Week 10 across the NFL and fantasy football was pretty low-scoring and for the most part, frustrating.
Players in great spots disappointed while many were on the wrong side of touchdown variance. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest takeaways from Sunday and Monday’s action and how you should apply it to your fantasy football teams.
Detroit Lions 30, Washington Football Team 27
Remember what Miles Sanders did in the second half of the 2019 season? D'Andre Swift is about to have that kind of run here in 2020. Swift got his first career start Sunday and didn’t disappoint, carrying the football a career-high 16 times for 81 yards, while adding five catches for 68 yards and a touchdown through the air. The duo of Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson combined for just 16 snaps and six total touches so it appears that the Lions have finally given Swift the keys to the offense. He also lined up out wide six times, tied for a season-high mark. The Georgia product will flirt with RB1 status the rest of the season.
The Washington backfield was very interesting in this game. J.D. McKissic continues to benefit from the presence of Alex Smith at quarterback, as he was once again the focal point of the passing game. More on that later. With Washington trailing 24-3, the game was tailor-made for McKissic, who paced the backfield with a 70% snap rate. However, it was still encouraging to see Antonio Gibson touch the ball 17 times, despite only playing 38% of the snaps. He found the end zone twice and hauled in all four of his targets. Washington used McKissic and Gibson on the field together, as the former lined up as a wide receiver 28 times (18 out wide, 10 in the slot).
For the second consecutive week, McKissic led Washington in targets with 15, giving him a whopping 29 over the last two weeks. We know Alex Smith likes to check it down and that hasn’t changed this year, as right around 40% of his pass attempts have been behind the line of scrimmage, obviously one of the highest rates in the NFL. Since Week 7, McKissic is fifth among all running backs in routes run (82), despite playing three games during that span. During that same stretch, he is lining up in the slot just under 20% of the time so he’s essentially being used as a wide receiver, giving him weekly flex consideration in PPR formats.
Marvin Jones hauled in eight of a team-high 10 targets for 96 yards and a touchdown, despite a tough matchup with a Washington defense that has been very stout against opposing receivers. Jones now has four touchdowns over the last three weeks, as well as four end-zone targets during that span. For as long as Kenny Golladay is sidelined, Jones will remain a WR3 in fantasy.
While McKissic scored a short-yardage touchdown in this game, he only scored because Washington was in hurry-up mode and he was in the game. Gibson still had two carries from inside the 5-yard line and remains the unquestioned goal-line back. McKissic, though, did see four red-zone targets. Both are worth starting each week depending on your format.
Cleveland Browns 10, Houston Texans 7
Nick Chubb returned from a six-week absence Sunday and looked about as good as usual, rushing for 126 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Sure, it should have been two touchdowns, but you can’t complain when the guy gives you around 22 fantasy points. He played just 28 snaps while Kareem Hunt played 38 and carried the ball 19 times for 104 yards himself. Per usual, Hunt played the majority of third downs and in two-minute drills, while Chubb handled the early-down work. The Browns are running the football over 51% of the time, the fourth-highest rate in football, making Chubb and Hunt obvious must-plays every single week.
David Johnson suffered a concussion early in the first quarter in Week 9. Since then, here are the running backs to see a carry for the Texans: Duke Johnson. That’s it, y’all. After seeing 20 touches last week, Duke saw 15 more this past weekend and played 95% of the offensive snaps. It was frustrating to see him without a target but that will happen occasionally in a Deshaun Watson-led offense. With DJ out for at least the next two games, Duke should be viewed as a mid-range RB2 in fantasy.
Not much to see here, honestly. Brandin Cooks with another eight targets, giving him eight or more looks in each of his last five games. The weather in Cleveland was really, really unwelcoming for passing games, limiting the production. But Cooks and Will Fuller need to be started week in and week out.
The Browns continue to run the ball at a massive clip but when they do throw, Jarvis Landry is getting the looks. He now has a target share north of 25% in each of the team’s first two games since losing Odell Beckham for the season.
New York Giants 27, Philadelphia Eagles 17
While it isn’t exactly pretty, Wayne Gallman continues to get the job done for both the Giants and anyone in fantasy desperate for a running back. He led the New York backfield again with a 59% snap share and 19 touches, scoring two more touchdowns against the Eagles. That gives Gallman five touchdowns over the last four games, while his six carries from inside the 5-yard line during that span are good for the second-most in football.
Jalen Reagor led the Eagles with seven targets Sunday, giving him a healthy 13 over the last two weeks since returning to the lineup. The rookie also paced all Philadelphia wideouts with 38 routes run, while sporting a solid 14.43-yard average depth of target. Reagor needs to be picked up in any league he might still be available in.
Green Bay Packers 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 20
Once again, James Robinson dominated the workload for the Jaguars, as he was the only running back to register a carry in this game (23). Robinson ran extremely well, rushing for 109 yards and it could have been a huge game if he wasn’t a victim of two holding penalties that negated a pair of touchdown runs. The impressive rookie still leads the NFL in opportunity share, while averaging a healthy 20.4 touches per game and could see more work in the passing game with Chris Thompson (back) landing on injured reserve.
For the Packers, Davante Adams didn’t have his greatest game ever, dropping a few passes and losing a fumble. He also missed a handful of plays with a minor ankle injury but returned and scored yet another touchdown. Adams was targeted 12 times in this contest, giving him double-digit targets in every full game he’s played in this season and 13 of his last 14 dating back to last season. Meanwhile, Aaron Jones was one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy this week, totaling 95 scrimmage yards and failing to find the end zone. He touched the ball 25 times last Thursday night in his return but that was without Jamaal Williams, who was back for this game and played just 10 fewer snaps than Jones. Williams will continue to eat into Jones’ workload and playing time, which will keep him from reaching the status of fellow running backs like Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 46, Carolina Panthers 23
With Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) out again, Mike Davis received another start, though the results weren’t pretty. Against an elite Tampa Bay run defense, Davis accumulated just 44 total yards on 11 touches, though it is worth noting he left the game for a bit with a hand injury, resulting in the measly 52% snap rate. McCaffrey isn’t expected to play in Week 11 against the Lions, setting up Davis for a bounce back spot against a team that is allowing a league-worst 1.8 rushing touchdowns per contest.
After losing a fumble on the second play of the game, everyone and their mother expected Ronald Jones to be banished to the sideline by Bruce Arians. However, he came right back in and ended up outsnapping Leonard Fournette 47-29 and out-touching him 24-10. The highlight of his day was a 98-yard touchdown run where he showcased his tremendous burst and speed, a play that surely made Bruce Arians feel good about sticking with Jones. After carrying the ball 23 times in Weeks 7-9, Jones saw that many carries Sunday alone, an encouraging sign, but I still don’t believe Fournette is suddenly going to go away.
When Tampa Bay got Chris Godwin back, many were worried about Mike Evans’ target share. And when they added Antonio Brown, many were freaking out. However, Evans led the team with a 28.9% target share Sunday, while the Buccaneers continue to move Evans around the formation, something they hadn’t been doing earlier on in the year. In Weeks 1-7, Evans was in the slot just over 38% of the time. However, over the last three weeks, his slot rate has jumped up to around 50%. This is a huge development for Evans, as he’ll not only see more advantageous coverage, but Tom Brady is more likely to throw to the slot than outside the numbers.
Speaking of Evans, he also has remained the preferred red-zone option for Tampa Bay. He scored a touchdown against the Panthers and saw three end-zone targets, the most among any player from Week 10. While he’s no longer a WR1 in fantasy, Evans appears to still be in the WR2 range alongside Chris Godwin, while Antonio Brown is a high-ceiling WR3 option.
Miami Dolphins 29, Los Angeles Chargers 21
The Dolphins declared Jordan Howard a healthy scratch for the third time this season, paving the way for Salvon Ahmed to get the start. He ended up playing 76% of the snaps and carrying the football 21 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. DeAndre Washington, who Miami recently traded for, played just four total snaps in this game. Myles Gaskin is out for at least one more week, making Ahmed a low-end RB2 for the time being.
Meanwhile, Kalen Ballage continues to operate as the lead back for the Chargers. He played 73% of the snaps on Sunday compared to just 27% for Joshua Kelley, who becomes more phased out each week. Ballage touched the ball 23 times, including five receptions and 22 pass routes, a top-10 number among running backs in Week 10. The only saving grace for Kelley has been that he had the pass-catching role with Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler sidelined, but that disappeared Sunday.
With Preston Williams on injured reserve, Jakeem Grant stepped right into that No. 2 receiver role for the Dolphins. He saw nearly 21% of Miami’s targets, while hauling in four passes for 43 yards and a touchdown. In deeper PPR leagues, Grant could be worth a look, especially with a ton of teams on bye in Week 11.
Las Vegas Raiders 37, Denver Broncos 12
This game was pretty awful.
The main takeaway is that if Josh Jacobs is on your fantasy team, you better be sure to go pick up Devontae Booker. The former Bronco scored twice against his former team Sunday, and while half of his carries came on the final drive of a blowout contest, Booker has certainly carved a role for himself over the last two weeks, carrying the football 24 times during that span. Make no mistake, this is still Jacobs’ backfield, but Booker has proven that he has RB2 potential if Jacobs was ever forced to miss time. The Raiders offensive line is generating plenty of push, as Booker is averaging a healthy 3.5 yards before contact per attempt.
Arizona Cardinals 32, Buffalo Bills 30
Did anything notable happen in this game? I certainly don’t recall anything special and am totally not bitter at all.
From a fantasy perspective, the Cardinals got Kenyan Drake back. He started the game and once again operated as the lead running back. He was efficient, carrying the football 16 times for 100 yards, though he lost a fumble and Kyler Murray scored two more rushing touchdowns from inside the red zone. Drake played 38 snaps while Chase Edmonds was right behind him with 36, while the latter was once again efficient, touching the ball 11 times for nearly 80 yards. Drake only saw one target, which is nothing new if you’ve followed him this season. He’s the preferred play over Edmonds because he’s getting more touches and goal-line carries, though Murray still has 42% of Arizona’s rushing attempts from inside the 5-yard line.
For Buffalo, it was once again Zack Moss who outsnapped Devin Singletary, making it three straight weeks where the rookie has played more. Of course, Buffalo is struggling to run the football and are quick to abandon the run, making both Bills running backs less than ideal starts in fantasy.
Los Angeles Rams 23, Seattle Seahawks 16
It appears the Rams backfield is back to being a three-way split. After it appeared that Darrell Henderson had cemented himself as an every-week RB2, the Rams deployed all three running backs against Seattle on Sunday. Rookie Cam Akers, who played 21 total snaps in Weeks 6-8, logged 18 snaps in this game, while leading the Rams with 10 carries. The Rams finally getting Akers more involved coming out of the bye week is pretty telling that he remains part of their plans going forward but Malcolm Brown is also still very much in the mix. He led the running backs with a 41% snap rate and found the end zone twice. Brown is also the preferred back on third downs due to his pass-blocking prowess, which takes away pass-catching upside for Henderson and Akers.
With Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde still out, Seattle turned to Alex Collins, who they activated last week against Buffalo. The veteran paced the backfield in snaps (32) and carries (11), while recording 43 rushing yards and a touchdown. After appearing to be the temporary workhorse, DeeJay Dallas was used mostly on third downs and in hurry-up situations Sunday afternoon. Seattle plays Thursday night, making it possible that Collins is the lead back for one more week.
I locked in Josh Reynolds in DFS this past week, but I’d be lying if I predicated him to be Los Angeles’ top receiver. Reynolds played the same number of snaps as Robert Woods and led the team with 10 targets and 94 receiving yards. The matchup with Seattle is as good as it gets but Reynolds has been on the rise, averaging eight targets per game over his last four contests, while out-targeting Woods over the last three weeks. Los Angeles operates out of three-receiver sets 71% of the time, one of the highest rates in football, so Reynolds will play plenty of snaps.
It was interesting to see Cooper Kupp play just 53% of the snaps and run 30 pass routes (third on the team). The Rams ran a lot of 12 personnel in this game (two tight ends) and when they do that, Kupp is often off the field. Los Angeles was in 12 personnel 29% of the time in this game, up from there 23% clip over the course of the season. That is why you saw Tyler Higbee lead the skill players in snaps.
Malcolm Brown’s touchdowns came from one and seven yards out, though all three Rams running backs saw at least one carry from inside the 10-yard line. I’d guess Brown would be their short yardage back going forward but they have been comfortable using all three runners in that role and it might just come down to who is already on the field at the time.
Pittsburgh Steelers 37, Cincinnati Bengals 10
The Pittsburgh passing attack dominated this game, as all three Steelers receivers had great games. James Conner struggled to run the football for the third straight week, which has resulted in Pittsburgh going more pass-heavy. That is massive for these wideouts because it isn’t as difficult to project the targets if the overall passing volume increases. Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool all saw double-digit targets in this game and they all also found the end zone. Of course, it took 46 pass attempts from Ben Roethlisberger for it to happen but if the Steelers continue to struggle running the football, these wideouts could smash every week. After a rough stretch, JuJu has quietly recorded at least 65 yards or a touchdown in each of his last four games, while Johnson has seen double-digit looks in every full game this season.
New Orleans Saints 27, San Francisco 49ers 13
Brandon Aiyuk delivered once again, hauling in seven passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted 14 times on the day and over the last three weeks, Aiyuk is averaging an awesome 10.3 targets per game. The 49ers could get Deebo Samuel back soon but Aiyuk has proven that he is worth starting as a high-end WR3 every week, especially with George Kittle and the running backs still so banged up.
Speaking of banged up, Drew Brees suffered multiple rib fractures in this game, while also dealing with a collapsed lung. He didn’t start the second half and never returned and is now likely to miss multiple weeks. Jameis Winston stepped in and targeted Michael Thomas five times, while looking Alvin Kamara’s way on four of his 10 pass attempts.
New England Patriots 23, Baltimore Ravens 17
Mark Ingram returned from a two-week absence Sunday night and with his return, so did the Ravens ugly backfield committee. Rookie J.K. Dobbins led the way with 28 snaps, as he continues to play the most when Baltimore is trailing in games. Gus Edwards played 15 snaps and Ingram was right above him with 17. With all three running backs healthy, you can’t start anyone from this backfield, especially with Lamar Jackson averaging 10 rushing attempts per game.
The Patriots got N'Keal Harry back for this game, but it didn’t stop Cam Newton from staring down Jakobi Meyers, who saw seven of the Patriots 17 targets. Over the last three weeks, Meyers has target shares of 41, 41 and 43%, averaging 7.6 receptions and 95 receiving yards per game during that span.
Minnesota Vikings 19, Chicago Bears 13
I really have no takeaways from this game.
Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson are really good, Dalvin Cook is going to get 25 touches a week and the Bears offense is legitimately the worst in the NFL. Thielen scored two more touchdowns Monday night, giving him nine on the season. His 13 end-zone targets lead the NFL, while he’s seen over 20% of Minnesota’s end-zone looks. In games where Dalvin Cook isn’t breaking records, Thielen will be a WR1 in fantasy, while Justin Jefferson will be a strong WR2. But when the Vikings can establish the run and dictate the game, both will be downgraded to WR2 status.