Stars of Week 10

QB: Justin Fields, CHI: 12-20, 167 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT (13 carries, 147 yards 2 TDs)

RB: Saquon Barkley, NYG: 35 carries, 152 yards, 1 TD

WR: Justin Jefferson, MIN: 10 catches, 193 yards, 1 TD          

TE: Cole Kmet, CHI: 4 catches, 74 yards, 2 TDs

Justin Fields makes it back-to-back in the weekly honor role, once again setting the pole position for fantasy QBs. The Bears dynamic signal caller posted a rather pedestrian passing line – 167 yards and 2 TDs, with an INT. Now, tack on 147 rushing yards and two additional TDs, and you go from pedestrian QB to superstar. Fields has made himself a must-start top 5 fantasy QB the rest of the way.

The Giants squared off against the lowly Texans this past Sunday, with star RB Saquon Barkley capitalizing on the juicy matchup. Barkley rushed for 152 yards and a TD, landing him the honors of top fantasy RB for the week. Barkley looks as good as ever…and campaigning for top overall RB in next year’s fantasy drafts.

Speaking of top players, is there any WR you’d take over Justin Jefferson…in real life or in fantasy? The star Vikings’ WR made the catch of the season in what was the most exciting regular season game in years. Jefferson sat as my WR1 overall for 2022 fantasy drafts, where he shall remain for 2023.

Bears’ tight end Cole Kmet has come alive the last few weeks, scoring 5 TDs in his last three games. Kmet found the end zone twice against the Lions, hauling in 4 passes for 74 yards. Kmet revival has coincided with Fields’ ascension. Kmet resides in TE2 territory, but his arrow points upward. Need to see the rise in targets continue for a longer stretch before he can push for TE1 status.

Week 10 Takeaways – A Closer Look

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

- Rachaad White, RB - TB: 22 carries, 105 yards, 0 TDs

- Leonard Fournette, RB – TB: 14 carries, 57 yards, 1 TD

Analysis: We’ve looked at the Tampa Bay backfield previously, but with a potential shift in duties, we revisit the situation. Lead back Leonard Fournette has struggled this season, averaging a paltry 3.4 yards per carry coming into the tilt with the Seahawks. With Fournette finding yards hard to come by, the team gave promising rookie Rachaad White the start. White did not disappoint, gaining 105 yards on the ground over 22 carries, averaging just under 5 years per tote. Fournette still factored into the gameplan, getting 14 carries and rushing for a TD, before leaving the game due to injury. Fournette also threw one of the most ill advised interceptions that you’ll see, but that’s neither here nor there. White continually moved the ball on his carries, running well between the tackles and helping move the first down chains. Fournette has failed to establish such a rhythm, so there’s a reasonable chance that White takes over lead duties for the Bucs going forward. White outsnapped Fournette by a 48 to 22 margin, not all of which is explained by Fournette’s injury. Regardless of who starts from here on out, expect both RBs to continue to get carries. But White has been much more productive with his snaps, and expect that to continue as well. This bumps White to RB3 / flex territory, with upside. Fournette remains in the same category, but with his arrow pointing downward. The Bucs have a bye next week, but you should scoop up White now if you need an RB.

- Isiah Pacheco, RB – KC: 16 carries, 82 yards, 0 TDs

- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB – KC: No carries

Analysis: We now revisit the Kansas City backfield, in which a rookie back also appears to have usurped the veteran starter. The Chiefs selected Isiah Pacheco in the seventh round of the 2022 draft, with the external view being that Pacheco would provide solid depth to the Chiefs’ RB corps. Fast forward to Week 10, and Pacheco looks to have overtaken Clyde Edwards-Helaire as the Chiefs’ lead back. Pacheco averaged just over 5 yards per carry versus the Jaguars, whereas CEH garnered nary a touch of the football. In fact, CEH only saw the field for 4 snaps, versus 35 for Pacheco. The Chiefs view Jerick McKinnon as their third down / passing down back, so Pacheco and CEH are battling for limited snaps. As a result, each player only has fantasy value if the player dominates the rushing stats. Given the turn in events, Pacheco becomes the RB to own, slotting in as an RB3 / flex option. CEH can be dropped in shallow leagues. For deeper leagues, you may want to hold onto CEH for one more week to confirm that the backfield distribution from Week 10 will continue. Prefer White over Pacheco if ranking between the two backs, but it’s close.

- Christian Watson, WR – GB: 4 catches, 107 yards, 3 TDs

Analysis: The Green Bay Packers have struggled to fill the shoes of star WR Davante Adams, watching their season slip away as a result. The team needed a WR to step up versus the Cowboys in order to have a shot and…rushing to the ring, 2022 second round pick Christian Watson! The North Dakota State product scored 3 TDs, with 107 receiving yards over his 4 catches. With fellow rookie Romeo Doubs out, Watson, and not veterans Allen Lazard or Sammy Watkins, became Aaron Rodgers’ go-to guy. Rodgers targeted Watson 8 times, twice the amount of the next leading player (Lazard at 4). So does this game propel Watson to the lead WR gig for the Packers? Maybe. From the contrarian side of the coin, Watson entered the game with 88 total receiving yards over 6 games, while never having been targeted more than 4 times. So Watson’s bust out game in Week 10 currently stands as an outlier. From the glass half-full view, the Packers have a large vacancy for WR production, and Watson as a talented rookie has an opportunity to continue to build out his role in the second half of the season. With all that said, how to value Watson? Put a claim in for him if you need a WR. He’s certainly got upside, but don’t be surprised if his numbers are inconsistent from week to week. Watson should be usable for fantasy purposes as long as Doubs remains out, with the question being how much staying power he has upon Doubs’ return.

- Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, WR – TEN: 5 catches, 119 yards, 2 TDs

Analysis: The Tennessee Titans smartly run their offense through Derrick Henry, even more so now that star WR AJ Brown plays elsewhere. The formula works, as the Titans have been a perennial playoff team the last few years.  With Brown now out of the picture, will another WR become a focal point in the offense? This past Sunday, third year WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine went off against the Broncos, catching 5 balls for 119 yards and 2 TDs. Westbrook-Ikhine has occasionally flashed in his three years, but hasn’t come close to establishing himself as a weekly threat. Case in point, Westbrook-Ikhine went without any receptions in each of the two preceding weeks. Also providing a headwind against a lasting breakout by Westbrook-Ikhine, 2022 first round rookie Treylon Burks has returned to the lineup. Burks has the most talent among the Titans’ WR, and he’s the most likely Titans’ WR to emerge as the season goes on – assuming any of them do. Circling back to Westbrook-Ikhine, his performance against the Broncos looks to be an outlier as opposed to a sign of things to come. If you’re in a deeper league and desperate for WR help, then a flyer on Westbrook-Ikhine doesn’t hurt. But don’t expect a player that you can start with confidence, as he just hasn’t been able to put up consistent numbers over his three seasons. This likely won’t change.  

* All snap count information is referenced through statistics provided by Pro Football Focus.

Rapid Fire Pickups

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

* Another tough week on the wire.

QB: Taylor Heinicke, WAS (@ HOU)

RB: Chuba Hubbard, CAR (@ BAL)

RB: Jaylen Warren, PIT (vs CIN)

WR: DeAndre Carter, LAC (vs KC)

WR: Odell Beckham (not yet rostered, stash before he signs with a team)

TE: Robert Tonyan, GB (vs TEN)

Personal Note

Thank you for reading my articles on RealGM! I have a request of you – if you enjoy my work, I kindly ask that you consider following me on Twitter if you aren’t already. My Twitter handle is @NeemaHodjatNFL. Your support is very much appreciated.