Stars of Week 10

QB: Patrick Mahomes, KC: 36-50, 446 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs

RB: Derrick Henry, TEN: 23 carries, 188 yards, 2 TDs                              

WR: Christian Kirk, ARI: 6 catches, 138 yards, 3 TDs

TE: Mark Andrews, BALL 6 catches, 53 yards, 2 TDs

Welcome back Patrick Mahomes, the NFL has missed you! Mahomes rejoined the Chiefs after sitting out two games to heal up, and he came back firing with 3 TDs and 446 yards passing, albeit in a loss to the Titans. Mahomes resumes the mantle of top fantasy QB.

In the same game but switching locker rooms, the Titans’ offense put together one of its most impressive games of the season, with running back Derrick Henry leading the way with two rushing TDs and just short of 200 rushing yards. Henry sits as a high end RB2, with his minimal involvement in the passing game keeping him from RB1 status. Nevertheless, he’s a weekly start.

The Arizona Cardinals have officially entered into the Kyler Murray era, and one of his long-term targets will be second-year wide receiver Christian Kirk. The Texas A&M product came into the game against the Bucs with zero career TDs, and left the contest with three TDs to his name. We’ll take a closer look at Kirk below.

Finally, we’d be remiss not to recognize a Baltimore Raven in this week’s honor roll. Andrews has been one of this year’s ascending young tight ends, and he’s solidified himself as QB Lamar Jackson’s safety valve. Andrews remains a TE1 and weekly start.

Week 10 Takeaways – A Closer Look 

Each week we take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.

Philip Rivers, QB – LAC: 17-31, 207 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs 

Analysis: Philip Rivers will enter the NFL Hall of Fame soon after he’s eligible. He has had a fantastic career, even if there’s no Super Bowl on his resume. You see where I’m going with this. Rivers has been very mediocre this season, especially highlighted by his performance over the past six weeks. With a plum matchup this past weekend against the Raiders’ secondary, Rivers threw three official interceptions, and was bailed out of two others by penalties. This is not to say that it’s the end of the line for Rivers, hardly. But circling back to Rivers’ last 6 games, he has thrown for 7 TDs and 8 INTs, averaging close to 250 yards per game. Those are bottom level QB2 numbers. A massive cause of Rivers’ issues, for which I don’t see a 2019 fix, is the sieve of an offensive line that he operates behind. So this will be a problem as the season heads into the home stretch. The Chargers face the Kansas City Chiefs next week, which is another QB friendly matchup. The Broncos and Jaguars will follow, which are tougher QB matchups. Putting this all together, you should not rely on Rivers as your primary QB going forward. He’ll be a high end QB2 going into the matchup with the Chiefs, and a mid to low level QB2 in the matchups that follow. At minimum, make sure to play matchups with another QB on your roster, whether it’s Ryan Tannehill, Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold or the returning Nick Foles. Unfortunately you can’t rely on Philip Rivers as your primary QB any longer.

Kareem Hunt, RB – CLE: 4 carries, 30 yards, 0 TDs (7 catches, 44 yards, 0 TDs)

Analysis: This past Sunday marked Cleveland Browns’ RB Kareem Hunt’s first game of the 2019 season, after having sat out close to a full calendar year for engaging in a serious act of  violence against a woman. With star Browns’ RB Nick Chubb in tow, speculation abounded regarding Hunt’s usage. We got our answer this week, and the plan fits with what was reasonably expected. Chubb remains the clear bell cow back for the team, while Hunt slides into the third down role, while taking on occasional carries. Chubb outcarried Hunt 20 to 4 against the Bills, but Hunt out-targeted Chubb 9 to 4 in the passing game. Looking at the all-important snap count, Chubb played in 53 of 66 snaps while Hunt played in 38 snaps (according to ESPN). So the Browns had several snaps in which both Chubb and Hunt were on the field, and that will continue. Circling back to the takeaways here, there are two main ones. First, Chubb remains an RB1, and Hunt’s return doesn’t change that. Second, Hunt should be viewed as an RB3/flex option, with upside for more in case Chubb were to get hurt. In the off chance that Hunt’s still available in your league, go snag him now.  

Christian Kirk, WR – ARI: 6 catches, 138 yards, 3 TDs

Analysis: The Cardinals hit the rest button last offseason, drafting QB Kyler Murray and hiring new coach Kliff Kingsbury, among other changes. 2019 has been a rebuilding year, with the Cardinals hoping to get key pieces of their long-term foundation in place. Without a doubt, one of those pieces is WR Christian Kirk. Nothing like facing the Bucs’ secondary to position a WR to experience a career day, which Kirk enjoyed with his three TDs. Kirk’s ideal spot is as a slot WR, but he has performed well when lined up outside as well. He’s a superior athlete and a solid route runner with good hands, and he fits well in the air raid offense with his versatility. Kirk led the Cardinals in targets against the Bucs with 10, and in time he can evolve into a consistent force for the team. That day hasn’t arrived yet, however. In seven games played, Kirk has had four games with under 60 receiving yards, and only two with 100 plus yards. And as mentioned in the opening of this article, his three TDs against the Bucs were his first 3 TDs of his career. Kirk should be owned in all leagues, but he’s firmly a matchups play. Start him as a flex against weaker pass Ds, and sit him against the tougher Ds. The San Francisco 49ers are next on the Cardinals’ schedule, so Kirk will likely fall into WR4 territory for week 11. 

Darius Slayton, WR – NYG: 10 catches, 121 yards 2 TDs

Analysis: Speaking of rebuilding teams, the New York Giants have also ushered in their next era, with rookie QB Daniel Jones helming the offense going forward. The Giants have been without top WR Sterling Shepard for the past month plus, with an increasing likelihood that he will miss the rest of the season. With star TE Evan Engram also out of the lineup, rookie WR Darius Slayton shouldered a much bigger role this past Sunday against the crosstown New York Jets. Slayton found the end zone twice, accumulating 121 receiving yards over 10 catches. Slayton comfortably led the Giants in targets with 14, with Golden Tate coming in second with 8 targets. With Shepard likely done for the year, what to make of Darius Slayton going forward? Similar to Christian Kirk, Slayton makes for a solid matchups play. Slayton had strong games earlier in the season against the Lions and Bucs, two of the weakest passing defenses, while being largely a non-factor against the Patriots and Cowboys, who boast tough pass Ds. Looking at Slayton’s schedule moving forward, he has a bye next week followed by two tough matchups in the Bears and the Packers. Lining up with the fantasy playoffs, in week 14 the Giants face the fluffy Eagles’ secondary, followed by the Dolphins and Redskins. So here’s the deal – if you have room to stash Slayton for the next three weeks, there’ll be a payoff for your patience. Slayton can help you in your playoffs, but he’ll cost a roster spot over the next three weeks. If you’ve got the space, go grab Slayton and hang tight until the playoffs. 

Rapid Fire Pickups  

Each week we throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been referenced above, and 2) a player available in more than 50% of leagues.

QB: Nick Foles, JAC (he’s back)

RB: Brian Hill, ATL (he’s next man up if Devonta Freeman misses time)

RB: JD McKissic, DET

WR: Cole Beasley, BUF

WR: Hunter Renfrow, OAK

TE: Mike Gesicki, MIA