Now that was an exciting week around the League! The Saints took down the number one team in the NFL at home, and sealed it with a monster 72-yard touchdown to Michael Thomas. Big Ben thought he was “dead” after being flattened like a pancake, but James Connor continued to exhibit total dominance at the RB position. Sam Darnold & the Jets showed signs of continual regression as he threw for a Nathan Peterman-esque 4 touchdowns! (Be still my heart). And the longstanding debate of who is truly the GOAT quarterback (if that was even a real debate) was finally settled. Shocking result: it’s Tom Brady.
Let’s hope Week 10 can live up to that same standard…
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Washington Redskins – FD: $7,600 | DK: $5,900
Gotta stick with the hot hand on this one. Fitzpatrick threw for four touchdowns on Sunday with one interception and racked up 243 passing yards. The passing yards could have been a bit more impressive, but overall you got exactly what you were looking for if you started him. You were probably even happier if you stacked Fitz and OJ Howard who was on the receiving end of two out of the four Fitzmagic “spells” (spells = touchdowns now). Fitz is up against the Redskins this week, who just allowed Matt Ryan a very similar stat line of 350 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. It’s not a cakewalk of a match-up, but neither were the Carolina Panthers. Mark my words, the ‘come back down to Earth moment’ is still on the horizon for Fitzmagic, but I don’t think it will be in Week 10 against the Skins. Fitz is a solid start, and as I write this, just 68% owned in season long leagues. Scoop him up! He’s got some great match-ups in the weeks ahead.
Baker Mayfield vs. Atlanta Falcons – FD: $7,400 | DK: $5,400
I feel a bit like a broken record listing Mayfield in this article series, but he’s just been a great candidate. He’s still under 50% owned in season long formats, and he’s had a string of fantastic match-ups. It’s his performance that’s lacked consistency, but that’s the risk you run with starting a rookie QB. This week continues that streak of great match-ups as the Browns face off against the Falcons. The Falcons’ defense is frankly no good, and just allowed Alex Smith to post his best game of the season this past Sunday. Matt Ryan and the Falcons shouldn’t have a problem putting up points against the Browns, and I expect this contest to be high scoring. Mayfield had a solid outing against the Chiefs this past week. Not great, but solid. I expect more of the same, with an added boost from playing against an even inferior defense in the Falcons.
Blake Bortles @ Indianapolis Colts – FD: $6,800 | DK: $4,900
Guess who’s back? Back again? Bortles back. Tell a friend. Well, that’s a bit premature. I think this game will be Bortles’ ‘get right game’. The Colts’ defense is an easy match-up for opposing quarterbacks. Just to give you some perspective on the Colts’ defensive strength, Derek Carr managed to have a great game against them in Week 8. His follow-up performance was a complete ‘strug-fest’ against the 49ers last Thursday. Starting Bortles is obviously a risk, he’s not had a good game since Week 4 against the Jets. This match-up presents some fantastic upside for Bortles. Luck, by all accounts, seems to be back (praise god), and the Jags’ defense is nowhere near as dominant as they were last season. This has the telltale signs of a shootout in Indy. Close your eyes, fire up your Bortles, and hope for the best.
Eli Manning @ San Francisco 49ers – FD: $6,500 | DK: $4,700
You may be asking yourself, “Really? Again?” And the answer is, yes. Go big or go home. The Giants coming are out of their bye week and going across the country to face off against a team that just absolutely schooled the Raiders on prime time television. I expect very different results on Sunday night. This game is a sneaky shootout. The Giants have all of the offensive pieces to be one of the better offenses in the League, and their defense is on the downturn after trading away some key players before the trade deadline. I’m banking on the promise of that Giants’ offense. San Fran will be forced to start Nick Mullens as well, which should mean a stacked box and a throw heavy scheme. The Giants have only one win on the season. I expect they’ll be pulling out all the stops to avoid going 1-8 against a very beatable team.
Alex Smith @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – FD: $7,600 | DK: $5,300
Oh, what a difference a year makes. Smith had his highest passing yards on the season against the Falcons, and still failed to put up those staggering fantasy numbers we grew to love and admire last season. I almost didn’t list him in the article out of last week’s disappointment. Then I looked at the numbers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense has given up to opposing quarterbacks. On average opposing quarterbacks are throwing for 322 yards and 2.75 touchdowns. QB1 numbers if ever I saw ‘em. Smith is a risk, no doubt. There’s a disconnect somewhere in that offense. I’m just hoping that they either fix that disconnect, or Smith just plays above those around him. This is the game. If he doesn’t do it this week, he’ll be out of contention until he proves he’s worthy of DFS/Streamer consideration.
Hail Mary Quarterback of the Week
Marcus Mariota vs. Philadelphia Eagles – FD: $6,700 | $5,300
Mariota got it done on Monday Night Football! It was a long time coming, too. Before that game the Titans offense looked like it was a slug that had been doused in salt by “that kid”. They managed to come back to life against a good Dallas defense, in Dallas. No small feat. Mariota threw for 240 yards, with two touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown to boot. He did have some rough spots on Monday (which makes him the Hail Mary candidate). Two critical fumbles. Take away those fumbles, and he finishes as the QB #3 on the week (scoring format dependent obviously). It was exciting to see how the Titans got Mariota back involved in the run game. He had ten rushing attempts on Monday night. The last time he had the same volume of rush attempts was against the Eagles in Week 4 where he put up 30.8 fantasy points. If Mariota can build on his Week 9 success, he’ll be a great spot start in both DFS and Season Long formats.
Nick Vannett @ Los Angeles Rams – FD: $5,200 | DK: $2,700
I was way off on my prediction that Dickson would be more involved in the Seattle offense this week. It was Vannett’s show on Sunday, and he looked the part. He caught six of eight targets for 52 yards and a score. In comparison, Dickson was targeted once in the end zone. While I always value red zone looks in tight ends, I value 8 targets a game a bit more. Now the Seahawks go to LA to face off against the now defeated Rams. This should be an exciting division matchup, but more importantly, a defensive minded battle. That type of scheme should benefit Vannett, and he should see a similar amount of targets on Sunday. I’ve said it before, the Rams can be thrown on, and their Linebackers are their weakness (outside of CB Marcus Peters) seeing as they are the weakest against the tight end position. All the necessary pieces are in place for a solid game from Vannett.
Cameron Brate vs. Washington Redskins – FD: $4,400 | DK: $2,600
I do have eyes, and I did watch the games on Sunday. I do, in fact, know that O.J. Howard, and Fitzmagic connected for two touchdowns. Now hear me out. The Redskins have a pretty good defense against the tight end position, and you can be sure that they’re going to do their best to take O.J. Howard out of the equation. This should open up some opportunities for Brate to make an impact in this game. He was targeted just three times last week, and caught all three passes. Though his production was underwhelming, he still proved that he’s a reliable pass catcher. This, like any other Brate game, is a touchdown dependent play, but nobody will be starting him in DFS. Players will be focused more on O.J. Howard in their lineups. O.J. Howard is too expensive in DFS, his projected ownership in DFS is too high, and his ownership percentage in Season Long format is too high to be eligible for this article. Brate is a sneaky play this week, and if you’re desperate for a high upside game from a tight end, I think you could do worse.
Jack Doyle vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – FD: $5,600 | DK: $4,300
Jack Doyle missed 5 weeks of football due to injury, then came back in a big way against the Raiders in Week 8 for 6 receptions, 70 yards and a score. There was no love lost between him and Andrew Luck. There was concern about the Colts’ offense being able to support two tight ends, but it appears (based off of one game against a horrible defense) that it can. The real test will be this Sunday though, when the Colts face off against the Jags. The Jaguars, on paper, are a good defense against the tight end position. But, any time they’ve played against a team that features the tight end they’ve given up some points. Outside of Hilton, Luck’s two favorite targets are his tight ends. That trend should continue this game, which makes Doyle a strong play for Week 10. I expect him to have a similar game to what we saw before the Bye.
Evan Engram @ San Francisco 49ers – FD: $5,800 | DK: $3,600
Playing Engram is banking that the Giants’ offense performs like they should against a bottom feeder defense. More importantly, though, it’s banking on the continuation of his target share in that offense. Before their Bye, against the Redskins, Engram was targeted 9 times for 5 receptions, 25 yards and a touchdown. Obviously the yardage production with those targets was underwhelming, but as I stated above, the Redskins have a good defense against the tight end. If Engram sees a similar target share this week against an inferior defense he should be able to put up better numbers. Even still, Eli’s trust in his second year tight end is evident. This is a great opportunity to put that trust to the test and in your lineups.
Hail Mary Tight End of the Week
Vernon Davis @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – FD: $5,100 | DK: $2,800
Davis had a very strong outing this past week on just 32 snaps catching five of seven targets for 62 yards. He just looked like the better tight end on Sunday, and I suspect that production will carry over into Week 10’s matchup against the Bucs. The Bucs, as I’ve said multiple times throughout this season, is downright bad against the tight end position. The risk here is two-fold. Reed could hog all the tight end targets, and have yet another underwhelming performance. There’s always the possibility that Smith could just have a Smith day, and forget about his tight ends. The injuries that Reed has been powering through could give Davis the advantage against the Bucs. It’s a Hail Mary play, no doubt.
QB/TE COMBO of the Week
I would like to run it back and start OJ Howard & Fitz, but O.J.’s ownership + projected ownership in DFS makes him a “no-go” unfortunately. So, we’re gonna mix it up. Eli Manning and Evan Engram are this week’s QB/TE stack for Week 10. They’re traveling across the continent which always gives me pause, but fortunately they’re doing that coming out of their Bye Week. The team is rested, and (hopefully) they’ve addressed some of their offensive issues during the time off. Either way, Engram is arguable Eli’s second favorite receiving option in that offense (excluding dump offs to Saquon). That relationship should continue to flourish this week against a 49ers’ defense that should be exploited easily. Eli + Engram. Remember that duo last year? I think they get close to level this week.