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Top 10 Fantasy Football Busts for Week 10

Week 10 is here and it is exciting times in fantasy circles. Trade deadlines are fast approaching in the majority of leagues, with the time for making deals ending this week or next week. Additionally, it is time to peek ahead at playoff schedules for those fortunate enough to have a spot in the dance locked up.

Step one to a winning playoff strategy, though, is to actually make the playoffs. That is why it is important to remain focused on this week's matchups while simultaneously preparing for the road ahead. This week's lineup decisions will be made without the services of any Chiefs, Cowboys, Falcons, and Jets. Comparing the first and last team on that list, it is clear that not all bye week problems are created equal.

Fortunately, no problem is too small nor too big for our RotoBaller team and we are here to guide you through every fantasy football matchup while advising on weekly waiver wire pickups. Whether you're facing a must-win situation or attempting to secure a first-round bye, my top-10 busts for Week 10 will aid you in making the type of difficult lineup choices that clear the path to victory. See you on the other side, RotoBallers, and good luck!


Joe Burrow vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Joe Burrow was excellent heading into his bye, finishing as the QB11 and QB4 over the prior two weeks. The rookie had shown some vulnerability in difficult matchups before that, performing as the QB14 and QB29 in back-to-back matchups against the Colts and Ravens. This week’s matchup is the type that exposes such vulnerability.

The Bengals travel to division-rival Pittsburgh in Week 10 to face a defense that has yet to allow a top-twelve quarterback performance this season. Ryan Tannehill’s QB16 finish in Week 7 serves as the most successful result for a quarterback facing the Steelers over the past four games. Garrett Gilbert surprisingly held his own against Pittsburgh last week but still finished as the QB20. Burrow is certainly capable of besting Gilbert, but his ceiling is extremely limited in this matchup. The Steelers have allowed the lowest completion rate in the NFL and boast a ferocious defensive line that leads the league in sacks with 32. That is bad news for a team that has surrendered the second-most sacks in football. Give the exciting rookie a breather this week and roll with a different streaming option, such as Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, or the all-of-a-sudden fantasy-relevant Tua Tagovailoa.


Adam Thielen vs. Chicago Bears

It’s been a rocky road for Adam Thielen after a significant hot stretch. Thielen posted consecutive WR5 weeks and followed that up with a WR20 performance from Weeks 4-6. The past two weeks have been a different story, with Thielen slipping to WR65 and WR72. This has been the norm this season, with Thielen delivering incredible boom weeks followed by devastating bust weeks.

A matchup with the Chicago Bears does not spell boom. The Bears are third against wide receivers and second against quarterbacks. A.J. Brown is the only receiver to have finished as a top-20 option against Chicago, who have allowed touchdowns to the position at the most infrequent rate in the league. The Vikings have attempted the fewest passes in the NFL and have become increasingly reliant on all-world running back Dalvin Cook. Expect the team to put the offense in Cook’s hands, meaning Thielen will have to break big plays in order to produce for fantasy. Against this defense, that is unlikely. Thielen probably can’t be benched in most leagues, but downgrade him to a low-end WR2 this week.


Jerick McKinnon vs. New Orleans Saints

Jerick McKinnon’s usage has been all over the map lately. Prior to last week’s fifteen touches, McKinnon had handled seven, three, eight, and two opportunities in his four previous contests. After Kyle Shanahan labeled McKinnon’s legs as fatigued, he was a popular fade. Meanwhile, JaMycal Hasty was started almost universally due to making a brief appearance as the lead back in Week 8. This backfield has been a guessing game, to say the least, but with Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Jeff Wilson Jr. all missing, it is somewhat safe to predict McKinnon to be involved this time around.

Unfortunately, this is not the matchup to start risky flex options such as McKinnon. The New Orleans Saints are top-five against fantasy running backs, allowing only 16.5 points per game to the position. The 49ers and Colts are tied for the toughest defense on opposing rushers at 16.2 points per game. The Saints allow only 3.6 yards per carry, ranking fifth in the NFL by that metric. New Orleans has only given up two top-24 performances since Week 4, and those were RB21 and RB24 finishes to David Montgomery and Justin Jackson, respectively.

While McKinnon was the RB5 last week and the RB19 the week prior, his Week 8 stat line was buoyed by a touchdown, as he received only five touches in the game. Further, he was the RB123, RB41, and RB57 in his three previous contests, establishing a floor that could be hit in this matchup. In all likelihood, he’ll fall somewhere in between the extremities outlined above. Sit McKinnon this week.


Mark Andrews vs. New England Patriots

Mark Andrews demonstrated his incredibly high ceiling three times in his first five games this season but has been shockingly disappointing in every game since. Andrews has been a top-three tight end in three different outings. His other five games? TE31, TE36, TE30, TE21, and TE28. If it weren’t for name-value and a glimpse of upside early in the season, Andrews wouldn’t be considered a must-start. With the horrid landscape at tight end, anyone who has a chance at a touchdown is start-worthy. Considering he has two multi-touchdown games to his credit, that makes Andrews difficult to sit. There are managers of Andrews out there who have added the likes of Austin Hooper or Dallas Goedert, however, and those who did so should strongly consider making the bold move to staple Andrews to your bench this week.

The Patriots are not kind to the tight end position. That is putting it mildly, as New England has coughed up only 5.9 points per game to tight ends, good enough for second in the NFL. Only two tight ends have finished as a top-twelve option against the Patriots, and those were the elite talents of Travis Kelce and … Foster Moreau. Kelce was still held in check, finishing as the TE10 on three catches for 70 scoreless yards, while George Kittle finished as the TE15 against New England and Darren Waller managed only nine receiving yards against them. Foster Moreau is actually the only tight end to have scored a touchdown against the Patriots this year, and they have held opposing quarterbacks to zero passing scores on four separate occasions. The upside is severely limited for a touchdown-dependent option like Andrews in this matchup, and if possible, GMs should pivot to avoid another clunker.


Marvin Jones Jr. vs. Washington Football Team

Marvin Jones Jr. is back on the fantasy map after many managers issued him his walking papers due to a disastrous start to the season. After performances of WR53, WR102, and WR85 bought him a seemingly one-way ticket to the waiver wire, Jones has bounced back with three double-digit fantasy-point games, earning him WR36, WR11, and WR29 honors. Bizarrely, that WR11 performance occurred against a stingy Colts’ defense. The other two recent successful samples came versus the inferior pass defenses of the Falcons and Vikings.

This week, Jones faces off with the toughest opponent for fantasy wide receivers, the Washington-based team of football players. Washington’s football team has held wide receivers to 20.8 fantasy points per game. Robert Woods’ WR21 finish in Week 5 serves as the only finish above WR28 to come against Washington since all the way back in Week 3. Over the past three games, Washington is sixth, fifth, and ninth against the wide receiver position.

Kenny Golladay is expected to miss this game and T.J. Hockenson’s status is unclear, as well. Such additional opportunity has not proved fruitful for Jones in the past, however, as he has shown more capability when not forced to contend with top coverage. Jones is very touchdown-dependent, as evident by the fact that he has cleared three receptions only once since Week 2 and surpassed 43 yards just once in his last six games. Meanwhile, Washington has surrendered a paltry three touchdowns to wide receivers over the span of this entire season. Jones-managers likely have other options at receiver and now is the time to turn elsewhere for matchup-winning production.


Cam Newton vs. Baltimore Ravens

Cam Newton predictably put up a nice stat line versus the hapless New York Jets, finishing as the QB8 on the week. Cam has quietly finished as a top-twelve quarterback in three of his last four outings, although two of those were QB11 and QB12. Sandwiched in between those outings was a miserable QB28 performance in which Cam managed three interceptions. Miraculously, Cam has not thrown a single touchdown pass over his last five starts and has been picked five times during that stretch. The saving grace has been his four rushing touchdowns, but even his running has been inconsistent. Cam has alternated successful games on the ground, finishing with rushing totals of 76, 19, 54, and 16 yards over the past four weeks. All of this has made for a chaotic carousel for Cam’s fantasy managers. Fortunately, the decision on whether to start him should be obvious this week.

The Baltimore Ravens are top-twelve against fantasy quarterbacks but other than big games by Patrick Mahomes and Carson Wentz, no quarterback has found success against this defense. Baker Mayfield, Deshaun Watson, Joe Burrow, Ben Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers have combined to finish no better than QB18 against Baltimore. None of those five finished with more than 15.3 fantasy points and three were held to single-digits. The floor is clearly low in this matchup, as is the ceiling.

The Ravens have allowed zero passing touchdowns on three occasions this year, and only one passing score on two others. If you take away the four passing touchdowns that Mahomes put up against them, Baltimore has surrendered only six total passing scores in seven other games. They have also allowed only 200 passing yards per game once that matchup with the Chiefs is eliminated. Cam will have to get it done on the ground, and if he doesn’t, the results could be disastrous for fantasy managers. Start at your own risk.


Jared Cook vs. San Francisco 49ers

Jared Cook hasn’t surpassed three receptions or 52 receiving yards since Week 1. He’s also garnered more than four targets just once since Week 2. The floor is scary with Cook, as illustrated by last week’s two catches for 30 yards performance. Luckily, he has scored four times through seven contests, continuing a positive trend from last season in which he scored nine times.

Tied with Jimmy Graham for tenth in points per game for the position at 8.6, Cook takes on a 49ers Defense this week that ranks fifth against tight ends. The 49ers allow only 7.1 points to tight ends on average and have given up only 4.9 points per game over the past three weeks. Only Mike Gesicki has finished above TE16 against San Francisco and only two tight ends have scored against them, with those being the dangerous duo of Marcedes Lewis and Adam Shaheen. Michael Thomas made his long-awaited return to action last week, as did Emmanuel Sanders after a two-game absence. Not that targets were Cook’s calling card as is, but he certainly cannot afford to lose any further. Starting Cook is usually flipping a coin on a touchdown, but those odds decrease in this matchup. With the appalling state of the position, GMs may not have a pivot option, but those capable of doing so should have plenty of motivation.


Kirk Cousins vs. Chicago Bears

Kirk Cousins is coming off a usable performance in which he provided 20.8 fantasy points to those who started him. He is fortunate to be throwing to a couple of excellent wide receivers in Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson and has finished as a top-twelve quarterback three times on the season. Cousins has also demonstrated a worrisome floor, as evident by his QB33 finish against the Colts and QB25 showing in Green Bay.

The Bears aren’t friendly to opposing quarterbacks, as they rank second against the position, trailing the Colts by only 0.2 points per game for the top spot. Cousins has a ridiculously efficient touchdown rate of 7.2% but relies heavily on it with the Vikings throwing less than any team in the league. Efficiency is hard to come by against Chicago, as they currently hold quarterbacks to the second-lowest completion percentage in the NFL. Low volume mixed with low efficiency is a recipe for disaster in fantasyland. Drew Brees is the only quarterback to have finished as a top-twelve option against the Bears and only two others have finished inside the top-20, with Jared Goff delivering a QB18 showing and Tom Brady leaving Chicago as the QB19. Unless in a superflex league, Cousins shouldn’t be near lineups this week.


Damien Harris vs. Baltimore Ravens

Damien Harris has been usable but uninspiring, with fantasy finishes of RB24, RB40, RB31, RB9, and RB32 in the five weeks since his return. Complicating matters for Harris is his utter lack of involvement in the passing game, as he is essentially treated the way Sony Michel was as the lead back. As such, he requires a visit to the end zone to pay dividends for fantasy managers. This is where Cam Newton’s presence severely impacts Harris, as Cam has scored four times on the ground compared to one such end zone trip for Harris since the latter returned to action. James White has been phased out of the offense in recent weeks, but Rex Burkhead made an appearance with fifteen touches of his own last week. Add in the fact that Sony Michel is eligible to be activated for this contest, and that Harris has been limited in practice with chest and ankle injuries, and you could have a messy situation to contend with in this backfield.

Baltimore allows the fourth-fewest points to fantasy running backs at 16.4 points per game, 0.2 away from the top-ranked defense. While they have allowed two top-twelve performances and two on the fringe, the Ravens have consistently stymied rushing attacks by surrendering the sixth-fewest rushing yards and only six rushing touchdowns. Miles Sanders is the only running back to have topped 64 rushing yards in a game against Baltimore, and Harris relies heavily on rushing yardage to accumulate fantasy points. He shouldn’t be in lineups this week.


Hunter Henry vs. Miami Dolphins

Hunter Henry is started nearly every week in fantasy leagues yet has not produced at a level to earn such treatment. Currently the TE16, and TE17 in points per game, Henry has especially disappointed fantasy managers recently. After delivering only his second top-twelve performance of the season in Week 5, Henry has provided TE29, TE18, and TE25 results in his last three games. Henry’s ceiling has been as a back-end TE1, with his only TE1 performances coming as the TE10 and TE12. He has hit double-digit fantasy points only twice, and just barely. At this point, Henry does not possess the athletic ability to make big plays and is simply a possession receiver when the ball heads his way. Rookie sensation Justin Herbert has better targets in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and has the arm to get the ball to them. Henry has averaged 6.6 targets per game yet has not produced more than 39 receiving yards since Week 3 and has only one touchdown on the season.

But enough about the bad with Henry’s personal game. Let’s talk about the bad with Henry’s upcoming game. The Dolphins have been surprisingly solid defensively this season after shoring up their secondary in the offseason. Miami is currently seventh against tight ends in points per game and has allowed only one top-twelve performance to the position this year. Remarkably, that performance came from Darrell Daniels last week. Otherwise, the strongest performances against the Dolphins by a tight end are George Kittle’s four catches for 44 scoreless yards and Gerald Everett’s five catches for 32 scoreless yards. “Scoreless” is a common theme amongst tight ends facing Miami. That is unless your name is Reggie Gilliam, Maxx Williams, or Darrell Daniels. Yes, those are the only tight ends to find the end zone against the Dolphins. Yes, it is because the Dolphins did not think it was necessary to cover those players. Hunter Henry will be covered, and he will disappoint. Spare yourself another letdown from this middling tight end and shoot your shot elsewhere this week. Sit Henry.

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