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Starts

Austin Ekeler

He’s the guy in Melvin Gordon’s absence. We know how much the Chargers depend on the backfield in the passing game, and we saw that Ekeler is more than capable with him catching 10 of 11 targets last week. This game can turn into a bit of a shootout, and Ekeler will be an important part of the passing game. It’s a tough matchup on the ground, but the Steelers have given up 419 rushing yards over the last four games, so there’s room for Ekeler to work with. Justin Jackson should mix in as well, so I doubt Ekeler will get the 90% of snaps he got when Gordon missed against Tennessee earlier this year.

Gus Edwards

17/115/1 and 23/118 are no doubt great games, and Edwards has another great matchup this week against Atlanta, who has given up nearly the most fantasy points to RBs. 5.1 yards per carry to opposing RBs over the course of the year, 5.5 over the last 3 games, and 14 total TDs to the position. The Ravens defense should keep the offense in a position where they don’t have to abandon the run, and it seems like Lamar Jackson will get another start – that opens up running lanes for Edwards, so pray that Jackson continues to be the starter if you’re depending on Edwards for the rest of the season. Even if Alex Collins is active this week, I wouldn’t hesitate putting Gus in my lineup; I can’t imagine the Ravens moving away from his production, especially when the Ravens haven’t had a 100 yard rusher all year long before these two games.

Dion Lewis

Lewis has taken a step back over the last two weeks, but he did go up against the Colts and Texans, two of the best defenses against the run. This week, however, he’ll be going up against a Jets team giving up the 4th most attempts against them over the year, and the 3rd most over the last four weeks. They’ve given up the 8th most rushing yards over the course of the season, and the 7th most over over the last four weeks. They’ve also given up 10 rushing TDs this year, with only 5 teams allowing more. I think you get the point; start your RBs against the Jets. Lewis can see close to 20 touches this week, and he gets a boost in PPR formats.

Chris Carson

Carson’s been getting it done when he’s healthy, and he was a big part of the Seahawks’ wins against the Packers and Panthers over the last two weeks. The Seahawks’ identity is running the ball, and Carson is the leader of the pack, including being the goal line guy. 3 TDs in the last 4 weeks; not scoring against the Chargers when he went out with an injury late in the first half. He’s a good bet for 17+ carries against the 49ers at home in a game where they’re favored by 10.

Matt Breida

Breida’s averaging close 17 touches and 5 YPC over his last 4 games, and the Seahawks have allowed 6.6 yards per carry over their last 4 games. He seems healthy now, so not sure what else there is to say. He’ll be in my lineups this week, even in a potential negative game script; he’s involved enough in the passing game to not worry about it.

Josh Adams

His 22 carries was very encouraging for him moving forward, and while this Redskins matchup might have seemed like a tough matchup a few weeks ago, they’ve let up recently. Over the last four weeks, they’ve given up the 2nd most rushing attempts and 3rd most rushing yards. If the Eagles are trying to keep their defense off the field, they are going to want to run the ball and control clock. They’re also favored by 6.5 points at home against a Colt McCoy-led Redskins offense, so they should have a favorable game script for them to continue to run the ball. It was only a 2-man backfield last week between him (62% of snaps) and Corey Clement (37% of snaps), so the touches should be there for him once again this week.

Larry Fitzgerald

It’s been a combination of volume and TDs for Larry Fitzgerald, who has had a rare resurgence in the second half of the year, when it’s usually the opposite for him. He now has 5 TDs over the last 5 games, and should be able to get back close to the 10 targets he was averaging between Weeks 6 and 10. The Cards will likely be in catch-up mode in the second half against the Packers, and Larry can take advantage of a team giving up the 8th most fantasy points to slot WRs and almost equally as giving on the perimeter. He’s tough to bench right now, as he’s their end zone threat in addition to being the leader in target share.

Emmanuel Sanders

Sanders is being targeted on 28% of his routes without Demaryius Thomas, which is 5th in the NFL, according to NFL.com’s Graham Barfield. He’s in must-start territory, especially this week going up against a Bengals team giving up the 9th most fantasy points to slot WRs.

Kenny Golladay

Over the last three weeks, Golladay is tied with Julio Jones for the most targets in the NFL. Outside of one game in his career, when he’s had more than 5 targets in any game, he’s killed it… and you have to expect those targets to be there again this week while the Lions try and keep up with the Rams. Aqib Talib might be back this week, but I won’t be sitting Golladay because of Talib’s first game back from injury.

Desperate Starts

Carlos Hyde and TJ Yeldon

Hyde should be the favorite this week for early down carries, while Yeldon mixes in and is the primary pass-catching option out of the backfield. I can see the Colts getting up in this game; remember, no Fournette, QB change to Cody Kessler, and they’ll potentially be without Jalen Ramsey. Because of that, Yeldon might be on the field more often than not. He’s my choice in any PPR format, while Hyde is probably the favorite in standard leagues because of potential goal line looks. The Colts have been sneaky good against the run this year, allowing 4 yards per carry over the year and 3.5 YPC over the last 4 games. Yeldon probably has the safer floor in any format.

Lamar Miller

I have no idea where to put Miller, but I know you’re not excited when he’s in your lineup. Last week’s huge run was a pleasant surprise, and isn’t it interesting than it came when his touches are a bit limited? He’s best in a role where he’s getting 12-15 carries opposed to 20+, like we saw before he came to Texas. Anyway, outside of his terrible game against a Broncos team improving against the run, he had 3 100+ yard + TD games over the last 5 weeks, and a fourth was a 20/86 game in addition to some production in the passing game as well. Not a bad start this week against a Browns team allowing 5.4 yards per carry over the last 3 games, and 4.8 yards per game for the season. It’s very possible that he splits the work 50/50 with Alfred Blue, but that’s a given over the last few weeks.

LeSean McCoy

The Bills want to give McCoy work, but they haven’t had the chance in most games. With 26 and 17 carries in the last two games, we should expect volume this week against a Dolphins team who has trended around giving up 5 yards per carry this entire year, and they’ve been worse lately. Let’s hope he can have the type of game he had against the Jets a couple of weeks ago. We know he’s capable, especially with Josh Allen being such a threat to run the ball as well.

Tarik Cohen

He caught 7 of 8 targets for 45 yards and a TD, and the missed target was an overthrow that would’ve been a second TD. He’s a good play in PPR, and while we might think that the targets to the RB is a Chase Daniels’ tendency, anything that happens in this Bears offense is a product of Matt Nagy’s game plan and play calling. He should provide a safe floor in addition to his upside for you this week, even against a Giants defense who has been generally good against pass-catching RBs this year.

Doug Martin and Jalen Richard

Richard should be considered a PPR RB2 for Week 13 against the Chiefs… it’s only a matter of time before the Chiefs go up big on the Raiders, and it’ll be all Richard at that point. The Chiefs are giving up the most receiving yards to RBs, not only because they put teams in catch-up mode, but they’re also 6th-worst DVOA against pass-catching RBs. They’re giving up more than 8 yards/reception to RBs, which ranks dead last in the league. Derek Carr loves to check it down; Richard is leading the Raiders in receptions, and he probably has a 5-6 catch floor with upside this week. It’s amazing that the worse the Raiders offense gets, the more opportunity Richard will have. As far as Doug Martin goes, having the word efficiency and his name in the same sentence is strange, but he’s averaged 4.75 yards per carry after taking over the early down role, so he can take his 10-13 carries for a decent 60 yards, and might see a goal line opportunity if they get there. He’s a real desperate play.

Theo Riddick and LeGarrette Blount

It’s possible the Lions are without Kerryon Johnson (DNP Thursday), and even if he’s active, Riddick will likely assume most of the third down and obvious passing-down work. We have to imagine that the Rams will go up in this game with the Lions in catch-up mode for most of the 4th quarter. Riddick should see ample opportunity, but keep in mind that his snaps went down over the last two games to about 28 snaps per game compared to the 39 and 46 he saw the two weeks prior. As far as Blount, he’s a TD dependent play, but could rack up 15 carries or so as well. Not excited to play him, but it’s worth noting that he’ll have opportunity… hey, he did something with it against the Bears on Thanksgiving.

Chris Thompson

He’s expected to play this week, and if you need some upside in a PPR league, he’s a good shot at giving you that upside. The Eagles can be up in this game, the Redskins desperately need pass-catchers and pass protection, and Thompson will help in both regards. The Eagles have been bottom-10 in allowing reception yards to RBs, so he becomes an option for you. I would get confirmation before Sunday’s games that he’s playing before I sit someone from Sunday to start him on Monday. Even if you don’t need to start him this week, he’s a sneaky stretch run pickup if available on your waiver wire if you need to raise the ceiling on your team. He’s also someone you can pick up on Monday before the game, just in case he’s back doing his thing and becomes the waiver wire pickup of the week.

Bruce Ellington

With Marvin Jones now on IR, Ellington’s target share is probably pretty secure. 9 and 7 targets in his first two games with the Lions out of the slot, and the Lions are expected to be in a pass-heavy game script against the Rams. The Rams have also given up the most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 4 games, and the 4th most over the course of the season. He has a 10-point floor in PPR leagues, with potential for a bit more upside this week.

Chris Conley

If Sammy Watkins sits, Chris Conley would step up and be the #2 WR for Patrick Mahomes against the Raiders, and that itself has value. We shouldn’t take too much out of the Rams/Chiefs game, but without Sammy, Conley caught 7 of 8 targets for 74 yards. He’s a flier at some upside of you need it.

Josh Reynolds

Reynolds will be playing on the outside for the Rams while Robert Woods is inside to the slot to take over Cooper Kupp’s vacant position. Darius Slay will likely shadow Brandin Cooks, so Reynolds’ matchup otherwise is pretty good. We saw what he was able to do in a couple of games without Kupp, so if you’re shooting for upside, he’s a play.

Demaryius Thomas

Keke Coutee can’t stay healthy, and if he doesn’t play this week, DT gets an obvious boost. He had two TDs last week, and the matchup isn’t bad against the Browns. I would still consider him a bit of a flier since he only caught 4 of 5 last week, but it’s still in the realm of possibility he has a decent game against the Browns while Denzel Ward shadows DeAndre Hopkins.

Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin

With DeSean Jackson out this week, Humphries and Godwin get major boosts, and will be near full time players against Carolina. Humphries has been getting it done regardless, and is definitely more valuable in PPR leagues since most of his targets are short and intermediate, but 4 TDs in the last 4 games isn’t too shabby for standard leagues either. Chris Godwin has always shined with opportunity, and he’ll likely get that this week in what can be a shootout. James Bradberry will likely be tied to Mike Evans, and while Donte Jackson is a promising rookie, he’s not a shutdown guy – the Panthers are still giving up the 7th most fantasy points to perimeter WRs.

Josh Doctson

Doctson’s a flier this week after seeing 10 targets from Colt McCoy against Dallas on Thanksgiving. This week, he goes up against a Philly defense with no secondary, and who’ve given up the most fantasy points to WRs lining up on the perimeter, where Doctson lines up 80% of the time. He’s a nice DFS flier on Monday night.

Temper Expectations

Marlon Mack

The Jaguars have gotten a little better at defending the run lately, but with an offense that moves the ball the way the Colts do, its tough to sit Mack unless you have other options. 17 touches in each of the last two weeks, and with Jalen Ramsey potentially out, the Colts might have find themselves in red zone situations more often than not. However, if I have a Phillip Lindsay, for example, I’d probably roll with him because of his favorable matchup.

Nick Chubb

Chubb has been killing it, and he’s tough to sit, no doubt. He’s been getting serious volume, and producing with that volume. However, take a look at his matchups over the last several weeks: TB (18/80/1), Pittsburgh (18/65/0), KC (22/85/1), Atlanta (20/176/1), Cincy (28/84/1). The only tough matchup was Pittsburgh, and he averaged 3.6 yards per carry in that game. This week, he goes up against a Houston team whose run defense hovers around only 4 yards per carry, and who gave up the least amount of rushing yards over the last 4 weeks. Outside of Saquon Barkley had 82 rushing yards against them, but Houston limited Zeke to 20/54/0 and Phillip Lindsay to 17/60 (only game he averaged under 4.5 yards per carry). The volume should be there for him, and even if the Browns go down, they’re committed to running the ball, so I would still expect him to get 15+ carries. I’m starting him as a RB2 regardless, but it’s possible you have other options this week.

Sony Michel and James White

Tough start this week against Minnesota, but he might get volume regardless. We’ve seen the Patriots lean away from the run when it’s not a good idea, and it might not be against the Vikings, who are allowing 3.7 yards per carry this year, third best in the league behind the Bears and Saints. He’s the favorite for goal line looks, so you’re depending on that TD this week if he’s in your lineup. As far as James White, you’re starting him in PPR leagues.. he isn’t as matchup and game flow dependent as Michel would be. The Patriots will likely try to get the ball to White in space, and his floor remains high on a weekly basis. I wouldn’t worry too much about Rex Burkhead playing a huge role off the bat; it might take a week or two to fully implement him back into the rotation.

Julio Jones

The Ravens have given up the second least amount of fantasy points to perimeter WRs, and Julio lines up on the perimeter about 80% of the time. This is obviously a tough matchup for Julio this week, but he can beat any corner at any time, so he’ll be in my lineups.

AJ Green and Tyler Boyd

First game back from an injury is always risky, but when a player is near that elite category, they’re tough to bench. Not only that, but he’s not going to have Andy Dalton throwing him the ball. It’s a decent matchup for him against Denver, who have really been giving up fantasy points to WRs on the perimeter lately, so you’re hoping Jeff Driskel will pepper him with targets. Even if he catches only 50% of 10+ targets, he should be okay for you this week. Tyler Boyd probably gets bumped down a bit with the QB change, and while he will see a lot of Chris Harris Jr, the Broncos have still been giving up points to WRs lining up out of the slot, so the matchup is still there for Boyd. Just don’t expect Driskel to keep both Green and Boyd as relevant as they were with Andy Dalton behind center.

TY Hilton

Hilton is back healthy, and he’s been on fire lately. Not the best matchup against Jalen Ramsey in Jacksonville, but Hilton’s tough to bench if you don’t have other good options. There is a possibility Ramsey doesn’t play because of a knee injury, in which case Hilton would get a huge upgrade.

Josh Gordon

It looks like Xavier Rhodes miraculously might play this week after he tore his hamstring last week. Okay, he didn’t tear his hamstring. But with Rhodes shadowing Gordon, he gets a bit of a downgrade. With Gronk healthy, his target share might not be as high, but he always has the ability to make a few big plays and cash in for a nice fantasy day. He’s not a must start this week.

Corey Davis

The Jets have actually done a really good job against perimeter WRs this year, giving up the 4th least amount of fantasy points. Corey Davis lines up on the perimeter most of the time, and while this isn’t really a matchup I’m afraid of, Davis has been so up and down this season that it’s tough for me to trust him right now. He only had 4 targets last week, but had a big play for a TD that saved his day, and that can happen at any point with Davis. He’s the definition of boom/bust, so if you need to shoot for a ceiling, I’d roll with Davis.

Sits

Peyton Barber

We’re in a world where you might not have much of a choice but to start Peyton Barber, and it’s not the worst idea in the world after him getting 18 carries and a TD in two straight games. However, teams just don’t run against Carolina – no one player has had more than 17 carries against them, and they’ve allowed only 3.7 yards per carry over the last 3 games. Barber took 11 carries for 33 yards in their first meeting in Carolina, and that might be a preview of what we’ll see from him this week. This will likely be a high scoring game, but Jameis Winston will probably be forced to sling it all game long.

Tevin Coleman

How can we have confidence in this backfield after Coleman took 8 carries for 6 yards last week against the Saints. Yes, he got the TD on one of his 3 receptions, but that’s what Coleman is at this point – a TD dependent back. He’s going up against a Ravens team who’s allowed the least amount of reception yards to RBs and the third least rushing yards to RBs. They’ve also given up 7 TDs total to RBs this year.. I’ll be fading this backfield if I can, especially when Coleman only had 11 touches in two straight games.

Jordan Howard

It’s a good matchup against the Giants, but can we expect Howard to get volume. He’s a TD dependent player, and might see a goal line carry or two and might even score, but that’s what you’re hoping and praying for. Here are Howard’s best rushing totals: 82, 81, 69, 63, 61, 47, and it goes downhill from there. Is that who you’re depending on to get you into the playoffs? Chase Daniel is expected to make the start this week, so he gets an even bigger downgrade if they have a hard time moving the ball.

Calvin Ridley

He’s had good games this year in good matchups for perimeter WRs. This week, he’ll see a lot of Marlon Humphrey and a little bit of Jimmy Smith, so I’m staying away. The Ravens are giving up the second least amount of fantasy points to perimeter WRs.

Jarvis Landry

Are you really going to depend on Landry after what he did in great matchups over the last two weeks? He caught 5 of 10 targets for 52 yards over the last two weeks combined, and he’s not even playing a full complement of snaps under Freddie Kitchens – 68% and 61% over the last 2 games. If I’m trying to make the playoffs this week, I don’t think I can trust Landry in my lineup unless I don’t have other suitable options.