Fantasy Football Focus: How To Set Your Week 10 Lineup For Success

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Photo: Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports

I made a big deal in my fantasy football league with the trade deadline approaching. I sent Alex Smith, Orleans Darkwa, Kenyan Drake, Brandin Cooks and Larry Fitzgerald to my Uncle Pat for two of the top 10 RBs in PPR leagues: Leonard Fournette and Chris Thompson.

It wasn’t a cheap deal, but let me explain my reasoning:

As my loyal readers (aka: mom) know, I’ve been hurting at running back all year, but have plenty of depth at the other positions. Also, despite being 5-4, I’m two games back of two different teams in my division and 100 points back in the wildcard (our wildcard goes to the team with highest point total regardless of record). That depth wasn’t doing me any good sitting on the bench, and meanwhile I was falling behind in the playoff race. I had to make a move.

Why did a trade the players I did? I had two legit QBs in Smith and Drew Brees, but no need for both of them. Smith has better numbers this year, but I decided I’d rather hold on to Brees because he has a longer track record of fantasy success.

At wide reciver, I feel good about sliding Sterling Shepard into my starting lineup. He was already having a nice season before he, Odell Green-Beckham and Brandon Marshall got hurt in the same game Week 5. OGB and Marshall are out for the year, but Shepard returned last week and put up five catches for 70 yards. As the only legitimate WR the Giants have, I believe he has the potential to bust out.

I also felt Fitzgerald and Cooks were expendable. Fitzgerald will probably fade down the stretch without Carson Palmer as his QB, and Cooks wasn’t giving me the WR1 production I wanted because Tom Brady spreads the ball around too much. Gronkowski is his No. 1 target, but after him, Cooks, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and James White were all averaging almost the same amount of targets a game.

To make the trade happen, I also had to give up some mid-level RBs so my Uncle Pat would have guys to start in place of the players he was giving me. I decided to send him Darkwa and Drake because I really wanted to hold on to White. Hopefully those guys don’t turn into studs down the stretch. That would suck.

Obviously, I gave up a lot. I’ve never given up five players who were all startable in a fantasy football trade before. But I truly believe a RB/WR/Flex core of Fournette/Thompson/White/A.J. Green/Shepard is better than Darkwa/White/Green/Fitzgerald/Cooks. It’s all up to the fantasy football gods anyways, so I’m just going to say my prayers and hope for the best.



Aug 19, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders during a NFL football game at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

START: Jared Goff, LA Rams – We’re going with Goff in this spot for the second straight week. He ripped up the Giants on Sunday for 311 yards and four touchdowns. This week he gets a Houston defense which is low on confidence and is giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs.

SIT: Kirk Cousins, Washington– Like most quarterbacks, Cousins struggles against a good pass rush. All four of his worst fantasy outputs came against defenses among the top 10 in sacks. This week he faces a Minnesota team that ranks eighth in sacks and is allowing the fourth-least fantasy point to opposing QBs.


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START: Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants– Darkwa got 18 touches for 79 yards last week despite a game script that did not work in his favor. The Giants employ a multi-pronged backfield where Darkwa gets most the carries, but Wayne Gallman comes in on most pass situations. The Giants were in pass-mode most of the second half after falling way behind the Rams in a 51-17 loss, but Darkwa still managed a decent stat line. That’s encouraging. What’s even more encouraging is his matchup this week against a San Francisco defense allowing the most rushing yards in the NFL.

SIT: Chris Thompson, Washington– Yes, I know. I just traded Darkwa for Thompson, laugh it up. But as you know, I’m often wrong about these things. So hopefully my suckiness comes to my benefit. For all intents and purposes, however, Thompson should have a tough time finding room against Minnesota this Sunday. The Vikings are allowing the second-least fantasy points to opposing RBs.


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START: Demaryius Thomas, Denver – Thomas found the end zone on Sunday for the first time since week 10 of last season. The lack of scores has shot his fantasy value, but he’s still averaging 5.7 catches for 67.8 yards on 9.4 targets during the time. With a game against New England’s disappointing secondary coming up, it’s hard to imagine Thomas not at least putting up solid catch and yardage number.

SIT: Adam Thielen, Minnesota – Thielen has been a nice surprise this season. He blew up for nine catches and 157 yards in the opener against New Orleans and has stayed steady with at least five catches in every game since. But Washington awaits this Sunday, and the Redskins are allowing the fourth-least receptions to opposing WRs.


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START: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota – The Redskins may be stingy against wide receivers, but they’ve given up more yards to TEs than any team in the league. Rudolph didn’t catch more than four passes in any of his first four games, but has had at least five receptions in every contest since.

SIT: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ – The 6-foot-5 Washington grad is coming off his two worst fantasy performances of the season and plays his former team this week, Tampa Bay, who is allowing the second-least receptions and third-least yards to opposing TEs.


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START: Rams – The Texans are a complete mess right now without Deshaun Watson. Tom Savage was a miserable 19-of-44 for 219 yards last week in his place. The Rams should feast in this delicious matchup

SIT: Bills – Buffalo has had mostly friendly matchups all year, but that changes the next four weeks with the Saints, Chargers, Chefs and Patriots up next on the schedule. They’re not going to be a good option again until week 14.

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