This is Betting the Spread: Week 10 in the NFL. Just because we were approaching .500 didn’t mean we wanted to go .500. After a scorching 10-4 week in Week 8, Week 9 didn’t treat us as well. A 5-5-2 mark puts us at 59-64-4 on the season. We still have plenty of time to get back to .500, but we’re also past the mid-point of the NFL season. Hopefully, we get there this week. Let’s get Week 10 rolling!
Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick ATS: Seattle Seahawks
Could we finally be embarking on Rachaad White szn? Tampa beat writer for The Athletic, Greg Auman thinks so. In an article making five predictions for the Bucs in the second half of the season, one of those predictions was that White becomes the Bucs’ starting running back. He elaborated, saying: “Fournette has almost 300 more yards than White on the season, but expect that gap to narrow as the Bucs trust the rookie more and more. Fournette might end up as the team’s leading rusher, but the momentum will likely be with White at the end of the season.”
There’s a reason for a potential takeover too. Rachaad White has outrushed Leonard Fournette in a game twice in the last three weeks and has more rushing yards as a whole (70) than Fournette (62). White and Fournette have nearly identical juke rates (27.6-percent) and average about the same yards per touch (4.3 for White; 4.4 for Fournette) and yards created per touch (3.12 for White; 3.0 for Fournette). However, White has more juice as the younger player behind an offensive line that isn’t generating a lot of push.
Seattle’s defense was a funnel for running backs earlier in the season, but they are now up to No. 10 in rush defense DVOA according to Football Outsiders. Neither White nor Fournette are ideal starts, but both can be started as flex plays with White’s increasing role. If White is still on waivers for whatever reason, he needs to be added with his league-winning upside as the primary (dump-off) running back in a Tom Brady-led offense.
Minnesota Vikings vs Buffalo Bills (-3.5)
Pick ATS: Buffalo Bills
As I write this, I’m uncertain of Josh Allen‘s status for this game. He missed practice on Wednesday with a UCL injury to his throwing shoulder. Obviously, it’d be a big downgrade to the Bills’ offense, but I think the only player whose status drastically would change if Allen can’t go is Gabe Davis. Davis’ 16.9 average depth of target ranks No. 1 among wide receivers. Last season, in spot work for the Cleveland Browns, Case Keenum, Buffalo’s backup, averaged 5.9 air yards per attempt.
In Keenum’s last season starting a large portion of games (2019), he ranked No. 31 in the league among quarterbacks in air yards per attempt with 7. In 2018, it was 7.7. In 2017, it was 7.9. Keenum doesn’t push it deep. Davis doesn’t have more than four receptions in any game this season and has exceeded that mark just three times in 39 regular season games in his career.
The Tom Savage corollary will keep Stefon Diggs afloat in a revenge game for him and Keenum. Diggs and Singletary would be the only Bills I’d feel confident about starting this week. But I’d pivot off of Davis, who has yet to score double-digit points in a game this season without the assistance of a touchdown.
Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears (-3)
Pick ATS: Chicago Bears
Justin Fields is truly unleashed. I did wonder if the Bears’ reluctance to throw made Fields a little too reliant on his rushing to produce fantasy points. Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray at least throw it *some.* As it turns out, it doesn’t matter. Fields now leads quarterbacks in rush attempts with 91. He’s on a 17-game pace of 171 carries, 1,137 yards, and 7.5 touchdowns on the ground. For context, Lamar Jackson accumulated 176 carries, 1,206 yards, and seven touchdowns in 15 games during the 2019 season when he broke fantasy.
Fields doesn’t quite throw it enough to consistently bend fantasy points toward his will the way Lamar did in 2019, though. He only throws it 20.8 times per game; Lamar threw it 26.7 times. Lamar also threw for 36 touchdowns while Fields is on pace for 19. But, Fields does rank No. 20 among quarterbacks in money throws (8) and No. 5 in air yards per attempt (9.1). So at least when he does throw it some. When he does run, he’s looking for home runs, and it has been working recently.
As a result, Fields has firmly entrenched himself as a QB1 the rest of the way. I’d still rather have the big four of Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Jalen Hurts (in any order) a full tier ahead of him, but you could argue Fields is next up amongst a myriad of names.
Denver Broncos (+3) vs Tennessee Titans
Pick ATS: Denver Broncos
Derrick Henry has scored all of Tennessee’s touchdowns the last two weeks. The Broncos rank No. 25 in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA metric. That’s about it for the Tennessee Titans. (though: Treylon Burks is slated to return off of IR soon. The arrow was pointed towards a Burks breakout before he got hurt and no one has done anything in that Titans receiver room in his absence. Pick him up if he’s available.)
But, I’m interested in if this Broncos offense improves after their bye week largely because of their remaining strength of schedule.
Weeks 10->17 fantasy football strength of schedule
Raw = based on FF pts allowed to each position so far
Adj = based on FF pts allowed above expected (helps normalize for volume faced)
Green is easier, Red is harder pic.twitter.com/Zw2zjhk2Ue
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) November 8, 2022
There’s a lot of green for the Broncos. The problem is no one has consistently scored fantasy points for the Broncos outside of rookie tight end Greg Dulcich (I wrote about Dulcich in last week’s article as a bye week stash. Spoiler alert: he’s good, you need to add him, and you need to start him).
Russell Wilson, the running backs, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, heck even KJ Hamler (who is tending to a hamstring injury) have largely been fantasy disappointments, but they can finish the season strong with that schedule. I’m not starting a running back, but I’m playing those pass-catchers outside of Hamler this week. A good showing in a good matchup for them, and even Russell Wilson could portend fantasy goodness down the stretch. Keep an eye on the Broncos.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5)
Pick ATS: Kansas City Chiefs
I’m sure you all are sick about how much I’ve hyped up Isiah Pacheco. Well, pardon me for getting me excited about a running back with a 98th-percentile speed score playing alongside Patrick Mahomes! The problem is, he’s done jack-ya know in the two games he’s been named ‘the starter.’ Unfortunately for him, he just happened to go against the No. 4 (49ers) and No. 1 (Titans) rated run defenses according to Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA metric.
Kansas City fell behind in those games too, leading to more playing time for the receiving back Jerick McKinnon. The Jaguars aren’t BBQ chicken as a rush defense either. They rank No. 14 according to Football Outsiders. However, they aren’t as stout as San Franciso or Tennessee, and the Chiefs should be playing with a lead longer than they had the last two weeks. Pacheco isn’t a great start, but he’s the guy I’d be playing in the Chiefs’ backfield this weekend as a flex option if you’re in a pinch.
Cleveland Browns vs Miami Dolphins (-3.5)
Pick ATS: Miami Dolphins
This week holds the second-highest over/under on the week. I love the over in this game as well as Jacoby Brissett if you need a spot-start. The Dolphins’ offense refuses to stop throwing and scoring points and fully embraces a shootout environment. Their defense hasn’t exactly been the Steel Curtain either. Justin Fields threw for three touchdowns last week; he had seven in eight games leading up to that game last week.
Jared Goff threw for over 300 yards two weeks ago against this Dolphins’ secondary. Jacoby Brissett ranks No. 4 in the NFL in money throws (17), No. 10 in air yards per attempt (8.4), No. 8 in true completion percentage (72.8-percent), and No. 7 in QBR. The Dolphins rank No. 31 in the NFL in pass defense according to Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA metric. If you have Lamar Jackson (bye) or Josh Allen (injury), Brissett (in a revenge game!) is a solid start this week. As are Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones, who are still rostered in only 44-percent of Sleeper leagues. How many times do I need to tell you guys to add him?
You know who else is a solid spot start this week? Jeff Wilson. Wilson landed in Miami in the middle of the week and it was as if he and Mike McDaniel never left. He outsnapped and out-touched Raheem Mostert in his first game as a Dolphin. The Browns’ run defense ranks No. 30 in the NFL according to Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA metric. Feel free to start Wilson with confidence this week.
Houston Texans vs New York Giants (-4.5)
Pick ATS: New York Giants
Instead of pointing out the obvious and telling you all to hammer any and all Saquon Barkley props against the league’s worst run defense, let’s pivot elsewhere. Darius Slayton is largely available (11-percent in Sleeper leagues), and the Texans hemorrhage points to outside receivers.
A.J. Brown, Davante Adams, Mike Williams, Michael Pittman, Courtland Sutton, etc. put points up on everybody, but they all did a number on the Texans. But so did Marvin Jones Jr. (11-7-104) and Mack Hollins (3-2-44-1). Slayton ranks No. 6 among receivers in average depth of target (14.7 yards), No. 19 in yards per route run (2.23), and No. 20 in yards per target (9.7). He’s the Giants’ primary outside receiver with plenty of targets to go around. I think he has a solid game this week. Add him and start him if you need him.
New Orleans Saints vs Pittsburgh Steelers (+1.5)
Pick ATS: Pittsburgh Steelers
Remember how Amon-Ra St. Brown lit the world on fire down the stretch of his rookie season last year? I could see George Pickens follow suit. 17-percent of Pittsburgh’s targets flew out the door the instant they traded Chase Claypool. Pat Freiermuth will see more work down the seam with the middle of the field more open, but I think Pickens gets the biggest bump of this group. He’s already been a full-time player this season; he’s never played fewer than 70-percent of the team’s snaps in a game this season.
But since Week 4, Pickens has a 16-percent target share. The Steelers have thrown it on average 44 times per game in the three games Kenny Pickett has started and finished. Pickens has looked the part of a true alpha, has the potential for a larger piece of this passing game’s pie, and goes up against a banged-up Saints secondary with a fairly soft schedule afterward. Watch out for Pickens during the second half of this season.
Indianapolis Colts vs Las Vegas Raiders (-4.5)
Pick ATS: Las Vegas Raiders
Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow both were placed on injured reserve on Thursday. Remember when Davante Adams was going to have the most target competition since the early portion of his career when Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb were in their prime? Welp. Those three shared the field together in only Week 1 and Week 2. Davante Adams ranks No. 3 in the NFL in targets with 85 (he’s already had his bye) and No. 4 in target share (31.4-percent).
Sounds like it’s only going to get higher! This is good news for Josh Jacobs too. Jacobs averaged 5.5 targets per game in the two games Hunter Renfrow has missed this season but is averaging three targets per game in the games Renfrow has played. It could mean fewer scoring opportunities for Adams and Jacobs, but they’re all that’s left in this offense. Mack Hollins and Foster Moreau become intriguing deep-league options, but I’m fine missing the boat there. It’s Adams and Jacobs for me. That’s it.
Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) vs Green Bay Packers
Pick ATS: Dallas Cowboys
The Packers’ offense is broken. It has been for a while, but if you can muster only one touchdown against the Detroit Lions, then it becomes official. Aaron Jones is hurt, and this offense refuses to feed their best player that ranks inside the top five or ten of nearly every running back efficiency metric on PlayerProfiler.com. As a Packers fan, it’s maddening.
It’s also maddening how Robert Tonyan, at worst Green Bay’s second or third-most reliable pass-catching option, continues to lose snaps to blocking tight ends when this team, again, refuses to run the ball. As a result, Jones and Allen Lazard are the only Packers you can start with any confidence. No one else is startable. A.J. Dillon is nothing more than a handcuff at this point who has underwhelmed. Christian Watson is at least an upside stash. Romeo Doubs is injured with a high ankle sprain. Samori Toure and Kylin Hill are fun dynasty adds. That’s about it.
On the other side, Tony Pollard. 14-131-3. *That’s* what it looks like when you feed your dynamic running back the ball, Mike McCarthy! Knowing we can’t ever have nice things, McCarthy has indicated that Elliott could return this week. The Packers are No. 31 in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA metric only behind the aforementioned Houston Texans. I don’t care if Elliott is playing or not. Start Tony Pollard again.
Arizona Cardinals vs Los Angeles Rams (-1.5)
Pick ATS: Los Angeles Rams
Cooper Kupp. He’s great. Kupp is amazing. I have him in one of my leagues, and he’s made life much easier for me this fantasy season. Is it time to be a little worried about him, though? The Rams’ offense is literally nonexistent without him.
Matthew Stafford [Minus Cooper Kupp]
W1: 112 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT
W2: 164 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
W3: 205 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
W4: 132 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
W5: 183 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
W6: 173 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
W8: 108 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
W9: 38 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
1,115 yards, 2 TD, 8 INT
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) November 8, 2022
Matthew Stafford is in concussion protocol and could miss this game. Kupp could see Jaire Alexander in Week 15, aka the first week of the fantasy playoffs, and Patrick Surtain II in Week 16. He likely wouldn’t get shadowed by them full-time with how frequently he plays in the slot, but those are not exactly inviting matchups. It’s hard to know what a trade for Cooper Kupp would even look like.
I personally would probably be too scared to trade him. He’s scored fewer than 15 PPR points *once* since the start of last season, and he likely will continue to produce fantasy points because that’s what he does. But we’re in the business of winning fantasy championships. By no means should you actively shop Cooper Kupp, but I’d probably rather have Stefon Diggs the rest of the way. Maybe Tyreek Hill. Perhaps Justin Jefferson. Maybe A.J. Brown.
Los Angeles Chargers vs San Francisco 49ers (-7)
Pick ATS: San Francisco 49ers
Almost every quarterback drafted inside the top six rounds in the summer has panned out for fantasy… except for Justin Herbert. That’s not really Herbert’s fault, either. He leads the NFL in money throws with 21. Herbert is also is No. 5 in the NFL in passing yards, No. 9 in air yards, No. 12 in true completion percentage, and No. 11 in QBR. The early shot he took to the ribs in Week 2, and the lack of rushing upside has hurt Herbert. (Herbert has 51 rushing yards in 8 eight games. The injury to the ribs likely has a lot to do with this.)
Injuries to stars on offense like Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, and Rashawn Slater have also plauged the offense. As a result, everything has crumbled upon Herbert for fantasy purposes. It’s hard to put up gaudy numbers when you’re throwing to Josh Palmer, DeAndre Carter, and Michael Bandy.
Herbert isn’t a weekly fixture in lineups anymore. He does have a sweet rest-of-season schedule (first in adjusted points per game allowed to quarterbacks according to Mike Clay of ESPN), so he probably should be started. But I wouldn’t start him this week. Go find Jacoby Brissett or Jared Goff or even Jimmy Garappolo in this game. Herbert looks like he could be a great value in 2023 drafts, however.
Washington Commanders vs Philadelphia Eagles (-11)
Pick ATS: Philadelphia Eagles
The demise of Antonio Gibson was greatly exaggerated! I myself was worried about such a demise in the summer, but it hasn’t happened yet. Well, 47 total yards on 13 touches isn’t anything to write home about either, but Gibson has largely held down the fort this season. He scored at least 10 PPR points in three of his five games as the primary running back and had another with 9.3 before Brian Robinson returned.
Since Robinson came back, Gibson is averaging 13.1 PPR points per game. This rendered J.D. McKissic moot in the process (McKissic also injured his neck in Week 8). Gibson has 18 targets in the last four weeks; Brian Robinson has four. McKissic hasn’t practiced this week, and the Commanders face an Eagles team that should be leading for the majority of the game and ranks No. 27 in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA metric. I love Antonio Gibson this week.
Also, DeVonta Smith went nuclear the last time these teams played back in Week 3 with the 12-8-169-1 extravaganza he dropped. It should’ve been a larger explosion too. The Commanders have tightened up their secondary of late, but they have also gone up against the aerial attacks of the Bears, Packers, and Colts before Kirk Cousins threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns last week. I’m not expecting an encore, but this looks like a good week for Smith to get back on track.
BYE WEEKS: Baltimore Ravens Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, and New York Jets
It’s a lighter week for bye weeks than the last couple of weeks, mercifully. That means there aren’t as many stashes this week, but there are still guys on these respective teams that you should be targeting while your league sleeps on them in their off week.
Elijah Moore, New York Jets (32-percent rostered in Sleeper Leagues)
Remember me? Yes, Elijah Moore has let a lot of fantasy gamers, myself included, down this season, but that also hasn’t been his fault. He’s been getting open on the outside when he’s played, but Zach Wilson hasn’t found him. Things could get easier on that front, however. Head coach Robert Saleh has indicated that Elijah Moore is going to be moving into the slot after the team’s bye.
#Jets HC Robert Saleh confirmed to @JosinaAnderson that they’re moving WR Elijah Moore to the slot, ‘it’s a new position because we’ve been playing him outside for the most part’ + ‘we’re trying to find ways to utilize his strengths’: 🎥 @CBSSportsHQ #TakeFlight pic.twitter.com/jXqpFkezqa
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) November 9, 2022
This is big because Elijah Moore is pretty, pretty, pretty good from the slot.
Elijah Moore: 97.7 PFF Grade from the slot (1st in 2021 NFL Draft)
New York Jets have a slot weapon 🚀 pic.twitter.com/WERU0sUPa7
— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 10, 2021
I get it if you’re burned out from Elijah Moore. Zach Wilson hasn’t taken the leap I thought he could take. But he’s still an insanely talented player who should play more and play in an area of the field he’s most comfortable in. There’s still time for the breakout to happen.
Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens (53-percent)
Usually, I like to highlight players rostered in less than 50-percent of leagues here, but Edwards is still widely available. The Ravens expect him back from his hamstring injury after their bye, and he was Baltimore’s primary back before he got dinged up. He had 16 carries in Week 7 and 11 in Week 8 before leaving that Thursday Night game. Kenyan Drake has been better than I anticipated this season, but Edwards still seems like the number one in that backfield.
Samaje Perine, Cincinnati Bengals (11-percent)
Joe Mixon is No. 5 in opportunity share at running back and No. 2 in weighted opportunities. Chris Evans (not the actor) got injured before Cincinatti’s bye. If something happens to Mixon, this backfield is all Perine’s. We’re firmly in handcuff season, so make sure you snag Perine before it’s too late.
Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens (37-percent)
Isaiah Likely showed exactly why he’s the rare tight end handcuff in fantasy football. Mark Andrews leaves early in one game and doesn’t play the next. Likely: a touchdown in each game. He’s averaging a 6-3.5-50.5-1 line as Baltimore’s primary tight end this season and is No. 14 at the position in yards per route run (1.55). With Rashod Bateman out for the season, however, I think it’s possible Likely has a role regardless of Andrews’ health. Snag him now and see what happens.
Good luck in Week 10 everyone!