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RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 10

Welcome back to this week’s edition of “Red Light, Green Light”, which is a matchup guide for all of this weekend’s (and Monday’s) NFL contests. While this piece is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, it can be used for some of those decisions as well.

In each of the NFL Week 10 game profiles below, players mentioned in the green light sections have a great matchup, and can be counted on as rock solid options for the week. Players mentioned in the yellow light sections have just an okay matchup and/or usage concerns, meaning they are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire. Players in the red light sections have serious concerns, and need to have expectations lowered for the week, and/or should be avoided if possible. Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not be the guy(s) carrying your team to victory this week.

Bye Week Teams: Oakland, Kansas City, Baltimore, Philadelphia

New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Average 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Jets Buccaneers
Quarterback 9th 7th
Running Back 16th 5th
Wide Receiver 5th 3rd
Tight End 5th 26th
Defense/Special Teams 15th 14th
Vegas Line: Jets -2.5
Vegas Over/Under: 43.5
The Buccaneers are a mess, as their defense has allowed top-10 fantasy QB performances in five of their last 7 games, putting Josh McCown in the conversation as a strong QB-streamer. McCown has quietly been at least a top-15 QB in all but two games this season. After a slow start to the season, Robby Anderson has come on strong, with at least 59 receiving yards and/or a touchdown in all but one game since Week 3.
DeSean Jackson will serve as the Bucs no. 1 WR this week, though he hasn’t been particularly effective this season, as he’s gone over 40 receiving yards just once in his past four contests. Look for the Bucs to get Jackson going against a Jets secondary that has allowed opposing wideouts to run rampant for 540 receiving yards and six touchdowns over their last three contests. Ryan Fitzpatrick takes over for the injured Jameis Winston, and has deep league streaming appeal against his former team,  even without the services of Mike Evans. The Jets D/ST is worth a shot as a streamer, given Tampa Bay’s being in complete disarray, having scored just 13 points over the last two weeks. If there was a guarantee one of Matt Forte or Bilal Powell would handle the majority of the Jets’ backfield work, they’d be a green light option given Tampa Bay has allowed 160.5 total yards per game to opposing backfields over their last four games. The two Jets tailbacks have been sharing the load fairly evenly since Powell’s return from injury in Week 7, with Forte outproducing Powell in total yardage 230-218. Make sure to monitor the injury reports this weekend though, as Forte has been missing practice due to a knee injury. Cameron Brate had just one catch for 9 yards last Sunday, but should get back on track against a Jets defense that has allowed the 6th-most receiving yardage to TEs this season.
In case you missed it, Mike Evans‘ suspension appeal was denied by the NFL, and he is out for Week 10. Without Evans on the field, the Jets should be able to key in on the Bucs rushing game, much as they did last Thursday against the Bills. Averaging just 3.5 yards-per-carry (YPC) with minimal passing game involvement, Doug Martin is a risky play against a Jets defense that has allowed fewer than 55 rushing yards to opposing backfields in two of their last three contests. Austin Seferian-Jenkins‘ reliance on touchdowns has caught up with him, as he’s posted just 48 scoreless yards over his last two games, while the Bucs defense tends to funnel targets towards the perimeter. Adam Humphries should slide in as the Bucs no. 2 receiver this week, though he hasn’t been a fantasy factor all season since catching 12 balls for 138 yards across Weeks 2 and 3. Jermaine Kearse has just five catches over his last three contests, and appears well behind Robby Anderson and ASJ in the Jets’ target heirarchy.

New Orleans Saints at Buffalo Bills

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Average 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Saints Bills
Quarterback 20th 27th
Running Back 19th 13th
Wide Receiver 20th 25th
Tight End 25th 13th
Defense/Special Teams 27th 23rd
Vegas Line: Saints -3
Vegas Over/Under:
46.5
Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been he most effective fantasy options in the Big Easy since the Saints’ bye week, and face a Bills defense that was gashed for 181 yards and two scores on the ground to the Jets backfield. LeSean McCoy should bounce back from a disastrous Week 9 outing against the Jets, as the Saints have allowed at least 85 rushing yards to opposing backfields in six of their 8 contests this season.
Drew Brees has been steady this season, but hasn’t displayed the same upside from years past with the Saints’ run game and defense performing at a high-level, as Brees has just one three-touchdown game on the season. The Bills recently gave up 300-yard passing performances to Jameis Winston and Derek Carr, but have generally been tough on opposing QBs. The targets have been there for Michael Thomas, but the receiving yards and touchdowns have not, as he’s averaging just 68.1 yards per game this season and scored twice. Tyrod Taylor is trending up after acquiring WR Kelvin Benjamin from the Panthers, although the Saints have only allowed one top-20 fantasy QB performance since Tom Brady finished as the QB1 against them in Week 2. Tedd Ginn Jr. has posted at least 68 receiving yards or scored a touchdown in five of his last 6 games, and by all appearances looks to be the no. 2 wideout for New Orleans.
Willie Snead continues to remain buried on the depth chart, not catching any passes last weekend and losing a fumble on a punt return. Kelvin Benjamin is expected to make his Bills debut this weekend, but may face a healthy dose of rookie CB Marshon Lattimore, and it’s fair to wonder how assimilated into the offense the lanky WR will be. Charles Clay (knee) is tentatively on track to return to the Bills’ lineup, but his upside isn’t what it was earlier in the season with Kelvin Benjamin and a healthy Jordan Matthews all vying for targets. Matthews has only eclipsed 60 receiving yards once all season, so he isn’t someone to get excited about either. As surprising good as the New Orleans D/ST has been playing the past few weeks, they don’t project as a strong option in chilly Buffalo against a team that has committed the third-fewest turnovers all season.

Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Average 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Browns Lions
Quarterback 8th 22nd
Running Back 27th 12th
Wide Receiver 19th 13th
Tight End 3rd 15th
Defense/Special Teams 3rd 12th
Vegas Line: Lions -11
Vegas Over/Under:
 44
Matthew Stafford has gone over 300 passing yards in three straight contests (including a 423 yard effort Week 8 against Pittsburgh). Cleveland has committed the most turnovers out of all NFL teams and are 13-point underdogs this week, making the Detroit D/ST a must-start option.
Marvin Jones has really turned his season around over his three contests, amassing 19-431-3 during that span. Whatever shoulder injury Golden Tate appeared to be nursing over his Week 7 bye has been a non-factor, as he’s put up 14-199 since then. Given Detroit is a 13-point home favorite, the hope is that Jones and Tate can get their scoring in early before the Lions go on cruise control. Isaiah Crowell had his best game of the season before his Week 9 bye, putting up 118 total yards and a score against Minnesota. Look for the Browns to try and establish Crowell early in this contest as the Lions are mediocre in defending opposing backfields.
Prior to Cleveland’s bye, there hadn’t been a single Browns wideout worthy of fantasy consideration. That doesn’t figure to change for the time being, at least until Corey Coleman (hand) returns from IR. Ameer Abdullah has a tough matchup against a Browns defense allowing just 2.9 YPC, and could be in Lions head coach Jim Caldwell’s dog house after fumbling twice this past Monday night against Green Bay. Theo Riddick‘s usage just hasn’t been there this season, as his season high in receptions is six, which he achieved back in Week 1.

Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Average 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Bengals Titans
Quarterback 21st 14th
Running Back 25th 21st
Wide Receiver 26th 11th
Tight End 24th 20th
Defense/Special Teams 6th (tied) 17th
Vegas Line: Titans -4.5
Vegas Over/Under:
 40.5
A.J. Green fortunately avoided a suspension for his antics last Sunday against Jacksonville, and should be able get off his three game schneid (24.6 receiving yards-per-game over that span) against the Titans, who defend opposing wideouts poorly.
We’re halfway through the regular season, and Joe Mixon‘s single game high in rush yardage stands at the 62 he posted in Week 4. Mixon is still averaging about 16 touches per game over his last six games, so you have to hope his talent breaks through sooner or later. If you’re in a bye week crunch, Andy Dalton makes sense as a streaming option given the Titans are in the top half of NFL teams in terms of passing yards and touchdowns allowed. Delanie Walker (ankle) led the Titans in receiving yardage last Sunday, and could do so again as the Bengals allow 50.7 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends. Tyler Kroft has been playing about as well as one could expect for a replacement tight end, averaging 50.9 receiving yards with three touchdowns since the start of Week 4. The Titans D/ST hasn’t been lighting up fantasy stat sheets, but they are streamable for Week 10, as the Bengals have one of the worst turnover differentials in the NFL with -9.
Marcus Mariota still does not seem to be operating at maximum capacity, as he’s thrown just three touchdowns and accumulated a meager 14 rushing yards since returning from a hamstring ailment in Week 6. Despite a knee scare last Sunday, DeMarco Murray is practicing in full and should be fine for Week 10. Murray’s presence obviously caps Derrick Henry‘s potential, and with both backs effectively neutralizing each other’s upside, the poor matchup against a Bengals rush defense that has allowed just 3.7 YPC and two rushing touchdowns all season to opposing backfields makes the Titans duo unappealing this week. Corey Davis is expected to be more involved in the offense after catching just two balls for 28 yards last Sunday. Davis’ increase in usage will most likely come at the expense of Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker. It will be hard to trust any Titans receiver this Sunday, as the Bengals give up the third-fewest receiving yards per game to opposing wideouts.

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Average 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Packers Bears
Quarterback 17th 28th
Running Back 4th 15th
Wide Receiver 5th 22nd
Tight End 32nd 27th
Defense/Special Teams 16th 4th
Vegas Line: Bears -6
Vegas Over/Under:
 38
With Brett Hundley looking overwhelmed as an NFL starter, the underrated Bears D/ST is a solid option for a contest featuring the lowest over/under of the week. Despite not getting into the end zone over his last four contests, Jordan Howard is averaging 102.5 rush yards per game during that span. With a favorable game script looking likely, Howard should end his scoring drought.
Neither Aaron Jones nor Ty Montgomery could get much going against the Lions last Sunday night. Leaning on the running back duo gives Green Bay their best chance has to win, as the Bears give up 130.9 total yards per game to opposing backfields.
Any hopes that Brett Hundley may have improved over his bye week were promptly dashed last Monday night, as Hundley showed zero pocket presence and consistently scrambled into pressure. The Bears are also allowing the 11th-fewest receiving yards per game this season, and have not allowed an opposing wideout to score since the last time they played the Packers in Week 4, which makes Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams dicey options. Mitchell Trubisky has yet to throw for more than 164 yards in an NFL game, and has a laughable dearth of receiving weapons at his disposal. Presumed Bears’ no.1 wideout Kendall Wright is averaging just 32.4 receiving yards per contest, while no other Bears wideout has more than 114 receiving yards on the season. Tarik Cohen only received six offensive touches over his last two games prior to the Bears’ bye week. Given the Bears project as sizable favorites, in addition to the Packers’ struggles against opposing ground games, Cohen’s receiving skills may not be needed as much as they have been earlier in the season.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.