NFL DFS Week 10 Picks
Another week of your lives wasted, as we chase that elusive comically large check for a million dollars. Another week to ponder the fate of your lineups, choosing carefully whether or not to swap out a certain someone as to avoid theorycrafted landmines. It is the soul-sucking process of NFL DFS that can yield massive results or force an early retirement due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. Yet that very same abhorrent process is like a siren’s wail, beckoning to the poor lost lineups stranded at sea and drowning them deep into the DFS abyss. Every now and then, one of those lost lineups ends up ignoring the siren’s wail and cashes a rather large check for a rather large someone. That is what keeps us going. That is why you continue to read asinine articles about the absurdity of DFS life. As long as we have the DailyRoto optimizer as the captain of your boat, we shall never be lost at sea. O’ Captain, my captain! Lead us to salvation through the strength of Kamara! And Hunt! Gurley, too! Even El Gordo shall receive my love and affection! But that demon Adrian Peterson shall stay far and away from my lineups! Never again!
Air Mahomes just continues to crush every single week, continuing his phenomenal 8 game streak of 300+ passing yards. It very well could continue against the Cardinals, but I’m hesitant to pull the trigger simply because it very well could be a huge Hunt day. The Chiefs could also be up big and just simply sit Mahomes before he hits that 300-yard mark. Still a very good play, but I’m going to pivot off him and save some salary with both Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.
Drew Brees is poised for another huge game against a Cincy secondary that’s been crumbling for the past month. The Bengals sit at 16th DVOA for their pass coverage unit but have given up the 3rd most passing TDs, highest passing yards per game average, and the third most passing yards to QBs. That’s quite bad. We all know the deal with the Saints, oftentimes relying on the power running game of their dynamic RB duo and letting Brees chill for most of the game. That very well could happen against a bad Cincy defense, but their biggest holes on defense are mostly exploited through the air. That’s why I favor Brees over choosing either Kamara/Ingram in a high-scoring affair. It certainly helps things that the Bengals defense is especially susceptible against passes to the backfield, surrendering the fourth most touchdowns through the air to opposing RBs. Sounds like a perfect spot for a Brees smash.
Matt Ryan just keeps playing on fire this season, turning in yet another 30+ fantasy points game. He’ll get a Browns defense that’s now reeling from several secondary injuries including putting their 2nd best CB on IR and a potential absence from their top-rated corner, Denzel Ward. Even with Ward, the Browns defense as a whole just simply can’t get off the field to their abysmal 30th DVOA ranked run defense. It’s allowed opposing offenses to run the play-action relentlessly, creating more explosive plays off a positive run game. That is something the Falcons particularly excel at, with the 6th highest percentage of play-action passes. Off the play-action, Ryan is tied for the 4th most touchdowns, third-most passing yards, and has the 7th highest yards per attempt. Impressive numbers! With the Browns’ defense spiraling into a bottom 10 defense and secondary injuries mounting, Ryan should be all engines go in a favorable matchup.
I mean, Josh McCown. Right? Yeah? Dude is incredibly cheap and probably would do better than Darnold at this point in their careers going forward. He’ll get a Bills defense that’s kind of good but not really. They’ve been a good defense in the sense that despite having a worthless QB at the helm for the majority of the season, they’ve still played well enough to be ranked 3rd best DVOA overall defense. But even the third best defense can still struggle to not get dunked on when their offense repeatedly gives good field position to the other team. The Jets aren’t a good team and McCown isn’t a top tier QB, but the value is just immense in a matchup where even one TD would allow McCown to hit value. As a starter last year, McCown threw for nearly 3k yards and had a 18/9 TD/INT ratio with 67% completion. Those are actually good numbers befitting a starting caliber QB. Point blank – no matter what you think of the Jets or the Bills, Josh McCown is the absolute QB value play on the slate.
I really like Mitch Trubisky as an under the radar QB who can serve as salary relief to try and shoehorn in the stud RBs. He’ll get a 30th DVOA Lions pass defense that’s only giving up the 8th fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. However, that number has vastly increased over the last four games as the Lions continue to plummet as a team. The Lions have given up an average of 273 passing yards over the last four games, compared to 198 yards in their first four games. That’s a huge jump. The Bears have been on a little bit of a rhythm on offense, and Trubisky’s increased confidence in Nagy’s offensive system is a big reason why. Ignoring that, the main reason why I like Mitch is due to his high floor from his rushing ability ala Cam Newton. Before the Bills blowout game where the Bears basically didn’t have to do anything with two defensive touchdowns, Trubisky had averaged 58 rushing yards per game in the last four games. Add in 13 passing touchdowns over the same span (including a 6 TD monster game against the Bucs), and Trubisky had been an underrated QB1 at a discounted price. That should continue this week provided Stafford doesn’t turn into Peterman and forces a low-volume Mitch day. Jam him in with confidence.
Boy, what a week to play a top tier RB. I cannot decide which RB deserves the tag of the TOP RB PLAY of the week as they are all so deserving. Honestly, I think you’re better off just spreading your exposure among each of these RBs and not even thinking twice about it – Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, and Alvin Kamara. Gun to my head, I would put both Hunt and Gordon as my top RB plays of the week and a short explanation why.
Hunt is coming off a three TD game with over 140 total yards, continuing his scorching play over the past month that has seen him average well over 100 combined yards and scoring a TD for 8 games straight. He’ll get a Cardinals run defense that’s seen the most rushing attempts and surrendered the 4th most fantasy points along with 3rd most rushing touchdowns to opposing RBs. It’s a slam dunk matchup with a Chiefs offense that hasn’t stopped rolling from Day 1 and has involved Hunt heavily in the last five games. So easy.
Gordon gets the dilapidated Oakland defense that just cut Bruce Irvin, not that he would have changed much had he played. The Raiders are clearly in tank mode, and their defensive stats speak for themselves over the past month. 10th most fantasy points, 5th most rushing yards, and 4th most rushing touchdowns to opposing RBs. All while the Raiders operate at the 4th slowest pace with the 9th fewest offensive snaps per play. Just pathetic numbers. Absolutely pitiful. Gordon has been a stud this season with a 40% red zone market share, good for sixth most among RBs. Gordon’s also cashed in 9 red zone touchdowns, which would put him at 4th most among all qualified players. Gordon has now scored a TD in six straight games with three 100+ rushing yards in his last 4 games, averaging 20+ touches per game for the season. What more do you want? JAM HIM IN!!!
Most of the better RB plays are just well out of the value play tier, but one name keeps popping up in the optimizer – Dion Lewis. He’s now averaging well over 16 touches a game over the last four games after a slow start to the season. Lewis has also gone back to back games with 60+ receiving yards, an important note to remember for later on. The Patriots are only giving up the 12th fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs with an even lower number in rushing yards given up. However, they also rank 25th DVOA against RBs in the air with a stat-line of 52/465/3 over the season. Those numbers would put the Patriots as a bottom 10 defense in each category. Now you’re starting to see why Lewis is a great value play as a PPR back. The Titans are expected to be down early and passing often to catch up, keeping Lewis’ snap numbers high enough to garner more volume throughout the game. Lewis had his highest snap count and share last week in an upset victory over the Cowboys, fortifying his stranglehold over Derrick Henry. Could be the under the radar play at RB.
It very well could be a fluke, but I have a hard time staying away from Duke Johnson in what could be his best matchup of the year. After the Browns fired Hue Jackson, Duke Johnson saw his most snaps at RB since Week 6, with an increased role in the passing game to boot. That resulted in a 9/78/2 receiving day for Johnson, smashing his season highs by a wide margin. He split his snaps evenly with Nick Chubb but was still the team leader in targets and yards, solidifying him as a receiving weapon against weak coverage units. Or so I think. If that trend should continue, then Johnson is an absolute must-start against a Falcons defense that’s dead last in catches and yards given up to opposing RBs. In fact, they’re giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to RBs despite only allowing the 9th fewest rushing yards. That is how atrocious their coverage has been against anyone in the backfield. If the Browns really are going to unleash one of their most explosive weapons, then Johnson very well could be a top-five RB play on the slate. The reason he’s here is simply that the Browns are the Browns. He might end up losing a ton of touches to Chubb or be sparingly utilized for no apparent reason as had been the norm. I’m still confident in the play, but I have my 10 shots of whiskey ready just in case Duke gets benched.
I think Michael Thomas is by far and away the top WR play of the week, with Julio Jones right behind him. Thomas is coming off a monster 200+ yard game, reminding everyone that he has the potential to drop 40 points at any time. He’ll get the aforementioned struggling Bengals secondary that’s been getting exposed through the air. It’s the obvious stack option with Brees and has the upside of the top tier RBs just due to the immense volume Thomas gets. He’s currently owning a 28% stranglehold of the team’s targets which has resulted in having the 2nd most catches among all WRs, only 8 behind Thielen despite seeing almost 30 fewer targets. Cincy is giving up the 2nd most offensive plays per game, while the Saints rank 11th best in plays per game with their balanced attack. Even if the Bengals offense doesn’t show up, it’s a moot point since their defense just hemorrhages away plays like nobody’s business. Remember the Chiefs’ 45-10 shellacking? Pepperidge Farms remembers.
The other obvious top play should be Julio Jones, the main recipient of the majority of Ryan’s play-action passes as noted in the QB section. Jones is second in total air yards, 3rd in targets, 2nd in market share of team’s targets, and 2nd in receiving yards. All while playing one less game than the leaders. Yes, he’s only scored one whole touchdown the entire friggin’ season. Yes, he barely gets used in the red zone. So what? He’s still having a monster season with a QB who knows what breads his butter. It’s a Browns defense that possibly may be down two of their best corners and struggles against play-action. Damn it all! Just play him! Don’t worry about his unexplainable touchdown numbers!
I don’t particularly like the value plays on the slate, as most of them have some big question marks and lack the play volume requisite for a top value play. Instead, I’ll elect to pay up a little bit more and dig around the WR pool just below the studs. Jarvis Landry was a name I kept going back to and re-checking his numbers. He’s got the 2nd most targets, 5th highest market share, and even has 23% of the Browns’ red zone opportunities. Yet, Landry only has a 54% catch rate while only converting two of his 15 RZ plays for touchdowns. Not great efficiency, Bob. Still, Landry has the potential to finally put together those mesmerizing numbers into a big-time game with one of the better matchups of the slate. With Landry running 70% of his routes in the slot, he’ll be facing the coverage of Brian Poole quite often. Poole is tied with Robert Alford for the most touchdowns given up (4), ranks 3rd worst among their CBs in passer rating, and has given up the third most yards among all the Falcons’ defenders. Juicy. Granted, the entire Falcons defense all rank near the bottom in every imaginable statistical category, but Poole is among the worst of the worst. If Landry can simply increase his poor 54% catch rate into the high 60s, then by virtue of volume alone he should be able to tack on a no-effort 100-yard day. Easy, breezy, cover girl!
Larry Fitzgerald had his best game of the season in his last game with season highs in air yards (106), receiving yards (102), and even targets (12). Josh Rosen also had his most passing attempts with the quickest release all season. Perhaps this Byron Leftwich fella really just might be the next coming of Bruce Arians. Even his usage of David Johnson was significantly more efficient than his predecessor, calling much more screen plays and putting DJ in space. All in all, the Cardinals offense looks on track to fantasy relevance, and Fitzgerald is at the top for me. The Chiefs may be the best offense in the NFL, but their defense certainly hasn’t caught up to the offense with a 27th overall DVOA ranking. The Chiefs have two CBs in the top 10 for most yards given up, and one of them just happens to be the primary defender against Fitzgerald’s slot routes (75% of routes ran). Kendall Fuller was once a promising prospect that the Chiefs received in their Alex Smith trade, but he’s since withered with a 35/463/2 stat-line in his coverage this season. If the trend holds up for the Leftwich coached Cardinals, then they likely will ramp up their pass attempts and attack with their best offensive tools. It only makes sense that Larry would be a part of a revitalized Cardinals offense, and that’s why he’s my sleeper pick.
Repeat after me. I will only play the best TE every week. SAY IT AGAIN! Okay. Now, that obviously means Travis Kelce is the top TE play once again. The Gronk replacement has overtaken Zach Ertz as the TE leader in nearly every statistical category. The TE position has continued to be feast or famine, with everyone either choosing the best TE or just punting it away with whoever fits the lineup. Even the cheap TEs on paper with great matchups can still put up a dud (I’m looking at you, Rudolph!). With that said, Kelce does have a little bit of a difficult matchup against Arizona (7th fewest fantasy points given up to TEs). Unfortunately, he’s still by far and away the best play among the elite TEs. If his price and matchup make your stomach grumble, then look elsewhere for better salary relief but be forewarned – this is a dead position in the NFL! You get what you pay for!
I think there are only two real clear values at TE this week with Trey Burton against the Lions and Austin Hooper versus the Browns. Burton continues to live and die by the touchdown, amassing the 3rd most touchdowns among TEs. Lions are middle of the road against TEs but haven’t been stingy in the red zone with 4 TDs given up on the season. There’s not much to the Burton play outside of a decent chance for a touchdown against a decaying Lions secondary and the improved play of Trubisky.
Austin Hooper is the much better value play overall, facing a Cleveland defense that’s given up the 3rd most catches, 11th most receiving yards, and the 9th most fantasy points to opposing TEs. Hooper may not be a big name but he’s been a consistent part of the Falcons offense, averaging 7 targets a game for the past four weeks. He’s had at least 40 yards in that same span, with big games against the 3rd and 5th worst defenses versus TEs (9/71/1 vs TB, 9/77 vs PIT). The Falcons have proven that they will take advantage of any superior matchups that are given to them, and Hooper has normally excelled in smash spots. This week will be no exception for him at a great discounted price.
It’s yet another week that Reed pops as a great play on the optimizer. Reed has continued to perpetually disappoint his fantasy owners with middling games week in and week out. This is his very last chance to impress and salvage what’s left of his miserable season. Reed gets a bumbling Buccaneers defense that’s fed TEs every single week with the 2nd most fantasy points, 2nd most catches, 3rd most touchdowns, and 4th most yards given up to opposing TEs. It’s by far Reed’s best matchup of the season with a game script that leans towards a higher passing output from the Redskins. Why is that? The Redskins’ offensive line has become ravaged by injuries, losing two of their best OL in Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff. That greatly diminishes the Redskins’ ability to run the ball behind Adrian Peterson, forcing the usual run-heavy gameplan to skew more towards the pass as was the case last week (only 23% of plays were running plays). Of course, that could mean Alex Smith will end up running for his life rather than giving Reed his proper targets to shine. For a guy who hasn’t cracked 50+ receiving yards since Week 3, Reed still stands out among a diminishing TE pool simply because the Bucs are truly that awful. Hate to see it.