Ranking the Week 10 defensive matchups
I don’t like to take zeroes at any position, and this includes DST. The NFL is driven by offense. The league wants points to be put up on the board. There are no 2000 Ravens or 1986 Bears defenses out there. There is not a single defense that should be held onto week in and week out. That’s not to say you should automatically drop your DST during their bye week, just that you shouldn’t panic about doing so should you not have a dead spot on your roster. In an overwhelmingly majority of leagues, there will be at least 10 other DSTs available on your waiver wire, probably more. If you like your DST and hope to get them back next week, don’t release them until the last minute. This gives you a chance to get them back for $1 or $2 during FAAB or for free during FCFS. All position are important but usually even a great DST will only get you a few more points than an average one.
As always, the top of this list are teams to make sure you start players against, while the bottom are defenses you want to start.
- Oakland Raiders (against Chargers): You have to start Tyrell Williams in this game, even if he wasn’t hot. He’s not catching a truck load of passes or being targeted often, but when he is targeted, it’s coming in the end zone and it’s going for TDs. Mike Williams is an option also if you’re in a deeper league or in bye week hell.
- Arizona Cardinals (against Kansas City): Sammy Watkins is banged up again, so he could be a questionable start but one you will likely have to go with should he be able to for KC.
- Cincinnati Bengals (against New Orleans): All the hype right now is about the signing of Dez Bryant. Keep in mind Dez will need time to acclimate himself to the offense and build some chemistry with Drew Brees. He won’t be a play this week and may not Week 11 either. I would circle Nov. 29 on the calendar, though, as that is when the Saints travel to Dallas. I’d be willing to bet quite a few dollars that Dez would score once or twice in that game. As for this week, it’s really just the regulars. Tre’Quan Smith did catch a TD last week but other than that he had a quiet game. I still expect a breakout eventually, but if the Saints had complete confidence in him, would they have signed Dez?
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (against Washington): The Washington OL is in shambles, which will hurt the effectiveness of the entire offense. Holes may be few and far between for Adrian Peterson, and Alex Smith may not have as much time to throw. The OL isn’t the only injury worry for Washington. I’m not starting Chris Thompson, even if he does return. If he misses the game, Kapri Bibbs could be a play in 12-team leagues. Maurice Harris is also on my list of players to start and that may still be the case even if Jamison Crowder returns.
- Miami Dolphins (against Green Bay): The loss of Geronimo Allison to a groin injury has made Marquez Valdes-Scantling a top waiver wire add this week. MVS will likely be no worse than a WR3 for the ROS. Just when Aaron Jones looks to have taken over the starting role at RB, he has a key fumble and now we’re left wondering again if the Packers will go back to Jamaal Williams in some kind of time share. The Dolphins have been poor versus the run for most of the season, I’m still starting Jones this week but he’s not better than a low end RB2 or flex play.
- San Francisco 49ers (against Giants): Say what you want about Eli Manning and how poor he is as an NFL QB, but he’s been solid in the Fantasy game. Sure, we would like a few more TDs, but you could do worse as a streamer this week against a poor defensive secondary. Sterling Shepard is also a start this week.
- Indianapolis Colts (against Jacksonville): The days of starting Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon are over as Leonard Fournette returns and he is back in your starting lineup. I can’t start Blake Bortles, but Dede Westbrook and Keenan Cole are in consideration.
- Washington Redskins (against Tampa Bay): Ryan Fitzpatrick is a start for your Fantasy team for as long as he is starting for the Buccaneers. Peyton Barber is probably not though. As for the receivers, it seems to be a guessing game each week and now you can throw Adam Humphries into the mix. I’m not saying to go out and claim him, but if you are having trouble at WR this week, Matt Ryan did throw for 350 yards against this secondary last Sunday.
- Cleveland Browns (against Atlanta): On the topic of Ryan, he’s back to the 2016 version of himself it seems. Ryan is a must-start along with all of his receivers and that includes Austin Hooper, assuming you don’t have better options. Was Tevin Coleman’s strong performance last week just “one of those games” or is he about to be the player we expected him to be when Devonta Freeman went down? It doesn’t matter, we are all starting Coleman.
- New York Giants (against San Francisco): Good for Nick Mullens in his first NFL start, but I’m not betting on an encore. I’ll start Matt Breida and even think about Marquise Goodwin, but that’s it.
- Seattle Seahawks (against Rams): All of the usual suspects go here. Big shock, I know.
- New Orleans Saints (against Cincinnati): J. Green is out for at least the next two games and probably longer. John Ross could be the beneficiary of his absence and is worthy of a possible claim and start here, as the Bengals figure to have to put the ball in the air quite a bit Sunday to keep up with the high-scoring Saints. Giovani Bernard will return for this game and is a flex play in PPR leagues.
- Dallas Cowboys (against Philadelphia): I tend to be cautious when it comes to starting players traded mid-season, but Golden Tate has lit up the Cowboys in the past, including this season. I have to start him this week but not Nelson Agholor. As for the run game, Josh Adams would be my preference, but as no more than a flex play and even that is pushing your luck.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (against Carolina): Greg Olsen looks old and slow. Yeah, it’s probably because of age and injury. He’s not the player he used to be, but Cam Newton is looking for him in the end zone and that’s enough for me. D.J. Moore is also in consideration this week.
- Carolina Panthers (against Pittsburgh): The new date to watch for as for as Le’Veon Bell is concerned is next Tuesday at 4 p.m. If he doesn’t report by that time, he can’t play this season and James Conner owners can celebrate. I know we want to trust Vance McDonald, but I can’t. If you’re starting him, it’s because you have to, not because you want to.
- Atlanta Falcons (against Cleveland): Baker Mayfield could once again make a good streaming QB for those that have Deshaun Watson or Kirk Cousins out on bye. David Njoku is a TE1 this week also. I can’t go any further than Jarvis Landry at WR.
- Tennessee Titans (against New England): Even if Rob Gronkowski plays this week, I’m not starting him. I need to see him do something first. The Patriots are on bye in Week 11. As a Gronk owner, I’m hoping they sit him this week and therefore almost give him a month to heal up. As for Sony Michel, who should return this week, I’d preach caution, but you also likely have to start him.
- Los Angeles Rams (against Seattle): It was nice to see Russell Wilson using his legs last week, as he had 41 yards rushing. Wilson will, however, have to put the ball in the air quite a bit this week in what may be another high-scoring game. None of his options are WR1s and Doug Baldwin is only barely a WR2, but you should consider the receivers for the Seahawks this week, as the Rams haven’t been able to stop anyone through the air. As for the run game, if Mike Davis is available, grab him. The injury to Chris Carson could limit him for several weeks.
- Detroit Lions (against Chicago): You’re starting Jordan Howard, but sooner or later that TD deodorant is going to wear off and you’re going to be left with a RB who isn’t catching passes and is only rushing for about 50 yards a week. As for the passing game, I’ll pass (pun intended), with the exception of Trey Burton.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (against Indianapolis): Can you sit T.Y. Hilton this week? Hopefully he’s over the hamstring injury, but even so, he will be up against Jalen Ramsey. If you’re deep enough at WR, you may want to look in another direction. I’d rather start Jack Doyle over Eric Ebron. Doyle is back to being a TE1.
- New England Patriots (against Tennessee): Marcus Mariota looked really good against Dallas on Monday. He’s not a QB1, but not an afterthought either. I don’t feel the same about Derrick Henry, though. Corey Davis is a WR3 here as the Titans are likely to try and keep the game close via the run game, but once that doesn’t work, they will have to throw.
- Green Bay Packers (against Miami): Ryan Tannehill is out again so we have the Brock Osweiler show for another week. You can start Danny Amendola if you’re desperate, maybe even DeVante Parker, just don’t expect much. I want to start Kenyan Drake, I really do, but it’s so hard to trust him.
- Buffalo Bills (against Jets): Sam Darnold will miss this game due to a foot sprain. This may not be the worst thing for him as he has struggled of late and maybe watching from the sidelines would be good thing for a week or two. I’ll pass on the Jets passing game here and have Isaiah Crowell as a low-end RB2 at best.
- Kansas City Chiefs (against Arizona): The Chiefs’ defense hasn’t played as bad lately. Still, you’re starting David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. I know Fitz has had a disappointing season, but he’s finally healthy now and was productive in his last game. Fitz may not produce draft day value this season, but Fantasy owners should only be worrying about what he does from this point forward.
- Chicago Bears (against Detroit): The Lions’ OL took last week off as Matthew Stafford was sacked 10 times. Life may not get much better this week, especially if Khalil Mack returns. Stafford is not a QB1 this week. You’re likely still starting Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay however, but neither is more than a WR3.
- New York Jets (against Buffalo): Maybe LeSean McCoy, but no one else is even in remote consideration, especially if Nathan Peterman is back at the helm.
- Philadelphia Eagles (against Dallas): You’re starting Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper, but that’s it. The Cowboys’ offense was not fixed with the addition of Cooper and the bye week. Dak Prescott is a mess and the OL is a shell of what it was two years ago.
- Los Angeles Chargers (against Oakland): We know the names: Jordy Nelson, Doug Martin, Derek Carr and Jalen Richard. You can’t trust any of them. They are just “break in case of emergency” players.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.