Does Alex Smith's remarkable recovery and triumphant return now make him a DFS option this week?
I come into the Week 10 daily fantasy (DFS) football slate on a bit of a hot streak. I did pretty well last week. Even at kickoff, Seattle was still favored and all my Buffalo plays made me look smart, including my Bills DST pick. I'm not going to take much credit for my "safe" picks, but hitting on Jake Luton felt pretty good. The one that hurts though is Justin Jackson. Of course, how was I to know he would not even make it to the Chargers' third offensive play?
And that's something to keep in mind when playing DFS. You might have on paper what is truly the perfect lineup. To paraphrase the sage Mike Tyson, everyone has a plan until they get knocked in the mouth. There are always going to be things we don't see coming. I've seen way too many "experts" and not-so-experts say you HAVE to play A over B because of X, Y, and Z. "A" might be the smarter play for all those reasons. But you don't HAVE to play anyone or for that matter, fade anyone either. It's your entry. Do what you wish with it.
Okay, yes I'm here to help make your wishes come true, but I'm not turning garden squashes into transportation or puppets into real boys. Besides, you don't want to see me in shimmery blue outfits. In all seriousness, I will do what I or any other expert can do. As I've said before, if we truly knew what was going to happen every football weekend, we'd be sitting in our own private resort sipping mai tais watching the sunset.
So I can promise you, no magic this week. But perhaps I can hit upon another Luton or Bills DST this week. I can at least try.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, New York Jets
Safe Quarterback Week 10 Pick
Justin Herbert, Chargers at Dolphins (DK $6600, FD $8000)
I am seeing at least five very juicy options this week at quarterback. I will have an overexposure of Aaron Rodgers shares, but he's not the safest option given that he's had one big dud this season. So he's out. Buffalo's defense has been inconsistent, looking terrible one week and then making very good quarterbacks look bad the following week. Therefore, I'm going to pass on Kyler Murray too. Josh Allen has become far more consistent, but Arizona is similar to Buffalo in that one week the Cardinals' looks horrible and the next week it looks amazing. And anyone going against the Seattle defense is tempting, but Jared Goff has a couple of duds this year and lacks huge upside so I'm not selecting him either. Goff isn't even averaging 20 fantasy points per game.
But you know who is averaging more than 20 fantasy points per game and has more FPPG than Goff, Allen, or even Rodgers? That's right, Justin Herbert. Would you have guessed if he wasn't listed above? Well, maybe you would have if you knew that Herbert has tossed two or more touchdowns in his last five games. Or perhaps you knew that he is averaging more than 300 passing yards per game and has a QB rating of 104.7. Given that many are expecting this game to be a high-scoring affair, I feel very comfortable recommending Herbert this week.
High Risk/Reward Quarterback Week 10 Pick
Alex Smith, Washington at Lions (DraftKings $5200, FanDuel $6500)
Smith's career in Washington is far more known for his grotesque injury to his leg than anything he has done with his arm. In fact, his numbers while Washington's signal-caller are also on the grotesque side. But I'm calling my shot, that ends this week. Smith opponent this week, the Lions, are allowing the 11th-most QB fantasy points per game. The stats are not pretty for Detroit's D. Opposing signal-callers are posting the fourth-highest touchdown rate (6.42 percent) to go along with a collective 7.78 yards per pass attempt (10th). It looks like Smith is still a little gun shy, but the Lions are 25th in the league in sacks (less than 4 percent of dropbacks). Smith is not going to be the biggest fantasy points producer this weekend. However, he could easily have the most fantasy points in relation to salary this week, making him a great GPP value.
Safe Running Back Week 10 Pick
Aaron Jones, Packers vs. Jaguars (DK $7100, FD $8800)
The No. 3 RB on the slate in terms of production, coming off the "mini-bye" after last playing two Thursdays ago, against the team giving up the sixth-most RB fantasy points per game? Yes, please.
High Risk/Reward Running Back Week 10 Pick
Antonio Gibson, Washington at Lions (DK $5600, FD $6100)
A top-10 RB on the slate when it comes to production against the team giving up the most fantasy points per game to the position? I'd rather have seconds of Aaron Jones, but yes, I'd like a scoop or two of Gibson as well.
Safe Wide Receiver Week 10 Pick
Jerry Jeudy, Broncos at Raiders (DK $5600, FD $5800)
Lots of reasons to like Jeudy this week. To quote "Coming to America," that boy good! He is coming off his first 100-yard game, but I can promise you that there are many more to come. He pulled in seven of a season-best 14 targets, including one for a touchdown. Also, he may be a rookie, but he's not playing like one:
I like a WR who shows some smarts! But even a dummy WR should be able to beat the Raiders, who are giving up the second-highest percentage of receptions for a first down.
Finally, Jeudy is extremely affordable. Yes, I'd rather have a Davante Adams or Stefon Diggs, but at about $2K less, Jeudy should outproduce both from a point/dollar perspective. Just be prepared for a very high ownership level.
High Risk/Reward Receiver Week 10 Pick
Bryan Edwards, Raiders vs. Broncos (DK $3000, FD $4500)
I can guarantee you however that Edwards will be lightly owned. And let's be honest, there are at least 30 other options at WRs that will likely produce more. However, if you're looking for some drastic salary relief, Edwards is your man. He costs the bare minimum on both sites yet presents huge upside. The Broncos' secondary has given up the eighth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers and can't seem to wrangle anyone. Denver has allowed 15 WRs already to finish with 10.7 or more PPR points through eight games. So Edwards doesn't even need to be the Raiders' top WR this week. If he manages even close to 10 PPR points, he will provide us with a super profit.
Safe Tight End Week 10 Pick
Darren Waller, Raiders vs. Broncos (DK $6600, FD $7000)
In my Week 10 rankings, I mentioned it was a rough week for TEs, and I have Waller atop them. Let's not overthink this, okay
High Risk/Reward Tight End Week 10 Pick
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins vs. Chargers (DK $4300, FD $5300)
Did you click on the link above about this week's TEs? Go back and click on it to read why I will have a few shares of Gesicki this week.
Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 10 Pick
Steelers vs. Bengals (DK $4400, FD $5000)
No "whoever is playing the Jets this week" pick, mainly because the Jets are on bye. And to be honest, I'm a little scared given that this is a divisional game which makes it a little more unpredictable. But I give you two undeniable facts. One, the Bengals have scored the seventh-fewest touchdowns in the NFL. Two, the Steelers DST has more FPPG than any other option on the main slate. Are we done here?
High Risk/Reward Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 10 Pick
Texans at Browns (DK $2400, FD $3500)
When the weather gets worse, it usually leads to bad things for the offenses. Bettors know it. And with occasional gusts over 50 MPH expected in Cleveland on Sunday, you might want to consider taking the defenses in this one. And the Texans are cheaper than the Browns. If the forecast improves, you can always swap them out. But this also your reminder to check the forecasts, but you never know how it might impact the Week 10 DFS picks!
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.
(Top photo by Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washigton Football Team, courtesy of washingtonfootball.com)