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

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2018

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) warms up before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
Bill Feig/Associated Press

Week 10 start 'em, sit 'em decisions should be a good time for fantasy owners. 

The schedule offers up surefire fireworks, with seven games sitting on an over/under of 50 or more points and four double-digit spreads, including the Kansas City Chiefs opening as 17-point favorites over the Arizona Cardinals, according to OddsShark. 

Like any week, the slate of games will still feature pitfalls, sleepers and more tough calls. But it's clear a combination of the matchups and how teams have progressed throughout the season has set up for an explosive week for most owners. 

Here's a look at matchup value comparison and some notable stars to play or bench. 

       

QB 

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Drew Brees (at CIN) vs. Andy Dalton (vs. NO)Drew Brees
Matt Ryan (at CLE) vs. Alex Smith (at TB)Matt Ryan
Cam Newton (at PIT) vs. Andrew Luck (vs. JAX)Cam Newton
Ben Roethlisberger (vs. CAR) vs. Philip Rivers (at OAK)Philip Rivers
Marcus Mariota (vs. NE) vs. Russell Wilson (at LAR)Marcus Mariota
Author's opinion

Star to Know: Drew Brees, NO (at CIN)

It sounds bad: Drew Brees is on the road in the cold against a tough Cincinnati Bengals defense. 

But past reputations only play one role here. 

The Bengals don't have a fierce defense anymore, hence coughing up the fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks on average this year, with Ryan Fitzpatrick coming in during the second half of the unit's last outing and putting up 19.56 points. Keep in mind they lost key pass rusher Carl Lawson for the season, too. 

But Brees is still Brees. He put up 31.44 points in Week 9 against the Los Angeles Rams and has 16 or more in six games this year. Expect a seventh, even if things look bad at first glance.  

       

Star to Sit: Tom Brady, NE (at TEN) 

Tom Brady isn't a blind start anymore, especially not at a position that's so easily streamable. 

Hence a sit here. Brady doesn't reliably hit the 20-point mark anymore and hasn't in recent weeks, mostly struggling to squeak past the 15-point mark. 

That won't do on the road against a Tennessee Titans defense allowing the sixth-fewest points to opposing passers this year, holding five quarterbacks to less than 16 points and allowing no more than two touchdown passes in a game. 

With Rob Gronkowski looking a bit lost and Josh Gordon erratic, Brady doesn't have the best-looking situation on the road, with plenty of other options likely to post similar output, if not more. 

     

RB

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Alvin Kamara (at CIN) vs. Kareem Hunt (vs. ARI)Alvin Kamara
Jordan Howard (vs. DET) vs. Christian McCaffrey (at PIT)Jordan Howard
James Conner (vs. CAR) vs. Todd Gurley (vs. SEA)James Conner
Melvin Gordon (at OAK) vs. Duke Johnson (vs. ATL)Duke Johnson
Joe Mixon (vs. NO) vs. Adrian Peterson (at TB)Joe Mixon
Author's opinion

Star to Know: Jordan Howard, CHI (vs. DET) 

The only way to go with Jordan Howard is up. 

Howard started the season in erratic fashion, hitting double digits twice over four games before a bye, then hitting single-digits again. But he has three double-digit outings in a row now with 12 or more carries in each game, so things look better. 

A game against a Detroit Lions defense allowing the ninth-most points to opposing backs this year only helps. The Lions have let eight opposing rushers hit double digits this year and while Howard could still lose passing-down snaps to Tarik Cohen, game flow in trying to keep Matthew Stafford off the field should produce a big day. 

That Howard has scored four times over his last three games is a sign he's getting key usage, too. 

      

Star to Sit: Adrian Peterson, WAS (at TB) 

Mark Tenally/Associated Press

It was fun while it lasted. 

Adrian Peterson ripped off double digits four times this year after signing with the Washington Redskins, three of those outbursts going for 20 or more points. Week 10 would normally seem like a good situation against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense allowing the seventh-most points to backs, too. 

But the Redskins won't have Trent Williams blocking up front and lost two more starters to injured reserve in Week 9. Without these three guys at various points, Peterson mustered nine carries and 4.8 points in Week 9. 

Without a stable line in front of him and game flow likely giving more snaps to a versatile presence like Chris Thompson or otherwise, Peterson returns to the backburner. 

     

WR

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Michael Thomas (at CIN) vs. Jarvis Landry (vs. ATL)Michael Thomas
Julio Jones (at CLE) vs. Cooper Kupp (vs. SEA)Julio Jones
Doug Baldwin (at LAR) vs. Tyler Boyd (vs. NO) Tyler Boyd
Mike Evans (vs. WAS) vs. Tyreek Hill (vs. ARI)Tyreek Hill
T.Y. Hilton (vs. JAX) vs. Alshon Jeffery (vs. DAL)T.Y. Hilton
Author's opinion

Star to Know: Tyler Boyd, CIN (vs. NO) 

Cincinnati Bengals wideout Tyler Boyd has enjoyed a fun breakout season, yet owners know how erratic this can be. 

Despite seeing more usage than A.J. Green at times thanks to his play from the slot, Boyd only has five double-digit outings, the rest coming in at 6.4 or fewer points. 

The good news? Green will miss Week 10 with the Saints in town, meaning Boyd should feast on a defense coughing up the most points to wideouts overall this season, including double-digit outbursts to three different Rams receivers in Week 9. 

Guaranteed quantity against a bad defense, Boyd's shifty play from the inside will create one of the week's biggest fantasy performances. 

      

Star to Sit: Alshon Jeffery, PHI (vs. DAL) 

Alshon Jeffery has provided a nice boon for fantasy owners who invested in him despite an injury, getting three double-digit performances out of him over five games after his Week 4 debut. 

But Jeffery still has the feel of a matchup-based play, especially after going against Jacksonville's Jalen Ramsey his last time out and only totaling 5.5 points. 

Even out of a bye, that's bad news against a Dallas Cowboys defense permitting the second-fewest points to opposing wideouts these days, with only five double-digit performances allowed overall. 

This is a Dallas unit that held Odell Beckham Jr. under 10 points earlier this season, so it's not like familiarity throws the advantage in Jeffery's corner of the ring. 

TE

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Greg Olsen (at PIT) vs. Eric Ebron (vs. JAX)Greg Olsen
Jimmy Graham (vs. MIA) vs. Jordan Reed (at TB)Jimmy Graham
Travis Kelce (vs. ARI) vs. O.J. Howard (vs. WAS)Travis Kelce
David Njoku (vs. ATL) vs. Zach Ertz (vs. DAL)Zach Ertz
George Kittle (vs. NYG) vs. Evan Engram (at SF)George Kittle
Author's opinion

Star to Know: Greg Olsen, TE (at PIT)

Greg Olsen has also made good to owners who rolled the dice on his getting back healthy sooner rather than later. 

The Carolina Panthers tight end went down in Week 1 and missed three games before returning and going for single digits in two consecutive appearances. But he's now sitting on back-to-back showings of 13 or more points and doesn't show any signs of slowing. 

Olsen's implementation was always going to take a bit of time but he's rolling right into a great matchup against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense allowing the fourth-most points to tight ends, with six having hit eight or more points on the unit. 

Even if game flow doesn't favor the pass in this one (though it should), Olsen is still a top matchup exploit Carolina will utilize. 

      

Star to Sit: Jared Cook, OAK (vs. LAC)

One of the biggest hit-or-miss players in fantasy football returns for a sit edition in Week 10. 

Jared Cook scored three points in Week 9, a far cry from his 15.4-point outburst the week prior. The matchup itself typically decides it all with Cook, who in Week 10 has to deal with a Los Angeles Chargers defense allowing the 15th-fewest points to his position. 

Those Chargers have allowed just three double-digit outings to tight ends all year, which includes holding Cook to four points earlier this season. 

While this encounter might feature plenty of passing, it doesn't figure to feature much in the way of an effective attack from Oakland, nor will Cook be a featured element. 

       

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

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