The fantasy football playoffs are fast approaching, and now is the time to nail your starts and sits. This article will give you some of the riskiest and safest starts heading into Week 10.
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Safest & Riskiest Starts for Week 10
Miles Sanders (RB – CAR) @ Chicago Bears
The last time that Miles Sanders had double-digit touches in a game was Week 4. Since then, he’s missed time due to injury and been outproduced by Chuba Hubbard, who seems entrenched as the new RB1 of the Panthers, despite Sanders being signed to a four-year, $25.4 million contract this offseason.
Chuba Hubbard has played 67% and 65% of the snaps over the last two weeks.
Miles Sanders has maxed out at 25%#KeepPounding
— Alex Johnson (@a_johnsonFF) November 7, 2023
This should be a smash spot for Sanders, going up against a Bears defense that allows the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs. Instead on a tricky week for byes, Sanders is at best a desperation flex play.
Deshaun Watson (QB – CLE) @ Baltimore Ravens
It was encouraging for Browns fans to see Deshaun Watson return and make downfield passes that he hadn’t been making in limited action over his previous appearances. Still, it was noteworthy that Watson completed only 63% of his passes against an abject Arizona defense that has allowed a higher completion rate to all opponents except for Sam Howell and Matthew Stafford.
The Ravens’ defense is a truly excellent unit, allowing a league-low 11.4 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. In addition, Baltimore is giving up a league-low 5.5 yards per attempt, and leading the league in sacks (35). The pressure could be especially daunting for Watson with his first-choice right and left tackles both slated to miss this game.
Alexander Mattison (RB – MIN) vs. New Orleans Saints
The sad news that Cam Akers tore his Achilles opened up more fantasy football opportunities for Alexander Mattison, who had averaged 9.0 PPR points per game between Weeks 4 and 8 when Akers was involved. Mattison has shown us that he needs volume to overcome being inefficient, and with Akers out for the season, he now stands a chance to become relevant again.
Vikings OC Wes Phillips on how the backfield rotation with Alexander Mattison will go after the loss of Cam Akers: “You’ll see more Ty Chandler.”
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) November 7, 2023
However, if Mattison is going to do so, it might not start immediately. The Saints allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs and the seventh-fewest receiving yards to running backs. Through nine games, the Saints have given up just four rushing touchdowns. If Mattison faces an uphill battle to score points from receiving or getting in the end zone, then it’s a pretty tough picture for fantasy football.
Jahmyr Gibbs (RB – DET) @ Los Angeles Chargers
The Lions expect David Montgomery to return to first-team action after missing two games and then recovering further during Detroit’s bye week. Head coach Dan Campbell has consistently been effusive about Montgomery, and it would be astounding to see Montgomery relegated to an RB2 role behind Gibbs While the rookie has flashed in Montgomery’s absence, he is still far behind Montgomery in pass protection, something that matters greatly in an offense that leans heavily into play-action.
The Chargers are by no means a formidable opponent for running backs, allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to the position and giving up the fifth-most receiving yards to RBs. However, if Gibbs loses a significant amount of touches, it might not matter.
Davante Adams (WR – LV) vs. New York Jets
It couldn’t have been more apparent how elated the Raiders players were to be rid of Josh McDaniels. In Davante Adams’s Week 9 performance, we saw a player working as hard as possible for the team, committing to blocking constantly in the run game and smiling throughout. This was all despite only totaling 34 receiving yards in the win over the Giants.
The Jets allow 21.7 points per game to wide receivers, which leads the league by almost four points to the next-nearest team. The Jets would have been a daunting matchup regardless of the Raiders’ quarterback situation. While Aidan O’Connell has impressed, it would be very risky to start Adams this week.
Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG) @ Dallas Cowboys
With the injuries to Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor, Saquon Barkley has been force-fed 58 touches over the last two games. While that kind of volume is fantastic, the inefficiency of the Giants’ offense has turned those touches into an average of 15.1 PPR points.
The Giants are currently 16-point underdogs in this matchup with the Cowboys, who allow the fourth-lowest yards per carry to running backs (3.5) and the ninth-lowest fantasy points to the position. The Cowboys defensive line could give Tommy DeVito nightmares, and expecting anything out of the Giants is a risky business.
Breece Hall (RB – NYJ) @ Las Vegas Raiders
Week 9 was a disappointing one for Breece Hall managers, who had to sit through Michael Carter being involved in the loss against the Chargers.
How many yards has Breece Hall had erased by penalties tonight?! I am fuming 😤
— Stephanie Miller (@stephmiller57) November 7, 2023
Still, Week 10 will bring fresh opportunities for Hall against a Raiders’ defense that’s allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. The quarterback position will continue to be horrible for the Jets, but they should be in this game between two backups and keep Hall involved.
Michael Pittman Jr. (WR – IND) @ New England Patriots
The glory days are truly dead and buried in New England. The Patriots are now staring down 2-7 and wondering what happened to the days when they had a formidable defense. New England allows the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Bill Belichick’s defense has also given up the sixth-most touchdowns to the position and the third-most fantasy points to WRSsaligned out wide, where Pittman Jr. spends more of his snaps.
Gardner Minshew might have shown us that he’s probably not a starting-caliber quarterback, but he has done well enough sustaining the Colts’ offense that we don’t need to shy away from them in fantasy.
D’Onta Foreman (RB – CHI) vs. Carolina Panthers
With Khalil Herbert on Injured Reserve (IR), D’onta Foreman was handed a lifeline after being inactive for several games early on in the season. In Herbert’s absence, Foreman performed well enough, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 13.4 PPR points per game, which was heavily inflated by one 33-point performance. The Panthers are one of the premiere matchups for RBs, lending itself to another sound game from Foreman, even if Herbert returns.