By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
With Wednesday being Veteran’s Day, I started looking for jokes in regards to the military, especially ones that had to do with different branches of the military bagging on the other (because that’s what they, like any competitive people, like to do). But man, some of these, if taken out of context, are just wrong.
The last thing I want people to think is that I’m anti-military because I’m not. I come from a family that has a long history of representing this country in arms against threats to our nation.
As a result, I’m bypassing the joke bit this week and I want to reflect on some of my immediate family that has served. I know many of us can relate, whether because you yourself currently serve/served or have friends/family that serve/served:
My mother served in the Coast Guard. She was a medic in the 70s and served for four years. She never saw combat, but is still proud of her service and she got to visit many parts of the country as a result. She was stationed in Oakland, Seattle, and Puerto Rico, among other places. She went on to become a teacher and just recently retired.
My uncle served in both the Marines and the Army Reserves. He did a tour overseas during Desert Storm in the 90s and eventually entered the Reserves. In 2012, he was deployed to Afghanistan and was eventually given a medical discharge after developing respiratory issues during his tour. He currently is a JROTC recruiter at a high school in Dade County, Florida.
My grandfather (rest in peace, Pops) served in both the Army and the Marines. He was drafted during World War II and was in Milan, Italy when Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister of Italy during WWII, was hung for the country to see his deceased body (he was executed by firing squad beforehand). He then served for several years in the Korean War as a member of the Marines. He was married to my grandmother for over 60 years, worked mostly as a factory worker, mechanic, and electrician, and passed away in 2009. For most of my life, my grandfather never talked about his time in either war — they weren’t exactly fond memories for the nicest, kindest man to ever walk this earth — so I’ve had to hear many of his stories from my grandmother and other family members.
I have relatives who fought during the Civil War, for both the Confederacy and the Union, and relatives who fought during the Revolutionary War. I have friends that served across different branches of the military as well. I’ve always felt a sense of gratitude towards those that had the desire to defend the Stars & Stripes and for everything America stands for and represents — the Land of the Free.
Being in the military is oftentimes a service that people take for granted. This week, and every week going forward, let’s not do that anymore and offer a salute to those that took it upon themselves to ensure our freedom.
Now, onto my Week 10 picks.
(If you need a reminder of how my picks played out last week, I was a lot better on my Fades (7-3) than I was on my Plays (4-6). I’m currently sitting at 52.2% on the years, so about even.)
If you read this column last week or in the preseason, you have a good idea as to what my Confidence Plays represent. It’s essentially a start/sit column featuring players I think will boom (play) versus those I think will bust (fade). I try to focus on some middle-of-the-road and streaming options, as you’re likely playing your top guys regardless of the matchup, but some of those top guys may land on the Fade side. (Some matchups suck — what do you want me to do?) Don’t interpret this as “I have to sit Patrick Mahomes to play Derek Carr because Carr is a Play this week.” Don’t be that fantasy player. But maybe put some of them in your DFS lineups to maximize upside or play them as your RB2 or WR2 or in your FLEX. Or, you know, stream them.
QB Carson Wentz (PHI) – Wentz torched the Giants once this year, so why not again? My biggest worry here is the damn turf in New York. God, it’s awful. But the Giants have been middle of the road against QBs, and Wentz has been the best against them this year. Maybe there’s something to that? He’s also had three career 300-yard passing games against them (once this year) and has only two turnovers (one interception, one lost fumble) against them over the last four years. Oh, and his weapons are back: Sanders, Goedert, Reagor — all healthy. Yay!
QB Drew Lock (DEN) – Drew Lock is QB4 over the last two weeks. Is this finally the start of the offseason hype? If he keeps getting these great matchups, it could very well be! The Raiders allow the 5th most fantasy points per game to QBs since Week 5. They’d likely be higher on this list, but Mother Nature bailed them out against Baker Mayfield and the Browns in Week 8. We know Lock has the swagger, and now he has the matchups. Dial him up!
RB James Robinson (JAX) – What is sliced up regularly and has plenty of holes? No, not Swiss chess (although that’s a perfectly acceptable answer on most days). It’s the Green Bay run defense. The Packers allow the 2nd most fantasy points per game to RBs on the year and the 2nd most over the last four weeks. James Robinson is currently 7th in the NFL in touches among RBs, so you know he’s going to see the football. He’s also RB4 on the year. When top RBs get great matchups, they usually have great games. So whatever you have him projected to score this week, it needs to be higher.
RB Kareem Hunt (CLE) – Is Nick Chubb coming back this week? Time will tell. We should know on Friday. Regardless, Hunt will shine against the Texans. From Weeks 1-4 with Chubb, Hunt was RB7, averaging 17.4 fantasy points per game. So if Chubb plays, you’re getting an RB1 performance, right? From Weeks 5-9 without Chubb, Hunt has been RB16 with 13.6 fantasy points per game. Kind of seems like Hunt needs Chubb, huh? But I digress. Even an RB2 could look like an RB1 against Houston. They allow the 3rd most fantasy points per game to RBs since Week 6 and the 3rd most on the season. They don’t allow a ton of receptions, but teams don’t need to throw when they can bludgeon them. Hunt has top 12 upside this week, Chubb or no Chubb. (Yes, I read it out loud. Sorry.)
RB J.K. Dobbins (BAL) – It’s no secret the Patriots aren’t the Patriots of old this year. Hell, they just barely beat the Jets on Monday night. And one thing they haven’t done particularly well this year is stop the run. They currently allow the 5th most fantasy points per game to RBs over the last four weeks. J.K. Dobbins has outsnapped Gus Edwards the last two games with Mark Ingram sidelined. As a matter of fact, he’s outperformed Edwards too, 143 rushing yards to 110. Dobbins also has one more reception. Dobbins’ big-play ability will be on full display and I wouldn’t put it past him to break off at least one long touchdown run this week.
WR Robert Woods (LAR) – START YOUR WIDE RECEIVERS AGAINST THE SEAHAWKS! It seriously doesn’t get any easier than that. They allow the most fantasy points per game to WRs on the year, by a SIGNIFICANT margin. Guess who plays the Seahawks this week? Yep, the Rams. Robert Woods will be a top-12 option this week, probably top-5. Take it to the bank.
WR Brandin Cooks (HOU) – Don’t look now, but since Week 5, Brandin Cooks is WR9. Guess who isn’t in the top 12? His teammate, Will Fuller. (I’m just sayin’.) That said, this week against the Browns, both should be standouts, as Cleveland allows the 5th most fantasy points per game to WRs on the year. Denzel Ward sports PFF’s 14th best grade in coverage this year. With Fuller and Cooks being so dynamic, I wouldn’t expect any type of shadow coverage, so he’ll pivot off of each throughout the game. Fuller will still have a safe floor due to volume, but Cooks has the upside this week as the 1B in this offense.
WR Travis Fulgham (PHI) – Hold up, the Eagles are coming out of the bye week… healthy? What fresh hell is this?! With Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert returning in Week 8, just before the team’s bye, reports show that Alshon Jeffery was a full participant in practice FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR. Miles Sanders has a great chance to play as well, so what does this mean for Travis Fulgham? Not. A. Damn. Thing. He’s their stud and Jeffery is a bum. PLAY THIS MAN! The Giants allow the 10th most fantasy points per game to WRs since Week 5, and the 8th most on the season. Reagor’s speed will keep the defense honest, and Fulgham can do everything else. Should easily top the 15 point threshold in PPR.
TE Eric Ebron (PIT) – I’ve been down on Eric Ebron for much of the year, and honestly, it’s just because I’m tired of the constant heartbreak. But I can admit when I’m wrong. Ebron has three straight games with 11+ fantasy points and two straight with a touchdown. With the Steelers going up against the Bengals, a team that allows the 2nd most fantasy points per game to TEs on the year, I see that 11+ fantasy points in three straight games reaching four straight this week.
TE Mike Gesicki (MIA) – The Chargers allow a lot of points to TEs on the year (8th most fantasy points per game on the season). Only three teams have failed to have a TE produce 10 or more fantasy points when facing them — Carolina, Jacksonville, and Cincinnati. All three are teams that don’t utilize the TE position as most do. Last year, when Preston Williams went down with an injury, Mike Gesicki was a top 10 TE. Well, Miami just put Williams on IR and recently traded Isaiah Ford, their starting slot receiver. Gesicki should, by default, see more targets and this is a great week to get him more involved. The upside is there this week.
QB Russell Wilson (SEA) – Clearly I didn’t listen to my mother when I was a kid because I just love playing with fire. But since the Rams moved to Los Angeles, when visiting LA, Russell Wilson has only thrown for more than 1 TD once. He’s coming off a down week, which makes me think this is a clear bounce-back game opportunity, but the Rams have been great against QBs — 5th fewest fantasy points per game allowed since Week 6 and 2nd fewest allowed on the season. Is he a top 15 QB this week? Maybe. Not sure he’s the #LetRussCook Wilson we’ve seen for much of this season though.
QB Matthew Stafford (DET) – A week of no practice and Matthew Stafford stunk up the place. Things won’t get any easier this week against the Football Team from Washington. They allow the 3rd fewest fantasy points per game to QBs since Week 5 and have played pretty stout defense all around this season. Maybe there’s a Revenge Game narrative for Adrian Peterson sprinkled in here since the Lions keep choosing to give him the ball over D’Andre Swift, but I’m expecting Stafford to have more of a 250 yards, 2 TDs type game than the type of game that’ll put him in the top 12-15 on the week. And that just ain’t it, sis.
RB Darrell Henderson (LAR) – With as terrible as the Seahawks pass defense is, they’ve managed a middle of the road rushing defense. They’ve allowed a running back to top 20 fantasy points only once and only three other times has an RB topped 15 fantasy points. With Darrell Henderson smack in the middle of one of the most frustrating backfields in the NFL, I find it difficult to trust what he can do week in and week out. Add to it the fact that Malcolm Brown is outproducing him in the receiving game — which is where the Seahawks struggle most to RBs, allowing the 5th most receptions to RBs on the season — you can understand my frustration. Henderson’s floor is too low for me to love what his upside could be.
RB Jerick McKinnon (SF) – When I’m naming guys to fade that, in most seasons, would be waiver wire fodder, you know it’s been a tough year. The Saints allow the 2nd fewest fantasy points per game to RBs since Week 6 and the 5th fewest on the season. Maybe Jerick McKinnon gets some receptions to keep his floor decent, but I don’t see how anyone could have confidence in McKinnon with a backup QB, on the road, against the Saints. Sorry.
RB Rex Burkhead (NE) – How the hell is Rex Burkhead a top 30 RB?? He has only two fewer targets than James White and the same number of touchdowns as Damien Harris in the last three weeks?? Something’s fishy. And I don’t like it. Now, Damien Harris is banged up after taking a shot to the chest on Monday night (I feel I should preface this by saying it was a hard tackle, and not the cause of a drive-by… sorry, carry on) and Sony Michel’s return to action is still up in the air. Burkhead may just be the guy on early downs. But come on, you don’t run on Baltimore. They allow the 4th fewest fantasy points per game to RBs on the season and have allowed a 100-yard rusher only once. Burkhead isn’t Miles Sanders, so fade with confidence this week.
WR DeAndre Hopkins (ARI) – Seriously, love playing with fire. But here’s the short answer as to why DeAndre Hopkins won’t hit his projections this week: Christian Kirk has been a top 12 WR since Week 5, while Hopkins is barely top 24 with two games under 10 points. The longer answer: Buffalo allows the 4th fewest fantasy points per game to WRs since Week 5. Tre’Davious White is one of the premiere CBs in the league and will no doubt be all over Hopkins this week. Not saying Hopkins can’t beat him, but why force it when Kirk will be wide open on the opposite side against Josh Norman? Temper expectations with Hopkins this week.
WR Adam Thielen (MIN) – Everyone has been talking about Justin Jefferson like Adam Thielen retired or something. Truth is, he just hasn’t been great the last three weeks. He has only eight receptions over his last three games and has failed to score in two of them. The Bears allow the 3rd fewest fantasy points per game to WRs since Week 5 and Minnesota has proven to be a Dalvin-Cook-or-bust offense of late. And with Chicago being so bad at moving the football on offense lately, this game is the furthest from a potential shoot out, which keeps the focus away from throwing the football to keep up. Sorry to all you Thielen managers out there. This just isn’t your week.
WR D.J. Chark (JAX) – D.J. Chark renewed our faith in humanity last week with a rookie 6th round pick slinging it. Gee, where have we seen that before? Oh, right, last year. But here’s the skinny going into Week 10: you beat Green Bay on the ground. With Jaire Alexander likely glued to Chark, I wouldn’t expect a game like last week from Chark. GB also allows the 5th fewest fantasy points per game to WRs since Week 5 and has played solid pass defense all around this season. This is a James Robinson week. (I feel like this is the part where I hit “send tweet.” No? Okay, moving on.)
TE Mark Andrews (BAL) – Does anyone feel good about starting Mark Andrews anymore? New England allows the fewest fantasy points per game to TEs on the year. Andrews has three straight games under seven fantasy points. We’ve already established that you beat the Patriots on the ground so unless Andrews gets a cheap red zone touchdown, I doubt he does much for us this week.
TE Hunter Henry (LAC) – Miami has yet to allow a TE to top 10 fantasy points on the season and have allowed only three touchdowns, all to little-used TEs. Hunter Henry is the farthest thing from “little-used” as he is top 10 in the league in targets, receptions, and yards among TEs. That tells me Miami will pay attention to Henry and take him out of the game. We may still see 6-8 fantasy points, but the “boom” isn’t there this week.
Good luck to everyone in Week 10! As always, remember to tip your servers, bartenders, and take out servers. This pandemic has hit them hard.