Fantasy Football: Week 10 Preview

Posted Nov 9, 2012

Pittsburgh WR Emmanuel Sanders could be strong play this week with Antonio Brown battling an injury. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
It's hard to believe, but we're entering the “stretch run” of the fantasy football regular season. Most leagues finish up after Week 13, giving you only four more chances to either get into the playoffs or improve your postseason seeding.

If you're playing catch-up, you have to go all out over these four weeks. That might mean trading a solid starter with a bad matchup for a one-week fill-in, or it might mean going for all boom-or-bust guys as your Nos. 2 and 3 receivers and tight end. It's not an ideal strategy, but you can't risk another loss.

If you know you're going to make the playoffs, then it's time to start optimizing your roster for Weeks 14-16. That might mean trading someone like Frank Gore, who has tough matchups those weeks (vs. MIA, @NE, @SEA) for Shonn Greene, who has good matchups (@JAC, @TEN, vs. SD), or simply stocking up on handcuffs, free-agent WRs or extra D/STs who have good matchups later in the season.

Either way, the playoff push starts now, and you always want to go in with as much momentum as possible. With that in mind, here are some key numbers to know about every contest this week, plus a sleeper, stumbler, stud or injury concern to watch out for with a brief explanation why. Note that the "studs" are guys who are either better than most owners realize or established stars who owners might be foolishly thinking about sitting.

Byes: Browns, Cardinals Packers, Redskins.

Rams at 49ers

Stat to know: Danny Amendola averaged 9.8 targets per game before his clavicle injury, and even though the 49ers are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to WRs (17), they're a little more generous in terms of catch percentage (57.5, 19th). Amendola is still a solid starting option in PPR leagues and can function as a WR3 in standard formats.

Stud: TE Vernon Davis (Rams allowing seventh-most FPPG to TEs).

Lions at Vikings

Stat to know: Minnesota is tied for the sixth-most FPPG to QBs (22.3), but remarkably, it's tied for just 23rd in FPPG to WRs (19.7). This is largely because of a high amount of rushing yards and rushing TDs by QBs and receiving yards and receiving TDs by RBs and TEs. This is good news for every Lion except Titus Young and Ryan Broyles, who make for risky plays this week.

Injury: Percy Harvin, ankle (Unlikely to play, giving the Lions' D/ST a big boost in value).

Falcons at Saints

Stat to know: With Darren Sproles (hand) likely out again, Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Christopher Ivory will split touches. Ivory led the team in carries (10) last week and had a touchdown, but Thomas is still the best bet for fantasy points given his talent and versatility. He led New Orleans' backs with 8.75 yards per touch last week.

Stumbler: K Garrett Hartley (Two FG attempts in past four games; Falcons allowing second-fewest FPPG to Ks).

Giants at Bengals

Stat to know: Andy Dalton has been a boom-or-bust option this year, and that will likely continue this week. The Giants have a pretty solid pass defense, but they've also allowed 20 pass plays of 25 yards or more (tied for fourth most). Dalton should connect for a couple big gainers, making him a high-upside bye-week fill-in if you're in a bind.

Sleeper: TE Martellus Bennett (Bengals allowing fifth-most FPPG to TEs).

Raiders at Ravens

Stat to know: Taiwan Jones is expected to start at RB with both Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson likely out due to high ankle sprains. Jones has just 75 rushing yards in his short career, but Baltimore is allowing 139.5 rushing yards per game (fifth most). He's a good sleeper this week, even if Marcel Reece could steal some touches.

Sleeper: QB Joe Flacco (Raiders tied for eighth-most FPPG allowed to QBs).    

Bills at Patriots

Stat to know: When these teams met in Week 4, New England produced two 100-yard rushers (Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley). Look for Ridley to have another big game, but this time, Shane Vereen is likely to get the extra carries. Consider him a flex back this week.

Injuries: TE Aaron Hernandez ankle, WR Stevie Johnson, thigh (Both expected to play; both should be started).

Titans at Dolphins

Stat to know: Reggie Bush has actually played fewer snaps than Daniel Thomas the past two weeks, but he's had four more touches and scored a touchdown. Bush is still a strong play against a Tennessee defense allowing 25.7 FPPG to RBs (third most). Thomas is also a good flex play since it looks like he's the front-runner for goal-line carries.

Sleepers: WRs Kenny Britt and Nate Washington (Miami allowing fourth-most FPPG to WRs).

Chargers at Buccaneers

Stat to know: Remarkably, Antonio Gates ranks just 18th among all TEs in targets (42), but he's had more than 10 fantasy points in two of his past three games. This week, he takes on a Bucs' defense allowing the ninth-most FPPG to TEs (8.1). Gates is worth starting again.

Stumbler: Chargers D/ST (Bucs allowing just 4.5 FPPG to D/STs, fourth fewest).

Broncos at Panthers

Stat to know: Denver does a fairly good job limiting WRs (25th in FPPG allowed), but TEs have run wild against them this year (tied for second-most FPPG allowed). Steve Smith is still a must-start, but so is Greg Olsen, who should do well after receiving nine targets last week.

Stumbler: RB DeAngelo Williams (Denver has allowed just 95.5 rushing yards and four total TDs to RBs this year).

Jets at Seahawks

Stat to know: The Seahawks still rank among the league's best run defenses, but they've allowed an average of 22.6 FPPG to RBs over the past three weeks. Shonn Greene has averaged 23.7 touches in his past three contests. This isn't a great matchup for him, but he should be able to rack up enough total yards to be an RB2.

Stumbler: QB Russell Wilson (Jets allowing just 14.9 FPPG to QBs, sixth fewest).

Cowboys at Eagles

Stat to know: Jeremy Maclin has been a major disappointment this year, but for the most part, it wasn't for lack of targets. Last week, though, he received just four looks against the league's worst defense. This week, he's facing the league's fifth-best pass defense. Maclin always has upside, but he's a low-percentage play this week.

Sleepers: Giants and Eagles D/STs (Both teams in top five in FPPG allowed to D/STs).

Texans at Bears

Stat to know: The Bears and Texans rank 21st and 23rd, respectively, in FPPG allowed to WRs. Brandon Marshall is still a must-start, but owners might be a little leery of Andre Johnson, who hasn't scored since Week 3. With 32 targets and 25 catches over the past three games, Johnson is still a must-start, too.

Sleeper: K Shayne Graham (Bears allowing eighth-most FPPG to Ks).

Chiefs at Steelers

Stat to know: The Steelers defense has been much better in real life than in fantasy, but this week it faces a Chiefs team allowing the most FPPG to D/STs (12.6). Pittsburgh should be started in all formats.

Sleeper: WR Emmanuel Sanders (Antonio Brown unlikely to play; Chiefs allowing 22.4 FPPG to WRs).

Matt Lutovsky is a fantasy football writer for Sporting News' Fantasy Source. You can read more of his work on the Fantasy Source football homepage.