Exploiting the Matchups: Week 10 Start/Sit

Exploiting the Matchups: Week 10 Start/Sit

This article is part of our Exploiting the Matchups series.

Why write an intro when I've already written so much this week? (Check it out if you haven't already.)

Backfield Breakdown (Monday)

Target Breakdown (Tuesday)

Streaming Defenses (Tuesday)

And now, Start/Sit and Streamers for Week 10...

Unless otherwise noted, references to 'fantasy points' are based on PPR scoring with 25/10 yards per point and 4/6 points for TDs. Start % comes from Yahoo, as of Wednesday night / Thursday morning.

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Ryan Tannehill (vs. NO)

45% started

Jeremy McNichols, Adrian Peterson and D'Onta Foreman are up against a New Orleans run defense that leads the league in YPC (3.2), rushing yards allowed (73.8) and DVOA (-37.4%). Against the pass, New Orleans has been solid but not nearly as dominant (12th in DVOA, 23rd in NY/A), with yardage (273.3 per game) partially negating the impact of 11 interceptions.

The burden thus figures to fall on Tannehill's shoulders this Sunday, and with A.J. Brown and Julio Jones finally both healthy at the same time — knock on wood — the 33-year-old QB will have plenty of help. If the Saints put CB Marshon Lattimore on Brown, they'll likely give Jones a primary matchup with third-round rookie Paulson Adebo, PFF's No. 110 corner out of 117 qualifiers. Plus, the Titans might be able to get Brown away from Lattimore if they put him in the slot, where the Saints may have C.J. Gardner-Johnson out of the lineup with a foot injury.

Writer's Note: Jones tweaked his hammy in Thursday's practice, a few hours after we published this. We may or may not have jinxed him by writing "knock on wood" without actually knocking on any wood. Or his hamstring never actually got healthy.... who's to say.



Running Backs


Devonta Freeman (at MIA)

26% started

The Baltimore backfield has been an adventure this year, with Freeman now the third guy to make multiple starts. His first yielded just four carries and 40 percent snap share but 12.9 PPR points thanks to a TD and three catches, while his second start was closer to a "normal" workload with 13 carries and three targets (plus another TD) on 58 percent of snaps.

While we can't exactly guarantee 50-plus percent snap share and 15-plus looks again, Freeman does appear headed for another start Thursday night with Latavius Murray (ankle) doubtful to play against a middling Miami run defense that ranks 18th in DVOA and 15th in YPC allowed (4.3). Freeman also has been the most active pass-catcher of any RB to play alongside Lamar Jackson, bringing in eight of 12 targets for 63 yards and a TD over the past four games.


Nyheim Hines (vs. JAX)

32% started

A repeat of last week's 20-point performance is asking too much, but Hines should at least come in above his season average with Indy sitting on the fourth largest implied total (29.0) of Week 10. If you're on the fence, the tiebreaker is active/inactive status for Marlon Mack, who was a healthy scratch for last Thursday's win over the Jets, contributing to Hines' largest snap share (45%) since Week 3.



Wide Receivers


Julio Jones (vs. NO)

44% started

It's increasingly clear Jones is a distant No. 2 to A.J. Brown in the Tennessee passing game, though the distinction does have its advantages, especially against teams that often use their top cornerback in shadow coverage. As a former resident of the NFC South, Julio surely knows the Saints to be one of those teams, with Lattimore often following the No. 1 (much to Mike Evans' chagrin) while Adebo and Bradley Roby rotate at the other perimeter corner spot. Most important, however, is that Jones finally seems to be healthy, handling a 74 percent snap share on Sunday before being removed from the injury report this week. It probably won't last long, but we could see a few vintage games if/while it does.

Writer's Note: Jones reinjured/tweaked his hamstring during Thursday's practice.


Mike Williams (vs. MIN)

79% started

Williams finished his last three games with single-digit PPR points and exactly five targets, leaving him with 16 fewer targets than teammate Keenan Allen for the season. That might mean Allen is still the team's true No. 1 receiver, but Williams nonetheless remains miles ahead of his pace from any previous season, averaging 4.6 catches for 71.9 yards and 0.75 TDs on a healthy 8.3 targets per game. His recent struggles came in a contest against the Patriots and shadow matchups with CBs Darius Slay (Philly) and Marlon Humphrey (Baltimore), while this week Williams should mostly face Minnesota's subpar duo of Cameron Dantzler and Bashaud Breeland (groin). (Or 2019 seventh-round pick Kris Boyd if Breeland can't play).

Marvin Jones (vs. IND)

32% started

Life without D.J. Chark has been less fruitful than most of Jones' fantasy managers imagined, with the 31-year-old averaging 4.0 catches for 45.3 yards and 0.25 TDs on 7.3 targets in four games. Unimpressive, but the market shares still check out, more or less, with Jones accounting for 19.1 percent of Jacksonville's targets and 35.7 percent air yards post-Chark. More production eventually will follow, especially this Sunday against a pass-funnel Colts defense that's given up a league-high 23 TDs through the air.



Tight End


Noah Fant 

20% started

Fant was reinstated from the COVID list Wednesday afternoon, while backup tight end Albert Okwuegbunam (knee) was absent from practice to start the week. Better yet, Fant is facing an Eagles defense that's given up the third most PPR points (17.4 per game) to tight ends this season, despite shutting down Travis Kelce (4-23-0) and (seemingly) catching a break when Darren Waller wasn't able to play against them. The Eagles have given up some big games to starters and surprising lines to backups, with only Tampa Bay facing more passes thrown to tight ends this season (70).



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Kirk Cousins (at LAC)

38% started

By most metrics, the Chargers have a top-10 pass defense and the league's worst run defense. They've given up the fourth fewest points to QBs and the eighth most to RBs, despite facing Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts through their first eight games. In terms of DVOA, the Chargers rank ninth against the pass and 32nd against the run. If you like traditional stats, they've given up 24.7 more rushing yards per game than the 31st-place Texans, while only the Bills and Panthers have allowed fewer passing yards. Cousins still needs to be started in two-QB/superflex leagues, but he's well outside the Top 10 in a matchup that looks far more favorable for Dalvin Cook



Running Backs


James Robinson or Carlos Hyde (at IND)

57% started

Robinson's history of production makes it tough to bench him, but this is a spot where it might actually make sense, if he even ends up playing this weekend. He missed Sunday's 9-6 win over the Bills with a heel injury, and while Hyde got 79 percent of snaps and 22 touches, he finished with only 73 total yards, a lost fumble, no TD and 7.3 PPR points. 

The matchup was a factor, to be sure, but it'll be just as bad this Sunday in Indianapolis against a defense that ranks 2nd in DVOA against the run, eighth in YPC (4.0) and 31st in fantasy points allowed to RBs. You'd still auto-start Robinson if you knew he'd get his normal workload, but that isn't necessarily the case coming off an injury. And if Hyde gets the nod again, he's a low-end RB2 despite the workload potential, considering he has talent, matchup and team context all working against him. 


Michael Carter (vs. BUF)

54% started

Carter gets the same deal as Robinson/Hyde, in reverse — back-to-back nightmare matchups with Indianapolis and Buffalo. In the first game, last Thursday night, Carter managed only 9.6 PPR points on 14 touches, with his snap share slipping to 58 percent as the Jets continued to use Ty Johnson in comeback mode even after Carter had caught 17 passes over the previous two games. The good news? Carter should get back on track Week 11 (vs. MIA) and Week 12 (at HOU).



Wide Receivers


Jakobi Meyers (vs. CLE)

33% started

While Meyers' target volume should rebound this week — especially if RBs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are unable to clear concussion protocol — efficiency looks like even more of a problem than usual against a Cleveland defense that has three impressive cornerbacks in Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome and Troy Hill. The Browns even seem to be avoiding blown coverages lately, and the past three weeks they held each of Courtland Sutton, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins to less than 100 yards and no touchdown. This doesn't look like the same defense that got dragged all over the field Weeks 5 and 6 against the Chargers and Cardinals.


Elijah Moore (vs. BUF)

21% started

Moore is running hot right now and may very well keep it going in the second half of the season, but he runs into two big problems this weekend with Corey Davis (hip) on track to return from a two-game absence for a matchup with Buffalo's top-five pass defense. While Moore has obviously been too good to simply disappear, there is significant danger of a smaller workload than last week. 

Even then, Moore played only 60 percent of offensive snaps last Thursday en route to his 7-84-2 breakout against Indianapolis, after seeing just 36 percent snap share versus Cincinnati in the first game Davis missed. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur may eventually unleash the rookie in a full-time role, but for now we should probably expect the frustrating rotations at wide receiver to continue, and there's no question swapping out Denzel Mims (reserve/COVID-19) for Corey Davis would be an L for Moore this week.



Tight End


Jared Cook (vs. MIN)

32% started

Already losing some work to Donald Parham each week, Cook reached a new low of 42 percent snap share in the Week 9 win over Philadelphia when No. 3 TE Stephen Anderson took on a larger role (4-39-1, 45 percent of snaps). That's not to say Anderson will steal as much work this week, but it's another cause for concern with Cook, whose box score otherwise showed no real sign of trouble against the Eagles (4-48-0 with a two-point conversion). His role, however, has been trending down for a few weeks now, and Sunday's matchup with Minnesota likely will encourage the Chargers to attack with their WRs and RBs rather than the TE/slot barrage that beat Philly.



Streaming Picks

For Shallow Leagues (40-66 percent rostered)

QB Matt Ryan (at DAL)

RB Devonta Freeman (at MIA

RB Nyheim Hines (vs. JAX)

WR Van Jefferson (at SF)

TE Pat Freiermuth (vs. DET)

K Ryan Succop (at WAS)

K Chris Boswell (vs. DET)

Tennessee Titans (vs. NO)


For Medium-depth Leagues (15-39 percent rostered)

QB Ben Roethlisberger (vs. DET)

RB Brandon Bolden (vs. CLE)

RB Alex Collins (at GB) - if Chris Carson (neck) is out again.

WR Tim Patrick (vs. PHI)

WR Marquez Callaway (at TEN)

WR Russell Gage (at DAL)

TE Dan Arnold (at IND)

TE Tyler Conklin (at LAC)

K Michael Badgley (vs. JAX)

D/ST Chargers (vs. MIN)


For Deep Leagues (under 15 percent rostered)

QB Taylor Heinicke (vs. TB)

RB J.J. Taylor (vs. CLE) - if Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson (concussions) are out.

RB Eno Benjamin vs. CAR

RB Rhamondre Stevenson - if Harris is out but Stevenson plays.

RB Giovani Bernard (at WAS)

WR Zach Pascal (vs. JAX)

WR James Washington (vs. DET)

TE Ricky Seals-Jones (vs. TB)

TE Geoff Swaim (vs. NO)

K Dustin Hopkins (vs. MIN)

D/ST Eagles (at DEN)


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Jerry Donabedian
Jerry was a 2018 finalist for the FSWA's Player Notes Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year awards. A Baltimore native, Jerry roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.
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