Tony is really sad that the Eric and Jessie season finale was last Sunday. (Photo credit: AP)
The Champ is here. (Photo credit: AP)
By: Tony Andracki, Scott Krinch and Mark Strotman
Welcome to another edition of CSNChicago.com's Start'em and Sit'em, where three totally unqualified guys give their take on the best and worst plays in the upcoming fantasy football week.
We're not experts, but then again, how can anybody truly be an "expert" at fantasy football? This is a game of luck and nobody can predict the future.
We don't have special powers, but we are pretty obsessed with fantasy sports. Just ask our girlfriends...if we had any.
Every week, each of us will comprise a trio of players with the best matchups or situations on tap for the week ahead and a corresponding trio of guys who are most likely to run into a metaphorical brick wall.
[RELATED: Week 9 picks]
And because we're men and we love perpetuating stereotypes, we, of course, turned this into a competition. Why not?
After three weeks (and all of last year), we realized a major flaw in our scoring: If we assign 0-5 values to each player's performance, there's nothing worse than a zero. And Mark's Week 3 sit of Antonio Brown (who went off for 31 ESPN standard points) should have been bad enough to sink his entire week (as Tony's picks of Cam Newton and DeSean Jackson in Week 6 did), instead of just that one pick.
So we've instituted a new system. We will add up the ESPN standard fantasy points for all of our "Starts" and subtract the points from all our "Sits" and the difference will be the weekly score. If one of us winds up with a negative score, so be it.
(Scoring example: If Scott's three starts total 45 fantasy points and his three sits total 20, he would finish the week with 25 points.)
So without further ado, here are our picks for Week 10:
Mark Strotman (Week 9 points: -50; Total: -50)
We're moving into the dog days of fantasy football, and the playoffs are right around the corner for contending teams. Those two byes are up for grabs in six-team playoffs leagues, and owners in four-team playoffs leagues need wins to sneak in. And this week, I'm going with a few old reliable players and sitting some players who aren't getting the favorable bounce as teammates are going out with or coming back from injuries. Best of luck to you in this Week 10.
Andy Dalton, QB -- CIN (@ BAL)
Dalton threw for more than 300 yards for the fourth straight game last week, but he did not throw a touchdown pass and was picked off three times. Still, with the weapons he has at his disposal I like him to rebound against a Ravens defense that has been stellar against the run, but awful against the pass. I could see Dalton finding AJ Green early and often, and then finding dump-off options in Gio Bernard and Jermaine Gresham/Tyler Eifert later in the contest. I love what the Red Rifle brings to the table, and I expect QB1 numbers from him in a key divisional game.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB -- JAC (@ TEN)
MJD has been a terror against the Titans, going for 620 yards and four touchdowns in his last four meetings against them. Those positive numbers should continue Sunday, when he and the Jaguars return off a bye week still seeking their first win. Jones-Drew rushed for 75 yards and had 11 fantasy points against a good 49ers defense. The Titans aren't world beaters, and without Justin Blackmon the Jaguars will be forced to give Jones-Drew more carries. He has been a bust of a draft pick thus far, but don't give up on him just yet.
Golden Tate, WR -- SEA (@ ATL)
The Falcons have allowed the 10th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and without Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin it's now Tate who must shoulder the load in the passing game. He caught just three passes for 29 yards a week after exploding for two scores and 93 yards against the Rams, so I expect him to split the difference this week in Atlanta. Russell Wilson is poised for another big game after his comeback against the Bucs, and Tate will be the main beneficiary. He's a strong WR2/flex play this week.
Matt Ryan, QB -- (vs. SEA)
Things have just gone from bad to worse for Ryan owners this season, and it's not going to get better in Week 10. Ryan has thrown seven interceptions and gone for single-digit fantasy points the last two weeks, and now he faces the Legion of Boom, led by cornerback Richard Sherman. Roddy White is expected back, and with Steven Jackson also in the lineup the Falcons' offense is definitely getting healthier. But don't let that fool you; Ryan isn't a play this week against the league's best pass defense.
Andre Ellington, RB -- ARI (vs. HOU)
It'll certainly be tough to avoid keeping Ellington out of your lineup after a 21-point outing against the Falcons, but Rashard Mendenhall is back in the mix for the Cardinals. Ellington will get his touches as a Darren Sproles-like running back, but the Texans are 15th in the league against opposing running backs and just shut down Trent Richardson last week on Sunday Night Football. If you have a more solid RB2 on your roster, go with him. Certainly keep Ellington rostered, but look elsewhere in Week 10.
[RELATED: Top plays for Week 10]
James Jones, WR -- GB (vs. PHI)
Oh, man. Tough luck for Jones owners, who waited two weeks to get their WR2 back in the lineup before seeing Aaron Rodgers go down in the first series of the Packers' Monday night loss to the Bears. Now they're forced to decide on whether or not to start Jones with Seneca Wallace passing to him. Let me answer that for you: don't start him. Wallace will be better than he was last week because he's practicing with the starters, but that hardly makes him a viable option to throw Jones the ball. See how things play out for now. It's not worth the risk. Seneca Wallace is never worth the risk this late in the season.
Tony Andracki: (Week 9 points: 20 ; Total: -13)
Dang, I had a good Week 9 with my picks. This is the fun part of predictions, where you get to tell people "I told you so."
But no need to gloat anymore than I already have. We learned a lot last week in my picks. Ray Rice may say he's healthy, but this is simply an awful year for him. Don't know if he'll ever turn it around. Keenan Allen and Zac Stacy have emerged as must-starts each week and Terrelle Pryor proves that even when he doesn't throw a tuddie and tosses two picks, he is still a useful fantasy QB thanks to his legs.
My bad on the T.Y. Hilton pick. Really amazed at how that worked out. The Texans had been amazing against opposing wide receivers, and they held Hilton in check for the first half. But in the end, Hilton and the Colts receivers totaled 34 fantasy points. In the four games prior to the Sunday night matchup, Houston had allowed just 33 fantasy points TOTAL. You win some, you lose some, I guess.
Nick Foles, QB -- PHI (@ GB)
The Packers have allowed 14 passing touchdowns this year in eight games and Foles seems to be pretty good at finding his guys in the endzone. You might have heard about his 7-TD performance last week. Something you might not have heard: Foles hasn't thrown a pick this year, with 13 TDs in five games (including Week 7, when he left the game early with a concussion). Start Foles with confidence.
DeMarco Murray, RB -- DAL (@ NO)
Much has been made about the Cowboys' inability to run the ball, but that's not the issue. They run just fine with Murray in the lineup (he's averaging 4.8 yards per carry), but the problem is, they're not calling many run plays. Murray averaged 7.8 ypc last week, but had just four rushes. They need to get him the ball more, and that will start this week against the Saints, who are allowing the 20th-most fantasy points to opposing RBs.
[MORE: Week 10 Target Watch -- AFC]
Eric Decker, WR -- DEN (@ SD)
There may be plenty of options in this Denver passing game, but Decker will get his. Jessie James' husband has been targeted at least seven times in every single game this season and he's on pace for 92 catches, 1,338 yards and six tuddies. And he's got a cushy matchup against the Chargers. Doooo itttt.
Frank Gore, RB -- SF (vs. CAR)
The Panthers have allowed just two rushing scores this season and Gore has to slow down at some point. He's averaged 21 carries per game the last five contests. That's quite a heavy load for a 30-year-old who hasn't exactly been the picture of health in his career. With the Niners' sights set on another long postseason run, they will want to keep Gore fresh down the stretch, so expect them to scale back on his workload.
Colin Kaepernick, QB -- SF (vs. CAR)
Really don't like any Niners this week. Not against the Panthers' surprisingly awesome defense. Carolina has given up a passing score in every week but one this season, but they've never allowed a QB to rack up more than one tuddie a week. On average, the Panthers allow just 9.3 fantasy points per week to QBs. Kaep is struggling through the air this season, so he'd need a big game on the ground to make starting him worthwhile this week.
Vincent Jackson, WR -- TB (vs. MIA)
Jackson is having a decent season on an atrocious Bucs team, but he's got a horrible matchup this week. The Dolphins have allowed just one wide receiver to score this season and since Jackson is not a possession wide receiver, his fantasy value is largely tied to tuddies. Coming off his worst week yet, I'd be surprised if Jackson totals more than five or six fantasy points.
Scott Krinch: (Week 9 points: 30; Total: -3)
A 30-spot in Week 9, sorry guys ... but I think the champ is here (cheesy John Cena reference for all you wrestling fans). I don't want to gloat too much though because I did miss on my selections of Terrrance Williams and RG3. Although I did tell you that Chris Johnson was due for a breakout game. He ran like CJ2K in the Titans' victory over the Rams which has got to make fantasy owners overly excited about his prospects down the stretch.
My sit 'ems are the area that carried my six-person squad last week. Matt Ryan, DeAngelo Williams and Vincent Jackson all had blah games so I struck gold there.
Well it's a new week and I'm sure you're going to be second guessing yourself with plenty of your players on a bye. Don't over-think it and listen to some of my advice ... I am the current leader for a reason.
Jay Cutler, QB -- CHI (vs. DET)
Am I crazy, starting Jay Cutler in his first game coming off a groin injury. Listen, there's a method to my madness. In Week 4, Cutler threw for 317 yards against the Lions, albeit mostly in garbage time. Detroit's defense is 14th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Also get this: Cutler has a stat line of 2,119 yards to go with 14 touchdowns in his career against the Lions. Just doooo it!
Mike James, RB -- TB (vs. MIA)
Mike James. Who? Mike James. Who? Sorry, had to do it. James was absolutely spectacular in Week 9 against the Seahawks. 158 rushing yards and a passing touchdown. He ran with power, and looked a little like Doug Martin out there. The Dolphins are allowing the 3rd most (21.3) points to opposing fantasy backs this season. James will get it done and he's got added value in PPR leagues with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. With Martin likely done for the season, James is the guy in Tampa Bay.
T.Y. Hilton, WR -- IND (vs. STL)
T.Y. is here to stay. The diminutive second-year wideout out of FIU is the go-to-guy in Indy with Reggie Wayne sidelined. Hilton went off against a stingy Texans' secondary for 121 yards and three scores for the best game of his young career. Hilton is must-start this weekend vs. a Rams defense that's struggled against opposing fantasy wideouts in recent weeks.
[ALSO: Week 10 Target Watch -- NFC]
Case Keenum, QB -- HOU (@ ARI)
Keenum has been solid in two games since taking over for Matt Schaub. He's established a connection with Andre Johnson, who appears to have found the fountain of youth. But This week, Keenum will face off against a Cardinals defense that's only allowed two fantasy QBs to reach double digits in their last five games. Arizona has the playmakers on D and will get it done against a mediocre Houston offense.
Reggie Bush, RB -- DET (@ CHI)
Yeah I guess I am crazy. Sitting Reggie Bush against the Bears defense! Taking a closer look, Bush hasn't been as good as people think this season. The Lions running back has four games where he scored under nine points in 2013. Chicago was embarrassed by Bush at Ford Field in Week 4, they're going to be out for revenge. And don't expect the field to be in the best shape which will take him out of his game. Roll the dice with me and get risky: Sit Reggie.
Riley Cooper, WR -- PHI (@ GB)
I don't want to discredit what Riley Cooper did against the Raiders. 139 yard and three touchdowns. Will it happen again? Not likely. Before Sunday, Cooper only had 40 total fantasy points in 2013. I'm not sold on this Eagles defense especially this weekend against the Packers who desperately need a victory. I envision Cooper coming back down to earth in Week 10.