Start These 10 Players In Week 10

November 11 2:46pm
Joe Fortenbaugh

Before we jump into our ten must-starts for Week 10, lets take a look at two games which offer us the opportunity to take down the bookmakers (last week: 2-0, overall:  5-1):

NEW YORK GIANTS (+3.5) at San Francisco 49ers:  Jim Harbaugh has done an excellent job getting the most out of this football team, but this offense (with the exception of Frank Gore) is very basic and very vanilla.  Big Blue’s front four will generate the pressure while a suddenly surging Eli Manning will get it done on the other side of the ball.  As long as the New York defense doesn’t let Gore run wild, we’ll be in good shape.

NEW YORK JETS (-1) vs. New England Patriots:  The Patriots rank dead last in the NFL in defense and the offense is suddenly struggling to score points.  That’s not exactly where you want to be for a primetime road showdown against a Jets team that has won three straight games and is getting tougher and more aggressive on the defensive side of the football with each passing week.

10 Players To Start

Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets (vs. New England):  Sanchez is a streaky, indecisive quarterback who seems to take forever at the line of scrimmage.  But despite all of his shortcomings, the former USC standout has a very tasty matchup Sunday night against a New England Patriots team that currently ranks dead last in the NFL in pass defense (314.0 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 24.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (2nd-most in NFL).  If Sanchez can’t put up numbers against these guys, the New York front office should be worried.

Willis McGahee, RB, Denver Broncos (at Kansas City):  He’s back from the dead and running as well as we can remember.  McGahee gashed the Oakland Raiders in Week 9 for 163 yards and two scores, giving the former Miami product his third 100+ yard rushing performance of his last four games.  To top it off, McGahee and the Broncos head to Arrowhead on Sunday to take on a Kansas City defense that ranks 18th in the NFL against the run (120.2 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 21.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (7th-most in NFL).  Ride the hot hand.

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Arizona):  He’s been up and down this season, but keep in mind that Maclin has been targeted eight or more times in three of his last five games, has found the end zone in two of his previous four starts and has posted at least 50 receiving yards in each of the last seven games.  Those numbers won’t jump off the page at you, but they’re consistent.  Expect even more in Week 10 against an Arizona Cardinals defense that ranks 29th in the NFL against the pass (272.0 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 25.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (6th-most in NFL).

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers (vs. Tennessee):  A pleasant surprise midway through the 2011 season, Olsen has found the end zone in four of his last six games and currently ranks ninth in fantasy scoring at the tight end position.  We like his chances for success Sunday in Charlotte, as the Tennessee Titans defense comes to town having surrendered an average of 9.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends already this year (4th-most in NFL).

Cleveland Browns, D/ST (vs. St. Louis):  It seems crazy to start a bunch of no-names, but keep in mind that: A) The Rams are only averaging 12.5 points per game this season (31st in NFL), B) Opposing D/STs are scoring an average of 13.5 fantasy points per game against St. Louis (most in NFL) and C) The total for this game opened at 37, meaning Vegas oddsmakers are expecting a low-scoring, defensive struggle.  Doesn’t seem so crazy anymore, does it?

Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings (at Green Bay):  Have I officially lost it?  No.  Am I rolling the dice a bit on this one?  Yes.  However, rest assured that my temporary fantasy madness is founded on some interesting numbers.  Despite the fact that Green Bay is 8-0, keep in mind that this team currently ranks 30th in the NFL in total defense (399.6 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 23.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (3rd-most in NFL).  Ponder will struggle at times, but garbage time stats are in full effect here.

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans (at Carolina):  Yes, Johnson has been a complete and utter bust this season, but he’s also coming off a respectable performance against a tough Cincinnati Bengals defense that consisted of 110 total yards.  Remember, no team in the NFL is giving up more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season than the Carolina Panthers (26.2 pts/gm).  Just to be safe, consider Johnson an RB2/flex option for Week 10.

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Denver):  This offense has been hit or miss all season depending on whether or not quarterback Matt Cassel decides to show up and make some plays.  But as of the current moment, no team in the NFL is surrendering more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the Denver Broncos (28.0 pts/gm).  Keep in mind that Bowe has been targeted a ridiculous 42 times over his last four starts, so you know that at the very least, Cassel will be looking his way on Sunday.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (at Indianapolis):  MJD has only found the end zone three times so far this season, but we have a feeling that he’s in line for a breakout performance Sunday at Indianapolis.  The Colts have been dreadful on both sides of the ball in 2011, but their defense currently ranks 31st in the NFL against the run (146.1 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 24.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (2nd-most in NFL).  Consider Jones-Drew an RB1 for Week 10 in every format imaginable.

Laurent Robinson, WR, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Buffalo):  With wide receiver Miles Austin on the shelf for the next 2-4 weeks, look for Robinson to see an increase in targets and playing time.  In addition, there’s no need to hesitate when it comes to starting him in Week 10, as the Buffalo Bills and the NFL’s 23rd-ranked passing defense are coming to town (271.5 yds/gm).  Remember, this unit is giving up an average of 22.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (13th-most in NFL) and Robinson has found the end zone in each of his last two games.  Consider him a solid WR3 for Sunday.

Joe Fortenbaugh wants you to know that if you ever have a fantasy question, you can hit him up at National Football or on Twitter:  @JoeFortenbaugh

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