FANTASY PLAYS: A healthy Russell Wilson; fading bad defenses
Setting an optimal lineup for Week 10 is once again a true challenge, with many key players unavailable on byes and fantasy teams jostling for postseason berths.
A few of the hurdles you'll face this week:
SEATTLE WITH A HEALTHY WILSON
Russell Wilson looked healthier on Monday night against Buffalo, which meant he was able to move around more and out of the pocket and seemed to have no limitations throwing downfield. Jimmy Graham had two one-handed TD receptions, but the Patriots might limit his upside and can use cornerback Malcolm Butler on wideout Doug Baldwin. That opens up opportunities for Tyler Lockett, who finally started looking healthier last week, and versatile rookie C.J. Prosise, who could be the most-utilized Seahawks running back this week. Lockett is a bold and possibly very productive streamer, and Prosise is worth some serious point-per-reception consideration as a flex option or fill-in.
KELLEY RUNNING FOR WASHINGTON
Rob Kelley is expected to be the lead running back for Washington again this week, and while Minnesota has allowed only 15.5 fantasy points per game to the running back position according to FantasyPros.com, the Vikings have become more vulnerable to the run recently. Theo Riddick rushed for 70 yards on just 14 carries last week against Minnesota and rookie Jordan Howard had a career-high 153 yards against the Vikes the week before. Kelley is in line for volume and as a TD finisher for a team that likes to throw the ball. He is at least a viable flex play for Week 10.
FADING THE SAINTS
New Orleans has the worst pass defense in the NFL, so you might be considering starting Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian. But sometimes the matchup alone isn't enough to make a player a viable starter. Siemian has five TD passes in his past five games. You would be better off using Jay Cutler against Tampa Bay or Carson Wentz vs. Atlanta instead.
AND THE BRONCOS RUSHING D
Denver has become very vulnerable to the running game. The Broncos now allow 21.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, fourth-most among AFC teams. Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower were both startable last week and the same remains true for Week 10. The Saints are going to throw the ball even against Denver's No. 1 pass defense, so don't bench impressive rookie WR Michael Thomas.
If Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger needs a pass-catcher to help him move the chains, look for Eli Rogers to carry over some of his momentum from Week 9. Rogers caught six passes for 103 yards and gives Roethlisberger a possibly reliable short and mid-range target. Consider starting Rogers as your third wide receiver.
TIGHT END STREAMERS
If you are still looking for TE help, Houston's C.J. Fiedorowicz is criminally under-owned, available in nearly 80 percent of ESPN leagues. Fiedorowicz has double figure PPR fantasy points in four of his past five games. Lance Kendricks of the Los Angeles Rams has similar ownership percentages and is another double-figure guy in four of the last five.
WRs AGAINST 49ERS
The 49ers are historically bad against the run this year, allowing an outrageous 193 yards rushing per game. But they also allow 26.4 FFPG to opposing WRs, sixth-worst among NFL teams. Don't hesitate to use Arizona's J.J. Nelson, who has started to earn more targets. Michael Floyd is even worth some desperation play consideration. RB David Johnson can't have all the fun by himself this week against the NFC's worst team.
JAGS RUN GAME
The Jaguars started to exhibit more of a lean toward the ground game last week, as they finally started to establish more offensive balance under a new offensive coordinator. A respectable running attack is sorely needed to take some pressure off the erratic Blake Bortles. Chris Ivory finally showed some life last week with a 100-yard outing, and takes on a Houston run defense that is allowing 125.8 rushing yards per game with 10 TDs. Pop Ivory into your lineup with confidence based on momentum and the matchup.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com
This story has been corrected to show that Rams tight end Lance Kendricks plays in Los Angeles, not St. Louis.