To celebrate the release of the latest game in the Call of Duty franchise this week, I thought we could discuss a different type of warfare. There are no AK-47’s, pistols, tanks, or health packs in this type of combat Rather, fantasy owners must strategize in Week 10 for divisional warfare with several key matchups including Patriots vs. Jets, Steelers vs. Bengals, Raiders vs. Chargers, Vikings vs Packers, Lions vs. Bears, Saints vs Falcons, and Broncos vs. Chiefs.
Sorry folks, the Jags vs Colts is more of a battle of the worst teams as they are a combined 2-15 and not a key divisional rivalry this season. Divisional rivals know each of their enemies better than most opponents since they face off twice during the season. Player to player rivalries and trash talk also come into play during these matchups. With seven important divisional matchups this week, we should have quite a few surprises as teams hope to pull away from the competition.
There was no shortage of action in Week 9. Denver’s Willis McGahee returned to action and looked healthy as ever with 163 rushing yards including a 60-Yard dash. After doing very little for fantasy owners most of the season, Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch transformed into “Beast Mode” and ran through the Dallas Cowboys for 135 rushing yards. Chargers’ wide receiver Vincent Jackson returned to fantasy stardom with over 100 receiving yards in the first quarter and ended with 141 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to Green Bay. Whether it was due to quarterback John Beck’s lack of arm strength or his running back’s pass catching skills, Roy Helu led the league with 17 targets and 14 receptions for 105 receiving yards. After missing two games with injury, Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones continued his monster rookie season with 131 receiving yards and two scores. The Texans’ dynamic running back duo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate combined for 239 rushing yards against the Cleveland Browns. Last but not least, Raiders’ quarterback Carson Palmer was very productive in his first start of the season with 332 passing yards and three touchdowns in a loss to the Denver Broncos.
With Week 10 starting Thursday, let’s take a look at several key matchups.
QB Matt Moore– Congratulations to Tony Sparano and the Miami Dolphins for removing the donut from their win-loss record. Although Sparano’s job is still likely in jeopardy, the Dolphins offense was surprisingly potent against a decent Kansas City defense at Arrowhead Stadium. Matt Moore collected the fourth most points among QBs in Week 9. Fluke? Maybe. Regardless, I like his chances of putting up another gem against the struggling Washington Redskins in Miami this weekend. Washington’s defense has been fair against opposing quarterbacks, but Miami should have a much longer time of possession and Moore will have many opportunities to feed targets Brandon Marshall and Anthony Fasano.
Week 10 Projection: 200 passing yards and 2 TDs
RB Roy Helu: John Beck is either afraid to air it out or simply has a weak arm. This was clearly evident as he threw to running back Roy Helu Jr. 17 times! Helu caught 14 of those passes for 105 yards and ran for another 41 yards. Ryan Torain did absolutely nothing, which should mean Helu is “the guy” in the Shanahan running back carousel. Miami has been effective defending running backs, but I see Beck targeting Helu once again. Start Helu especially in PPR leagues.
Week 10 Projection: 100 total yards and 1 TD
WR Laurent Robinson: The loss of Miles Austin with another injured hammy is Laurent Robinson’s gain. Austin continues to battle injury and is now expected to miss 2-4 weeks. Robinson has been a decent fill-in for Dallas this season with two games of over 100 receiving yards. In addition, he will have a very attractive schedule going forward with a weekend matchup against Buffalo then games versus Washington, Miami, and Arizona. Buffalo has struggled against the pass this season and will likely concentrate on Dez Bryant. Look for Robinson make the most of his opportunity once again.
Week 10 Projection: 100 receiving yards and 1 TD
TE Owen Daniels: With Andre Johnson out of the picture over the last few weeks, Owen Daniels’ owners may have assumed more targets and yardage numbers coming his way. Not so much! Daniels actually scored more touchdowns with AJ healthy. RB Arian Foster’s goliath running numbers and backup TE Joel Dreessen’s occasional offensive explosions have also hindered Daniels. With a matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend who allow the sixth most points to tight ends, Daniels will one of his better outings.
Week 10 Projection: 80 receiving yards
Jacksonville Defense: The Jacksonville Jaguars defense prepared two weeks for the NFL’s second worst offense, the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately, the Jags are the worst offense, but their defense has been very solid this year. Whether Dan Orlovsky or Curtis Painter start for the Colts’ lackluster offense, expect the Jags to play aggressive and snag a few takeaways.
Week 10 Projection: 11 points
QB Carson Palmer–
Week 9 Projection: 200 passing yards and 2 TDs
Week 9 Results: 332 passing yards, 3 TDs, and 3 interceptions (SUCCESS)
RB Chris Ogbonnaya
Week 9 Projection: 85 total yards and 1 TD
Week 9 Results: 41 total yards and a lost fumble (FAIL)
WR Brandon Lloyd
Week 9 Projection: 90 receiving yards and 1 TD
Week 9 Results: 80 receiving yards (Partial Success)
TE Brent Celek
Week 9 Projection: 70 receiving yards and 1 TD
Week 9 Results: 60 receiving yards (Partial Success)
Week 9 Projection: 11 points
Week 9 Results: -2 points (FAIL)
Good luck in Week 10. Don’t forget about Thursday’s opener.