It's week 10 and by now you probably know where your team stands. Exciting? Depressing? Either way, as a true fantasy fighter, you're either making a strong push into the playoffs or you have the mindset that you'll win out and make the tournament. No matter the circumstances, you feel as if nothing can bring you down. That is until you look at your roster and realize your team either has a plethora of injuries or is facing another major bye week. So, unsure as to who you should grab off the waiver wire or start off your bench, you obviously should check TheSportster.com's Week 10 Fantasy Football Sit 'Em/Start 'Em column for some help.
Before we get into the meat of the article, let's do a quick accountability check. In week eight's column, we did well, hitting on 60 percent of our projections. There was a slight dip this week. Our projections stood at 50 percent even, however, that's not bad considering fantasy football is an educated guessing game anyhow. One big score for us was when we suggested you start Julian Edelman when all the prognosticators suggested that you sit him. (We'll give ourselves a quick pat on the back). We felt he would bounce back against a Denver secondary that would try to condense the field and force New England to throw underneath. That happened, and Edelman scored 20.9 fantasy points, as a result.
And with that, let's move onto this week's fantasy projections (Quick note: All stats are based on Yahoo! fantasy).
20 St. Louis Rams' Defense – SIT
Outside of their blowout loss to the Chiefs, the Rams haven't been pushovers the past few weeks. They defeated the favored Seahawks and 49ers, holding Seattle to 13 points until the fourth quarter and the 49ers to 10 total points. But this is still St. Louis we're talking about, and they'll be flying into the desert to face Carson Palmer, who has put up four straight weeks of 17 or more points.
19 Pittsburgh Steelers' Defense – START
Michael Vick will start at quarterback for the Jets, but that shouldn't scare away owners of the Steelers' defense. The unit fared well against Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco and put up 13 and 8 fantasy points respectively. They now face the turn-over prone Jets who have also surrendered the fourth most fantasy points to opposing defenses.
18 Delanie Walker – TE, Tennessee Titans – SIT
Let's make this simple. On average, the Ravens' defense has allowed 6.03 fantasy points a game to tight ends. Last week, Steelers' tight end Matt Spaeth (who?) scored the most fantasy points (11.3) against the Ravens. I do get it, Walker's a tough sit. He's the fifth most thrown at tight end in the league, and he's also in the top 10 for receptions, yards and yards after the catch. However, it's hard to believe he'll put up numbers greater than what the Ravens' are currently surrendering to the position.
17 Mychal Rivera – TE, Oakland Raiders – START
I've always been weary of going with the hot hand because as soon as they get hot, those hands seem to immediately cool off. But let's go for it. Rivera has the hot hand in the Raiders' offense. Over the past two games, Derek Carr has targeted Rivera 20 times and connected on 15 of those throws. Last week, Rivera scored two touchdowns and put up a solid 15.8 points in Yahoo! leagues.
The match up gets tougher against a Denver unit that will definitely rebound from their poor showing in New England. If the Broncos' defense fails to completely shut down Carr, the quarterback could connect with Rivera for a ton on garbage yards. And garbage yards still equate to fantasy points, after all.
16 Andre Holmes – WR, Oakland Raiders – SIT
Denver does surrender fantasy points to wide receivers, but Holmes has been inconsistent against top defenses like Arizona and Seattle, in recent weeks. That makes him hard to trust against Aqib Talib and Denver's secondary. I'm a big supporter of bounce back weeks, but if I had to pick which team/player has a greater chance of bouncing back in week 10, I'd take Denver's secondary over Andre Holmes.
15 Kelvin Benjamin – WR, Carolina Panthers – START
It was hard for Benjamin to get going with Cam Newton playing inconsistently against the Saints. It's also tough to make any sort of impact when you're dropping balls, which Benjamin has been doing a lot of this season. He's tied for the second most drops in the league. However, he's still receiving a massive amount of targets and will face a Philadelphia secondary that has surrendered the fourth most fantasy points to wide receivers. This could be a nice bounce back week for Benjamin. Love those bounce-back weeks!
14 Doug Baldwin – WR, Seattle Seahawks – SIT
We suggest sitting him, but don't get us wrong, Baldwin still provides a ton of upside. It was only a few weeks ago he was a coveted waiver-wire pickup. As the Seahawks' clear number one pass catcher, he receives a healthy amount of targets and hauls in most of them. This week, his main issue is a lingering groin injury, which kept him out of Wednesday's practice. That could limit his snap count this Sunday.
13 Percy Harvin – WR, New York Jets – START
So, do we get a mulligan for suggesting that you sit Harvin last week? You win some and you lose some. The problem with Harvin was never the Jets' lack of interest in trying to get him involved, it was their innate ability to suck on offense. With so much uncertainty surrounding the Jets' quarterbacks and the fact the Chiefs' owned one of the best pass defenses, Harvin was a true boom-or-bust play.
He boomed last week, so let's see if he can keep it up again. Based on pure volume alone and the fact the Jets are desperate to look smart for making this trade, we'll suggest starting him against a Steelers' team that surrenders 22.3 points a game to receivers, on average.
12 Sammy Watkins – WR, Buffalo Bills– SIT
Watkins showed no noticeable signs of his groin injury following practice on Wednesday, but it's still something to keep an eye on. Even if he's ready to go, the Bills could monitor his snap count. And if they don't, Watkins still has to battle one the best defenses in the league. The Chiefs' own one of the top rated pass defenses. It's a unit that has surrendered the least amount of passing yards a game (199.4), and according to Pro Football Focus, owns the third best pass rushing unit.
11 Martavis Bryant – WR, Pittsburgh Steelers – START
Here is another hot-hand dilemma, but one you should have faith in. Over the past three weeks, the 6-foot 4-inch Bryant has been on a tear, racking up 10, 20.3 and 16.7 fantasy points respectively. He's only been targeted about five times a game and has played around 50-60 percent of the snaps, but he does his damage in the red zone. Bryant has scored five touchdowns over that three-game span. So, is this week Roethlisberger finally cools down in chilly New York and Bryant's numbers fall? It's hard to imagine Bryant will sustain those lofty fantasy statistics for the rest of the season, but it's also hard to believe they'll fall against a feeble Jets' secondary.
10 Andre Williams – RB, New York Giants – SIT
People still talk about Williams as if he has fantasy relevance. He's done little to turn heads since he replaced starter Rashad Jennings in week six. He's scored one touchdown and posted an average of 7.2 fantasy points a game since filling in. One game he managed 10.6 fantasy points, so the number is slightly skewed. If those stats don't turn you away from starting him, this might: He faces a Seahawks' defense that has allowed the fourth fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL.
9 Bobby Rainey – RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – START
For those who own Rainey over highly-praised rookie Charles Sims, you have to hope this isn't the game the latter becomes heavily involved for the first time. Sims is coming off a serious ankle injury he suffered in the preseason, and the coaches have vowed to make him a big part of the offense. In fact, he's scheduled to make his debut this Sunday against a Falcons' team that has surrendered the most fantasy points to running backs.
So, why start Rainey under this cloud of uncertainty? It's hard to imagine the Buccaneers would throw Sims right into the fire. He'll definitely steal some touches from Rainey, but we'd be shocked if he carried the majority of the load.
8 Ben Tate – RB, Cleveland Browns – SIT
At first glance, it appears like a decent matchup. The Bengals are surrendering around 22 points a game to running backs. The problem is, fantasy owners may now be staring into the bottomless abyss of a running back by committee. The Ben Tate show appeared to be getting solid ratings until last week when he managed only three yards on 10 carries. All of his fantasy points came on four catches for 29 yards. Fantasy owners won't give up on Tate just yet, but he's a flex play at best right now.
7 Jeremy Hill – RB, Cincinnati Bengals – START
How many fantasy points do you want him to put up this week? Will 20 suffice? Or 30? or 40? What will make you happy? Because the way Hill is running, he can make crystals out of coal. For those who drafted Hill and patiently sat him on the bench, they were rewarded with a 24 carry, 154 yards and two touchdown effort last week. In place of Giovani Bernard, Hill didn't disappoint, and it appears as if Bernard will fail to take the field again on Thursday night. Fire Hill up as a running back one.
6 Tre Mason – RB, St. Louis Rams – SIT
Mason is the feature back in St. Louis. That much is obvious after he handled 19 of the 23 running back snaps against the 49ers last week. The issue is this: in that game, he averaged only 3.4 yards per carry and failed to score a touchdown. As a result, Mason put up a whopping 5.7 fantasy points. I know, thrilling. Although Mason will receive the touches, can he actually make a difference on the Rams' offense? And more importantly, can he positively impact your fantasy team? In the next three weeks, he faces the Cardinals, Broncos and Chargers.
5 Ronnie Hillman – RB, Denver Broncos – START
The Broncos' coaches will be hard pressed to sit Hillman when former starter, Montee Ball, returns from injury. Hillman's simply outperformed his predecessor in yards per carry and yards per game. Hillman has also treated fantasy owners with more kindness than Ball did. Ball averaged around 6.85 fantasy points per game, while Hillman has averaged 16.5 as a starter. Even more promising news for owners of the new feature back, is his next challenge isn't much of a challenge at all. Hillman squares off against a Raiders' team that has surrendered the second most fantasy points to running backs.
4 Ryan Tannehill – QB, Miami Dolphins – SIT
If you own Andrew Luck, Tom Brady or Philip Rivers, you obviously need to find a suitable replacement for them this week. They are all on byes. Tannehill has been on a hot streak, which makes him tempting to start, but he's facing a Lions' defense that has surrendered the fewest points to quarterbacks.
Also, keep in mind that while Tannehill has played outstanding football since coach Joe Philbin called him out after week three, he's also played against defenses that have been generous to quarterbacks. If he plays well against Detroit, we'll be able to better identify the type of quarterback Tannehill will be for the remainder of the season.
3 Mark Sanchez – QB, Philadelphia Eagles – START
About a year ago, Sanchez had a rough flight out of New York for a variety of extraneous reasons, and for the sake of not sounding repetitive, we won't mention them here. However, we will mention that part of the reason the Jets' dropped Sanchez was because of his inconsistent on-the-field performances. Between 2012-2013, he had an NFL-leading 52 turnovers. So, why start the former Jet? The simple answers are because you remember how he lead the Jets to two straight AFC Championship games and because you feel he'll be protected in Chip Kelly's quarterback-friendly system.
2 Eli Manning – QB, New York Giants – SIT
Over the past two weeks, Manning has give us two twenty plus point performances. He also owns a nice 35-point game this season. Even better, Manning has only thrown five interceptions this year. All awesome stuff for fantasy owners. The issue this week is that he's facing a Seahawks' secondary that surrenders the seventh fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. He's also playing in Seattle.
1 Matt Ryan – QB, Atlanta Falcons – START
Ryan will face a dreadful Tampa Bay defense that ranks 27th in total yards allowed and in passing yards allowed. In week three against the Buccaneers, Ryan posted 23.64 fantasy points, and that was the start of the Florida teamed spiraling out of control. The Falcons won't be making any playoff runs this year, but their offense does rank 10th in passing yards and 11th in total yards. Start Ryan.