Week 10 Player Grid
This Player Grid will hold little value for you without first reading this.
Note: Players in a given tier are not listed in any particular order.
FantasyDraft Players :: I’ve added a FantasyDraft Addendum to the bottom
This week, I don’t have any true Tier 1 quarterback plays. What does this mean? Essentially, there are no quarterbacks who stand out to me as guys with “a clear shot at a big game, and with a low likelihood of a bad game.” Optimally, that’s what Tier 1 stands for. Tier 1 says, “This guy is highly unlikely to fail. And he has a strong shot at going off.” Because I don’t see any true Tier 1 plays, I’ll move all five of my favorite quarterbacks into this space. Here’s what I’m working with at the moment:
- Drew Brees :: I don’t typically pay up for Brees on the road, in cold weather, on a run-leaning offense — but the matchup is great this week against a Bengals team that allows long, sustained drives and is poor at preventing touchdowns in the red zone. A monster game is unlikely, but Brees should provide solid value this week.
- Aaron Rodgers :: On Friday night I watched film of teams running on the Dolphins, and then I watched film of the Packers to try to get a feel for whether or not Rodgers will actually stick to the air in this spot. Obviously, we know he’ll throw at least 30 times, which should be enough to provide a solid score. But will he throw enough to provide a big score? I’m leaning toward no, but Rodgers presents some strange variables of his own. This Dolphins team is so embarrassingly easy to block — which has led to teams simply ignoring the pass against them and attacking on the ground. But with Rodgers running the show on the field, it is not unusual for him to continue passing in spots like this. Ultimately, I expect Rodgers to throw 35 or fewer times, and to post a “solid, but non-elite score” (keep in mind that the Packers are not a downfield-attacking offense, and they rarely set up their receivers for big YAC gains; instead, they march the field methodically, which means that volume especially matters). But because of what Rodgers can do if the volume does happen to be there, he remains an integral part of my list this week. He’s mostly “high floor,” but he has an outside shot at hitting for ceiling.
- Marcus Mariota :: Of course, this is the perfect time to bring up Mariota, as most of these higher-priced quarterbacks are more “floor” than “ceiling” this week — which begs the question, “Why pay up for QB in the first place?” The Titans’ offense is bland and non-aggressive, and they boast the number one scoring defense in the NFL — so the simple analysis of, “Patriots will take a big lead and the Titans will have to pass” should not quite cut it for us. Nonetheless, Mariota should be able to rack up passing yards and account for one or two touchdowns, with some value added with his legs. If the high-priced QBs fail to pop for upside this week, Mariota will likely prove to be a great way to save salary that can be used for more upside in other spots.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick :: Fitz has the lowest floor in this group, as he could legitimately throw two early interceptions and end up on the bench. But keep in mind that “Tampa QB” leads the NFL in passing yards, and Mahomes is the only quarterback in football with more passing touchdowns than “Tampa QB.” Fitz has the clearest shot at upside among the first four names in this group, on this aggressive, downfield-attacking offense.
- Patrick Mahomes :: Matchup doesn’t matter for Mahomes…but it should be noted that this is a tougher matchup, and there is a chance the Chiefs jump out to a big, early lead and take the foot off the gas. This makes it a little less likely than normal that Mahomes pushes for 30 points — but in tourneys, there is still a lot to be said for paying a little extra for the highest upside on the slate.
There are plenty of solid running back plays this week…but for the most part, you are going to have to pay up if you are looking for “certainty.” Once we move away from the top tier of guys, question marks abound.
- Dion Lewis :: Lewis is the one guy outside the top range who lands in Tier 1 for me. While there is still a chance Derrick Henry remains more involved than most are expecting, Lewis is going to see his touches regardless — and perhaps most importantly, he is the best way for the Titans to move the ball through the air. Especially taking price into consideration, Lewis shapes up as a high-floor, high-ceiling play this week.
- Todd Gurley :: If paying up, Gurley remains the best play on paper. He is the centerpiece of the Rams, with the biggest red zone role in football and the most guaranteed touches among any of the high-priced backs. The matchup is not the easiest he will face this year, but he has smashed in tougher spots than this.
- Alvin Kamara // Kareem Hunt // Melvin Gordon :: If moving off Gurley (his matchup certainly creates some justification for doing so), any of these other three jump to the top of the “high-priced RB” conversation. None of these guys are guaranteed more than 20 to 21 touches — but each guy has a big red zone role, in a great matchup, for an offense that is going to score points. Not much separates these three, to be honest. Each guy’s workload is held somewhat in check, and each guy scores points in multiple ways (long TDs, short TDs, catches, receiving yards, rushing yards, etc.). I don’t yet have a favorite among this group, but all three are very much in play for both floor and ceiling this week.
There are not many wide receivers this week who provide a high level of safety to go with their upside, as many of the good passing attacks are playing in games this week that simply do not project to remain close (which could limit volume and aggressiveness), while other good passing attacks are of the Low Volume variety (or are in Low Volume spots). There are three guys who stand out to me as truly high floor/ceiling options.
- Julio Jones :: If we take away shadow coverage from Marshon Lattimore against the Saints, Julio has at least nine targets in every game this year — and there is literally nowhere for his red zone usage to go but up (three red zone targets all year; zero red zone catches). Denzel Ward has been a great rookie corner this year, but he is dealing with a hip injury that will make it tougher for him to hang with Julio, and the targets should still be there in this spot — giving him plenty of floor and ceiling to work with.
- Davante Adams :: This is the sort of week it is. Julio is facing Denzel Ward. Adams is facing Xavien Howard. And they still stand out as two of the safest plays, as there is even less to love in other spots. Matchup matters for Adams’ efficiency, but it will not matter for targets. He is going to see heavy looks from Aaron Rodgers no matter what, giving him plenty of floor and upside.
- Tyler Boyd :: Obviously, the standout play up here is Boyd, who should see eight to 10 targets and has the easiest matchup of the bunch against P.J. Williams in the slot. It feels strange to pay this much for Boyd, and there isn’t a ton of room for his targets to grow….but it will also be difficult for him to fail in this spot, and he has plenty of ceiling to go with his floor.
- Travis Kelce :: At the thinnest position in fantasy, sometimes the best play is simply the best play. Roster construction may not work to fit in Kelce this week, but he is the highest-floor, highest-ceiling play at the position.
- Chiefs :: An aggressive Chiefs defense, at home against a rookie QB behind a bad offensive line? Yup — plenty to like in this spot.
- Jets :: There is a chance this week that the Bills’ defense slows down Josh McCown and the Jets, and that the Bills’ offense takes a very conservative approach with Matt Barkley that will eliminate the opportunity for big mistakes. There is also a chance that Barkley turns the ball over early…the Jets take a lead off that turnover…and the Bills are forced to get more aggressive — leading to more mistakes. There is actually more variance in this play than the Chiefs play, but the ceiling is at least as high. It’s tough to go wrong attacking the Bills’ offense this year.
- Mark Ingram || Aaron Jones || Mike Davis :: All three of these guys project for around 12 to 16 carries and two to four receptions. Ingram has the clearest shot at a multi-touchdown game. Jones has the clearest shot at big yardage against the Dolphins. And Davis — if Chris Carson misses — has the clearest shot at a true RB1 workload. All of these guys carry lower-than-we-would-love floor, but none of them are likely to “fail,” and all have solid ceiling as well.
- Tevin Coleman // Ito Smith :: Only one team in the NFL has allowed more running back touchdowns than the Browns, and Ito/Coleman should combine for around 25 touches and anywhere from one to three touchdowns. Their prices are out of control on FanDuel, but on DraftKings they combine to cost what a single high-priced running back costs. If their pass game role returns to what it was for most of the season, they likely get you around 20 to 24 points — which is a bit less than you would need in order to justify this play. But if they pop for three touchdowns or continue to see work in the pass game, they could easily post 35 or more combined points — which would not only outscore most of the high-priced backs, but would also be more than you could likely “guess right on” from any “$9100 WR combo.” In other words: paying for two cheap backs and one high-priced WR, instead of paying for two cheap WRs and one high-priced RB. I don’t “expect” Ito/Tevin to top 30 this week, so I may not end up here myself. But if they are safe exposure to guaranteed points — and if they do top 30, this could prove to be a difference-making combo on this week’s slate.
- Michael Thomas :: Extremely safe, with obvious upside — but his likeliest range is around eight catches for 70 to 90 yards. He’s overpriced for this “likeliest range,” but his touchdown upside keeps him in the conversation, and he could pop for another big game if this turns into a shootout. I’m considering him to be extremely safe, with a slightly lower chance than the Tier 1 guys of reaching his upside.
- Julian Edelman :: Edelman is quietly “extremely safe” as well, though his upside is lower than Thomas’ (as accounted for by price). Expect around eight catches and 70 to 90 yards for Edelman…with a lower chance than Thomas of popping for something far outside this range.
- Jarvis Landry :: Landry is in the same conversation as the two guys above him, but there are more paths to him disappointing. Landry doesn’t stand out to me this week, but he at least stands out enough to be listed/considered; he should provide a solid floor, with some shot at ceiling.
- Danny Amendola :: No one wants to trust a receiver in an Osweiler offense, but Amendola should see seven to nine targets, and this has been enough lately for him to provide strong, safe value. Especially on DraftKings — where pricing is tighter and PPR scoring provides more value for a guy like Amendola — he’s a piece to consider in cash games and smaller-field tourneys.
- Maurice Harris :: Jamison Crowder, Chris Thompson, and Paul Richardson are out; Alex Smith does not like throwing outside the numbers; at least three of the Redskins’ starters on the offensive line will be missing this week; and the aggressive Bucs’ offense should eventually force Washington to the air as well. Alex Smith has not shown any love for Kapri Bibbs so far, which means that the biggest chunk of his passes should go to Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, and Harris. Josh Doctson could also be considered for upside in tourneys, but Harris should see another five to seven targets out of the slot, giving him a decent floor and a decent ceiling against this poor Bucs secondary.
- Jimmy Graham :: The targets are there; the red zone usage is there; and the matchup is above-average. Graham is not Kelce, but he is one of the few tight ends outside of Kelce who provides bankable value.
- David Njoku :: The matchup is great for Njoku, and the Browns’ offense is improving. We should be able to pencil him in for five to six targets, with upside for more, giving him a solid floor, and providing him with enough ceiling to be a serious part of the tight end conversation this week.
- James White // Sony Michel :: This seems like a combo (or even like individual plays) that will go overlooked, but especially on DK, realize that these two can produce together. In their last three games together, these two combined for 40 to 50 points every time. Tennessee is one of the best red zone defenses in the NFL — but the Patriots are one of the teams I would feel comfortable betting on in a difficult matchup, and it won’t be a surprise if both of these guys post a strong game this week. There is more guesswork than I would love in trying to pick only one guy to play, but it is also viable to go that route in tourneys.
- Duke Johnson // Nick Chubb :: I like this combo a little less than some of the others mentioned, simply because touchdown upside is lower for these two. But both Duke and Chubb have good matchups individually, and it won’t be a surprise if one or both of them produces against the Falcons this week.
- David Johnson :: The Chiefs have a bad run defense; the Chiefs are bad against pass-catching backs; and the Chiefs are likely to take a lead — thus providing easier chunk gains for DJ. He remains on a bad offense behind a bad offensive line, so there are question marks. But the upside is there.
- Josh Gordon :: As a perimeter receiver seeing bounce-around target counts and a lot of downfield work, his floor is a bit low; but it’s not a back-breaking floor, and the upside is awesome. Expect six to nine targets for Gordon, giving him a broad range of outcomes — but if we played out this slate a hundred times, he would absolutely post a few week-winning scores along the way.
- Mike Evans :: He is practically a lock for double-digit targets — but with almost no YAC upside, his range remains broad. He could top 100 yards and score multiple touchdowns; he could haul in only half of his targets and fail to top 60 yards. He is a higher-variance play than other high-priced receivers, but the upside on Evans is as high as any receiver on the slate, making him a strong tourney option.
- DeSean Jackson :: Speed wins tourneys. DJax has a lower floor than we would love, but his ceiling remains great, and he is guaranteed a few downfield shots every single game.
- Tyreek Hill :: Speed wins tourneys. Hill has a lower floor than we would love, but his ceiling remains great, and he is guaranteed a few downfield shots every single game.
- Lions WRs :: This is not the best spot for the Lions’ offense as a whole, but it seems likely that one of Marvin Jones or Kenny Golladay will produce a strong score in this spot, as the Bears are a top five scoring offense, the Lions are an awful defense, and this team should be playing from behind during the second half — attacking through the air. Each guy has the ability to pop for a big game. I expect to have at least some tourney exposure in this spot.
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling :: This number two perimeter role on the Packers has failed to produce a single “impact” score (MVS’ best score came in a game where he was playing in the slot for Cobb — and even that was not a monster score, if price is taken out of the conversation), but with that said: this role has produced solid scores almost every week. MVS has taken on the same five to seven targets per game that Geronimo Allison was seeing before, with some downfield work and some touchdown opportunities. I liked MVS when I wrote the NFL Edge — so while I don’t think he should be chalk, I do think he’s a solid play, with a decent floor and a strong price-considered ceiling.
- Austin Hooper :: This is the classic “who knows” play. Who knows if Hooper will be featured this week or not — but the good news on Hooper is that the matchup sets up well, and his “bad games” have not been back-breakers, while his good games have been difference-makers at his price. I rarely play “low-analysis” spots like this, but Hooper does make a lot of sense in tourneys as a guy who could post a strong game, and who likely won’t kill you if he doesn’t.
- O.J. Howard :: Howard is one of the top four or five tight ends in football. And while Levitan and I talked last week about the dangers of worrying too much about “talent,” that goes more for labeling NFL players as “untalented” than it does for paying attention to the most talented guys in the league. Howard is overpriced at this point for his workload, and after playing him on my Main Build the last two weeks at a discount, I’ll have a hard time pulling the trigger here. But man — this guy is good. If he pushes for eight or nine targets, he’ll almost certainly smash. If he sticks at four or five targets, his floor becomes scary at the price…but he still has the talent to log a big game, as he has done multiple times this year on such a limited workload.
- Bills :: The Bills have a good defense. The Jets have a bad offense. This is not an elite play, as a road-traveling underdog, but there is still some sneaky upside here.
- Colts :: The Jaguars have the fourth most giveaways in the NFL. The Colts have the fifth most takeaways in the NFL. The return of Leonard Fournette increases the chances of a conservative (non-mistake-filled) game from the Jags — but there is still some upside to target in this spot.
Hopefully this gives you a great opportunity to compare your thoughts against my own.
I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards this weekend; and I’ll see you on the site next Thursday morning for the Week 11 edition of the NFL Edge!
If playing the Full-Sunday slate on FantasyDraft:
There is actually not anyone I would expand to include on my Main Builds in the Sunday night game between the Cowboys and the Eagles. No Tier 1 plays stand out in this game — though you can always make a case for Zach Ertz in this category.
Behind Ertz, it’s essentially Tier 3 (lower floor, but upside) on both Alshon and Golden Tate…and that’s about it. You could also take a shot on Amari or Zeke or even Dak, but there are better plays on the full slate. And you could try to guess on the Eagles’ backfield, but again: better plays earlier in the day. This is the rare week in which I will not be overhauling my rosters to account for the Sunday night game.
Finally: to those of you who have made it to Week 4 of the One Week Season Survivor contest on FantasyDraft: let the fun begin! A final 30% of us have to get cut out this week, but I’ll be looking to join the rest of you in the “Money Week” of the contest.