rhamondre-stevenson-patriots-usatsi.jpg

Keeping up with all of the news coming out of an NFL Sunday is always tough, but that's why you subscribe to this newsletter. Before we get to Monday's content, here are the headlines from Week 10 you need to know about:

  • Aaron Jones has a sprained MCL. It sounds like it is a "mild" sprain, but Jones seems likely to miss at least one game as a result. And, with the Packers' bye week looming in Week 13, it wouldn't be a surprise if they held him out both Week 11 and 12 to give him an extra full week to recover. AJ Dillon should be a top-12 RB with Jones sidelined. 
  • Cordarrelle Patterson has an ankle injury. It might be a high-ankle issue, and it sounds like Patterson probably won't play Thursday against the Patriots. The real question is whether it will linger longer than that, and NFL Network reported Monday afternoon it could be a multi-week absence
  • CeeDee Lamb has an arm injury. Lamb told reporters the injury was more like a "charley horse" than anything else, so hopefully it isn't too serious. It did force him to miss much of the second half, which makes his 100 yards and two touchdowns all the more impressive. 
  • Baker Mayfield is day-to-day with a knee injury. I would assume Mayfield is going to be able to play Sunday against the Lions, but obviously we'll have to see how he progresses in practice. Mayfield has been pretty beat up all season. 
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire has a "pretty good chance" to play in Week 11. It'll be interesting to see exactly what kind of role Edwards-Helaire has waiting for him when he returns, because Darrel Williams has been excellent as a pass-catcher in his absence. This could be a true committee, and it might not be a great set up for Edwards-Helaire in his first game back against the Cowboys
  • Cam Newton will take most of the first-team reps this week. Matt Rhule hasn't fully committed to starting Newton, but we all know where this is headed. The Panthers take on Washington's soft pass defense, and Newton could be a borderline top-12 QB this week. 
  • Ben Roethlisberger's status for Week 11 is in question. Roethlisberger tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday and is symptomatic, per coach Mike Tomlin, which means he'll have to be symptom-free for 48 hours before he can be cleared to return to the team, in addition to the two negative tests, at least 24 hours apart. As we saw Sunday with Mason Rudolph scoring just 16 points against the Lions, things can always get worse. 

In the rest of today's newsletter you'll find my recaps of every game, including the biggest winners and losers from Sunday's action -- and then my early waiver-wire targets column from Sunday evening and Heath Cummings' breakdown of the top storylines from Week 10, including some tough questions about one of the biggest stars in football. I'll have my full rankings for Week 11 and Jamey Eisenberg's full waiver-wire priority list for tomorrow's newsletter, and if you have any waiver-wire or trade questions, make sure you send them my way with the subject line #AskFFT to Chris.Towers@ViacomCBS.com.

Top early waiver-wire targets

  1. Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, NE 51%
  2. Wayne Gallman, RB, ATL 3%
  3. Cam Newton, QB, CAR 20%
  4. D'Onta Foreman, RB, TEN 8%
  5. Jamal Agnew, WR, JAX 14%

For all of my top early priorities and why I'm targeting them, head here

Week 10 Recap: Winners and Losers

Here are the biggest winners from Sunday's action, and you can read my full recap of every game here, including winners and losers, one big takeaway, and one more thing to know for each game as well. Here are a few key picks: 

Winners

These players come out of Week 10 looking better than they did coming in.

  1. Antonio Gibson. Running against the Buccaneers is such a fruitless proposition for most teams that they often just abandon the run, so of course, this was the week Antonio Gibson got a season-high 24 carries. He wasn't great with those carries (64 yards), but he did score two touchdowns and added two catches for 14 yards for his best Fantasy game of the season. It's still fair to be skeptical about how valuable Gibson can be without a passing game role, but at the very least, he put to rest any concerns that Jaret Patterson might be taking on a significant role. It didn't happen in this one despite a game where the Football Team ran it 34 times. One thing that would definitely help Gibson's value moving forward would be Washington's defense playing more like 2020 moving forward. 
  2. D'Andre Swift. We've gotten used to Swift relying on garbage time production, so if you told me he only had five yards on three receptions in this one, I would've been sure he had a bad game. However, the Lions showed a real willingness to ride Swift in this one, giving him a whopping 33 carries, which he turned into 130 yards. It's nice to see that things don't have to be a total disaster for Swift to be productive for Fantasy, though I do wonder what today might have looked like if Jamaal Williams had been healthy. The fact that two backups scored long touchdowns is a but frustrating for Swift managers, but it's nothing to be concerned about. 
  3. Cam Newton. Matt Rhule wouldn't fully commit to Newton as the starting QB in Week 11, but it seems all but assured, assuming he can get up to speed on the full playbook. He mostly played near the goal line in this one and scored two touchdowns, one with his arm and one with his legs. He's got pretty great weapons and remains an effective runner. There's top-12 QB upside in Newton. 
  4. Darrel Williams. Williams was also a big beneficiary of the change in philosophy, as he caught nine of nine passes thrown his way for 101 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was especially impressive, as he leapt up and over the defender in the end zone to bring in the 38-yard score. It'll be interesting to see what happens if Clyde Edwards-Helaire is healthy enough to play in Week 11, because I think he's clearly the better runner of the two, but has never earned the kind of role in the passing game Williams has. This could be a true committee. 

Losers

It's hard to feel better about these players coming out of Week 10 than you did coming in.

  1. Mike Williams. Unfortunately, I think we can safely remove Williams from the must-start conversation. He had just six more targets Sunday, his fourth game in a row with six or fewer (and his fifth in the last six). Williams did have three red zone targets in this one and wasn't used exclusively as a deep threat, which had been the issue before, but it's impossible not to be disappointed in this showing. At this point, Williams is just a WR3. There's upside, but he's averaging just 5.9 PPR points per game over the past four. 
  2. Russell Wilson. All we heard in the run up to the game was about how Wilson's swift return from finger surgery was "miraculous," and how he spent 19 hours a day rehabbing the injury to get back as quickly as he did. And all I can say after how he played Sunday is I wish he had taken a little bit more time. Wilson was dreadful, completing just 20 of 40 passes for 161 yards with a couple of interceptions as the Seahawks got shut out for the first time in his career as a starter. Hopefully this was just a knock-off-the-rust game for him, because if this injury affects him all season, that's going to be a real problem for Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, obviously. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for this one. 
  3. Rondale Moore. I had high hopes for Moore coming into the season, because his skill set fit what Kliff Kingsbury likes to do on offense so well, but I didn't expect A.J. Green and Christian Kirk to have such big roles. Moore has nine targets in the two games DeAndre Hopkins has missed, with seven catches for 35 yards. He's a great playmaker with the ball in his hands, but Moore isn't getting enough valuable targets to be a viable Fantasy starter yet. He'll be a nice post-hype sleeper for 2022, but you can go ahead and drop him wherever you still have him in redraft leagues. 
  4. T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson played nearly every snap in this one, all but four. He ran a route on 79% of the team's passing plays, which might be a bit below what you usually expect, but not alarmingly so. And yet, he was targeted just one time. One time on 23 routes run. It's probably nothing to get too concerned about -- Hockenson did have 31 targets in his previous three games, after all. But if you haven't done so already, you need to come to terms with the fact that Hockenson just isn't one of those stud tight ends you can count on to beat every matchup. He's been a pretty major disappointment, even as someone who didn't necessarily buy the breakout hype. As pessimistic as everyone was about the Lions offense, it turns out we weren't pessimistic enough. 

Believe It Or Not

Every week, Heath Cummings takes a look at the biggest storylines in Fantasy to try and separate fact from fiction for you. Here are this week's narratives and some of Heath's thoughts:

  • Mac Jones will be the best QB from the 2021 class: "It's probably not fair that Jones lives in the shadows of the quarterback he displaced in training camp, but that's kind of been the story for Jones since the NFL draft. And all he's done is prove people wrong. He has the Patriots at 6-4, currently in the playoffs, and his 94.1 passer rating ranks fifth amongst all first-year QBs since 2000." See if Heath believes it here ...
  • A.J. Dillon is a top-five RB if Aaron Jones misses time: "Jones sprained his MCL in Week 10 and Dillon didn't skip a beat. The second-year back delivered 128 total yards and the only two touchdowns in a 17-0 win over the Seahawks. It would not be surprising at all if Jones is out until at least the Packers' Week 13 bye, which would open up the door for more games like Sunday, where Dillon received 23 touches. As long as Jones is out, Dillon isn't just a starter, he's one of the most valuable backs in Fantasy." See if Heath believes it here ...
  • DeVonta Smith is a top-20 WR rest of season: "It's not uncommon for rookie wide receivers to break out in the second half of the season and that's exactly what Smith appears to be doing. He has nine catches for 182 yards and three touchdowns in his past two games. More impressive is the fact that he's done this on just 12 targets." See if Heath believes it here ...