Analysis Paralysis: Week 10 Start & Sit
I know it's getting painful (especially for those of you who waited six weeks to get Rob Gronkowski back), but we're almost done with bye weeks, I promise. I can't promise, however, that we're done with injuries (sorry Aaron Rodgers owners). This topsy turvy NFL season has gotten us to the point where Nick Foles, Zac Stacy, and Keenan Allen are all Top 10 players at their respective positions this week. If someone had drafted their team like that, they would have been laughed out of their draft room, but nevertheless, here we are. Values have been changing faster than New England weather (that's fast), and owners who aren't adjusting are going to be left behind.
And with that, let's get into the Week 10 players who deserve to be in your lineup (or on your bench).
Jake Locker: Locker is coming off a bit of a stinker last week, but he’s been quite good in the games he’s started this year having scored 14-plus fantasy points in four of six. He has the benefit of facing an atrocious Jaguars defense this week (tied for second worst against fantasy quarterbacks) and should be able to easily finish among the Top 10 quaterbacks in Week 10.
Eli Manning: It’s always tough to start a guy who has five more interceptions than he has touchdowns, but it’s not like we’re talking about Blaine Gabbert here either. Eli has the talent and weapons to post big fantasy points (even though he hasn’t really done it since Week 1) and has the added benefit of playing a Raiders defense that is tied with the Jaguars for second worst against fantasy quarterbacks.
Zac Stacy: It would seem pretty obvious to start a running back coming off back-to-back 125-plus yard games, but Stacy still doesn’t have the name caché to make him an automatic start just yet. I can’t say I love his matchup against the Colts, but the Rams really don’t have any other options on offense. You better be starting guys LeSean McCoy and Reggie Bush if you’re benching Stacy this week.
Mike Tolbert: To start Mike Tolbert is to bank on a goal line carry, but that has happened in three of his last four games. That’s not to say that it will automatically happen against a 49ers defense that has improved against the run as of late, but Tolbert is a perfect option for those in a pinch at running back.
Montee Ball: I’m digging deep here, but Ball is coming off his best game of the season in which he received as many carries as his three previous games combined (and also found the end zone for the first time). The Chargers are tough against the run, but I’d expect this one to get out of hand and allow Ball to see some carries (preferably goal line carries).
Mike Brown: Who? The guy who put up 120 receiving yards the last time the Jaguars played without Justin Blackmon. That’s who. Brown will benefit again from Blackmon’s absence (this time, for the season) as the Jaguars take on the Titans. Tennessee’s defense is strong against the pass, but the Jaguars will likely have to throw a lot (since there’s a 99.9 percent chance that they’ll be behind in this contest), and Brown should see plenty of looks.
Doug Baldwin: The Falcons have allowed a receiving touchdown in seven of the eight games they’ve played this year and have allowed the third-most receiving touchdowns to opposing teams. With defenses focusing on Golden Tate due to Sidney Rice’s season-ending injury, Baldwin has stepped into a larger role and should be able to build upon his six-catch, 75-yard game from last week during which he scored his second touchdown of the season.
Kris Durham: As weird as it is to say, the Bears have been really bad against the pass this year. They returned to their stingy ways against Seneca Wallace last week, but they face a much stiffer challenge this week. The Bears have historically been good at shutting down Calvin Johnson, but that just means guys like Durham should have plenty of opportunities to produce (he’s seen nine targets per game over his last three).
Garrett Graham: Most defenses allow something like eight or nine fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. The Cardinals allow almost 15! (which is the worst in the NFL by a large margin). Graham hasn’t scored a touchdown in four games, but he has the best matchup a tight end could possibly have and should make for a good bye week fill-in if you’re a Rob Gronkowski or Jordan Cameron owner.
Delanie Walker: The Jaguars (Walker’s opponent this week) are currently tied for third-worst against opposing fantasy tight ends and have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in five of their past six games. Walker is more of an aforementioned bye week fill-in, but I could see him squeaking into the Top 10 at his position this week.
New York Giants D/ST: They’re towards the bottom of the season-long standings for defenses and special teams, but the Giants defense has scored double-digit fantasy points in their last two games. Going against an iffy Raiders offense this week, the G-Men should be able to take advantage of their matchup (which is at home) and put up some crooked numbers.
Tennessee Titans D/ST: I don’t mean to pick on the poor Jaguars, but they sort of deserve it. They’ve allowed double-digit points to opposing defenses in all but one of their games this season, and I don’t see any reason why that would change this week. Start the Titans with confidence.
6-Pack of Sorrow
(Six players you should think about benching if you have better options)
Matt Ryan: Poor Matt Ryan (and his fantasy owners). Between age and injuries, his supporting cast has pretty much fallen apart around him, as he’s struggled to remain a QB1. Ryan has seven interceptions over his past two games (that’s not good) and hasn’t topped nine fantasy points since Week 7. Things don’t get any easier this week as he faces a tough Seahawks defense, so make sure Ryan is on your bench.
Colin Kaepernick: Kaepernick has been better lately, but he’s facing an underrated Panthers defense that is currently the only team allowing single-digit fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The last time the Panthers allowed more than 300 passing yards was Week 1, and I don’t expect that to change this week. That’s not a good thing for Kaepernick owners.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis: I see Green-Ellis among a lot of people’s Top 30 running backs every week, but I’m not sure why. He’s only scored double-digit fantasy points once this season and is averaging a horrendous 3.23 yards per carry on the season. To make matters worse, he has the toughest matchup that a fantasy running back can have this week in the Ravens. The carries are there, but the points are not. Stay away from the Law Firm.
Marques Colston: This could be moot as Colston is questionable for this weekend with a knee injury, but he's a must-bench even if he does play. Despite the nice matchup against the Cowboys, Colston hasn’t scored more than nine fantasy points since Week 1 and just can’t be relied upon to be a fantasy starter at this point. It seems weird to say after years of steady production, but he’s a bench guy until further notice.
Andrew Quarless: For as bad as the Eagles defense has been, they’re the only team besides the Chiefs to keep opposing tight ends from scoring a touchdown this season. Quarless shouldn’t really be on anyone’s radar anyway (especially with Rodgers out), but you can do a lot better if you’re searching for a fill-in this week. Trust me.
San Diego Chargers: The Broncos are on pace to shatter every offensive record known to man and are also the only team that is averaging negative points allowed to opposing defenses (which means you’re better off starting no one in your D/ST slot against the Broncos). Avoid the lightning bolts this week.