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For the second week in a row, I'm moved to eat crow served up by a Chicago Bear. Last week, the chef was Alshon Jeffery, who I maligned after he sat for five straight weeks with mysterious injuries. This week, it's none other than Jay Cutler.
At the beginning of the season, I wrote up a series of predictions, most of which have turned out to be wildly off-base (check out what I said about Jeffery back then) and one or two which were difficult to get wrong (see Tom Brady).
For my last one on the list, I simply predicted Cutler would not be starting for the Bears by the end of the season
It could still play out that way, but is growing extremely unlikely as the weeks pass, as Cutler has proven to be one of the most productive and consistent members of a team hit by injuries. With a 4-5 record, the Bears are actually thinking they have a chance at postseason play (even if you don't think that's realistic, consider this is a team some of us thought would be in the running for the No. 1 draft pick next year.)
Week 10 provided a perfect example of how Cutler has become a fantasy asset this season. He threw for 258 yards and three TDs against St. Louis, one of the better defenses in the league. With now six straight weeks of no fewer than 23 fantasy points, Cutler is not just bye week filler.
This week, things get tougher, with Denver, the league's top passing defense. Yet, I'd still consider starting Cutler, at least in part because the Broncos will start untested quarterback Brock Osweiler. I'm figuring the Bears defense could force a few turnovers that give Cutler good field position. And if Osweiler is much better than that, it could put pressure on the Bears to lean on the pass.
Week 10 Winners
QB: Kirk Cousins, WAS.
The rule in fantasy this year if you're streaming QBs has been to start whoever is playing the Saints. It was Cousins' turn in Week 10, and he came through with 324 passing yards and four TDs. Cousins now has been one of the best fantasy QBs two of the last three weeks. (This week against Carolina doesn't offer much hope for the trend to continue.)
RB: Jeremy Langford, CHI.
Two weeks in a row he's a winner. With Matt Forte back this week, we'll have to see how the Bears divvy up touches, but Langford proved himself again with 73 yards rushing, 109 receiving and two TDs overall. He's still got fantasy value - we'll see how much this week.
WR: Martavis Bryant, PIT.
A week after his teammate Antonio Brown won this honor, Bryant snagged 178 yards receiving and a TD (Brown was no slouch either, with 139 yards) He's turning out to have major late-season returns for owners who drafted and stashed him for the several weeks he was out.
TE: Zach Miller, CHI.
No, not Martellus Bennett. The Bears seem to have rediscovered the often-injured TE who had shown very brief flashes of brilliance in recent years. His 107 yards and two TDs were impressive, though a lot of it came on one play, when he simply outran a Rams defense that seemed to disregard him. Hard to say if Miller is now the Bears TE to own in fantasy, but he has scored two straight weeks.
Week 10 Losers
QB: Andy Dalton, CIN.
Big Red came back down to earth as his team was finally beaten. He looked more like the Dalton of previous seasons, with 197 yards passing and one INT, though to be fair, his receivers dropped passes and fumbled away scoring opportunities.
RB: Darren McFadden, DAL.
Just 32 yards rushing in Week 10 after a couple of strong weeks. With Tony Romo back at QB this week, I'm guessing the Cowboys won't lean quite so much on McFadden, which is just as well, given his tendency toward streakiness.
WR: Jordan Matthews, PHI.
A week after he seemed to break out of a season-long slump with 113 yards receiving and a TD, Philly's supposed No. 1 receiver collected only 23 yards in Week 10. An injury to Sam Bradford, and the return of Mark Sanchez, the QB with which he enjoyed a strong 2014 season, didn't seem to help him last week, but maybe they rediscover each other in Week 11.
TE: Tyler Eifert, CIN.
Aided Dalton's poor week by dropping easy passes. He was one of our winners just a week ago, so it shows how the mighty can fall. Eifert caught only three of seven target for 26 yards in Week 10. He has been a huge fantasy star this year, but Week 10 showed how much he relies on TDs to make his week.
Big Play of the Week for Week 10: Jay Ajayi, RB, MIA.
The rookie was a sleeper RB pick in some drafts, though most owners probably dropped him weeks into the season, as he missed half the slate with a rib injury. In the last two weeks, he's amassed almost 89 yards rushing on just 11 touches as understudy to starter Lamar Miller. Miami is a longshot for the playoffs, so it's a good bet they will let Ajayi earn more touches. I think this is the week he scores his first TD.
* USA Today sees Matthew Stafford, QB, DET as a fantasy stud for Week 11 against the Raiders. I'm a bit leery, as he's had exactly one week of passing over 300 yards, and that was against the Bears four weeks ago.
* SB Nation sees the Seattle DEF as tops for Week 11. Though it has disappointed on several occasion this season, it will be hard for Seattle to allow too much damage against a woeful 49ers squad.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.