Week 12 was fascinating, as teams either pushed toward a playoff
berth or fizzled completely. After another poor Lions showing, Matt
Patricia was fired. Adam Gase and Matt Nagy seem to be close on
his heels. The Packers and Titans seem to be gaining steam as we
head toward the playoffs. It will be a fascinating ending, assuming
we can get the ending in amidst all of the Covid-19 drama.
Below, as always, I will try to provide insights for each of
the three most important positions for fantasy football. As we
dive into the usage data, I hope it will help you as you push
toward your own playoff berth.
Duke Johnson was more involved in the passing game in Week
12. He received 4 targets (out of only 25 passes thrown), catching
3 for 43 yards and a score. He also carried the ball 9 times.
The Texans wonít get to play the Lions every week, but
as long as David Johnson remains out it seems Duke will be a
decent starting option.
Antonio Gibson played on 65% of snaps, while J.D. McKissic
played on only 41%. It is the first time the split has been
so largely in Gibsonís favor. Gibson rewarded Washington
by going off (20-115-3 on the ground, as well as 5-21 through
the air). McKissic had only 2 catches for 21 yards and a single
carry for 6 yards. The coaches said his role would grow over
the course of the season, and it has. Start him every week,
no matter what.
The Cowboys are a bad football team and dealing with a lot
of injuries. Their offensive line is decimated and they cannot
block effectively. As a result, they are choosing to throw more
often. Ezekiel Elliott only had 10 carries, for 32 yards. It
is painful, but I would bench him the rest of the way unless
you have no one else. The only other game of the fantasy season
where heís playable is against the Bengals, and I am not
even confident heíll produce then.
Josh Jacobs laid an egg in what should have been a matchup
he could win against the Falcons. They are not terrible against
the run, but they are beatable. Jacobs sprained his ankle after
just a 7-27 line on the ground. It remains to be seen if heíll
play next week, and if he does, he is very difficult to trust.
Grab Devontae Booker if heís on your wire, as heíd
get a chance to start against the Jets if Jacobs is out.
Austin Ekeler played on 72% of snaps in his return, and received
an incredible 16 targets! He caught 11 of them for 85 yards,
and also added 44 yards on the ground. He has instantly become
a top-10 back the rest of the way.
Although Devin Singletary ended up with more carries (14
to Mossís 11), he played on only 40% of snaps while Zack Moss played on 60%. Neither is a good play down the stretch,
since they are splitting the snaps so evenly and since Josh Allen is always a threat around the goaline.
Wayne Gallman has finally taken over the Giants backfield,
after the coaching staff seemed to not trust in him fully, week
after week. He played on 63% of snaps and received 24 carries,
going for 94 yards and a score. The Giants have not looked good
and face some tough games coming up, potentially without Daniel Jones. So, I would not trust Gallman unless you are very RB-needy.
But if you are, you could do a lot worse.
Derrick Henry did Derrick Henry things on Sunday. As we get
to cold weather, this guy becomes a force. He went 27-178-3
on the ground, on 64% of snaps. The first-round pick is now
being rewarded, in the most important weeks.
Jonathan Taylor had to sit out due to Covid-19 in Week 12,
but he could be a key player down the stretch, with Jordan Wilkins
suffering an injury this week. Nyheim Hines will still get about
half the work if trends continue, but if you have Taylor donít
rule him out of your lineups yet.
Nick Chubb is squeezing out Kareem Hunt a bit, due to his
incredible efficiency. Chubb played on 61% of snaps while Hunt
was down at 42%, and Chubb received 22 touches to Huntís
10. Both were effective, but Chubb is the superior runner and
should continue to see plenty of volume. This pushes Hunt into
more of a boom-bust flex play.
James Robinson played on an incredible 97% of snaps on Sunday.
That is unheard of for running backs in todayís NFL, and
makes him an absolute must-start for the rest of the season.
He has also been incredibly efficient, and went 22-128-1 on
the ground on Ė and also caught 5 of 6 targets for 31
Kyle Shanahan chose to go with a three-way committee at back
in Week 12. Raheem Mostert played on 40% of snaps, Jeff Wilson on 35%, and
Jerick McKinnon on 25%. This was likely due to both Mostert and Wilson
being rusty after being on IR, and I anticipate Mostert will
see the majority of the rushing touches every week moving forward.
He didnít do much on the ground against a good Rams defense
(16-43-1), but he gets some beatable run defenses over the next
Sean McVay continued his silly usage of the Rams backs on
Sunday, playing Malcolm Brown on 40% of snaps, Darrell Henderson on
32%, and Cam Akers on 27%. Akers was by far the best on the ground,
going for 84 yards and a score on only 9 carries. But it remains
to be seen whether McVay will shift his plan, even with Henderson
looking worse each week (only 10-19 on Sunday). It would seem
to be wise to give Akers an opportunity at 50% of the snaps
to see what he could do, but I am not holding my breath.
Ronald Jones needs more touches. When he touches the ball,
he is gaining yards. Arians says he now sees it, but weíll
have to wait and see. If he indeed starts playing more than
the 36% of snaps he saw on Sunday, he could be a very nice flex
David Montgomery looked very good on Sunday night, rushing
for 103 yards on only 11 carries, also catching 5 passes for
40 yards and a score. The Packers rush defense is bad, so take
this with a grain of salt. But Montgomery is an option for you,
depending on the matchup.
Chris Carson returned in Week 12, but only played on 37%
of snaps. Carlos Hyde played on 61%. Hyde also received 18 opportunities
compared to Carsonís 10. This was likely just easing Carson
back in, and these numbers should switch moving forward.
Miles Sanders played on 61% of snaps but only touched the
ball 8 times. That is simply not enough. However, remember that
this Eagles offensive line is terrible, and the Seahawks have
been much more beatable through the air than on the ground.
With how terrible the offense has been, Sanders is no longer
a must-start every week. Look at the matchup and consider your
The Texans got Will Fuller going in Week 12, as he caught
6 for 171 and 2 scores, on 7 targets. It turns out that was
his last game since he has been suspended for the next 6 games
due to a PED violation. Itís a sad ending to a disappointing
season for the Texans.
I am not sure what the situation is with Kenny Golladay,
but if he continues to miss games and you are desperate at wide
receiver, consider picking up Mohamed Sanu. He caught all 4
of his targets for 32 yards and a score, and the Lions are desperate
for decent receiving options. Marvin Jones has not made the
most of his opportunity, so Sanu could be a sneaky add for your
playoff push if you desperately need help.
Henry Ruggs III continues to disappoint, but Hunter Renfrow
continues to be Carrís security blanket. He played on
65% of snaps and received a team-high 9 targets, going 7-73.
In PPR leagues he is a decent play down the stretch.
With John Brown out for a few weeks, Gabriel Davis is a must-add.
He played Brownís snaps (ending with 97% of snaps) and
received 4 targets. He caught 3 for 79 yards and a score. He
has shown to be a dynamic and consistent player, and I am willing
to trust him in the playoff push if heís my best option.
A.J. Brown received only 6 targets, but that led the team
easily. He went 4-98-1 due to a long 69-yard touchdown. He continues
to produce incredibly well on very limited opportunities, which
his naysayers after last season said was impossible.
It was a frustrating game for those who roster Colts pass-catches.
T.Y. Hilton caught his first touchdown of the season, going
4-81-1 on 5 targets. Likely he was on the wire or a bench in
your leagues. Michael Pittman Jr., meanwhile, received 9 targets
but only caught 2 of them for 28 yards. The player with the
most targets was Nyheim Hines, who caught 8 of 10 for 66 yards.
I do not want to play anyone in this offense, as the entire
offense seems to be based on keeping any one player from becoming
too important. If you have to use Hilton or Pittman, hope for
the best, but donít plan on getting much.
Jarvis Landry finally showed up in the stats column, indicating
many of his slow games had a lot to do with the poor weather
in Cleveland. He received 11 targets and went 8-143-1. I will
be hesitant, but I think I will end up starting him down the
stretch in the playoffs. It is hard to find players with his
ceiling, even if he can be maddening on such a run-heavy team.
With D.J. Chark out on Sunday, it was not Shenault who stepped
up but Collin Johnson. Johnson was highly thought of as a tall,
athletic player coming out of Texas, and he had his first big
game on Sunday with the extra opportunities. He played on 80%
of snaps and went 4-91-1 on 8 targets. He is a guy to keep in
mind for dynasty players, but unless Chark is out for several
weeks, he has limited upside moving forward.
D.J. Moore injured his ankle on Sunday, but before that he
remained very involved, playing on 91% of snaps and leading
the team with 9 targets. Unfortunately, he caught only 4 for
61 yards, and Bridgewater missed him on a touchdown when Moore
was wide open in the end zone. Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel
were also involved, and it seems that it will be hard to tell
who is going to score the most points on a week-to-week basis.
If Moore misses Week 14 after the Panthersí bye, Anderson
and Samuel get a bump up in the receiver rankings.
Devante Parker again became a target hog with Ryan Fitzpatrick
at quarterback. He received 14 targets and went 8-119. As long
as Fitz remains under center, Parker is a must-start.
Denzel Mims again received 8 targets, and played on 95% of
snaps. He only went 4-67, with Sam Darnold playing terribly.
But, the targets have been there over the past 3 or 4 games.
He is a desperation option down the stretch.
Deebo Samuel jumped right back into the clear-cut No. 1 wide
receiver role on Sunday, catching 11 of 13 targets for 133 yards.
Although I do not think much of Mullens, Deebo will be relied
on heavily for their playoff push and is difficult to not start
due to his upside.
Sammy Watkins played on 72% of snaps in his return, catching
4 of 7 targets for 38 yards. It was a quiet day with Tyreek Hill going off, but it looks like Watkins will be a nice potential
flex down the stretch.
Allen Robinson enjoyed having Trubisky back at quarterback.
Foles consistently looked in other directions, but Trubisky
locked onto Robinson, targeting him 13 times. Robinson went
8-74-2. The Bears skill players are not recommended, but Robinson
is an excellent receiver and should provide great upside for
your fantasy playoffs.
Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf continue to trade off games.
Apparently Wilson wanted to pepper Metcalf with targets on Monday
night, and threw it his way 13 times. He finished with 10 catches
for 177 yards. Lockett, meanwhile, only received 4 targets (3-23).
Both need to be in your lineups, but with his size and speed
advantage, Metcalf is the superior weekly play.
The Washington Football Team has a three-man group of relevant
skill position players. Antonio Gibson is quickly becoming a
stud in the backfield. Terry McLaurin is a top receiver already,
and Logan Thomas. Thomas again played virtually every snap (97%)
and again was involved (caught all 4 of his targets for 20 yards
and a score). This isnít a dynamic offense, but Thomas
is one of the best options at tight end in the league due to
his consistent involvement.
Hayden Hurst returned to relevance with Julio Jones out of
the lineup, receiving 8 targets and catching 4 for 48 yards.
This is a pretty bad Falcons team, but Hurst is always a decent
start in the current tight end landscape. Although he is difficult
to trust, Iíll play him if needed through the playoffs.
Hunter Henry received 10 targets on Sunday against the Bills,
catching 7 for 67 yards. He did not get in the end zone, but
he has consistently been one of the top targets for Herbert
over the course of the season. He is a great weekly start.
Evan Engram had his best week of the season, going 6-129
on 9 targets. He has these blow-up games in him, but his inconsistency
has made him a very frustrating fantasy asset. With Daniel Jones
injured, I would stay away for your stretch run.
Jonnu Smith is a perfect example of why tight end is such
an ugly position this season. On Sunday he played on 75% of
snaps and received 0 targets in a blowout of the Colts. They
scored 45 points and he had not one opportunity. Because of
the way the Titans want to play offense, I would look in another
direction if possible.
Just when it seems like Trey Burton will be less involved,
he receives 6 targets on Sunday and goes 3-42-1. But he only
played on 36% of snaps. As I said above, it is very difficult
to trust any Colts. But if youíre desperate at tight end,
heís at least an option.
Tyler Higbee played on 61% of the snaps and Gerald Everett
played on 47%. Both received only 2 targets. I canít start
either one the rest of the way, and that is extremely frustrating.
I would advise finding another option since McVay seems incapable
of committing to either one.
Rob Gronkowskiís hot stretch continued on Sunday, as
he caught 6 of 7 targets for 106 yards. He looked awful early
in the season and he still looks clunky out there, but any tight
end receiving so many opportunities is a must-start every week.
Robert Tonyan had a game on Sunday, catching all 5 of his
targets for 67 yards and a score, on 58% of snaps. He can be
started the rest of the way. He will have weeks where he is
not involved at all, but these boom weeks will also be there
With Greg Olsen out for a while, I expected Will Dissly to
be involved. Instead he was not targeted once, and fellow tight
end Jacob Hollister was targeted 5 times. I think this situation
is one to avoid, as you simply will never know which tight end
will get the biggest workload.
The Eagles have not been able to get any of their receivers
going this season, but Wentz continues to look for his tight
ends. Dallas Goedert finished with 10 targets and went 7-75-1,
and Richard Rodgers also scored on a Hail Mary, going 3-53-1.
The tight ends are about the only Eagles worth starting until
this team improves drastically.
Kevin Scott is a fantasy pro who is the co-host for The Lowdown
Fantasy Football Podcast. He plays in over 40 leagues annually and
has made over $100,000 playing fantasy football. You can follow