Game Thoughts: Last week’s win against the Giants
was ugly for Kirk Cousins. Nevertheless, he got the job done both
in real life and fantasy, completing 19 of 31 passes for 242 yards,
two touchdowns, and one very fluky pick six. Cousins did this
despite Vernon Davis not catching a single pass against a team
that had been getting destroyed by tight ends. Jordan Reed will
be inactive once again so do not be turned away from Davis following
last week’s dud.
The Cowboys haven’t been able to do anything right since
Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee were lost. Without Lee, this defense
is one of the worst in the league so Davis can be expected to
bounce back nicely. After seeing what Keenan Allen did last week,
Jamison Crowder owners should be very encouraged. The Cowboys
were exploited underneath (and really everywhere) by Allen while
Crowder had his own fun against the Giants to the tune of 7-140-1.
No one other than Crowder saw consistent targets from Cousins
and although Josh Doctson is technically the number one receiver,
Crowder is back to being an every week WR2 in this offense. As
for Doctson, I do think the switch is going to flip on him at
some point. It could be this week. It could be in three weeks.
For now, he’s best treated as a touchdown dependent WR3,
but his upside is as high as anyone’s.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: It took the Redskins more than half a season,
but they finally have a running game. Samaje Perine has emerged
as a true workhorse and an every week starter in fantasy. Perine
has posted back to back 100 yard rushing games and has a whopping
51 touches over his past two games. Everything is coming together
for a monster finish for Perine. It continues this week with a
favorable matchup and favorable game script against the pathetic
Cowboys. The Redskins can’t afford to lose another game
if they want any shot at the postseason. They already dropped
their home game to the Cowboys back when the Cowboys were good.
Now, the Redskins will lean on Perine to pound away at a depleted
defense that will still be without Sean Lee. Fire up Perine with
confidence this week.
Game Thoughts: I thought the lack of Tyron Smith was the
biggest problem for the Cowboys. As it turns out, it really was
Ezekiel Elliott after all – at least on offense. Dak Prescott
is an elite QB1 with Zeke. Without Zeke, apparently, he is not
even worth a roster spot. For the second week in a row, Prescott
was pretty much the single worst relevant fantasy QB in the league.
To put it bluntly, he cannot be started until he shows something
again. The only thing I’ll say in his defense is that he
has one of the worst group of WRs outside of Chicago. I feel like
I say this every week, but I can’t stress it enough –
Dez Bryant is terrible. I don’t know why he still gets the
benefit of the doubt in the fantasy community at large. Bryant
has not been good since 2014. The fact that Prescott has to choose
between the likes of a washed Bryant, Terrance Williams, and Cole
Beasley is embarrassing. Prescott looks like he is forcing throws
because he is – no one is getting open.
Bryant is outside the top 75 in target separation and outside
the top 60 in a whole host of other efficiency metrics. The inability
of Cowboys receivers to get open is why you see Prescott do nothing
in the first half before melting down in the second half. In the
first half, he can get away with just throwing the ball away or
checking it down to Jason Witten. In the second half, when opposing
offenses have begun to break down the Cowboys defense, Prescott
has no choice but to try and make something happen. This leads
to him pressing and results in interceptions. Prescott had nothing
to do in his first game against the Redskins as it was the Ezkeiel
Elliott show. He will have to step up Thursday night. I am not
willing to bank on that happening.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Both Alfred Morris and Rod Smith saw nine
carries last week. Smith was used as the goal line back and actually
did punch one in. Neither back was a big factor in the passing
game. This is a true split and although Darren McFadden’s
release at least guarantees it won’t be more than that,
neither Smith nor Morris have any fantasy value.
WR3: Dez Bryant
Bench: All other Cowboys
Game Thoughts: We have officially reached the point in
the Chiefs tailspin where Andy Reid had to give Alex Smith a vote
of confidence. “Alex is still my quarterback.” I believe
you Andy…for now. Another loss or two and Reid’s hand
will be forced. To put it as simply as I can, Smith just isn’t
playing well. Gone is the early season QB that was willing to
stretch the field and take shots deep. Smith has reverted to his
old ways. Everything is safe and underneath. Adding to the issue
is Reid’s lack of innovation offensively. Teams have figured
out those motion plays they used early in the season and Reid
hasn’t come up with anything new. How does Travis Kelce
only have four targets last week in a game the Chiefs trailed
wire to wire? Did Albert Wilson really need seven targets? Once
again, up until very late in the game with the Chiefs needing
a big play, more plays were drawn up for third string WRs and
backup TEs than for Kelce or Tyreek Hill. We know how talented
Kelce and Hill are. We’ve also seen Reid mismanage his stars
week after week. Kelce and Hill remain must start options, but
fantasy owners must understand that they are anything but safe.
Hill has seven receptions in each of his last two games, which
is great for PPR, but the downfield shots and the splash plays
haven’t been there. The matchup this week is not foreboding.
It is up to Reid and Smith to get the ball where it needs to go.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: No one is seriously pushing Kareem Hunt
as an RB1 anymore. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t
still be an RB2. 11 carries for 17 yards is downright Paul Perkins-ian.
Andy Reid’s solution to the Chiefs offensive struggles is
always the same: “We need to run more.” While I agree
that Hunt should carry the ball more than 11 times, the problem
hasn’t been the volume, but the predictability. The Chiefs
run exactly when you would expect them to, making it very easy
for defenses to shut them down. The matchup has not been the problem
nor has Hunt’s ability suddenly disappeared. He’s
not elite, but he’s a good running back that should be performing
at a higher level than he has been. Hunt still hasn’t scored
a touchdown since Week 3, but coming off his worst game as a pro
is not the time to jump ship. If nothing else, Reid will commit
to getting Hunt the ball even to his own team’s detriment.
The volume is going to be there this week. Hopefully it comes
with some creativity as well.
Game Thoughts: After a one week lull, Josh McCown is back!
He threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns. Sure, he lost a fumble
that probably cost his team the game, but his fantasy numbers
were great. With the Chiefs struggling on all sides of the ball,
McCown is a very streamable option this week. One man you cannot
stream is Robby Anderson. That’s because he’s universally
owned as an every week WR2. Anderson popped off two touchdowns
last week and a season high 146 yards. His 10 targets were the
second most he’s seen all season and he has now scored in
five straight games. He’s the clear number one ahead of
Jermaine Kearse, who also had a huge game with 105 yards and a
touchdown on seven of 11 targets. Even with Kearse’s spike
performance, he hadn’t done anything of note for the previous
four weeks. Do not chase last week’s points with Kearse.
In another universe, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has three more touchdowns
this season. The man is just cursed in the end zone whether it
be drops or the increasingly common “how did they overturn
that?” non-touchdown. ASJ is what he is – a touchdown
or bust option.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: Matt Forte ended up playing last week and
led the team with 10 carries. He only managed 26 yards and didn’t
catch a single pass. Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire also did
nothing of note. This rushing attack has become a true three man
committee where none of the backs have any fantasy value. The
Jets may be able to run on the Chiefs, but your guess as to which
of the three will produce the most is as good as mine. Even if
you were to guess right, there’s no guarantee that the production
would even be worth a starting roster spot on your fantasy team.
Pass on all Jets RBs this week.
Game Thoughts: Tom Brady didn’t throw the ball much
last week and didn’t throw it very far (just 227 yards,
his lowest total this season by far), but he threw four touchdowns,
marking his third consecutive game with not just multiple touchdown
passes, but at least three. Brady has thrown multiple scores in
75% of his games this season. Brady’s rapport with Brandin
Cooks looks to be hitting its stride at just the right time. Cooks
has caught six balls in three straight games and scored in his
last two. He’s had three weeks where he was a complete dud,
but otherwise has been remarkably consistent. As the season wears
on, the Patriots offense seems to feature fewer and fewer players.
With Chris Hogan still nursing a shoulder injury and Danny Amendola’s
usage dropping significantly, the passing attack is down to just
Cooks and Rob Gronkowski, who caught two touchdown passes last
week and looked unstoppable with the ball in his hands. Last week
was a friendly reminder that Gronk is still going to Gronk and
there is nothing anyone can do about it. Brady only completed
18 passes with 11 of them going to Gronk or Cooks. Until Hogan
returns, this passing attack is a three man show.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Also shrinking
in size is the Patriots rushing attack. Once a four man committee
of sorts, it is now a more predictable and reliable two man show
featuring Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead. Mike Gillislee has been
a healthy scratch of late. James White plays, just not very much.
Unfortunately for White, he just doesn’t bring enough to
the table. He can catch passes, but he can’t really handle
carries while Burkhead and Lewis can do both. Lewis carried the
ball 15 times last week to Burkhead’s 13. More noteworthy
is the deliberate effort to get the ball Burkhead in high leverage
situations. Burkhead was in the game at the goal line as that
appears to be his job now and after he was just short on a carry,
the next play was a designed timing throw to him for the one-yard
touchdown. With the Patriots scoring so many points on a weekly
basis, both Lewis and Burkhead offer legitimate RB2 appeal. That’s
not to say Belichick couldn’t flip the script on us at any
given moment, but for now, it appears as though Lewis and Burkhead
are both safe weekly options.
Game Thoughts: Hey remember that time Sean McDermott thought
it would be smart to bench Tyrod Taylor for Nate Peterman and
Peterman was so bad that he could only make it through a half
before McDermott went crawling back to Taylor like that ex-girlfriend
you never should’ve broken up with? Yeah that’s a
thing that really happened and it is our job to never let anyone
forget it. So how did Taylor respond? With nothing but class.
The man went out there and did his job, which, last week, was
to go into Arrowhead as a touchdown underdog and beat the once
great Chiefs. Taylor threw for 183 yards and a touchdown while
adding 27 yards on the ground. Most importantly, he didn’t
turn the ball over.
Taylor has always been safe with the football and his rushing
prowess has helped him establish a relatively high floor. He is
unlikely to post any huge weeks, but he won’t completely
fail you. His leading receiver was Charles Clay last week. Clay
caught all four of his targets for 60 yards. Taylor likes Clay
and with Kelvin Benjamin hurt, Jordan Matthews ineffective (2-15
last week), and Zay Jones inefficient (3-33 on 10 targets), Clay
will continue to be Taylor’s most trusted option. He is
the only member of this passing attack other than Taylor that
is worth starting. New England’s defense has come on strong
after a rocky start, but they are not impenetrable and a projected
significant negative game script should keep Taylor busy all afternoon.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: LeSean McCoy has not been his usual efficient
self this season. What he has had plenty of, however, is volume.
Shady only managed 49 yards on 22 carries last week, but he touched
the ball 26 times. He would’ve posted RB1 numbers had he
found a way into the end zone. Shady is a weekly top 10 option
as even his down games aren’t that bad. He’s only
had one game where he’s finished outside the top 24 RBs
all season and when he does find himself in the end zone, his
games are usually elite. McCoy can be deployed as usual this week.
Game Thoughts: Trevor Siemian. Brock Osweiler. Paxton Lynch.
Trevor Siemian. Paxton Lynch. What an embarrassment. I don’t
want to hear anything about John Elway’s general managing
abilities. He took a super bowl caliber roster and turned it into
a bottom five NFL team because he treated the QB position like
it’s the most meaningless in football. Siemian is a career
backup talent and the other two shouldn’t even be in the
NFL. They are destroying this team and sapping the fantasy value
of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Last week, the two combined
to catch eight passes for a mere 30 yards. Sanders has been held
to 30 yards or fewer in five games this season and hasn’t
scored since Week 2. Thomas had scored in three straight prior
to last week’s dud, largely due to his rapport with Osweiler.
Thomas has been the safer of the two, but hasn’t flashed
any ceiling whatsoever. The matchup this week is favorable, but
the QB carousel is not.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: Somehow,
the Broncos running game is worse than their passing game. Last
week, the Broncos’ leading rusher was Paxton Lynch. Devontae
Booker led the team in carries with six, which was one more than
C.J. Anderson’s five. The two combined for 23 yards. Booker
looks like he is taking control of this backfield, for whatever
that is worth (answer: not much). The matchups don’t get
much easier than the Raiders and the Broncos’ RBs were incapable
of mustering up anything. It is exceedingly difficult to endorse
starting any Broncos at this point.
Game Thoughts: Jay Cutler has cleared the concussion protocol
and will start this week…but certainly not for you. Not
against the Broncos still strong pass defense, even without Aqib
Talib. The only trustworthy guy on this passing attack is and
always has been Jarvis Landry. Landry has at least five receptions
in every game this season and although he’s posted six games
under 50 receiving yards, he’s also scored six touchdowns
while the reception count keeps his floor high. He will likely
avoid Chris Harris, who will be tasked with shutting down DeVante
Parker – not a difficult assignment. Parker is still soft
and still not (read: never going to be) the guy he was supposed
to be when he was drafted. Parker managed one measly catch for
five yards last week, which marked the fourth consecutive week
that his production has dropped. He is absolutely not a fantasy
option this week. Julius Thomas has been surprisingly useful over
the past couple weeks. He still has a weekly floor of nearly zero,
but he’s shown enough involvement the past four weeks to
at least be a consideration if you are TE desperate. Kenny Stills
has been better than expected this season, but is still the third
option on a weak passing offense in a bad matchup.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “Love
the Drake!” With Damien Williams likely done for the season
with a dislocated shoulder, it’s all Kenyan Drake from here
on out. With the backup being something called a Sinorise Perry,
Drake will be given an opportunity to do something he’s
never done in his entire football career – be a feature
back. Drake had been splitting/playing second fiddle to Williams
since Jay Ajayi was traded. Now, the Dolphins have no choice but
to give the ball to Drake at least 15 times a game. The matchup
is not easy against the Broncos, but volume is volume, especially
when it’s so reliable. Drake will be involved in the passing
game as well as that was previously Williams’ role despite
the fact that Drake is an adept pass catcher. Drake should be
able to post flex-worthy numbers on volume alone.
Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford is quietly having a solid
fantasy year as the No.9 ranked QB in fantasy points per game
(22.1), despite the fact that he has only one four-touchdown game
on the season and just one three-touchdown performance his last
five games. A big reason for his success has been the emergence
of Marvin Jones outside, and the return of Golden Tate to the
slot, a position in which Tate excels and Stafford relies on heavily
in the offense.
Limiting mistakes is another reason why Stafford is has found
success this season, as the former No.1 overall pick in the 2009
NFL draft has just six interceptions in 11 games. If you exclude
the outlier three-interception game Stafford posted against the
Saints Week 6, Stafford would be on pace to set career lows in
turnovers this year.
In his second season with the Lions after signing a lucrative
free-agent deal in 2016, Jones is coming into his own this season
as the No.6 ranked WR is fantasy points per game. He trails Julio
Jones for No.5 on the list by just .2 FPts/G, a pretty impressive
feat considering Julio needed two touchdowns and 253 yards last
week to move into the top five rankings.
The Ravens rank second behind only the Jags in allowing the fewest
points to opposing wide receivers on the year, making this week’s
matchup for Jones not the most attractive for fantasy owners.
But I wrote last week that Jones could be limited against Xavier
Rhodes and the Vikings, and Jones proceeded to go ham with six
catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. DeAndre Hopkins’
seven catch, 125-yard performance against cornerback Jimmy Smith
and the Ravens secondary on Monday Night Football is also a positive
factor that could make Jones a top 5 WR once again this week.
Despite Baltimore's recent struggles, according to Rich Hribar
of Rotoworld.com, the Ravens have allowed just two top-12 scoring
weeks for opposing quarterbacks in their last 13 home games, with
11 of those QBs finishing outside of QB2 range. Stafford and the
Lions skill position players in the passing game are worthy of
a start, but expectations should be tempered somewhat based on
Baltimore’s success defensively at home.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: After an offseason of hype building up
Ameer Abdullah as a possible breakout candidate, eleven games
of the 2017 NFL season have shown that the former Nebraska Cornhusker
is a touchdown-dependent player who is struggling to break arm
tackles and lacks the size to be an every-down back.
It doesn’t help that the Lions boast the worst run blocking
offensive line according to footballoutsiders.com. Detroit running
backs are tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage on 31% of
plays, which is a recipe for fantasy disaster for any running
back, especially one like Abdullah who is well below average in
terms of breaking tackles.
After a span of four games in which the defense allowed four
rushing touchdowns and three 100-yard rushers, the Ravens defensive
line is healthy and playing like a top 10 unit. No running back
since Week 7 has rushed for more than 57 yards in a game and the
Ravens have given up only one double-digit fantasy performance.
Starting any Lion running back is risky proposition as Abdullah
is a touchdown-dependent back and Theo Riddick is not getting
enough volume in the passing game just justify a start in standard
leagues. Avoiding this backfield for the rest of the season may
be the best course of action.
Game Thoughts: A home game against the Houston Texans,
a team that allows the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks,
was without question the most attractive fantasy matchup for Joe
Flacco this season. Alex Smith, Jacoby Brissett, Jared Goff, and
Blaine Gabbert all delivered 20-plus point performances against
Houston; not to mention the 41.6 monster game Russell Wilson dropped
on the Texans Week 8.
Instead of taking advantage of a piss poor unit decimated with
injuries, Flacco failed to throw for 150 yards or a touchdown
and needed a season-high 42 rushing yards just to score double
digits. Week 12’s pathetic game is a perfect microcosm of
the 2017 Ravens passing offense, and more than enough reason to
avoid all receiving skill position players on this team.
The Ravens wide receiving corps ranked 29th out of 32 teams in
points scored on the season, with veteran Mike Wallace evolving
into Flacco’s favorite “weapon” over the past
two games with 18 targets against Green Bay and Houston. After
a season-high nine targets against Tennessee Week 9, Jeremy Maclin
faded into oblivion with catches for 50 yards over the past two
Neither player is a great play against a Lions defense that allows
the 20th-most points to opposing quarterbacks. With a rushing
touchdown allowed in each of the past six weeks, the way to beat
the Lions is on the ground, and the Ravens will use a run-heavy
offense in what could be a low-scoring game.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: Alex Collins continues to be the first
and second down back in a Baltimore committee that ranks 12th
on the season for combined fantasy points scored by running backs.
Collins rushed for 60 yards on 16 carries while scoring a rushing
touchdown for the second time in two weeks. With the Lions allowing
a rushing TD in each of their last six games, a third-consecutive
scoring week is not out of the question for Collins.
After seeing limited volume in his first game back from a severe
hamstring injury, Danny Woodhead’s usage did not increase
much against the Texans last week, with Buck Allen continuing
to be used as part of a three-headed monster. Woodhead’s
presumed value centered on the presumption that he would become
the primary passing-down back, an assumption that has yet to come
Only four teams have allowed more points to opposing running
backs this season than the Lions. Eight different running backs
have topped more than ten fantasy points in 11 games, highlighted
by Mark Ingram’s 27-point performance Week 6. Teams have
proven that you can run against Detroit and the Raven coaching
staff is not afraid to use a dull, run-heavy scheme to attack
an opponent’s weakness. Collins is a solid start in this
game and Woodhead is worthy of a flex play in deep leagues, while
all receiving options and Joe Flacco should not be used.
Game Thoughts: Jameis Winston appears to be on track to
make his first start since suffering an AC joint sprain Week 9
against the New Orleans Saints. Winston is slated to take the
first-team reps in practice this week in preparation for the Packers,
a team that allows the 16th-most points to opposing quarterbacks.
All 11 quarterbacks who have faced the Packers this season have
managed to score double-digit points, including Joe Flacco, the
worst quarterback in the league regarding fantasy points scored
per game. Two quarterbacks have thrown for over 34 fantasy points
in a game against the Packers in 2017, highlighted by Ben Roethlisberger’s
36.1 point game last week.
On paper, Winston appears to be a decent streaming option, however,
the fact that he is coming off a painful shoulder injury that
could limit his already suspect accuracy, and he could once against
aggravate the ailment and leave owners out to dry.
Season ending knee injuries to starting center Ali Marpet and
tackle Demar Dotson are also a concern for fantasy owners thinking
of playing Winston. With an already subpar offensive line down
two starters playing against a blitz-happy Dom Capers defense,
Winston could be in for a long day.
A consensus early round pick in drafts this summer, Mike Evans
has been a huge disappointment to fantasy owners. His 9.4 points
per game place him 19th among wide receivers, well behind undrafted
(fantasy) players like Robby Anderson and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Evans ranks tenth in targets (96), but his four touchdown receptions
on the year ties him with fantasy stalwarts Josh Doctson and Cole
The return of Winston is great news for Evans as all four of
his touchdowns were thrown by the former Florida State star. If
Winston can play the entire game and work past the offensive line
woes, he could have a monster day. But if Ryan Fitzpatrick is
once again forced to play due to another Winston injury, Evans
could continue to disappoint.
Cameron Brate is another player who will greatly benefit from
Winston returning to the field, as Brate’s value completely
disappeared under Fitzpatrick. Brate scored a receiving touchdown
in every game from Week 3 through Week 6, only to score less than
five fantasy points in his last four games combined.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: Doug Martin suffered a concussion last
week against the Falcons and has yet to be cleared in the concussion
protocol, opening the door for Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber
to possibly get more carries on Sunday against the Packers. Rodgers
was the primary back when Martin went down, with Barber and Charles
Simms working in on passing downs and change of pace runs.
Rodgers rushed for 31 yards on eight carries, while Barber managed
just seven yards on five totes, but did manage to score two rushing
touchdowns. If Martin is indeed ruled out for this game, Rodgers
will be the back to own and play, while Barber is more of a speculative
add and a boom-bust play in very deep leagues.
It is a shame for Martin owners for their starting running back
to miss this game against a Green Bay team that allows the 9th-most
points to opposing RBs. An opposing running back has scored a
rushing touchdown in four of the last six games vs. Green Bay,
and Le’Veon Bell posted 18.3 fantasy points last week on
Sunday Night Football.
Game Thoughts: In one of the most surprising performances
of the week, third-year quarterback Brett Hundley went toe-to-toe
with Ben Roethlisberger in what turned out to be a very competitive
Sunday Night Football game. Hundley threw a career-high three
touchdown passes and zero interceptions for an impressive 24.9
fantasy points against one of the best passing defenses in the
league. The former UCLA Bruin appears to be gaining confidence
in the huddle and did not hold onto the ball as long as in previous
games. He is also improving his pocket awareness by moving up
in the pocket when pressured outside, instead of panicking and
running for his life.
Davante Adams continues to be Hundley’s top target while
Jordy Nelson withers away into the abyss. Adams posted his third
consecutive double-digit game with five catches for 82 yards and
a score, while Nelson managed just 11 yards on three receptions.
Adams continues to be a must-start WR with touchdown upside, while
all other receiving options, including Nelson, are risky plays
that should be avoided.
Owners looking for a streaming option may want to consider Hundley
against a Tampa Bay unit that allows the 6th-most points to opposing
quarterbacks. No quarterback who played a full game against the
Bucs this year failed to score at least 16 fantasy points, including
Mike Glennon Week 1 and Matt Moore in just one half of play Week
This could be a sneaky-high scoring game between two defenses
that rank in the bottom 10 in points allowed, but risking a birth
in the fantasy playoffs on starting Jameis Winston or Brett Hundley
may not be for the faint of heart.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: With Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones out
with injuries, rookie Jamaal Williams posted the best game of
his young career with 135 total yards and two touchdowns against
the Steelers, including an impressive 50-yard screen in the first
half. His 3.2 yard per carry average is nothing to get excited
about, but the volume continues to be there, and he is a threat
to score as the primary back in the red zone. Williams also flashed
some impressive pass-catching ability, securing eight of his 11
targets on the season for 105 yards and a score.
The Bucs are equally bad against the run and the pass, ranking
in the top-ten in fantasy points allowed for both stat categories.
Tevin Coleman gashed the Bucs for 19 carries for 97 yards and
two scores last week, and Damien Williams of the Dolphins posted
102 total yards against the Bucs in Week 11.
If the Packers can keep the game in reach and head coach Mike
McCarthy is able to stick to the run, Williams could have another
big day on Sunday. But if Jameis Winston and the Tampa passing
offense is able to pick apart the Packers and build a big lead,
Williams’ role may be reduced to just a receiving option.
The usage of Williams may be reduced is Jones is able to return
from a knee injury that forced him to miss the last few games.
Jones practiced on a limited basis Thursday and looks like he
could return to the field.
Game Thoughts: An injury to rookie C.J. Beathard in the
closing moments of last week’s loss to the Seahawks forced
the 49er coaching staff to bring in quarterback of the future
Jimmy Garoppolo. The former New England Patriot completed both
of his pass attempts in the final minute of the game, including
a ten-yard touchdown pass as time expired.
As expected, head coach Kyle Shanahan opted to give Garoppolo
the start this week as the 49ers travel to Chicago to take on
a Bears. Beathard is still banged up, and the Niners need the
final five games of the season to see what they have in Garoppolo.
At 1-10 on the season and a top-3 pick in the 2018 NFL draft a
foregone conclusion, the 49ers need to evaluate Garoppolo to see
if he is the quarterback going forward or perhaps one of the highly
touted college players will be a better option.
For fantasy purposes, starting Garoppolo against a tough defense
that allows the 8th-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks is
not a wise play this week. Only three opposing quarterbacks have
managed to throw two or more touchdowns vs. Chicago, with Drew
Brees, Brett Hundley, Cam Newton, and Joe Flacco all registering
games without a passing touchdown.
Although opposing quarterbacks have failed to post multi-touchdown
games against Chicago, seven different wide receivers have scored
double-digit games vs. the Bears, including Alshon Jeffery, Marvin
Jones, and Davante Adams in the last three games. Starting a wide
receiver like Marquis Goodwin this week against the Bears is a
risky play. But statistically speaking, if an opposing skill position
player will score a touchdown against Chicago, it is usually an
outside wide receiver with speed.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Carlos Hyde played in a season-high 90%
of snaps last week against Seattle, rushing for a pedestrian 47
yards on 16 carries. But his usage in the passing game in four
of his last five games is something that cannot be ignored, as
the former Ohio State Buckeye 44 targets since Week 7, including
a career-high 13 targets vs. Seattle.
Teams have found more success moving the ball on the ground than
in the air this season against the Bears, making another high
volume game for Hyde a strong possibility. It also would not be
surprising for the 49ers to limit the number of pass attempts
for Garoppolo as he is still learning the offense.
On the injury front, safety Adrian Amos and linebacker Danny
Trevathan are dealing with leg injuries. Trevathan was limited
in practice with a calf injury but looks to be on track to play
on Sunday. With the re-signing of Chris Prosinski after Amos missed
practice on Wednesday, it appears as though Amos may miss multiple
weeks with a hamstring injury.
Game Thoughts: A home game against a San Francisco defense
that allows the second-most point to opposing quarterbacks is
one of the only games this season in which Mitchell Trusbisky
should garner consideration deep 12-team leagues. All 11 players
who have played against the Niners this season have managed to
score at least 16 fantasy points, with Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott
each managing to score more than 30 points in their respective
After limiting his throws to less than 25 attempts in his first
three games, including just seven throws in a Week 7 win over
Carolina, John Fox and the Chicago coaching staff have taken off
the reins on their franchise QB. Trubisky has attempted at least
30 passes in each of his last three games, completing just 58%
of those throws for two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Dontrell Inman has finished as a WR3 or better in two of the
team’s last three games as Trubisky’s favorite WR
target. Eight wide receivers have posted double-digit performances
against the Niners this season, including Sterling Shepard’s
11/132 performance two weeks ago. With Inman leading his team
in target volume, you could do a lot worse than Inman this week
as a No.3 WR.
The biggest concern for the owners playing skill position players
in the Bears passing game is the possible negative game script
created by their defense and running game. Just like the Week
7 game when the Bears upset the Panthers at home, Vic Fangio’s
defense could be the best offense for Chicago on Sunday, limiting
the need for Trubisky to throw the ball.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: Jordan Howard enters Week 13 as the No.
11 ranked running back in fantasy points per game, just behind
Lamar Miller and LeSean McCoy. Although his season totals are
impressive, he is a bit schizophrenic in his production and has
not always taken advantage of matchups against defenses he should
play well against.
For example, the Packers defense allows the 7th most points to
opposing running backs this season, yet Howard managed to rush
for only 54 yards on 15 carries. He followed that game up with
18.5 points against the Lions Week 11, only to score 1.9 last
week against the Eagles.
Despite his roller coaster production, Howard is a must-start
player this week and could be in line for his biggest game of
the year. Only the Rams have allowed more points to opposing running
backs in 2017, with ten RBs scoring at least 10 points in 11 games.
Two of the biggest running back games of the season have been
against the lowly Niners, with Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott
each scoring three total touchdowns and combining for 368 total
Game Thoughts: Ben Roethlisberger is one of the more difficult
players to predict this week based on two conflicting narratives.
Big Ben has been on fire over the past two games with 32 and 36
points against the Titans and Packers at home, but he has just
three top-12 finishes in his last ten games against the Bengals,
and he averages just over ten-fewer points on the road than at
home over the past three seasons.
Will Big Ben and the Steelers offense continue their stellar
play, or will Ben’s road woes and struggles against the
Bengals derail the post-bye momentum built by Pittsburgh? For
fantasy purposes, looking for a middle ground of the two narratives
seems to be the prudent course of action. Assuming third consecutive
four touchdown game may be a stretch, but a solid 250-yard, two
touchdown game is not out of the question.
With five touchdowns and 315 receiving yards in his last two
games, Antonio Brown jumped DeAndre Hopkins as the No. 1 fantasy
wide receiver this season. Although Brown does not have a 100-yard
or multi-touchdown game against the Bengals over the past three
seasons, he is still an elite play this week and tends to shine
on the national stage.
Rookie sensation JuJu Smith-Schuster participated fully in practice
on Thursday and will play against the Bengals barring a setback.
The rookie from USC kicked off a run of three consecutive games
with a touchdown when the two teams met in Pittsburgh Week 7,
and he will once again be a solid No.3 WR play this week.
Smith-Schuster’s return to the starting lineup is a knock
on Martavis Bryant’s value. Although Bryant caught one of
Big Ben’s four touchdown passes against the Titans, he is
still hovering just above 13% of the team’s targets and
remains a touchdown-dependent play.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: Le’Veon Bell enters the Monday Night
game as the number two running back in total points scored and
No.3 in points per game. An impressive number when you consider
he has just five total touchdowns on the year and has yet to score
a receiving TD. Bell is the king of volume as both a runner and
receiver, leading the league in both carries (252) and receptions
(61) at the running back position.
Bell torched the Bengals for 134 rushing yards and 58 receiving
yards Week 5 but failed to reach the end zone in the 29-14 victory
for the Steelers. Despite having great success against Cincinnati
in his five-year NFL career, Bell has not scored a touchdown against
the Bengals since 12/7/14.
Look for Bell to reverse his season-long and Bengal touchdown
drought on Monday Night, as Bell leads the league in touches inside
the red zone and inside the 10-yard line. The Bengals have been
leaky against running backs as of late, with Isiah Crowell, C.J.
Anderson, DeMarco Murray, Chris Ivory, and Marlon Mack all posting
double-digit games against their rush defense.
Game Thoughts: Quarterback Andy Dalton delivered a disappointing
214-yard, two-touchdown game last week at home against a sub-par
Cleveland Browns secondary. Although the Bengals won the game
going away, Dalton failed to live up to his previous performances
against the Browns, a team in which he finished as a top 10 fantasy
quarterback in each of the past four matchups.
Dalton has not had much success against the Steelers as of late,
and his performances under the lights in nationally televised
games is downright dreadful. The Red Rifle has thrown just 20
touchdowns in 18 primetime games while adding 15 interceptions
and finishing as a QB1 in only five of those games.
Fantasy owners should consider looking elsewhere for a streaming
option this week, with Case Keenum, Brett Hundley, and Blake Bortles
offering much more attractive games than Andy Dalton.
On a positive note, the Steelers have been burned with big plays
of over 40 yards over the past month, making a deep pass to A.J.
Green a possibility. Green has struggled with five catches for
70 yards combined in his last two games against the Steelers,
but he has a history of big games against Pittsburgh, including
two 100-plus games in 2015.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie Joe Mixon posted the best game
of his young career with 22.5 fantasy points on 165 total yards
and a rushing touchdown against Cleveland Week 12. Mixon has four
double-digit fantasy points in his last five games, cementing
himself as the lead running back in Cincinnati for the remainder
of the season and the start of 2018.
Mixon ran well against the Steelers when the two teams faced
off at Heinz Field Week 7; rushing for 48 yards on just seven
carries. For some inexplicable reason, head coach Marvin Lewis
continued to use Jeremy Hill in the second half of that game and
failed to give Mixon touches late. With Hill on IR and Mixon receiving
20-plus carries in each of this last two games, Lewis will not
likely make that same mistake twice.
But turnovers by Dalton and a negative game script by the Pittsburgh
offense could negate some of Mixon’s value in this game.
He is a must-start in all formats, but expectations of him posting
another 22-point game need to be tempered.
Game Thoughts: Having the sixth lowest scoring offense
in the NFL and letting your quarterback get sacked seven more
times than any other team (47 to be exact) isn’t optimal
for fantasy lineups. Neither is playing against the best pass
defense in the league or against the team with the most sacks
of the quarterback this season. The math doesn’t add up
to start anyone from the Colts’ passing attack. Outside
of an outlier in Week 9, Hilton hasn’t had more than two
receptions in a game since Week 5. If it hasn’t clicked
for Brissett and Hilton by now, it isn’t going to when they
play on the road against the Jags. I suspect the offense will
try to muster up a fight by using more short passes this weekend,
but it will be window dressing by the second half. About the only
thing fantasy owners can hope for is some garbage time points
and even that may not come with Blake Bortles only offering slightly
better odds of leading his team up and down the field. TE Jack
Doyle will be asked to help block more often and won’t make
it far down the field when he is targeted so he can’t even
be a recommended PPR option. Seek shelter and wait for Week 14.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: Frank Gore has put up 60 yards rushing
in each of the past three games against the Jags and another one
isn’t out of the question this week. Unfortunately, it may
take a timely defensive pass interference or Bortles interception
to set up a touchdown for Gore so he will have to grind out a
flex worthy game. If you haven’t been eliminated from your
league’s fantasy playoff picture, you probably have two
better running backs on the roster making this an easy decision.
Marlon Mack could see his touches balloon north of ten if the
game gets away from the Colts. I don’t see that happening
unless Brissett completely implodes so it’s best to simply
avoid all Colts when setting your Week 13 lineups.
Game Thoughts: Blake Bortles hasn’t seen his completion
percentage north of 58 since Week 9 and has thrown one more interception
(3) than touchdowns (2) over the past three weeks. The cold spell
came just as Marqise Lee was starting to emerge as a legitimate
weekly starter so he finds himself stuck in Flex limbo heading
into Week 13. For those looking for a reason to get him into the
lineup, you can feel good about his stats at home. In his past
three home contests, Lee has seen double digit targets in every
game, scored two touchdowns and posted at least 55 receiving yards.
The less inspired fantasy owner won’t overlook twelve receptions
in the past three games and keep him benched. I’d lean more
towards putting him in the lineup this week but the choice will
ultimately come down to your other options. Given the low totals
of Bortles, there really isn’t any other notable fantasy
asset in the passing game. Allen Hurns and Marcedes Lewis are
lucky to catch more than two balls each game and I don’t
see the three-win Colts making this game a shootout so the Jags
aren’t likely to win this game with Bortles’ arm.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: Twelve weeks into the season and it is
pretty clear that the foundation is in place in Jacksonville.
The running game is the heart and soul of Jaguars offense and
a rebound following their poor performance against the Cardinals
is likely in store for Leonard Fournette owners. The Jags rookie
has been dealing with an ankle injury of late but he may have
finally turned the corner by putting in a full week of practice.
He’s a RB1 when going right so keep him in your lineups
despite the Week 12 hiccup. Chris Ivory shouldn’t be starting
for anyone this week but he carries handcuff value heading into
the fantasy playoffs.
Game Thoughts: Will Fuller continues to miss practice with
a rib injury and will likely miss another week. That would push
Bruce Ellington and Braxton Miller into more playing time against
a susceptible defense. Unfortunately, Tom Savage has a way of
limiting any potential upside the passing game might command against
a favorable opponent. One thing Savage has done better than many
of his predecessors is get the ball to DeAndre Hopkins. Houston’s
talented receiver continues to be a quality weekly fantasy play
with the team forced to throw more than they would like given
their quarterback situation. The Texans defense is giving up over
24 points per game over the past month and may be playing this
game without Jadeveon Clowney. Ellington has seen at least seven
targets in each of the past four games but has only gone over
50 yards receiving once during that span. That trend should continue
into Week 13 making him a decent gamble in deep leagues. Tight
end C.J. Fiedorowizc is in a similar boat as Ellington. He’s
going to see plenty of passes with the team short on quality receivers
but it’s hard to get excited about a guy catching passes
from a quarterback with a completion percentage of 54.3 percent.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: The aforementioned defensive woes play
right into the hand of Andre Ellington’s sleeper potential
this week. He wasn’t active last week after being brought
over to the team off waivers but I would think the team will want
to get him into this game in hopes of curbing Savage’s propensity
for turnovers. Ellington could be an optimal dump off option that
would also keep Lamar Miller from taking more bruising in the
passing game. Miller has continued to receive days of rest during
the week. Houston has no choice but to lean on the running game
where the workload typically translates into RB2 production for
Miller. Like most lead running backs, the veteran continues to
play through minor injuries that have caused him to miss a few
series during the games. If Miller continues to miss time late
into the week, Alfred Blue would get a bump into the low-end RB2
discussion. Even in that scenario, the team would be inclined
to give Ellington more snaps-assuming he has digested enough of
the playbook to be active this week.
Game Thoughts: The state of the passing game isn’t
too great in Nashville. Not only has this unit struggled to find
consistency this year their most consistent wide receiver, Rishard
Matthews, continues to deal with a hamstring injury. I’d
have another option lined up if Matthews has been your WR3/Flex
when healthy because it looks like he is going to miss his second
straight game. Eric Decker hasn’t been the solution the
team had hoped when they signed him this offseason. The extra
playing time he saw last week only produced four targets. He might
notch a few more fantasy points in a better match up this week
but the ceiling remains pretty low to be an attractive Flex. The
guy fantasy owners want to see emerge is Corey Davis. Unfortunately,
he is a pure gamble in the fantasy realm. Marcus Mariota hasn’t
been able to find his groove nor find chemistry with his rookie
wideout. The four balls thrown to him in Week 12 were the fewest
he has seen since returning to the lineup in Week 9 and it’s
hard to see a turnaround when the offense is averaging 207.5 passing
yards per game in 2017. Delanie Walker will eat up the bulk of
the passing game work if Mathews is unable to play making him
the only somewhat reliable fantasy option in the Titans’
passing game this week.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Given Houston’s ability to contain
similar types of backfields (like the Ravens) this RBBC will come
up short for fantasy owners in Week 13. Tennessee’s way
of getting Derrick Henry more involved seems to be by letting
his fresher legs take more snaps in the second half of games.
That strategy seemed to pay off in last week’s win but the
reality is that Henry has looked like the better runner over the
past several weeks and is the better fantasy play this week. In
a better offense, perhaps one that didn’t stubbornly give
DeMarco Murray the ball, Henry would be a solid RB2 option against
the Texans this week. However, the decision to keep giving the
ball to an ineffective DeMarco Murray relegates Henry to being
a low end RB2 in deep formats and benched in shallow leagues.
Murray is coasting into the finish line with over a month of the
season left; failing to reach 20 yards rushing in three of the
past four weeks. If not for his work in the passing game he would
have been on the majority of waiver wires by now. Keep him on
the bench and hope the Titans take the same advice so at least
one player can help fantasy owners in the coming weeks.
Game Thoughts: Carolina’s offense has produced a
whopping 14 passing touchdowns in eleven games this season so
there isn’t much meat on the bones for fantasy owners to
chew. Coming off his first 100-yard game of the year, Devin Funchess
has established himself as the team’s top receiver in the
wake of Kelvin Benjamin’s departure. He is easily the most
gifted receiver on the depth chart and won’t have any issues
securing targets against the Saints this weekend. That will be
especially true if TE Greg Olsen is sidelined. X-rays came back
negative on the tight end’s foot this week but he has missed
practice and is considered day-to-day. The Panthers are short
on available pass catchers so the potential for Olsen to be playing
at less than full strength (if he plays) is a daunting task for
an already challenged passer like Cam Newton. Sustaining drives
in the Superdome will be a key factor towards deciding the game
so fantasy owners should cross their fingers that Olsen can get
himself back healthy enough to make a splash in Week 13. Cam Newton’s
accuracy issues combined with inexperienced depth behind Funchess
will make it tough for the signal caller to have a nice fantasy
day so unless Christian McCaffrey takes a short pass to the house,
Newton will need his legs to make up for his lack of passing numbers.
Curtis Samuel’s injury opens up a few more opportunities
for Russell Shepard.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: McCaffrey is dealing with a sore shoulder
that kept him out of practice Wednesday. He returned Thursday
and appears to be on track to play against New Orleans this weekend.
Regardless, Jonathan Stewart has been getting more touches and
yards in the diluted Panthers rushing attack. McCaffrey has better
fantasy appeal but the rookie remains a PPR only guy with the
team needing Stewart to fill the yeoman role the team is built
around. Though the touches warrant RB2 consideration, J-Stew profiles
as a touchdown dependent emergency RB2 on rosters hit by injury.
Without much of a passing game, the Saints shouldn’t have
too much trouble stopping the running game and forcing plenty
of three and outs so keep expectations low for Carolina’s
Game Thoughts: New Orleans finally tasted defeat against
a Rams team that kept the entire offense at bay. The game served
as a reminder to New Orleans that the passing game needs to improve
and not simply ride shotgun to the rushing attack. The wake-up
call should translate into a busier and more effective outing
this weekend against the Panthers. Carolina’s run defense
isn’t too shabby so look for Drew Brees to do more of the
heavy lifting this week against the second friendliest defense
to opposing fantasy wide receivers over the past three weeks.
Michael Thomas has been a relative bust outside of PPR leagues
but I’m not giving up on him just yet. He has consistently
led the Saints pass catchers in targets and will be the first
guy called upon to score should the Saints’ running backs
find it tough to score this weekend. He scored his first touchdown
of the year against the Panthers back in Week 3 and I like his
chances to add another one or two against them this weekend. A
heavier passing game plan this week will also spill over to Ted
Ginn Jr. The seasoned wideout is coming off an eleven target,
seven-catch 71-yard outing in Week 12 and already has one touchdown
against his former team this year. He’s a solid WR3 this
week with a shot to finish in the top 25 amongst all receivers.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: The Panthers know the Saints have been
anchored by a strong running game this season but they also enter
this weekend with the confidence of having the third best rush
defense in the NFL. Carolina has allowed only 83.2 rushing yards
per game this season and has allowed only one passing touchdown
to a running back all year. Needless to say, this should be a
good test of two teams’ strength that also happen to be
division rivals known for having good games late in the season.
That being said, New Orleans boasts two of the best fantasy running
backs in the game. Neither can be benched based on opponent but
you may want to take a different direction in DFS just in case
this is the week somebody cools Alvin Kamara’s afterburners.
The rookie went over 1,000 total yards on the year last week and
also added his eighth and ninth touchdowns. A down week would
still make him a great RB2 so enjoy the ride for another week.
Mark Ingram stalled out with the rest of the Saints a week ago.
He’s probably not a true RB1 this week in a tougher matchup
but I won’t be the guy with him on the bench either.
Game Thoughts: The pride of the NFC North comes to Atlanta
seeking their tenth win of the season. The scorching hot play
of Case Keenum will face an improved Falcons’ secondary
in this playoff-like atmosphere. Expect the Vikings to come into
this game doing what they have done all year and force the defense
to defend the whole field. To accomplish this, Keenum will need
to get Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen going early. While Thielen
has become the steadier fantasy player this season it is Diggs
that can match the playmaking ability of Julio Jones on the other
side of the field. Slowed by a groin injury earlier in the year,
Diggs is finally starting to work his way back into a prominent
role in the passing game. He has seen his targets go up in each
of the past three weeks and the Vikes will need to throw it to
win it on the road. TE Kyle Rudolph represents the steady unspectacular
play in the passing game needed to do the dirty work. That doesn’t
make him a bad fantasy play but it prevents him from being a great
option. He should get a few chances near the goal in this matchup
but ultimately should be treated as a boom or bust fantasy play.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: The equation for running the ball in Minnesota
is simple: Latavius Murray runs it early and Jerick McKinnon takes
over on passing downs. Of course, it helps to have a quarterback
stepping up and making all the throws necessary to keep drives
alive and churn the clock to keep defenses more honest. Nonetheless,
the Vikings’ less heralded duo plod along in grinder fashion
to be effective. That makes them more effective in real life than
for fantasy purposes, however, as this RBBC doesn’t offer
much more than Flex appeal this week. The Falcons have clamped
down on the run of late, allowing the seventh fewest fantasy points
to opposing running backs over the past three weeks. A tough matchup
and split workloads translate into fantasy bust more often than
not so keep both players benched for Week 13.
Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan and the Falcons need this win
to establish themselves as one of the front runners for a Wild
Card berth so don’t expect the team to hold anything back-not
that they did in letting Mohamed Sanu throw for a score a week
ago! Ryan will face a very steep challenge in dueling with the
Vikings secondary. Fortunately, he has done very well incorporating
more of Mohamed Sanu into the weekly game plan to discourage defenses
from paying too much attention to Jones. Minnesota’s defense
doesn’t allow many opportunities for tight ends so don’t
expect Austin Hooper to make any highlight reels this week. I
don’t foresee a lot of big plays in this game so Matty Ice
may not be the best choice amongst fantasy quarterbacks either.
He’s been a borderline starter most of the year and this
week he draws a superior defense that will limit his upside. If
you need a win to get into your fantasy playoffs your backup may
be the better choice this week.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: Devonta Freeman cleared concussion protocol
this week and has been practicing in full. The team may not want
to give him 20 touches in his first game back from a concussion
so he sits just outside the top ten in Week 13’s running
back rankings. Tevin Coleman’s owners got a nice outing
from him a week ago but his value decreases without the added
touches he received as the starter. The Falcons offense has started
to score more lately, but they won’t have an easy time keeping
it going against the Vikings. Less opportunities to score make
Coleman a riskier than usual Flex option. For this reason, I would
keep him benched and look for a more promising player to use in
Game Thoughts: Josh Gordon is back! We haven’t seen
him play in over three years but head coach Hue Jackson has said
that he wants Josh Gordon to play “as much as possible.”
That doesn’t actually tell us anything because what does
“as much as possible” mean to him? It could mean every
single offensive snap or it could mean only a few plays in a few
packages. We just don’t know. Gordon is a huge risk this
week but there’s no question that he’s one of the
most physically-skilled players we’ve ever seen at the position.
It’d be wise to wait and see with Gordon but if you’re
looking for a lottery ticket type player, you could certainly
do worse. Corey Coleman has been a big focal point of the Cleveland
offense since coming back from injury and while it hasn’t
translated into huge fantasy point totals yet due to lack of touchdowns,
Coleman is a player who is likely available in many leagues who
could be put into starting lineups on teams looking for a potential
boom player in Week 13.
The Chargers defense has given up the third-fewest fantasy points
to opposing quarterbacks this season. That doesn’t look
like a recipe for a big game from DeShone Kizer despite him coming
off of the best pass yardage day of his young career. The interesting
thing with Kizer, however, is that he can move. He’s rushed
for nearly 30 rushing yards per game with five rushing scores
on the season which does make him a very risky option but a player
with a high ceiling in two-quarterback formats.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Isaiah Crowell will carry a questionable
designation into Sunday’s game against the Chargers but
is expected to play in what is a great matchup on paper against
a defense that ranks near the bottom of the league in fantasy
points given up to opposing running backs. Crowell has quietly
been on a decent streak as of late, scoring double-digit PPR fantasy
points in four of his past five games. Meanwhile fellow running
back Duke Johnson has been substantially more effective on a per-touch
basis, mainly due to his effectiveness in the receiving game.
Johnson has caught at least four passes in five straight contests
and could very well be a big part of the offensive gameplan, especially
if the Browns fall behind on the scoreboard. Johnson is a very
safe PPR option to get double-digit fantasy points on a weekly
basis but he’s almost a complete non-factor in standard
scoring formats. The opposite is nearly true for Crowell, who
has only caught more than two passes in two games this season.
Johnson would become a serious consideration as an RB1 in PPR
leagues if Crowell does somehow end up being sidelined this week,
but both players are RB2/Flex option as the situation currently
Game Thoughts: Don’t look now but the once 0-4 Chargers
are now one game out of the division lead in the AFC West and
much of it has come on the shoulders of quarterback Philip Rivers
who has been lights out since Week 5, throwing 14 touchdown passes
with just three interceptions over that span, including a monstrous
434-yard, three score day against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
Rivers has once again elevated himself into the QB1 discussion
as he and the Chargers host the Browns, who rank in the bottom-10
in the league in fantasy points given up to opposing quarterbacks
this season. What’s been interesting is that, while Rivers
has been extremely effective as of late, the only pass catcher
on the team who has been reliable has been Keenan Allen. But Allen
has been an absolute beast over the past two weeks, making a ridiculous
23 receptions for 331 yards and three scores. He has to be considered
an elite WR1 option this week as well, with the Browns really
not having anyone who is capable of locking him down. Unfortunately,
the other receivers and tight ends are extremely hit or miss in
this offense, with Hunter Henry being the only other viable weekly
fantasy option. Even Henry is a touchdown-or-bust type of low-end
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: With the Chargers surging toward a playoff
spot, you’d think that their running game would have to
be extremely effective. That hasn’t been the case over the
past month, though, even with Melvin Gordon getting to play against
some weak fantasy run defenses. Gordon has topped 80 rushing yards
just once in his past five contests and his usage in the passing
game has been way down from what it was in the beginning of the
season. He’s been held to one or zero receptions in three
of his past five games, which is just not what we’re looking
for out of an elite fantasy back. Gordon has still been good enough
to not be a bust most weeks but he’s fallen down from being
a superstar to more of a low-end RB1 with the emergence of satellite
back Austin Ekeler. Ekeler has been on the field for at least
one-third of the Chargers’ offensive plays in every game
since Week 7, and he’s been inching closer to a 50-50 snap
split in recent weeks. While Gordon is still seeing more touches,
this committee backfield approach has hurt the weekly upside of
Gordon while making Ekeler himself a viable Flex play in PPR formats.
This duo now gets the benefit of playing against a Browns defense
that has given up some big fantasy days to opposing running backs
as of late.
Game Thoughts: The Rams continue to shock the world as
they are ranked in the top five in both offensive yardage produced
and total offensive points scored this season. Quarterback Jared
Goff might not be an elite fantasy quarterback but he ranks in
the top 10 in points scored in most formats, which makes his receivers
very interesting on a weekly basis, even if it can oftentimes
be difficult to predict which receiver will be the focal point
of the offense in a given game. With Robert Woods still sidelined
with a shoulder injury, however, the passing game has become significantly
easier to predict as of late. With Sammy Watkins typically drawing
the opposing team’s top cornerback, in this case Patrick
Peterson, it’s been rookie slot receiver Cooper Kupp who
has been carving up defenses underneath. Kupp had by far the best
game of his young career this past week against a good Saints
defense, catching eight passes for 116 yards. Kupp should avoid
Peterson on most snaps given where he lines up, which will likely
make him the focal point of the passing game once again. While
Watkins has caught touchdowns in three of his past four games,
he’s been held to four or fewer catches in every game since
his Week 3 breakout. He’s been more involved with Woods
being injured but it’d be wise to avoid him this week given
the shutdown cornerback that is Patrick Peterson.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: We said it all last year during his season-long
slump - at least he’s getting carries. The difference this
season is that those carries are actually translating into huge
fantasy games this season for Rams running back Todd Gurley. Gurley
is currently the top-scoring running back in PPR formats this
season and he has only failed to score at least 13 PPR fantasy
points once this season. The Cardinals are a decent run defense
but there’s not much to worry about here - deploy Gurley
as usual as a superstud RB1.
Game Thoughts: Blaine Gabbert shocked the world this past
week by posting a decent fantasy day against the league’s
top secondary and leading the Cardinals to an unlikely win over
the Jaguars. This week he’ll be up against another one of
the league’s surprising top teams, the Rams, who also boast
a top-five fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks. Not
since Week 4 have the Rams given up more than 17 fantasy points
to an opposing quarterback and that includes a Week 7 matchup
against the Cardinals when they injured Carson Palmer and proceeded
to lock down Arizona’s entire offense in a 33-0 blowout
Really the only player to look at in this passing game for fantasy
purposes is Larry Fitzgerald who just continues to battle on,
posting another WR1 fantasy season. He was held in check by the
Jaguars this past week but he had caught 19 passes in his previous
two games so there’s no question that he’s still the
focal point of the passing game. Fitzgerald might not be a WR1
on a week-to-week basis because he lacks the “boom”
factor that many other receivers have but he’s still capable
of putting up nice fantasy numbers in PPR formats. Another player
to keep an eye on in this passing game is tight end Ricky Seals-Jones,
who has come out of seemingly nowhere to make three touchdown
receptions in his past two games, with seven total receptions.
He’s still a relatively unknown commodity but if you’re
desperate and in need of a tight end, he seems to have a decent
connection with Gabbert.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: It continues to be tough to predict when
Adrian Peterson is going to perform well since his move to Arizona
but the Cardinals have had no problem giving him the ball. Peterson
has touched the ball an average of 27.6 times per game since coming
to Arizona. That gigantic number alone makes him a serious consideration
as an RB2 against practically any opponent. It doesn’t always
translate into fantasy points but that kind of usage just cannot
be ignored as the days of the “bell cow running back”
seem to be coming to an end in the NFL. This week, Peterson gets
a Rams defense that held him to just 21 yards on 11 carries back
in Week 7. However, it’s worth noting that the Rams aren’t
typically that good against opposing backs. In fact, that was
by far their best defensive game of the season and they’ve
given up two massive fantasy days in a row to the Minnesota and
New Orleans backfields. Peterson is not the back that he once
was and he’s really only an afterthought in the passing
game but he is still capable of putting up RB2 numbers in a matchup
Game Thoughts: The Giants have been the talk of the NFL
this week as the team will bench quarterback Eli Manning, who
had the league’s longest active start streak at the position.
While it’s not hard to understand why the team would look
toward the future, it’s odd they’ve decided to go
with Geno Smith, who had flamed out for the Jets prior to being
signed by the Giants. The immediate fantasy implications are yet
to be seen but this simply doesn’t look good for any member
of this passing game as there is little to no chemistry between
Smith and his receivers.
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard had been putting up some nice
numbers prior to a migraine issue which held him out of the past
two games. While he’s expected to be back on the field this
week, Shepard can really only be considered a Flex option with
Smith behind center. Tight end Evan Engram might still be a low-end
TE1 but that’s more of an indication of the lack of quality
options at that position than it is any sort of confidence in
him returning to the player we saw tearing up the league in the
middle of the season. Engram has caught just four passes for 27
yards and no touchdowns in his past two contests and that was
with a quarterback he’s been playing with since Week 1.
It’s hard to get much worse than that but adding Geno Smith
to the mix just doesn’t look like a great thing for anyone
in this passing game. The Oakland defense is awful against the
pass but even they should be able to keep Smith and the Giants
in check in this game.
OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Orleans Darkwa continues to be the primary
back for the Giants which has led to some nice games but it’s
also led to some frustrating fantasy results, such as this past
week when he was only able to contribute 30 rushing yards on 11
carries against a mediocre Washington run defense. The presence
of Wayne Gallman continues to limit Darkwa’s upside but
the truth is that the New York offense itself is simply not good
enough to give these players a high scoring potential. It’s
true that the Giants might opt to lean more heavily on the running
game this week given the shaky quarterback situation but even
then Darkwa is probably more of a Flex option. The Raiders run
defense is bad but it’s been able to perform well against
bad offenses, such as Denver’s this past week, who they
held to just 30 rushing yards.
Game Thoughts: Derek Carr has taken a big step back overall
this season and he’s only thrown for multiple touchdowns
in four of his 10 games, making him a mediocre fantasy starter.
He did perform well this past weekend against a good, albeit struggling
Denver secondary which was surprising given that his top receiver,
Michael Crabtree, was ejected early in the contest. He’ll
be without Crabtree again this week as he and Broncos cornerback
Aqib Talib will both serve an additional one-game suspension for
their on-field brawl in Week 12. This would seem to indicate that
Carr will have to focus on Amari Cooper but Cooper is looking
likely to miss this week’s contest with a concussion and
an ankle injury which has held him out of practice all week. If
Cooper is out, look for Seth Roberts to take over as the team’s
top wide receiver this week. Roberts has nine catches over his
past three games and while he’s not a spectacular talent,
he’s the player who led the team in routes run once Crabtree
and Cooper were both out of the game in Week 12.
Cordarrelle Patterson and even Johnny Holton could be deep lottery
ticket type options this week but neither player is likely to
surpass Roberts in targets. The player who you’ll really
want for fantasy purposes, however, is tight end Jared Cook. Cook
has an incredibly great matchup against the league’s worst
fantasy defense against the position. The Giants have given up
a whopping 10 touchdowns to the position this season and this
is exactly the kind of matchup that could break Cook out of the
slump he’s been in over these past two weeks. Cook is a
locked and loaded TE1 in this game and could very well lead all
Raiders in targets, receptions, yardage and touchdowns.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: With the passing game struggling and hobbled
with injuries, look for the Raiders to lean heavily on their running
game, specifically Marshawn Lynch. Lynch has been on a bit of
a hot streak as of late, having scored three rushing touchdowns
over his past three games, and he’s coming off of a 26-carry
day against the Broncos which is by far his highest total since
returning to the league. The Giants have been run over and through
by opposing backs this season who have generated nearly 100 yards
on the ground per game so it makes sense that Oakland will look
to continue to do what works. The Giants offense isn’t likely
to score many points this week which could mean a late game “closer”
type of situation for Lynch who has to be one of the best in the
league at playing that role. Lynch is typically an RB2 due to
his lack of usage in the passing game but he could even sneak
in as an RB1 in non-PPR formats this week.
Game Thoughts: The breakout, MVP-level season for Philadelphia
quarterback Carson Wentz continues each week and his connection
with top receiver Alshon Jeffery just keeps getting better. Jeffery
has now made five touchdown receptions over his past four games
and while he hasn’t gone over 100 yards in any game this
season, there’s no doubt that he’s a WR1 for fantasy
purposes at the moment. The matchup on the road against the Seahawks
is typically one of the worst possible but the injuries in the
Seattle secondary have made them a shell of their usual selves.
With Wentz playing as well as he has been, there’s no doubt
that he’s a QB1, Jeffery is a WR1 and tight end Zach Ertz
is a TE1 coming off of a 10-catch, 103-yard day. The player in
question here is Nelson Agholor who did catch a touchdown pass
this past week but has not gone over 55 receiving yards in a game
since Week 5. Agholor has become somewhat of a touchdown-or-bust
type of receiver, which is not uncommon for depth fantasy receivers,
but he’s in an offense that is producing huge numbers so
his potential is much higher than similar players in lesser offenses.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: Many believed that Jay Ajayi would quickly
take over as the top runner in Philadelphia when the Eagles made
the trade to acquire him earlier this season but that has not
exactly turned out to be true. While Ajayi has been by far the
most effective player on a per-touch basis in the backfield, seemingly
breaking off a long run every week, he has not been rewarded with
a high touch total. Instead, it’s LeGarrette Blount who
continues to be the team’s primary ball carrier with Ajayi
playing more of a complementary role. Corey Clement has also been
involved minimally, which makes this an effective but frustrating
backfield for fantasy purposes. None of these backs is more than
a Flex option as things currently stand but they do all have the
potential of getting into the end zone, which could make them
interesting for teams in need.
Game Thoughts: There is not a player in the league who
is carrying his team more than Russell Wilson is this season.
Wilson has either rushed for or thrown all but one touchdown the
Seattle offense has scored this season. No player in the Super
Bowl era has a higher ratio than Wilson’s 2017 touchdown
involvement. It’s no surprise that he’s the highest-scoring
fantasy player in the league and he’s now thrown for multiple
touchdowns in eight of his past nine contests while getting more
involved in the rushing game. Wilson’s excellence has translated
into some big numbers for tight end Jimmy Graham who has now scored
eight touchdowns in his past seven games. He’s dealing with
an ankle injury but he’s been battling that for a few weeks
now and it hasn’t kept him off the field – or out
of the end zone.
Doug Baldwin has been uncharacteristically boom-or-bust this
season and this does look like a tough matchup. The Eagles haven’t
given up more than 165 receiving yards to an entire team’s
receiver group since all the way back in Week 5. Baldwin may still
be able to get his numbers if this game turns into a shootout
as many expect that it will but he’s also not the lock high-end
WR1 that he usually is. One player to keep an eye on in this offense
is fellow receiver Paul Richardson who has played at least 88
percent of the Seattle offense plays in four of their past five
contests. He’s also made nine receptions over his past two
games, which makes him an interesting Flex option in what could
be a high scoring game.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: There are few offenses as good as Seattle’s
where the running game is practically a non-factor but that’s
the situation we have here in 2017. The Seahawks have utilized
seemingly countless backs throughout the season and almost all
of them have been a non-factor for fantasy purposes. Eddie Lacy
got 17 carries this past week which was a shockingly high number
after he hadn’t seen more than six carries in a game since
Week 7. Yet despite that high usage, head coach Pete Carroll doesn’t
seem too confident that he’ll give Lacy a bunch of carries
again in Week 13. In fact, Carroll specifically pointed out that
Mike Davis will be back this week, which further clouds an already
murky backfield situation. The best thing to do is completely
avoid this ugly running game but if you need someone, Lacy would
seemingly be the “hot hand” if there is one.