TOP 50 FLEX RANKINGS: WEEK 10
Welcome to the Week 10 edition of FY’s top-50 flex plays. As always, rankings represent the order I would be most comfortable inserting each player into my lineup; tiers further separate our fantasy assets to help establish the probability of fantasy dominance. Also keep in mind player availability changes as the week progresses. In these ranks, you will only find players I feel have a good chance to play Sunday.
Now, before I get to much into fantasy this week, I feel I should address some in-house business. It seems my colleague Ty Worer is feeling pretty good about himself these days. In his article Seven Fantasy Tips For Week 9, he drops the metaphorical mic after telling you he leads me in our fantasy pool. He is indeed 8-1. Not bad. However, he is third in points scored and I happen to be one of the owners he is trailing. In fact, I am the owner everyone is trailing, so I will take my 6-3 record, keep grinding it out, and check you in the playoffs.
Pick your mic back up junior.
Ty did have some interesting takes, though. Like starting both Packer “running backs”, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery (who ended up combining for a less than stellar 15 points) and sitting Frank Gore (who ended the week as the RB5 with 19 points. Hrm, the 8-1 Ty Worer must not be taking his own advice.
Side note: Gore was ranked as my RB17 heading into Week 9 and 34th overall, two spots ahead of Randall Cobb. Ty Montgomery didn’t make the Top 50 last week. Though Gore was not a hit for me, I had him as a solid RB2 option and will never tell you to sit the clear caddie of an Andrew Luck-led offense. If living on the edge is your thing, Ty is your guy.
There are many different scoring/bonus systems in fantasy. I choose to rank players in standard format because it is the base scoring system. With the top-50 presented this way, I hope to give all fantasy players – no matter the scoring system – a solid foundation to build a strategy to set their lineup each week. The relevance of knowing Ezekiel Elliott should have a huge week versus a bad defense will be minimal towards season-long league owners, however if you are a daily fantasy player picking guys to build your line-up around, the relevance of Elliott being the #1 ranked player increases.
Now, without further ado, I present the Top-50 flex plays for Week 10.
Top 50 Flex Players Week 10
Byes: Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oakland
Player/Team Position (Rank) Opponent
1. D. Johnson/ARI RB(1) SF
2. L. Bell/PIT RB(2) DAL
3. E. Elliot/DAL RB(3) @PIT
4. A. Brown/PIT WR(1) DAL
5. M. Gordon/SD RB(4) MIA
6. R. Gronkowski/NE TE(1) SEA
Two weeks ago, David Johnson let me down as my top rated player for Week 8. Versus a Carolina team that got out to a hot start, Johnson got lost in the game flow as Carson Palmer played catch up for the better part of three quarters. Week 10 should be the exact opposite game script as the Cardinals are home to the one-win 49ers, who just happen to rank last in both total defense and rushing defense. With the Cards coming off a bye, Johnson’s legs are fresh and he will feast no matter the game script.
Returning from injury, Ben Roethlisberger needed some time to shake off the rust in Baltimore. The Steelers didn’t have a drive that gained more than 31 yards till the fourth quarter. The Steelers only managed one first down in the first half, going three-and-out on seven of eight possessions. Once the rust was gone, Big Ben lead them to two late scoring drives and the team piled up 228 yards of total offense on its last three possessions. Expect them to pick up where they left off when they return home this week to face the tenth-ranked but overachieving Dallas defense. Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown get the biggest boost; the likelihood of them carrying a fantasy team to victory increases ten-fold with a healthy Ben. The Steelers will expose the Cowboys this week. The Boys’ can’t hide behind the league’s best o-line when they’re on D; and with the secondary still banged up (Morris Claiborne and Barry Church are both injured), Pittsburgh should take advantage heartily.
Ezekiel Elliott will get a lot of work whether the Cowboys are up or down. He gets a special shout out this week for making my guarantee in Week 9 come through (15 fantasy points, minimum). Yeah, it was obvious, but I wasn’t feeling too risky a week after my top player netted 10 fantasy points. Elliott put up 97 total yards and two touchdowns versus a hapless Cleveland squad (in basically three quarters of work) and I expect more of the same this week. No team can match the Cowboys’ offensive line; owners can base their lineup around Elliott every week, regardless of matchup. Elliott earned that kind of trust when he lit up Green Bay’s top-ranked rush defense for over 150 yards.
To the surprise of some, Melvin Gordon continues to produce week after week. I have a hard time keeping him in Tier 1 on a weekly basis as his o-line is subpar. When you watch Charger games, you see opponents in the backfield all game long; but you also see Gordon make the first defender miss and turn negative plays into positive yardage. Some players have the ability to overcome a tough situation and Gordon is showing us all he is one of those players. Believe!
Gronk is Gronk and offers the biggest edge in positional value in fantasy football. With 473 yards and three touchdowns in his last four games, he is only increasing that edge.
7. J. Jones/ATL WR(2) @PHIL
8. A. Green/CIN WR(3) @GIA
9. M. Evans/TB WR(4) CHI
10. O. Beckham/GIA WR(5) CIN
11. D. Murray/TEN RB(5) GB
12. L. Miller/HOU RB(6) @JAX
13. J. Ajayi/MIA RB(7) @SD
14. S. Ware/KC RB(8) @CAR
What the low-floor top receivers – Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Mike Evans, and Odell Beckham – have shown this year is enough to keep a handful of players ahead of them for lineup-building purposes this week. They reside at the top of Tier 2 because they have the best chance to explode and carry your team. Julio has been the most volatile: three weeks of three points or fewer; five weeks of 15-plus points. But all four have the ability to carry or cripple a team. Start them but keep in mind a five-point week is as likely as a 20-point week.
Last week, I expected DeMarco Murray’s usage to decrease a little due to an ailing toe and rookie teammate Derrick Henry’s emergence. Well, I was half right: Murray’s usage did in fact decrease, but it was only due to the game flow. Henry injured his calf in the pregame and sat out. The Titans fell behind by a couple scores early and played catch up all day, so Murray only saw 14 carries. If the Titans can stay competitive this week against a Green Bay squad that ranks first in rush defense, Murray will be fine. However, if Titans QB Marcus Mariota’s turnover struggles continue, the game script may unfold the same as last week, making for another long day for Murray and his fantasy owners.
I was definitely curious to see what Jay Ajayi would do against the Jets’ top-five rush defense, given that he was coming off back to back 200-yard performances and a bye week. He proved capable of carrying the load with a 24-111-1 stat line (4.6 yards per carry) plus three catches for 19 yards. With his last three performances, Ajayi is looking match-up proof. His o-line is finally healthy and he is taking advantage; he’s a solid RB1 play for the foreseeable future. But keep an eye on the Dolphins o-line. While key members Branden Albert and Mike Pouncey are Pro Bowl-worthy, both have a history of missing time. As we witnessed early in the year, the drop off is substantial if either player misses time.
15. T. West/BAL RB(9) CLE
16. M. Forte/NYJ RB(10) LA
17. C. Hyde/SF RB(11) @ARI
18. D. Freeman/ATL RB(12) @PHIL
19. D. Bryant/DAL WR(6) @PIT
20. J. Nelson/GB WR(7) @TEN
21. A. Jeffery/CHI WR(8) @TB
22. T. Gurley/LA RB(13) @JETS
23. J. Stewart/CAR RB(14) KC
24. J. Howard/CHI RB(15) @TB
25. C. Michael/SEA RB(16) @NE
26. L. Blount/NE RB(17) SEA
27. K. Benjamin/CAR WR(10) KC
28. L. Fitzgerald/ARI WR(11) SF
This week, I am going against my nature and serving up some sleeper-ish options at running back. Terrance West’s last two games have been ugly as he has rushed for 31 yards on 23 carries, combined. With rookie backfield mate Kenneth Dixon earning playing time, a Week 10 matchup with Cleveland’s 31st-ranked rush defense provides the perfect opportunity for West to rescue his sinking fantasy stock. The Ravens know they need this W given the gauntlet of a schedule that lies ahead; expect coach John Harbaugh to play it safe and lean on his lead RB who has yet to turn the ball over.
Devonta Freeman’s stock takes a bit of a hit this week. He is up against a tough Eagles defense and teammate Tevin Coleman may be back. The fifty-fifty split the backs share when both are healthy leaves many safer options for owners.
Dez Bryant burnt owners last week (and me, since I had him as by 13th-ranked player last week) hauling in one catch for 19 yards. In Pittsburgh this week, the offense will need to keep up with the Steelers’ attack and should be forced to test down field a little more often. Dez is a playmaker, and he will make those plays when his team needs him this week.
Alshon Jeffery has only hit pay dirt once in his first eight games. In his first four seasons, he had 24 touchdowns in 51 games. A little stability to the Bears offense has returned as Jay Cutler is healthy. Seeing “Cutler” and “stability” in the same sentence is odd, but after seeing three different QB’s throwing him the ball through the first half of the season, I’m sure Jeffery is happy to have the strong-armed Cutler back. The second half of the season will prove more fruitful for Jeffery owners.
Another player who should benefit from the Bears new found “stability” is running back Jordan Howard. With Jeffery and Cutler being able to stretch the field vertically, defenses won’t be able to sit low and key in on Howard. In Chicago’s last game – against a stingy Vikings defense in Week 8 – Howard showed the ability to carry the offense, running for 153 yards on 26 carries. By no means is Cutler a great quarterback but he certainly ups the value of his top weapons. That’s more than I can say for a handful of quarterbacks starting around the league (cough cough Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Case Keenum).
The Arizona Cardinals offer a plethora of downfield receivers but none of them offer the consistency of Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz hasn’t gone for more then 81 yards in a game all year, but he hasn’t been under 49 either and has at least five catches in every contest. We all know how bad the 49ers’ defense is; Fitz should buck his mediocre yardage trend and have a big week.
29. B. Cooks/NO WR(12) DEN
30. T. Pryor/CLE WR(13) @BALT
31. M. Wallace/BAL WR(14) CLE
32. J. Crowder/WAS WR(15) MIN
33. T. Hightower/NO RB(18) DEN
34. M. Ingram/NO RB(19) DEN
35. D. Booker/DEN RB(20) @NO
36. G. Bernard/CIN RB(21) @GIA
37. I. Crowell/CLE RB(22) @BALT
38. J. Matthews/PHI WR(16) ATL
Looking over Tier 4, one thing should stick out to you. It contains the names Terrelle Pryor, Mike Wallace, and Jamison Crowder even though you haven’t seen the likes of Brandon Marshall, DeAndre Hopkins, and Allen Robinson yet. Marshall, Hopkins, and Robinson were all WR1 candidates to start the year. Nine weeks into the season, we’ve learned that a bad QB can kill a really talented wide receiver. Don’t think Pryor, Wallace, and Crowder should be ranked this high? Well they are WR9, WR12, and WR19, respectively, in standard scoring. Each receiver’s team is in a match-up that should promote a healthy volume of targets. Sure, Crowder faces the Vikings third-ranked defense but Washington QB Kirk Cousins will be looking to get the ball out quick against a fearsome pass rush and Crowder will benefit.
The Denver Broncos have the top-ranked pass defense in the league but the run defense is terrible. Opposing backs have racked up 128 yards per game, good for 4.4 yards per carry. Feel comfortable rostering either or both New Orleans Saints running backs this week.
Strike two! Devontae Booker was supposed to emerge as a viable RB1 when C.J. Anderson went down. His first two cracks as the Denver bellcow were huge let downs. But now he gets the Saints’ 30th-ranked defense. I’m biting again but this will be the last time if he strikes out against the abysmal Saints.
The Philadelphia Eagles head into Week 10 sporting an offense that averages 333.4 yards per game good for 25th in the league. Their 225 yards per game through the air ranks 28th. Lucky for them, they face the Atlanta Falcons, who rank 31st in pass defense, allowing 289.6 yards per game. Part of the reason the Falcons give up lots of yards through the air is that their offense is so potent. Putting points on the board forces opposing teams’ offenses to play catch-up and take to the air. This game script should come into play on Sunday and benefit the Eagles’ top target, Jordan Matthews. Matthews has received 25 targets the last two games and should see his usage hold steady in this week’s contest.
39. E. Sanders/DEN WR(17) @NO
40. D. Thomas/DEN WR(18) @NO
41. B. Marshall/JETS WR(19) LA
42. D. Hopkins/HOU WR(20) @JAX
43. A. Robinson/JAX WR(21) HOU
44. G. Olsen/CAR TE(2) KC
45. J. Graham/SEA TE(3) @NE
46. D. Sproles/PHIL RB(23) ATL
47. J. Hill/CIN RB(24) @GIA
48. M. Thomas WR(22) DEN
49. T. Williams WR(23) MIA
50. S. Smith WR(24) CLE
Emmanuel Sanders (WR20 on the year), Demaryius Thomas (WR17), Brandon Marshall (WR26), DeAndre Hopkins (WR37), and Allen Robinson (WR31) are currently all suffering the same same fate. These receivers have upper-tier talent but as you can see from their respective ranks, something has gone seriously awry. That something is a struggling quarterback. Sanders, Thomas, and Marshall have a chance to turn things around if the Broncos and Jets decide to turn to talented but unproven youngsters to run the offense. Hopkins and Robinson, unfortunately, are stuck with inconsistent quarterbacks that seem to be regressing. All five will have weeks that remind us of their potential, but that will only make the other weeks all the more frustrating.
Tight ends Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham provide good value at the tight end position. Olsen sits eighth in the league in receiving yardage and is his teams most consistent offensive play-maker. Graham is starting to look like his old self, making two one-handed touchdown grabs and hurtling defenders in the open field on Monday night. He is on pace for 1,090 yards and six touchdowns through eight games as he attempts to re-establish himself among the fantasy elite.
Darren Sproles has been posing as the Eagles’ lead back the last two weeks. They have fed him 36 touches which he has turned into 174 yards. Against the brutal Atlanta defense, he could be in line for a big day if his usage holds up.
Tyrell Williams has been hit or miss the last five weeks. Standing 6’4″ tall, Williams offers something fellow receivers Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin don’t: size. With Philip Rivers chucking it up 36 times per game and the Chargers averaging 29.8 points per game (third in the NFL), I will take a gamble on the big, talented wide receiver this week, even against the eighth-rated Miami pass defense.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading. Good luck in your match ups and may the injury bug miss us all!