This is a special Playoff edition of the article, where I pretty much go over every fantasy relevant player this week. Enjoy 🙂
Baltimore @ Kansas City
Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce… obviously.
Lamar Jackson is a RB in your QB position who has a shot at passing some TDs too. His passing game isn’t there, but he’ll have a shot this week with the Ravens trying to keep up with the Chiefs in Arrowhead. He ran for at least 70 yards in each of his three starts, scoring a rushing TD in each of the last two weeks. The upside is him doing that, and scoring a passing TD, and you’re good for the week.
Gus Edwards isn’t involved in the pass game, so he can get phased out a bit later in the game once there’s a need to pick up the pace. However, until then, he can still see close to 20 carries because that’s how the Ravens move the ball, and because that’s where the Chiefs are vulnerable on defense. If the Ravens are able to stick to their identity for at least three quarters, Edwards should take advantage of a defense giving up 5.1 yards per carry this year.
Chris Conley can get more opportunity this week without Sammy Watkins if he misses again. He ran 50% of his snaps from the slot last week, and that’s where the Ravens are more vulnerable compared to the outside. It’s a tough matchup, but Vegas is still putting this game at 53 points with KC favored by 7.5. If Watkins is active, I would only start him if he got at least one full practice in.
Ty Montgomery is the better version of Buck Allen in this offense, meaning he’s the third down and passing down back…. as of right now. This backfield is in constant flux, and it can be Kenneth Dixon. But for now, if you’re desperate in a PPR league, Montgomery can continue getting around 10 touches, with most of that coming in the pass game.
Spencer Ware should be just fine for the rest of the fantasy playoffs, but he does have a tough matchup this week, and we probably won’t see Andy Reid call up too many plays for Ware to run up against the Ravens defensive front when he has a Patrick Mahomes. With how this offense is rolling, Ware is bound for a goal line look to save his day, and that’s kinda what we’re hoping for this week for him. Baltimore is allowing 3 yards per carry over the last 3 games. That’s good. I’m looking for another option, especially after he couldn’t find much running room against a Raiders defense last week who was allowing 5.5 in their previous three.
Ravens WRs haven’t gotten an opportunity to do anything with Lamar Jackson at QB. They’re winning games, but at the expense of the WRs doing absolutely nothing.
Ravens DST – They’re a good defense, but not the week you want to start them.
Indianapolis @ Houston
Andrew Luck threw 3 TDs in 8 straight games before Jacksonville shut him out last week. Houston is a tough matchup on paper, but Luck put up 464 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 INT against them in Week 4. Indy will likely not depend on the run against this defense, so Luck will likely have extra opportunity to throw the ball and make plays.
Deshaun Watson vs Andrew Luck sounds like a potential shootout, and Watson’s upside is hard to ignore if Luck is able to go up in this game. He had a big game the last time these two went head to head, and if I’m looking for upside, I’ll be looking to start him this week. Don’t be fooled by the Colts perceived success against QBs; in reverse order from last week, they went against Cody Kessler, Ryan Tannehill, Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Derek Anderson, Sam Darnold. The two games before that, Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson – both killed it.
TY Hilton has been getting it done since his bye 4 games ago. He’s averaging 10 targets and 108 yards per game during that span, and had a great game last week with volume against the Jags. He’s on a roll, so I’m looking at him as a must-start. Houston has also been struggling on the perimeter against WRs, giving up the 9th most fantasy points there over the last 4 weeks. He’s also pretty damn good in Houston throughout his career, averaging almost 25 PPR points/game – more than 1 TD, 9 targets, and 122 receiving yards.
Eric Ebron caught 10 of SIXTEEN targets last week against the Jaguars. He’s a top-5 TE right now.
DeAndre Hopkins… no explanation needed.
Lamar Miller has a tough matchup this week against a Colts defense who has surprisingly overachieved this year. They’re allowing 3.9 yards per carry over the entire season and 3.6 over the last 3 games. He’s tough to bench right now though; he’s averaging 17 carries for 100 yards over the last six games, and that includes his 12/21 clunker against Denver. Outside of that game, he’s went over 100 yards of scrimmage in each game. A couple of tough matchups mixed in there too with Jacksonville and Tennessee.
Marlon Mack is a tough start this week against a Houston defense averaging 3.7 yards per carry against them, and a defense who isn’t allowing RBs to get volume and do anything on that volume. The Colts couldn’t get the ground game going against the Jags, so they completely abandoned and replaced it with the quick passing game with Nyheim Hines on the field instead. Hines out-snapped Marlon Mack 61% to 37%, and with this being a tough run defense also, we might see something similar again this week. Since Mack’s 19 and 25 carry game before his bye, he’s averaging 13 carries, and around 15 touches. I’ll be trying to find another option this week, but I wouldn’t get too cute with it.
Keke Coutee is a very risky play even if he’s active. His lingering hamstring issue has caused him to leave games multiple times this season, and if it happens in the first quarter, you have yourself a goose egg. I’m avoiding him.
Houston DST – This can be a high scoring game, and Luck has a shot of tearing them up. Yes, Houston’s pass rush is good, but Andrew Luck doesn’t take sacks.
Carolina @ Cleveland
Christian McCaffrey.. obviously.
DJ Moore has seen three straight games with 8+ targets, and his upside is too good to have him on the bench when he’s getting volume. Even with non-factor Devin Funchess back, he’s the new No. 1 WR on this offense. Cleveland has been in the top-10 in fantasy points given up to WRs on the perimeter all season long, and they’ve even let up against WRs lining up in the slot lately. Moore lines up primarily on the outside, but we saw him in the slot on a higher percentage (43%) than usual last week.
David Njoku had a game to forget last week, but he has a chance to bounce back against a Panthers team giving up a ton of fantasy points to TEs.
Cam Newton still didn’t kill your fantasy team with his 4 picks last week, but that’s a rarity. He should be able to bounce back with his safe floor and high ceiling for you this week in Cleveland.
Baker Mayfield is playing pretty well right now given his circumstances. Carolina has been terrible against QBs; he had a tough matchup last week against Houston and that pass rush, and Carolina’s pass rush isn’t all that. He should be able to find his guys in what can be a high scoring game.
Demaryius Thomas is a play if Keke Coutee is out. The O/U is set at 49, so there will be some scoring in this game. Deshaun Watson vs Andrew Luck can turn into a shootout, so DT will be a red zone option if there is extra coverage thrown Hopkins’ way. Indy has been stout against WRs this year, so keep that in mind when throwing him in your lineup.
Curtis Samuel has been pretty efficient with his looks this season, and last week was the first week we saw him get more than 7 targets, and his next-best target number was 4. They want to get him more involved, and they proved it with his increase in snaps. Over the last two weeks, Samuel has played in 57 and 59 snaps, respectively, after averaging a little more than 31 per game. Almost all of those snaps are coming on the perimeter where the Browns have struggled to defend this year. He’s a low-floor, high-upside play this week.
Ian Thomas caught 5 of 5 targets last week with Greg Olsen going down to injury and missing the season, so he’s a potential play in a good matchup for tight ends.
Jarvis Landry bounced back in a big way last week, getting his snaps above to 81% after two straight games under 70%, catching 6 of 9 targets for 103 yards. This is a neutral matchup for him as a slot receiver, so if you’re feeling lucky, put him in your lineup. I’m not sure I can depend on him to get it done for me after a couple of not so great games, and how much churn this offense is in after the OC change.
Antonio Callaway is honestly the more intriguing WR between him and Landry; he’s been out-producing Landry if you combine their stats over the last three games, and he’s more of the big-play threat on the outside. The outside is where the Panthers struggle right now – 5th most points to WRs on the perimeter over the course of the season, and the 2nd most over the last four weeks. And because of his speed, it’ll likely be Donte Jackson on him and not James Bradberry. He has some real upside this week.
Nick Chubb couldn’t get volume last week against Houston after averaging 21 carries a game over the five weeks prior. His TD saved you, but the 9 carries for 31 wasn’t great. He has another tough matchup this week, with Carolina not allowing any single RB to go over 17 carries. However, Kerryon Johnson, Chris Carson, and Peyton Barber were all able to have at least 15 carries, and that’s a result of Carolina letting teams stay in the game. They’ve lost 4 straight games, and travel to a hungry Cleveland team. Chubb should be able to pile up the 15 carries the other RBs have, so he should fare better at home this week. It’s not in the category of the easy matchups Chubb has played against before the Houston matchup, but the Browns should have an easier time moving the ball against a team who lost to Detroit and Tampa Bay during their losing streak.
Atlanta @ Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been the the guy we’ve been used to this year. He doesn’t have a safe floor, and we’ve seen his upside only a few times. We never see Rodgers struggle at home the way he has this year. This is a good matchup for him, but he still has to make the throws he hasn’t been making to come through for you this week. Let’s hope the coaching change can help.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons are in an offensive slump, but Ryan is going up against a defense whose vulnerability is matching up against WRs, and the offense happens to revolve around three WRs. I would expect Ryan to bounce back after last week’s performance against the Ravens.
Aaron Jones can only go one way based on his usage last week, and that’s up, since he was used in a 50/50 split with Jamaal Williams. He’s efficient as hell, so he’ll be in my lineups this week against a defense that cannot stop the run. Pick up Jamaal Williams and handcuff Aaron Jones if you have him.
Julio Jones and Davante Adams. Start the #1s, would ya. Great matchups for both.
Tevin Coleman can’t be trusted right now, but if you’re desperate, this isn’t the worst matchup. He’s hardly getting touches, but he can see close to 15 against this Green Bay team giving up 5.3 yards per carry in Lambeau. Weird.
Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley are both options this week against a Packers team giving up the 11th most fantasy points to slot WRs like Sanu, and the 10th most fantasy points to the right side of the field where Calvin Ridley plays on most of his snaps. Sanu is the safer play in PPR, while Ridley has more upside in either format.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Randall Cobb, Equinameous St Brown, Jimmy Graham
Graham might be a play this week after his 8 for 11 catch performance last week, but he’s also had three one-catch games in the last six. If you’re really hurting at TE, he’s an okay play in PPR, but I’m looking for another option. You can’t really trust any pass-catcher outside of Davante Adams and Aaron Jones right now, so I’ll be looking elsewhere. Aaron Rodgers will blame the pass-catchers, but it’s a combination of things.
New Orleans @ Tampa Bay
Drew Brees and Jameis Winston can be in a bit of a shootout here, with both having pretty good matchups. Both have high ceilings this week if that’s what you need. The Vegas over/under is at 57 points… so yeah. Jameis will have to throw a ton since the Saints don’t let anyone run on them.
Michael Thomas and Mike Evans are in as the #1s who both have pretty good matchups.
Alvin Kamara hasn’t been as amazing in standard leagues over the last couple of weeks, but we’re not starting him based on these weeks. Great matchup this week for Kamara.
Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin are both great plays this week with DeSean Jackson likely out again. The team is reportedly thinking of shutting him down for the year. According to NFL.com’s Graham Barfield, when either D-Jax or Mike Evans misses, Godwin sees a 24% target share. In games without D-Jax: 3/98, 7/111/1, and 5/101/1, according to Fantasy Lab’s Adam Levitan. Last week, he was on the field for 80% of snaps, and when he plays that full-time role, he produces. Godwin played on the outside on 72% of his WR snaps last week, where the Saints have given up the most fantasy points this season. He’s a really good player, and he should be played as a high-end WR3 this week. As far as Adam Humphries, he’s been getting it done – averaging 15 PPR points/game while scoring 5 TDs over the last 5 games. Fire both up in a high-volume passing game script.
Tre’Quan Smith is the definition of boom/bust. If you need a home run play, this is the matchup to try and get it. But you have to understand that he can easily give you a zero.
Cameron Brate has been Jameis Winston’s best friend during his career, but the Saints are pretty stout against the TE position. He can still get that TD, but he’s more of a longshot this particular week.
Mark Ingram has been hit or miss this season, but his ceiling has been pretty intriguing. This week, he has the opportunity to hit that ceiling against a Bucs team allowing 6.5 yards per carry over the last three weeks, and 5 YPC over the entire season.
Peyton Barber has gotten better as the season progressed, and his volume has remained constant, but it’s probably not happening for him this week against the Saints, who are given up 3.5 yards per carry this season – that’s best in the league. Over the last three games, they’ve given up 3.1.
NY Jets @ Buffalo
Josh Allen is a good start this week if you’re looking for upside. He’s averaging 117 rushing yards over the last two weeks, and unlike Lamar Jackson, he’s more capable in the pass game with his 3 passing TDs in those two games. His #1 WR Zay Jones has a great matchup in the slot against the Jets, so we have a good chance of seeing a passing TD this week as well.
Buffalo DST – With Sam Darnold back under center this week, Buffalo gets an upgraded defensively, especially because they’re at home. I’ve never said this before, but Buffalo DST has a safe floor this week with upside.
LeSean McCoy had a shot to get volume last week against Miami, but couldn’t get it done on his 15 carries. He had an amazing game against the Jets a few weeks ago, so there’s a shot he can do it again. The Titans’ RBs disappointed last week, but the Jets have given up a ton of volume to RBs in games prior; Sony Michel, LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, and Jordan Howard have all had 20+ carry games against the Jets over their last 5 games.
Zay Jones has emerged as the clear #1 WR for Josh Allen in Buffalo, which usually doesn’t mean anything, but he’s actually produced with volume lately. Let’s forget about Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes…. because they’ve been cut this week. The passing game was non-existent against the Jaguars in Week 12, but in the other two games over the past three, Jones is averaging 6 catches on 10 targets for 80 yards and 1.5 TDs. He should see volume again this week with the Jets not having much of a pass rush combined with them allowing the 3rd most fantasy points to slot WRs. Jones has lined up in the slot 55% of the time year, and while that can change, it would be smart to keep him in the slot as much as possible to take advantage of the Jets vulnerabilities. He’s a desperate start this week, but we saw the upside he presents with his 2 TD catches last week.
Isaiah Crowell is super desperate this week, but the 21 carries for 98 yards he had last week was very encouraging. He dominated snap share with 64% of snaps, so if you’re starting him this week, you’re hoping for the same. Just pray a little bit before Sunday; the stars will have to align and the game will have to remain close for it to happen. He’s still a RB3 that you’re hoping scores like a RB2.
New England @ Miami
Sony Michel is the primary ball carrier for the Patriots, and when there’s a chance for him to get volume, he gets it. Since Week 4, the only games he didn’t see 17+ carries in were games he either got injured in or in games he came back from injury. We saw his ceiling with 24 and 25-carry games, and against Miami, this is easily a game we can identify for Michel to get that volume. Miami has given up 5 YPC over the entire season and 6.2 YPC over the last three games. The floor and ceiling is appealing for Michel this week, and he qualifies as a high-end RB2 this week.
James White remains a great play in PPR, and him catching 7 of 9 targets last week Rex Burkhead in the fold is very encouraging. In standard or half point, his total yardage has been high enough to combine with his scoring for him to be tough to sit as well. His 1 catch on 5 targets two weeks ago was a clear outlier, so I wouldn’t use that against White going forward.
Josh Gordon has a neutral matchup this week, as the Dolphins have been in middle of the road defending the side that Gordon plays 60% of the time. His floor has remained high all year, and this is the best matchup he’s seen in the last few weeks. He should be in lineups as a WR2.
Julian Edelman has a pretty good matchup this week, and is a WR2 in PPR leagues. The Dolphins have given up the 4th most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 4 weeks, and the 11th most over the last 8 weeks. Edelman’s volume has remained consistent all year long.
Kenyan Drake is a low-floor, high-ceiling option in a game where the Patriots can get up. The Dolphins play the Pats well historically, especially in Miami. If the scoring is going to come, the chance some of it comes from Drake is higher than the other options on the Dolphins.
New England DST – Miami plays New England tough at home, so I don’t love it. However, the Pats have limited both the Jets and Vikings to 23 points total over the last two weeks after their bye. The Dolphins aren’t the epitome of offensive prowess.
Tom Brady hasn’t had 20+ points in standard QB scoring since Week 7, and went over 15 points once. Is that who you want to start for you in the playoffs? It’s a decent matchup, but I’m not excited.
LA Rams @ Chicago
Todd Gurley is an obvious must-start, even in a tough matchup.
Brandin Cooks has been a high-end WR2 all season long. Keep starting him in this matchup; the Bears have allowed the 7th most fantasy points over the entire season and 6th most over the last four weeks to WRs lining up on the left perimeter, where Cooks lines up 55% of the time. He should keep that production up this week.
Mitch Trubisky is practicing in full, so he should be good to go against the Rams. His ceiling is pretty high when you combine his rushing, his weapons, and the scheme behind him. Against this high-powered Rams offense, he might need to throw a bit more than he would like, so more volume can be a good thing. He has great matchups for the rest of the playoffs, starting this week.
Tarik Cohen has been very involved over the last few weeks, catching 19 of 32 targets over the last two weeks. Yes, it happened with Chase Daniels as the QB, but the only two games this year he didn’t come through in PPR was in tough matchups against Minnesota and Buffalo.
Josh Reynolds has been playing a full-time role for the Rams, and he plays on the right side of the perimeter 55% of the time. The Bears have allowed the 6th most fantasy points over the course of the season and the single most fantasy points over the last 4 weeks to WRs lining up on that side of the field. He’s obviously desperate, but there’s high upside in this particular matchup, especially because Robert Woods draws a pretty tough matchup in the slot.
Anthony Miller lined up in the slot on 84% of his WR snaps last week, and that bodes well for him this week. I already mentioned above that the Rams have allowed the 5th most fantasy points over the season and the single most fantasy points over the last four weeks to slot WRs, so he’s a good play this week if you’re looking for a fringe guy to start, especially with Mitch Trubisky back.
Trey Burton has been super inconsistent this year, but he has a good matchup this week against the Rams. Levine Toilolo racked up 90 yards against them last week…….. yup. TEs have been scoring against them too, so if you’re desperate at the position, roll out Burton and hope for the best.
Robert Woods isn’t a guy I would be benching for fringe players, but his matchup isn’t ideal this week. The Bears have been very generous with fantasy points to WRs lining up on the perimeter, but he’ll see a lot of Bryce Callahan this week in the slot; him and the Bears have allowed the 8th least amount of fantasy points to slot WRs over the season, and stayed pretty consistent throughout. Since Cooper Kupp got hurt, Woods has slid into that role; if Sean McVay does what he does best, he might move Woods to the outside a bit more this week.
Jared Goff has a tough test ahead of him in Chicago, where QBs have struggled. As a whole, the Bears have been one of the best defenses against QBs. With Goff though, he has so many weapons and a good OC behind him that he can be above the matchup in front of him. He isn’t completely safe this week, so I might be looking for another option if there’s a Winston or Josh Allen available.
Allen Robinson will likely see a lot of Aqib Talib, but it’s also possible that Talib doesn’t play a full complement of snaps like he did last week. Also, Robinson actually plays in the slot more than he does on Talib’s side of the field. Because of that, he should move around, and I wouldn’t overplay the Talib matchup. In a game where Trubisky might have to catch up with the Rams, Robinson is a decent play. The Rams have allowed the 5th most fantasy points over the season and the single most fantasy points over the last four weeks to slot WRs.
Jordan Howard can’t be trusted, especially in the playoffs. He should only be started out of serious desperation in the hopes of a goal line TD.
Chicago DST is tough to bench, but I’m sitting them against one of the best offenses in football.
NY Giants @ Washington
Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr. are the obvious ones. Josh Norman isn’t someone we need to worry about anymore.
Chris Thompson can bounce back against a Giants team who has given up the 2nd most receiving yards to RBs over the last 4 games. With Mark Sanchez in, Thompson might end up being his favorite receiver. He’s a home run play if you need the upside in PPR.
Adrian Peterson’s line is all banged up, but he showed the damn juice last week with his 90 yard TD run. Amazing that he still got it like that. He ended up not topping 100 yards rushing (I don’t know how that happens), but he does get a decent matchup this week where he can produce with volume. When the Giants are not at home, they’re giving 4.7 YPC, and they don’t have Snacks Harrison bottling up the middle anymore. If you’re desperate in a standard league, go for it. The Redskins are obviously not going to want to go pass-heavy with Mark Sanchez.
Jordan Reed, Josh Doctson, or any other pass-catcher for the Redskins are not to be trusted with Mark Sanchez under center, especially during the fantasy playoffs.
Sterling Shepard has been off the fantasy radar for a bit, but he’s still 70% owned in Yahoo. Can’t figure out why… he doesn’t even have good matchups the rest of the way. I can’t trust him in lineups.
Denver @ San Francisco
Phillip Lindsay has been straight money this season. He’s arguably the best waiver wire pickup of the season, since you likely got him after Week 1 and was able to use him the entire way. He’s in Alvin Kamara territory when you talk about efficiency, and even with Royce Freeman back, he’s been getting enough volume to get it done. He’s a RB1 this week against the 49ers.
Courtland Sutton gets a huge boost in fantasy value with Emmanuel Sanders going down for the season with an Achilles tear. Richard Sherman hasn’t played on the left side of the offensive perimeter this year, and Sutton lines up there 55% of the time, and spends a handful of snaps in the slot each game. In last week’s game, Sutton only spent 22% of time on Sherman’s side of the field. He’ll be seeing a lot of Akhello Witherspoon, who’s been giving up almost half a fantasy point per route run against him. He’s targeted more than any other CB by far on the 49ers. Sutton gets catapulted to a WR2 play this week.
George Kittle has been getting it done for you; he’s in a neutral matchup this week.
Jeff Wilson Jr. is stepping in for Matt Breida this week, but won’t have a favorable matchup against a defense who really stepped it up lately after being one of the worst rush defenses in the league. However, the 49ers run scheme and offensive line is one of the best in the league, so Wilson should find holes in addition to his work in the passing game. Kyle Shanahan has been hesitant of riding one guy in the backfield, so we’ll see some of Alfred Morris and/or Matt Dayes. I do like Wilson’s versatility though, and the Broncos have given up almost 10 yards per reception to RBs over the last 4 weeks. He caught 8 of 9 targets for 73 yards last week, but keep in mind that he did it against a Seattle team who has given up the most receptions to RBs and receiving yards to RBs over the last 4 weeks than any other team by more than 100 yards.
DaeSean Hamilton is a sneaky good rookie prospect who will slide into Emmanuel Sanders role in the slot. It doesn’t mean he’ll slide into that target share Sanders was getting, but Case Keenum does like to target the slot – both this year and last year. He’s a sneaky pickup but very desperate start against the 49ers, who have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 4 weeks.
Dante Pettis would have been a great play this week if Marquise Goodwin was out again, and while he still might get it done, there isn’t as much confidence that he’ll get enough assured volume to be in our lineups. Both are serious playmakers, but picking which one is a tough proposition this week. Pettis played in the slot the last time these two were on the field together with Goodwin outside, and with nickel corner Chris Harris out for the year with a broken leg, Denver’s pass defense has gotten significantly worse. Both guys are high upside dart throws.
Denver DST – Losing Chris Harris is a huge blow to that Denver defense, and with Marquise Goodwin back, it’s possible the 49ers put up points against this defense at home. Denver’s pass rush can still make things happen against a 49ers team giving up a ton of sacks.
Cincinnati @ LA Chargers
Keenan Allen has a great matchup this week against a Cincinnati team giving up the 10th most fantasy points to slot WRs. He’s been on a roll since his bye. He caught 14 of fucking 19 targets last week.
Austin Ekeler is a great PPR start this week, but with Anthony Lynn commenting on Ekeler wearing down and his need on special teams, his touches on early downs can be reduced and given to Justin Jackson. Jackson is the preferred standard and 0.5 PPR play, as he has been more efficient than Ekeler on his touches. He’s also capable in the pass game, so with how the Chargers like to use their RBs in the pass game, he can see 3-5 targets as well. This is a great matchup against a Cincinnati team who has been run on all year long; they’ve given up the most rushing yards over the last four weeks, and the second most this season. They’ve also given up the most receiving TDs to RBs and the seventh most receiving yards to RBs, so Ekeler will have room to work as well.
Chargers DST is a top defensive stream for the week against a struggling Bengals offense bound to give up turnovers.
Mike Williams is pretty desperate, but we know that he has the upside to score in any given week. His snaps went down once Tyrell Williams got healthy again, so he’s not a volume play.. you’re praying for a TD in a good matchup. Tyrell Williams probably has even more upside because he’s capable of catching a longer pass for a TD against this team. He was back up to his full complement of snaps last week. TD or bust for both guys.
Joe Mixon only had 14 touches last week, so not the type of usage we would like to see. Gio Bernard did play on 41% of snaps and caught 6 of 8 targets, so Mixon isn’t getting played a whole lot in obvious passing situations right now. We should expect the Bengals to be down again in this game, so we can see a similar split. That combined with the offensive woes of this team is a little worrisome. Either way, Mixon is involved enough in the pass game in addition to his early down work that he’s still a RB2. Mixon has also been limited on both Wednesday and Thursday this week, so it could be a lingering knee issue that is keeping him from carrying the full load.
Tyler Boyd is the #1 WR for the Bengals out of the slot, but the Chargers have been the best team against slot WRs, giving up the least amount of fantasy points to the position. Given that and the situation at QB, Boyd is a risky play in your first week of the playoffs. He can potentially see volume, so he’s a WR3 play in PPR. I am looking for another option this week.
John Ross has a tough matchup on the outside, and is pretty TD dependent. Not a great spot for him this week.
Detroit @ Arizona
David Johnson has been disappointing lately, but his floor is high enough that you can keep him in for the hope of that upside he presents. This is a middle of the road matchup for his overall skillset, but the Lions have gotten considerably better against the run after acquiring Snacks Harrison. Either way, DJ should be in lineups since he’s in for 84% of snaps. Keep in mind that 2 TDs were vultured by his handcuff Chase Edmonds in the red zone – not on the goal line. If those TDs went DJ’s way, we should be having a different feeling about him going into this week.
Larry Fitzgerald has a great matchup this week against a Detroit team giving up the 7th most fantasy points to slot WRs. With Christian Kirk out for the season, Larry should see more of a guaranteed workload moving forward.
Theo Riddick has a chance of giving you 10 points in PPR, but his floor isn’t so secure. He’s not the best start this week, but if you’re desperate at RB, he can give you that.
LeGarrette Blount is TD dependent, so if that’s where you’re at with your RB situation, go for it.
Bruce Ellington is a decent PPR play with a 10 point floor, and if Matt Stafford is hesitant throwing Patrick Peterson’s way, Ellington can see some extra targets. His depth of target is very low, so you probably won’t be happy with his production in standard or half point leagues.
Detroit DST, Arizona DST – Both defenses are streamable this week. Arizona’s pass rush against Detroit’s protection is intriguing, especially at home.
Kenny Golladay will likely be shadowed by Patrick Peterson, so his ceiling is limited. There is a potential of Golladay getting 10+ targets anyway, so he still has a chance of coming through. He’s tough to bench because of his volume and ability, but if you’re looking for upside, you might want to look elsewhere.
Philadelphia @ Dallas
Amari Cooper is the WR1 the Cowboys have been looking for, and his 8 receptions in two straight games is very encouraging going into a game against an Eagles defense with no secondary. Philly has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs on the perimeter, so fire Cooper up as a high-end WR2 this week.
Ezekiel Elliott and Zach Ertz… obviously.
Dak Prescott can take advantage of this Eagles secondary and use his legs to help with that solid floor he’s had all season. The upside is there for him this week.
Golden Tate has seen the most targets of any Eagles WR over the last few weeks, and was heavily utilized last week against Washington. He’s a PPR WR3 this week against the Cowboys, a team he destroyed earlier this season with the Lions.
Cowboys DST – You saw what they were able to do against the Saints at home last week. The Eagles offense isn’t great, and the Cowboys can get it done for you if you’re searching for a streaming defense last minute this week.
Josh Adams should get volume, but the Cowboys have been one of the best teams against the run, allowing only 3.7 yards per carry this year – only the Saints have been better. If I can find another decent option, I would consider playing them over Adams this week.
Alshon Jeffery hasn’t been relevant since the Eagles acquired Golden Tate. He hasn’t seen more than 5 targets over the last three weeks, and will see a ton of shutdown corner Byron Jones. Not a recipe for success.
Pittsburgh @ Oakland
Ben Roethlisberger – Ben hasn’t had the terrible home/road splits this year that he’s had over his career, and this matchup is so good that he’s tough to bench.
Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster are the must-starts of the game.
Jaylen Samuels will most likely be the 1a of the RB tandem of him and Stevan Ridley. We’ve seen him be pretty versatile, both rushing and catching balls out of the backfield in his limited time on the field this year. Because of that versatility and matchup, you can start him as a RB2. Remember, the Raiders have given up the most rushing yards to RBs this season.
Steelers DST – The Steelers have one of the best pass rushes in the league, and the Raiders have a tough time protecting Derek Carr. Combine that with the Raiders potentially being one dimensional in comeback mode, and that can bode bad for the Raiders and great for the Steelers D.
Jared Cook is the only potential opportunity the Raiders have of putting up points. He’s scored in each of the last three games, and caught 7 of 8 targets for 100 yards last week. Cook can easily disappoint you, but he’s a higher upside play at a position that doesn’t have a lot of that. The matchup isn’t bad.
Stevan Ridley doesn’t have a defined role coming into this game, but Samuels eluded to a plan of him and Ridley alternating series. It doesn’t sound like the best plan, since Ridley isn’t as versatile as Samuels, but we can see Ridley get 10-12 carries potentially. He’s a desperation flex only because he’ll be getting touches on a good offense going up against a terrible defense.
Jalen Richard figures to be heavily involved once the Raiders get behind in the fourth quarter. You’re hoping for a high target share, but keep in mind that Richard hasn’t seen those heavy volume target numbers for a few weeks now. Over the last five weeks, he’s only seen more than 4 targets just once. Steelers are also 4th best against RBs in giving up receiving yards, and they’ve allowed the second least receptions to RBs this season as well. He’s a start, but you also have to temper expectations.
Vance McDonald hasn’t quite come through over the past couple of weeks, but the Raiders have given up a ton of points to TEs this year. He’s been getting targets though, averaging 6 of the last three games. The Steelers might really put it on the Raiders this week, and McDonald has a chance of coming through.
Minnesota @ Seattle
Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen should be in lineups. Diggs’ matchup is pretty damn good, as Seattle has given up the 8th most points to perimeter WRs over the year, and the 4th most over the last 4 weeks. Thielen actually has a pretty tough matchup on paper, as Seattle as given up the the least amount of fantasy points to slot WRs, but they’ve eased up just a bit over the last 4 weeks. There have been a handful of slot guys who did okay against the Seahawks, so I’m not stressing the matchup too much, and I’m definitely not benching him.
Dalvin Cook can’t ask for a better matchup. Can we hope for more than 10 carries though? Minnesota’s offensive line has been a huge liability this year, especially in the run game, so they just haven’t depended on it. A Vikings RB has only gone over 15 carries once this season, and that was Latavius Murray against the struggling Cardinals in Week 6. Seattle has been consistently bad this season, giving up the most yards per carry to opposing RBs at 5.1, and surprisingly has given up 5.6 yards per carry at home. They’ve also allowed the most receptions to RBs and the most receiving yards to RBs over the last four games, and that’s beating the next worst team by more than 100 yards – this in particular plays right into Cook’s skillset. He has serious upside this week, especially in PPR, and while he’s been extremely hard to trust, he’s come through in 3 of his last 4 games, and he played on a very healthy 77% of snaps last week.
Russell Wilson has had tough matchups this year, but he finds a way to come through. His floor is as high as any in the league, especially at home. With the Seahawks potentially having a tough time running the ball against the Vikings, Wilson might have more put in his shoulders.
Chris Carson has a tough matchup on his hands this week against Minnesota, but I would still expect him to get 15 carries in this game… only because Seattle’s identity is to run the ball. I don’t expect them to move away from it. Because of that, he’s still a potential start. He’s come through over the last three weeks, but just temper expectations against a Vikings defense giving up only 3.7 yards per carry. If you have another option, I would consider it.
Kyle Rudolph has a really tough matchup on his hands, and he’s been pretty unreliable this year. I won’t be depending on him this week.
Kirk Cousins floor isn’t high, and Seattle is a tough place to play. With him having a chance of having a pretty off game, I’m looking for another option. I can’t afford another 7 or 8 point game, and he only went over 20 points twice in the last 8 games in standard QB scoring.