Collin Hulbert is back for Week 10 of his NFL DFS picks to use as you put together your DraftKings and FanDuel lineups this weekend.
Welcome to the Week 10 edition of my FanDuel and DraftKings NFL picks.
Last week began with a breakout performance from San Francisco third-string quarterback, Nick Mullens while the Chargers, Texans, and Saints all pulled out close victories in very entertaining games. Most importantly, we had our best week to date in DFS with an average score of 156 on FanDuel.
The picks came through in a big way in Week 9. Jared Goff (30 points on FanDuel) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (26) led our quarterback picks, while Aaron Rodgers finished with 19 and Joe Flacco had a disappointing outing, as our fourth best value pick of the week. Kareem Hunt (33) and Christian McCaffrey (30) led our running back picks last week, as both accounted for multiple touchdowns. Although Latavius Murray found the end zone, Dalvin Cook stole the show for the Minnesota backfield. At least Murray was still a good value pick for the $5,600 we paid for him FanDuel.
Michael Thomas (33) was our gem last week. I managed to use him in every lineup and reaped the rewards. Davante Adams still received 13 points, although he didn’t get anywhere near the yardage he’s been accumulating of late. Our tight ends, Greg Olsen (16) and OJ Howard (19), really gave us everything we could’ve hoped for and more. The Bears defense produced 28 points to cap off our best week of the season.
A look ahead to Week 10
Week 10 will start with a great matchup between Carolina and Pittsburgh as the Steelers will look to continue their hot streak against the Panthers, who have been also playing great football as of late. I try to avoid picking players in the Thursday game, but it’s hard to ignore this matchup for Ben Roethlisberger.
As usual, I’m targeting the best matchups this week. Though the Saints and Bengals matchup looks as if it could be a shootout, I’m worried this game script could play out any number of ways, so I’m avoiding the quarterbacks in this one. It seems the most likely outcome will be a huge rushing output for the Saints. I’m concerned the Saints will find so much ground success, it will limit the ceiling for Brees and shorten the game altogether. Boyd will get plenty of work with AJ Green gone and Kamara will be busy, but the matchups indicate this might not be the shootout it appears to be on paper.
Pay extra attention to the Flex picks this week, as injury situations could cause their value to fluctuate. Also, there are three prime defensive picks this week, so save money for one in your lineup.
As it is set every week, the prices on FanDuel and DraftKings are listed next to every player in parentheses.
Have a great week 10!
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Matt Ryan (DK-$6,200/FD-$8,500)
Matt Ryan has been having another MVP-caliber season. With a depleted defense and the emergence of a solid rookie receiving option, Ryan is set up to continue his solid season in a Week 10 game against the 27th ranked passing defense, Cleveland. Coming off the bye, the Falcons travel to Cleveland and face a defense that held on for dear life against the high-powered Chiefs a week ago.
With a strong pass rush but a weak rushing defense, Ryan should be running a lot of play action in this game. There’s a recent article by Dave Choate of SB Nation in which he highlights how successful the Falcons have been this season, utilizing play action. This matchup has all the indications of a great outing for Ryan.
Ben Roethlisberger (DK-$6,300/FD-$7,800)
Ben Roethlisberger is facing the 17th ranked defense at home this Thursday. Last week’s trip to Baltimore was a test against a very strong defense. Ben passed with flying colors. The Steelers were able to maintain a balanced attack and keep the Ravens confused for a good portion of the game.
This week, the Steelers have a short week, which should work to their advantage. The Panthers will have to prepare for a number of weapons and simply don’t have the time to do so. I expect a balanced attack for the Steelers and plenty of scoring. As of this week, the Panthers rank 31st in Red Zone defense this year. Opponents are scoring on 80% or drives into the Red Zone. The Panthers are also averaging 2.8 touchdowns surrendered each game, putting them in the lower third of the league — tied with Pittsburgh — as well. Expect a high scoring game. This week looks good for Ben.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (DK-$5,900/FD-$7,600)
The Redskins have had a slew of good games this season, and they have had three particularly bad ones. They’ve also played four teams who love to throw the ball. In those games, they are 1-3 and the three losses weren’t close. This week, Ryan Fitzpatrick hosts the Redskins, who will be without a few offensive linemen and a key wide receiver. The Redskins are 20th against the pass and 5th against the run, so it’s fairly obvious Ryan Fitzpatrick will be getting plenty of work when the Skins arrive in Tampa.
Fitzpatrick had 26 points last week in a game that got away from the Bucs early. This week, Fitzpatrick will have plenty of opportunities. The key in this matchup will be the effectiveness of the stellar Skins safeties against a quarterback who loves to throw it deep. If Fitzpatrick can work more shallow routes and attack the corners and linebackers, he should have another good outing this week.
Baker Mayfield (DK-$5,400/FD-$7,400)
Baker Mayfield has had an incredible run of attractive matchups lately. The Falcons are still near the bottom (29th) against the pass and are incredibly consistent at allowing pass-catching backs to destroy their defense. Following the departure of offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, the Browns re-kindled their love affair with their estranged back, Duke Johnson, last week. That should come in handy for Baker this week, as the Falcons should be able to score at will. With more proven options out there this week, Mayfield has a great matchup and should be productive in what is likely to be a negative game script. If you trust the matchup, Baker is a value pick at a discount price.
Melvin Gordon (DK-$9,000/FD-$8,900)
Melvin Gordon isn’t as injured as we thought. Last week, Gordon returned from a two-week absence and went for 123 yards on 17 touches. Gordon is a multi-purpose back who has had some massive games this season. This week, the Chargers will face a lifeless Oakland team who just gave up 143 yards to the 49ers backfield on 26 carries. They were also dissected by a third-string quarterback making his first start. Any way you slice it, it looks bad for Oakland this week.
The Chargers will likely be looking at a positive game script throughout this one. That means Melvin Gordon should get plenty of carries against a defense allowing opposing rushers an average of 4.8 yards per carry and one rushing touchdown per game. Oakland ranks 29th against the run and the player prop line for Gordon this week is 94 yards rushing. Anything over 70 yards for a back is pretty good, so it’s clear Vegas is a big believer this week in Gordon.
Alvin Kamara (DK-$8,700/FD-$8,800)
Kamara faces the 26th ranked rushing defense in the Bengals this week. Consider that the Bengals gave up 184 yards rushing to Christian McCaffrey earlier this season. Kamara is coming off a busy game against the Rams in which he scored three times on 23 touches, so there’s a chance his usage is limited in a positive game script, much like the Redskins game. Unlike the Redskins, the Bengals have proven they can throw their way back into a game, so I don’t expect Kamara will see too much time on the bench in this game. Expect a lighter load than last week, but efficient numbers. His ceiling should be very high this week.
Duke Johnson Jr (DK-$4,700/FD-$5,600)
Duke Johnson was on his way to fantasy irrelevance before last week. After a breakout 2017 campaign, Johnson fell far behind in the pecking order in 2018 until both the head coach and offensive coordinator were fired just before Week 9. Following his welcome-back party against the Chiefs, Johnson will likely face another negative game script this week against the Falcons. Baker will need an effective safety option in the passing game, and the Falcons can provide it. As mentioned earlier, the Falcons are notorious for getting exposed by pass-catching backs and Duke Johnson is one of the best in the league in that area.
Julio Jones (DK-$8,300/FD-$8,700)
Julio Jones finally did it: he finally scored a touchdown in 2018. He also had a huge game last week and reminded us all that he’s on pace for over 1,800 yards this season, and we shouldn’t let his touchdown total take away from that. As I made the case earlier, Jones will get some good balls thrown his way this game. The Falcons will get the play action rolling and Jones should be able to find plenty of space against this 27th ranked passing defense. As long as the Browns can keep the pace in this game, Julio should have a pretty high ceiling.
Tyler Boyd (DK-$7,500/FD-$8,600)
Tyler Boyd is my top pick this week among all wide receivers given a number of positive factors on his side. The most notable is the absence of AJ Green. I touched on this matchup in the Week 10 preview, but it’s important to note Boyd is a slot receiver, so the absence of AJ Green won’t affect Boyd’s coverage matchup. It should really only impact his target volume.
Boyd should draw PJ Williams in coverage, which would be an incredibly favorable matchup for Boyd. Williams has not been very good this season (#98 ranked corner by Pro Football Focus) and was just burned by Cooper Kupp for 89 yards and a touchdown last week. Considering the Saints have the top-ranked rushing defense and the 31st ranked passing defense, Boyd should be a sure bet this week for a high floor and a high ceiling.
Josh Gordon (DK-$6,000/FD-$6,700)
By the numbers, the Titans have been a spectacular defense this season. The issue remains with the matchup. For the Titans, they did not fare well last season in both matchups versus the Patriots, nor did they manage to slow Tom Brady at all. This season, the Titans have been much improved on defense, but still have some holes. One such hole is the corner, Malcolm Butler. Butler ranks as the #108 corner by Pro Football Focus.
If Josh Gordon draws Butler in coverage, this will be a great night for Josh Gordon. Last week, Gordon tallied five receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. The Vegas line for Gordon receiving is 71 yards. The Titans feature such a strong rushing defense, it’s a good bet Tom Brady will look for his top wideout to exploit the Titans secondary.
George Kittle (DK-$5,900/FD-$7,400)
The Thursday night performance from Kittle last week was phenomenal. In a display of freakish athleticism, Kittle made a one-handed snag on a play that went for 72 yards. Kittle finished the night with over 100 yards and a score. This week, the 49ers are playing the Giants on Monday Night Football. Though the Giants rank 9th against tight ends this season, Kittle’s role in the offense is paramount and his athleticism is matched by only a few. There’s no defensive matchup in the NFL I’d shy away from with Kittle as the tight end. As demonstrated last week, it takes one routine catch for Kittle to turn it into a big gain. The Vegas line is 80 yards for Kittle this week. Expect action from the Iowa product this week.
OJ Howard (DK-$5,300/FD-$6,500)
Howard reeled in two touchdowns last week. This week, he’s got another solid matchup with the Redskins. With the threat of the Washington safeties taking away the deeper routes, Howard should get some solid intermediate work and be a big presence in the Red Zone again this week. Despite a modest Vegas prop line of 55 receiving yards, Howard is a favorite at -154 to score a touchdown. At such a low price, it’s hard to ignore Howard, given his ability and volume near the end zone. Howard is a great value this week.
Nick Vannett (DK-$2,700/FD-$5,200)
As far as the matchup goes, this is absolutely a trendy pick. Last week, Ben Watson went for 63 and a score against the Rams. That means nothing because these offenses are clearly very different. Early in the season, Jared Cook lit up the Rams for over 100 yards receiving. With similar heavy volume to the tight ends, Nick Vannett makes for a risky but sensible play this week.
Last week, Vannett had eight targets and six catches against the Chargers. He hasn’t gotten near the volume all season, so there’s no reason to believe he’s going to repeat what he just did the week prior. However, if you’re low on cash, Vannett might be a good play for an offense that has an unusually high passing touchdown rate on such a low passing volume. They like to throw it when they sniff the end zone. If you’re feeling lucky, he’s a cheap start.
Bears D (DK-$3,600/FD-$5,000)
Last week, Matthew Stafford spent a lot of time on the ground. The Vikings got to Stafford throughout the game and the Lions failed to make the necessary adjustments to get settled into a rhythm on offense. The Bears should get Khalil Mack back this weekLions performance last week should have the Bears salivating for a nice fall feast.
Jets D (DK-$3,400/FD-$4,900)
The Jets play Buffalo this week and there’s a good chance Josh Allen won’t be back. Even if he is, would it matter? You’re starting anyone against the Bills and you know it.
Chargers D (DK-$3,500/FD-$4,700)
The Chargers are looking sharp. Following a weird London game, the Chargers got to Russell Wilson a few times and managed to force a pick-six last week in Seattle. This week, the half-dead Raiders host LA in what will surely be a one-sided game. It’s hard to imagine the Raiders can repeat a performance as lifeless as last week, but let’s give them a chance. The first pick in the draft is on the line.
Aaron Jones (DK-$5,000/FD-$6,500)
Aaron Jones is facing the 26th ranked rushing defense, Miami. Jones had another strong 76-yard rushing week last week, as his usage is slowly increasing each week. This week, his prop line is 71 yards rushing. He’s also a -111 favorite to score a touchdown this week. If you want a high floor on a flex or cheap running back this week, Jones is the man for it.
Cooper Kupp (DK-$6,400/FD-$6,500)
This may be the sneaky play of the week. Seattle has a 6th ranked defense against the pass this season. Here’s the thing. Kupp is a slot receiver who, a month prior, went for 90 yards and a touchdown on nine targets against the same Seattle secondary. Last week, Keenan Allen went well over 100 yards in the slot against the Seahawks. Kupp and Allen are among the best route runners in all of football, so it’s a very good comp for Kupp. The prop line for Kupp this week is 91 receiving yards and he’s -200 to score a touchdown (2 to 1 odds). Vegas knows. I’m making this sneaky pick this week.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (DK-$5,000/FD-$5,400)
There is no Vegas prop line for Marquez this week. He’s an anomaly as the status of Geronimo Allison is very much still in doubt going forward. If Allison is out this week, as expected, you will continue to see Marquez Valdes-Scantling get more and more targets each week. For now, MVS is a risky play this week. Davante Adams will be drawing Xavien Howard in coverage, so MVS will likely see more than a few targets Sunday, as a result. MVS has looked very sharp since slipping into the number two receiver role recently. Randall Cobb will continue to get work in the slot, but MVS might get a few shots this week on the outside.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who got a little too into Football analysis. Since leaving the Army, he’s practically the Jack Ryan of football analysts. But he spends most of his days with his wife and two daughters, so he is clearly a better father than Jack Ryan.
Follow Collin on Twitter @CollinHulbert