After a Week 9 filled with intrigue and excitement, I’m going to take a quick victory lap on my “start ’em” call on Duke Johnson. It was as if the Cleveland offensive coaching staff read my article and said, “That makes a lot of sense!” With 25 points in a 0.5 PPR format, Duke Johnson was the overall RB7 in week 9. I believe he will continue to be effective on a Cleveland team that will be consistently playing from behind.
On to week 10! It’s not the topic of this article, but it must be said: Poor Dez.
Thanksgiving has come early as it is a week of running back feasts! We’ve already seen Christian McCaffrey have an absolutely magnificent game on Thursday night. We will tremble with antici……….pation for other matchups like Kareem Hunt against the Arizona Cardinals, Melvin Gordon against the Oakland Raiders, and David Johnson against the Kansas City Chiefs. Let’s see if we can find some not so obvious choices to recommend starting and sitting.
Running Back: Start ’em
Jordan Howard AND Tarik Cohen (Chicago Bears)
We were already going to start Jordan Howard. He’s had 4 touchdowns in the last 3 games and is finally showing why we spent a 2nd round pick on him in our preseason drafts. But, you can start Tarik Cohen this week, too! The best part is that he won’t even need the passing downs to do well. This is the kind of week where Tarik Cohen could rush for 100 yards and a touchdown on 7 or 8 touches.
The Chicago Bears play the Detroit Lions. The Lions have given up 3 rushing touchdowns in the last 3 games. They made Kenyan Drake look good. (Fine, he’s talented and misused in Miami, but he’s quite the clunker this fantasy season.) Last week, the Lions let both Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray have very good results. It’s the Bears’ turn. I don’t expect the results to change.
Theo Riddick (Detroit Lions)
As bad as the Lions are against the run, the Bears are polar opposite. Their defense is 6th best against the running back position in fantasy points per game. There have still been a couple of instances where an offensive scheme has exposed the Bears defense allowing a running back to do well: David Johnson in week 3 and James White in week 7; both were accomplished through the passing game.
Theo Riddick returned from injury in week 9 and was treated with 8 targets during the Minnesota sack-a-thon. The sack-a-thon will continue in week 10 and Stafford will be required to rely on his check down option. Enter Theo Riddick.
About that sack-a-thon. Seriously, do not make it into a drinking game. Everybody will lose.
Running Back: Sit ’em
Kerryon Johnson (Detroit Lions)
While Theo Riddick will do well out of necessity, Kerryon Johnson will suffer against a stout defense that does not allow the first and second down running back to succeed. Khalil Mack is healthy which makes the Bears great defense even better. I see two things happening in week 10: Stafford will be sacked a LOT and Kerryon Johnson will hit brick walls. They’re playing at Soldier Field which will put an even greater strain on the Lions offense.
Sony Michel (New England Patriots)
I’m sure he COULD play, but why bother? The Patriots play the Tennessee Titans one week prior to their bye week. The Patriots showed the ability to win against an arguably better (than the Titans) Green Bay Packers without him. So, let him rest! James White is doing quite well and they even utilized Cordarrelle Patterson in a way to get Yahoo and ESPN to give him that lovely double position tag (WR/RB).
At best, I think they might limit him to see how he is progressing and then let him loose in week 12, after their bye week. He’s been limited in practice all week. I just don’t see the point if the Patriots can easily win without him.
Feel free to put Sony Michel in your starting lineup, if you must. Just temper your expectations.
Tight End: Start ’em
Ben Watson (New Orleans Saints)
The Saints travel to Cincinnati to play the Bengals. This match up comes with the highest over/under of the week at 54 points. There will be plenty of points to go around as the Saints will drive up the score while the Bengals will be efficiently playing catch-up with the help of the home town crowd and the need for a win to stay firmly in the playoff hunt.
The Bengals have allowed Christmas to come early for their most recent opposing Tight Ends. In the last 3 games, they have allowed 2 touchdowns to the position. All three opposing teams’ Tight Ends have scored 10+ fantasy points in 0.5 PPR formats.
Worried about Gronk? See if Watson is on your waivers and play him instead.
Jordan Reed (Washington Redskins)
Oh man. I’ve put this name here before. It has not worked. I’m covering my eyes and cringing while I snip the blue wire that is Jordan Reed. While he explode? Or will it be a dud?
The Redskins travel to Tampa Bay to play a Buccaneers team that is just terrible against the Tight End. They have allowed 17.9 points per game to the position. They have given up 5 touchdowns to Tight Ends in their last 5 games. There is no reason for that trend to stop. The only thing that could prevent a wonderful result is Jordan Reed’s 2018 inefficiencies.
For the record, I am absolutely stunned that the Jordan Reed/Alex Smith pairing hasn’t set the world on fire. If any matchup will make things right in the fantasy world, it’s this one. If you’re in a pinch, feel free to throw Vernon Davis into your starting lineup.
Tight End: Sit ’em
Eric Ebron (Indianapolis Colts)
Jack Doyle is back and is getting the targets. Eric Ebron will continue to be a red zone threat at 6’4″. However, we must keep in mind that the Tight End position is terrible and you cannot count on touchdowns or points in general.
Before their bye in week 9, Eric Ebron enjoyed 22% of the offensive snaps to Jack Doyle’s 73%. Yes, he pulled in a touchdown with his lone red zone target. But, like I said above, you cannot count on that on a weekly basis. In addition, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be coming to town. While their defense hasn’t been living up to their potential as of late, they are still 7th best in PPG against the Tight End position.
This is not the week to play hero. Leave Eric Ebron on your bench.
Gerald Everett / Tyler Higbee (Los Angeles Rams)
I’m scraping the barrel listing two sit ’ems. Some might call this one a no-brainer, but I still want to mention it just in case fantasy owners are staring at a bye week problem and need to pick up a Tight End. They might be thinking, “The Rams offense is great! The Tight End should be getting a piece of it!” That first sentence is spot on. The second one? Not so much. Look elsewhere for a bye week filler. The Rams are travelling to Seattle and their dreaded 12th man. The Seahawks are the 2nd best in PPG against the Tight End position. Neither of the Rams Tight Ends will do well.
Good luck to each of you in week 10! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope your significant other has signed you up for a Sunday morning commitment and that you sleep in by accident leaving no time to properly set your lineup.