Week 10 in the NFL featured several standout performances that either left fantasy football owners ecstatic or scratching our collective heads. Lamar Jackson inserted his name into the MVP conversation after a sensational performance. Cooper Kupp, on the other hand, did nothing. From these notable games and everything else in between, let’s dive deeper into this Week 10 fantasy review.
Lamar Jackson for MVP?
I have to say I don’t think even the staunchest of Lamar Jackson defenders would have seen this coming. Sure, the improvement in the arm and game recognition would make another jump this year, but wow, this is impressive. Going 15 of 17 for 223 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday marked the second time this year Jackson has thrown for at least three touchdowns and had a perfect passer rating (153.8). Amazingly, he only needed three quarters to do this because the Baltimore Ravens were blowing out the Cincinnati Bengals so severely.
Not only was this game great for fantasy owners, but it set a new high-water mark for us as well. Jackson pulled in a PFN OSM (Offensive Share Metric) grade of 61.74, the highest of any player in the NFL this season. This performance beat the years previous high of 59.12, set by Jackson in Week 1.
With seven games left in the season, Jackson is on pace for over 1,200 rushing yards. If he were to do that, he would set the all-time single-season record, shattering Michael Vicks’ 1,039-yard season of 2006.
Leading into drafts, I always preach to know your league’s rules as it will dictate how you draft. If you are in a league where only four points are awarded to passing touchdowns, you need a rushing upside in your quarterback to gain you valuable points. This is what makes Jackson so special this year. Not only are you getting substantial passing numbers, but the rushing is winning you weeks. As long as there is no end of season collapse, which I don’t see happening, Jackson might very well find himself running away with the MVP title when we review what he did this year.
Is Kareem Hunt what the Browns needed all along?
Yes and no. No, because Kareem Hunt single-handedly can’t cause Baker Mayfield to make better throws and decisions. However, he can help to alleviate some of the pressure that is on him, which might be precisely what was needed.
If we review Week 10 for the Cleveland Browns offense, we can get an idea of how they want this offense to look going forward. The Browns have two separate roles assigned to the pair of running backs. Nick Chubb is the team’s leading rusher, while Hunt will serve as the primary pass catcher. This really should come as no surprise given their track record and data.
In his Browns’ debut Sunday, Hunt played 38 of the team’s 66 offensive snaps (58%) and scored 14.4 PPR fantasy points, 0.3 more than Chubb. Despite that, Chubb’s performance shouldn’t concern fantasy managers. He played 53 of 66 offensive snaps (80%), received 20 of the team’s 26 rushing attempts while also being targeted four times. Those numbers fall right in line with his season per-game rates (including Sunday) of 75% of the offensive snaps played, averaging 19.3 rushing attempts and 4.0 targets.
The game plan from head coach Freddie Kitchens is to use multiple two running back looks to keep defenses honest and not just key in on which running back is in the game as a tip on the play design. Mayfield has been at his best when making rhythm throws on shorter routes. Giving him another option is never a bad thing and might help get him and the Browns back on target to be the team they claimed to be before the season.
Moving forward, Chubb will maintain his RB2 value, while Hunt is more of a Flex play but higher in PPR formats. While they do slightly cap each other’s values, there is enough production to warrant starting lineup consideration. There is a solid chance he is on your waiver wire right now, and I would be sure to check immediately. Well, after you’re finished with this article, at least.
Air Raid pays off for Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk
Week 10 was a special day for Christian Kirk thanks to the deep ball chemistry that he and Kyler Murray had. Hauling in 6 catches for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns, Kirk leads all wide receivers for the week. I had a feeling that between the pace of play and potential shootout this game could be, Kirk and Murray could be in for a great day and would be one of my most owned stacks in DFS. I wasn’t expecting it to be from the deep ball.
As much as I would love to say this will keep happening, I can’t. With the San Francisco 49ers’ defense up next, Kirk is going to slide back down in the ranks. Reviewing Week 9 for data, Kirk caught only 2 of 5 targets for 8 yards against San Francisco. Kirk will have upside every week, but that doesn’t make him any less hard to trust in difficult matchups.
Speaking of hard to trust, what the heck do we do about the Arizona Cardinals’ backfield? Kenyan Drake received 16 touches, and David Johnson went for, let me double-check, yeah ZERO points in PPR. I have so many red flags concerning this duo moving forward. If you’re trade deadline already past, you will have to deal with whatever happens weekly, but you can’t rely on either of them for consistent production. The Cardinals have been arguably the most frustrating backfield this year, and I don’t think this is going to be changing anytime soon.
Death, Taxes, and Tight Ends against the Cardinals
Look who finally showed up to the party in Week 10. O.J. Howard made his first memorable catch that wasn’t at the World Series this week. Catching 4 of his 7 targets for 47 yards and a touchdown is a solid stat line. The problem is he was most likely on your bench as there is hardly any reason to risk getting a zero in your fantasy lineups. If someone is losing you more games than they are winning, get rid of them. Unless the NFL changes the schedule and has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing the Cardinals every week, I still want nothing to do with Howard until this becomes a consistent occurrence. Spoiler alert, it won’t.
Quick Notes from Week 10:
- Cooper Kupp. Do I really need to say much else? Yes, Jared Goff was under pressure the entire game, but that doesn’t take away the fact that Kupp was held without a catch in a game where he was healthy the whole time. Just chalk this one up to “one of those days,” and don’t look too much into it when reviewing the week’s performances.
- The Miami Dolphins won, again. If they keep this up, they are going to miss out on the top prospects in the draft, and I don’t see the desire to do that.
- In a week where Corey Davis was out, Ryan Tannehill threw for two touchdowns, and the Tennessee Titans scored 35 points, beating the Kansas City Chiefs. You would think A.J. Brown had a good game. Instead, Brown didn’t record a catch until 8:13 left to go in the 4th quarter and ended on that single catch. Brown has been one of my favorite dynasty trade targets, and I expected him to have a good game as the featured pass catcher, but I’ll fully admit I was wrong on this game.
- After 13 carries for one-yard in Week 10, it’s safe to say Saquon Barkley isn’t playing at 100%. Better days are ahead for Barkley, but with the New York Giants always playing from behind, it makes it hard to establish a rushing game and get him the carries that he needs.
- Another player who finally had a solid week is Joe Mixon. The Bengals made him the entire game plan and fed Mixon 30 carries for 114 yards. While the Bengals were absolutely torched by the Ravens, this was Mixon’s first 100-yard rushing game of the season. It is a bright spot for Cincinnati and fantasy owners.
- Investing heavy in running backs early in fantasy drafts pays off in the long term. Look at the NFL Week 10 performances of Christian McCaffrey, Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook, and Derrick Henry as an example. These aren’t outliers either. Sure, you can find a usable player off waivers for a week, but you can’t find this type of production anywhere else. Every year in draft season I see people on their soapbox that “this is the year to go zero-RB.” I personally can’t do it or endorse this philosophy. Unless you absolutely nail your mid-round running back choices and have no injuries, it merely doesn’t lead to constant fantasy success. When I review what has worked for me over the past decade-plus of playing fantasy, the teams that win me championships are ones where I invested heavily in running backs early in drafts. I draft running back heavy the first five or so rounds, be one of the last to draft a quarterback, and never select a defense and kicker (if you still have them) until the final two rounds.
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Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.