Fantasy Football Week 10: Position-by-Position Breakdown
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Bleacher Report by numberFire Content Editor and Writer Zach Warren. It is being republished here with both Bleacher Report's and the author's permission. Because denying anybody the stats magic is a crying shame.
They can't all be Doug Martin.
The Muscle Hamster's 51 fantasy points (in a standard ESPN league) allowed the rookie to finish with the third-highest single-game fantasy score since 1995, and it's a safe bet that it will be the highest single total this season as well.
The smart fantasy owners, though, won't spend too much time looking back. Because already, you should not expect Doug Martin to be the highest scoring running back again for Week 10.
How can I be so sure? I've got a little friend on my side that I like to call math. Don't argue with me; argue with the numbers.
The Top: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
It's a classic case of the stars aligning: a talented quarterback in a system that throws the ball on 54 percent of its offensive plays going against numberFire's No. 31 most efficient defense so far this season. Brady's 22.94 FP is the highest single projection we've seen in the past two weeks.
If anybody had a case to take Brady's spot, it would be Matt Ryan and his matchup against New Orleans' No. 32 opponent-adjusted defense. But our projections have him just barely getting beat in an odd way: rushing TDs. Brady is projected to have 0.24 rushing touchdowns this week, while Ryan comes in at only 0.10.
The Surprise: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
About ready to give up on Stafford after he hasn't lived up to his top-five QB expectations? At least this week against the Vikings, you may want to shelf those doubts.
For one, the Lions are throwing the ball as much as ever. Detroit has passed on 64 percent of its offensive plays this season, one of the highest proportions in the league. The team has rushed the ball more than passed the ball only once this entire season, last week against Jacksonville (a 34-33 split).
And if Stafford's going to go off against anybody, it's the Minnesota defense. The Vikings have allowed three touchdown passes in each of their past two weeks, to Russell Wilson and Josh Freeman.
The Lead Weight: Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Cutler and Marshall have really seemed to get in sync over recent weeks, with Marshall slowly sliding up the rankings to become the top fantasy point earner at receiver so far this year.
But in spite of recent trends, it's all about the matchups in fantasy football, and Cutler and the Bears offense face a tough one this week in the Houston Texans.
Houston is numberFire's No. 2 opponent-adjusted defense so far this season, only behind the Bears themselves, and have only eight and five FP to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Joe Flacco in their last two games.
The Top: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
So much for those injuries slowing him down. All-Day has been motoring as solidly as ever.
Peterson has not had a single game with less than eight FP this entire season; he has topped 16 or higher his past three weeks. The last time he saw a yards-per-carry average under six, Doug Martin still had not recorded a double-digit fantasy game.
This week, he gets to face off against a Lions defense ranked as our No. 27 most-efficient defense so far this season. Directly ahead of Detroit? Cincinnati, Kansas City and Oakland. This should be pretty for Peterson owners.
The Surprise: Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants
Go ahead, keep throwing injury concerns, or the threat of Andre Brown in Ahmad Bradshaw's way. He just keeps running.
Last week's four FP was his lowest amount in a full game so far this season, but if anything, his day encouraged me. Even with injury questions coming into the game, Bradshaw still received 15 carries. That represented 33 percent of all Giants offensive plays and nearly 70 percent of their running plays on the game.
And if he keeps those same proportions this week, his chances of breaking some long runs shoots sky high. Just like AP, Bradshaw has an advantageous matchup with Cincinnati's No. 26 defense.
The Lead Weight: Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
Maybe it left your head during the bye week, but do you remember that Week 8 Rams-Patriots matchup? I know, I know, it was some riveting football and you won't be able to forget it for the rest of your days.
In that particular game, we saw something. And that something was a lot of Jackson on the bench. Daryl Richardson finished the game with seven carries—an equal number to Jackson—and even more yards. That wasn't new either; Richardson had eight carries in Week 7 and 11 carries in Week 6.
With such an active poacher, I'm not sure I would trust Jackson this week even against a weaker defense. Facing San Francisco is only icing on the cake.
The Top: Victor Cruz, New York Giants
He's first in projected yards (112.29), projected touchdowns (0.87) and projected receptions (7.21). There's not a single way that we don't expect Cruz to go off against the Cincinnati secondary in Week 10.
Last week was considered a down week for Cruz. All he did was, you know, go off for 67 yards, have five of his team's 10 receptions and be targeted on nearly half (11 of 24) of Eli Manning's total throws. You know, ho-hum.
With how often Eli is looking his way, Victor Cruz is not only a must-start every single week he remains healthy, but he's one of those players that can singlehandedly change a fantasy matchup. You want him on your side.
The Surprise: Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
Perhaps having him up at No. 2 might come as a shock to some, but take a closer look at the numbers, and we're seeing figures in Indy that we haven't seen since Peyton's prime.
Wayne has been targeted 101 times total on the season; that's the most of any receiver in the league, period. Those 101 targets are 30 percent of Luck's total throws, and the next closest Colt is Donnie Avery with 69 looks.
Wayne's hold on the No. 2 spot this week is not even close; we have him a full two projected fantasy points ahead of No. 3 Roddy White. Against the hapless 1-7 Jaguars, Wayne can be counted on for a big day.
The Lead Weight: Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
Of course, all the targets in the world can't help you if you can't catch the ball, and so far this season, Bowe's had a case of the dropsies.
His current 55 percent catch rate is way below the 60 percent league average, not helped by both Cassel and Quinn's seeming inability to throw an accurate spiral. Bowe hasn't put up a double-digit fantasy game since Week 4.
His matchup isn't terrible—the Steelers hold numberFire's No. 20 opponent-adjusted defense—but I need to see consistency from Bowe before trusting him. And recently, it hasn't been there. He's numberFire's No. 25 WR this week.
The Top: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Another week, another instance of Gronkowski topping the charts. This should be a surprise to nobody. In fact, I was thinking of placing Gronk at No. 7 just to see if anyone would notice, but I ultimately can't argue with the math.
The math is clearly in Gronkowski's favor, especially after his previous two games of 19 and 26 FP. Even after his bye week, his 95 FP in a standard league still outpace every other tight end by over 20.
And here's the amazing part: He's only third on the Patriots in targets. He's just good at converting what opportunities he does get with a 67 percent catch rate near the top of all tight ends.
The Surprise: Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders
I've been singing his praises for a while now, mostly because of the lack of other Oakland targets as well as his sky-high catch rate.
So far this season, Myers has been the second-most-targeted player (50) on the entire Oakland squad, only 10 targets behind Denarius Moore for first. Meanwhile, supposed No. 2 receiver Rod Streater languishes behind with only 40 looks. And that's only gone up in recent weeks; his 13 in Week 9 against Tampa Bay led the team.
But perhaps more importantly, Myers has been efficient. His 78 percent catch rate leads all non-running backs and smokes, even Gronkowski, by over 10 percent. It's allowed Myers to have 39 receptions on the season, most on the Raiders and fourth-most among all tight ends.
Last week, the touchdown total finally caught up to his receiving prowess. There's no reason to see that sliding back down now.
The Lead Weight: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Talented young tight end facing a weaker defense, and Percy Harvin may or may not play in this game. What could go wrong for Rudolph owners?
A lot, actually. Rudolph has seen absolutely no looks from Ponder these past two weeks, with only two targets in each of the past two Vikings games. And although the offense as a whole is struggling, Rudolph seems to be getting the worst of the storm: Those four combined targets were only seven percent of Ponder's total looks over the past two weeks.
With a grand total of exactly one fantasy point over the past three weeks, most owners are starting to see the trend that numberFire has seen developing for a while. Don't expect a bounce-back week from Rudolph here.