Week 10 Start/Sit


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Week 10 Start/Sit

Graham Barfield and Scott Barrett are here to help you out with all of your Start / Sit needs with a deep rundown of their favorite- and least-favorite plays every single week. This article will be continually updated with news throughout the week, so make sure you keep it locked on our projections and on this column all the way through to kickoff on Sunday.

Start / Sit recommendations for “Shallow” leagues refer to 10-team leagues while “Deep” is 12- or 14-teamers.


Shallow leagues

Start: Justin Fields vs. Lions

We’re here. The prophecy has been fulfilled – Fields is now the one true rightful Exodia of the QB position.

Last week, Fields scored 42.7 fantasy points while rushing for 178 yards – the most by any QB in a regular season game all-time. He’s now finished as a QB1 in five straight games, and top-5 in three straight games. Over this span, he’s averaged a position-best 8.7 designed runs per game (up from 3.5 per game) alongside a whopping 31.0 FPG.

This week Fields faces a Detroit Lions defense that ranks 3rd-worst in total FPG allowed (21.3), 5th-worst in passing FPG allowed (17.0), and 4th-worst in rushing FPG allowed (4.3) to opposing QBs. The Lions also rank 8th-worst in pressure rate over expectation (-2.6%) and 4th-worst in passer rating allowed (99.8).

So Fields is not only a must-start QB1 this week, he’s an easy top-5 option at the position. [SB]

Deep leagues

Start: Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Chargers

With QB8, QB11, QB8, and QB14 scoring weeks over his last month of games before the bye, Jimmy Garoppolo was settling in as a back-end QB1. With a week off to further integrate Christian McCaffrey into the offense along with giving Deebo Samuel (hamstring) time to heal, the 49ers should come out of the gates hot. We’re treating JimmyG as a QB1 start against this Chargers defense that is allowing the 11th-most fantasy points per dropback (0.43) and is struggling to rush the QB (Chargers’ 19.4% pressure rate on non-blitzes is fourth-lowest). If Josh Allen (elbow) ends up sitting, Garoppolo is the top replacement streamer. [GB]

Sit: Matthew Stafford vs Cardinals

Stafford has been a mainstay in this space all season and I see no reason to trust him in any 1-QB league any time soon. Stafford has finished as the QB15 or worse in 7-of-8 games this season and he has four TD (total!) in his last six games. So, while this matchup may look like one to target – the Cardinals are allowing the fifth-most FP per dropback to QBs – we just can’t trust Stafford to deliver the floor or ceiling necessary to play him, even in deeper formats. Stafford is 2-QB/SuperFlex play only for Week 10 decisions. [GB]

Sleeper You Probably Shouldn’t Start

Underrated: Trevor Lawrence at Chiefs

I’ve been leading the “Lawrence is overrated” bandwagon for a while now. And while I don’t think I’m wrong on this point, I do think we could see him surprising with a starter-worthy performance this week.

Kansas City is giving up a league-high 19.0 passing FPG to opposing QBs, while also ranking 2nd-worst in passer rating allowed (101.0). The Jaguars should also be forced to lean atypically pass-heavy this week, given the 9.5-point spread in favor of the Chiefs. And in a similarly cushy matchup last week, Lawrence finished the week as PFF’s 2nd-highest graded passer (87.1), while returning a respectable 17.7 fantasy points on only 31 pass attempts. [SB]

Running Backs

Shallow leagues

Start: Tony Pollard vs. Packers

Cowboys czar Jerry Jones can say whatever he wants about the offense running through Ezekiel Elliott still – it’s all nonsense. Dallas’ coaches want to keep Pollard fresh, but he is their only chance at explosive plays in the run game. When healthy, Elliott has played well this season but he’s wearing a brace to support his injured knee in practice this week. This all spells out that Pollard is going to be way more involved and it’s great timing considering that the Packers have been a run defense we’ve targeted all year. Green Bay is allowing 4.98 YPC, fifth-most. I’m sitting Zeke and treating Pollard as an upside RB2 for Week 10. [GB]

Start: Antonio Gibson at Eagles

It’s amazing how fast things have come full circle here for Gibson. We’ve gone from him losing his job, to being basically phased out of the offense, back to him being the 1A here with JD McKissic (neck) out. Last week, Gibson led this backfield in snaps (58% to Brian Robinson’s 44%) as the duo split carries (13 for Robinson, 11 for Gibson) as well. While Robinson continues to look sluggish – he has yet to average more than 3.7 YPC in five-straight games to start his season – I wonder if Gibson’s role in this backfield increases this week. The Eagles are heavy-favorites to win so the Commanders may be forced to go away from the run game, but this is a much easier matchup without The Mountain DT Jordan Davis (ankle; I.R.) stuffing the middle. Dameon Pierce (27/139 rushing) ran wild in this matchup last week. Even if Washington does get behind, Gibson will be on the field a ton because he ran a route on 56% of the pass plays while Robinson was at 27% last week. I like Gibson as RB2 in PPR while Robinson is a weak, TD-dependent RB3. [GB]

Deep leagues

Start: Jeff Wilson vs. Browns

Raheem Mostert probably isn’t dead yet, but it should at least be highly discouraging to his owners that Wilson immediately led the backfield in snaps (27 to Mostert’s 24), routes (11 to 10), carries (9 to 9), and targets (3 to 2), despite only joining the team five days prior. Granted, Wilson didn’t lead by a lot, but he was also far more effective than Mostert, scoring 16.2 fantasy points (5.67 YPC) to Mostert’s 8.6 (2.89 YPC). In a soft matchup against the Cleveland Browns – 4th-worst in rushing FPG allowed (18.0), 8th-worst in YPC allowed (4.95) – I like Wilson as a fringe-RB2, slightly above Mostert (high-end RB3). [SB]

Wide Receivers

Shallow leagues

Start: Stefon Diggs vs. Vikings

Listen, it’s Stefon freaking Diggs. He ranks behind only Cooper Kupp in FPG. And he gets an absolutely absurd matchup, up against a Vikings defense that’s surrendered a league-high 30.5 FPG to opposing outside WRs. So, yes even if Josh Allen sits out this week, you’re absolutely starting him. And hey, it can’t hurt that his 2nd-best-ever game came with Case Keenum under center. So, to me, he’s still an easy must-start WR1 this week. [SB]

Start: Chris Godwin vs. Seahawks

Over the last six weeks Godwin has finished top-15 in XFP in 4 of his last 6 games, with zero top-20 fantasy finishes to show for it. Over this stretch, he ranks 10th in XFP/G (16.7) but only 27th in FPG (12.7). Sure, the production hasn’t really been there, but the volume has been incredible. And there’s good reason to believe it could be even better this week – Seattle ranks 3rd-best against outside WRs (-4.9 schedule-adjusted FPG allowed) but just about perfectly neutral against slot WRs (-0.4). Similar to last week – with Rondale Moore earning twice as many targets and out-scoring DeAndre Hopkins against the Seahawks – I think Godwin will out-score Evans and finish the week as a high-end WR2. [SB]

Start: Allen Lazard vs. Cowboys

Perhaps somewhat quietly, Lazard ranks 17th among all WRs in FPG (14.7). And this is despite the fact that he was seriously limited in Week 2 (ankle) and Week 7 (shoulder). Adjusting for that, he averages 14.5 XFP (~WR20) and 16.4 FPG (~WR13) across his five healthy games. This week, Lazard gets a Dallas Cowboys defense that ranks 11th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (+1.1) and 6th-worst in fantasy points allowed over expectation (124%) to opposing slot WRs, which is where he’s run 48% of his routes over the last three weeks. We like him this week as a mid-range WR2. [SB]

Deep leagues

Start: Christian Kirk at Chiefs

Kirk paid off for us last week, scoring 21.6 fantasy points on 9 targets in a best-possible matchup. He now ranks 24th in targets per game (7.7), 25th in XFP/G (13.8), and 22nd in FPG (14.5). And although his matchup isn’t quite as soft as it was last week, it’s pretty damn close – the Chiefs have given up the 2nd-most FPG to opposing slot WRs (23.4). So start Kirk with confidence this week as a low-end WR2. [SB]

Start: JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. Jaguars

Believe it or not, Smith-Schuster has finished 7th (22.3), 4th (25.4), and 8th (18.8) in fantasy points scored over his last three games. Over this stretch, he ranks 16th in targets per game (8.3) and 5th in FPG (22.2). And across the full season he ranks 13th in receiving YPG (72.8). This week he faces a Jacksonville defense that’s given up the 9th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing slot WRs (+1.6), which is where he runs 41% of his routes. I don’t know that he’ll string together his fourth straight top-10 finish this week, but I would absolutely be starting him as a low-end WR2. [SB]

Start: DeVonta Smith vs. Commanders

Smith has failed to reach 45 receiving yards in four of his last five games, and even 25 receiving yards in each of his last two games. And he saw only 2 targets last week! And Smith has been the epitome of boom-or-bust this season, averaging 20.8 FPG in his top-50% of games in comparison to only 4.1 FPG in his bottom-50% of games. On one hand, that makes him hard to trust. On the other hand, if we can successfully predict one of Smith’s “boom games” it could pay off big. And why not this week? Washington is giving up the 5th-most FPG to opposing WR2s (13.2), and the most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing outside WRs (+7.2). Ultimately we like Smith a lot this week, but he is risky, so he’s still just a mid-range WR3 in our projections. [SB]

Sleeper You Probably Shouldn’t Start

Underrated: Donovan Peoples-Jones at Dolphins

Amari Cooper has always struggled in road games. Even this year, Cooper is averaging only 5.7 FPG on the road (high of 10.4) and 21.3 FPG at home (low of 14.4, exceeding 20.0 fantasy in 4 of 5 games). Conversely, Peoples-Jones averages 12.1 FPG on the road (low of 12.0) and 6.9 FPG at home (high of 12.1). And, well, would you look at that! The Browns are on the road this week, up against a Miami defense that ranks 4th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing outside WRs (+5.9). Ultimately DPJ is just a fringe WR3 this week, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he posts a big game. [SB]

Tight Ends

Shallow leagues

Start: David Njoku at Dolphins

Over his last five games, Njoku averaged 7.2 targets and 75.8 YPG. And keep in mind, that’s despite leaving Week 7 in the third quarter due to injury (ankle). And well, basically that’s extremely rare usage (would rank 4th-most among TEs) alongside elite production (would rank 2nd-most among TEs, and 13th-most among WRs). He gets an excellent matchup this week, against a Dolphins defense that ranks 3rd-worst in FPG allowed to TEs (15.6). So, if Njoku plays this week, definitely start him as a mid-range TE1 at worst. [SB]

Deep leagues

Start: Kyle Pitts at Panthers

Earlier this week – in the Week 10 XFP Report – I expressed optimism that Pitts may actually be able to live up to his draft capital in the second half of the season. Listen, I understand how crazy that sounds, but he’s been seeing legitimately elite levels of usage in recent weeks. And at a bare minimum, he’s still a freakish talent. So, I’d definitely start him this week, in a neutral at-worst matchup against the Panthers, as a low-end TE1. [SB]

Start: Greg Dulcich at Titans

Dulcich currently ranks 3rd in YPG (60.7), 6th in FPG (12.1), 11th in route share (72%), and 11th in target share (17.7%). His 182 receiving yards through his first three career games ranks 3rd-most by any TE all-time. And I could see his hot start extending for another week, up against a Titans defense that’s given up the 6th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing TEs (+3.1). We like him this week as a low-end TE1, slightly behind Pitts. [SB]