This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst fantasy football matchups for Week 10 of the 2014 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Peyton Manning, Jimmy Graham, or LeSean McCoy. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em - Ben Roethlisberger (PIT, QB)
How can you not start Ben Roethlisberger? Give him difficult matchups the last two weeks and he performs better than any QB you drafted in the first 7 rounds by a long shot. This week he'll face the Jets who give up more fantasy points to QB's than anyone else. We're not expecting 5 or 6 TD's this week, but he'll be a Top 5 QB.
Start 'em - Matt Ryan (ATL, QB)
Don't put Matt Ryan on ice just yet. He should be able to redeem himself with a pretty sweet matchup against the Buccaneers who are giving up the 5th-most fantasy points to QB's. He's still a Top 10 QB and will perform that way on Sunday.
Start 'em - Bobby Rainey (TB, RB)
Doug Martin who? With Martin out last week, Bobby Rainey saw 19 carries for 87 yards @ Cleveland - not great, but certainly respectable. This week he'll face a Falcons defense that has given up more fantasy points to opposing rushers than any other team. He should be playing and scoring like a RB1 this week.
Start 'em - Ronnie Hillman (DEN, RB)
Montee Ball told reporters this week that if he were the coach, he'd start Ronnie Hillman ahead of himself. We're going to agree. Hillman has played fantastic during his time as the starting back for the Broncos. You never sit the hot hand, and facing an Oakland defense that gives up the 2nd-most fantasy points to RB's should keep that hot hand rolling.
Start 'em - Vincent Jackson (TB, WR)
We're going to go out on a limb here and make a recommendation for Vincent Jackson. It's really about the matchup and the history. VJax has a great matchup against the Falcons and has performed very solidly seeing the endzone four times during the past three games against them. Jackson's production goes through peaks and valleys (more valleys lately), but we like him this week as a WR2/3.
Start 'em - Larry Fitzgerald (ARI, WR)
With Carson Palmer under center, you'll find Larry Fitzgerald under the Start section of this column. Without Palmer under center, you know where Fitz belongs... He has a great history playing against the Rams who are giving up the 9th-most fantasy points to WR's this season (ppr). Expect double-digit production on Sunday afternoon.
Start 'em - Heath Miller (PIT, TE)
Don't let last week's disappointment sour you on Heath Miller. He's got a fantastic matchup against the Jets who give up the 2nd-most fantasy points to opposing TE's (ppr). He is Big Ben's security blanket and should see his targets go up with such an easy matchup.
Start 'em - Larry Donnell (NYG, TE)
You don't even need to say it. Larry Donnell is the slot machine that you think is going to pay off on the next pull. Well, we think he'll pay off this week against the Seahawks who are giving up the 5th-most fantasy points to TE's (ppr). Without a running game and a Seattle secondary that will choke the New York receivers, Donnell is the only attractive option in that offense.
Start 'em - Mason Crosby (GB, K)
Call me a homer if you want, but I love Mason Crosby's chances this week. The Packers are at home in Lambeau against a Bears team that gives up more fantasy points to opposing kickers than any other team. Historically, Crosby has done well against Chicago and that's a streak likely to continue into Sunday night.
Start 'em - Dallas Cowboys (DAL, DEF)
The Dallas Cowboys are still available in 56% of all Fleaflicker.com leagues making them perhaps the best one week pickup for Week 10. They'll face a Jaguars team that gives up the most fantasy points to opposing DST's than anyone else in the NFL.
Sit 'em - Matthew Stafford (DET, QB)
Matt Stafford without Calvin Johnson is like peanut butter without the jelly. Some things just go better together. Megatron has indicated several times this week that he's feeling close to 100% and should be good to go, but it's not so much the fact that they're together as much as it is the fact that Miami is brutal on QB's giving up the fewest fantasy points to them this year. The Dolphins made Philip Rivers look like a JV high school QB. Stafford will still put up some #'s, but control your expectations.
Sit 'em - Jay Cutler (CHI, QB)
Fresh off a bye, you would think that Cutler would be a great play; however we're going to mark him as an average play. First, there's disruption and discontent in that locker room. Marshall hasn't hit double-digit fantasy points in weeks. Second, Cutler has a terrible history of playing in Lambeau with 5 times as many picks as TD's over the last 3 times he's made the trip to Green Bay. Like Stafford, he'll still put up some #'s, but again, control your expectations.
Sit 'em - Reggie Bush (DET, RB)
Facing his former team, Reggie Bush should be excited to play this week. Even if his ankle injury wasn't impacting his abilities on the field (it is), the Dolphins have a very tough rush defense giving up the 12th-fewest fantasy points (ppr). Add Joique Bell and a rising Theo Riddick to the mix and there are too many questions and too few opportunities for Bush to regain fantasy relevance this week.
Sit 'em - Frank Gore (SF, RB)
It's not that Frank Gore can't produce - it's that the offensive coordinator in San Fran isn't using him like he should. It's been a few weeks since we've seen double-digit production from Gore. He was limited in practice this week with a hip issue which tipped the scales in favor of sitting him or using him as no more than a flex option this week.
Sit 'em - Terrance Williams (DAL, WR)
Tony Romo has practiced while over in London and it looks like he'll play this week, but he's one shot away from coming out of the game. With Weeden under center, we have seen Terrance Williams' fantasy value sink. There's no doubt that Williams has potential, but there's a good chance that his cold streak continues across the pond.
Sit 'em - Rueben Randle (NYG, WR)
Without Victor Cruz, we've seen Rueben Randle's targets go up, but what we haven't seen is his production go up in a commensurate way. This week he'll face Richard Sherman and the Seahawks who are giving up the 7th-fewest fantasy points to opposing WR's.
Sit 'em - Zach Ertz (PHI, TE)
It's time to give up on Zach Ertz. He was disappointing with Nick Foles under center, and he was worse than disappointing with Mark Sanchez (1 catch for 4 yards). With a tough matchup against the Panthers on Monday night (they give up a measly 5.51 fantasy pts per game ppr), we wouldn't want to see Ertz be the one you're counting on to win your matchup this week.
Sit 'em - Vernon Davis (SF, TE)
Like Ertz above, it's time to give up on Vernon Davis. You likely drafted him as your TE1, but after 9 weeks, he's the 29th-ranked TE in all of fantasy. He hasn't seen the endzone since Week 1 and he's facing a Saints defense that surrenders the 3rd-fewest fantasy points to the position. Sit him.
Sit 'em - Robbie Gould (CHI, K)
Robbie Gould used to be fantasy gold as far as kickers went, but the Bears' kicker is ranked 30th among all kickers after the first 2 months of the season. He's averaging a mere 4 points over the last five games and facing a Packers team at home who have given up the 12th-fewest fantasy points to kickers this year.
Sit 'em - San Francisco 49ers (SF, DEF)
It wasn't that long ago that the San Francisco 49ers were a monster on defense shutting down any rusher from even thinking about reaching 100 yards and forcing QB's to completely rethink the way they ran their plays. Welcome to 2014. The 2014 Niners are the 17th-best DST in the NFL this year facing Drew Brees and the Saints at home in New Orleans. There are better defenses this week.
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