NFL Week 10 Rankings

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NFL Week 10 Rankings

In August, Rashard Mendenhall was called "ordinary" by the Pittsburgh media.

He finished September in Mike Tomlin's doghouse, with seven carries for the month. Now it's early November, and he's an every-week fantasy starter.

Mendenhall is a reminder of a few fantasy maxims. 1. Things change fast. It doesn't matter how ugly your starting lineup looks in Week 3 if it's peaking near playoff time. This year's Pierre Thomas, next month's Mendenhall, is still out there.

Second lesson: If you are going to gamble in fantasy drafts, gamble with youth at running back. Mendenhall went in drafts after Larry Johnson, who owners had hopes would bounce back for the third straight year. He went after Willie Parker, who we saw begin to collapse last year.

I ranked LaDainian Tomlinson out of the top-15 this year, which was met by cries that Rotoworld was giving up on the old star too fast.

He was going to be healthy and turn it around! I did a poor job because LT2 wasn't rank him nearly low enough. No matter how much we adjust for a running back's decline once it starts, we almost never adjust enough.

Mendenhall still has a lot to prove as an NFL running back. He doesn't help on passing downs much, and he's prone to losing yards and piling up short gains before breaking a few long ones. He doesn't always fight through traffic.

The profile is remarkably similar to a bigger version of Willie Parker in his prime. That approach isn't perfect for the Steelers, but it will lead to top-10-15 fantasy running back production.

He'll get the vast majority of carries on a team that should play with the lead often and has an outstanding passing game. That's more than enough for all the owners that smartly gambled on youth in August, then had the patience to see it emerge.

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