Fantasy Football Weekly Recap: Week 10 (2019)
For the neutral observer, Week 10 was a very exciting week of football. Outside of the Ravens’ steamrolling of the Bengals, every single game on Sunday was competitive into the 4th quarter, with many coming down to the final drive. There were also plenty of colossal upsets, which is great news unless you’re a fan of the New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, or Kansas City Chiefs.
But it’s a different story altogether if you had one of this week’s Top 5 Disappointments on your fantasy squad. I usually lead this column with the biggest surprises, but we need to start with the disappointments this week because we have some legit contenders for the biggest duds of the entire fantasy season. [Cue sad trombone]
Top 5 Disappointments
Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)
Barkley’s 2019 campaign was interrupted by a high-ankle sprain, and his fantasy owners are still waiting for the kind of week-winning fantasy performance that we know he’s capable of providing. But Barkley still entered Week 10 as a consensus top-three fantasy running back and appeared to be set up beautifully for one of his best games of the season against a Jets defense that had conceded 10 rushing scores through their first eight games. Instead, Gang Green held him to 31 scoreless scrimmage yards, including an unfathomable 13 carries for one yard on the ground. There’s no need to panic about Barkley’s rest-of-season outlook, but between this performance and the missed games, it sure seems like a lot of people who spent the number one pick on Barkley will miss the fantasy playoffs this year.
Drew Brees (QB – NO)
I personally found Brees’ performance to be the biggest dud of the week, if not the entire season, but my Twitter followers appear to believe Barkley’s was worse. Maybe it’s the fact that Brees ended up with 287 passing yards thanks to some garbage-time completions. Still, he did not lead his team to a single touchdown against a Falcons defense that had been allowing over 30 points per game. We haven’t seen a lot of Brees so far this year, but he had thrown for 370 yards and 2+ TDs in both of his other full games. You have to believe he’ll get back on track in a big way next week at Tampa Bay, and he’ll get a chance to atone for this performance in a rematch with the Falcons in Week 13. Don’t go dropping him out of frustration with that schedule coming up.
Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR)
The Rams’ offense has been nowhere near as good as last year, and it’s been most apparent on the road against good defenses like the Steelers. So we shouldn’t be shocked that Jared Goff struggled in this game. But Kupp has been Goff’s security blanket and the lone bright spot for this offense, so it’s very hard to comprehend how he could fail to catch a single pass. Even more so when you consider defending slot receivers were supposed to be Pittsburgh’s biggest weakness. As with Barkley and Brees, this dud by Kupp should prove to be an anomaly, but it hurts all the same.
David Johnson (RB – ARI)
Now we get to a disappointment that is more concerning from a rest-of-season perspective. This isn’t the first time DJ has found himself here — he was the top disappointment of Week 7, too. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, it’s now been a full month since Johnson helped out his fantasy managers, and even then he wasn’t performing on the level of vintage DJ. This week, he had far fewer snaps, carries, and targets than Kenyan Drake, and that’s likely to continue given that Johnson looked to be operating at well less than 100 percent health. As a dynasty league DJ owner, I’m desperately hoping that he gets healthy — and that Drake moves on this offseason. But it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Johnson can provide even reliable RB2 value over the rest of the 2019 season.
David Montgomery (RB – CHI)
I figured that Montgomery was lined up for a big game against a Lions defense that gives up the most fantasy points to RBs, but it wasn’t to be. Montgomery got a healthy 17 carries — 10 more touches than Tarik Cohen — but turned it into a meager 60 yards. He also ran 14 pass routes but didn’t receive a single target from Mitchell Trubisky. Montgomery regularly passes the eye test, but as someone who has surpassed 3.5 yards per carry just twice all year, the jury is still very much out on him as an NFL rusher. The good news is that he is typically involved both as a pass catcher and at the goal line, and his remaining schedule is pretty favorable (@LAR, NYG, @DET, DAL, @GB, KC). Now could be a good time to buy in if your trade deadline hasn’t passed yet.
Top 5 Surprises
Christian Kirk (WR – ARI)
I touted Kirk on my weekly Sunday morning appearance on ESPN Radio’s Between The Lines with Scott Galetti and Chris Williams, so I can’t say I’m truly shocked that he broke out for 138 yards and three TDs against Tampa Bay. Still, this is a player who hadn’t scored a touchdown all year or topped 80 yards since Week 2 — and was dropped in my 12-team home league during the week. So the big performance surely surprised many fantasy owners. Yes, the Bucs’ pass defense is terrible, but as the clear number one receiver on an up-tempo, pass-happy team, it was only a matter of time until Kirk had a big game. Unfortunately, he has the 49ers and a bye coming up, but then he could be a significant factor in the fantasy playoffs.
Darius Slayton (WR – NYG)
It’s been a Jekyll-and-Hyde rookie season for Giants QB Daniel Jones, who has now accounted for four touchdowns in three different games while only producing a single TD in his other five starts. I envisioned a big week from Golden Tate against the Jets’ subpar secondary, but Jones was going to need more than one receiver to step up with Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram out. That second receiver was Slayton, who impressively hauled in 10 of his 14 targets for 121 yards and two scores. When Slayton caught two touchdowns against the Lions in Week 8, it seemed like a fluke, but suddenly it looks like he could make a real impact for however long Shepard is out of the lineup. With Shepard still battling concussion issues and the Giants sitting at 2-8, there’s a good chance Slayton will be on the WR3 radar for the rest of the season.
Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
It only took until November, but Mixon finally posted his first 100-yard rushing day of the season in Cincinnati’s blowout loss to Baltimore. With Ryan Finley under center, Mixon is going to be facing a ton of stacked boxes and could struggle to average even 4 yards per carry. But the fact that he saw 30 carries in a game that was basically over in the first quarter is a clear sign that the Bengals plan to heavily lean on him to protect their inexperienced QB. Mixon is about as unsexy a fantasy option as it gets, and he severely lacks upside. But with a pretty favorable remaining schedule — including Weeks 14-16 — he is once again looking like a serviceable RB2.
Brian Hill (RB – ATL)
Hill’s Week 10 stat line doesn’t jump off the page, but he did find the end zone and most importantly, got 20 carries as Devonta Freeman left the game with a foot injury. Pending any updates on Freeman’s injury status, Hill is an early contender to be the waiver wire pickup of the week. A former fifth-round pick who is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry this season, there isn’t much reason to believe Hill will be an above-average NFL running back. But with Freeman and Ito Smith both hurt, he could be looking at a very heavy workload for a team that has managed to score a lot of points even as they’ve lost a lot of games.
Randall Cobb (WR – DAL)
Cobb was an unlikely fantasy star of the Sunday night game, reeling in six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. It was his first TD since Week 1 and his first 100-yard game since Week 1… of 2018. That says all you need to know about his fantasy viability. Cobb had some fantasy intrigue back in the day when he was catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, but with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup firmly ahead of him on the receiver depth chart in Dallas, this is not a situation where you should run to the waiver wire to chase last week’s stats.
Ronald Jones (RB – TB) has run as many pass routes in the last two games (43) as he did in the first eight. And his increased role in the passing game is quickly paying off, as his eight receptions on Sunday were as many as he caught in the first eight games combined — and more than he caught in his entire rookie season or entire high school career. Jones ended up accumulating 77 receiving yards with an average depth of target (aDOT) of 0, speaking to the ability to make plays after catching the ball right around the line of scrimmage. As long as this usage continues, Jones’ receiving production should, too.
The Falcons victory over the Saints was the first road win for a 1-7 (or worse) team over a 7-1 (or better) team since 1986. The NFL is nothing if not unpredictable.
Devonta Freeman’s (RB – ATL) injury could open the door for Brian Hill (RB – ATL). Hill isn’t a special talent, but opportunity is king in our fake game. Hill needs to be owned unless/until we find out that Freeman’s foot is fine.
Damien Williams (RB – KC) put some distance between himself and KC’s other RBs… for now. Williams didn’t have a massive day, but he quietly topped 100 yards, which is the kind of production we’re used to seeing from the lead back in Andy Reid’s offense. But whether he stays atop the depth chart is anyone’s guess. The Chiefs chose to keep LeSean McCoy inactive in part because of his fumbling issues, and then Williams lost a costly fumble that Tennessee returned for a TD. He didn’t lose any touches following the miscue, but we’ll see if that changes now that it’s clear the play cost Kansas City the game.
Derrick Henry (RB – TEN) is a battering ram. I’ll admit I’ve been a bit biased against Henry due to his lack of pass-catching ability, but the guy just keeps on producing huge fantasy numbers. He’s now all the way up to RB6 for the season. He’s got a tough remaining schedule coming up after his Week 12 bye, but it’s probably time to accept that he’s got as good a chance as anyone to find the end zone each week.
Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL) is unreal. Jackson was fully expected to crush the lowly Bengals, but that is sometimes easier said than done (just ask Drew Brees). This game just edged out his opening week beatdown of the Dolphins as Lamar’s best fantasy performance to date. He’s currently the top QB in fantasy, a true league-winner who wasn’t even drafted as a starter in most leagues.