Fantasy football sit-and-start advice should always be relative and league-dependent. Note that some players are targeted for DFS. Good luck with your Week 10 lineups!
Sit: Deshaun Watson, Zay Flowers
Watson was fortunate he threw two touchdowns last week, but he looked much healthier and finally recovered from his nagging shoulder injury. Still, he gets a tough matchup on the road against a Ravens defense ceding the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Only the Tommy DeVito-led Giants have a lower implied team total than Cleveland this week.
Flowers has just one touchdown this season and saw only one target last week. The rookie’s future remains promising, but his numbers take a huge dip when you remove screens, and a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. is providing more competition. Flowers also has just 72 receiving yards on 82 routes against man, ranking 87th in fantasy points per route run against that coverage. The Browns use man at the league’s highest rate. Downgrade Lamar Jackson this week as well.
Start: Tank Dell
Start in DFS: Joe Mixon ($23)
Nico Collins is out with a calf injury and the Texans struggle to run, so Dell should see plenty of targets again this week. The impressive rookie ranks top 10 in fantasy points per route run against man, a coverage the Bengals use at the league’s 11th-highest rate. Houston’s OL>DL advantage should provide time for deep balls Sunday, so keep Dell in fantasy lineups.
Mixon could be extra busy Sunday with Ja’Marr Chase dealing with a back injury he'll play through but could leave him limited and Tee Higgins out after suffering a hamstring injury during Wednesday’s practice. The Bengals are nearly touchdown home favorites and sport one of the week’s highest implied team totals thanks to a now-healthy Joe Burrow. It should be noted Houston has defended the run much better lately, although Rachaad White still finished as fantasy’s top back last week anyway. Moreover, the Texans are dealing with a ton of defensive injuries, so Mixon looks undervalued with a salary outside the top-10 RBs.
Start in DFS: Christian McCaffrey ($40)
Start: Christian Kirk
McCaffrey should be healthier coming out of the bye after playing through an oblique injury. He could also set an NFL record with his 18th straight game with a touchdown if he hits paydirt Sunday. CMC is averaging 19% more fantasy points (0.5 PPR) than the No. 2 RB (Travis Etienne) this season despite playing through a painful injury and coming off an incredibly difficult four-game stretch against tough run defenses.
Jacksonville has also defended the run well, but the Jaguars have allowed the most receptions (7.5) and the third-most receiving yards (49.4) to running backs. The 49ers are getting the second-most yards per play and EPA/play and have a healthy Week 10 team point total. San Francisco also hopes to get star LT Trent Williams back, so CMC should be worth his high salary.
Bonus: Deebo Samuel has returned to full practices all week and should be healthy coming out of the bye; he’s performed far better against zone throughout his career, and Jacksonville uses that coverage at the league’s fourth-highest rate.
Opponents have averaged the fourth-most pass attempts against San Francisco this season, so Kirk should be busy Sunday. Slot corner Isaiah Oliver is the 49ers’ weak link in their secondary, so Kirk should also be able to take advantage of the extra looks. He’s a strong start in Week 10.
New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings
Start in DFS: Chris Olave ($19)
Start: Joshua Dobbs
Olave continues to lead the league in unrealized air yards thanks to Derek Carr’s second-lowest catchable target rate (and seeing few layups). But he’s set up for a bunch of targets this week against a Minnesota defense that’s been tough to run against. The Vikings have one of the league’s lowest pressure rates and have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Carr has also performed much better on the road (7.5 YPA) than at home (5.9 YPA), and this matchup should be fast-paced. Maybe Olave’s salary is appropriate (WR18) given his QB’s inaccuracy issues, but his volume and matchup this week make him a fine DFS play.
Dobbs won’t have the benefit of taking the defense by surprise this week, but he’ll have a much firmer grasp of his team’s playbook. He’s produced four top-eight fantasy weeks this season, as only Lamar Jackson has more rushing yards among QBs. The Saints have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs but the fifth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks this season, so Dobbs can be started if needed.
Start: Aaron Jones, Diontae Johnson
Jones was “cut loose” last week as promised by Matt LaFleur, finishing with the second-most expected fantasy points among RBs. A healthy Jones is clearly the best player on Green Bay’s offense, so expect another 20+ touches if his body cooperates. The Steelers have yielded the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this season, so Jones is a top-12 back this week.
Johnson has quietly been one of the best receivers this season and has the sixth-most fantasy points among WRs since returning from IR. He’s relegated George Pickens back to his previous clear-out role, and Green Bay corner Jaire Alexander is likely out Sunday. Start Johnson with confidence.
Tennessee Titans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Start in DFS: DeAndre Hopkins ($26), Rachaad White ($18)
The Titans naming Will Levis the team’s new starter is huge news for Hopkins, who has the fourth-lowest catchable target rate this season. He pulled down three touchdowns during Levis’ NFL debut and then saw 11 targets last week when Hopkins had the third-most unrealized air yards (128) while being shadowed by breakout corner Joey Porter Jr. more than any other WR has in the league.
Tennessee gets a premier pass-funnel Tampa Bay defense this week that’s absolutely shutting down the run but has been gashed for 9.2 YPA, a 9:1 TD:INT ratio and by far the most passing yards over the last month. The Bucs have allowed the second-most fantasy points to receivers this season and could be missing CB Jamel Dean (concussion), so D-Hop is a strong DFS option.
Kyle Phillips is a deep sleeper against a Bucs defense allowing the most fantasy points to the slot.
White led all backs in snap rate and fantasy points last week despite facing a Texans defense that had been stifling the run. His increased work in the passing game has been huge for his fantasy value, as White has the second-most catches among running backs this season. Tennessee’s run defense has fallen back toward the middle of the pack this year, so White is a viable DFS option (and a must-start in season-long leagues).
Start: Drake London, Marquise Brown
London will return from his groin injury this week. Taylor Heinicke wasn’t exactly an upgrade over Desmond Ridder, but the Falcons get a favorable matchup this week. Arizona has allowed the second-most fantasy points to London’s primary side and one of the league’s lowest pressure rates. Kyler Murray’s return should also help in pace and snaps played Sunday.
Brown ranks top 12 in air yards and targets but has the third-lowest catchable target rate. Kyler Murray is set to make his return from knee surgery this week, which is huge for Brown. Hollywood was a top-five fantasy WR last year with Murray and no DeAndre Hopkins, averaging 12.8 targets, 7.2 catches and 97.0 yards with three touchdowns over five games.
Murray may be rusty, and Brown will face plenty of A.J. Terrell, but he’s undervalued with a WR39 salary in DFS this week.
Start in DFS: Amon-Ra St. Brown ($31)
Start: Gerald Everett
St. Brown has averaged 14.3 targets over his last three games and should be fully recovered from his nagging foot issue coming out of Detroit’s bye. He’s scored all his touchdowns on the road this season and gets to play indoors in a favorable matchup. The Chargers have shut down the run recently but have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. St. Brown is among the league leaders in yards per route run against press, a coverage LA uses at one of the league’s highest rates. The Lions have one of this week’s highest implied team totals in a fast-paced matchup, making St. Brown a DFS building block.
Everett returned to action last week but wasn’t needed in a game that required little from Los Angeles’ offense. He should see added work with Joshua Palmer out and Quentin Johnston struggling to develop in a matchup with this week’s highest total. The Lions have shut down the run but have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Sit: All Giants but Saquon Barkley
Start: Cowboys D/ST
The Giants are down to their third-string QB, have one of the league’s worst offensive lines and are missing weapons without Darren Waller. Tommy DeVito has shown “juice” in practice this week, but even if “Shine box” is an upgrade over an injured Daniel Jones, he’s in a near-impossible setup Sunday. The Cowboys are 17-point home favorites and coming off a loss, while the Giants have an NFL season-low 11.0-point team point total that’s almost unfathomable. Barkley will get all the touches he can handle, but no other Giants player should even sniff fantasy lineups.
Dallas’ defense is an obvious start given the matchup, while New York’s man-heavy defense is a terrific setup for Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb. Game script is the biggest threat to the members of Dallas’ passing attack Sunday.
Washington Commanders @ Seattle Seahawks
Sit: Sam Howell
Start: Geno Smith
Washington has a high pass rate, and Howell has done a much better job avoiding sacks lately. His running also gives him a nice fantasy floor, but realize Howell performs far worse against zone coverage, which Seattle uses at the league’s third-highest rate. Howell’s fantasy points/dropback have decreased 33% when facing zone compared to man this season. Seattle hasn’t allowed a QB to throw for 250 yards since Week 3 once its young secondary got healthy, yielding just four TD passes over those six games. Howell has a tough test Sunday.
Meanwhile, Smith gets a favorable matchup against a Washington defense playing man coverage at the league’s eighth-highest rate. His Passer Rating is No. 33 versus zone this season compared to No. 4 against man, with his fantasy points/dropback sporting a similar split. The Commanders posted their lowest pressure rate of the season last week after trading away Montez Sweat and Chase Young, so I have Smith as a top-five QB this week.
New York Jets @ Las Vegas Raiders
Start: Jets D/ST
Sit: Jakobi Meyers
The Raiders won during their first game without Josh McDaniels last week, but Aidan O’Connell wasn’t needed much. He was sacked seven times during his one other start, and the Jets have the highest pressure rate in the league. New York also has a big DL>OL advantage with dominant corners, so start the Jets’ defense even with the quarterback handicap.
The Raiders have gone extremely run-heavy with Aidan O’Connell, who’s targeted Davante Adams far more than Meyers during his two starts this season. The Jets have allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers (including to Meyers’ primary side) and zero touchdowns to the position since Week 1. Meyers is a bench candidate in Week 10.
Denver Broncos @ Buffalo Bills
Start: Javonte Williams, Dalton Kincaid
Williams saw a season-high 30 touches last game and should continue to act as Denver’s feature back coming out of the bye. He’s looked much better after a slow start coming off multi-ligament knee surgery, and it helps that Denver is improving as well. The Bills are allowing the third-most YPC (4.9), so make sure Williams is in your fantasy lineup Monday night.
Kincaid has seen incredible usage since Dawson Knox went down, including the league’s fourth-highest target share among all pass catchers last week. The rookie also led all tight ends in route participation and had a 33% first-read target rate. The Broncos have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends, so Kincaid looks like a smash Monday night.
Meanwhile, James Cook’s touches were going in the wrong direction even before Leonard Fournette signed in Buffalo. He gets replaced at the goal line and struggles running between the tackles, so Cook’s fantasy value is falling.