My claim to fame is winning my $100 dollar money league fantasy football championship against nine other guys over the age of 45 the semester before I started college. I used my $232 dollars of earnings to buy all my college textbooks that semester.
This is my 13th season playing fantasy, and if you’re like me, you over obsess over who you should start each week. Do I know everything there is to know about the players you should start? Absolutely not. But, I know enough that many people throughout the week come asking me for advice, and follow it.
Now, while I’ll still be reading Jamey Eisenberg’s “Start Em, Sit Em” every week, probably more than once, I was talked into making my own predictions and giving it a shot.
I’ll do my best to keep to just three starts, three sits, one sleeper and one bust alert per position weekly (aside from kickers and defensive units), unless the matchup is just too good. My predictions will be based off of 10 team, No PPR leagues. But let’s be honest, if a receiver has a top-ten matchup, they’re going to be catching balls anyway. Might as well still read whether this is your exact set up or not.
Here are my top three starters by offensive position for week ten:
1) Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers @ Oakland
Rivers is 9-4 all time in “The Black Hole” in his career and has the most wins of any quarterback to play in that stadium trap. The fans rock that house, but Rivers rocks them harder. This is his last chance to pick up a win in that stadium, as the team is moving to Las Vegas, and you better believe pushing his wins to double digits is something he wants. The Chargers are on a surprising two-game win streak after a disappointing start to the year and have arguably the most favorable QB-to-defense matchup in the NFL this week. Rivers has less than 15 fantasy points in his last two games, but he has scored 11 total touchdowns to just three interceptions in his last five games in Oakland. Additionally, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford in the Raiders’ recent games have each passed for more than 400 yards.
2) Matthew Stafford, Detroit @ Chicago
I’m not sold on Chicago’s defense. It’s not the shutdown unit that we remember from last year. It has just two defensive scores and has only been successful intercepting the ball in four-of-nine games. Stafford has thrown for 340 yards or more in the last three games and is averaging 312 passing yards per game this season. He has a 19:5 TD:INT ratio this season and the Lions’ running back woes haven’t got better. They look to go with Ty Johnson after Tra Carson ended up on injured reserve just one week after starter Kerryon Johnson did. Hopefully Detroit utilizes J.D. McKissic more, but he caught his TD last week, not running for it. He would only help Stafford here. Add him with Kenny Golloday and Marvin Jones and you got yourself at least a winning trio.
3) Kyler Murray, Arizona @ Tampa Bay
I’m taking Murray over Jameis Winston in this matchup despite his cross-country road trip. Winston plays better on the road and that’s just how it is. Murray has a 11:5 TD:INT ratio this season and the Buccaneers allow a HUGE number of points to opposing QBs. Murray will look to carry a 26-point effort against San Francisco (the most the 49ers have allowed to a QB this season) over to a defense that has allowed at least 21 fantasy points to QBs in six straight games. Tampa Bay’s 28th worst ranked pass defense in the league should make this a back and forth game with a lot of upside to Murray with his ability to also use his legs way more successfully than Winston can.
1) Josh Allen, Buffalo @ Cleveland
Allen is a Sit Em for me because I expect more out of a QB than the low 20’s in points. Some leagues only have QB passing TDs as four points instead of six points, so if that’s the case you wouldn’t even reach the 20’s a lot of weeks with Allen. Now that RB Devin Singletary is more in the mix, Buffalo is running the ball more. This helps them because the Bills’ wide receiver core has a lot left to be desired. It’s not helping that guys like John Brown are dropping TDs or easy passes in the open field now either. Too many things are working against Allen for me to see him getting higher than low 20’s in fantasy points.
2) Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami @ Indianapolis
Fitzpatrick now has seven TDs in his last four games, including five in the last two. However, star rookie wide receiver Preston Williams was just lost for the season with a torn ACL. Additionally, starting RB Mark Walton was just suspended four games for his offseason involvement with performance enhancing drugs. While tight end Mike Gesicki had a career-best game last week, the Dolphins will need him to continue his surge and will need DeVante Parker to step up more. It will be a tall order, along with getting Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant actually involved in the passing game. With Kalen Ballage likely starting at RB, and rookies Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskins joining the committee, there will be more growing curves. The main concern however is if the Dolphins will be able to move the chains for any sustained amount of time to reach the end zone.
3) Baker Mayfield, Cleveland vs Buffalo
Mayfield will continue to be on this list until he can get some games together with multiple TDs or pull out some sort of win. The only multi-TD game came in week six at home against Seattle where he threw for one and had a rushing score. Even though he scored the most fantasy points that week, he still had three interceptions. The only QB to score more than 18 points this season against the Bills was Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Sleeper: Russell Wilson, Seattle @ San Francisco
The 49ers have the best pass defense in the NFL and allow just 138 yards per game. However, Wilson is on fire with 22 TDs and just one INT this season and has already racked up over 2,500 yards. This inner-division rival game could be a back and forth battle in prime time and I think the way Wilson has been playing could lead to San Francisco’s first loss of the year. He also gets Josh Gordon as a weapon in the pass game, adding to the upset alert.
Bust Alert: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee vs Kansas City
Tannehill has topped the 300-yard mark in two of three games he has played as a starter over Marcus Mariota this season. He also has six TDs in that span and is averaging 27 fantasy points per game. I expect this game to be like the Tampa Bay game however, where Tennessee is going up against a poor pass defense and should have a shootout but the turnovers win instead. If you remember, at one point, Tannehill was 2-for-4 for 20 yards and two TDs. He finished with just 193 yards. He still is lacking receiving weapons and tight end Delaine Walker, the Titans’ best air threat, looks to be out again. Backup Jonnu Smith barely did anything last game and Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, A.J. Brown and Tajae Sharpe have been mediocre at best.
1) Alvin Kamara, New Orleans vs Atlanta
Kamara will start after missing the Saints’ last two games and he’s going up against a Falcons’ defense who allows 118 yards on average on the ground, as well as 261 yards through the air. The Atlanta defense is awful and a dual threat like Kamara should have a huge game against them. He’ll also be eager to get back on the field and the extra pep in his step will show.
2) Devin Singletary, Buffalo @ Cleveland
This should be a low scoring game, but that’s because both these teams will likely run the ball more with the way their QBs have performed. After missing a chunk of the season with a hamstring injury, it looks like Singletary has taken over as the lead back role. Last week he had 20 carries for 95 yards and a TD against Washington when the Redskins and Bills had the same running game plan that this week brings. The Browns have allowed a rushing score in three of their last four games and have allowed six rushers (yes, even backups) to gain at least 74 yards.
3) Dalvin Cook, Minnesota @ Dallas
There’s no question that Kirk Cousins struggles in prime time, especially on the road. So in a Sunday Night Football clash on the road, Cook is going to plan to be the spine of the team again. The Vikings will be missing Adam Thielen (hamstring) and he’ll need to help out in the receiving game. In a game that Stefon Diggs was shut down by the Chiefs, Cook had 116 total yards (45 yards through the air on four catches) and will likely need to be productive again. Cook has 100+ yards in seven of nine games, and the two games that he didn’t reach the mark he found the end zone. You can’t sit him here. Dallas is overrated.
1) The Miami Dolphins backfield
Sweet Jesus. Mark Walton is suspended until week 13 and with Kenyan Drake gone, Kalen Ballage has been called upon to be the starter. Ballage hasn’t eclipsed more than 20 YARDS in ANY game he has played this season. He only has 35 rushes for 70 yards on THE ENTIRE SEASON. Two yards per carry? Atrocious. Additionally, rookies Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskins are going to make their NFL RB debuts and work as a committee. The Dolphins also signed De’Lance Turner from Baltimore’s practice squad, so it’s unclear what (if any) work he’ll also see.
2) Joe Mixon, Cincinnati vs Baltimore
Mixon played Baltimore once this season and rushed eight time for just 10 yards. He finished with 3.9 fantasy points in standard leagues (29 receiving yards) and didn’t find the end zone. It doesn’t matter that the Bengals are starting a new QB because the Ravens defense will shut down the veteran back knowing he’s really the only known productive option entering the game on offense. I wouldn’t even flex Mixon this week.
3) Kenyan Drake, Arizona @ Tampa Bay
Drake exploded two Thursdays ago just three days after being traded from Miami to Arizona. With a chip on his shoulder he tripled his success in yards that he had this season with the Dolphins and even found the end zone. However, starter David Johnson won’t carry an injury designation to the game and Drake will move to the backup. Additionally, the Buccaneers allow the third fewest points to RBs.
Sleeper: Nick Chubb, Cleveland @ Buffalo
Buffalo’s rush defense has really fallen off and Chubb has been the most consistent Brown this season. Although his numbers have declined in recent weeks, this should be a game on the ground. The Bills also have to prepare for Kareem Hunt who is eligible to return this week, but he will likely be more of a factor in the passing game unless Cleveland miraculously does something they haven’t all season: used its offense successfully.
Bust Alert: Matt Brieda, San Francisco vs Seattle
It was reported that Brieda will move to more snaps as a blocker, hurting the production he has. He already split snaps, but now he’ll split snaps and split when rushing. None of that points toward fantasy success, so with already being a backup to Tevin Coleman it will be hard for him to succeed without a long run or end zone carries.
1) Zach Pascal, Indianapolis vs Miami
The QB under center shouldn’t matter with Pascal in this game. In the last two weeks he has shown that he can catch the ball from both Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer. With T.Y. Hilton still out and now fellow WR Parris Campbell out with a broken hand, Pascal has a plethora of targets coming his way. He has also only dropped one pass in each of the last three weeks and hauled in five of six last week for 76 yards and a TD. Miami has had the ninth-best pass defense over the last three weeks, but the Dolphins have so many things working against them in this game that the Colts should be on offense often.
2) Emmanuel Sanders, San Francisco vs Seattle
Like I hinted at earlier, San Francisco and Seattle should be in a back and forth battle with scoring. Sanders matched his season-long TD streak (2) since joining the 49ers and he’ll be prevalent in the pass game on Monday Night. He’s clearly the only reliable WR and TE George Kittle now has a complement in the pass game. Both complement each other and should be very involved in the division clash.
3) Michael Thomas, New Orleans vs Atlanta
Obviously he’s the best WR in the league, but I expect him to be in the mid-100’s in yards this game and to also find the end zone. Atlanta has been more than generous to receivers this season and this has the script of a shootout written all over it. Thomas has 112 yards or more in three of his past four games and nothing should slow him down this week.
1) The Cincinnati WRs
I hate to say sit all of them, but nothing is telling me to start any of them. Until we see what new rookie QB Ryan Finley can do with an injured receiving core, under-producing run game and atrocious offensive line, there’s no reason why any should be in your lineup despite the six teams on bye. One really can’t compare the stats these receivers have had this season because a new QB is under center. No one knows what true relationship on the field any of these guys have with Finley. If you want to pick one for your lineup, go ahead, but I’m not pressing my luck this close to needing to make the playoffs.
2) JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh vs Los Angeles Rams
As much as I think cornerback Jalen Ramsey is overrated, he’s going up against a WR who hasn’t proved he can be a sole No. 1 receiver. With all eyes on Smith-Schuster now that Antonio Brown isn’t opposite him, he hasn’t had a breakthrough. He has just three TDs this season and had been held either around 70 yards or not even eclipsing 20. It’s hard to trust an inconsistent receiver and his matchup doesn’t make the situation more favorable.
3) Michael Gallup, Dallas vs Minnesota
Gallup needs fellow WR Amari Cooper to be at 100-percent and he isn’t. Although likely to play, the Minnesota defense will gravitate his way more so on more routes in this game now. Cooper’s presence is so dominant he’s a chunk of why people think Gallup is good. Gallup can get open because Cooper is on the field. Gallup barely has 100 yards combined in his last three games, but he luckily saved owners last week by finding paydirt and getting into the end zone. He only caught two of six balls for 33 yards. I don’t expect Cooper to be on the field for all of Gallup’s snaps, and if I’m the Vikings, I know Cooper isn’t 100-percent so my coverage won’t be as tight.
Sleeper: DeVante Parker, Miami @ Indianapolis
The Dolphins have a lot going wrong right now, but they have Parker going right. He has four TDs in his last five games and has tied his career-high for scores in a single season. Miami just lost star rookie Preston Williams for the year with a torn ACL and his 15 catches (24 targets) over the last three weeks (and hopefully TDs) will transfer over to Parker. The six-foot-three receiver will be asked to do what Miami has hoped the first-round draft pick would’ve done in his first four seasons.
Bust Alert: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams @ Pittsburgh
Brandin Cooks is out and Woods will likely have Hayden Hurst or Minkah Fitzpatrick on him the entire day. In my opinion, he shockingly still doesn’t have a TD this season. But hopefully that motivates him. Pittsburgh allowed Pascal 76 yards last week, but that was the most to any receiver since the second week of the season (CBSSports). Woods has also only caught two-thirds of his targets this year and only has double-digit fantasy points this season once.
1) Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams @ Pittsburgh
Yes, I just said the Steelers defense is ruthless. However, Pittsburgh has allowed opposing TEs to score in each of its last three games. WR Josh Reynolds will step in for Cooks and pull a few targets away from Everett, but Everett has the better matchup on the team.
2) Mark Andrews, Baltimore @ Cincinnati
Andrews has 99 yards on six catches against the Bengals earlier this season. He was limited last week because the Ravens used Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle on the field as blockers and not receivers and not in three-TE sets. Jackson and Ingram should run all over Cincinnati, but when the ball is passed Andrews is the favorite target. Baltimore’s WRs are left to be desired.
3) George Kittle, San Francisco vs Seattle
You don’t have to read for a third time about how much this game is going to be a great back and forth battle on primetime. The arrival of Sanders has helped Kittle find the end zone again (last week) and has more catches since his arrival. He’s also averaging 82.5 yards since Sanders arrived, an improvement from his 60 before he arrived in California.
1) Eric Ebron, Indianapolis vs Miami
I think fellow TE Jack Doyle will benefit from this matchup more and his lack of catches and production are worrisome. He only has 42 yards and five catches in his last two games, including when multiple WRs have been out. Doyle has been having similar game outcomes, but he’s getting more targets and finding the end zone more as of late.
2) Ryan Griffin, New York Jets vs New York Giants
Fellow TE Chris Herndon is slated to make his season debut and that will severely hurt Griffin’s production as well as the time he’s on the field. Half of Griffin’s catches in Jacksonville were scores, but aside from that 20-plus-point performance, he has no more than 8.8 points. For a guy who is mainly TD dependent, having Herndon active makes his stock severely decline.
3) Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota @ Dallas
Sorry, I’m not sold. He finally isn’t laughable to have on a roster after his recent weeks. Although finding the end zone twice in the last four games, he doesn’t have 100 total yards in the last three. Pairing that with Cousins’ horrors in primetime, it won’t matter that he again has another opportunity with Thielen out. Rudolph’s TDs would likely have gone to Thielen or Diggs had Thielen been healthy.
Sleeper: Jonnu Smith, Tennessee vs Kansas City
Though I don’t have a lot of stock in Tannehill, Walker is still out so Jonnu gets the start. He was shut down last week, but the Chiefs allow a lot of yards, especially to TEs. His presence in the red zone gives Tannehill a reliable target and Tennessee needs someone it can count on in a game that it’ll likely be coming from behind in.
Bust Alert: Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh vs Los Angeles Chargers
Had McDonald not found the end zone last week he would’ve had less than three fantasy points. His nine points and 30 yards are his second best this season. He has a favorable matchup against the Rams, but his inconsistency could come through in full bloom.