Is Boyd worth starting this week? What about Amari Cooper?
Welcome to Week 10 of the fantasy football season! How fast has the season flown by? If you are one of the lucky fantasy owners who have been riding Adam Thielen’s production all year, this might be a tough week for you as the Vikings are on their bye week.
So is DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders Demaryius Thomas and John Brown. That leaves a lot of wide receiver-sized holes to fill for many fantasy owners in a very pivotal week.
So who should you start instead? And what about tight ends? Even though the talent drain from this bye week isn't as significant (Kyle Rudolph is probably the only one fantasy owners will really miss), there are still decisions to be made.
Before diving into Week 10, let's see how the Week 9 start/sit advice did.
Good Calls for Week 9...
Start O.J. Howard (17.3 fantasy points) – Howard is leaping up the tight end rankings and is easily a must-start every week now.
Bad Calls for Week 9...
Sit Josh Gordon (19 FP) – Gordon was bound to finally have a good fantasy game at some point.
Start DJ Moore (4.8 FP) – It looked as if Moore was ready to become the Panthers' No. 1 WR last week, but it was the Curtis Samuel show instead.
Start DeVante Parker (0.8 FP) – One week after going over 100 receiving yards for the first time this season, Parker reminds us why he needs to be on the waiver wire.
Teams on bye: Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Minnesota
START THESE WRs...
Tyler Boyd, CIN (vs. NO)
Believe it or not, Boyd currently ranks 15th in fantasy points among wide receivers. On top of being productive, he’s also been reliable. Among wide receivers with at least 60 targets, Boyd has the third-highest catch rate at 74.2 percent. Following the Bengals bye week, Boyd will look to add on to his productive first half against the Saints. Currently, New Orleans is allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers, including a league-high 14 touchdowns. So, he has been playing great, has a favorable opponent, and also will be taking over the No. 1 WR role now that A.J. Green will miss at least two games because of a toe injury. Last week, the Saints allowed two Rams’ WRs to finish inside the top 10 in fantasy points. Expect Boyd to have a nice start to the second half of his season.
Alshon Jeffery, PHI (vs. DAL)
The Eagles are favored by 6.5 points at home but the 43 over/under is the second-lowest game total of the week from Vegas, so there might be some hesitation here. That said, the low game total is more reflective of Dallas’ incompetency (why did they stop feeding Ezekiel Elliott in the second half?!?) rather than an indictment of Phiadelphia’s offense. Per Football Outsiders' Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), Dallas is fourth against the run and 26th vs. the pass.
Amari Cooper, DAL (at PHI)
For the most part, Cooper delivered in his first game as a Cowboy. He finished with five receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown. That performance was good enough to finish in the top 15 in fantasy points among WRs in Week 9 and was his second-highest output of the season. With first impressions out of the way, Cooper will look to build on a strong debut against his new divisional foe. The defending Super Bowl champions are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs. The Cowboys are going to continue to have their struggles in the win/loss column and it will ultimately cost Jason Garrett his job. But from a fantasy standpoint, Cooper will finally warrant his ADP and become a weekly must-start player.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Josh Doctson, WAS (at TB)
Maurice Harris is a hot name among available wide receivers this week, but the better start is Doctson, especially if Jamison Crowder is able to return. Last week Doctson played 99 percent of Washington’s offensive snaps, only coming off the field once. This week Washington will take on Tampa Bay, whose atrocious pass defense has allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Doctson is the type of athletic monster that can win a jump ball in the end zone, as he showed last week with his first touchdown of the season. There should be plenty of opportunities for Doctson to take advantage of the matchup this week and it wouldn’t be shocking if he came down with one or more touchdowns.
SIT THESE WRs...
Golden Tate, PHI (vs. DAL)
You never know what to expect from a player when he’s traded midseason, so it’s hard to count on Tate when he makes his Eagles debut Sunday. It’s unclear exactly where he’ll fit in the offense with current pass-catching options Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor already in the mix. Making the situation worse for Tate is the matchup with the Cowboys, who are allowing the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers so far this season. It’s best to keep Tate on your bench and take a wait-and-see approach this week if you have other options.
DeVante Parker, MIA (a GB)
Parker’s stat line from last week (1-8-0) was a major step back from his Week 8 season debut (6-134-0), though a penalty and one particularly poor throw from Brock Osweiler dampened the final results. With Kenny Stills back and Danny Amendola operating in the slot, Parker is simply part of a subpar passing offense that’s a mess with Osweiler under center heading into a clash with the Packers' 10th-ranked passing defense in Week 10.
Corey Davis, TEN (vs. NE)
Davis had six catches for 56 yards on 10 targets in Week 9 at Dallas, and that was his best game since Week 4, which tells you something. He still has just one touchdown on the season, and he's not worth trusting this week. Even though he scored twice against the Patriots in the playoffs last season with five catches for 63 yards, most of that damage came against cornerback Malcolm Butler, who is now his teammate. With a matchup against Stephon Gilmore this week, Davis will likely struggle, again. He's a WR3 receiver at best in deeper leagues.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
T.Y. Hilton, IND (vs. JAC)
In two games since coming back from a two-game absence with a hamstring injury, Hilton has five catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets. Those two touchdowns saved his fantasy production. He will get better moving forward, but this is a tough matchup against the Jaguars. With Jalen Ramsey likely to shadow him, Hilton could have another game with minimal production in Week 10. He's not an outright sit in most leagues, but he's also not a must-start option given this matchup with Jacksonville.
START THESE TEs...
Jack Doyle, IND (vs. JAC)
Doyle returned in Week 8 from his hip injury after missing the previous five games and it was like he never left. He resumed his role as one of Andrew Luck's most trusted targets, posting six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. This week, the Colts will take on a Jaguars defense which isn’t exactly a dream matchup for tight ends. Currently, Jacksonville is among the bottom 10 teams in fantasy points allowed to the position. But this selection has more to do with what Doyle means to his offense. Since the start of the 2017 season, Doyle has only had two games in which he has been targeted fewer than five times. Week 10 will be no exception and Doyle should have another decent fantasy game in the Colts' pass-heavy attack.
Jordan Reed, WAS (at TB)
Reed still hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1 and is coming off of another ugly 4-34-0 line on six targets. Alex Smith has turtled into his former game-manager shell and it makes Reed beyond difficult to trust, but Tampa Bay’s defense is a joke and the Buccaneers have yielded the eighth-most fantasy points on average against TEs in the last four weeks and third most on the season.
O.J. Howard, TB (vs. WAS)
Howard continues to have a breakout season, and he comes into Week 10 against Washington with at least 11 PPR points in four games in a row. He was a star in Week 9 at Carolina with four catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns on six targets, and he should stay hot this week. Washington has only allowed three touchdowns to tight ends this year, but Howard is still worth starting in all leagues.
MIGHT WE WORTH THE RISK...
Benjamin Watson, NO (at CIN)
Watson posted a goose egg back in Week 8 but has now sandwiched it with 6-43-1 and 4-62-1 stat lines. He and the Saints travel to Cincinnati where they’ll face a Bengals defense that is one of four units to surrender more than 600 yards to opposing tight ends. Watson may not be as spry as most TE1 options, but those in deeper formats should feel comfortable penciling him in given how this game boasts the week’s highest Vegas over/under at 54.
SIT THESE TEs...
Evan Engram, NYG (at SF, Mon.)
The good news for Engram is that he’s on a team that will often find itself in negative game scripts, but his own drops and the effectiveness of the man throwing him the ball really dings him. It doesn’t hurt that the 49ers have given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points on average to tight ends over the last four weeks.
Eric Ebron, IND (vs. JAC)
Ebron has been on a downward trajectory for the past few weeks. When Jack Doyle returned in Week 8, he out snapped Ebron 57-17 and out targeted him 7-3. Another touchdown saved Ebron, but it’s tough to rely on touchdowns every week when you doesn’t see full-time snaps. Unless something changes, Ebron is just a touchdown-dependent flyer playing second fiddle to Doyle.
Jared Cook, OAK (vs. LAC)
Cook had a dominant game in Oakland's first outing without Amari Cooper in Week 8 against the Colts with 17 PPR points. But he followed that up with just four PPR points in Week 9 at San Francisco, and he's now scored no more than six points in three of his past four games. The Chargers held Cook to four catches for 20 yards on six targets in Week 5, and he could post similar production this week.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
David Njoku, CLE (vs. ATL)
The Falcons have gotten it together (relatively) on defense of late, and their 7.8 fantasy points allowed to tight ends on average in 2018 are 16th in the NFL. This is less of a straight-up “bench” call but it’s possible that eight- or 10-team leagues have a better option available. Week 9 was the first we saw of new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens’ play-calling and it led to zero red zone opportunities for a WR or TE. Nick Chubb saw six of them while Duke Johnson Jr. had two.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.