Sleepers And Busts: Week 10
Week 9 was a fine example of process over result. The process was correct but the results were 50/50. With six teams on bye, trusting the process with the Sleepers And Busts: Week 10 edition will be important. The Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins will leave so many fantasy-relevant players sitting this one out. Back to process and result while looking back at last week. DK Metcalf went nuts and Melvin Gordon had his first big game of the year. Mark Andrews struggled against the league’s toughest defense even in a win. The results were there with these three players. Kyler Murray, Sam Darnold, and David Montgomery, not so much but the process was correct.
Murray’s day was made on a late 80+ yard TD pass which gave him 9+ fantasy points in the last few minutes. Sam Darnold became the first QB to face the Miami Dolphins and not have multiple TDs. He did throw a second TD but it was called back due to penalty. Montgomery had two, 1 yard TD runs. One following a 53-yard pass to Taylor Gabriel and another following a 30-yard pass to Montgomery, himself. Mitch Trubisky threw for 125 total yards in the game and Montgomery ran for 40. So, here goes. These are the Sleepers And Busts: Week 10 edition.
Ronald Jones Vs The Arizona Cardinals
We might have finally reached the moment so many have been waiting for. Peyton Barber has been lackluster thus far in 2019 and Ronald Jones stayed in the background but in Week 9, it finally looked like he had won his coaches over. So much so that head coach Bruce Arians went as far as to all but say ‘He will start!” Jones is coming off a Week 9 performance in which he totaled 20 touches (18 rush/ 2 rec), 82 yards and a TD. Jones also out-touched Barber 20/4 in a shootout against the Seattle Seahawks. It was the second time this season that Jones led the RB group in snaps played.
Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals could be another great opportunity for the second year RB.
The Cardinals have given up a lot of production to running backs and despite a performance in Week 9 that was not up to the same standard as some of the rest, Matt Breida fell in line with RBs from every other team by achieving a top-36 RB performance (RB29) and five of the backs finished top-13 or better (4 in the top-five). seven of the nine RBs had 72 or more yards on the ground with three eclipsing the century mark. Three of the backs scored a rushing TD. They may only allow the 19th-most points to the position, the 24.2 PPR points per game they allow is 2 points per game away from allowing the 10th most.
Data via FFStatistics Defenses App
You might say, Ronald Jones and PPR does not mesh. This normally is not true but as you can see above, only one of the nine RBs had more than 4 receptions and just two had more than 4 targets. Jones may not catch the ball a lot but in three of the last four games, Tampa’s new starter has seen multiple targets and caught multiple passes in two of the four. Tampa’s previous starter, Peyton Barber, has three games this season with either 3+ targets or 2+ receptions. Only Joe Mixon (of the RB1’s to face the Cardinals) failed to see multiple targets and receptions.
Jones also ran a career-high, 17 pass routes against the Seahawks. Dare Ogumbowale will see the bulk of the receiving work but he has caught just one pass in the last two games and saw just 1 target and rushing attempt in the Week 9 game with Seattle. Jones will have the chance to solidify his RB1 role in Tampa this week and should be trusted as an RB2 for Week 10 on the low-end at the least. Check out this week’s FFStatistics Waiver Wire piece by @FFJeffSmith(Twitter) for more on Jones and all the other highlighted additions for this week.
O.J. Howard Vs The Arizona Cardinals
When you drafted O.J. Howard prior to the 2019 season, the hope was that if he could stay healthy, Howard could surprise and finish as potentially a top-three or four, but at the least, top-five TE. Well, outside of the last two weeks, Howard had been healthy but had not been anywhere near a top-five TE. His teammate, Cameron Brate has essentially been a more valuable asset by randomly catching a TD from time to time. Week 10 could finally be in line for the day we have all been waiting for.
Tampa Bay takes on Arizona. If O.J. Howard is ever gonna do it, this is the week. The Cardinals have allowed a TD to a TE every week except week 5 and 8 against Cinci and New Orleans. TEs caught 5 for 74 for the Saints and the Bengals are just bad (4/30)
— David Willsey FF (@willson8tor) November 5, 2019
As you can see in the tweet below, the Arizona Cardinals have allowed a TD or 70+ yards to TE’s in all but one game this season and the only team to really fail against Arizona is the lowly Cincinnati Bengals. Cameron Brate failed to catch a pass in the last game and it appears he may be more injured than the team was leading on during the leadup to Week 9. Howard is healthy again after missing two games with a hamstring injury.
(Hamstring): Howard has missed the past two games due to a hamstring injury, but he is expected to play Week 10 against the Cardinals. (Updated November 04, 2019)
If you have been holding him or he is on waivers, this is the week to give him one last shot. If you look below, you will see some incredible single-game numbers from nearly every TE the Cardinals have faced. They have allowed nine, top-20 TE performances, seven top-10, and six top-three finishes (including George Kittle in Week 9).
Data via FFStatistics Defenses App
The Cardinals also allow the most fantasy points per game to QBs so there should be plenty to go around with this game likely to be a shootout. Even with two top-10 WRs, both of these teams have very bad defenses and as a result, both offenses should put points on the board. If it was not already obvious, Arizona allows by far the most fantasy points to the TE position.
Howard may not have the results this season but that does not mean he lost all his talent. Follow the “process” and play the very talented TE in the high volume, high-powered, offense that plays opposite a very bad defense that is going up against another team with a very bad defense and one that allows the most points to said players position. This one should not be hard.
Kyler Murray @ The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kyler Murray is not really a sleeper at this point in the season. The rookie has been the number seven QB on the season but it has been one filled with injury and a retirement at the most important position in sports. Even though his day was made on one big play last week, he would not have killed your team without it and we do not take stats away from players for fluky plays.
The rookie QB was coming off two bad performances in which he failed to throw or run for a TD but thanks in part to said fluky play, Murray got back on track. He is a sleeper for the number one QB performance in Week 10. He will take on the team that just allowed the number one performance overall in Week 9 from Russell Wilson. Wilson threw 5 TDs and had nearly 380 yards with 50+ points in some formats.
As bad as the Cardinals are aginst the QB position, the Buccaneers are nearly as bad. They allow a difference of 1.7 fantasy points per game and yes, the total is largely affected by the monster game that Wilson just put up ut the were still allowing a ton of production prior to Week 9 as you can see below. You can also see that you do not exactly have to be an all-pro to get the best of them. Tampa has allowed Daniel Jones to score twice on the ground and through the air, Teddy Bridgewater to throw for four TDs, Jared Goff to chunk his way to over 500 yards in a terrible overall performance for real life, and two guys that were backups prior to the season to have solid days with multiple TDs.
Data via FFStatistics Defenses App
I think we can say even at this point in his career, Murray may be better then all these guys, Goff included, and he is set up for a prime fantasy situation. Murray can do it on the ground as well as through the air so the Daniel Jones game is fully in the realm of possibilities. Murray’s running ability provides a somewhat safe floor. He may not have any true number one wide-outs, but he has a slew of quality weapons that are young and one crafty vet in Larry Fitzgerald. They seem to have found a new versatile weapon with the Kenyon Drake trade and David Johnson might return this week as well.
(Back): Johnson has missed the last two games with injuries to his back and ankle. It is anticipated that he will be active Week 10 versus the Buccaneers. (Updated November 03, 2019)
With all of his weapons healthy, a prime matchup, and rushing ability that is up there with the best in the league, Arizona’s quarterback is in line for a huge day. The only QBs I would start over Murray this week are as follows…
- Lamar Jackson (Bengals.)
- Drew Brees (At home, in the dome against Atlanta)
- Russell Wilson (Because even in a tough matchup, you can not sit him)
- Patrick Mahomes (If he plays, he is in your lineup)
- Aaron Rodgers (This is close for me, Rodgers had been as hot as anyone before getting cooled off by the Los Angeles Chargers on the road but this games in at home for the Green Bay Packers)
Other Sleeper Candidates
- Mike Williams (LAC) @ The Oakland Raiders ( Oakland allows the 44.5 PPR points per game to WRs. The second most in the league.)
- Daniel Jones (NYG) @ The New York Jets (Jones had moments on Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys but was ultimately swarmed over by the defense. But, he gets to face the defense that just allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw for 288 yards passing and 3 TDs.)
- Josh Reynolds (LAR) @ the Pittsburgh Steelers (The Rams offense may not look like it did last year but it still has the ability to produce two or three fantasy-relevant receivers. Brandin Cooks is also in concussion protocol.)
Odell Beckham Jr Vs The Buffalo Bills
To say that the Cleveland Browns have been an overwhelming disappointment in 2019 would be a slight to overwhelming disappointments everywhere. The expectations that this team carried into the season following a promising 2018 with a bright young QB and RB, and acquiring one of the best wide receivers in the league to go with some good surrounding pieces. People had the Browns competing for the AFC North title and possibly more.
Data via FFStatistics Yearly Data App
As you can see, things have not gone as planned. OBJ is posting career lows in consistency metrics, points per opportunity, and points per game and might continue down this path as the Buffalo Bills and their stout defense comes to town. Beckham will get a very tough cornerback matchup in Tre’Davious White. He will perform at a high level this season but Week 10 is likely not that time.
This will be by far the toughest matchup of the year for Tre’Davious White, the Buffalo Bills star cornerback. He is not a complete shutdown player as White will give up some receptions (WRs have a 58% catch rate in coverage) but he has yet to allow a TD or more than 56 yards to a WR this season. White will likely need help from time to time but Buffalo as a team is allowing just 27.6 PPR points per game to WRs (tied for third-best). Three wide receivers have reached WR2 or higher in a game and oddly, they were all on the New York Jets or the Miami Dolphins.
Buffalo is one of four teams allowing fewer than 13.0 points per game to the QB position (12.5). Baker Mayfield has regressed greatly in his second year. Week 9 was his first without a turnover. That is not really a good thing as he had one or more in every other game. Buffalo may only have 11 turnovers and 20 sacks through nine weeks but Mayfield has 14 total turnovers and has 5 games this season in which he was sacked at least three times. The Browns second-year QB is producing fewer than 1 TD a game and Beckham has caught just one of those. The regression will set in eventually but this week could be another underwhelming for who was supposed to be your WR1 in 2019.
This is not so much a dig at Beckham but it is more so a lack of faith in the quarterback’s ability to consistently drive the offense up and down the field and put the ball in the endzone. The Bills also are kind of a funnel defense. Their focus on the passing game allows for a good amount of rushing production as you see below (10 top-30 RB weeks). Nick Chubb could be the way to go for the Browns. Or at least the only productive way.
Data via FFStatistics Defenses App
Devonta Freeman @ The New Orleans Saints
The Atlanta Falcons are coming off their bye week and man, did they need it. They had to play their last game prior to the bye without Matt Ryan or change of pace back, Ito Smith. Muhamed Sanu is now a Patriot and the run game has been largely inconsistent due to line play and is ranked 15th in sacks allowed but Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub have been sacked the ninth most times in the league. This has all resulted in one victory. In Week 10, the Falcons and running back, Devonta Freeman will visit a team going in completely the opposite direction. The New Orleans Saints were able to battle through their injuries and have positioned themselves in command of the NFC South with great play on both sides of the field.
Data via Pro Football Reference
You can see above that the Saints have one of the best rush defenses in the league. You can see below that the New Orleans defense has not allowed more than 72 yards on the ground in 2019. They have allowed just 3 TDs on the ground and zero TDs through the air to RBs. If Freeman is going to have a good day, it will likely need to be in PPR. The Saints have allowed 5+ targets to five running backs but again, they have yet to allow a TD through the air 46 yards receiving is the season-high they have given up. Freeman could be very hard-pressed to find any kind of yardage or scoring opportunities but he does have a chance to haul in a decent amount of targets thrown his way.
Data via FFStatistics Defenses App
Freeman has a season-high of 118 total yards with two other games producing 100+ total yards. He has scored 3 TDs through the air but he has yet to score a TD via the running game. The matchup is telling us all we need to know here. Freeman will have opportunities but they may not be very high-value touches. He also has fellow RB, Brian Hill taking some of the touches near the goal line to compete with following the Ito Smith injury. Hill scored on 3 touches for 29 yards in Week 8. Freeman might be a sit candidate in smaller standard leagues but you will likely have to play Freeman in PPR formats. Just do not be expecting RB1 or even RB2 numbers. Freeman is likely a high-end RB3/Flex play.
The Cincinnati Bengals Vs The Baltimore Ravens
This one will not take long. The Cincinnati Bengals have been just plain bad in 2019. They just sat their long-time starting QB and are preparing to start a rookie in Week 10. A.J. Green has a chance to return but how much will the superstar be able to contribute with a quarterback that he has only caught passes from in practice sparingly at he most until last week. Injuries have taken pieces from all over the field outside of Green and the toll has been tremendous. Week 10 will be one of the toughest tasks the Bengals have faced when combining circumstances and the opponent. The Baltimore Ravens, a tough divisional foe, will visit the Cincy and they are fresh off beating the mighty New England Patriots in the biggest game of their young QBs life. Baltimore will be riding high after their best performance of the season.
Data via Pro Football Reference
You can see above what the Baltimore Ravens allow each position in fantasy. This is only half of the reason the Bengals are a “KEEP AWAY” in Week 10. The Ravens are in the top-10 in points allowed to QBs, RBs, and TEs. They do give production up to WRs. The quarterback has to be able to get the ball to those pass-catchers though.
The Bengals are handing the ball to their fourth-round pick from NC State. I would not start Finley in a super-flex league if that says anything. He is worth an add in that and other formats where you can start two QBs though with all the injuries this year. Joe Mixon has not been good all year and the defense could look to shut Mixon down and force the rookie to beat them. Baltimore just made the Patriots offense look bad so if they are able to do the same to the Bengals, the receiving options, including AJ Green, will be hands-off for the Week 10 matchup. Earl Thomas at safety is still a player that will make a QB look foolish. Especially a rookie on a dumpster fire team. Do your best to find other options.
Other Potential Busts
- Kenyan Drake (ARI) @ The Tampa Bay Buccaneers David Johnson is likely going to be back and the Cardinals are going against the number two defense in the league in terms of allowing PPR points to RBs.
- Josh Gordon (SEA) @ The San Francisco 49ers Gordon will be in his first game with a new offense and going against the team allowing the fourth-fewest PPR points to WRs. Maybe wait and see here before you throw him in your lineup.
- Mark Andrews (BAL) @ The Cincinnati Bengals The Bengals do not give up much to TEs (8.5 PPR points per game, fourth-fewest). Regardless if that is due to them being good there or just so bad everywhere else does not matter. Andrews has not scored since Week 4 and the work is being spread amongst three TEs. The running game should rule the day here.
Again, with so many teams on bye, Week 10 can either be one that makes or breaks your team. At the same time though, everyone else’s team as well. Putting a competitive roster out might even be tough for some teams if they did not line up their bye weeks and are unable to find the right waiver adds. This can be a week you can capitalize on others’ misfortune and thin starting options instead of being the one getting taken advantage of. Trust the process. Good luck to all of you in Week 10 and hopefully this week’s sleepers and busts help get you that W your team needs.