Some performances in Week 10 weren't surprising. We're not going to bat an eyelash when Drew Brees, Robert Griffin III, Demaryius Thomas, Peyton Manning, Brandon Marshall or Marshawn Lynch have huge games.
And, of course, some performances we never saw coming. Tavon Austin scoring three touchdowns? Ryan Fitzpatrick notching 23 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues in relief duty? Mark freaking Ingram rushing for 145 yards and a touchdown?
Never saw them coming. Here, of course, we are interested in those players we should see coming, and those players that, based on their talent and the matchups they face, grade out as top-10 players at their position this week.
Let's take an early look at this week's rankings.
|1||Robert Griffin III||Washington||Philadelphia Eagles||28|
|2||Nick Foles||Philadelphia Eagles||Washington||25|
|3||Cam Newton||Carolina Panthers||New England Patriots||24|
|4||Matt Stafford||Detroit Lions||Pittsburgh Steelers||22|
|5||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||San Francisco 49ers||21|
|6||Peyton Manning*||Denver Broncos||Kansas City Chiefs||20|
|7||Russell Wilson||Seattle Seahawks||Minnesota Vikings||18|
|8||Andy Dalton||Cincinnati Bengals||Cleveland Browns||17|
|9||Case Keenum||Houston Texans||Oakland Raiders||17|
|10||Matt Ryan||Atlanta Falcons||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16|
*If he plays
No position is trickier than quarterback this week, as several of the game's top options all have brutal matchups.
Matt Stafford takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers (fourth in pass defense). Drew Brees faces the San Francisco 49ers (ninth in pass defense). Peyton Manning gets to match wits with the Kansas City Chiefs (sixth in pass defense). Cam Newton will try to throw and run past the New England Patriots (12th in pass defense).
All are players who are still worthy of being started given their talent, but all could all see their usual production dampened by tough matchups.
Robert Griffin III faces a Philadelphia Eagles team that is 31st in pass defense and has allowed opposing quarterbacks in standard-scoring leagues to score 15 or more fantasy points six times this year, so he tops this list for good reason.
But the impressive Nick Foles (16 touchdowns, no interceptions this season) is also an amazing play against Washington's defense, currently 26th in pass defense and allowing opposing quarterbacks to score 18 or more fantasy points five times.
Finally, Case Keenum sneaks into the top 10 this week. He may not be winning, but he's registered an impressive 60 fantasy points in his three starts and has a very promising matchup against the Oakland Raiders.
|1||LeSean McCoy||Philadelphia Eagles||Washington||22|
|2||Marshawn Lynch||Seattle Seahawks||Minnesota Vikings||21|
|3||Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs||Denver Broncos||19|
|4||Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings||Seattle Seahawks||18|
|5||Frank Gore||San Francisco 49ers||New Orleans Saints||17|
|6||Reggie Bush||Detroit Lions||Pittsburgh Steelers||17|
|7||Alfred Morris||Washington||Philadelphia Eagles||16|
|8||Matt Forte||Chicago Bears||Baltimore Ravens||15|
|9||Giovani Bernard||Cincinnati Bengals||Cleveland Browns||14|
|10||Eddie Lacy||Green Bay Packers||New York Giants||13|
Running Back Notes
LeSean McCoy has seen his fantasy value take a slight hit with Nick Foles under center, but he's fresh off rushing for 155 yards against the Green Bay Packers and faces a Washington defense that has given up 18 or more fantasy points to opposing running backs eight times this season.
There aren't too many surprises in the top 10—trust your studs this week—but Giovani Bernard's ascension into the rankings might turn some heads.
Bernard had 22 touches to BenJarvus Green-Ellis' nine on Sunday and turned that usage into 95 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. The Cleveland Browns give up an average of 15.3 fantasy points to opposing running backs, so Bernard should post solid numbers again this week.
The bigger questions at running back will be what to do with the top options that didn't make this list. Do you trust Stevan Ridley against the Carolina Panthers, Knowshon Moreno against the Kansas City Chiefs or Chris Johnson against the Indianapolis Colts? At this point, can you trust Ray Rice or C.J. Spiller at all?
There aren't many pressing questions at RB1, but RB2 is a bit of a minefield this week.
|1||Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions||Pittsburgh Steelers||23|
|2||DeSean Jackson||Philadelphia Eagles||Washington||20|
|3||Brandon Marshall||Chicago Bears||Baltimore Ravens||19|
|4||Josh Gordon||Cleveland Browns||Cincinnati Bengals||18|
|5||Vincent Jackson||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Atlanta Falcons||16|
|6||Demaryius Thomas||Denver Broncos||Kansas City Chiefs||15|
|7||A.J. Green||Cincinnati Bengals||Cleveland Browns||15|
|8||Andre Johnson||Houston Texans||Oakland Raiders||14|
|9||Pierre Garcon||Washington||Philadelphia Eagles||14|
|10||Larry Fitzgerald||Arizona Cardinals||Jacksonville Jaguars||13|
Wide Receiver Notes
Larry Fitzgerald? Larry freaking Fitzgerald? The same player that has reached double-digit fantasy points just four times this season but has scored six or fewer fantasy points the other five weeks makes this list?
Well, yes, mostly because he has a tasty matchup against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has given up 20 or more fantasy points six times to opposing wide receivers. Fitzgerald has been all or nothing this year, but against the Jags he'll shine.
Now on to the usual suspects.
In his past three games, Calvin Johnson has 29 receptions for 567 yards and five touchdowns. That's a full season's worth of production for a lot of wide receivers. Until further notice, Megatron tops these rankings by default.
DeSean Jackson torched Washington for seven receptions, 104 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Don't be surprised if he reprises that performance and then some. His teammate, Riley Cooper, should be owned and started in all formats as long as Nick Foles is under center, but it seems hasty to inject him into the top 10 for the moment.
Should A.J. Green owners be worried about the Joe Haden factor? Perhaps—Green was held to seven receptions for 51 yards in their first meeting this season. Then again, he's also scored double-digit fantasy points in five straight weeks.
Green's upside is capped by the matchup with Haden, but expect him to still produce solid numbers.
|1||Jimmy Graham||New Orleans Saints||San Francisco 49ers||17|
|2||Rob Gronkowski||New England Patriots||Carolina Panthers||17|
|3||Jordan Cameron||Cleveland Browns||Cincinnati Bengals||15|
|4||Vernon Davis*||San Francisco 49ers||New Orleans Saints||14|
|5||Jordan Reed||Washington||Philadelphia Eagles||13|
|6||Tony Gonzalez||Atlanta Falcons||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13|
|7||Julius Thomas||Denver Broncos||Kansas City Chiefs||11|
|8||Antonio Gates||San Diego Chargers||Miami Dolphins||10|
|9||Timothy Wright||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Atlanta Falcons||9|
|10||Greg Olsen||Carolina Panthers||New England Patriots||9|
*If he plays
Tight End Notes
Even when Jimmy Graham has a down game, he still produces. Now, he didn't score a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys and seemed to be on a limited snap count, but he still caught five passes for 59 yards. Even injured, he remains one of the safest options in fantasy.
The Patriots have a tough matchup against a very good Panthers defense, but that shouldn't slow Rob Gronkowski down. Gronk now has three games and a bye week under his belt, so expect him to have a very nice afternoon against Carolina.
Julius Thomas owners might be concerned about a matchup with a Chiefs defense allowing just 2.9 fantasy points per week to opposing tight ends, tops in the NFL. But Thomas has been a red-zone dynamo, with nine total touchdowns on the year.
He probably won't do much in the yardage department, but don't be shocked if he finds the end zone.
|1||Seattle Seahwks||Minnesota Vikings||18|
|2||Cincinnati Bengals||Cleveland Browns||16|
|3||New York Jets||Buffalo Bills||15|
|4||Arizona Cardinals||Jacksonville Jaguars||14|
|5||Detroit Lions||Pittsburgh Steelers||12|
|6||New England Patriots||Carolina Panthers||11|
|7||Green Bay Packers||New York Giants||10|
|8||New York Giants||Green Bay Packers||10|
|9||Carolina Panthers||New England Patriots||9|
|10||Indianapolis Colts||Tennessee Titans||8|
Defense/Special Team Notes
Yes, the New York Giants make this list.
They've now scored 12 or more fantasy points in three straight weeks, and next up is a Green Bay Packers team led by Scott Tolzien. It's a very, very risky play, but given the way this defense has produced in fantasy over the past three games and how terrible the Packers are on offense without Aaron Rodgers, it's a play with a lot of upside.
You will notice one very prominent fantasy defense, the Kansas City Chiefs, doesn't make this list at all. If for any reason Peyton Manning can't play, then obviously the Chiefs become a top-five option; but if Manning is playing, you would be wise to bet on the Denver offense winning that battle.
|1||Steven Hauschka||Seattle Seahawks||Minnesota Vikings||16|
|2||Alex Henery||Philadelphia Eagles||Washington||15|
|3||Kai Forbath||Washington||Philadelphia Eagles||15|
|4||Nick Folk||New York Jets||Buffalo Bills||14|
|5||Adam Vinatieri||Indianapolis Colts||Tennessee Titans||13|
|6||Matt Prater||Denver Broncos||Kansas City Chiefs||12|
|7||Robbie Gould||Chicago Bears||Baltimore Ravens||11|
|8||Justin Tucker||Baltimore Ravens||Chicago Bears||10|
|9||Mike Nugent||Cincinnati Bengals||Cleveland Browns||9|
|10||Stephen Gostkowski||New England Patriots||Carolina Panthers||9|
Just six kickers reached double-digit points this past week, meaning if you had one of those players, you earned a nice little advantage over the competition. As always, target a consistent performer with a quality matchup and you should earn a few easy points for your team.
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