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Inside the Matchup
Week 14
12/6/18; Updated: 12/7/18

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | Justin Bales



Sunday Early:


PIT @ OAK | NE @ MIA | NO @ TB | NYG @ WAS | ATL @ GB

Sunday Late:




- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Jaguars @ Titans - (Bales)
Line: TEN -4.5
Total: 37.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Jaguars passing game was virtually non-existent last week with Cody Kessler drawing his first start. Kessler threw for 150 yards without any touchdowns or interceptions on 24 pass attempts. He also ran for 28 yards, but makes an awful option due to lack of upside. He also gets a tough matchup against the Titans, who are allowing only 221.0 passing yards per game this season. They have allowed 16 passing touchdowns, while recording only seven interceptions and allow the 4th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks .

Kessler’s inability to take shots down the field limit the upside of any Jaguars receiver or tight end. Donte Moncrief comes with some upside because of his big play ability, while Dede Westbrook should continue to command the most targets. Neither make great options though, and D.J. Chark (if healthy) and Keelan Cole can also be avoided. At tight end, James O’Shaughnessy only saw two targets last week, and is also a poor option in this matchup.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: Tennessee has struggled at times against the run this season, allowing 119.8 rushing yards per game. They have also allowed eight rushing touchdowns. Leonard Fournette was suspended last week, allowing T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde to combine for 21 carries and eight receptions (nine targets). Fournette will likely give way to Yeldon at times in this game, but he’s still the featured back. Since returning from injury, Fournette is averaging 119.3 yards and 1.7 touchdowns on 26.7 touches (3.3 targets) per game. Tennessee doesn’t have the offense to blowout the Jaguars, meaning Fournette could see decent game script for the majority of the game.

Value Meter:
RB1: Leonard Fournette (mid-range)
Bench: Cody Kessler, Dede Westrbrook, Donte Moncrief, T.J. Yeldon

Passing Game Thoughts: The Jaguars have featured one of the best passing defenses in the NFL this season, holding Andrew Luck and the Colts to a goose egg last week. On the season, they are allowing 207.0 passing yards per game and have allowed only 15 passing touchdowns, while recording nine interceptions. Marcus Mariota has been heating up recently, throwing two touchdowns in four of his last five games. He was injured in his first matchup against the Jaguars and threw for only 100 yards on 18 attempts but added 51 yards on the ground. This is a terrible matchup for Mariota and he should be avoided unless you’re in a terrible spot this week.

Corey Davis has been far and away the best receiver for the Titans this season, averaging 4.3 receptions for 62.0 yards and 0.3 touchdowns on 7.6 targets per game. He’s been playing at a higher level recently, scoring touchdowns in three of his last four games. Taywan Taylor needed only five targets to record three receptions for 104 yards last week, but he has been far too inconsistent to consider on this slate. Jonnu Smith is an athletic tight end, scoring double-digit fantasy points in four of his last five games. Jacksonville has also struggled against the tight end this season, making Smith a high upside option. Surprisingly, Anthony Firkser has recorded three or more receptions in each of his last three games. He’s a tight end that can be considered if you’re in a tough spot, but he doesn’t make a great option.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: Jacksonville is another team that has struggled a bit against the run this season, allowing 108.4 rushing yards per game this season. They have also allowed 10 rushing touchdowns. Derrick Henry has found some success, but has been an extremely touchdown dependent player. He totaled only 57 rushing yards on 18 carries in his first matchup against Jacksonville, and he’ll likely see fewer carries this week. Dion Lewis has featured plenty of ups and downs, but he has been the running back to own in Tennessee. Through 12 games, he’s averaging 64.5 yards and 0.2 touchdowns on 15.0 touches (3.8 receptions) per game. He certainly comes with upside, but again, this is a bad matchup for the entire Tennessee offense.

Value Meter:
RB2: Dion Lewis (low-end)
WR3: Corey Davis
TE2: Jonnu Smith (high upside)
Bench: Marcus Mariota, Derrick Henry

Prediction: Titans 14, Jaguars 10 ^ Top

Ravens @ Chiefs - (Caron)
Line: KC -6.5
Total: 51.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Ravens passing game has taken a hit since Lamar Jackson took over as the quarterback, but the fantasy production from the quarterback position has been great. Jackson brings a unique skill that has almost never been in the NFL. Yes, he still has plenty to work on as a pure passer, particularly with his footwork and throwing mechanics, but what he is capable of doing with his legs is simply incredible - and it’s why he’s a serious contender to be a top 12 quarterback each and every week, regardless of matchup. Jackson has thrown for just 453 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions in his three starts, but he’s added 265 yards and two touchdowns as a runner in those games. That translates to over 15 fantasy points per game - and remember that this is about his floor as a passer. We truly haven’t seen his ceiling. Receivers John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead are all players who should probably be on your bench until we see Jackson lock in on one of them, but Jackson himself has a great matchup against a Kansas City defense that has given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: The Ravens offense has predictably changed almost entirely since Jackson became quarterback and that also includes the running game. While he’s not exposing defenses with his arm, what Jackson is capable of doing with his legs is working to hold defenders’ attention long enough to open up running lanes for his running backs. Gus Edwards has benefited from this, rushing for a total of 315 yards in the three starts Jackson has made. He hasn’t contributed much in the passing game, however, and that is a bit of a concern as the Ravens will be facing a Kansas City team that is capable of lighting up the scoreboard. If the Ravens do find themselves behind, we might see more of running back/former wide receiver Ty Montgomery who has caught eight passes over his past two games. Montgomery has also been given 11 carries over those two games, so there’s some upside for him to be used both as a runner and a pass catcher in this contest. Edwards is a bit of a risk, especially in PPR formats, but he does present some upside if the Ravens are able to stay relatively close in this game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson
RB2: Gus Edwards
Flex: Ty Montgomery (deep option in PPR formats only)
Bench: John Brown, Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst, Kenneth Dixon

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s easy to look at the Chiefs’ matchup against the Ravens and be worried, but it’s important to not over-emphasize the opposition when talking about elite offenses. The Chiefs have been on a historic pace this season, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes who should again be considered a strong QB1 play this week even though the Ravens have given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. Tight end Travis Kelce, who scored twice this past week, is again one of the top two or three options on the board at the position and should be deployed without concern. Tyreek Hill, who was held to just one catch for 13 yards against the Raiders, is the player who is probably most concerning heading into this matchup due to his lack of production this past week. Hill has shown incredible upside at times this season, but these types of games are part of what you have to deal with sometimes when you own a big time down-field playmaker like Hill. There will be a lot of big games, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Hill might get benched by over-reactionary fantasy owners, but don’t fall into that trap. Yes, this is a difficult matchup, but Hill still saw plenty of deep targets last week and should be in line for more of that this week.

The other starting wide receiver position is one to pay attention to, as well. Sammy Watkins (foot) continues to be banged up and is again on the injury report this week, which leads us to believe that Chris Conley will likely get another start here in Week 13. Conley was held to just three catches for 25 yards in Week 13 with Watkins out of the lineup, but he did score a touchdown to return value for those who took a chance on him. We shouldn’t expect a high touchdown rate for Conley, but he has scored three times over his past two games and could be an important part of the offense this week if the Ravens choose to shade coverage toward Hill.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: Spencer Ware got his first chance to start this season in Week 13 and while he got into the end zone, it’s hard not to be concerned that he was quite inefficient with his 14 carries, turning them into just 47 rushing yards against a bad Oakland defense. This week Ware will see a Baltimore defense that has only allowed two running backs to eclipse 65 rushing yards so far this season. Not only that, but they’ve only given up five total rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs so far in 2018. Their league-best fantasy defense is something we do have to be worried about because Ware simply isn’t an elite talent and he’s not getting all of the touches out of the backfield either, as Damien Williams carried the ball five times in the Chiefs’ win over the Raiders while adding two catches. With Ware splitting time, at least to some extent, and the Chiefs being a much more pass-happy offense so far this season, Ware should be considered more of a low-end RB2 this week than the high-end RB2 he was in Week 13.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
RB2: Spencer Ware (low-end)
WR1: Tyreek Hill
TE1: Travis Kelce
Flex: Chris Conley (if Sammy Watkins is out)
Bench: Damien Williams, Sammy Watkins, Demetrius Harris

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Ravens 23 ^ Top

Jets at Bills - (Katz)
Line: BUF -3.5
Total: 38.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Sam Darnold is back this week and it’s just in time to face the league’s top ranked pass defense. The Bills allow a league low 187 yards per game through the air. Darnold missed the debacle that was the Jets last contest with the Bills where they lost 41-10. Darnold has completed an uninspiring 55% of his throws this season and when we last saw him in Week 9, he was throwing four picks and no touchdowns. Darnold will have Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson available this week, but neither is a reliable fantasy option. Chris Herndon has emerged into a worthwhile TE streamer, but the Bills are second in the league in covering the TE. This is a bad spot on the road and one in which you should avoid all Jets.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: Isaiah Crowell (toe) missed practice Thursday, but I still expect him to be out there this weekend. The Bills allow 4.1 yards per carry and their 12 rushing touchdowns allowed are more a product of the negative game script they’ve faced than a poor run defense. If there’s any area this defense struggles, it’s in defending pass catching RBs. The Bills are slightly below average in that area, but you are not even thinking about using Elijah McGuire unless Crowell is inactive.

Value Meter:
Bench: Sam Darnold, Chris Herndon, Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Isaiah Crowell, Elijah McGuire

Passing Game Thoughts: As much as I’d like to tell you how terrible of a quarterback Josh Allen is, for fantasy purposes, all we care about is production. Allen can’t throw a football, but he’s rushed for 135 and 99 yards in each of his last two games. It seems absurd that a QB with more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (5) is somehow fantasy viable, but rushing numbers are a cheat code. From a passing department, the Bills receiving corps actually got a slight boost heading into this week via addition by the subtraction of Kelvin Benjamin. Zay Jones is a sneaky streaming option for the desperate. The Jets are about average against opposing WR1s, but volume is always a concern with Bills pass catchers as Sean McDermott would prefer to have Allen throw as little as possible.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: LeSean McCoy has had one really good game this season and it was against the Jets. You can bank on history repeating itself, but I can’t endorse a guy with two touchdowns all season. With Allen opting to run so often, McCoy’s passing game usage has gone down, averaging fewer than four targets per game. The Jets are one of the weaker run defenses, allowing 4.5 yards per carry and we’ve already seen McCoy torch them, but if you somehow made the playoffs with McCoy on your team, you didn’t do so by starting him. Keep it that way.

Value Meter:
QB2: Josh Allen (mid range)
Flex: Zay Jones
Bench: LeSean McCoy

Prediction: Bills 20, Jets 16 ^ Top

Panthers @ Browns - (Swanson)
Line: CAR -1.5
Total: 47.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Cam Newton enters Sunday’s fantasy playoff game against the Browns as the No.3 ranked quarterback with 26.2 fantasy points per game. Newton has just two games of fewer than 20 fantasy points and four games, including his three-touchdown game against the Lions Week 11, of over 30 fantasy points.

Although his rushing yards and touchdowns are not what they were in previous seasons, he still leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards this season (450), and he is tied with Josh Allen for second in rushing touchdowns with (4).

The Browns present a solid matchup for Newton owners as the No.11 ranked team in points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Seven opposing quarterbacks reached at least 20 fantasy points against Cleveland this season, including three 30-point games by Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, and Patrick Mahomes. In the games in which the Browns limited opposing quarterbacks to fewer than 20 points, it was often due to the fact that the opposing running back on the opposition posted a monster game.

Newton should be considered an elite play this week in all formats, especially in four-point per passing touchdown leagues. Look for him to continue to lean heavily on running back Christian McCaffrey in the passing game. Teams with excellent pass-catching backs like CMC have found decent success in passing out of the backfield, and no running back in the league has more receptions than McCaffrey.

With at least one touchdown or 80 receiving yards in four of his last five games and a career-high 11 targets last week against the Bucs, Curtis Samuel has developed into a reliable target for Newton and a viable flex option for fantasy owners. Although Devin Funchess returned last week and will continue to be part of the offense, the loss of tight end Greg Olsen to a season-ending foot injury should keep Samuels an active part of the passing game.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Christian McCaffrey is an elite start this week in all fantasy formats and should be quite active against a Browns team that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points on the season to opposing running backs.

Blue chip fantasy running backs like McCaffrey have had a field day against Gregg Williams’ defense. Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, and James Conner (twice) each posted multi-touchdown games this season vs. the Browns, giving hope to CMC owners that he too will come through in his critical Week 14 matchup.

Defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi is listed as questionable with a biceps injury. Although he is slated to play, he will likely be at less than 100%, making CMC’s prospects for an excellent game even more promising.

Value Meter:
QB1: Cam Newton (Elite)
RB1: Christian McCaffrey (Elite)
WR2: D.J. Moore (High-End)
WR3: Curtis Samuel (High-End)
WR3: Devin Funchess (Low-End)
TE2: Ian Thomas (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Baker Mayfield looks to be well worth the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft after posting the eighth-most fantasy points over the past five weeks, including a four-touchdown day against the Bengals Week 12.

Since Week 9, Mayfield has more fantasy points than Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, and even Mr. three touchdowns per game himself, Andrew Luck. Last week’s three-interception debacle was sort of a head-scratcher considering the way Mayfield played in his previous three games, but he did still finish with 23.9 fantasy points and nearly 400 passing yards.

Like all good quarterbacks, Mayfield has taken advantage of prime matchups against subpar defenses like the Falcons and Bengals. This week’s home matchup against a Panthers defense that allows the sixth-most points to opposing quarterback certainly constitutes a prime matchup for Mayfield and the Browns passing offense.

After four weeks of 50 or fewer receiving yards and zero touchdowns, Jarvis Landry came through with 103 yards and six receptions on nine targets against the Texans. One of the negatives that came from the change at offensive coordinator from Todd Haley to Freddie Kitchens has been the volume for Landry in the passing game. Landry has not reached double figures in targets since Week 9 as Mayfield continues to spread the ball around and the Browns continue to focus more on the run with Nick Chubb.

An interesting matchup to watch will be tight end David Njoku against the linebackers and nickel corners of the Panthers. Carolina is surprisingly terrible against tight ends this season, with a league-leading nine touchdowns allowed in 12 games. Ten different tight ends going against Carolina in 2018 have either scored a touchdown or topped 50 yards. If Njoku can play through a knee injury that limited him in practice on Wednesday and play in this game, he could be a top-five tight end play with the upside of a touchdown or two.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb continues to be a dominant fantasy asset since taking over as the lead running back for the Browns Week 7. The rookie from Georgia trails only Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, and Ezekiel Elliott in fantasy points per game dating back to Week 9.

Chubb has been the model of consistency during that span with a rushing touchdown in five of his last six games and multi-touchdown performances in two of his previous three. When the Browns are ahead and the game script does not force Kitchens to use Duke Johnson more than usual, Chubb averages around 70% of the offensive snaps. Assuming that the Browns do not get down early against the Panthers and can keep pace with their base offense of Chubb as the primary back, a 70% snap count should be in line once again for the first-year tailback.

Conversely, Duke Johnson’s value appears only to be realized in game situations like the Kansas City and Atlanta when the Browns are playing against teams that struggle on defense to stop receiving backs.

Value Meter:
QB1: Baker Mayfield (Low-End)
RB1: Nick Chubb (High-End)
WR2: Jarvis Landry (Low-End)
WR4: Antonio Callaway (High-End)
TE1: David Njoku (Mid-Range)

Prediction: Panthers 30, Browns 27 ^ Top

Colts @ Texans - (Bales)
Line: HOU -4.5
Total: 50.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Andrew Luck is coming off of a tough matchup against the Jaguars, but he had thrown at least three touchdowns in each of his last eight games prior to that. On the season, he’s averaging 280.0 yards and 2.7 touchdowns on 40.1 pass attempts per game. He’ll likely be forced to throw the ball 40+ in a competitive game this weekend, as well. He gets a much better matchup against the Texans, who are allowing 250.0 passing yards per game. They have allowed 20 passing touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 2018, as well.

T.Y. Hilton (shoulder) has been his top receiving option all season, and he has been playing at an extremely high level over the last three weeks. Over that span, he’s averaging 8.0 receptions for 119.0 yards and 0.7 touchdowns on 10.7 targets per game. Dontrelle Inman (shoulder) has been playing a larger role recently, totaling four or more targets in each of his last five games. With that being said, he hasn’t produced well enough to be considered. Jack Doyle was recently injured, and Eric Ebron has taken over at tight end once again. Over the last two weeks, he’s averaging 7.5 receptions for 63.0 yards and 1.0 touchdown on 11.5 targets per game. He’s an elite tight end option, and the only other player that should truly be considered in this receiving group.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: Marlon Mack has been a featured part of the offense for the majority of the season, but that wasn’t the case last week. On the season, he’s averaging 84.2 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 16.1 touches per game. Nyheim Hines hasn’t been a big part of the offense recently, but he did see nine targets last week. That may have been a bit of an outlier, and he’s best suited for the bench for the time being. Houston has featured one of the best run defenses in the NFL, allowing only 91.3 rushing yards per game this season. They have also allowed only six rushing touchdowns in 2018. The Colts could be playing from behind a bit in this game, making Mack a risky option, as he tends to give way to Hines on passing downs.

Value Meter:
QB1: Andrew Luck
RB2: Marlon Mack (high risk)
WR1: T.Y. Hilton (low-end)
TE1: Eric Ebron (high-end)

Passing Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson has looked outstanding this season, averaging 252.6 yards and 1.8 touchdowns on 30.3 pass attempts per game. He has also totaled 375 yards and two touchdowns on the ground through 12 games. He gets somewhat of a tough matchup against the Colts, who have quietly featured a solid pass defense. On the season, they are allowing only 244.0 passing yards per game. They have also held their opponents to only 18 touchdowns, while recording 11 interceptions. With that being said, Watson threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 41 yards and one touchdown on the ground against the Colts in their only matchup this season.

DeAndre Hopkins has cooled off recently, but he’s still averaging 6.7 receptions for 92.9 yards and 0.7 touchdowns on 9.5 targets per game. He has only seen double-digit targets in two of his last seven games after seeing 10+ targets in each of his first five this season. Keke Coutee was ruled out last week with an injury, but he could potentially return this week. With that being said, he hasn’t been playing a large enough role to safely be considered. Demaryius Thomas flashed against the Titans, posting a 4/38/2 line on five targets, but he has been wildly unsuccessful with his new team in his other games. He’s a player that can safely stay on benches at this point in the season. The Texans tight ends are splitting snaps with each other, and they can all be avoided at this point as well.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Surprisingly, the Colts have featured an above average run defense, allowing only 104.1 rushing yards per game. They have also held their opponents to only eight rushing touchdowns in 2018. Lamar Miller has been playing at a high level recently, averaging 111.7 yards and 0.5 touchdowns on 18.5 touches over his last six games. He has run for 100+ yards in four of those games, as well. Alfred Blue has seen 13+ carries in four of his last five games, but he hasn’t produced well enough to be considered. Houston could be leading this game, though, which could lead to a few more carries for Miller.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson (low-end)
RB2: Lamar Miller (high-end)
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins (high-end)

Prediction: Texans 27, Colts 24 ^ Top

Steelers @ Raiders - (Caron)
Line: PIT -10.0
Total: 51.5

Passing Game Thoughts: After his 281-yard, two touchdown performance this past week against the Chargers, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger now ranks second in the league in fantasy points, trailing only behind Patrick Mahomes. 26 touchdown passes with 13 interceptions doesn’t sound overly impressive, but Roethlisberger is also on pace for 5,260 yards passing, which would be the third-most passing yards in a single season in NFL history. It all starts with wide receivers Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster who are both solid fantasy WR1’s this season and should be again this week against a bad Raiders defense that has given up 28 passing touchdowns this season. Oakland has actually been bad enough that some opposing teams have ended up passing less than they normally would due to game script, but Roethlisberger and his pass catching weapons. Tight end Vance McDonald is also a player to keep an eye on as he’ll be against a Raiders defense that has given up more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any team this season. McDonald has caught at least three passes in seven straight games and makes for a high-floor option in this game.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: James Conner has been one of the league-winners this season, but with him already listed as out for this week’s game, the Steelers will have to turn to other options out of the backfield. The most interesting player is rookie Jaylen Samuels who hasn’t seen much work yet this season but has scored twice as a pass catcher already here in 2018. Other than the matchup and the high-powered offense, the thing that actually makes Samuels particularly interesting is his positional eligibility on the Yahoo! fantasy format. Yahoo! lists Samuels not only as a running back, but also as a tight end. That means you can put Samuels in as your starting running back OR starting tight end this week. The reason that’s particularly valuable is because the tight end position is typically touchdown-or-bust for most players and finding a player who is likely to touch the ball 10-or-more times in a game is extraordinarily rare. Samuels is a low-level RB2, but a mid-level TE1 on Yahoo! The other running back to pay attention to is Stevan Ridley who hasn’t seen a touch since Week 10 but has substantially more NFL experience as a running back than Samuels does. Ridley himself isn’t a start-worthy player until we see how this situation plays out, but it’s something to pay attention to.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger
RB2: Jaylen Samuels (PPR only)
WR1: Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster
TE1: Jaylen Samuels(on Yahoo!), Vance McDonald
Bench: Stevan Ridley, James Washington, Ryan Switzer, Jesse James

Passing Game Thoughts: Very few expected that the Raiders would even have a chance against the Chiefs, but Derek Carr put the team on his back and really put together an impressive second half, but ultimately fell short. Still, Carr threw for 285 yards and three scores while avoiding turning the ball over. The biggest beneficiary of Carr’s nice fantasy day was tight end Jared Cook, who again led the team with 100 receiving yards on seven catches with a touchdown. It was Cook’s third 100-yard day of the season as he continues to produce solid TE1 numbers in a season where the position has been pretty bad overall. Cook has now scored in three straight games and has to be considered a solid TE1 again this week against the Steelers. The other player who seemingly came out of nowhere to have a big fantasy day was Jordy Nelson, who caught all 10 of his targets for 97 yards. It was his first catch since Week 9 and Nelson has seemingly re-established himself as the WR1 in Oakland.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: Running back Doug Martin again led the Raiders in carries in Week 13 as he rushed for 61 yards on 18 carries. He scored a touchdown, but it’s hard not to look at his sub-3.4 yards per carry average and think that more touches for Jalen Richard - who rushed for 95 yards on just six carries - could have done more. Richard only caught three passes, but he is still the primary pass catching back in Oakland. Unfortunately, he’s not the leading rusher, so that significantly caps his upside, even in a matchup like this one where the Raiders might find themselves behind on the scoreboard and thus needing to pass heavily in the second half. The Steelers have given up the ninth-fewest rushing yards per attempt to opposing running backs this season, so Martin is again a low-level Flex as a touchdown-or-bust option.

Value Meter:
TE1: Jared Cook
Flex: Jalen Richard (PPR only), Doug Martin (non-PPR only), Jordy Nelson
Bench: Derek Carr, Seth Roberts, Marcell Ateman

Prediction: Steelers 31, Raiders 20 ^ Top

Patriots at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: NE -8.0
Total: 48.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The highlight of Tom Brady’s performance last week against the Vikings was his 1,000th career rushing yard. While that’s fun and all, it doesn’t translate to fantasy success. Brady played well overall, but threw just one touchdown, bringing his last five game total up to a whopping four. Josh Gordon caught it, but he only saw three targets. Julian Edelman had an abysmal game, catching just three of his eight targets, but the fact that he saw eight targets keeps him in the fantasy conversation. Rob Gronkowski is just another TE and one you should absolutely bench if you have a better option. Do not get attached the name value in Gronk – he’s not Gronk anymore – he’s just Rob. Somehow, the Dolphins are second in the league with 19 interceptions, but their 23 passing touchdowns allowed are in the bottom third of the league. Despite the overall favorable matchup, this is a game where the Patriots should experience positive game script and lean on the ground game, making Edelman the only clear starter from this passing attack.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: The passing game options will suffer severely from the fact that the Dolphins bleed points to running backs. Only two teams allow more than the Dolphins 144.7 rushing yards per game against. They are also in the bottom third in defending pass catching backs, which bodes well for James White. The pass catching specialist is coming off a bounce back performance where he saw nine targets, catching seven for 92 yards. This seems like a great spot for a Sony Michel explosion, but that requires a bit of volume, which is something that appears doubtful with Rex Burkhead back in the rotation. Burkhead played just 23% of the snaps last week, but that was enough to frustrate Michel owners. No Patriots back eclipsed the 50% threshold with White and Michel appearing in 45% and 41% respectively. I have no doubt that the Patriots will dominate on the ground. Someone is going to score. I just have no idea who.

Value Meter:
QB2: Tom Brady (high end)
RB2: James White (mid-range)
WR3: Julian Edelman
WR3: Josh Gordon
TE1: Rob Gronkowski (low end)
Flex: Sony Michel
Bench: Rex Burkhead

Passing Game Thoughts: Completing 16 of 24 passes is good. Throwing three touchdowns is good. Managing only 137 passing yards is…interesting? Ryan Tannehill is absolutely not going to be your starting QB in the first week of the fantasy playoffs and you are also not touching any of his receiving options. DeVante Parker caught a touchdown last week with Danny Amendola out. Amendola has been limited in practice this week with a knee injury but is expected to play. Kenny Stills also caught a touchdown, but he only saw six targets. There should be more volume in a game against the Patriots, who like Miami, have also allowed 23 passing touchdowns, but not enough to make Stills someone you can actually start.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Kenyan Drake played 55% of the snaps last week and only had one fewer carry (7) than Frank Gore (8). That is encouraging as Drake is so vastly superior to Gore in every way but his low usage makes it difficult to trust him. Gore is not a fantasy option, but Drake has been reestablishing himself as trustworthy thanks to a couple trips to the endzone the last two weeks. He’s caught a touchdown in two straight games and saw four and six targets in his last two respectively. The Patriots struggle against pass catching RBs, something the Vikings could not exploit last week. Drake should be heavily involved and will be aided by game script. He’s a good bet to find the end zone again this week.

Value Meter:
RB2: Kenyan Drake (low end)
Bench: Ryan Tannehill, Frank Gore, Kenny Stills

Prediction: Patriots 27, Dolphins 20 ^ Top

Saints @ Buccaneers - (Bales)
Line: NO -9.5
Total: 54.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Buccaneers have featured one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL this season, allowing 274.0 yards per game. They have also allowed a league-high 28 passing touchdowns, while recording only seven interceptions. Drew Brees, on the other hand, has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season, averaging 271.8 yards and 2.5 touchdowns on 32.0 pass attempts per game. In their only matchup this season, Brees threw for 439 yards and three touchdowns. The only real concern in this game is a blowout, but New Orleans could be looking to score as many points as possible as they look to redeem one of their only two losses on the season.

Michael Thomas has been Brees’ top receiving option this season, averaging 7.6 receptions for 93.3 yards and 0.7 touchdowns on 8.8 targets per game. Surprisingly, Thomas has seen fewer than 10 targets in eight of his last nine games. Tampa Bay simply does not have anyone that can guard him though, as he posted a 16/180/1 line against them on 17 targets in their first matchup. The rest of the Saints receiving options are a bit of a toss up. Keith Kirkwood has seen only three targets per game over the last two weeks, but he has scored a touchdown in each game. Tre’Quan Smith combined for one target in Week 10 and 13, while posting a 10/157/1 line Week 11, and sitting out Week 12. Ben Watson is the starting tight end, but he has been out-produced by Dan Arnold recently, although Arnold also struggles to produce fantasy value for the most part. Smith can be used if you’re in dire need of a big game, but Michael Thomas is the only receiver or tight end that is safe in this situation.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: Mark Ingram’s role in the Saints offense has been anything but steady this season. Through eight games, he’s averaging 75.3 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 14.0 touches per game. He’s a touchdown dependent running back, but this game should feature plenty of scoring, and New Orleans could lean on him to run out the clock. Alvin Kamara is the better option in the backfield, averaging 108.1 yards and 1.3 touchdowns on 18.8 touches (5.4 receptions) per game. He isn’t quite as good of a fantasy option with Ingram in the lineup, but he still makes an elite play and will see his touches regardless of game script. This is also a plus matchup for both backs, as Tampa Bay is allowing 121.0 rushing yards per game this season. They have allowed 14 rushing touchdowns, as well.

Value Meter:
QB1: Drew Brees (high-end)
RB1: Alvin Kamara (elite)
RB2: Mark Ingram
WR1: Michael Thomas (high-end)
Flex: Tre’Quan Smith (high risk)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Saints are another team that has struggled against the pass this season. They’re currently allowed 279.0 passing yards per game, while also allowing 22 touchdowns. Furthermore, they have only recorded 10 interceptions. Jameis Winston will draw the start again this week, and he has been an outstanding fantasy option when on the field. Through seven games (although all weren’t full games), he’s averaging 277.3 yards and 1.7 touchdowns on 33.1 pass attempts per game. He’s also averaging 28.1 yards per game on the ground this season. He has thrown for two touchdowns in each of his last three games, and he will likely be playing from behind the majority of this game.

Mike Evans continues to be the top option for Tampa Bay, averaging 5.5 receptions for 93.4 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 8.8 targets per game. Evans also posted a 7/147/1 line on seven targets against the Saints in their first matchup. DeSean Jackson continues to deal with a thumb injury, and Chris Godwin would be in a great spot again if he’s out. Without Jackson last week, Godwin caught five passes for 101 targets and one touchdown on six targets. Adam Humphries has quietly been a great receiver for fantasy owners. Over his last six games, he’s averaging 5.5 receptions for 64.3 yards and 0.8 touchdowns on 6.8 targets per game. He is still available in some leagues, but he has been posting WR2 numbers over that span. Cameron Brate hasn’t been producing at an elite level for the majority of the season, but he’s taking all of the tight end snaps with O.J. Howard injured. He’s also a touchdown threat on a weekly basis, and Brate makes a solid option again this week.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: Peyton Barber has found some success recently, scoring one touchdown in each of his last three games. With that being said, he’s averaging only 66.0 rushing yards per game over that span, and Tampa Bay will likely be playing from behind in this game. Furthermore, the Saints are allowing a league-low 75.4 rushing yards per game in 2018, although they have allowed 10 rushing touchdowns. Still, this is a tough matchup for a running back that has struggled quite a bit throughout the season.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jameis Winston (low-end)
WR1: Mike Evans (mid-range)
WR2: Adam Humphries (mid-range)
WR2: Chris Godwin (if Jackson is out)
TE2: Cameron Brate (high-end)

Prediction: Saints 35, Bucs 24 ^ Top

Giants at Redskins - (Katz)
Line: NYG -3.5
Total: 41.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Are we sure the Giants aren’t better off just putting Odell Beckham Jr. at quarterback? The Giants scored a home win against the Bears last week where Beckham threw his second touchdown of the season. He also caught Eli Manning’s only touchdown pass. Despite the win, the clock has to be ticking on Manning as he turned in his worst performance of the season with lows in yardage (170), completion percentage (54.29%), and yards per attempt (4.86). Thankfully, Beckham has been largely unaffected. He has seen at least nine targets in all but one game this season and has at least 85 receiving yards or a touchdown in six straight games. The Redskins allow 88.5 yards per game to opposing WR1s. As for the rest of the Giants passing attack, you can ignore Sterling Shepard and Rhett Ellison as neither is seeing enough volume to be fantasy viable. It is also worth noting that Evan Engram is poised to return from his hamstring injury this week, where he will presumably continue to operate as the third stringer behind Ellison and Scott Simonson. He belongs on waiver wires.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Another week, another 100-yard game for Saquon Barkley. Early in the season, Barkley was largely compiling. Over the past three weeks, he’s been efficient as well. The Redskins are actually the top ranked team at defending pass catching RBs and they only allow 4.2 yards per carry. But even if they contain Barkley, he will see enough volume to remain an elite fantasy option. You know what Barkley is at this point. You start him every week, regardless of matchup, and feel great about it.

Value Meter:
RB1: Saquon Barkley (elite)
WR1: Odell Beckham Jr. (elite)
Bench: Sterling Shepard, Rhett Ellison, Evan Engram, Eli Manning

Passing Game Thoughts: There’s really not much to say about the Redskins passing attack. They are currently trotting out Mark Sanchez at quarterback. Between Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, and Jordan Reed, none of them have been inspiring options. Now down to a third string quarterback, you can safely ignore this entire passing attack. For what it’s worth, the Giants have actually allowed just 17 passing touchdowns on the season, just two more than the league leading 15 allowed by the Vikings and Jaguars. Even if Alex Smith or Colt McCoy were healthy, you wouldn’t be starting anyone on this team.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: If you started Adrian Peterson last week, you got one of the luckiest performances of the season. Peterson somehow ripped off a 90-yard touchdown run, which accounted for 99% of his fantasy output. Anomalous runs notwithstanding, you can’t start AP anymore. The Redskins are going to struggle to find themselves in scoring position and will almost never have positive game script. AP only carried the ball nine times last week. I’d be surprised if he saw more than 15 carries in a game again this year. Chris Thompson also played football last week, but you barely noticed. He saw five targets and handled three carries. He is not fantasy relevant. If you want any glimmer of optimism for AP, the Giants allow 19.4 FPts/G to opposing RB1s, but that’s all I’ve got. The offense just isn’t good enough.

Value Meter:
Bench: Mark Sanchez, Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Trey Quinn

Prediction: Giants 19, Redskins 13 ^ Top

Falcons @ Packers - (Swanson)
Line: GB -5.0
Total: 51.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan threw for just under 5000 yards and a career-high 37 passing touchdowns in his 2016 MVP season. The former first-round pick from Boston College posted career marks in completion percentage and interceptions while leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl.

It may surprise many readers to learn that Ryan is having an even better year this season. He is on pace for 5,084 passing yards, 33 passing touchdowns, and only six interceptions. He has already tied his career-best with two rushing touchdowns and is on pace to complete over 70% of his passes for the first time in his NFL career.

At 26.1 fantasy points per game, he ranks fourth in the league behind Patrick Mahomes, Ben Roethlisberger, and Cam Newton. Despite these impressive numbers, the biggest knock against Ryan and the reason why he can be a frustrating fantasy owner is his inconsistent play. Ryan has five games of 30 or more fantasy points sandwiched between four games of fewer than 20, including last week’s 11-point debacle at home against the Ravens.

When he is good, Ryan has proven to be a week-winning quarterback. But when he is bad, Ryan has torpedoed many a fantasy owner and single-handedly cost many owners a chance at making the playoffs last week.

The Packers rank 26th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks over the past five weeks and 25th on the season. Much has been written about the numerous injuries to the Packer secondary, but the truth is Mike Pettine has done a solid job in his first season as defensive coordinator at Green Bay.

Another knock against Matt Ryan this week is the fact that the game will be played outside at Lambeau Field on a cold Wisconsin afternoon. Ryan’s QB rating outdoors is 25 points lower than inside a dome, and he averages nearly two points less per pass attempt when away from the Mercedes Benz Dome.

Julio Jones did not practice on Wednesday and is questionable with a foot injury. Should Jones miss this game or be limited, Ryan would be without his favorite target and would put more pressure on rookie Calvin Ridley and the other pass-catching options for the Falcons.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: The season-ending knee injury to Devonta Freeman should have been a boost for the fantasy production of Tevin Coleman. With Freeman out of the lineup, Coleman appeared to have the opportunity to prove his ability as an elite running back in a contract year for the former star at Indiana. Instead, Coleman is barely rushing for more than 4.0 yards per carry and is on pace to score the fewest rushing touchdowns of his four-year NFL career. Instead of showcasing his talent with the hope of earning a monster free agent deal similar to what Jerick McKinnon received from the 49ers this past offseason, Coleman added doubt in the mind of NFL executives and may have cost himself a ton of money.

Rookie running back Ito Smith has not been much better, with 221 rushing yards on 70 carries for a paltry 3.2 yard per carry average. As the primary goal line and short yardage back those stats are a bit skewed, but he has not excelled in his role and continues to be a thorn in the side of Coleman owners.

Injuries to the defensive line of the Packers made a strong rush defense unit susceptible to the run this season. Ten running backs in 12 games have managed to reach at least ten points against the Packers, Including rookie Chase Edmonds last week in Green Bay’s shocking loss at home to the Cardinals.

Three of their previous four teams have reached at least 100 yards on the ground. With Ryan’s passing woes on the road in cold games and the massive number of injuries to their defense, it would make a ton of sense for head coach Dan Quinn to implement a run-heavy approach in this game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (Low-End)
RB3: Tevin Coleman (High-End)
WR1: Julio Jones (Elite)
WR3: Calvin Ridley (High-End)
TE2: Austin Hooper (Mid-Range)

Passing Game Thoughts: A shocking loss at home to the Arizona Cardinals proved to be the final straw as the Packers front office fired long-time head coach Mike McCarthy. Green Bay’s offense looks like an old NES compared to the innovative and creative PS4 offenses run by Matt Nagy, Andy Reid, Doug Pederson, and Sean McVay.

Although the timing of the firing was surprising, it makes sense from an organizational standpoint to move on. Green Bay invested heavily in Aaron Rodgers and wasting his final five years or so of elite performance would be a shame. Hopefully, the Green Bay front office will bring in a head coach and offensive coordinator who will be able to maximize the potential of Rodgers and the young wide receiving corps for the Pack.

I am not sure that I buy into the narrative that Rodgers will respond with a monster game now that McCarthy is gone, but there is no doubting the plus matchup that he has this week against a Falcons defense that ranks second in most points allowed to quarterbacks in 2018.

Only three quarterbacks have failed to score at least 20 points this season against Atlanta, and seven opposing QBs have managed to post at least 24 points. Numerous injuries to the secondary and defensive front of the Falcons limit their ability to both cover and get pressure on the quarterback. If Rodgers has enough time to move around the pocket, he should be able to find great success on Sunday.

The first season for Jimmy Graham in Green Bay has been nothing short of a disappointment. The former pro bowl tight end ranks 18th in fantasy points per game while on pace to post his fewest yards, touchdowns, and catches in his career (full 16-game season). On a positive note, he did receive the largest target share of his season (22%) last week against Arizona and could be in line for more looks from Rodgers vs. Atlanta.

Davante Adams continues to be a must-start wide receiver and is an elite play this week against the Falcons. Atlanta has allowed 17 touchdowns to WRs, and stud No.1 wideouts like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., and Michael Thomas have all posted monster games against the Falcons this season.

No.2 and No.3 wide receivers have also fared well, but figuring out who Rodgers will target outside of Adams has proven to be a difficult task as of late. Just when we thought Marquez Valdes-Scantling was emerging as Rodgers’ second-favorite WR target the rookie from USF posted four total catches in his last three games.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: One of the most frustrating aspects of Mike McCarthy’s coaching style this season was his insistence on incorporating Jamaal Williams in the rushing game and not giving Aaron Jones bell cow work. Even with Rodgers publicly pleading for Jones to get more work and Jones trailing only Phillip Lindsay for more yards per carry, McCarthy kept rolling out Williams to the chagrin of Packer fans and fantasy owners.

It will be interesting to see if interim head coach Joe Philbin gives Jones a workhorse level of work against Atlanta, a team that ranks fourth in most points allowed to the running back position. If he does and Jones gets at least 20 touches on Sunday, Jones could be a matchup-winning asset for fantasy owners.

Starting defensive lineman Grady Jarrett missed practice Wednesday, and linebacker Deion Jones was limited with a foot injury. Jarret posted four solo tackles, and two forced fumbles last week against the Falcons. If he were to miss this game due to a shoulder injury, the expectations for both Jones and Rodgers should be increased.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers (Mid-Range)
RB1: Aaron Jones (High-End)
WR1: Davante Adams (High-End)
WR4: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (High-End)
WR4: Equanimeous St. Brown (Low-End)
TE1: Jimmy Graham (Low-End)

Prediction: Packers 28, Falcons 21 ^ Top

Bengals at Chargers - (Caron)
Line: LAC -14.0
Total: 47.5

Passing Game Thoughts: With Andy Dalton and A.J. Green both on IR, the Bengals passing game is simply not setup to be much of a fantasy force here in Week 14. The only player who we should be real excited about is slot receiver Tyler Boyd who has continued his breakout season even with Jeff Driskel at quarterback. Boyd’s 69 receptions, 938 yards and six touchdowns all lead the Bengals and he’s caught 13 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown over his past two games when Driskel has been passing him the ball.

The other player who could potentially be considered for fantasy purposes is tight end C.J. Uzomah. Uzomah has 11 catches over his past two games, albeit for just 72 total yards, but he plays a position that is extraordinarily thin this season. Wide receiver John Ross had caught a touchdown in each of his previous three games heading into Week 13, but was held scoreless against the Broncos. Ross is a big play specialist who is certainly capable of putting up fantasy points in bunches if he gets deep, but the Chargers’ secondary is excellent and he’s not a good bet to get deep for a score in this game.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: Running back Joe Mixon continues to battle nagging injuries this season, but he’s expected to be on the field and relied upon heavily by the Bengals this week. Mixon has touched the ball at least 13 times in every game he’s played this season, including 33 receptions on the season, which gives him a pretty high floor along with a fairly high ceiling in a matchup against a Chargers defense that allowed three touchdowns to Pittsburgh running backs this past week. Giovani Bernard is a player who can have PPR value in games where the Bengals fall behind, as they did against the Broncos in Week 13 when he caught six passes, but he’s very game script-dependent and thus risky with a low ceiling even in PPR formats.

Value Meter:
RB1: Joe Mixon (low-end)
WR2: Tyler Boyd
TE1: C.J. Uzomah (low-end)
Bench: Jeff Driskel, Giovani Bernard, John Ross

Passing Game Thoughts: Fresh off of a huge win on the road against the Steelers, Philip Rivers and the Chargers will have a much easier task this week at home against the Bengals. The Bengals have been horrible across the board on defense this season, but their pass defense ranks dead last in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks as they’ve already given up 26 passing touchdowns on the season along with nearly 290 passing yards per game. Rivers has thrown for multiple touchdown passes in every game this season and this is certainly a matchup that we should be excited about him doing that again in. He’s a strong QB1 play this week with the upside to be the top scoring quarterback if the Chargers decide to pass near the goal line with Melvin Gordon expected to be out.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen is the pass catcher that fantasy owners should be most excited about as he appears to be well on his way to another strong second-half of a season. After being held to just one touchdown in his first eight games of 2018, Allen has scored in each of his past four contests heading into this game against the Bengals. He caught a whopping 14 passes this past week and while a lot of that had to do with the bizarre defensive strategy (or lack thereof) that the Steelers rolled out, it’s still worth considering that Allen appears to be fully healthy and the first read on most of the Chargers’ passing plays. Mike Williams popped for two touchdowns two weeks ago with Tyrell Williams hobbled, but both players are risky given their lack of total targets.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: He’s listed as questionable, but the Chargers are expecting to be without running back Melvin Gordon again in Week 14, which should lead the way for more of backups Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Ekeler appears to be the better option of the two, but he’s actually been fairly lackluster in both of his two opportunities to get additional touches in games where Melvin Gordon has been out. Ekeler rushed for just 21 yards on 13 carries this past week against Pittsburgh and while he added five receptions for 22 more yards, it was not enough to be a strong fantasy play. Jackson, meanwhile, rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries while also adding a 19-yard reception. Both players might have value in this contest, as there’s a real possibility that the Chargers get out to a lead in this game, which would presumably mean plenty of work for both Ekeler and Jackson. The Bengals have given up the most fantasy points to running backs this season, including multiple games where they’ve given up solid fantasy days to multiple backs on the same team. Ekeler’s usage in the passing game makes him the stronger over play, however.

Value Meter:
QB1: Philip Rivers
RB2: Austin Ekeler
WR1: Keenan Allen
Flex: Justin Jackson
Bench: Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates, Virgil Green

Prediction: Chargers 30, Bengals 17 ^ Top

Broncos at 49ers - (Caron)
Line: DEN -3.5
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: When a quarterback throws for just 151 yards and one touchdown against a horrible defense like the Bengals, it’s hard to be excited about that player any matchup, but Keenum could be a decent streaming option here in Week 14 against another terrible defense - this time it’s the 49ers. San Francisco has already given up 27 passing touchdowns this season - more than two per game - and they’ve forced just two total interceptions. They’re on pace to contend for forcing the fewest passing touchdowns in a season since the NFL began tracking the stat. That alone makes Keenum a relatively high floor option, but we do have to be a bit concerned that he’s now without both of his top two receivers from the start of a season.

Demaryius Thomas departed the team via trade earlier this season and Emmanuel Sanders is now out for the season on IR. That leaves rookie Courtland Sutton as the remaining potential fantasy contributor in this passing game. Sutton caught four passes for 85 yards and a touchdown this past week against the Bengals and could be in line for double-digit targets this week against the 49ers. Tight end Jeff Heuerman is also now on IR, so the targets should come early and often for Sutton.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: Rookie running back Royce Freeman got 14 carries against the Bengals this past week, but it continues to be fellow rookie Phillip Lindsay who is lighting up the stat sheet. Lindsay rushed for a career-high 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals in Week 13, and that made back-to-back 100-yard rushing days as he also did so against the Steelers. Lindsay is a serious contender for rookie of the year and he’s been an incredible find in fantasy, so continue to roll him out as a strong RB1 this week in what should be a good matchup against the 49ers. Freeman could also be an option this week as the Broncos are road favorites in San Francisco and could deploy an extremely run-heavy offensive scheme yet again this week.

Value Meter:
RB1: Phillip Lindsay
WR2: Courtland Sutton
Flex: Royce Freeman
Bench: Case Keenum, Devontae Booker, DaeShawn Hamilton, Matt LaCrosse

Passing Game Thoughts: A road matchup against the Seahawks doesn’t typically produce a QB1 fantasy day for someone with only four games of NFL experience, but Nick Mullens made it happen in Week 13. Of course, it’s worth considering that the 49ers found themselves down 27-3 early in the third quarter so most of his production was in garbage time, but the 49ers could find themselves in another garbage time situation again here in Week 14 with the Broncos coming to town. The Denver defense remains solid and Mullens will need to pass plenty in order to give San Francisco a chance to compete in this one. That should benefit wide receiver Dante Pettis who has broken out in the past two weeks, catching nine passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns over his past two games. Pettis is still young and full of risk, but he’s seemingly establishing a solid rapport with Mullens, so there’s still a possibility that he puts together another decent fantasy day. Tight end George Kittle remains a borderline elite option at the weak tight end position, especially against a Denver defense that ranks in the bottom 12 in fantasy points given up to opposing tight ends this season.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: After losing yet another running back to injury this season, the 49ers are now expected to turn to Jeff Wilson here in Week 14. Veteran Alfred Morris was inactive this past week and while he might get back in the lineup now that Matt Breida is out, it seems pretty clear that the San Francisco staff doesn’t have much confidence in his ability. Wilson, meanwhile, saw 15 carries this past week in the 49ers’ loss to the Seahawks, which he turned into 61 rushing yards. But more importantly, he was a major factor in the passing game as he caught eight passes for 73 yards. The 49ers were behind on the scoreboard early in the game so that’s not exactly an accurate representation of a normal game script, but the Kyle Shanahan offense does throw a lot to running backs, so there’s no reason to think that Wilson won’t again see a good number of targets this week against the Broncos. Wilson should still only be considered a Flex option due to the lack of clarity in the offense, but he’s a player to pick up off of waivers and potentially start if you’re in a tough spot here in Week 14.

Value Meter:
TE1: George Kittle
Flex: Jeff Wilson Jr., Dante Pettis
Bench: Nick Mullens, Kendrick Bourne, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor

Prediction: Broncos 24, 49ers 20 ^ Top

Lions @ Cardinals - (Caron)
Line: DET -3.0
Total: 40.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford is banged up with a bad back, but excuses don’t make his fantasy production any less disappointing. Stafford has thrown just two touchdown passes over his past three games combined while throwing three interceptions. He’s also failed to reach even 250 passing yards in each of those three games. The Cardinals are certainly not a good team, but if there’s one thing that they’re good at, it’s slowing down opposing passing games. The Cardinals have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season and it seems likely that Stafford is going to be in for another tough game here in Week 13. The only players in the Detroit passing game who we should be considering in typical leagues are wide receiver Kenny Golladay and Bruce Ellington. Golladay had a disappointing game in what should have been a good matchup against the Rams, but he’s still the top pass catching weapon in a depleted Detroit passing game and he’s a physical mismatch for most teams. Cornerback Patrick Peterson will presumably be lined up on Golladay fairly often, however, so Golladay should be considered low-floor, high ceiling WR2. Ellington, on the other hand, is an interesting PPR Flex option in this matchup as he’s now caught 19 passes over his past three games. He hasn’t done a lot with those passes, but the reception totals alone make him a player worth considering if you’re hurting for a WR3 or Flex in PPR formats.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson continues to be held out of practice as of Thursday this week and it’s becoming increasingly likely that the Lions will again have to turn to veteran LeGarrette Blount to be their primary running back. Blount doesn’t give you much in the passing game, but there are very few backs in the league who are given a higher percentage of carries near the goal line than Blount. This matchup is intriguing as he’ll face an Arizona defense that has given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. The other back to pay attention to in PPR formats specifically is Theo Riddick, who remains one of the better pass-catching backs in the league. He doesn’t do much as a runner and he’s not likely to have a huge game, but Riddick does catch a few passes each week and that can at least give you a few point as a floor if you’re desperate at RB.

Value Meter:
WR2: Kenny Golladay
Flex: Theo Riddick (PPR only), LeGarrette Blount (non-PPR only), Bruce Ellington (PPR only)
Bench: Matthew Stafford, T.J. Jones

Passing Game Thoughts: After failing to throw for even 150 yards in his third straight game, Josh Rosen is not a serious fantasy option even in what should be a decent matchup against the Lions. Rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk leads the team in receiving yards this season but will miss the remainder of the season after breaking his foot this past week against the Packers. This should theoretically lead to a higher target share for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, but the quality of those targets is anything but guaranteed. Fitzgerald will again be a low-level WR2 in PPR formats with a low ceiling, but he’s really the only player worth looking at in this passing game. Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones continues to be a player who is inexplicably placed relatively high on fantasy rankings, but he has scored fewer than three PPR fantasy points in five of his past six games. He’s completely worthless for fantasy - you can do better.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: David Johnson’s 69 rushing yards on 20 carries would look substantially better if he had been given the two red zone rushing touchdowns that - for some odd reason - went to rookie running back Chase Edmonds this past week against the Packers. In the end, however, Johnson fell short of a double-digit PPR fantasy day for the second time in a row and he’s now barely holding on as an RB1 in PPR formats. We had believed that he might finally be utilized in the passing game like he was in 2016 now that Byron Leftwich was running the offense, but after a seven-catch performance in Week 10, Johnson has been held to just four receptions in his past three games combined. It’s been a frustrating season for fantasy owners of Johnson who have been forced to play their first-round pick in most contests and been left less than satisfied most of the time. Still, Johnson has to be considered a low-level RB1 or at least a high-level RB2 this week at home against a bad Detroit defense that ranks in the bottom 10 in fantasy points given up to opposing running backs this season. Edmonds’ touchdown vulturing is certainly something to be mindful of, but Edmonds himself is not a serious fantasy option until we see him get more touches on a weekly basis.

Value Meter:
RB1: David Johnson (low-end)
WR2: Larry Fitzgerald (low-end, PPR only)
Bench: Josh Rosen, Chase Edmonds, Chad Williams, J.J. Nelson, Ricky Seals-Jones

Prediction: Cardinals 21, Lions 17 ^ Top

Eagles @ Cowboys - (Katz)
Line: DAL -3.5
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz bounced back after two dreadful outings to exceed 300 yards and throw two touchdowns against the Redskins last week. In fact, his game was eerily similar to what he did last time against the Cowboys. The only difference is he threw for about 60 more yards. The Cowboys are coming off a week where they completely shut down the previously unstoppable Saints offense. It seems obvious that they would carry that over to this week, while remaining home, against a far weaker Eagles offense. I wouldn’t be so quick to jump to that conclusion. It is exceedingly difficult to sweep a division rival. The Eagles were touchdown favorites when the Cowboys went into Philly and beat them four weeks ago. Look for the Eagles to respond well here in a game that is essentially their season on the line.

Byron Jones has been the league’s best corner this season and while he doesn’t shadow opposing WR1s, he will be on Alshon Jeffery more often than not. For a player already on the fantasy roster bubble (his best line in his last five weeks is 4-48), Jeffery is a clear stay away this week. While the Cowboys lockdown opposing top receivers, the one area where they can be exploited is via the slot, where they allow 12.3 FPts/G. That’s the only legitimate argument I can put forth towards starting Golden Tate this week. Wentz will lean on Zach Ertz, who posted an otherworldly 14-145-2 when these teams last played. I expect the Cowboys to focus him a little more, but you’re obviously starting Ertz.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Josh Adams is being used purely as an early down grinder. That’s okay though. When you have a running back posting consecutive games of 20+ carries, you can start him with confidence. The volume Adams is receiving is unlike anything we’ve seen from a running back during Doug Pederson’s tenure in Philly. Adams is the favorite for goal line carries, which supersedes the fact that only three teams have allowed fewer rushing scores than the Cowboys’ seven. All it takes is one short yardage plunge and Adams is an RB1 on the week given his volume. Darren Sproles and Corey Clement were in the mix as well last week, but neither is fantasy relevant.

Value Meter:
QB2: Carson Wentz (high end)
RB2: Josh Adams (low end)
WR3: Golden Tate (PPR only)
TE1: Zach Ertz (elite)
Bench: Alshon Jeffery, Corey Clement

Passing Game Thoughts: Dak Prescott is coming off an excellent performance against the Saints where he completed 85.71% of his passes with no interceptions. He threw just one touchdown, but easily should’ve had another as he missed Michael Gallup on a wide open walk in score. Prescott had 270 yards and a touchdown as well as a rushing score in his last game against the Eagles. The presence of Amari Cooper has helped this passing offense, but, most importantly, it’s helped Amari Cooper. The rejuvenated receiver averaged just 9.48 PPR FPts/G in Oakland compared to the 18.08 FPts/G he has averaged in Dallas. The Eagles allow 17.4 FPts/G to opposing WR1s and Cooper went 6-75 on 10 targets during their Week 10 contest. This is a good spot for Cooper to continue his strong efforts as the Cowboys only reliable receiving option.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: The Saints shut down Ezekiel Elliott on the ground last week, but he made up for it by adding 60 yards on six receptions. That was Zeke’s fifth straight game with at least four receptions and his fifth straight game over 100 total yards. Elliott’s best rushing effort of the season came against the Eagles where he averaged 7.95 yards on 19 carries and scored both through the air and on the ground. The Eagles are allowing 5.0 yards per carry, tied for the second highest number in the league. You know what do with Zeke.

Value Meter:
QB2: Dak Prescott (mid-range)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (elite)
WR2: Amari Cooper (low end)
Bench: Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup

Prediction: Eagles 23, Cowboys 20 ^ Top

Rams @ Bears - (Swanson)
Line: LAR -3.0
Total: 51.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Jared Goff and the 10-1 Los Angeles Rams head north to take on the Chicago Bears in an NFC showdown with significant playoff implications. The Rams offense ranks second in the league in yards per game behind the Tampa Bay Bucs and second in total points behind only the Chiefs.

Jared Goff is the sixth-ranked fantasy quarterback on the season with 25.9 fantasy points per game. He ranks fourth in passing yards and sixth in passing touchdowns, with seven games of at least 300 passing yards and two games of over 400. Needless to say, Goff has been a fantasy stud this season, and the skill position players in the Los Angeles passing game are must-starts in nearly every matchup.

It will be interesting to see how Goff responds this week against arguably the best defense the team has faced this season in cold, wintery conditions at Soldier Field. Goff has yet to play a game in the NFL with conditions below freezing, and the Bears boast a defense that ranks third in total yards allowed and fourth in points.

Goff also enters the game on the heels of a disappointing matchup against the Lions in which he threw for a season-low 207 passing yards and one touchdown while completing only 51.5 percent of his passes.

The Bears are tied for fifth in sacks while ranking first in both interceptions and pick-sixes. The Khalil Mack-led front seven of the Bears is one of the best in the league are causing pressure on the quarterback, and the secondary of Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson.

Fantasy owners should start Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, and Josh Reynolds, but expectations should be tempered based on the opponent and conditions of the game. Although Vegas anticipates a high-scoring game with an over-under of 53 points, a similar result to last week’s game against Detroit may be more likely.

A matchup to watch will be the chess match between Sean McVay and Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. McVay loves to get mismatches in the slot for Woods and Cooks, while safety Eddie Jackson excels at reading the eyes of quarterbacks and picking off passes to slot wide receivers in the middle of the field and in the flat.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: Fantasy owners of Todd Gurley do not need to be told to start their stud player even in less than attractive matchups like this week’s game against the Bears. Although the Bears do rank 29th in points allowed to RBs, they have been torched as of late after not allowing a rushing touchdown until Week 10 of the regular season.

LeGarrette Blount rushed for 88 yards and two scores on Thanksgiving, while Saquon Barkley posted 146 total yards from scrimmage in last week’s win over Chicago at Met Life Stadium. Yes, the Bears are still strong up front, and Akiem Hicks is arguably the best run stopping DE in the league, but Gurley should be started with confidence as the Rams may lean on him more than normal in this game.

On the injury front, the Bears enter the game relatively healthy with reserve safety Deon Bush as the only defensive player listed on the injury report with a hamstring issue. The Rams are also very healthy heading into the game with only Marcus Peters and backup running back Malcolm Brown listed on the report. Peters will play, but Brown is out with a collarbone injury.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff (Low-End)
RB1: Todd Gurley (Elite)
WR2: Robert Woods (High-End)
WR2: Brandin Cooks (High-End)
WR3: Josh Reynolds (Low-End)
TE2: Gerald Everett (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Mitchell Trubisky practiced on Thursday, putting him on track to play for the first time since Week 11 against Minnesota when he injured his throwing shoulder. The Bears won one of the two games started in Trubisky’s absence, with journeyman Chase Daniels filling in at quarterback.

The return of Trubisky is excellent news for a wide receiving corps that struggled with Daniels under center. Only Anthony Miller reached the end zone (on a pass from Tarik Cohen), and no wide receiver came close to 100 receiving yards against Detroit or the Giants.

A matchup to watch in this game will get cornerback Aqib Talib against Allen Robinson on the outside. The team slowly worked Talib back into game action last week with 36.1% of the snap counts against the Lions. With another full week of practice under his belt and a game to get him back into form, look for Talib to cover Robinson and play closer to 70% of the snaps.

Tight End Trey Burton has disappeared over the past six games after posting a season-high nine catches for 126 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots. With zero catches on one target against the Giants, a team that has given up the most points to tight ends for the past three seasons, it is hard to trust Burton against the Rams.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Back Thoughts: Owners who drafted Jordan Howard are likely well out of playoff contention, making his prospects for this game a moot point for most readers. Howard’s 8.5 fantasy points per game rank 34th in the league and the former darling of the fantasy community has yet to reach 100 yards rushing on the season. The promising start of five catches for 25 yards did not continue throughout the season with Tarik Cohen earning the majority of work in the passing game.

Although it may be a moot point, don’t be surprised to see head coach Matt Nagy try to run the ball early and often against a Rams defense that can be beaten on the ground. Running the ball not only helps the Bears keep the ball out of the hands of the potent Rams offense, but it also mitigates possible turnovers from Trubisky in the passing game, and the number of throws Trubisky will need to make on his sore shoulder.

Of course, game script will dictate whether or not Howard will get to 20 touches, but it would not surprise me to see him finish with 20 carries for 80 yards and a score on Sunday.

Tarik Cohen will also be active in the ground game and is the better option to start between the two Chicago running backs. If the game gets out of hand and the Bears are chasing points, Cohen could be a top PPR play at the running back position.

Value Meter:
QB1: Mitchell Trubisky (Low-End)
RB2: Tarik Cohen (High-End)
RB3: Jordan Howard (Low-End)
WR2: Allen Robinson (Low-End)
WR4: Anthony Miller (Low-End)
TE1: Trey Burton (Low-End)

Prediction: Rams 24, Bears 17 ^ Top

Vikings @ Seahawks - (Caron)
Line: SEA -3.0
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: A disappointing fantasy day for the Minnesota passing game had fantasy owners throwing up their hands in frustration this past week in what should have been a good matchup against a bad Patriots pass defense. It’s worth noting, however, that wide receiver Stefon Diggs was clearly not fully healthy, which allowed the Patriots to key in on fellow wideout Adam Thielen. Thielen still turned in a respectable fantasy day due to the touchdown he scored, but his 28-yard fantasy day was his second-lowest of the season and only his third non-100 yard game of the season.

This week the Vikings passing game has a tough matchup against the Seahawks in Seattle, who have been good for most of the season. They did give up a 400-yard day to San Francisco’s Nick Mullens this past week, but the majority of that production was given up after the game was already out of reach. Minnesota figures to be more competitive as they know they’ll be battling the Seahawks for an NFC wild card playoff spot and the result of this game could very well be the determining factor on which one of these teams makes it in.

Cousins himself isn’t a QB1, but he’s focusing so much of his attention on Thielen and Diggs that both of them are solid fantasy options, presuming that Diggs is able to suit up. Diggs won’t be at full strength, but he should be healthier this week, which makes him a solid WR2 while Thielen is a WR1. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is in the conversation as a TE1, but he - like so many others - is a touchdown-or-bust type of player.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook appears to be back and relatively healthy as he’s rushed for 84 yards this past week in the Vikings’ loss to the Patriots. The game script didn’t allow for him to be utilized much as a runner as the Vikings were down on the scoreboard for most of the game, but Cook also contributed eight receptions for 22 yards as a receiver. Cook has quietly caught at least three passes in all but one of the games he’s played in this season, so he’s actually a better PPR player than he might be given credit for even if he doesn’t contribute huge yardage as a receiver. This week he’ll face a Seattle defense that has given up three 100-yard rushing days to individual running backs in three of their past five contests. The Seahawks aren’t a bad run defense, but the Vikings might see this recent trend and choose to feed Cook a little more heavily than they have in recent weeks.

Value Meter:
RB2: Dalvin Cook
WR1: Adam Thielen
WR2: Stefon Diggs
TE1: Kyle Rudolph (low-end)
Bench: Kirk Cousins, Latavius Murray, Aldrick Robinson, Laquon Treadwell

Passing Game Thoughts: Don’t look now, but Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is quietly salvaging what was a mediocre first half of the fantasy season. Wilson has now thrown multiple touchdowns in all but one game including a season-high four scores this past week against the 49ers. It’s bizarre to see Wilson be so unwilling to run the ball, but his incredible touchdown rate has kept him as a QB1 most weeks.

The player who continues to benefit most from this is Tyler Lockett who has now - astonishingly - caught nine touchdowns on the season on just 44 catches. The touchdown rate seemingly has to correct itself which makes Lockett difficult to trust, but those who have been willing to believe have been very happy with their results. Rookie wide receiver David Moore was held catchless this past week, which really highlights his downside as the Seahawks got out to an early lead and really did not need to pass much to stay ahead. Even Doug Baldwin, who had caught 17 passes in his previous three games, was held to just two catches against the 49ers. He did score a touchdown, though, which saved his fantasy day and he continues to be a solid option, even in a difficult matchup like the one he’ll see against the Vikings here in Week 14. Minnesota has given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, so none of the Seahawks pass catchers are particularly intriguing as individuals, even though Wilson himself is still worth consideration as a low-end QB1.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: A blowout win over the 49ers meant that Chris Carson actually didn’t get as many carries as he normally would in a more competitive game, as the Seahawks chose to give other backs some carries in an effort to maintain Carson for the final playoff stretch. Carson did still carry the ball 13 times for 69 yards while adding a season-high 39 yards as a receiver, however, so fantasy owners weren’t too disappointed with the overall results.

This week Carson and the Seahawks should have a more competitive matchup as they’ll face the Vikings who are also in the NFC playoff hunt. This should mean a heavier workload for Carson and less for backups Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny. He’s dealing with a finger injury, but a 20-touch day against the Vikings is not out of the question. Minnesota ranks in the top-10 in fewest fantasy points given up to opposing running backs this season, though, so Carson’s upside is a bit capped and he’s more of a mid-to-low-level RB2 this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson (low-end)
RB2: Chris Carson
Flex: Tyler Lockett, Doug Baldwin
Bench: Mike Davis, Rashaad Penny, David Moore, Nick Vannett

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Vikings 21 ^ Top