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Survivor Guide: Week 10

by Mark Miller
Updated On: November 8, 2018, 9:06 am ET

*Team listed in BOLD is my pick to win the game

 

Strong Play:

 

L.A. Chargers (@ Oakland) – L.A. Chargers RB Melvin Gordon returned to the field after a two-week hiatus due to sitting out in Week 7 and having a bye in Week 8. Gordon exploited the Seahawks Defense’s weakness and rushed for 113 yards on just 16 carries, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. WR Keenan Allen also chipped in and eclipsed 100 receiving yards for the first time since Week 1, finishing with six catches for 124 yards, including one catch that he hauled in for 54 yards. The Chargers Offense is rolling and they will face arguably the worst team in the NFL this week. The Raiders are coming off an embarrassing loss against the 49ers on Thursday night, losing 34-3 and were torched by second year UDFA QB Nick Mullens. They allowed Mullens to throw for 262 yards and three touchdowns, but they also couldn’t stop the run, allowing Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida to combine for 132 rushing yards and one touchdown. If they allowed the 49ers to do that, I can only imagine the type of numbers the Chargers Offense will put up this week against a team that appears to have quit on head coach Jon Gruden. The Chargers Defense is also starting to play better and there is a chance that Joey Bosa could potentially return this week which will be a big boost to the defense. Even if he’s unable to play, I am expecting the Chargers to completely dominate on the defensive side of the ball. The Chargers can’t afford to look past Oakland this week so I am expecting them to romp the Raiders and win by double digits. This is the perfect week to take the Chargers in your pool.

Next 3 Games:
L.A. Chargers: vs. Denver, vs. Arizona, @ Pittsburgh
Oakland: @ Arizona, @ Baltimore, vs. Kansas City

Kansas City (vs. Arizona) – The Kansas City Chiefs continued to roll last week against the Cleveland Browns with Patrick Mahomes throwing for another impressive 375 yards and three touchdowns. Kareem Hunt put on a show as well rushing for 91 yards on 17 carries and had two rushing touchdowns. He also caught one pass for 50 yards. I know Mahomes is making the case for NFL MVP, but Hunt is also showing how valuable he is as well. Kansas City has another favorable matchup this week against the 2-6 Arizona Cardinals and have opened as 16.5-point favorites and I wouldn’t be shocked if that line moved a little bit higher. The Cardinals went into their Week 9 bye week on a high note with a 18-15 win against the 49ers. In fact, both of their wins this year came against San Francisco, but that’s not saying much. They actually could have lost both of those games and they could be 0-8 heading into this game against KC. As I mentioned last week, Kansas City’s defense has shown signs of life over the last couple of weeks. They shouldn’t have any problems against the Josh Rosen-led Cardinals this week. The Cardinals’ new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich did a nice job putting Rosen in position to succeed against San Francisco two weeks ago, but this week is going to be a lot different, having to keep up with Mahomes as opposed to C.J. Beathard. I expect that RB David Johnson will be heavily involved in both the running and passing game, but I think Rosen will have a difficult time against players like LB Dee Ford who will be bringing pressure and could add to his eight sacks that he has on the season. KC should be able to move the ball at will against Arizona and should score on most of their possessions, whereas Rosen will fold under the pressure of having to keep pace with the KC offense. If the Chargers are still available to you, I’d take them this week and try to hold off on taking KC until Week 13, if possible, when they take on the Oakland Raiders.

Next 3 Games:
Arizona: vs. Oakland, @ L.A. Chargers, @ Green Bay
Kansas City: vs. L.A. Rams, BYE, @ Oakland

Decent Play:

New England (@ Tennessee) – The Tom Brady versus Aaron Rodgers showdown on Sunday was a little more one-sided than anticipated with Brady and the Patriots running away with the game in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points. The Patriots were able to attack the Packers in both the air and on the ground with Brady throwing for 294 yards and one touchdown, which went to WR Josh Gordon, and running backs James White and Cordarrelle Patterson combined for 92 rushing yards and three touchdowns. They face off against the Titans on the road this week and Tennessee’s defense has done a nice job this year against both the pass and run, allowing teams to average 333.5 yards per game, which ranks eighth in the NFL. But Tennessee hasn’t played against many offensive juggernauts with the exception of the Chargers, so these numbers could be a little misleading. I’m not saying that they can’t give the Patriots Offense fits this week, but I don’t think that they will be shutting down Brady, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, White, Patterson, or Sony Michel, who is expected to be back this week. TE Rob Gronkowski is questionable this week, and I would be surprised if he’s able to play. Granted, the Pats offense hasn’t clicked at times this season, but I think they will be ready to put points up on the board again this week, and that spells trouble for a Titans Offense that is only averaging 16.8 points per game, which ranks tied for 29th in the NFL. I think the Patriots Defense will clog any running lanes that Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry attempt to break through and will force QB Marcus Mariota to beat them with his arm, which I don’t think he’ll be able to do. New England is currently riding a six-game winning streak and I expect them to extend that to seven after this week.

Next 3 Games:
New England: BYE, @ NY Jets, vs. Minnesota
Tennessee: @ Indianapolis, @ Houston, vs. NY Jets

Atlanta (@ Cleveland) – The Atlanta Falcons evened their record at 4-4 and pulled within one game of the sixth seed in their dominating win over Washington in Week 9. The Falcons Offense was rolling all day long and WR Julio Jones finally scored his first touchdown of the season which came on their final possession of the game with 3:45 remaining. Jones was determined to get into the end zone as he was hit at the five-yard line and he used all his strength to make sure he crossed the goal line. QB Matt Ryan completed 26 of his 38 throws for 350 yards and four touchdowns and all the players that caught a pass, with the exception of one, averaged at least 11.3 yards per catch. Atlanta was also great running the football as Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith combined for 148 yards on 23 carries, averaging 6.43 yards per carry. Smith found the end zone on a 12-yard run in the second quarter whereas Coleman benefited as a receiver and scored two touchdowns via reception. Cleveland’s defense was just torched by Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes throwing for 375 yards. I’m expecting Ryan to have a similar game and believe he will top 300 yards again this week. The Browns did a pretty decent job moving the football and QB Baker Mayfield finished with 292 yards and two touchdowns while RB Nick Chubb finished the afternoon with 85 rushing yards. Chubb may have a lot tougher time this week against Atlanta that bottled up Adrian Peterson all afternoon and only allowed him to average 1.9 yards per carry. If Cleveland can’t run the football they could be in a lot of trouble because they will want to try to control the clock this week and keep the ball out of Matt Ryan’s hands. Unfortunately for them, I don’t think they’ll be able to do that and I expect the Falcons to put up close to 30 points this week in a win over the Browns.

Next 3 Games:
Atlanta: vs. Dallas, @ New Orleans, vs. Baltimore
Cleveland: BYE, @ Cincinnati, @ Houston

Green Bay (vs. Miami) – The Packers dipped below .500 following their loss in New England on Sunday night and QB Aaron Rodgers will be ready to snap their two-game losing streak this week against the Miami Dolphins. Green Bay had tied the game against the Pats at 17 on their first possession of the second half and were starting to move the ball late in the third quarter but RB Aaron Jones had a costly fumble on the Pats 28-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter. It was all downhill from there and the Patriots proceeded to score touchdowns on their next two possessions and ultimately beat Green Bay 31-17. Green Bay is going to make sure to protect the football this week against the Dolphins who just picked off Jets quarterback Sam Darnold four times in Week 9. But we’re talking about the Dolphins shutting down the Jets Offense compared to having to shut down the Packers Offense, even though they are riddled with injuries. WR Geronimo Allison was forced to sit out again last week and he was placed on injured reserve this week. Wide receivers Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling as well as TE Jimmy Graham are going to be relied upon heavily against a Miami defense that is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 65.1% of their passes and opposing receivers to average 11.8 receiving yards per catch and 16 receiving touchdowns on the season. Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler had to fill in again for Ryan Tannehill last week against the Jets, and even though Miami pulled out the win, Osweiler didn’t play well at all. If he’s expected to start again this week, Green Bay becomes a very good option for Survivor Pools this week. Even if Tannehill is able to suit up, which I’m not expecting, I think Green Bay remains a good option.

Next 3 Games:
Miami: BYE, @ Indianapolis, vs. Buffalo
Green Bay: @ Seattle, @ Minnesota, vs. Arizona

New Orleans (@ Cincinnati) – QB Drew Brees was phenomenal in Week 9 and handed the Rams their first loss of the season. Brees needed to be nearly perfect in order for the Saints to have a shot to win, and he delivered and showed no signs of slowing down at 39 years old. Brees threw for 346 yards and four touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over once. WR Michael Thomas lit the Rams up for 211 yards and one touchdown, averaging an insane 17.6 yards per catch. I think Thomas could be in line for another big game against the Bengals this week because Cincinnati is allowing 11.3 yards per catch and have allowed 17 receiving touchdowns on the year. RB Alvin Kamara will also carve up the Bengals Defense which allows 4.4 rushing yards per carry, but as we all know, Kamara kills teams as a receiver as well and had 34 receiving yards and one touchdown against the Rams last week. I probably would have listed New Orleans as a risky play against the Bengals because Cincinnati can score points, but the Bengals will be without WR A.J. Green due to his toe injury and that’s a huge blow to the Bengals Offense. With Green out, WR Tyler Boyd will have to step up in his place. I just don’t think that the Bengals Offense will be able to constantly score against the Saints Defense even though they do allow 27.3 points per game.  Outside of a couple of games against very good offenses like the Rams, Falcons and Bucs, the Saints Defense has played decently this year. On top of that, the Saints Offense is pretty lethal and averages 34.9 points per game which ranks second in the NFL, and I don’t think that QB Andy Dalton will be able to keep pace with Brees and the Saints Offense this week.

Next 3 Games:
New Orleans: vs. Philadelphia, vs. Atlanta, @ Dallas
Cincinnati: @ Baltimore, vs. Cleveland, vs. Denver

Risky Play:

L.A. Rams (vs. Seattle) – The Rams were the only team that remained undefeated heading into Week 9, but that distinction was taken away from them after they lost to the New Orleans Saints 45-35. New Orleans moved the ball with ease against L.A., especially in the first half as the Rams allowed the Saints to light up the scoreboard and score 35 points in the first two quarters alone. For all the hype around the Rams Defense, teams have had a lot of success passing against them this year as they are allowing 314.2 passing yards per game and have allowed 20 touchdowns through the air. Granted, some of that can be attributed to the fact that the Rams take the lead and never relinquish it, leading to teams being forced to throw the ball, but the Rams also have had trouble stopping the run and are allowing 4.8 rushing yards per carry and have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns on the year which is second-most in the NFL. The Seahawks need to try to exploit this, but RB Chris Carson left the game against the Chargers in the second half after having rushed eight times for 40 yards in the first half. If Carson is unable to play, Mike Davis will most likely get the bulk of the carries. In fact, the last time these two teams played against one another which was back in Week 5, Mike Davis had success running the football and came away with 68 yards on 12 carries, while Chris Carson led the way with 19 carries for 116 yards, so if Carson can’t play, that will be a big loss for Seattle. The Seahawks gave the Rams a run for their money in Week 5 and nearly came away with the upset, but ultimately lost 33-31. I don’t think Seattle will lead this game through three quarters this week, and instead the Rams will take an early lead and never look back. L.A. definitely isn’t happy with their loss and QB Jared Goff played very well against the Saints, and I believe he will have another big game and won’t turn the ball over this week. I’m expecting WRs Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods to approach 100 receiving yards and RB Todd Gurley to torch the Seahawks as both a runner and receiver. L.A. isn’t a lock to win this game, but I certainly wouldn’t bet against them coming off their first loss of the season.

Next 3 Games:
Seattle: vs. Green Bay, @ Carolina, vs. San Francisco
L.A. Rams: vs. Kansas City, BYE, @ Detroit

Jacksonville (@ Indianapolis) – The Jacksonville Jaguars had a bye week that came right at the perfect time after they dropped four straight games and fell to 3-4 after losing to the Eagles 24-18 two weeks ago. The Jags even dealt former first round pick Dante Fowler to the Rams at the trade deadline. Even though they have a bit of an uphill battle to climb, currently two games behind the Bengals for the sixth seed, they could still make a run with the Bengals having to play the Saints this week, so if Jacksonville can beat the Colts this week, they could pull within striking distance for a playoff run. But first things first, Jacksonville needs to the right the ship on offense and QB Blake Bortles needs to start playing better, although his weapons aren’t top tier. The good news is that RB Leonard Fournette is back at practice and is expected to return this week. The Colts, who are also 3-5 and looking to make a playoff run of their own, have allowed opposing teams to rush for over 100 yards in all but two games this year, so that plays right in the hand of the Jags who need to really establish the run with Fournette and Carlos Hyde. If they can do that, they will give themselves a shot to win. The Jags defense has only allowed one quarterback to throw for over 300 yards this year which came against Patrick Mahomes in Week 5 meaning Colts QB Andrew Luck will have his work cut out for him this week. The way to beat the Jags is to run the ball because the Jags have allowed an average of 160 rushing yards per game over their last three games. If RB Marlon Mack can get going, he will give the Colts a shot to win this game. Although I do believe that both the Jags and Colts are risky picks this week, I think the Jags defense will come up big and will come away with a big takeaway late in the game to seal the win for them.

Next 3 Games:
Jacksonville: vs. Pittsburgh, @ Buffalo, vs. Indianapolis
Indianapolis: vs. Tennessee, vs. Miami, @ Jacksonville

Pittsburgh (vs. Carolina) – Pittsburgh will host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night and both of these teams are red hot right now. The Steelers have won four straight and are averaging a little over 31 points per game during their winning streak while the Panthers are on a three-game winning streak and have scored a total of 99 points over the last three weeks. It doesn’t appear that Le’Veon Bell will return to practice this week, which means RB James Conner will continue to be the workhorse of this Steelers team. Conner has rushed for more than 100 yards during the Steelers’ four-game winning streak and is averaging 118.5 rushing yards and 5.39 yards per carry during that stretch. The Panthers Defense could pose a problem for Conner because they have held opposing teams to less than 100 rushing yards in five of their first eight games this season. The Panthers Defense is also only allowing 220.75 passing yards over the last four games which means QB Ben Roethlisberger could have a tough time moving the ball in the air, although I wouldn’t be shocked if either WR JuJu Smith-Schuster or Antonio Brown break off at least one big play this week. With both of these teams playing so well, I think that neither team will pull away and this game will stay close and wouldn’t be shocked if neither team leads by more than a field goal at any given time, which is why I think the Steelers who will be hosting the Panthers, are a risky play this week.

Next 3 Games:
Carolina: @ Detroit, vs. Seattle, @ Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh: @ Jacksonville, @ Denver, vs. L.A. Chargers

Avoid:

Chicago (vs. Detroit) – The Detroit Lions offensive line was completely dominated against the Vikings in Week 9 and allowed Matthew Stafford to get sacked 10 times. They could very well be in trouble again this week against a Bears Defense that has 24 sacks on the season. Khalil Mack missed his second game of the season last week against Miami but could be back on the field this week. Even if he’s not 100%, he should still make an impact on this game against Detroit. Chicago finally allowed a rushing touchdown last week to QB Nathan Peterman but I’m expecting them to bottle up RB Kerryon Johnson throughout this game. I think Chicago’s defense can win this game, just like they did against Buffalo last week scoring 14 of their 31 points, but I will continue to be concerned for the Bears Offense. With the Bears putting up 31 points last week against Buffalo, you would assume that QB Mitch Trubisky had at least 200 passing yards. Instead, he only finished with 135 passing yards and only completed 12 of his 20 throws. Detroit’s defense has seven interceptions on the year and Trubisky has been picked off in all but three games this year. The way to beat the Lions is to run the ball because the Lions Defense allows 142.5 rushing yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry which ranks 31st and 30th in the NFL, respectively.  Even though RB Jordan Howard broke through for two touchdowns last week against the Bills, he still only averaged 3.4 yards per carry last week and is only averaging 3.5 yards per carry on the season. I think this is going to be a very low scoring game and due to the fact that I don’t trust the Bears Offense at all, I would recommend avoiding Chicago this week.

Next 3 Games:
Detroit: vs. Carolina, vs. Chicago, vs. L.A. Rams
Chicago: vs. Minnesota, @ Detroit, @ NY Giants

Philadelphia (vs. Dallas) – The Cowboys had a very good opportunity to move to .500 and within one game of Washington and tied with Philadelphia in the NFC East had they beaten the Tennessee Titans on Monday. Instead, they dropped the ball and failed to capitalize on their opportunity, losing 28-14. Amari Cooper made his debut and had a respectable five catches for 56 yards and one touchdown. Cooper had a shot at two touchdowns, but on one play, QB Dak Prescott tried to force a throw to Cooper while he was in double coverage and the ball was picked off in the end zone. It wasn’t a smart play by Prescott and that changed the momentum of the game. The Cowboys also refused to give the ball to Ezekiel Elliott in the second half which was very perplexing. If the Cowboys want to have a shot at beating the Eagles on Sunday night and continue to stay within the playoff hunt, they need to feed Zeke. Philly only allows 83.8 rushing yards per game, but that’s because teams don’t try to run the ball against them. Philly does allow 4.5 yards per carry so it would be smart to let Zeke try to run the ball 25 times in this game. Philly is coming off a bye and Golden Tate will be making his debut for the Eagles and it will be interesting to see how they utilize him in that offense. I don’t think that Philly will be very successful running the football this week against Dallas and they’ll have to rely on QB Carson Wentz’s arm. The Cowboys Defense will be without LB Sean Lee which is a huge blow, but I think the defense will play well enough to keep this game within a field goal and they could give their offense a chance to win this game. I believe the Eagles will win this game, and even though this game is being played in Philly I think taking either of these teams would be much too risky right now and would recommend that you take Philly in Week 11 when they face the Giants at home.

Next 3 Games:
Dallas: @ Atlanta, vs. Washington, vs. New Orleans
Philadelphia: @ New Orleans, vs. NY Giants, vs. Washington

NY Jets (vs. Buffalo) – The Jets Offense was putrid for a third straight week and Sam Darnold’s growing pains were on full display with his four interceptions against the Dolphins on Sunday. The Jets have only managed 33 points over the last three weeks and Sam Darnold was picked off seven times in those 3 games. Due to Darnold’s foot sprain, Josh McCown will handle signal-calling duties for the Jets this week. The Buffalo Bills Defense has actually been pretty decent this year and they are second in the league with 16 interceptions on the season which isn’t good news for McCown. The issue for Buffalo is their offense and they are only averaging 10.7 points per game, but as I mentioned before, the Jets are only averaging 11 points per game over their last three games. I am obviously expecting a very low scoring game and both offenses will constantly punt throughout this game. This game will definitely be won on the defensive side of the ball as well as on special teams, and both teams’ defenses and special teams have the potential to outscore their offenses. Because we have to rely on both of these team’s defenses and special teams to come up with takeaways and big kickoff or punt returns, I wouldn’t recommend taking either team in your Survivor Pool this week.

Next 3 Games:
Buffalo: BYE, vs. Jacksonville, @ Miami
NY Jets: BYE, vs. New England, @ Tennessee

San Francisco (vs. NY Giants) – With San Francisco having a short week after playing the Raiders the prior Thursday, coach Kyle Shanahan decided to throw second year QB Nick Mullens into the fire since C.J. Beathard wasn’t completely healthy and able to start the game. What happened next is what dreams are made of as Mullens, who never played a snap in a regular season game, threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns and also happened to get verified on Twitter during the game. Mullens was gracious in victory and credited all of his teammates after the game because he knew he couldn’t have done it alone. But keep in mind, this came against the Raiders who are arguably the worst team in the NFL and the defense appears to have quit on the team. The 49ers had some extra time to prepare for their Week 10 matchup against the Giants because they will be facing off on Monday night. This will also be a third straight week that the 49ers will play a team with only one win. The 49ers dominated in every aspect of the game against the Raiders but RB Raheem Mostert, who has averaged 8.93 yards per carry over the last four weeks, ended up on the IR after breaking his arm on Thursday. That probably means RB Alfred Morris will receive a couple more carries, but Matt Breida should benefit the most and be the workhorse going forward. As for the Giants, they had off last week and are looking to get their second win of the season. Obviously, their offensive line has been brutal all year as has their QB Eli Manning. The 49ers actually looked like they had a pass rush against Oakland as Cassius Marsh, Dekoda Watson, Solomon Thomas, Ronald Blair and DeForest Buckner combined for eight sacks on the day. If San Francisco’s defense steps up again like that, they could make it a long game for Eli. Unfortunately I don’t trust San Francisco’s defense to do that and wouldn’t be shocked if WR Odell Beckham ends up with over 100 yards and a couple of touchdowns and RB Saquon Barkley could also be an issue for the 49ers this week. Additionally, I’m not ready to throw all my eggs into the Mullens basket just yet. For those reasons, please avoid both of these teams this week.

Next 3 Games:
NY Giants: vs. Tampa Bay, @ Philadelphia, vs. Chicago
San Francisco: BYE, @ Tampa Bay, @ Seattle, vs. Denver

Bold Prediction:

Tampa Bay (vs. Washington) – Both Washington and Tampa Bay were embarrassed in Week 9 with Atlanta’s offense lighting up Washington's defense for 38 points and Carolina scoring 42 against the Bucs. This game could be very high scoring and I’m expecting Ryan Fitzpatrick, who replaced Jameis Winston as the starting quarterback, to have another multiple touchdown game again, although I think tossing four touchdowns again may be tough. WR Mike Evans was held in check last week against Carolina and only caught one pass for 16 yards, but I think he will bounce back in a big way this week and could approach 100 yards this week. As we all know, Tampa Bay has one of the worst defenses in the league and allows a league worst 34.4 points per game. Only two times this year have they held opposing teams to under 30 points. Washington’s running back Adrian Peterson was held to 19 rushing yards against the Falcons but like Mike Evans, he should have a bounce back week. I also believe he will also find the end zone because the Bucs have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns on the year. Because I think that this could be a shootout, I think the Bucs have the upper hand because I trust Fitzpatrick moving the football and finding his weapons more than I do Alex Smith, although that is not a knock on Smith because he won’t turn the ball the over. It’s a matter of the Bucs defense getting some stops or at least holding Washington to field goals. If they are able to do that, the Bucs will come out victorious.

Next 3 Games:
Washington: vs. Houston, @ Dallas, @ Philadelphia
Tampa Bay: @ NY Giants, vs. San Francisco, vs. Carolina

Week 10 Survivor Pool Rankings:

1.    L.A. Chargers
2.    Kansas City Chiefs
3.    New England Patriots
4.    Atlanta Falcons
5.    Green Bay Packers
6.    New Orleans Saints
7.    L.A. Rams
8.    Jacksonville Jaguars
9.    Pittsburgh Steelers
10.    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11.    Chicago Bears
12.    Dallas Cowboys
13.    NY Jets
14.    San Francisco 49ers

Mark Miller
Mark Miller writes the Survivor Picks column for Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter.