Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 10

One of the things that makes fantasy football so captivating is the variance. Even throughout Cooper Kupp's historic, unflappable season, he was the top wideout for the week just three times in 2021. That means, on individual weeks, some very strange players may pop in terms of fantasy points at their positions.

That opens the door for some room to be "spicy" and make some fun predictions. In a landscape increasingly set ablaze by "hot takes," it can be difficult to understand the difference between a bold prediction -- based on a particularly strong spot for a team or player -- and a senseless take with the prayer of becoming correct based on variance.

Let's shoot for the former with five interesting spots to target during this weekend's NFL games.

Note: All predictions are for half-PPR formats (and FanDuel scoring for quarterbacks).

1. Pick-in-ett Up: Pittsburgh's Rookie Breaks 20 Fantasy Points for the First Time

Kenny Pickett has been maligned (thanks to eight interceptions in five games) as the reason Pittsburgh is losing. Give me a break.

Pickett's been cast to lead the fifth-worst run game in the league and a below-average offensive line, according to Pro Football Focus. The lone bit of quality support he's had is perimeter weaponry, and that just got thinner with Chase Claypool now in Chicago.

He could silence critics with a productive Sunday off the Steelers' bye this week, and I think he's got a great shot. He'll face New Orleans on a short week, and the Saints' pass defense is in shambles. They've yielded the ninth-most Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back in the past five weeks.

As 2.5-point underdogs, Pickett's Steelers profile to be in a back-and-forth contest, and don't discount the rookie's rushing ability. He added a career-high 37 yards on the ground in Pittsburgh's last game. In a friendly matchup and game script, the pick is he reaches 20 fantasy points for the first time as a pro.

2. Ground Assault: Week 10 Sees Two Running Backs Over 170 Yards Rushing

At first glance, I couldn't get over how many star running backs are in elite rushing matchups this weekend. We're going to see some wild performances.

Saquon Barkley draws numberFire's second-worst rushing defense in Houston. Derrick Henry gets a matchup with a Denver squad that's our seventh-worst squad defending the run, and Travis Etienne also draws a Kansas City defense that Henry just pulverized.

Not to mention that Josh Jacobs, Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, Kenneth Walker III, and Nick Chubb are also facing below-average rush defenses in our rankings. Plus, if Ezekiel Elliott waits another week, Tony Pollard would be the lead back in a squishy matchup with Green Bay.

Only two running backs all year have eclipsed 170 yards rushing. Henry did it against the Texans two weeks ago, and Austin Ekeler did it against the Browns in Week 5. This is a wild swing, but with a worthy army of soldiers, I feel well-equipped to take it.

3. Wool-en Coat: Evans Duds in London with Single-Digit Fantasy Points

Early in his career, it's becoming apparent Tariq Woolen isn't a guy you want your fantasy wideout to be facing in a given week.

The Seahawks' rookie corner already has muted a few of the game's top targets. He held DeAndre Hopkins to just 4 catches and 36 yards in a negative script in Week 9 after holding Marquise Brown to just 5 catches and 68 yards in the first matchup with Arizona. Only Mike Williams (18.1) has broken 15 fantasy points against Woolen as the top target so far.

Seattle's pass defense has become a monster. They've allowed -0.07 Passing NEP per drop back in the past five weeks, which is the fifth-best mark in the NFL. Their leaky games against the 49ers and Lions seem like a thing of the past.

Woolen draws Mike Evans of the Buccaneers this weekend, and Evans is coming off a 6.5-point stinker against the Rams. There's no doubting Evans' target volume (at least 11 in three straight games), but in a brutal matchup in London, I wouldn't expect Evans' biggest performance of the year.

4. A Sure Kmet: Cole Finishes as a Top-12 Tight End Again

Justin Fields' breakout has been a rising tide that has lifted all ships in Chicago. That includes Cole Kmet.

The former second-rounder out of Notre Dame has never been short on talent -- or even a role. He's just been short on pass-game efficiency, and Fields delivered last week. Even with Claypool in the fold to get six targets, Kmet got six as well. He turned them into 5 catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. Believe it or not, he was the TE2 in Week 9.

He's got a phenomenal chance to keep it rolling. The Lions have been a miserable defense in many respects, but maybe none more than their ineptitude in guarding tight ends. They've ceded the league's most adjusted fantasy points per target to them.

This would have been a blasphemous statement three weeks ago, but with a 48.5-point total on deck, Kmet is a must-start at a poor tight-end position.

5. An Autumn Win: Las Vegas' D/ST Posts Double-Digit Fantasy Points on the Tanking Colts

It might not be the "bold" move to fade the Indianapolis Colts at the moment.

They did just hire an interim coach with no pro or college experience, and they're starting Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger has posted a dismal -0.35 Passing NEP per drop back in two starts with the well-respected Frank Reich. The Colts' play-caller on Sunday has never called a game at any level, either.

The "bold" part of this prediction is backing a Las Vegas D/ST that is absolutely atrocious. They're numberFire's worst passing defense, and they're the fourth-worst unit overall. They've also only forced five takeaways.

This is a defense that really shouldn't be deployed in most circumstances, but Las Vegas has posted double digits this year against two of the top-five squads for D/STs to face -- Houston and Denver. Against the current trainwreck in Indianapolis, they're less of a longshot than normal to score a third spike week this season.