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Starts

Lamar Miller – Miller saved his day with a TD last week, and while he didn’t do much on the ground with his 14 carries, he still caught 5 of 6, and ended up coming through in PPR leagues. Miller gets closer to 20 touches more often than not, and RBs have taken advantage of the Jets more often than not as well. The volume has a good chance of  coming this week with Houston’s defense most likely controlling this game. The Jets have allowed 5.9 yards per carry over the last three games and are one of the six teams who have allowed 300 carries against them.

Nick Chubb – Chubb has a tough matchup this week against Denver, but the Browns should be able to give him volume this week. The Browns went away from the run game for whatever reason last week against Carolina, but a trend we can now see is how involved he has been in the passing game. He’s had at least 3 catches in each of the last 4 games, and because of that his floor remains high in PPR leagues. He’s had 17 touches in all games except one since Carlos Hyde was traded, so that type of volume is tough to bench when the matchup isn’t terrible. Denver has gotten much better against the run as of late, but with volume Chubb should be fine, especially when he seems to find the end zone every single week… although Denver hasn’t allowed too many TDs to RBs this year.

Phillip Lindsay – Not sure it needs to be stated that Lindsay has to be started every week, but I’m not sure he gets put in that upper echelon of must-starts. This week he should maintain that production in Cleveland. He’s had 6 TDs over the past 4 weeks since the Broncos bye week.

Dalvin Cook – It’s possible the OC coaching change brings Cook’s touches up a bit, only because there’s not much room for it to go down. There’s no doubt that Minnesota’s offensive line has issues, but Cook should be able to make things happen in the passing game if the running game doesn’t go his way. There is room for him to get it done this week even though Sony Michel couldn’t last week; Miami has given up the 4th most rushing yards this year. Cook’s volume in the pass game has been encouraging over the last two weeks with 10 and 7 targets, and he has seen at least 3 receptions in each game. He should be viewed a high-end RB2 instead of RB1 this week because of the volatility of his touches, but 17 and 18 touches over the last two games is encouraging.

Joe Mixon – Mixon had 20+ touches in 2 of the last 3 games, and has a great matchup at home against Oakland in Week 15. The Raiders have all of a sudden found a way to stay competitive against the Chiefs and Steelers over the past two weeks, but the Bengals shouldn’t have to completely abandon the run against a Raiders team giving up the 2nd most rushing yards this year.

Leonard Fournette – Going back to the well, and not getting cute. Fournette had an off game last week, but I won’t let one game affect Fournette’s status for this week. He was averaging almost 27 touches per game in the three games prior, and that was without the second half of that third game. Teams have really been able to rack up volume against the Redskins over the last four weeks; Saquon Barkley took 14 carries for 170 yards in one half, Josh Adams went 20 for 85, Zeke went 26 for 121, and Lamar Miller went 20 for 86. Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith combined for 148 rushing yards on 23 carries before these guys did their thing – their most volume combined over the over the last six weeks. 

Jeff Wilson Jr – Would obviously only play him if Matt Breida is inactive, but he’s going up against the same Seattle defense he went up against a couple of weeks ago, except this time at home. Dalvin Cook probably could’ve had a better game last week with more volume, but their run defense had a chance of improving with Mychal Kendricks back on the field. Kendricks broke his leg in that game though, so he’s out for the season. Seattle is allowing more than 5 YPC for the season, and that hasn’t let up lately. They’ve also allowed the 2nd most receiving yards to RBs in the last 4 weeks. It seems like anyone can run behind this offensive line and in Kyle Shanahan’s outside zone run scheme, so I’ll be firing Wilson up as a RB2, and he gets a bump in PPR. He played on 86% of snaps last week, so opportunity isn’t a concern if Breida is out.

Jaylen Samuels – If James Conner doesn’t go, Samuels should be in your lineup, especially in this matchup. Samuels was in on 80% of snaps last week with Conner out, and his involvement in the passing game is the reason why he’s almost a must-play in PPR. The Patriots have given up the 6th most receiving yards to RBs, 4.9 YPC for the season, and 7.3 YPC over the last three weeks.

Brandin Cooks – We haven’t seen Cooks’ upside since before the Rams’ bye, but he’s a must-start WR2 this week against Philly at home. Their secondary is toast, and they’ve given up the most points to WRs on the perimeter over the course of the season, over the last 8 weeks, and over the last 4 weeks.

Stefon Diggs – You’re starting him, but I wanted to bring him up because he’s had a couple of sub-par games over the last two weeks. Xavien Howard is doubtful to play against the Vikings, so Diggs definitely gets an upgrade and should be in lineups.

Julian Edelman – Pittsburgh have been giving up a ton of fantasy points to slot WRs all year long, despite how good Mike Hilton is. It’s just that they don’t use Hilton in man-to-man as often to take advantage of those skills. Edelman should be in lineups, regardless of scoring format.

DJ Moore – Moore has consistently seen 8+ targets over the last four weeks, and has a safe floor in PPR formats in addition to the upside he presents. If you’re in a standard or half point league, you’re starting him for the upside he presents in this matchup. Jameis Winston couldn’t get it done for his WRs last week, but it’s not a reason to move away from the matchup. Moore can take advantage of this matchup in the short to intermediate routes that he runs; the Saints have given up the most fantasy points on that left side of the perimeter with Moore lines up on a majority of his snaps. It’s also where Marshon Lattimore has lined up more over the last two games, and he hasn’t been great in coverage this year. I’ll start Moore as a solid WR3.

Allen Robinson – Robinson can get the Jaire Alexander shadow this week, but it’s not necessarily a matchup you need to stay away from. Alexander shadowed both Thielen and Julio, and didn’t really slow them down, although it’s obviously a tough task for a rookie. In coverage, Alexander has given up almost half a fantasy point per route run against him this year, so there’s definitely room for production against him. The Packers as a whole are a vulnerable secondary; they’ve given up the 6th most fantasy points to perimeter WRs, and the 10th most to slot WRs. Robinson’s split is around 60/40 outside to inside. I’ll start him as a low-end WR2, high-end WR3.

Tyler Boyd – Boyd has continued to live in the slot even after AJ Green got hurt, but played some extra snaps outside last week; that was probably because he was trying to avoid one of the toughest slot matchups in the NFL, going up against Desmond King. He still put up a decent day, and Jeff Driskel gave Boyd his highest yardage total two weeks ago against Denver since Week 8. This week, he has an advantage after Oakland, who lost their nickel corner in Leon Hall to IR. He’ll go up against rookie CB Nick Nelson, who was picked on by Ben Roethlisberger last week, targeting him on 23% of routes run against him… we saw the ridiculous game Juju was able to have last week.

Desperate Starts

Elijah McGuire – Isaiah Crowell has been placed on IR. After Crowell aggravated his foot injury last week, McGuire ended up playing on 74% of snaps and saw 20 touches. It’s a very tough matchup against Houston, but volume is volume, and since he’s involved in the pass game as well, he probably ends up as a RB2 at home this week if Crowell ends up missing this game.

Doug Martin – It’s really about the matchup this week, and the assured volume he’ll get. He had 18 and 16 carries over the last two weeks against Kansas City and Pittsburgh, and we should see something similar this week in Cincinnati. If the Raiders were able to stay competitive against the Chiefs and beat the Steelers, I think they should be able to keep the run game in play all game long against the Bengals. Over the last four weeks, Austin Ekeler had some success with volume with a TD, Phillip Lindsay had serious success with 2 TDs, Nick Chubb had success with volume with a TD, and even Gus Edwards has scored his lone TD against them with volume. I can keep going back, but Martin has scored in each of the last three weeks, and he’ll look to make it four straight this week.

Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon – It was bound to happen with the most insecure backfield in the NFL. John Harbaugh and the Ravens’ willingness to stick with Kenneth Dixon reminds me of an unhealthy relationship after Dixon has proven that he can’t stay healthy. It’s possible that changes, but either way, Harbaugh has said on Monday that Dixon’s role will grow moving forward, and it already has taken away from Gus Edwards over the last two weeks. Dixon had 8 carries to Edwards’ 16 this past Sunday, and the most important carry at the goal line was given to Dixon specifically. Edwards played on 44% of snaps, but Dixon wasn’t that far behind with 32%. Ty Montgomery’s 27% doesn’t help either Dixon or Edwards, and just limits both from a fantasy perspective. Moving forward, Dixon might be the preferred PPR play over Edwards since Gus is not involved whatsoever in the passing game. Both can potentially get theirs, and Gus can even lead the team in carries next week, but beware that his touches can go down while Dixon’s goes up, leaving Gus with only 12-15 carries. If he’s not the preferred option on the goal line, his value takes a real hit. He’s a risky start even with a good matchup in Week 15.

Curtis Samuel – Over the last two games, Samuel has averaged 5 catches on 9.5 targets for 84 yards. He’s come through for fantasy purposes in 5 of the last 6 games with 3 TDs in that span. Cam Newton is playing through a shoulder injury, and Samuel is reaping the benefits. With Greg Olsen out, and with the matchup being tough for Ian Thomas, we can expect Samuel to continue doing his thing against a defense giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs on the perimeter, and the 4th most over the last four weeks; Samuel plays on the perimeter about 70% of the time. He should be able to put up WR3 numbers if he continues to get the volume.

Darren Sproles – Sproles played the most snaps out of any Eagles RB last week against Dallas with 42%, and that can be even higher this week against the Rams. LA should be able to take advantage of the Eagles secondary, so Sproles should see touches in the pass game while they are in comeback mode. The Rams have been pretty good against pass-catching RBs this year, so he’s obviously a very desperate start in PPR. He did score in each of the last two weeks, so if you’re very desperate in a deep PPR league, you can put him in your lineup and pray.

Derrick Henry – Trust isn’t the word that we can associated with Derrick Henry and this offense in general. Lewis has out-snapped Henry all season long, including the last three weeks, but it’s way closer to a 50/50 split then it was prior to the last three weeks. Henry has also out-touched Lewis over the last three weeks, even with Lewis on the field more. Henry has averaged almost 5 yards per carry this season, so if we assume 12-15 carries, we can project 60-75 rushing yards with a 50%+ chance of scoring. He’s still a low-end RB2 because there’s no way to tell whether he’ll actually see more than 11 carries – he hasn’t since Week 7, and then didn’t since Week 3 prior to that. I would bump Henry up just a little bit as someone who’s a bit more playable in Week 15 potentially getting a few more touches after that performance.

Chris Ivory – Super desperate option, but LeSean McCoy most likely missing this week, Ivory will likely see 15+ touches. Ivory saw 64% of snaps in Week 7 when Shady got hurt, 81% when Shady missed Week 3. You’re hoping for a TD against the Lions in what Vegas thinks might be the lowest scoring game of the week.

Jarvis Landry – He’s finally got his groove back, but his targets still aren’t consistently there. He had two TDs last week, but he caught one of them on one of his 3 catches on 4 targets, and the other was on a rushing attempt. 100 yards the week before seems like the team is trying to get him involved again. But 5 or less targets in 3 of his last 4 games isn’t something to hang your hat on. Either way, Landry doesn’t have to worry about Chris Harris defending him in the slot this week, and will instead see free safety Justin Simmons who has moved into the slot after Harris’ injury. The Broncos have already given up the 6th most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 4 weeks, and the most over the last 8 weeks.

Dante Pettis – Pettis has come through in a big way over the last three weeks, with 7 targets in each of those games. 4 TDs over those three weeks as well, and it still happened for him last week with Marquise Goodwin back. Goodin didn’t play a full complement of snaps, and as long as Pettis stays on the outside, it’s a great matchup for him. The Seahawks give up the 8th most fantasy points to perimeter WRs, and if he lines up on that left side on a majority of his snaps like he did over the last three weeks, it’s an even better matchup. The Seahawks have given up the 5th most fantasy points to WRs on that side of the field, and we’ve seen his upside, so if you need a WR3 with that upside, throw him in your lineup. 

Larry Fitzgerald – It wasn’t looking good for Larry last week, but he all of a sudden had 9 targets after only being targeted 1 time in the first half. He ended up catching 5 of 55, so came up an okay day in PPR. I wouldn’t expect too much more, as he hasn’t crossed that 55 yard mark since his Week 9 bye. He’s seen the end zone three times since, so there’s still a chance if you’re desperate; it’s just that this offense isn’t any good. The Falcons have gotten better against slot WRs since the beginning of the season, but it’s not a tough matchup by any means.

Courtland Sutton – Sutton was very disappointing last week, and he played on Richard Sherman’s side more than we wanted, but he has a shot to bounce back this week against a Denzel Ward-less Browns secondary. Ward most likely would’ve shadowed Sutton, so he gets an upgrade. Cleveland has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to perimeter WRs, but improved as the season went on. With Ward out, this is an exploitable matchup, and the upside is there for Sutton.

Corey Davis – Davis has been playable in decent matchups, and since there’s no shutdown corner on the Giants, Davis has the upside he’s shown this season. Use him as a WR3 with WR2 upside. I would only play him for the upside if I need it.

DaeSean Hamilton – It’s not a tough matchup, but Cleveland has been solid against slot WRs this year. Hamilton slid into Emmanuel Sanders’ role, and it has been where Case Keenum is most comfortable throwing. He caught 7 of 9 targets for 47 yards and a TD last week, so he’s a lot more viable in PPR. He’s a low-end WR3 in PPR this week.

Mohamed Sanu – He’s been very consistent, but his floor just isn’t high enough to be happy. However, if you’re good with a 10 point PPR floor, Sanu should be able to get it done for you in a good matchup for slot WRs against the Cardinals. It’s possible he sees some extra targets if Matt Ryan doesn’t want to test Patrick Peterson.

Randall Cobb – Bryce Callahan’s season has ended with a broken foot, so the Bears have become weaker at the nickel position, so a slot corner like Randall Cobb can potentially take advantage. With MVS and ESB underperforming and not quite capturing Aaron Rodgers’ target share, Cobb is still the WR with the most trust outside of Adams. Last week, Cobb caught 5 of 6 for 43 yards and a TD, and that’s kind of the line we’re hoping for if you’re starting him this week. I wouldn’t start him outside of PPR leagues; he’s a WR4 this week with WR3 upside this week.

Dede Westbrook – With a different QB, we can be hopeful that there’s one WR that can take over. We probably have to hold our breath, and I wouldn’t start Westbrook with any sort of expectations, but if you’re desperate you can hope he builds on last week’s 10/7/88/1 game in a great matchup this week. Washington has been hurting at nickel corner, and Greg Stroman will likely continue defending that position. He’s given up about half a fantasy point per route run against him, so Westbrook has a real advantage. He’s obviously a very desperate matchup-based start.

Josh Reynolds – If you need some upside, Reynolds has it this week against a Philly secondary who has been the worst at giving up fantasy points to perimeter WRs all season long. Their secondary is dessimated with injuries, so Reynolds has some upside if you’re looking for it. His floor is very low though, so he’s not necessarily dependable. 

Adam Humphries – The one vulnerability in the Ravens pass defense is the slot, where they’ve given up the 12th most fantasy points over the last 4 games, and the 14th overall for the season. With the perimeter locked down, it’s possible that Jameis looks Humphries way more often than usual. More willing to start him in PPR than in other formats, including half point leagues.

Temper Expectations

Aaron Jones – Tough matchup this week for Jones, but he’s obviously very hard to sit. He matched his highest carry and touch count of the entire season in the Packers first game without Mike McCarthy. Jones was very efficient until he saw the Seahawks, Vikings, and Cardinals.. so he’s a volume play against a Bears defense that held Todd Gurley to 28 yards on 11 carries. This game is in Chicago, so the concern is higher than usual. Saquon Barkley was able to be productive on 24 carries, and Blount was as well on 19 carries. It would be ideal for Jones to be able to rack up that type of volume in this game.

Julio Jones – He’ll get the Patrick Peterson shadow this week, so have to lower our expectations this week. He usually doesn’t go into the slot, but Julio only spends around 20% of his time in the slot… there’s a chance Peterson is on him for 70%+ routes. I’m not sitting him either way.

Chris Carson – Only one RB has gone above 69 yards against the 49ers, and that was when Melvin Gordon rushed for more than 100 yards in Week 4. The guy who ran for 69 was Chris Carson a few weeks ago, and it was never really about the yardage for him, but it’s because he always has a high chance of scoring. The 49ers have done relatively well against the run, only allowing 4.1 yards per carry, but this isn’t a matchup I’m benching Carson for if you’ve been rolling him out.

Sony Michel – Pittsburgh has been stout against the run, giving up 4 YPC for the year, and 3.8 over the last three weeks. Michel was only averaging 3.3 YPC over the last two weeks; one in a tough matchup, one not so tough. If you have the RB depth, you might be looking for another option, but this will be a high scoring game with potential goal line looks. Michel should get the volume regardless, as he’s seen it in almost every game that he’s been healthy in since Week 4. He’s a TD-dependent volume play RB2 this week.

Josh Adams – The Rams can be run on, but the chance that the Eagles are in the game in the second half to be able to stay with the run game isn’t high. Josh Adams did have 20+ carries against manageable offenses and defenses in the Giants and Redskins, but he had 7-carry games against Dallas twice, New Orleans, and Jacksonville. Also, Darren Sproles led the backfield with 42% of snaps last week, and it will likely be him not only being on the field more this week, but he might even get more touches while the Eagles are picking up the pace to try and make a comeback against the Rams in LA. Adams is very hard to trust, especially when we try to think about the Rams taking advantage of the Eagles non-existent secondary and going up big at home.

Matt Breida – There have been too many occasions where Breida would come back early from an injury, with him leaving the game prematurely and ruin your fantasy day. His last instance of re-aggravation came in pre-game warmups a few weeks ago. Unless Breida gets a full practice in or two, it’ll be really hard for me to trust Breida, as that goose egg will be a tough pill to swallow when I’m trying to move on to Championship Week.

James White – White hasn’t scored over the last four weeks, which makes sense because of how many TDs he’s scored over the earlier part of the season. Regression always comes with overproduction on a certain amount of opportunities, and it’s in full gear right now. That doesn’t project forward, but the matchup doesn’t show that White will change that trend this week. The Steelers have given up the 2nd-least amount of receiving yards and receptions to RBs, and while White is an integral part of the Patriots offense, he’s not getting the time on the field as he once was with Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead in the mix. He’s still a PPR RB2 because of his integral part of the offense, but he’s not the must-start he was earlier this season.

Mark Ingram – He’s a TD dependent option, and his volume has been all over the place lately. He’s had 14 touches or less over the last three games, but it’s not ideal when you’re going up against a Carolina defenses giving up 4.2 YPC this year, and 3.9 over the last three weeks. The work in the passing game has been Ingram’s saving grace when it came to his floor in the past, but he’s only had no more than 2 catches over the last four games.

Amari Cooper – Cooper is obviously tough to sit, as he’s been the most productive WR since being traded to the Cowboys. He has a tough test ahead of him though this week in Indy; the Colts have been in the bottom half all across the field, whether it’s on the perimeter or in the slot, in giving up fantasy points to WRs. DeAndre Hopkins was limited to catching 4 for 36 yards and a TD last week, but the thing you can be hopeful for with Amari this week is that the Colts haven’t faced a ton of star WRs this year. I’ll be keeping him in my lineup if I don’t have another great option.

Kenny Golladay – His matchups have been rough, and it doesn’t get better this week with Tre’Davious White. White has been straight shutdown this year, but doesn’t really go into the slot. Golladay has played a good percentage of his total snaps in the slot, so he can get away from White on about 40% of the time potentially. For whatever reason, in the game last week against Patrick Peterson, Golladay played less snaps in the slot than he did the previous two games, even though Peterson doesn’t follow into the slot. It’s head scratching to be honest. Golladay is a risky start, and his target volume over the last three weeks haven’t been so good that he needed to be in lineups. If you have a decent WR2 or high-end WR3 to start over him this week, I wouldn’t be mad.

Robert Woods – The Eagles have actually been extremely stout against slot WRs despite their extremely banged up secondary. He does get some work outside, so he can still be productive, and it’s always hard to bet against him. He’s had a high floor all season long, and I won’t be benching him in PPR leagues especially, assuming you don’t have good options. 

Josh Gordon – He’ll likely get a shadow from Joe Haden this week, and Haden has been very good in that role. Gordon should get a downgrade, as the Steelers as a whole have been pretty good on the perimeter in addition to Haden’s shadow coverage. 

Tyler Lockett – Lockett has come through most weeks as the Seahawks #1 WR, and I just want to point out that he’ll stay away from Richard Sherman more than 50% of the time. He does run most of his perimeter routes on Sherman’s side, but he also is in the slot a ton, even with Doug Baldwin back.

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin – I think both of these guys are still playable, but you have to temper expectations obviously against the Ravens in Baltimore. It’s tough to sit Evans since he can blow up in any game. Godwin can easily be sat, but he also has the ability to overcome the matchup. I’m looking for another option if possible if I have Godwin, even if DeSean Jackson is out.

Sits

Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake – You can start Drake, but you’re obviously shooting for only upside. In a game he was projected to get some volume in the pass game last week against the Patriots, he only had one touch in the passing game, and that was off the lateral for the game winning TD. He only went above 10 touches once in the last 5 games, so there’s zero predictability in his fantasy production. Minnesota hasn’t been amazing against pass-catching RBs, so there’s a glimmer of hope. As far as Gore, he hasn’t seen enough volume in the last few games to consider him a start against this tough run defense.

Marlon Mack – Can we trust Marlon Mack right now, especially against one of the two or three best run defenses in the NFL? No one has seen more than 12 carries against the Cowboys since Week 9, and they’re allowing only 3.4 yards per carry over the last three weeks compared to their league-best 3.6 for the year. Mack has seen around 15 touches in most games this year, but he’s averaged only 3.62 yards per carry over the last 5 games. Granted, he’s seen nothing but tough matchups aside from Miami in that span, but the matchup doesn’t get better this week. He has only had 2 TDs and hasn’t seen more than 2 targets in the last 5 games. It’s possible they abandon the run completely and use Nyheim Hines in the short passing game to replace the run.

Adrian Peterson – Derrick Henry had an amazing game against the Jaguars last week, but RBs have needed real volume to be productive against the Jags. Peterson hasn’t seen that type of volume (close to 20 carries) since Week 10, and that offensive line is very hard to trust right now. He took 10 carries for 16 yards last week, and outside of his 90 yard TD run the week before, he took his 8 other carries for 8 yards. The week before, 12 for 35. You get the idea.