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NFL Fantasy Football Breakdown – 2016 Week 10

Week nine is in the books, and it sure was a fun one. This week will see six teams return to action, with four teams [Indianapolis/Oakland/Buffalo/Detroit] going on bye. Typically, I just give a brief account for each game, but with the CFL being done for the year, I can devote a little more time to our NFL content. I’ll expand what I usually do, and try to cover the games more thoroughly. This should act as a pretty solid starting point to figure out who make for good fantasy plays.


Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens – Total: 45; Spread: -10 Cincinnati


Week nine was another week full of disappointment for the Cleveland Browns and their fans. Now, on a short week, the team will travel to Baltimore to take on their former self, and divisional rival Baltimore Ravens. The Browns are going to have a tough time moving the ball on a Ravens defense that is probably a little bit underrated. Vegas tends to agree with this. I think the Browns will be playing from behind, which certainly benefits mostly Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman. This issue here is that I think a lot of Pryor’s value stemmed from Coleman being out of action, and even though he developed a nice rapport with Kessler during that time, Coleman is still the superior player and it will only be a matter of time before he is the one that starts putting up the big stat lines. All things considered, I would consider those two tournament plays, but I am more inclined to just stay away altogether.


The Ravens have entered into an interesting situation. After a few weeks of having a solid running game, the wheels completely fell off over the last several weeks, and they were unable to get anything going on the ground. The Browns actually do have a decent run defense, and I think they are talented enough to stymie a clearly stunted running game. This will open up the passing game for the Ravens. While he has been a giant disappointment this year, I think you have to consider Dennis Pitta. Jamie Collins should turn into a nice player in this defense, but he was routinely out of place, allowing a huge day to Jason Witten. I think this poses a decent chance for Pitta to finally have a big game, and potentially getting into the end zone as well. Mike Wallace is always a nice tournament option who could scorch the Browns for a score, and Steve Smith Sr. could also turn in a big game. I don’t think I’m going to look at Joe Flacco, as I think this should probably stay lower scoring and I don’t see him having a big game, even relative to his price.


Green Bay Packers @ Tennessee Titans – Total: 48.5; Spread: -2.5 Green Bay


Aaron Rodgers likely had his fantasy owners having fits Sunday afternoon, entering the fourth quarter with just over 11 standard fantasy points. He finished over 27, but it surely was a scary ride. He’s going to be a quarterback you consistently want to look at, as this team isn’t getting it done on the ground. Rodgers himself account for 40% of the teams rushing yards against the Colts. The Tennessee defense is overhyped, and Rodgers will have plenty of time to go to work. I usually want to use him at home, but in the situation this team is in, I’ll gladly take my chances with them on the road. Beyond that, things can get a little bit hazy. No receiver made it over the 100 yard mark for the second week in a row, though, again for a second week in a row, Jordy Nelson finished with over 90 yards on 13 targets. The targets are definitely there for Nelson, and he’s probably the one I would have the most exposure to. Randall Cobb should be even healthier this week, which does concern me, and now Nelson, Cobb and Davante Adams will be fighting for targets, with Ty Montgomery getting a lot of the check down work out of the backfield. For this reason, Rodgers is the only one I could consider for cash games, but the rest my good tournament options.


Marcus Mariota has transformed into one of the better fantasy quarterbacks as of late, and this game provides another situation for him to have a big game. He’s still making a ton of mistakes, which does reduce his upside, but still, he’s getting it done. DeMarco Murray had another less than stellar game, but this Packers defense has been abused over the past few weeks, including by Frank Gore this weekend. I think he’s a solid tournament play. Kendall Wright is more likely than anyone else to make a big play, but he’s still relegated as a part time player. Rishard Matthews has seen his targets and production go up, and he makes for a sneaky tournament play this weekend. Delanie Walker continues to disappoint, but should still stick on your radar, but is likely nothing better than a low-end option.


Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins – Total: 42.5; Spread: -2.5 Washington


At one point in the season, the Vikings were a team that looked like they couldn’t be messed with. Times have certainly changed. The Redskins will be well rested coming off their bye week, and that will pose a tough test to this team. For the most part, I’m not interested in either Jerrick McKinnon or Matt Asiata, but as crazy as it might sound, Ronnie Hillman looked pretty decent this weekend. He’s kind of a very deep tournament punt that could rip off a long run against a Redskins defense that has struggled against the run this year. Stefon Diggs is a target monster, so especially on a site like DraftKings, he needs to be considered. He didn’t even score a touchdown and still had a relatively huge game. Kyle Rudolph should be doing better than he is, but Sam Bradford doesn’t really look his way. Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson are both deep tournament options as well, but I’m mainly focusing in on Diggs here.


Washington will be in prime playing shape after coming off the bye, and they should be reasonably healthy. Their running game is a little tough to read, especially if Matt Jones returns. Even though they got burned by Jordan Howard, I still respect the Vikings run defense enough that I think we can look elsewhere this week. After seeing what Golden Tate did to them last week, I really like the outlook for Jamison Crowder this week, who is priced cheaply throughout the industry. He seems to be Kirk Cousins security blanket even more than Jordan Reed, so I think we could see 7-9 targets for him, and he could eclipse 100 yards for the third straight game. Jordan Reed should be in good shape as well here. I don’t mind Kirk Cousins, though again, I think we can find better options elsewhere. DeSean Jackson, as always, remains a fair tournament option.


Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Total: 48; Spread: -1 Tampa Bay


Last time we saw the Chicago Bears, they were tearing through the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. No one really saw that one coming, and now the Bears will be traveling south to take on a much worse defense in Tampa Bay. Jordan Howard is the top play in this offense for me, as he should find plenty of opportunities to break into long runs and the upside for a touchdown is certainly there. He’s priced very nicely on al fantasy sites, and is an excellent play in either format this week. Jay Cutler isn’t someone I’m going to be considering, despite the fact that he’s in a nice matchup. Alshon Jeffery finally made it into the end zone last two weeks ago, and I think he’s in play here, as Jay Cutler is working to force feed him. Cameron Meredith has gone from a cash game lock to a risky tournament play, as Cutler doesn’t look his way as much as Jeffery. The price is down, so there is some appeal to buying in low. Zach Miller is also on the radar.


There is a giant question mark here, as Jameis Winston took a hard hit at the end of the game against Atlanta on Thursday and is questionable. If he is unable to go, I would assume that all of the teams options take a hit. Chicago’s defense isn’t as poor as many think it is, but I still think there is room for the Bucs offense to have a decent day. It will be tough for Mike Evans to replicate his stats from the teams previous game, but he’s always on the tournament radar. The running game is in shambles at this point and time, and I think you’ll find better options elsewhere. Cameron Brate is probably the last guy I would consider using on this team, in tournaments only.


Kansas City Chiefs @ Carolina Panthers – Total: 44.5; Spread: -3 Carolina


There is a lot going on here for Kansas City that makes it difficult to assess, but let’s give it our best shot. Alex Smith should be back for this one, after Nick Foles looked not so great against a questionable Jacksonville defense. Charcandrick West squandered his opportunity, and I don’t love this matchup for him here either. Spencer Ware would certainly be a different story. Jeremy Maclin aggravated his injury, but he isn’t really much of a fantasy asset at this point anyway. Travis Kelce could have done a little bit more, but he let the refs get to him and was ejected. I’m not sure if there will be a suspension, but I think it’s unlikely. Tyreek Hill continues to get more and more involved in this offense, so I would consider him a tournament play moving forward.


The Panthers were solid but unimpressive this weekend, and it’s tough to say how they could look against the Chiefs. Cam Newton hasn’t looked good for a few weeks now, but this is a decent opportunity for him to get back on track. With his upside, you’ll always at least need to consider him as a tournament option. I’m fine with not playing Jonathan Stewart this weekend. Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin make decent tournament plays, and at least Benjamin will carry lower ownership because of the perception of the quality of the Chiefs defense.


Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles – Total: 49.5; Spread: Pick ‘Em


The Atlanta Falcons are rolling this year, and will come up against a Philadelphia Eagles defense heading in the wrong direction at the wrong time. While we always want to pick our players on their home field, the usual suspects of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman are all in play again this week. I think you can make a case for Mohamed Sanu or Taylor Gabriel to be used as a punt option that could pay off due to their lower price, and the likely attention that Julio Jones will get. One of my favorite plays will be Austin Hooper again this week after he came through at a solid price or as a waiver wire pickup last week against the Bucs.


The Eagles are a horribly frustrating team to decipher for fantasy purposed. The backfield is a complete and total mess, though I’d probably side with Darren Sproles in a matchup like this. Carson Wentz could very well end up with another 300+ yard day, but the likelihood is that the targets will be spread out. I was really big into Dorial Green-Beckham this last weekend, and I don’t regret it at all, as he saw 3 red zone targets, but was over thrown on all of them. That will change one of these days, and I will continue to use him at minimum or close to minimum price in a few lineups. Jordan Matthews is still in play, as he is the top receiver on this team that should be passing a lot. Bryce Treggs was used in this offense a lot this past week, and I think he could be a decent punt option. I actually like Zach Ertz this week. That never seems to be the greatest direction to go, as he can completely disappear, but in a game that Wentz threw a lot in, Ertz was a popular target. This Atlanta defense can give it up to tight ends, so he is a nice play at his price this week.


Los Angeles Rams @ New York Jets – Total: 41; Spread: -2 New York


This is easily the least appealing game on the slate. The Rams will be traveling on the road with Case Keenum under center again. For once, he wasn’t to blame for the team losing to the Panthers, but rather it was poor receiver play. The Jets are definitely beatable through the air, but I’m just not buying in on Keenum. Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin are low-end tournament options. Todd Gurley has vanished, and while I am confident he’s going to bust out eventually, it doesn’t look like this week. I would consider the Rams defense, even on the road.


Ryan Fitzpatrick is currently dealing with an MCL sprain, but should play. I’m not sure whether that is good or bad news. I don’t like Matt Forte in this game, despite having three solid games in a row. Brandon Marshall is always on the table when in comes to tournaments, but I’m not in love with him by any means this week. Quincy Enunwa and Jalin Marshall have some appeal, but it isn’t much. Like Los Angeles, I think my favorite play is likely to be the defense.


Denver Broncos @ New Orleans Saints – Total: 48; Spread: -1.5 New Orleans

This is certainly going to be an interesting situation, as the Broncos looked awful on the road against division rival Raiders. Even though the Saints are a step down in competition, at least I think, I still think there could be some struggles. Trevor Semien doesn’t fit the bill of someone who is likely to have a huge day against the Saints. Devonta Booker looked awful yesterday, but should still have the opportunity to bounce back against a defense that made DuJuan Harris look like Adrian Peterson. There is still upside with both Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, but their prices came up and they will only be as good as their quarterback play allows.


Drew Brees at home is always a lock. The Denver defense, especially the run defense, hasn’t looked as good as many people make them out to be. With that said, I would put Mark Ingram as a low end tournament option with pretty good upside. I think Drew Brees should be viewed as a tournament option only. I think he could certainly put together a good game against them, but this could be a highly motivated defense come Sunday. Michael Thomas is a touchdown catching machine, and Brandin Cooks plays much, much better at home. Those are the plays I would consider on the New Orleans side of the ball.


Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars – Total: 42.5; Spread: -1 Houston


This should certainly be an interesting situation with two offenses that just don’t seem to be putting it together this year. Brock Osweiler isn’t someone I’m going to use anytime soon. He brings everyone outside of C.J. Fiedorowitz down with him due to his poor play. I think he’ll find a tough time here again, as the Jacksonville defense has some improving pieces. Lamar Miller is an interesting tournament option here, as the offense is almost certainly going to have to run through him this week.


On the Jacksonville side of things, I cannot imagine using Blake Bortles or any of his receivers. The Texans can definitely keep this passing attack at bay, which makes their defense worth playing since I didn’t mention it above. One player I do have some interest in is Chris Ivory. He looked very good running the ball, and at times, the Texans run defense hasn’t looked great. Your almost guaranteed to have him at low to now ownership.


Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers – Total: 48; Spread: -3 San Diego


The Dolphins appear to be a fairly one-dimensional team at this point. Even in a matchup with the Jets and their stifling run defense, Jay Ajayi was the only one on the team who benefitted. We all thought that it would be Ryan Tannehill and Jarvis Landry, but Adam Gase is absolutely intent on having Ajayi handle the team’s offense. He basically said as much in his interview after the game. For me, I think Landry will always be a reasonable tournament option, especially as his price falls, but Ajayi is the one I really want to focus on, especially in a good matchup here.


The Chargers are going to go up against an improving Dolphins defense, but have some strong options. I don’t think you’ll see have any of the receivers come through with tournament winning games, but there are still a few guys I think that could benefit here. First, Melvin Gordon is awesome. If you are like me, you grabbed him in the middle rounds of your fantasy drafts and never looked back. He’s a solid play once again. Philip Rivers is a decent option, but I think you could do better, but I don’t hate it in cash games. Finally, Antonio Gates is still Rivers’ top option and is always up for a multi-touchdown game.


Dallas Cowboys @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Total: 50; Spread: -2.5 Pittsburgh


The Cowboys look to continue their roll as they come into Pittsburgh for one of the biggest games they’ve played this year. Ezekiel Elliott should find more usage this week than last, where he was not needed for pretty much the entire fourth quarter. Dak Prescott, as long as he is still playing quarterback for the team, is also in play here. Dez Bryant had a pretty bad game last week by his standards, and I think this game will stay competitive enough that they will have no choice but to get him involved.


Ben Roethlisberger looked like he rushed back from injury for three quarters of this game, before finally looking potent in the fourth quarter. I love this spot for him here, and his price is kind of depressed around the industry. Antonio Brown is my top receiving option of the week, and his price as well is down from where it was at. Dallas got beat by Terrelle Pryor a few teams, and I think if they are without Barry Church and Morris Claiborne again, Brown should eat. If Sammie Coates can hold on to the ball, he makes an interesting tournament option. Le’Veon Bell should be much better than he was last week, and is playable in both formats.


San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals – Total: 48.5; Spread: -13.5 Arizona


Let’s save a lot of time here: there is really no need to consider anyone from the 49ers. There’s contrarian and then there’s stupid; this would be stupid.


Arizona certainly does have some appeal, and for me, I think it likely comes down to three players. First and foremost is David Johnson. He’s easily the top option at running back on this slate and should be used in all formats. Next up would be Larry Fitzgerald, who is Carson Palmer’s favorite target, and highly likely to put up a double-digit fantasy game. Finally, J.J. Nelson carries a lot of appeal in tournaments due to his top end speed that can easily result in touchdowns against a poor Niners defense. Oh, also, we can’t forget about the Cardinals defense, who should find themselves in a good position again this week.


Seattle Seahawks @ New England Patriots – Total: 48.5; Spread: -7.5 New England


At the beginning of the season, this is probably one of the games that people had circled on their calendar, but as the year has gone on, the Seahawks just don’t look good. With the backfield starting to fill up, with Thomas Rawls possibly getting work this week and C.J. Prosise getting involved in the passing game, I’m fine with staying away. Russell Wilson hasn’t looked good enough to trust putting into your lineup, and I can see this game getting out of hand with Seattle on the road. This could very well be a one-sided, unexciting Sunday night game.


Even though I think New England will get the win, it could be one of those situations where there isn’t a ton of fantasy production. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are good bets to make a few of my tournament lineups, but I won’t go with them in cash games. Really, there is no one else that catches my eye and says “play me”. While it is true that you could grab an advantage by using what will likely be low owned plays, it’s tough to say how much upside any of them really have in this matchup.


Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Giants – Total: 47; Spread: -2 New York


The final game of the week will see the Bengals travel to New York to take on the Giants. The Giants pass defense is awful, which certainly puts Andy Dalton in play. We haven’t seen too many, if any, big games out of him, but I suspect this will be one. As a result, A.J. Green has to be on our radar as a top tier play, and Tyler Eifert will probably be another highly owned option with a ton of upside. Brandon LaFell seems to only catch passes when they are touchdowns, and one would hope that Tyler Boyd has a big game, and this could be it. The running game isn’t my favorite, but Giovani Bernard has upside as a pass catching back. Jeremy Hill is a deep tournament option that will be overlooked as the way to attack New York is through the air.


The Giants looked pretty good against a tough Philadelphia defense, and I think we could see Eli perform in roughly the same manner in this game. He’s a decent sleep candidate for a big game, and Odell Beckham seems to have taken a turn in a positive direction. They have to rely on the passing game, so a guy like Sterling Shepard is also in play. The backfield is a mess at this point, so I would rather just star away from it altogether.


That wraps it up for this week!