Nick Mensio

Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em

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Week 10 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Happy Week 10, everyone. Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes, as these are players I’ll likely have some exposure to over the weekend.

QUARTERBACK

Start of the Week: Matthew Stafford vs. Browns: The overall QB10 in fantasy points per game, Stafford has been on fire of late. Somehow, his game seemed to take a turn for the best after he was injured in the Week 5 loss to the Panthers. After hurting his ankle and thigh in that game, Stafford turned it on and almost led the Lions to a comeback win. In the three games since, Stafford has finished as the QB11 (@ NO; 312 yards and 3 TDs), QB5 (vs. PIT; 423 yards), and QB7 (@ GB; 361 yards and 2 TDs). On paper, those have all been somewhat difficult matchups. Stafford now gets to come home in what is one of the ripest spots possible. The Browns have been brutal against the pass this season, checking in at 28th in pass-defense DVOA, 23rd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, and 31st in opponent passer rating. Only two teams have yielded more touchdown passes. In the three games before the Browns’ Week 9 bye, Case Keenum managed the QB6 finish in Week 8, and Deshaun Watson was the QB2 in Week 6. With Kenny Golladay (hamstring) looking likely to come back this week, Stafford may have his full cast of pass-game weapons. The Lions’ implied team total of 27.5 points is the second-highest of Week 10.

Starts

Jared Goff vs. Texans: Goff exploded for the overall QB1 finish last week with his 311 yards and four touchdowns against the Giants on the road. Prior to that, Goff hadn’t managed a top-10 week since Week 3 against the 49ers. Week 9 was Goff’s first multi-touchdown effort since Week 4. Despite all that, Goff is tied for the league lead in yards per attempt (8.3) and is fantasy’s QB12 in points per game. He’s 21st in overall pass attempts and averages just over 18 completions per week. That’s incredible efficiency and a big feather in coach Sean McVay’s cap. Goff now gets another prime matchup at home, this time against a Texans defense that is 31st in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and 30th in opponent yards per attempt. Only two teams have allowed more touchdown passes. Houston was just picked apart by Jacoby Brissett at home last week for 308 yards and two touchdowns as the overall QB9. Russell Wilson was the QB1 in Week 8 against the Texans, and Alex Smith the QB4 in Week 5. Over the last five weeks, only the Giants have allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Rams’ implied team total of 29 is the highest of Week 10.

Ben Roethlisberger at Colts: Big Ben is all name at this point; he’s the overall QB27 in fantasy points per game through nine weeks, averaging fewer fantasy points a week than Eli Manning, C.J. Beathard, Blake Bortles, and Trevor Siemian. Much of that has to do with the Steelers’ awful play in the red zone; they’re 31st in touchdown percentage inside the 20-yard line, ahead of only the Cardinals. Roethlisberger’s home-road splits are also a real thing, but the Steelers have actually played much better on the road. They’re scoring touchdowns on 56.25% of their red-zone possessions on the road compared to a dreadful 23.08% at home. Ben has just one multi-touchdown game since Week 2 and only two 300-yard outings on the year. But the Colts offer an appetizing matchup in a dome. Indianapolis is dead last in passing yards allowed, 25th in pass-defense DVOA, and 24th in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks. Tom Savage threw his first career touchdown against the Colts last week, Andy Dalton was the QB3 vs. Indy in Week 8, and Blake Bortles had 330 yards and one score in Week 7. The Colts also lost CB Vontae Davis to groin surgery before eventually releasing the disgruntled corner on Thursday morning. First-round FS Malik Hooker tore his ACL in Week 7. Top DL Henry Anderson suffered a fractured larynx last week and is done for the year. The Steelers’ implied team total of 26.75 is the fourth-highest for Week 10.

Tyrod Taylor vs. Saints: Taylor has played four games each at home and on the road this season. He’s 4-0 at home compared to 1-3 on the road, and Taylor has been sacked just seven times in Buffalo to 19 away from home. Dating back to last year, he’s simply been a much better player on his home field. Taylor averages 7.63 YPA at New Era Field with a 103.3 passer rating and 6:1 TD:INT ratio and one rushing score. On the road, those numbers dip to 6.21, 88.8, and 4:1 respectively. A unit to attack early in the season, the Saints’ defense has done a complete 180 thanks to rookie shutdown CB Marshon Lattimore, DE Cameron Jordan, and S Kenny Vaccaro. New Orleans has won six in a row and is fourth in pass-defense DVOA, 16th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, and ninth in sacks. But in home games, Taylor has weekly finishes of QB6, QB17, QB9, and QB9. Coach Sean McDermott was the defensive coordinator in the same division as the Saints for six seasons from 2011-16 before getting the Bills job, so he at least has some familiarity there. I’m willing to bet on Taylor’s home success, solid offensive line, and improved pass-game arsenal with the addition of Kelvin Benjamin and return of Charles Clay (knee) to make Taylor a viable 12-team streamer.

Editor’s Note: FanDuel is hosting the Rotoworld Beat the Writers Series, where you can play against five Rotoworld football writers for your chance at cash prizes and free entry into their Sunday Million. Put your knowledge to the test!

 

Sits

Marcus Mariota vs. Bengals: Mariota has just one 300-yard passing game this season and has yet to throw for three touchdowns in a week. He hasn’t finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback since Week 1 but remains the QB15 in points per game. Since injuring his hamstring in Week 4 at Houston when he ran for two touchdowns, Mariota has run the ball just six times total for 14 yards. It’s pretty evident he and/or the Titans have held back on the designed runs since the injury. Coach Mike Mularkey said this week he “hopes” to increase Mariota’s running plays going forward, but this is a situation where it’d be best to see it to believe it. The Bengals offer another somewhat tough matchup for quarterbacks. Cincinnati is No. 7 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, 17th in pass-defense DVOA, and 12th in sacks. Only Jacoby Brissett (QB10) has a top-12 finish against the Bengals since Week 3. Corey Davis returned from his hamstring injury for the Titans last week, but he’s had very minimal reps in practice or games since being drafted, and Delanie Walker (ankle) isn’t 100 percent. Both the Titans and Bengals play at a slow pace, and Tennessee is 10th in run-play percentage. The volume just isn’t there for Mariota to be able to have that monster game. He’s devolved to a two-quarterback league option only for the time being until we see the Titans unleash him. The 40.5-point total for Bengals-Titans is the third-lowest of the week.

Jacoby Brissett vs. Steelers: Brissett has been a pleasant surprise as the overall QB14 through nine weeks, and he’s coming off his best game of the year in Houston where he threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns in a road upset. He now gets to come back home, but the matchup with Pittsburgh is one of the toughest in the league. The Steelers are No. 2 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, No. 2 in pass yards allowed, No. 4 in sacks, No. 5 in total defense, and No. 5 in pass-defense DVOA. Only DeShone Kizer in Week 1 and Matthew Stafford in Week 8 have managed top-12 finishes against Pittsburgh. The Colts’ implied team total of 16.75 points is the fourth-lowest of Week 10. The Colts have a Week 11 bye before hosting the Titans in Week 12, where Brissett will again be a streaming option. However, after that, the schedule is brutal with back-to-back road games in Jacksonville and Buffalo before hosting the Broncos and then going to Baltimore.

Philip Rivers at Jaguars: Rivers was a huge letdown in Week 8 against the Patriots, but attempted just six passes before halftime that day due to a one-play opening drive followed by a safety. He’s currently the overall QB15 and QB16 in fantasy points per game. Rivers hasn’t had a 300-yard game since Week 4. A date with the Jaguars in Jacksonville isn’t one that will cure the blues. The Jaguars are No. 1 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, No. 1 in sacks, No. 1 in pass yards allowed, No. 1 in pass-defense DVOA, and No. 3 in total defense. That pretty much sums this one up, as the Jaguars boast the fiercest pass rush and arguably the league’s top cornerback duo. Look for CB Jalen Ramsey to take away Keenan Allen. The Chargers’ best chance at moving the ball will be with Melvin Gordon, but Jacksonville added stud DT Marcell Dareus ahead of the trade deadline in an effort to plug that hole. This is a defense to try and avoid on a weekly basis.


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Nick Mensio is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. The 2014 NFL season marks his third with Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.
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