Andy Dalton will throw for more than 300 yards and throw three touchdowns against New Orleans this week.
My thinking: One of the most polarizing fantasy and real-life quarterbacks in the NFL, Andy Dalton is the epitome of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He’s had games that make you say, “Wow, this guy is so good,” and has had other games that make you say, “This guy is terrible, how does he have a job while Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned?” Yes, I went there.
Dalton enters Week 10 averaging 17.9 fantasy points per game, which ranks 15th in the NFL among quarterbacks. He’s recorded at least 20 fantasy points in three of eight games but has also totaled less 17 points in four of eight games. He’s wildly unpredictable, but in a Week 10 matchup against a New Orleans defense that has surrendered the second-most fantasy points per game (25.2) to opposing quarterbacks, you should like his chances of having an above-average performance this week. The fact that Cincinnati is coming off a bye week and is playing at home makes Dalton more appealing, especially considering he’s averaging 2.5 more fantasy points at home than on the road. His $5,800 price tag on DraftKings screams “value-play” to me, so if you’re looking to use a bulk of your DraftKings budget on running backs and wide receivers, Dalton is an ideal, inexpensive quarterback to plug into your lineup.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will throw for more than 375 yards and throw three touchdowns against Washington this week.
My thinking: Ryan Fitzpatrick, the ageless wonder, has (for now) taken over the starting quarterback job from Jameis Winston after a horrendous performance from Winston two weeks ago. Last week against Carolina, Fitzpatrick threw for 243 yards and tossed four touchdowns and a couple of interceptions, which brought his fantasy point total to 23.9 on the day. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was a fine performance nonetheless. If you take out his dreadful performance against Chicago in Week 4, the 14th-year player out of Harvard (Hahvahd!) has averaged 32.5 fantasy points per in the four games he’s started. This week, he’s at home against a Washington team that finds itself sitting in first place in the NFC East with a 5-3 record.
Overall, the Washington defense has far exceeded its expectations through the first nine weeks of the 2018 season. Its run defense has allowed an average of 89.4 rushing yards per game through nine weeks, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Washington has given up an average of 21.5 points per game, which ranks ninth in the NFL. Its pass defense, though, hasn’t been as stout. In the last four weeks, Washington’s pass defense has allowed the most completions (105) and second-most passing yards (1,214) to opposing quarterbacks. Lastly, the defense has given up an average of 19.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. Considering the Tampa Bay offense has been dreadful running the ball, this is an excellent opportunity for Fitzpatrick to air it out against a below-average secondary. Similar to Andy Dalton, Fitzpatrick’s enticing price tag ($5,900) on DraftKings makes him an intriguing option to consider for your DFS lineup in Week 10.
Ezekiel Elliott will have less than 70 rushing yards against Philadelphia this week.
My thinking: Ezekiel Elliott hasn’t gone for more than 70 rushing yards in either of the last two games. The Dallas offense has struggled lately and will continue to have a tough time against a Philadelphia front-seven that has allowed the sixth-fewest points per reception (PPR) fantasy points per game (19.0) to opposing running backs this season. The Philadelphia defense has also given up the least amount of total rushing yards (405) in the NFL and has allowed a stingy 3.7 yards per carry on 108 rushing attempts to opposing running backs. Elliott has tallied fewer than 70 rushing yards in three of four road games this year, and has averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 66 carries on the road compared to 4.7 yards per carry on 83 carries at home.
Look, we all know Elliott is one of the premier running backs in the NFL. There’s no arguing that. However, a premier fantasy running back is a running back who consistently produces RB1 numbers on a week-to-week basis. In the last four games, the third-year player out of THE Ohio State University has averaged 14.4 PPR fantasy points per game. While that’s not a horrible average, it’s certainly not worthy of a player with such lofty expectations.
Lastly, from Weeks 1-5, Elliott averaged 4.4 receptions and 31 receiving yards per game. His amplified usage as a receiver out of the backfield was supposed to solidify Elliott as a sure-fire high-end RB1 across all fantasy formats. From Weeks 6-9 (three games), he’s averaged a mere 2.3 receptions and 23.7 receiving yards per game. His targets out of the backfield could take a hit moving forward as a result of the progression of rookie wideout Michael Gallup and the addition of the polarizing Amari Cooper to the Dallas offense. So, maybe, just maybe, Elliott shouldn’t be viewed as a sure-fire, high-end RB1 for the final seven weeks of the season. Let’s just say that there are about seven or eight running backs that I’d rather have over Elliott for the rest of the season. Before this season started, that number would have been two, maybe three running backs that I would have rather had over Elliott. Expect another ho-hum performance out of Elliott in Week 10 against Philadelphia.
Duke Johnson will have 10 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta this week.
My thinking: It’s crazy to me that people actually doubted Johnson’s abilities after multiple subpar performances earlier in the season. Johnson’s lack of targets out of the backfield earlier this season had nothing to do with him and everything to do with an incompetent head coach (Hue Jackson). In his first game without Jackson this year, Johnson was spectacular. He hauled in nine receptions for 78 receiving yards and had two receiving touchdowns in Week 9 against Kansas City and now gets to face an Atlanta defense in Week 10 that has allowed the most receptions (68) and fourth-most receiving yards (515) to opposing running backs this season.
In his first three seasons in the league (2015-17), Johnson played in all 16 games each year and averaged 80 targets per season. From Weeks 1-8 of this season (when Jackson was the head coach), he averaged 3.6 targets per game, which, if you extrapolate that number to a full 16-game season, would equal 58 total targets for the season. Yeah, imagine having an above-average pass-catching running back at your disposal and not utilizing him enough. Yuck.
Fun fact: From 2015-17 (Johnson’s first three seasons in the league), one running back had at least 300 rushing yards and 50 receptions in all three seasons. That running back is Duke Johnson. Seriously, only Johnson accomplished that feat. Can you tell I invested in Duke Johnson in a bunch of leagues this year? Anyway, this is the juiciest of juicy matchups for the fourth-year player out of Miami, so expect one heck of an encore this week.