Is Zach Ertz really worth starting this week?
Several wide receivers and a few tight ends had monster games for their fantasy owners last week and there could be more coming in Week 10 with some elite targets returning from bye. There are a few guys who will sit out this week that will be tough to replace, but before we shift our attention to those lineup decisions, let’s see how my start/sit advice for WRs and TEs fared last week.
Sit Marvin Jones (0.5 fantasy points) – After a great start to the season, Jones is becoming an afterthought in the Lions’ offense.
Start Antonio Gates (13.5 FP) – Gates is looking like his old self as he gets closer to the all-time touchdown record for tight ends.
Start Brandon Marshall (4.5 FP) – So maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t very good after all and that is really hurting Marshall.
Sit Allen Robinson (13.6 FP) – Garbage time Blake Bortles is back, which actually increases Robinson’s fantasy value.
Start Kyle Rudolph (6.1 FP) – It was the perfect matchup for Rudolph... and he flopped terribly.
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oakland
START THESE WRs...
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (vs. SF)
The legendary Fitz has seen 25 targets in the last two weeks, and just got a bye to rest up his still fully capable body. Hopefully, the Cardinals used the time to get their offense right and clicking at the perfect time — with a get-right game against San Francisco, who just gave up 323 yards and three TDs to Drew Brees at home. Now the 49ers’ crumbling defense is traveling to Arizona, where Bruce Arians and his undeniable eye for fashion awaits.
Alshon Jeffery, CHI (at TB)
The return of Jay Cutler was great news for Jeffery, who posted his best fantasy stat line of the season in Week 8. Next on the schedule is a date with the Buccaneers, who have allowed 12 touchdown catches and the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (28.1 ppg) in 2016. Start Jeffery as a WR2 with confidence this weekend.
Jordan Matthews, PHI (vs. ATL)
Matthews hasn't been the most consistent WR in fantasy football, but he has scored a combined 21.3 fantasy points in his last two games. I'd keep him active ahead of a home matchup against the Falcons, who have surrendered the second-most yards (1,624), touchdowns (14) and fantasy points (27.8 ppg) to wide receivers.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Rishard Matthews, TEN (vs. GB)
Marcus Mariota has been red-hot over the past five weeks, and during that span, Matthews has easily been the team's most productive wide receiver, averaging 5.6 targets, 4.2 receptions and 48.0 yards with an impressive five touchdowns. There's a little bit to be desired with the volume, but he was heavily involved in the team's first game without Andre Johnson (led the team with 10 targets) and his touchdown potential significantly increases his ceiling. He's an upside WR3 in what is projected as a high-scoring game against the Packers.
SIT THESE WRs...
Allen Robinson, JAC (vs. HOU)
Robinson is an extremely talented player who is averaging an appealing 10.1 targets per game. Usually that's a recipe for fantasy greatness, but it's been an inconsistent year for the third-year WR, as he has posted just three top-20 scoring weeks and four outside the top 40 at his position. Blake Bortles continues to look terrible under center, and Week 10 presents a difficult matchup against a Texans defense that has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. If you have any sort of depth at the position, you may want to stay away from Robinson.
Doug Baldwin, SEA (at NE)
Baldwin had a quick stroll in the garden of fantasy stardom, but he's failed to put up the same sort of numbers that launched him into the spotlight last season. Fans should consider him a risk this week in New England against a defense that's given up just six touchdowns and an average of 20.8 fantasy points per game to WRs.
Stefon Diggs, MIN (at WAS)
Diggs has woken up a bit in the last two weeks, scoring a combined 22.8 fantasy points in losses to the Bears and Lions. With that said, don't be surprised if he takes a statistical step back in Washington. While his targets have been high, a matchup with Josh Norman could be enough for Diggs to post a more mediocre line.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Jarvis Landry, MIA (at SD)
With the emergence of Jay Ajayi, Landry is averaging nearly three fewer targets per game. Play him if you got him, but Landry is slowly becoming irrelevant at best and potentially droppable in standard formats. There’s a good chance the Dolphins are forced to throw this week, but what if they don’t? The Chargers are a top-10 pass D, the Dolphins also have Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker emerging. Landry continues to be the main target for Ryan Tannehill (6 targets for a 20.7 percent share in Week 9) but the whole situation freaks me out.
START THESE TEs...
Antonio Gates, SD (vs. MIA)
Gates just continues to produce, tallying 28 targets, 14 receptions, 146 yards and two touchdowns over the last three games. Even though he's averaging a career-low 8.7 yards per reception, his role as Philip Rivers' best friend – especially in the red zone –makes him very valuable. At home against the Dolphins, Gates is a reliable TE1.
Zach Miller, CHI (at TB)
Through a whole bunch of unsexy quarterback play, Miller has ended up as a top-seven TE. Last week with Jay Cutler under center, he saw 10 targets and has totaled 15 in the last two games. It seems like he’s the third option on the offense after Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Howard, so roll him out against a Tampa secondary that’s giving up the fifth-most passing yards this season.
Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. ATL)
Ertz had been a dud for fantasy fans, at least until he posted 97 yards in last week's loss to the Giants. Now that he's back in the good graces of fantasy fans, Ertz is a viable streamer against Atlanta. The Falcons’ defense has surrendered six touchdowns and an average of 10.4 fantasy points per game to tight ends. That's the fifth most in the NFL.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU (at JAC)
Here’s your friendly reminder that the Texans’ TE has been a top-3 fantasy option over the last five weeks. Until he proves otherwise and until Will Fuller makes it back from injury, Fiedorowicz has to be leaned on as a must-start TE.
SIT THESE TEs...
Julius Thomas, JAC (vs. HOU)
Thomas recorded a mere 2.1 fantasy points in a loss to the Chiefs. The touchdown-dependent tight end will face another uphill battle in this week's matchup against the Texans, who have surrendered just one touchdown and the fourth-fewest fantasy points (4.4 ppg) to the position so far this season.
Coby Fleener, NO (vs. DEN)
Fleener bombed as a fantasy streamer last week, as he posted a modest 4.2 points despite playing in what was a high-scoring affair in San Francisco. He should return to fantasy benches this week against the Broncos, who have surrendered just two touchdowns and an average of 6.5 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends through nine games.
Martellus Bennett, NE (vs. SEA)
Since exploding for 67 yards and three touchdowns in Tom Brady’s first game of the season, Bennett has all of 10 catches for
88 yards in the past three contests. The only sure things in the New England offense are Brady and Rob Gronkowski, and this sets up as a bad matchup for Bennett. The Seahawks have allowed the third-fewest points per game to tight ends. Julian Edelman is a much better weapon in the middle of the field against this defense.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (at WAS)
In the Vikings' first game with Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator, Rudolph tallied season lows in targets (three), receptions (one) and yards (one). He did score on that one-yard touchdown, but the usage is concerning nonetheless. It's hard to draw major conclusions off one game, and this very well may have been a coincidence, but if you can find a decent streaming option, it may be best to just play the wait-and-see approach with Rudolph in this new offense.
— 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.