The Fantasy Cover 4 – Week 10

While everyone drafts to pick the best available players at a position for the entire year, week-to-week there are always matchups to exploit and matchups to avoid. I’ve got you covered.  Welcome to Start ‘Em Up and Shut ‘Em Down. 

This is where you find out what matchups to jump on and which ones you may want to pass on.

(General Rule: ALWAYS start your stud players*. For everyone outside of that, follow the matchups)



Start ‘Em Up

Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben is on an all-time hot streak right now, having set an NFL record of 12 TD passes in 2 games.  Ben is on fire, and here come the Jets with their hideous pass defense.  Jersey/B has allowed an NFL high 24 TD passes this season and has only 1 INT.  It’s almost not even fair.

Carson Palmer: Has thrown a minimum of 2 TDs every game he’s played, and has 11:2 TD/INT ratio.  He’s been terrifically consistent.  The Rams are allowing opposing QBs to complete 69.9% of passes (worst in NFL).  Palmer should have a field day picking apart that toothless D.

Matt Ryan: If only Atlanta could find a way to keep Matty Ice upright…He should get a reprieve this week, since the Falcons take on the Bucs.  Tampa is 3rd worst in the NFL, allowing QBs to complete 68.4% of passes, they give up the 2 most passing YPG at 285, and their 13 sacks are Bottom 8 in the league as well.



Mark Ingram:  Since becoming the feature back due to injuries to Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson, Ingram has thrived.  He’s run for 272 yards and 3 scores the past 2 weeks.  He’s clearly the team’s go-to guy at the goal line as well.  The 49ers are still very tough against the run, but with the way the Saints spread the field, they could find stopping Ingram very difficult.

Jeremy Hill:  With Giovani Bernard sidelined last week, Hill ran roughshod over the Jaguars for 154 yds and 2 TDs.  Hill runs with power and speed, and has clearly earned himself more playing time when Bernard returns.  However, Bernard isn’t ready to return Thursday when then the Bengals take on the Browns, and he isn’t necessarily going to be ready for Week 11 either.  The Browns are 31st in the league, giving up 140.3 YPG on the ground and a league-worst 4.8 YPC.  Expect another big week from the former LSU Tiger.

Ronnie Hillman: despite the Broncos getting hammered by the Patriots last week, Hillman stayed relevant by playing a significant role in the passing game, converting 7 of 10 targets for 47 yds and a TD.  In his previous 3 games, he had run for 283 yds and almost 4.9 YPC.  However, instead of a motivated Patriots team honoring their 3 time Super Bowl champs, he gets a Raiders team that is winless on the year, and coughing up 132 YPG rushing to opponents.  Broncos should be looking to make a statement after last week’s loss, and the Raiders are just the patsy defense to roll over for them.



Jeremy Maclin: another day, another big game for Jeremy Maclin, who torched the Texans with a 6/158/2 line, and that was with Mark Sanchez at QB for 3 quarters.  Doesn’t seem to matter who the QB is in Philadelphia, Maclin is getting deep and getting open.  The Panthers are allowing opposing QBs to complete 69.3% of passes.  Maclin has been so good this year, he’s a must start.

Randall Cobb: Cobb has been a TD machine this year and cannot be considered a #2 to Jordy Nelson anymore.  Last 2 weeks he’s put up a 11/247/2 line, and he has 9TDs this year.  The Bears are 23rd in the league, giving up 262 YPG passing, and over 67% completion percentage.  Plus, Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears.

Martavis Bryant: He’s only played the last 3 games.  He’s scored 5 TDs, which is the most in the NFL in that time frame.  He’s clearly #2 behind Antonio Brown, but Big Ben is looking his way in the red zone.  Enter the Jets, and that should be a trend that continues.  He’s a solid flex play/WR3 in a heavy bye week.



Martellus Bennett: The Black Unicorn finally got back in the end zone again Week 8, on 6 receptions for 95 yards against the Pats.  Coming off the bye, he should be in line to get targets vs the Packers, who have the league’s worst run defense and will be very susceptible to play action, where Bennett can get up the seam on a mismatch.  Marty remains a red zone threat.

Owen Daniels:  He’s the top TE in a Gary Kubiak offense that loves TEs.  He’s seen 9 targets in each of the past 2 games, and his red zone presence should only continue as the season goes on.  He’s a solid bye week fill in.

Heath Miller:  Miller is totally boom or bust but he has these 2 things going for him:  Big Ben is on an all-time hot streak and the Jets’ can’t cover anyone.  This is the best time to play Miller, so if you need a TE on a week where there’s a lot of players out on bye, this is it.


Shut ‘Em Down


Alex Smith: Smith may be efficient, he may win some games, he isn’t winning you games in fantasy.  The Bills give up only 6.8 YPA passing, 6th best in the NFL.  Smith hasn’t topped 250 yards passing since week 2.

Eli Manning:  What do you get when you put a good QB behind a bad line with very few weapons?  Eli’s 2014 season.  While he hasn’t thrown an INT in 4 games and has only 5 on the season (4 in the 1st 2 games), the Giants weak offensive line will not help him at all playing in Seattle, which is one of the hardest places to play in the league.  Eli has racked up some numbers in garbage time, but that’s not a risk to take on the road vs. the defending champs.

Cam Newton: since his monster game in Cincinatti Week 6, Newton has been lousy, culminating in maybe the worst performance of his career last week at home against the Saints.  He has a 1:3 TD/INT ratio the last 3 weeks, where he’s averaging under 200 yards per game passing.  He scored only his 2nd rushing TD last week.  Even though the Eagles aren’t a great pass defense (22nd in NFL allowing 256 YPG) they will get pressure (23 sacks).  Newton isn’t trustworthy right now.


Ben Tate: 10 carries for 3 yards last week against Tampa Bay. 3 straight games under 40 yards rushing. He’s in a full scale RBBC. Stay away.

Frank Gore:  another guy who’s trending downward badly.  3 straight games under 50 yards rushing, and has only 1 rushing TD on the season.  The Saints are 10th in the league, allowing 102.1 YPG on the ground.  I wouldn’t expect Gore to break out this week.

Joique Bell:  Bell is barely averaging 3.2 YPC this season, and has only run for at least 50 yards 2x this season.  The Dolphin defense is solid against the run, 12th in the NFL allowing 103.5 YPG.  You can do better.


Michael Crabtree:  rumors of Crabtree’s foot giving him trouble continue to fly as he continues to be unimpressive.  He caught only 5 of 9 targets last week, and another disappointing 40 yards.  He hasn’t cracked 50 yards receiving since Week 3.  Even against the Saints pass D, Crabtree needs to prove he’s still able to be productive.  Take a wait and see approach.

Reuben Randle:  ‘Wrong Route Reuben” continues to frustrate his coaches, his QB, and his fantasy owners.  Too often, he’s just not on the same page with Eli Manning, despite his abundance of talent.  He hauled in only 4 of 11 targets last week against the Colts, whereas his counterpart, Odell Beckham shined.  He’s very inconsistent, and playing in Seattle this week will not help him any.

 Jordan Matthews:  Yes the Eagles throw the ball a ton but since his strong Week 3 vs Washington, he’s hit 50 yards once and scored once.  He’s, at best, a tertiary option in the Philly passing game, and that’s being very generous.  Even against the Panthers woeful pass D, Matthews isn’t giving owners the production they need.



Jermaine Gresham:  Amazing to think a few years ago, he was considered a top TE.  He’s become an afterthought in the Bengals offense, especially with the re-emergence of Mohamed Sanu.  He couldn’t produce with AJ Green out, he will have far less opportunity with Green back.

Jared Cook:  3 straight weeks of being a total non-factor.  He’s put up a 6/48/0 line over the past 3 games combined.  He hasn’t scored this year.  Next.

Clay Harbor:  Many people have asked me about Harbor recently, especially with Gronk and Gates on bye this week.  He’s been a non factor the last 3 games and was totally shut out last week in Cincinatti.  Dallas has been a respectable, middle of the pack type pass D this season, and they have 9 INTs.  He’s a desperation bye week play at best.




Week 10 Top 5’s




Aaron Rodgers – GB (vs Chi)

Ben Roethlisberger – Pit (@ NYJ)

Peyton Manning – Den (@ Oak)

Drew Brees – NO (vs SF)

Carson Palmer – AZ (vs StL)


Running Back:

DeMarco Murray – Dal (@ Jax)

Matt Forte – Chi (@ GB)

Ronnie Hillman – Den (@ Oak)

Marshawn Lynch – Sea (vs NYG)

LeSean McCoy – Phi (vs Car)


Wide Receiver:

Antonio Brown – Pit (@ NYJ)

Julio Jones – Atl (@ TB)

Demaryius Thomas – Den (@ Oak)

Jeremy Maclin – Phi (vs Car)

Jordy Nelson – GB (vs Chi)


Tight End:

Julius Thomas – Den (@ Oak)

Jimmy Graham – NO (vs SF)

Martellus Bennett – Chi (@ GB)

Greg Olsen – Car (@ Phi)

Owen Daniels – Bal (vs Ten)





*Stud Players:

QB:  Brees, P. Manning, Rodgers, Luck

RB:  Charles, McCoy, Forte, Lynch, Murray, Bell, Foster

WR:  A. Brown, Bryant, AJ Green, C. Johnson, Marshall, Nelson, D. Thomas, Julio Jones

TE:  Graham, Gronkowski, J. Thomas, Gates



Patrick Creighton is the host of “Nate & Creight” on Sportsradio 610 Houston.  Follow him on Twitter: @PCreighton1