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Play Em’ or Bench Em’: Week 10

Hello owners,
The final 4 weeks of the fantasy football regular season is upon us; for most leagues anyway. Clearly at this point the playoff race is pretty much set and owners are playing for seeding now. Sure there are some people looking in with a chance still willing to fight for a spot, which is okay and I encourage you to get after it. Let’s keep it short and sweet this week while we just jump into action with the players. This week I’m playing and benching the following!

Play Em’


-Matthew Stafford v. Cleveland Browns

  • The Lions are starting to click on all cylinders again after they had their bye week. Stafford has yards over the last two weeks and he’ll look to add to that total this week against a Browns defense ranked versus quarterbacks. The Lions are a popular pick to make a run for a play-off push in the final weeks of the season and it all starts with franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford. This is a home game for the Lions where he always plays out of his mind. The Browns are actually solid at stopping the run, so if Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick are non-effective Stafford will be in line for another big day.

-Andy Dalton at Tennessee Titans

  • There is some speculation that AJ Green could get suspended for this game, but regardless of the pro-bowl receivers status I think Andy Dalton can put some points on the board in this game. The Tennessee Titans have not impressed me very much this season and have beaten either bad teams and/or teams that are struggling. The Bengals would fall under the struggling team category, but the Titans have been very generous to opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers this year. Dalton has been pretty solid this year when he’s not playing against a top defensive unit. Dalton has averaged 26.45 points this year when facing non top defenses this year. Coincidentally enough all of those games have been on the road too. I know you might be worried heading into the game, but I’m telling you to start the Bengals signal caller.

-Matt Ryan v. Dallas Cowboys

  • Last year’s MVP hasn’t had a game better than 22 points, which is his only over 20 all season. However, this Falcons team is too talented to continue their struggles at the mid-point of the season. I truly believe they’ll turn it around at some point this season. I figured it’d be last week against a divisional rival, but the Panthers defense came away victorious once again. This week is a red-hot Dallas Cowboys team with a defense playing better than expected. This is Matt Ryan’s last chance to prove all the doubters wrong this season. If he can’t deliver this week he might not make this list again this year, but I have faith he’ll have his best statistical game of the season this week.

-Eli Manning at San Francisco 49ers

  • Many of you might question my intelligence after reading that. Eli Manning as a play em’? Listen, I know it’s been rough waters for Manning and the Giants offense this year, but just hear me out before you exit out. First off the 49ers give up the 3rd most points to opposing quarterbacks. Does that keep you interested? Good, let’s continue then. The 49ers have suffered injury after injury this season. Last week they lost yet another defender in Jaquiski Tartt. Back to back weeks the team lost starting safeties to a fractured forearm as Jimmie Ward went down the week prior. Eli Manning hasn’t done much this season to feel confident in starting him, but this week he should reward those owners who have stuck with him all this time.

-Ben Roethlisberger at Indianapolis Colts

  • The Steelers have struggled on the road this year, okay Roethlisberger has struggled on the road this year, but this is a very favorable match up that happens to be in a dome! The Steelers are coming off their bye week and the Colts are a bottom 5 team. It doesn’t look pretty for the Colts this week. The Colts give up the 10th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the Steelers are clicking at the right time. All players of the Pittsburgh Steelers should be started this week. Maybe even a Martavius Bryant break-out game? Okay maybe not that far, but if it happens you heard it here first! Start the leader of the killer B’s this week.


-Josh McCown at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Who would have thought that after week 9 of the NFL season the New York Jets would have been closer to a play-off bid than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This will be the last week I can use Josh McCown as a “streamer” seeing as how he’s the 10th ranked quarterback in fantasy this season. Shocking of course, but we all know name value can mean so much more than production sometimes. McCown has had two games under 14 points and that was at the Buffalo Bills in week one and against a stout Jacksonville Jaguars team that’s shut down most quarterbacks this season. McCown should be considered a weekly starter in most leagues. This week he gets a juicy match up against a bottom 3 defense versus’ opposing quarterbacks. McCown has top 5 potential this week and should be started over players like Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson to name a few.

Running Back

-Leonard Fournette v. Los Angeles Chargers

  • The last 3 weeks for the first round rookie have been less than ideal. Fournette had a bye week sandwiched by two inactives. One due to injury while the other was for violating a team rule. No matter though, he has fresh legs and 3 weeks of frustration to take out on a Chargers team that’s struggled to stop opposing runners. Fournette is an underrated candidate for rookie of the year and has posted at least one touchdown in every game he’s played in this year. I can see him getting back to work and having a 100+ total yard day with another score.

-CJ Anderson v. New England Patriots (Sunday Night)

  • Anderson missed the last meeting between these two teams in 2016, but the year before that he exploded with 113 yards, 2 touchdowns while adding 4 receptions for 40 yards. He was truly the MVP for the Broncos as they won in overtime that year. The Patriots defense is nowhere close to the level of talent that squad was, so Anderson could repeat as the MVP for the Broncos this week on prime-time Sunday Night football. Oddly enough the starting quarterback in that game wasn’t Peyton Manning, it was Brock Osweiler and he’ll be the starter again (at least he is the time this posted). The Broncos are on a 4- game losing streak and this game is just set up perfectly for them to “bounce back”. I know there are questions regarding his starting job, but he still holds the mass majority of the touches out of all the backs for Denver. They’ll feed their beast this week and you should have him in your lineup.

-Doug Martin v. New York Jets

  • Jameis Winston has been ruled out for this game and that means backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will fill in. The Harvard graduate is no stranger to starting in this league, but playing at a high level on a consistent basis has been the issue. I expect a heavy dosage of the running game to help the Buccaneers offense click and put points on the board, which it’s failed to do often the past couple of weeks. Doug Martin struggled last week like much of the Buccaneers offensive players did, but outside of shutting down LeSean McCoy last week the Jets have been generous to running backs this year. Factor in that top receiver Mike Evans is suspended for this game and the Buccaneers will have to rely on their best remaining play-maker. Doug Martin should get a healthy amount of touches this game.

-Jordan Howard v. Green Bay Packers

  • In the first meeting between these two teams it was Mike Glennon playing Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau field. This time around it’s Brett Hundley playing Mitchell Trubisky at Soldier field. Jordan Howard in the first match up had 63 total yards with a touchdown and there is no reason as to why he can’t surpass that this time around. Since Trubiksy came onto the scene, the running attack for the Bears has been one of the best in the league. The Packers rush defense hasn’t been up to par this season and could let Howard and his side-kick Tarik Cohen run wild in this contest.


-Orleans Darkwa at San Francisco 49ers

  • The Giants have been a moving carousal of mixed emotions and starting players this year. Talking about just the backfield though, it appears Orleans Darkwa is the clear favorite as the #1 guy moving forward this season. He’s out scored every other running back on the roster the last few weeks and continues to get around 10 points during that stretch as well. this week he gets a match up against the 3rd worst defense against the run. If you need a flex play or need a deep running back start, Darkwa is your guy this week.

Wide Receiver

-Demaryius Thomas v. New England Patriots

  • Believe it or not, but Brock Osweiler boosts Thomas’ fantasy value. Last week against the Eagles the Broncos top wide out found the end-zone for the first time this season on a bubble screen. This week he’ll get an even more favorable match up against a Patriots secondary that gives up the 2nd most points to receivers. Thomas has historically had good games versus the Patriot’s defense and I can see him doing so again this week. He may only have one touchdown in 6 career games versus the Patriots, but he averages 6 receptions for 98.5 yards receiving with 11 targets. There’s only been once he didn’t have double digit targets in this rivalry, which oddly enough is the game he had his lone touchdown. I like Thomas’ chances this week and he has the history to back it up.

-Robert Woods v. Houston Texans

  • The Rams are on fire right now. Jared Goff is showing the world why he was the #1 overall pick a year ago under new head coach Sean McVay. The Texans are missing a lot of good defensive pieces and it showed last week against the Colts. TY Hilton carved up the Texans defense last week and Robert Woods has a similar playing style. Hilton had 5 receptions for 175 yards and 2 touchdowns. Robert Woods is slowly becoming Goff’s favorite targets and has double digit points in 4 straight games in PPR leagues. I would start the #1 receiver on one of the hottest offenses in the league right now.

-AJ Green at Tennessee Titans

  • Just because AJ Green got in a fight doesn’t mean I’ll eject him from this column. Green has struggled the last 3 weeks which is why he’s mentioned here. I’m giving owner’s confidence this week that he’ll bounce back in a big way versus the Titans. The Titans give up a lot of points to opposing #1 receivers and Green is truly one of the best in the game. It’s been rough of the last month as a Green owner, but things are about to turn the corner for you and if I were you I’d anticipate his best game since week 5 when he was close to 30 points.

-Doug Baldwin at Arizona Cardinals (Thursday Night)

  • The Arizona Cardinals defense isn’t as good as it usually is this year. Injuries and holes in key areas are the biggest issues for the red birds of the West. This week they’ll have trouble stopping Doug Baldwin as they give up the 4th most points to receivers on the year. Baldwin has double digit points in 3 straight games where he has at least 6 receptions, 50 yards and has two touchdowns. The second half of the season is where Russell Wilson and Baldwin go off on offense and it’s starting to show. Seeing the Cardinals on the schedule and knowing they’ve had a tough defense for years and this game is always hard fought might worry some, but it’ll be okay. Also pro-bowl corner Patrick Peterson won’t shadow Baldwin too often as he tends to stay in the slot. Baldwin will get matched with Justin Bethal, who’s given up big play after big play this year, or a linebacker which is mismatch in itself.

Tight End

-Eric Ebron v. Cleveland Browns

  • Start Eric Ebron? What are you serious!? Yes, yes I am. Sure Ebron hasn’t been an ideal start on a weekly basis, but watching the last two weeks the Lions are trying to get him the ball. Ebron is searching for another touchdown since getting his first and only in week two. This week is a very favorable match up against the Cleveland Browns who give up the third most points to tight ends. If you’re in a pinch and feeling ballsy, go with the Eric Ebron.

-Kyle Rudolph at Washington Redskins

  • The Washington Redskins give up the fourth most points to tight ends and Kyle Rudolph has been a consistent threat for the Vikings all year long. What makes Rudolph even more attractive in this matchup is that he’s heavily utilized in the red-zone and possesses touchdown value any given week. With the Vikings coming off a bye week I’m sure they have some offensive packages dialed up to get all their play-makers into the end-zone. I’m trusting him and you should too.

-Delanie Walker v. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Last week Delanie Walker battled through a bone bruise in his leg last week and still led the team in receptions and yards. Walker is splitting time with rookie Jonnu Smith and still finding ways to produce on the field. The Bengals defense hasn’t been as good in recent weeks and has let big play after big play happen. Walker is still searching for his first receiving touchdown on the season and I think he gets it this week in what could be a sneaky shoot-out game.

-Evan Engram at San Francisco 49ers

  • The 49ers defense has been somewhat tough on opposing tight ends this season, but they haven’t played a player like Evan Engram yet. Engram is best play-maker remaining left on the Giants roster and Eli Manning is force feeding him. Engram causes issues for defense as he’s a receiver in a tight ends body. The Giants line him up all over the field and he is a mismatch for any defense. He’s getting majority of Eli Manning’s passes thrown his way and should be started weekly no matter the situation.


-New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers

  • As long as no one gets suspended this week, the Giants will have their full starting line up on the field again. Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie are a tough trio to pass on when all three are active in a game. This week they’ll get to face a 49ers offense that struggles to put points on the scoreboard and likes to turn the ball over. Will the team not adamant on starting Jimmy Garoppolo anytime soon so he can learn the playbook, it appears CJ Beathard will get the start once again. The Giants defense could bounce back after giving up 50+ to the Rams last week.

-Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (Thursday Night)

  • The Cardinals offense is also struggling without Carson Palmer calling the plays. Running the ball with Adrian Peterson 30+ times a game can only get you so far in this league and eventually he’ll hit a brick wall of defenders. The Seahawks defense was more like itself last week against Kirk Cousins and the Redskins and I expect it to travel to Arizona in a prime-time match up. This Drew Stanton led offense is not the explosive Cardinals team we’ve known the Bruce Arians squad to be. The Cardinals will struggle to move the ball and I don’t see them scoring more than 17 points in this game. I’d start the Seahawks defense this week.

-Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts

  • The Steelers are coming off a bye and get to travel to the dome of Indianapolis. Before their bye week, Matthew Stafford threw for 423 yards on the Steelers secondary that was averaging around 185 passing yards per game. With a week of rest and going up against a backup quarterback by trait, the Steelers can get back to shutting down the passing game. This is a great game for the Steelers to continue their winning ways and kick the rust off after the bye week.

-Carolina Panthers v. Miami Dolphins (Monday Night)

  • Jay Cutler had 30 points last week which is crazy! However, that was against the Raiders who have yet to even get an interception on the season. This week will pose an even more challenging defense to move the ball on. The duo of Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake will have a tough time finding running lanes and the Panthers secondary is no joke either. Could be a long night for the Dolphins.


-New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • No Jamies Winston, potentially no Mike Evans and Ryan Fitzpatrick who has a tendency of turning the ball over is the perfect set up for the Jets to take over this game defensively. The young talented unit that is the Jets gang green has impressed this season and is a big reason they’re not win-less. If Mike Evans is out this game is already over for the Buccaneers before it even starts and you want to have the Jets this week.

Bench Em’


-Jay Cutler at Carolina Panthers (Monday Night)

  • Can you say 30 points for me once more? THIRTY POINTS!!! Okay, good. Now that we have that out of the way, Jay Cutler is going to have a rough, tough, and long night on Monday. Before last game his best game was 15 points and I don’t see him getting over that point total this week. The Panthers are too good defensively to let Jay Cutler pass all over them.

-Jimmy Garoppolo/CJ Beathard v. New York Giants

  • No matter who the signal caller is in this game, they’ll have a tough time passing on this team. Giants are getting their top corner back after a week suspension for violating team rules. When the whole crew is together for the Giants defense they make it difficult for the opposing offense to move the ball down the field. Also don’t forget that one of these guys is a rookie that has yet to win a NFL game and the other was a backup that has yet to play a snap this season.

-Phillip Rivers at Jacksonville Jaguars

  • The Jaguars give up the least amount of points to opposing quarterbacks. They’ve been a tough unit to throw on all season long and they’re about to add yet another top signal caller to their list of victims. The Jaguars haven’t allowed a team to score more than 20 points in a game this season and if you don’t score points in real life and don’t score many points in fantasy. Could be a rough outing for Rivers and the Chargers offense this week.

-Kirk Cousins v. Minnesota Vikings

  • Even in a winning effort Kirk Cousins still managed to score less than 10 points in fantasy last week against a tough Seattle Seahawks defense. This week he’ll face an even tougher defense that’s fresh off a bye week. Considering this game is at home, Cousins might do a little better point wise, but I would count on him balling out this week. If you need a win or need a lot of points from the quarterback position, I’d look elsewhere this week.

Running Back

-Adrian Peterson v. Seattle Seahawks (Thursday Night)

  • This game has been a hard-fought match up the last few years. Despite the teams records it always comes down to the wire. This time around though the Seahawks know the Cardinals win condition. Stop Adrian Peterson and limit him to a minimal gain and you win the game. Last week Sheldon Richardson was inactive and you could tell it affected the defense as the Redskins were able to run up the middle majority of the day. Richardson is assumed to be back for this game which is going to boost the front line immensely. If you have to start Peterson this week, you better hope for a touchdown.

-Ameer Abdullah v. Cleveland Browns

  • Two. That’s the number of games that Ameer Abdullah has over 10 points this season and those two games were weeks 3 and 4. Abdullah even had a touchdown last Monday and failed to get over 10. The Browns run defense is better than what people think is and Abdullah will have a hard time finding lanes to rush through. Find another alternative this week.

-Carlos Hyde v. New York Giants

  • Matt Bredia is getting more and more touches out of the backfield. Hyde’s ceiling is slowly dwindling every week as the 49ers are trying to get other players involved into the offense to spark some kind of drive. Add in that the Giants defense still has some top talent and makes it hard for opposing offenses to move the ball down field. At least in most games. I would lower the expectations this week for Carlos Hyde and the 49ers offense.

-Lamar Miller at Los Angeles Rams

  • Deshaun Watson made the Houston Texans offense better and everyone in it exploded with him. Well, Watson is unfortunately out for the year with a torn ACL which puts Tom Savage as the starter. Unless it’s Madden, Savage is just an average guy trying to not make mistakes. He lowers the value of all the Texans players while he’s the starter. You cannot trust many of the Texans players moving forward, especially Lamar Miller this week.

Wide Receiver

-Kelvin Benjamin v. New Orleans Saints

  • The former Panthers wide out has already played the Saints once this year and it did not end well for him as he finished the game with 2 catches for 8 yards. Well, the Bills run a similar style of offense and Marshon Lattimore still plays for the Saints last time I checked. It could be an ugly debut for the newly acquired wide out this week. If you can go pick up Deonte Thompson, who seems like Tyrod Taylor’s go to right now, I encourage you to do so for this week.

-Stefon Diggs at Washington Redskins

  • Josh Norman seems healthy is back to his shut down ways. Stefon Diggs has been boom or bust this season and this week just spells bust candidate. The Redskins secondary is no joke and have shut down most of the #1 receivers they’ve faced this year. Diggs is probably your WR1 or WR2 and you can’t afford to bench him this week, but at least be aware that his overall production this week will be limited greatly.

-TY Hilton v. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • The Steelers are second best against wide receivers this year on defense. TY Hilton has been, like most of the bench em’ players, a boom or bust type of fantasy player this year. Hilton’s consistency is worrisome week in and week out. This week is not a good match up even if the Colts are playing from behind for much of the afternoon. It’s hard to trust Colts players on a weekly basis and this week might a rough week for their owners.

-Larry Fitzgerald v. Seattle Seahawks (Thursday Night)

  • Drew Stanton failed to give Larry Fitzgerald an outstanding stat line in a favorable match up. This week will be even tougher as the Seahawks will surly eliminate the Cardinals two play-makers on Thursday. Fitzgerald at this point is a touchdown dependent player as the quarterback will struggle to get him the ball consistently enough to be a dominate fantasy threat. The future hall of famer has a low ceiling this week and where his average draft position was during the draft process this off-season most of you should be able to bench him this week.

Tight End

-Jordan Reed/Vernon Davis v. Minnesota Vikings

  • All of the pass catching options for Kirk Cousins are under performing this season. Chris Thompson has been the best and most consistent threat catching the ball this year. The Vikings defense has been rough on all pass catchers this year, especially tight ends. They’ve allowed the 22nd most points to opposing tight ends and with the Redskins offense struggling for the most part; either Jordan Reed (if active) or Vernon Davis can be trusted this week.

-Cameron Brate v. New York Jets

  • We saw how well the offense did last week when Jamies Winston left the game. Doug Martin, Mike Evans and Cameron Brate totaled for 29 yards for the day. Ryan Fitzpatrick will more than likely have a better game this week, but that doesn’t translate to the star players producing. Brate started the season off hot and now it’s like he’s hit a wall. OJ Howard is starting to capture more touches and has more of a dynamic play-maker. With a struggling offense and a back-up quarterback, it’s hard to trust many Buccaneers this week through the air.

-Martellus Bennett at Chicago Bears

  • The first time around the Bears shut down their former player. Bennett is dealing with some injuries and even misses last week’s game too. If Aaron Rodgers couldn’t get him involved in a blow-out victory last time around, it’s hard to imagine how Brett Hundley will get him incorporated into the offense in what could be an ugly game at Soldier field. The Bears safeties are much underrated and should be considered one of the top duos in the league. Like much of the Packers offensive players, it might be time to drop Bennett or the very least bench him.

-Coby Fleener at Buffalo Bills

  • The Saints tight end is an afterthought in the new revolution of the Saints offense. With both Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara catching almost every short yardage pass and doing it well, it’s hard to draw up many plays to Fleener. Add in that the Bills are tough on tight ends and it doesn’t look good for Fleener for another week. Maybe again one day, but not this week.


  • -Patriots at Denver Broncos (Sunday Night)
  • Brock Osweiler didn’t get the victory for the Broncos last week, but he did look better at times than Trevor Siemian. The Patriots defense isn’t as elite like it usually is and the Broncos have the play-makers on offense to put up some points. I see this game being more of a shoot-out rather than a low scoring affair.

-New Orleans Saints at Buffalo Bills

  • The Saints defense has been arguably the best defense in fantasy over the last month, but the Bills offense is efficient and turnover free. This game is in Buffalo where the Bills are 4-0 this season and are a completely different team. The Saints defense has been on fire lately, but I’m warning you that this week they might not get you the total point one might desire.

-Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

  • No matter what Mike McCarthy says the defense is struggling because of the offense. If the defense is on the field majority of the day because the offense can’t sustain drives then how are they supposed to compete at a high level effectively throughout the game? This Bears team is different from the last time these two teams met and I’m willing to bet the outcome will be a little different this time around.

-Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams

  • The Rams are on fire right now and have one of the best offenses in the league. Sean McVay should be in the running for coach of the year for how he has transformed this team in a short amount of time. The Texans defense is also suffering without some of its biggest stars and could be a drop candidate at this point. They might still hold some trade value if you’d rather go that route, regardless just don’t start them this week against a red-hot Rams team.
That concludes this week’s edition of Play Em’ or Bench Em’. As always, good luck in your match up(s) and I hope you win. If you ever need more help with your lineup(s) don’t hesitate, me or anyone from the SFT crew. We’ll always respond to you on all of our social media pages. So, don’t forget to like and share us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, as well as connecting with us on LinkedIn. Until next time, have a great day!
Austin Thomas

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