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START/BENCH: Week 10

Fantasy football can be a cruel mistress sometimes.

In Week 9, the highest-scoring fantasy quarterbacks were Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson. That wasn’t all that surprising. However, Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill checked in fifth at the position in Sharks League Scoring — ahead of the likes of Dallas’ Dak Prescott,  New England’s Tom Brady and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Don’t even get me started on the egg Rodgers laid in Los Angeles — with Davante Adams back, no less. Just when you thought it was safe to be back in the water.

Arizona tailback Kenyan Drake had more points per reception fantasy points than Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott, the New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley and Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook. New England’s Mohamed Sanu had more fantasy points than superstar wide receivers like Adams, Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin and Cleveland’s Odell Beckham.

Can we still call Beckham a star? Dude needs a hug. And the ball.

Oh, and a New England defense that had been a fantasy juggernaut this season was outscored by Miami and the New York Jets.

I’m being cereal. Super cereal, even.

It’s the sort of week that makes fantasy owners question why they even bother with doing research … and makes fantasy pundits hit the liquor cabinet even harder than usual.

Sweet liquid forget. Please drink responsibly.

Still, there’s not much to be done other than file Week 9 away in the annals of fantasy oddity. As Darth Hoodie would say, we’re on to Week 10.

This week brings its own complications in the form of a six-team bye week. Denver, Houston, Jacksonville, New England, Philadelphia and Washington are all off this week, so the pool of available players is a bit shallower than usual.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (at Tennessee) (INJURED)

Deshaun Watson, Houston (Bye Week)

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Cincinnati)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (at San Francisco)

Matt Ryan, Atlanta (at New Orleans) (INJURED)

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs. Carolina)

SPOT-START OF THE WEEK

Brian Hoyer, Indianapolis (vs. Miami)

Hoyer was pressed into action last week when Jacoby Brissett sprained his knee, very nearly leading Indianapolis to a win over Pittsburgh. As Stephen Holder reported for the Athletic, the veteran backup’s performance in that game left quite the impression on Indianapolis wide receiver Chester Rogers.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that probably 98 percent of the plays he ran today, it was probably his first time running them,” Rogers said. “It’s true. He’s mainly on the scout team (during practice), giving the defense a look. He’s a baller.”

Is Hoyer something of a desperation play at home in Week 1o assuming that Brissett can’t go? Um, duh. But the 34-year-old journeyman threw three touchdown passes against Pittsburgh, and draws a Miami defense this week that has allowed 19 scoring strikes in 2019 — third-most in the NFL.

ROLL THEM OUT

Kyler Murray, Arizona (at Tampa Bay)

Murray’s touchdown production has left something to be desired as a rookie — just 11 total in nine games and one touchdown pass per contest. But the Buccaneers just gave up five touchdowns passes in a game to Russell Wilson, so maybe this is the week Murray breaks thorough in that regard.

Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (at Oakland)

There’s some risk involved in trusting Rivers and the Chargers this season for any length of time that’s longer than a goldfish’s attention span, but Los Angeles is coming off its best performance of the season and Oakland leads the AFC in fantasy points surrendered to quarterbacks.

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (vs. Arizona)

Winston’s coming off a 335-yard, two-score effort (without an interception, no less) and faces an Arizona defense that just gave up four touchdown passes to Jimmy Garoppolo and allows the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this year.

SIT THEM DOWN

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (at Dallas)

Cousins came back down to earth last week in Kansas City, throwing for just 220 yards in a loss to Kansas City. At least this road game is indoors (Cousins struggles outside), but it also comes against the fifth-stingiest team for fantasy signal-callers this season.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (vs. Buffalo)

Between injuries and the mega-bye, some poor souls are probably trying to talk themselves into giving this year’s most disappointing fantasy quarterback one more chance. But Cleveland hosts a Buffalo team giving up the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks in the AFC in 2019.

Russell Wilson, Seattle (at San Francisco)

There’s absolutely zero chance that fantasy owners are sitting the front-runner to be named the league’s most valuable player in Week 10. But it’s worth noting that San Francisco is leading the NFC in pass defense and have allowed just seven touchdown passes all season long.

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 an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. 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.