The Yays and Nays: Our Week 10 Fantasy Football Top Plays and Potential Fades
Fantasy Football Quick Hits
- Week 10 Yays: Andy Dalton (QB10), David Montgomery (RB12), Christian Kirk (WR8), Terrace Marshall (WR31)
- Week 10 Nays: Kyler Murray (QB20), D’Andre Swift (RB36), Michael Pittman Jr. (WR37)
- Key Data Point: Justin Fields has a league-high 129.5 fantasy points since Week 5.
Justin Fields, take a bow.
Here is the entire list of players with more than 100 fantasy points since the beginning of Week 5: Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and yes, the second-year quarterback of the Chicago Bears. In fact, his 129.5 points is the top mark in the entire NFL.
Yes, a player that was likely on your waiver wire at the beginning of Week 5 has scored more points than anyone else over the last five weeks.
But even that doesn’t quite do him justice. Squaring off against Tua Tagovailoa and maybe the NFL’s most fun and dynamic offense last week, Fields was the most captivating player on the field. Both Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. scored touchdowns for the Miami Dolphins, and yet, Fields had the highlight-reel run of the day.
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle both had receiving touchdowns and finished as top-10 wide receivers (Good luck to Jacoby Brissett and the Cleveland Browns who have to face these guys next).
Neither wideout was as productive as Fields. Fields – with only 123 passing yards and a woeful 4.39 yards per pass attempt – tore the Dolphins to shreds to the tune of an NFL regular season QB-record 178 rushing yards.
Add that rushing success to a career-high three passing touchdowns, one to Darnell Mooney and two to tight end Cole Kmet, and Fields’ final output in fantasy was 42.72 points. What he delivered in the Windy City over the weekend was nothing short of magical.
And as eye-popping as the performance was, it also was the perfect encapsulation of the quarterback position this season. See, Fields vaulted up the quarterback rankings all the way into the top 10, settling in as QB7 entering this week.
Remember those three quarterbacks we listed above as the only other QBs besides Fields to score 100 fantasy points since Week 5? Well, they are, in the order listed, the top three at the position. Here are the rest of the top 10: Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray, Fields, Geno Smith, Trevor Lawrence and Kirk Cousins.
What follows are the top 10 quarterbacks in total rushing yards this season.
See some similarities? And by the way, Marcus Mariota is 11th in fantasy points.
But let’s take this even one step further. Because while that graphic alone already makes it seem clear that quarterbacks that rush have a significant advantage over those that don’t, this next statistic will highlight the gulf between passing and rushing.
Allen and Mahomes, in their clear stranglehold on the quarterback position for the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, are first and second in the NFL in passing yards per game. Matt Ryan is third, and he’s been benched by the Indianapolis Colts. Tom Brady is fourth, and he’s averaging fewer fantasy points per game than Daniel Jones. And Justin Herbert is sixth in passing yards per game, and he’s currently QB14.
(Tua is fifth in passing yards per game and QB12 on the season, but he’d be comfortably inside the top 10 without having missed two and a half games. He’s the one QB that has been borderline elite from a fantasy perspective without providing hardly any rushing production.)
To recap, that’s four of the top six passers in the NFL that are currently outside the top 10 at the position. Never has running been more essential from the quarterback position for your fantasy teams. Fields is one of the QBs leading that charge.
Now, unfortunately for us, Fields was also a Nay in last week’s edition of Yays and Nays. This, despite Fields being second among all quarterbacks in projected rushing yards (70.1) and rushing touchdowns and ultimately ending with fewer passing yards than what our model had projected him to end with.
So, for this week, our model has adjusted. Fields is now tops in projected quarterback rushing yards, his passing touchdown projection has risen by more than 0.5 touchdowns and overall, Fields is our model’s QB6 this week.
However, our main reason for highlighting the importance of rushing from the quarterback position is that our model is, once again, pushing back slightly against that trend. Read on to find out why!
As always, let’s jump around and evaluate some Week 10 projections gathered from some of the top data-driven projections available using several of our AI-powered models. Refer back to our fantasy football rankings for any questionable waiver wire or lineup decisions.
Week 10 Yays
Note: We’re comparing our rankings to the expert consensus rankings (ECR) from Fantasy Pros. These rankings update throughout the week. (We pulled these numbers from Thursday.) Once again, we are using PPR unless noted otherwise.
Andy Dalton, QB (NO) vs. PIT (ECR: 22, Our Rank: 10, Projected Points: 16.34)
There might not be two more polar opposites at the quarterback position than Fields and Dalton. The “Red Rifle” has only rushed 14 times all season, gaining a measly 2.4 yards per rush.
With any hopes of rushing production out of the window, Dalton needs to have a fantastic game through the air for the New Orleans Saints, and our model thinks he couldn’t have a better matchup to do just that. The Pittsburgh Steelers, still coping with the loss of the irreplaceable T.J. Watt all the way back in Week 1, rank 31st in passing yards allowed per game – allowing 55.9 yards per game more than the league average.
The Steelers have also allowed 10 passing touchdowns in their last four games. Two of those went to running backs and Alvin Kamara is in prime position to have a monster day. He’s our RB3 for the week, and only Austin Ekeler and Christian McCaffrey are projected for more catches at the position. Kamara’s receiving skills are one of the reasons why our model is high on Dalton’s chances of delivering a top-10 performance.
Matthew Stafford, despite getting to throw to Cooper Kupp every week, and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys are among the quarterbacks ranked right below Dalton this week. He is a low-end QB1.
David Montgomery, RB (CHI) vs. DET (ECR: 18, Our Rank: 12, PP: 14.24)
Do NOT let anything the Detroit Lions accomplished against the suddenly inept Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones and the Green Bay Packers deter you from playing Montgomery in this matchup.
Even after only allowing nine points last week, the Lions are still 31st in points allowed per game. That’s actually better than how they’re doing overall, because they are last in the NFL in yards allowed per play and yards allowed per game.
Montgomery, meanwhile, has recorded at least 14 carries in all but one of the games that he’s started and finished this season.
Against the defense that has allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns and rushing yards per game, Montgomery and the Bears offense should be able to move the ball on the ground with ease. He is an easy top-12 play, according to our projections this week.
Christian Kirk, WR (JAX) vs. KC (ECR: 16, Our Rank: 8, PP: 17.00)
You know what’s really good for pass catchers? Being behind on the scoreboard. And well, chances are, that’s exactly where the Jacksonville Jaguars will be against the Chiefs.
The Jags were down 17-0 against the Las Vegas Raiders in seemingly a blink of an eye last week before slowly pulling themselves back from the brink in a 27-20 win. One of the main reasons they were able to come back was Kirk, who had one of his best games of the season. He set a season high in receptions (eight) and received his third-most targets. This is despite Travis Etienne recording a career-high 28 rushing attempts.
This week, only six receivers are projected for more targets and receptions than Kirk. Even though the Chiefs held the Tennessee Titans wide receivers without a reception last week, our model is not expecting that to carry over. It calculates that it was more about Tennessee’s protection of Malik Willis than anything else.
Kirk should provide solid WR2 numbers even without a touchdown. But if he can get in the end zone, he’ll be a top-10 play and our model likes his chances of producing that sort of return.
Terrace Marshall, WR (CAR) vs. ATL (ECR: 40, Our Rank: 31, PP: 11.73)
Thursday night games get weird, so why not choose a wide receiver from a team that averages the fifth-fewest passing yards per game. Better yet, let’s choose that team’s second wide receiver!
Why? Because our model rates Atlanta’s collection of defensive backs as one of the worst in the NFL and expects the Panthers wide receivers to create a lot of separation. This boosts not only the projected passing yardage totals for P.J. Walker, but also his number of pass attempts. And with Marshall projected to receive roughly 20% of his team’s targets, he’ll have more than enough volume and opportunity to produce solid Flex numbers.
Our projection for Marshall isn’t at the expense of D.J. Moore. The Falcons are allowing exactly 300 passing yards per game – by far the worst mark in the NFL – so there should be plenty of success to go around.
We mentioned Marshall in “Waiver Why-Er” as someone who has cemented the No. 2 role behind Moore. If you were fortunate enough to pick him up, think about putting him right into your lineup.
PSA: Fantasy managers, if you have someone playing on Thursday night on your roster, THEY SHOULD NOT BE IN YOUR FLEX SPOT!!!
Why? Say you play Marshall in your Flex, and then you also have Deebo Samuel on your roster in the WR spot for Sunday Night Football. If Deebo is a late scratch, you wouldn’t have the flexibility to replace him with any positional player like you would if Marshall was in the WR spot and Deebo was your Flex.
Week 10 Nays
Kyler Murray, QB (ARI) vs. LAR (ECR: 6, Our Rank: 20, PP: 14.67)
That rank is not a typo, but we want to draw your attention to Murray’s projected points. Our model is only projecting him for 1.67 points fewer than Dalton. Last week, the difference between our 10th- and 20th-ranked quarterbacks was just under five points, so by comparison, the quarterbacks this week are extremely jumbled.
With that out of the way, there are multiple reasons to be concerned about Murray’s prospects against the Los Angeles Rams. For starters, there are only two qualified quarterbacks throwing for fewer than Murray’s 6.02 yards per attempt – Joe Flacco and Kenny Pickett. So, even though Murray ranks second in the NFL in pass attempts, he only ranks 15th in the NFL in passing yards per game.
The bigger concern, however, is that when these two teams met in Week 3, the Rams held Murray to only two rushing attempts despite Murray attempting 58 passes. As a point of comparison, Murray had eight rushes for 60 yards against the Seattle Seahawks last week.
In seven career games against the Rams, Murray has only attempted 28 rushes. Aaron Donald and Co. are excellent at making Murray beat them from the pocket. And Murray, dealing with a hamstring injury, might be more hampered than usual.
Our model even prefers Russell Wilson this week. Murray is a risky QB play against a team he has historically not had much success against.
D’Andre Swift, RB (DET) vs. CHI (ECR: 20, Our Rank: 36, PP: 6.67)
For the second straight player, the projected points matter more than the actual rank. Because yes, one Swift touchdown, and he’ll immediately exceed our model’s projections for the week.
The trouble, of course, is that he’s been dealing with nagging injuries all season and as a result, is receiving limited touches. In that low-scoring slugfest against the Packers, Swift only had five touches. Jamaal Williams, meanwhile, had 24 carries and even Justin Jackson, the third-string running back, had more carries than Swift.
But even worse than that, he was only on the field for 27% of his team’s pass snaps, not allowing him to take advantage of all the departed T.J. Hockenson targets. It’s always possible that the game plan could change, or Swift could get healthier, but until that happens, our model is going to heavily consider his severe lack of volume and opportunity. Swift, with his five projected touches this week, is outside our top 35 running backs.
Michael Pittman Jr, WR (IND) vs. LV (ECR: 28, Our Rank: 37, PP: 11.06)
Count all of Pittman’s fantasy managers among those that miss Matt Ryan. In two games with Sam Ehlinger at the helm, Pittman has accumulated a total of 10 receptions for 75 yards.
Pittman, meanwhile, even with Ryan, hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1. His average depth of target this season is 3.8 yards less than the NFL average and his big play percentage is seven percentage points lower than the league average. Pittman needs hefty volume to return big games and he only had six targets last week despite his team losing by three touchdowns.
It’s been a brutal offense in both real life and fantasy since Ehlinger took over, and our model is skeptical of that turning around, even in this matchup against a fantasy-friendly defense. This is shaping up to be a battle between Josh Jacobs and Jonathan Taylor. Until the Colts show signs of passing life, Pittman will be nothing more than a risky Flex.