NFL Starts/Sits: Week 10
Updated: Nov 21, 2020
Week 9 took us all on another roller coaster ride. A couple of fantasy darlings led the way – Dalvin Cook took the top spot in half-PPR scoring for the second straight week, and Christian McCaffrey returned to the tune of 32.1 fantasy points before he got banged up again. But in typical 2020 fashion, Richie James Jr. of the 49ers took home WR1 on the week and Drew Lock snuck into the top 10 of overall performers at QB4.
If you took our start/sit advice last week, you would have done pretty well – 83% of our 24 picks last week hit, including 11 of our 12 sits (see our methodology chart below which I’ll leave in every week). Let’s carry that momentum into this week’s picks.
Methodology: I look at fantasy finishes for all my previous week’s picks (including honorable mentions) to assess which players were start-worthy or not. In other words, if they finish within QB12, RB30, WR30, or TE12 (accounting for a RB/WR flex spot). On average for half-PPR scoring, that means the following:
START: Jared Goff, Rams
Jared Goff is our QB start of the week, but this is more about Jared Goff’s opponent than it is about Jared Goff himself. The Rams get the Seahawks this week – they’re a historically bad defense this year, allowing a staggering 27.9 half-PPR points to opposing QBs, including giving up top-12 QB performances in all but one game this year.
Goff does come with his concerns, particularly the low passing volume the Rams have employed this year (only throwing 54% of the time, ranking 25th in the NFL). Seattle is the antidote to that though – their quick strike, pass-happy offense coupled with a swiss cheese secondary have meant that Seattle’s opponents have thrown the ball a league-high 65% of the time. Start Goff with confidence this week.
Honorable mentions: Aaron Rodgers (at Jags), Drew Lock (at Raiders)
SIT: Joe Burrow, Bengals
Joe Burrow has lived up to expectations so far this year, and then some. He is on pace to break Andrew Luck’s rookie passing record. The Bengals have a ton of confidence in him, as evidenced by his 330 attempts over 8 games. That’s good enough for third-most in the league, 1 more than Patrick Mahomes.
On the flip side, Burrow has been inconsistent from a fantasy POV, scoring less than 18 points in half of his games including a 5.3 point performance versus the Ravens 12th best defense against fantasy QBs. Burrow gets the Steelers and their 5th toughest defense against opposing QBs this week. They’re allowing an average of 16.9 fantasy points to the QB position. Burrow could hover around that mark on Sunday. Don’t expect a ceiling game from him.
Honorable mentions: Daniel Jones (at Eagles), Teddy Bridgewater (at Buccs)
START: Melvin Gordon, Broncos
My RB start was the toughest category to fill this week based on injuries and the variability we’ve been seeing. On the injury front, Christian McCaffrey, David Johnson, David Montgomery have all been ruled out already, and Joe Mixon, Chris Carson, and Kenyan Drake are likely to join them. And when it comes to variability, look no further than the Melvin Gordon vs. Phillip Lindsay debate: Over the Broncos’ last three games, Gordon has 31 rushing attempts to Lindsay’s 23. Gordon has also out-targeted Lindsay in the passing game 13 to 6. Despite all that, Lindsay has been more efficient and outproduced Gordon in half-PPR point over that three-week span, 25.3 to 20.9.
So who do you start in the Denver backfield this week against the Raiders weak run defense (allowing 22.6 fantasy points to RBs)? The answer is probably both of them, although I give the edge to Gordon. Vegas expects this to be a relatively high scoring game (50.5 over/under) with the Broncos as the underdogs. If that narrative holds, look for Gordon to take the majority of opportunities in what should be a pass-happy second half.
Honorable mentions: JD McKissic (at Lions), JK Dobbins (at Pats)
SIT: Ronald Jones, Buccaneers
Jones has been tough to predict this year at the best of times, and he’s been on a downward spiral in the last few weeks that makes him difficult to trust. After four straight double digit fantasy point performances weeks 4-7, Jones has had a total of 7.9 points over the last two weeks against the Giants and Saints. He has become a non-factor in pass-first situations, with Leonard Fournette seemingly taking firm control over that role.
This week Vegas has the Buccaneers as less than a touchdown favorites against the Panthers in what should be a tight matchup. In closer matchups like this one it’s difficult to trust that Jones will get the volume he needs to produce. Jones is an RB3 for me this week.
Honorable mentions: Devin Singletary (at Cardinals), Joshua Kelley (at Seattle)
START: Jarvis Landry, Browns
Landry has been on the up with Odell Beckham Jr. out for the year – against the Raiders in week 8 Landry totaled 11 targets, which tied for 5th most among receivers on the week.
Coming off their bye, the Browns get the Texans this week. Houston ranks as the 7th easiest matchup for fantasy WRs, giving up an average of 28 points. Look for Landry to get back to double-digit fantasy points. He’s a high-end flex-start for me this week.
Honorable mentions: Travis Fulgham (at Giants), Jerry Jeudy (at Raiders)
SIT: DJ Moore, Panthers
Moore has been a disappointment this year, totaling 16 or more half-PPR points only three out of nine weeks. In the last two weeks, he has been the WR51 and WR77 in matchups against the Falcons and Chiefs. He’s only totaled 5+ catches twice this year, over his last three games has only managed a total of 8 catches. That’s not reliable enough usage to start him against the Buccaneers this week.
Honorable mentions: Marquise Brown (at Pats), AJ Green (at Steelers)
START: Austin Hooper, Browns
Hooper is coming back from injury this week hoping to keep the momentum he had prior to his injury, where he saw his target share rise to over 20%+ (including 15 catches) over his last three healthy games. Hooper comes back to a Browns offense missing OBJ for the rest of the year. He should see 6+ targets again with a chance for a red zone TD. Start him with confidence.
Honorable mentions: Eric Ebron (vs. Bengals), Evan Engram (vs. Eagles)
SIT: Mark Andrews, Ravens
The Ravens offense has been tough to watch for fantasy owners this season. Their predictability has capped the ceilings for all their fantasy performers, including Lamar Jackson (QB11 on the year), Marquise Brown (WR46), and Mark Andrews (TE9).
Andrews has yet to top 58 yards all season, and in his last three games has only scored a total of 11.5 half-PPR points combined. He gets the Patriots this week, and while their defense hasn’t looked good as of late, they are still the #1 toughest matchup against fantasy TEs this year, giving up an average of only 4.4 points. The Patriots do a good job of containing star TEs, and they’ll likely do the same with Andrews this week. Avoid him if you can.
Honorable mentions: Jared Cook (vs. 49ers), Rams TEs