Houston Texans @ Tampa Bay Bucs
Texans RBs: Carlos Hyde finally got volume last week (26 carries) – it’s the first time he’s seen more than 16 carries since Week 9. He went over 100 yards and scored. He has a tough matchup this week against Tampa Bay, and he remains a TD-dependent flex option. Duke Johnson shouldn’t be trusted this week. He saw a combined 3 carries over the last two games, and his volume in the passing game isn’t steady.
Thursday evening update: Hyde was limited in practice with an ankle injury, so Duke Johnson should be picked up. Even in a tough matchup, Duke Johnson would be a high upside RB2 play because of his involvement in the pass game in addition to any added work.
Texans WRs: DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller both have massive ceilings against a Tampa team giving up the most fantasy points to WRs over season, and over the last 8 weeks as well. You will have Hopkins in as a high-end WR1 obviously, and Fuller should be treated as a high upside WR3. I would find a way to get him in my lineup to raise the ceiling of my team, assuming you are going into a legit title fight this week. The Bucs are tied for 2nd in 40+ yard passing plays allowed this season.
Texans QB: Deshaun Watson is in this week as a high-end QB1 in a juicy matchup.
Bucs RBs: Bruce Arians will likely attempt to get the run game going with both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans out, but it’s going to figure out who will get the most run between Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones, if either. Jones out-carried Barber 11-10 last week. Arians did say he will get the RBs involved in the pass game because of the lack of weapons (Scotty Miller was also sent to IR), so Jones is a deeeep PPR flex with upside.
Bucs WRs: Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson will be the two starting WRs on the outside. Perriman has lined up where Evans has over the last game and a half (60% of perimeter snaps on left side), and that’s where AJ Brown lined up on 65% of his perimeter snaps last week against the Texans. I am not equating Perriman to Brown’s talent, but the point is that he was able to produce. Brown caught 114 yards and a TD on 8 catches last week. Tampa is 2nd in pass attempts per game, and is leading the league in passing yards per game. Over the last three games, they’ve averaged 385 passing yards… the next highest team is at 326. Perriman will be a WR2 play this week, but keep your expectations tempered. Watson is also a potential play this week, and he’ll see more of Johnathan Joseph, which is a better matchup. He’s a high upside flex option.
Bucs TE: Without Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, OJ Howard is the next best option alongside Breshad Perriman. He had 8 targets last week, and that can turn into serious production if him and Jameis connect against Houston. The Texans are giving up the 8th most fantasy points to tight ends this year.
Bucs QB: Jameis has been a high-end QB1 all year, but he’s had the weapons to make it happen. Without Evans and Godwin, we should downgrade him a bit but keep him in as a QB1.
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots
Bills RBs: The fact that Devin Singletary didn’t get shut down by a stout Steelers run defense last week is a great sign moving forward to New England this week. He racked up 21 carries for 87 yards and added 2 targets. Joe Mixon was able to do his thing against the Patriots last week, and as long as the Bills stick with the run game as the right game plan, Singletary should be able to rack up volume once again. There’s no reason to think the Patriots run up the score with their offense struggling. The good thing is that Singletary is game script independent because of his involvement in the passing game when necessary. He’s a solid RB2.
Bills WRs: John Brown also came through in a pretty tough matchup last week; he was targeted 10 times and caught 7 for 99 yards, more than his last 3 games combined. Despite him overcoming this one, I would leave Brown on my bench this week while he’s shadowed by Stephon Gilmore. If you don’t have any other good option, there is some hope at a decent game; Brown caught 5 of 11 targets for 69 yards last time against New England, of which 4 for 68 was in Gilmore’s coverage. He’s a risky WR3, as the Patriots are giving up the least amount of fantasy points to WRs this year.
Bills QB: Josh Allen didn’t have a ton of bad fantasy games this year, but his worst one was against the Patriots at home. This week, he’s in New England. He is always a threat in the run game, so his upside is there, but the downside is higher than most weeks. He should be downgraded to a low-end QB1, so he’s still startable.
Patriots RB: James White caught 8 of 10 targets in his first meeting with the Bills. The Patriots attempted to give Sony Michel volume in that game, but it didn’t work out too well. Start White as a PPR flex option, and start Michel if you need a deep TD-dependent flex.
Patriots WRs: Julian Edelman’s usage last week was a little worrisome, especially because he’s dealing with a couple of injuries a few describe as being something most players wouldn’t play through. However, this week’s game will likely be a lot more competitive, so Edelman will need to be a big part of the game plan. The good news is that he’ll avoid Tre’Davious White for most of his routes out of the slot, where the Bills have given up the 14th most fantasy points over the last 4 weeks. He’s a low-end WR1.
Patriots QB: Tom Brady has one 20 fantasy point game and two 15+ point games in standard QB scoring over his last 8 games, so he’s not someone you want to start in your championship game.
LA Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
Rams RBs: Last week, the Rams fell into a hole very quickly, so I wouldn’t take Todd Gurley’s lack of a workload as an indicator of anything. He did see 7 targets, played on 96% of snaps, and saw every RB opportunity. That’s what you want to see going into Week 16. He has a tough matchup against the 49ers, but he should still be viewed as a RB1.
Rams WRs: Richard Sherman was back at practice in full and will play this week. That downgrades Robert Woods, but Woods is good enough to return WR3 value. He severely disappointed last week, but he still saw 9 targets. Despite last week’s rough game, he’s still averaging 7.4 catches on 11.2 targets for 96 yards per game over his last 5. Woods is leading the Rams in routes run with 128 over his last 3 games, and Cooper Kupp comes in 2nd with 101. Kupp’s volume hasn’t been anything worth gawking over, but he’s scored in three straight games. Kupp is a solid WR2 this week, as the matchup in the slot is closer to neutral than it is very tough. Brandin Cooks saw 8 targets last week, but he combined for 8 the three weeks prior… he shouldn’t be in lineups.
Rams TE: Tyler Higbee is winning people fantasy championships this year. He caught another 12 passes for 111 yards on 14 targets last week. Over his last three games, he’s averaging almost 9 catches for 111 yards. Keep starting him even in a tough matchup… just hope Gerald Everett doesn’t make it back. He was estimated as a limited participant in Tuesday’s walk through. If Higbee plays, he probably won’t be 100%, so it’ll be tough for me to sit Higbee with how he’s been playing.
Rams QB: I wouldn’t play Jared Goff against the 49ers, even if he had a couple of decent fantasy outings over the past few weeks. Just look at what he did prior to that.
49ers RBs: Raheem Mostert was the primary back last week once again, playing on 53% of snaps. He saw 16 total opportunities (carries + targets) to Matt Breida’s 6 and Coleman’s 5. Mostert a high upside RB2 this week against a Rams team that couldn’t stop the Cowboys run game this past Sunday. The Rams have given up the 2nd most rushing yards to RBs over the last 4 weeks.
49ers WRs: Both Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel disappointed heavily in a good matchup last week. One of these guys will be shadowed by Jalen Ramsey this week, and it’ll likely be Sanders. Because of that, Deebo is the better play for me. He’ll be downgraded to a high upside WR3 because of his volatility.
49ers TE: George Kittle’s 17 targets last week was a serious overcorrection from Week 14. He’s a high-end TE1 regardless of matchup.
49ers QB: Jimmy Garroppolo’s fantasy outcomes have been very volatile, and it’s hard to predict when he’ll come through. Outside of Lamar Jackson, no QB has went over 20 standard QB fantasy points since Week 5. I’ll consider other options, but he’s a low-end QB1 option.
49ers DEF: They haven’t come through from a fantasy perspective over the last three weeks, but with Richard Sherman back, they should have a lot more stability. The pass rush is still there, but the Rams have protected Jared Goff pretty well. Teams have forced turnovers against the Rams over the last 5 weeks, so the 49ers are still a top-8 play at home.
Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos
Lions RBs: Kerryon Johnson can be activated week, but you have to be extremely desperate to throw him in your lineup in his first game back from injury. The Lions have nothing to play for, put Matt Stafford on IR, and are looking to next season. The matchup isn’t great either… and even in good matchups Kerryon wasn’t coming through before his injury.
Lions WRs: Kenny Golladay will be shadowed by Chris Harris this week, so he should be downgraded. Harris hasn’t been completely been a shut down corner, but he is going up against some great WRs every week. Golladay had an amazing matchup last week, but couldn’t come through. He did score in each of the two games prior to last week, so there’s hope he can get it done with David Blough at QB. I would treat him as a low-end WR2 this week.
Broncos RBs: Phillip Lindsay was on the bad side of game script against the Chiefs in what could’ve been a great matchup for him if they were able to stay in the game. He out-carried Royce Freeman only 7-5, which doesn’t give you much excitement for this week against Detroit. He’ll be a TD dependent flex play since he isn’t involved much in the pass game anymore. Also, the Lions have given up only 3.1 yards per carry over their last 4 games.
Broncos WRs: Courtland Sutton is in a great spot against Detroit, even if shadowed by Darius Slay. The Lions have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs over the last 8 weeks, as well as the 3rd most over the last 4 weeks. In Slay’s coverage over the last couple of weeks, Stefon Diggs was able to rack up 5 catches for 87 yards, while Allen Robinson caught 4 for 51 and a TD. Sutton’s 17 targets over the last 2 weeks keeps him in the solid WR2 conversation.
Broncos DEF: Denver’s defense has been solid, and they’ve gotten to the QB pretty consistently lately. Detroit has turned the ball over 5 times in the last 2 games, and you would hope that continues against Denver this week.
Oakland Raiders @ LA Chargers
Raiders RBs: Josh Jacobs has been ruled out a week after Jon Gruden decided to give him 24 carries on a broken shoulder. DeAndre Washington will be the guy, as we saw two weeks ago against Tennessee. The Raiders were in the game up until halftime, but the Titans left them scoreless in the second half. Because of it, Washington’s carries dwindled. The good news was that Washington was very involved in the pass game, catching 6 of 7 targets on top of his 14 carries on 63% of snaps. This team is built around running the ball with Josh Jacobs, and when he’s not playing, they’re not going to switch up their game plan completely. They literally have no other offensive weapons aside from Darren Waller, so they’re going to at least attempt to get Washington going. Their defense isn’t as terrible as it was last season (last in points allowed), and the Chargers offense is only averaging a couple more points than Oakland is, so game script shouldn’t be an issue. With all that being said, Washington is a solid RB2 this week in PPR leagues, and a low-end RB2 in non-PPR or half point leagues.
Raiders WRs: There aren’t any WRs worth starting on the Raiders. Tyrell Williams will be going up against a Chargers team giving up the least amount of fantasy points to WRs over the last 8 weeks. He’s not getting volume anyway… I would steer clear.
Raiders TE: Darren Waller’s was the only Raider to see more than 3 targets last week, catching 8 of 10 targets for 122. He now has three straight games of at least 6 receptions and 70+ yards, and remains a high-end TE1 this week against the Chargers… regardless of the tough matchup on paper.
Chargers RBs: Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler both had 7 carries each in a game in which the Chargers were down the entire time. They also each caught 5 of 7 targets, so their floor is safe in PPR leagues. The Raiders have allowed the 7th most receiving yards and 3rd most receiving TDs to RBs this year, so there is a lot of room for these two to have good games. Ekeler is averaging almost 15 touches per game, and half of that comes from receptions. He’s a solid RB2 with upside while Gordon is a low-end RB1 because of his chance of racking up volume; he went over 100 yards and rushed a TD in on 22 carries the last time these two teams went at it earlier this season.
Chargers WRs: Mike Williams ended his TD-less streak in Week 14 and now has a 2-game TD streak going. He has a good shot at keeping that going against Oakland on the perimeter. Keenan Allen also plays half of his snaps on the outside, so he’ll also be able to take advantage of that Oakland perimeter defense who has given up the 4th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on the outside. Allen is a high-end WR2 while Mike Williams is a high-upside WR3.
Chargers QB: You would be pretty desperate to start Phillip Rivers, but he’s probably upgraded to a fringe QB1 this week. He hasn’t had many good fantasy days this year, but this is a matchup where he can succeed. His weapons in the pass game all have good matchups (aside from Keenan Allen while he’s in the slot, but he plays half of his snaps on the outside). All I can say is… good luck.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Atlanta Falcons
Jaguars RBs: Start Leonard Fournette as a solid RB1 this week. His workload weights a lot more heavily than the matchup, and there’s a great chance he sees 20+ touches. Because of him getting such a high percentage of that in the pass game, he’s a lot more valuable… catches are more valuable than carries, even in non-PPR formats.
Jaguars WRs: DJ Chark is practicing on Wednesday, so it’s possible he makes his way back for this matchup. Back with Gardner Minshew, Chark should be viewed as a WR2, assuming we get the signs we’re looking for in terms of him getting a full workload. Atlanta has done a good job over the last two weeks against perimeter WRs; they shut down both Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders last week, and kept DJ Moore from having his normally great game in Week 14. They limited Michael Thomas to 6/48 in Week 13 and Mike Evans to 4/50 in Week 12. It’s good to know to temper expectations, especially with Chark coming off an injury. Regardless though, Chark can overcome any matchup, as he racked up 9 catches for 75 yards against a tough Chargers secondary before he got hurt in Week 14. He’s a solid WR2 play. If he’s out, I would probably steer clear of Jaguars WRs, since there is ambiguity over who will be most targeted next between Conley, Westbrook, and even Keelan Cole.
Falcons RBs: Devonta Freeman had a very tough matchup last week, and didn’t come through expectedly. This week, he has a great one; the Jaguars held Josh Jacobs last week, but they have given up the 3rd most rushing yards to RBs over the last 4 weeks, as well as the 3rd most over the entire season. Freeman’s involvement in the passing game increases his value so much, and the good news is that the Jags are in the top-10 in receiving yards allowed to RBs. Freeman should be viewed as a solid RB2, and upgraded to a high-end RB2 in full PPR leagues.
Falcons WRs: Julio Jones finally had his blow-up game last week, and he doesn’t have a matchup this week that we should be worried about. He’ll likely be shadowed by AJ Bouye, but that’s ok. He’s a mid to low-end WR1.
Falcons TE: Austin Hooper’s last 2 games are the only 2 games this season under 4 catches for him. He has a chance to bounce back in Jacksonville, and I wouldn’t reach far to replace him if you’re starting to lose trust. He’s still a mid TE1 at the very least. The Jaguars are a neutral matchup for tight ends.
Falcons QB: Matt Ryan is startable this week as a high-end QB2. The Jaguars are giving up the 11th most fantasy points to QBs, so if you’re desperate for a QB this week, sure. Just know that the floor is low.
New Orleans Saints @ Tennessee Titans
Saints RBs: Alvin Kamara isn’t playing like the guy we thought we knew, but he’s still a RB1 start in PPR leagues. The good news is that the Titans are tied for 2nd most allowed receptions to RBs this year. In non-PPR, he’s a solid RB2.
Saints WRs: Michael Thomas should keep killing it for you as the WR1 every week. The Titans have given up the 9th most fantasy points to WRs over the last 8 weeks… not that it matters.
Saints TE: Jared Cook stays involved every week, and is going up against a Titans defense giving up the 10th most fantasy points to tight ends. He’s a solid TE1.
Saints QB: Tennessee has allowed QBs to throw for 2+ TDs in 9 of 14 games, so there’s a good chance Drew Brees continues his hot streak. In standard QB scoring, he’s had 20+ fantasy points in 5 of his last 7 outings. He’s a solid QB1 this week.
Titans RBs: Derrick Henry’s not involved in the pass game, so last week’s game in which he doesn’t score will leaves fantasy owners scratching their heads. Either way, continue to start Henry for his massive ceiling and his likelihood of scoring in a tough matchup against New Orleans this week.
Titans WRs: AJ Brown has now scored and went over 100 yards in 3 of his last 4 games coming out of the Titans’ Week 11 bye. Brown caught 8 of 13 targets for 114 yards and a TD this past week, and it’s the first time he’s had 7 targets in that 4-game span. With him averaging 100 yards and a TD in the last 4, start him as a WR2 against the Saints this week, even with the potential Marshon Lattimore shadow.
Titans QB: Ryan Tannehill has been the QB4 since Week 7 when he took over as the starter. He’s thrown at least 2 TDs in every game he’s started except one… but he ran one in that game. Keep him in your lineup this week as a solid QB1.
NY Giants @ Washington Redskins
Giants RBs: It took a matchup with the Dolphins to get Saquon Barkley going, and he has another great matchup this week to take advantage of. Keep him in your lineup as a low-end RB1. The hope is that he is taken advantage of in the passing game, as the Redskins have allowed the most receptions to RBs over the past 4 weeks as well as throughout the entire season.
Giants WRs: Good luck figuring this one out. With Daniel Jones likely back under center, the samples of all the Giants WRs on the field at the same time get diluted a bit. What does line up is Jones’ affinity for Golden Tate as well his matchup in the slot. The Redskins have allowed the 6th least amount of fantasy points to perimeter WRs (Slayton, Shepard) over the last 8 weeks, but have allowed the 6th most fantasy points to slot WRs over that span. The matchups on the perimeter aren’t necessarily ones to stay away from, but the matchup isn’t nearly as good as the two weeks prior (Eagles, Dolphins). Tate is a high upside WR3, while Slayton and Shepard should be treated as high upside flex options.
Redskins RBs: Adrian Peterson got volume over the last two weeks and scored, so you can start him as a TD dependent flex option. It’s a neutral matchup without much of a threat of being blown out, so he has a good chance at getting at least 15-20 carries.
Redskins WRs: Terry McLaurin has a chance to have a pretty good game in this matchup. Looking at the previous games against the Giants: DeVante Parker came down with two TDs this past week, Allen Lazard caught 3 balls for 103 and a TD in Week 13, Allen Robinson caught 6 for 131 and a TD in Week 12, Demaryius Thomas (!) caught 6 for 84 in Week 10 (Week 11 was Giants bye, so they caught a break), Amari Cooper did well the week before, Kenny Golladay the week before that, etc, etc. McLaurin has upside as a high-end WR3 this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ NY Jets
Steelers RBs: James Conner looks to be healthy again, but he faces one of the most stout rush defenses in the league. Still, his value comes in the passing game. He played on only 58% of snaps this past week, but that and his touches should go up this week. He’s a solid RB2 play, especially in PPR leagues.
Steelers WRs: James Washington led the Steelers with 11 targets last week, and he’s in play for upside if you need it against the Jets this week. This is Washington’s 4th 80+ yard receiving game in his last 6 games. The Jets matchup is a good one; they’ve allowed the 9th most fantasy points to perimeter WRs over the last 8 weeks. Although it doesn’t look amazing positive, Juju might be back, so that would throw a wrench into your plans if you were planning on having Washington in your deep league lineup. If Juju plays, I’d play him as a WR3, but he’s risky as hell.
Steelers DEF: Steelers defense is as solid as it can get from a fantasy perspective… keep starting them against a Jets team allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing fantasy defenses.
Jets RBs: Revenge game for Le’Veon Bell. He hasn’t got it going on the ground at all this year behind an incohesive offensive line, and there’s no reason to think he’ll be able to do it against the Steelers front. The usage in the passing game over the past few games has been disappointing, but at least he’s being targeted. The hope is that the usage goes back up to 6+ targets per game, in which case he’s a RB1 start. However, he should be downgraded to a high-end RB2.
Jets WRs: The Steelers have been playing some good defense against WRs. Both Christian Kirk and John Brown have got it done on the outside from a reception perspective; Kirk went 8 of 9 for 85 yards, and Brown caught 7 of 10 for 99 yards. It’s not quite how Robby Anderson plays, but there is room for him to get yards underneath. He’ll be a high upside flex option this week. Jamison Crowder is the enigma, as he caught 2 TDs in a tough matchup last week after three bad games. Now that he has another tough matchup, it’s tough to know how to treat his situation. One thing to note is that during Crowder’s two weeks prior to last week’s 2 TD game, he still averaged 8 targets, so Sam Darnold is looking for him. Crowder is probably a volatile WR3, but has WR2 upside after his 11 target game last week. Just for context, the Steelers have been middle of the pack against perimeter WRs (Robby) over the last 8 weeks, while giving up the 6th least fantasy points to slot WRs (Crowder).
Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins
Bengals RBs: Joe Mixon has turned his season around at the perfect time. Even in this past game where the Bengals were trailing, Mixon still racked up 25 carries and took that work for 136 rushing yards. He caught 3 balls to add for a 28-touch total. Since Week 8, he’s averaging 23.4 touches per game for 117.5 yards, which equates to at least to a RB1 start. The good news is we don’t have to start him as a RB1… if he was on a better offense, we would feel a lot more confident, but he is playing like a RB1. Since that point, he is the overall RB6. He’s in the perfect spot to help you win a championship in Week 16 against Miami.
Thursday evening update: Mixon was limited with a calf injury on Thursday, so pick up Giovani Bernard. If Bernard is the guy this week against Miami, you don’t want to miss out on that play if you have the room… you also don’t want to let your opponent have that potential RB1 play either.
Bengals WRs: Tyler Boyd should be able to command the majority of Andy Dalton’s target share after Auden Tate was put on IR, but keep in mind that John Ross has returned and has a great matchup as well. I don’t suggest starting Ross, even though he has a chance to blow up against a Dolphins team giving up the 5th most fantasy points to perimeter WRs over the last 8 weeks (2nd most over the last 4); he’s more of a DFS flier. Boyd, on the other hand, is a high-end WR3 start; Miami has given up the 10th most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 4 weeks, and the 11th most overall this season.
Dolphins RBs: Patrick Laird had a firm grip on the Dolphins backfield, but that didn’t last long. It seems like more of a 50/50 timeshare between him and Myles Gaskin after what we saw last week. Laird will likely lead with more touches, but it probably won’t exceed ~15 or so. He’s a low-end PPR flex in a good matchup.
Dolphins WRs: Keep starting DeVante Parker as a high-end WR2. Cincinnati has been really good against perimeter WRs this year (8th least fantasy points over last 4 weeks, 4th least over last 8 weeks), but Parker has overcome some tough matchups. Keep riding what got you here.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Cincinnati has given up the 9th most fantasy points to QBs this year, but have done pretty well over their last 4 games. His best WR has a bit of a tough matchup, but it’s not something we should be looking to stay away from. Fitz is a low-end QB1 this week.
Carolina Panthers @ Indianapolis Colts
Panthers RBs: CMC has been your savior this season… keep riding him as the best overall fantasy play. Will Grier starting can throw a wrench into things, but we’re not making any drastic moves with respect to McCaffrey.
Panthers WRs: DJ Moore is a WR1, but there is more ambiguity going into this week with Will Grier taking over for Kyle Allen. Moore got it done with both Cam and Allen, so the hope is that Grier targets the shit out of him in his first career start. The matchup itself is great; the Colts have given up the 12th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on the left perimeter over the last 4 weeks, where is where Moore lines up for a majority of his routes. He does move around a bit, and the matchup gets even better in the slot and on the right perimeter. I wouldn’t let Grier spook me off of Moore.
Panthers TE: Greg Olsen has been cleared from the concussion protocol. Who knows what the target distribution will look like with Will Grier under center, but Olsen is a risky back-end TE1 this week in a slightly better than neutral matchup.
Colts RBs: Marlon Mack is in a great spot this week after being in a terrible one this past Monday night. The Panthers are allowing the 2nd most rushing yards to RBs and the most rushing TDs to RBs at 23; the next highest team are the Jaguars with 14. Over the last 4 weeks, they’re allowing the most rushing yards to RBs at a 6.35 yard average per carry. The Panthers have allowed the 2nd most rushing plays over 20+ yards and 40+ yards this year. Mack is a high-end RB2 this week, and isn’t higher because his lack of involvement in the passing game.
Colts WRs: TY Hilton will apparently play more snaps this week, according to Frank Reich. Despite only being on the field for half of the plays, he led the team with 9 targets. He has a great matchup this week against the Panthers, even if he’s shadowed by James Bradberry. Hilton plays about 75% of his snaps on the perimeter, where the Panthers have allowed the 11th most fantasy points this year, and the 9th most over the last 4 weeks. Overall the Panthers are allowing the 5th most fantasy points to WRs. He’s a risky start because of risk of aggravating his injury, so treat him as a fringe WR2.
Colts TE: Jack Doyle has been a huge disappointment in the absence of both Eric Ebron and TY Hilton. He’s in play as a DFS flier, but he’s a tough start this week in season long leagues.
Colts DEF: The Colts fantasy defense has been consistent outside of the Saints game last week.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Ravens RBs: Keep starting Mark Ingram. He’s boom/bust, but he’s going to boom more because of the offense that he’s on. He doesn’t get volume and is TD dependent, but it doesn’t matter when you’re paired with Lamar.
Ravens WRs: Marquise Brown scored last week, but he’s not getting volume. He’s a boom/bust play. Cleveland isn’t a cakewalk matchup for WRs, but he can score in any given week. He’s a high upside flex play.
Ravens TE: Mark Andrews had so many opportunities to make big plays last week, and ended with only one TD. He’s very involved, and led the team in targets. Keep starting him as a top-6 tight end.
Ravens QB: Lamar got you here. Let him win it all for you. Overall QB1.
Ravens DEF: This Browns team is struggling, and while they did beat the Ravens in Baltimore, that was a long time ago. Keep starting the Ravens defense.
Browns RBs: Nick Chubb didn’t go over 20 carries in any of the previous three games, but went over 100 yards in two of them. The worry is that the Ravens get out to a huge lead, limiting Chubb’s volume, but he’s going to get 15-20 carries and a couple of catches regardless. The Ravens pass defense is tougher than their rush defense; over the past 4 games, the Ravens have given up 4.81 yards per carry. He’s still a high-end RB2 start. Kareem Hunt is a PPR RB2 with a safe floor. He’s a flex play in non-PPR or half point leagues.
Browns WRs: It was nice to see OBJ garner 13 targets and catching 8 of them, but he only totaled 66 yards without a score against one of the league’s worst passing defenses last week. The matchup is tougher this week against the Ravens, but he’s not an absolute sit. Treat him as a WR3; the Ravens have given up the 16th most fantasy points to perimeter WRs over the past 4 weeks, so it’s a relatively neutral matchup for him. Jarvis Landry should be treated as a solid WR2, despite his game to forget last week. He doesn’t have the best matchup in the world, but came through in some tough ones this season.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
Cowboys RBs: With Dak’s shoulder injury, the offense will lean on Ezekiel Elliott, and he’ll likely get a ton of volume in this one, despite the Eagles being one of the better rush defenses in the league. Zeke didn’t seem to mind the last time these two met, handling 28 touches totaling 147 yards and a TD.
Cowboys WRs: This really depends on how Dak’s shoulder is doing. Amari Cooper is probably going to be in regardless as a fringe WR1, but it would be nice if Dak plays. The matchups are great for both Amari and Michael Gallup this week; the Eagles are giving up the most fantasy points to perimeter WRs this year, as well the most over the last 4 weeks. Gallup is a high upside WR3 for this matchup. Let’s hope Dak can play and play effectively.
Cowboys TE: Want a random tight end play, but have good odds? Play Jason Witten. He usually doesn’t absolutely kill you in PPR leagues. He caught at least 4 balls in each of the last 3 games and caught 2 TDs in that span. Matchup hasn’t mattered for Witten.
Cowboys QB: I’d play Dak if he suits up, but I would have to hear that he’s doing okay. I don’t want him to be pulled in the middle of the game, leaving less than half a fantasy performance in my lineup. He’s a high-end QB1 play.
Eagles RBs: Jordan Howard has yet to put in a full practice, so Miles Sanders will still be the lead back with Boston Scott involved in the pass game. This past week, Sanders and Scott were on the field together a ton; Sanders was on the field for a very healthy 71%, with Scott seeing 45% of snaps. Sanders got workhorse opportunity, getting 25 touches, while Scott caught all 7 of his targets. Keep Sanders in as a high-end RB2 this week against Dallas if Jordan Howard can’t make it back. Scott is a desperate PPR flex option; the Eagles just don’t have many weapons.
Eagles WRs: Nelson Agholor has yet to practiced in any capacity, so he’ll likely be out this week yet again. In his place, Greg Ward now has two straight games with 9 targets, and he came through this past week, catching 7 for 61 and a TD. Ward played a ton in the slot over the last 4 weeks, and will cede some of that opportunity to Agholor if he makes his way back. If Agholor can’t return, he’ll have a good matchup in the slot against Dallas, who have given up the 3rd most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 4 weeks coming into Week 15, and the 7th most over the last 8 weeks. He’ll also spend more time away from Byron Jones when he’s on the outside. If Agholor gets full practices in this week and plays, he’ll have the matchup advantage and be the preferred play.
Eagles TEs: The Eagles are running out of options to throw to, so Goedert will stay involved. He’s averaged 6-7 targets over the last 5 weeks. He caught 5 of 6 for 55 yards this past week, and has a good matchup against Dallas, who’s given up the 7th most fantasy points to tight ends. He’s a low-end TE1, and Zach Ertz is a high-end TE1 this week.
Eagles QB: Carson Wentz came through over the last three weeks, but it was in three plus matchups against the Dolphins, Giants, and Redskins. Before this stretch, he failed to throw more than 1 TD in five straight games. The Cowboys are not a plus matchup by any means, but Jared Goff and Mitch Trubisky combined for 5 passing TDs over the last two weeks. Trubisky was the only QB to throw more than 2 TDs against the Cowboys. Wentz is a fringe QB1 this week, but lower expectations. That combined with the lack of weapons for Wentz makes me look for other options, but not dig too deep.
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
Cardinals RBs: Kenyan Drake had complete control of the backfield last week and went off for 137 rushing yards and 4 TDs. He singlehandedly won you your week (hopefully) if you started him. His snap count went down from Week 13 to 14 (79% to 66%), but jumped back up 75% in Week 15. Those are workhorse snaps, and should be started as a high-end RB2 against Seattle this week. If you’re interesting in the matchup against Seattle, the thing that stands out is that they are giving up the most receiving yards to RBs over the past 4 weeks and the 4th most over the entirety of the season. That has to stand out to Kliff Kingsbury, and we should expect them to try and take advantage of that, given how capable Drake is as a receiver.
Cardinals WRs: Christian Kirk was disappointing last week, as Damiere Byrd led the team in targets and receiving production. The Cardinals only threw the ball 25 times, so Kirk wasn’t needed as much. He’ll likely be used a lot more against Seattle this week, who has given up the 6th most fantasy points to right perimeter WRs over the last 8 weeks. He’s a solid WR2 start in PPR leagues, and a high-end WR3 in standard or half point leagues.
Cardinals QB: Kyler Murray’s production has been pretty volatile, and while he has a lot of upside with his rushing ability, the Seahawks haven’t allowed any QB to throw for more than 2 TDs. If Murray does get the 2 though, you should be set; the Seahawks have allowed the 6th most rushing yards to QBs (yes, they did play Lamar who went over 100 against them), and the upside is there for Murray to rush for 40+ yards (averaging 36 rushing yards per game) or run one in like he did the last time these two played. He’s a back-end QB1 with upside.
Seahawks RBs: Chris Carson is back to his workhorse ways, taking 24 carries for 133 yards and 2 TDs last week on 76% of snaps. The Cardinals have given up the 9th most rushing yards to RBs this year and almost 5 yards per carry to RBs over the last 4 weeks. Carson is in line to do his thing as a RB1 this week.
Seahawks WRs: Tyler Lockett broke his 4-game streak of non-production last week. I guess Pete Carroll was right in saying that Lockett is back to himself during the week before Week 15. He caught 8 of 9 targets for 120 yards and a TD. I can understand having him on your bench last week if you had another good option since he was pretty hard to trust coming into Week 15. He has an amazing matchup against the Cardinals this week, so if you’re still in it, at least he gives you some confidence to use him as a WR2 in a great matchup. Arizona’s giving up the most fantasy points to slot WRs over the entirety of the season, and the 4th most over the last 8 weeks. As far as the perimeter and DK Metcalf, the Cards are giving up the 3rd most fantasy points over the last 8 weeks to WRs on the outside. Patrick Peterson will likely shadow Metcalf, but Peterson has allowed almost half a PPR fantasy point per route run against him. Surprisingly, teams are actually targeting Peterson 23% of the time… he isn’t playing like the guy we’re used to. Metcalf is a high upside WR3 this week.
Seahawks TE: Jacob Hollister is going up against Arizona this week, and while he had four straight sub par performances, he’s staying involved going into the best matchup for tight ends. You would have to hope Lockett’s volume goes back to normal and Hollister’s volume goes back up to the 6-8 he was seeing before last week. He’s a back-end TE1. Ricky Seals-Jones caught 2 TDs in a revenge game last week against the Cards… so that tells you all you need to know.
Seahawks QB: Russell Wilson is a top-6 option at QB this week in a great matchup at home. The hope is that it isn’t all Chris Carson, which is what makes Wilson more volatile than he usually is. The Cards have given up the most fantasy points to QBs this year.
Seahawks DEF: Even though they’ve been giving up points, Seattle’s defense has been turning the ball over regularly… which gives them a chance to score on defense. They’ve provided solid defensive (fantasy) outings over their past 5 games.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Chicago Bears
Chiefs RBs: There’s not much you can trust in this backfield. I would stay away; you won’t know who will get the lion’s share of work between LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson, and Spencer Ware. This is a three man backfield until Damien Williams comes back.
Chiefs WRs: Tyreek Hill is in as a top-5 WR, and this isn’t a tough matchup. The Bears have given up the 15th most fantasy points to slot WRs, and that’s where Hill runs routes from half of the time. He has upside regardless of matchup. No other Chiefs WR has been dependable, so I would stay away unless I need a home run, which has been Mecole Hardman.
Chiefs TE: Travis Kelce is one of the top plays at TE of the week against a Bears defense giving up the 11th most fantasy points to the position.
Chiefs QB: Patrick Mahomes hasn’t been the same since his ankle injury, but he’s still a top-7 QB play this week. The Bears defense isn’t the best matchup for QBs, but Mahomes usually makes light of tough matchups.
Chiefs DEF: Chiefs have provided four great fantasy performances in a row, and going up against Mitch Trubisky just seems like a good idea. KC has an edge with their pass rush against Chicago’s pass protection.
Bears RBs: David Montgomery is not reliable, and he’s a tough start regardless of the great matchup. If the Bears get down, Montgomery will likely not get the volume he needs to be successful. With that being said, the matchup raises his upside. The Chiefs are giving up almost 5 yards per carry on the season. Montgomery would need to find a way into the end zone to make him worth the start, so he’s a TD dependent flex option with upside. Tarik Cohen is a desperate PPR flex option; the game script this week can cater to his role. The Chiefs are also giving up the 2nd most receiving yards to RBs on the 9th most RB receptions.
Bears WRs: Allen Robinson continues to be the staple of the Bears passing game, and Anthony Miller is getting into that mix in a big way. Both went over 100 yards against the Packers last week. It’s getting tough to bench ARob at this point, even in a tough matchup this week against KC. The good news is that he plays in the slot a ton (45-55%), and Miller runs out of the slot almost around 70% of the time. The Chiefs vulnerability in their pass defense is the slot, as they’re stout on the outside. They’re giving up the 2nd least amount of fantasy points on the perimeter, but the 8th most fantasy points to slot WRs (coming into Week 15, Green Bay doesn’t use their slot WRs). ARob is a borderline WR1; he’s averaging 22.25 PPR fantasy points per game over his last 4. Miller is averaging 10.4 targets over his last 4 games, and is a confident WR2 play as long as Taylor Gabriel is out, in which case he’ll be a boom/bust WR2 play. Game flow should help these two against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. By the way, these two were #1 and #3 in air yards in Week 15.
Bears QB: Mitch Trubisky is a borderline QB1 this week, especially if he’s going to have to do a lot of throwing to keep up with Patrick Mahomes. His favorite targets have good matchups out of the slot (Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller), and he might be able to depend on the run game moving the ball a bit. He’s risky as hell, but he’s provided four straight solid fantasy performances and gives you a chance at his high ceiling in case he decides to run the ball.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
Packers RBs: Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler couldn’t get anything going against the Vikings, but Aaron Jones was just fine against them earlier this year, racking up 116 rushing yards and a TD on 23 carries in Week 2. The Vikings secondary is so vulnerable that Jones is worth playing just for the more than likely chance he gets into the end zone; Aaron Rodgers should be able to do his thing to move down the field. Jones’ upside is tough to bench even while considering his volatility, so start him as a low-end RB1.
Packers WRs: Davante Adams is one of the best WR plays this week against a Vikings defense giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to perimeter WRs, including the 2nd most over the last 8 weeks.
Packers QB: Aaron Rodgers has had one good fantasy day over his last 6 games. He hasn’t had to do much, but with how much the Vikings struggle against WRs and how well they (usually) defend the run game, Rodgers is worth a start as a low-end QB1 with upside.
Vikings RBs: Adam Schefter reported that Dalvin Cook is unlikely to play this week, but Mike Zimmer left the door open for him to play. If Cook is indeed out, that leaves Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone. Mike Zimmer said on Thursday that Mattison is doing better and has a good chance of playing this week… take that with a grain of salt. Practice reports on Thursday for a Monday night game at home are equivalent to a Wednesday practice, meaning we shouldn’t take too much away from it. The Friday and Saturday practice is where we should draw conclusions from.
One thing to consider is that if the Rams lose on Saturday, the Vikings clinch a playoff berth. It’s possible they let Mattison rest as well because of it, but we shouldn’t weigh that data too heavily, as Zimmer mentioned that it wouldn’t affect Dalvin Cook’s status… we can assume he would say the same for Mattison. If Mattison gets a full practice in on Friday or Saturday, I would assume he’ll be the back to start on Monday night. If he can’t get a full practice in, Boone will likely be the guy. If we assume Mattison is the guy, he will be a solid RB2 start, and he would be that low because of the ambiguity of how the injury will affect his workload. Boone would be a high-end RB2 start if Cook and Mattison are inactive. Hopefully we have all the information we need by the start of Sunday’s games. This is a fluid situation going into the weekend.
Thursday Evening Update: Dr. David Chao (@ProFootballDoc on Twitter) reviewed the video of Mattison’s injury, and his opinion is that Mattison has a high ankle sprain. If that’s true, Mattison will likely be out this week. With this plus the likelihood Cook is out or active to be the emergency back, Mike Boone is shaping up to be the workhorse on Monday night. He would be a high-end RB2 in this scenario.
Vikings WRs: Whoever goes up against Kevin has the advantage, and if you’re going up against Jaire Alexander, you don’t have as much of an advantage. The difference here is that both Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are two of the best WRs in the league, and can overcome any matchup. Then you have the possibility of the run game taking over, which has been the story of these WRs seasons for the most part, especially Diggs. He’s the one with the better matchup, going up against Kevin King on almost half of his routes; the Packers are giving up the 8th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on that side of the perimeter. Adam Thielen runs a combined 60% of his routes on that side and the slot, so he’ll have not only have the advantage against King when he’s on the outside left, but the Packers are also giving up the 13th most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 8 weeks. Both guys are WR2s this week.
Vikings TE: Kyle Rudolph absolutely killed it last year in Week 16… not that it should affect your championship week this year… or should it? Green Bay has given up the 9th most fantasy points to tight ends this year. They didn’t see a good tight end last week or the week before, but Kaden Smith caught 6 for 70 in Week 13, George Kittle went 6/129/1 the week before that, Greg Olsen caught 8 for 98 right in the game before that, Hunter Henry 7 for 84, Travis Kelce 4 for 63, Darren Waller and Foster Moreau combined for 9/148/3, and I rest my case. Damn, all that for Rudolph? He probably won’t do shit this week, but I thought this was worth writing out. He’s a fringe TE1.
Vikings QB: Kirk Cousins might have to put more on his shoulder with Dalvin Cook potentially not playing this week. All of his weapons are back and have good matchups for the most part, so he has a good chance of having a good game. He’s a back-end QB this week. Cousins doesn’t have a great history in prime time games, but that has to end at some point right? Right?