NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Mailbag: Diontae Johnson vs George Pickens, More
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: George Pickens (right).
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Fantasy Start-Sit Questions
Flex Dalton Schultz, Tre’Quan Smith Or Nico Collins?
@SportsChacho asks via Twitter: “Likely going to have to pick between one of these guys for my flex spot (half-PPR) – [screenshot of Dalton Schultz, Tre’Quan Smith or Nico Collins]. Collins has a groin injury so not even sure yet if he will play. Feel like Schultz could tear up this [Green Bay defense]. Thoughts?”
Samantha: Of those options, Schultz for sure.
To your point, Collins has a low chance of playing this week as he’s dealing with a groin injury so I’m going to operate on the assumption he’s not.
Smith has a decent matchup, but he’s still a low-upside play even with little to no competition. I also think that Jarvis Landry could be nearing a return, so there could be ostensibly more competition than last week when Smith caught 3-of-4 passes for 29 yards.
As for Schultz, I know it’s difficult to trust this guy; many drafted him as a top-six tight end and he has not returned on that investment. That said, he seems to be trending upwards. He caught all five of his targets for 49 yards in Week 7 against the Lions and then caught 6-of-7 targets for 74 yards in Week 8 against the Bears.
Green Bay has been exploitable overall, but has been relatively tougher against the pass and tight ends. Still, with four teams on bye, beggars cannot always be choosers when it comes to matchups. Schultz isn’t a bad flex option this week.
Help! I Need A RB2!
@smalls96 asks via Twitter: “I have a mess at RB2 in a 16-team PPR [league]. AJ Dillon, Darrell Henderson [Jr.], Melvin Gordon, [Isiah] Pacheco, Rachaad White. Any advice?”
Samantha: Big oof.
I would lean Dillon, though it’s more of an indictment of the other four than confidence in Dillon.
Dillon offers the most upside and guaranteed workload of this quintet, averaging 12.7 touches per game to Gordon’s 11.4, Henderson’s 9.8, White’s 6.4 and Pacheco’s 5.9. He may be in line for additional work, too, if Aaron Jones ends up out or limited with this ankle issue and in light of the leaner pass-catching corps that has been decimated with injuries.
Gordon gives me major pause in what could ostensibly be a three-headed backfield following the addition of Chase Edmonds at the trade deadline. Don’t forget he is on a shorter leash with the coaching staff due to ball security issues.
Henderson has been completely unremarkable given the situation. He had every opportunity to take over this backfield while Cam Akers was out. He failed to do so, and no one on L.A.’s running back depth chart is effective enough to start.
I will admit, Pacheco and White are tempting in spite of lackluster numbers thus far, but are both a bit away from being trustworthy starts. Pacheco was clearly game-scripted out of Week 9 as the Chiefs trailed the Titans for a good part of that game. His role is much more prominent when the Chiefs are in positive game scripts and leading by significant margins, which could definitely happen this week against Jacksonville. The Jaguars enter this matchup as 9.5-point underdogs and could find themselves in a hole early against Patrick Mahomes and company.
White is trending up and saw season highs last week in rushes and rushing yards. He was more effective than Leonard Fournette and could end up having standalone value in a struggling offense.
Which Steelers Wide Receiver Should I Start?
@wheatonbrando asks via Twitter: “Dear Samantha,
Would you rather have Diontae Johnson or George Pickens this week and going forward? Would you play both of them together against the Saints? [Please] help, I am playing my mortal enemy in my league this week. I need to win, what should I do?”
Samantha: As uncouth as it is to refer to me as your mortal enemy, Brandon, I will help you out of this lineup quandary.
The short answer is that they are both pretty close for me (and probably for you, too, or you would not be asking).
The long answer is that it depends. Johnson has the higher floor, so if you think you can basically cruise to a win, he would be my pick. He 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 all season. He should be considered a WR3 against the Saints.
Pickens is the high-upside option with a wide range of potential outcomes. He has more double-digit fantasy games than Johnson and has finished as a top-24 receiver three times this year. He does have major bust potential, however, which was demonstrated in Week 8 against the Eagles. He caught 0-of-3 targets for a big goose egg while Johnson caught 5-of-9 targets for 35 yards.
The Saints are fairly middle of the road against the pass and rank No. 12 in pass DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. They have allowed the 15th-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year, so it’s a mediocre matchup at best. Our matchup aside, I would personally probably swing for the fences and go with Pickens.
Fantasy Trade Question
Kyle Pitts and Rhamondre Stevenson for T.J. Hockenson And Jaylen Waddle?
@clsjacome asks via Twitter: “I traded away Kyle Pitts and Rhamondre Stevenson for [T.J. Hockenson] and [Jaylen] Waddle. Good?”
Samantha: Love love love this trade. A+.
You are getting a rather significant upgrade at tight end and not losing much in the Stevenson for Waddle side.
Hockenson is the TE4 in half PPR on a per-game basis compared to Pitts, who is the TE18. Hockenson has twice as many top-12 finishes as Pitts, who is stuck in an offense that seems allergic to the forward pass. Hockenson has also gotten an upgrade at quarterback and overall team moving from the Lions to Vikings at the trade deadline. He is much more trustworthy than Pitts (as much as it pains me to say).
Stevenson has been nothing short of phenomenal this year. Since Week 3, he has scored double-digit fantasy points in every game and is the RB7 in half PPR on a per-game basis. He has five touchdowns in that span and has clearly eclipsed Damien Harris on New England’s depth chart.
That said, Harris has not been healthy since Week 5 against the Lions and missed the Patriots’ Week 9 contest against the Colts. Once he is, I expect this to be more of a committee — still in Stevenson’s favor, of course, but the timeshare will inevitably cannibalize some of Stevenson’s value. Plus, in light of Bill Belichick’s mercurial tendencies, Stevenson could fall out of favor for wearing the wrong shoes to practice some day (okay, maybe that was extreme but you get the picture).
Fantasy Add-Drop Questions
Drop Wan’Dale Robinson Or Alexander Mattison?
@johnnymatthew80 asks via Twitter: “Hey Sam! Got a question, who is more droppable this week to hang onto New England defense, Wan’dale Robinson or Alexander Mattison? I’m sitting in third and am pretty strong at both RB and WR. Not sure of which one to let go of [be]cause they both offer different upsides.”
Samantha: First and foremost, I am not a fan of rostering multiple defenses, but if you must (and without knowing anything more about the league), I would probably be more okay with dropping Mattison.
If this is a ten-team league, for example, I can see a scenario where rostering Mattison makes more sense because you would probably never start Robinson. Mattison at least offers lottery-ticket-type upside, though that is completely dependent on Dalvin Cook’s health so there’s a wider range of outcomes here.
For 12-16-team leagues, I would more likely hold on to Robinson. He could develop into a viable WR3 given the lack of competition from the Giants’ depth chart. The team did not add a wide receiver during free agency or at the trade deadline, meaning they will have to roll with Richie James, Robinson and Darius Slayton rest-of-season (barring an Odell Beckham acquisition).
He has a nice two-game stretch coming up in Weeks 10 and 11 against the Texans and Lions – both of which are below-average against the pass.
Drop Pat Freiermuth For Greg Dulcich Or Cole Kmet?
@SF_GAME asks via Twitter: “Need TE advice. Just added [Pat] Freiermuth for Week 10 but they’re playing vs. NO who are [the] best vs. TE. Should I drop for [Greg] Dulcich or [Cole] Kmet or hold? 0.5 PPR.”
Samantha: I would probably drop Freiermuth for Dulcich, though I have a soft spot for both. Dulcich will be well-rested off the Broncos‘ bye; he’s a solid TE1 against the Titans, who are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends this year. The schedule gets even softer in Week 11 against the Raiders, who are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to the position and rank dead-last in pass DVOA and overall DVOA.
Dulcich is the TE6 in half PPR on a per-game basis this year behind only Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Dallas Goedert, T.J. Hockenson and Taysom Hill. That’s pretty good company to have. He clearly has rapport with Russell Wilson, who has had his struggles this year, but is still a far superior quarterback than Kenny Pickett at this stage in Pickett’s career.
As far as Kmet goes, he is a low-end TE1 this week against the Lions. He has been phenomenal over the last two weeks with three touchdowns in that span. That said, those were his first two weeks this year finishing as a TE1. He began the season with two back-to-back goose eggs and certainly has bust potential. I am wary of trusting him 100% quite yet.