I feel that I should prefix every column by saying that fantasy football is a strange game. With that in mind, let’s hope that normality is resumed as we run through our Week 10 fantasy start/sit advice. Week 9 was full of storylines with Lamar Jackson destroying a historic New England Patriots defense, Gardner Minshew struggling against a previously porous Houston Texans defense and Mitchell Trubisky sinking the value of Allen Robinson to the tune of one catch for six yards against one of the worst passing defenses in the league.
NFL Week 10 sees the welcome return of some of the league’s top fantasy offenses with the Rams, Saints, Falcons, and (for the sake of inclusivity) Bengals all back in action. We’re hoping that Adam Thielen and Davante Adams take another step in their returns from injury and that Keenan Allen and JuJu Smith-Schuster can overcome game plan limitations and return to fantasy stardom.
START: Jameis Winston vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Jameis Winston experience has been the rollercoaster ride that we expected this year. Still, it looks as if, despite five years of evidence to the contrary, we might finally be working out what we have with Jameis Winston. After a rough first two games, Winston has been the QB5 since week 3. He’s averaging over 38 pass attempts per game and faces an Arizona Cardinals defense, which has allowed the most fantasy points in the league to quarterbacks. This game should be a shootout, and Winston is in prime position to be the beneficiary.
START: Drew Brees vs. Atlanta Falcons
Drew Brees might not be the fantasy football superstar that he once was, but in the two games that he’s completed this season, he’s finished as the QB12 and the QB4. Those games have been against the Texans and the Cardinals, two of the softer defenses in the league, but the Falcons are a great matchup for everybody. They’re allowing the third-most points per game to quarterbacks, and the Saints would love to score points against their biggest rivals.
SIT: Derek Carr vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Derek Carr’s two most recent games have been his best fantasy performances of the season, but the Chargers have done a great job against the pass this year. They’re currently allowing the sixth-fewest points per game to the quarterback position and have just held Aaron Rodgers to fewer than 13 points. It’s a small sample size, but in their first game with new offensive coordinator Shane Steichen the Chargers’ time of possession was over 35 minutes, having been under 30 minutes for the season before that. The Chargers want to run the ball, and a slow-paced game isn’t a recipe for success.
START: Mark Ingram vs. Cincinnati Bengals
I advised sitting Mark Ingram last week against the Patriots, and boy was I wrong. Ingram didn’t find the end zone, but he exploded for 144 yards, and the Ravens offense was able to do whatever they wanted to. The Bengals are the complete opposite of the Patriots and have been torched by running backs all season, allowing the second-most fantasy points in the league to the position. There’s a concern that the Ravens could get ahead early, and Ingram could cede touches to Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, but even if he doesn’t finish the game, he should be productive.
START: David Montgomery vs. Detroit Lions
A pair of touchdowns saved David Montgomery’s fantasy week, but he still had 17 touches against a Philadelphia Eagles team, which has stifled running backs all season. Mitchell Trubisky is a problem at quarterback, and the Bears are trying to limit their reliance on him. Volume is the crucial factor for running backs, and Montgomery has 41 rushing attempts and nine targets with seven catches in the last two weeks. He’s also got three touchdowns during that time. The Lions are allowing the most fantasy points per game to RBs this season, and Montgomery should get opportunities even if the Bears do fall behind.
SIT: Devonta Freeman vs. New Orleans Saints
If you drafted Devonta Freeman this season, then you’ve had a frustrating ride. While he’s had 100 or more scrimmage yards in three of eight games, he’s yet to score a rushing touchdown. The Saints are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season despite facing Todd Gurley, Chris Carson, Ezekiel Elliott, and Leonard Fournette. Matt Ryan’s return should improve the Falcons offense, but the offensive line is an issue, and they’re not creating running lanes. If the Saints get out to a lead, then Freeman’s role will be significantly reduced as the Falcons throw to attempt a comeback.
START: Larry Fitzgerald vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a red hot start to the season in which he put up 100 yards in each of his first two games, Larry Fitzgerald has taken a HUGE step back from a production point of view. He’s averaging just 38 yards per game and has only one touchdown in that time despite facing the Falcons, Bengals, Giants, and other favorable matchups. Luckily for him, the Bucs are allowing the most fantasy points per game to WRs. He may not be the Cardinals’ top option in the passing game anymore, but he’s playing 82% of his snaps in the slot, pitting him against a struggling Vernon Hargreaves. If you’re not starting Fitzgerald this week, then he shouldn’t be on your roster.
START: Zach Pascal vs. Miami Dolphins
It should say everything that, when researching Week 10 fantasy start/sit, I was surprised to see that the Dolphins are ONLY allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season. With T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell out with injuries, Zach Pascal looks to be the top pass catcher for the Indianapolis Colts. Pascal has over 50 receiving yards in four of his last six games and four touchdowns in that time. In fact, since Week 3, he is the WR18. Whether it’s Jacoby Brissett or Brian Hoyer starting at QB, Pascal should be firmly on the fantasy radar.
SIT: JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. Los Angeles Rams
It’s always tough to bench a player like JuJu Smith-Schuster. Fantasy owners will have invested a lot when drafting him, and he has shown that he can be one of the best players in the league. But Smith-Schuster has had more bad performances than good this year with fewer than 20 receiving yards in three of his last five games. Even if Jalen Ramsey doesn’t shadow him, they should see each other often enough to restrict Smith-Schuster’s effectiveness.
START: Kyle Rudolph vs. Dallas Cowboys
After a slow start to the season, Kyle Rudolph has returned as a reliable pass-catching option for the Vikings. With 17 targets in his last four games, Rudolph has a higher floor than many options at the position. Kirk Cousins has historically looked more comfortable throwing inside the numbers, and Adam Thielen’s injury leaves Rudolph as the likely beneficiary. The Cowboys are allowing the seventh most receiving yards to tight ends, and Rudolph should see plenty of opportunities.
SIT: Jacob Hollister vs. San Francisco 49ers
Jacob Hollister put himself firmly on the fantasy radar last week with a pair of touchdowns, but those expecting him to have a Will Dissly-like role could be disappointed. The 49ers are allowing the fewest fantasy points to tight ends, and, with Josh Gordon’s arrival likely to draw targets from Russell Wilson, he could find himself returning to the background.
Are you looking for another player? Check out our Week 10 rankings for more information!
Andy Gallagher is a writer for the Pro Football Network covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him @AndySGallagher on Twitter.