Week 10 of the fantasy football season is here, and with bye weeks and injuries galore, we turn to our fantasy expert, James Morris, for his weekly lineup advice.
Week 10 “Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em” by James Morris
Injuries are hammering fantasy line-ups around the world, and my teams are not exempt from the mayhem. Percy Harvin is all but a lock to be out this week; Hakeem Nicks looks like he is going to play, but he has been a bust so far this season and I don’t know if I trust him anymore; DeMarco Murray returned to practice this week, but he’s not going to play this weekend against the Eagles; and then there is Owen Daniels who is dealing with a hip pointer, and is a true game-time decision.
What all this means is depth is coming into play more and more, so those in the deeper leagues or standard sized leagues (12 teams) with deep benches have to really do their research on who to start and who to sit, and who to grab off the waiver wire and who to leave on the waiver wire. NFL.com only updates their add/drop percentage once a week, but Yahoo does theirs daily. So far in Yahoo.com leagues, Taiwan Jones has been picked up by 54,402 people in the last two days. Jones did make the week 10 article, but you’ll want to read below and see if it was a smart move, or one you would be better off letting someone else make.
Josh Freeman – QB Buccaneers: The Chargers give up the 19th most fantasy points to QBs at 19.1 PPG, but Freeman is seeing his fantasy stock grow because of the strong play of rookie RB Doug Martin. Martin takes the focus off the pass, and that has allowed Freeman to average 26.30 in NFL.com fantasy leagues. I like Freeman as a possible top 10 fantasy QB this week, and a certain QB1 at worst.
Ryan Tannehill – QB Dolphins: Tannehill gets the Titans disappointing secondary this week, and that is good news for owners looking for a sleeper at QB with Aaron Rodgers and Robert Griffin III on bye’s. The Titans give up 23.5 PPG to QBs (4th worst in NFL) and have allowed a league high 20 passing TDs this season. If there were a week for Tannehill to turn around the TD/INT ratio, this is it!
Stevan Ridley – RB Patriots: It is only a matter of time before the Patriots go all New England Patriots and start blowing teams out, and this could be the weekend they start that trend. If and when that happens on Sunday, the Patriots should turn to the ground game to grind out the clock, and that means Ridley has every chance to be a surprising RB1 when all is said and done. I like him as a sleeper RB this week for fantasy owners frustrated with his inconsistent production this year.
Reggie Bush – RB Dolphins: Don’t mistake Tannehill and Bush as starter worthy players for the Titans being an easy win or a homer pick in my mind. The Titans can run laps around most defenses because Chris Johnson has world class speed, and they also get Jake Locker back this week and put Matt Hasselbeck’s pea shooter back on the bench. That all being said, the Titans give up the most points to RBs in PPR formats at 25.5 PPG, and Bush is a RB that gets no respect from the big-box websites. Because he is overlooked by them, a lot of owners don’t consider him a must-start from week-to-week. Oh, and thank you to “Adam” (team name: Forgetting Brandon Marshall) for trading me Bush for Alfred Morris in our Dolphins fans NFL.com league!
Torrey Smith – WR Ravens: Smith has been inconsistent this season with production, but the good news for his owners is that the Raiders have been consistent with giving up fantasy numbers to WRs. Currently they give up the 14th most FP with 23.2 per-game, and Smith is ripe for a big game as he hasn’t had one since week 4 when he racked up 97 yards and a TD on 6 catches.
Brandon Lloyd – WR Patriots: Lloyd started off hot in PPR leagues with 25 catches for 287 yards in the first 4 games of the season. The problem is he only had one touchdown during that span. Since then he has just 12 catches for 148 yards, but hauled in 2 TDs last week to pad his fantasy points. Because the Bills defense is crumbling like the Berlin Wall, I think Lloyd will finish with respectable WR2 stats this weekend and someone to play in all formats.
Vernon Davis – TE 49ers: I am not a fan of Davis’. Because of Alex Smith’s shortcomings, Davis is even more inconsistent than the average TE. Despite that, I would play Davis as a top 5 fantasy TE this weekend because the Rams are weak at defending the TE (7th most fantasy PPG at 14.4). There is always the chance he flops because of his QB, but I think he has a really good chance to succeed, on paper.
Dallas Cowboys defense: Owned in just 24.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, the Cowboys rank out as a starting fantasy defense this week. I lay below with Michael Vick why the Cowboys will make him a fantasy bust this week, but they are also #9 at RB points allowed at 19.6 PPG. The Cowboys defensive players have to be licking their chops at the site of turnover machine Vick this week, and I expect a great fantasy effort from them because of him.
Michael Vick – QB Eagles: The Cowboys have been a bend but don’t break defense this season, with just 3 INTs (31st in NFL) and 5 fumbles recovered (tied for 5th, but there are 15 teams ahead of them, and another 5 tied with them). But, Vick has thrown 9 INTs (tied for 5th most) this year and has lost 5 fumbles this season (2nd most in NFL). Add to that the fact that the Cowboys allow the 4th fewest fantasy points to QBs at 15.2 PPG, and you understand why I don’t expect him to be victorious for fantasy owners this weekend.
Matt Schaub – QB Texans: Schaub and the 7-1 Texans lock up with 7-1 Chicago Bears this weekend in what should be great game to watch. The Texans record can be attributed to their offensive prowess, whereas the Bears can give most of their credit to their defense thus far. Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings have been IDP beasts, ranking #1 and #2 for DBs in fantasy leagues thanks to their 8 INTs (6-Jennings, 2-Tillman), 7 forced fumbles (all 7 are Tillman’s) and 3 TDs (2-Tillman, 1-Jennings) combined. I really wouldn’t play Schaub unless I had no other choices and the waiver wire was bare bones. I would seriously consider playing Alex Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick over Schaub this week.
Fred Jackson – RB Bills: Jackson is owned in 94.8 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 60.3 percent of those leagues. But, as I said with Ridley above, I think the Patriots get out in front of the Bills in this one, which will then cause them to abandon the run. Not to mention that the Patriots give up the 6th fewest FP to RBs at 13.6 PPG.
Taiwan Jones – RB Raiders: With Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson all but certain to not play this weekend (high ankle sprain for both), Jones is taking the first team reps in practice. The positive about Jones is that he has blazing speed (reportedly ran a 4.27 40-yard dash); the negative is that his own coach stated on Monday that they don’t trust Jones because of “serious ball-control issues”, meaning he fumbles a lot. I don’t think we see Jones in a true feature back role, and because he will split snaps with Marcel Reece and be in the dog house if/when he coughs up the ball, I would let Jones be someone else’s problem.
Hakeem Nicks – WR Giants: The problem with sitting Nicks is that you know as soon as you do he will go off for 10 catches for 200 yards and 2 TDs. The problem with playing him is that he is currently ranked #54 at WR for NFL.com PPR leagues. He has just 28.30 fantasy points since returning from his injury in week 6, and the Bengals are 11th in FP allowed to WRs in PPR formats at just 32.2 (PPR leagues are crazy with WR scoring due to receptions being worth 1 point). He is a true boom-or-bust player these days, and I just don’t trust him enough to stick him in my own line-up when I have Harvin out and Titus Young/Lance Moore as my only depth at WR.
Danny Amendola – WR Rams: The only people wanting, and perhaps needing, Amendola back in their line-up more than the NFL team he plays for has to be the fantasy players that own him. The guy was Sam Bradford’s go-to man at WR, and a monster in PPR formats. But, the Rams run into the 49ers this week and they have been shutting down offenses all season long on a consistent basis (103 points allowed, 1st in NFL). You’ve went this long without him in your line-up, so one more week won’t kill you.
Heath Miller – TE Steelers: Miller isn’t one of the top TEs you look at take on draft day, but he is currently sitting in NFL.com’s #4 spot for TE in PPR formats with 115.40 points (just 8.10 points behind Tony Gonzalez at #2). But, if there is one thing the Chiefs defense does well, it is keeping the TE from scoring fantasy points (#6 in NFL with 9.9 PPG). I think the Chiefs get creamed in this game, but not at the expense of Miller.
Atlanta Falcons defense: When you ask why the Falcons are currently the only undefeated team in the NFL, every single analyst points to their prolific passing attack lead by Matt Ryan. But, did you know their defense is #4 in points allowed (137), they are tied for 4th with 10 INTs, tied for 3rd with 7 fumbles recovered and sit ranked #8 in NFL.com fantasy leagues with 82.00 points? If you don’t own them, I bet you didn’t know any of that. However, the Falcons run into a Saint or two this weekend and I wouldn’t bet on them shutting Drew Brees down if my life depended on it. I’d look at picking up the Cowboys or even the Dolphins (22.5 percent owned) defenses as fill-ins this weekend.
Check back here on Sunday morning for last-minute fantasy injury updates.
Also, for more fantasy football advice, follow James on Twitter here.
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