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Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em

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Week 10 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Thursday, November 8, 2018


Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes.

QUARTERBACK

Start of the Week: Philip Rivers at Raiders: Fantasy’s QB11 in points per game halfway through the year, Rivers should be in the MVP mix for the 6-2 Chargers, who have won five straight. Rivers is coming off another strong performance on the road in Seattle last Sunday, finishing as the QB14 for Week 9 after again throwing multiple touchdowns for the ninth time in nine games. Rivers is top-10 in completion percentage, No. 4 in yards per attempt, fourth in touchdown passes, and third in passer rating. He now gets a Raiders team that has completely given up. Oakland is 32nd in pass-defense DVOA and 24th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. It’s a defense that just got shredded by second-year UDFA Nick Mullens, who was making his first NFL appearance, last week in San Francisco. Mullens threw three touchdowns, and the Niners hung 34 points on the hapless Raiders. Andrew Luck threw three touchdowns in Oakland the previous week. Russell Wilson did the same thing the game before that. Rivers faced this defense in Week 5 and completed 81.5% of his passes for 339 yards and two scores en route to the overall QB6 day that week. Coach Jon Gruden has lost his team, and the defense has mailed it in; Oakland remains dead last in sacks. The Chargers’ offensive line is No. 7 in adjusted sack rate. It should be a relatively clean afternoon for Rivers. The Chargers’ implied team total of 30 points is the third-highest of the week behind the Chiefs and Rams. Start all your Chargers regulars.




Starts

Russell Wilson at Rams: Wilson is playing some of his best football of the season right now. While some of that has a lot to do with a fluky touchdown rate, Wilson is the overall QB11 in points per game since Week 5. He’s thrown multiple touchdowns in four-straight games, and that includes a three-score afternoon back in Week 5 at home against these Rams. Wilson attempted just 21 passes that day, however, his second-fewest of the season to date, but averaged a robust 9.4 YPA. He’s been getting by on really low volume, as Seattle runs the ball at a higher clip than any other team. The Seahawks lost by just three points when the Rams were in town, but this one will be in L.A. While Seattle was able to control the game by running it down the Rams’ throats last time, this one figures to be a little different. Los Angeles is comfortable 9.5-point favorites and coming off a loss in New Orleans. The Rams need a win to stay atop the NFC playoff picture. There’s a good chance Seattle will be chasing points much of the second half, giving Wilson a shot at 30-plus pass attempts like last week when he fired off 39 passes when chasing the Chargers. The 51-point total for Seahawks-Rams is the fourth-highest of Week 10, and these teams combined for 64 in Seattle in Week 5. The Rams are 12th in pass-defense DVOA and 11th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, but CB Marcus Peters is really struggling, and the defense has given up multiple touchdowns to Drew Brees, Case Keenum, Wilson, Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers over their last seven outings.

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Carson Wentz vs. Cowboys: Wentz is coming off the bye after shredding an injury-ravaged Jaguars secondary for 286 yards and three touchdowns in London two weeks back. He made his debut in Week 3, knocked the rust off against the Colts, and has been on a tear ever since. Wentz has multiple touchdown passes in five-straight and is the overall QB7 in that span. He’s attempted at least 30 passes in every game. Without a running game to speak of, the Eagles went out and traded for Golden Tate at the deadline last Tuesday, reinforcing the pass attack. Philly is one of those teams that shouldn’t even consider running the ball more than a couple handfuls of times in a game and just let Wentz do all the heavy lifting. Dallas is ninth in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks but 26th in pass-defense DVOA and just got lit up by Marcus Mariota for 272 yards and three total touchdowns this past Monday night at Jerry World. Eagles RT Lane Johnson is expected back from an MCL sprain as well, which will help against stud pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence. Both of these offenses are bottom-10 in offensive pace, which is a mild concern here in terms of capping Wentz’s upside a bit, but I believe the lack of run game should lead to enough volume for Wentz to easily put up a top-12 week at home against a team on a short week with Philly also coming out of its bye.

Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Redskins: In four games FitzMagic has played start to finish, he’s thrown four touchdowns three times and three scores in the other. He had at least 400 yards passing in all three of his starts Weeks 1-3 before throwing for just 243 last Sunday in Carolina. Fitzpatrick was still the overall QB6 last week and is QB3 in fantasy points per game, including his two games where he played just one half in each. The Bucs now get to come home where Fitzpatrick has had a pair of 400-yard games with 813 yards and seven touchdowns in two outings against the Eagles and Steelers. The Redskins matchup isn’t all that daunting, as Washington is 19th in pass-defense DVOA, 25th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, and 19th in adjusted sack rate. The Skins just got flamed in their own backyard by Matt Ryan for 350 yards and four touchdowns last Sunday. Eli Manning had 316 yards the previous week. And Dak Prescottwas the overall QB2 in Week 7 in D.C. If the Redskins have it their way, they’ll slow the game down. Washington is 29th in pace, while Tampa is third. But not many teams throw the ball at a higher rate than the Bucs. Keep running Fitzpatrick out there as a mid-to-high QB1. The 51.5-point total is the third-highest of the week. 

Sits

Mitchell Trubisky vs. Lions: Trubisky was the overall QB1 in fantasy points per game Weeks 4-8, putting up four 300-yard passing days with 13 touchdowns in four games while averaging 58 yards as a runner with a 14th score in that span. The rushing output was really raising his ceiling. But Trubisky went to Buffalo last week and predictably struggled against an above-average defense. He threw for just 135 yards with a score and a pick on 20 attempts while rushing for just six yards. He’s attempted fewer than 30 passes three of the last five games and had another with 31 attempts. The outlier was a 50-attempt afternoon against the Patriots in catchup mode. That shouldn’t be the case this week. The Bears are significant 6.5-point favorites playing in a game with the fourth-lowest total of the week at 45 points. The Lions are not good defensively, but they play at the second-slowest pace, and opposing offenses simply don’t run enough plays against them. It’s led to Detroit being No. 8 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks despite a 30th DVOA ranking in pass defense. The Lions are also No. 1 in adjusted sack rate and just got back RE Ezekiel Ansah from injury last week. Over their last three games, quarterbacks have attempted 31 (Brock Osweiler), 17 (Russell Wilson), and 22 (Kirk Cousins) passes versus Detroit. There’s not enough there for Trubisky, especially as a home favorite. The Bears know Trubisky isn’t very good, either. He’s dead last among 36 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus’ QB rankings through nine weeks and is 32nd in adjusted completion percentage. Expect another Jordan Howard day on the ground with the Bears defense doing work.

Dak Prescott at Eagles: I was starting to buy into the Prescott resurgence a bit, but last week he totally flopped in the second half against the Titans despite still having one of his better games of the season statistically. Prescott’s 243 yards passing were his third-most of the season while he also had just his fourth multi-touchdown game of the year. But Weeks 5-7, Prescott was averaging seven rushing attempts and scored twice on the ground in that span. That was giving him far more upside. It’s hard to count on rushing numbers for quarterbacks unless it’s Cam Newton. Prescott ran the ball just twice for 11 yards against the Titans. He now heads back on the road against an Eagles unit that is No. 9 in pass-defense DVOA and 22nd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Over their last four games, Philly has held Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning, and Blake Bortles to one or fewer touchdown passes. Cam Newton was the lone exception, and he led the Panthers back with a miraculous fourth quarter after doing nothing the first three frames. The secondary is a concern for the Eagles, but the Cowboys want to play a slow, methodical, defensive-oriented game while running the ball. Prescott hasn’t attempted more than 35 passes in a game this season and has five days under 30 attempts. All of that coupled with Philadelphia’s improving defense has Prescott as a mid-range QB2.

Nick Mullens vs. Giants: The belle of the ball and talk of the town following his totally-surprising three-touchdown performance on national TV last Thursday night against the lowly Raiders, Mullens is now the Niners’ starter for the immediate future. Oakland offered little-to-no resistance defensively last week, and a similarly-tanking Giants team is up next for the second-year undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss. The assumption is Mullens is more so a product of the system under coach Kyle Shanahan. While last week’s outing was exhilarating, the Giants now have tape on Mullens after the Raiders didn’t much to go off. It’s important to remember Mullens was bad in the preseason playing against second- and third-stringers, throwing three picks to just one touchdown on 43 attempts. He couldn’t ask for a better two-game stretch to make his NFL debut, but by no means am I expecting another top-eight day, let alone a top-15 one. The G-Men are a middle-of-the-pack 14th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, but 27th in pass-defense DVOA and 31st in sack rate. I just need to see Mullens do it again before even considering him as a fantasy play outside of two-quarterback leagues.


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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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