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2020 Fantasy Football: Week 10 Loves and Hates

We’ve hurdled and stumbled to this point of the fantasy football timeline but we’re here in Week 10 in a situation that is better than many imagined. Lineup decisions, waiver wire pickups, and trades become ever so important. Today, I’ve got you covered with players to highlight for Week 10, specifically. As usual, I will review my loves & hates from last week (Week 9) at every skill position, then I’ll present the Week 10 picks with analysis. 

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Week 9 Review

A down week for us is just another reason to be motivated to bounce back. Week 9 did not treat us well and contained some surprises of epic proportions. My Week 9 loves and hates can be viewed here. Here are self-evaluations of those picks, with grades in parentheses. 

Quarterback (B-)

My quarterback love pick of Week 9, Drew Lock, has been highlighted a lot in the last few days. We’ve highlighted his waiver wire value and in Week 9, we bought into his rise in production and took advantage of a matchup in Atlanta. Indeed, the Broncos offense did not get off to the fastest start but Lock was adept at protecting the ball in the first half against the soft defense of the Falcons. In the second half, with the Broncos down to the Falcons big, Lock showed what he is capable of for his fantasy owners and aided Jerry Jeudy into his official breakout game. Almost completing another comeback against the Falcons, Lock finished the game as the QB5 of Week 9, throwing for 313 yards, amassing 3 total touchdowns (2 via pass, 1 on the ground), and throwing only one interception. It was his highest volume game, throwing 48 passes, and it was his best performance of the season. We started off with a hit! 

On the other hand, our hate pick of Teddy Bridgewater had perhaps the most gritty quarterback performance of the Sunday slate. Facing the tough fantasy quarterback defense of the Kansas City Chiefs, head coach Matt Rhule didn’t let the return of Christian McCaffrey take the ball out of the hands of his quarterback. Instead, Bridgewater stacked up the time of possession game and threw at his highest volume of the season. He threw 49 total passes and completed them at a classic Bridgewater level of 73.5% without turning the ball over. He threw for 310 yards and was responsible for three touchdowns (two via pass, one on the ground). It was his best fantasy performance of the season and good enough to be the QB6 of Week 9. Way to overshadow my Lock call. 

Running Back (A-)

When the Jaguars received news about fractures to the thumb of Gardner Minshew, it posed an interesting fantasy situation. Jake Luton, as I pointed out in his player profile, is no scrub. The question was going to be whether he was going to be fine with taking shots downfield or if he would err on the side of spamming his rookie running back, James Robinson, who I made my love pick of the week at running back. 

On Luton’s second pass of his NFL career, he debunked any theories that he would be nervous of the deep pass, hitting D.J. Chark for a touchdown — all in all, an interesting fantasy story to keep an eye on. Yet, this didn’t stop James Robinson from suffering in fantasy value. Granted, his fantasy box score total wasn’t necessarily jaw-dropping, his overall production was great. He carried the ball a season-high 25 times. On those rushes, he cashed in 99 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he did lose some of his PPR value by not catching a pass for the first time this season. Yet, in a week that wasn’t stacked with running back explosions, Robinson finished as the PPR RB7 of the week, a decent result if you used him in a daily lineup. 

Meanwhile, when picking Ronald Jones II as my hate pick of Week 9 and recommending that you avoid the Bucs backfield altogether if possible, little did I realize that the entire Bucs roster would be a good hate pick for their Sunday Night Football matchup against the New Orleans Saints. Jones was indeed an awful play if you started him in any lineup. He carried the ball 3 times for 9 yards and caught the ball 3 times for 9 yards. He also did not find the end zone, much like all of his teammates. Additionally, I recommended that if you are forced a play from the Bucs backfield, you should go with Leonard Fournette. While Fournette only carried the ball once for no gain, his PPR value was not a complete abomination as he did make 6 catches for 41 yards. 

Wide Receiver (F)

My love pick at wide receiver, Justin Jefferson, came into his Week 9 matchup as the highest-graded rookie wide receiver according to PFF. He had himself a solid matchup against the Detroit Lions, but yet again, Dalvin Cook was the RB1 of the week, and the only fantasy-relevant pass-catcher for the Vikings was Irv Smith Jr., with his 2 touchdowns. Jefferson finished outside the top 50 at his position in most scoring formats and put a scar on my fairly decent track record at the wide receiver position. 

Meanwhile, I hated on the fantasy outlook of all 49ers wide receivers — before they lost Kendrick Bourne due to COVID-19 and Brandon Aiyuk due to close contact policies. I thought this was easy sailing with my pick. Indeed, Trent Taylor and River Cracraft combined for only 3 catches for 22 yards but Cracraft scored a near-TD and the last straw was Richie James, who finished the game with 9 catches on 13 targets, 184 yards, and the crown as the PPR WR1 of the week. Granted, Packers superstar cornerback Jaire Alexander exited the game with a concussion but if the #1 spot on the week’s rankings is not an auto-F, I don’t know what is. James’ profile continues to be intriguing if Nick Mullens remains the quarterback for the 49ers. 

Tight End (D)

Meanwhile, I picked a Mark Andrews bounceback as my love pick of the week at tight end and a disappearing act by Hayden Hurst as my hate pick. Instead, Andrews was fantasy-irrelevant for a third straight game, making only 3 catches for 22 yards, and Hurst was the PPR TE7, making 7 catches on 8 targets. In the absence of Ridley, the biggest beneficiary of the Falcons passing game was wide receiver Oladmide Zaccheaus. However, Hurst fought off a tough tight end fantasy matchup of the Broncos to provide value and remains to be one of the most consistent tight ends in fantasy football.

Week 10 Loves & Hates

Still looking to replicate my near-perfect performance from Week 7, let’s see what we’ve learned and make better picks this week, shall we? 

Week 10 Quarterbacks

Love: Jared Goff (LAR)

On Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, the Seattle Seahawks racked up 7 sacks but gave up 44 points, a first in the Super Bowl era. They allowed Josh Allen to throw at an 82% completion rate and tally 415 yards in the air. And through 9 weeks, the Seahawks have allowed the most passing yards by any defense in the NFL this season. On the other hand, they are top 5 in fewest rushing yards allowed. It’s simple, the Seahawks secondary is awful. Coming off a bye week, the Los Angeles Rams still have uncertainty surrounding their backfield platoon of Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown.

The X-factor? Jared Goff has a chance to go ballistic. While the turnover bug has bitten Goff at times yet again this season, the volume might be at a season-high, especially if Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense bounce back and get on the board early. Goff’s upside is top 5 quarterback of the week. 

Hate: Drew Brees (NO)

Coming off a season-best fantasy performance in Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Drew Brees threw 4 touchdowns and committed one turnover. On the season, in classic Brees fashion, he has been accurate and has avoided the turnover, with a TD/INT ratio of 17/3

While the San Francisco 49ers have generally been a tough matchup in recent times, they are depleted — but more so on offense, rolling out Nick Mullens at quarterback and still without George Kittle to catch passes. Except the rolling New Orleans Saints to get out ahead early and feel no pressure to force the issue via air during the second half of the contest. If you own Brees in a one-quarterback league, you probably aren’t benching him but in a daily lineup, there’s very little upside to go around a game that will most likely not be much of an offensive duel. 

Week 10 Running Backs

Love: Kareem Hunt (CLE)

The Cleveland Browns weren’t quiet on their bye during Week 9 NFL festivities. They got good news in that Nick Chubb will likely return to practice and aim for a Week 10 return but they also had to put quarterback Baker Mayfield on the COVID-19 list due to being in close contact with a member of the team who tested positive. Either way, the Browns look poised to have both their quarterback and their starting running back in Week 10. Even then, Kareem Hunt still poses value and if Chubb plays, Hunt poses high upside at his price for a daily lineup. 

Hunt has been productive and fantasy-relevant with and without Chubb in 2020. Against soft run defenses, Hunt had an explosive Week 2 against the Bengals, Week 4 against the Cowboys, and Week 7 against the Bengals. In those matchups, he got 36%, 34%, and 89% of the snaps, respectively. The bottom line is that behind the productive offensive line of the Browns and Kevin Stefanski‘s offensive mentality, Chubb doesn’t need to be a bell-cow to start in your fantasy lineup. He is set to face the Houston Texans in Week 10. The Texans are a bottom 5 fantasy defense against running backs this season. 

Hate: Josh Jacobs (LV)

It’s no secret that Josh Jacobs has been one of the most inconsistent fantasy producers amongst early-round picks in redraft leagues. Most recently, his production was salvaged by a touchdown in Week 9 but was still not much better than his backup, Devontae Booker. Facing the Denver Broncos in Week 10, a top 10 fantasy defense against running backs but a bottom 10 fantasy defense against wide receivers, Jacobs will need volume to succeed. And the truth is — you just can’t trust that he will get that, making him a play to avoid in daily lineups. Since the Raiders’ Week 6 bye, Jacobs’ snap share has been concerning, only taking 59% of the snaps in Week 7 and 57% of the snaps in his last game. 

Week 10 Wide Receivers

Love: Marquise Brown (BAL)

Perhaps the most disappointing quarterback-receiver connection of the season, “Hollywood” Brown has not given his fantasy owners much to be excited about catching passes from the reigning MVP. Granted, a lot of that isn’t his fault and Lamar Jackson just hasn’t hit on as many deep balls as he’d like to. Since the Ravens’ Week 7 bye, Brown has also seen a dip in targets. Through the first 6 weeks, he averaged 7 targets per game but in Weeks 8 and 9, he has combined for 7 targets. The upside from playing Brown in all your lineups in Week 10 comes from the touchdown potential. 

Not only have the Patriots been burned by the mobile quarterback many a time in the last couple of seasons but they are also ranked second-worst amongst all NFL defenses in explosive plays allowed, including some Monday Night Football embarrassment by Breshad Perriman. Altogether, we have the perfect setup for Hollywood to bounce back, especially if Stephon Gilmore, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, sees another game off. 

Hate: Keenan Allen (LAC)

The Miami Dolphins defense has been damn near elite this season and a big part of the big-time production has come from the aggressive and effective cornerback Xavien Howard. While Howard has had some issues with penalties this season, that shouldn’t affect his likely matchup with Keenan Allen for fantasy purposes.

The connection between Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen has been exhilarating and Allen has been targeted a double-digit number of times in all games this season except Week 1 (8 targets with Tyrod Taylor at QB) and Week 5 (2 targets). However, Howard can at least stymie the fantasy production of their top wide receiver, making Allen a risky pick for a daily lineup, given the lack of ceiling. 

Week 10 Tight Ends

Love: Logan Thomas (WSH)

During the Week 9 wrapup, I quizzed you on target numbers for tight ends. Through 9 weeks, the tenth-most targets by a tight end have been in the way of none other than Logan Thomas

Targets are a fond favorite of fantasy football floor fanatics. In Week 10, Thomas will face the mediocre tight end fantasy defense of the Detroit Lions and his 6 targets were third on the team in Week 9. If you’re worried that Kyle Allen’s gruesome injury will likely line up Alex Smith as the starter under center for Washington in Week 10, note that in Week 9, Thomas caught 0 of his 2 targets from Allen but 3 of his 4 targets from Alex Smith. A minuscule sample size of course, but there’s perhaps a little bit of a connection here. Value galore for daily lineups and a smart play if he’s available in your drafted league. 

Hate: Dallas Goedert (PHI)

Speaking of targets, only 5 teams have targeted a higher percentage of their passes to tight ends than the Philadelphia Eagles through 9 weeks. However, in Week 10, the Eagles will face a New York Giants secondary that can’t defend a wide receiver to save their life (bottom 10 in fantasy defense against WR) but are a top 10 fantasy defense against tight ends. Tack on the possible return of Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles pass-catching mix and the emergence of Travis Fulgham into a star figure of the Philadelphia scheme and you have yourself a fade for Dallas Goedert and an unwise play in dailies. 

Did we bounce back in Week 10? Where are your value picks at each position to help you with your playoff push?

If you enjoyed Ahaan’s Week 10 Loves and Hates, make sure to check the rest of our Week 10 Analysis for more help in optimizing your lineups.

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