Game environment is the foundational starting point in making fantasy decisions. As such, I’m going to break down each game on the slate into three categories: Binge, Stream and Skip.
Games you want to “binge” are like the show you can’t miss; you’re watching as soon as it goes live and might just crush all the episodes in one weekend. These are the start-all-your-guys fantasy games and ones with season-defining storylines.
Games you want to “stream” are like the shows you certainly watch start to finish, but perhaps you’re finishing it over time instead of one shot. While these games might not feature a ton of “must-starts,” we can pick and choose our spots, and the teams are likely to matter in the NFL playoff picture.
Lastly, the games you want to “skip” are like the shows you’re leaning toward passing on, but you might catch an episode here and there (or might stick to reading recaps online to stay up with the culture). There will be a non-obvious player or two who stands out in these games, but overall, they aren’t the best environment for fantasy football.
Let’s dive into my Week 10 Fantasy Football Viewer’s Guide.
Here is your game of the week.
The most fascinating game on an overall intriguing Week 10 slate will take place in Jacksonville. Both the 49ers and Jaguars are coming off their bye with questions about how they’ll play down the stretch.
The 49ers dropped three straight heading into their bye but still rank fifth in weighted DVOA, per FTN. The extremely positive Brock Purdy takes to start this season were foolish but so are the overly negative views on how he’s played lately. He’s a solid starter with all the right abilities to captain this offense. That will remain the case down the stretch. Kyle Shanahan is firmly in the coaching circle of trust. We should have faith in this offense.
The defense is a different matter. As is usually the case, folks have been hyper-focused on the offense and quarterback play when it’s the defense that's looked far more troubling of late. As a result. Steve Wilks will come down from the booth and coach on the sideline. This may sound narrative-driven (which is perfectly fine analysis, haters) but this may matter. Wilks was a high-energy guy to end his time in Carolina and that helped boost that team while he was the interim head coach. You could feel how the 49ers defense fed off Robert Saleh and especially Demeco Ryans the last few seasons. Without an energy boost, it could be a good spot for the Jaguars passing game, especially the outside receivers. San Francisco plays single-high coverage at the second-highest rate in the league, per Fantasy Points Data, and we typically see that result in vertical targets to outside receivers.
Player in a smash spot: Deebo Samuel. I don’t always buy into the yards per route run against man or zone stats as being notable for the receiver but in the case of the 49ers splits, it does really reflect the receivers’ abilities. Brandon Aiyuk is one of the best man-beaters in Reception Perception while Samuel has been one of the NFL’s premier zone-beaters since he entered the league. Those guys produce big numbers against those individual coverage types historically. The Jaguars play zone coverage at the fourth-highest rate this season, per Fantasy Points Data.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Here’s a great pull from Scott:
— scott pianowski (@scott_pianowski) November 9, 2023
For one, shoutout to Josh Dobbs. As for Lawrence, I maintain he’s played quite well this season. Not perfect, but his seventh-place ranking in dropback success rate is emblematic of how he’s helped move the chains for the Jaguars offense. At some point, he will have more big passing-production games. He’s just playing too well for it not to reflect in the box score.
Don’t be surprised if: Travis Etienne’s workload goes down. It would be hard for it to trend anywhere else after he saw 30 opportunities and played a season-high 89% of the snaps before the bye. I don’t think the Jaguars ever intended to drive Etienne into the ground like this and it’s made their run game — despite his fantasy numbers — inefficient. They rank 25th in success rate and 28th in EPA per rush. The problem for Jacksonville is that none of their alternatives, namely rookie Tank Bigsby, have played well enough to be a viable alternative to Etienne. Hopefully, there is a change post-bye to help ease Etienne’s workload.
The Bengals and Texans are two of the hotter teams in football after a pristine Week 9 showing. C.J. Stroud broke rookie records in Houston while Joe Burrow had yet another “he’s back,” type of performance in a win against the Bills.
Yet, this game could be defined by a few late-week practice designations. Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins pulled a hamstring in practice coming off his best game of the season and has been ruled out for this game. Chase landed hard on his back and sustained an injury that would have us mortals laid up for a month, but he's expected to play through. In Houston, top X-receiver Nico Collins has a calf issue out of nowhere and is also out. This will have a dramatic trickle-down impact on these offenses and will cause the game environment to be much lower scoring.
Keep an eye on: The Bengals wide receivers. Higgins is out and Chase could be limited with his back injury. There is no immediate, predictable boost given to any other pass-catcher as a result. The tight end room popped last week but the playing time is too spread out to consider any as fantasy options. The rise of Tyler Boyd without those guys is often more myth than reality. Boyd has cleared 70 yards just twice over the last two seasons and both of those games were when Higgins and Chase played.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Tank Dell is coming off a big week. It’s not his first but there’s been some significant volatility in his production.
Tank Dell hit a season high 28.9% target share today. He's now scored fewer than 9 PPR points in four games this year and more than 20 PPR points in three games. Nothing in between.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) November 6, 2023
It makes sense too, considering Dell has specialized in deep out-breaking routes. And that is fine. We can live with downs for receivers of this archetype. It’s a reminder to chase the ceiling weeks for Dell and Collins, as well. You’d imagine Dell gets a significant boost with Collins out due to a late-week calf issue.
Don’t be surprised if: Joe Mixon sees a ton of work and is efficient. One of the issues that the Bengals offense runs into is how siloed their run and pass game can become. Burrow likes to play out of shotgun but Mixon is a better under-center runner. With Higgins already out, it makes sense to get under center and run the ball.
In truth, this game may not be binge-worthy from a fantasy football standpoint. However, these are the two best defenses in football. It’s going to be a must-see TV. But we will have to be careful in picking spots for fake football options. It is just unlikely we will see a ton of breakout performances but this matchup is critical for playoff seeding and the story of the season.
Keep an eye on: Rashod Bateman. He’s only run a route on 44.3% of the dropbacks since Week 8 but I maintain he’s started to look much better individually. He’s only been targeted on 23% of his routes but averages 2.0 yards per route run. Despite how good Lamar Jackson has been, there’s meat on the bone for this passing game if Bateman can break out; that would be a considerable boost.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Keaton Mitchell, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill all had four carries in the first half last week. It’s likely to remain a committee in Baltimore but I imagine there is a “can’t put the genie back in the bottle” element to Mitchell’s breakout performance. I said on the podcast that some of his explosive runs were quite De'Von Achane-like. We know how that per-touch regression story played out in the following weeks.
Don’t be surprised if: Amari Cooper can still have a big game despite the matchup. No team plays more single-high coverage (65.8%) than Baltimore. That look funnels targets to outside wide receivers and Cooper is the lone viable downfield receiver for Cleveland. Watson is only effectively throwing downfield, the short stuff isn’t there.
The Lions are coming off their bye and will get some reinforcements, notably David Montgomery. Detroit lost to Baltimore a few weeks ago but don’t let that distract from how good this offense has been and how the stop unit has turned into a verifiable quality group. The Chargers are coming off a big win in Week 9 but there are some real concerns on both sides of the ball. The 48.5-point total and the big names in this game indicate a high-flying fantasy affair. I put this game into BINGE but I worry about the Chargers holding up their end of the bargain. Let’s unpack that.
Keep an eye on: Quentin Johnston. We need to see something out of the Chargers rookie wide receiver.
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) November 7, 2023
The Chargers are playing with a roof over their heads right now. There is absolutely zero threat down the field at this point. Johnston needs to break out, but we have zero evidence in the NFL so far that it’s about to happen.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Justin Herbert is averaging 6.6 adjusted yards per attempt since the bye and has completed fewer than 60% of his passes in three of four games. This has to be the worst four-game stretch of his career. There are plenty of issues around him — wide receiver play beyond Keenan Allen and the offensive line woes — but Herbert needs to wear some of the blame. He’s a good and proven quarterback; this is just a cold stretch.
Don’t be surprised if: Both Lions running backs give you RB2 numbers. Jahmyr Gibbs has touched the ball 69 times in games David Montgomery missed but those days are over with the veteran returning. However, I don’t think we will see Montgomery handle the wild carry totals we witnessed to start the year. That is fine, you can live with that. Gibbs and Montgomery will be the engines of this offense and should have their roles well settled down the stretch. Adjust expectations accordingly.
I initially put this game into the stream category but Producer Collin on the Yahoo Fantasy Football Show pushed back and showed it belongs in BINGE. With the Commanders' offense looking strong under Sam Howell and their defensive weaknesses, this game could go over the 44.5-point total. The tenor out of Washington indicates their confidence is growing in Howell as more than a one-year fill-in.
Howell has been under pressure on just 25% of dropbacks the last two weeks and converted just 14.8% of his pressures into sacks … both inside the 10 lowest among quarterbacks, per Fantasy Points Data. That is a huge development and allows us to boost the weekly projections of the fantasy players around Howell.
Player(s) in a smash spot: The Seahawks passing offense. I get it, they are coming off a wildly low moment. But that was against the historically good Ravens defense. The Commanders do not offer anything like that. A beatable secondary before the trade deadline, they are even weaker now that the edge rush crew was shipped off. As long as Geno can cut back turnovers, there should be enough to get all three of the Seahawks receivers home.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Seahawks RBs over the past two games:
Kenneth Walker: 87 yards from scrimmage on 17 rush attempts, 4 targets (15.1 weighted opportunities)
Zach Charbonnet: 77 yards from scrimmage on 9 rush attempts, 3 targets (11.4 weighted opportunities)
*Charbs has 3 of 4 red zone carries* pic.twitter.com/COAgYZLeq9
— Ryan Heath (@QBLRyan) November 5, 2023
There has not been anything close to a total flip in the Seahawks backfield but the rookie back’s rise is irreversible. Walker’s best fantasy days are likely behind him, but you can’t complain too much about that considering how he carried you to this point of the season.
Don’t be surprised if: Jahan Dotson has another big game. With Howell now just taking a normal amount of sacks, all of Dotson’s chances aren’t being lost to sack yardage. He’s back in the mix as a WR3 in fantasy football. The talent never went anywhere.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS
The Saints were made for the stream category. They’re just good enough with plenty of quality players on offense to be interesting. But they leave so much to be desired. They are firmly in the NFL’s middle ground. The Vikings are probably in that range as well, but that’s more than we could have asked for in the initial wake of Kirk Cousins’ injury. Joshua Dobbs is fresh off a wild win when he barely knew the offense he was calling out in the huddle on Sunday. With a full week under his belt, I’m projecting a positive impact from Dobbs down the skill position players.
Keep an eye on: The Vikings' running back usage. With Cam Akers now out for the season, do we see Alexander Mattison return to a near-every-down role or will Ty Chandler get into the mix? I don’t think we will truly know the answer until this game kicks off and we see how Mattison performs.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Run from it. Hide from it. Taysom Hill is inevitable.
Over the last 4 weeks, Taysom Hill has…
+ more *rushing* fantasy points than Alvin Kamara, Bijan Robinson
+ more *receiving* fantasy points than Davante Adams, DK Metcalf, Calvin Ridley
+ more *passing* fantasy points than Brett Rypien, Malik Willis
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) November 7, 2023
There is a two-point fantasy game coming in Hill’s weekly output but the same can be said for so many tight ends folks are considering. Defensive tackle Khalen Saunders being added to the mix as a backfield mate for Hill when he’s under center has made his package of plays even more dangerous.
Don’t be surprised if: Alvin Kamara catches seven-plus passes. The Vikings blitz more than any team in the NFL. Carr under that kind of pressure screams plenty of Kamara check-downs whether we like it or not. (I do not like it.)
GREEN BAY PACKERS at PITTSBURGH STEELERS
This game will feature a pair of young quarterbacks living through growing pains and struggling to find any sort of consistency. We have a total mismatch when the Packers have the ball. Green Bay has struggled to pass-protect and now will deal with T.J. Watt and the boys. The Steelers are so good as a team I can’t put them in skip but it’s hard to imagine this being a high-flying affair.
Guy in a smash spot: Diontae Johnson. He should be in plenty of these for the rest of the season. George Pickens has a 24% target share in games without Johnson and 16% when he plays. Johnson is their best separator and the offense functions smoother when he’s on the field. A healthy offense would allow both of these guys to produce every week but that’s not the case in Pittsburgh.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Aaron Jones saw 26 opportunities in Week 9; he had averaged 11.3 in his four other games this season. Matt LaFleur said he was ready to unleash him last week and he meant it.
Don’t be surprised if: This game comes under 30 total points. The Steelers defense should rule the day in Week 10. Their offense is more functional than it was to start 2023 but is still a low-octane unit overall.
TENNESSEE TITANS at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
The Titans have become instantly more fascinating now that rookie Will Levis is set to start the rest of the season. He’s been aggressive and the offense has concentrated the opportunities to the two high-profile veterans, Derrick Henry and DeAndre Hopkins. Some of the shine has worn off the Bucs from their hot start to the season, but Baker Mayfield has offered at least replacement-level quarterback play and their defense has pushed them into a handful of shootouts.
Guy in a smash spot: DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has been Levis’ leading man since he got into the lineup with a 40% air-yard share in the last two games. Since their bye the Bucs have allowed 340, 245 (to the Falcons, so … you know), 312 and 443 passing yards. It’s been one of the best secondaries to exploit and now they’re dealing with injuries. I don’t hate Kyle Philips as a deep sleeper either since slot receivers have thrashed Tampa Bay.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Will Levis' 10.2 aDOT the last two weeks trails only C.J. Stroud and Taylor Heinicke. Levis’ arm strength has been apparent. I was more impressed with his loss in Pittsburgh than his four-touchdown game against the Falcons in his first start. He showed some real starting NFL quarterback traits even if he wasn’t flawless.
Don’t be surprised if: Rachaad White continues to get big receiving usage. The Bucs have stuck with White despite the fact he’s been one of the least-efficient runners in the league. His pass-catching work has buoyed his fantasy floor after target totals of six, seven and four in the last three weeks. He’s also caught an absurd 97% of the balls thrown his way.
DENVER BRONCOS at BUFFALO BILLS
The Bills are reeling at this point of the season. We hyper-analyze their offense, but this defense has crumbled under the weight of so many injuries. It makes for a solid spot for the Broncos, who have looked like a much more capable operation of late, to come off their bye week and find some success. Buffalo’s offense is still in the circle of trust. Their transition to 11-personnel has been impactful for the unit overall, even if they lost last week. Khalil Shakir has been a positive force and rookie Dalton Kincaid has fully broken out.
Keep an eye on: The Broncos defense. The Broncos' 80.9 passer rating allowed from Weeks 5-8 ranks 10th in that span. They ceded only 98 rush yards per game. The historical drubbing they took from the Dolphins still taints most of their defensive metrics. While the Broncos may not have a quality defense, they aren’t a complete joke either.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Dalton Kincaid has 26 targets in the last three weeks and has played 84 and 90% of the snaps in the last two games. The loss of Dawson Knox has allowed the Bills to get into their most efficient offense, as outlined above, and cleared the path for Kincaid to be a top-five tight end rest-of-season.
Don’t be surprised if: Javonte Williams is an RB1. Williams touched the ball 30 times in the Broncos win before the bye week. It appears he’s much closer to total health now. The Bills defense has sustained so many injuries that Williams should find clear run lanes.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Need an excuse to sleep in Sunday morning? There’s not much I can sell you on the Patriots right now. I like the Colts as a team overall, though. They have star power in Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor on offense and they play with so much pace they typically get involved in fun fantasy games. Maybe I’m slotting them this low in reaction to the Josh Downs injury, which even though he's set to play through in a limited role, has really bummed me out. He’s been fantastic so far this season.
Keep an eye on: Demario Douglas. There’s not much else to see in the Patriots offense. Douglas is in the “PPR scam” (shoutout Underdog Football Show) variety for fantasy, but he’s the only receiver on the roster who can beat man coverage.
Here are #ReceptionPerception success rate vs. man coverage scores for some of the wide receivers who got playing time for the Patriots on Sunday and just for fun, one of the guys they were replacing. pic.twitter.com/c4bNdF4Ijv
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) November 7, 2023
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Jonathan Taylor played a season-high 74% of the snaps last week. It appears that we finally have a full slip to Taylor being the clear lead back in Indy. Zack Moss will still get his touches, but it makes all the sense in the world to get Taylor the most work possible.
Don’t be surprised if: Michael Pittman Jr. has a top-10 performance. With Downs expected to be limited in Week 10, the targets should concentrate between the running backs and Pittman. New England has issues at the cornerback position as the J.C. Jackson reclamation project has not gone to plan. Per Fantasy Points Data, they also play single-high at the ninth-highest rate in the league this season (57%). Those single-coverage looks will benefit Pittman as will an additional boost to his already-high target totals.
ATLANTA FALCONS at ARIZONA CARDINALS
Let’s be clear, this game is in the skip category because of the Falcons and all the weirdness around that team. I find myself quite fascinated with the Kyler Murray factor of this contest, though. I truly believe the Cardinals want Murray to come in here, win some games and establish himself as the franchise quarterback for this operation. Forget tanking and the unknown of the first overall pick. The best thing for this organization is if Murray gets his career on track — and Jonathan Gannon knows it. I’d seen about enough of Murray in the horizontal-raid Kliff Kingsbury offense, but in a more traditional, play-action and downfield NFL attack under Drew Petzing, we could see some good results.
Keep an eye on: Kyler Murray. Has to be him. The Cardinals' offense has pieces for Murray to work with. Marquise Brown is having a fantastic season and is overall quite underrated. He could vault to must-start receiver status. Trey McBride is getting great usage at tight end. Don’t discount Murray as a passer making this team, which was already solid under Josh Dobbs, a viable offense down the stretch if he’s healthy.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Bijan Robinson has one carry inside the five-yard line the entire 2023 season. It is what it is with the Falcons offense. We need to accept the reality of how Arthur Smith is doing business and just get over it. We’ll all be happier in our lives with that inner peace of acceptance.
Don’t be surprised if: Michael Wilson is one of the most added players in the next few weeks. Wilson has demonstrated an ability to beat man and press coverage as an outside route runner and wins contested catches. He’s shown some real flashes in isolation. Murray was one of the top downfield passers at his peak and could unlock this rookie wideout.
NEW YORK GIANTS at DALLAS COWBOYS
The Cowboys already thrashed the Giants once this year when they were at full strength in the Sunday Night Football opener. It’s hard to believe that they’ll struggle at all with this operation now that they’ve crumbled in the wake of injuries and will be starting Tommy DeVito at quarterback.
Keep an eye on: Saquon Barkley’s workload. Barkley leads the NFL with 97 carries since Week 6, his first game back from injury, and has been targeted 17 times in that span. Despite the team going nowhere, they will work him into the ground and increase mileage on his body. It’s a rough situation for Barkley but it should help him sustain some level of production as the offense flounders.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Jake Ferguson looks increasingly like the second-best skill position player on Dallas’ offense beyond CeeDee Lamb.
Jake Ferguson's redzone presence alone is why I’m a fan
- 14 Redzone targets| 4th in NFL
- Dak Prescott passer rating targeting Ferguson
▫️ RZ| 108.0 Leads the team among starters
- 41 routes ran in RZ| 2nd among TEs
▫️ 89 offensive RZ snaps| 2nd among TE
— LaQuan Jones (@RealDealFantasy) November 7, 2023
Everything about his usage and recent performance points to a breakout tight end season.
Don’t be surprised if: Rico Dowdle shows up. It’s time to get him more carries. He’s looked solid when he’s been in there. However, he must also get work to take some of the grinder carries off of Tony Pollard’s plate. Taking work from Pollard will not save his fantasy upside but it may help him be more explosive when he does get work. Dowdle should be stashed on fantasy benches.
NEW YORK JETS at LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
I’m more intrigued by the post-Josh McDaniels Raiders than their placement in this group would indicate. However, it’s still likely to be a bit of a slog. The Jets are coming off a down performance on a prime-time event and the Raiders are starting a Day 3 rookie quarterback against a ferocious defense.
Keep an eye on: Josh Jacobs’ usage. I believe Antonio Pierce when he speaks about Jacobs’ importance to the team:
— The Coachspeak Index (@CoachspeakIndex) November 6, 2023
Jacobs should find the ball in his hands early and often going forward. The Jets defense has been a tough crew to run on but a high workload can offset the matchup.
STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Zach Wilson’s 49 pass attempts on Monday night were the most of his career and it was only the third time he’s gone over 40. It’s hard to imagine the Jets coaching staff finding themselves in a position to repeat that plan.
Don’t be surprised if: Maxx Crosby takes this game over. It’s hard to think of a more dramatic mismatch than Crosby, one of the most dominant pass-rushers in the NFL, going against the Jets' offensive line in its current state.