Week 10 kicks off tonight, with a matchup between the Bears and Panthers that features a couple of pretty underwhelming offenses that might not be capable of taking advantage of what should be pretty good matchups across the board.
Adam Thielen should be in pretty much all lineups, despite a poor showing in Week 9, and DJ Moore and Cole Kmet are both worth starting too, though not to the same extent as Thielen. Chuba Hubbard is a viable RB2 as well, though by no means a must-start option. Everyone else? It's probably best to steer clear, which is pretty disappointing.
That's the state of the Bears and Panthers offenses, with the Bears still stuck with a very limited backup quarterback and the Panthers still figuring out how to put Bryce Young in the best position to succeed. And that's kind of an issue league-wide right now with so many backup QBs forced into action -- eight, by my count. And, with the Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles, and Rams on bye, we're missing out on a ton of must-start options this week, too.
Which means you've probably got some really tough decisions to make this week. This afternoon's newsletter is all about helping with those decisions before tonight's first lineup lock. Let's get to it.
- : | |
- Week 9 Position Previews: | | |
- Jamey, Dave, Heath's Rankings
- My Week 9 Rankings: | | |
🔍Week 10 Game Previews
There's something to watch in every game on the NFL schedule every week, even if you have to squint to see it sometimes. Here's a look ahead at every Week 10 game, with some notes on what Vegas is expecting to see, the latest injuries, and the toughest lineup decisions:
Panthers at Bears
- Thursday, 8:20 p.m.
- Line: Bears -3.5; 38.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Bears 21, Panthers 17.5
The Bears will be without starting quarterback Justin Fields for the fourth straight game, and with Tyson Bagent having thrown five picks over his past two games, expectations for the Bears offense should be very low. And, with Khalil Herbert's potential return arguably making this a three-way backfield split, there might not be a single must-start Fantasy player on that side despite a great matchup.
- Toughest lineup decision: Chuba Hubbard -- Start. I'm starting to think Miles Sanders' struggles as the Panthers lead back weren't a Miles Sanders issue, because Hubbard has averaged just 2.77 yards per carry and has just 35 yards on eight targets over the past two games, not far from what Sanders managed as the starter. That leaves the door open, potentially, for Sanders to force his way back into a true time share. But for now, Hubbard looks locked into a 65% snap share role and is getting the kind of work that makes him startable, especially against a good matchup.
Injuries to watch: Bears coach Matt Eberflus had a, frankly, bizarre press conference Wednesday where he confirmed that Fields hasn't been cleared to play from his dislocated thumb yet. If you were hoping for some kind of clarity on when he might be cleared, well ... Eberflus decidedly did not offer that. Khalil Herbert is officially questionable despite getting three full practices in, and I'm assuming he'll play, but I'm trying to avoid the Bears backfield entirely if I can. If I have to start one, it would be Herbert, assuming he's active. On the Panthers side, wide receiver DJ Chark (elbow) is doubtful, while pass rusher Brian Burns (concussion/elbow) has already been ruled out.
- Sunday, 9:30 a.m.
- Line: Colts -1.5; 43.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Colts 22.5, Patriots 21
We've got our last Europe game of the season here, and there's an interesting potential wrinkle to this one -- the seat under legendary Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is, coaching for his job this week. The Patriots have been largely rudderless since Tom Brady left, and at 2-7, they've got the worst record in the AFC right now., and at least one Boston-area, connected reporter has suggested that Belichick could be
- Toughest lineup decision: Demario Douglas -- Sit. There's a decent amount of hype and excitement for Douglas in Fantasy circles right now, but I'm not sure I see it. Yes, he appears to be the No. 1 WR for the Patriots right now, but that didn't exactly lead to much production last week in a terrific matchup against the Commanders, where he had five catches for 55 yards. Douglas could be worth using -- I like that they're making a point of getting him involved in the running game lately, with a carry in three straight -- but I just haven't seen enough from him to view him as much more than a WR4 at this point.
- Injuries to watch: Colts WR Josh Downs (knee) didn't practice Wednesday after leaving last week's game with a lingering injury, and at this point, I'm not planning on having him available this week. On the Patriots side, both DeVante Parker (concussion) and Demario Douglas (ankle) were limited, so both should have a chance to play this week. Parker's presence complicates Douglas' path to Fantasy relevance.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Bengals -7; 48.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Bengals 27.75, Texans 20.75
The over/under here has crept up a few points since opening, which is interesting given the questions about Ja'Marr Chase's availability. I think that represents public enthusiasm around Stroud more than anything else, but this is a tough matchup against a Bengals team that can pressure the QB and has more interceptions (11) than pass touchdowns allowed (nine).
- Toughest lineup decision: Devin Singletary - Sit. Singletary got the workload we were hoping for last week, playing 75% of the snaps with Dameon Pierce out. However, he just didn't do much with it, rushing for 26 yards on 13 carries with two catches on two targets for 0 yards. This just hasn't been a good situation for any running back this season, and it certainly doesn't help that the one week the Texans went with a run-heavy approach, they lost to the miserable Panthers. They probably won't make that mistake again, and and even if Pierce is out this week, Singletary is just an RB3 in this offense.
- Injuries to watch: Ja'Marr Chase (back) didn't practice Wednesday, and Tee Higgins (hamstring) was also limited Wednesday, and the concern here is that he suffered the injury during practice Wednesday, which would give him even less time to get to 100% for Sunday. As of Thursday afternoon, things look wide open for the Bengals, with Chase looking like he'll participate in practice Thursday, while Higgins wasn't spotted at the start. If Chase and Higgins play, they're must-start options; if not, Tyler Boyd becomes a more interesting WR3 option. If both are out, it makes it harder to trust Joe Burrow, obviously, though I imagine I'd still rank him as a low-end QB1. On the Texans side, Robert Woods (foot) and Dameon Pierce (ankle) still aren't practicing as of Wednesday, so I'd expect they won't play.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Saints -2.5; 41.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Saints 22, Vikings 19.5
Joshua Dobbs stepped onto the field for the Vikings with barely any practice reps last week and led them to a 31-28 win over the Falcons. It was an incredible performance from Dobbs, and if he can replicate it, the Vikings might be a lot more competitive down the stretch than anyone expected after Kirk Cousins' injury.
- Toughest lineup decision: Michael Thomas -- Sit. I've kept Thomas in the WR3 range for most of the season, but I just can't justify it anymore. He's mostly earned solid volume with little upside to show for it, but even that went away last week, as he earned a single target despite playing his typical role. I suspect he'll be in the 5-8 target range again this week, but that seems a lot less assured than it did even a week ago, and seeing as he hasn't shown any kind of upside this season, there's just no reason to keep throwing him out there. This means he's probably going to have a good name now that he's likely to be benched everywhere. You know how this works.
- Injuries to watch: Justin Jefferson (hamstring) had his 21-day window to return from IR this week, and he has a chance to come back, though it's far from a guarantee. At this point, I'd say it's more likely that he doesn't play than that he does, but obviously that's just a guess. For what it's worth, Jefferson has declared both that he is "day to day" and that he won't play until he is 100% healthy. If he's going to play, the Vikings will have to activate him from the IR ahead of Sunday, so we'll know with plenty of notice. The Vikings will likely be down K.J. Osborn (concussion), who didn't practice, while the Saints RB depth could be challenged with Kendre Miller (ankle) missing practice Wednesday.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Steelers -3.5; 39.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Steelers 21.5, Packers 18
You've gotta imagine this line will swing at least a few points, if not all the way back, toward the Rams if Matthew Stafford is cleared to play. That seems, at this point, like an unlikely if, but hardly impossible.
- Toughest lineup decision: George Pickens -- Start. I'm leaning toward starting Pickens, but my faith has been shaken the past two weeks. Pickens has been visibly frustrated by his role over the past few weeks, and honestly, I can't blame him: Diontae Johnson returned to a full role in Week 8 and the Steelers just immediately relegated him to the low-volume role he was in for most of his rookie season. Given the growth Pickens showed when Johnson was out, it's pretty much impossible to justify his lack of looks. Yes, Pickens has to shoulder some of the blame for failing to haul in a touchdown he should have had last week, but that doesn't take away from the righteousness of his frustration; it just made his role even harder to stomach for Fantasy players. I'm still throwing Pickens out there as a boom-or-bust WR3, with the hope that we get some squeaky-wheel game potential -- though I'll acknowledge the possibility that there just might not be enough room in a Kenny Pickett-led offense for multiple must-start WRs.
- Injuries to watch: Both teams are relatively healthy entering this one, with Christian Watson (back) practicing in full despite leaving last week's game. The most important injury might be Jaire Alexander's, who missed Wednesday's practice with a shoulder injury. That would make it a little easier to trust Pickens.
Titans at Buccaneers
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Buccaneers -1.5; 38.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Buccaneers 20, Titans 18.5
The Titans made official what I think everyone had already assumed when they named Will Levis as their starting quarterback even when Ryan Tannehill is healthy this week. Levis wasn't as good in his second start as his first, and there are going to continue to be growing pains here as he develops, but I think his big arm clearly gives the Titans offense a higher ceiling than it had with an older, less-than-100% Tannehill.
- Toughest lineup decision: Chris Godwin/Mike Evans -- Start. The Buccaneers scored 37 points last week, including four offensive touchdowns, and Evans and Godwin had 12.7 and 3.6 points, respectively. It was a disappointing showing from them, but I'm not ready to sit either of them yet. Evans has slowed down from his hot start, while Godwin just hasn't shown a ton of upside most weeks, but still has a solid role in the offense, and the Buccaneers should have some success throwing against a Titans defense allowing the seventh-most points to opposing wide receivers.
- Injuries to watch: Treylon Burks (concussion) did not practice Wednesday and seems likely to miss at least one week, maybe more.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: 49ers -3; 45.5 O/U
- Implied totals: 49ers 24.25, Jaguars 21.25
The bye week came at the right time for the 49ers, who have lost their last three games and need to turn things around. The Jaguars are a tough test, but Vegas is still giving San Francisco the benefit of the doubt on the road.
- Toughest lineup decision: Calvin Ridley -- Start. It's been a frustrating season for Ridley, who was drafted as a WR1 in some leagues but has just three games with more than 40 yards to date. The Jaguars are spreading the ball around a ton rather than treating Ridley like a No. 1 option, and that's led to a lot of inconsistency. In fact, he looks a lot like Gabe Davis these days, as he's running a bunch of routes but being targeted mostly on lower-percentage downfield looks. If that continues, Ridley is going to be tough to trust, but I'm probably just leaving him in my lineup every week for the boom weeks he has shown he's still capable of.
- Injuries to watch: Deebo Samuel (shoulder) was a full participant to open the week in practice, so he should be back this week. That's especially bad news for George Kittle, who hasn't done a ton in the games Samuel has played but had two of his three best yardage games with Samuel out the previous two games. In six games with Samuel active, Kittle has just two games with more than 6.0 PPR points, and should be viewed as a boom-or-bust TE if Samuel plays. On the Jaguars side, Zay Jones was limited Wednesday, but mostly did individual drills before heading back inside with trainers. It sounds like he may still be a week or so away.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Ravens -6; 38.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Ravens 22.25, Browns 16.25
On Twitter the other day, I floated a trial balloon for a take I've been thinking about, that the Ravens are the best team in the NFL. I think at least based on what we've seen this season, they have the strongest case, with by far the best point differential (+115; the next-best is +80) and blowout wins over the Seahawks and Lions, two good teams. Of course, they've also continued to have a tendency to play down a little to teams they should beat, and the Browns definitely qualify there.
- Toughest lineup decision: Jerome Ford -- Sit. You might not have a choice with Ford, but at this point, I'm pretty unimpressed. He's shown some big-play potential, but that's pretty much all we've gotten from him. Despite two 69-yard runs, Ford still has middling numbers on rushing yards over expected, and one of the lowest success rates for any running back. He's getting a lot of work in good game scripts, but the Browns aren't running the ball well, and this is a very tough matchup. There's a chance Ford gets 20 carries as the Browns are holding a lead and he's a good start, but there are also outcomes where the Browns fall behind early and don't use him much. With Kareem Hunt taking on some of the goal-line work, there just aren't many paths to a good game for Ford.
- Injuries to watch: As far as fantasy-relevant injuries, these teams enter Week 10 in fairly good shape, with David Njoku (knee) and Pierre Strong (hamstring) the only significant names sitting out Wednesday's session. Strong being out would add some clarity to the backfield for the Browns, but I wouldn't really change how I feel about Ford.
Falcons at Cardinals
- Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
- Line: Falcons -1.5; 43.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Falcons 22.5, Cardinals 21
Kyler Murray is set to make his return from nearly a year away due to his torn ACL, and expectations for the Cardinals offense should be higher with him under center ... eventually. To start, I'd expect him to play pretty similarly to Joshua Dobbs -- if he beats those expectations, this Cardinals offense could be a lot more fun down the stretch.
- Toughest lineup decision: Kyle Pitts -- Start. Pitts is a top-12 TE for me this week, but only just barely. He's just a few spots ahead of teammate Jonnu Smith, and if you wanted to start Smith ahead of him, I wouldn't really have a good argument against it. Smith has had the biggest game between the two of them thanks to his 60-yard touchdown last week, but both are just low-end starting options at this point, where you're hoping for a touchdown from them and probably getting 5-8 PPR points if you don't get that. I think both could be capable of more in different circumstances, with Smith showing that big-play ability we haven't seen since his time in Tennessee, but that's where we are.
- Injuries to watch: James Conner (knee) has been limited to open the week after being designated to return from IR. I'm expecting him to play, but there is still some uncertainty here. Drake London (groin) also returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, a sign that he has a chance to play this week, and would be a boom-or-bust WR3 if he did.
Lions at Chargers
- Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
- Line: Lions -3; 48.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Lions 25.75, Chargers 22.75
The Lions appear to be getting close to full strength on offense, which raises some questions about how this running game is going to work -- for what it's worth, I'm starting both David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs where I have them. The Chargers, on the other hand, are dealing with quite a few offensive injuries, and it's starting to show.
- Toughest lineup decision: Justin Herbert -- Start. I am, more or less, treating Herbert like a must-start QB for Fantasy still, but I'll admit, it's not with as much confidence as I would like. The Chargers are now down two of three top receivers with Mike Williams and Josh Palmer both on IR with knee injuries, and as we saw in Week 9, there might be a talent deficit here. Keenan Allen remains incredible, but Austin Ekeler had an uncharacteristically shaky performance last week -- he had three drops last week! -- and that really exposed how little else there is here. Quentin Johnston could change that, but that remains theoretical at this point, as the first-round rookie followed up an apparent breakout in Week 8 with just two catches for 14 yards last week. I don't want to bury Herbert for a bad performance against a very good Jets defense last week, but another poor showing this week will make him awfully hard to trust.
- Injuries to watch: David Montgomery (ribs) was a full participant in practice to open the week, and it looks like he'll be back this week. He and Jahmyr Gibbs are both top-20 RBs for me.
- Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
- Line: Cowboys -16; 38.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Cowboys 27.25, Giants 11.25
That's an absurdly low implied total for the Giants. It's the lowest of the season for sure, and the lowest I can find since 2005, when the 49ers had an implied total of nine points against the Bears -- the Bears would go on to win that game, 17-9, behind an 8 for 13, 67-yard showing from Kyle Orton, which is just fun. The Giants are down to their third-string QB, Tommy DeVito, who had just 43 touchdowns in 39 games in college. I will say this: DeVito looked a lot better in Week 9 than when he was forced into action in Week 8. That isn't saying much.
- Toughest lineup decision: Anyone on the Giants -- Start Saquon Barkley. If the Giants can somehow manage to keep this close, we should see a repeat of Week 8 for Barkley, when he had 36 carries and was basically the entire offense for the Giants. If they fall behind by a few scores early, this could go really poorly for just about everyone on both sides -- we've seen several games from the Cowboys where they've gone up big early and it's wrecked the Fantasy days for guys on their team, too.
- Injuries to watch: Beyond Daniel Jones's season-ending knee injury there isn't a whole lot to talk about for these two teams on the injury report right now.
Commanders at Seahawks
- Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
- Line: Seahawks -6.5; 46.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Seahawks 26.5, Commanders 20
The Commanders have been frisky all season long, but they might be figuring out how to be a little more than that over the past few weeks. Since an embarrassing 14-7 loss to the Giants, Sam Howell has dropped back to pass 106 times and been sacked just four times -- a massive improvement for a guy who was sacked on 12.8% of his dropbacks the first seven weeks. With the weapons they have, if Howell can keep avoiding the negative plays, this offense could really take off.
- Toughest lineup decision: Geno Smith -- Start. I've been too high on Smith all season long, and it has not paid off so far. If that remains true again this week, I'm really going to give up. The Commanders have been the best defense in the league for opposing quarterbacks, and that's been especially true on deep balls, where the Commanders are giving up the third-most yards per game on passes traveling at least 15 yards down the field. Last year, Smith was unstoppable on deep balls, with a league-best 15 touchdowns on deep passes, to seven interceptions; this season, he has four interceptions to just two touchdowns. If he can't turn it around against this defense, it might really be time to lose faith, but he's a top-12 QB for me this week, at least.
- Injuries to watch: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (hip) and Kenneth Walker (chest) didn't practice Wednesday, and those are both new injuries, so they bear monitoring in the coming days. Go see if Zach Charbonnet is available in your league -- he's rostered in 65% of CBS Fantasy leagues right now, and would be in the RB2 discussion if Walker is out.
Jets at Raiders
- Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
- Line: Jets -1.5; 36.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Jets 19, Raiders 17.5
The Jets defense has kept them in basically every game this season, and against a Raiders team that still has a lot of flaws despite a commanding win in the first game of the Josh McDaniels era, that might be enough. But Zach Wilson and this offensive line are sabotaging what should be a contending roster, and you simply cannot actually trust this team to take down winnable games.
- Toughest lineup decision: Davante Adams -- Start. It's been a frustrating season for Adams, who hasn't had more than 57 yards in a game since Week 4. I hoped he would get the post-firing bump last week, but the Raiders were able to run a pretty conservative offense in beating the Giants, 30-6. Adams still had seven targets, a healthy 28% share of Aidan O'Connell's 25 attempts, so I'm hoping they'll be able to get him going this week. It's going to be hard to keep winning if they don't.
- Injuries to watch: As far as Fantasy-relevant injuries go, both of these teams are in good shape right now.
- Monday, 8:15 p.m.
- Line: Bills -7.5; 46.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Bills 27, Broncos 19.5
The Broncos have been a little better of late, and the Bills have really fallen on hard times. Even so, this line seems shockingly low for a game with such a big talent deficit. The Bills defense has really fallen on hard times of late, but that's mostly been against the pass, and I'm just not sure this Broncos team is fully equipped (or, frankly, willing) to take advantage of that. I think this is a big get-right spot for the Bills.
- Toughest lineup decision: James Cook -- Start. Cook is down to RB20 for the season, with the Bills' unwillingness to trust him near the goal line really holding him back from the breakout we all hoped was coming. And, with Leonard Fournette lurking on the practice squad, you've gotta be feeling pretty antsy about him as a starting-caliber Fantasy option. At least for the long run. For Week 10? I'm starting him with confidence against a defense that has allowed 15 more rushing yards per game than any other in the NFL.
- Injuries to watch: As of early Thursday afternoon, neither team has unveiled a practice report for Week 10, but it doesn't sound like there's much to keep an eye out for on either side at this point.