Week 10 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Fantasy Football Stars to Play and Bench

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08:  Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks runs after his catch against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

It's crunch time in fantasy football as the NFL calendar turns to Week 10, where owners will look to capitalize on another interesting set of games while weaving over and around endless hurdles. 

Said hurdles range from injuries to superstars like Aaron Rodgers to a tough schedule pitting offenses like New Orleans and New England in bad situations. Week 10 also happens to feature prolific offenses belonging to Kansas City and Philadelphia on bye. 

The start-sit decisions are a culmination of research into all of these issues alongside baseline projections. Below, let's throw out an assist in the form of a guide that compares some of the top matchups at each position. 



Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Russell Wilson (at ARI) vs. Ben Roethlisberger (at IND)Ben Roethlisberger
Matthew Stafford (vs. CLE) vs. Tom Brady (at DEN)Matthew Stafford
Jared Goff (vs. HOU) vs. Josh McCown (at TB)Jared Goff
Jay Cutler (at CAR) vs. Marcus Mariota (vs. CIN)Marcus Mariota
Mitchell Trubisky (vs .GB) vs. Jacoby Brissett (vs. PIT)Mitchell Trubisky
Author's opinion

Star to Know: Matthew Stafford (vs. CLE) 

Mike Roemer/Associated Press

It's a Matthew Stafford sort of week at quarterback. 

The Detroit Lions quarterback just went over the 20-point mark for the second time this season, though such a description doesn't necessarily do his production justice. He's scored 17.88 or more points in three games and counting, so it is clear he is rounding into form as the season progresses. 

This could culminate in his biggest outburst of the year in Week 10 against the Cleveland Browns, a team predictably giving up the ninth-most points to opposing quarterbacks on average. Case Keenum just dropped 18.52 points on the unit, so Stafford should have a huge day at home. 


Star to Sit: Andy Dalton (at TEN) 

Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

Despite a miserable situation around him, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton isn't a must-sit option each week. 

In fact, he's scored 18.72 points or more twice this year in great matchups against Cleveland and Indianapolis, so it's a matter of picking and choosing spots. 

Week 10 is one of those matchups to ignore. 

Dalton has to deal with the Tennessee Titans on the road, and while they only permit the 13th-fewest points to quarterbacks, Dalton didn't throw a touchdown pass a week ago on the road while A.J. Green got himself ejected. He's not worth the risk until he plays the Browns again.  



Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Le'Veon Bell (at IND) vs. Todd Gurley (vs. HOU)Le'Veon Bell
Jordan Howard (vs. GB) vs. Alvin Kamara (at BUF)Jordan Howard
Leonard Fournette (vs. LAC) vs. Jerick McKinnon (at WAS)Leonard Fournette
Ezekiel Elliott (at ATL) vs. Carlos Hyde (vs. NYG)Ezekiel Elliott
C.J. Anderson (vs. NE) vs. Melvin Gordon (at JAX)Melvin Gordon
Author's opinion

Star to Know: Jordan Howard (vs. GB)

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:   Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by James Bradberry #24 of the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter at Soldier Field on October 22, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Every week is a Le'Veon Bell week, but things haven't been as steady for Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard. 

Last year's breakout rookie has had an up-and-down campaign, scoring as many as 26.6 points one week and 0.7 the week before that.

Howard's opportunities, at least, have continued to remain steady since the team switched to rookie Mitchell Trubisky under center. He has 19 or more attempts in six games and counting, with double-digit performances in four of those. 

It's all systems go for Howard in Week 10 against a Green Bay Packers defense allowing the fourth-most points to backs this year. He hit the Packers for 12.3 points on 18 carries for 53 yards and a score on the road earlier this year. Now sans Rodgers, the Packers won't be able to take Howard out of the game by jumping out to a lead—Howard will dictate the game himself. 


Star to Sit: Adrian Peterson (vs. SEA)

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

It was fun to see the NFL go old school a week ago with Adrian Peterson, who scored 14.7 points on 37 carries for 159 yards. 

Just don't expect anything close to that in Week 10. 

There's a big, big difference between Peterson running it against the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. AP faces the latter this week, and as expected, the defense only allows the seventh-fewest points to backs so far. 

Call it a case of two extremes in back-to-back weeks. The Arizona Cardinals simply don't have the passing attack to keep the Seahawks honest, which means AP might as well be running into a brick wall repeatedly. 



Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Antonio Brown (at IND) vs. Dez Bryant (at ATL)Antonio Brown
Julio Jones (vs. DAL) vs. DeAndre Hopkins (at LAR)Julio Jones
Brandin Cooks (at DEN) vs. Doug Baldwin (at ARI)Doug Baldwin
T.Y. Hilton (vs. PIT) vs. JuJu Smith-Schuster (at IND)T.Y. Hilton
A.J. Green (at TEN) vs. Robert Woods ( vs. HOU)A.J. Green
Author's opinion

Star to Know: Doug Baldwin (at ARI) 

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

On the other side of the divisional clash between the Seahawks and Cardinals rests one of the week's surefire top performers. 

This refers to Doug Baldwin of the visitors, of course. He's seeing elite usage over his past three games, getting 10 or more targets in each and turning it into a minimum of 15.2 points twice. 

A matchup against the Cardinals looks like a cupcake regardless of the big names on the defense. It's a unit that has allowed the fourth-most points to wideouts this year and doesn't figure to patch up the weakness now. 

With the usage Seattle continues to give Baldwin, he's a candidate to have the top-scoring line of the week at wideout.  


Star to Sit: Kelvin Benjamin (vs. NO) 

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Don't bank on Kelvin Benjamin in his debut with the Buffalo Bills. 

Benjamin didn't suit up a week ago after landing with the team, which is a good thing considering it was a matchup with the New York Jets. 

Week 10 doesn't look much better, though, considering he has to deal with the New Orleans Saints, who Saints rank among the 11 teams allowing the fewest points to opposing wideouts on average. 

It's a surprising stat coming from the Saints, though opposing offenses simply run the ball down the unit's throat. That's likely Buffalo's strategy here, meaning Benjamin's miserable usage will only continue. 



Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Evan Engram (at SF) vs. Jimmy Graham (at ARI)Evan Engram
Cameron Brate (vs. NYJ) vs. Ed Dickson (vs. MIA)Ed Dickson
Julius Thomas (at CAR) vs. Jordan Reed (vs. MIN)Jordan Reed
O.J. Howard (vs .NYJ) vs. Jack Doyle (vs. PIT)O.J. Howard
Tyler Kroft (at TEN) vs. Hunter Henry (at JAX). Hunter Henry
Author's opinion

Star to Know: Evan Engram (at SF) 

Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

There's no reason to stop leaning on New York Giants tight end Evan Engram now. 

New York is mostly a wasteland for fantasy production, yet Engram is the huge exception. He has four trips to double digits overall and three in a row. Usage hasn't been a problem either, as he has seven or more targets six times this year. 

Now we loop in the fact it's a game against the 49ers. San Francisco actually ranks quite well against tight ends, but the tight end position itself is weighted differently, with usage much more important than anything else. 

And in this case, San Francisco ranking well against tight ends is a product of an easy schedule against the position. Engram is a glaring exception owners should rely on in Week 10. 


Star to Sit: Charles Clay (vs. NO)

Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

Owners happy about Bills tight end Charles Clay possibly getting back on the field should pump the brakes. 

Not only is Clay slowly working his way back from an injury that has kept him out since Week 5, as we've mentioned, his offense will lean on the run this week—and it's also more convoluted with Benjamin in the picture. 

On its face, Clay coming back sounds great. But his usage has been all over the place, as two of his five games this year have featured only three targets. Now feel free to add in the fact the Saints allow the eighth-fewest points to the position. 

Clay will have big value for owners in the playoffs soon, but his return game isn't something to highlight. 


All scoring info, points-against info and ownership stats courtesy of Yahoo standard leagues.