My apologies for the quick and short and sudden intro, but I have hit a “creative writer’s block” when it comes to the intro for the week. Alas, I do not have any stories to tell and rapidly tie back to fantasy football. Hopefully it works for next week.
So let’s just jump right into it, cool? Alright.
Start of the Week: Jay Ajayi
Ajayi has surprised a lot of us, not just because of his situation at the beginning of the year with his “lead dog” role in question after the signing of Arian Foster and the drafting of ‘Bama HB Kenyan Dranke, but because his success came so quick, right when his offensive line started to come together and heal as a unit after a couple of injuries to specific players.
Funny how that works.
Ajayi comes into Week 10 after three very solid past weeks in which two of them he reached 200 yards rushing, and the other with 100+ yards and 1 TD to go along the way.
In Week 10 he’ll square off against a San Diego defense that is one of the more funnel-y units, ranking 20th against the run per FO, while ranking as the 5th-best defense against the pass. In addition to his aspect, the Chargers will be without key ILB Denzel Perryman.
Very solid O-Line? Check. Great matchup? Check.
Fire him up with confidence.
Note: I will be more than happy to answer specific lineup questions below, but I won’t be selecting the “obvious” plays unless I don’t think they are so obvious. Regardless of a great matchup, you won’t see names like Tom Brady, David Johnson or Antonio Brown. Those are no-brainers. Fire ’em up with confidence.
Big Ben has some extreme home/road splits, so thank goodness he’ll be at home against a Dallas secondary that is extremely banged up right now. The ‘Boys haven’t had CB Morris Claiborne or S Barry Church practicing all week, and are pretty much a guarantee that they’ll miss this game versus Pittsburgh. Even with Claiborne and Church, the Cowboys defense ranks 17th in the NFL against the pass (per FO), giving up 256 passing yards and 1.5 passing TD’s per game. Roethlisberger should have no difficulties come Sunday.
The future HOF has been up and down throughout the season, but this week he’ll have a good matchup against the Bengals. Cincinnati will be without DE Michael Johnson, (possibly) ILB Rey Maualuga, and OLB Vontaze Burfict has been limited all week. Even if these players somehow play tomorrow, the Bengals secondary has not been very good, not only ranking as the 22nd best unit against the pass, giving up an average of 274 yards and 2 TD’s per game through the air. With Odell, Sterling Shepard, and Will Tye drawing great matchups, Manning should put up Top-5 numbers.
Ahh, yes…. the Razzball cover boy for Week 10. I won’t say anything new that hasn’t already been said by our other fantastic writers, but simply put, this game is destined to be a shootout with the lack of talented defenses on both sides of the ball. The Tampa Bay secondary has seen better days, yielding a bunch of production to Matt Ryan and Derek Carr, with the ladder throwing for 500 yards. Cutler looked respectable in Week 8 on Monday Night, and this Tampa Bay secondary can turn a respectable QB into a very productive one. After all, I’m going to watch them in person, so it better be a good game.
Although the Vikings could be without CB Captain Munnerlyn, this is still a very solid defensive unit that ranks 4th in the NFL against the pass according to Football Outsiders. Also, Cousins will be without DeSean Jackson, giving the Vikings a chance to shut down Jamison Crowder or Jordan Reed without the deep threat demanding attention from their personnel. Cousins has definitely been a solid QB to this point, but you should look somewhere else.
Ryan Tannehill (@ SD)
I had a bunch of faith Tannehill against a leaky Jets secondary last week, and he was extremely disappointing to say the last. Why, might you ask, was he was inefficient? Because he’s Ryan Tannehill. Yeah, after lots and lots of thinking, that was the conclusion I was able to make. This week shouldn’t be any easier, as he’ll get the pleasure to face a San Diego secondary that although yielded a good game to Marcus Mariota last week, still ranks 5th in the NFL against the pass, per Football Outsiders. The ground game will help Miami as a whole tomorrow (as noted above), not through the air, and Tannehill should find our benches for Week 10.
Bortles, like last year, hasn’t been good at all, but has found a way to be productive, mostly in garbage time. However, he’ll face off against a pretty tough opponent in the Houston Texans, a defensive unit that is funnel-y by all definitions, ranking 7th in the NFL against the pass, compared to 28th against the run (per FO), giving up only 0.8 TD’s per game, on average, to opposing QB’s. Bortles might find some value, but it isn’t very likely that he will, and there are other options to pursue.
Lamar Miller (@ JAX)
Miller won’t face the most funnel-y defenses in the NFL, but the Jacksonville defense is still a funnel-defense by true definition, ranking 12th in the NFL against the pass, but 27th in the NFL against the run (per FO). Like we’ve said numerous times before, Brock Osweiler has found himself struggling against even middle-of-the-road defenses, which can perfectly describe the Jacksonville defense. The Jags give up close to 91 yards and a touch per game, on average, and with a steady workload expected, Miller shouldn’t have an issue as their primary offensive weapon.
After a disappointing Week 9, it’s back to being a great matchup for the Broncos offense against New Orleans. I would actively find a way to get in Booker and/or Bibbs against this Saints rush defense. Not only will the Broncos have C Matt Paradis coming back from injury, the Saints will be without OLB’s Stephone Anthony and Dannell Ellerbe. This is setting up to be a fantastic matchup for the young backs, as even with the OLB’s, the Saints allow close to 150 all purpose yards and 1.8 TD’s per game.
Although this game will probably easily turn into a shootout, Howard still has an excellent matchup. After last week’s bye, it shouldn’t be forgotten how dominant he was against Minnesota, proving that a good matchup due to injury on the other side of the ball can be the difference maker. The Bucs have a middle-of-the-road defense, ranking 15th in the NFL against the run, per FO, but also allowing close to 100 rushing yards per game. Also, the Chicago offensive line is one of the best in establishing the “power-run” with effective run blocking, ranking 2nd in the NFL. Howard might not have the 30-point ceiling that we saw on MNF two weeks ago, but he is a sure bet for a productive day against Tampa Bay.
I have no doubts in my mind that New England will have success Sunday Night against Seattle, but I’m not sure it will come on the ground, especially the power run game with Blount tomorrow night, as Seattle will have S Kam Chancellor back this week. Against a team that usually ranks 3rd in the NFL against the run, only giving up 84 rushing yards per game with 0.4 TD’s. There are other options to explore, and even if you are using him (low-end flex option at the minimum), expectations should be really lowered.
Martin has returned to practice this week, but he may not go, with Peyton Barber looking like the lead dog. Either way, I’m not starting either back this week. DT Eddie Goldman has remained limited all week, however the Bears will finally have OLB Pernell McPhee back. Meanwhile, saying that the Chicago secondary is banged up is an understatement. Tomorrow, the Bears will be quite possibly be without CB’s Tracy Porter, Bryce Callahan and Deiondre’ Hall. I see a likely outcome where Jameis and Co. march to victory through the air, and at some point, especially with a very high O/U projected by Vegas, to abandon the run.
Yes, they haven’t been an absolute force (a la Jordan Howard in Week 8) against the run these past few weeks, but they have two guys returning to their front seven and beyond, with DT Lunval Joseph and ILB Eric Kendricks making their way back to the thick of things. Kelley has certianly looked alright, at the minimum better than Matt Jones, and Thompson has been serviceable throughout the year in PPR leagues, but I am staying away against a defense that ranks 9th in the NFL against the run.
Along with the fact that he won’t see Desmond Trufant, as the CB will miss the week with a shoulder injury, the matchup is really good for him. Ranking as the 21st defense against the pass per Football Outsiders, the Dirty Birds yield 15/176/1.6 per game, on average. Although Matthews has been inconsistent (a reflection of his team as a whole). He draws a fantastic matchup against a suspect secondary without their best player, in a game marked by Vegas as one of the highest O/U’s of the week.
In reality, this matchup is also very favorable to both Sanders and Demaryius Thomas as well, but the reason why I am specifically pointing out Sanders is due to the fact that he is the possession wideout for Trevor Siemian and Co. Sanders will face a New Orleans secondary that has widely improved since the days of Rob Ryan, but still has its shortcomings. Ranked as the 28th-best team against the pass per Football Outsiders, giving up close to 15 catches and 188 yards per game. Siemian shouldn’t have any issues moving the ball down the field, and I like Sanders to return to his old consistent ways that we saw from him in weeks 3-5, and I strongly believe that starts here.
The fact of the matter is, Marcus Mariota has been on fire lately. In the past six weeks, he’s been the #1 QB in all of fantasy. Not a #1 QB, but the #1 QB. Now, we have another great matchup for Mariota to exploit against a Packers D that ranks as a middle-0f-the-road defense against the pass, yielding close to 173 yards and 1.4 TD’s per game to WR’s. Also, although CB Quinten Rollins remained limited but will still play tomorrow, the Packers will again be without CB Damarious Randall, immediately pushing Matthews into a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 or flex option.
Brandon Marshall (vs. L.A.)
At some point you have to ask yourself, “When? When do I start a player who is supposed to be my stud?” If you get to a point where the supposed “stud” is being brought down by the play of his QB and/or other teammates, then this is a perfect time to bench Brandon Marshall. In what is a tough matchup to begin with, Rams CB Trumaine Johnson was upgraded to a full start tomorrow. The Rams did a good job of neutralizing a lot of what Cam Newton did last week, and I don’t think they should have any issues against this Jets offense that although has not been one of the worst in the league, still hasn’t done itself any favors.
Jarvis Landry (@ SD)
Like I mentioned with Tannehill above, this week shouldn’t be any easier after facing New York last week and not doing much, as he’ll get the pleasure to face a San Diego secondary that although yielded a good game to Marcus Mariota last week, still ranks 5th in the NFL against the pass, per Football Outsiders. The ground game will help Miami as a whole tomorrow (as noted above), not through the air, and Tannehill should find our benches for Week 10. I am looking for other options.
It may not seem like it, but Kelce has been very consistent this year, catching close to 40 balls for 435 yards and 3 TD’s so far, in addition to his very impressive 11 red zone targets (ranks 4th among TE’s). This week, he’ll face a Carolina defense that ranks 25th in DVOA against TE’s (per FO), in addition to the fact that Carolina might be without OLB Shaq Thompson . With his good buddy Alex Smith back, it’s looking like a great week to use Kelce.
Thomas has been up and down this year (mostly down), and it’s another tough matchup this week as he’ll face off against a Texan defensive unit that ranks 3rd in the NFL against TE’s, per FO. It’s very likely that a majority of readers of this article (and of Razzball.com in general) hasn’t held on to Thomas throughout the season, but if you are looking for any reason to start him against Houston, just know that there isn’t one.
Matt Bryant (@ PHI)
He won’t be kicking outside, however he’s been on fire lately (just last week, he hit two FG’s and 3 XP’s), and in a game marked by Vegas as one of the highest O/U’s on the week with a projected 49.5 points from the two teams, this is a good week to bet on continued success with Bryant.
Blair Walsh (@ WAS)
It’s been a shame that he’s had some struggles throughout the year in addition to his troubles in last year’s playoffs, and he’s been a favorite of mine (it might not show this year, but he’s been deadly, especially from long range), but in a game that is likely to turn into a long defensive struggle, especially with the sieve that is the Minnesota O-Line, and has also been awarded the lowest O/U on the week, it’s best to stay away from Walsh and Hopkins.
Defense & Special Teams
Washington Football Team (vs. MIN)
Like I just stated, the Vikings O-Line is one of the worst in the NFL at the moment, ranking as the 22nd-best unit in pass-protection, giving up an adjusted sack rate of 6.6% (for comparison, Oakland leads the NFL with a 3.6% rate). The sack-upside is going to be there, which in turn should help out the secondary (look at Baltimore’s performance a couple of days ago), and Bradford should be constantly in pressure tomorrow.
It might take some stones to sit the Broncos, but hear me out. First thing is the blatantly obvious aspect of their matchup: they’re facing Drew Brees in New Orleans (Brees’ home/road splits are absolutely insane in case you didn’t realize). In addition to the fact that Denver is playing a very good offense, they’ll be without CB Aqib Talib and DE Derek Wolfe (lacking a vital aspect of their pass rush). We saw what a couple of injuries did to them last week against Oakland, and even though ILB Brandon Marshall will be back, I will be looking elsewhere.
Thanks for sticking around to the end for what is shaping up to be a great tenth week of the NFL season. As always, if you agree or disagree with a player above, or have a general question or comment about your team, please do not hesitate to leave one below.
Best of luck, and I’ll talk to you guys next week as we try to get your team to 11-0 on the season.
You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @ohuhave12.