Well here we are. Week 10. The beginning of the stretch run to the fantasy playoffs. Instead of just going through the motions to set your lineup, it’s time skillfully work your roster to make sure you win the games that will put you in the best position for the fantasy post-season. So here are a few tips on who to play and who to avoid going into Week 10….
First of all, if you are one of the many Aaron Rodgers fantasy owners struggling to replace him, hopefully you have added Jay Cutler to your lineup. I’ve never been a big fan of Cutler over the years. He’s been too inconsistent. But he has played well throughout the better part of this season under new head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler returns today to play against Detroit. This matchup is a good one for Cutler. And perhaps more important, he has several good or decent matchups the rest of the way, to include Dallas, Minnesota, and Philadelphia. So if you need him, use Cultler as low-end QB1 this week and keep him on hand as the season continues.
Another quarterback worth considering this week is Mike Glennon. Glennon isn’t going to replace Philip Rivers in your starting lineup. But if you are in a deep league or if your are hurting for a QB this week, Glennon makes for a decent option. He played well against the Seahawks last week, and he faces a beatable secondary in the form of the Miami Dolphins. Glennon is a QB2 in Week 10. So is Jake Locker, who has the fortune of playing the Jacksonville Jaguars this week.
The Jacksonville game also means Chris Johnson is a must-start in all leagues this week. He goes into this weekend as a solid RB1 with lots of upside. Also consider starting Green Bay’s James Starks. With Senaca Wallace under center, don’t be surprised if the Packers turn to the run more often than not. Eddie Lacy is the primary guy (an RB2 with upside), but Starks should get his share. He is a high-end RB3 and a good flex play in Week 10.
Owners of RB Danny Woodhead in PPR leagues should insert him into their rosters where possible as a flex player or as an RB2 (he is an RB3 in standard leagues) with upside. He should see a lot of targets in this potential shootout with the Denver Broncos. Likewise, Cincinnati WR Marvin Jones can be expected to provide some good numbers in Baltimore. The Ravens defense isn’t what it used to be, so don’t be surprised if Jones scores fantasy points worthy of a WR2.
Finally, don’t forget about tight end Tim Wright from Tampa Bay. He is quietly putting up decent numbers. Wright is a TE2 option for fantasy owners in his game against Miami. Fantasy owners seeking help at tight end should also consider Delanie Walker, who is a strong TE2 option in his game against the Jags.
Some notable fantasy players face stiff defenses in Week 10. In particular, Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore go against the Carolina Panthers, who have blossomed into one of the best defenses in the league this year. Even though the game is in San Francisco and the 49ers have the benefit of a bye week to prepare, fantasy owners should expect more downside than upside from Kaepernick in this one – a low-end QB2 option at best. Gore should be downgraded to a low-end RB2 for this game as well. He has more upside potential this week than Kaepernick, but other running backs like Chris Johnson and Matt Forte would be better choices here.
Another set of players to be cautious about: the offense of the Atlanta Falcons. Yes, they are at home, and Roddy White is back. But they play against the Seattle Seahawks. Unlike the 49ers’ situation, there is some hope for points here. The Seahawks are a “bend but don’t break” defense. So production from Matt Ryan & Company is certainly possible and, perhaps, even expected. But fantasy owners of Falcons players should lower their expectations a notch. Matt Ryan becomes a low-end QB1 option in Week 10. Harry Douglas and Roddy White are both low-end WR2 options with more downside than upside in this one. And Tony Gonzalez goes to a low-end TE1 while Steven Jackson should only be viewed as a low-end RB2.
On the flip side, Seattle’s Russell Wilson is a low-end QB2 this week solely because of his road trip to Atlanta. The Seahawks offense has struggled in these East Coast games, often taking three or more quarters to wake-up and start producing. Marshawn Lynch’s numbers don’t suffer as much as Wilson’s in these games, but there is potential downside for him as well. Lynch is a low-end RB1 in Week 10, and could be outproduced by Chris Johnson and Matt Forte.
Houston quarterback Case Keenum looked good last week while Gary Kubiak was on the field coaching. But he struggled in the second half with Wade Phillips in charge. Kubiak has yet to return, Arian Foster is out, and Ben Tate is nursing a rib injury. So in this game at Arizona, don’t hang your hat on another stellar performance of any kind from Keenum. He is just a QB3 this week. Ben Tate is a low-end RB2 with downside. And Andre Johnson slips to a low-end WR1 with both upside and downside.
And then there is Ray Rice. Rice has largely disappointed fantasy owners this season. In five of his seven games this season, he has been held to under 40 yards of rushing. He faces a respectable Cincinnati defense this weekend that could easily extend Rice’s drought. Owners of Rice in standard leagues would be wise to sit him. For those in PPR leagues, you might consider playing him as a low-end RB2. But at this point, Danny Woodhead could be as good of a play – if not better – than Ray Rice in Week 10.
There you have it folks – the good, the bad, and the ugly in Week 10. Good luck with your fantasy teams. And feel free to reach out to me here or on Twitter (@murphysguide) with any questions you may have.