Week 10 Start ’em Sit ’em: Doubting Dalton

by Jonathan Chan
Week 10 Start 'em Sit 'em
Credit: Keith Allison

Credit: Keith Allison

Well, my Week 9 predictions had some serious ups and downs. Let's get the bad ones out of the way first.

Sammie Coates left me more disappointed than my high school prom. With Ben Roethlisberger back under center, Coates was still held without a catch on five targets. I didn't think any of my "Starts" could do worse than Brandon LaFell, but here we are. He will be tough to trust moving forward. Blake Bortles proved me wrong and posted one of his best Fantasy performances of the season. His passing line wasn't the best, (22-of-41, 252 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) but his overall performance was bolstered by 54 rushing yards. Mike Gillislee had a good, albeit somewhat lucky performance. After Robert Woods was stopped on the half yard line, Gillislee was given a touch while LeSean McCoy was being treated for a minor injury. Then to cap it all off, for the first time since Week 2, Brian Quick was held under 50 yards.

Now for what I got right. Latavius Murray had an excellent game, rushing for 114 yards and adding three touchdowns. The Raider offensive line was able to create room while the Broncos held off Derek Carr. Speaking of Carr, my featured "Sit" mustered just 184 yards and no touchdowns. He failed to surpass 10 Fantasy points in his worst performance of the season. Terrelle Pryor and Tyrell Williams each posted a fine performance, catching a touchdown to go with decent yardage. Rashad Jennings continued his run of poor play, posting just 26 rushing yards. Jeremy Maclin left during the Chiefs opening drive and did not record a catch, but I won't take credit for Maclin starting a game he should never have started.

Week 10 Start 'em Sit 'em

Start 'em

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Despite being ejected for a hilarious towel throwing incident last week, Kelce still managed to be productive. Before he argued a missed DPI call Kelce had caught five passes for 58 yards. Kelce has always been a tantalizing talent, but has struggled with consistency. With Jeremy Maclin dealing with a groin injury, Kelce will be the number one target until he returns.

The Panthers run defense is stout enough to stop the Chiefs bread and butter on the ground. However, their struggles through the air will mean big things for Kelce in Week 10. The Panthers have given up six touchdowns to tight ends this season. Just last week, Carolina allowed Lance Kendricks to catch 7-of-12 passes for 91 yards. If Kelce gets anywhere near as many targets as Kendricks, he should have no problem posting similar yardage or a touchdown.

Coming off two productive games, Kelce will have the chance to build on his success against a weak secondary. If Maclin remains out, Kelce should see upwards of 10 targets. Against the Panthers weak pass defense, he should be able to turn high volume into solid production. Expect a top 5 finish for Kelce this week.

Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

It's official, Darren Sproles has taken the job of lead RB from Ryan Mathews.

Anyone that watched the Eagles last week knows that Mathews is no longer a big part of the Eagles offense. Constant injuries and a habit of fumbling in big situations has cost Mathews his starting job. Over the last two weeks, Sproles has out-touched Mathews 36-to-11 and has played on 80% of the snaps.

With heavy volume coming his way, Sproles should be able to produce good numbers against the Falcons defense. While the Falcons haven't been as poor against the run as in years past, they still give up a large number of receptions of running backs. In six of their nine games this season, Atlanta has surrendered six or more receptions to opposing running backs. As you may or may not know, Sproles' specialty is his prowess as a receiving back. Since becoming lead back, Sproles has received 16 targets in two games.

Against the Falcons, Sproles should be able to find room with a heavy volume of targets. In PPR leagues, Sproles is a must start. In standard leagues, Sproles should see enough volume to produce RB2 numbers.

Cameron Meredith, WR, Chicago Bears

Since posting back-to-back 100 yard games, Meredith has struggled to stay involved in the Bears offense. In the two games since his breakout, Meredith has seen a total of four targets, catching just two passes for 36 yards. He hasn't shown much chemistry with Jay Cutler, but that could change in a hurry against the terrible Tampa Bay secondary. However, he did play in 53-of-61 snaps and was clearly the Bears' WR2.

The Buccaneers have given up the second most Fantasy points to opposing WR this season. They have been especially poor over the last two weeks. Against the Raiders and Falcons, Tampa Bay has given up 10 or more standard Fantasy points to five different receivers. They've given up massive days to several WR2. Mohammed Sanu (x2), Micheal Crabtree, Emmanuel Sanders and Brian Quick all had excellent days against the Buccaneers' secondary.

Alshon Jeffery and Zach Miller will still be Cutler's favourite targets, Meredith should see an increase in opportunities in Week 10. His breakout weeks show that he has the talent to produce monster numbers. A game against Tampa Bay is a perfect time for him to bounce back. If you're struggling to fill your lineup due to bye weeks, Meredith can provide solid FLEX value.

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

For owners needing to scrape the bottom of the barrel to fill their line-ups, Eli is a decent option in Week 10. His ownership numbers are at 83% in Yahoo! leagues at the time I'm writing this. It seems a little high considering his performance prior to Week 9, but it's worth checking your wire for Eli's availability. Other than a couple good performances here and there, Eli has not been god this season. However, he has a chance to build on his great performance last week against the Bengals on Sunday.

The Bengals have been below average against the pass this season, giving up the sixth most Fantasy points to QB this season. The Bengals have also given up four more Fantasy points to QB than the average Fantasy defense. Coming off a horrible performance against Kirk Cousins (458 yards, 2 TD) the Bengals are proving to be vulnerable though the air.

With a solid matchup ahead, Eli is one of the more viable bye week fill-ins. He has the weapons to take advantage of a relatively easy matchup and his performance last week shows Eli may be coming out of his funk. He'll put up mid-range QB1 numbers on Sunday.

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

Shepard has received a very consistent workload this season, seeing at least seven targets in six of eight games. He has struggled to turn those targets into solid production but that could turn around against the Bengals on Sunday. He could see even more opportunities this week as Victor Cruz continues to deal with an knee injury.

The Bengals have a habit of giving up big days to WR2 in 2016. Emmanuel Sanders, Sammie Coates, Quincy Enunwa, Kenny Stills and Jamison Crowder had big days against the Cincinnati secondary. Overall, the Bengals rank 21st in pass defense and there should be holes for Manning and Shepard to exploit, especially if the defense is focused on Odell Beckham.

Shepard disappeared for a about a month, but should re-emerge as Manning gets back on track. He'll be a good FLEX option in Week 10.

Sit 'em

Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

Thomas has been on a hell of a streak lately. Since Week 3, Thomas has posted at least 63 yards or a touchdown in every game he's played. Over that span, he's posted at least 10 standard fantasy points in all but one game. He's quickly become one of Drew Brees' most trusted receivers. However, he'll face his toughest task yet in Week 10 against the Broncos.

There's not much else I can say about the Broncos. Their pass defense is absolutely elite. They have yet to allow a 100 yard receiver and have given up just two receiving touchdowns all season. Even without Aqib Talib, Denver was able to hold the powerful Oakland passing game to just 184 yards and no scores. They managed to lose the game, as the Raiders abused the Broncos poor run defense.

With the new-born two headed monster of Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower, the Saints have two running backs capable of hurting the Broncos on the ground. Brees is unlikely to curb his pass attempts but it will be a lean day for the Saints receivers. The absence of Talib will help Thomas' numbers, but the Broncos still have a very formidable secondary. I understand if bye weeks force you to play Thomas, but expectations should be severely tempered.

Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

I swear I have a Jags player here every week, and it never works out for me. This time around, my Jaguar of the week will have a much tougher time breaking through. The Texans have been tough against tight ends this season, giving up just one touchdown to the position this season. Overall, the Texans have given up the 5th fewest Fantasy points to TE, and just over 3.5 fewer points to TE than the average defense.

Thomas has been struggling since a hot start to the season. In five games played since a 71 yard performance in Week 2, Thomas has yet to surpass 30 yards receiving. His Fantasy performance was saved due to touchdowns against the weak Raider and Titan defenses. With the Texans being so stingy in the red zone, it's unlikely that Blake Bortles will find Thomas in the painted grass. Disclaimer: I make no promises for Bortles' inevitable garbage time TD.

Christine Michael, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Coming off a terrible performance against the Bills (five carries, one yard) Michael won't see his matchup get any easier against the Patriots. Coming off their bye week, New England will be well rested and prepared to hold Michael and the Seahawks running game in check. The Pats aren't an elite rushing defense, as they rank 14th and 15th in YPC and yards per game.

The Pats have found success against the run as they've been decent at holding opposing backs out of the endzone. Before giving up a pair of touchdowns to Mike Gillislee and Jonathan Williams in Week 8, New England had not surrendered a rushing TD since Week 2 against the Dolphins. Michael has only surpassed 70 yards on the ground once this season, and most of his value lies in his ability to find the endzone. If the Pats are able to hold him out of the endzone, expect Michael to post disappointing yardage and a poor Fantasy total.

Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

Dalton has been consistently good since a couple of poor outings in Weeks 3 and 4. Over his last four games, Dalton has scored between 20 and 22 standard Fantasy points. Over this span, he's thrown six touchdowns to just one interception. However, his opponents over this span have been relatively easy. This week he'll face a much tougher test in the Giants.

The Giants have been excellent against quarterbacks this season, as they have yet to give up 20 points to a QB in standard leagues. Overall, they've surrendered the fifth fewest Fantasy points to the QB position. As always, you have to mention that Dalton will be playing a Prime Time game on the road, where Dalton is just 1-7 in his career. Over his last four Monday Night games, Dalton has thrown just three touchdowns. It's difficult to bench a consistent QB based on the possibility of "Prime Time Voodoo" but it's been a consistent problem for Dalton throughout his career and can no longer be ignored.

Low-end QB1 numbers will be Dalton's likely ceiling this week. If there are better options on the wire, owners should strongly consider benching Dalton.

Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins

I know most owners can't afford to bench Landry. It's an extremely tough call to make considering he sees so many targets every game. However, news has been released that Landry is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. He's sat out of practice both Wednesday and Thursday, and continues to say that he "doesn't feel right". It's more than likely that he will play, but it's something to keep an eye on throughout the week.

San Diego has been decent against wide receivers this season, ranking middle of the pack in Fantasy points surrendered to the position. The Chargers have surrendered just two passing touchdowns in the last three games. Landry has caught just one touchdown this season and is likely to be held out of the endzone once again against the Chargers.

Landry is a tough bench in PPR leagues, but the uncertainty regarding his shoulder and a recent decrease in targets is cause for concern this week.

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