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Inside the Matchup
Week 10
11/9/17; Updated: 11/10/17

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | Jake Gordon





- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Seahawks @ Cardinals - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: Although the final score didn’t show it because of some late game heroics from Russell Wilson, the Seahawks offense fell back down a bit this past week against the Redskins. Wilson still finished with nearly 300 yards through the air and a pair of touchdowns, along with a season-high 77 rushing yards which giving him three straight 20-plus point fantasy days, so it’s nice to know that he is still able to produce big fantasy numbers even if things don’t go well early on. Doug Baldwin continues to be the team’s top weapon in the receiving game as he has now caught six or more passes in three straight games along with two scores over that stretch. Young wideout Paul Richardson continues to improve on his breakout season as the number two option at wide receiver but he is no threat – at least at the moment – to Baldwin.

With Patrick Peterson likely to play on him a decent bit this week, Richardson is simply a dart-throw at WR3 or Flex with the hope for a touchdown. Fantasy attention has been focused this week on tight end Jimmy Graham, however, who missed practice early in the week but returned to make a full practice on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s contest against the Cardinals. Graham struggled early on this season but has returned to form as a high-end TE1 and one of the few players who has consistently produced fantasy points at the position this season. He has scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in six straight contests and should be locked in as a TE1 again this week against an Arizona secondary that has struggled to defend some of the league’s other talented, highly-targeted tight ends.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: The Seahawks seemed to finally be committed to giving the ball to one ball carrier this past week when Eddie Lacy got a decent bit of work early in the game against the Redskins. However, an injury quickly put an end to that and the team returned to being a nearly pass-exclusive offense for the remainder of the game. With Lacy out for Thursday’s contest, Thomas Rawls figures to slide in as the top back. The addition of Duane Brown at left tackle saw immediate dividends in the passing game but the running game remained weak, making Rawls a risky play against a Cardinals defense that has held opposing running games to fewer than 55 rushing yards in half of their games so far this season. He’s a Flex option simply due to the shaky nature of the running back position and bye weeks but don’t expect too much. Fellow back C.J. Prosise is expected to be back on the field after missing some time with an injury, which will further confuse this already convoluted and unproductive Seattle backfield.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
WR1: Doug Baldwin
TE1: Jimmy Graham
Flex: Thomas Rawls, Paul Richardson
Bench: C.J. Prosise, Tyler Lockett

Passing Game Thoughts: It certainly could have been worse for the Arizona offense this past week with Drew Stanton making his first start of the 2017 season against the 49ers but this matchup against the Seahawks is an entirely different beast. Seattle continues to be an elite defense against opposing passing games, having given up either one or zero passing touchdowns in all but two games this season. This obviously significantly hurts the upside of any member of the Arizona passing game, especially the deep pass specialists like John Brown and J.J. Nelson who have to rely on Stanton to get them the ball over the top on Earl Thomas who might be the best deep pass safety in the league. Larry Fitzgerald might be the only player in this passing game who is safe and that’s simply because of where he lines up – in the slot – and the fact that the team has consistently targeted him enough for him to produce double-digit PPR fantasy points in all but two games so far in 2017.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: A 4.3 yards per carry average in a game isn’t anything spectacular but when it’s paired with 37 attempts, suddenly fantasy owners should be paying attention. Adrian Peterson was recently traded for practically nothing by the Saints, but he seems to be reviving his career in Arizona as this was the highest carry total he has ever seen in a single game. Obviously a positive game script against a terrible San Francisco run defense played a big part in that but Peterson just looks good. With Stanton playing quarterback against this elite secondary, look for the Cardinals to again rely heavily on Peterson in what should be another high carry total game for him, provided that the Cardinals don’t fall behind on the scoreboard early. Even if they do, however, Peterson should be a lock for at least 15 carries, which gives him a floor that not many backs have. He’s still an RB2 but he does have RB1 upside even in what is perceived to be a fairly difficult matchup against the Seahawks.

Value Meter:
RB2: Adrian Peterson
WR2: Larry Fitzgerald
Bench: Drew Stanton, Andre Ellington, Kerwynn Williams, J.J. Nelson, John Brown, Jaron Brown, Jermaine Gresham

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Cardinals 17 ^ Top

Texans @ Rams - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: The return of Tom Savage to the Texans starting lineup certainly made us remember just how bad this offense was prior to the breakout of rookie phenom Deshaun Watson. The once explosive Houston passing game was held to just 219 yards and one touchdown against Indianapolis, one of the league’s worst defenses. While DeAndre Hopkins was able to keep fantasy owners happy by scoring the passing game’s only touchdown and catching six passes for 86 yards, it just seemed like he and Savage were not on the same page as those six catches look pretty disgusting when you consider that he was targeted a whopping 16 times. Hopkins would probably remain a strong WR1 even with Savage behind center if he could somehow get that many targets in every game, but that’s just not something that fantasy owners can rely on. He’s more of a WR2 going forward but he should continue to be the team’s most-targeted player which gives him a fairly safe floor week to week.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Will Fuller, whose ridiculous scoring rate of seven touchdowns in four games came to a screeching halt in Savage’s first start since Week 1. Fuller caught just two passes – which isn’t all that rare considering that he had only caught 13 total passes in those previous four games. The touchdown pace was in for a natural regression but now we have to worry that the Houston offense might not score more than about one touchdown per game. With that type of production, there just isn’t likely to be enough to go around for two mouths to be fed in this passing game and thus Fuller falls down from being a WR2 to more of a low-end WR3/Flex option. This is especially true in matchups like the one he plays against the Rams, who have given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and have not given up more than one touchdown reception to wide receivers in any game this season.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: The Houston offense likely won’t be good enough for the remainder of the season that Lamar Miller will have as many opportunities to score as he did when Watson was playing, but there’s still hope for him, if for no other reason than workload. Miller has touched the ball at least 13 times in every game so he’s been one of the safer players at the position on a week to week basis, even though he’s lacked the “boom” games than many fantasy owners look for. Still, against a Los Angeles defense that has conceded the second-most fantasy points to the position, Miller could be considered a low-end RB1. The biggest concern is that it’s very possible that the Rams – who are shockingly the NFL’s highest scoring offense – could get out front this week at home, thus forcing the Texans the pass the ball more than they’d otherwise like to. Miller lacks the pass catching ability to give fantasy owners huge fantasy production if the game script does turn negative, however he hasn’t been completely useless in the passing game so there’s still some hope even if that does happen.

Value Meter:
RB1: Lamar Miller (low-end)
WR2: DeAndre Hopkins
Flex: Will Fuller
Bench: Tom Savage, D’Onta Foreman, Bruce Ellington, Stephen Anderson

Passing Game Thoughts: The incredible turnaround of Jared Goff continued this past week as the second-year QB had perhaps the best game of his professional career, throwing for 311 yards and four touchdowns. While those numbers are obviously excellent, it is worth considering that much of that production came simply on horrible efforts from a Giants defense that seems to have completely given up on the season. Nevertheless, the Rams are the highest scoring team in the NFL this season – yes, you read that right – and there should continue to be plenty of production to go along so long as Goff doesn’t suffer a relapse back into the player he was as a rookie.

The unfortunate thing is that while Goff himself is doing a great job of producing fantasy numbers, he has simply not found a go-to target that he looks for every week. Even in the thrashing this past week, Goff did not target a single receiver more than five times. These receivers are actually pretty good but they can’t possibly continue to produce that type of per-target efficiency on a weekly basis so that makes all of them prime candidates for regression. At the moment, it seems as if Robert Woods is Goff’s favorite as he has at least five targets in six straight contests. Unfortunately, he has only scored two times this season – both of them this past week against the Giants – so that target share still doesn’t make him much more than a back-end WR2. Watkins and Cupp are both Flex/WR3 options for desperate teams but they’re shaky options against a bad Houston secondary that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers in 2017.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley just continues to roll on, producing monster fantasy numbers on a weekly basis and he has now surpassed Kareem Hunt as the highest-scoring fantasy running back in most formats. Gurley’s horrendous 2016 season is now a thing of the past as he has already cracked the 10 touchdown mark in his first eight games after scoring six total touchdowns last season. He’s also had four 100-yard rushing performances, as his extremely high usage gives him one of the highest floors of any player in the league. It is worth considering that the Texans have been elite against opposing running backs this season but they’ve also faced one of the easiest schedules in the league so far when it comes to opposing running games. The two top-level fantasy backs they’ve faced so far – Leonard Fournette and Kareem Hunt – both went for over 100 rushing yards against the Texans and there’s a good chance that Gurley will become the third player to do so.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff
RB1: Todd Gurley
WR2: Robert Woods
Flex: Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp (PPR only)
Bench: Tyler Higbee, Tavon Austin

Prediction: Rams 30, Texans 17 ^ Top

Giants @ 49ers - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: If Eli Manning couldn’t at least produce some decent garbage-time fantasy numbers in a blowout loss to the Rams this past week, it’s beginning to look like this passing game is just a situation to avoid. Manning threw for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns but he also turned the ball over twice and never really looked comfortable. On a positive note, it appears as if Sterling Shepard has established himself as the top receiver in the passing game now that he’s back from injury. The potentially high usage does make him a potential WR2, so that’s something to keep an eye on. However, the most interesting player in this passing game continues to be the young tight end Evan Engram who has now scored in three straight games. Engram is getting a heavy dosage of targets each week and should be considered a TE1, even in difficult on-paper matchups like the one he faces in Week 10. The 49ers have given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season but Engram is just too involved right now to consider benching him unless you have another elite option at the position.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: While the Giants passing game has struggled, their running game has quietly not been all that terrible, in large part due to the combination of Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman who surprisingly broke the 100 total rushing yard mark in a game where their team trailed most of the day. Shane Vereen is no longer a fantasy consideration even in PPR formats when his team is behind multiple scores, so we turn our attention to Gallman and primarily Darkwa in what is the single best matchup they could face.

The 49ers have been absolutely horrendous against opposing running backs this season, giving up over two fantasy points per game more than any other team. This past week, it was Adrian Peterson who rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown against this San Francisco defense on 37 carries. Needless to say, the Cardinals knew how to attack this defense – do the same thing every other team has, and walk away with a win. The Giants are pretty poorly coached but even they should be able to follow the formula that has worked for the other San Francisco opponents. Look for Darkwa and Gallman to touch the ball around 30 times combined, with Darkwa likely seeing around 20 touches to Gallman’s 10. That should be enough to make Darkwa an RB2 with RB1 upside and Gallman could even be used as a low-end Flex option.

Value Meter:
QB2: Eli Manning
RB2: Orleans Darkwa
WR2: Sterling Shepard
TE1: Evan Engram
Flex: Wayne Gallman
Bench: Shane Vereen, Paul Perkins, Roger Lewis

Passing Game Thoughts: He threw for nearly 300 yards and even ran for a touchdown for the second time in three games, but C.J. Beathard continues to be one of the least efficient, most clueless-looking quarterbacks in the league. With Pierre Garcon on IR, this passing game is a huge no-go for fantasy purposes. Marquise Goodwin could always catch a long touchdown, but otherwise no one else is worth consideration, especially with slot receiver Trent Taylor and tight end George Kittle listed as out this week. Even Beathard himself should not be used in two-quarterback formats because with Jimmy Garoppolo waiting behind him, there’s a real chance that he doesn’t even make it out of the game if he continues to play poorly – especially if the score gets out of hand. As bad as the Giants have played this season – and it’s been terrible – even they should have a fairly easy day stopping the passing game.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: With the 49ers’ passing game being as banged up and terrible to begin with as it is, they realistically have one way to win this game – give the ball to Carlos Hyde. It hasn’t worked in the way of getting them any wins this season, but Kyle Shanahan has certainly had no problem giving Hyde plenty of touches in most games this season, particularly in the passing game where he has completely reinvented himself as one of the better PPR backs in the league. Hyde had only caught 50 total passes in his first three seasons as a pro. Through nine games in 2017, he’s already caught 40 in this new offense. The 49ers’ receivers are so depleted that Hyde might legitimately lead the team in targets, receptions and receiving yardage this week – along with carries and rushing yardage. San Francisco is an awful team but Hyde’s usage makes him an RB1 for fantasy purposes.

Value Meter:
RB1: Carlos Hyde
Bench: C.J. Beathard, Matt Breida, Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick Robinson

Prediction: Giants 24, 49ers 13 ^ Top

Patriots @ Broncos - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: Let the “Belichick coming off of a bye” cliches flow freely. But what’s most important is that Tom Brady, once again, looks like one of the true frontrunners to win NFL MVP. The other likely MVP contender at the moment, Carson Wentz, just got done obliterating this “elite” Denver secondary, which simply got worn down in a game where their own offense couldn’t move the ball. New England’s defense isn’t on par with Philadelphia’s but there’s still a great chance that the Denver offense struggles to move the ball in this game, which would once again lead to some short fields for an already hyper-efficient New England offense. While Brady is an obvious QB1 in any matchup, the player who might be in the best position of any player in fantasy football this week is tight end Rob Gronkowski, who will face a Denver defense that has given up the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season. Brandin Cooks will see tough matchups no matter where he lines up on the field, but he’s quick enough – and Brady is good enough – that he has to be considered at least a low-end WR1 in this contest. One other note is that Chris Hogan is expected to miss this week’s game, which could lead the way for Danny Amendola to see more playing time, thus making him a sneaky WR3/Flex with upside.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: The New England running game will always be a bit of a crapshoot, but it’s beginning to clear up at least a bit over these past few weeks as Dion Lewis and Mike Gillislee have seemingly established themselves as the primary ball carriers while James White is one of the better PPR backs in the entire league, catching an average of over five passes per game. Lewis is seeing significantly more snaps than Gillislee and he’s been utilized near the goal line more regularly as of late, but both players are vulturing one another’s production, making them both very difficult to trust. The goal line appeal of Lewis is something to consider, however, so he’s a potential Flex option even against a very good Denver run defense that has conceded just three rushing touchdowns all season. White, on the other hand, shoots up into RB2 territory in PPR formats as he is a threat to catch the ball many times no matter the matchup. If the Patriots end up struggling to run the ball between the tackles, as is very likely, we could see White dominate the snaps and thus produce high-end RB2 numbers for PPR formats and even Flex-worthy numbers in standard formats. Rex Burkhead did catch seven passes this past week so there’s even a possibility that he contributes in PPR formats but he’s probably the player who’s least trustworthy for fantasy purposes at this point, at least until we see a bit more consistency with his usage.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady
RB2: James White (PPR)
WR1: Brandin Cooks
TE1: Rob Gronkowski
Flex: Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola
Bench: Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, Phillip Dorsett

Passing Game Thoughts: The Trevor Siemian era may have finally come to a merciful end but that doesn’t mean that the Broncos are in a significantly better situation. There’s not a lot to be excited about with Brock Osweiler who has been unceremoniously dumped from both the Texans and Browns in 2017, and who threw for just 208 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions this past week against the Eagles. The New England defense is definitely one that has been friendly to opposing passing games this season but even this great matchup should not be enough to trust Osweiler in your fantasy lineup. Emmanuel Sanders caught a nice 30-yard reception from Osweiler early in that game but he appeared to aggravate the ankle injury that caused him to miss time in previous weeks.

Meanwhile, Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) is also banged up and was limited Thursday, however he’s still optimistic that he’ll be able to go against the Patriots after an eight catch, 70-yard performance where he caught the only passing touchdown from Osweiler. Both players will likely be in the lineup this week and they’re both worth consideration as WR2’s, but understand that there likely won’t be enough overall production for both to be successful fantasy options. Thomas would seem to be the better option given recent success but make sure to pay close attention to inactives throughout the day and give yourself a backup option like Danny Amendola, Kenny Stills or Curtis Samuel who might need to slide into your starting lineup if Thomas or Sanders is inactive on Sunday night.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: With C.J. Anderson (ankle, illness) banged up and questionable to play, look for the Broncos to lean even more heavily on the full on the ugly committee approach that they have been deploying throughout the season. Anderson will likely see the most work but if the team falls behind on the scoreboard, as is expected, then we could see increased playing time from Devontae Booker who has established himself as the team’s best pass catching back. The Patriots have been awful against opposing running backs this season but the committee approach just makes it extremely difficult to trust any of these backs.

Value Meter:
WR2: Demaryius Thomas (high-end), Emmanuel Sanders (low-end)
Flex: C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker (PPR only)
Bench: Brock Osweiler, Jamaal Charles, Cody Latimer, A.J. Derby

Prediction: Patriots 30, Broncos 17 ^ Top

Saints at Bills - (Katz)

Passing Game Thoughts: Another week, another hyper efficient low volume game for Drew Brees. Through eight games, Brees has just two 300-yard passing games. To put that in perspective, he had five at this point last year and six at this point in 2015. Brees is not the elite fantasy QB he used to be, but he’s still every bit a QB1 with a very high floor. He’s safe to pencil in for about 250 yards and two touchdowns this week. He will do it by throwing to super consistent Michael Thomas, who now has at least eight targets and five receptions in all but one game. His highest yardage total is 89 and he hasn’t scored since weeks and 3 and 4, but he is a very safe and reliable WR2. Ted Ginn has also been quite useful with 68 yards or a touchdown in four straight games. He remains the clear number two in New Orleans and a viable fantasy option. Coby Fleener is not seeing enough volume to be worth starting and Willie Snead should be owned in 0% of leagues.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are both legitimate weekly RB2s. Kamara got the goal line score and the receiving score last week, but Ingram still has the carries edge. Ingram’s 17 touches last week were his lowest since Week 3. He saw just one target after seeing at least four in every game prior. Kamara has at least three receptions in every game this season and is coming off the best game of his young career with a season high 16 touches and 152 total yards. Since Week 5, he’s touched the ball no fewer than 11 times per game. The Saints are running more than ever and beating teams with their RB duo, making both Ingram and Kamara strong fantasy plays.

Value Meter:
QB1: Drew Brees (low end)
RB2: Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara
WR2: Michael Thomas (high end)
WR3: Ted Ginn Jr.
Bench: Coby Fleener, Willie Snead

Passing Game Thoughts: Last week I thought Tyrod Taylor would be viable QB1 streamer. Little did I know he would be the overall QB2 on the week. Taylor threw for a season high 285 yards and scored three touchdowns for the first time this year. Two of those were in garbage time, but we take the points however they come. Deonte Thompson led the team with 10 targets, catching seven for 81 yards and a touchdown. Zay Jones had his best game as a pro with six catches on seven targets for 53 yards and a touchdown. He also injured his knee in the game and may not play this week. Jordan Matthews saw eight targets and caught six for 46 yards. While those target counts look great, we must remember that Taylor attempted 40 passes. Even with that number factored in, he still averages just 29.5 attempts per game.

The Saints have been a sneaky good pass defense as Marshon Lattimore has emerged into an elite level cornerback. Against a very good offense, it is likely the Bills experience a significant negative game script. It would surprise me if Taylor managed to throw the ball less than 35 times. However, between Matthews, Thomson, and Jones, there is no way of knowing what the target distribution will look like. Then we have the likely debut of Kelvin Benjamin, who sat out last week’s game due to having been with the team all of two days. With just 11 days on the team, his knowledge of the playbook will be limited. Benjamin can still produce at less than optimal capacity, but on a low volume passing offense with minimal time to prepare, he may be just a guy at first. His talent makes him a startable option, but I would wait and see if I could afford to.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: LeSean McCoy was unquestionably Week 9’s biggest disappointment. The heavy workload the week before had me concerned McCoy would get hurt. I overlooked the possibility that he would remain healthy, but just be ineffective due to the impossibly short turnaround time. I wouldn’t look too much into last week’s flop. I am going to attribute it to Thursday night football following a 33-touch game. With 10 days to rest up, Shady should be back to his elite RB1 ways against New Orleans. After catching at least five balls in all but one of the Bills previous games, McCoy didn’t catch a pass and saw just one target last week. I think it’s safe to say we’ve endured his worst game of the season. McCoy’s three biggest rushing games have all come at home, with the lone dud being against Denver back when they were still a team that mattered. I’m confident in a triple digit all-purpose yardage total for Shady this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tyrod Taylor (low end)
RB1: LeSean McCoy (high end)
WR3: Kelvin Benjamin
Bench: Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones, Deonte Thompson, Mike Tolbert

Prediction: Bills 26, Saints 24 ^ Top

Vikings at Redskins - (Katz)

Passing Game Thoughts: After suffering what was a career threatening injury, it looks like Teddy Bridgewater will be active this Sunday for the first time since 2015. It’s a truly remarkable comeback and I’m glad the league has Bridgewater back. He’s not yet ready to start, though, as he will backup Case Keenum in Washington. Keenum is coming off a start against the Browns where he attempted the most passes he has all season with 43 and had just his second multi-touchdown game of the season. He has a tall task ahead of him on the road against one of the best secondaries in the league featuring Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland. Those two will match up against what I believe to be the best WR duo in the NFL in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Diggs has played six games with three WR1 performances and three duds. He had just returned from a groin injury against the Browns and if there were any lingering concerns regarding his health, the bye week almost certainly cured them.

Thielen has caught five balls in every game this season and scored his first touchdown against the Browns. He hasn’t topped 100 yards since Week 1, but he’s posted receiving totals of 98, 96, and 98. The Vikings move Thielen around the formation a lot so while he’ll see some of both Norman and Breeland, he should spend enough time in the slot to continue his five reception streak. Kyle Rudolph started really slow this season, but has been coming on as of late. He’s caught five or six passes in his last four games while averaging eight targets per game. He is a safe, high floor option this week given his recent usage.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: For reasons I will never fully understand, NFL head coaches are averse to success. Latavius Murray has carried the ball 19, 18, and 15 times in his last three games despite being so clearly the inferior player to Jerick McKinnon. Murray has had just one useful fantasy day all season (Week 7 against the Ravens). Otherwise, it’s been weekly RB1 McKinnon stealing the spotlight. Aside from Murray’s fluky big day, McKinnon has been an elite fantasy option since Dalvin Cook went down, posting over 100 yards from scrimmage in three games and scoring a total of four touchdowns. He remains the passing down back and has been more effective from the goal line as well. JMK is the superior option and is once again a strong start against the Redskins.

Value Meter:
RB1: Jerick McKinnon (low end)
WR2: Adam Thielen (mid-range)
WR3: Stefon Diggs
Flex: Latavius Murray
TE1: Kyle Rudolph (low end)
Bench: Case Keenum, Laquon Treadwell

Passing Game Thoughts: The Redskins pulled off the upset at Seattle last week, but don’t look to Kirk Cousins and the passing game as the reason why. Cousins posted 247 empty yards and only Vernon Davis had a usable fantasy day with six catches on a team high nine targets for 72 yards. With Jamison Crowder inactive and Terrelle Pryor ineffective, Cousins leaned on the veteran TE while sprinkling in a bit of everyone else. The Redskins WR situation has gotten so bad that even Brian Quick caught three passes. Pryor has been a mega bust, yet Josh Doctson has not come into value even with increased snaps. With Xavier Rhodes and the Vikings up next, the odds of a turnaround are unlikely. If the Redskins win this game, it will be with defense.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: It should be embarrassing for Jay Gruden to run an offense the way he’s been doing so, but NFL analysts are just as incompetent as head coaches that they have no idea how much Gruden is ruining his team. The Redskins have a legitimate Super Bowl roster that is wasting away because their coach is horrendous at his job. All is forgiven when you win, but I will not let Gruden off the hook for continuing to push Rob Kelley ahead of Samaje Perine. Kelley continues to set football back decades in his pathetic attempts to gain yards. Last week, he managed a whopping 18 yards on 14 carries. Perine only carried the ball twice (an improvement on the previous week’s zero) and looked good both times. Unfortunately, on his third rushing attempt, there was a bumble in the exchange between Cousins and Perine, the ball fell to the ground and the Seahawks recovered. That was the end of Perine. I’m sure Gruden will run Kelley into the backs of his linemen another 15+ times this week as well. You saw Kelley’s ceiling last week where he fell into the end zone twice. Is that really the type of production you want to bank on? Chris Thompson had a rare down game with just 31 total yards. He should rebound this week as he is the best running back on this team. He needs to touch the ball more than eight times, though. While I am reasonably confident he will, I caution the risk for poor usage is always there.

Value Meter:
QB2: Kirk Cousins (high end)
RB2: Chris Thompson (high end)
TE1: Vernon Davis (low end)
Bench: Jordan Reed (hamstring), Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, all Redskins WRs

Prediction: Redskins 20, Vikings 19 ^ Top

Browns @ Lions - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Browns and the 49ers appear to be on a collision course for a winless season and a shot for the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. With San Francisco acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo before the trade deadline - a player coveted by many teams, including the Browns, it looks highly likely that Cleveland will use their first round pick on one of the many quarterbacks entering the league next year.

Rookie DeShone Kizer now has eight remaining games in 2017 to prove to head coach Hue Jackson and the Cleveland front office that he can be the QB of the future. It will be a tough task for Kizer, as six of his eight remaining opponents rank in the top-10 in pass defense, including No.1 ranked Pittsburgh in Week 17.

Interceptions and poor decisions with the football have plagued Kizer this season, with the former Notre Dame star tied with Cam Newton for most interceptions at 11. With 11 interceptions on 213 pass attempts, Kizer is averaging one pick for every 19 pass attempts, while managing only three passing touchdowns on the year.

The Lions’ opportunistic pass defense that ranks fourth in interceptions forced should have a field day with Kizer on Sunday, especially in the likely event of a negative game script in which Kizer is forced to pass exclusively in the second half with the Browns trailing.

Not surprisingly, the Browns trail only the Bears in fewest points scored by wide receivers, with no wide receiving managing a 100-yard game to date, and no wide receiver has caught a touchdown since Kenny Britt in Week 3. The pending return of Josh Gordon from suspension could give this unit a shot in the arm, but unless Kizer makes a giant leap forward in his reads and accuracy, it won’t matter who is lining up at WR.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: Isaiah Crowell comes out of the bye fresh and ready to build off his best game of the year against the Vikings in Week 8. Crow scored his first rushing touchdown on 11 carries for 64 yards, while adding 54 yards on four receptions. After posting three consecutive double-digit point performances from Week 3 to Week 5, Duke Johnson has been held in check by opposing defenses, and his use in the passing game has been non-existent.

The recipe for beating the Lions begins with a focus on the run game, as the Lions rank 9th in fantasy points allowed to opposing backs. The three teams that beat the Lions this year used a run-heavy approach, with Le’Veon Bell, Mark Ingram, and Devonta Freeman all rushing more than 20 times against Detroit.

Hue Jackson will no doubt focus on establishing the run in the first half of the game with Crowell working in as the first and second down back and Johnson getting the third down and change of pace carries. But game script could become an issue for limiting Crowell’s carries as the Browns will likely need to chase points in the second half. The touchdown upside makes Crow a decent No.2 RB and Johnson’s threat as a top receiving option for Kizer makes him a strong flex play.

Value Meter:
QB3: DeShone Kizer (Low-End)
RB2: Isaiah Crowell (Low-End)
RB3: Duke Johnson (High-End)
WR4: Ricardo Louis (Low-End)
TE2: David Njoku (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford has quietly put together a solid fantasy season as the No.9 ranked quarterback in fantasy over the first nine weeks of the season. Although the flashy 700-plus passing attempt seasons of his early career are a thing of the past, Stafford’s ability to limit mistakes and spread the ball around to all of his weapons has made him a solid real life and fantasy player.

The former first overall pick in the 2009 draft is on pace for just under 4500 yards and 28 passing touchdowns, and a career-best eight interceptions. Stafford should find it reasonably easy to move the ball this week at home against a Cleveland Browns team that has allowed the 10th-most points to opposing quarterbacks. Five of eight opposing QBs scored at least 20 points against Cleveland this season, including Andy Dalton, who threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns against the Browns Week 4.

Wide receiver Marvin Jones has been a revelation for fantasy owners of late, with a touchdown and/or 100 yards in each of his last three games. After a pedestrian 13% target share in his first four games, Jones’ share jumped up to 27% over the last four contests as Matthew Stafford continues to look his way on the outside.

Although the Browns are very beatable in the passing game, the one area in which they have excelled is limiting outside wide receivers with cornerback Jason McCourty, which could derail Jones’ recent surge. Jones is still a must start, and his touchdown upside makes him a solid No.2 WR, but it would make sense for the Lions and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter to attack the middle of the field with slot receiver Golden Tate and Theo Riddick out of the backfield.

It would also make sense to utilize the tight end against a Browns defense that trails only the New York Giants and Denver Broncos in points allowed to the TE position. Despite this fact, starting brick hands, Eric Ebron is a risky move, and Daniel Fells doesn’t get enough snaps to justify a start in anything but the deepest of 14-team leagues.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: A common misconception among fantasy owners is the perceived struggles of the Cleveland Browns against the run, based primarily on the fact that the only the 49ers allowed more points to opposing RB’s last season. But the one area in which the 2017 Browns have made strides in the right direction is in stopping the run, allowing just three rushing touchdowns on the season and the 5th-fewest rushing yards.

Considering the Browns’ stout run defense and the struggles the Lions have had running the ball this season with Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Dwayne Washington, and Zach Zenner combining for the 6th-fewest rush yards, expecting a rushing touchdown and yardage on the ground from any Detroit ball carrier is not likely.

Abdullah scored his second rushing touchdown of the season last week in a blowout win over Green Bay, but he quickly took up residence in Jim Caldwell’s doghouse after two fumbles (one lost), including a red zone attempt that ended with the Lions settling for a field goal. It remains to be seen if Caldwell will look past Abdullah’s fumbles and give him a shot to redeem himself against the Browns, or perhaps Caldwell gives Dwayne Washington and Theo Riddick more work. Regardless of who carries the ball, no running back in Detroit carries much value unless the offensive line starts blocking better. According to, the Lions rank dead last in run blocking as a unit with 31% of all run plays stuffed at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. Hopefully, the return of starting left tackle Taylor Decker this week will help improve the play of the offensive line and open holes for Abdullah and Riddick.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford (Low-End)
RB3: Ameer Abdullah (High-End)
WR1: Golden Tate (High-End)
WR2: Marvin Jones (Low-End)
TE2: Eric Ebron (High-End)

Prediction: Lions 28, Browns 10 ^ Top

Packers @ Bears - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Aaron Rodgers-less Packer passing offense showed some signs of life in last week’s 30-17 loss against Detroit, albeit a big chunk of Brett Hundley’s yards and fantasy points came in garbage time. A knock against Hundley in college was his propensity to hang onto the ball too long and take unnecessary sacks, which appears to have carried over into his NFL career. Hundley has been sacked eight times in three games (97 pass attempts), which is the same amount as Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, two quarterbacks who have dropped back to pass nearly three times more than the former UCLA Bruin.

In addition to holding onto the ball too long, injuries to the Packers offensive line are a part of the reason why Green Bay has allowed a large number of sacks in 2017. Those injury woes continued Week 9 with the loss of starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga for the rest of the 2017 season and beyond with a torn ACL.

Making smart plays with the ball and a successful run game that will allow play-action passing is a key to success for Green Bay this week against the Bears, a team that ranks seventh in total defense under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Aside from a blowout loss to the Packers and Aaron Rodgers in Week 4 in which Rodgers threw for four touchdowns, the Chicago secondary has not allowed more than one passing touchdown in a game, while holding Cam Newton, Joe Flacco, and Drew Brees touchdown-less in their last three matchups.

The loss of pass-catching tight end Martellus Bennett made headlines this week as the former Bear and Patriot was released after a disappointing short stint with the Packers. Although Bennett is a big name player, the tight end in the Green Bay passing offense has never been a focal point under Mike McCarthy, and the loss of Bulaga will likely result in Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers staying in pass protection to give Hudley a chance to throw the ball downfield.

The skill position players in the passing game for Green Bay are no longer considered must-start fantasy plays with Hundley under center. Hundley is dead last in fantasy points per attempt for QB’s this season, which has resulted in Jordy Nelson finishing outside of WR3 consideration in two of his last three games. Davante Adams scored a touchdown against the Vikings on a busted coverage play made by Hundley extending a play with his feet; otherwise, he too has been barely worthy of a start in standard size leagues.

With four teams on a bye this week Nelson and Adams owners will likely struggle to find a better option at WR, but expectations should be tempered with a touchdown likely needed to salvage a low-volume day.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: After leaning on rookie Aaron Jones for 49 combined carries in the team’s last three games, including a 17-carry for 131 yards and one touchdown performance against New Orleans, Head Coach Mike McCarthy gave Jones five carries for 12 yards against the Lions on Monday night. It was a strange decision based on the fact that the best way to beat the Lions this season has been on the ground and the Packers’ inability to stop Matthew Stafford could have been greatly improved with the Green Bay offense controlling the clock and the ball. Negative game script came into play for the Pack, with Green Ban running the ball only 11 times for 46 yards. To make matters worse for Jones owners, McCarthy put in third-string back Jamaal Williams late in the game for a one-yard touchdown run, killing any chance for a garbage time redemption TD for Jones.

With the Bears allowing the 15th-most point to opposing running backs and seven different backs scoring a rushing touchdown vs. Chicago in 2017, one would hope that McCarthy will employ a run-first attack featuring Jones on Sunday. Opposing running backs average just under four yards per carry on 191 attempts vs. Chicago, and no back this season has managed to top more than 100 yards. This matchup has at the makings of a smash mouth NFC north matchup between two longtime rivals, with the Bears looking to impose their will on the Packers with a potent running attack and an above average defense. To say in the game Jones and Ty Montgomery will need to find success running the ball, which hopefully will open up the play-action passing game for Nelson and Adams.

Value Meter:
QB2: Brett Hundley (Low-End)
RB2: Aaron Jones (Low-End)
RB3: Ty Montgomery (Low-End)
WR3: Jordy Nelson (High-End)
WR3: Davante Adams (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The combination of Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky have the Bears ranked dead last in fantasy points scored from the quarterback position, just under 15 points per game less than the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks. The Bears are a throwback to their early days as a run-first defensive-minded unit, using the pass merely as a change of pace and vehicle to keep defenses from stacking the box on every play.

Rookie Mitchell Trubisky has only two passing touchdowns in four games for Chicago and two games in which he failed to complete more than 10 passes. A win at home against the Panthers Week 7 is a perfect example of how the Bears approach winning games, with Trubisky completing four of seven passes for 107 yards and zero touchdowns. The Bears controlled the game with their punishing ground game and scored two defensive touchdowns.

Trubisky is in line for another single digit completion day with the likelihood of another run-heavy approach against a Packers defense that allows the fifth-most points to opposing running backs, and an offense led by a turnover-prone backup who is struggling to read defenses and holds onto the ball too long. Head coach John Fox may not need Trubisky to throw the ball more than ten times in this game, making all skill position players on Chicago unstartable in all but the deepest of 14-team leagues.

If Brett Hundley can lead the Packers to a few scoring drives and succeeds in taking the Bears out of their ground and pound style, Trubisky could have success against a Green Bay secondary that has given up the 15th-most points to opposing QBs. The loss of tight end Zach Miller to a gruesome season-ending knee dislocation hurts Trubsiky’s value in that Miller was his favorite target, but the likelihood of Chicago needing to air it out in this game is small.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: With a bye week to rest his ailing shoulder and a struggling Packers run defense heading to Soldier Field, Jordan Howard appears to be primed for a monster game this Sunday. Howard ranks 10th in fantasy points per game in FFToday default scoring, just behind Chris Thompson and ahead of Mark Ingram and LeSean McCoy. He is down nearly a full yard per carry from his breakout rookie campaign in which he rushed for 1313 yards and six scores on 252 carries, but he is still averaging 4.1 per tote and is on pace for 1300 yards and eight rushing touchdowns.

Volume is a key for bellcow running backs to impose their will on opposing defensive units, and the Bears have fed Howard with at least 20 carries in four of his last six games, including a career-high 36 rushes for 167 yards against Baltimore Week 6. An expectation of 25 carries for at least 100 yards is reasonable for Howard in this game, and the upside of at least one touchdown fueled by short fields provided by the defense is high.

Tarik Cohen appears to be a flash in the pan now that he has posted just four receptions combined in his last four games after 24 catches in his first four career games in the NFL. Cohen. Cohen’s value appears to have been tied to Mike Glennon, with the shifty running back receiving no more than seven touches in any of the four games started by Trubkisy. Cohen’s ability to hit a home run from anywhere on the field makes him a flex play in deep leagues, but owners looking for a high floor should look elsewhere.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mitchell Trubisky (Low-End)
RB1: Jordan Howard (High-End)
RB3: Tarik Cohen (Low-End)
WR4: Kendall Wright (High-End)

Prediction: Bears 17, Packers 10 ^ Top

Cowboys @ Falcons - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Dak Prescott’s start to his rookie year was pretty impressive but his start to this season might be even better. The second-year quarterback has thrown for two or more touchdown passes in all but two games in 2017 while chipping in another four rushing scores. He’s been good for the Cowboys and fantasy owners alike so get him into your Week 10 lineup and expect him to be productive once again. Dez Bryant got banged up pretty good in last week’s action. He missed practice time this week and has been slapped with the questionable designation as the Cowboys prepare for their date with the Falcons. Dallas’s game plan doesn’t need Bryant to be good in order to win so fantasy owners should heed caution before relying on him to deliver WR1 type production in Week 10. Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley are more than capable to get the job done when the running game is leading the charge. However, Williams was limited in practice this week and may not be a t full speed even if he does play this weekend. The potential for both Bryant and Williams to play through injuries leaves the door ajar for Jason Witten and/or Cole Beasley to find more room over the middle this week.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: I am still not sure why multiple federal judges are dictating playing time in the NFL but it looks like there is at least a soft closing in the Ezekiel Elliott suspension saga. Thursday’s ruling forces the Cowboys’ running back to begin serving his suspension immediately. With Elliott unavailable for this week’s duel in Atlanta, the Cowboys will use a RBBC that features Alfred Morris, Rod Smith and Darren McFadden. It’s quite the drop off and fantasy values are all over the place as a result. It seems likely that Morris and his 2.3 YPC will get the start this weekend which gives him the best odds at being Dallas’ best fantasy running back in Week 10 but it is far from a certainty. Rod Smith will be rotated in and some consider him to be the second likely choice to lead this trio. His all-around game doesn’t pigeon-hole him into one defined role so anything is possible. Darren McFadden has already shown an ability to carry the team with Elliott out of the lineup and I think he will find a way to the top of this committee sooner than later. Will it be against the Falcons with the team expected to give Morris the first crack? Probably not but if I were planning on using any one of these guys this week, I’d be glued to the news updates leading up until kickoff. The situation is fluid and involves a lot of low floor outcomes for my liking so steer clear of this situation until more information can be gleaned from Sunday’s outing.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott
WR3: Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams
TE1: Jason Witten
Flex: Cole Beasley
Bench: Ezekiel Elliott (suspended), Brice Butler, Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, Rod Smith

Passing Game Thoughts: Overall, the offense has been quite good this year with the team ranking sixth in offensive yards per game but they are only converting 40-percent of third downs and only 24th in time of possession. Those last two areas will need to improve if they are hoping to prevent Dallas from running over them this weekend. Matt Ryan finally threw for 300 yards last week after seeing his production dip over the past five games. That coincided with Julio Jones’ best effort in weeks and fewer touches for the running backs. Can Atlanta be as successful against the Cowboys in Week 10? Probably not, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from starting Julio Jones. Tyler Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu will once again fight for the leftovers making both touchdown dependent fantasy options. Austin Hooper has been too erratic and hasn’t scored enough touchdowns to give fantasy owners much confidence in starting him these days. If the team made a more concerted effort to utilize him in short passing situations rather than its running backs, they might find a way to convert on third down and keep Dallas off the field.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: Devonta Freeman’s workload has declined over the past month. In that span he has averaged only 11 carries per game and has failed to score a rushing touchdown. He has been limited in practice this week and it seems likely that he is playing through some type of knee injury. His work in the passing game has prevented him from falling out of the top 25 or 30 fantasy running backs as we enter Week 10. However, it also doesn’t make his owners feel too good knowing their top rusher is giving them RB2 production. I don’t think he will be held out of this game but his owners should make sure to double-check his status prior to Sunday. Tevin Coleman has yet to be more than a useful flex at most points throughout the season. He has scored in two of the team’s last four games and continues to get about 10-12 touches per game. The Cowboys are better than most at stopping the run but I still wouldn’t mind having Coleman in my flex spot unless I had clear cut options that were better.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan
RB2: Devonta Freeman (if active)
WR1: Julio Jones
TE2: Austin Hooper
Flex: Tevin Coleman, Mohamed Sanu
Bench: Taylor Gabriel

Prediction: Cowboys 27, Falcons 21

Dolphins @ Panthers - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Miami travels to Carolina in a true Southeastern clash of teams fighting to salvage their playoff hopes this season. Jay Cutler posted the fifth highest fantasy quarterback total in last week’s win over the Raiders and the Panthers have been in a few shootouts this season. The Dolphins offense is still evolving and indoor road games are not the most ideal places to expect a turnaround performance. That beings said, DeVante Parker rebounded nicely following the team’s embarrassing Week 9 loss. He represents the best down field option against a Panthers defense that just saw Julio Jones return to the century club. Getting the deep ball working would allow Jarvis Landry more room to operate underneath provided Jay Cutler can get him the ball. Though his touchdown upside is limited and the passing game still has some wrinkles to iron out, Landry continues to provide quality WR3 fantasy output. Miami should use him all over the field to help create a running game with plenty of short yardage throws so continue to roll with him in your lineup for Week 10. I’m not as optimistic with Julius Thomas. He has failed to become a fixture in the passing game so his six-catch performance a week ago feels more like an outlier than the beginning of a trend.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: Damien Williams seemed to be the better playmaker out of the backfield but he needed to do it as a receiver. That isn’t as big of a deal this week with the Panthers being more susceptible against the pass. Williams was dealing with an illness on Thursday so his owners will want to make sure they check back to see if he has gotten over the ailment in time to remain active for Week 10. Kenyon Drake had a quality outing last week as he appears to have taken over the “between the tackles” role in the backfield. He’s not likely to find a whole lotta room and I wouldn’t advise plugging him into your lineup. His floor is way too low for flex consideration so keep him benched and wait for a better matchup.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jay Cutler
WR2: DeVante Parker
Flex: Damien Williams, Jarvis Landry
Bench: Julius Thomas, Kenyan Drake, Kenny Stills

Passing Game Thoughts: Monday Night Football and Cam Newton have had plenty of great memories for fantasy owners and this week should add a few more. I’m just not so sure they will be good ones. The Panthers will go in with a limited rushing capability and several pass catchers without a long track record. Kelvin Benjamin is gone and Greg Olsen is still inactive due to injury. That is asking quite a bit out of Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffery. I don’t expect Miami to move the ball up and down the field so a rare low score on Monday night football may suck some of the fantasy flavor out of this game. Nonetheless, fantasy owners should love the targets Funchess should see and get him into their lineup as a WR3 or flex if needed. One of Curtis Samuel and Russell Shepard will need to step up in order for the Panthers to win this matchup. Samuel got the start following Kelvin Benjamin’s trade but he didn’t do much to warrant fantasy love heading into Week 10.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: Carolina’s backfield is led by a player leading all NFL running backs in targets and another who hasn’t gone over the half-century mark in rushing yards since Week 4. Things could be better on the ground but they could be worse. The Panthers will likely continue to use the wishbone option offense to force Miami’s defense into making mistakes. That doesn’t mean I want to count on Jonathan Stewart in my lineup but it could result in a few more yards coming for Cam Newton. Despite the team’s efforts to limit his running this season, they may not have a choice if Stewart continues to struggle finding running lanes. McCaffery is a must start nowadays as a low end RB2 or flex in standard leagues or a borderline RB1 in PPR formats. The rookie continues to see plenty of easy, catchable passes week in and week out as Carolina tries to creatively solve their inability to run the football using a traditional handoff.

Value Meter:
QB1: Cam Newton
RB2: Christian McCaffrey (PPR)
WR3: Devin Funchess
TE2: Ed Dickson
Flex: Christian McCaffrey(standard)
Bench: Jonathan Stewart, Russell Shepard, Curtis Samuel

Prediction: Dolphins 32, Panthers 20 ^ Top

Chargers @ Jaguars - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Chargers prefer to throw the ball over 61 percent of the time but they will need a new plan of attack this week as the Jacksonville-D has been up to the task more often than not. If the Chargers stubbornly insist on playing this game with the same mindset, they will probably be playing catch up in the second half. If they adapt to a heavier ground attack this week, it will eat into the passing numbers so downgrade all your Chargers this week. That may or may not put them on your bench depending on your other options. Phillip Rivers has cooled substantially since the start of the year. Since scoring 20 fantasy points or more in four of Los Angeles’ first five games, he has averaged a measly 16.3 fantasy points. Playing on the road on the opposite coast against one of the best defenses in the NFL doesn’t bode well for a turnaround in Week 10.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Melvin Gordon has proven to be worthy of his first-round status this preseason. He enters Week 10 as the only running back in the NFL with at least four touchdowns rushing and receiving as he continues to be a multi-purpose threat on the field. Jacksonville’s defense has allowed less than ten points in three of their last four contests so don’t expect Gordon to have one of his elite performances in Week 10. However, I do think he can approach 100 total yards because the Chargers cannot afford to lose the time of possession battle in this road game. Look for Gordon to exceed 20 carries for the third time this season in route to a decent fantasy day.

Value Meter:
RB1: Melvin Gordon
Bench: Everyone else

Passing Game Thoughts: Blake Bortles has a fantasy pulse these days but that’s not enough to recommend starting him this week. He has now posted three straight games with at least 18 standard fantasy points and the signs of life have trickled down onto his receiving corps. Well, at least Marqise Lee anyway. Over the past three games, Lee has easily been the best Jags fantasy receiver and that trend is more likely than not to continue for the rest of the season. The problem with trusting the Jags passing game is simply the lack of it. Lee’s fantasy totals during Bortles’ “hot streak” ranged from 7 to 13.5 fantasy points. That’s useful in most leagues but the potential debut of Dede Westbrook may sour on what little fantasy juice Lee has right now. The Chargers haven’t allowed a receiving touchdown in two weeks so I’m not trying to find ways to get any Jag pass-catcher in my lineup.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette’s miscue in violating team rules cost him and his owners a solid fantasy day a week ago but he is expected back on the field Sunday. The missed game could be a blessing in disguise, however, as many rookies start to hit the wall around this time of year. Rested and motivated, Fournette is looking like a top ten fantasy RB this week going up against an average defense at home. Chris Ivory has shown he can be productive in this scheme and the Jags should feel better about working him into the game moving forward. I’m liking his chances of getting double-digit carries in this game but the size of your league will dictate whether he is flex-worthy.

Value Meter:
RB1: Leonard Fournette
Flex: Marqise Lee
Bench: Everyone else

Prediction: Jaguars 16, Chargers 9 ^ Top

Bengals @ Titans - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Andy Dalton and the Bengals continue their tour through the AFC South this weekend with a stop in Music City. I’m expecting a small rebound from this passing game this week but this offense continues to disappoint fantasy owners in 2017. The Bengals rank 28th in the NFL in passing yards per game and their All-Pro receiver spent more time choke slamming guys last week than he did catching passes. The good news for A.J. Green owners is that he has somehow managed not to be suspended for Week 10 and will get a chance to redeem himself in a favorable matchup. Get him back in there and look for the veteran to put last week’s embarrassment behind him. Brandon LaFell and Tyler Kroft are borderline starters this week. If you are using Kroft, chances are he has taken over as your primary tight end anyway so you are plugging him in anyway. Brandon LaFell has had his two best games of his season while playing on the road and a few more scoring opportunities should present themselves in this matchup. Nevertheless, he has been battling hamstring issues and figures to have a limited role on Sunday as a result.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: In the Bengals’ last three games Joe Mixon has received 14 more carries than Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill combined. The rookie has clearly entered the weekly RB2 tier and this week could see him flirt with RB1 status. He has been a top ten fantasy running back from Weeks 7 through 9 and has yet to post a truly dominating game. Dalton’s inability to get much going through the air only gives the coaching staff more reason to ride the ground game against the Titans on the road. Giovani Bernard doesn’t get enough catches out of the backfield to be a reliable PPR asset and Jeremy Hill is a fantasy corpse now that Mixon has taken control of this backfield.

Value Meter:
QB2: Andy Dalton
RB2: Joe Mixon
WR1: A.J. Green
TE1: Tyler Kroft
Bench: Brandon LaFell, John Ross, Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill

Passing Game Thoughts: Eight games played. Seven passing touchdowns. This offense reminds me of the guy driving the BMW that has seen better days. It may have been a really nice ride at one point but now it’s challenge getting from point A to point B and back again. The Bengals pass defense has put up decent numbers against opposing fantasy quarterbacks but they are misleading. Cincy has had the good fortune of playing only two games against decent quarterbacks with a strong passing attack in 2017. That being said, I don’t think Marcus Mariota and the gang in Tennessee qualifies as having a strong passing attack either. Corey Davis received five targets in his NFL debut last weekend and he should continue to carve out his place in the offense. I don’t know if it will be enough to make him anything more than a WR4/5 and it will surely dampen the fantasy ceilings of Delanie Walker and Rishard Mathews starting this week. This group of players is looking riskier and riskier by the week. Everyone has the potential, but nobody can be penciled in for more than four targets each week.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: DeMarco Murray’s latest injury is with his knee and not his hamstring. As we prepare to set lineups for Week 10 and have another seven weeks remaining in the season without another bye week, a running back who has dealt with multiple nagging leg injuries in the first half of the year is probably not going to be the one to win you a fantasy title. This week he was able to practice and is expected to start, which translates into more frustration for fantasy owners. The Titans continue to look like a team that wants Murray to be the primary ball-carrier when he is healthy leaving Derrick Henry’s fantasy projection all over the map. At the very least, I feel Murray’s dings and dents should be enough reason for the coaching staff to use Henry near the goal but that is simply speculation on my part. The Bengals have allowed over 100 yards rushing in each of their last three games so both backs are worth starting this week.

Value Meter:
RB2: DeMarco Murray
TE1: Delanie Walker
Flex: Derrick Henry
Bench: Marcus Mariota, Rishard Mathews, Corey Davis, Eric Decker

Prediction: Bengals 20, Titans 16 ^ Top

Steelers @ Colts - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Martavis Bryant is back practicing with the first team. Whether or not he can stay there is another story but for Week 10 it appears he will be on the field. His role in the offense has been damaged by the emergence of JuJu Smith-Shuster so don’t be too quick on putting Bryant back into your lineup. I’d rather take a wait and see approach with the troubled receiver or simply let another more desperate manager to the gamble altogether. With the Texans’ pass game derailed by the injury to Deshaun Watson and Odell Beckham Jr. out with injury, the Steelers’ Antonio Brown is the best receiver to own in fantasyland. He shouldn’t have three touchdowns when you look at his numbers after this weekend so look for him to carry your fantasy squad in Week 10. Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the steadiest quarterbacks in the league this season. Unfortunately, it isn’t because he has been playing at a high level this year, but rather his typical “just OK” fantasy outings. Continue to view him as a low-end QB1 this week with a good matchup. Jesse James would accrue most of the team’s tight end snaps if Vance McDonald remains out. The four-year veteran tight end had overtaken James as the starter but has been out since sustaining a knee injury in Week 7. James hasn’t done much with the extra workload and should only be considered in two-tight end formats.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: In what might be the easiest lineup decision of the week Le’Veon Bell is going up against the third friendliest defense to opposing running backs. Anything less than 20 fantasy points in Week 10 would be a disappointment. Bell has had at least 25 carries in every game of Pittsburgh’s current three-game winning streak. Barring injury, both streaks should continue past Week 10. James Connor will get a token carry or two but carries minimal fantasy value as Bell’s handcuff.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger
RB1: Le'Veon Bell
WR1: Antonio Brown
WR3: JuJu Smith-Schuster
TE2: Jesse James
Bench: Martavis Bryant, James Conner, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Eli Rogers, Vance McDonald

Passing Game Thoughts: Indianapolis’ passing game has improved since the return of Jack Doyle to the starting lineup. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett is gaining confidence and has shown the ability to keep the main pieces of the offense fantasy relevant as we march towards the playoffs. T.Y. Hilton led all wide receivers in fantasy points a week ago on his way to earning AFC Player of the Week accolades. He’s a lock for plenty of targets and should be started in all formats. A similar plan is in order for Jack Doyle. Indianapolis’ tight end hauled in another eight passes a week ago to give him 50 through only eight games this season. Continue to deploy him with confidence this week. Behind those two, however, there is a cavernous void. The Colts have simply not found a way to get more out of Donte Moncrief this season. There have been no signs of life to make anyone believe he can return to being a fantasy friendly player in 2017 and he should be dropped off all rosters as a result. Brissett is best used as a stop gap solution to your lineup. The Colts offensive line has given up the most sacks on the season so there is significant risk of a low floor if you do choose to go down this road.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: Pittsburgh has struggled against the run this year and the Colts have only had success through the air when T.Y. Hilton gets going. If Indy hopes to keep this game close, they will need to shore up their defense and let Gore handle the ball more than his usual workload. The 17 carries he saw in Week 9 were the most carries he has seen since the third week of the season and also led to a Colts victory. The same boring mix should still provide Gore with a decent fantasy line as a flex or deep league RB2. Marlon Mack’s fantasy owners are clinging to snap counts but Gore remains a fixture getting carries in an offense that is far less potent this season. As a result, Mack should remain planted on your fantasy bench until more opportunity arises.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jacoby Brissett
WR1: T.Y. Hilton
TE1: Jack Doyle
Flex: Frank Gore
Bench: Donte Moncrief, Marlon Mack, Kamar Aiken, Chester Rogers

Prediction: Steelers 31, Colts 17 ^ Top

Jets @ Buccaneers - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Josh McCown has alligator blood because he continues to find starting gigs even though he is best viewed as a backup quarterback. He has very quietly been the ninth best fantasy passer this year carrying a per game average of just over 19 fantasy points. That output places him ahead of Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan on the season but it has not made it easier figuring out which receiver to bank on each week. Robby Anderson appears to have broken out as the team’s top receiving option for fantasy purposes over Jermaine Kearse. Mr. Anderson now has back-to-back games with a touchdown under his belt but he will continue to split targets with Kearse in Week 10. Both players bring flex appeal to the table this week in a ripe match up. Meanwhile, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been a touchdown or bust fantasy tight end to this point of the season. I think the Jets will be able to find room running the ball if they get into the red zone putting the big tight end’s red zone targets at risk for Week 10.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: The Jets should be able to take advantage of Tampa Bay’s shortcomings against the rush. Both Bilal Powell and Matt Forte offer plenty of fantasy upside despite the fact that they are splitting carries. Tampa has yielded four rushing scores over the past three weeks and they aren’t much better at covering running backs coming out of the backfield. Only six teams have allowed more receptions to opposing running backs so I’m bullish on the Jets’ making every effort to win this on the backs of its ground game. That makes the injury status of Matt Forte’s knee one of the hotter fantasy topics heading into the weekend. Forte was unable to practice Thursday. The veteran has had knee issues during his career so this may be a case of the team giving their veteran extra rest. However, a DNP for Friday would cast a large shadow on his availability for Sunday and move the arrow significantly upward as a potential RB1 for Powell so stay tuned for more updates.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh McCown
WR3: Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse
Flex: Matt Forte (if healthy), Bilal Powell
Bench: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jeremy Kerley

Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the nod in this game with Jameis Winston sidelined with a shoulder injury. The cagey veteran will enjoy suiting up against his former team (that wouldn’t pay his asking price) but he will be operating without the team’s star receiver. Mike Evans is set to serve his one-game suspension this weekend after losing his appeal this week and thereby forcing his owners to scramble for a replacement. While DeSean Jackson steps into a more featured role on the outside, the Bucs may also try to lean more heavily on Cameron Brate in this matchup. The undervalued tight end is coming off a poor outing in Week 9 so there is no guarantee he will be able to right the ship with Fitzpatrick under center. The same is true for O.J. Howard. The rookie tight end has only three catches since his two-touchdown effort in Week 7. Adam Humphries has been labeled questionable for this game as he continues to nurse a rib injury. If healthy, I could see him outshining Jackson in this game but not if he is playing at less than full strength. Rookie wideout Chris Godwin may get a few more reps on offense with Evans out. He has the ability to develop into an exciting player but I just don’t expect this offense to get much going on Sunday afternoon. The Jets have been a solid matchup for opposing fantasy wideouts this year so deep league owners may choose wade into these waters anyway.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: Tampa Bay’s offense will be playing this game without its quarterback and star receiver so it shouldn’t be a surprise when HC Dirk Koetter tries to stick with the running game as long as he possibly can. The yards may not come in chunks but there is a high probability that Doug Martin’s volume will make him a worthwhile fantasy starter this weekend. It also means that Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers may sneak in a handful of carries that may not normally see. I don’t advocate starting either of the backup running backs, however it could allow them to move the ball down the field better than they have in recent weeks. The Jets have given up over 120 rushing yards per game in 2017 and may get gashed if the Bucs can sustain longer drives by utilizing all three of their running backs and limiting potential turnovers in the passing game in the process.

Value Meter:
RB2: Doug Martin
WR3: DeSean Jackson
TE1: Cameron Brate
Bench: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jameis Winston (out), Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries

Prediction: Jets 33, Buccaneers 17 ^ Top