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START/BENCH: Week 10

We’re getting to the nitty. And the gritty.

It’s nitty-gritty in the city.

OK, so that was Hot Town, summer in the city. And it’s fall. And that song has nothing to do with anything.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah.

We’ve already hit November, and it’s Week 10 of the 2017 season. It’s the last month of the regular season in many fantasy football leagues.

If you’re 3-6 or worse, it’s likely just time to play spoiler. But you should at least try to do that. Misery loves company. Take as many people with you as you can. But don’t give up. No one likes a quitter.

If you’re 6-3 or better, then things are going just fine. Sure, it would still be possible for things to fall apart and for you to miss the playoffs. But if you’ve come this far and won two-thirds of your games or more, then odds are that isn’t going to happen.

Then there are the 4-5 and 5-4 teams clinging to their playoff hopes by a shred. Those harried and frazzled fantasy owners trying with all their might to get a win this week.

Those are three very different groups of fantasy owners, all of whom have one thing in common—they all want to field the best possible lineup this week. Or at least they should.

So, I’m going to bring all those folks together under one, welcoming tent. It’s group hug time, bitches. Let’s all sing Kumbaya.

See? Wasn’t that fun?

It wasn’t?

Wait. What was I talking about again?

Oh yeah. Fantasy football. Sorry. The later it gets in the season the punchier I tend to become.

On to the recommendations!

 

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Tom Brady, New England (at Denver)

Alex Smith, Kansas City (BYE)

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (BYE)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (at Arizona)

OFF THE LIST: Deshaun Watson, Houston (at Los Angeles Rams): Last week’s Start/Bench came out before Watson tore his ACL in practice and was lost for the season. I’ve been mainlining tequila since it happened. It hasn’t helped. Plus, it burns.

OFF THE LIST: Drew Brees, New Orleans (at BUF): The Saints are winning, but they’re doing so with a balanced offense that has led to lower numbers from Brees. Like winning is more important than stats or something. Communists.

 

SPOT START OF THE WEEK

Josh McCown, New York Jets (at Tampa Bay)

As ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported, Jets head coach Todd Bowles will be the first to admit that McCown has played very well in 2017. “Josh has been playing great,” said Bowles. “I think he’s in such a comfort zone with himself right now, understanding the game and seeing it, that he’s having a lot of fun. And I’m enjoying watching it.”

Fantasy owners have enjoyed the improbable resurgence as well – McCown has been a Top-10 fantasy quarterback to this point in Sharks League Scoring this year, out-pointing the likes of Brees and reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons. That resurgence will keep rolling Sunday as the Buccaneers stink in just about every way a team can in 2017.

 

ROLL THEM OUT

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Houston)

Last week Goff was my “Spot Start of the Week” at quarterback, and he responded with four touchdown passes against the New York Giants. This week Goff draws a reeling Texans team that just allowed a big game to Jacoby Brissett – the Texans are third in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (at San Francisco)

Things have gotten so bad in the Big Apple that there’s actually talk of benching Manning in favor of Davis freaking Webb. If Manning can’t get it done Sunday against the Niners’ non-existent defense, maybe the Giants should honestly consider it.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (at Indianapolis)

Big Ben hasn’t been so big in 2017 – he’s 23rd among quarterbacks this year in fantasy points per game. But he gets a great “get right” game coming out of the bye against a Colts team allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the position in 2017.

SIT THEM DOWN

Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis (vs. Pittsburgh)

Brissett was a great spot-start in Week 9, torching the Houston Texans for 308 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Don’t get cute this week looking for a repeat – the Pittsburgh pass defense has been very stingy in 2017 – second in the NFL only to Jacksonville.

Kirk Cousins, Washington (vs. Minnesota)

Cousins is coming off arguably his best effort of the 2017 season after leading Washington to a wild last-minute win over the Seattle Seahawks. Even so, expecting him to buck bad matchups two weeks in a row is unwise – especially when you consider his numbers weren’t all that great in Week 9.

Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (at Jacksonville)

Here’s the reality where the Jaguars are concerned in 2017. Starting a fantasy quarterback against them is begging for trouble. The Jacksonville defense is absolutely the real deal – they rank dead last in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks and first in the NFL in pass defense at 156.4 yards per game.

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