It is now the back half of the fantasy football season with the trade deadline looming and the playoffs in sight. Every move counts a little bit more, and every bit of trash talk is just that much more fun. Even spoiling other’s chances can be a highlight if your playoffs hopes are already dashed. So let’s take a look at the week ahead using our Fantasy Football Consistency Score (CS) and Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score (D-PAC); we can highlight the best and worst Week 10 matchups to let you know whether you should consider the like of Joe Mixon and Allen Robinson a start ’em or a sit ’em this week.
If you would like more detailed information on how the CS and D-PAC works, please refer to the Introduction to the Fantasy Football Consistency Score, but the basic premise is, the higher the CS, the more consistent a player is scoring high-level fantasy points. In the case of D-PAC, the higher the number, the more consistently that team allows high-level fantasy points to the position.
PSA: I don’t feel the need to tell you, the savvy fantasy G.M., to start a player like Patrick Mahomes every week. I abide by the golden rule: start your studs. However, if there is glaring evidence to sit a bona fide starter, we will discuss that as needed.
Start ’em – Jared Goff
The high-octane McVay offense hasn’t produced for fantasy football quite as much as one would have hoped while drafting this past summer. Only a couple of seasons ago, and I never would have been able to include Jared Goff in a start ’em sit ’em column unless I was calling my shot on an unlikely bust week, but here we are in Week 10 of the 2020 season. This year Goff has only been a top-12 QB in 38% of games played, is 20th in terms of CS, has a -1% Fantasy Point Differential (FPD), and is 18th among quarterbacks in fantasy points per game. However, in Week 10, the Rams host the Seattle Seahawks, who seem to be a defensive salve to cure all ailing quarterback woes.
Goff hasn’t crested 20 fantasy points since Week 5, but the Seahawks defense ranks fifth in D-PAC (11.65) and first in terms of fantasy points per game allowed to QBs (26.73). This past week, with Jamal Adams returning to the lineup, the Seahawks pass defense relinquished 415 yards and three touchdowns to a previously slumping Josh Allen. On the day, Allen finished with an impressive completion rate of 81.6%.
Goff and the Rams offense are also coming off their bye week, giving them extra time to get rested, healthy, and plan an attack on their division rivals. With a win over the Seahawks this week, the Rams could be tied, or in sole possession of first place in the division. They are going to be ready to take full advantage of this horrendous secondary.
Sit ’em – Ryan Tannehill
With the way Ryan Tannehill finished 2019 and started 2020, it’s hard to imagine including him in a fantasy football start ’em sit ’em column, let alone as a “sit” in Week 10. We knew that some regression was coming for Tannehill in 2020, but to his credit, he has still been highly efficient. His +34% FPD ranks fourth among signal-callers. The problem is his expected fantasy points (xFP) of 124.8 is the eighth fewest among quarterbacks with at least 150 attempts on the season (approx. 19 attempts per game). With that little opportunity, Tannehill has to perform incredibly efficiently in order to be a viable fantasy asset week to week. That is the reason why he has only been able to crack the top 12 in 38% of games played this year while essentially living in the QB2 range (50%).
This Thursday night, Tannehill has to face the Indianapolis Colts defense that has been shutting teams down. The Colts allow the fewest fantasy points to QBs, and their D-PAC score of 3.91 is lowest in the league as well. Even if you remove their Week 2 destruction of Kirk Cousins, they would still only be averaging 16.10 points allowed and would have the 20th D-PAC. They have allowed the fourth-fewest pass completions and yards, tied for third-fewest passing touchdowns allowed, and tied for the most interceptions in the league.
Start ’em – Nick Chubb
First of all, make sure to keep your eye on practice reports, and if there are any setbacks to Nick Chubb this week, you will want to pivot. But barring the worst-case scenario, I want to put fantasy managers’ minds at ease when it comes to Chubb in his first week back. He’s going to get put right back into the lead role and has a great matchup on top of it.
From Weeks 1 through 4, Chubb was the RB12, and that was with only six attempts in Week 4 when the injury caused him to leave the field. While Kareem Hunt was a viable fantasy asset himself over that time, he has been less than stellar in Chubb’s absence. In Weeks 5 through 8, Hunt has averaged 3.9 yards per carry and averaged a mere 12.4 fantasy points per game in 0.5-PPR formats.
Chubb, the Browns, and fantasy managers alike couldn’t have hoped for a better return matchup either. The Houston Texans have allowed the second-most rushing yards in the league, are allowing an average of 5.1 yards per carry, and have given up 11 rushing touchdowns on the season. Their D-PAC score of 14.46 is fifth-highest while averaging the third-most points allowed to the position. Don’t be overly cautious, and don’t overthink this one. Start Chubb.
Sit ’em – Joe Mixon
It’s assumed Joe Mixon will return to the field for fantasy teams after the Bengals Week 9 bye week, but if he is held back another game, just substitute “Giovani Bernard” in everywhere you see Joe Mixon’s name in this fantasy sit ’em.
Ahead of the injury, Joe Mixon was a bit of a crapshoot in fantasy football. In 50% of games played, he was a top-24 option. Meaning the other 50% of the time, he was outside the RB1 or RB2 range. The Bengals are 20th in the league in terms of rushing attempts, and with Bernard being thrust into prominence yet again, he could continue to be a factor in the passing game, which would eat into Joe Mixon’s four targets per game on average.
The main reasons that Joe Mixon is a sit ’em fantasy option for Week 10 are essentially the opposite reasons that Chubb is in the start ’em part of this article. Joe Mixon gets one of the worst defensive matchups in the NFL, both in fantasy football and real terms, for his return from injury by taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh. The Steelers 8.75 D-PAC ranks 25th, and their 17.70 average points allowed to the position is dead last. The Steelers have only allowed five rushing touchdowns on the year, 4.1 yards per carry on average, and the seventh-fewest allowed rushing yards on the year.
On a narrative note, the Steelers have owned the Bengals. 6-0 since 2017, and 66-35-0 all-time. The Steelers are 9.5 point favorites in a game with a 48.5 over/under, sixth lowest on the week. Nothing bodes well for fantasy teams when it comes to Joe Mixon’s return in Week 10. Make sure to limit your expectations for Joe Mixon in fantasy this week.
Start ’em – Allen Robinson
Goodness, what a fantasy career Allen Robinson would have if he could ever be gifted with a good quarterback calling the plays. Robinson would certainly be too good a fantasy play every week to be included in start ’em sit ’em columns, but entering Week 10 of the 2020 season, starting any Chicago Bears pass-catcher feels like you’re dancing with the devil.
Allen Robinson’s fantasy output is a bit of an enigma this season. In total fantasy points on the season, Allen Robinson ranks ninth, but when we look at it in terms of fantasy points per game, that drops to 19th. Robinson’s 5.01 CS is 11th best at the position, but his -2% FPD has him as the WR54. Certainly not what 96% of fantasy managers rostering Allen Robinson hope for from week to week.
Luckily for those fantasy managers, Allen Robinson takes on the Minnesota Vikings at home in Week 10. The Vikings hold the third-highest average points allowed to the WR potion and the seventh-highest D-PAC, showing they are consistently giving up value to the passing game. With the fourth-most receiving yards allowed and tied for the third-most receiving touchdowns, they are one of the most fantasy-friendly matchups for receivers. As long as the QB play improves, Allen Robinson could have a big fantasy day.
With Allen Robinson securely commanding 20-plus% of the team’s market share, fire him up with full confidence this week in your fantasy league. Plus, it is always fun to have a rooting interest in Monday Night Football.
Sit ’em – Justin Jefferson
Justin Jefferson has certainly shown he has a long NFL career ahead of him in his debut campaign. But for now, he is still a rookie, on a low volume offense, in a bad matchup.
The Vikings visit the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bears on Monday night in a game with a measly 45.5 over/under line. The Bears are ranked 22nd in D-PAC to WRs and 30th in average points allowed showing that they are consistently a bad fantasy matchup.
While Jefferson has been a great addition for the Vikings, if I was going to take my chances on one of the two receivers for Minnesota, I would put my money on Adam Thielen having the better night out of the two. Thielen leads the two in xFP, 100.1 to 75.4, has a higher Consistency Score, 4.03 to 3.64, higher percentage of the team market share, 25.4% to 19.1%, and a ridiculous command of the team’s air yards, 42.55% (second highest in the league) to 29.11%.
The Vikings 209 pass attempts were the second-lowest heading into Week 9 Monday Night Football. However, they were passed by New England Patriots, placing the Vikings dead last in terms of pass attempts. There isn’t enough volume to go around. Dalvin Cook is the clear motor of this team, and in a matchup like Week 10 against a good secondary, both receivers are not going to do well. Thielen is first in that pecking order and remains a player to start in fantasy football, but Jefferson is going to have to settle for what scraps he can get, making him a player to sit this week.
Which tight ends should you trust or be cautious of in Week 10?
Start ’em – Eric Ebron
Eric Ebron’s season got off to a slow start, but as of late, it has been picking up. Since the Steelers’ bye week, Ebron has averaged 5.8 targets per game, and he had at least 50 yards or a touchdown in each of the last three games. He is also tied for the team lead with seven targets inside the 20-yard line. Ebron is getting a good amount of targets at the position, and high-value targets at that.
This week Pittsburgh hosts the Cincinnati Bengals, who are a TE streaming matchup every week. On the season, they are allowing an average of 17.58 points per game to the position, which ranks second highest. And they are doing it regularly, as the D-PAC score of 5.67 is third highest at the position. In recent weeks we have seen this defense make the likes of Harrison Bryant and Trey Burton fantasy relevant.
Sit ’em – Mark Andrews
Mark Andrews has not been able to recreate the magic from last season. Coming into the 2020 fantasy football season, I never could have imagined suggesting to “sit” Andrews in a start ’em and sit ’em column but entering Week 10, we have reached the point where we have to consider him matchup dependent.
Sure, on the season, he still has the ninth-highest total fantasy points. But his CS has dropped 1.38 points from last season, and he has been outside the top 24 of tight ends in 50% of games played on the season. Over the past three games played, he hasn’t even eclipsed five points in 0.5 PPR scoring, despite owning 20% of the team’s target share. It’s been rough for the Ravens offense as a whole, but Andrews has suffered more than most.
Week 10 features a matchup traveling to New England to face the Patriots, who are a matchup to avoid in fantasy. In average points allowed to the TE position, they are 31st, allowing 7.66 points per game. In D-PAC to the position, they are also 31st with a score of 2.27. They are consistently stifling the tight end position, and with the lowest over/under on the week, there likely won’t be a lot of points to go around.
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