Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 10: Smart Matchup Plays, Sleepers and More

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 6, 2018

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 04: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in the first quarter at FedExField on November 4, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

If you roster Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis in fantasy football and were shrewd enough to start him Monday against a tough Dallas Cowboys defense, you took care of one lineup spot well enough, as he gained 122 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown in a 28-14 win.

Lewis and the rest of the Titans offense haven't been successful fantasy plays due to the team's struggles, so he was likely left on many Week 9 benches.

However, making a good call on a fringe start like Lewis is crucial toward late-season playoff pushes. We'll try to find some good Week 10 options on borderline plays as we discuss start, sit and sleeper picks for quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end.



Start 'Em: Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Yes, Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith has a reputation for being a more conservative quarterback who doesn't light up the stat sheet, but he's in a great spot against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have allowed the most points per game in the NFL. No team has allowed more fantasy points to quarterback either, per NFL.com.


Sit 'Em: Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (at Los Angeles Rams)

The Seattle Seahawks are a run-first team that prohibits quarterback Russell Wilson from posting bigger stats. Furthermore, Wilson hasn't done much running (118 rushing yards in eight games), so teams rostering him haven't gotten much in the way of bonus rushing points.

Wilson is a much better quarterback than his fantasy numbers suggest, but unless he's in a clear plus matchup, he's not a fantasy starter.


Sleeper: San Francisco 49ers QB Nick Mullens (vs. New York Giants)

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens threw three touchdown passes against the Oakland Raiders in his first career professional appearance last Thursday. He hasn't been announced as the team's starter for its upcoming game against the New York Giants, although Grant Cohn of the Press Democrat said a second shot for the ex-Southern Miss star is "most likely." If you want to ride the hot hand, give Mullens a chance.


Running Back

Start 'Em: Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a tough defense, but the team is reeling after losing four straight. The offense is in significant trouble, so much so that the Jags could go from first to last in the AFC South in the span of one year.

Now they are tasked with a road game against the Indianapolis Colts, who have won their past two. If you think those win/loss trends for these two teams will continue, start Indianapolis running back Marlon Mack, who has 401 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns in his past three games.


Sit 'Em: Oakland Raiders RB Doug Martin (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

Raiders starting running back Doug Martin and the entire offense should be benched in fantasy football moving forward.

The Silver and Black are clearly in tank mode as they look to rebuild in the offseason. Numerous blowouts could be on the horizon, and a date with the 6-2 Los Angeles Chargers is no exception.

The Bolts already beat the Raiders, 26-10, and that was with running back Marshawn Lynch, wideout Amari Cooper and edge-rusher Bruce Irvin active and on the team. They won't be suiting up for Oakland on Sunday, so this could get ugly.


Sleeper: Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (vs. New Orleans Saints)

Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard returned to practice on Monday. He's missed four games with a knee injury, but his participation is a good sign for his Week 10 status.

The Bengals will need all offensive hands on deck as No. 1 wideout A.J. Green is battling a foot injury that will force him from action for "at least two games," per Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Bernard can certainly help in the pass game, as he's snatched no fewer than 39 receptions in any of his five full seasons.


Wide Receiver

Start 'Em: Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (at Kansas City Chiefs)

After being announced as the team's new offensive coordinator, ex-Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich made this remark: "Larry Fitzgerald is a uniquely talented human being. He'll catch everything that comes his way. We have to do a better job getting him the ball and putting him in position to make plays for us."

Leftwich wasn't bluffing, as Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 102 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers in Week 8. We'll see if Fitzgerald's run of success continues under new offensive leadership against the Chiefs, who allow the fifth-most passing yards per game in the NFL.


Sit 'Em: Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

If you're looking for a player with a high floor in your lineup, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess is not a bad option. He still produced 5.7 fantasy points (in point-per-reception leagues) in his worst statistical output this year.

However, Funchess' ceiling isn't particularly high. While he is enjoying the highest catch rate of his career (65.5 percent), he has eclipsed 100 yards just once in three-plus seasons. Plus, he has a tough matchup against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that hasn't allowed more than 21 points in any of its last four games.


Sleeper: Washington Redskins WR Maurice Harris (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Washington Redskins wide receiver Maurice Harris caught 10 passes for 124 yards on Sunday, which was around his season-long marks before Week 9 (11 catches, 102 yards).

Harris has only started two games this year (one being last Sunday, obviously), but he'll receive more looks moving forward as 'Skins wideout Paul Richardson is out for the year with an injury to his AC joint.

It remains to be seen if Harris is for real or a one-hit wonder, but the guess is he makes it two-of-two against the aforementioned struggling Buccaneers defense.


Tight End

Start 'Em: Chicago Bears TE Trey Burton (vs. Detroit Lions)

Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton is third among all tight ends in red-zone receptions with seven. He's clearly become one of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's favorite targets when the team nears the end zone, so much so that he's leading the team with five receiving touchdowns (and four in the past five games). A stellar 70.7 percent catch rate helps his fantasy cause.


Sit 'Em: New York Jets TE Chris Herndon (vs. Buffalo Bills)

New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon has nine catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the past three weeks, but a sit recommendation here is symptomatic of Gang Green's offensive struggles as a whole. From Weeks 7 through 9, the team has just 33 points (and four touchdowns during that span).

Things won't get much easier against the Buffalo Bills, who have a stingy defense despite their 2-7 record. Herndon won't catch half of his team's touchdowns moving forward so expect scoring regression at some point.


Sleeper: New York Giants TE Evan Engram (at San Francisco 49ers)

It may seem odd to place New York Giants tight end Evan Engram in the sleeper category when the second-year pro caught 64 passes for 722 yards and six touchdowns last year, but an MCL sprain and a stagnant offense has held him to just 17 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns in 2018.

Still, Engram has too much talent to not go off at some point. Why not against the 49ers, who allowed 24 or more points in their first seven games?

Granted, they gave up just 21 combined against the Cardinals and Raiders the last two weeks, but the Giants sport a better offense than both those teams. Engram could surprise here.


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