- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Chargers at Raiders
- (Caron) Line: LV -3.0 Total: 53.5
Game Thoughts: While Justin Herbert still looks like
a strong bet to win the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year
award, the young gunslinger has taken a step back in recent weeks
from a fantasy standpoint. It’s now been three weeks since
Herbert reached the 20 point milestone after having hit that number
in eight of his first nine starts. While that’s a somewhat
arbitrary number, it should give us just a bit of hesitation about
ranking him as a locked-in QB1.
Thankfully, this week the Chargers get a great matchup against
a Raiders defense that ranks in the bottom-10 in fantasy points
per game given up to opposing quarterbacks this season. They’ve
also conceded exactly two passing touchdowns to each of the past
four quarterbacks they’ve faced, so there’s a decent
floor here for Herbert, especially when we consider that he’s
averaged nearly 50 pass attempts per game over the past month.
With Herbert’s passing attempts being so high, he’s
been able to get more members of the Los Angeles passing game
involved than just Keenan Allen. Allen remains a WR1 when he’s
active and he’s been combining an excellent floor along
with high-level upside this season. Unfortunately Allen is dealing
with a hamstring injury and it’s not entirely certain that
he’s going to be able to suit up on a short week. Fantasy
owners will need to pay close attention to the inactives on Thursday
evening and be prepared to have alternative options if Allen is
unable to go.
Another injury out wide for the Chargers is the back injury that
Mike Williams has been limited in practice with. Williams seems
more likely to play than not, but he’s only a borderline
WR3/Flex play even when he’s fully healthy, so this is probably
a good game to avoid him in. If Allen is out and Williams plays
then it’s probably fine to put him in your lineup given
that he’d almost certainly see more opportunities come his
way, but this isn’t a particularly great situation otherwise.
If Allen and Williams are both unable to go then that’ll
be enough that we’ll recommend sitting Herbert, but it’ll
also lead the way for some additional opportunities for depth
receivers Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson. Those two pass catchers
have both seen limited opportunities this season but they’ve
had their moments including this past week when Johnson saw a
season-high seven targets come his way, six of which he caught
for 55 yards and a touchdown. Williams and Allen would both have
to be out to even consider Johnson or Guyton, but those are the
two players who would seemingly benefit most if the Chargers’
top two wideouts were unable to suit up.
The other player who might be a sneaky higher-than-usual upside
play this week is tight end Hunter Henry. Henry has been an unexciting
fantasy TE1 this season but the position has been pretty terrible
overall so he’s pretty easily going to finish the season
in the top-12 at the position. This week, however, he faces a
Las Vegas defense that he saw seven targets against back in Week
9. Although he only converted those seven targets into four catches
for 33 yards, it was a glimpse into Las Angeles’ offensive
strategy against Las Vegas. That target number could also see
an increase - even a significant increase - if the Chargers are
missing one or more of their top wide receivers.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: The Los Angeles running
game has been weak for most of the season, but things appear to
be headed in the right direction now that Austin Ekeler (quad)
is back. Ekeler rushed for 79 yards on 15 carries this past week
against the Falcons, but more importantly he’s been an incredibly
valuable pass catcher out of the backfield. He’s now caught
an absurd 24 passes in the three games he’s played since
returning from injury, including nine catches this past week against
the Falcons. The Chargers pass catchers are banged up so it’s
pretty safe to assume that he’ll continue to see a heavy
target share this week even if Keenan Allen and Mike Williams
are on the field.
The usage is good enough that Ekeler is an easy RB1 this week
against the Raiders even in non-PPR leagues. The Raiders have
given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs
this season and they’re coming off back-to-back 100-yard
rushing game performances given up to New York’s Ty Johnson
and Indianapolis’ Jonathan Taylor. Get Ekeler in your lineup
- this is the smash spot we’ve been waiting for all season.
Game Thoughts: The Raiders passing game took a hit this
week when rookie first round draft pick Henry Ruggs III was placed
on the COVID-IR list and will not be able to suit up this for
this Thursday’s contest. This comes at a tough time for
the Las Vegas passing game as quarterback Derek Carr has been
performing extremely well over the past two weeks and this is
a potential shootout matchup against the Chargers. Carr did, however,
only throw for 165 yards, albeit with a pair of touchdowns, against
LA when he faced them back in Week 9.
Even if Ruggs were healthy, though, Carr has been spreading the
ball out enough to his receivers that none of the wideouts have
been particularly effective and reliable fantasy assets. If you’re
looking for a wide receiver, it should be Nelson Agholor. Agholor
caught five of the nine passes that came his way this past week
against the Colts, for 100 yards and a touchdown. Agholor’s
usage has been quietly increasing as of late and he’s now
averaging nearly nine targets per game over his past four contests.
With Ruggs out, look for that to continue and that should be enough
for Agholor to be a solid WR3 this week against the Chargers.
The only other Las Vegas pass catcher worth noting is tight end
Darren Waller who continues to perform at an elite TE1 level.
Waller has been targeted 44 times over his past four games and
he’s easily the No. 2 fantasy tight end at the moment. He
was targeted 10 times against the Chargers in Week 9 and scored
a touchdown so feel confident rolling him out again this week.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No12
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: It’s been an extremely
disappointing second half of the season for second-year running
back Josh Jacobs, but he still has a strong likelihood of finishing
as an RB1 for the season. That’s in large part due to the
high rushing game usage that he’s seeing because his passing
game participation continues to be fairly minimal.
Jacobs rushed for just 65 yards but was able to get into the end
zone against the Chargers when these teams played earlier this
season. He’s a borderline RB1 this week but don’t
get too overzealous about your expectations for him. If this game
ends up being a shootout as many expect then there’s a good
chance that Jacobs ends up conceding some work to Devontae Booker.
Bills at Broncos
- (Caron) Line: BUF -6.5 Total: 49.5
Game Thoughts: A solid fantasy day against perhaps the
league’s best defense in Pittsburgh this past week should
have Josh Allen fantasy owners very confident in their quarterback
as we head into the final few weeks of the fantasy football season.
Allen has now produced at least 15 standard fantasy points in
all but one game throughout the 2020 season, while providing some
absolutely gigantic upside games along the way. There’s
no question that he’s a QB1 in any matchup, including this
week on the road against the Broncos. Denver has been solid against
opposing passers as of late, but this isn’t a particularly
difficult matchup for someone like Allen who can also contribute
on the ground.
Stefon Diggs saw another big target game this past week when he
was targeted 14 times, converting 10 of those passes for 130 yards
and a touchdown. Diggs’ huge volume continues to give him
one of the highest floors in all of fantasy football and like
Allen he’s also been capable of delivering week-winning
performances. Diggs hasn’t finished with under 10 PPR fantasy
points in any game this season and it’s safe to consider
him one of the top wide receiver plays on the board again this
With John Brown still sidelined, Cole Beasley remains the Bills’
second option in the passing game. While Beasley’s role
in the offense is more as a short yardage converter, he’s
still seeing a large target share and he’s seen at least
10 targets in three of his past four games. He doesn’t possess
the upside that Diggs does, but Beasley is a very solid PPR WR3.
Gabriel Davis is the only other Buffalo pass catcher who we should
really be considering for fantasy this week. While he’s
not seeing quite the volume that Diggs and Beasley are, he’s
been targeted heavily in the red zone as of late. He’s now
caught a touchdown in four of his past five games and while it’s
certainly difficult to guarantee another trip to the end zone,
Davis appears to have a somewhat defined role in a good offense
and that makes him worthy of consideration as a Flex play here
in Week 15.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: The split backfield continues in Buffalo
with Josh Allen often still functioning as the team’s primary
goal line runner. That has really limited the upside of both Devin
Singletary and Zack Moss who just don’t see enough money
touches to be reliable fantasy options. Neither back has scored
a touchdown since Week 9, neither player is being utilized more
than occasionally in the passing game, and the carry split isn’t
significant enough in either direction to trust these guys.
This matchup against the Broncos is actually a decent one as the
Broncos have been beaten up, especially near the goal line, as
of late by opposing backs. But Moss and Singletary vulture one
another enough that neither one should be considered to be more
than a Flex in non-PPR formats.
Game Thoughts: A gigantic four touchdown performance
from Drew Lock in Week 14 probably only helped those who rolled
the dice with him in DFS or were forced to start him in two-QB
formats, but it still happened. It shouldn’t make us confident
that he’s going to put up QB1 numbers again this week in
a tough matchup against the Bills, but it should help us feel
a little better about some of his pass catchers in this matchup.
Tim Patrick’s volume has been down a bit over the past few
weeks, but he’s actually been converting higher fantasy
point totals due to him scoring three touchdowns over the past
two contests. We shouldn’t look for that to continue, but
a matchup against a good Buffalo team could also mean a return
to higher target numbers for Patrick who has been the team’s
best fantasy receiver this season. Patrick is still only a WR3
but a lot of fantasy owners are still leaving points on their
bench by denying that he’s a better option than some of
the perceived must-start players who aren’t producing as
Jerry Jeudy will likely be matched up with standout cornerback
Tre’Davious White in this one, which doesn’t bode
well for his opportunity to have a big game here in Week 15. Jeudy
has been practically non-existent as of late and he continues
to deal with an ankle injury, so it’s probably best to avoid
him this week.
Tight end Noah Fant was taken out of this past week’s game
with an undisclosed (non-COVID) sickness so it’s now been
six straight games that he has failed to reach even 10 PPR fantasy
points. The tight end position as a whole is terrible but Fant
is barely worth being a fantasy starter at this point.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: Melvin Gordon now has three solid fantasy
performances over his past four contests, including at least 12
carries in all four of those games, so he should be back into
the solid RB2 conversation if he wasn’t dealing with a shoulder
injury. While it sounds like Gordon is going to play, he’ll
also likely be sharing the backfield with fellow running back
Phillip Lindsay yet again this week. Lindsay himself has seen
an average of 12 carries per game over his past four, so this
is definitely a committee situation.
The Broncos duo will be up against a Bills defense that has been
solid in recent weeks against split backfields. They have, however,
given up a number of 100-yard performances this season, so there’s
at least some hope for the Broncos running backs. It’s too
much to call either of these guys an RB1, but Gordon should be
a decent enough RB2 and Lindsay is someone who could be Flexed
in if you need help in a non-PPR league.
Game Thoughts: Back in action after a Week 13 bye, Teddy
Bridgewater went 30-for-40 for 283 yards against the Broncos.
It was the continuation of a season-long, and in many ways a career-long,
trend of few touchdown passes. The veteran has just 14 TDs on
406 attempts this season, giving him one every 29 throws, which
is in line with his career mark. His yardage average of 258.5
per game is a career best, and he has some weapons, but without
consistent TDs Bridgewater is a middling QB2.
Speaking of those weapons, Bridgewater is set to get DJ Moore
back this Sunday after he sat out last week on the COVID list.
He was also dealing with an ankle issue, but he hasn't played
since Nov. 19 and should be active this Saturday. Robby Anderson
(8-84) continues to provide value after the team signed him during
the offseason; he has at least four catches in every game and
is eighth in the NFL with 83 receptions. Curtis Samuel (7-68)
has developed into a Swiss Army Knife, which helps make up for
the absence of Christian McCaffrey (thigh). View Moore and Anderson
as WR2s in this one with Samuel as a low-end WR3 or flex option.
Green Bay is 12th in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 226 yards
per game, and they are 10th in sacks (35). Jaire Alexander has
developed into one of the NFL's top cornerbacks, and if he gets
assigned to Moore or Anderson it could hinder their value, though
it's uncertain if the Packers would ask Alexander to shadow either
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: With McCaffrey officially listed as doubtful
and unlikely to play Saturday night, Mike Davis (11-51-2) should
once again get the call. While he isn't on par with CMC, Davis
has done a nice job of stabilizing the position with 926 total
yards and seven TDs on the season. The Packers have fared better
against the run recently and rank 11th on the year, but this is
still an area the Panthers may look to attack to help keep their
own defense off the field. Consider Davis a solid RB2.
Game Thoughts: With precious few exceptions, Aaron Rodgers
was in complete control last Sunday, hitting the Lions for 290
yards and three touchdowns. He added a rushing touchdown and now
has posted nine games in 2020 in which he accounted for at least
three TDs and zero turnovers. The key to slowing Rodgers is generating
pressure with your front four, something only Tampa Bay has managed
this year -- they had four sacks in Week 6; in his other 12 starts
he's been sacked more than once just one time. Carolina's 19 sacks
are tied for 26th in the NFL, which is a bad sign for the Panthers.
Davante Adams (7-115-1) continues to argue his case as the league's
top receiver, extending his touchdown streak to eight games last
Sunday, which is behind only A.J. Green (nine) and Jerry Rice
(12) in NFL history. Robert Tonyan (5-36-1) has also grown into
a reliable contributor. He caught his ninth touchdown pass of
the year in Week 14 and remains tied with Travis Kelce for most
among tight ends. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the wild card, as
he followed two games without a reception by posting a 6-85-1
line against Detroit. His upside is much higher than Allen Lazard
(2-19), who has been pretty quiet since his return from core muscle
Rather that deep-dive into Carolina's numbers against the pass
let's just go back to last Sunday when Drew Lock, who entered
the game with 13 INTs and nine TDs on the year, tossed four touchdown
passes without a pick. This is a strong matchup for the Packers,
which features Adams and Tonyan as No. 1s and MVS as a lottery-ticket
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: Aaron Jones (15-69) continues to see an
increasing share of the snaps over Jamaal Williams (10-38), though
the team has yet to really lean on Jones -- his season high for
touches remains 22 back in Week 2. He ran for three TDs against
the Panthers last season, but Green Bay has been considerably
more pass-heavy in the red zone this year. Carolina ranks 13th
against the run (113.6 yards per game), but Jones still carries
RB1 value with Williams as a flex.
Texans @ Colts
- (Swanson) Line: IND -7.5 Total: 51.0
Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson and the Texans head to
Indianapolis to take on a Colts team that beat Houston 26-20 back
in Week 13. Watson is the No.6 quarterback in total fantasy points
scored on the season, but he has scuffled as of late, with just
one passing touchdown in his last two games.
Watson failed to throw a touchdown pass against the Colts, although
he did make up for the lack of touchdown passes with 341 passing
yards and a rushing touchdown. Watson should get some reinforcements
back with the return of Brandin Cooks from a neck injury.
Cooks caught five of eight targets for 65 yards vs. Indy back
in Week 13. His absence last week against the Bears was evident,
as Chicago was able to get significant pressure on Watson, and
the QB had no real deep threat to keep the defense honest.
Keke Coutee kept up his solid production as of late with a receiving
touchdown vs. the Bears and 141 yards two weeks ago vs. the Colts.
Both Cooks and Coutee are solid plays this week in all formats.
Randall Cobb was placed on injured reserve on December 14th with
a toe injury and will not return for the fantasy season. Assuming
Cooks does play, it will be the Coutee and Cooks show in a game
script that projects to be pass-heavy for the Texans.
The Colts have given up the 11th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks
over the past five weeks. Derek Carr had a surprisingly big game
last week with three total touchdowns and 316 yards. A similar
game is not out of the question for Watson.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: The way to beat the Colts this season
has been in the passing game and not on the ground. Indy ranks
23rd in points allowed to running backs and have shut down everyone
not named Derrick Henry. If you take out Henry’s 281 rushing
yards and three touchdowns, including the game that DeForest Buckner
was out, the Colts would be in the top 5 for the fewest points
David Johnson did reach the end zone vs. the Colts back in Week
13 and could once again this week, but the yardage totals will
not be there for him or Duke Johnson, making them touchdown-dependent
Stud linebacker Darius Leonard is listed as questionable with
a back injury. Per Zak Keefer of the Athletic, the team does not
believe the back injury is serious, and they expect Leonard to
Game Thoughts: Death, Taxes, the fantasy industry continually
undervaluing Derek Henry, and T.Y. Hilton are all certainties
in this world. It does not matter if they are playing at home
in Indianapolis or on the road in Houston, Hilton finds a way
to come through with monster games when playing against his division
Hilton caught eight passes for 110 yards and a score against
the Texans back in Week 13 and followed that up with two touchdown
receptions and 86 yards last week against Las Vegas. After starting
the season with no 100-yard games or a single touchdown in his
first nine games, Hilton has been a godsend for fantasy managers,
with only Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams scoring more points over
the past three weeks.
Like Hilton, Philip Rivers had very little fantasy value for
most of the season but has come on big as of late. Rivers has
nine passing touchdowns compared to just two interceptions since
Week 11, including three passing touchdowns against the Packers.
The savvy vet posted 295/2 against the Texans in their first
matchup, and his recent rapport with Hilton makes him a viable
Starting free safety Justin Reid suffered a UCL tear in his thumb
and will be out, making an already juicy matchup for Hilton and
Rivers that much more juicy.
The Texans rank 14th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends,
but none of the Colts tight ends should garner serious consideration.
Frank Reich continues to play all three tight ends, with Mo Alie-Cox,
Jack Doyle, and Trey Burton splitting around seven targets per
game. One of them will likely catch a touchdown. Your guess is
as good as ours on who that will be.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: Christmas came a little early for Jonathan
Taylor fantasy managers. The rookie sensation from Wisconsin delivered
mostly dud performances in Weeks 1 through 10, only to post 90
yards and/or a touchdown in all three of its last games. His 150/2
performance against the Raiders proved to be a week-winning day
for those owners who were able to weather his previous disappointing
performances and make the playoffs.
While there is always the threat of Nyheim Hines stealing a touchdown
here or there, the elite volume and matchup make Taylor a must-start
No other team has given up more points to running backs this
season than the Texans. They continue to get gashed between the
tackles, and no other team has given up more 100-yard games. If
David Montgomery and the Bears can post nearly 150 total yards
and a score on 15 touches, one would assume Taylor could put up
similar production on his 20-25 touches.
Lions @ Titans
- (Swanson) Line: TEN -11.0 Total: 51.5
Game Thoughts: This matchup would have been an excellent
matchup for Matthew Stafford and the Lions passing game, as the
Titans give up the fifth-most points to opposing quarterbacks.
Nine opposing quarterbacks have reached 20-fantasy points vs.
Tennessee, including Baker Mayfield, who posted a career-best
334 passing yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago.
However, Stafford will not likely play in this game due to a
rib injury he sustained last week against the Packers, leaving
the Lions to roll out veteran Chase Daniel at QB. Daniel is a
competent backup QB, but not someone you want to start in the
Kenny Golladay has been out since week five with a hip injury
and will likely miss the remainder of the season. Even if he plays,
he is too risky based on the chance of him re-injuring the hip
and the fact that the passing offense will not be the same without
Stafford’s absence will also have an adverse effect on
T.J. Hockenson, who is fourth among tight ends with 101.7 fantasy
points on the season. The matchup is excellent, and the game script
projects to be a heavy passing game for the Lions; it just may
take some intestinal fortitude to trust Daniel.
Both cornerback Adoree Jackson, and safety Kenny Vaccaro are
listed as questionable, while cornerback Breon Borders was placed
on IR with a hip injury. An already dreadful pass defense could
be down a few starters.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: D’Andre Swift returned to the field
last week against the Packers after missing the previous two games
with a concussion. Swift rushed for 24 yards on seven carries
and a rushing touchdown while adding 26 yards on four receptions.
With Matthew Stafford likely out, the Lions will look to try
and run the ball to mitigate exposure to backup QB Chase Daniel.
I doubt the game script will allow them to stick to the run, with
King Derrick Henry running wild on them and building a large early
The Titans present an excellent opportunity for Swift and Adrian
Peterson. Tennessee gives up the seventh-most points to opposing
running backs, with ten games of over ten fantasy points allowed.
The numbers would be even worse for the Titans had a long touchdown
run by James Robinson not been called back for a holding penalty.
An injury to watch is starting tackle Tyrell Crosby, who missed
last week against the Packers and is questionable for this week’s
game vs. Tennessee. Crosby’s absence last week made the
left side of the line somewhat vulnerable, and his return would
be a boost for both the run game and the passing attack.
A second injury to keep an eye on is Frank Ragnow, who is questionable
with a fractured throat. Beat writer Dave Birkett says he can
breathe and eat as usual, but he is not supposed to talk.
Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill enters Week 15 as the No.9
quarterback in fantasy football, with 299.6 fantasy points. His
23 points per game are the best average of his career, and he
is on pace to throw for fewer than ten interceptions for the third
season in a row.
Tannehill managers could not get a much better matchup for their
playoff semi-finals, as the Lions give up the seventh-most points
to opposing quarterbacks. All but three opposing quarterbacks
have scored at least 20 fantasy points against the Lions, including
Aaron Rogers, who torched them for 290 yards and four total touchdowns
Corey Davis and A.J. Brown are excellent starts against one of
the worst secondaries in football. The biggest concern is not
the Lions' pass defense but rather their own running game negating
the need to throw the ball. Head coach Mike Vrabel is well aware
that Derrick Henry has a chance for 2000 yards rushing and will
give the King every opportunity to reach that goal.
Brown’s matchup against Derryl Roberts is the fifth-best
matchup on the week, according to PFF.com. Although he disappointed
last week with three catches for 34 yards and a fumble, Corey
Davis is currently the third-ranked WR according to PFF.com, behind
only Davante Adams and Adam Thielen.
The tight ends for the Titans continue to be a spinning wheel
and not something you can trust in the fantasy playoffs. Two weeks
ago MyCole Pruitt scored a receiving touchdown, and Geoff Swaim
got into the action this week. Jonnu Smith is the de facto starter,
but he is not trustworthy enough in this critical week for fantasy
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry is a smash play every week
regardless of who the Titans are playing. When he gets a home
matchup against the second-worst run defense in the league, Henry
looks poised to be the reason why his managers will make it to
the Super Bowl next week.
Both Aaron Jones and Dalvin Cook put up over 200 total yards
against the Lions this season with five combined touchdowns. A
200-yard, two-touchdown game for the King is well within reach,
especially when you consider how he has a realistic chance of
getting 2000 yards rushing on the season.
Game Thoughts: Tom Brady is currently ranked ninth with
24.1 fantasy points per game. On the surface, that seems like
an impressive feat for the 43-year-old QB, but a closer examination
reveals an aging QB who has been anything but reliable as a fantasy
Brady has three monster games of over 35 fantasy points, including
a season-high 40.6 points against the Raiders back in Week 7.
He also torched the Chargers for five passing touchdowns back
in Week 4.
Sandwiched between those behemoth games are six games of 19 or
fewer points, including 10.5 points against the Saints and just
17.6 last week in what appeared to be a smash play vs. the Vikings.
If you survived the ups and downs of Brady’s performances
and made the playoffs, you might be treated to another monster
game with the Bucs heading to Atlanta to take on the Falcons.
However, you also might be disappointed. Although the Falcons
rank first in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks on the season,
they have been much better defensively over the past six games,
giving up no more than two passing touchdowns since Week 6.
No other quarterback in the league has better passing weapons
than Brady, yet the Buccaneers wide receiving corps of Mike Evans,
Antonio Brown, and Chris Godwin have combined to score just the
12th-most points over the past three weeks. Even the Bears wide
receivers have done better over that span, as Brady continues
to miss open receivers. Without his safety net in Rob Gronkowski,
Brady would have really struggled over the past month.
Speaking of Gronk, he is a must-play this week in both season-long
and DFS. Although the Falcons have given up just three passing
touchdowns to tight ends on the season, Gronk has a touchdown
or 100 yards receiving in his last two games.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Ronald Jones has a broken pinky finger
and has been placed on the COIVD-19 list, effectively making him
unavailable for this week’s game against the Falcons. If
somehow you are still alive with Leonard Fournette on your team,
congrats to you, as you get to play him as a No.2 running back
this week vs. the Falcons.
The Falcons are often thought of as a terrible defense across
the board, but that could not be further from the truth. Only
the Saints, Steelers, and Bucs have given up fewer points to opposing
running backs this season than Atlanta.
The Falcons are tied with the Saints for the fewest rushing touchdowns
allowed on the season with five. The only reason why Atlanta is
not ranked even better vs. running backs is the fact that they
have given up a ton of points to RBs in the passing game.
Perhaps this fact will force head coach Bruce Arians to lean
more on LeSean McCoy, the better pass catcher of his two remaining
backs, instead of using Fournette as a bell cow.
The Bucs could be without their starting kicker in Ryan Succop
and their punter Bradley Pinion, as both players were added to
the COIVD-19 reserve list. Perhaps not having their starting kicker
or punter will force Arians to go for it on fourth down more than
he usually would.
Some important injuries to watch are safety Ricardo Allen who
is questionable with a concussion, and cornerback Darqueze Dennard.
Both players look iffy for the game and would give another boost
to the Bucs offense.
Game Thoughts: To say that Matt Ryan has been a disappointment
for fantasy would be an understatement. His 21.0 points per game
put him at 23rd at the position, behind Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater,
Jared Goff, and even Carson Wentz, who was benched in favor of
Jalen Hurts this past week.
You can blame the poor production on injuries to Julio Jones
and the offensive line, but those excuses should go only so far,
as Ryan still has a talented wide receiving corps led by Calvin
Ridley and Hayden Hurst.
The Falcons rank dead last in red zone efficiency. This has been
great for Younghoe Koo owners, but not so much for managers of
the other skill position players in the offense. In addition,
the team has inexplicably zero passing touchdowns to their running
backs in 13 games - not a single passing touchdown to Todd Gurley,
Ito Smith, or Brian Hill.
Julio Jones did not practice on Thursday with a hamstring injury
and is likely out. Calvin Ridley was limited with a foot injury
and is also questionable, but we think he will suit up.
A matchup to watch in this game is the beat-up offensive line
of the Falcons against the defensive line of the Bucs. Starting
tackle Kaleb McGary is also questionable, which could pose a big
concern for Ryan being able to get enough time to pass.
After starting the season strong, including a shutdown performance
against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the Bucs secondary has
been terrible as of late. Only the Jets have given up more fantasy
points over the previous five games than Tampa Bay.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley ranks seventh in rushing touchdowns
among running backs but 25th overall at the position in fantasy
points per game. All season long, we wrote about the red flag
on Gurley being far too touchdown-dependent, making him a risky
play if he does not reach the end zone.
Well, the shoe dropped on Gurley scoring rushing touchdowns.
Over the past three games, Gurley ranks 79st in fantasy points
scored. Even in a good matchup starting Gurley has its risks.
Against a Buccaneer defense that gives up the third-fewest points
to running backs, starting Gurley is borderline insane.
Jaguars @ Ravens
- (Green) Line: BAL -13.0 Total: 47.0
Game Thoughts: Jacksonville's quarterback carousel made
yet another turn last Sunday when Mike Glennon was benched in
favor of Gardner Minshew. For those that are keeping track at
home, Glennon and Jake Luton have each started three games in
2020 with Minshew set to make his eighth start this Sunday. Minshew
began the year strong but trailed off before his thumb injury.
Although he's the kind of player that can post numbers in a loss,
his nearly two-month absence doesn't foster much confidence in
giving him a spot in a fantasy lineup this Sunday.
Perhaps Minshew's return can spark D.J. Chark, who has flatlined
statistically since hitting the Texans for a 7-146-1 line in Luton's
first start. Injuries have been a problem for Chark this season,
but he's healthy now and could offer some upside as a flex or
low-end WR3. Laviska Shenault (6-49 last week) is the other name
to know in J-Ville. The rookie gets a decent number of touches
most weeks as he's dangerous with the ball in his hands. He could
function as a flex as well. Keelan Cole (7-67-1) has decent YTD
numbers, but last Sunday marked just his second game of 60-plus
receiving yards this season.
Although Baltimore ranks mid-pack in pass defense for the year,
their secondary has a laundry list of injuries. It's unclear who
will or won't play (and at what percentage they'll function at)
on a short turnaround, but among the walking wounded are Marcus
Peters (calf), Jimmy Smith (shoulder), DaVontae Harris (ankle)
and Tramon Williams (thigh). This could create some opportunities
for Jacksonville's passing game.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: If football were pro wrestling, James
Robinson's moniker would be "The Silver Lining." In
his last seven games, Robinson has averaged 23 touches and 113
combined yards while scoring five times, all while functioning
as essentially the only running back on the team -- Robinson has
224 carries this season, Minshew is second with 27. The Ravens
are 14th against the run at 113.6 yards per game and yielded four
rushing TDs to the Browns on Monday night. Keep Robinson in your
lineup as an RB1.
Game Thoughts: Remember those old horror movies where
you'd think the monster was defeated only to have it jump out
again and chase the exhausted victims? At this point that's COVID-19
and the Ravens. After suffering through one of the NFL's worst
outbreaks, Baltimore appeared to have gotten through it... and
then they placed three receivers, including Marquise Brown, on
the COVID list. It's reportedly a close-contact situation, meaning
they have a shot to play Sunday, but the only thing for certain
when it comes to COVID is nothing's for certain.
On the field, the Ravens are coming off a thrilling win on Monday
over Cleveland with Lamar Jackson returning to throw a 44-yard
touchdown pass on fourth down after missing much of the final
quarter with cramping. Jackson finished with 163 yards passing
-- 78 of it to Mark Andrews, who returned from a two-game absence
-- and 124 yards rushing to go with three total TDs (two rushing,
one passing). Both Jackson and Andrews can be played as No. 1s
at their respective spots, while Brown could fill a flex role
if he's active.
If Brown can't go, Willie Snead and Dez Bryant, fresh off the
COVID list himself, should assume larger roles, though given the
run-to-pass ratio these days I wouldn't be inclined to play either
of them. Defensively, the Jaguars don't do much of anything well.
They are currently 28th in the NFL against the pass (273.4 yards
per game) and only three teams have recorded fewer sacks.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: Baltimore's running game dominated the
Browns for the second time this season last Monday. While Jackson
led the way, J.K. Dobbins (13-53-1) and Gus Edwards (7-49-2) still
posted good fantasy numbers in limited touches. Mark Ingram, however,
played just one snap and never saw the ball. Unless there was
an unreported injury it appears the Ravens will move forward with
Dobbins and Edwards as the primary backs. Jacksonville ranks 30th
against the run this season, allowing 145.5 rushing yards per
game; that gives Dobbins and Edwards major upside this weekend.
Patriots at Dolphins
- (Katz) Line: MIA -2.0 Total: 41.5
Game Thoughts: When you play the Chiefs, you have no
choice but to let your quarterback throw. The encouraging part
of about Tua Tagovailoa’s performance last week was that
he proved capable of hitting 300 yards passing and airing it out
if necessary. The discouraging part is his 58% completion percentage.
With a run funnel Patriots defense looming and the Dolphins bereft
of healthy pass catchers, I fear that Tagovailoa will be put back
in the box even in this week’s must win contest.
There’s a real chance the Dolphins’ top three receivers
are Lynn Bowden Jr., Mack Hollins, and Malcolm Perry. Even a slight
hamstring strain like the one DeVante Parker has is enough to
keep him out of this week’s game. Jakeem Grant has a hamstring
strain of his own and Preston Williams is long gone. Mike Gesicki
left last week’s game with a shoulder injury, which leaves
the team with Adam Shaheen and Durham Smythe. Somehow, the Dolphins’
pass catchers are worse than the Packers without Davante Adams
or the Jets at any point this season. Bowden is the favorite to
lead the team in targets if none of the aforementioned can play
so if you feel compelled to take a shot on someone, it’s
him, but the best move is to avoid all Dolphins.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: With Myles Gaskin testing positive himself
so late last week, he is going to have to miss another week. Salvon
Ahmed is still out as well. That positions DeAndre Washington
for another week as the primary back. It seems ridiculous to start
Washington in a fantasy semi-final, but it’s really not
the worst move. The Patriots are a run funnel defense, fresh off
getting torched by Cam Akers last Thursday. Washington has 15
touches each of the past two weeks. He played nearly 50% of the
snaps and has nine targets over the last two games. The last part
is important because Patriots’ opponents target running
backs 20% of the time. Washington has a solid ppr floor and it’s
not difficult to envision a game plan where Washington is utilized
as a receiver given the injury issues the Dolphins have at wide
receiver and tight end.
Game Thoughts: It feels wrong to even acknowledge the
Patriots have a passing game. Cam Newton’s 119 yards last
week was his second highest total in his last five starts. Newton
hasn’t thrown for more than a single touchdown in any game
this season. He was a QB1 back in Week 1 when he last faced the
Dolphins because he ran the ball 15 times for 75 yards and two
touchdowns. He will need to do that again to be even remotely
useful and Newton hasn’t attempted 15 rushes since that
The Dolphins are also far better defensively. They allow 3.7
fantasy points per game to quarterbacks via rushing, which ranks
towards the bottom of the NFL. Byron Jones and Xavien Howard have
been two of the best cornerbacks in the league. This week, there’s
no one for them to lock down. It doesn’t take much to shut
down a receiving corps of Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd. Along
with N’Keal Harry, all three receivers had similar stat
lines last week, but Byrd led the team in targets. The reality
is you’re not starting any Patriots this week.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: We know what Damien Harris is. He’s
what Sony Michel was last year. He’s what LeGarrette Blount
was for years. He’s what Stevan Ridley was before that.
They’re all the same for fantasy purposes. Harris will get
a bunch of carries and you hope he scores a touchdown because,
at most, he’s catching one pass. Harris feels he’s
been more productive than he has, but he’s only scored in
two games this season. The Dolphins allow just 12.9 fantasy points
per game to running backs via rushing and that number includes
touchdowns, something Harris is unlikely to get. You can certainly
do worse than a guaranteed 10-15 carries, but if you made it this
far, you probably don’t need to be using Harris. James White
played a team high 46% of the snaps last week, but touched the
ball just four times. He hasn’t been on the fantasy radar
for a long time. Sony Michel is just a breather back.
Bears @ Vikings
- (Green) Line: MIN -3.0 Total: 47.0
Game Thoughts: Following their loss to Detroit in Week
13 it sure seemed like the Bears were ready to hibernate for the
winter, but to borrow from Lee Corso... not so fast, my friend!
Chicago unleashed a can of whoop ass on the Texans last Sunday
with Mitchell Trubisky passing for 267 yards and three TDs; it
was the second time this year that he threw for three scores and
didn't turn the ball over. While his time in the Windy City is
doubtless coming to an end, Trubisky is playing for a second-chance
somewhere in 2021. He's a decent QB2 this Sunday.
As is usually the case, Allen Robinson (9-123-1) led the way and
continues to serve as the only sure fantasy play for Chicago's
passing game. For the year, he has nearly double the receptions
and more than twice the yardage of anyone else on the team. Cole
Kmet (4-41) continues to make a little noise at least, and though
Jimmy Graham (4-23-1) got the TD in Week 14, Kmet is the one with
sudden fringe appeal as a risky TE1.
Although they've made some noticeable improvement from early in
the season, the Vikings' secondary remains a weakness. They're
currently 26th in the league in pass yardage allowed (256.6 per
game) and only four teams have given up more TD passes this year.
Minnesota did a nice job during the Monday night meeting with
Chicago, but Trubisky is playing better now than Nick Foles was
at that point.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: In three games since returning from a
concussion that kept him out of the first meeting with Minnesota,
David Montgomery has averaged 136 total yards per contest and
scored four times. It's his best run of play since the Bears selected
him in the third round last year. Cordarrelle Patterson has proven
a nice fit as a change of pace, averaging 5.2 yards per carry
in that same three-week stretch. Playing against the Vikings'
20th-ranked run defense, Montgomery is an RB2 and Patterson is
Game Thoughts: Last Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay was a
tough one as Minnesota came out and played the exact game they
wanted to, running effectively against the NFL's top run defense.
They couldn't get it done in the red zone, however, and that killed
them. Kirk Cousins wasn't nearly as sharp as he had been recently,
throwing for just 225 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked six
times as well, and it seemed as though every one of those came
in a critical spot where he couldn't afford to take it. He'll
try to bounce back against the Bears, which he passed for 292
yards and two touchdowns against in Minnesota's Week 10 win.
Considered a borderline top-10 fantasy wideout by almost everyone,
Adam Thielen has quietly underwhelmed in terms of receptions and
yardage with last Sunday representing the fifth time in 12 games
that he's finished with less than 40 yards receiving. He's made
his living in the red zone this season, trailing only Davante
Adams and Tyreek Hill in TD receptions (12). Meanwhile, Justin
Jefferson continued his trend of quiet outings against top NFC
competition -- in four games against current NFC playoff teams
(TB, SEA and GB twice) the rookie has a combined 12-114-0 line.
Both wideouts played well against the Bears in November, though,
and can be utilized as WR2s.
Chicago held Deshaun Watson to 219 yards passing and logged seven
sacks in Week 14. Impressive, right? Welllllllllllll... sort of.
The Texans were without their top three WRs and starting tailback
David Johnson, so that was definitely a watered down version of
the Houston offense. Prior to that, the Bears had all manner of
trouble with the Packers and Lions; there's nothing here to sour
you on Minnesota's skill players.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Considering who it came against, Dalvin
Cook's 22-carry, 102-yard and 1-touchdown performance in Tampa
Bay last Sunday might have been his most impressive of 2020. Although
he's been banged up in a couple of games recently he has stayed
in the lineup, which is doubly important right now as backup Alexander
Mattison (appendix) remains out following an appendectomy. Cook
put up a workmanlike 112 yards on 34 touches in that Monday night
win. Chicago will make him earn it, but Cook is a matchup-proof
Seahawks at Football
Team - (Katz) Line: SEA -5.5 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: It would be easy to say Russell Wilson
is back after a string of lackluster games with his four touchdown
explosion last week, but we must look at the bigger picture. Wilson
attempted a season low 27 passes and threw for just 206 yards.
He just happened to throw for four touchdowns. The Football Team
allows just 16.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. DK Metcalf
is an obvious start as one of the true elite talents in the NFL.
Metcalf has failed to score a touchdown in just five games this
season. The real concern comes with those thinking about starting
Tyler Lockett. Yes, it’s a genuine decision. Lockett scored
41% of his fantasy points for the season in two games. He’s
averaging just 11.6 FPts/G in his other 11 games. Lockett has
lined up in the slot 57% of the time. The Football Team allows
a league low 10.3 fantasy points per game to the slot. If you
have a viable alternative, you should consider sitting Lockett.
The rest of the Seahawks’ pass catchers are not fantasy
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: Chris Carson played just 45% of the snaps
last week, but he led the backfield with 15 touches. Most encouraging,
since returning from injury, Carson has been more involved as
a receiver. He has 11 targets over his past two games. The bad
news is Washington has only allowed 11% of receiving yards against
it to go to running backs. Only two teams allow fewer than the
19.2 fantasy points per game Washington allows to running backs.
Carson’s touch share is great, but the snap share and the
involvement of Carlos Hyde is a bit worrisome. You don’t
have a better option than Carson most likely, but temper expectations
in a game the Seahawks should be able to control with defense.
Game Thoughts: As of Thursday, Alex Smith has not practiced.
Whether Smith plays is of huge importance as the alternative is
Dwayne Haskins, one of the least talented quarterbacks of the
past decade. Terry McLaurin would benefit from Smith returning
to action. The Seahawks still have awful season long numbers against
wide receivers, but they’ve been much better lately. Meanwhile,
McLaurin is trending in the wrong direction. He hasn’t scored
since Week 9 and his last two games he’s posted lines of
2-24 and 2-14. It’s unlikely you can find a better option
if you survived McLaurin’s dud last week, but some concern
Cam Sims has taken over the WR2 role, but he is nowhere near
fantasy relevant. Logan Thomas is an every down player at tight
end and an every week TE1. He’s seen 16 targets over the
past two weeks, but teams target the tight end just 15% of the
time against the Seahawks, the lowest rate in the league. With
that being said, Thomas is the de facto WR2, but Haskins likely
getting the start definitely knocks him down a peg.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: With Antonio Gibson’s season over,
Washington turned to J.D. McKissic as the primary back. McKissic
played 65% of the snaps last week and is firmly ahead of Peyton
Barber, whose only job is to potentially steal touchdowns. McKissic
is always a threat to be involved in the passing game, but with
Haskins playing the entire second half and the Football Team in
the lead, they just sat on the ball last week. That resulted in
a season high 11 carries for McKissic, but fantasy managers would
prefer the targets. They should come this week with the Seahawks
strong road favorites. The Seahawks allow 11.8 fantasy points
per game to running backs via receiving. This is the type of game
you want to use McKissic. Even with Haskins out there, he can
be started with some degree of confidence.
49ers at Cowboys
- (Katz) Line: SF -3.0 Total: 46.0
Game Thoughts: Jimmy Garoppolo has not been ruled out
for the season, but it looks like Nick Mullens will get at least
one more start. Mullens attempted a season high 45 passes last
week as the 49ers attempted a comeback against the Football Team.
Expect a much more run heavy approach against the Cowboys this
week. While no one is starting Mullens, everyone should be starting
elite WR1 Brandon Aiyuk. It feels like no one is talking about
how incredible Aiyuk has been. Perhaps it’s because he missed
two games sporadically due to injury and Covid, but Aiyuk has
been a monster with or without Deebo Samuel, who will miss the
rest of the season with a hamstring strain. Over his past five
games, Aiyuk has at least five catches and 75 yards in all of
them. He’s seen double digit targets three times and scored
three times. He’s done this against weak pass defenses and
The Cowboys have certainly improved defensively as the season
has gone on, but they still allow 25.4 fantasy points per game
to outside wide receivers. Aiyuk is going to smash this week.
Kendrick Bourne is also a deep league consideration in the sense
that he’s going to catch a couple balls for 30 or 40 yards
and maybe he scores. George Kittle is not going to return this
week so Jordan Reed gets a familiar foe in the Cowboys. Reed is
playing fewer than 50% of the snaps and is barely being targeted.
He’s a touchdown or bust option.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: The Cowboys cannot stop the run. They
allow 25.1 fantasy points per game to running backs. This has
been a strange fantasy season and in the most important fantasy
week of the season (yes, Week 15 is more important than Week 16),
Jeff Wilson looks like a league winner. I want to be very clear
in that I’ve watched way more Jeff Wilson than anyone should
ever have to this season and he’s one of the least talented
running backs I’ve ever seen. With that being said, he’s
taken Raheem Mostert’s job with or without injury and now
it looks like Mostert is going to miss this week’s game.
Is Jerick McKinnon even in the league anymore? The 49ers certainly
don’t care. Tevin Coleman played just two snaps last week
and four the week before. He will likely be the primary change
of pace back, but this is going to be Wilson’s backfield.
He’s the primary early down back and the goal line back.
The 49ers are going to win this game so that means no negative
game script taking the run away from them. Wilson is a must start.
Game Thoughts: No one is even remotely considering Andy
Dalton in fantasy so let’s get that out of the way early.
Even though Dalton is not a fantasy option, Amari Cooper has proven
how rock solid he is. The only two weeks Cooper has completely
flopped were a fluke dud against the Giants in the game Dak Prescott
got hurt and the disastrous Ben DiNucci start. Since Dalton returned,
Cooper has at least five receptions in every game and has scored
in three straight. 69% of receiving yards allowed by the 49ers
have gone to wide receivers.
Michael Gallup has not been reliable all season. That will not
change this week. CeeDee Lamb has not been useful since Prescott
went down. That will also not change this week. The only other
Cowboys pass catcher in play is Dalton Schultz. Here’s a
fun little nugget: Schultz has caught every pass thrown his way
each of the past three weeks. It hasn’t been much, but you
can pencil Schultz in for around 3-30, which is at least a passable
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: While it’s very easy to blame Prescott’s
injury on Ezekiel Elliott’s downfall, plenty of running
backs have excelled in spite of quarterback injuries. The reason
Elliott can’t do it is because Elliott isn’t good
anymore. For the betterment of the Cowboys, it appears as though
Mike McCarthy knows this as Tony Pollard’s snap share has
increased over the past month. Zeke played as many as 98% of the
snaps early in the season. Over his past five games, Zeke hasn’t
played more than 70% of the snaps in a single game. Last week,
in the smashiest of smash spots against a bad Bengals defense
in a game the Cowboys dominated wire to wire, Zeke couldn’t
even get close to double digit fantasy points. He has just one
100-yard game all season. There is no intent to use him in the
passing game and the 49ers allow just 19.5 fantasy points per
game to running backs.
Jets at Rams
- (Caron) Line: LAR -17.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: The Jets continue to perform as one of
the lowest-volume offenses in just about every game so there just
isn’t much to like here from the passing attack. Sam Darnold
has only thrown for even 200 yards in two games this season. Jamison
Crowder was, at one point earlier this season, averaging over
10 targets per game, but he hasn’t exceeded seven targets
since Week 6. Rookie Denzel Mims has some fun upside for the future
but this just isn’t a good situation for him as he’s
likely going to see coverage from Jalen Ramsey.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Frank Gore returned in Week 14 and stepped
back into a split backfield with Ty Johnson, further limiting
whatever tiny bit of upside this team has. The Rams have also
given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs
this season, so a split backfield in perhaps the league’s
worst offense is just not something that should interest anyone.
It’s probably too simplistic to just say “bench all
Jets,” but seriously - just bench all Jets - or drop them
and hope that your opponent picks them up to start them against
Game Thoughts: Rams quarterback Jared Goff has now failed
to exceed one passing touchdown in five of his past six games.
While the other game was a huge 376-yard, three touchdown game
against the Buccaneers, there’s just too low of a floor
for us to look at Goff as a high-end QB play even in a great matchup
against the Jets. With that said, New York has given up the second-most
fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season,
including some gigantic performances as of late. They’ve
given up at least 19 fantasy points to every opposing quarterback
they’ve faced going back to Week 4 when they allowed a 19.6
point game to Denver’s Brett Rypien. Goff is a strong floor
option as a QB1 this week but there’s a good chance that
the Rams get out to enough of a lead that his upside is capped
in this one.
Wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp both remain strong
fantasy plays this week despite a potential blowout win for the
Rams. Kupp saw a season-low five targets this past week against
the Patriots, but still was able to convert that into five catches
for 33 yards and a touchdown. He’s now reached at least
10 fantasy points in six of his past seven games, although he’s
lacked the upside of being a true fantasy WR1 this season. Woods,
on the other hand, is knocking on that door as he’s had
some big breakout performances this season combined with still
ensuring a solid floor most weeks. He’s been targeted 46
times over his past four games so there’s plenty to like
heading into this game. He’s a low-end WR1 this week.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown combined
for just two carries this past week which meant that rookie Cam
Akers finally got his chance to shine -- and shine he did. 29
carries for 171 yards against a very good New England defense
should give fantasy owners plenty of confidence heading into these
final couple of weeks.
Akers is in a potential smash spot here against the Jets in what
could easily end up being a blowout Rams victory that allows Akers
to see 20-plus touches. While the Jets have been much better against
the run than they have the pass this season, they’re still
a terrible defense overall and the Rams may opt to lean heavily
on their rookie running back just as they did in a similar spot
last week against the Patriots.
Akers went from being a non-starter to an RB1 in one week. He’s
either going to win - or lose - people a ton of money down the
Eagles at Cardinals
- (Caron) Line: ARI -6.0 Total: 49.0
Game Thoughts: The Jalen Hurts experience has begun in
Philadelphia and we now have a glimpse at the new Eagles offense.
Things looked great for fantasy purposes as Hurts ran the ball
18(!) times for 106 yards in the Eagles’ surprising victory
over a good New Orleans team. He wasn’t particularly effective
as a passer, throwing for just 167 yards and a touchdown, but
he didn’t turn the ball over. Hurts’ rushing ability
gives him a great floor so he should be looked at as a low-end
QB1 this week.
Unfortunately for his pass catchers, no Eagles pass catcher was
targeted more than Dallas Goedert’s six targets and no player
caught more than four passes. It’s just a one game sample
size but it’s very possible that this passing game is just
too spread out for any of the wide receivers to be a particularly
strong play in. Goedert is, however, a solid TE1 still given that
he should remain one of the highest target recipients at the position
throughout the league. Zach Ertz is back but doesn’t appear
to be fully healthy and should be benched until we see him performing
back at full capacity.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: Miles Sanders’ season has been a
rollercoaster but things are looking up in the Jalen Hurts offense.
It’s true that he broke off an 82-yard touchdown and was
otherwise fairly bottled up in the running game against the Saints,
but we’ve seen situations like this before where a mobile
quarterback comes in and opens things up for the running backs.
This is particularly true when the quarterback is as willing to
run the ball as Hurts showed that he is.
In addition to the defenses having to account for Hurts as a runner,
Sanders actually caught four passes from Hurts in Week 14 - the
most he’s caught since all the way back in Week 3. We shouldn’t
expect that Sanders sees an increase in target share but if he
can at least remain involved in the passing game then he should
see an increase in total fantasy value.
This week he’ll be against an Arizona defense that ranks
in the top 10 in most fantasy points given up to opposing running
backs so far this season. They have actually held every back they’ve
faced to fewer than 85 rushing yards, but they’ve also given
up six rushing touchdowns to running backs over their past four
games and they haven’t faced particularly strong backfields.
Sanders is a solid RB1 here and should be for the remainder of
the fantasy season.
Game Thoughts: Kyler Murray has remained a top fantasy
option this season but he hasn’t has quite the upside in
recent weeks that he did earlier in the year. Nevertheless, fantasy
owners should remain confident in this young dual-threat passer
as he has only finished with fewer than 16 standard fantasy points
in one game this season. He does have a tough matchup this week
against an Eagles defense that just held Taysom Hill to only 33
rushing yards. They have, however, struggled against other mobile
quarterbacks this season, having given up a 108-yard rushing day
to Lamar Jackson, along with 92 and 64-yard rushing days to Daniel
Jones. Murray remains an obvious QB1 for fantasy this week.
Likewise, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been an elite fantasy
asset all season and remains one of the most-targeted players
in the league. His floor is around 10 points but he has massive
upside against this Eagles defense that recently got smashed by
fellow alpha receivers Davante Adams and DK Metcalf.
The rest of the Arizona pass catchers, including Christian Kirk
and Larry Fitzgerald, just do not see enough volume in this offense
to be considered starters in your fantasy playoffs.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Kenyan Drake’s rushing numbers haven’t
been particularly impressive since he returned from injury, but
he’s been getting it done near the goal line. Drake has
now scored five rushing touchdowns over his past four games despite
having compiled an average of just 59 yards per game on the ground.
This week he’ll be against an Eagles defense that themselves
have struggled near the goal line against running backs as of
late. Opposing RBs have scored four rushing touchdowns against
the Eagles over their past four contests, including a 114-yard
performance for Nick Chubb and a 130-yard performance for Aaron
Jones. We can’t really expect that Drake is going to continue
to score at this type of pace, but Drake is getting a healthy
enough workload that he still has to be looked at as an RB1 for
Game Thoughts: Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs head to
take on Taysom Hill and the Saints in the Super Dome in what could
be the game of the week. A ton of playoff seeding is at stake
in this matchup, along with more than a few players who will decide
Patrick Mahomes has just one game of fewer than 20 fantasy points
this season, making him one of the most consistent fantasy assets.
Although he threw more interceptions last week against the Dolphins
than his season total of two entering the game, he still delivered
a monster 393/2 touchdown game.
No other team gives up fewer points to opposing running backs
than the Saints, which is not a problem for the Chiefs, a team
that ranks 25th in running back fantasy points. Mahomes and Andy
Reid have no issues passing 40 or more times in a game if the
matchup dictates it, so do be surprised if Mahomes and company
abstain from the ground game and pick apart Dennis Allen’s
Although the Saints give up the fifth-fewest points to QBs on
the season and have allowed just three passing touchdowns since
Week 6, those stats are somewhat skewed based on who they played.
Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Mullens, Matt Ryan, Jalen Hurts, and Kendall
Hinton are not exactly in the same stratosphere as Patrick Mahomes,
so one should take those numbers with a grain of salt.
Of course, you are starting Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. They
are unstoppable weapons who should in your lineup regardless of
matchup. Sammy Watkins saw a season-high 87% of snaps last week
and saw two catches for 52 yards. You could do worse for a boom
or bust second flex option, but he could also give you a goose
The Saints could be without two critical defensive starters this
week. Marcus Davenport is questionable with a quad injury, and
staring nose tackle Malcom Brown missed practice on Wednesday
with shoulder and calf injuries.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: The fantasy industry drank the Kool-Aide
this summer on rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, buying into the idea
that the rookie from LSU would become an instant fantasy stud
and instructed fantasy mangers to use a first-round pick on CEH.
Through Week 13, CEH ranks 16th at the position and has scored
fewer points than Mike Davis and David Montgomery. On a point
per game basis among players with at least seven games, CEH ranks
22nd overall - not exactly what managers were hoping for when
they passed on other top players in drafts this season in favor
The rookie has averaged barely over four yards a carry in an
offense that boasts the most potent passing attack in the league.
To make matters worse, he has one of the lowest-grade pass protecting
grades according to PPF.com. His struggles in pass protection
have limited his snaps, and his struggles in the red zone have
limited his touchdown upside.
This matchup on paper is one of the worst possible matchups for
a running back, as the Saints give up the fewest fantasy points
to running backs. If you somehow overcame CEH’s bad regular
season and made the playoffs, I’m not sure this is someone
you want to start in what could be a pass-heavy game for the Chiefs.
Game Thoughts: With Drew Brees out with rib fractures,
Sean Payton and the Saints will roll out Taysom Hill for the fifth-straight
week. Hill has been serviceable both as a real-life quarterback
leading the Saints to wins in three of four games, and his four
games of over 20 fantasy points have been great for fantasy managers.
This will be an interesting challenge for Hill and Payton, as
they have not played against a potent offense like the Chiefs
with Hill under center. Will he be able to keep pace with the
high-flying Chiefs? Chances are no, and it makes sense for the
Saints to try and play ball control and keep Mahomes and company
on the sideline.
The Chiefs have given up the fourth-most rushing touchdowns to
running quarterbacks, with Deshaun Watson, Justin Herbert, Drew
Lock, Teddy Bridgewater, and Tua Tagovailoa all reaching the end
zone on the ground. I will be shocked if Hill does not get at
least one rushing touchdown in this game.
Michael Thomas posted a respectable eight catches for 84 yards
last week against the Eagles and will once again be the top target
for Hill. His matchup against Beshaud Breeland is the 20th-ranked
cornerback/wide receiver matchup according to PFF.com, and one
to watch in this game. Thomas is listed as questionable with an
ankle injury and did not participate in practice on Wednesday,
but they should be good to go in this marquee matchup.
It would not surprise us to see Jared Cook have a solid game
against the Chiefs. Kansas City gives up the 8th-most points to
opposing tight ends, and Cook has a score in each of his previous
UPDATE: Drew Brees
has been named the starter. The biggest impact of this move is
raising the floor of RB Alvin Kamara, WR Michael Thomas and TE
Jared Cook. Brees checks in as QB2.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: The game plan for head coach Sean Payton
and the Saints is going to be run-heavy, with both Taysom Hill
and Alvin Kamara getting a heavy dose of work. Payton knows that
he does not have the firepower to keep pace with the Chiefs in
a shootout with Drew Brees on the sideline, and the best way to
beat Mahomes and company is to keep them off the field.
Although Kamara’s production has dipped significantly with
Hill under center, he is a solid play in this game. Look for around
20 total touches, with around 100 total yards and a score. You
can also play Lativius Murray as a very deep flex, but his limited
volume as of late makes him somewhat of a risky play.
Tackles Andrus Peat and Ryan Ramczk are both listed and questionable
for this game. Both were limited in practice on Wednesday. If
they cannot go or are limited, the Saints will be in for a rough
Browns at Giants
- (Katz) Line: CLE -6.0 Total: 45.0
Game Thoughts: Are you ready for the Baker Mayfield let
down spot? I know I am. The stars couldn’t be aligning more
perfectly for Mayfield to completely faceplant this week on the
road, in the cold, against a tough Giants defense. Mayfield has
thrown eight touchdowns over his past three games while adding
one more on the ground. After not throwing for 300 yards all season,
he’s done so in back-to-back games. Both of those games
were shootouts seeing both teams surpass 35 points. The Giants
do not play shootouts. It’s why they allow just 15.9 fantasy
points per game to quarterbacks.
Jarvis Landry is always in play because of his high floor. Landry
is averaging 10 targets per game over his last three games and
has at least six receptions in each of them. I trust him to survive
the Mayfield crash more than Rashard Higgins, whose rise has corresponded
with Mayfield’s two big games. Prior to two weeks ago, Higgins
was just a touchdown or bust dart throw. He has at least six receptions
and a touchdown in two straight, but I do not trust him against
the Giants here.
Donovan Peoples-Jones has emerged as the Browns’ WR3. He’s
a deep ball specialist that has caught a deep ball in back to
back games. His snap share was a season high 70% last week. You’re
getting a handful of targets and you hope he catches a long ball.
That’s probably not what you want in fantasy. Austin Hooper
is set to return this week, which will send Harrison Bryant and
David Njoku back to the bench. They were never fantasy options
anyway. The Giants are pretty stingy against the tight end so
I would not be excited about Hooper.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are one of
the most talented running back duos in NFL history. Since returning
from injury, Chubb has carried the ball at least 17 times in every
game, has three 100-yard games, and has scored in four of his
last five games. Hunt has seen his usage drop, but over the past
two weeks, he’s been heavily involved in the passing game.
Hunt had seven targets last week. Giants’ opponents target
the running back position 23% of the time, the second highest
rate in the league. Only the Packers allow more than the Giants’
12.7 fantasy points per game to running backs via the air. Chubb
is always a must start, but this feels like a strong Hunt game
Game Thoughts: I thought the Giants would start Colt
McCoy last week because I mistakenly believed they wanted to at
least try and win the game. Daniel Jones was clearly not 100%
and I’m not entirely sure Jones gives the Giants a better
chance to win as opposed to McCoy. At the bare minimum, McCoy
actually knows the definition of pocket awareness. Jones took
six sacks last week and just isn’t cut out to play quarterback
in the NFL.
McCoy will start this week, but regardless of who starts at quarterback,
you can’t trust any Giants pass catchers. Sterling Shepard
has just four receptions over his past two games. Darius Slayton
has four receptions over his past three games. Golden Tate is
barely even in the NFL anymore. Every week, I try and find a reason
to trust Evan Engram, and every week, he lets me down. But here
we go again. The Browns allow 0.69 touchdowns per game to tight
ends and 23% of targets against them to go to the tight end position.
Engram is still out there almost every down. He’s the only
Giants’ pass catcher I would trust this week and I’ll
probably regret saying that.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Even in the worst possible game script,
Wayne Gallman wasn’t a total disaster last week. He totaled
73 yards and caught three passes so he hit double digit fantasy
points. The Browns are fresh off getting destroyed on the ground
by J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Before that, they were destroyed
by Derrick Henry. Before that, they were destroyed by James Robinson.
You can run on the Browns. You can run for touchdowns on the Browns.
I like Gallman to bounce back this week and find the end zone.
Dion Lewis and Alfred Morris are nothing more than breather backs.
Game Thoughts: For weeks now the Steelers have treated
the passing game like a stand-in for a non-existent rushing attack.
Its effectiveness continues to wane. This past Sunday night, Ben
Roethlisberger completed 21 of 37 passes for a meager 187 yards,
2 TDs and 2 INTs. Buffalo played physical with Pittsburgh's wideouts
at the line and dared them to win over the top. When it didn't
happen, the Steelers possessed the ball for just over 24 minutes
and lost their second straight game.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (6-55-1) fared the best out of the wideouts
while Diontae Johnson (4-40) struggled with drops early on and
was actually benched for a bit. That pair, along with Chase Claypool
(3-15), arguably form the league's top receiving corps, but the
quick passing has cut into their value. As it happens, the last
game that all three put up good numbers was against Cincinnati
in Week 10 with Johnson (6-116-1) topping 100 yards and both Smith-Schuster
(9-77-1) and Claypool (4-56-2) scoring TDs.
Obviously this is a plus matchup for the Steelers -- Cincy is
22nd against the pass on the year -- but you have to wonder how
Pittsburgh views this game. Their offense has been trending in
the wrong direction for a while now, so do they use the NFL's
version of a sparring session to try and get their running game
back on track? Or do the Steelers double down on the short-passing
attack and try to get it back up to speed? Given the uncertainty,
Big Ben is a low-end QB1 with all three wideouts as WR3s.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: Only Houston is averaging fewer rushing
yards per game than the Steelers (89.1), which is a million miles
from where they began the season; believe it or not, James Conner
(10-18) ran for more than 100 yards in three of his first five
games. This Sunday should paint a pretty clear picture of whether
or not that's still possible as the Bengals are 28th against the
run at 131.7 yards allowed per game. Conner (quad) managed just
36 yards on 13 carries in Week 10, though. Don't consider him
more than an RB3.
Game Thoughts: Statistically speaking, Brandon Allen
wasn't bad last Sunday. He connected on 27 of his 36 passes for
217 yards and a touchdown, and he didn't turn the ball over. It
didn't matter. The Bengals lost, 30-7, to a bad Cowboys team and
Allen departed with a knee injury late; it was the second straight
game he couldn't finish due to injury. Allen's status for Monday
night is up in the air, and if he can't go the team will turn
to Ryan Finley, who has made three relief appearances this season.
In three games since losing Joe Burrow, Tyler Boyd has averaged
a 3-43 line, Tee Higgins a 5-50, and A.J. Green a 2-21; each of
them has scored once. Higgins has been steadier than the others,
and as such he carries the most value as a possible WR3. Boyd's
already modest average is bolstered by his 72-yard TD catch in
Miami, leaving the one-time solid WR2 as no better than a flex.
Green went without a catch in Weeks 12 and 13 before leading the
team last Sunday with 62 yards and a score on six grabs. He was
blanked by the Steelers in the first meeting and should be benched
in the rematch.
Pittsburgh is second to the Rams in pass defense (202.2 yards
per game), and they lead the NFL in both sacks and interceptions.
They held the Burrow-led Bengals to 10 points in the Week 10 blowout
and sacked the rookie four times. That's bad news for whoever
is under center on Monday.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Giovani Bernard (3-18) took a seat after
an early fumble in Week 14 and then watched as backups Samaje
Perine (10-32) and Trayveon Williams (12-49) got most of the work.
Whether or not that arrangement will reset in Week 15 with Bernard
back atop the pecking order remains to be seen. We'll give Gio
flex value for now, but keep an eye out in case it sounds like
Williams will see the bulk of the work. Although the Steelers
haven't been as stout against the run of late, they still rank
sixth in the NFL at 100.9 rushing yards allowed per game.