Tuesday - Dec 11, 2018

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START/BENCH: Week 10

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Hopefully you’ve had a little during this fantasy football season, which has flown by at remarkable speed. It seemed only yesterday that the season was getting underway, but here we are already — heading into the stretch run.

That means it’s time to really buckle down. Time for laser-focus. It’s time for …

The Eye of the Tiger.

Oh yeah.

It may be that you’re 6-3. Maybe even 7-2. Making the playoffs is looking good, but you have your sights set even higher — say on a first-round bye or No. 1 seed.

Or maybe you’re 5-4 or 4-5. Things haven’t gone exactly as planned, but there’s still plenty of time to get on the sort of run that can propel you on a deep playoff run.

Or maybe you’re 3-6. There have been injuries and under-performers. You’re clinging to playoff hopes by the slimmest of threads — a thread that will be severed by your next loss.

Or maybe it’s all over but the crying. The season has been a disaster. I can empathize. In the Whale Shark 2 League here at Fantasy Sharks (a league I’ve won twice), my injury-ravaged running back corps and 3-6 team isn’t going anywhere this year. But that won’t stop me from trying to take as many people with me as I can.

Misery loves company, don’t you know.

Whatever your status, be it front-runner or spoiler and all parts in-between, we all have one thing in common as the stretch run begins. We all want to get a win in Week 10.

So let’s stop jibber-jabbering and get down to business. It’s a four-team bye in Week 10 — Baltimore, Denver, Houston and Minnesota are off.

Adam Thielen’s finally going to have a slow Sunday.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

OFF THE LIST: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (BYE): Over the last month, Cousins is outside the Top-15 in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks. That’s not very studly.

SPOT-START OF THE WEEK

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (vs. Atlanta)

Per Robert Klemko of the MMQB, Mayfield earned an admirer in Cleveland defensive lineman Devaroe Lawrence after getting in the face of a Tama Bay defender after a shot to the helmet a few weeks ago.

“Baker’s a dog,” Lawrence said. “There are certain things you can’t teach dogs. There’s a whole bunch of savages in here, but we got one in a quarterback. He looked at him and told him, Yeah motherf—–. Everyone could read those lips.”

Mayfield has quietly been earning admirers in fantasy circles of late as well. Cleveland isn’t winning games, but Mayfield’s been a decent fantasy starter during a string of favorable matchups — eighth at the position in fantasy points over the last three weeks. There’s a reason Mayfield is making his third appearance in a row here — the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 keeps getting the job done.

ROLL THEM OUT

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (vs. New Orleans)

The loss of star receiver A.J. Green to a potentially serious toe injury is a major blow to the Cincinnati passing game, to be sure. But Dalton’s still going to be able to do damage against a New Orleans defense that’s first in the NFL in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks this season.

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee (vs. New England)

Mariota’s had an up-and-down 2018 campaign, but he’s coming off his best performance of the year against a stout Dallas defense and draws a New England team in Week 10 that’s seventh in fantasy points surrendered to the position.

Alex Smith, Washington (at Tampa Bay)

Yes, Smith and Washington just laid a big fat rotten egg filled with stinky poo against Atlanta in Week 9. But only aforementioned New Orleans has allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks this season than Tampa Bay.

SIT THEM DOWN

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Seattle)

It’s not so much instruction to sit him — just a warning that Seattle is 31st in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and held Goff in check when these teams met in Seattle in Week 5.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (vs. Jacksonville)

Given how hot he’s been of late, Luck’s next-to-impossible to sit in fantasy leagues — especially at home. But even after its recent backslide Jacksonville isn’t an especially good fantasy matchup, and Jacksonville’s beyond desperate at this point.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit (at Chicago)

Stafford and Detroit looked like hot garbage in Week 9 against Minnesota — he didn’t score a touchdown and was sacked a jaw-dropping 10 times. There’s no way he can be trusted in a must-win week — not on the road against a stout Chicago defense.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is a seven-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who was named the organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year for 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.