It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of Webb, it was the age of Sanchez, it was the epoch of Beckham, it was the epoch of Rex…
I can’t remember a more interesting year of QB play in New York. Eli Manning, on the brink of passing his brother on the all-time consecutive regular season game start list and Josh McCown, two years older than Eli at 38 and now on his 8th team since being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2002 — the odds makers would’ve never predicted which one of these two would potentially be threatening for a playoff spot — and the other could be losing his job to a younger QB by mid-season.
But both McCown and Manning have intriguing fantasy match-ups this week and are my ‘start’ options.
Josh McCown, @TB, 36.4% starting: The best QB in NY has to be the biggest NFL surprise of the year. There were bets being placed on whether the Jets win win a single game and McCown, against all odds, has lead them to 4 wins and the 7th highest point total in the AFC. If you remove his 4 fantasy point game against the top pass defense of the Jaguars, McCown has averaged 16 fantasy points per game. In week 10 he gets the Bucs who have allowed the 8th most passing yards.
Eli Manning, @SF, 22.8% starting: If you find yourself without Carson Wentz, Alex Smith, Derek Carr or Joe Flacco I have two things to say to you. 1.) Joe Flacco? That’s why you’re in last place Carl. 2.) Eli against the 49ers is a solid fill-in option this week. They’ve allowed the most fantasy points to QBs and rumors of the demise of Eli Manning are a bit premature. Y’all realize he’s been playing with NO ONE around him lately, right?
Kirk Cousins, vs MIN, 50.7%: Cousins could be without two of his top receiving weapons as Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed are questionable for this game. Pair that with facing a defense that has allowed an average of only 11.9 fantasy points to opposing QBs and you’ve go at a solid sit for Kirk.
Duke Johnson Jr., @DET, 27.8%: You know the story on the Duke — he’s the pass-catcher of Cleveland’s two RBs. And he’ll head into Detroit where they are allowing an average of a little over 50 receiving yards to opposing RBs while only allowing about 3.8 rushing yards per attempt. This is clearly going to be a game where Duke > Isaiah Crowell.
Darren McFadden, @ATL, 3.8%: Here is what I said a few weeks ago when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for his 4th time: “Alfred Morris only has 50 receptions in his entire career. McFadden has three 40+ reception seasons in his career.” The Falcons have been okay against the run game, but are allowing over 52 receiving yards per game to RBs. It’s a gamble considering McFadden hasn’t played all season, but that could mean he’s just chomping at the bit to make some plays.
Devontae Booker, vs NE, 2.7% starting: Yes, he is the Broncos RB3, but when it comes to the passing game, he’s their RB1. With the inconsistency and under-performance of CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles the mood feels right for a solid game for Devontae Booker. Especially with Booker leading their RB in receiving yards and the Patriots allowing the second-most receiving yards to opposing RBs.
Joe Mixon, CIN, 70.0%: We’ve all been hoping Mixon would have a breakout game this season that cements him as the Bengals RB1 of the present and future — but we’ve all been let down. Mixon is averaging a pedestrian 8.9 fantasy points per game and now gets a fairly stout Titans rush defense that is only allowing 79.5 rushing yards per game and only 2 rushing TDs. Don’t expect the breakout game next week either — the Bengals are heading to Denver. Put the nix on Mixon.
Chris Thompson, vs MIN, 59.4% starting: Thompson, despite his considerable PPR skills, is going to be in for a long game against the Vikings tough defense. They haven’t allowed over 100 yards rushing all year and have only allowed 2 rushing TDs. Look elsewhere for RB help this week.
Dolphins RBs, @CAR: We all rushed to grab either Kenyan Drake or Damien Williams once Jay Ajayi was traded, but don’t get cute this week. Panthers are monsters at stopping opposing RBs. Over the past six weeks they allowed an average of only 65 rushing yards to opposing RBs and haven’t allowed a rushing TD in four weeks.
Mohamed Sanu, vs DAL, 49.1% starting: Julio Jones is active and expected to play, but as Richard Sherman showed us Thursday — that doesn’t mean he will stay healthy the whole game. Either way, the possibility is there for Sanu to still score some solid fantasy points against the Cowboys pass defense which is allowing an average of 33.9 fantasy points to opposing WRs.
Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse @ TB: Maybe this is a bit lazy since I already recommended McCown above, but the Bucs are allowing the 3rd most receiving yards per game. This is going to be a fun passing game to watch this week.
Robert Woods, vs. Hou, 41.7%: I’ll be honest — any of these Rams wide receivers are viable start candidates this week, Woods just happens to be a Kerry Klug darling. Over their last four games the Texans have allowed an average of 39 fantasy points to opposing WRs. Woods has reached double-digit fantasy points in 5 of his last 6 games including a 2 TD, 23 fantasy point game last week against the awful New York Giants. I could see another 70 yard, 1 TD game for Woods as he further tightens up his relationship with Jared Goff.
TY Hilton, vs PIT, 74.9%: Yea I see what he did last week. But read what I wrote about Woods above — Hilton did his damage against those same Texans. Now he’s dealing with a groin injury and gets the Steelers impressive pass defense. The Steelers are only allowing 203.6 receiving yards per game — good for 3rd best in the league.
Stefon Diggs, @ WSH, 66.9%: Health has been what has limited Stefon Diggs over the past four weeks, but this week it’ll be the league’s best CB Josh Norman. Norman hasn’t allowed a TD reception all year and only allowed 2 receptions for 11 yards against the Seahawks last week. Diggs isn’t special enough to score on Norman.
Keenan Allen vs. JAX, 58.1% starting: If you drafted Allen as your top WR you have to be feeling a little disappointed. He has 1 TD on the year and it was all the way back in week 1 and has only had over 5 receptions once — in week 2. Coming off a bye, Allen now gets the Jaguars secondary who have allowed the lowest average of fantasy points to opposing WRs, the second fewest receiving yards and only 2 receiving TDs — the lowest in the NFL. Avoid this Noid.
Ed Dickson, vs MIA, 19.9%: Dickson needs to make his impact felt in a big way now if he’s to continue getting looks in a few weeks as Greg Olsen is due back in week 12. Last week the Dolphins allowed 126 receiving yards to the Raiders TEs and allowed TDs to TEs in 3 of the 4 games before that. This is an exploitable matchup that Dickson can take advantage of.
Tyler Kroft, @ TEN, 39.9%: It may look like I’m trying too hard to make Tyler Kroft a thing, but take a look at his last 5 games — he’s put up 24, 7, 12, 9 and 9 points in a row. That is valuable fill in option in a week without Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. He’ll face off against the Titans who have allowed 16, 11 and 16 points to opposing TEs in their last 3 games.
Jason Witten, @ ATL, 61.6% starting: This seems like one of those inexplicable games where Witten will just disappear. He started off the season fantastically with an 18 fantasy point game in week 1 followed by a 25 fantasy point game in week 2 — only to average 6 fantasy points over his next 6 games. The Falcons have been stingy against TEs over their last 4 weeks too allowing 5, 8, 16 and 0 fantasy points to opposing TEs.
Charles Clay, vs NO, 23.9%: Even if Clay is able to play this week, I don’t think he’s a good option for your fantasy lineup. The Saints have been killing it when it comes to defending opposing TEs this year. After allowing 24 fantasy points to Gronk and co. in week 2 they have averaged only 5.5 fantasy points allowed since. Give Clay another week to recover and then start him.
Minnesota Vikings D/ST @ WSH, 47.4%: You gotta take advantage of these post-bye week returns when you can — the Vikings are a great defense who are averaging a hair under 10 fantasy points per game over the last six weeks. Week 10 they’ll get the Redskins who if you read my Kirk Cousins blurb above — you’ll see that I am not expecting good things from them.
Chris Boswell, @ IND, 63.7%: Take advantage of these bye week guys, I’m telling ya! Boswell is averaging 9 fantasy points per game and now gets the Colts. Steelers (and Boswell) should pile on the points this week.
Start ‘em all!