Austin’s Fantasy Train: Week 10


Austin West, Contributing Writer

Welcome back everyone as apparently last week wasn’t high scoring enough for some people so Joe Mixon decided to have himself a HISTORIC day at the office. Mixon would score five touchdowns on the day, yes five, with 153 rushing yards and four receptions for 58 yards. This was the 12th most fantasy points scored in a game by a running back all-time and is the most since Alvin Kamara’s Christmas Day performance in 2020. Shoutout to my good friend Britt who had to face Kamara and myself in the fantasy championships that year. That one still haunts her. Other big performances include Davante Adams with over 35 fantasy points and Justin Fields, who we talked about last week, just missed the 50-point mark. By that standard, a very good start to last week’s predictions. 

One pick is correct already, we look at the rest of my projected overperformers from Week nine. Poor Aaron Jones is unable to even meet his projection as the Packers looked terrible against the Lions and the only two red zone carries went to AJ Dillon. Aaron Jones would also exit that game early with injury leading a bad fantasy day to become worse but is likely to play this week. My original wide receiver was Chargers’ Keenan Allen who was ruled out for this game so I went to Twitter to let the people know: Joshua Palmer is going to be the guy. Palmer exceeded his original projection of 13 fantasy points in a tight game with the Falcons. Finally, Dawson Knox and the Bills had a tough loss against the Bills, doubled by Knox or any other receiver being unable to find the endzone. Only 5.5 fantasy points on the day for the Buffalo tight end. The underperformers this week shape up just as well as my overperformers as Tom Brady underperforms and Brandin Cooks was ruled out as predicted on Thursday Night against the Eagles. Meanwhile, Michael Carter is able to drive the ball on the Bills for 76 yards and a touchdown, as well as a single reception for 10 yards. TJ Hockenson also gets a lot more usage than previously thought as he learned the playbook fast enough to earn nine receptions on nine targets for 70 yards earning himself 16 fantasy points. We went 50/50 on projections last week just like a lot of top ranked teams versus underdogs last week, (Looking at you Alabama) let’s see if we can win some people their leagues in this week’s column. 

Teams on a BYE: New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, and Baltimore Ravens

Tickets to Ride

Quarterback, Dak Prescott: As much as I would love to call for Justin Fields once again this week against the Lions defense, I swore never to use a player back-to-back. Instead, we ride with Dak Prescott against the Green Bay Packers. Even though the Packers have been one of the most stout teams in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks this season, Dak Prescott may be the exception to the average. Throwing for at least 25 attempts in his three games played and his rushing upside allows Dak to be able to attack this Packers defense in a multitude of ways. We may see a lot of Ezekial Elliott and Tony Pollard in this game but those two will help Prescott to set up the pass even more. Coming off a BYE week and a game in which he scored three total touchdowns, Dak and the Cowboys want to keep this momentum rolling in order to keep up with the undefeated Eagles in the NFC East. 

Running Back, Jamaal Williams: I remember a time when people said that D’Andre Swift for the Lions would be a top fantasy pick because of his explosiveness and the workload he would get in Detroit. Cut to 2022 and this has become Jamaal Williams’ backfield to run as Swift has been nursing injuries all season long only playing 10 snaps to Williams’ 38. This is no knock on Williams either as he’s been great for the Lions averaging over 65 rushing yards a game and eight touchdowns on the year, which is third-best in the league. He faces the Chicago Bears this week who have allowed the sixth most fantasy points to running backs on the season and the third most rushing touchdowns to the position. Williams also gets much of the running back work when it comes to the red zone, setting him up to run in a score if the Lions can’t rely on the arm of Jared Goff.

Wide Receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster: We came into this season wondering who the Kansas City Chiefs’ number two target would be behind Travis Kelce and it seems we’ve finally figured out that it is JuJu Smith-Schuster. He’s second on the team in targets behind Kelce, and with at least eight targets per game in all but two contests this season, Patrick Mahomes has trust in his wide receiver. With three straight games of top-ten fantasy finishes, with a touchdown in two of those, Smith-Schuster is making a name for himself heading into a matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars who have allowed the eighth most points to wide receivers this season. Believing that the Chiefs should start to pull away with this game early, JuJu is a strong flex option as his targets may begin to diminish in the second half. 

Tight End, Cade Otton: One of the standout tight ends in recent weeks, Cade Otton has been a star for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since Week five, he’s had double-digit fantasy finishes in three out of the five weeks. He’s also had at least five targets in four of the last five games. Filling in for Cameron Brate the last couple of weeks, if Brate cannot go for this week’s game in Germany, yes the Germany in Europe, Otton looks to be a staple target for Tom Brady against a Seahawks defense that has given up the most points to fantasy tight ends this season. With a touchdown last week and tied for fifth in red zone targets among all tight ends with eight, he has the chance to score in a game that has the chance to be high scoring for the international fans. 

Missed the Train

Quarterback, Kirk Cousins: Wait, Kirk Cousins is the pick to underperform? Kimbo Kirk? The Noon Nightmare? The Vikings and Cousins face the Buffalo Bills who just suffered a loss to the New York Jets. What worked for the Jets? Running the ball. While they give up one of the league’s least amounts of rushing yards per game, that has been because teams have been forced to pass to keep up. Look at the Packers and Jets games the last two weeks: Aaron Jones rushes for 143 yards while James Robinson and Michael Carter combine for 124 yards and a touchdown. If this has become the recipe to hold the Bills in close, expect Kevin O’Connell to script plenty of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. If Bills defensive stars Jordan Poyer and Tre’Davious White are cleared for this game, that will put more constraint on the passing game for the Vikings. This may become a game manager-type game for Cousins. 

Running Back, Najee Harris: The Steelers have looked bad so far this season, especially the run game. While it’s not entirely on the back of Najee Harris, he clearly has not been able to succeed much. His fantasy value is hurting as well. Harris has not scored over 13 fantasy points since the last time he rushed for a touchdown in Week three. Coming off the BYE week, he faces the New Orleans defense that has only given up six rushing touchdowns to the position. While they did give up two to Ravens running back Kenyan Drake last week, Drake rushed for 93 yards on 24 attempts: six attempts and 19 yards more than Harris’ season high. Eight rushes and six receptions last week for Harris, if that continues Harris looks to be a touchdown-dependent play this week. 

Wide Receiver, Allen Lazard: I mentioned it earlier in this column, the Packers looked bad last week against the Lions, who might I mention, are the worst defense in the NFL. Allen Lazard was the only bright spot in the game as he was able to find the endzone to put the Packers on the board. While he has been consistent so far this season as the number-one receiver for Aaron Rodgers, he hasn’t faced a defense like the Cowboys. Dallas is top five in least passing yards allowed per game, top ten in total yards per game, and middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. They’ve also only allowed seven receiving touchdowns to the position through eight games. As long as Dallas is able to get pressure on Rodgers, there won’t be much time to get the ball to Lazard or many other receivers’ hands. 

Tight End, Mike Gesicki: You’d think a high-powered offense in a shootout would love to incorporate their tight end. Well in the Dolphins’ case you would be wrong as in the 38-35 win over the Bears, Tua Tagovailoa would throw for 302 yards and three touchdowns but Mike Gesicki would only account for one catch for three yards. It was the fourth game in which he would finish with a single reception and no touchdown. Already lacking the target share of a true offensive weapon next to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, he stays increasingly touchdown dependent against a Cleveland Browns defense that has allowed a bottom 10 least fantasy points to tight ends in Week 10.