Outside the Huddle: Week 10

Fantasy football suggestions for when you face the player in your league who’s now offering cash transactions for dropping every good player on his team.

With four weeks remaining in the fantasy season, some of you are jockeying for top seeds or fighting for the playoffs. Either way, bad advice is more important than ever as that extra win could be the difference in planning your new bathroom reno or depleting your holiday present budget. You don’t want to end up like Stephen Gostkowski, who missed another field goal Thursday night, inching ever so slightly to an early holiday-season release. The most astonishing stat heading into Week 10 is that the Eagles are ranked the top fantasy defense and the Giants are ranked fourth. I had to refresh ESPN multiple times and re-check my notes, but apparently, yes, experts are calling for a defensive battle even though most Vegas books have the Eagles as four-point road favorites and an over/under of 44 1/2. Something stinks about this game, aside from the play of Carson Wentz and Daniel Jones. In other matchups to watch, Joe Burrow faces the undefeated Steelers, Nick Mullins and the free-falling 49ers play the Saints, and Green Bay is playing the woeful Jaguars. Here are few of my picks that could solidify your playoff positioning.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos (@ Las Vegas) orLeonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ Panthers)

Melvin Gordon falls into the category of a once top-level back. Some of his decline has been due to a change in location and an inefficient offense, some of it to father time. Despite being only 27 years old, his numbers have gone down every season since 2017 when he scored twelve touchdowns in Phillip Rivers’ high-scoring offense. In Week 4, he had a monster game against the Jets, but really, who hasn’t, and he’s competing in a backfield with Phillip Lindsay, who has out-gained and out-performed Gordon in a number of games recently. But the Broncos are traveling to Las Vegas to face their bitter rivals, and the Raiders have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to backs this season. So it’s possible Gordon could re-create his pro bowl year from 2017 in a single game.

Leonard Fournette couldn’t wait to get out of Jacksonville where he went from being a featured back on a near Super Bowl contender gone bust to averaging just under 10 carries for a star-studded Tampa Bay offense that had its doors blown off by the Saints last week. Fournette had one carry and caught 6 passes for 41 yards as Tampa Bay became extremely one-sided playing catch-up and watching Tom Brady throw picks all over Raymond James stadium. This week, the Bucs play a Carolina defense that’s been middle of the road. Brady typically rebounds from bad losses rather well, but that may further limit Fournette’s role if the Bucs try to open up the playbook so all their stars can get the ball.

Your angle: Push that Dream Team offense and watch Fournette’s touches whittle away like dry leaves in November sun.

Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings (@ Bears) or Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ Panthers)

Adam Thielen, the pride of the Minnesota State Mavericks, holds an NFL record for most consecutive 100-plus-yard games with Calvin Johnson. But now he’s thirty, and when I hit triple decades, I pulled a hammy sneezing. With Dalvin Cook’s emergence as a one-man wrecking crew and Kirk Cousins throwing passes to the down marker guy, Thielen’s automatic status is in jeopardy. Last week, Thielen was only targeted fivetimes with two receptions against the Lions, and he hasn’t found the end zone in the last two games after scoring seven TDs in six games to start the season. This week, the Vikings will travel to Chicago for their third-straight divisional game and meet the Bears’ top-ten defense. But the Bears are going through their own struggles. They have a three-game losing streak, and head coach Matt Nagy just relieved himself of play calling duties. I smell a rebound, or it could be the worn treads on those thirty-year old legs.

Nobody was supposed to benefit more from Tom Brady’s arrival than Mike Evans. Evans had over 1,000 yards in every season he’s been in the league, and that’s with Mike Glennon, Josh McCown, Jameis Winston, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose combined one Super Bowl is not even close to Brady’s six. Evans scored six touchdowns in the first five games, sparking visions of Randy Moss in 2007, but has seen less of the ball lately as the Brady has been spreading it around to Chris Godwin, Gronk, and now Antonio Brown. Last week in the blowout loss to the Saints, Evans salvaged 64 receiving yards in the second half and has been demoted to a Flex option at best.

Your angle: The Vikings did not let Stefon Diggs walk so they could throw the ball to anyone but Adam Thielen.

Greg Oldfield’s stories have appeared in Hobart, Carve, Barrelhouse, and Maudlin House, among others. He also writes about soccer for the Florida Cup and the Brotherly Game and often rambles about soccer on Twitter. 

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