Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Week 10
The last time Mark Sanchez had a 300-yard game: November 22nd, 2012.
Seven quarterbacks did this in Week 9.
The last time Mark Sanchez threw three or more touchdowns in a single game: September 9th, 2012.
Five quarterbacks did this in Week 9.
The last time Mark Sanchez had a game without an interception: December 9th, 2012.
Nine starting quarterbacks did this in Week 9.
The last time Mark Sanchez had a game with at least three touchdowns and zero interceptions: September 26th, 2010.
Three quarterbacks did this in Week 9.
Perhaps you may not want to listen to the first "start" recommendation of the week...
Start Mark Sanchez- This feels dirty. It feels very dirty. But with high-end fantasy quarterbacks on byes this week, I'm afraid you could do worse than play Philadelphia's new starting quarterback.
Our metrics certainly don't love Sanchez. In his four seasons as starter in New York, Sanchez had a Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) score greater than -59.37 just once. For reference, that would've ranked second-to-last a year ago, ahead of only, ironically, Geno Smith.
But Sanchez is now in a friendly system filled with weapons. He'll face a Panthers defense in Week 10 that ranks 20th against the pass according to our schedule-adjusted metrics, and a secondary that's been torched this year - 5 quarterbacks have posted top-10 numbers against them, while 3 of those signal-callers were top 6.
Don't start Sanchez over obvious, less-risky options, but don't ignore him based on his name alone.
Sit Alex Smith - It hasn't been a great year for Alex Smith in fantasy football. He's already had two games with zero touchdown passes, and has moved past the 20-point mark just once.
This week won't get any better. The Bills rank fifth in fantasy points against, and the advanced analytics peg them as the sixth-best secondary in the NFL. Only Tom Brady has ranked higher than 10th against Buffalo, and we shouldn't expect that to change after Week 10.
Start Ben Roethlisberger - Regardless of the matchup, it'd be tough to bench Roethlisberger after back-to-back six-touchdown performances. But given the matchup, Big Ben could break three-game records.
The Steelers face the Jets this weekend, a team that's surrendered more fantasy points to the quarterback position than any other team in the league. They've allowed at least two touchdown passes to every passer they've faced, and only Derek Carr - in his first career start - has finished lower than 15th at the position in a given week against them.
All logic points towards Big Ben posting a top-10 week.
Sit Ryan Tannehill - Tanny's been playing well of late, and finished with a studly 28 fantasy points last week against San Diego. But this week will be a much tougher test, as the Dolphins travel to Detroit to take on the Lions and their fifth-ranked secondary.
Only two quarterbacks have been able to rank higher than 16th in a given week against Detroit this year, while half of the quarterbacks who have faced the Lions have finished with single-digit fantasy production. It's one of the worst matchups imaginable for a passer, and even though Tannehill's played well, he's not worth a start.
As I wrote about earlier in the week, Hill's outperformed Bernard this season, so we shouldn't be afraid of any sort of drop off in production. In fact, you could argue Hill's better suited for a high volume of touches.
Meanwhile, Cleveland's struggled against the run this year - 9 different running backs have scored double-digit PPR points against them, while they rank 18th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP. The Bengals are six-point favorites, so there should be plenty of Hill opportunities.
Williams has a -12.64 Rushing NEP this season, which is second worst among the 17 running backs with 100 or more carries. In Week 10 he'll face a Seahawks defense that ranks third against the run according to our metrics, having allowed just one running back to rank higher than 15th in PPR leagues this season (DeMarco Murray). It would take a lot for me to trust Williams this week.
Start Terrance West - If you need a high-risk, high-reward play, look Terrance West's way. West saw the most volume in the Browns' crowded backfield in Week 9, and head coach Mike Pettine said that West has "earned the touches."
Though the Browns have had an annoying carousel in their backfield for most of the season, there's reason to believe West will lead the two-headed (perhaps three-headed) monster against the Bengals tonight.
If he does see the most touches, chances are, he'll be effective. Though the Browns are a mess offensively right now, Cincinnati ranks as the worst rush defense in the league according to NEP. That's translated to fantasy, too, as they've allowed the 25th-most fantasy points to the position this year.
Sit Bishop Sankey - Sankey's seen 10 or more touches in three games this season. Those three games have resulted in 8, 7.8 and 5.6 PPR fantasy points. Yikes.
The Titans get Baltimore this week. The Ravens haven't allowed a single top-10 running back performance in PPR leagues this year, rank fifth against the run according to our metrics and have given up the third-fewest fantasy points in the league to opposing backs. No thanks.
Start Bobby Rainey - Rainey made this column last week, and despite seeing fewer than five second-half carries, he finished with a respectable day against the Browns. This week he'll look for revenge against a Falcons team that forced two fumbles against him in Week 3 - don't forget, Rainey still finished with 13.5 PPR fantasy points during that Thursday night contest.
The Falcons continue to be terrible defensively, and rank 29th against rushing attacks according to our metrics. Rainey should still see the most touches in the Bucs' backfield, too, despite rookie Charles Sims getting his first action of the season this weekend.
Start Kelvin Benjamin - Last week's two-catch performance against the Saints isn't what I'd consider stellar, but it's good to see the rookie still get 10 targets. He just couldn't get it together with quarterback Cam Newton, resulting in an atrocious catch rate. The truth is, his fantasy day could've been pretty nice had the two even been remotely on the same page.
Things should get easier this week against Philadelphia though. The Eagles' secondary can create big plays, but they rank 28th in fantasy points against (PPR leagues) and have seen six different receivers finish in the top-nine weekly wide receiver scoring against them this season. Seven wide receivers have had 20-plus PPR fantasy point days against Philadelphia this year. Start Benjamin.
Sit Mike Wallace - Wallace has put together a better-than-you-think season, and is pacing for double-digit touchdown receptions. An issue, however, is that he only has 5 receptions on 15 targets over the team's last two contests. A bigger issue is that he faces Detroit this weekend.
The Lions have been studly against wideouts this year, as you may have guessed given the Tannehill blurb above. In PPR leagues, Kenny Stills is the only player to have scored more than 18 fantasy points against them, while just two receivers have 5 or more catches versus Detroit. Wallace isn't worth a start this week if you can help it, and will be more touchdown-reliant than he has all season long.
Start Anquan Boldin - Boldin made the column last week because he's a Rams killer, but there's reason to like him in Week 10 as well. New Orleans' secondary ranks 10th-worst in the league after a couple of good performances of late, but much of that can be attributed to corner Keenan Lewis' strong play. He saw a lot of the aforementioned Benjamin last week, and played well against Jordy Nelson when matched up against him two weeks ago.
Lewis could see a lot of Michael Crabtree this weekend, leaving Boldin with the more favorable matchup. And that's a good thing, too, because Boldin's seen six more targets than Crabtree over the team's last four games.
Sit Rueben Randle - No receiver may be as frustrating as Rueben Randle. He's seeing the volume needed to produce - 20 targets over the team's last two games and 10 or more targets in four contests this year - but he just hasn't been efficient. Among the 46 wide receivers with 30 or more catches this year, only Percy Harvin and Riley Cooper have lower Reception NEP per target averages. Oh.
Odell Beckham is already far outperforming Randle, and the Giants face off against Richard Sherman's Seahawks this weekend in Seattle. While the Seahawks aren't nearly as good at stopping the pass as they were last year, they've still surrendered the third-fewest points to wide receivers in fantasy this year. And if I'm the Giants, I'm putting my inefficient receiver on Sherman's side as much as possible.
Start Justin Hunter - The bold wide receiver call goes to Hunter this week, who will face off against a Jimmy Smith-less Ravens squad. Though Baltimore certainly will be better than they were against Pittsburgh in last week's contest, Hunter could draw a matchup against corners from waivers and the practice squad.
Given his inconsistency all year, it'd be tough to start Hunter over obvious, plug-and-play options. But with so many teams on bye, starting Hunter could be the move you need to make in order to keep pace. And, after all, he did see 10 targets in the Titans last contest.
Start Owen Daniels - Daniels now has 18 targets over his last two games played, catching 12 balls for over 100 yards and a touchdown. Since becoming the full-time starter after Dennis Pitta's injury, Daniels is averaging 6.8 targets per game, and 60% of his games have resulted in top-15 tight end PPR finishes. And don't forget, one of those contests where he didn't perform well was against Tampa Bay, where he dropped a touchdown pass during Joe Flacco's monster five-touchdown day.
Daniels gets Tennessee this week - they rank 18th in terms of fantasy points against to the position, and have allowed a tight end touchdown in half of their 2014 games. He's a nice high-floor start.
Sit Vernon Davis - Do you know how many four-reception games Vernon Davis has this season? One. Do you know how many times he's topped seven PPR fantasy points? Once. Do you know when the last time he did either of these things? Week 1.
Davis has been awful this year. He's barely going to hit the 50-target mark when it's all said and done, and gets a Saints defense this week that's been stingy against tight ends, ranking second in fantasy points against. He shouldn't be in your lineup.
Start Heath Miller - Miller's been oddly inconsistent this season, but when he's on, he has monster games - 17 of his 35 receptions came in two contests, and he scored in both of those games.
Not surprisingly, his big games came against two teams that haven't defended the tight end well this season in Tampa Bay and Indianapolis. The Jets, his Week 10 opponent, have been pretty bad at defending the position as well, having given up the fourth-most points to tight ends this year. A lot of those points have come in the form of touchdowns - New York has allowed at least one tight end touchdown in all but 3 games this year, including 11 over their last 7 games.
Start the Baltimore Ravens - Baltimore hosts Zach Mettenberger this weekend in what could be a game that quickly gets away from the Titans. That's what Vegas thinks, at least, as Baltimore is a 9.5-point favorite with a relatively small 44-point over/under. Defenses against Tennessee have ranked in the top 18 each week this season - giving you a decent floor - while the Titans offense has also allowed three double-digit performances.
Sit the San Francisco 49ers - If this was in San Francisco, perhaps I'd feel a little different. But in New Orleans against what looks like an improved Drew Brees? That's a risky move I'm not willing to make, especially with solid streaming options in Week 10.
Other Defenses to Start: Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals
Other Defenses to Sit: Chicago Bears, New York Giants