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Nick Mensio

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Week 10 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Thursday, November 8, 2018




WIDE RECEIVER

Start of the Week: Larry Fitzgerald at Chiefs: In OC Byron Leftwich’s first game at the helm in Week 8 against the 49ers, Fitzgerald played 100% of the snaps for the first time this season. He set season-bests in catches (8), targets (12), and yards (102) that game while also scoring a touchdown. Fitzgerald’s play has been on a steady upswing, as he’s 10th in the league in targets per game over the last four weeks with a 9.3 mark. The 35-year-old is also over an early-season hamstring injury. Josh Rosen got the ball out quicker and targeted Fitzgerald, the running backs, and tight ends on 62.5% of his throws in Week 8. The Chiefs have been really good against the pass the past month or so after getting lit up a bit in September, but the Cardinals are going to be chasing points all afternoon as massive 16.5-point underdogs on the road. On top of that, both of these defenses are bottom-four in opponent plays against them with the Chiefs being No. 7 overall in offensive pace. Therefore, the Cardinals are going to be playing from behind, going up against a faster-paced offense, and in turn facing a defense that routinely sees a lot of plays against it. It would be a shock if Fitzgerald doesn’t see double-digit targets. He and David Johnson are by far the only Cardinals worth firing up in this spot.

Starts

Dede Westbrook at Colts: Coming into this, I knew I wanted to get exposure to this game somehow, and Westbrook was the one that jumped off the page as the best matchup. The Colts operate at the second-fastest pace in the league, which in turn leads to their defense facing a ton of plays, 10th-most to date. We want to get a piece of the Jaguars offense. The run game is off limits with Leonard Fournette coming back to join Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon as a committee. And the Colts have done relatively well against outside receivers. That leaves sophomore Westbrook, who is running 92.7% of his routes out of the slot, and inside wideouts have had pretty decent success against this Colts defense. Seth Roberts caught a touchdown in Week 8. Jermaine Kearse had a 9-94 day in Week 6. Julian Edelman debuted with a 7-57 day the week before. And Keke Coutee had 11-109 in Week 4. Westbrook has played well over 75% of the snaps the last five weeks and settled right in as the slot man between Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole, and D.J. Chark outside. In that span, Westbrook has averaged 6.2 targets per game with a couple scores and a 100-yard effort mixed in. He leads the team with four red-zone targets over the last two weeks. With the Jaguars playing up in pace in a dome environment, Westbrook has some WR3 appeal.

Jarvis Landry vs. Falcons: Landry has been a major disappointment in the box score of late. He’s been held to 50 yards or less without a touchdown three of the last four weeks with the lone exception being a 10-97-1 throttling of the Bucs’ league-worst secondary. All the peripheral numbers are there for Landry, though, and a breakout game should again be on the horizon. Over the last four weeks, Landry’s 11 targets per game are second in the NFL only to Julio Jones (12). The volume is there, and Landry was still fed in new OC Freddie Kitchens’ first week calling plays last Sunday. The matchup with Falcons slot CB Brian Poole looks exceptional on paper. Poole has allowed the most touchdowns among qualifying nickel corners at Pro Football Focus and the third-highest passer rating in his coverage. Atlanta is 29th in DVOA versus slot men and 28th as a unit against the pass. The 51-point total for Falcons-Browns is the fourth-highest on the board, and the Browns figure to once again be playing catchup all afternoon. Redskins slot man Maurice Harris had a career day with 10-124 against Atlanta last week. Sterling Shepard went 5-167 the game before. Adam Humphries had 3-82 in Week 6. Tyler Boyd had 11-100 in Week 4. This is as prime a spot Landry will see in 2018.

Sterling Shepard at 49ers: Shepard had a career-best 167 yards two games back against the Falcons but followed it up with another lackluster 4-34 day against the Redskins. It’s been a peaks and valleys type of year. Shepard has 75 yards and/or one touchdown in four games but has been held to 50 or fewer scoreless yards in the other four. Shepard runs 70% of his routes out of the slot but moves around enough where he’ll get some outside looks as well. Either way, he should avoid Richard Sherman most of the night. Larry Fitzgerald smashed the Niners out of the slot two weeks ago with an 8-102-1 line. Marquez Valdes-Scantling had 103 yards two games before that. Keenan Allen led the Chargers with 7-63 in Week 4. And Adam Thielen and Golden Tate both had 100-yard days against San Francisco to open the season Weeks 1 and 2. Sherman has really been the 49ers’ only competent corner all year, and Odell Beckham figures to see the most of him while Shepard, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley do the heavy lifting in the middle of the field. As the 28th-paced offense going to face the Niners’ eighth-fastest offense, the G-Men should run more plays.

Sits

Allen Robinson vs. Lions: Robinson injured his groin against the Patriots back in Week 7 and hasn’t played since. However, he returned to a full practice Wednesday and should be all systems go against the Lions in an important division game Sunday. Over the first three weeks, Robinson averaged 9.3 targets per game, heavily-aided by a 14-target day against the Seahawks. In the three games after, Robinson averaged five targets with eight total catches. He scored twice in those last three games, but Week 7 against New England was a bottoming-out point with one catch for four scoreless yards on five looks while also getting hurt late. Robinson dropped a pass and saw a couple errant passes sail by him. Mitchell Trubisky has been putting up numbers in the box score of late and in fantasy, but he’s still wildly inaccurate, checking in at 32nd in Pro Football Focus’ adjusted completion percentage, sandwiched between Josh Rosen above and Sam Darnold below. Dealing with his own quarterback’s problems, Robinson will also be tasked with CB Darius Slay’s coverage. All-Pro Slay is Pro Football Focus’ No. 24 cover corner out of 111 qualifiers. Trubisky also doesn’t throw enough passes, firing off fewer than 30 attempts three of the last five outings, with 31 in another and 50 in one against New England in total catchup mode. Scoreboard-chasing shouldn’t be a thing for Chicago this week as 6.5-point home favorites in a game with the fourth-lowest total of the week at 45 points. Coming back from a multi-week injury, Robinson is a TD-or-bust WR3/4.

Corey Davis vs. Patriots: Davis saw 34.5% of the target share last week in the win over the Cowboys, catching 6-of-10 looks for 56 yards. He also should have had a 10-yard touchdown, but Marcus Mariota missed him in the end zone on one of the quarterback’s lone misfires of the night. Good games have been few and far between for this Tennessee pass offense. Last time the fantasy community tried to buy into this unit was following Week 4 against the Eagles. The Titans then flopped over the course of the next month. What’s keeping Davis afloat, however, is his stranglehold on the lion’s share of the targets in Tennessee. But he draws a really tough date against Stephon Gilmore on Sunday. Gilmore is Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 cover corner out of 111 qualifiers and is playing some of the best ball of his career. He helped shut down Davante Adams for the most part last week. And I don’t have enough faith in Mariota to overcome this with his arm to throw Davis open. Davis is a decent buy-low candidate, but the price could drop even more after Sunday. This has the feel of another Dion Lewis game for the Titans in the short areas of the field.

Kenny Golladay at Bears: One of the perceived big winners of the trade deadline, Golladay was talked up in a big way all last week only to flop with three catches for 46 scoreless yards on four targets against the Vikings. Matthew Stafford was sacked 10 times that afternoon, and Marvin Jones and Theo Riddick led the team with eight targets apiece. The Lions then went out and signed slot WR Bruce Ellington this week to try and replace some of what was lost with Tate. Detroit just plays so slow — 31st in offensive pace — that it’s hard to bank on any sort of volume. Golladay is averaging 2.3 targets per game since the Week 6 bye. At this point, we need to see it before we can believe it. The Lions’ implied team total of 19.25 points is the fifth-lowest of Week 10, and the Bears are No. 1 in team defense and fourth in pass-defense DVOA. Golladay will see a lot of Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara on the outside. The 45-point total is the fourth-lowest of the week.


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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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