The matchup for either Metcalf or Lockett isnít scary and
the projected game script would indicate the Seahawks could be
trailing most of the game, which should be a good thing for the
Seattle pass catchers. However, Seattleís ability to maintain
drives will be key for either Metcalf or Lockett to post a good
fantasy outing. San Franciscoís defense can be suffocating
at times, making it difficult for more than one receiver to finish
with a decent fantasy day. Iíll lean toward Metcalf who
is the healthier of the two but it should be noted that Lockett
posted more targets (20) and yards (175) than Metcalf (15, 90)
in the two meetings with San Francisco this season.
No running back ran for 100 yards against San Francisco this
season and as you might imagine, they gave up the fewest amount
of rushing yards (1,013) in the league. Walker has seen 20-plus
carries has topped 100 rushing yards in three straight games.
Itís clear that Pete Carroll would love to ground and pound but
how quickly will he get away from that philosophy if Walker starts
out with 9 carries for 23 yards? DeeJay Dallas (ankle, quad) has
been limited in practice this week giving more ammo to the belief
that Walker will see the high majority of touches at running back.
Volume wonít be the concern for Walker but efficiency will be.
In the two games Geno played against San Francisco this season
he managed just 1 TD and averaged 218 passing yards. Heís also
been trending down from a fantasy perspective, throwing more than
1 TD just once in his last four games. The 49ers-D had a blip
back in Week 17 when they allowed Jarret Stidham to finish as
the QB3, but with a Seahawks implied team total of just 16, itís
hard to get on board with Geno in playoff fantasy leagues and
DFS tournaments this week.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Kittle has just 29 and 23 receiving yards in his last two games
but heís made up for by scoring three times including twice
against Arizona last week which ranked 2nd in fantasy points allowed
to tight ends. Guess who ranks first? Nobody has given up more
fantasy points to the position than Seattle and Kittle posted
a 4-93-2 line the last time these teams met in Week 15. With Kelce
sitting this week out, Kittle and Hockenson are the top two tight
end options in Wildcard Weekend.
Deebo returned last week from an ankle injury and played a respectable
68% of the snaps but only saw 3 targets and had one attempt in
the running game. It made sense not to give him a full workload
in his first game back, but trying to predict his usage this week
is difficult. The 49ers will have all their skill weapons available,
including Aiyuk who leads the team receiving yards (1,015) and
second on the team in receiving TDs (8). Purdy has targeted Aiyuk
more than any other receiver since the rookie took over the quarterback
job in Week 13 and has thrown at least 2 TDs in every game heís
started including 3 last week against the Cardinals. Seattleís
defense has held up well against fantasy receivers and this has
all the indications of a McCaffrey game, leaving the wideouts
and the passing game squarely on the fence for fantasy purposes.
It wouldnít be out of line for Herbert to be considered
a no-brainer this week. He passed for nearly 300 yards and a touchdown
against this defense earlier this season. And while the Jaguars
defense is playing really well right now (allowing just 15.1 fantasy
points per game to QBís over the last three weeks), Herbert
has completed 72% of his passes for 7.5 yards per attempt with
four touchdowns and no interceptions over his last two games.
Heís in play in all formats.
If Mike Williams canít go due to his back injury, I expect Palmer
to be the man to pick up those targets. Herbert forces the ball
to Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler will be more receiver than runner
against this tough Jacksonville run D. While that may put Palmer
third in line for targets, he averaged over 13 yards per catch
earlier this year when Allen and Williams were out due to injury
and he currently ranks second on the team for the season in targets,
catches, and yards. If Williams is out, he has low-end WR2 value.
Everett hasnít posted at least 50 receiving yards in a
game since Week 13, and at this point is fourth in line for targets,
even with Mike Williams out of the lineup. He could see a bump
as an outlet against a strong Jaguars pass rush. But even then,
Herbert seems more likely to find Allen or Ekeler in those situations.
The Chargers are also playing four tight ends which limited Everettís
snap percentage to 44% last week.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Lawrence did not play particularly well in Week 18 against a
very tough Titans defense. With HC Doug Pederson whispering in
his ear this week, I donít expect that to happen again.
Lawrence has seemingly arrived in recent months. Over his last
five games heís averaging 8.0 yards per attempt, completing
just under 70% of his passes and has eight TD throws to just two
interceptions, spreading the ball to a full complement of weapons.
I think the Jaguars will run the ball to win, but they will throw
to score. Donít expect big yardage numbers, but Lawrence
will throw a couple TDs in this game and could add value as a
runner on designed run plays against an aggressive pass rush.
If you miss out on the big dogs, I donít think Lawrence
is hurting you this week.
The Chargers have a talented secondary and they will be focused
on Kirk at every turn this week. Lawrence will force him the ball,
but this will be a run-first attack against a Chargers team allowing
5.4 yards per attempt (worst in the NFL), and with coverage rolled
to him, Kirkís ceiling may be limited. Donít expect typical WR1
production this week. Iím more inclined to look at Zay Jones,
who could be just as productive and have more favorable matchups.
Jones caught just two of his six targets last week at the end
of what has been a fairly disappointing campaign, and is probably
fourth in line for targets right now. I donít expect him
to pop this week.
The Miami running backs been streaky all season, especially since
Jeff Wilson arrived on the roster back in Week 9. He and Raheem
Mostert have been going back and forth on leading the backfield.
It appeared that Mostert had begun to run away with the job toward
the latter part of the season, only for Wilson to swoop in and
lead the team in carries for three straight weeks to wrap up the
regular season. Wilson missed the teamís Week 15 matchup
against the Bills, whom theyíll be facing again this weekend,
but he stepped right into a split upon his return and then really
took over with 15 and 16 carries to go along with five receptions
over the final two weeks of the season. This backfield remains
extremely difficult to decipher and we could easily see things
swing back in Mostertís direction, but Wilson appears to
be the guy right now and heís seeing enough volume to justify
starting him even against a Buffalo defense that has been above-average
at containing running backs this season. Wilson is dealing with
an illness that has limited him in practice this week, but heís
expected to be ready by game time.
If we like Wilson then it makes a bit of sense that Mostert would
be in a lower tier for this week, but donít forget that
the Dolphins have been messing with fantasy managersí heads
all season with the unpredictability in their backfield. He got
an opportunity to start a game back in Week 15 when Wilson was
out and he actually crushed this very same Buffalo defense that
heíll see this weekend. Mostert carried the ball 17 times
for 136 yards in that contest, adding an additional 20 yards as
a receiver, which was by far his biggest total yardage game of
the season. However, Wilson is expected to be on the field this
weekend and the same cannot necessarily be said about Mostert
as of this time. Mostert is dealing with a thumb injury that has
kept him out of practice as of Thursday and heís now very
questionable heading into this contest. Even if he does play,
thereís a good chance that heíll be limited in action
as the second option out of the backfield, but we do have to keep
in mind that thereís at least a reasonable possibility that
Mike McDaniel will throw all of us a curveball and just roll with
Mostert, which would certainly make him a useful fantasy asset.
The quarterback situation in Miami has been brutal down the stretch
and itís really seemed to limit Jaylen Waddle. The second-year
wide receiver has been held to five or fewer receptions in nine
straight games while only once eclipsing seven targets over that
stretch. He did mix in a couple of nice performances even on that
limited target share, including a three-catch, 114-yard, one-touchdown
performance against the Bills who heíll see again this weekend,
but we certainly donít want to bank on that kind of efficiency.
This is particularly true with a quarterback, Skylar Thompson,
who has looked mediocre at best in the few chances heís had this
season. We know that Waddle is a threat to score every time heís
targeted so thatís why heís not on the ďfadeĒ list, but heís certainly
teetering close to that here in the Wild Card round.
With Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater both not expected to
play, the Dolphins will again turn to Skyler Thompson to start.
He got his first start this past weekend against the Jets in what
was a must-win game for the Dolphins and while he delivered that
W, he certainly did not inspire much confidence in himself or
the Dolphinsí offense for fantasy managers. Thompson has two of
the best deep-threat receivers in the league as his weapons, but
he primarily operated underneath against the Jets in Week 18.
This led to a low-scoring performance, which was only really able
to be useful because the Jetsí offense was even more incompetent
than the Dolphinsí. Facing a Bills defense that held opposing
quarterbacks to the seventh-fewest fantasy points on the season
just doesnít seem like a great time to take a chance on Thompson
Tight end Mike Gesicki has been bad for most of the season, but
we did get a little bit of an interesting situation over the final
two weeks of the season with Skylar Thompson at the helm. Gesicki
was targeted four and then six times in those final two games
which wasnít anything special, but it was certainly a step
up from the five-game stretch prior to that in which he did not
see more than two targets in a single contest. Thereís probably
a bit of excitement about Gesicki heading into this weekendís
games because of that, but try not to fall into that trap. Heís
essentially a touchdown-or-bust player who scored five times during
the regular season and heís now facing a Buffalo defense
that was the only NFL defense that did not concede a touchdown
to an opposing tight end during the regular season. This is about
as bad of a matchup as can possibly be scripted for Gesicki, so
avoid him as usual.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Tight end production has been tough to find this season, but
one player whoís really stepped up down the stretch has
been the Billsí Dawson Knox. Knox struggled throughout most
of the regular season, then apparently decided to turn on the
burners, scoring a touchdown in each of his final four regular-season
games. It hasnít been overly fluky, either, as Knox actually
averaged over five targets per game during that stretch which
is in line with the better non-Travis-Kelce tight ends in the
league. Itís also worth noting that Knoxís best fantasy
game of the season came back in Week 15 when he met this Miami
defense. He saw season-highs in targets (eight), receptions (six),
and yards (98) in that game while also scoring a touchdown. We
know that Diggs is the top dog in this passing game, but Knox
has really established himself as the second-best option down
the stretch and will probably be an under-the-radar great play
against this Dolphins defense that really struggled against opposing
TEs this season, having conceded the fourth-most points to the
position on the year.
The Buffalo backfield has been more of a committee than weíd
like to see for fantasy, but Devin Singletary has maintained a
strong hold on the carries for most of the season. That hasnít
always resulted in a ton of touches, as he only exceeded 15 carries
twice throughout the regular season, but he was somewhere between
11 and 14 carries in seven games throughout the year. He now faces
a Miami defense that he performed fairly well against this season.
Not typically known as much of a pass-catcher, Singletary quietly
caught 12 total passes in the two games he played against the
Dolphins. He struggled as a runner, producing just 55 yards on
22 carries in those games, but heís the lead back in one
of the leagueís best offenses, so thereís still hope
for a decent double-digit fantasy day from him here in the Wild
With single-digit PPR scores in five of his final six games,
Davis really capped off what was an overall extremely disappointing
fantasy regular season in 2023. Thereís a bit of reason
to be encouraged as he was actually targeted 10 times, tying a
season-high, in Week 18, but even then, he was only able to haul
in three of those passes for 39 yards and no touchdowns. We know
that Davis is always capable of taking very few targets and turning
them into useful fantasy production with a long score, but thatís
just not something that fantasy managers would be banking on.
The Dolphins have generally done well against similar deep-threat
receivers throughout the season and Davis himself only caught
seven passes for 93 yards and no touchdowns in the two games he
played against Miami this season.
Jones closed the 2022 season with arguably his top two performances,
racking up over 500 yards passing, 120-plus yards rushing, and
5 combined TDs. As it happens, one of those efforts came against
Minnesota in New Yorkís Week 16 OT loss. In that game, the
Duke alum completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 334 yards,
1 TD, and 1 INT; he also ran for 34 yards at 8.5 YPC. Granted,
this is Jonesí postseason debut, so there could be some
nerves, but he rested in Week 18 and should be healthy and ready
to contribute as a dual threat against the Vikings.
Although Darius Slayton (46-724-2) led the Giants in receiving,
it was James and Hodgins that came on down the stretch. In the
Week 16 meeting with Minnesota, Hodgins turned a dozen targets
into eight receptions, 89 yards, and a touchdown; meanwhile, James
posted an 8-90-0 line on 11 looks. Over his final four games,
James corralled 26 passes for 269 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Hodgins scored in four of his last five games, though he only
topped 45 yards once in that span, so heís more TD dependent.
Both players have a clear pathway to value.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Outside of his brutal performance in Green Bay on New Yearís
Day, Cousins was dialed in over the seasonís final five
weeks. That includes his 299-yard, 3-TD effort against the G-Men
back in Week 16. The veteran has a well-documented history of
coming up small in big games, but youíd be hard pressed
to call New York a top-tier team, especially after they won just
twice over their final eight. At home indoors against a middling
opponent, Cousins could be in for a big day.
Osborn closed strong, catching 30 passes for 388 yards and 3 TDs
over the last five games. While those are good numbers, they should
be taken with a grain of salt. His biggest game (10-157-1) came
in the historic comeback against the Colts where all the Vikings
did was throw. His game against Green Bay (7-59-1) was mostly
garbage time production, and Week 18 against Chicago (5-117-0)
was a glorified scrimmage. Still, he wildly outpaced Adam Thielen
during that stretch, and he may be in line for a bigger role in
the playoffs. Then again, maybe Cousins prefers the veteran Thielen
with the season on the line. Thatís the risk.
Steady but unspectacular for most of 2022, Thielen caught three
passes or fewer on six occasions in his final eight games. That
was true in each of his last four games, including a season-low
six yards on one reception versus New York on Dec. 24. As noted,
the one hope with Thielen here is that his experience will make
him more attractive than the likes of Osborn, Hockenson (making
his playoff debut), and Irv Smith (fresh off IR), but youíd be
bucking recent trends.
Clearly deciding beforehand that their Week 18 matchup against
Cincinnati wasnít worth going all-in on, the Ravens held
out their two most explosive offensive players in Andrews and
Dobbins. That should lead to Dobbins being fresh, and the Ohio
State product has looked good in four games since returning from
IR, logging 57 carries, 397 yards (6.9 YPC), and a score. While
he didnít see heavy usage -- he posted between 12 and 17
touches in the four games -- this is win-or-go-home time, so donít
be shocked if he gets more touches in this one. The one caveat
is that Dobbins has never done much as a receiver, so if Baltimore
falls behind it could lead to more snaps for someone like Justice
Hill and fewer for Dobbins.
If you want to know why the Ravens kept the likes of Andrews
and Dobbins on ice last Sunday, look no further than Edwards,
who departed the Week 18 loss to Cincinnati with a concussion
after carrying the ball four times for 16 yards. He hasnít practiced
this week and is in danger of missing the seasonís third meeting
between these two clubs. If he canít go, itíd be a blow to the
Ravens as Edwards averaged 59.3 rushing yards per game in his
first seven outings of 2022. If he clears the leagueís protocol,
Edwards should have a significant role in what figures to be a
run-heavy gameplan. If not, expect veteran Kenyan Drake to see
are expected to play both Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown
Lamar Jackson (knee) has been ruled out and will miss his sixth
straight game this Sunday. Now the question is whether Huntley,
who is dealing with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, will
be ready to return after giving way to Anthony Brown in Week 18.
While Huntley is more accomplished than Brown, he topped 150 yards
passing just once in five appearances this season and is, at best,
a facilitator. The weakness at quarterback trickles down to the
receivers, too, as even last week with Andrews out it was backup
TE Isaiah Likely that led the team in receiving with an 8-103-0
line. None of the Baltimore wideouts (Robinson, DeSean Jackson,
Sammy Watkins) are reliable.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
While you donít want to read too much into the Week 18
meeting between the two clubs, Boyd did finish second on the team
in both receptions (5) and receiving yards (51) this past Sunday.
The veteran also scored a touchdown against the Bills before that
game was called off. While his production has been down more often
than itís been up this season, Boyd is a trusted target
for Burrow, and in a big spot like this itís easy to envision
him relying on the guys he went to the Super Bowl with last year.
As noted, Burrow may prefer to go with his more familiar weapons,
which could leave the likes of Hurst and Trenton Irwin to fill
supplemental roles. While Hurst had his moments earlier in the
year, he did little down the stretch, finishing with fewer than
30 yards in three of his last four games -- that includes a 4-14-0
mark last weekend. With just five of Burrowís 40 passes a week
ago going to tight ends (as opposed to 29 to his wideouts), Hurstís
opportunities could be few and far between.
Prior to last weekís dud, Pollard had a four-game stretch where
he averaged a respectable 3.5 yards per carry. He also had three
games with at least four catches. After watching last weekís film,
Bucs HC Todd Bowles will have his defense blitzing the snot out
of Dak Prescott. The Cowboys will have to counter a concerted
effort in the run game, preferably with outside zone runs from
Pollard, getting the front moving laterally instead of up field,
and with the quick passing game, which is where Pollard excels
over Ezekiel Elliott. If itís going to be a good day for Dallas,
it will have to be a good day for Pollard.
While Tampaís defense has played fairly well against the
pass, they have given up 29 touchdowns through the air (2nd most
in the NFL) and have been particularly susceptible in the red
zone. Thatís where Schultz comes in. Heís second on
the team in targets and should be high in Dak Prescottís
progressions this week as he looks to get rid of the ball quickly
against an aggressive defense. Schultz has two multi-TD games
in the second half of the season, and this could shape up to be
another opportunity for him if the Cowboys can move the ball and
create some red zone opportunities.
Elliottís value has been tied to his goal line work all
season. I donít think those opportunities present themselves
this week as Dallas should be looking to throw against this Tampa
defense near the goal line. Zeke has basically been a non-factor
in the passing game recently with one reception in his last three
games and the Bucs have given up the fifth fewest fantasy points
to running backs this season.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
While Leonard Fournette has re-emerged as the RB1 in Tampa, White
presents some interesting challenges for the Dallas defense. Heís
a more explosive runner, and his quickness could help slow the
Cowboys pass rush if they have to honor his speed out of the backfield.
Heís also a valuable receiver with at least four catches in five
of his last six games prior to last weekís limited snaps. Look
for him to play a major role as a check-down option for QB Tom
Brady against a Dallas front trying to disrupt his rhythm.
The Cowboys posted 54 sacks during the season and will be looking
to get pressure up the middle on Tom Brady. For that reason, I
donít see him having a lot of time to push the ball downfield
to Evans. However, if the Bucs can get the run game going efficiently,
Brady will use play-action to open up some deep shots. If Evans
draws CB Trevon Diggs, expect Brady to look for other options.
Gage has had 19 catches and three touchdowns in his last four
games. But in a win or go home contest, with Mike Evans and Chris
Godwin fully rested, I expect Gage’s role to be limited,
especially in a game plan that should be focused on running the
ball. Gage was banged up last week but did practice on Thursday
so monitor injury reports if you want to take a flier on him.
Julio Jones (knee) has also been limited in practice this week.