Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell will be here all season delivering the edge you need to dominate your fantasy football league. Visit 1500espn.com each Wednesday for a new column and each Thursday for a new episode of the Fantasy Football Party podcast.
The Vikings return to action Sunday after a trip to jolly England and a bye week to recover–and just in time, at least as far as Kyle Rudolph is concerned.
Over the past two weeks we’ve had the six-team Byepocalypse in Week 8, followed by Bypocalypse II: Where Have All the Quarterbacks Gone. And while it’s no trilogy, the four-team mini-byepocalypse in Week 10 has created a serious talent vacuum at the tight end position.
Travis Kelce? He’ll sit this one out along with his Chiefs teammates. Zach Ertz? After tapping out in pregame warmups last week, he too will not be suiting up in Week 10 with the Eagles also on bye. Jared Cook, who led all tight ends in fantasy scoring last week, is also taking the week off.
What’s a fantasy owner to do?
Follow the matchups. Specifically, follow the Giants, Broncos, Browns and Redskins.
At the risk of pulling back too much of the curtain fantasy analysts hide behind when coming up with Oz-like prognostications with which we amaze friends and generate Twitter followers, much of what we tell you is based on matchups.
You know when a running back is good, and you’re going to start him against whatever defense gets thrown in front of him. But when all the good running backs are gone, you want to look for bad defenses that can make ordinary backs look like Barry Sanders–for at least a week.
Of course it doesn’t always work… except this season, with the aforementioned fantastic four facing tight ends. No team has allowed more yardage to tight ends than the Redskins, no team has allowed more tight end receptions than the Browns, and with the Broncos shutting down everything on the outside teams are exploiting the middle of their defense.
And the Giants? That’s what we in the business call a tease; you’ll have to cruise to the end of this article to get those details.
But let’s swing it back to our beloved Rudy. He’s settled into a nice rhythm in the Vikings offense with at least seven targets in four straight games; he’s scored in two of those tilts as well. As noted earlier, Washington is giving up almost 80 yards per game to opposing tight ends, easier the most in the league. They’ve also surrendered a tight end score in four of their last six. And in the six games the Redskins have allowed at least seven targets to opposing tight ends, they’re giving up an average of six catches for 80 yards and 0.7 touchdowns (four scores in six games). With Josh Norman spending most of his day covering Stefon Diggs, Case Keenum will be looking Rudy’s way even more frequently. And from a DFS perspective, with a $5000 price tag at Fanball, my personal favorite DFS site, he’ll save you a whopping $2,700 off Rob Gronkowski.
Who, by the way, faces the aforementioned Broncos. So he might just be worth the extra coin. Or maybe try a DFS that lets you play up to three tight ends with their unique roster requirements; I happen to know of one that’s near and dear to my heart.
In any event, there’s a couple freebies before you even make it to the official DFS recommendation later in the article. And one of them even has a hometown angle… as if you needed a reason to welcome the Vikings back to your Sunday afternoon schedule.
For DFS players, we provide the best values at QB/RB/WR/TE on a weekly basis, including pricing from Fanball, DraftKings and FanDuel. Sorry about Doug Martin last week, but the other five guys all scored–Marvin Jones scored twice–and Jared Goff was the top-scoring quarterback for the week. So that’s gotta buy a little forgiveness, right? Here’s your Week 10 suggestions. Good luck!
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. New York Jets
Depending on your DFS destination of choice and your favorite quarterback this week, you might find value somewhere amidst the consensus top eight or so. Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger both have seven-spot swings in their rankings from site to site; Cam Newton’s rankings differ up to five spots and Tom Brady’s differ by four. There’s also value once again in Jared Goff, the fifth- to seventh-highest priced quarterback this week.
But you’re here for value, and we’ll give you just that in the double-revenge matchup between two journeymen quarterbacks facing really bad defenses. Josh McCown isn’t a bad value himself at $6000/$6100/$7400, and he gets a Tampa Bay defense that’s giving up 278 passing yards and a shade under two touchdowns per game. But Fitzpatrick is $800 to $1200 cheaper depending on venue, and he’s matched up with a Jets defense that’s giving up 246 yards and more than two touchdowns per game. The last three times he’s thrown at least 30 passes, Fitz has tossed multiple scores and averaged 257 yards per outing. He won’t have Mike Evans, but he’ll have DeSean Jackson and a pair of talented tight ends at his disposal to compensate for the Bucs’ lack of a ground game. It’ll be a shootout thanks to the lack of defense, and Fitz is positioned perfectly to take advantage.
RB: Lamar Miller @ Los Angeles Rams
The NFL isn’t rocket science. If you’ve got an elite quarterback like, say, DeShaun Watson, you let them win games for you. If you’ve got something like Tom Savage at quarterback, you get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible. Expect Houston to do the latter, leaning heavily on Miller. He’s averaging 18 touches per game, turning them into 88 yards and a 50/50 shot at a touchdown on a weekly basis. The Rams have faced five backs who received that volume and allowed an average of 103 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown per game. Even if the Rams race out to a big lead Miller will remain involved in the passing game, so there’s a reasonable floor to his value as well.
RB: Orleans Darkwa @ San Francisco
Since his 21-117 coming out party against the Broncos in Week 6, Darkwa has housed the majority of the touches in the Giants backfield and averaged 17-86 during that span. Nine backs have seen at least 17 touches against the 49ers this year, churning out an average of 119 yards from scrimmage and scoring eight touchdowns. Just about every conceivable game script puts the ball in Darkwa’s hands more than enough times to return plenty of productivity on the minimal cap hit he requires this week.
WR: Sammy Watkins vs. Houston
If you saw TY Hilton run over, around and through the Houston secondary last week you’ll know why we’re so bullish on Watkins’ prospects this week. Or maybe you saw both Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson take the Texans’ secondary for 100-yard games. Or another speedster, Brandin Cooks, light up Houston for 131 yards and a pair of scores. Watkins was on the business end of a 67-yard touchdown bomb last week, and while he’s trailing Robert Woods in targets he’s clearly Jared Goff’s downfield weapon of choice.
WR: Tyler Lockett @ Arizona
Patrick Peterson’s a pretty good cornerback, and he’ll spend most of the afternoon blanketing Seattle’s top receiver, Doug Baldwin. That leaves Lockett and Paul Richardson, who’s still a little banged up (and also between $200 and $900 more expensive, depending on your venue), to take advantage of the rest of Arizona’s soft secondary. Here’s a list of tertiary targets who have found the end zone against the Cardinals while Peterson was shutting down WR1s: Kenny Golladay, Brice Butler, Nelson Agholor, Torrey Smith, DeSean Jackson, Cooper Kupp. With Seattle sporting a nonexistent ground game and Baldwin presumably tied up with Pat Pete, look for Lockett–who’s seen 23 targets over the past three games–to have himself a day in the desert.
TE: Garrett Celek vs. New York Giants
If you’ve ever wondered what the rock-bottom price for a tight end was at any of the DFS venues we use, look at Celek’s pricing above. It doesn’t get any lower than that. But when the Niners officially ruled George Kittle out with his ankle injury, the door swung wide open for the utterly inexpensive Celek. Why? Because, as we bring this article full circle, he has the most favorable matchup in the history of fantasy football matchups. Halfway through the 2017 season the Giants have allowed at least one tight end touchdown in every single game. The streak actually stands at nine if you go back to Week 17 of last year and includes this long but hardly distinguished list of entries: Witten, Ebron, Ertz, Brate, Howard, Henry, Heuerman, Graham, Higbee. Celek saw a season-high four targets in relief of Kittle last week against Arizona, and he’s no stranger to the end zone having scored twice in the final six games of last season when Vance McDonald went down with an injury. Hey, Tyler Freaking Higbee scored on the Giants; you think Garrett Celek can’t do the same?
Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell co-host the 1500ESPN Fantasy Football Party podcast. Bookmark the podcast page for upcoming episodes and subscribe to the podcast now! Don’t act like you’re not impressed.
Maggio hosted Fantasy Football Sunday on 1500ESPN from 2012-2013 and is the Fantasy Football Editor at Zoneblitz.com. Mitchell is Vice President of Content for Sportradar. And Tuvey is Senior NFL Analyst and Director of Content for Fanball, a SportsHub Technologies company. All three men are kind of big deals, enjoy leather-bound books and have homes that smell of rich mahogany.
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