Week 10. I don’t know if I am alone in this, but right now is around the time I start thinking about the fact that football season is going to end. So it pains me to be moving on to Week 10 already, especially with such a good MNF game on tap – but whether you are out of it or waiting on tonight to know one way or the other, it can’t hurt to start thinking about next week now, while yesterday’s action is still fresh in your mind. Good luck.
Aaron Rodgers vs. DET ($7,500) – He’ll be at home, playing one of the worst defenses in the league, and he’ll be angry. After two straight losses, he will do whatever it takes to get this one versus the Lions. And, yesterday, there were encouraging signs, with both Randall Cobb and Davante Adams turning in promising performances (more on them later). Best of all, the back-to-back losses might keep his ownership percentage down, despite the fact that he did, after all, throw for 369 and 4 TDs against the best defense in the NFL yesterday.
Andy Dalton vs. HOU ($6,500) – I am going to go quickly through a few value plays, because it was hard to narrow it down. This could be the week to try your hand at saving a lot of cap space with your QB selection. Dalton impressed yesterday in bringing the Bengals to 8-0 behind three TD passes to Tyler Eifert. Dalton has been successful so far this year in making his weapons look good, which is exactly what you want out of your QB.
Derek Carr vs. MIN ($5,800) – Bad matchup on paper, but are we sure this isn’t just a bad matchup for the Vikings D? He has 300+ yards in four of seven games, and multiple TDs in six of seven, including 333 and 4 against the Jets.
Landry Jones vs. CLE ($5,300) – The big fear here is that it becomes the DeAngelo show. Jones has a lower floor and a lower ceiling than Big Ben, both for real football and fantasy purposes, of course. But let’s put it this way: I am really not sure why Mike Vick ever started a game for this team. Jones looks competent and confident out there, and with a strong running game supporting him, he could definitely secure a W against Cleveland.
Matt Cassel @ TB ($5,000) – The season might be lost, maybe. But then again the NFC East could be won with an 8-8 record. With likely just one more week until the return of Romo, Cowboy fans will be rooting hard for the W in this one, and Cassel could deliver. He had 299 yards and 3 TDs yesterday against a better defense, but most importantly, he seemed to be on the same page with Dez. That by itself could be enough for him to torch this secondary.
DeAngelo Williams vs. CLE ($6,500) – The loss of Le’Veon is factored into this price, but the loss of Big Ben is not. Cleveland is terrible at playing defense, and Landry Jones is going to be able to move the ball. You are not looking at a dire situation here. But, would it shock me if the run/pass balance tilted slightly more towards the running game? No. And DeAngelo has proven he can make that work for the offense, with 374 yards and 5 TDs on 68 carries in his three starts this year.
Lamar Miller @ PHI ($5,400) – I know that Philly has been good-ish against opposing running backs this year, but Miller is the best offensive weapon the Dolphins have and they are finally starting to realize it. He couldn’t get it going on the ground this week, so he got 7 catches for 97 yards. He plays a lot like McFadden, who just carved up the Eagles for 117 yards on over 4 yards a carry. Miller has a similar running style and a similar ability to catch out of the backfield and could be in line for another excellent performance in this one.
LeGarrette Blount @ NYG ($4,900) – It is always so hard to predict what the Patriots are going to do, so this is not just a knee-jerk reaction to Dion Lewis’ injury. Fact of the matter is, if the Pats decided this was a game they needed to spread the Giants out and throw it 60 times, they would, and they would just plug-and-play James White or Bolden as they saw fit. But this is not going to be that kind of game, in my opinion. On the road, the Patriots are going to want to establish this running attack to keep the Giants defenders on their heels and offense on the sideline. He has had 15 or more carries four times this year, and only once did he fail to crack 20 fantasy points.
C.J. Anderson vs. KC ($3,800) – I fell short of recommending him last week, unfortunately, but what I did do was make sure no one I loved or cared about started Hillman. Which was right on both counts. The Broncos running game never got going in a big way against Indy, but Hillman basically wasn’t even a part of it, with seven carries for one yard. Hillman, historically, cannot stay healthy and has never shown an ability to carry a running game for more than a game or two in a row. Anderson was the best RB in football for half a season last year, and could do the same thing down the stretch here. There is a lot of football left, and he’s on a team that likes to run but that also has a QB who won’t allow opponents to stack the box. It’s a good situation, one he has taken advantage of before – he is the better running back, and if not this week, eventually that is going to be obvious, and this price is going to seem ludicrous.
Antonio Brown vs. CLE ($8,800) – And just like that, he’s the most expensive WR on the board again. Landry Jones seems smart to me, for one reason and one reason only (I don’t know the guy): he gets in there to replace Big Ben, and he just starts throwing it to Brown. Why wouldn’t you? If I were a young QB getting thrown into the fire, I know I would. I mean, this guy is AWESOME. I understand wanting to shy away because of his price tag and backup QB, but as long as Mike Vick isn’t playing QB, Brown remains a good place to spend money if you happen to like a bunch of value plays elsewhere.
Allen Robinson @ BAL ($6,700) – I know, in a lot of ways, Hurns has been the more productive of the two. But with Jacksonville having some success through the air against tough matchups, that has occasionally been because Robinson is the one drawing more coverage. In short, this is one of the better WR combos in the league, amazingly enough, and Robinson is the more talented of the two.
Danny Amendola @ NYG ($4,000) – A second slot receiver, he’s just overshadowed by Edelman, but he has actually been productive for the Patriots this season when they’ve needed him to be. And other than for a specific first-down catch here or there, “when they’ve needed him to be” was when Dion Lewis was out of the lineup. In Week 7, the first game Dion missed, Amendola had 8 for 87 and a TD.
Cole Beasley @ TB ($3,000) – It’s a shot in the dark, but Cassel certainly looked his way yesterday, targeting him 11 times, and getting 9 catches for 112 yards and 2 TDs in return. You could see him maybe returning to that formula next week. Dez being back helps keep coverage off the slot receiver and Cassel is a smart QB who fit well in the Patriots scheme while he was there – which involves, you guessed it, passing up the middle. Witten and Beasley could both be good PPR options here.
Rob Gronkowski @ NYG ($8,000) – As always, the guy you spend on when you happen to like a bunch of cheaper plays elsewhere. He has upside, if the Pats feel the need to exploit it, but they don’t. You get the sense that they want to use him just enough to keep him happy and keep other teams guessing. When they need a big score, all of a sudden Gronk gets three targets real quick. He’s the best TE in football, and it’s not close. On any given week, you could probably find someone as productive for less, but it changes week to week. And, eventually that one week is coming where Gronk has a performance no one else in the league is capable of having. It could be this week against this depleted Giants defense.
Jason Witten @ TB ($5,100) – I mentioned him before, and so I feel obliged: Witten has some upside this week. Playing with Cassel, you might expect to see more targets over the middle than up the sidelines, and Witten can still use his body to get open and catch what gets near him. I like his chances of scoring in this one.
Jordan Reed vs. NO ($4,600) – Washington is not the kind of team you like to have two or three guys from on your roster, but one isn’t going to kill you, necessarily. Reed had a garbage time score yesterday, the only time the ‘Skins moved the ball at all. And despite everything, that is encouraging – essentially, whatever success this offense is going to have, he is going to be a part of it.
Eric Ebron @ GB ($3,300) – He has played six games this year, and he has 15+ fantasy points in three of them. That’s impressive stuff, at the position. For a cheap play, he has upside against a GB team that struggles to defend tight ends. Enron has been the de facto #2 receiver in Detroit all season, and I expect him to be open and targeted plenty in this one.
Denver Broncos vs. KC ($3,400) – There are two expensive defenses that, to me, are the most obvious plays on the board. This is one of them. The Chiefs do a pretty good job of not turning the ball over, which doesn’t help a defense score points, but what they don’t do a good job of? Playing offense, generally speaking. I cannot imagine them scoring more than 17 points in this game, and probably fewer. That makes the Broncos the safe pick.
Carolina Panthers @ TEN ($3,300) – I mean, obviously, right? They’ve been destroying everyone, and now they get the Titans – but the Titans with Mariota. They have more upside than anyone, but the risk of a bad showing is riding on Mariota’s arm, and that risk might make the Broncos the better value.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. CLE ($3,000) – There are not a lot of defenses I like this week, which means one of two things: 1. I am an idiot or 2. there are going to be plenty of fantasy points to go around. But the Steelers D has been better than advertised, and will presumably be fired up to make up for Ben being out, and are playing the Browns. Your defense can be terrible and the Browns will find a way to hand you a few fantasy points on a platter.