- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Vikings @ Saints
- (Swanson) Line: NO -6.5 Total: 50.5
Game Thoughts: The Minnesota Vikings head to the Super
Dome to take on the Saints in a Christmas Day showdown with a
ton of playoff implications. The Vikings are technically not mathematically
eliminated, but their playoff chances are on life support. The
Saints have already clinched a playoff berth and currently lead
the Bucs for the division title. They are hoping to win out and
get some help from the Titans for any shot of securing the top
spot in the NFC and the lone first-round bye.
Kirk Cousins has been a difference-making streaming quarterback
down the stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs. His
24.5 fantasy points per game over the last five weeks ranks 5th
at the position, ahead of other more popular fantasy players like
Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray.
Justin Jefferson appears to have taken over the No.1 receiving
role for the Vikings after garnering 31 targets in his last three
games. Adam Thielen is still a red zone favorite and leads the
team in receiving touchdowns, but you have to think Jefferson
will be the volume play again this week based on recent trends.
He also is on pace to set the NFL record for receiving yards for
a rookie, which could give Cousins some added motivation to look
Irv Smith has a touchdown and a should-have-been touchdown in
each of his last two games. Although the Saints have given up
just one receiving touchdown to tight ends dating back to Week
5, Smith could be a streaming option in very deep leagues.
The Saints are reeling on defense as of late, giving up 254 yards
and three touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes and 106 rushing yards
to Jalen Hurts. This game projects to be high scoring based on
the Vegas over/under, and the Saints are the stingiest defense
to opposing running backs, leading us to believe Cousins and the
passing game weapons will need to come up big for the Vikings
A matchup to watch in this game is Jefferson and cornerback Marshon
Lattimore. Lattimore has struggled this season currently ranks
97 at the position, according to PFF.com. Don’t be surprised
to see the rookie beat Lattimore deep on a play or two.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: The matchup this week for Dalvin Cook
against the Saints could not be any worse for fantasy managers
looking to win their fantasy title. New Orleans leads the league
in fewest points allowed to running backs, and only one player
has posted a 100-yard and two touchdown scores.
Miles Sanders benefited from Jalen Hurts and the read option
to torch the Saints for 115 yards and a pair of scores back in
Week 14; otherwise, only five other backs topped ten fantasy points
against Dennis Allen’s team.
Of course, you are starting Cook in this matchup based on his
elite ability and threat to score a rushing touchdown. Just don’t
be too shocked if he fails to reach 100 rushing yards.
Some injuries to the Saints that may improve the efficiency of
both the pass and ground game of the Vikings are injuries to defensive
tackle Malcom Brown and defensive ends Trey Hendrickson and Carl
Game Thoughts: Drew Brees returned to the field last
week against the Chiefs after missing four games with multiple
rib fractures. The veteran QB was rusty, completing just 44% of
his passes for 234 yards and one interception. For fantasy purposes,
he came through with a solid game because of his three passing
touchdowns, but he did not look sharp and clearly missed Michael
Speaking of Thomas, the team placed the stud wideout on IR before
last week’s game, effectively ending one of the more disappointing
fantasy seasons for a first-round wide receiver in recent memory.
In addition to losing Thomas, it appears as though Brees will
be without Tre’Quan Smith as well, as Smith is dealing with
an ankle injury and has not been able to practice.
That leaves Emmanuel Sanders to be the No.1 WR in a matchup that
is very attractive for fantasy managers. Only the Falcons and
Cowboys have given up more fantasy points to wide receivers than
the Vikings. Fifteen different players have topped ten fantasy
points against the young Minnesota cornerbacks, and four of those
wider receivers topped 20 points.
Starting linebacker Troy Dye is listed as questionable with a
concussion and hamstring, and stud cover linebacker Eric Kendricks
did not practice today due to a calf injury that forced him to
miss last week’s game against the Bears. If Hendricks is
out, it will be a big boost for tight end Jared Cook in the passing
Another injury to watch is cornerback Cam Dantzler, who is limited
with a foot injury.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: On this December 23rd, there are more
than a few fantasy managers of Alvin Kamara who would like to
air some grievances against head coach Sean Payton and quarterback
Although Kamara has a touchdown in each of his last three games
and currently sits as the No.3 fantasy running back, he does not
have a single multi-touchdown game since Hill took over for
Brees, and his receiving volume in three of those games was a
far cry from what is was with Brees under center.
Hill is a thorn in Kamara managers' sides, but at least Brees
is playing in this game, and Kamara should see a healthy dose
of volume again in the passing game.
Kamara owners should be licking their chops at this week’s
matchup against a Vikings defense that just gave up 32/146/2 to
David Montgomery and the Bears. You can run on the Vikings. Heck,
the one 100-yard game on the season for Zeke Elliott came against
the Vikings back in Week 11.
Start Kamara with confidence as a top-5 play. Latavius Murray
could see around ten touches as well, but he is more of a glory
play at this point for teams who are in the Super Bowl.
Game Thoughts: Even after 14 games it's tough to get
a read on Tom Brady and the Bucs offense from one week (or even
one half) to the next. In a four-game stretch where Tampa lost
three times, Brady threw seven INTs and often looked lost, especially
against the Saints. He struggled for a time last Sunday against
the Falcons as well with Tampa Bay spotting Atlanta a 17-0 halftime
lead. Then the team came alive as Brady ended the day with 390
yards passing and two TDs, but that level of inconsistency this
late in the year is concerning.
Perhaps no player has embodied the team's Jekyll and Hyde performance
more than Mike Evans, who posted a 6-110 line last week in what
was only his third 100-plus-yard outing of 2020 and first since
Week 4. He's been better recently, and has moved slightly ahead
of Chris Godwin (4-36-1) for fantasy purposes. Antonio Brown (5-93-1)
has primarily served as an underneath target since returning from
suspension, but he's coming off his best game with the team. Within
that group, Evans and Godwin are solid WR2s while AB is more of
a low-end WR3 or flex.
Rob Gronkowski (3-29) has been wildly uneven recently, finishing
with fewer than 30 yards receiving four times in his last six
games but sprinkling in a 106-yard effort against the Chiefs in
Week 12. He's a decent TE1 this week, in part because the Lions
are 27th in pass defense (264.1 yards per game) and have struggled
to apply even modest pressure in recent weeks. Look for Brady
to pick this group apart and be a possible top-5 fantasy QB in
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: With Ronald Jones (finger) already dealing
with a broken finger he tested positive for COVID last week and
remains on the reserve list. He is not expected to play in Week
16, meaning Leonard Fournette (14-49-2) will get the call as the
primary back once again. The former fourth overall pick has been
rather quiet this year, but he has done a solid job when filling
in for Jones. He holds low-end RB2 or strong RB3 value against
a Detroit defense that is currently 29th versus the run at 137.3
yards allowed per game.
Game Thoughts: Despite sustaining a rib injury late in
Week 14, Matthew Stafford managed to make the start last Sunday
against Tennessee. He played well, connecting on 22 of 32 passes
for 252 yards and a touchdown before giving way to Chase Daniel
when the Titans pulled away late. Stafford's toughness is commendable,
but his production has lagged in the all-important touchdown category
as he has thrown more than one TD pass in a game just once in
his last five.
There's little doubt that part of those struggles are related
to the ongoing absence of Kenny Golladay (hip), who hasn't played
since Week 8 and is highly unlikely to play again this season.
Without Golladay, Marvin Jones (10-112-1) has been the primary
option. While Jones has filled in admirably, he lacks Golladay's
physicality in the red zone. That allows defenses to focus on
T.J. Hockenson (2-18), who has only scored twice during the seven
games missed by Golladay.
Tampa Bay's inconsistency extends to the defense as well. They
have a quality pass rush but haven't tallied an interception in
their past three games; they also gave up 356 yards and three
TDs to Matt Ryan last Sunday (without Julio Jones). Given the
strength of the Bucs' run defense this is where Detroit figures
to attack. Stafford is a QB2 with decent upside while Jones rates
as a WR2 and Hockenson as a TE1. Possession options Danny Amendola
(3-20) and Mohamed Sanu (4-38) might even offer some fringe appeal
as streaming plays in PPR leagues.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: D'Andre Swift (15-67-2) ran effectively
against the Titans, and his two-yard touchdown was particularly
encouraging after the team had tended to lean on Adrian Peterson
(6-23) in those situations. He'll have his hands full in Week
16 with Tampa Bay leading the NFL in run defense (77.8 yards per
game; 3.4 yards per carry), though Swift's receiving ability allows
him to retain moderate RB2 value.
49ers at Cardinals
- (Caron) Line: ARI -5.0 Total: 48.5
Game Thoughts: The quarterback situation in San Francisco
continues to be ugly this season and the team will now be moving
on to third string quarterback C.J. Beathard as second-stringer
Nick Mullens joins Jimmy Garoppolo on the sidelines with an injury.
QB hasn’t been a spot to target for fantasy purposes in
the 49ers offense for quite some time now so that isn’t
going to change much now, but the important thing is that we should
expect roughly similar numbers with Beathard as we saw from Mullens
and that should be enough to continue to make Brandon Aiyuk a
strong fantasy play here in Week 16.
Aiyuk has now caught at least five passes in each of his past
six games while contributing 17 or more PPR fantasy points in
each game during that stretch. This remarkable consistency from
a rookie wide receiver in what has been a bad offense overall
has been under-the-radar to a large extent, but we’re at
the point where Aiyuk should be considered a low-end WR1 or at
least a high-end WR2 right now. It’s worth noting that Aiyuk
has performed significantly better this season in games where
the 49ers have been without Deebo Samuel, but Samuel is expected
to be out yet again this week, which should lead the way for Aiyuk
to again lead the team in target share, this time against a Cardinals
defense that is coming off of an embarrassing week where they
allowed three receiving touchdowns to the Eagles combination of
Greg Ward and Quez Watkins with rookie Jalen Hurts behind center.
There’s some brand equity left in Patrick Peterson and fantasy
owners might be worried about him in this matchup, but Peterson
has not been the lockdown cornerback this season that we’ve
seen from him in the past. Fire up Aiyuk as you normally would
here in Week 16.
Fellow San Francisco wideouts Richie James and Kendrick Bourne
are sort of low-upside options that we really shouldn’t
be concerned with for fantasy purposes. Bourne did catch a late-game
hail mary touchdown from Beathard in the 49ers’ Week 15
loss to the Cowboys, but that’s incredibly fluky and he
had just three targets prior to that miraculous catch.
There has been some rumbling around the team that tight end George
Kittle could make his return still in 2020 but the 49ers are not
in the playoff picture and it would seem to be unlikely that we
see him risk his health again this season. With that said, fantasy
owners need to pay close attention to the game day inactives because
if Kittle is healthy then he needs to be in your lineup. He’s
one of, if not the best fantasy player at the position and even
a 60 percent healthy Kittle is worthy of TE1 status.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: Raheem Mostert will now miss the remainder
of the 2020 season due to a high ankle sprain and the team will
again be turning to what appears to be a committee situation here
in Week 16. This past week it was Jeff Wilson who led the way
in the 49ers backfield, rushing 16 times for 60 yards and a touchdown
while Tevin Coleman got only three touches and Jerick McKinnon
just two, but that was also in a game which saw Mostert touch
the ball 14 times prior to his injury. Look for both McKinnon
and Coleman to see an increase in touches with Wilson still leading
the way, making for a cloudy and somewhat risky backfield situation.
Wilson should nevertheless be ranked as an RB2 this week given
that he’s produced as such in just about every game where
he’s been given a decent touch share, including last week
when he got into the end zone. Wilson is not much of a contributor
in the passing game, however, so there’s always a possibility
that this game gets away from the 49ers and they end up leaning
heavily on their passing game, which does give him a somewhat
The Cardinals are a middle-of-the-pack run defense, but they’ve
done a good job of containing opposing individual running backs
this season. No back has exceeded 85 rushing yards in a game against
Arizona and only one back - New England’s James White -
has scored more than one touchdown against them in a single game
here in 2020.
Game Thoughts: A tough stretch against some of the league’s
better pass defenses had some Kyler Murray fantasy owners questioning
themselves heading into the playoffs, but Murray re-established
himself as fantasy football’s top scorer this past week
with a masterful 406-yard, three touchdown passing day and added
an additional 29 yards and a touchdown as a runner. Murray now
has 26 passing touchdowns on the season alongside 11 rushing touchdowns
while also leading all quarterbacks with 741 rushing yards.
This week he does face another very good pass defense in San Francisco,
a team that held him to just 230 yards and a single passing touchdown
with an interception when these teams faced off back in Week 1.
Murray did, however, contribute 91 yards and a touchdown as a
runner in that contest, further solidifying why we have to continue
calling him a QB1 even in these perceived-to-be difficult matchups.
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is really the only other player
in this passing game who fantasy owners should have any interest
in and he has now been targeted at least 11 times in each of his
past three contests. It’s been a wildly successful fantasy
season for quite a few wide receivers this season but Hopkins
has been exceptionally consistent while maintaining the high weekly
floor that we love to see. He completely smashed the 49ers for
14 catches for 151 yards on a season-high 16 targets back in Week
1 so there’s no reason to think that he won’t again
be in line for a heavy target share here in Week 16. He’s
one of the best plays on the entire board.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: The Cardinals backfield committee reared
its ugly head again this past week as Chase Edmonds surprisingly
out-touched starter Kenyan Drake in Arizona’s victory over
Philadelphia. Edmonds also scored the only touchdown between the
two on a reception, making things even more frustrating for Drake’s
fantasy owners in what was a very important game.
While we still have to assume that Drake is the lead horse in
this backfield given that he’s carried the ball at least
10 times in every game he’s played this season, there’s
still a bit of a cap on his upside given that Edmonds continues
to get touches even in games where Drake is performing well. There’s
enough of a concern that we need to bump Drake down from being
a high-end RB2 to more of a low-end RB2 in this matchup. Drake
did rush the ball 16 times for 60 yards and a touchdown against
the 49ers back in Week 1, but San Francisco has mostly been quite
good against opposing running backs this season, despite the fact
that they looked a bit futile in stopping Dallas’ Tony Pollard
this past week. Of course, there’s always the “they’ve
given up” narrative that could begin to creep into fantasy
owners’ minds and perhaps there’s even some truth
to that, but this is still a fairly solid run defense overall.
Edmonds is someone who could be spot-started in PPR formats if
you’re in a tough spot due to injuries, but his upside is
very limited. Aside from this past week, Edmonds has been out-touched
by Drake in every other game they’ve played together this
season. Look for that to continue again this week, but Edmonds
is good enough that he could sneak into the end zone again and
deliver a solid fantasy day.
Dolphins at Raiders
- (Caron) Line: MIA -3.0 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: A severely depleted wide receiver group
combined with a difficult matchup against an excellent New England
secondary led to a less-than-stellar passing day for rookie quarterback
Tua Tagovailoa in Week 15. The Dolphins QB threw for just 145
yards and no touchdowns and an interception in the win over the
Patriots, but he actually came through in a somewhat surprising
fashion as he was able to rush for a pair of short-yardage touchdowns,
saving what would’ve otherwise been a fairly ugly fantasy
This week Tua may again be without top wide receiver DeVante Parker
(Questionable) and tight end Mike Gesicki (Questionable) as both
players have been limited in practice again this week after a
similar timeline led to them being ruled out in Week 15. If that’s
the case, look for rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. to again be the team’s
top target. He’s quietly caught 17 passes over his past
three games that he’s been shoved into a starting role and
while he hasn’t yet gotten into the end zone, he’s
a dynamic player with excellent ability to make big plays and
a trip to the end zone could happen at any time.
The Miami offense faces a Las Vegas defense that has been pretty
bad as of late, having allowed exactly two touchdown passes in
each of their past five games. While only Tom Brady’s four
touchdown day in Week 7 really produced a huge fantasy day against
the Raiders this season, they’ve been a high-floor option
for opposing quarterbacks throughout the year - even some of the
bad ones like Sam Darnold and Drew Lock have had quality fantasy
days against Las Vegas.
If Parker does play then he’s probably a WR3/Flex option
given his low floor/ceiling combination that we’ve seen
throughout the season. Gesicki could be considered a low-end TE1
again due to the recent red zone success he’s seen with
Tua behind center. Both players, however, would really be a boost
to Tua who lacks the volume to be a QB1 but could be considered
a QB2 for some teams.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Salvon Ahmed was scheduled
to return in Week 15 after spending three weeks sidelined with
a shoulder injury and most fantasy owners had low expectations
in what looked like a difficult matchup against the Patriots.
Ahmed blew past those expectations, though, on his way to a 23-carry,
122-yard, one touchdown performance in the Dolphins’ big
Miami heads on the road this week to face a Raiders defense that
has been awful against opposing running backs this season, including
recently conceding 100-plus yard rushing days to the Jets’
Ty Johnson and the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor. With Myles Gaskin
back from the IR/COVID-19 list, it’s unclear how the running
back touches are going to shake out. This is a very enticing matchup
and one where we have to consider Ahmed to be, at minimum, a solid
RB2 should he get the bulk of the carries.
Game Thoughts: A potentially season-ending groin strain
to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has the Raiders already thin
playoff hopes looking quite unlikely as they head into a difficult
matchup against a very good Dolphins defense. Assuming Carr will
be out this week, Las Vegas will again turn to backup Marcus Mariota,
who actually performed quite well in relief of Carr. Mariota completed
17 of 28 pass attempts for 226 yards and a touchdown with one
interception, but more importantly ran the ball nine times for
88 yards and a touchdown.
We’ve always known that Mariota has some high-end rushing
ability - maybe not Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray-level rushing
ability, but certainly enough that it felt odd that the Titans
didn’t use him much in that capacity when he was starting
in Tennessee. Certainly a mid-game switch to Mariota meant that
the team didn’t have a defined gameplan with him behind
center which likely led to more of a “just do what you think
is right” type of on-the-fly play calling in Week 15, but
there’s at least some hope for fantasy success with Mariota
Unfortunately for the Raiders, this matchup against the Dolphins
is a difficult one. The Dolphins have held their past five opponents
to a total of just three passing touchdowns and one of those quarterbacks
was Patrick Mahomes who contributed two of those three scores.
Aside from that, the Dolphins have been feasting on backup and
low-level quarterbacks like Mariota for the better portion of
the 2020 season. This looks like a potentially low-scoring game
as well, so don’t be surprised if there’s not a ton
of fantasy value coming out of this passing game. With that said,
Mariota could be a spot-starter as a low-end QB2 if you’re
in need. You’ll probably need a rushing touchdown for him
to contribute any sort of a difference-making performance, but
that’s always a possibility with him.
Las Vegas’ wide receivers are still way too unpredictable
to be trusting for most fantasy teams, but if there’s one
player who could be an option this week it’s Nelson Agholor.
Agholor has quietly seen an average of nearly nine targets per
game over his past five so he’s seeing plenty of volume
and could again break off another long touchdown in this one.
He and Mariota haven’t had much time to gel - and it’s
still Nelson Agholor - so there’s plenty of risk, but he’s
someone who has upside if you’re in a bad spot.
Tight end Darren Waller, of course, continues to be an absolute
fantasy superstar and he’s now contributed a ridiculous
425 receiving yards and three touchdowns over his past three games.
He’s also seen a high-end WR1-type target share with 39
targets over that stretch. Waller is by far and away this team’s
top receiving option and he’s someone who should be started
in any matchup at this point.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: 2020 has mostly been a disappointment on
weekly points average for second-year running back Josh Jacobs,
but the Raiders’ first round pick in 2019 is still almost
certain to finish as a fantasy RB1 this season because he’s
been able to stay mostly healthy in a year when the running back
position has been completely decimated by injuries. Jacobs seems
to still have the full trust of the Raiders coaching staff as
he ran the ball 26 times this past week against the Chargers.
He only contributed 76 yards with those carries but he did get
into the end zone. He’s also now caught at least three passes
in four of his past five games, seemingly getting closer to his
early-season contributions as a pass catcher.
Jacobs is a low-end RB1 this week despite facing a tough matchup
against the Dolphins. While Miami’s run defense ranks in
the top 10 in fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing running
backs this season, they’ve also had the benefit of facing
quite a few committee backfields while avoiding most of the league’s
top producers at the position. Jacobs, in fact, is the highest-scoring
running back they will face all season and he should be in line
for another heavy workload here in Week 16.
Falcons at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: KC -11.0 Total: 53.5
Game Thoughts: It’s been a tough stretch for Matt
Ryan as he’s been trying to navigate without superstar wide
receiver Julio Jones. It’s been a tough stretch of defenses
that he’s been against as well, including this past week’s
matchup with Tampa, but Ryan finally put things together in that
contest as he threw for 356 yards and three scores in a bit of
a shootout with the Bucs.
We still don’t know the status of Julio and we won’t
likely be sure until game-time so pay close attention to the injury
reports. We do, however, know that Jones has been pushing to play
despite this being a lost season for the Falcons as he received
a platelet-rich plasma injection which he hopes will get him back
onto the field yet this season.
This is another potential shootout for the Falcons as they will
be facing the Chiefs who, of course, are led by MVP front-runner
Patrick Mahomes. Assuming Jones is back on the field, both he
and Matt Ryan have to be top-12 options at their respective positions
this week. If he’s unable to play, however, Ryan becomes
more of a low-end QB1/high-end QB2 as we’ve seen him struggle
as of late without Jones.
One player who has seen a big uptick in fantasy value with Jones’
absences has been Calvin Ridley. Ridley has now gone over 100
yards in three straight games. He’s been targeted at least
nine times in five straight contests and hasn’t been held
below 14 PPR fantasy points in any of those five matchups. He
has legit top-overall-WR upside in this matchup even though he’s
facing a Chiefs defense that ranks in the top three in fewest
fantasy points given up to opposing wide receivers so far in 2020.
Likewise, Russell Gage has seen a significant boost in fantasy
production with Jones out. He’s seen an average of over
eight targets per game over his past five contests and while he
hasn’t produced any huge games over that stretch, he’s
been a double-digit PPR fantasy producer in all but one of those
games. Gage’s value really rests on whether or not Jones
is active, but he’s at a WR3 if he’s again thrust
into a starting role with Jones sidelined.
Tight end Hayden Hurst had some steam heading into 2020 and he
actually got into the end zone this past week against the Bucs,
but he’s only scored four times this season and has been
held to five or fewer targets in four of his past five games.
The Falcons could be in a very pass-heavy game script if things
go south early in this one so Hurst could see a higher-than-usual
total target number, but he’s still a low-floor/low-ceiling
play who we probably want to avoid.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Falcons interim head coach Raheem Morris
made it clear this week that Ito Smith has taken over as Atlanta’s
lead runner, officially usurping offseason acquisition Todd Gurley.
Gurley has been less than spectacular this season, particularly
in the second-half of the season, so this was somewhat expected
although an official statement on the matter is rarely uttered
by NFL head coaches.
That bit of news does clear things up to some extent, but Smith
isn’t a spectacularly talented player to begin with and
really hasn’t been all that productive with the opportunities
he’s had either. Morris didn’t say that Smith was
the bell cow or anything of that nature, he merely stated that
Smith was now the lead back. That, of course, could and likely
will mean a continued committee approach between Smith, Gurley
and Brian Hill in what is already a pass-heavy offense to begin
The Chiefs are a top-12-friendly opponent for opposing fantasy
running backs, but this is just not a great backfield. Those in
desperation could than Smith as a Flex option, but that’s
about as far as we should be willing to go with the Atlanta backfield.
Game Thoughts: The top overall player on the board this
week has to be Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes
is again making a strong case to be NFL MVP and he continues to
produce elite fantasy numbers on a weekly basis, including this
past week in what was supposed to be a tough matchup against a
good New Orleans defense. Mahomes shredded the Saints for 254
yards and three scores while also adding 37 yards as a runner.
The guy can really do it all and of course is a no-brainer high-end
QB1 against the Falcons and their 32nd-ranked fantasy defense
against opposing quarterbacks.
In addition to Mahomes, wide receiver Tyreek Hill’s monster
season continues as he has now scored 15 touchdowns on the season.
He looks well-equipped to finish the 2020 season as the top-scoring
fantasy wide receiver, especially considering his matchup this
week against Atlanta. The Falcons have given up six double-digit
non-PPR fantasy point days to opposing wide receivers over just
their past three games and Hill looks like a strong bet to add
to that total here in Week 16. If he’s not the absolute
top receiver on the board then he’s certainly top three
and needs to be started in all formats.
Kansas City’s other wide receivers continue to be extremely
difficult to project anything from on a weekly basis. While Sammy
Watkins has been the most consistent of the bunch, his fantasy
production has been lackluster throughout most of the season.
Meanwhile speedster Mecole Hardman has had a few nice games mixed
in this season but he’s mostly been a low volume option
who needs a long touchdown to be worthwhile in your fantasy lineup.
Hardman did, however, see a season-high nine targets this past
week against the Saints and while he only caught three of them,
he was able to secure a touchdown. The lack of consistency with
volume makes Hardman and fellow depth receivers like Demarcus
Robinson too difficult to trust especially in such an important
week for fantasy football.
Tight end Travis Kelce, of course, could be argued as one of the
most valuable players in all of fantasy football this season.
He’s been an absolute super-stud producer, scoring 10 touchdowns
on 98 receptions for 1,318 yards already this season. He needs
just 60 yards to break George Kittle’s single-season receiving
yards record and given that the Chiefs may not have anything to
play for in Week 17, there’s a good chance that they try
to get him there this week in a cushy matchup against the Falcons
and their terrible defense.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: With rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire unlikely
to play, we may get our first glimpse of Le’Veon Bell as
the team’s workhorse back in this one. Bell has mostly been
lackluster in his limited work since joining the Chiefs earlier
this season, but he steps into one of the best situations possible
for a running back. Defenses are absolutely (and rightfully) terrified
of the Chiefs passing game which has led to some light boxes for
Kansas City backs to run through this season. Bell is also, of
course, known as one of the better pass catching backs in the
league and could be relied upon to fill that role even more than
Edwards-Helaire was so far this season.
While the Falcons defense has been embarrassingly bad against
opposing passing games this season, they’ve actually not
been too bad against opposing runners in 2020. In fact, they rank
in the top five in fewest fantasy points given up to the position
on the year. Of course, some of this is due to the fact that opposing
teams have been so successful throwing the ball that they don’t
even bother to run against Atlanta, but there’s still something
to be said for them being a rather tight run defense. Bell did,
however, carry the ball 15 times for 62 yards and a touchdown
against the Saints defense this past week and they are still the
top-scoring fantasy defense against the position this season,
so a difficult matchup doesn’t necessarily preclude him
from being a valued fantasy asset here in Week 16. The days of
Bell being a locked-in RB1 are gone, but he’s certainly
worthy of RB2 consideration this week.
Browns at Jets
- (Katz) Line: CLE -9.0 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: Don’t look now, but the Browns have
a real shot at winning the AFC North as the Steelers continue
their freefall. With Baker Mayfield’s improved play this
season, particularly over the past month, this is a perfect spot
for Mayfield to just destroy the Jets, who are coming off their
“super bowl” win. The Jets allow 22.4 fantasy points
per game to quarterbacks and have allowed 30 passing touchdowns
this season. The Jets are actually kind of a pass funnel defense,
allowing 40.4 fantasy points per game to wide receivers and 17.7
fantasy points per game to tight ends.
Jarvis Landry has been rock solid for a month now with at least
six receptions and 52 yards in four straight games as well as
a touchdown in three of his last four. Mayfield has also been
leaning on Rashard Higgins, who has three straight games of strong
production. Landry is a must start while Higgins is also viable,
but the real question is whether you can trust Austin Hooper in
a pristine matchup. His 5-41-1 line last week bodes well and the
Jets have been torched by tight ends so my inclination is you
can, but by no means is Hooper a sure thing. It is worth noting
that the Jets allow the most touchdowns to tight ends.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb had a lackluster performance
last week that was salvaged by a touchdown, but he’s just
really good at football. Chubb has scored in all but one game
since returning from IR and, as a result, has 114 yards or a touchdown
in every game since his return. The Jets may be a pass funnel
defense, but it’s safe to assume the Browns are scoring
anywhere from 3-5 touchdowns. They will move the ball at will
and be in scoring position a lot. Chubb will have his opportunities
to punch one in.
Kareem Hunt is much more of a dicey proposition as he does his
best work with the Browns in negative game script. There will
be none of that against the Jets. Hunt has seen more than four
targets in a game just twice and both times it was against the
Ravens with the Browns having to throw. Hunt’s 33% snap
share last week was a season low. He’s talented enough to
produce on limited volume, but we want volume with our running
backs and it is unlikely to be there this week.
Game Thoughts: Sam Darnold completed a season high 71%
of his passes last week in a win that may go down as a true history
changing moment. It was Darnold’s best game of the season,
which isn’t saying much given the low bar, and the first
time he surpassed 200 passing yards since Week 4. Jamison Crowder
returned to his lead receiver role with a team high eight targets.
He is in play as a volume based option this week. Denzel Mims
has been playing quite well, but his usage is too unreliable.
The same goes for Breshad Perriman.
The Browns really struggle against the tight end as well, allowing
16.7 fantasy points per game to the position. Teams exploit this
by targeting tight ends 22% of the time against the Browns. Unfortunately,
the Jets don’t have a tight end you can trust. Chris Herndon
is their primary tight end, but he has five games this season
without so much as a target. Even in a great matchup, you cannot
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: The most important thing for a team to
do in a lost season is to make sure they feed Frank Gore. Adam
Gase has made that abundantly clear. There is no benefit in seeing
what you have with Ty Johnson as a primary back – not when
you have young phenom Frank Gore to give 23 carries on a season
high 62% snap share. It is worth noting that Johnson caught all
six of his targets for 39 yards and a touchdown. He could be in
play if you’re desperate given the negative game script
expected, but I would not advise going out of your way to start
him. I guess you could do worse than Gore’s massive volume,
but the Browns allow just 13 fantasy points per game to running
backs via rushing, which feels a lot like Gore’s absolute
Giants @ Ravens
- (Green) Line: BAL -10.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: With Colt McCoy making the start in Weeks
13 and 15 it's fair to ask just what the Giants' medical staff
was thinking when it cleared Daniel Jones, who was dealing with
a hamstring injury, to start against Arizona in Week 14. Jones
looked anything but healthy while being sacked six times before
mercifully being replaced by McCoy. It's unclear who will get
the call at this point, but the options are a journeyman or a
banged up second-year QB with turnover problems.
Neither of those options sound very good against a Ravens team
that has turned things around since their COVID outbreak, and
neither should be in your lineup this Sunday. On the outside,
volume target Sterling Shepard (4-51) is the steadiest option,
though the fact that he hasn't eclipsed 75 yards receiving in
a game this year speaks to his low ceiling as a flex play. Evan
Engram (4-46) can fill a low-end TE1 slot based on usage and an
overall lack of production at the position across the fantasy
Darius Slayton (4-74) has had his moments, too, but they've been
few and far between after a fast start. As such, he isn't worth
playing. Baltimore's defense ranks 14th versus the pass on the
year (233.8 yards per game), and they'll hope to get Marcus Peters
(calf) and/or Jimmy Smith (shoulder) back this weekend after both
missed the team's Week 15 win over Jacksonville.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: In McCoy's first start, Wayne Gallman
rushed for 135 yards in an upset win over Seattle. Last Sunday,
Gallman managed just 29 yards on nine carries; that was his worst
showing since taking over for an injured Devonta Freeman (ankle),
who was designated to return from IR last week. Even if Freeman
is activated, expect Gallman to continue as the primary option
with RB3 value against Baltimore, which ranks 10th in rushing
yards allowed at 109.9 per game.
Game Thoughts: After doing work with his legs in the
previous two games, Lamar Jackson threw for 243 yards and three
touchdowns during the team's blowout win over the Jags last Sunday.
He added another score on the ground and has now accounted for
10 TDs (six passing, four rushing) in three games since he returned
from the COVID list. It's by far his best stretch of the season
and the closest we've seen him play to his 2019 version. Jackson
is back to being a solid QB1.
Marquise Brown (knee) spent most of last week on the COVID list
due to close contact but was activated in time to post a 6-98
line. While it was his most receiving yards in a game since Week
1 it did spell the end of his three-game scoring streak. Mark
Andrews (5-66-1) had no such issues as he scored for the second
time in four games; he's also topped 60 yards receiving in each
of them to solidify his spot as a top producer at the position.
Andrews is a TE1 while Brown could serve as a flex or a low-end
WR3 if he's able to shrug off his knee injury prior to Sunday.
For the year, the Giants rank 21st in passing yards allowed (244.6
per game) and tied for 13th in sacks (34). While those aren't
great numbers they're still a sight better than what they did
against Baker Mayfield on Sunday night as the former No. 1 overall
pick barely threw an incompletion in a low-stress performance.
The G-Men will need better from their defense if they hope to
pick up a much-needed win in Week 16.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: With Mark Ingram a healthy inactive, J.K.
Dobbins (14-64-1) got the majority of the carries against Jacksonville.
It's the continuation of an upward trend for the rookie that should've
started even earlier. He's now scored in four straight games and
is averaging 4.9 YPC in that time. Gus Edwards (9-42) has leapfrogged
Ingram as the No. 2 back and offers some flex potential alongside
Dobbins' borderline RB2/RB3 spot. New York has a stout run defense.
They've surrendered 101.8 yards per game on the year (sixth) and
limited a dangerous Browns attack to 3.5 yards per carry.
Game Thoughts: Ryan Finley and the Bengals delivered
an upset for the ages with a 26-15 win over the 11-2 Steelers
last week on Monday Night Football. The win for the Bengals was
more of an indictment on the sad state of the Steelers than an
endorsement for the Cincinnati offense and defense.
Finley completed just seven of 13 passes for 89 yards and a score
while adding ten rushes for 47 yards and a score. He did enough
to get the win, and the Pittsburgh offense did the rest with ineptitude
You are not starting Finley in any league, even in a great matchup
like this against a Houston defense that ranks 18th in points
allowed to quarterbacks and the second-most to running backs.
Tyler Boyd did not practice on Wednesday and is questionable
with a concussion. It does not look like he will play and should
not be in your lineup. That could open the door for A.J. Green
and Tee Higgins to get more targets, yet that will not really
matter if Finley completes less than ten passes again.
The trio of Giovani Bernard, Samaje Perine, and Trayveon Williams
combined for just one catch last week against the Steelers. That
pass did go to Bernard for a 14-yard touchdown reception, but
clearly, passing to running backs is not something Finley excels
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon delivered his best A.J. Green
impersonation this season by teasing fantasy owners for most of
the season on a possible return to the field, only to disappoint
and eat up a wasted roster spot.
Mixon is out and can be dropped in non-keeper formats. Assuming
he doesn’t fumble and lose favor of the coaching staff,
Bernard should get the bulk of work against a terrible Texans
run defense. Gio got 25 of the teams 31 carries last week, delivering
21.7 fantasy points in the semi-finals.
Hopefully, you can do better than Bernard in your fantasy Super
Bowl, but there might be a few other owners like myself who have
Mixon and CMC in their dynasty league and have no other option
than to run out Gio.
Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson fantasy managers who weathered
an up-and-down season and made the fantasy playoffs are treated
to an excellent fantasy matchup this week with the Texans hosting
The Bengals have been surprisingly solid against quarterbacks
over the past five weeks, giving up zero 20-point games to opposing
QBs since Week 10. While this may sound impressive, you have to
take it with a grain of salt based on the subpar quarterbacks
they face during that time, including Daniel Jones, Colt McCoy,
Andy Dalton, and Alex Smith - not exactly the Rushmore of fantasy
Good quarterbacks like Watson have found great success against
the Bengals, including Ryan Tannehill and Baker Mayfield. Yes,
I am being facetious, but if Tannehill and Mayfield can drop 30
on the Bengals, I would imagine Watson can too.
Keke Coutee has been limited in practice this week with a foot
injury and is questionable for the game. Coutee has been a stud
over the past three weeks with a touchdown or 100 yards in all
three games, but he could play in this game and aggravate the
foot, making him a risky option.
It only took 15 weeks for the Texans to realize that they have
one of the best pass-catching backs at their disposal in David
Johnson, who posted his first 100-yard receiving game of the year
and his lone week with over ten targets.
With Duke Johnson likely out, David Johnson should once again
be in your lineups, and hopefully, the team will continue the
recent trend of peppering him with targets. The Bengals ranked
10th in fantasy points allowed to running backs, but they have
not given up more than 55 receiving yards in a game to an opposing
RB. That will change this week with Johnson getting around 75
receiving yards and a possible touchdown.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: The Bengals surprised everyone last week
with an upset win over the Steelers that drastically changed the
outlook of the AFC North standings. Nothing went right for the
Steelers, except for the impressive play of Benny Snell, who posted
107 total yards and a score on 23 touches.
I anticipate a similar stat line for David Johnson this week,
with more of his production coming in the passing game than on
the ground. The Bengals have played better as of late against
RBs, but they still are not a top-notch defense against the run
and do not have linebackers who can match up with Johnson in the
Bears @ Jaguars
- (Swanson) Line: CHI -7.5 Total: 47.0
Game Thoughts: With wins over Houston and Minnesota and
strong performances against the Packers and the Lions, Mitchell
Trubisky has made a strong push over the last four weeks to be
a viable fantasy option and the quarterback of the future for
Trubisky has completed over 70% of his passes in three of those
four games, including a season-high 76% of his passes against
the Lions back in Week 13. He gets another strong matchup this
week against a Jaguar defense that ranks second in fantasy points
allowed to quarterbacks on the year.
If you made your fantasy championship, you likely have your quarterback
locked up and do not need a streaming option like Trubisky. However,
if you are in the consolation bracket or are playing DFS and want
an upside play, Trubisky should be a consideration.
Allen Robinson has quietly put together another strong season
despite up and down quarterback play. His 10.5 points per game
place him 15th at the position and are nearly a full point per
game better than last year.
If you are looking for a boom/bust streaming option, Darnell
Mooney should be on your shortlist of receivers. The rookie from
Tulane has a touchdown in each of the last two games and continues
to get around 80% of the snaps.
Fellow rookie Cole Kmet was a sleeper play for many fantasy analysts
last week against the Vikings, only to come through with two catches
for 12 yards. With how effective the Bears are running the ball
and efficient Trubisky is hitting his wide receivers, it makes
sense to avoid starting Kmet and Jimmy Graham despite the plus
matchup against the Jags.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Christmas came early for David Montgomery
fantasy managers, with the second-year running back from Iowa
State posting a breakout sophomore campaign down the playoff stretch.
Montgomery trials only Derrick Henry in fantasy points scored
over the past five games, with at least one touchdown and over
100 total yards in each of his last four games. He likely was
the catalyst for getting owners to the playoffs and the championship
game, and he should be the centerpiece in your league-winning
The Jags are pretty solid against opposing running backs and
have given up the eighth-fewest points to running backs over that
past three games. That should not sway you from starting Montgomery.
Stay in the fire and raise your fantasy trophy.
Game Thoughts: As of now, we do not know who Doug Marrone
will roll out at quarterback for the Jaguars, and frankly, it
may not matter for fantasy managers in the championship game.
You are not starting Gardner Minshew or Mike Glennon in the fantasy
Super Bowl, and neither option provides enough upside to D.J.
Chark or the other receiving options on the Jags to put them in
Honestly, the only player you are going to start without question
is running back James Robinson, who did not practice on Wednesday
and is likely a game-time decision.
The Bears are dreadful against tight ends and should have two
more touchdowns scored against them if Irv Smith and Jordan Akins
did not drop wide-open touchdown passes. Chicago has given up
a whopping ten receiving touchdowns vs. tight ends and should
be tied with the Jets for the most touchdown receptions allowed.
We are not advising to start Tyler Eifert in season-long super
bowls, but he could be an excellent DFS play, especially considering
he posted 3/51 last week against the Ravens.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: The two running backs in this game should
be on a shortlist for fantasy MVP based on how much value they
provided to their fantasy managers relative to draft cost.
James Robinson is the No. 4 running back in total fantasy points
scored on the season despite going undrafted in both the NFL and
fantasy drafts. David Montgomery overcame a disappointing rookie
season to deliver a top-10 season and a monster playoff run.
The former is dealing with an ankle injury that could keep him
out of this game. It is not a great matchup against a Bears defense
that ranks 21st in fantasy points allowed to running backs, but
that should not keep you from playing Robinson if he is active.
Robinson has come through against difficult defenses this season
and should be in your lineup if he is active.
Game Thoughts: It was another workmanlike performance
from Philip Rivers in Week 15 as he completed 22 of 28 passes
for 228 yards and two touchdowns against Houston in what proved
to be a competitive affair. It was the veteran's fourth straight
start with two TD strikes alongside some consistent yardage --
he's thrown for between 225 and 295 yards in each of those games.
That's a pretty safe outlook for this Sunday's matchup with Pittsburgh,
making Rivers a middling QB2.
Over his first nine games of 2020, T.Y. Hilton failed to top
70 yards receiving in a game and didn't score a touchdown. In
the last four, the veteran has combined for 21 catches, 348 yards
and four TDs -- he's also topped 70 yards in each of those four
outings. He should be viable as a WR3 against the Steelers in
Week 16. After Hilton you're looking at pure inconsistency. Zach
Pascal posted a 5-79-2 line last weekend but had one catch in
each of his three previous games. Michael Pittman looked to be
emerging in back-to-back wins over Tennessee and Green Bay; in
four games since, he has 135 yards total. You can't trust either
player right now.
Pittsburgh is one of just two teams allowing fewer than 200 yards
passing per game on the season, and they still lead the league
in sacks (47) and interceptions (17) despite slowing in both areas
recently. Cincy threw for just 89 yards against them Monday night,
but Rivers is in a different area code than Ryan Finley.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: Jonathan Taylor took some lumps earlier
this year, but the rookie has found his groove, averaging 127
total yards per game over his last four and scoring four touchdowns.
He's on the cusp of RB1 status, even against a solid Pittsburgh
defense. Nyheim Hines (5-43 in Week 15) continues to make the
most of limited work and is a possible flex candidate. While Pittsburgh
ranks eighth against the run this year (104.6 yards per game)
they let the Bengals control the game Monday night with 152 yards
on 41 carries.
Game Thoughts: If the concern over Pittsburgh's offense
was at DEFCON 3 heading into Monday night, their performance in
an upset loss to the woeful Bengals has brought it to DEFCON 1.
Ben Roethlisberger was, in a word, awful, particularly in the
first half when the name of backup Mason Rudolph was trending
on Twitter. He was better over the final 30 minutes but still
finished 20 of 38 for 170 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT (and there should've
been more picks).
Among the team's dangerous wideouts, only Diontae Johnson (8-59-1)
delivered a solid performance. Chase Claypool (3-54) also had
a few moments, but JuJu Smith-Schuster (3-15) did nothing after
getting tuned up by Vonn Bell on a crossing route. All roads lead
back to Big Ben, however, as without better play from the triggerman
Pittsburgh's WRs will continue to struggle. This weekend you should
view Roethlisberger as a QB2 with Johnson as a WR2, Smith-Schuster
a WR3 and Claypool a low-end WR3 or flex.
Eric Ebron (back) departed early from MNF with a back injury
after taking a wicked shot on his only target of the game. The
injury is not believed to be serious, but on a short week it may
be tough for Ebron to get up to speed. If he plays he'd make a
low-end TE1 against a Colts defense allowing 236 yards passing
per game (17th) this season; they just gave up 373 to a depleted
Texans air attack in Week 15.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: With James Conner (quad) held out Monday
night, Benny Snell stepped in and rushed the ball 18 times for
84 yards and a score. That prompted Mike Tomlin to suggest that
Snell will continue to play a role even when Conner returns, which
should be this Sunday. It's a messy situation for fantasy owners
made messier by Indy's fifth-ranked run defense (98.1 yards allowed
per game). Until we see otherwise in game action the assumption
should remain that Conner is the lead back, giving him RB3 appeal,
with Snell as the backup/change of pace.
Broncos at Chargers
- (Caron) Line: LAC -3.0 Total: 48.5
Game Thoughts: Drew Lock blew up with a huge fantasy
performance against the Panthers in Week 14, but things got back
to normal in Week 15 as the second-year QB again turned in what
was a horrible performance against the Bills in a blowout loss.
Lock threw for a season-low 132 yards and just one score and while
he added 37 yards on the ground it was still an ugly fantasy day.
Lock himself hasn’t been a fantasy option most weeks even
in two-QB/SuperFlex leagues, but the real problem is that his
erratic performances have led to his pass catchers also being
essentially useless in most leagues. Only tight end Noah Fant
has really been much of a fantasy producer and even he is barely
clinging on to a top-12 season ranking at a position as depleted
and talent-deficient as tight end has been.
Fant is again a low-end TE1 this week as he’s coming off
what was his best game of the season from a catch and target standpoint,
while contributing his first touchdown since all the way back
in Week 2. He’s still a low-upside option overall right
now given the Broncos’ offensive woes, but the position
is just so bad that he’s probably still going to be a starter
for most teams.
The only other player in this passing game who should even be
considered for fantasy purposes is Tim Patrick. Patrick hasn’t
been targeted more than six times in five of his past six games,
but he’s still been able to produce four double-digit fantasy
days over that stretch. The upside isn’t great and he’s
probably not someone who has the potential to be a difference-maker
in most fantasy football championship rounds, but he’s a
player who will likely turn in another four or five catch day
with a decent possibility at a touchdown.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: The Broncos backfield remains about a 50/50
split between Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay (hip) which has
continued to limit both of their upsides from a fantasy standpoint,
but Gordon was able to break through a bit this past week when
he scored a pair of touchdowns in the Broncos’ loss to the
Bills. Lindsay, meanwhile, has not gotten into the end zone since
he played against the Chargers back in Week 8, which was coincidentally
his only score thus far in the 2020 season.
One interesting thing to note about this matchup against the Chargers
is that the previous matchup between these teams saw Lindsay far
out-perform Gordon, at least on the ground, by rushing for 83
yards on six carries compared to Gordon’s eight for 26.
Gordon added a season-high six receptions so he avoided a completely
disastrous day from a fantasy standpoint, but it’s worth
considering that the Chargers mostly bottled up the Broncos backfield
aside from Lindsay’s 55-yard touchdown run.
Many fantasy ranking services have Gordon ranked significantly
ahead of Lindsay at the moment and while recent finishes certainly
do favor Gordon due to his usage near the goal line, it’s
probably closer than the raw fantasy numbers might indicate. This
is still practically an evenly split backfield in terms of carries
and neither player has done much as a pass catcher this season.
However, Lindsay is bothered by a hip injury this week and has
missed practice time. Neither player is a particularly strong
fantasy play this week, so we’ll put Gordon down as a low-end
RB2 whereas Lindsay is more of a mid-level RB3/Flex. If Lindsay
is ruled out, then Gordon becomes a more-confident RB2.
Game Thoughts: Justin Herbert’s strong push to
be the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the year continued this past
week as he led Los Angeles to an overtime victory over Las Vegas,
capped off by a goal line score on a QB sneak. Herbert is now
a top-10 scorer at the position this season and he has now proven
that he can produce QB1 numbers even with top wide receiver Keenan
Allen severely hobbled.
Allen is still dealing with the hamstring injury that severely
limited him in Week 15, but he’ll have a week to recover
and should be back on the field for Week 16’s contest against
the Broncos. Allen produced a solid game with nine catches for
67 yards and a touchdown back in Week 8 so look for him to be
in line for another heavy target share assuming he’s active
this week. He’s been targeted at least 10 times in 10 of
the Chargers’ 14 games so far this season and he needs just
eight yards to get to 1,000 receiving yards for the fourth straight
Tight end Hunter Henry has been the Chargers’ next-most
reliable pass catching weapon as he has now produced double-digit
PPR fantasy points in five of his past six games, including his
five-catch, 65-yard and a touchdown game this past week against
the Raiders. That performance came in a contest where the Chargers
were mostly without star wide receiver Keenan Allen so it’s
possible that he was just featured more given that situation,
but he’s seen at least six targets in six of his past seven
games as well, so the floor is pretty solid for Henry as of right
now. Unfortunately, Henry has been placed on the COVID-19 list
and will not play in this game.
If Allen doesn’t play, things do open up for the pass catchers
down the depth chart for Los Angeles, but it’s still not
enough that we should be trusting any of them as anything other
than high-variance DFS plays. Both Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson
had solid fantasy days with Allen sidelined for most of this past
week’s game, but neither player really established himself
as a true target hog in that situation. Most disappointing, of
course, was former first round pick Mike Williams who was able
to suit up after battling a back injury throughout the week heading
into Week 15, but produced just two catches for 22 yards. Williams
just has not been seeing enough volume, whether fully healthy
or not, to be considered anything more than a touchdown-or-bust
type player and he has scored just once since Week 9 so there’s
not much value there anyway.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Austin Ekeler’s fantasy day was capped
this past week when Kalen Ballage vultured a goal line touchdown
from him, but Ekeler has still been a very solid fantasy contributor
since returning from injury back in Week 12. Ekeler has now caught
28 passes in the four games he’s played since coming back
and he should be in line for another heavy workload here in Week
Denver struggled against the backfield trio of Justin Jackson,
Troymaine Pope and Joshua Kelley when these teams played back
in Week 8. The group rushed for 188 yards in that contest and
added an additional nine catches for 74 receiving yards. While
we can’t expect that all of that production would go to
Ekeler, he’s certainly established himself as the workhorse
in this backfield and someone who can contribute in any situation
regardless of game script. His pass catching contributions make
him one of the highest floor plays at running back in PPR formats
and he also possesses high-level RB1 upside depending on the game
Panthers at Football
Team - (Katz) Line: WAS -1.0 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: It’s been two full games since Teddy
Bridgewater last threw a touchdown pass (although he rushed for
a touchdown in each of those games). Bridgewater is what he is
– he is not going to lose you a game, but he’s not
going to win you a game either. Seven of their last eight games
have been one score games, yet they’ve lost them all. The
Panthers are pretty much just going through the motions to close
out this season, but, as we know, players are always going to
try because they can’t turn it off. That keeps all of D.J.
Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Robby Anderson in play.
Moore has been better than many realize this season – he
just hasn’t found the end zone much (just four times this
season). Samuel has been just as valuable as Moore this season,
while Anderson has been the most reliable pass catcher. The Football
Team is strong against wide receivers, especially the slot, where
they allow just 10 fantasy points per game. None of the Panthers’
receivers are primary slot guys, but Samuel leads the team in
slot snaps at about 54%. Although that may seem like a reason
to fade Samuel, the team has been manufacturing touches for him
on quick screens and handoffs. Even in what should be a low scoring,
defensive affair, all three Panthers’ wide receivers can
be started if necessary. Ian Thomas plays tight for the Panthers,
but you wouldn’t know that by checking the box scores. He’s
not fantasy relevant in even the deepest of leagues.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: Let’s call a spade a spade here:
Christian McCaffrey is not playing again in 2020. Mike Davis will
finish the season as the primary back and is a solid fantasy option.
He’s clearly slowed down as the season has gone on and he’s
been ceding more snaps to Rodney Smith, but Davis is still very
Davis’ lack of usage in the passing game was surprising
last week. That should revert back to normal this week, but keep
in mind that just 11% of the receiving yards allowed by the Football
Team have come from running backs. They allow just 19.5 fantasy
points per game total to the position. The reason you start Davis
is because of the volume and hat is not going anywhere. Davis
has at least 16 touches in each of his past four games.
Game Thoughts: This week, if Dwayne Haskins starts, it
will only be because Alex Smith isn’t healthy. Haskins broke
Covid protocols last week, but evidently the NFL determined the
appropriate punishment is to make Washington play another game
with Haskins at quarterback.
Haskins managed to maintain the value of Logan Thomas last week,
peppering him with a season high 15 targets for a season high
13 receptions for a season high 101 yards. Thomas is a strong
option regardless of who starts at quarterback against a Panthers’
defense that has allowed 22% of its total receiving yards against
to tight ends.
Terry McLaurin (ankle) also had a bounce back game with 77 yards
on seven receptions. The two duds prior are hard to dismiss, though,
and despite the heavy volume, McLaurin is more reliant on quality
quarterback play than Thomas. Panthers’ opponents have targeted
the wide receiver position on just 56% of attempts, one of the
lowest rates in the league. You’re probably not benching
McLaurin, but a boom week seems unlikely. The rest of the Football
Team’s pass catchers are not fantasy relevant.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: The good news is the Panthers remain one
of the worst teams against the run, allowing 25.5 fantasy points
per game to running backs. J.D. McKissic is the unquestioned primary
option now. He played a season high 88% of the snaps last week
and, perhaps most importantly, handled 13 carries, also a season
high. MsKissic’s passing game usage spiked back up with
the Football Team facing negative game script.
The Panthers don’t make for a game where they’ll
have to play catch up, but McKissic is locked into elite level
volume, which makes him a must start. Antonio Gibson got in a
couple limited practices this week. It still feels like he’s
on the wrong side of questionable, but in the event he is active,
expect him to go right back into his role as the primary back
with McKissic as the passing game specialist.
Rams at Seahawks
- (Caron) Line: SEA -1.0 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: A humiliating loss to the previously-winless
Jets has to have head coach Sean McVay looking to bounce back
here in Week 16 as the Rams fight for a playoff spot in a competitive
NFC race. This week they face a Seattle team that quarterback
Jared Goff threw for 302 yards against back in Week 10 home victory.
Goff hasn’t been quite so successful through the air in
recent weeks, however, as he’s failed to reach even 210
passing yards in three of his past four matchups, including what
should’ve been a juicy matchup with the Jets in Week 15.
Goff has to be better here for the Rams if they hope to sweep
the regular season series with the Seahawks, but Seattle’s
defense has actually been improving as of late. They started the
season off in absolutely in absolutely abysmal fashion and were
one of, if not the best matchup for opposing quarterbacks for
much of the first half of the season. A glance at the season-long
statistics will show that Seattle still ranks in the top five
in fantasy points given up to opposing QBs on the season, but
a deeper dive will show that they haven’t allowed a 300-yard
passer since Goff barely cracked that number back in Week 10.
They’ve also held opposing QBs to just six total passing
touchdowns over their past six games combined.
Goff is a low-upside play most weeks anyway, but this is not a
particularly great matchup for him. Because of that, we need to
bump him down from being a low-end QB1 to a mid-level QB2.
Wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp have mostly been able
to continue to produce even in the face of struggles from their
quarterback this season. The consolidated Rams target share has
seen Woods targeted at least five times in every game this season,
including eight or more targets in each of his past five games.
While he struggled when these teams played back in Week 10, catching
just five passes for 33 yards, the high volume he continues to
see makes him a solid floor WR2 option with plenty of upside to
break into the WR1 range.
Kupp hasn’t seen quite the consistency with his target share
as of late, although he too has seen at least five targets in
every game this season. Unfortunately, he has scored just three
times on the year, which has really limited his “boom”
weeks despite the fact that he’s finished with double-digit
PPR points in all but four games this season. Kupp is more of
a mid-to-low-end WR2, but he’s still a solid play this week
against the Seahawks who he caught five for 50 against in Week
Neither tight end Tyler Higbee or Gerald Everett sees enough of
a target share to make them trustworthy fantasy options in this
contest - or really any contest - unless the other player is sidelined
for one reason or another.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie running back Cam Akers suffered
a high ankle sprain during the Rams’ loss to the Jets in
Week 15 and that has forced him to be ruled out for this week’s
contest against the Seahawks. The team hopes they will have Akers
back at some point this season but as we’ve seen with other
players with similar injuries, it’s probably more likely
that he’ll miss the remainder of his rookie campaign due
to this unfortunate setback.
With Akers out, the Rams backfield again opens up and it would
seem that Darrell Henderson will again assume the role of the
team’s primary back. We saw this be the case earlier in
the season when Henderson was producing borderline RB1 numbers
while partially splitting the backfield with veteran Malcolm Brown.
Henderson did score against the Seahawks when these teams played
in Week 10, but he did so on just seven carries and. Brown remains
healthy and will almost certainly be involved in the offense,
but he lacks the upside that Henderson does so he’s more
of a potential vulture for Henderson than he is a fantasy asset
on his own. He did, however, score twice against the Seahawks
in Week 10 while splitting the backfield almost evenly with Henderson
so there’s a real possibility that this is an ugly backfield
split that will frustrate fantasy owners. With that said, we need
to shoot for upside in our fantasy playoffs and Henderson does
give us that. We’ll call him a low-end RB2 this week and
hope for the best.
Game Thoughts: The Seahawks were lucky to escape with
a narrow victory over the Washington Football Team in Week 15
and it’s now been six straight games where Russell Wilson
has failed to reach even 270 passing yards. He also only has two
multi-touchdown performances over that stretch.
The Seahawks’ passing game woes have coincided in large
part with the return of running back Chris Carson, who has been
seeing a healthy workload alongside Carlos Hyde in this Seattle
backfield. The team’s commitment to the run has led to fewer
pass attempts than we saw from them earlier this season when Wilson
looked to be on pace to shatter some NFL records. We’re
now back to recent-year Russell Wilson who is still a viable weekly
QB1 but seems to lack the real week-to-week upside to make him
a high-end option at the position.
This week Wilson faces a Rams defense that held him to his lowest
fantasy point total of the season back in Week 10 when he threw
for just 248 yards and no touchdowns - his only zero-touchdown
day of the season. He was able to contribute 60 rushing yards
in that game which helped get him near double-digit fantasy points,
but it was an otherwise truly ugly performance for the Seahawks
QB. It likely wasn’t a fluke, either, as the Rams have actually
allowed by far the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks
so far in 2020, including both the fewest passing yards and passing
touchdowns given up to the position. That reality makes it difficult
to fully trust Wilson in what is, for most fantasy owners, championship
weekend. Wilson will be ranked as a mid-to-low-end QB1 across
most services, but the chances are that you’re facing a
quality opponent this week and may need real upside. Wilson doesn’t
provide that in this matchup, whereas perceived riskier options
like Ryan Tannehill, Justin Herbert and even Jalen Hurts do provide
higher upside for those needing a big boom game to walk away with
a league championship.
Alongside Wilson’s recent struggles has been similarly disappointing
fantasy performances from veteran wide receiver Tyler Lockett.
Lockett started the season off red hot and even gave us one of
the biggest single-game fantasy performances of the season when
he went off for 15 catches, 200 yards and three scores against
the Cardinals back in Week 7. But since that point, Lockett has
just one game in his past eight where he’s been over 13
PPR fantasy points. Realistically speaking, he’s been outside
of even Flex scoring consideration in hindsight. While Lockett
did catch five passes for 66 yards against the Rams when these
teams played in Week 10, his upside at this point looks dismal.
He’s still someone you could consider putting in your lineup
as a Flex play or WR3, but there might be better upside options
available on your waiver wire. Don’t just put him in your
lineup because you’re comfortable with the name - make sure
that he’s giving you the best opportunity to win this week.
DK Metcalf has also seen a bit of a dip in his production as of
late but he’s been so spectacular this season that a “down”
week is still typically double-digit PPR fantasy points. Of course,
Metcalf, like his quarterback, had his worst fantasy game of the
season when these teams played back in Week 10, as he caught just
two of the season-low four targets that came his way for just
28 yards and no score. Stud cornerback Jalen Ramsey will almost
certainly be locked in with Metcalf throughout most of the game
so understand that there is a much lower floor for Metcalf in
this game than there is most, along with a lower ceiling, but
he’s likely to see more targets this week than he did in
that Week 10 contest so feel free to still put him in your lineup
as a low-end WR1.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: A 55-yard breakaway touchdown from Carlos
Hyde was not something we expected in Week 15, but it ended up
being the difference in Seattle’s victory over Washington.
Hyde’s usage has been up-and-down as of late since starter
Chris Carson returned to the lineup. He’s seen exactly 15
carries in two of the games and exactly two carries in the other
two games. Of course, we have to assume that Carson will remain
the team’s primary ball carrier so Hyde is not much of a
fantasy option himself, but his presence does bring a bit of a
cap to Carson’s upside.
Thankfully Carson’s usage has remained fairly strong as
of late as he’s now seen at least 15 touches in each of
his past three games. This heavy workload makes Carson a strong
bet to produce at least solid RB2 numbers along with the upside
of being a low-level RB1 this week against the Rams.
Los Angeles has been excellent against the pass this season, but
they’ve also been quite good against opposing running backs
as well. They’ve given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points
to the position on the year, but they are coming off of a game
where they gave up 120 total yards and a pair of touchdowns to
the Jets duo of Frank Gore and Ty Johnson.
Eagles at Cowboys
- (Katz) Line: PHI -2.5 Total: 49.5
Game Thoughts: It still baffles me that it took Doug
Pederson 13 weeks to realize there was no conceivable way Jalen
Hurts could be any worse than Carson Wentz. Hurts legitimately
looks like a bigger Kyler Murray. In two starts, he has carried
the ball 18 times for 169 yards. Hurts had a better game last
week than Wentz ever had in his entire career. Now he gets a Cowboys
defense that has been playing better lately, but has been doing
so against weak offenses. Hurts played well against a good Saints
defense and a solid Cardinals defense. He will not be slowed by
Hurts threw for 338 yards last week, but did so without honing
in on any singular receiver. Zach Ertz led the team with 69 receiving
yards, but he only caught two passes. Alshon Jefferey was second
with 63 receiving yards, but, again, only two receptions. Dallas
Goedert and Jalen Reagor shared for the team lead in targets with
eight. Greg Ward and Quez Watkins caught all three of Hurts’
touchdowns, but they are not anywhere near fantasy viable.
The question is what to do with Goedert, Reagor, and Jeffery.
73% of the receiving yards allowed by the Cowboys has gone to
wide receivers and they allow just 10.8 fantasy points per game
to tight ends. Those numbers suggest that Reagor and, to a lesser
extent, Jeffery, could be the primary beneficiaries of another
strong Hurts game. However, Goedert has been the main guy for
the Eagles all season and I don’t see that changing. Hurts
will look to do damage on the ground as well so the reality is
the value here lies solely with Hurts and not so much with any
of his supporting cast.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: Miles Sanders volumed his way to exactly
10 fantasy points last week. It’s no secret that I view
Sanders as just a guy. He has two things going for him: volume
and splash play ability. Sanders has a number of long touchdown
runs in his short career. The fact that he is always capable of
busting off a big play combined with the ample opportunities to
do so makes him hard to bench. He’s played 82% of the snaps
over the past two weeks.
Sanders missed the Eagles’ previous game against the Cowboys.
In that game, Boston Scott was effective on the ground, but did
nothing through the air. That’s been the only real strength
of the Cowboys defense this season – they only surrender
6.3 fantasy points per game to running backs via receiving, which
is the lowest number in the league. On the flip side, they allow
19.1 fantasy points per game via rushing, which is the third most
the league. Sanders is not that good of a player, but he’s
going to be good this week. Start him with confidence.
Game Thoughts: Andy Dalton has turned the Cowboys into
a surprisingly competent offense the pass two weeks. Since his
return from the COVID list/concussion, Dalton has thrown multiple
touchdowns in all but one game, including his last three straight.
We can throw out everything the Cowboys did against the Eagles
last time around as Ben DiNucci made his one and only career start.
Prior to last week’s dud, Amari Cooper had at least 67
yards or a touchdown in every game since the DiNucci Disaster.
You should still start him confidently. CeeDee Lamb is coming
off a nice game where he also returned an onside kick for a touchdown,
but he’s just not seeing enough volume consistently to be
trusted. The Eagles only allow 10.6 fantasy points per game to
slot receivers, where Lamb spends 85% of his time. Michael Gallup
has just 26 and 23 yards over his past two games. Dalton Schultz
has caught 100% of his targets of his last four games, but that
number has decreased by exactly one in each game. Nevertheless,
Schultz is in play this week against a defense that allows 14.1
fantasy points per game to tight ends.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: The Eagles have been pretty solid against
the run this season. They allow 21.6 fantasy points per game to
running backs and, like the Cowboys, also defend pass catching
backs well. Just 12% of the receiving yards they’ve allowed
have gone to running backs. With that being said, what to do with
the Cowboys running backs is very black and white. If the guy
who is good at football starts, he is a locked in must start RB1.
If Ezekiel Elliott starts, you should go out of your way to avoid
starting him. To use an analogy apropos to this game, Tony Pollard
is to Ezekiel Elliott what Jalen Hurts is to Carson Wentz. Zeke
returned to practice this week and looks on track to play, which
is actually problematic for the entire offense. Everything works
better with Pollard on the field. Even if Zeke does play, expect
Pollard to be more involved than usual given Pollard’s performance
and Zeke undoubtedly being less than 100% healthy.
Game Thoughts: After a hot start, Ryan Tannehill has
largely settled back into his role of handing the ball to Derrick
Henry and taking shots off of play action. He was a bit more active
last week, throwing for 273 yards and three TDs -- it was only
his second game of more than two TDs since Week 5 -- and added
21 yards and two more scores with his legs. Look for a return
to normalcy in Week 16 as the gameplan figures to revolve around
Henry. That makes Tannehill a QB2.
Although they don't get much national attention, A.J. Brown (5-44-1)
and Corey Davis (4-110-1) form one of the NFL's top receiving
tandems. It's been a redemptive campaign for Davis, who entered
the league in 2017 as the fifth overall pick but averaged just
622 yards and two TDs per season over his first three years. Now,
he stands just 55 yards shy of registering his first 1,000-yard
season. Despite missing two games with injury, Brown has a good
shot to reach that milestone as well. Brown's big-play ability
makes him a WR2 while Davis is a steady WR3 with upside.
Green Bay is currently ninth in the NFL in both pass defense
(227.6 yards per game) and sacks (38). Their pass rush has looked
formidable recently after a slow start, and they feature one of
the game's top CBs in Jaire Alexander, who was named a Pro Bowl
starter earlier this week. Alexander has been particularly dominant
in primetime games, which casts some doubt on the rankings for
Tennessee's wideouts; expect whoever is covered by Kevin King
to see more looks on Sunday night.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: December football is Derrick Henry time.
A year ago, Henry averaged 137 yards and 1.5 TDs rushing per game.
This year, he's averaging 141 yards and 1 TD through three games.
Despite a respectable 11th-placed ranking against the run (110.1
yards per game), the Packers are considered suspect as a run defense.
Look for a steady diet of Henry on Sunday night and deploy him
as a high-end RB1.
Game Thoughts: For three drives, the Packers dominated
Carolina, pushing out to a 21-3 lead while doing whatever they
wanted. After that, though, things went south in a hurry as they
managed only a field goal in the second half. Aaron Rodgers avoided
any major mistakes but played what might've been his worst game
of 2020. He finished with a season-low 143 yards passing and one
TD in a frustrating performance full of dropped balls, bad reads
and surprisingly poor pass protection.
As you'd suspect, Rodgers' struggles extended to Davante Adams
(7-42), who saw his eight-game touchdown streak snapped. Carolina
clearly made stopping Adams the focus of its gameplan, and there's
some belief that the Packers played into their hands by trying
to force the ball to Adams instead of sticking with the run. Allen
Lazard (5-56) actually led the team in receiving, though he had
one of the critical drops, and Robert Tonyan (3-18-1) caught Rodgers'
only TD pass -- it was Tonyan's 10th of 2020. The up-and-down
year of Marquez Valdes-Scantling also continued as he followed
a 6-85-1 outing in Week 14 with zeroes across the board versus
While much of the matchup focus on this game has centered on
Henry against the Packers run defense, Rodgers against the Titans
pass defense is the other side of the coin. Tennessee is 29th
in pass defense (276 yards per game) and dead last in sacks (14),
and the one thing you don't want to do is give No. 12 time in
the pocket. You can play Rodgers, Adams and Tonyan as 1s while
Lazard or MVS could offer flex value with Lazard a steadier, lower-upside
option and MVS as a lottery ticket.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: With Jamaal Williams (quad) bothered by
a quad injury, Aaron Jones (20-145-1) got most of the work in
Week 15. Like Henry, Jones has been a strong finisher; in 2019
he averaged 110 yards and 1.25 TDs per game in his final four
outings, and through three December games this year he's averaging
a 17-115 line with two total TDs. It is possible Williams won't
play this Sunday, which would move A.J. Dillon into the backup
spot. Either way Jones is likely to get most of the touches. Against
Tennessee's 15th-ranked run defense, Jones is a solid RB1.
Game Thoughts: With the second bye no longer a thing
in the NFL playoffs, the Bills have every incentive to beat the
Patriots so they can take Week 17 off. Outside of that anomalous
2.5 game run where Josh Allen failed to throw a touchdown pass,
he’s been outstanding. Including rushing, Allen has multiple
touchdowns in all but those two games this season. Last week’s
performance against the Broncos was one of his best all season.
The Patriots may be a bit of a run funnel defense, but Allen is
too good to bench.
Contributing to Allen’s success is elite WR1, Stefon Diggs.
Last week, he posted his third consecutive game with double digit
receptions. The Patriots will try and erase Diggs with their strong
secondary, but with Stephon Gilmore done for the season, it will
be a tall task for a team no longer playing for anything.
Cole Beasley has seen double digit targets in three straight
games as well as four of his last five, three of which he hit
100 yards receiving. The Patriots allow 13.7 fantasy points per
game to the slot, which is not terrible for Beasley. He is definitely
Gabriel Davis had scored in three straight games prior to last
week, but the target volume is nowhere near where it needs to
be. Dawson Knox has also scored in three of his last four, but
he’s surpassed four targets in a game just once all season.
He’s not an option.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: If it weren’t for his 51-yard garbage
time touchdown last week, Devin Singletary would have been completely
useless for fantasy. He and Zack Moss split snaps once again,
but Moss was more effective with 81 yards on 13 carries. Unfortunately,
Moss just can’t seem to find the end zone. Positive game
script and a defense allowing 23.9 fantasy points per game to
running backs helps, but this is a Josh Allen offense and both
Moss and Singletary are just afterthoughts.
Game Thoughts: The Patriots’ offense is just plain
terrible. Cam Newton doesn’t have it anymore. There are
whispers that perhaps Jarrett Stidham could close out the year
as the starter. Newton’s 209 passing yards last week was
actually his fourth highest total on the season. Newton has started
13 games this season but just five passing touchdowns. He’s
still a threat to rush one in, but he hasn’t been running
as much as he was early in the season and, at this point, there’s
no reason to put his body on the line more than he has to. Somehow,
Jakobi Meyers managed 111 yards on seven receptions last week.
The Bills allow 20.6 fantasy points per game to outside receivers.
Meyers is at least a desperation option. N’Keal Harry and
Damiere Byrd are not startable.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: With the Patriots just incapable of moving
the ball offensively, the running game doesn’t have much
of a chance. Damien Harris is likely to miss another game and
they might as well shut him down for the season. That gives us
another Sony Michel game. He actually wasn’t bad last week
with 74 yards on 10 carries, but let’s be honest, you’re
not starting Michel in a fantasy championship. James White has
played just under half the snaps the past two weeks, but I’m
only even talking about him because he’s James White. He
hasn’t been fantasy viable all season. That does not change
against a Bills defense that allows just 8.7 fantasy points per
game to running backs through the air.