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Jason Katz’s NFL Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Week 10: Derek Carr to smash, Kirk Cousins to crash, D’Ernest Johnson to flash

With the NFL in full swing and fantasy football lineups being set, who makes the list of the top start 'em and sit 'em options for Week 10?

We’re entering the home stretch of the 2021 fantasy football regular season. With just five weeks remaining, making correct lineup decisions is more crucial than ever. Let’s take a look at the top start ’em and sit ’em plays for Week 10.

NFL Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 10: Quarterbacks

Injuries and COVID-19 have caused numerous backup quarterbacks to be thrust into action. Which quarterbacks are starts and sits in Week 10?

Start ‘Em | Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (vs. KC)

Once upon a time, we’d be eagerly anticipating a shootout between the Raiders and Chiefs. Unfortunately, the Chiefs’ offense appears to be broken. As much as we’d love both teams to score a bunch, as long as the Raiders are moving the ball, Derek Carr’s fantasy managers will be pleased.

Carr has reached 20 fantasy points in five of his eight starts. Last week, he underwhelmed against the Giants but easily could’ve had another touchdown or two. This week, he gets a Kansas City defense surrendering the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Carr is a QB1 in Week 10.

Sit ‘Em | Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (@ LAC)

Since Week 3, Kirk Cousins has alternated QB1 performances with duds. There also seems to be no rhyme or reason to when he flops. Cousins lit up the Cardinals and Panthers but struggled to produce against the Lions and Cowboys.

Last week, Cousins eclipsed 20 fantasy points as he threw for 2 touchdowns and rushed for a third. This week, the Vikings have a road matchup with the Chargers’ run-funnel defense. The Chargers can’t stop anyone on the ground but allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Expect a heavy serving of Dalvin Cook while Cousins underwhelms.

Running Backs

The running back position can be very matchup-dependent. What running backs should fantasy managers start, and who is better left on the bench this week?

Start ‘Em | D’Ernest Johnson, Cleveland Browns (@ NE)

The Patriots are a middle-of-the-road matchup for running backs, just about average in fantasy points allowed to the position. This one is purely about volume.

With Nick Chubb, Demetric Felton, and John Kelly all on the COVID list, D’Ernest Johnson is the last man standing. Back in Week 7, he started in place of an injured Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Johnson rattled off 146 yards on 22 carries. He played 69% of the snaps. This week, that number could push to 90% given the state of the Browns’ backfield. Unless Chubb gets cleared by Sunday, Johnson is an absolute must-start this week.

Sit ‘Em | Damien Harris, New England Patriots (vs. CLE)

On the other side of the field, I don’t like Damien Harris this week. Harris is extremely touchdown-dependent. He’s scored in five straight games, which is the only reason he’s been worth starting. Last week, Harris barely reached 10 fantasy points with a touchdown.

The Browns allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs. If Harris doesn’t find the end zone, he doesn’t have the yardage or any hope of receiving work to fall back on. If you can afford to leave Harris out of your lineup this week, do it.

NFL Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 10: Wide Receivers

Fantasy managers often struggle with what player to insert into that final WR3 or flex spot. Hopefully, these start ’em and sit ’em plays will help.

Start ‘Em | Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills (@ NYJ)

I’m going back to the well one more time with Emmanuel Sanders. He bounced back nicely in Week 9 following his goose egg the week prior with 4 catches on 8 targets for 65 yards. However, the Bills’ offense failed to score a touchdown against the Jaguars, as Josh Allen played his worst game since his rookie year.

This week, I’m expecting the Bills to come out firing and play inspired football. The Jets allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers, so this call is going against the grain. I’m banking on the Bills making some key adjustments and Allen coming through with a bounce-back performance, taking Sanders with him.

Sit ‘Em | Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos (vs. PHI)

I was very high on Courtland Sutton entering this season. While he’s at least been worth his draft stock, he hasn’t been the value I thought he’d be. Sometimes, you need to admit when you’re wrong.

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This week, Sutton gets an Eagles defense allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. In the three games Jerry Jeudy has played in, Sutton’s seen target counts of 3, 4, and 2. Until we see Sutton produce with Jeudy in the lineup, he needs to remain on fantasy benches.

Tight Ends

The tight end position is a disaster in fantasy football. With seldom few reliable options, can we find a start ’em worthy tight end?

Start ‘Em | Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks (@ GB)

The Packers are average at defending the tight end. Russell Wilson is set to return, though, and this is a very consolidated passing game. The Seahawks have very little behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

Hopefully, Gerald Everett can catch a couple of passes and find the end zone. That’s about all we’re expecting from fringe tight ends anyway.

Sit ‘Em | Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals (vs. CAR)

Zach Ertz’s 3-catch, 66-yard, 1-touchdown outing against the Texans seems so long ago. Over the past two weeks, Ertz has caught a total of 7 passes for 69 yards.

There is no renaissance coming for the once elite tight end. Ertz was never explosive but merely a reliable set of hands. That’s all he is at this point in his career. He will catch a few passes, but unless he scores, Ertz is going to disappoint. With Colt McCoy likely making another start, fantasy managers should look elsewhere at tight end this week.

Jason Katz is a Fantasy Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @jasonkatz13 and find more of his work here. Don’t forget to listen to the PFN Fantasy Football podcast and check out our free fantasy newsletter.

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