Fantasy WR Start ’em Sit ’em Week 10: DeVonta Smith Is in Play, Brandin Cooks in for a Rough Day

We are at the midway point of the 2022 fantasy football season. With bye weeks upon us and injuries piling up, decisions are only getting increasingly difficult. Let’s take a look at our WR start/sit Week 10 plays, which include JuJu Smith-Schuster and Joshua Palmer. Be sure to also check out our full Week 10 wide receiver rankings.

DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

DeVonta Smith is one of those names who has been a start/sit for several weeks this season. He perennially exists right on the threshold. This week, I like him.

The Commanders allow the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Of the receiving yards allowed by Washington, 73.7% of them go to wide receivers. And while this next stat may seem like a negative, it’s not for Smith.

The Commanders are above average at defending the deep ball, allowing a 41% completion rate. The way to beat Washington is by peppering receivers underneath. Smith’s 8.5 average depth of target plays much more into that.

Look for Jalen Hurts to utilize Smith on short and intermediate routes with a lot of quick hitters. Smith should be able to rack up four or five receptions rather quickly in this game. I can already tell I will likely be taking his receptions higher on Underdog Fantasy. If he scores a touchdown, you have a shot at WR1 production. Start him.

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos (at TEN)

This is Courtland Sutton’s last chance. After looking like a dominant alpha WR over the first five weeks of the season, Sutton has been one of the worst receivers in the NFL in his last three games, totaling 10 PPR fantasy points. The Titans’ defense is the cure…or at least I hope.

The Titans allow the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers. It’s a truly impressive feat considering just 54.4% of targets against them go to the position. Basically, they are getting torched with efficiency.

MORE: Fantasy RB Start ’em Sit ’em Week 10

This bodes well for Sutton, whose 12.5 aDOT is 22nd among wide receivers, and his 780 air yards rank 11th. Perhaps more interestingly is Sutton being 11th in unrealized air yards. Russell Wilson is taking the shots, but they’re just not connecting. Against the Titans, I’m willing to bank on that changing.

Fantasy managers who have been rightfully frustrated with Suttons should give him a shot coming out of the bye. If the Broncos, fresh off a win, facing a bottom-three pass defense, can’t get Sutton going, then throw in the towel. I don’t think it will come to that. Start him.

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans (at NYG)

After taking a week off due to what can only be described as frustration, Brandin Cooks is expected back with the Texans this week. He will immediately resume his status as the team’s WR1 after they rolled out Phillip Dorsett and Chris Moore as their top two receivers last Thursday night.

Unfortunately, Cooks’ reward for his return is the Giants’ excellent pass defense. New York allows the fifth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. Proof of their proficiency at covering receivers is evident.

The Giants see 63% of targets go to wide receivers. That’s one of the higher rates in the league. However, just 61% of their receiving yards allowed has gone to WRs. That’s one of the lower rates in the league. Teams are throwing to their wide receivers, they’re just not completing passes.

On the season, Cooks has two WR2 finishes. Every other week has been him as a WR4 or worse. I still believe in his talent and do think he will have boom weeks over the second half of the season. It just won’t be this week. Sit him.

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (at BUF)

We close out the Week 10 WR start/sit with another player who has made multiple appearances in this column.

Adam Thielen has been pretty reliable this season. Even in his down games, he’s not going to torpedo your lineup. Thielen’s finished as a WR5 three times, but every other game, he’s been inside the top 30. You can live with that, but that’s someone you want to try and start situationally.

MORE: Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer Week 10

This week shapes up as a rough one for Thielen. We know Justin Jefferson is the Vikings’ alpha WR1. Thielen has always been the second guy. However, last week, we saw newly acquired tight end T.J. Hockenson immediately step into that role, catching all nine of his targets for 70 yards.

Bills’ opponents target the tight end 23.6% of the time, the seventh-highest rate in the league. They throw to wide receivers just 58.8% of the time. Overall, the Bills allow the 12th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.

Accordingly, this shapes up as a spot where Kirk Cousins zeroes in on Jefferson and Hockenson. Thielen is always a threat to score a touchdown — it’s kind of his thing — but this is a bad matchup for him, and one where I expect something like a 4-40 game, which is not good enough for fantasy managers.

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