For some, Week 10 of the fantasy football season can best be summed up by Patriots backup Brian Hoyer outperforming more than a half-dozen starting QBs. For others, key guys rose to the occasion to lead them to victory. For all of us, key moments and results have transformed how we should value more than 100 players. So let’s examine a few of those players, highlighting the most notable fantasy takeaways from each Sunday game.
NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Takeaways | Early slate
Major storylines in the early slate of games include Ray-Ray McCloud’s breakout and Rhamondre Stevenson’s even bigger breakout. If Chase Claypool misses more time, McCloud could continue to be Pittsburgh’s No. 2 receiver, while Stevenson is the fantasy running back many of us were hoping to see.
Cowboys vs. Falcons
Dallas avenged last week’s poorly played home defeat, orchestrating a comprehensive drubbing of Atlanta. Most notably, Amari Cooper — who’s still bothered by his hamstring injury — once again took a backseat to CeeDee Lamb while finishing with fewer targets than the returning Michael Gallup. If we exclude Weeks 1 and 8, Cooper is averaging 3.7 receptions for 46 yards. Meanwhile, Lamb suffered an arm contusion, so that’s a situation we’ll be monitoring this week.
Nothing went right for Atlanta, as the seemingly unstoppable Cordarrelle Patterson finally was stopped. The Falcons entered this game as arguably the worst 4-4 team in the league. With the Patriots and Bucs coming up within their next three contests, Atlanta could be out of playoff contention by early-to-mid December. Fantasy-wise, Patterson and Kyle Pitts remain the only Falcons worth starting most weeks.
Titans vs. Saints
If you’d asked me in September whether the Titans could keep winning if Derrick Henry and Julio Jones were out (and if A.J. Brown had only 1 catch), I would have said “absolutely not.”
Tennessee has two notable fantasy storylines to follow. First, when Henry went down, I urged readers to invest in only one Titans RB: D’Onta Foreman. He got some run yesterday and will be a solid waiver add this week. Second, I touted tight end Geoff Swaim as Tennessee’s likely No. 2 receiver yesterday. His 5 targets were second on the team. As long as Jones is sidelined, Swaim will remain a deep-league streamer.
For New Orleans, Mark Ingram carried the team on his back. On PFN’s Slack channel yesterday morning, I predicted 16 carries for 51 yards for Ingram, which is just about how things turned out. What I didn’t anticipate, though, was 4 catches for an impressive 61 yards. That passing-game production was the key to Ingram finishing Week 10 as a top-10 RB. If Alvin Kamara sits again, New Orleans has a capable veteran ready to eat up touches and yards.
Colts vs. Jaguars
Everything played out as expected for Indianapolis, except for Carson Wentz’s 7 fantasy points. It was partly bad luck, as the Colts had a golden opportunity on the opening drive before settling for a field goal. Trust in Wentz. This is a solid offense led by an elite, catch-friendly backfield and a near-elite No. 1 receiver. He’ll get back on track.
In the midst of the Jaguars’ ninth drive, I noticed Trevor Lawrence had only 3 completions. It’s been a brutal season for the rookie franchise QB, who’s thrown just 5 TD passes in his last eight games. Maybe losing DJ Chark had a bigger impact than we can appreciate. The bigger news, though, was James Robinson getting things going after a slow start (and with an injured heel). If he’s not playing at a high level, Jacksonville’s offense is toast.
Patriots vs. Browns
Rhamondre … Stevenson. If you read Pro Football Network, you know we hyped this rookie. Fumble issues and Damien Harris’ stellar play kept Stevenson on the periphery for much of the season. But I’ve pushed him as New England’s most complete RB and as a must-roster back in all leagues. It will be fascinating to see which direction head coach Bill Belichick goes in when Harris returns.
Meanwhile, the once 3-1 Browns are now 5-5 with back-to-back games still to come against Baltimore, as well as tough contests against the Raiders, Packers, Steelers, and Bengals. Their postseason hopes are slim, and now they have to contend with a Baker Mayfield knee injury. The team’s most productive receivers are its middling tight ends. There’s probably never been an NFL team with this large of a gap between backfield production and passing-game production.
Jets vs. Bills
Well, the air went out of Mike White’s sails pretty quick. In fairness, he was facing the second-best pass defense (in terms of opposing QB rating) since 2009. But that probably won’t matter to the Jets’ brass. The timing couldn’t be worse, as New York’s schedule is about to get much easier. We’ll see if Zach Wilson is healthy enough to return next week. If he does, we might see offensive regressions across the board, at least in the near term.
For Buffalo, a get-right performance. I warned readers yesterday that TE1 Dawson Knox was no better than a boom-bust option, helping fantasy managers because of an unsustainable scoring rate. I’ll also keep pushing Devin Singletary over Zack Moss. The former is running highly efficiently, while the latter — like Knox — is largely TD-dependent.
Steelers vs. Lions
It’s hard to understand how neither team could win this one. Most notably, with Chase Claypool out, Ray-Ray McCloud feasted on an incredible 12 targets. We can’t simply call that a fluke. James Washington scored early. But McCloud played like he belongs on fantasy teams.
D’Andre Swift literally carried Detroit to the tune of 36 touches, but somehow didn’t score, as RBs Godwin Igwebuike (2 carries) and Jermar Jefferson (3 carries) both found the end zone instead. Swift remains a must-start. However, recognize he’s averaging only 3.4 yards per carry in an anemic offense. He’s doing everything possible from a volume and receiving standpoint to remain a locked-in RB1, no thanks to the lack of a supporting cast.
Washington vs. Buccaneers
Well, this was something. Antonio Gibson had one of the worst rushing performances of the season (2.7 yards per carry) but helped bury the defending Super Bowl champs with 2 TDs — his first visits to the end zone since Week 5. Even more notably, DeAndre Carter has back-to-back 6-target outings and is Washington’s clear No. 2 receiver with Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown out. Keep an eye on Ricky Seals-Jones’ hip injury as well.
For Tampa Bay, my Tyler Johnson bullishness was misguided, despite a game script that should have produced more than 34 passes by Tom Brady. Leonard Fournette led the team with 9 targets, followed by Chris Godwin (8) and Johnson (5). There’s not much to learn from this game, except that Brady has been an entirely different quarterback in four games at home (18 TDs, 2 interceptions) than in five games on the road (9 TDs, 5 interceptions).
NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Takeaways | Late slate
Major fantasy storylines in the late slate of games include Aaron Jones’ injury and Cam Newton’s return to Carolina. If Jones misses time, AJ Dillon could transform fantasy lineups, while Newton remains one of my favorite potential under-the-radar QB1s.
Cardinals vs. Panthers
A lot of NFL survivor pools were busted by this outcome (not to mention the Bucs’ game … or the Ravens’… or several others). Colt McCoy’s injury should be noted, though Kyler Murray seems poised to return next week. The bigger news is that James Conner and Christian Kirk led Arizona’s offense, as nearly everyone anticipated. These two will remain must-start players, with Kirk sliding back into a streamer role once DeAndre Hopkins is back.
Act 2 of the Cam Newton era in Carolina has begun, although gradually. He did a lot of damage in less than 10 plays and should be ready to roll in the Panthers’ next game. As I wrote when Carolina signed him, Newton overachieved in New England last year surrounded by a bottom-five receiving corps. With the Panthers, he can be a QB1.
Chargers vs. Vikings
Is Justin Herbert a QB1? Sure, his point total says he is. But half of his fantasy points (94.9) have come in three of his nine games. In his other six contests, he’s averaging 16.1 points. For context, Daniel Jones is averaging 16.1 points. While I’m not saying Herbert is like Jones, the Chargers QB has not been close to the consistent QB1 fantasy managers had hoped for.
I mentioned Tyler Conklin the other day as an example of a TE2 who could be a TE1 if he only got some scores. He got 2 TDs yesterday and is now a back-end TE1. There’s a lot to like about the frequently unheralded Conklin.
Broncos vs. Eagles
Albert Okwuegbunam and Noah Fant led the way in Denver’s passing game. We know that Teddy Bridgewater is a capable quarterback with a capped ceiling. Week 10 was concerning for fantasy managers who are hoping for more from Denver’s trio of productive wideouts. In particular, Courtland Sutton has been almost non-existent these past three games. I’d like to think he’s a buy-low WR, as he’s too talented to be an afterthought.
For Philadelphia, patient managers have been rewarded with the long-overdue arrival of DeVonta Smith. I tried to trade for him weeks ago, and my opponent wisely said “no way,” or something to that effect. Dallas Goedert exited with a head injury, so we’ll need to see how he’s doing this week.
Yesterday was also a good reminder of the risks of chasing points. These two things are true: Jordan Howard has revived his career these past three weeks. Also, the Eagles’ offense is not designed to support consistent RB1s or even RB2s. Howard has zero catches. It’s TD or bust until Miles Sanders returns.
Packers vs. Seahawks
On a day when there were only a small handful of fantasy-impactful injuries, Aaron Jones’ was the biggest news. It is believed to be a sprained MCL, which would be great news, all things considered. However, an MRI early this week will address how much time, if any, Jones might miss. As readers know, I’ve pushed AJ Dillon every week on PFN for 4-5 weeks, and I listed him as a top-three RB handcuff for the past two years on my old blog. He’s the real deal, and I’m glad I drafted him.
Given that Russell Wilson recently said he was feeling 90% healthy, it’s possible that the other 10% did him in. We can’t know for sure, but yesterday was only the third time in his career that he’s had zero TDs and 2+ interceptions. In fact, I can’t find any other time when his team has gotten shut out. With the Seahawks inching closer to postseason elimination, and with Wilson committed to leaving this team in the offseason, it will be interesting to see if Seattle can turn a corner quickly.
NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Takeaways | Sunday Night Football
Major fantasy storylines in Sunday Night Football include Darren Waller’s TD drought, Patrick Mahomes finally looking like himself, and Darrel Williams making a case for a larger long-term role. When Clyde Edwards-Helaire returns — as soon as next week –, things could get interesting.
Raiders vs. Chiefs
There’s so much to unpack for Las Vegas. But what jumps out at me is that on a night when each of their top two wideouts got a TD, Waller had only 4 receptions for 24 scoreless yards. The franchise tight end has only 1 touchdown since Week 2. He remains both exceptional and disappointing for managers who have watched his per-game fantasy points drop about 25% compared to last season.
For Kansas City, Mahomes had more TDs last night than in his previous four games combined. Simply, “wow.” The more surprising fantasy story is Williams’ ascension from goal-line poacher while playing second fiddle to Edwards-Helaire, to full-fledged RB1. Four weeks ago, I traded him, Edwards-Helaire, and Jaylen Waddle for a package that included CeeDee Lamb. I thought I had a steal. It turns out to be surprisingly fair.