Fantasy Football Week 10: Start or Sit Ekeler, Duke Johnson, or Ito Smith?

Duke Johnson Jr. Player Profile
Fantasy Football Week 10: Start or Sit Austin Ekeler, Duke Johnson, or Ito Smith?

Nine weeks are in the books, and fantasy football leagues are starting to take shape heading into week ten. We here at Football Absurdity try to help you make your weekly start or sit decisions by highlighting players that have an abnormally good or abnormally bad matchup. We hope that we can help you make the proper start or sit decisions every week, like whether to start or sit Austin Ekeler, Duke Johnson, or Ito Smith.

Start or Sit Duke Johnson versus Atlanta

Well, well, well. Look who’s back. Duke Johnson, a virtual afterthought during the Todd Haley OC tenure found life last week. He had just one rush for eight yards, but he had eleventy billion targets (nine). He turned that into 78 yards and two scores. You can’t expect two touchdowns out of the Duke of the Sadness Factory every week, but this is a strong week for him to put up continued numbers. The Falcons are a bad defense and aren’t likely to get better right now. They give up the fourth-most points to running backs this season, but pass catching backs absolutely eviscerate them (they’ve yielded 75 yards receiving to a back this year once every three games). He fell off the face of the earth previously, so it’s a valid concern about whether you should trust him enough to wonder if you should start or sit Duke Johnson. This week, I’d roll him back out there and start him, especially in PPR & half-PPR leagues.

Start or Sit Austin Ekeler at Oakland

It’s a valid concern to wonder if you should start or sit Austin Ekeler: a running back that his own team doesn’t want to start. However, this week, Austin Ekeler will likely get an entire quarter to himself as the Chargers travel to the future former home of the Oakland Raiders (and the current former home of most of the decent players that have worn a Raiders jersey recently).  Ekeler has been mostly a change-of-pace back to Melvin Gordon, and he posted four double-digit fantasy days in the first five weeks of the season in that role. He had the team all to himself before their week eight bye and proceeded to not step up to the task. The Chargers had Gordon back last week, and Ekeler fell off the face of the earth. This week, however, L.A. gets an absolutely dreadful team that was just blown out by a team currently slated to get the #3 pick in the NFL draft. It’s likely to be another boat race for Jon Gruden, the colonel of the Oakland Raiders tank (all respect to Master P, there).  Ekeler’s already crushed the Raiders once this season, and you should start him as he’s likely to get another crack at them this week.

Start or Sit Ito Smith at Cleveland

I’ve been pounding the table (quietly recommending him) all season (at times, after Devonta Freeman went down), so please give credit where it’s due for me unearthing this gem (repeatedly taking a wild stab in the dark). The Falcons have responded in the way I predicted (hoped). Smith and Coleman seem to have become the new Freeman and Coleman in Atlanta, and this week they get a Cleveland squad that yields the third most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. They’ve given up nine touchdowns to running backs in their last four games. Ito Smith has scored in four of his last five. It’s a match made in heaven, which makes it easy to decide whether to start or sit Ito Smith. It can be hard to trust a rookie running back in a part-time role like Smith, but you can blame me if this start or sit decision goes awry: start Ito Smith.

All three of these guys are good starts, but if you’re looking to decide who to start or sit among them, I would rank them as:

  1. Duke Johnson, Jr.
  2. Ito Smith
  3. Austin Ekeler

If you need more help with your start or sit decisions, we can help you decide who to start with some of our other week ten start or sit articles below:
Start or Sit Baker Mayfield, Philip Rivers, or Alex Smith?
Start or Sit Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, or Nick Mullens?
Start or Sit Jarvis Landry, Devin Funchess, or Sterling Shepard?
Start or Sit Quincy Enunwa, Marquise Goodwin, or Taylor Gabriel?
Start or Sit Peyton Barber, Kerryon Johnson, or Mike Davis?
Start or Sit C.J. Uzomah, Eric Ebron, or Zach Ertz?
Start or Sit Ben Watson, Greg Olsen, or Vernon Davis?

For some lighter fare, check out our list of Thanksgiving-themed fantasy football team names

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About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jmkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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