Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 10: Lions vs. Bears

Gregory Shamus

This Week 10 matchup features two teams tied for first, a returning quarterback and football's best wide receiver. Who's worth playing, and who isn't? We break down the fantasy implications.

Both the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears lost on Oct. 20 in Week 7. Neither team has lost since. Though, with a bye week each in that time, it's not the tremendous feat it might sound like. Either way, one of the NFC North co-leaders is almost sure to lose in the 1 p.m. Sunday game. As for fantasy, there's a lot to like in this matchup:

Lions

Start in every league: Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Matthew Stafford

Start if you're desperate: Kris Durham

Bench: Joique Bell, Brandon Pettigrew, David Akers, Defense/special teams

There aren't a lot of things to wonder about with the Lions. Johnson is the best wide receiver in the NFL, and is a must-start whenever he's on the field. Bush's yards-per-game average of 121.9 is third in the NFL, behind only Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy. And only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have a better fantasy scoring average than Stafford. All three are no-questions-asked starters.

In the middle of the road is Durham, who has seen his targets, catches and yards all climb in the wake of the injury to No. 2 receiver Nate Burleson. He only has one touchdown and one game over 60 yards this year, so he's far from a sure thing, but if it's a desperate situation, there's potential there.

After a strong start to the season with three touchdowns in the first three weeks and plenty of yards to go with it, Bell has fallen off as Bush has gotten stronger. He hasn't topped 56 yards in a game since Week 3. If you're in a PPR league, Bell tends to catch more passes than the average No. 2 running back. Even then, he's not much of a fantasy play. Pettigrew has been a huge disappointment for a couple of years, with his value gone. Akers is widely owned, but has converted only 80 percent of his field-goal attempts this year. And the less said about the Lions' defense, the better.

Bears

Start in every league: Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Robbie Gould

Start if you're desperate: Jay Cutler, Martellus Bennett

Bench: Defense/special teams

Forte was drafted in most leagues as a No. 2 running back but has provided huge value this year, with almost 1,000 yards from scrimmage to this point and seven touchdowns. A year ago, Marshall had 1,500 receiving yards, more than four times as many as his next-closest teammate. This year, he's on a slightly lower pace for total yards, but Jeffery is right up there in total yardage. The Bears simply have a far more balanced attack this year, and the end result is more fantasy viability in Chicago. Meanwhile, Gould has been an underrated kicker for years. He's owned in barely 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues, while making 93.3 percent of his field goals this year. He's as good a fantasy start as any kicker in the league.

Cutler makes a quicker-than-expected return from injury this week. Counting only games he has been healthy, Cutler is ninth in the league in average fantasy points per game, and one of the quarterbacks ahead of him -- Aaron Rodgers -- is out this week. But a quick return from injury is always concerning. Starting Cutler could easily turn out well, but would anyone be surprised if he underperformed? After starting the season with 29 fantasy points in his first two games, Bennett has averaged only five points an outing in his last six. That strong performance early in the season is always in Bennett's tank, but you can hardly count on it.

The Bears' defense isn't as good as it used to be, but some fantasy owners have taken that to mean they're worthless, which they're not. It's a fine unit. That said, only three teams have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing defenses than the Lions. The Bears will be fine, but not this week.

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