NFL DFS Week 10 Picks
Simplicity. It’s the focus for the picks this week. I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping things simple when it comes to NFL DFS. Overthinking plays and reacting hastily to negative plays can lead to a misconception that every time you pick a certain player, they’ll often end up goose egging your lineups and forever be cursed. As fun as it is to sad-sack your way through your NFL DFS existence with platitudes such as “I had that guy in my lineup until 5 minutes before lock! CURSED!” or “It’s my third time picking this guy and he got 10 points instead of 30! That’s the third time he didn’t get 30! CURRRRRRSED!!!, the reality is you are not cursed as you think any more than I am a walrus with green teeth. It’s just the nature of a sport that punishes bad decisions more than most DFS sports. Sticking to the metrics and trusting the optimizer will always pay off in the long run, even if we do lack the patience to do so. Say your weekly mantra and scroll down for some bad picks!
Came back from his hand injury against the Cardinals right before the bye and looked about 80% with his velocity still somewhat intact, throwing 43x in the process, That nabbed Brees a beautiful 373-yard game with three touchdowns. Now he’s had a week and change to rest up, Brees should be fired up as a true QB1 across all formats against a Falcons team that likely will continue to operate as a bottom-five defense rest of the way. It’s honestly surprising that Dan Quinn hasn’t been fired yet for another mediocre season, but that’s none of our business. Brees isn’t priced right at his ceiling which leaves a little bit more salary left over compared to the other elite plays, making Brees one of the best cornerstones for lineups with a high floor and great upside. Getting Kamara back as another weapon for the passing offense also bolsters Brees’ floor/upside. While the Falcons rank 31st DVOA against the pass and basically stink in every QB stat allowed, they’ve been pretty solid against the run (10th DVOA) and have allowed the least receiving yards to opposing RBs on the 2nd fewest targets. Yes, they’re coming off a bye but my point stands! Brees should be able to maneuver past a pliable ATL secondary and put up a top 3 QB score fairly easy.
I was tempted to put Lamar Jackson here in an obvious spot, but I think there’s a good chance it’s an early blowout and the Ravens decide to sit Jackson later in the game. He came down with an illness that’s expected to be minor but still enough to maybe warrant an early sit-down should the game get out of hand quickly. I like Mahomes in a sneaky blow-up spot despite possible concerns about a lighter workload as he comes back from his kneecap injury. Personally, I think the Chiefs wouldn’t ever let Mahomes come back if they didn’t fully intend to give him his usual full load as a true QB1. The Titans have started becoming a defense for opposing QBs to pick on, trending in the wrong way in passing yards allowed (10th most) with a 20th DVOA pass defense ranking. Add in the loss of CB Malcolm Butler and the increase of explosive pass plays allowed (20+ yards) into the mix, then you have the ingredients needed for a high-end fantasy output for Mahomes. Tyreek Hill also has been playing at an all-pro level since his return from injury even with Matt Moore under center. Everything is just coming together at the right time for Mahomes to remind people why he was the league MVP last year. Pay up for him and hope Jackson does indeed sit a quarter or two.
There’s a surprisingly high number of low-priced QBs that are completely playable this week, but I think Jones is the cream of the crop among the sea of mediocre QBs. He’s averaging 36 pass attempts since becoming the starting QB with 41 attempts in his last two games. The Giants are slinging it despite Barkley’s return to the lineup, and that’s a trend that should continue against an exploitable Jets pass defense that finally decided to put Trumaine Johnson out of his misery and on IR. Jones has largely been decent in those 7 starts with at least one TD in every single start, so he’s almost always going to at least double his value most weeks. The main reason to play Jones this week is simply taking advantage of a reeling Jets team that’s likely in full tank mode after losing to the lowly Dolphins and allowing 288/3 to Ryan Fitzpatrick of all people. They rank 25th DVOA as a pass defense with a brutally bad pass rush (10th worst graded, traded away one of their only productive rushers in Leonard Williams). That’s good news for Daniel Jones and his proclivity at taking way too many sacks. It’s also a positive trend that should help increase DJ”s very low YPA if he’s able to scan the field longer than usual. I’m always betting against tanking teams that have lost composure as the season wanes on by, so I’m plugging in Jones as a great salary relief play with a solid floor, low as it may be.
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I struggled to find a QB to either boost up or turn up the volatility since the projections seem quite spot on across the board. You’ve got your high upside QBs in a game stack between Kyler Murray and Jameis Winston, Tannehill as a potentially nice value play, and painting a good picture on bad match-ups for the streamer QBs like Kyle Allen/Mayfield. Stafford has a rather mundane match-up against a top ten Bears defense that ranks 8th best overall DVOA with the 7th pass defense. They’ve only allowed 8 passing touchdowns on the year, T-6th lowest. So why is Stafford being mentioned here? Well, he’s on a heater lately with 3 straight 300+ yards and inching his way along as a top-five overall QB. His stats are all up from the year prior, with more 300+ yard games this season than last year already and an impressive 8.59 YPA (4th highest). He’s also been handling the pressure well with top 10 marks while under pressure nearly 40% of the time, including 10th most yards thrown with zero interceptions. The Bears may boast a ferocious pass rush behind Mack, but they’ve actually been around league average as a pass defense in terms of yards allowed and would likely rank slightly below average if bye weeks weren’t included. It’s a shot in the dark but Stafford is likely to be very low owned and has the weapons to make the Bears pay for any mistakes. Worth cranking up the volatility a bit on Stafford to see if his hot streak continues.
Just gotta put him here for austerity’s sake. Fade or don’t fade him. It’s up to ya if you think his price isn’t high enough. He’s on a CJ2K-esque pace in a bigly smash spot against a bottom ten run defense, so do what you will. I have no more remarks for or against CMC anymore. He is not human.
Now with that out of the way, here’s my personal top RB play of the week. The Bills are a well-coached defense with an underrated secondary but as teams find their identity and figure out strengths/weaknesses, one thing has been clear about the Bills defense – they struggle against physical teams that are willing to run it down their throats. They rank 30th DVOA as a run unit with the 3rd most explosive run plays (20+ yards) allowed on the season. The Bills have now allowed 100+ total rushing yards in the last four games with an average of 139 yards per game. If the Browns want to change the narrative for their failed season, they’ll need to involve Chubb and pound the rock as often as possible. Thankfully, despite the dysfunctional Browns offense, Chubb has often been fed with 20+ touches in three straight games and has had 20+ touches in every game but one thus far. Add in a 5.2 YPC and the 3rd best elusive rating (behind Carson and Jacobs) with at least 20 touches against a vulnerable Bills run defense? And he’s reasonably priced? I’m loving it!
While there are serviceable value RBs on the slate such as Jaylen Samuels, David Montgomery, and even Devin Singletary coming off his best game, none of them have the upside that David Johnson has in a Kingsbury offense that seems tailored towards RBs having tremendous success. Kenyon Drake only had a few days to pick up the playbook and was still inserted as a bellcow with 80+% of the offensive snaps and had 19 total touches with several well-designed plays that got the scat-back free numerous times. There’s some concern that Johnson gets a lower workload or cedes much of the rushing duties to Drake, but I think that’s mostly hogwash. The Cardinals were already trending towards a two-back offense with DJ operating as essentially the #1 WR and Edmonds as the de-facto RB on the field together. Johnson had been by far the most productive receiver for the Cardinals with the highest YPR/R among their starters and 2nd highest routes ran before his injury. Chances are Kingsbury knows this and will look to involve DJ more as a receiver and limit his run touches along the way. Johnson also had been their best redzone weapon, scoring 4 touchdowns on 19 opportunities that also includes 4 RZ targets. Against a pitiful Bucs secondary that just gave up 400+ to Russell Wilson and two 100+ yard WRs? I love Johnson’s combination of a great price tag and an immense upside should he still be heavily involved as a receiver. Maybe Kingsbury eases him in but I have my doubts after the lack of separation the Cards’ WRs have had in recent weeks and Kingsbury’s reluctance at giving Isabella more snaps. Lock him in!
BOOST ‘EM UP!
Yup, I’m all in on the Ronald Jones hype train! Received 20 touches, ran the most routes all season as an RB, and notched a 55% snap rate. All highs for the season and even got a good word or two from Bruce Arians. Faces a Zona run defense giving up the 7th most rushing yards and 13th most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Jones should see his snap count increase even further as his continued good play gets rewarded by the coaching staff. Jones has kept the Bucs offense from relying on mistake-prone Winston and staying the course as a balanced attack, which resulted in by far Winston’s best game of the season and a near upset over the Seahawks. I think Arians will continue to ride the hot hand and keep up the balanced attack against a defense that’s now allowing the 5th most offensive snaps per game. Very good chance for a big Jones game should the staff not blue-ball us as they’ve done so in the past. Boost him up with a tenner so Jones is a positive value and turn up that volatility to a 30-40 and reap the benefits of a good game!
It should come as no surprise to see MT as the best WR play on the slate. He’s been an absolute stud all year regardless of who’s throwing him the ball. He’s on pace to shatter Marvin Harrison’s reception record (143 catches) and already amasses 40% of the team’s receiving yards! Top it off with a league-leading 32% market share of the team’s targets and it’s no wonder Thomas pops as the top WR play with the most potential value. We know the story about the hapless Falcons defense, but it does bear repeating that they’ve allowed the T-2nd most touchdowns to opposing WRs. MT has seen 30% of the team’s RZ targets with 13 and converted 4 of those for touchdowns. Yum! No need for any other necessary superlatives as MT is one of the easiest slam dunks on the slate. Biggest lock of the week! (Next to CMC, of course)
The Packers defense started off the season strong with an elite secondary, but they’ve now given up the 2nd most yards per play since Week 4 with the 3rd most explosive pass plays allowed. Moore has been tracking as the Panthers’ true #1 WR over the past four games, racking up 37 targets and out-performing Samuel in every metric like YPR/R and air yards. He’s been Allen’s preferred target as their chemistry continues to improve while Samuel still struggles to gain traction on deep bombs and battling injuries along the way. With how much the Packers pass defense has collapsed over the past month and Moore’s resurgence as a reliable WR, I have way more faith in Moore’s floor than most of the guys around his price tier. If the explosive plays continue to be allowed by the Packers, then Moore suddenly has serious upside since he’s now taken over Samuel’s role as the big playmaker down the field.
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How could we all forget about this little guy? He had to take a few weeks off to recover from his injuries and is coming off a notoriously bad WR match-up against the Patriots. He was also only involved in 58% of the offensive snaps but much of that can be attributed to a run-heavy gameplan and a little bit of easing him into the offense. His snap rate should skew towards 70%+ that had been the norm for a few games before the eventual injury. Brown will get a true boom or bust match-up against a Bengals pass defense that’s allowed the 2nd most explosive pass plays and ranks 3rd worst DVOA. They’ve been getting scorched deep all season long despite seeing the 2nd fewest targets to opposing WRs with nearly 17 yards per catch allowed! That’s a recipe for disaster against a Ravens team that’s executed their play-action brilliantly with Jackson’s ability to make every single person on the defense fall on their butts. There’s a good chance the Ravens just run the ball every rip and have a let-down game fantasy-wise, but I’m willing to take a risk on Brown’s field-stretching ability as a deep threat phenom. I’m gonna give him a 20 boost and a 50 volatility hoping for a few lineups that clocks in his KABOOM potential.
Another day at the office for Kelce, who continues to pace as a top-five TE and has been a candidate for TD regression due to the lack of catchable TD looks. Moore missed Kelce on two gimmie throws in the redzone last week, which would have given Kelce the honors as the top fantasy TE. Alas. He’ll get a Titans defense that’s struggled against athletic TEs that can run away from their deceased linebackers. They rank bottom ten DVOA in their TE coverage and have been trending near top 10 numbers allowed to TEs over the past month with one notable statistic – The starting TE has seen at least 6 targets in the last three games. SCARY!!!!! Yes, it’s a meaningless stat nugget that amounts to nothing really, but you gotta take what you can get when it comes to tight ends. Listen, it’s Travis Kelce with Mahomes back. Kelce’s leading in receiving yards (666!) and is T-1st in targets on the most routes ran among TEs. If he had some TD luck over the past few games, then he’d be a legitimate WR1 fantasy production-wise. Just pay up already
Yeah, whatever. Evan Engram is expected to be out against the Jets which moves Ellison as the full-time TE for the Giants. In Engram’s absence, Ellison saw a 21% market share the last time Engram was out, notching a measly 3/30 line on 7 targets. Again, you take what you can get when it comes to TEs. Ellison is the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to price tags but has actual opportunity to thrive as a dump-off target for Daniel Jones, who often does indeed dump it off for no reason even if he needs 13 yards for a first down. Ellison is the simplest punt option on a dreadful TE slate.
BOOST ‘EM UP!
YEA BABY! My 1st Dolphins recommendation on the year! Gesicki has been one of the bright stars of a turbulent Miami season, racking up 40+ yards in the last three games while settling in as a seam threat for Fitzmagic. He’s been cranking out air yards (3rd most among TEs since Week 5 bye) and is expected to soak up some of Preston Williams’ 21% MS/T since Williams is now on IR with a torn ACL. The Colts are notorious for keeping things in front of them, allowing short dump-offs in exchange for less big plays down the field. That’s resulted in the 9th most catches allowed to opposing TEs on the 9th most targets. That seems fairly good for Gesicki’s floor as a number two option for Fitzpatrick (assuming Parker takes over #1 duties from Williams). I think Gesicki deserves a little love from the projections and should be ranked as a top-five value with his recent play and a clear role for Miami with potential to become the main target hog for Fitzpatrick. I’m putting a small 5 boost on Gesicki so I can enjoy seeing him right underneath Kelce as a top value TE play. LET’S GO TUA TAGOVAILOA!