NY Jets @ Baltimore Ravens
Jets RBs: Le’Veon Bell will be back on Thursday, and while it’s not a great matchup, he should maintain a 15-pt PPR floor. The Ravens have given up 5.5 yards per carry over the last 4 weeks, so there is a glimmer of hope for Bell. Still, his offensive line is so beat up that it’ll be tough for him to really get anything going on the ground. Passing usage will have to save him. He’s a solid RB2.
Jets WRs: Robby Anderson’s been the preferred target over the last two weeks, catching 7 for 100+ in each contest, but the Ravens have been stout over the last few weeks. They held John Brown, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, Deebo Samuel and Cooper Kupp all under 45 yards. We should have more confidence in Robby, but I’m avoiding him in this matchup. Still, he’s a boom/bust flex option. Jamison Crowder went from being trusted, to not trusted, to trusted after a few big games, back to being untrustworthy. He should be on benches, as the Ravens stepped up big time against slot WRs after struggling earlier in the year.
Jets QB: I wouldn’t start Sam Darnold this week… not the week to stream him.
Ravens RBs: The Jets have allowed the second least rushing yards in the NFL so far this year, which is a pretty good feat considering they’ve been losing in most games. Rush defense hasn’t been a reason to play or bench Mark Ingram; he’s on an elite offense who has better chances of reaching the goal line than most teams, so he’s a high-upside RB2 because of it.
Ravens WRs: Marquise Brown is the definition of boom/bust. He can erupt for a long TD, or can give you a goose egg. I wouldn’t want him in my lineup, especially while he’s slightly banged up; he’s a play only if you’re shooting for upside.
Ravens TE: Mark Andrews was listed as a limited practice participant on Tuesday during a walk through, and he’ll be a TE1 if he plays. He is expected to play. Jamal Adams will likely be out, so that boosts Andrews’ stock in this matchup.
Ravens DEF: Keep them in your lineup against the Jets. They’re one of the top defensive plays this week.
Ravens QB: Sit back and witness Lamar Jackson on Thursday night.
Tampa Bay Bucs @ Detroit Lions
Bucs RBs: The backfield was split evenly between Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber last week. Avoid.
Bucs WRs: With Mike Evans out, Chris Godwin’s target share becomes a lock. He’s obviously in your lineup as one of the best plays at WR for the week, even if shadowed by Darius Slay; Slay has followed WRs into the slot this year, so one would assume he would cover Godwin. If I had to guess, Slay won’t be on Godwin on all of his slot routes (in case you’re trying to figure out him as a DFS play). Breshad Perriman ran 50 routes to Godwin’s 52, while Justin Watson ran 34 routes in place of Scotty Miller, who’s dealing with a hamstring injury.
Perriman is the preferred play between the two; he lined up on the left side on a majority of his routes last week (43% of the time), and that’s where Evans has been running most of his routes from (40% of the time). Perriman finished with 3 catches on 5 targets for 70 yards and a TD. The Lions are giving up the 4th most fantasy points to WRs on that left side of the perimeter over the last 4 weeks and 5th most over the last 8 weeks. Watson still has upside, as he’s a talented player who made the most of his opportunity last week, catching 5 of 8 targets for 59 yards and a TD. If he’s the primary WR on the right side, he also has a great matchup if Slay stays inside against Godwin. Perriman is an upside WR3, and Watson is an upside flex play if Scotty Miller doesn’t return.
Bucs TE: OJ Howard was on the field for 87% of snaps and ran 38 routes to Cameron Brate’s 14, so one would assume he’ll be a much bigger part of the game plan knowing Mike Evans will miss time; he caught 4 of 5 for 73 yards on Sunday after catching 5 of 6 for 61 yards in Week 13. He’s a low-end TE1 with a ton of upside.
Bucs QB: Despite Jameis doing Jameis things, he’s a top fantasy QB despite losing Mike Evans. He has one of the best matchups of the week.
Lions RBs: Bo Scarbrough hurt his ribs last week, and even if suits up, I would probably stay away. Scarbrough has played relatively well considering his circumstances, but Tampa is one of the best run defenses in the league. If Bo’s out, you’ll be playing Russian Roulette with the rest of that backfield.
Lions WRs: Marvin Jones has been placed on IR, which should solidify Kenny Golladay’s target share moving forward. The Bucs have given up the most fantasy points to WRs, so I’ll have Golladay in my lineup as a solid WR2 with WR1 upside. Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson combined for 179 yards and 2 TDs last week against Tampa Bay. Tampa has also been vulnerable to slot WRs, giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to them this year, so Danny Amendola can provide some PPR flex value; he had 8 targets in each of the last two games, and the ball needs to go somewhere with Marvin Jones out.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins
Eagles RBs: It’s possible Jordan Howard is back, but it’s hard to downplay the impact Boston Scott had on the Eagles offense once Miles Sanders had to leave the field on Monday night. Sanders returned, but Scott remained in the mix, and rightfully so given the plays he was making. It’s possible this becomes a committee if Howard isn’t cleared this week. We know Doug Pederson was doing his best to believe Darren Sproles was still capable over the past two years, despite Sproles’ inability to stay on the field for more than 5 snaps without getting hurt. Scott might be that guy for him. Because of the ambiguity in a role moving forward, he is a speculative add and a very tough start this week. Still, you might be desperate for PPR upside in a deeper league, and given the lack of playmakers the Eagles have, it’s possible his role sticks if Howard continues to miss time. As far as Sanders, his workhorse role probably won’t stick at this point, but he’s still an upside RB2 this week against the Redskins.
Eagles WRs: With Alshon Jeffery out for the rest of the season, Nelson Agholor’s role in the slot is appealing (if he plays, his status is up in the air as of Wednesday), as the Redskins have allowed the 4th most fantasy points over the previous 4 weeks to slot WRs. The slot is the funnel; they’ve been solid on the outside. He gets bumped to a WR3 who should get targets… where else will they go? If Agholor doesn’t go, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has upside, but I’m not sure if you want to trust him in your fantasy playoffs.
Eagles TE: After last week’s fantasy playoff saving and destroying performance, keep Zach Ertz in your lineup. Dallas Goedert should also benefit from the Redskins giving up the 9th most fantasy points to the position; he’s a back-end TE1.
Eagles QB: The matchup is good, but Carson Wentz hardly has any weapons with Alshon Jeffery done. I wouldn’t trust him this week.
Redskins RBs: Adrian Peterson gets his early down role back with Derrius Guice on IR while Chris Thompson will hold down his passing down role. Not the best matchup for Peterson with the Eagles giving up only 3.62 yards per carry on the year. Still, he should get volume, and he’s shown he can be effective with volume despite the matchup. He’s a RB3/flex play. Chris Thompson has some PPR appeal after catching 7 of 8 targets last week, but he’s a very risky RB4 play.
Redskins WRs: Terry McLaurin made an amazing TD grab last week, and is slowly gaining a NFL rapport with his college QB Dwayne Haskins. McLaurin runs a majority of his routes from the left perimeter, where the Eagles have given up the most fantasy points over the last 8 weeks… and where Darius Slayton tore them up from on Monday night. McLaurin has upside in this matchup, but I would still consider him a boom/bust WR3.
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
Bears RBs: David Montgomery is a TD dependent RB2, and is hard to trust in the fantasy playoffs unless you don’t have other options. He’s scored over 6.6 PPR fantasy points only once over his last 4 games, and that’s not something you want to risk in Week 15, even against a vulnerable Packers rush defense.
Bears WRs: Keep Allen Robinson in your lineup; he’s been on a tear over the last three weeks, averaging 23 PPR fantasy points. The matchup is a neutral one, and he’ll get some chances against Kevin King on the left perimeter, where the Packers are the most vulnerable. Anthony Miller’s been getting it done over the last 4 weeks despite his target volume plummeting last week compared to the previous weeks. Green Bay has been solid against slot WRs, but you can continue to ride Miller as a PPR WR3.
Bears QB: Mitch Trubisky has put up solid fantasy performances in 4 of his last 5 games, and showed his fantasy upside last week after finally unleashing his rushing ability. He has a relatively tough matchup this week in Green Bay, but the upside is there. It’s always tough to trust Trubisky, as he’s not really that good, but he can get it done for fantasy purposes if you’re desperate.
Packers RBs: Keep Aaron Jones in your lineup as a high-end RB2, despite a tough matchup. We saw what his upside looks like once again last week, and he needs to be in lineups despite his boom/bust nature. Jamaal Williams is a dart throw this week.
Packers WRs: Prince Amukamara might not play again this week, so Davante Adams should bounce back. Kyle Fuller hasn’t been a matchup problem on the other side either, so keep Adams in your lineup as a WR1 at home.
Packers QB: Aaron Rodgers scored last than 13 standard QB fantasy points in 4 of his last 5 games… not what I want to risk in my fantasy playoffs, especially in less than ideal matchup.
Packers DEF: Packers have been solid over their last 4 games outside of the San Francisco game. Chicago’s offense is extremely volatile, and that’s what you’re looking for when decide on a defensive fantasy play. They’re a solid streamer this week at home.
New England Patriots @ Cincinnati Bengals
Patriots RBs: The backfield is currently a mess. While it’s possible Sony Michel gets volume in this matchup, he’s hard to trust. He’s a low-end RB2, and he’s that high only because of the fact that he’s going up against the Bengals. The upside of a couple of goal line conversions is there this week.
Patriots WRs: Julian Edelman should do his thing against a Bengals team giving up the 10th most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 8 weeks. The slot is the funnel, as the Bengals have been solid on the perimeter. I wouldn’t go near any of the other Pats WRs.
Patriots QB: Tom Brady is a fringe QB1 this week, but it’s tough to trust a QB who went over 14 standard QB fantasy points only once 5 games. The floor isn’t high at all, even in this matchup.
Patriots DEF: Top play this week.
Bengals RBs: Joe Mixon has got into a bit of a groove lately, but it’s possible this entire gets shut down this week. He was able to rack up 30 carries against the Ravens in a blowout several weeks back, so it’s possible he can get volume regardless. He’s a solid RB2, and his pass-catching will keep his floor start-worthy in PPR leagues
Bengals WRs: Tyler Boyd disappeared in the second half last week after having a great first half, and that’s been the story of his season. He’s a risky play this week; it’s possible Stephon Gilmore will move into the slot and shadow him this week. Even if he doesn’t, the Pats have done a great job limiting slot WRs. I want to avoid him, but he’s a flex play.
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
Texans RBs: Carlos Hyde is a TD dependent flex option; he hasn’t had more than 16 carries since his Week 10 bye and isn’t involved in the pass game. Duke Johnson is the preferred PPR play between the two, but he’s also a TD dependent flex. The matchup is irrelevant when it comes to these two.
Texans WRs: DeAndre Hopkins has neutral matchup this week, so advantage Hopkins. He’s a top-tier WR1.
Texans QB: Deshaun Watson shouldn’t have any troubles against the Titans secondary. He’s a high-end QB1 this week.
Titans RBs: Derrick Henry has been beasting. RB1.
Titans WRs: He didn’t have a great game in Week 13, but AJ Brown combined for 333 yards and 3 TDs over the last 3 weeks. He’s a beast, but the volume isn’t quite there for us to feel confident in him. Houston has stepped up on the perimeter big time after struggling early, so the matchup actually isn’t ideal. Believe it or not, the Texans are giving up the least amount of fantasy points to WRs over the last 4 weeks. Still, Brown is a boom/bust flex option.
Titans QB: Since Ryan Tannehill took over as the starter in Week 7, Tannehill is the overall QB3 behind Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. His legs give him a safe floor, and Drew Lock was able to get his first 300-yard/3 TD game in his career against this defense last week… in just his second start. QBs have thrown 3+ TDs 7 times against the Texans this year.
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
Seahawks RBs: Chris Carson is going to be back in his bell cow role with Rashaad Penny on IR. He’s a great RB1 start this week against a Panthers team giving up 5.34 yards per carry on the year and almost 6 yards per carry over the last 4 weeks.
Seahawks WRs: Tyler Lockett has combined for 107 yards over his last 4 games… he’s very hard to trust this week despite a good matchup. DK Metcalf has been more consistent, and will be a WR3 this week. He has 6 catches and 75+ yards in each of the last two weeks. The Panthers have given up the 8th most fantasy points to perimeter WRs over the last 4 weeks.
Seahawks TE: Jacob’s Hollister TD got called back on a penalty last week, and he’s been one of the Russell Wilson’s most consistent targets over the last few weeks. He doesn’t have a great matchup, but he’s still a low-end TE1 with upside.
Seattle DEF: Seahawks defense has been solid over the past four weeks, and defenses have had 10+ fantasy points against the Panthers three times over the past four weeks. They’re a solid start.
Panthers RBs: Start CMC.
Panthers WRs: DJ Moore had an off week, but he should be back in your lineup as a WR1. Perimeter WRs have went off against the Seahawks this year. Robert Woods: 7/98/1. Deebo Samuel 8/112. Mike Evans: 12/180/1. Julio Jones: 10/152. OBJ: 6/101. John Ross 7/158/2. That makes Curtis Samuel an upside flex play this week.
Panthers TE: If Greg Olsen misses again, Thomas would be a great streamer this week. He caught 5 of 10 targets for 57 yards and a score last Sunday, and his target count was second only to Christian McCaffrey. Seattle has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to tight ends, so he should be back on your radar. If Olsen is back, he’s a good start too.
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
Broncos RBs: The last time these two teams played, Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman were splitting work pretty evenly. Now, Lindsay should be able to take his ~15 carries and do something with it against a Chiefs team giving up 5 yards per carry. He’s a solid RB2, but will be TD dependent.
Broncos WRs: Courtland Sutton was a disappointment in a good matchup last week, but still saw decent volume with 7 targets. The Chiefs have given up the least amount of fantasy points to perimeter WRs this year. He overcame a tough matchup in Week 13, and he can overcome this one as a WR2.
Broncos TE: Noah Fant has upside in this matchup, but he hasn’t seen volume yet. He’s probably the 2nd option for Drew Lock, but the target distribution has been a bit spread out. The Chiefs have given up the 5th most fantasy points to the tight end position.
Broncos QB: Drew Lock played a great game last week, but you have to be pretty desperate to start him this week in your fantasy playoffs. Would love a larger sample size before I trust one game.
Chiefs RBs: Damien Williams is back at practice on Wednesday, and he’ll likely be the RB1 for the Chiefs this week. He’s a RB2 play, especially considering how much flux the rest of the backfield is in behind him.
Chiefs WRs: Tyreek Hill is obviously in for you, even if he is shadowed by Chris Harris. He’s a WR1 play. Sammy Watkins has underwhelmed over the past few weeks, but he’s still in play as an upside WR3 if Harris shadows Hill. Mecole Hardman is your 1-target home run hero if you need upside.
Chiefs TE: Travis Kelce is in as a top-tier TE1.
Chiefs QB: Patrick Mahomes is in as a mid QB1 this week. Mahomes went over 20 standard QB fantasy points once since Week 3.
Chiefs DEF: The Chiefs defense has been solid over the last few weeks, so they’re a streaming option this week at home.
Miami @ NY Giants
Miami RBs: Patrick Laird led the Dolphins backfield in attempts with 15 last week, and caught 4 of 5 targets for 38 yards. He’s in PPR consideration as a RB2 the rest of the way after playing on 81% of snaps and running 32 routes. He might not get it done in the run game, but the passing volume should keep his PPR floor afloat. We should be reminded that Laird took his 15 carries for 48 yards against a great Jets rush defense, so it’s very possible he can do better in that category against the Giants this week.
Miami WRs: Davante Parker has a shot at clearing the concussion protocol and be back for a good matchup. He’s a solid WR2 if he plays. He was still in the concussion protocol as of Thursday.
Miami TE: Mike Gesicki had a game to forget last week, but he’s a high-end TE2 this week because of his consistent involvement. He’s a game removed from catching a TD in two straight.
Miami QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick is the overall QB5 since he took over as the starter in Week 7. Hopefully he’ll have DeVante Parker back… if he is back, I’d stream Fitz this week as a low-end QB1.
Giants RBs: Saquon has been disappointing, but he has to come through against Miami right? They’ve allowed the must rushing yards this year. Mid RB1 this week.
Giants WRs: Darius Slayton once again has a great matchup on his side of the field. He came through last week, and has a chance to do it once again. The Dolphins are giving up the most points to WRs who’ve run routes on the left perimeter over the last 4 weeks, and the 2nd most over the last 8 weeks. He’s a WR3 this week after out-targeting both Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard last week.
Tate has more of a neutral matchup this week compared to the bad matchup he had in the slot against the Eagles, so he’s back in play as a WR3. Sterling Shepard also has a great matchup on the right perimeter where he runs most of his routes from when Tate is active. In order, the matchups are best for: Slayton, Shepard, Tate.
Giants QB: I don’t want to do it, but you might be desperate. His three WRs and RB have good enough matchups to believe he can succeed and put up top-12 QB numbers for the week.
Buffalo Bills @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Bills RBs: Devin Singletary finished the game with 23 touches last week, and had a solid outing against a good Ravens defense without scoring. Even in a tough matchup this week, Singletary should be a solid RB2 start in PPR leagues. His potential volume in the passing game every week is what keeps his floor/ceiling alive; he caught 6 passes on Sunday for the third time this season.
Bills WRs: John Brown has caught a total of 8 passes over the last 3 weeks, but they have been pretty tough matchups. He has another tough one this week, and then another tough one next week. If you’re not starting him this week, you might as well drop him… you’re not starting him against Stephon Gilmore next week. The Steelers have given up the 4th least amount of fantasy points to WRs over the last 4 weeks. He’s a WR3 this week. As far as Cole Beasley, the Steelers have gotten much better against slot WRs, as they’ve allowed the 3rd least amount of fantasy points to them over the last 4 weeks, and the 6th least over the last 8 weeks. He’s a flex play, and you’ll likely have to depend on a TD… but he did score in 6 of his last 8 games.
Bills QB: Josh Allen has another tough matchup this week. QBs have thrown for less than 200 yards in 6 of the last 7 games. Allen will have to depend on his legs… and Kyler Murray didn’t have much success last week with a total of 2 rushing yards. He’s a tough start this week.
Bills DEF: Bills are streamable against Pittsburgh. Arizona’s terrible defense was still able to give you 7 standard defensive fantasy points against Pittsburgh last week.
Steelers RBs: It’s possible James Conner is back this week, as he practiced in full on Wednesday. If he is, he’s a high-end RB2 with the risk of him getting that shoulder re-aggravated. James Conner was active for Devlin Hodges first start, Conner caught all 7 targets thrown his way for 78 yards and a TD. That’s very encouraging for his floor this week. They hardly bother targeting Benny Snell, so he’s a TD dependent flex play if Conner can’t return.
Steelers WRs: It’s really tough to figure out who to play, as both Diontae Johnson and James Washington have had their moments with Devlin Hodges. Juju Smith-Schuster might be back this week (practiced in full on Wednesday), and he would be the guy to start, if any. I would personally avoid this situation if I can.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders
Jaguars RBs: Leonard Fournette is a solid RB1 start, especially in PPR leagues regardless of matchup.
Jaguars WRs: DJ Chark surprisingly has a chance to play this week, but he’s not practicing on Thursday. If he plays, he’ll be in my lineup as a WR2 against the Raiders vulnerable perimeter defense. The Raiders have given up the 8th most fantasy points to perimeter WRs over the last 8 weeks. Oakland has improved a ton over the year in terms of defending slot WRs, so Dede Westbrook’s matchup isn’t ideal. However, if Chark is out, Dede is probably the next best start as a PPR flex option. For upside, Chris Conley would be the guy, but his production will be boom/bust.
Jaguars QB: If DJ Chark plays, Gardner Minshew can be in streaming consideration against a Raiders team giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs.
Raiders RBs: Josh Jacobs should be back this week after his MRI didn’t worry the team more than they were already worried. If Jacobs goes, he’ll be in my lineup as a low-end RB1. The Jacksonville rush defense has given up big games to seven RBs over their last five games, so there’s a lot of upside here. If Jacobs ends up not going, DeAndre Washington becomes a solid RB2 play.
Raiders WRs: Tyrell Williams isn’t getting enough volume to trust him regardless of what the matchup looks like.
Raiders TE: Darren Waller is the top option in the Raiders passing game, and he should be started as a mid TE1 this week. The matchup is a neutral one.
Cleveland Browns @ Arizona Cardinals
Browns RBs: Nick Chubb should continued to be started as a RB1. Kareem Hunt’s PPR RB2 status is still in play, especially against a Cardinals defense who has given up the 8th most receiving yards to RBs and tied for the 6th most receiving TDs allowed to RBs.
Browns WRs: OBJ had two tough matchups in a row against the perimeter defenses of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, but that’s not the case this week. Arizona has allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to perimeter WRs over both the last 8 weeks and the last 4 weeks. He’s a WR2. Jarvis Landry also has a great matchup himself as a WR2; the Cardinals have allowed the 7th most fantasy points over the last 8 weeks to slot WRs. He’s a high-end WR2 this week.
Browns TE: David Njoku is a desperation flier only because he’s going up against the most giving defense to tight ends.
Browns QB: Even with Baker Mayfield’s hand injury potentially lingering, this is such a great matchup that he is a very solid QB1 start. The Cardinals are giving up the most fantasy points to QBs.
Cardinals RBs: The snap count between Kenyan Drake and David Johnson can potentially get even closer again this week, but Drake is still the preferred start. He’s a solid RB2 with RB1 upside, especially in PPR leagues. Cleveland has given up the 8th most rushing yards to RBs on 4.7 yards per carry.
Cardinals WRs: Christian Kirk doesn’t have a shutdown matchup this week, so he’s in play as a PPR WR2. In standard and half point leagues, he would be a WR3. He’s averaging almost 9 targets per game over his last 4, and caught 8 of 9 last week in a tough perimeter matchup against Joe Haden.
Cardinals QB: Kyler Murray is a solid QB1 start. He had a couple of tough matchups over the last two weeks, and he had a season low rushing yards last week. Prior to last week, he was averaging 42 rushing yards over the previous four weeks. That should help Murray hold a solid floor; the Browns have allowed the 7th most rushing yards to QBs, and they’ve played Lamar Jackson only once (66 yards rushing out of the allowed 244).
Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers
Falcons RBs: Devonta Freeman had a good matchup last week, and believe it or not, scored his first rushing TD of the season. He went over 3 yards per carry three times this year… two of them in great matchups against Arizona and Carolina. The matchup on the ground isn’t absolutely terrible this week, but his usage in the pass game will keep his floor around 10-15 points in PPR. The 49ers have allowed the 2nd least amount of receiving yards to RBs, and the their defense might not allow much movement on offense, despite what Drew Brees was able to do last week. Freeman’s a solid RB2 in PPR, and gets downgraded to a flex option in half point and non-PPR leagues.
Falcons WRs: Julio Jones is in as a WR1, despite the tough matchup. He actually wouldn’t have seen Richard Sherman all that much… would’ve been maybe around 25-30% of his routes on the right side based on where he’s been running his routes from this year. Even on the left perimeter where Julio runs most of his routes from, the 49ers are allowing the 5th least amount of fantasy points. Sherman is dealing with a hamstring injury; if he plays, he’ll stay on his left side. Russell Gage can potentially see a bump in targets, but his matchup isn’t great in the slot; the 49ers are giving up the 5th least amount of fantasy points to slot WRs. Still, he can provide some PPR value as a flex.
Falcons TEs: Austin Hooper only saw 6 targets in his return, but he’ll be one week removed this week. He’s a high-end TE1, even in a tougher matchup.
Falcons QB: Matt Ryan went over 17 fantasy points once since his Week 9 bye, and the matchup this week isn’t great. I wouldn’t correlate Brees’ success last week to Ryan’s potential this week. I am avoiding this matchup, even if Richard Sherman misses time.
49ers RBs: It seems like Kyle Shanahan finally can’t ignore what’s in front of him, and that’s whenever Mostert is given opportunity, he is efficient. It seems like he fits the offense perfectly, and is not just a special teamer. He took the work away from Tevin Coleman in Week 13, and is the lead back at this point. On Wednesday, Kyle Shanahan said Mostert’s success has left him no choice but to give him more work. This running game can succeed against any team, as we saw against a stout Saints run defense last week, so the matchup is somewhat irrelevant. It’s a neutral matchup for Mostert, so he’s a solid RB2 this week with RB1 upside.
49ers WRs: Both Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders have good matchups this week; the Falcons have allowed the 12th most fantasy points over the last 8 weeks on the left perimeter, which is where Deebo lines up most of the time, and Sanders spends some of his time. On the right side, it’s a pretty neutral matchup for Sanders, which means he has the advantage. I would label Sanders as a low-end WR2 and Deebo a solid WR3. Last week was the one time where both Deebo and Sanders had big fantasy days together. San Francisco doesn’t pass all that much; they are second only to Baltimore in run percentage. If I had to choose one, Sanders would be the play, but trying to decide which one will be the better start is tough. Sanders did out-target Samuel last week. If you’re worried about Sanders’ bad games before this one, his injury designation for his rib injury was removed right before the Saints game, so it seems like he was hampered because of it prior to last week.
49ers TE: George Kittle is one of the top tight end plays this week. He has a neutral matchup.
49ers QB: Jimmy Garoppolo is a solid option this week. His weapons have decent matchups, so he should be serviceable. He went over 18 fantasy points in 3 of his last 4, and the one other game was against Baltimore.
49ers DEF: Both New Orleans and Tampa Bay had big fantasy defensive days against the Falcons, and the 49ers are playing at home with a better defense than both of them. The 49ers pass rush is always a threat to force turnovers.
Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys
Rams RBs: Are we going to see the opposite of what we got from Todd Gurley last year in the playoffs? Gurley’s workload was being managed all year, and then he saw 20+ touches in two straight games, including a 27-touch game last week against the Seahawks. That workload correlates to a RB1 start. The matchup against the Cowboys isn’t amazing, but the Seahawks last week was a worse one. The hope is that they take advantage of the Cowboys allowing the 6th most receptions to RBs, giving Gurley even more of a floor and ceiling.
Rams WRs: Robert Woods seems to be the only reliable WR on the Rams at this point, and the good news is that he runs most of his routes away from Byron Jones. He has a neutral matchup against Chidobe Awuzie, so start him a solid WR2. Over his last 4 games played, he’s averaged 8 catches on 11 targets for 115 yards. Cooper Kupp’s matchup is great, and he would be a WR2 as well because of it; he’s averaging 5.3 catches on 6.7 targets for 48 yards over the last 3 games, but the Cowboys are giving up the 6th most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 8 games and the 2nd most to them over the last 4 games. Brandin Cooks isn’t startable, and he also has a tough matchup against Byron Jones.
Rams TE: With Gerald Everett out last week, Higbee caught another 7 balls for his 2nd straight 100-yard game. Higbee ran 26 routes, which was 2nd only to Robert Woods’ 32. He jumps to a mid-TE1 this week against Dallas because of the good matchup and usage if Everett is out once again. Dallas has given up the 10th most fantasy points to tight ends.
Cowboys RBs: Start Zeke as a solid RB1. He’s averaging 23 touches per game. Neutral matchup.
Cowboys WRs: Amari Cooper is a WR1 start, despite him being shadowed by Jalen Ramsey. Julio caught 4 for 69 in his shadow coverage and DK Metcalf caught 5 of 5 for 69 yards in his coverage last week, so it’s not a matchup we need to avoid for a WR like Cooper. Over the last 8 weeks, the Rams were giving up the 12th most fantasy points on the perimeter, but the 8th least over the last 4 weeks. Michael Gallup is WR3 start with upside if this game turns into a shootout, or if the Cowboys find their way climbing back after halftime. Randall Cobb has a great matchup in the slot; the Rams have given up the 9th most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 8 weeks, and the 7th most over the last 4 weeks. He’s an upside flex start, and he went under radar while going over 80 yards in three straight games a few weeks ago.
Cowboys TE: Jason Witten is a low-end TE1 start in PPR leagues. He caught 5 balls in 4 of his last 6 games, and he busted in the other two. He’s a desperate option in a tough matchup.
Cowboys QB: Dak Prescott is an every week start. He’s at home this week, and hasn’t gone under 20 standard QB fantasy points in any of his home games this year.
Minnesota Vikings @ LA Chargers
Vikings RBs: Dalvin Cook’s injury didn’t seem to affect his workload a whole lot last week (20 touches), so keep him in your lineups this week as a RB1 start. Neutral matchup.
Vikings WRs: Adam Thielen is set to return, but we won’t really know until game time. He’s tough to trust, especially in a tough matchup. If he does play, the matchup lightens up a bit for Stefon Diggs, who would’ve seen Casey Hayward all game long. Hayward will likely stay on one side if Thielen plays. Still, the Chargers have allowed the 5th least amount of fantasy points to perimeter WRs, where both Diggs and Thielen run a majority of their routes from, and the 3rd least amount of overall fantasy points to WRs. Diggs is a WR3 with upside, and Thielen is a solid WR2. I don’t blame you if you want to avoid Thielen in his first game back in a tough matchup… it would suck if re-aggravated his hamstring injury during the game. Let’s hope not.
Vikings TE: Kyle Rudolph had his first bad game in 4 weeks, and while he has a tough matchup this week, he’s still in play as one of Kirk Cousins favorite red zone targets. Rudolph’s success over the past 5 weeks have correlated to Thielen’s absence. Coincidence?
Vikings QB: Kirk Cousins has been playing well, but the Chargers matchup isn’t conducive to fantasy success for QBs. He’s a low-end QB1 this week.
Chargers RBs: The Vikings are a neutral matchup for RBs. They have allowed the third least amount of receptions to RBs, but Melvin Gordon is still in the RB1 conversation because of his volume. He’s averaging 20 touches over the last 5 games. Austin Ekeler won’t take less touches as a reason to stop producing. He has a nose for the end zone, scoring three times through the air on 16 catches over the last 4 weeks. He’s a PPR RB2, even if the touches don’t usually map to that type of production. He’s still getting on the field for 50% of snaps during that span.
Chargers WRs: The Vikings have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to perimeter WRs over the last 8 weeks, so Mike Williams and Keenan Allen both have great matchups. Allen plays in the slot a ton, but has played an equal or more snaps on the outside over the past 4 weeks. The Vikings have done a good job against slot WRs, but Allen plays all over. Allen is a high-end WR2 this week, and Williams is an upside flex. Williams is that low because of the lack of volume, but he’s one of the most efficient WRs. He definitely has upside agains the Vikings.
Chargers TE: Hunter Henry has a neutral matchup against the Vikings, but his target volume has significantly dropped over the last 2 weeks after the Chargers’ bye. He caught only 2 balls over that span, but did catch a TD last week. He’s still a mid TE1 with the hopes his volume picks up.
Chargers QB: Before last week against Jacksonville, Phillip Rivers didn’t put up a good fantasy day since Week 7. He’s tough to trust, but he has a good matchup at home. If you’re desperate, he’s in the QB1 conversation this week.
Indianapolis Colts @ New Orleans Saints
Colts RBs: Marlon Mack’s matchup is pretty tough against the Saints, and he’ll be matchup dependent. I would downgrade him to a flex option with upside. He’s not involved in the pass game at all, so the floor isn’t really there.
Colts WRs: TY Hilton has a chance of returning this week, as he is practicing on Thursday. Without Hilton and Eric Ebron, Pascal has had a 10-target and 9-target game over his last two. It’s possible he gets shadow treatment from Marshon Lattimore next week as the clear-cut #1 WR if Hilton is out. The target share isn’t guaranteed if that’s the case, which makes him a risky play. He went up against Tennessee and Tampa Bay over the last two weeks, and they’ve been two of the most giving defenses when it comes to fantasy points for WRs. The Saints have given up the 6th most fantasy points to perimeter WRs over the last 4 weeks, and the 14th most over the last 8. If Hilton is out, Pascal is a boom/bust WR3 play.
Colts TE: Jack Doyle was a disappointment last week against the Bucs, but without Ebron and possibly TY, Doyle is tough to rank lower than a mid to low-end TE1. Even if Hilton plays, Doyle is in play as a TE1. The matchup is neutral.
Saints RBs: Alvin Kamara’s floor hasn’t been as high as we wish, but the floor is still there in PPR leagues. He had a terrible game last week in a high scoring game, but he should be back as a low-end RB1 against the Colts. Indianapolis has allowed the 5th most receptions to RBs, and that’s where Kamara’s floor resides. Before last week’s 6 target game, Kamara has averaged 9 targets over his last 5 games.
Saints WRs: Michael Thomas is a BALLER. Overall WR1.
Saints TE: Jared Cook caught 2 TDs on 2 targets last week, which makes 4 TDs over the last 4 weeks. He has a neutral matchup this week, but is in the concussion protocol. The hope is that we hear about his clearance on Sunday before the games since he plays on Monday night; with the extra day, players usually clear if it’s not their 3rd+ concussion. He’s a mid TE1 if he plays.