Week #10: The Inside Slant
John Holler

Week 10 is the start of the home stretch of the fantasy regular season and with only four teams off this week. The week begins on a slow note with the battle of new and old Cleveland, as the Browns go to Baltimore looking for their first win.

The early games include the Panthers looking to get their season back when they host 6-2 Chiefs. Denver looks to come back from a tough loss at Oakland when they head to New Orleans. Atlanta tries to keep its spot as a team in line for a bye when the Falcons head to Philadelphia and two former powers – Green Bay and Minnesota – look to stop recent skids when the Packers head to Tennessee and the Vikings go to Washington.

The highlight of the late games is the 7-1 Cowboys heading into Pittsburgh. The prime time games are going to be strong – with Seattle heading to New England Sunday night and the Bengals heading to New York to face the Giants on Monday night.

Week 10 is going to be critical for a lot of owners looking to get closer to locking down a division title or work their way into playoff position and these will be the matchups to keep an eye on.






Cleveland WR Terrelle Pryor – The Ravens have been routinely lit up by big-play receivers, including Corey Coleman (5-104-2), Allen Robinson (7-57-2), Michael Crabtree (7-88-3), Odell Beckham Jr. (8-222-2), Quincy Enunwa (2-73-1) and Antonio Brown (7-85-1). Pryor has found ways to put up big fantasy numbers and this week could be no exception.


Baltimore TE Dennis Pitta – The Browns have been hit hard by tight ends, including Jordan Reed (9-73-2), Rob Gronkowski (5-109-0), Martellus Bennett (6-67-3) and Jason Witten (8-134-1). In their first meeting, Pitta caught nine passes for 102 yards, so he’s part of a growing sample size that points to the potential for another big game.






Atlanta WR Julio Jones – Since their bye week, the Eagles have been consistently allowing big-play receivers for different teams to put up solid weekly numbers, including Marvin Jones (4-37-1), Cordarrelle Patterson (7-67-1), Dez Bryant (4-113-1) and Odell Beckham Jr. (4-46-2). Jones is always capable of big things and this week shouldn’t make Jones owners nervous.


Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz – Atlanta is riding high, but have been killed by quarterbacks all year, including David Carr (299-3), Drew Brees (376-3), the combination of Cam Newton and Derek Anderson (337-3), Philip Rivers (371-1), Aaron Rodgers (246-4) and Jameis Winston and Mike Glennon (336-4). Wentz is never an auto-play, but this matchup brings some solid potential to this matchup.




Chicago WR Alshon Jeffery – The Bucs have been pounded by top opposing receivers all year, including Larry Fitzgerald (5-77-1), Tavon Austin (5-82-1), Demaryius Thomas (6-94-1), Emmanuel Sanders (8-88-1), Greg Olsen (9-181-0), Amari Cooper (12-173-1), Michael Crabtree (8-108-0) and Julio Jones (8-111-1). With Jay Cutler back, the odds of Jeffery emerging seem much more likely, especially with Tampa’s awful track record.


Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans – The Bears secondary is injured and shorthanded and, even at full strength, have been hammered by wide receivers, including Will Fuller (5-107-1), Jordan Matthews (6-71-0), Terrance Williams (4-88-0), Marvin Jones (5-74-0), T.Y. Hilton (10-171-1), Devante Adams (13-132-2), Randall Cobb (11-95-1) and Stefon Diggs (8-76-1). Evans has been huge all season and the Bears shouldn’t change that.




Denver QB Trevor Siemian – The Saints have been brutalized by quarterbacks all season, including Derek Carr (319-1), Matt Ryan (240-2), Philip Rivers (321-2), Cam Newton (322-2), Alex Smith (214-2) and Colin Kaepernick (398-2). Siemian isn’t high on a lot of lists, but the Saints seem to beg owners to play QBs against them because the success rate is just too high.


New Orleans QB Drew Brees – The Broncos have routinely limited quarterbacks, including Cam Newton (194-1), Andrew Luck (197-1), Andy Dalton (206-0), Jameis Winston (179-0), Matt Ryan (267-1), Brock Osweiler (131-0), Philip Rivers (267-2) and Derek Carr (184-0). Nobody benches Brees, but if you have other options, you may want to consider them.




Green Bay WRs Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Devante Adams – The Titans have been lit up by wide receivers all year, including Stefon Diggs (7-103-0), Marvin Jones (8-118-0), Michael Crabtree (8-102-0), Will Fuller (7-81-1), DeVante Parker (2-70-0), Terrelle Pryor (9-75-2), T.Y. Hilton (7-133-1), Allen Hurns (7-98-1) and Tyrell Williams (6-65-1). The only problem here is which Packer do you choose because all three are viable fantasy options and all could produce big games?


Tennessee WR Rishard Matthews – The Packers defense has struggled with injuries and wide receivers have had some very productive days, including Stefon Diggs (9-182-1), Marvin Jones (6-205-2), Odell Beckham Jr. (5-56-1), Cole Beasley (6-58-2), Mohamed Sanu (9-84-1) and T.Y. Hilton (6-82-0). Titans receivers don’t jump off the page at you, but Matthews is their biggest playmaker, especially over the last month.




Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins – Jacksonville has been slammed by wide receivers all season, including Jordy Nelson (6-32-1), Travis Benjamin (6-115-2), Steve Smith (8-87-0), T.Y. Hilton (7-42-1) Alshon Jeffery (7-93-0), Cameron Meredith (11-113-0), Michael Crabtree (8-96-1) and Kendall Wright (4-84-1). Hopkins is waiting to blow up and this could be the game that does it.


Jacksonville WR Allen Robinson – The Texans have done a very good job of limiting top receivers, including Alshon Jeffery (4-105-0), Jeremy Maclin (6-68-0), Julian Edelman (4-38-0), Tajae Sharpe (2-15-0), T.Y. Hilton (3-49-0) Demaryius Thomas (6-40-1), Golden Tate (7-42-0) and Marvin Jones (3-33-0). The Jaguars have struggled offensively this season and this doesn’t look like an ideal rebound matchup.




Kansas City QB Alex Smith – The Panthers have allowed huge fantasy days for opposing quarterbacks, including Blaine Gabbert (243-2), Matt Ryan (503-4), Drew Brees (465-4) and Carson Palmer (363-3). Even Case Keenum threw for 296 yards and a touchdown, so it isn’t outrageous to think that Smith could have a big day.


Carolina WR Kelvin Benjamin – Despite their success over the last year-plus, the Chiefs have been vulnerable to big games from wide receivers, including Keenan Allen (6-63-0 in less than a half), DeAndre Hopkins (7-113-1), Will Fuller (4-104-0), Antonio Brown (4-64-2), Amari Cooper (10-129-0), Michael Thomas (10-130-0), Brandin Cooks (7-58-1) and Allen Robinson (7-76-1). As often as receivers have hit the Chiefs, Benjamin may be in for a strong day.




Los Angeles WR Tavon Austin – The Jets secondary has been abused all season by receivers, including A.J. Green (12-180-1), Brandon LaFell (4-91-0), Marquise Goodwin (2-112-1), Greg Salas (4-89-1), Travis Kelce (6-89-1), Jimmy Graham (6-113-0), Antonio Brown (9-78-1), Sammie Coates (6-139-2), Mike Wallace (10-120-0) and Terrelle Pryor (6-101-0). The Rams need to infuse more firepower in the offense and Austin is their best playmaker.


New York WR Brandon Marshall – The Rams have given up a lot of receiver points to elite players and ordinary guys alike, including Tyler Lockett (4-99-0), Mike Evans (10-132-1), Adam Humphries (9-100-0), John Brown (10-144-0), Golden Tate (8-165-1) and Kelvin Benjamin (5-76-0). Marshall has been the focus of the pass offense for the Jets without Eric Decker so he will likely be given the most chances and targets to make plays.




Minnesota RB Jerick McKinnon – The Redskins have been destroyed by running backs all year, including DeAngelo Williams (26-143-2), Ezekiel Elliott (21-83-1), the combination of Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa (21-120-2), Isaiah Crowell (15-112-1), Terrence West (11-95-0), the combination of Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles (13-80-0), a trio of Lions RBs (19-94-1) and the tandem of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard (31-128-2). Minnesota has the NFC’s worst rushing attack, but the Redskins have given up far too many points to running backs.


Washington WR DeSean Jackson – Minnesota has a habit of putting Xavier Rhodes on a team’s most dangerous receiver with good results, including Delanie Walker (3-42-0), Jordy Nelson (5-73-1), Kelvin Benjamin (0-0-0), Odell Beckham Jr. (3-23-0), DeAndre Hopkins (5-56-1), Jordan Matthews (3-10-0), Alshon Jeffery (4-63-1) and Marvin Jones (1-5-0). The Redskins spread the ball around, but Jackson is viewed as the best playmaker and, if Rhodes is put on him, big days don’t tend to follow.






Dallas QB Dak Prescott – The Steelers consistently give up points to quarterbacks, but not a ton, including Kirk Cousins (329-0), Andy Dalton (366-1), Carson Wentz (301-2), Alex Smith (287-2), Ryan Fitzpatrick (255-1), Ryan Tannehill (252-0), Tom Brady (222-2) and Joe Flacco (241-1). The Cowboys are on a roll, but expecting huge points from Prescott doesn’t seem to make logical sense.


Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown – The Cowboys have been hit up by top receivers, but haven’t had a huge game put up against them, including Odell Beckham (4-73-0), DeSean Jackson (3-40-0), Alshon Jeffery (5-70-0), Torrey Smith (1-3-0), A.J. Green (4-50-0), Randall Cobb (7-53-1), Jordy Nelson (5-68-0), Jordan Matthews (11-65-1) and Terrelle Pryor (5-47-1). Brown never gets benched, but expecting 125 yards and two TDs may be overshooting expectations.




Miami WR Jarvis Landry – The Chargers have been blasted by wide receivers all season, including Jeremy Maclin (5-63-1), T.Y. Hilton (8-174-1), Michael Thomas (4-44-1), Amari Cooper (6-138-1), Julio Jones (9-174-0) and Rishard Matthews (6-63-2). Landry remains the centerpiece of the pass offense and this could be an opportunity for him to have a strong game.


San Diego RB Melvin Gordon – The Dolphins have been abused on the ground all season by running backs, including the tandem of Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls (27-98-0), LaGarrette Blount (29-123-1), the combination of Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson (25-148-0), Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard (31-89-0), DeMarco Murray (27-121-0) and Matt Forte (12-92-1). Gordon is having a MVP season and the Dolphins could be another notch in that belt.




San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick – The Cardinals have been strong in preventing QBs from having a huge day, including Jimmy Garoppolo (264-1), Jameis Winston (243-1), Tyrod Taylor (119-0), Case Keenum (266-2), Blaine Gabbert (162-1), Ryan Fitzpatrick (174-0), Russell Wilson (225-0) and Cam Newton (212-0). Kaepernick is coming off a huge week, but it wasn’t against the Cardinals.


Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald – The 49ers have been scorched by receivers all season in very big ways, including Kelvin Benjamin (7-108-2), Greg Olsen (5-122-1), Doug Baldwin (8-164-1), Jimmy Graham (6-100-1), Mike Evans (8-96-2) and Michael Thomas (5-73-2). In their first meeting this season, Fitzgerald caught five passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns, so there is a direct history in this case of Fitz blowing up against them.






Seattle RB Christine Michael – The Patriots struggled a bit against Mike Gillislie (12-85-1) in their last game, but have been extremely effective in shutting down running backs, including Jay Ajayi (5-14-0), Lamar Miller (21-80-0), LeSean McCoy (19-70-0), Isaiah Crowell (13-22-0), the combination of Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill (28-87-0) and Le’Veon Bell (21-81-0). Seattle needs to be balanced to win, but the Patriots have been extremely stingy in that regard.


New England QB Tom Brady – This may be the biggest challenge Brady faces all season because he will be going up against a defense that doesn’t allow monster passing days from quarterbacks, including Ryan Tannehill (186-0), Case Keenum (239-0), Blaine Gabbert (119-0), Ryan Fitzpatrick (261-1), Carson Palmer (342-0). Drew Brees (265-1) and Tyrod Taylor (298-1). Nobody benches Brady, but off-the-chart numbers may be asking a lot.






Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton – The Giants don’t get hammered with passing touchdowns very often and have given up yards, but not much in the way of QB fantasy points, including Dak Prescott (227-0), Drew Brees (263-1), Kirk Cousins (296-2), Sam Bradford (262-1), Aaron Rodgers (259-2), Joe Flacco (307-0), Case Keenum (291-1) and Carson Wentz (364-0). It would seem yards are there for Dalton, but the big TD numbers don’t seem to add up.


New York RB Matt Forte – The Bengals have a very good defense, but have been hit significantly by running backs, including Matt Forte (22-96-0), DeAngelo Williams (32-94-0), Ezekiel Elliott (15-134-2), LaGarrette Blount (13-50-1), Isaiah Crowell (12-63-1) and Robert Kelley (21-87-1). Forte has put together a strong season in his first year with the Jets and the Bengals will be hard-pressed to keep him out of the end zone, since so many others have been able to accomplish that.



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