Week 10 is really going to test your mettle as a fantasy football manger. A whopping half-dozen teams are off this week, meaning the scramble to fill lineups is more frantic than any other week this season. There are a number of players that are playable who you wouldn’t normally consider. Here are some sneaky starts for Week 10.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Fantasy managers are sleeping on Jimmy G, even after his big Thursday Night Football performance against the Cardinals. No one could blame you if you want to write off that game as a one-off fluke, but San Francisco’s matchup this week with the Seahawks keeps Garoppolo fantasy relevant. The Seahawks may not have the worst fantasy pass defense in the NFL like the Cardinals, but they’ve allowed three straight 20-plus point performances to QBs and have given up an average of 316 passing yards per game over the last five weeks. Seattle’s run defense is also better than Arizona’s, so the 49ers will likely need to throw more than they’d normally like in order to have success against a divisional opponent scoring nearly 28 points per game.
Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers
I’m not entirely sure why there’s so much hesitance in the fantasy community to start Williams. In his four games since returning from a scary head injury, Williams is the No. 10 overall RB in fantasy points per game (15.9) in half-PPR formats. That’s only one-tenth of a point fewer than teammate and must-start Aaron Jones. Williams is heavily involved in the passing game and has caught a touchdown in each of his last four games (he also has a rushing touchdown). Green Bay’s RB combo is the No. 2 passing option for Aaron Rodgers behind Devante Adams. Williams is an RB2 this week.
Latavius Murray, New Orleans Saints
Alvin Kamara is back so we no longer have to care about Murray, right? Wrong. While Kamara is expected to return to the field in Week 10, getting his complete workload right out of the gate isn’t a guarantee. Murray was extremely effective in Kamara’s absence and the Saints have never been afraid to feature multiple backs prominently. The Falcons are bad and should feel bad. Both Saints backs should have a handful of catches out of the backfield and Murray could see significant touches if there’s a blowout in the Superdome. He’s a flex play this week.
Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I discussed Jones in my waiver wire column earlier this week. He’s a plug-and-play right away because the Cardinals allow more than 100 yards per game on the ground this season. Jones finally saw his snap count soar into the 40s last week and he should have the opportunity to get between 15-20 touches this week. With so many teams on bye, Jones is a low-end RB2 this week.
Ty Johnson, Detroit Lions
Having to navigate the Lions’ backfield isn’t fun, but on a week like this, it’s necessary. Both Johnson and J.D. McKissic are intriguing flex plays this week against a Bears defense that has been torched by RBs in three of their last four games. Since Week 5, Chicago is allowing an average of nearly 112 yards per game on the ground. The Bears are also one of the worst teams in the NFL at defending pass-catching RBs. Johnson hasn’t been great since Kerryon Johnson went down, but he’s the clear snaps leader in the backfield with a good matchup this week.
Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
I get why the thought of starting any Jets player makes fantasy managers queasy, but don’t let that bias prevent you from taking advantage of a tremendous opportunity this week. The Giants are terrible at defending slot receivers and Crowder is going to eat on Sunday. Sam Darnold has leaned heavily on Crowder at times this season and should do so again in Week 10. Crowder had 8/83/1 last week against the Dolphins and can easily duplicate that line, if not improve upon it, this week. He’s a WR2.
DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
The trendiest pick-up of the week for a reason, Parker is at the intersection of production and opportunity. He has touchdowns in four of his past five games, the Dolphins offense has some life under Ryan Fitzpatrick, and he should receive a target bump with Preston Williams on IR. The Colts have struggled to defend WR1s so far this season, so everything is setting up in Parker’s favor. He’s a WR3 this week.
Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts
Starting anyone against Miami has been a pretty solid rule of thumb for fantasy managers this season. The same holds true this week. Pascal is the clear No. 1 option for the Colts with T.Y. Hilton out, and now there’s even less competition for targets with Parris Campbell injured. Indianapolis' points have to go somewhere, and regardless of QB Pascal will get the first crack at them. He’s a WR3 this week with high touchdown potential.
Robby Anderson, New York Jets
One of the biggest boom-or-bust options this week, Anderson will have a chance to turn his half-dozen targets into a touchdown or two against a porous Giants passing defense. We all know what type of player Anderson is at this point. A great option if you’re an underdog in your matchup, he has an equal shot at having a five-point game or a 20-point game. That makes him a high-end WR4.
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s been a disaster of a season for Howard. Injury, ineffectiveness, you name it and it’s plagued the once ballyhooed tight end. But that could all change for one week. Head coach Bruce Arians says Howard will play on Sunday, and—would you look at that—the Cardinals are on tap. Arizona is a godsend for tight ends. They rank dead last in the league against them and have allowed a whopping nine touchdowns in nine games to the position. Howard has been the clear snaps leader every week he’s been active. If he’s ever going to break out, it’s in this matchup.
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
The production was never going to match the hype Hockenson had coming into the league as a rookie, but the circumstances break in his favor this week. The Bears have surprisingly struggled with TEs this season and just gave up a monster game to Zach Ertz. Chicago is the best team in the NFL against slot receivers, so maybe Hockenson gets more looks from Matthew Stafford if Danny Amendola can’t get open. If Hockenson can get six or seven targets in this game, he’ll finish as a borderline TE1.
Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts
Yet another Colt on this list. Miami is the gift that keeps on giving. The thought process here is that if the Colts keep losing pass-catchers, they’re going to have to throw to someone when they get inside the red zone. Their best healthy red zone threat right now is Ebron. He’s not playing a ton of snaps, but he has as good a chance as any Colt to catch a touchdown in Week 10. Remember, the Dolphins are allowing a league-high 32 points per game this season.
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