Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes. Anybody can tell you to start the Lamar Jacksons, Mark Ingrams, and Marlon Macks of the world. That’s not what I’m doing here. I’m looking deeper at legitimate mostly-borderline candidates who owners may truly be contemplating using in lineups.
Start of the Week: Jameis Winston vs. Cardinals: Fantasy’s QB9 in points per game, Winston is coming off another 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns game, as the Bucs blew a 14-point lead and lost to the Seahawks in overtime. Winston has 300 yards and/or multiple touchdown passes in six straight games after a lousy start to the season. The Bucs are No. 7 in passing offense. Winston does lead the league in interceptions along with Baker Mayfield, but unlike Mayfield, Winston is compiling passing numbers throughout the box score. Winston couldn’t ask for much better of a Week 10 draw. The Cardinals are 31st in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, 29th in overall pass defense, 28th in pass-defense DVOA, and dead last in the NFL with just two interceptions. The return of CB Patrick Peterson from suspension hasn’t helped things either. Jimmy Garoppolo had easily his best statistical game of the season last Thursday night in Arizona, throwing for a flawless 317 yards and four touchdowns as the overall QB2 for the week. In Week 8, Drew Brees returned from his lengthy absence and went for 317 yards and three scores en route to the QB4 finish. This defense doesn’t rush the passer and now gets to travel cross-country for a 1 PM ET start. Winston should be fired up with confidence. Cardinals-Bucs sports a hefty 51-point total, the second-highest of Week 10. And Tampa Bay’s implied team total of 27.5 points trails only the Saints’ total of 32.25 points.
Kyler Murray at Bucs: You’ll notice a theme throughout this article. We want to hammer this Arizona-Tampa Bay game for fantasy purposes. Murray is the overall QB10 in fantasy points per game but has big weeks or ones to forget. Murray has tossed two-plus touchdowns in 4-of-9 games. In the other five contests, Murray has thrown a combined zero touchdowns. Not great. However, Murray’s rushing numbers have picked up after not using his legs the first couple weeks of the year. Over the last seven weeks, Murray is averaging 7.1 rushing attempts and 40.6 yards on the ground with two scores. The Bucs are 30th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, 26th in pass-defense DVOA, and do not harass opposing signal-callers. Both the Bucs and Cardinals are bottom-nine in opponent plays per game while the Cardinals play at the league’s fastest offensive pace and the Bucs are No. 3 in offensive plays per game. Both offenses should possess the ball plenty Sunday. As mentioned above, this game’s 51-point total is the second-highest on the board. Murray is a lock-and-load, set-and-forget QB1 play. Russell Wilson just hung the overall QB1 day on this Bucs defense with 378 yards and five touchdowns.
Drew Brees vs. Falcons: Brees returned from his five-week thumb injury in Week 8 to put 317 yards and three touchdowns on the Cardinals en route to the overall QB4 finish that week. He completed a season-high 79.1% of his throws that afternoon and looked like his normal self. The Saints are now coming off their bye to host the league’s most giving defense. Atlanta is 23rd in passing yards allowed but 29th in fantasy points surrendered to quarterbacks and 31st in pass-defense DVOA. They get zero pressure on opposing quarterbacks while the Saints field an elite offensive line. Brees should have all the time in the world to pick this defense apart. After starting hot with strong showings against Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz in Weeks 1-2, the Falcons have surrendered multiple touchdown passes to the last six quarterbacks they’ve faced at a 293.3 yards per game clip. This game’s 51.5-point total is the highest of the week, and New Orleans’ implied total of 32.25 points is easily the highest team total on the board.
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Ryan Tannehill vs. Chiefs: I wasn’t a fan of Tannehill’s on-paper matchup in Carolina last week, but he responded with his best fantasy game to date. Tannehill put 331 yards and one touchdown along with 38 rushing yards and a second score on the Panthers and finished as the overall QB5 for the week. He’s registered at least four rushing attempts in all three starts since taking over for Marcus Mariota and is the overall QB9 in fantasy points per game Weeks 7-9. The Chiefs are expected to get Patrick Mahomes (knee) back under center Sunday, increasing the likelihood the Titans will have to play in catch-up mode and up their offensive pace. Kansas City is an impressive No. 4 in pass-defense DVOA but 20th in opponent pass attempts faced and 22nd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. The Chiefs have surrendered the most rushing touchdowns to the position. They allowed three touchdowns to Kirk Cousins last week, and that was with Adam Thielen not playing and Stefon Diggs catching just one pass for four yards. Aaron Rodgers hung 305 yards and three scores as the QB3 in Week 8. This defense is getting healthier with DT Chris Jones returning last week, but DE Frank Clark is still dealing with a neck issue. The Chiefs are 30th in opponent plays per game, and due to Mahomes’ quick-strike nature, the opponent tends to get a couple extra possessions. Tannehill has shown enough of a floor to warrant streamer appeal for Deshaun Watson and Tom Brady owners.
Jared Goff at Steelers: Fantasy’s QB15 in points per game, Goff is coming off a bye after hanging the QB8 day on the Bengals in London back in Week 8. His road splits haven’t been as dramatic this season, though Goff also hasn’t been as good at home in 2019 as he was last year. Overall, he’s been extremely average at best in year three with coach Sean McVay. On the road, Goff averages nearly a full yard-and-a-half less per pass attempt and over two percentage points lower on his completion rate. Goff sports a mediocre 82.8 QB rating away from L.A. Coliseum compared to 91.2 at home. Goff’s fantasy finishes in road games: QB29 > QB21 > QB11 > QB5. He now draws a Steelers unit that is No. 6 in pass-defense DVOA, No. 10 in pass yards allowed, and No. 2 in interceptions. This defense also harasses opposing quarterbacks, checking in at No. 2 in adjusted sack rate. Goff lost Brandin Cooks to another concussion in Week 8. It’s not like Cooks was dominating the box score by any means, but he’s easily the team’s top field-stretcher, opening up the middle of the field for other pass catchers. This game’s 43.5-point total is the fourth-lowest of Week 10. Goff is best treated as a mid-range QB2.
Matthew Stafford at Bears: Stafford has enjoyed a fine bounce-back season and would be in the MVP conversation if the Lions had a better record. He’s fourth in passing yards, fourth in yards per attempt, second in touchdowns, and fifth in QB rating. Stafford is also attempting the highest percentage of passes 20-plus yards downfield. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are both on pace for well over 1,000 yards. Chuck Pagano’s Bears Defense isn’t generating nearly as many turnovers as ex-DC Vic Fangio’s unit did in 2018, but this defense is still one of the best in the NFL. Chicago is No. 7 in pass-defense DVOA, No. 7 in opponent yards per attempt, No. 6 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, and 12th in adjusted sack rate. The Bears have surrendered a total of four touchdown passes across three games since their bye, holding Carson Wentz (QB18), Philip Rivers (QB25), and Teddy Bridgewater (QB15) to QB15-or-worse finishes. Stafford has two dates with the Bears over the next four weeks. He’s merely a two-QB league play for me this week in a game with a 41.5-point total, the second-lowest of Week 10.
Kirk Cousins at Cowboys: Since Week 5 when the Vikings opened up the playbook and started throwing the ball after their receivers started making noise in the media, Cousins is the QB8 in fantasy points per game. He’s looked like the early-2018 version of himself that was playing like an every-week fantasy starter. However, Adam Thielen (hamstring) is again sidelined, and the Cowboys are No. 5 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, No. 5 in opponent yards per attempt, No. 7 in passing yards allowed, and No. 8 in opponent QB rating. Stefon Diggs has to win his matchups because Laquon Treadwell and Olabisi Johnson don’t strike fear into a defense. Josh Doctson is preparing to return from I.R. to add some juice to this receiver group, but he is no game-changer. This game has a healthy 48-point total, the fourth-highest of the week, but it feels more like a chance to get Dalvin Cook rolling again after a down Week 9.
Start of the Week: Ronald Jones vs. Cardinals: Finally anointed the No. 1 back in Tampa, Jones played a season-high 55.3% of the snaps last week in Seattle and turned in an 18-67-1 rushing line with an additional 15 yards on two catches. It was Jones’ second 20-touch game of the season after posting 82 yards and a score on 20 looks against the Rams in Week 4. Jones’ previous season-high snap rate of 48.6% was in that contest. He ended up handling just 11 touches the following week versus New Orleans, turning them into 56 scoreless yards. But coach Bruce Arians finally admitted this week that Jones has “earned the right to start and play more snaps.” Peyton Barber played a season-low 11.8% of the downs last week and was essentially eliminated from the backfield. Dare Ogunbowale will maintain his two-minute and catch-up-mode roles but isn’t a major threat for rushing attempts despite his goal-line vulture last week. He has exactly one carry in each of the last five games. As mentioned above with Kenyan Drake, both the Cardinals and Bucs are bottom-nine in opponent plays per game while the Cardinals operate at the fastest offensive pace and the Bucs have ran the third-most offensive plays. Volume should be flowing Sunday. And this game’s 51-point total is the second-highest of Week 10. Arizona is bottom-10 in both rushing attempts and rushing yards allowed per game at a 4.5 yards per carry clip. Jones should again flirt with 20 touches.
Kenyan Drake at Bucs: In his Cardinals debut last Thursday night, Drake played 84% of the snaps and turned 19 touches into 167 yards and one touchdown. It was Drake’s first 100-yard rushing game since Week 14 of the 2017 season. Finally released from the grips of the Dolphins that suffocated him, it was refreshing to see the playmaking ability we all knew was there. Of course, David Johnson and Chase Edmonds (hamstring) missed last week’s game with injuries, but Johnson is expected to return from his back and ankle issues off the mini bye to face the Bucs. Drake, however, did enough to stay heavily involved with Johnson in a backfield tandem where Johnson is unlikely to return to workhorse form at any point this year. It’s safe to predict 8-12 touches for Drake and maybe even a couple more in what has a chance to be a back-and-forth, high-paced affair. The Cardinals are No. 1 in offensive pace while the Bucs are No. 3 in offensive plays per game, so there should be plenty of volume on both sides. Meanwhile, both defenses are bottom-nine in opponent plays per game. The Bucs field arguably the league’s top run defense (No. 1 in DVOA), but coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense does a great job of spreading the defense out with four-wide sets and getting the ball in the hands of his running backs in the horizontal passing game in order to get them in more space. On a week with a season-high six teams on bye, Drake is very much on the back end of the RB2 radar. Cardinals-Bucs has a 51-point total, the second-highest of Week 10.
Latavius Murray vs. Falcons: Murray was dominant in his two-game stint as the Saints’ feature back, finishing as the overall RB1 from Weeks 7-8 versus the Bears and Cardinals. He logged rushing lines of 27-119-2 and 21-102-1 with a total of 14 catches for 86 yards and a fourth score in that span. Alvin Kamara (ankle) is practicing in full this week and will return as the 1A in New Orleans’ backfield. But Murray has earned a bigger piece of the pie moving forward after averaging just 6.8 touches per game Weeks 1-6 when Kamara was healthy. Coach Sean Payton admitted the Saints will be mindful of Kamara’s injury and “be smart” with his workload, suggesting Murray should be in line for an uptick in touches. He should be more of the Mark Ingram to Kamara, perhaps flirting with 12-15 touches in what should be an easy win for the Saints. New Orleans is a heavy 13-point home favorite against an Atlanta defense that is 21st in rushing yards allowed and 20th in fantasy points surrendered to running backs. Murray doesn’t get the credit he deserves as a pass-catcher either; he’s very capable of functioning in that area of the offense. The Falcons have allowed three receiving touchdowns to running backs over their last four games and are annually one of the worst defenses at covering the position. Murray should be teed up as a strong FLEX with the Saints implied to score 32.25 points.
Devin Singletary at Browns: Over the last two weeks, Singletary has out-snapped Frank Gore 81-38 while taking control of this Buffalo backfield. Gore is running on fumes at 36 years old after a better than expected start to the season. There’s been a changing of the guard. Singletary is the overall RB11 in fantasy points per game over the last two weeks and is coming off the RB6 finish last Sunday against the lowly Redskins. Singletary should continue to handle roughly two-thirds of the offensive snaps while Gore three or four yards and a cloud of dust’s his way to 8-10 carries and no pass-game involvement. Singletary had his first double-digit touches game of his young career last Sunday, turning his 23 looks into 140 yards and one score. Among running backs with at least 50 touches, Singletary is No. 11 in Pro Football Focus’ elusive rating and No. 4 in breakaway percentage. He’s been a big-time playmaker whenever the ball is in his hands. Cleveland is 21st in run-defense DVOA, 25th in fantasy points allowed to running backs, 30th in rushing yards surrendered, and 30th in opponent yards per carry. This is not a sexy game from a fantasy lens with a 40-point total, but Singletary is an upside RB2.
Joe Mixon vs. Ravens: It’s been a season to forget for Mixon, who was routinely being drafted in Rounds 1-3 of summer fantasy drafts. At the midway point of his year, Mixon is the overall RB40 in half-PPR fantasy points per game. He has zero 100-yard games and zero rushing touchdowns. Coach Zac Taylor also isn’t treating Mixon as a workhorse back, playing him on just 53.8% of the snaps after Mixon played 69.3% of the downs in 2018 for Marvin Lewis. The draw to Mixon in the offseason was the expectation that he’d be Taylor’s new Todd Gurley, racking up 20-plus touches on a weekly basis, even if we knew the Bengals would be bad. That obviously hasn’t been the case, and the Cincinnati offensive line is getting wrecked, coming in at dead last in yards created in the rushing game. When Mixon faced the Ravens in Week 6, he carried the ball eight times for 10 yards and caught just two passes. Somehow, neither the carries or rushing yards were a season-low for Mixon. Simply put, it’s been a year to forget. The Ravens are No. 2 in rushing yards allowed and No. 10 in fantasy points yielded to running backs. Baltimore is No. 4 in opponent plays per game, and the Bengals ran a season-low 59 plays in Week 6 against this defense. The Bengals’ implied team total of 17.5 points is only better than the Dolphins’ mark of 16.75 for Week 10. Mixon is an easy sit where it’s feasible.
Damien Williams at Titans: Williams has reemerged as the Chiefs’ No. 1 back in this two- sometimes three-man committee. He played a season-high 73% of the snaps last week against the Vikings while LeSean McCoy was in on a season-low 10.2% of the downs. Darrel Williams (16.9%) even played more than McCoy. Damien saw his most carries (12) since Week 1 and turned them into 125 yards and one touchdown against the Vikings, “adding” two catches for three yards. However, 91 of those 125 yards and the touchdown came on one carry. Damien just hasn’t been the playmaker we saw down the stretch last season and into the playoffs. He’s averaging a mediocre 3.8 yards per carry but has scored in back-to-back weeks. The Chiefs are expected to get Patrick Mahomes (knee) back under center this Sunday. It could raise Damien’s floor in the passing game, but this is a tougher matchup against a defensive-oriented Titans team. Tennessee is No. 3 in run-defense DVOA, No. 9 in opponent yards per carry, 15th in rushing yards allowed, and 15th in fantasy points surrendered to running backs. A lot of that damage was done by All Pro Christian McCaffrey last week, who hung 166 yards and three scores on the Titans. Damien clearly isn’t that player and doesn’t see that kind of workload. His touchdown chances are better than most, but volume hasn’t been a thing for Damien in 2019.
Kalen Ballage at Colts: Desperate owners searching for running back help likely landed on Ballage this week. There are a whopping six teams on bye this week and several other injuries at the position, so the pickings are slim. Kenyan Drake was traded to the Cardinals a couple weeks back and Mark Walton was just hit with a four-game suspension, paving the way for Ballage to again handle a significant chunk of the backfield snaps for Miami. Ballage was talked up by some over the summer, including myself, as a potential year-two breakout candidate. He started the first two games of the season but was quickly sent to the bench as the No. 3 back. Ballage is averaging a pitiful 2.0 yards per carry, turning 35 totes into 70 yards while contributing nearly as many dropped passes (3) as catches (4). Any way we look at it, Ballage has been terrible. But another opportunity awaits him with just Myles Gaskin, Patrick Laird, and newly-signed De’Lance Turner joining Ballage on the depth chart. Perhaps rookie draft pick Gaskin will get a look, but Ballage figures to be more involved than he has been in past weeks. The matchup isn’t all that enticing with the Colts checking in at No. 9 in fantasy points allowed to running backs and No. 6 in opponent plays per game while playing at the fourth-slowest offensive pace. Play volume is not going to be on the Dolphins’ side. Miami’s implied total of 16.75 points is the lowest of Week 10. Ballage is a true plug-your-nose desperation RB3/4.
Start of the Week: Golden Tate at Jets: After playing just 66.2% of the snaps in his Week 5 debut, Tate has been in on at least 93.2% of the downs in four straight games while catching at least six passes in every contest in that span. Weeks 6-9, Tate is the overall WR15 in half-PPR fantasy points per game with at least 80 yards in 3-of-4 outings. He’s coming off a meager 6-42-0 performance last Monday night against the Cowboys, but the Giants remain without Sterling Shepard (concussion) and lost Evan Engram to a mid-foot injury that will sideline him for at least Week 10. The Giants have yet to play a game with all four of Tate, Shepard, Engram, and Saquon Barkley healthy and in the lineup. That trend will continue into Sunday. Tate should dominate pass-game targets in this one and gets an easy matchup on top of it. The Jets are 25th in pass-defense DVOA, 24th in passing yards allowed, and 25th in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. With Shepard out the last two weeks, Tate has run 84.6% of his routes from the slot. Darius Slayton and Cody Latimer are handling low-volume outside receiver duties. Daniel Jones is comfortable throwing in the short areas of the field, meshing well with where Tate runs the bulk of his routes. The Jets are 29th in opponent plays per game. This is an opportunity for both Tate and Saquon Barkley to do heavy damage. Tate should have a floor of 9-11 targets.
Christian Kirk at Bucs: Kirk returned from his ankle injury in Week 8 and has played 96-of-105 snaps (91.4%) while seeing 15 targets. The sophomore has yet to find the end zone this season but is well past due. As my colleague Ian Hartitz pointed out, Kirk’s 53 targets without a touchdown this season are the second-most behind Mike Williams’ 54. Kirk continues to pace the Cardinals in air yards and has even started to see more looks on the outside. He can function both in the slot and on the perimeter. The Bucs provide a get-right spot. Tampa Bay is 26th in pass-defense DVOA and dead last in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. Kirk is the overall WR48 in half-PPR fantasy points per game. If he can start finding the end zone, upside WR2 numbers are well within his reach over the second half of the season. We want to start all of our Cardinals and Bucs this week in a game with a 51-point total featuring a pair of bottom-nine defenses in opponent plays per game. Arizona is also No. 1 in offensive pace. Flirting with 80 plays Sunday is realistic for this group. Kirk should be started where he’s owned.
Marquise Brown at Bengals: Hollywood got off to a blazing start to his rookie season as the overall WR3 in Weeks 1-2, posting a combined 12-233-2 line on 18 targets in that span. In his other four games played, Brown has put together 12-141-1 on 25 targets. He has zero 50-yard games since Week 2. Brown returned from his three-week ankle injury last week to play 58.2% of the snaps against the Patriots. He posted a respectable 3-48-0 line versus the league’s top pass defense and looked healthy. It should provide a stepping stone to this AFC North tilt against an awful Bengals unit that is 30th in pass-defense DVOA and has allowed the fifth-most pass plays of 40-plus yards. Brown has a distinct speed advantage against a Bengals team that has given up and is in evaluation mode. It would be nice to see Brown’s snap rate creep up to the 65-70% range, but he still has a command of the target share among Ravens wideouts. Brown is a high-variance WR3 with obvious top-five upside in any given week. This sets up as one of his easier matchups of the season. The Ravens are No. 1 in offensive plays per game, and the Bengals are 25th in opponent plays per game. Baltimore fired off 79 plays in Week 6, its second-most of the season to date. Brown should have a floor of six targets.
Zach Pascal vs. Dolphins: The hottest waiver-wire pickup of the week, Pascal is an auto-start against the lowly Dolphins. Pascal has started the last two games and played 125-of-134 snaps (93.3%). In three games since the Colts’ bye, Pascal has turned 15 targets into a 12-188-3 line, and that includes a lowly 1-6-0 day against a tough Broncos Defense in Week 8. T.Y. Hilton remains week to week with a calf issue, and rookie Parris Campbell broke his hand last Sunday. Devin Funchess (collarbone, I.R.) isn’t yet ready to rejoin the team. That leaves Pascal, Deon Cain, and Chester Rogers as the Colts’ three-wide set for the time being. Pascal has good size at 6’2/219 and has become a favorite target for Colts quarterbacks. The Dolphins are dead last in pass-defense DVOA and 26th in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. Top CB Xavien Howard (knee) was recently sent to season-ending injured reserve. In four games since Miami’s bye, Terry McLaurin (4-100-2), John Brown (5-83-1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (5-103-1), Diontae Johnson (5-84-1), and Jamison Crowder (8-83-1) have all smashed expectations versus the Dolphins. The Colts are No. 7 in offensive plays per game, and Indy’s implied team total of 27.25 points is the fourth-highest of the week. Pascal is a lock-and-load upside WR3.
Odell Beckham vs. Bills: Beckham is the overall WR41 in half-PPR fantasy points per game, so he’s not even returning WR3 value this season. It feels weird to suggest him as a flat-out sit for fantasy purposes after being drafted as a first- or second-round pick this summer, but the production just hasn’t been there. He has two 100-yard games and just one touchdown on the year. OBJ hasn’t scored since Week 2. One sliver of good news is Beckham is 16th in the NFL averaging 8.4 targets per game. That volume just hasn’t translated to the box score. Beckham is a distant third on the Browns in red-zone targets with four, tied with Damion Ratley and Demetrius Harris behind Jarvis Landry (10) and Antonio Callaway (5). Overall, OBJ is tied for 91st in the league in red-zone targets with no touchdowns in the scoring area. He now gets a Bills Defense that is No. 5 in pass-defense DVOA and No. 8 in opponent plays per game. Only the Patriots have surrendered fewer fantasy points to opposing wideouts. OBJ figures to draw shadow coverage from Tre’Davious White. Quarterbacks have a 49.8 passer rating when throwing at White, and he has three interceptions with zero touchdowns allowed in his coverage. Only four cornerbacks among 115 qualifiers at Pro Football Focus have a lower opponent QB rating allowed than White. On top of all that, Bills-Browns has a 40-point total, easily the lowest of Week 10. At this point, OBJ can’t be treated as anything more than a low-end WR3, and that’s being generous. Owners are starting him at their own risk.
A.J. Green vs. Bengals: Green is expected to make his season debut this week after undergoing ankle surgery just before Week 1. Slowly but surely, the 31-year-old has been ramping up his activity. It’ll be nice to see him on the field again, but there’s no way the Bengals run Green out there for a full complement of snaps. Ordinarily, Green wouldn’t need to be a 100% of the snaps player to produce for fantasy, but he’s now saddled with 25-year-old (next month) rookie Ryan Finley at quarterback who will be making his NFL debut this Sunday. The Ravens are 22nd in fantasy points allowed to wideouts, but that was before they acquired CB Marcus Peters from the Rams and got CB Jimmy Smith back from a multi-week injury last Sunday night against the Patriots. Baltimore held Tom Brady to 6.2 yards per attempt and one touchdown on 46 throws. This defense is No. 2 in opponent plays per game, and the Bengals ran a season-low 59 plays in the previous meeting between these two clubs in Week 6. Cincinnati’s implied team total of 17.5 points is the second-lowest on the board. Green owners need to take a wait-and-see approach and let him get a game or two under his belt.
(Update: Green ended up suffering a setback with his ankle, saying it swelled up on him. He is again out indefinitely. Green could be milking this thing in a contract year with nothing to play for on the 0-8 Bengals. He’s unlikely to suit up Sunday, leaving Auden Tate and Alex Erickson on the outside with Tyler Boyd in the slot. None of the three are recommended plays with Finley.)
Danny Amendola at Bears: Weeks 7-9, Amendola posted a combined 19-229-0 receiving line with two 95-yard games and is the overall WR21 in half-PPR points in that span. On the year, Amendola has posted three monster games — 7-104-1 in Week 1, 8-105-0 in Week 7, and 8-95-0 in Week 8. His four other games are as follows: 0-0-0 > 4-37-0 > 1-6-0 > 3-29-0. It’s been extremely hit or miss for the Lions’ slot man. Amendola is commanding just over 15% of the target share in Detroit while Kenny Golladay (21.3%) and Marvin Jones (19.6) take much larger pieces of the pie. Amendola is very clearly the No. 3 option ahead of T.J. Hockenson, but this spot against the Bears doesn’t look like one to attack. The Bears are No. 7 in pass-defense DVOA and No. 3 in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. This game’s 41.5-point total is second-lowest on the slate. Amendola will pop for big games, but they’re impossible to predict.
Start of the Week: Mark Andrews at Bengals: After finishing September as the overall TE3 with a couple 100-yard games and three touchdowns, Andrews has been the overall TE18 in fantasy points per game Weeks 5-9 and has scored zero touchdowns in that span. Andrews was battling a foot issue in October but has been left on the injury report the last few weeks. With the Ravens hammering the ball down the Patriots’ throats last week, Andrews played a season-low 34.3% of the snaps while blocking TE Nick Boyle caught his first career touchdown on 83.6% of the downs. Boyle is a big part of the offense, but last week was a fluke. This sets up as a bounce-back spot for Andrews after he hung a 6-99-0 line on this same team in Week 6. The Ravens are No. 1 in offensive plays per game while Cincinnati is a lowly 25th in opponent plays per game. Baltimore should do whatever it wants. Keep Andrews glued to lineups.
Mike Gesicki at Colts: Gesicki has played at least 60% of the offensive snaps in back-to-back weeks and ran a season-high 33 routes last Sunday against the Jets, turning in an impressive 6-95-0 receiving line. Preston Williams tore his ACL late in the game, opening up a hole for Gesicki to emerge as the No. 2 option in the pass game the remainder of the year alongside DeVante Parker. The Colts are 22nd in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and just coughed up a 5-30-1 line to Vance McDonald last week. Noah Fan caught five balls against the Colts the previous week. The Dolphins need to find out what they have in Gesicki the rest of the way. He was a highly-touted athlete coming into the league after blowing up the Combine. Miami recently released TE Nick O’Leary to open up more playing time for Gesicki.
Jared Cook vs. Falcons: Cook missed the two games before last week’s bye but is ready to return to the lineup with a full week of practice. Prior to getting hurt, Cook had scored in back-to-back games and was starting to find his game a bit. The Falcons field one of the league’s three worst defenses, and the Saints’ implied total of 32.25 points is easily the highest on the board. Gerald Everett (4-50-1), Maxx Williams (3-34-1), and Darren Fells (2-20-2) have all crushed expectations against Atlanta over the last four weeks. Cook is a fine streamer.
Chris Herndon vs. Giants: Herndon was active last week against the Dolphins but didn’t play a snap. Serving a four-game suspension to open the season and then suffering a hamstring injury, Herndon has yet to play this year. He’s practiced all week thus far and is tentatively expected to suit up against the Giants. The G-Men just surrendered a season-high eight catches for 58 yards on nine targets to Jason Witten on Monday night while No. 2 TE Blake Jarwin scored a 42-yard touchdown in the same game. O.J. Howard (3-66-0) had his best game of the year to date against this Giants Defense earlier in the season. Other than that, the Giants haven’t faced any tight ends of note. Herndon should be added where he’s available for the stretch run.
Due to the lack of quality talent at tight end, it’s impossible for me to argue against anyone at the position. It’s a total crapshoot, and all we’re looking for among streamers are ones who can maybe fall into the end zone. Predicting touchdowns is the hardest thing to do in football. Just finding a tight end who is on the field enough and runs plenty of routes is hard enough. And now that bye weeks have entered the picture, the pickings are even slimmer. Good luck.