Week 10 Matchup Rankings: Team Defenses to Exploit
Week 10 is upon us. The Fantasy Football season only has a month left before the playoffs in a majority of leagues. It really is amazing how fast the season goes by. Fantasy owners are still losing players to injury each and every week. Ben Roethlisberger is out until at least Week 12, Andrew Luck until Week 14 (probably longer), Dion Lewis for the season, and this list doesn’t include another half dozen players or so that will be game time decisions this week. Defenses aren’t fairing any better, as several teams seem to be lucky to have 11 healthy players to put out on the field let alone enough talent to slow down an offense. We are a society, however, that likes points to be put up on the scoreboard, so offensive injuries always get more publicity than defensive ones. With that in mind let’s take a look at some defensive matchups to exploit this week.
- Washington Redskins: Drew Brees has thrown for almost 900 yards and 10 touchdowns over the past two weeks. Does anyone really think the Redskins defense is going to slow him down, even outside of the dome? The only name play on NO that I’m not starting would be Marques Colston and possibly CJ Spiller, and even those two will get consideration depending upon my needs.
[caption id="attachment_100765" align="alignright" width="359"] It didn't seem possible but the Miami defense is actually getting worse as the season wears on. Photo Credit: Keith Allison[/caption]
- Baltimore Ravens: Fantasy owners will want to keep an eye on Allen Hurns this week. He’s dealing with a foot injury, and, as of this writing, has yet to practice this week. Hopefully, he can play as the Ravens secondary hasn’t been able to stop anyone all season and it would seem unlikely that they would figure it out this week versus Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, Julius Thomas, and Hurns.
- Detroit Lions: Aaron Rodgers has been taking some grief for his play of late. Yes, he only threw for 77 yards in that Sunday night game versus Denver and he also wasn’t that good in the first half versus Carolina last week but he still ended up throwing for 369 yards and four touchdowns in the game. He and the passing game are just fine. As for the running game, however, it’s time to bench Eddie Lacy if you haven’t already. James Starks is the man for now. True, Lacy may get another shot, but he is in that “prove it to me” spot now. I won’t start him again until he shows me something.
- New York Giants: James White was the hot pickup at RB this week with Dion Lewis going down for the season with a torn ACL. Will he be the ball catching and/or third down back? Possibly, but you’re still playing the Bill Belichick guessing game. LeGarrette Blount gets a huge bump up now, as he is a strong RB2. I’m also looking to see if Brandon Lafell is available in any league, he’s getting better and will soon start to catch a few touchdowns.
- New Orleans Saints: I can’t believe that I have Kirk Cousins in my Top 10 QBs for this week. I feel dirty just thinking this, but the Saints’ secondary has been torched by just about every opposing QB. Jordan Reed is a must start here, Pierre Garcon DeSean Jackson is also a possible play but you may have better options on your roster.
- Tennessee Titans: You can say what you want about the Carolina receivers or the lack thereof, but against a porous Green Bay secondary last week, Cam Newton wasn’t afraid to attack them deep. In this game, Cam completed those passes but even they weren’t completed, he still forced the defense to respect the deep game. This can only help the running game and the underneath passes to Greg Olsen.
- Cleveland Browns: Can the Steelers’ offense stay healthy for more than a game or two? Ben Roethlisberger is out again, this time with a sprained foot which means Landry Jones will start in his place. Now I don’t want to start Jones if I can help it, but I’m still starting Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams, the bigger questions come with Martavis Bryant and Heath Miller. I hope I can do better than both of them.
- Chicago Bears: The Bears defense is bad, really no getting around that but do the Rams really have the weapons to take advantage of it? Yes, Todd Gurley is great, but who else? Maybe Tavon Austin; I can see him as a flex this week.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The return of Dez Bryant, minus Richard Sherman covering him, opened up the Dallas offense last week. Now that Dez seems to be over his foot surgery, safeties will play off the line of scrimmage. This can only help everyone on offense. The problem, of course is, can Matt Cassel take advantage of it? Dez goes back to must-start for me, same with Darren McFadden, but that’s about it. Even Jason Witten becomes a question of who else is on your roster. You might have a better option available.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags don’t have the best of defenses; but what do the Ravens have left on offense to take advantage of it? Kamar Aiken is only a number one receiver because he is the last man left standing. Sure, I’m going to start Justin Forsett, but defensive coordinators will be game planning how to stop him all week.
- Oakland Raiders: Who will start at quarterback for Minnesota this week? Teddy Bridgewater was knocked unconscious last week but has passed his concussion tests this week and is practicing on a limited basis. Yes, Adrian Peterson starts even if I was behind center, but Stefon Diggs is not a must-play this week. Kyle Rudolph, however, should be given the benefit of the doubt, as Oakland has not had the best of, or any, success at covering tight ends this year.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: We don’t know who starts for Cleveland at QB this week. Gary Barnidge owners are certainly hoping that it will be Josh McCown as Johnny Manziel doesn’t seem to use the TE anywhere near as much.
- Miami Dolphins: Was the second half and overtime of the Sunday night game a sign of things to come for Sam Bradford and Jordan Matthews? Owners of those two players are certainly hoping so. I’m on board with Matthews, I want to start him this week, but I’m still hesitant about Bradford, he has a little more convincing to do.
- Houston Texans: For all the accolades being thrown in Andy Dalton’s direction, how great a year he is having, why isn’t AJ Green putting up bigger numbers? It’s not that he is having a bad year, just not one as good as we were hoping for. Is it because of the emergence of TE Tyler Eifert? Maybe. Bottom line is I wouldn’t sell low on him, but I would buy low.
- Green Bay Packers: Matthew Stafford could once again be a play this week; not a Top 10 option, but if you’re a Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, or Phillip Rivers owner, you could do a lot worse. The Packers have been giving up a ton of yardage via the pass and the bye week may have allowed Stafford to heal some from his early season struggles. Golden Tate will also start for me in this game.
- Kansas City Chiefs: I will say this over and over again, Peyton Manning is no longer a must-start, but his receivers still are. I have to admit, that is strange. As for the running game, it’s true, if I had both Ronnie Hillman and J. Anderson, I’d start Hillman, but I still believe that CJA will be the play as the season rolls along.
- Buffalo Bills: When it comes to Ryan Fitzpatrick be very careful. Not so much about the game Thursday night, but because it looks like he will have surgery almost immediately after the game to fix his thumb. Brandon Marshall is also banged up with a couple of leg injuries and Chris Ivory hasn’t been the same since tweaking his hamstring. The Jets are a banged up team.
- Dallas Cowboys: Will Vincent Jackson play this week? Probably not, as he still isn’t practicing. Will Austin Seferian-Jenkins will play this week? Maybe, as once again he is limited in practice despite being a game-time decision before last week’s game. Did he suffer a setback? Seems so. Mike Evans will be a must-play despite dropping a half dozen balls last week.
- Minnesota Vikings: Derek Carr is also a Top 10 QB this week but unlike Cousins, he is likely to remain there for the remainder of the season. This is a QB that has taken that next step, and in more than one league I am starting him over Russell Wilson. Michael Crabtree is also a start at WR. With defenses so worried about Amari Cooper, Crabtree is pretty much going unnoticed. Latavius Murray, however, is a concern. Not only does he have the concussion to overcome, but has also fumbled the ball quite a bit of late.
- New England Patriots
- Philadelphia Eagles: The Dolphins keep letting it be known that Jay Ajayi will be getting more touches as the season rolls along. Their rookie RB is not Todd Gurley but they do seem to want to see what they have there. Lamar Miller is still the starter but Ajayi could eat into his carries a bit.
- New York Jets: I was hesitant to start Tyrod Taylor last week. I wanted to see him run around first and make sure he was healthy enough to run with reckless abandon once again. Well, he proved it to me; he’s back to being Top 12. I’m still starting LeSean McCoy but Karlos Williams is also startable. He will not only be the goal line guy but also someone who could steal 8 to 10 touches a game.
- Seattle Seahawks: Michael Floyd may have gotten his starting WR gig back from John Brown, but that doesn’t really change much. Most teams run a bunch of three WR sets; they will both see the field a ton, but this may not be the week you want to start either one of them.
- Carolina Panthers
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Arizona Cardinals
- Louis Rams: Everyone is in love with Jeremy Langford and perhaps rightfully so, after how he played Monday night, but keep in mind that Matt Forte is practicing in a limited fashion, and if he doesn’t return this week, could play in Week 11. This is not the best matchup for Langford and the Bears’ offense, as that defensive line could have Jay Cutler running for his life on Sunday.
- Denver Broncos
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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