Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 10 (2020)
We all have far more questions than answers heading into Week 10.
The next few days could feel like an eternity for fantasy managers requiring more information to set their lineup. Running back is especially up in the air, pending confirmation on whether Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Chris Carson, Miles Sanders, Nick Chubb, Kenyan Drake, Austin Ekeler, Mark Ingram, and David Johnson will play. As a result, the early Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) are a work in progress likely to change substantially by Sunday.
Although injuries continue to hit hard, it’s far from the NFL’s only problem. COVID-19 cases are peaking across the country, and the league has not avoided this uptick. In fact, the NFL grew worried enough to create a contingency plan for losing significant regular-season games. An Eagles coach tested positive this week, and Ben Roethlisberger was among four players added to the Steelers’ reserve/COVID list.
Much remains up in the air for Week 10’s slate. Be sure to adapt before locking any of the following players in or out of your starting lineup.
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Start: Drew Brees (NO) vs. SF: QB10 ECR
Following somewhat of a topsy-turvy start, Brees has settled in to submit at least 20 fantasy points in each of his last four contests. The elevated competition makes his recent success even more impressive. Since their Week 6 bye, the Saints have faced three opponents ranking inside the top 10 of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Brees nevertheless went 86-of-109 (78.9%) for 789 yards, 10 passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and zero interceptions. Clearly missing Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, the 49ers forfeited four touchdowns apiece to MVP candidates Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers in back-to-back weeks. Brees is coming off his own four-touchdown performance that saw the return of star wideout Michael Thomas, so play the 41-year-old with confidence inside the Superdome.
Start: Jared Goff (LAR) vs. SEA: QB11 ECR
Is anything more needed beyond mentioning Goff’s opponent? The Seahawks have surrendered an NFL-worst 362.1 passing yards per game and 27.9 fantasy points to opposing signal-callers. Kirk Cousins and Nick Mullens are the only quarterbacks who fell short of 300 passing yards, and even they finished those weeks as the QB17 and QB16, respectively. Goff has frustrated backers with a wide range of outcomes, hitting just 12 fantasy points three times but 24 or more on three other occasions. A home matchup against an abhorrent passing defense is the perfect time to enjoy one of his upside outings.
Sit: Ryan Tannehill (TEN) vs. IND: QB14 ECR
Since singing his praises three weeks ago, Tannehill has placed as the QB17, QB13, and QB21 in his last three matchups. To be fair, he encountered two of the NFL’s premier passing defenses in the Steelers (Week 7) and Bears (Week 9). Unfortunately, another tough opponent beckons. The Colts rank third in passing defense and second in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. However, managers shouldn’t run from Tannehill at all costs. Matthew Stafford proved a decent adversary can manage Indianapolis when amassing 336 passing yards and three touchdowns in Week 8. Tannehill has only once offered fewer than 15 fantasy points, so there’s a steady floor even in a slippery spot. He’s a reasonable QB2 unlikely to churn out a ground-breaking showing.
Sit: Joe Burrow (CIN) at PIT: QB17 ECR
No quarterback collected more fantasy points than Burrow (71.2) from Weeks 6 to 8. Why stop the good times? The Bengals return from their Week 9 bye to face the Steelers, who have allowed just 214.6 passing yards per game and 20.1 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. For a recent example of what could happen to the rookie in a difficult division road matchup, the No. 1 pick settled for 183 passing yards and an interception in Week 5’s 27-3 loss at Baltimore. Although explosive in the right environment, Burrow is far from matchup-proof just yet.
Start: Leonard Fournette (TB) at CAR: RB16 ECR
You may be wondering why the experts are so high on a player who just posted zero rushing yards in Week 9. Although both Buccaneers running backs were game-scripted out of a 38-3 beatdown by the Saints, Fournette played 33 snaps to Ronald Jones II’s 16. He also has received 19 targets in the last three weeks after catching all six of them last Sunday. Tampa Bay goes from facing the NFL’s second-best rushing defense to a Panthers team permitting 4.6 yards per run and 21.6 fantasy points per game to the position. Fournette should get more rushing opportunities in a far more competitive NFC South showdown.
Start: Zack Moss (BUF) at ARI: RB23 ECR
Moss is in a committee with Devin Singletary, but it’s clear who Buffalo prefers at the goal line. In six games, Moss has received 15 red-zone carries, nine of which came inside the 10. Singletary has 13 red-zone handoffs in three more bouts. The rookie has leveraged that usage to three touchdowns over his last two games, both of which saw him out-snap Singletary. While hardly a must-start, Moss is the better flex play in Buffalo. There should be ample scoring opportunities in a Week 10 contest at Arizona that carries a lofty over-under line of 56.
Start: J.D. McKissic (WAS) at DET: RB27 ECR
With so much uncertainty at running back, McKissic at least resembles a solid fallback choice in half-PPR leagues and RB2 in full PPR formats. The 5’10” back caught nine of 14 targets with Alex Smith replacing Kyle Allen last Sunday. Washington head coach Ron Rivera has already declared Smith his Week 10 starter, so expect plenty of more pass-catching volume. McKissic played a season-high 83% of Washington’s snaps in a 23-20 loss to the Giants and is averaging 11.2 PPR points per game since the start of Week 3. In most cases, however, he can be swapped back out for one of the injured starters if able to suit up.
Sit: Darrell Henderson (LAR) vs. SEA: RB20 ECR
A clear pass-funnel defense, the Seahawks rank fourth against the run. Opponents don’t need to establish the ground game. Even if the Rams do pound the rock, it’s no certainty Henderson will lead the charge. He’s expected to return from a quad injury that sidelined him during Week 8’s loss to Miami, but that departure could have finally created an opening for rookie Cam Akers. Malcolm Brown has also gotten 10 carries in back-to-back games, so Henderson is a low-end RB2/flex play with a high ceiling, but low floor.
Sit: Jonathan Taylor (IND) at TEN: RB24 ECR
Taylor may have crossed the pylon in Week 9, but he settled for just 34 yards on six carries and two catches. Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines each played more snaps (23 each) than the rookie (21). Run screaming from this three-headed monster, the scariest nightmare any fantasy manager can conjure. Taylor will need another touchdown not to bust at Tennessee.
Sit: Ronald Jones II (TB) at CAR: RB26 ECR
The snap rates for Jones since Fournette returned in Week 7: 43%, 24%, 32%. After exceeding 100 rushing yards in three consecutive games, he’s tallied 100 total yards in those three bouts with Fournette in the lineup. Bruce Arians is always capable of changing course on a whim, but Jones simply can’t be trusted until he’s back in the mercurial head coach’s good graces. Even in a strong matchup, you’re playing with fire if betting on a bounce-back performance.
Start: Tyler Boyd (CIN) at PIT: WR27 ECR
Despite a matchup that bodes poorly for Burrow, Boyd has earned a longer starting leash. His 68 targets tie Calvin Ridley, D.K. Metcalf, and CeeDee Lamb for 15th across the NFL, and his 50 catches match Tyler Lockett for 10th. The volume has him as the season’s WR15, and he’s provided double-digit fantasy points in six of eight games. Even against a tough opponent, the experts are probably overreacting by appraising Boyd as a WR3. He still has a higher floor than the likes of Corey Davis, Antonio Brown, and the three wideouts in the “Sit” section.
Start: Travis Fulgham (PHI) at NYG: WR28 ECR
Do some of the rankers have a personal vendetta against Fulgham? He’s the WR6 (overall and PPG) since making his first appearance in Week 4, posting 435 receiving yards and four touchdowns in five games. He’s received 41 targets over his last four appearances, including 11 three weeks ago against the Giants. Starved for a reliable receiver since the start of 2019, Carson Wentz has a 128.5 quarterback rating when throwing to the unlikely breakout star. So even if Alshon Jeffery returns for this weekend’s rematch with the G-Men, Fulgham isn’t going anywhere.
Start: Jarvis Landry (CLE) vs. HOU: WR39 ECR
The hesitation to play Landry is understandable. After all, he’s finished just one week as a top-25 receiver and is WR53 for the season. Cleveland could also welcome Chubb and Austin Hooper back to its lineup. However, Baker Mayfield will still be without Odell Beckham Jr. against the NFL’s 23rd-ranked passing offense. Landry saw a season-high 11 targets without Beckham in Week 8, but howling winds limited him to 52 yards in an ugly 16-6 loss. With better conditions, he should capitalize on those opportunities.
Sit: Marvin Jones Jr. (DET) vs. WAS: WR33 ECR
Despite catching a touchdown, Jones had a disappointing Week 9. Even with Kenny Golladay sidelined, the 30-year-old secured just three of four targets in a game where Matthew Stafford and Chase Daniel threw a combined 45 times. Washington quietly boasts the NFL’s premier passing defense, surrendering just 185.6 yards per contest. It has allowed a league-low 80 receptions to wide receivers, putting the emphasis on Jones (with or without Golladay) to once again hit pay dirt.
Sit: Marquise Brown (BAL) at NE: WR34 ECR
Rankers are catching onto the sinkhole that is Baltimore’s passing offense. Brown has just 30 catches for 417 receiving yards on the season, totaling 98 yards in his last three contests. After spending the first half of 2020 in must-start territory of the ECR, this is where he truly belongs in the weekly rankings. But will this be the game Brown breaks out? Perhaps. Although the Patriots have permitted the sixth-fewest passing yards per game, they have also coughed up an NFL-high 8.8 yards per pass attempt after getting sliced downfield by Joe Flacco and Breshad Perriman. That was without Stephon Gilmore, so the star cornerback’s availability could sway the final verdict on Brown’s Week 10 viability. It’s more reasonable to roll the dice on a deep strike if Gilmore sits, but his return would make it much easier to park “Hollywood” on the bench.
Sit: John Brown (BUF) at ARI: WR40 ECR
Brown broke out of a major funk to haul in eight of 11 targets for 99 yards against the Seahawks. Don’t fall for the trap. He previously had five catches from Weeks 3 to 8, burdening managers with two goose-eggs. Although he hit in the best matchup a receiver can ask for, that doesn’t mean anyone can trust the boom-or-bust Brown once more. Arizona could pose another favorable matchup if Patrick Peterson spends most of the day covering Stefon Diggs, but it’s not good enough to risk a zero.
Start: Evan Engram (NYG) vs. PHI: TE6 ECR
Tight end is … not pretty. George Kittle and Zach Ertz are hurt. Travis Kelce is on a bye, and Mark Andrews has disintegrated from a top-tier option to a dicey starter. With all that said, few managers will have a better option than Engram. For all his early disappointment, the four-year pro has received 29 targets in his past three games. After finally finding the end zone in Week 9, he gets another crack at a Philadelphia defense that has yielded six touchdowns to the position.
Start: Eric Ebron (PIT) vs. CIN: TE11 ECR
Let’s go back to the well on Ebron, who deposited his second touchdown in as many games last Sunday. Although largely reliant on touchdowns, that’s true for most tight ends on the cusp of starter status. At least Ebron is averaging 5.4 targets per contest heading into another advantageous matchup. Only the Falcons have ceded more fantasy points to tight ends than the Bengals.
Sit: Jonnu Smith (TEN) vs. IND: TE13 ECR
Given the dearth of options at tight end, it feels wrong signaling out anyone to sit. There aren’t 12 players you’ll feel good about using this week, so not everyone will have the option to bench Smith. It’s worth considering, however, as the once blossoming star has suddenly caught just six of 10 targets for 83 yards in his last four games. The opposing Colts have relinquished 290 receiving yards and no touchdowns to the position all season. See if Ebron or a returning Hooper (TE10 ECR) are available to stream instead of Smith.
Sit: Gerald Everett (LAR) and Tyler Higbee (LAR) vs. SEA: TE18 and TE20 ECR
Everett is a mildly appealing last-ditch streamer. Not only has he played over 50 snaps in consecutive weeks, but he received a season-high nine targets in Week 9. Yet Seattle’s generosity doesn’t extend to tight ends, who have cobbled together just 5.7 fantasy points per game. He’s certainly emerged enough for Tyler Higbee’s few remaining loyalists to raise the white flag. The once-promising breakout player has averaged 2.4 catches for 28.4 yards per game (without a single score) since registering three touchdowns in Week 2.
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Andrew Gould is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive and follow him @andrewgould4.