Elliott faces a tough matchup on Sunday night
It’s Week 10 of the fantasy football season, and for many owners, it’s getting late in the season to rack up wins. The playoffs are right around the corner, and many players are desperate for a win. Four teams are on bye again this week, and there are plenty of injuries. Keep an eye on the practice reports, as some players may end up missing time which means more opportunities for others.
It’s the time of year where fantasy owners need to get rid of the dead weight on their bench. Players that were stashed but never used can be dropped for players that will help this week. Often it makes sense to toss someone in your lineup that may be a bit of a dart throw, especially if you are playing against a team that has Christian McCaffrey (or Ben Roethlisberger) this week.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide. You also can see how my Week 9 calls turned out at the bottom.
Teams on bye: Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Minnesota
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fitzpatrick will be the starter again for Week 10 against the Washington Redskins. While it did seem for a bit that the Redskins had a decent defense, they actually haven’t been great against quarterbacks. Matt Ryan had 350 yards and four touchdowns last week. They’ve actually allowed all opposing quarterbacks except Sam Bradford in Week 1 to throw for either two touchdowns or at least 270 yards. Fitzpatrick is a QB1 and should exceed his No. 9 ranking.
Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Cleveland Browns
This is for PPR leagues only, as Nick Chubb should fare well in standard leagues. Johnson had a breakout game in Week 9 for fantasy owners that were brave enough to start him. He had nine receptions for 78 yards and two touchdowns. He only had one carry for eight yards. He’s a factor in the short-yardage passing game, which worked for the Browns last week. Look for Baker Mayfield to continue to use him and he should finish as a low RB2 in PPR formats. He’s currently ranked No. 28.
Adam Humphries, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With Fitzpatrick as an “up,” he’s going to need one of his receivers to help him out. Last week, he looked for Humphries. He had eight targets, and he caught all of them for 82 yards and two touchdowns. In Week 8, he had 10 targets and he caught seven of them for 76 yards. He clearly is a favorite for Fitzpatrick, and while he’s not a must-start receiver, he’s certainly worth using in deeper leagues. He’s ranked No. 71 and he should at least get into the top 50.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers
Geronimo Allison has been placed on injured reserve, and that opens the door for Valdes-Scantling. MVS was not even known in most fantasy circles until Week 5, when Allison and Cobb were injured. Since then, MVS has made himself known and has either 100 yards or a touchdown in the past four games, regardless of whether Allison or Cobb played. With Allison definitely out, MVS is the No. 2 receiver in Green Bay. He’s a WR3 and should exceed his No. 40 ranking.
Benjamin Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints
Fantasy owners were disappointed with Watson in Week 8, a week with no receptions sandwiched between two weeks where he did find the end zone. While it doesn’t appear to be a pattern, the Saints play the Bengals in Week 10. Cincinnati gives up the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, and the Saints do use Watson. Even with new addition Dez Bryant (who may or may not be active in Week 10), expect Watson to exceed his No. 17 ranking.
Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
While Goff has been very good this season, he faces a tough matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. The game is in Los Angeles, and Goff will be fine for fantasy purposes, but he may not reach his No. 7 ranking. In the past two weeks, the Seahawks have allowed two touchdowns to both Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford. Goff will likely throw for one or two, but the Rams' high-powered offense may have a tough challenge in Week 10.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
The Philadelphia Eagles have only allowed one 100-yard rusher so far this year (Saquon Barkley). Barkley also was the only opposing running back the Eagles have allowed to have over 100 total yards. While Elliott is a solid RB1, this will be a tough matchup for him. In Week 9, Elliott had a tough day running the ball (61 yards on 17 carries), but he made up for it in the passing game (four receptions for 51 yards). If Elliott is going to reach his No. 7 ranking, he’s going to have to be involved in the passing game.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon is another top running back with a tough matchup in Week 10. The Bengals face the Saints, who allow the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Last week the Saints held Todd Gurley to 68 rushing yards and one touchdown. They have not allowed a running back to have 100 rushing yards and the most rushing yards a running back facing New Orleans has had was 69 (Peyton Barber in Week 1). Mixon is ranked No. 8 but likely won’t finish the week as a RB1.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
The Dallas Cowboys allow the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, which means this is a tough matchup for Jeffery and the Eagles. The Eagles also added Golden Tate, and it’s not clear how much that addition will affect Jeffery’s value. Between the matchup and the other pass catchers taking targets, Jeffery is a low WR2, and should finish below his No. 14 ranking.
Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders
While the Los Angeles Chargers have allowed tight ends to score in each of the past three games, the Raiders are just awful. Cook’s target share over the past two games was five and two. The Raiders aren’t able to move the ball well, and they are relying more on Jalen Richard for short-yardage work. Cook may score a touchdown, but the yardage isn’t there and he might not hit his No. 8 ranking.
Full Disclosure for Week 9
5 Up (1-3-1)
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns (Ranked: 13, Actual: 13)
Isaiah Crowell, RB, New York Jets (Ranked: 24, Actual: 32)
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers (Ranked: 22, Actual: 26)
DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers (Ranked: 27, Actual: outside top 50)
Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets (Ranked: 15, Actual: 13)
5 Down (2-1)
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (Ranked: 2, Actual: 4)
Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens (Ranked: 21, Actual: 19)
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (Ranked: 4, Actual: 17)
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings (Ranked: 11, Actual: NDP)
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots (Ranked: 2, Actual: DNP)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.