As my esteemed colleague Nicholas Ferris has already pointed out in his top-50 flex rankings, I took a big cut in telling you to bench Frank Gore (RB5) last week. It did not pay off; Gore racked up 19.10 fantasy points. Mr. Ferris also took me to task for telling you to start Randall Cobb (WR34) and Ty Montgomery (WR28). Neither had the day I was expecting, and my prediction that both would be top-20 wide receiver plays was wrong. But Cobb was only 3.3 points away, and Montgomery was just one. (If you lost your matchup by less than 3.3 points, please speak up and I will issue you a formal apology for the gaffe.)
Alright, Sammie Coates was blanked on the day as well, but I have already taken the necessary measures to atone for that.
In my view, the most pertinent piece of information jolly old St. Nicholas notes is that I’m 8-1 in our fantasy league – BOOM! – so rest assured that I have at least some sage suggestions. Even last week, the aforementioned misses were drowned out by a chorus of gilded fantasy angels.
Case in point: benching Derek Carr (QB27 – only 26 teams played last week) for the incompetent Colin Kaepernick (QB8).
I could continue boasting about the rest – benching Marvin Jones (WR94) and running with Tim Hightower (RB8) – but instead I’m putting every second I have into this week to make amends for the embarrassing strikeout on Gore.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to cop-out and tell you to start David Johnson or Ezekiel Elliott. If you want the top of the board, Nicholas is your man. As always, I’m looking deeper than that.
As we approach the end of the fantasy regular season, losses become even harder to swallow. I understand that your roster situation is slightly different than everyone else’s. So I am happy to answer any specific fantasy questions you may have, just post them in the comments section below.
For now, here’s the advice you need to follow in order to win your match-up in Week 10.
A Secure Seven Fantasy Tips for Week 10
1) Start your Saints backs
The phrase “time-share” is never welcome when it comes to running backs, but when both receive at least 17 touches, there’s not much to complain about.
One week after being benched in favor of Tim Hightower, Mark Ingram (RB3 in Week 9) toted the rock 15 times for 158 yards and a touchdown, while adding 13 receiving yards and a second TD. His co-pilot, Hightower, also had a nice day, as previously mentioned.
This may have come against the league’s worst rush defense (San Fran), but the Denver Broncos haven’t been much better. On the season, Denver is allowing 20.69 PPG to running backs (eighth-most), and will be without their best run-stuffing lineman, Derek Wolfe, in Week 10. Not to mention, Brandon Marshall is still being slowed by a hamstring injury.
If I was forced to pick between the two, I would side with Ingram. But, since it is a “time-share,” I would value both as a high-ceiling RB2.
2) Thanks to matchups, start…
Alshon Jeffery – It’s no surprise that Jeffery’s two best fantasy outputs this season have come when Jay Cutler is throwing him the ball. Cutler has proven time and again that he will force the ball to his top receiver, and that bodes well for Jeffery against a weak Bucs defense. Tampa Bay is giving up 28.11 PPG to wide receivers this season (dead-last), which puts Jeffery on the WR1 radar.
Eli Manning – With four of the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks enjoying their bye week, we need to look for someone to fill roster spots. Coming off a bye, himself, Manning had his second-best fantasy performance of the year last week, and the Giants offense put up its highest point total of the season (28). This week, Eli gets the Bengals defense, which is giving up 19.97 PPG to quarterbacks (seventh-most). I expect him to be a top-ten play at quarterback this week.
Terrance West – Although Kenneth Dixon is back and eating into West’s workload, the veteran still out-touched the rookie 16-11 in Week 9. West may not have done anything with those touches, but neither did Dixon. The two will face the Browns this week, though, who are allowing 25.38 PPG to running backs. I expect West to continue leading the touches, making him a top-15 play at running back for Week 10. (Dixon will near closer to an even split. If you’re needy at the position, Dixon will be a top-30 play.)
3) Thanks to matchups, bench…
Drew Brees – Sean Payton is a smart man; smart men know not to attack the Broncos through the air. Denver is only allowing 11.54 PPG to quarterbacks this season, and have already proven they can slow the league’s best. They have also proven vulnerable on the ground. Payton won’t play with fire in this one. Brees won’t be as big of a bust as Carr last week, but he’ll find himself in the QB12-18 range.
Jordan Reed – His return in Week 8 was a successful one (15.9 points), but he now faces an extremely desperate Vikings defense, which is only allowing 6.39 PPG to tight ends this season (tenth-fewest). Minnesota will have all eyes on Reed, Washington’s primary receiving threat. Search for a better option at tight end this week. (Like Zach Ertz or Antonio Gates.)
Christine Michael – This is not just due to his matchup. (New England is allowing 16.13 PPG to running backs this season (12th-fewest)). It has more to do with his mere 16 touches over the last two weeks. He saved his fantasy day with touchdowns in each of those games, but I don’t want to continue to rely on that. It appears C.J. Prosise is taking over as the lead option, so get Michael out of your lineup. This doesn’t mean you should trust Prosise, though; neither is worth a start.
4) Do not give up on Devontae Booker
Booker’s 3.0 fantasy points in a tantalizing Week 9 matchup against the Raiders were a massive disappointment, but that’s not reason to give up on him. Gary Kubiak knows he has to get his running game going, especially against the high-powered Saints offense. Even if Kapri Bibbs vultures a few more carries, Booker will remain the lead-back in Denver’s offense. I’m expecting both Booker and the Broncos offense to bounce back this week in another plus matchup against New Orleans, so keep him in your lineup and value him as a low-end RB1.
If he can’t produce against the Saints, who are giving up 25.03 PPG to running backs (third-most), then we’ll be having a different discussion next week.
5) Leave Doug Martin on your bench, for now
Even if Martin does suit up for the first time since Week 2, the Bucs are not going to ask him to carry the ball 20 times. If active, expect Martin to receive a maximum of ten touches, which won’t amount to much against a Bears defense that’s actually darn good against running backs (13.73 PPG, fourth-fewest).
If you want to rely on a touchdown, be my guest. But there are plenty of other options out there for you to fill your holes.
6) Despite tough matchups, stick with…
Matt Ryan – The Eagles defense is giving up a mere 14.23 PPG to quarterbacks this season (sixth-fewest), but they haven’t been great lately. In their last two, Philadelphia has allowed a combined 49.16 fantasy points to QBs. There’s no need to fret about Ryan this week; start him comfortably.
DeMarco Murray – Green Bay is allowing the third-fewest PPG to running backs (13.64), but you’re amply aware what Frank Gore did to them last week. Although he didn’t rack up that many yards, Gore found the endzone twice. Murray hasn’t been held under 12.5 points yet; there is no reason to remove him from your lineup. Murray will get his yards and his scores.
Spencer Ware – Ware is set to return from his Week 8 concussion and will reclaim his role as KC’s lead back. Despite facing a Panther defense that’s only giving up 14.24 PPG to RBs (sixth-fewest), Ware will still be a safe option as an RB2, largely thanks to his abilities as a pass-catcher.
Allen Robinson – Houston may be allowing a mere 16.71 PPG to wide receivers this season (third-fewest), but Robinson is being targeted far too often to put on your bench (26 targets over the last two games). New offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s simplicity will continue to help Robinson’s fantasy numbers; value him as a safe WR2 this week.
7) Do not be fooled into starting…
Joe Flacco – Yes, he’s playing the Browns. Yes, they are allowing 20.84 PPG to quarterbacks this season. But Flacco has only ranked among the top-12 once this season (Week 4 against the Raiders). Don’t trust him as a QB1 this week. If you’re in a two quarterback league, he’s definitely a safe QB2, though.
A Vikings Back – Although Ronnie Hillman had a nice showing in Week 9 (62 total yards on eight touches), the Vikings’ dreadful offensive line makes it incredibly difficult to trust any one of their ball-carriers. Not even a soft matchup against Washington, which is allowing 21.16 PPG to running backs (seventh-most), makes any of the three (Hillman, Jerick McKinnon, or Matt Asiata) worth a spot-start.