Fantasy Football Week 10 Rankings: Projections for Players with Matchups We Love

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2016

Some of fantasy's top matchups feature notable names in Week 10.
Some of fantasy's top matchups feature notable names in Week 10.Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Week 10 started with an odd outlook for fantasy football owners.

The Baltimore Ravens' 28-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football didn't come as a surprise. What did was that Baltimore's Joe Flacco finished as the only player above 20 points, while a guy named Seth DeValve led the Browns in scoring at eight points. 

The good news? Any owner gunning for a fantasy title wasn't exactly targeting Ravens-Browns for critical matchups. Let's take a look at the most important matchups of the week alongside positional rankings. 

        

Week 10 Schedule

Sunday, November 13Time (ET)
Houston at Jacksonville1 p.m.
Kansas City at Carolina1 p.m.
L.A. Rams at N.Y. Jets1 p.m.
Atlanta at Philadelphia1 p.m.
Green Bay at Tennessee1 p.m.
Minnesota at Washington1 p.m.
Chicago at Tampa Bay1 p.m.
Denver at New Orleans1 p.m.
Miami at San Diego4:05 p.m.
San Francisco at Arizona4:25 p.m
Dallas at Pittsburgh4:25 p.m
Seattle at New England8:30 p.m.
Monday, November 14
Cincinnati at N.Y. Giants8:30 p.m.
Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oakland on bye.

            

Quarterbacks

RankPlayerProjected Points
1Aaron Rodgers24
2Tom Brady23
3Jameis Winston22
4Carson Wentz19
5Cam Newton18
6Ben Roethlisberger18
7Dak Prescott17
8Philip Rivers17
9Alex Smith16
10Drew Brees14
11Marcus Mariota14
12Matt Ryan12
13Russell Wilson12
14Carson Palmer12
15Andy Dalton12
Author's projections. *If he plays.

It's time to trust the young quarterbacks.

Guys such as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers will have huge days in Week 10, but so too will the next generation, including Jameis Winston and Carson Wentz.

Winston leads his Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Chicago Bears while boasting 20 or more points in two of his last three outings, the exception an 18-point showing.

Those Bears? While getting healthier, the unit has still allowed 20 or more points three times. More importantly, the Bears don't have anyone who can line up with Mike Evans, making for an easy day at the office for Winston.

Wentz hasn't been as encouraging over the past few weeks, struggling alongside the rest of his Philadelphia Eagles during three NFC East encounters and a showdown with the Minnesota Vikings over his last four outings.

It's time for a change.

Wentz gets the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10; their defense is allowing the most points to quarterbacks on average. Atlanta has allowed eight touchdowns to quarterbacks over its past two outings alone, as well as six occurrences of 24 or more points.

Call it a ceiling for Wentz, who can certainly post big numbers in a shootout.

             

Running Backs

RankPlayerProjected Points
1David Johnson24
2Melvin Gordon22
3Ezekiel Elliott18
4Jay Ajayi16
5DeMarco Murray14
6Le'Veon Bell14
7Devonta Freeman13
8Devontae Booker13
9Spencer Ware13
10LeGarrette Blount12
11Matt Forte12
12Doug Martin12
13Lamar Miller12
14Jordan Howard11
15Jonathan Stewart11
16Todd Gurley11
17Darren Sproles10
18Carlos Hyde10
19Ty Montgomery10
20Jeremy Hill10
21Rashad Jennings9
22Giovani Bernard9
23Tim Hightower8
24Mark Ingram8
25Christine Michael8
26Robert Kelley7
27James White7
28Paul Perkins7
29Chris Ivory6
30Charcandrick West6
Author's projections. *If he plays.

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson is going to absolutely feast on the miserable San Francisco 49ers in Week 10.

But let's look at two other options besides the surefire pick. One is Dallas Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott. Some might wince at the idea of a first-year player encountering the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.

Don't—past reputation doesn't matter here. The Steelers allow the fourth-most points to running backs on average this year. The unit hasn't just been bad; "miserable" is a better word, considering it has allowed three backfields to drum up 33 or more points.

Elliott, on the other hand, has 20 or more in three of his last five outings and can wear down the unit before cashing in late.

It's a similar story for Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi, who has exploded onto the scene in the past few weeks with 204, 214 and 111 rushing yards and four total touchdowns in that span.

The fantasy translation: totals of 32, 27 and 18 points.

Now Ajayi faces the San Diego Chargers, a defense ranked two spots below the Steelers against backs and which surrendered four rushing scores over the past three weeks. His floor continues to look higher than most.

           

Wide Receivers

RankPlayerProjected Points
1Mike Evans18
2Odell Beckham Jr.18
3Larry Fitzgerald16
4Alshon Jeffery15
5Antonio Brown15
6Julio Jones15
7Jordy Nelson14
8Dez Bryant14
9A.J. Green13
10Jarvis Landry13
11Brandon Marshall*12
12Demaryius Thomas11
13Emmanuel Sanders11
14Julian Edelman11
15Kelvin Benjamin10
16DeAndre Hopkins10
17Randall Cobb10
18Stefon Diggs10
19Jordan Matthews10
20Ty Montgomery10
21Tyrell Williams9
22John Brown9
23Kenny Britt8
24Allen Robinson8
25Brandin Cooks8
26Doug Baldwin8
27Eli Rogers8
28Dontrelle Inman8
29Willie Snead7
30Michael Thomas7
31Tavon Austin7
32Cole Beasley7
33Quincy Enunwa6
34Rishard Matthews6
35Davante Adams6
Author's projections. *If he plays.

Let's take a similar approach at wide receiver. As hinted, Evans will demolish the Bears.

Elsewhere, owners can bank on a big day from Arizona veteran Larry Fitzgerald. While he's been quiet with single-digit outings since a 20-point outburst in Week 5, Fitzgerald might match that output in Week 10.

Thank the 49ers. San Francisco allows the fifth-most points to wideouts this year, as seven opposing sets in a row have hit on 21 or more points. This includes three allowances of at least 30 points. 

Fitzgerald won't get all of that on his own, of course, but facing a unit that has allowed three receiving touchdowns to wideouts over its past two outings hints at major upside.

Though the Bears have been the subject of exploitation so far, keep in mind wideout Alshon Jeffery. 

Jeffery scored his first touchdown of the year in Week 8 thanks to the return of quarterback Jay Cutler. Owners who have owned Jeffery in the past know what he can do, so it's great to hear that the Buccaneers allow the second-most points to receivers on average.

Going against a defense that has allowed six sets of opposing wideouts to score at least 28 points is incredible news. Keep in mind that this includes highs of 37 and 45 points. Expect Jeffery to score at least his second touchdown of the year.

                    

Tight Ends

RankPlayerProjected Points
1Rob Gronkowski15
2Antonio Gates14
3Travis Kelce13
4Jordan Reed12
5Tyler Eifert11
6Greg Olsen8
7Jimmy Graham8
8Delanie Walker8
9Zach Miller7
10Kyle Rudolph7
11Zach Ertz6
12Jason Witten6
Author's projections. *If he plays.

The same approach applies to tight ends every week, as there's no sense in chatting about who Rob Gronkowski will post good numbers against.

Instead, focus on a guy like Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs. He comes in as the sixth-highest scorer at his position this year going into a game against the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina is similar to Pittsburgh above—past defensive reputation doesn't matter. The Panthers allow the third-most points to tight ends on average, with a whopping five opposing sets hitting on 14 or more points.

While Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed has a more difficult matchup than Kelce, he's still one to monitor.

Reed ranks right behind Kelce in scoring despite missing games with an injury. His explosiveness helps, considering he returned in Week 8 and posted 15 points on nine catches for 99 yards and a score.

Now, a healthy Reed gets to go against the Vikings. It sounds scary, especially because the Vikings haven't allowed a touchdown to the position yet. But Reed is by far the best tight end the defense has encountered, so it seems a given that Reed will go for a big day against a unit that has crept close to disaster by allowing three occurrences of eight or more points.

           

Defense/Special Teams

RankUnitProjected Points
1Cardinals12
2Rams10
3Jets9
4Chargers9
5Packers8
6Jaguars7
7Texans7
8Patriots6
9Vikings6
10Buccaneers6
Author's projections.

Another week, another pick against the New York Jets.

The Jets just can't seem to help themselves. Still ranked first in points allowed to opposing defenses, the Jets allowed 13 in Week 9 thanks to three sacks, two interceptions and a touchdown. 

Now the Los Angeles Rams get to tee off on the matchup. The Rams defense has only hit double digits twice this year and picked off four passes—but going against an offense that produced six interceptions in a single game is a good way to get back on track.

From the looks of it, the Rams will be the sixth opposing defense to score in double digits against the Jets.

                    

Kickers

RankUnitProjected Points
1Stephen Gostkowski12
2Nick Novak10
3Matt Bryant9
4Caleb Sturgis9
5Josh Lambo8
6Dan Bailey7
7Chandler Catanzaro7
8Wil Lutz6
9Robbie Gould6
10Graham Gano6
Author's projections.

It's time for the Nick Novak show at kicker.

The big leg for the Houston Texans has quietly scored 11 or more points four times this year in quality matchups, making him a must-know commodity against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Unlike some of the above, this is as good as it sounds. The Jaguars allow the most points on average to opposing kickers, incredibly allowing six in a row to hit on 10 or more points.

Novak will merely be the seventh as his Texans cruise.

             

All scoring info courtesy of ESPN.com standard leagues, as are points-against info and ownership stats.

Follow Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) on Twitter.