Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 10 quarterbacks

Carson Wentz and Alex Smith get the week off. Which start ‘em candidate will rack up the top NFL fantasy scores while they’re gone?

With the top two NFL fantasy scoring quarterbacks on the shelf and so many questions about who is quarterbacking for whom this week, who can we confidently say we’ll sit ‘em or start ‘em in Week 10? Well… these guys: 

Start this guy: Josh McCown, NYJ at TB

New York scored 34 points against a top-five defense last Thursday night. It was the fifth consecutive game that Josh McCown provided multiple touchdowns to his fantasy owners. That was in a rush-heavy attack against the Bills. In Week 10, the Jets face the 31st-ranked defense in Tampa Bay. They also allow the 7th-most NFL fantasy points to quarterbacks. Ideally, Ryan Fitzpatrick will come out throwing against the Jets and make it a high-scoring affair. But even if the Jets’ defense repeats last week’s performance, McCown has an ultra-safe floor and a high ceiling this week. 

Sit this guy: Kirk Cousins, WAS at MIN

Sometimes, I will roll with a good quarterback coming off a bad game hoping his competitive nature and ego will almost force him to have a good game to follow. Not this week. Cousins faces the Minnesota Vikings up north in Week 10. I do not see his prospects for a better game than he gave us last week appreciably growing. The Vikings have given up only 12.5 NFL fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. It is true that their last two games were against the Ravens and Browns, but they also played the Saints, Lions, and Packers. Look for another shaky game in Minnesota this week.

Start this guy: Jared Goff, LAR at HOU

Jared Goff and the Rams are simply taking what defenses give them each week. They run the ball against bad run defenses. They throw the ball against bad pass defenses. They use gadget plays against two-way defenses. Houston allows the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks through Week 9. They allow the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs. I don’t know if I would sit Todd Gurley, but I am definitely starting Jared Goff in a positive matchup against the Texans. 

Sit this guy: Tyrod Taylor, BUF vs NO

Buffalo got hit with a nationally televised dose of reality against the Jets last week. LeSean McCoy only managed 25 rushing yards as the Jets pulled away. Tyrod Taylor made his fantasy owners happy by racking up a ton of garbage-time points, including taking three attempts to run the ball across the goal line himself while McCoy stood behind him in the backfield. That won’t happen against New Orleans. The Saints defense is loving their newfound status as a powerhouse. Plus, they have a healthy defensive backfield, much unlike the Jets. Look for reality to hit Taylor’s fantasy owners this week in what should be a run-heavy attack by Buffalo and a passing game completely shut down by the Saints. 

Start this guy: Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB vs NYJ 

The New York Jets defense will dare their ex-quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw. So, he will. This could be a fun game to watch as Fitzpatrick takes advantage of New York’s shaky secondary. If the Jets can repeat the pressure they put on Tyrod Taylor last week, Fitzpatrick could wind up throwing some interceptions, but there will be enough touchdowns to assure a good NFL fantasy score. With or without Mike Evans, the Buccaneers are recharged as Fitzpatrick gives a real pre-game speech and throws for almost 400 yards against New York.

Sit this guy: Blake Bortles, JAC vs LAC 

Can you believe I am including Blake Bortles in this list? A couple of weeks ago, this would have seemed like an obvious, “Duh!” moment. But after a pair of 16-point fantasy games, and amid a dearth of playable quarterbacks, Bortles is suddenly popping up in NFL fantasy quarterback conversations again. Week 10 will set the Jaguars’ passer back a bit. First of all, the Chargers are among the worst run defenses in the league. With or without Leonard Fournette (and we expect him to play), Jacksonville should resort to a heavy run mix. Bortles and coach Doug Marrone might be interested to see what happens when they put speedy rookie Dede Westbrook on the field, but the Chargers’ pass rush against the Jags’ offensive line won’t offer much time for him to get open. 

Week 10 flash in the pan prediction

Eli Manning and CJ Beathard put on a show in San Francisco. Each goes over 300 yards with three touchdowns in a surprising barn burner. The last team with the ball wins in what might be each team’s best last-chance to gain a victory in 2017.

About last week: pretty good pickin’s

My three start ‘ems for Week 9 finished first (Jared Goff), second (Tyrod Taylor) and fifth (Jay Cutler). Even my flash in the pan was accurate! Two of my sit ‘ems finished outside the top 12, but Josh McCown ruined a perfect week with his QB-10 performance. But I’m not greedy. I’ll take six out of seven.

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