Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 10
Sometimes I just have to scratch my head when it comes to the NFL’s schedule makers. Last night’s pretty exciting finish aside, why do we have to get so many dud matchups on Thursday and Monday nights? It should have been clear before the season began that putting teams like the Jets, Bengals, and Dolphins in primetime wasn’t a great idea. And is it possible to apply the flexible scheduling procedures used for Sunday night games to the Thursday and Monday night slots as well? If teams get a few weeks of advanced warning, it shouldn’t be a huge deal to adjust and it would unquestionably be better for the fans.
Then there’s the bye week schedule, which is the more relevant head-scratcher from a fantasy perspective. For some reason, the NFL scheduled three weeks where there are only two teams on bye, five weeks where there are four teams on bye, and then a whopping SIX teams on bye here in Week 10. Why not even it out and just have eight straight weeks with four teams on bye? Whatever the reason, this heavy bye week surely has a lot of fantasy managers scrambling for flex options. If that’s you, I hope that this week’s undervalued picks can help you out.
For those scoring at home, I correctly faded Deshaun Watson, John Brown, and Greg Olsen last week. My biggest misses were doubting Carlos Hyde, who ended up having a career day against the Jaguars in London, and promoting Danny Amendola, who didn’t end up doing a whole lot. My other undervalued picks fell somewhere in between — Philip Rivers and Mark Ingram put up impressive yardage totals but didn’t produce TDs, while Darren Fells found the end zone but only caught one ball.
As always, my picks for over and undervalued players for Week 10 are based on FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings for half PPR formats. If you want my take on a start/sit question or anything else fantasy football-related, you can reach out to me on Twitter @andrew_seifter.
Overvalued: Dak Prescott (DAL)
My Rank: QB12
After getting off to a hot start, Prescott is merely the QB10 over his last six games. Still quite good, obviously, but not quite a matchup-proof must-start. This week he goes up against a Vikings defense that isn’t as fearsome as in years past, but one that still has been a tougher-than-average fantasy matchup for opposing QBs. Dak’s ability to chip in with his legs gives him a solid floor, but Dallas-Minnesota simply doesn’t feel like a shootout, which is what I’d want to expect from a QB I had ranked in my top seven. You’re still starting him in most leagues, but if you’re lucky enough to have another high-end QB like Jameis Winston or Matthew Stafford, it isn’t outrageous to put Prescott on the bench this week. Speaking of Stafford…
Undervalued: Matthew Stafford (DET)
My Rank: QB10
My most substantial difference with other QB rankers this week is over Stafford. The industry at large wants to bench him for his trip to Chicago, but I firmly believe he is a matchup-proof QB1 at this point. The Bears are undoubtedly a very tough matchup. Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Philip Rivers, and Carson Wentz are among the opposing passers they’ve held to one or fewer TDs so far this season. But Stafford enters this game scorching hot — he has thrown for 290+ yards and 3+ TDs in four of his last five games — and the Lions have absolutely no running game to speak of, so virtually all of their offensive production will flow through Stafford’s arm. Even if Detroit only scores 19 points, as Vegas currently projects, that should include two touchdown passes (and ample yardage) from Stafford.
Overvalued: Ty Johnson (DET)
My Rank: RB38
Fantasy managers sometimes have a tendency to overrate players based on their position on the depth chart. Take Johnson. Sure, he’s technically the “starter” at running back for Detroit right now, but what makes you think that will translate into fantasy value against the Bears’ top-8 run defense? As I mentioned with Stafford, this team simply cannot move the ball on the ground. And while Johnson may have a bit of pass-catching ability, J.D. McKissic is the Lions’ preferred back in passing situations. The next time Johnson produces 60 scrimmage yards or reaches the end zone will be his first, and it sure seems unlikely to happen in Chicago.
Undervalued: Gus Edwards (BAL)
My Rank: RB33
As I mentioned up top, this is the biggest bye week of the season, so you may need to resort to starting someone who won’t be in your lineup most weeks. Enter Gus the Bus. Edwards has settled in this year as the clear backup to Mark Ingram, seeing 5-8 carries each week but little to no role in the passing game. That isn’t going to pay the fantasy bills most weeks, but Edwards doesn’t face the Bengals most weeks. Cincinnati not only has one of the worst run defenses in the league, but they will also be starting fourth-round rookie Ryan Finley at quarterback for his NFL debut. Finley may not be a huge downgrade from Andy Dalton in time, but he’s likely to get off to a very rocky start against the Ravens’ swarming defense. Baltimore is currently favored by 10 points, and that means that Edwards could get double-digit carries and perhaps even a trip to the end zone.
Overvalued: Michael Gallup (DAL)
My Rank: WR30
My concerns with Gallup are similar to those with Prescott. I just don’t see the Cowboys putting up huge passing game numbers against Minnesota, and a slower game script typically isn’t good news for a team’s second receiver. Also, it’s not like Gallup has been going bonkers lately — he is averaging just three catches for 38 yards over the last three games. It’s true that Amari Cooper isn’t 100 percent (bruised knee), which could conceivably help Gallup, but apparently Gallup has a sore knee, too. He’s taken a big step forward this year, no doubt, but I’m not quite ready to declare him an every-week WR2.
Undervalued: Golden Tate (NYG)
My Rank: WR16
After a quiet debut for Big Blue, Tate has quickly emerged as a staple of the Giants’ offense, hauling in at least six balls in each of the last four weeks while averaging nine targets per game. With Sterling Shepard (concussion) still sidelined and Evan Engram (foot) now set to join him in street clothes, Tate is suddenly one of the best bets in the league to see 10+ targets each week. This week he faces an abysmal Jets secondary that has surrendered six touchdowns to Jacksonville and Miami wide receivers over the last two weeks. Tate is never the best bet to find the end zone, but if he’s ever going to do it, this would be the week. Regardless, his target floor in this contest is high enough to make him a very attractive WR2.
Overvalued: Jack Doyle (IND)
My Rank: TE17
Half of the managers in every fantasy league aren’t going to feel great about their starting tight end, but you can still probably do better than Doyle. The Colts’ tight end has produced between 19 and 22 yards in six of his eight games this season, so unless you’re awarded a bonus for a player getting exactly 20 yards, Doyle isn’t likely to do much for your team’s bottom line. If I had to guess, I’d say the fantasy industry’s enthusiasm for Doyle stems from the fact that T.Y Hilton is out, Doyle scored last week, and he’s facing Miami. But with Jacoby Brissett (knee) banged up, the Colts can probably just run all over Miami and cruise to victory. If I have to start an Indy tight end, give me Eric Ebron, who is the better red-zone threat and could be the squeaky wheel this week.
Undervalued: Jared Cook (NO)
My Rank: TE7
My tight end rankings diverge quite widely from ECR once you get outside the top six, which speaks to how much of a crapshoot this position is beyond the top-tier options. Cook has had a thoroughly unremarkable season so far — his season-high in yards is 41 — but he did score a touchdown in his two most recent games before he missed the last two with an ankle injury. Most importantly, Cook has only played one game with Drew Brees so far, so his numbers to date just don’t mean a heck of a lot. Brees and Cook have a mouth-watering matchup this week with the Falcons, who might be the worst defense in the entire league. Yes, I’m putting a healthy dose of blind faith in Cook, but you’d need to do the same for any other tight end outside of the top six.