Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 10: Start Brandon Aiyuk, Allen Lazard; Sit Michael Pittman, D’Andre Swift
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Aiyuk.
A number of shocking things have happened over the first nine weeks of the NFL season, and setting fantasy lineups might be a serious chore with the sheer number of injuries and befuddling situations.
Whether you’re 9-0 and cruising toward the playoffs or 0-9 and playing to avoid a last-place punishment, stay diligent on the waiver wire, send trade offers and make savvy start/sit decisions. There’s way too much football left to get complacent or give up.
A gentle reminder that the Ravens, Bengals, Patriots and Jets are all on bye this week week, meaning you will need to take Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Joe Mixon, Rhamondre Stevenson, et al. out of your lineups.
Below are some players at each position you should start in Week 10, as well as some players you should consider sitting based on matchups, injuries and trends.
Week 10 Start ‘Em
Quarterbacks to Start
Justin Fields, Bears (vs. Lions)
If you have not noticed that Fields is a top-tier fantasy quarterback now, you are probably living under a rock. He is the fantasy QB1 over the last three weeks, propelled by a monster Week 9 game against the Dolphins in which he completed 17-of-28 attempts for 123 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and rushed 15 times for 178 yards and a touchdown.
While Fields is developing into much more than just a rushing quarterback, that aspect of his game remains his primary appeal. He is averaging 67 rushing yards per game — trailing only Lamar Jackson (70.6) — and is on track for over 1,100 yards.
With the third-highest point total this week (48.5), this game has major shootout potential. Both teams rank bottom seven in defensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders, though Detroit is worse.
The Lions have also allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, making Fields an elite play.
Daniel Jones, Giants (vs. Texans)
I am ready to get hurt again by Daniel Jones.
Jones imploded the moment the fantasy community put trust in him. He was a major disappointment in what should have been a positive matchup against the Seahawks in Week 8, completing 17-of-31 attempts for 176 yards and zero touchdowns. He finished as the QB25 — his worst fantasy finish this season — as the G-Men picked up their second loss.
Jones will be well-rested and fresh off a bye to face the Texans, who rank 30th in overall defensive DVOA. He is averaging over 45 rushing yards per game and is a viable streaming option for Jackson or Burrow managers looking for a one-week fill-in — or potentially longer with the Lions in the hole in Week 11.
Wide Receivers to Start
Allen Lazard, Packers (vs. Cowboys)
Lazard was the lone Packer to have a good fantasy game in Week 9 against the Lions. He caught 4-of-10 targets for 87 yards and a touchdown and finished as the WR8 in half-PPR scoring.
When on the field, Lazard has actually been remarkably consistent in spite of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ struggles. He has not scored fewer than eight fantasy points in a game and is the WR14 on a per-game basis for the season.
He will have even less competition for the foreseeable future with rookie Romeo Doubs sidelined with a high ankle sprain. He should be considered a WR2, even in a tougher matchup against Dallas’ stout defense, because you don’t have to be the best show in town if you’re the only show in town.
Joshua Palmer, Chargers (at 49ers)
Palmer was the Chargers’ de facto WR1 in Week 9 against the Falcons with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams out. He caught 8-of-10 targets for a season-high and team-high 106 yards and was the WR13 in half PPR. DeAndre Carter also had a good game and caught 5-of-6 targets for 53 yards.
Palmer is not the WR1 the Chargers asked for, but he is the one they have. He will continue to operate as such with Williams sidelined for multiple weeks due to a high ankle sprain and Allen already ruled out for Week 10.
The Chargers face the 49ers this week, whose defense has actually been middle-of-the-road against fantasy wide receivers. Palmer should be considered a WR2 and Carter a WR3/4.
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (vs. Chargers)
Aiyuk was the WR3 in half-PPR scoring from Weeks 6 through 8 behind only Tyreek Hill and Ja’Marr Chase.
He was fantastic in the team’s Week 8 win over the Rams and caught all six of his targets for 81 yards and a touchdown, finishing as the WR10. He had a 98% snap participation rate in that game and is at 91% overall for the season.
Aiyuk will be fresh off the 49ers’ Week 9 bye to face the Chargers, who have been good against the pass. That said, the unit has been exposed by Marquise Goodwin, Amari Cooper, Brandin Cooks, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Justin Watson this year. I expect Aiyuk to return WR2 numbers in Week 10.
Jerry Jeudy, Broncos (at Titans)
Despite the struggles the Broncos have had offensively this season, Jeudy has actually been a pleasant surprise. In the two weeks before the Broncos’ Week 9 bye, he saw 18 total targets and caught 13 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown, finishing as the WR19 and WR14 in half-PPR scoring against the Jets and Jaguars, respectively.
Jeudy is everything we hoped Courtland Sutton would be for fantasy entering the season. He gets another sweet matchup in Week 10 against the Titans, whose defense has allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year. Jeudy is a high-upside WR3/flex option.
Running Backs to Start
Jonathan Taylor, Colts (at Raiders)
The fact that I even felt the need to list the consensus preseason No. 1 overall pick in my start column should tell you how wonky this season has been.
Taylor was the RB1 by a fairly significant margin in 2021 after recording 372 touches for 2,171 all-purpose yards and 20 touchdowns in his sophomore season. He has struggled thus far (at least relative to expectations) and is the RB27 on a per-game basis this year.
He has had exactly one Jonathan Taylor-esque game, which came in Week 1 against the Texans‘ awful run defense. Efficiency was one of his strongest attributes, as he had 5.5 yards per carry in 2021; that has dropped to 4.3 in the first nine weeks in 2022.
Taylor has been banged up a bunch, but he appears to be trending toward being healthy once again after practicing in full twice this week. This could be a great “get-right” spot for him and the Colts, as the Raiders are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs. Taylor should be considered a RB2 with RB1 upside.
Jamaal Wiliams, Lions (vs. Bears)
D’Andre Swift is clearly not fully healthy. Since returning in Week 8, Swift has been out-touched, out-gained and out-snapped by Williams, who appears to be the Lions’ RB1 for now. He saw 24 carries for 81 yards in Week 9 while Swift was held to two carries for 10 yards and three catches for 40 yards.
Williams is the RB13 in half-PPR scoring on a per-game basis and could end up being a league-winner as a late-round gem. I expect him to perform well once again in Week 10 against the Bears, who rank 28th in rush DVOA and have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this year.
Williams should be considered a high-end RB2 while Swift is a RB3/flex in this soft matchup.
Tony Pollard, Cowboys (at Packers)
Pollard shined in Week 8 against the Bears with Ezekiel Elliott sidelined. He rushed 14 times for 131 yards and three touchdowns and caught a pass for 16 yards, finishing as the RB4 for the week.
The bad news (for Pollard managers) is that Elliott is currently on track to return from his knee injury. This should cut into Pollard’s workhorse role, especially with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones claiming that Elliott will be slotted back into his No. 1 spot.
The good news is that Dallas plays Green Bay, so both Pollard and Elliott should carve up the Packers‘ Swiss cheese run defense, which ranks second-to-last in rush DVOA.
Jeff Wilson Jr., Dolphins (vs. Browns)
Wilson essentially came off the street after being traded from the 49ers to the Dolphins and immediately out-touched and out-snapped Raheem Mostert. He saw nine carries for 51 yards and caught three passes for 21 yards and a touchdown, while Mostert saw nine carries for 26 yards and a touchdown.
I doubt the Dolphins will be in too many more 67-point games this year, though their defense has been vulnerable. At any rate, the Dolphins clearly want to utilize Wilson. He should be considered a RB3 with upside this week against the Browns, whose defense ranks bottom three in rush DVOA and bottom four in fantasy points allowed to running backs this year.
Tight Ends to Start
Greg Dulcich, Broncos (at Titans)
Dulcich has been on fire. The rookie from UCLA dealt with a hamstring strain which kept him sidelined until Week 6. From then on, Dulcich has been the fantasy TE4 on a per-game basis behind only George Kittle, Travis Kelce and Dallas Goedert.
He will be fresh and well-rested coming off of the Broncos’ Week 9 bye to face the Titans, whose defense has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends. Dulcich is mid-tier TE1 with upside this week and beyond with a fantastic schedule down the stretch.
Cole Kmet, Bears (vs. Lions)
It may be Kmet season at long last.
The Year 3 tight end has finally shown signs of life in the last two weeks. He is coming off of his best game to date in which he caught 5-of-6 targets for 41 yards and two touchdowns and finished as the TE2 in half-PPR scoring. He also found the end zone the week prior against the Cowboys.
To say that Kmet had a slow start to the year would be a gross understatement. He bageled in back-to-back weeks to start the season and was the overall TE34 from Weeks 1 through 7.
He will have prime opportunities to redeem himself this week with the Lions’ defense on deck. Detroit has allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends this year and ranks 26th in pass DVOA. Kmet should be a fringe-TE1, though understandably a risky one in light of his previous lack of success.
Defense to Start
Cardinals D/ST (at Rams)
The Cardinals defense has been up and down all year.
Their best fantasy performance came against the Saints in Week 7, when they recorded three interceptions, two touchdowns and 17 fantasy points. Their worst fantasy performance came against the Chiefs in Week 1, when they allowed 44 points and recorded -2 fantasy points.
I do like them this week as a budget streaming option opposite the Rams, who have given up the most fantasy points to opposing D/STs. L.A. ranks fourth-worst in offensive points per game, second-worst in offensive yards per game, fourth-worst in sacks allowed per game and are tied for the sixth-most giveaways this year (eight interceptions and five fumbles).
Week 10 Sit ‘Em
Quarterbacks to Sit
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (at Bills)
Rock-solid Cousins has finished as a top-13 quarterback in all but two games this year. He completed 22-of-40 attempts for 265 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in his revenge match against the Commanders last week and finished as the QB11.
The best defense Cousins has faced this year was the Eagles‘ in Week 2. He tossed one touchdown and three interceptions and was the QB25. He could stumble once more against the Bills, whose defense ranks just one spot behind the Eagles in defensive DVOA and fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
Cousins falls outside of the top 12 in this tough matchup.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers (vs. Cowboys)
I think you get relegated to the CFL if you struggle against the Lions defense, which ranks in the basement of almost all defensive metrics. I don’t make the rules.
That is precisely what happened in Week 9 when Rodgers completed 23-of-43 attempts for 291 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. To put this decline into perspective, Rodgers threw just four interceptions in all of last season.
He is borderline droppable nine weeks into a terrible season and cannot be trusted this week against the Cowboys. Dallas ranks No. 1 in defensive DVOA and No. 3 in pass DVOA. They have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this year and will likely stymie a struggling Rodgers and his decimated receiving corps.
Consider him a QB2 with downside in Week 10.
Wide Receivers to Sit
Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (at Raiders)
Pittman started the year so strong. He caught 9-of-13 targets for 121 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Texans and finished as the WR5 in half-PPR scoring. Since then, he has had exactly one finish above WR36, which is not ideal given he was drafted as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2.
Turmoil at the quarterback position (and the coaching staff) has undoubtedly played a role in these struggles. He caught 3-of-6 targets last week against the Patriots for a season-low 22 yards and finished as the WR48.
Normally, I would be excited to fire up any receiver against the Las Vegas defense, which ranks last in pass DVOA and overall DVOA, but I am simply unable to muster any excitement about a Sam Ehlinger-wielded pass-catcher at this time. Pittman is a risky WR3/flex with a near-zero floor.
Diontae Johnson, Steelers (vs. Saints)
Johnson is averaging 9.5 targets per game. though he has yet to do much with them or find the end zone this year. He is the WR42 in half PPR and has not finished as a top-24 receiver once.
He predictably struggled in Week 8 against the Eagles when he caught 5-of-9 targets for 35 yards. He’s also failed to perform in easier matchups, however, and was held to five catches for 42 yards against the Dolphins.
Johnson is a limited upside floor play based on his high target share, though that could dwindle if he can’t eventually translate that into production. The Saints are above average against the pass and Johnson could struggle once again in Week 10. Consider him a low-ceiling WR3.
Adam Thielen, Vikings (at Bills)
Thielen has actually been quite good over his past three games. He was the WR18 in Week 6, WR33 in Week 8 and WR26 in Week 9 against three below-average defenses (Dolphins, Cardinals and Commanders). The Vikings’ WR2 is averaging a steady 7.1 targets per game, which has given him a relatively high floor as a WR3.
I am concerned about Thielen this week precisely for the same reason that I am worried about Cousins. The matchup is brutal — the Bills have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this year and rank top five in pass DVOA.
Thielen could be shut down and bumped down the depth chart with T.J. Hockenson in the fold. Thielen is a risky, low-upside WR3/flex.
Curtis Samuel, Commanders (at Eagles)
On a team that has had its fair share of struggles offensively, Samuel has actually been a pleasant surprise. He is the WR30 on a per-game basis and is coming off of his second-best fantasy performance of the year.
He caught 3-of-4 targets for 65 yards and a touchdown and finished as the WR9 in half-PPR scoring against the Vikings in Week 9.
I do not expect the same level of success on the road against the Eagles. Philly ranks top three in defensive DVOA and top two in pass DVOA. Its defense has allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this year, rendering Samuel a riskier, WR3/flex play in Week 10.
Running Backs to Sit
Najee Harris, Steelers (vs. Saints)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Harris was the RB4 in half-PPR scoring after a historic rookie season that earned him Pro Bowl honors. Expectations were naturally high for him entering the year and he was subsequently drafted as a top-six running back.
Warning signs of a potential sophomore slump came early and often, unfortunately, as Harris suffered a Lisfranc injury in his foot during training camp that has lingered throughout the year. He is the RB29 through nine weeks and has not finished as a top-12 running back once. He is projected for just 767 rushing yards — a far cry from his 1,200 last year.
Coming out of the Steelers’ bye, Harris is expected to see a reduced workload due to his inefficiency. He is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry to Jaylen Warren’s 5.3, and he was out-gained by Warren (32 to 50) in Week 8.
Harris is a RB2 with downside given the uncertainty of his workload moving forward. The Saints, meanwhile, are aboveaverage against fantasy running backs this year.
D’Andre Swift, Lions (at Bears)
Swift has taken a backseat to Jamaal Williams on the Lions depth chart since returning from a three-game injury hiatus.
He rushed five times for six yards and caught five passes for 27 yards and a touchdown in Week 8 against the Dolphins. In the following week, Swift rushed twice for 10 yards and caught three passes for 40 yards. He was the RB23 and RB26 in half-PPR scoring, while Williams was the RB9 and RB19 over those two weeks.
The bottom line is this: Swift has not looked like anything close to full strength and has failed to capitalize on two soft matchups in back-to-back weeks. He was out-snapped by Williams last week for the first game this year in which both were healthy by a count of 38 to 10.
Ordinarily, I would be ecstatic to start Swift against this vulnerable Bears defense that ranks bottom five in both rush DVOA and fantasy points allowed to running backs. I just cannot trust him while he’s not operating at 100% and with Williams looking as strong as he has. He is a risky RB2 with downside in Week 10.
Latavius Murray, Broncos (at Titans)
Murray is coming off his best game since joining the Broncos. He recorded 15 touches for 59 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in Week 8 against the Jaguars in London and was the RB21 in half-PPR scoring.
I am recommending sitting Murray, but this advice goes for all Broncos running backs. I can’t trust any of the three now that Chase Edmonds has been acquired from Miami.
There is zero clarity as to which one (if any) will lead the depth chart moving forward. Furthermore, the Titans rank No. 1 in rush DVOA and have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. Sit Murray, Melvin Gordon and Edmonds until we see how their workload division shakes out.
Brian Robinson Jr., Commanders (at Eagles)
Robinson’s story has been nothing short of incredible. He returned just six weeks after being shot and looked really good in his first few appearances.In the last two weeks, however, he has struggled and may be ceding ground to Antonio Gibson.
He rushed eight times for 20 yards in Week 8 and 13 times for 44 yards in Week 9. His usage in the passing game is nonexistent and he was out-snapped in each of the last two games by Gibson.
I expect Robinson to struggle again this week against the Eagles’ stout defense. Philadelphia has been more permeable against the run than the pass, though I think this contest could get away from the Commanders and Robinson could end up game-scripted out all together. He is a RB3/4 with downside in Week 10.
Tight Ends to Sit
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (vs. Browns)
Over the past four weeks, Gesicki has had two good games and two terrible ones. He was the TE1 and TE7 in half-PPR scoring in Weeks 6 and 8 against two subpar defenses (Vikings, Lions) and the TE24 and TE48 in Weeks 7 and 9 (Steelers and Bears).
Gesicki is the dictionary definition of touchdown-dependent. He was held to just one catch for three yards last week in a game that the Dolphins scored 31 points. He is a tough sell to me this week against the Browns, who have been vulnerable against the pass, but have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Foster Moreau, Raiders (vs. Colts)
Moreau has done very little this year, even with Darren Waller out. In Weeks 5 through 9 without Waller, Moreau was the TE23 in half-PPR scoring, averaging just 33.7 yards and tallying zero touchdowns in that span.
Moreau caught 2-of-5 targets for 42 yards in a very soft matchup last week against the Jaguars and finished as the TE26 in half PPR. Even against the Colts’ middle-of-the-road defense and with Waller on injured reserve, you cannot trust Moreau.
Defense to Sit
Buccaneers D/ST (vs. Seahawks)
If I told you ahead of the season that we would be avoiding the Buccaneers defense against the Geno Smith-led Seahawks, you probably would have thought I was mad.
The Bucs have been up-and-down this year defensively but rank as the DST9 overall. That said, they do have bust potential and have scored just one fantasy point in two games this year (one of which was against a flailing Panthers team).
Meanwhile, the Seahawks rank top four in offensive points per game behind only the Chiefs, Eagles and Bills (good company to have). Many of their games have been high-scoring and are far from a pushover. The Buccaneers are a riskier play in Germany.