Just because a player is listed as “Fade” doesn’t mean it’s an automatic seat. As the saying goes, “Always start with your stars.” What a “bust” term does However, that means you should consider higher upside options in the flex.
With the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins having a bye in Week 10, you may not be able to sacrifice many strengths when trying to complete a starting lineup! Still, being wary of possible down weeks before the ones you’re forced to take can help you make other decisions in your flex.
Given preseason expectations, there may not be a more disappointing fantasy player than Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence. Even though the Jaguars rank 10th in the league in points per game and Lawrence is surrounded by a very talented group of playmakers, there weren’t enough points scored by the passing attack. Entering Week 10, Lawrence is ranked QB17 in fantasy points per game behind players like Jordan Love, Josh Dobbs and Baker Mayfield. Lawrence’s 1,935 passing yards rank 15th in the league and 20th in the league with just nine passing touchdowns.
In Week 10, the Jaguars face the San Francisco 49ers, who emerge from their bye week rested and have a new premier edge rusher and Chase Young in addition to Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrave. Lawrence is averaging a full two fewer yards per dropback under pressure than from a clean pocket this season, which is a tough situation for the 49ers, who allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game and the third-lowest touchdown-to-interception ratio (0 .91) to quarterbacks this season.
The New York Giants received the unfortunate news this week that QB Daniel Jones will miss the remainder of the 2023 season due to a torn ACL. While it may not be as big of a loss in the passing game, it does mean that rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito (who?!) will get his first career start, as backup Tyrod Taylor is also on injured reserve with a rib injury. It remains to be seen what DeVito will bring after a full week of preparation, but even if he looks and plays well, an interdivisional matchup against the Dallas Cowboys is far from ideal – especially without the Giants’ top receiving option in TE Darren Waller is in the injured reserve.
Barkley’s performance against the Cowboys was somewhat mixed, although he totaled 51 or fewer rushing yards in five of eight games. In their first matchup of the season, the Giants failed to score a single point, with Barkley totaling just 63 yards for 7.8 fantasy points. So far this season, Micah Parsons & Co. have allowed the 11th-fewest rushing yards and the sixth-lowest percentage of explosive runs (7.8%), making them PFF’s 13th-best-graded rushing defense. Circumstances aren’t ideal for a big week from Barkley or anyone on this Giants offense, unfortunately for fantasy managers.
To be clear: You don’t put Joe Mixon in your fantasy lineup in Week 10. No one can afford that, regardless of the matchup, considering he has scored the sixth-most touchdowns among all running backs this season. However, this week the Bengals face the Houston Texans, whose run defense has improved greatly this season compared to last, which should prepare fantasy managers for a possible down week, especially given the question about the health of receiver Yes.” Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, who could allow Houston to stop the run game better.”
Over the last five weeks, the Texans have allowed just 2.66 rush yards per attempt to opposing running backs, forcing a 17.2% stuff rate against opposing running backs and the seventh-lowest explosive run rate in the league. The only running back to score more than 14 fantasy points against this defense in that span was Rachaad White in Week 9, after two rushing touchdowns along the goal line, but that left him with just 3.65 yards per carry on an inefficient day held on. Mixon’s potential for a bad week isn’t enough to get him out, especially given this offense’s ability to overcome difficult matchups when healthy. But don’t be surprised if he doesn’t have another top-12 performance in Week 10.
Baltimore Ravens rookie Zay Flowers has played a significant role in the offense so far in his young career and has quickly become Lamar Jackson’s favorite wide receiver. His 62 goals so far this season rank 18th among wide receivers. He also passed the eye test with flying colors… even if it didn’t turn into much of a fantasy production; He’s still looking for his first top-12 finish of the year. However, a breakthrough isn’t expected this week as he’ll face a Cleveland Browns defense that’s been a lockdown matchup for opposing receivers. They have only allowed four wide receivers 15 or more fantasy points in half-PPR scoring formats this season.
Fade: Amari Cooper, WR, Cleveland Browns
Let’s be honest: This matchup between the Browns and Ravens isn’t necessarily particularly productive for the wide receiver position. Despite instability at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, Amari Cooper has played incredibly well, posting a career average of 17.6 yards per reception, with 89 or more receiving yards in five of eight games this season. One of those three games in which he didn’t reach that mark? You guessed it; it was against the Ravens, who caught just one of six targets for 16 yards. Granted, it was rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson who threw it, but still, this isn’t an ideal defensive matchup, even for Deshaun Watson.
The Ravens are allowing an explosive play rate of 7.7%, the lowest in the league, 5.3 passing yards per attempt, 4.3 yards after the catch per completion and a passing touchdown rate of 1.7%. Targets at the wide receiver position yielded -0.12 expected points added (EPA) per dropback, making this one of the most inefficient matchups in the league. Only three receivers this season have scored more than 15 fantasy points in a week against Baltimore.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers second-year TE Cade Otton has a career-high 70 receiving yards and the first multi-touchdown game of his career. Of course, the fantasy gods don’t give you much time to enjoy this achievement and put him in a match against the Tennessee Titans. While this was by no means a shut down secondary, this defense was a capable unit against opposing tight ends.
Not surprisingly, Mark Andrews had the best tight end performance against the Titans’ defense this season, recording 69 receiving yards for a total of 8.9 fantasy points (half-PPR) on the day. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Titans had the ninth-highest defensive success rate against tight ends in the league, and considering Otton already ranks 19th among tight ends in team target share, this may not be the best matchup it’s been needs to be met.