For one more harrowing week fantasy owners will miss some major contributors in Week 10. Like Week 9, owners need a few band aids to replace the top notch production of top running backs like the Colts Ahmad Bradshaw and Houston’s Arian Foster, along with receivers like Indy’s T.Y. Hilton and the Patriots Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski.
But this week we’ll deviate slightly and talk about the huge drop-off and much needed one-week replacements for some of fantasy’s best quarterbacks this season: Indianapolis’s Andrew Luck, New England’s Tom Brady and San Diego’s Phillip Rivers.
By far Week 10’s most glaring need is a QB to make up for three of the six highest scoring passers in the fantasy this year. Luck’s been a revelation and leads the highest scoring offense in the league with 28 passing TDs, Brady’s come on in the last five weeks to smash all comers after a slow start, and Rivers might be coming off a very poor game but he’s been good for 25 or more points week-to-week in most leagues.
Now unless you have Pittsburgh’s red-hot Ben Roethlisberger, Denver’s Peyton Manning, New Orleans Drew Brees or Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers warming up on the bench, chances are you have a second-tier QB waiting in the wings and they’ll be your starter in Week 10.
In short that list includes Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, Chicago’s Jay Cutler, Carolina’s Cam Newton, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, Arizona’s Carson Palmer, Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, Miami’s Ryan Tannehill, Dallas’s Tony Romo, San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, the Giants Eli Manning, Buffalo’s Kyle Orton and K.C.’s Alex Smith.
That’s quite a list but it can be slimmed down by a simple process of elimination. Cutler’s out because he’s on the road against Green Bay. Dalton’s had an underwhelming year so far, and most of his weapons are still banged up. Palmer’s looked great after coming back from injury but faces the Rams No. 8 ranked secondary. Romo’s back is still highly questionable, Kapernick’s turnover prone recently, and Manning’s too up and down with the Giants rolling into Seattle this week. Stafford, Tannehill, Orton and Smith are facing arguably the four toughest defenses in the league.
That leaves us with Ryan, Newton, Wilson, and Flacco, with each having a pretty favorable matchup. Newton’s thrown a pick in five straight games but he’s been running the ball far more in the last four weeks, with 43 attempts compared to 14 times in the first four games of the season. Newton's once again a dual threat for owners. Furthermore he’ll face a Philly team that’s committed the most turnovers in the league, giving Newton some extra opportunities to score.
Wilson was a superstar in the first four games of the season with eight touchdown passes, but has come back to earth in the last two weeks. Still he’ll face a Giants squad that’s given up the ninth most points to QBs this season according to Yahoo!
Other than his five-TD performance in Week 6 against the dreadful Bucs, Flacco’s put up a typical, steady stat line of more than 260 passing yards and nearly two TDs on average. Those are solid numbers for a one-week stabilizer. Ryan on the other hand faces the Bucs this week, and he lit them up for three TDs in Week 3.
If at all possible, look to start Flacco, Ryan, Newton or Wilson this week, with the others presenting too many questions than solutions.
Now let’s get back to the RBs and WRs that owners should consider starting and those they should probably sit in Week 10. But as always, start and sit at your own discretion.
RBs To Start/Sit
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell’s arrived as one of the best RB1s in fantasy, doing most of his damage out of the backfield with 47 receptions. Not to mention the incredible tear the Steelers offense is presently riding. Some might hesitate to start Bell against a Jets defense ranked No. 7 overall against the run, and one that has let up only 100 combined rushing yards from an opposing offense three times this season. But Bell will benefit from Roethlisberger ripping up the Jets secondary and get plenty of chances for dump offs underneath.
Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens
If you’re looking for a Bradshaw sub, Forsett is your guy. He’s averaging 5.4 yards per carry and more than four receptions a game. The Ravens also face a Titans D that’s 28 h overall versus the run and allowed eight rushing TDs.
Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Robinson’s posted three straight incredible games, including a 100-yard performance against Miami’s stellar D. In Week 10 he’ll face a reeling Dallas squad that’s let up more than 300 rushing yards and three scores in the last two weeks. The only problem is the Cowboys can load up the box against Robinson with QB Blake Bortles still struggling. Only start Robinson as your RB3, but don’t consider him any higher or even for your flex.
WRs To Start/Sit
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
The Bears offense is waning, and its no coincidence that the drop is paralleled by Marshall’s lack of production. In the last five games Marshall’s pulled in 20 catches for 259 yards and one TD, compared to four TDs in the first three weeks of the season. History says to start Marshall against Green Bay, since he’s averaged five receptions for almost 70 yards in seven career games against the Packers. But Cutler's 1-9 all-time record against the Pack, with 19 INTs, severely hinder Marshall's production this week. There are better options this week like Atlanta’s Roddy White, or San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Since Carson Palmer’s return, Fitzgerald’s looked like his old self with 349 of his 513 total receiving yards on the season coming in the last four games. But the Rams might put that to an end. They’ve let up 12 total receiving TDs this season, just a little over one per game, and chances are Fitzgerald will see multiple coverages all day. Teammate Michael Floyd could be a better start since the Rams figure to key on Fitzgerald more, but overall stay away from the Cards receiving corps this week.
Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
With NFL-leading receiver and teammate Antonio Brown drawing most of the attention, Bryant figures to pad his touchdown total of five even more against the Jets. The rookie’s a huge target in the red zone standing at 6-foot-4, and he’s scored in all three game he’s played this season.
Week 10 Sleepers
Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo Bills
Sammy Watkins’s groin injury apparently won’t keep him out against the Chiefs, and the NFL’s No. 1 secondary figures to drape the rookie all day. Enter Woods, who could slip away from coverage for big chunks of yards or a red zone score.
Mychal Rivera, TE, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders offense is terrible, but Rivera’s been very consistent when given chances with 28 catches off 45 targets. He caught his first two touchdowns of the season last week, and next squares off against a Denver that’s allowing more than 10 fantasy points a game against TEs.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Witten’s on pace for the worst season of his career, but over the last two weeks, he’s totaled 11 catches for 132 yards and one score off 15 targets serving as Brandon Weeden’s security blanket. Very strange to think of him as a sleeper, but he’s reached that point of his career. Still Witten meets a Jaguars D that’s allowed 527 yards and five TDs to opposing TEs this season.