us to fear. The Patriots and Seahawks have met twice over the past five seasons and New England’s game plan was definitive in both, with Brady firing off pass-attempt totals of 50 and 58 compared to Patriots running back carries of 18 and 26. Brady emerged from the first meeting with 395 yards and two touchdowns and the second with 328 yards and four scores. Brady is going to shred the Seahawks on Sunday night. … Even in a matchup where New England’s game plan seems predictable, LeGarrette Blount’s touchdown upside is impossible to ignore. Blount has hit pay dirt five times in Brady’s four starts, logging touch counts of 18, 15, 25, 18. The Seahawks’ run defense has been far from a shutdown force lately, yielding rushing lines of 29-117-1 to Bills backs, 35-122 to Saints backs, and 35-120 to Cardinals backs over its last three games. A 7.5-point home-favorite running back facing a tired, cross-country-traveling defense on a short week, Blount offers plenty of upside as a clock-killing hammer. … The Patriots still seem likely to open this game with James White as their primary back, perhaps mixing in Dion Lewis (knee) sparingly if he is activated off PUP. White has drawn at least five targets in all four of Brady’s starts and remains the preferred PPR play. Lewis will not be a fantasy option until he shows he is capable of handling a meaningful workload.
High-percentage throws to interior receivers Wes Welker (10-138-1) and Julian Edelman (9-109-1) were the Pats’ primary means of moving the chains in their last two Seattle clashes. Edelman’s target totals through four Brady starts are 10, 7, 10, 8. He should dig deep into the double digits on Sunday night. Backsliding Seahawks slot CB Jeremy Lane was dusted repeatedly by interior receivers Robert Woods (10-162) in Week 9 and Larry Fitzgerald (9-70) in Week 7. Strategically, this matchup reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger’s 456-yard effort against Seattle in Week 12 last season wherein Steelers interior receiver Markus Wheaton (9-201-1) had a career game. … Rob Gronkowski went 6-68-1 against the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49, while Gronk has topped 100 yards and/or scored a touchdown in all four games since Brady returned. Gronk and Edelman both dealt with early-season injuries. Fresh off the bye, they both should eat. … Although his production slowed leading into the open date, Martellus Bennett remains playable in a game where pass volume is virtually certain to be plentiful. Bennett is a low-end TE1 option in season-long leagues and will have next to no DFS ownership. … Chris Hogan has the toughest matchup in New England’s pass-catcher corps against stingy Seahawks boundary corners Richard Sherman and Deshawn Shead. Although Hogan has mixed in two 90-plus-yard games, his target totals in Brady’s starts are 5 > 2 > 1 > 4. Hogan is a big-play-dependent boom-bust WR3/flex whose outlook is enhanced by the likelihood Brady stacks volume. … Danny Amendola failed to reach a 50% playing-time clip in any of the Patriots’ first eight games, but fantasy owners in bye-week binds could do worse than throwing a dart at New England’s situational slot receiver. Amendola could easily end up seeing the field more than usual due to the probable pass-heavy nature of this game. Despite his limited role, Amendola actually has just as many red-zone targets (5) as Bennett and more than Gronk (4) and Hogan (2) so far this year.
Coming off his second best performance of the season, this game’s high-scoring potential and New England’s pass-defense woes put Russell Wilson back on the upside QB1 crosshairs for Week 10. The Patriots are 26th in pass-defense DVOA and have been unable to generate pressure, ranking 29th in the NFL in sacks (13) and dead last in quarterback hits (34). The Seahawks’ playcalling suggests they have lost all confidence in their running game and now entrusted their offense almost entirely to Wilson, who has dropped back 30 and 35 times compared to 8 and 14 running back carries over the last two weeks. … The Pats play lights-out run defense, ranking No. 5 in DVOA and limiting enemy backs to 3.73 yards per carry. Coming off the bye, New England’s defensive front is fresh after MLB Dont’a Hightower battled an early-season knee injury and impressive rookie LB Elandon Roberts was promoted into a full-time role following the Jamie Collins trade. Whereas Christine Michael has devolved into the Seahawks’ version of Ryan Mathews behind an offensive line that can’t run block a lick, passing-game specialist C.J. Prosise’s consecutive snap rates are 25% > 42% > 55% over the past three weeks. Unfortunately, the playing-time bump has translated into touch totals of 3 > 8 > 4 for Prosise. While projected game script seemingly sets up well for Prosise, ultimately I would try to avoid this situation in fantasy. Wilson has historically preferred to take off and run rather than check down to backs when plays break down.
Wilson's targets since Seattle's Week 5 bye: Jimmy Graham 32; Doug Baldwin 26; Jermaine Kearse 20; Tyler Lockett 13; Michael and Prosise 8; Paul Richardson 6. … Targeted at least eight times in five of his last six games, Graham is on a complete roll and is the likeliest Seahawks player Bill Belichick will game plan to stop. The Seahawks get to scheme, too, of course, and coverage-liability Patriots SS Pat Chung is someone OC Darrell Bevell should know he can attack. Regarding Belichick’s plans for Graham, we have one historical data point to work from. In Week 6 of the 2013 season, the Patriots stuck Aqib Talib and later Kyle Arrington on Graham and held him catch-less on six targets. … Baldwin is the logical beneficiary should New England use physical double teams to contain and try to frustrate Graham. Baldwin figures to draw some combination of slot CB Justin Coleman and movable RCB Logan Ryan, who have both had poor years. Baldwin has disappointed with six targets or fewer in five of his last six games, but there is a conceivable scenario where he has a spiked week in terms of volume at Foxboro. Certain to be low owned with a good matchup in a likely shootout, Baldwin is my favorite DFS tournament play among Seahawks skill-position players. … Lockett’s snap rate fell back down to 55% in last Monday night’s win over Buffalo. Lockett’s target totals since the Seahawks’ bye week are 5 > 2 > 4 > 2. He has cleared 40 receiving yards in 1-of-8 games and is scoreless in 8-of-8. … Kearse has zero 60-yard games and zero touchdowns on the year.
Score Prediction: Patriots 34, Seahawks 24
Monday Night Football
Cincinnati @ NY Giants
Vegas Projected Score: Giants 24.25, Bengals 22.75
Andy Dalton returns from the Bengals’ Week 9 bye for a road trip to MetLife Stadium, where the Giants’ underrated pass defense has allowed just one top-12 fantasy quarterback finish through eight games and has soared to No. 10 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings fueled by one of the NFL’s most talented secondaries. Still, Dalton has posted QB6 and QB11 fantasy finishes since Tyler Eifert returned from injury two games ago, significantly upgrading Cincinnati’s red-zone offense. Albeit not overly exciting, Dalton is a passable low-end QB1 play in season-long leagues. Due to their inability to run the ball and cobble together sustained drives, the Giants are hemorrhaging play volume, allowing enemy offenses to fire off a league-high 71.8 plays per game. … Nothing in particular stands out about this matchup to differentiate Giovani Bernard from Jeremy Hill. The Giants are 14th in receptions permitted to backs (42) and 13th in run-defense DVOA. Gio has mostly been a floor play without spiked-week potential, having reached 100 total yards in 1-of-8 games and scored a touchdown in 3-of-8. Bernard’s target totals (2, 1) have taken a hit since Eifert returned. More of a boom-bust RB2/flex, Hill has scored in 4-of-8 games and cleared 100 yards from scrimmage once while being held under 60 yards in 4-of-8.
Dalton’s targets in Eifert’s Week 8 return to a full-time role: A.J. Green 18; Eifert 12; Tyler Boyd 7; Brandon LaFell 2; Gio and Hill 1. … Green leads the NFL in catches (59) and the AFC in receiving yards (896) and is an elite season-long WR1 play every week. It should still be noted that the Giants’ stud boundary corners have been mostly tough on perimeter wideouts, notably checking Jordy Nelson (4-38-1), Stefon Diggs (5-47-0), Kenny Britt (3-43-0), and Dez Bryant (1-8-0) but also giving up useful weeks to Mike Wallace (4-97-0), DeSean Jackson (5-96-1), and Davante Adams (5-85-1). I’m viewing this as an average to slightly above-average matchup for Green. … The best place to attack the Giants is in the middle of the field, where Rams tight ends hit them for 8-59 in Week 7 and Eagles tight ends totaled 11-152 against the G-Men last week, including Zach Ertz’s slump-busting 8-97 line. Outside of Green and Odell Beckham, Eifert is the highest-ceiling play on the board in this game. … A sneaky Week 10 dart throw is rookie slot man Boyd, who drew seven targets in the Bengals’ pre-bye tie with the Redskins and played a season-high 82% of the snaps. The Giants have been hit by slot men Jordan Matthews (6-88), Tavon Austin (10-57-1), Randall Cobb (9-108), Cole Beasley (8-65), Willie Snead (5-54-1), and Jamison Crowder (4-78-1). Boyd looks like a better bet for production at this point than nominal No. 2 wideout LaFell.
Eli Manning has been one of fantasy football’s toughest quarterbacks to forecast in a Jekyll & Hyde Giants offense that is neutered by its utter inability to run the ball but maintains explosive potential in the passing game. Still, Eli’s Monday night matchup is favorable on paper against a sub-par Bengals pass defense that ranks No. 24 in DVOA and 23rd in sacks (16) and has allowed top-13 fantasy finishes to six of its last seven quarterbacks faced, including the QB6 week to Kirk Cousins in Cincinnati’s pre-bye tie with Washington. As he returns from a four-touchdown game, it feels like we’re just chasing box scores with Eli at this point, but there are certainly some Week 10 reasons to buy in. One Giants loss we can’t ignore is LG Justin Pugh (MCL), who would have been tasked with blocking ferocious Bengals DT Geno Atkins. … In games not against the Cowboys, the Bengals have held enemy backs to a combined 132-461-3 (3.49 YPC) rushing line. Pugh’s loss will especially sting in the running game, where he earned Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 run-blocking grade among 77 qualified guards in the first half of the season. In their Week 9 win over the Eagles, the Giants used Rashad Jennings (14 touches, 58% snaps) and Paul Perkins (14 touches, 34%) in a near-even timeshare and weeded out Bobby Rainey (0, 8%). Due to the Giants’ unsuccessful running game as a whole and so many negative external factors, this is best viewed as a fantasy situation to avoid. Out of all the options, Perkins does look like the best bet for a big play.
Eli’s Week 9 targets coming off the Giants’ bye: Odell Beckham 10; Will Tye 7; Sterling Shepard 6; Jerell Adams 4; Jennings and Perkins 3; Roger Lewis 2; Victor Cruz 1. … The G-Men emerged from the off week shuttling Beckham around the formation more than usual, including using him in the slot. Although the Eagles prevented him from busting big plays beyond a 26-yard slant OBJ took to the house, Beckham delivered in the box score and drew nine-plus targets for the seventh straight game. We are obviously dealing in small sample sizes here, but Beckham has paid dividends in all four of his home games (8-86-0, 7-121-0, 8-222-2, 4-46-2) this season. … Shepard caught one of Eli’s four Week 9 touchdowns from 32 yards out, but the rookie slot receiver hasn’t topped 50 yards since Week 3 and is primarily running routes close to the line of scrimmage, which caps Shepard’s yardage ceiling. Just four of Shepard’s 34 grabs this season have occurred 20-plus yards downfield. Shepard would need to rack up high catch totals in order to compensate for that, but he hasn’t topped five receptions in a game since Week 2. With that said, Shepard would become a more attractive WR3/flex option if Cruz (ankle) misses this game. … The Bengals’ tight end defense has been porous over their last three games, surrendering 14-192-1 to Redskins tight ends in Week 8, 6-66 on 7 targets to Gary Barnidge in Week 7, and 12-210-1 to Patriots tight ends in Week 6. Playing 72% of the snaps and finishing second on the team in targets, Tye took over as the Giants’ primary tight end in last week’s win over Philadelphia with mistake-prone Larry Donnell benched. Tye has let us down before in prime streamer spots, but this is another game where he warrants at least some consideration. Like Shepard, Tye’s outlook would improve if Cruz can’t play.
Score Prediction: Bengals 28, Giants 24