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Fantasy Football: Matchups to avoid and exploit in Week 10

November 10, 2018

The Chiefs are back in the top spot in our NFL power rankings entering Week 10. Although ranking fantasy football’s backs is a short conversation — Todd Gurley and the field — can we take a moment to appreciate 1B Kareem Hunt and 1C James Conner? Hunt has outscored Gurley over the past four games. Conner has made Le’Veon Bell an afterthought, which no one thought was possible a few months ago. Both were found in the latter part of Round 3 in the 2017 NFL draft. Amazing.

EXPLOIT

Browns (vs. Falcons)

After striking out in this space with Washington at home vs. Atlanta — hey, Alex Smith threw for 300 yards! — we’re doubling down on another disappointing offense hosting the Falcons. The freeing of Nick Chubb, RB15 overall since the trade of Carlos Hyde, is great and all, but the freeing of Sir Duke? You can feel it all over, people, and no one felt it like the Chiefs, against whom Johnson had his best receiving day (9-78-2 on a whopping 10 targets) in over three years. Even after catching a break with Chris Thompson inactive Sunday, the Falcons still have allowed the most catches and third-most receiving yards and total points to fantasy backs.

Don’t hesitate: WR Jarvis Landry, RBs Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson

Think twice (but it’s alright): QB Baker Mayfield, TE David Njoku

Buccaneers (vs. Washington)

Despite being benched for 3.5 games, Ryan Fitzpatrick is still QB14. In a season of unprecedented passing production. It’s Fitzmagic’s world, and we’re all here for it. He threw four more touchdowns Sunday in Carolina to up his TD-INT ratio to 6-2 since replacing Jameis Winston — for good this season? — at halftime in Week 8. Washington was incredibly stout defending the run until Sunday, when Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith went off, but remains pedestrian against fantasy passers, who have combined to tally 17 touchdowns, including nine by Fitzpatrick’s three NFC South peers.

Don’t hesitate: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR Mike Evans, TE O.J. Howard

Think twice (but it’s alright): WRs Desean Jackson, Chris Godwin

Chargers (at Oakland)

Nick Mullens, Philip Rivers is not. But fear not, Chargers fans, your future Hall of Famer should fare just fine against Oakland’s league-worst pass rush after Jon Gruden just dumped his lone remaining established pass rusher. Not that Bruce Irvin would have made much difference. Quietly at age 36, Rivers is having his finest statistical campaign. You were already starting him, of course. Should we start rolling dice on Mike and/or Tyrell Williams, who have combined to score six touchdowns on only 17 targets over the past three games? Admittedly, the volume is troubling, but Tyrell has been on the field more than 85 percent of the time during his three-game scoring streak.

Don’t hesitate: QB Philip Rivers, RB Melvin Gordon, WR Keenan Allen

Think twice (but it’s alright): WR Tyrell Williams

Eagles (vs. Cowboys)

It might feel like it, but the Cowboys ‘D’ isn’t still on the field after getting torched on third down by Tennessee Monday night. However, the Eagles are up to No. 13 on money downs and No. 1 in time of possession. They’ll now unveil new move-the-sticks weapon Golden Tate and, who knows, perhaps even welcome Darren Sproles back to the mix for the first time since Week 1. Sproles would be interesting against a Cowboys ‘D’ just ripped by Dion Lewis and again without Sean. Carson Wentz? He’s a no-brainer QB1 again after not only his second 3-TD game in his past three times out but most active day as a rusher since shredding his knee last December.

Don’t hesitate: QB Carson Wentz, WR Alshon Jeffery, TE Zach Ertz

Think twice (but it’s alright): WR Golden Tate, RB Josh Adams, Darren Sproles*

AVOID

Jets (vs. Bills)

As long as Sam Darnold continues playing “stupid,” fantasy owners can be called the same for putting their faith in the Jets. Especially against a tough Bills defense that held a Bears offense averaging 449 yards and 32 points over the previous four games to 190 and 27 (average drive started at Chicago 44) Sunday. They might not be in Buffalo’s league of offensive ineptitude yet, but Darnold’s Jets now have only three touchdowns in their past 13-plus quarters. Credit New York for reportedly rebuffing Robby Anderson trade inquiries, but Darnold won’t have time to find his speedster downfield against Buffalo’s ferocious front. Since his 219-yard annihilation of Denver, Isaiah Crowell has averaged 2.9 yards on 50 scoreless carries.

Think twice (but it’s alright): WR Quincy Enunwa, TE Chris Herndon

Don’t do it: RB Isaiah Crowell, WR Robby Anderson

Titans (vs. Patriots)

Fool us once, Titans, shame on you. Fool us twice … well, let’s just say we’re going to table any reprise excitement regarding Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense on the heels of its 28-point offensive explosion until after New England comes to town. Mariota mostly was very good in Dallas, and he played well in the blowout defeat in Foxboro in January. Still, he and Corey Davis won’t be able to pick on Malcolm Butler this time around (that’s been the Titans’ opponents all season) and no one knows more about what makes Dion Lewis tick than Bill Belichick. Who’s left to get excited about on offense for the Titans?

Think twice (but it’s alright): QB Marcus Mariota, RB Dion Lewis

Don’t do it: RB Derrick Henry, WR Corey Davis

Jaguars (at Colts)

Leonard Fournette is back, but what will his volume look like in a potential timeshare with Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon? Fournette’s fantasy season has been almost as disappointing as Jacksonville’s real season. Meantime, the Colts are rested and feeling good about themselves after going 2-1 over the past three games, when they haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown or back to crest 81 rushing yards. The one Jacksonville receiver we might consider, Dede Westbrook (TD in two of past three games), draws underrated Kenny Moore, whose 63.1 passer rating allowed ranked second among all nickels entering the Week 9 bye, per PFF.

Think twice (but it’s alright): Leonard Fournette*, T.J. Yeldon

Don’t do it: RB Carlos Hyde, Jaguars WRs

Cowboys (at Eagles)

Jerry Jones says Dak is still that dude, even if his performance over the past 16 games (20 total touchdowns against 18 turnovers) says otherwise. Leave it to the Cowboys to trade a first-rounder for a potential WR1 as it’s becoming more and more apparent that their QB1 isn’t who we thought he was. The early usage of Amari Cooper vs. Tennessee was exciting, but where exactly were he and Ezekiel Elliott (two combined touches) at in the fourth quarter of a one-score game?

Think twice (but it’s alright): RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Amari Cooper

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