Can you believe we're in Week 10 of the fantasy season already? By now, fantasy playoffs are on the mind of many owners, with just a few weeks left in the regular season.
The key is winning now while also keeping an eye out for playoff time. If you're in the middle of the pack in your league, you need to make sure you get wins so you can get into the playoffs.
We look at some players that are ranked higher or lower than usual based on past performance, injury and matchups. Be aware this is not a start/sit, but a guide if you're looking for flex options.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Indianapolis, San Diego, San Francisco
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
While Cousins has only thrown for more than one touchdown in a game once this year, the matchup against the Saints is juicy enough to have him as the ninth-ranked quarterback for Week 10. In the past five weeks, the Saints have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for at least 295 yards and two touchdowns. Four of the past five opposing quarterbacks have thrown for more than 300 yards. Eli Manning just threw for six touchdowns; Marcus Mariota threw for four. Cousins should have a great day against this terrible secondary.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Houston has given up six rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs (including three to Devonta Freeman) as well as three receiving touchdowns. Bernard is more of a pass-catching back than Jeremy Hill, and this game is likely going to be close, which is when Bernard shines. Jeremy Hill hasn't found the end zone since Week 4. He's been given carries and he hasn't done anything with them, so it opens the door for Bernard. Bernard is the 15th-ranked running back for Week 10.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Martin was supposed to have a big game last week against the Giants, and he only managed 31 yards on 11 carries. He fumbled the ball and Charles Sims came in and had eight carries for 78 yards, although that number was skewed by a 59-yard run. Sims also fumbled the ball, and Martin should return to RB1 status for Week 10. The Cowboys allow the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. They've allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing running backs, which does include the three-touchdown game by Devonta Freeman. However, there have only been two games this season when a running back hasn't scored a touchdown against them. Martin should find the end zone this week.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
With Allen Hurns banged up and the Jaguars playing one of the worst defenses in the league (Baltimore), Robinson is just outside the top 5 in the wide receiver rankings for this week. The Ravens have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. They've allowed four different wide receivers to have over 100 yards and an additional five wide receivers to have 75 yards or more. Expect Robinson to have a great game on Sunday against this defense.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
While the perception was that Oakland and the New York Giants are the teams to play your tight ends against, New Orleans actually gives up the most points to opposing tight ends. The Saints' secondary is atrocious, and all Redskins pass catchers should have a good day. However, the Saints have given up seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season, including three in the past two weeks. While Reed only had three receptions in Week 9, it was a tougher matchup. Even though DeSean Jackson is back, Reed is a top-tier TE1 this week.
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Palmer didn’t get to play against the Seahawks last year (when the Cardinals were embarrassed in Seattle) and coming off the bye, Palmer should be ready to face Seattle. However, it's still a tough matchup, especially in Seattle. The weather calls for a cold, rainy Sunday, which isn't great news for either quarterback. Seattle gives up the third-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks, including just six touchdown passes. The Seahawks have held four different QBs to no touchdowns. While Palmer will likely get at least one touchdown, if you have a better option, use him in Week 10.
Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears
While Adrian Peterson just had a big game against the Rams last week, the St. Louis defense has allowed just two running backs to rush for more than 100 yards (Peterson and Matt Jones, Week 2). The Rams have allowed only five touchdowns to opposing running backs (four rushing, one receiving). Langford looked good in Week 9, but the Rams' defense is tougher than the Chargers'. He'll be OK as a RB2, but don't expect the type of game the rookie had on Monday night. With the short week and the trip to St. Louis, he won't put up the same numbers.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
While Stewart has been quietly putting together a solid season, he faces a tough matchup this week. The Titans have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. They've allowed just four touchdowns to opposing running backs, and Stewart only has three scores on the year. With Cam Newton stealing goal-line work, Stewart's value comes on the ground (he hasn't had more than one reception since Week 1). He still has value this week, but as a low-end RB2/high RB3.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
While there have been some weeks where Maclin has been close to a WR1, for Week 10, he is the 30th-ranked wide receiver. The reason? He's playing the Denver Broncos, who have shut down wide receivers all season. They have allowed one wide receiver to score a touchdown (Mike Wallace, Week 4). While the Chiefs' offense isn't exactly a powerhouse, it looks like this will be a down game for Maclin, who has been on a decline recently.
Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Between his injury and the lack of use, Thomas is nearing the point where he could be found on waiver wires. While the Ravens give up the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, they give up the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. In the four games that Thomas has been back, he has 13 receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. Most of that came in one game against Houston, where he had seven catches for 78 yards and his lone score. In a tough matchup, Thomas is barely in the top 20 of the tight end rankings for Week 10.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.