Game Thoughts: Jacoby Brissett (knee) returned after
a one-game absence but threw just 24 passes against the Jaguars,
completing 15 for 148 yards. That marked the fourth time, not
including his injury-shortened Week 9, which he's thrown for less
than 200 yards in a game. Normally a QB2, Brissett has QB1 upside
this week. He threw for 326 yards and four TDs in his last matchup
with the Texans, and their secondary was in better shape then.
There's no overstating how much the Colts miss T.Y. Hilton (calf).
Without him, the team lacks a true No. 1 (perhaps even a No. 2)
receiver. Hilton is questionable for Thursday's tilt, but if he's
up he should be immediately returned to your lineup. After a couple
of big games, one against Houston, Zach Pascal has struggled the
last two weeks, catching just four passes (on 13 targets) for
43 yards. He could be a flex option. Rookie Parris Campbell (hand)
remains out due to a hand injury.
Despite the injuries at receiver, Eric Ebron (ankle) and Jack
Doyle have done little. Ebron had just four receptions for 27
yards last Sunday, and Doyle was shut out. Ebron, who has an ankle
issue of his own, could still hold some value on Thursday, especially
given the state of the Texans pass defense.
For the year, Houston is 29th against the pass, allowing 272.4
yards per game. Injuries have taken a toll here, including Mike
Adams (concussion), Justin Reid (concussion), Lonnie Johnson (ankle)
and Bradley Roby (hamstring). The first two are highly unlikely
to play on the short week while the latter two will be game-time
decisions. It'll be tough for the Texans to hold up in the backend.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Marlon Mack (hand) appeared well on his
way to a career day when he suffered a broken hand. He underwent
surgery Monday and is out indefinitely. Journeyman Jonathan Williams
stepped in and gained 147 yards in relief, but it's unclear what
role he'll have with usual backup Jordan Wilkins (ankle) likely
to return. Of the two, I prefer Wilkins' upside for the rest of
2019, but if you're looking for a one-week fill-in I'd lean toward
Williams. Nyheim Hines is a pure change-of-pace back, and I don't
expect Mack's injury to have much bearing on his outlook.
Houston has allowed 102 rushing yards per game, good for 13th
in the NFL, though they allowed more than double that amount last
week as the Ravens gained 263 yards on 36 carries (7.3 YPC). Brissett
is no Lamar Jackson, but he's a solid athlete and might try to
stress the Texans defense with his athleticism.
Game Thoughts: Things couldn't have gone much worse for
Deshaun Watson (ankle) or the Texans as a whole in Week 11 as
he passed for just 169 yards and was sacked six times, ultimately
finishing the blowout on the sidelines. For all of his talent,
Watson has been prone to some real stinkers, tallying fewer than
175 yards passing in a game three times in 2019. Against the Colts
in Week 7, Watson accounted for 308 yards passing, 1 TD and 2
INTs in a loss.
When he wasn't getting blatantly interfered with, DeAndre Hopkins
hauled in seven balls for 80 yards. Secondary targets Kenny Stills
(4-27-0) and Keke Coutee (3-25-0) made little impact, and the
team is hoping that Will Fuller (hamstring) is ready to return;
he hasn't played since injuring his hammy Oct. 20 against the
Colts. While Stills stepped up in relief, he and Coutee have done
little since. After teasing fantasy relevance, Darren Fells and
Jordan Akins have faded back into obscurity.
Indianapolis is 11th in pass defense (228.8 passing yards allowed
per game). They allowed 296 yards to Nick Foles last week, but
that was due to soft coverage and a lopsided score. They may be
without rookie Rock Ya-Sin (ankle), who recorded his first INT
last week before injuring his ankle. While Hopkins is a must start
I'd steer clear of anyone else unless Fuller is active.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Carlos Hyde (nine carries, 65 yards and
a score) and Duke Johnson (6-40-0) were effective in limited opportunities
as the score dictated that the Texans try to pass to catch up.
Hyde has been a great pick up, bringing stability to the ground
game, but neither he nor Johnson did much the last time they faced
the Colts' ninth-ranked run defense (96.8 yards allowed per game).
I'd still deploy Hyde as an RB2 with Johnson more of a flex candidate.
Game Thoughts: I've run out of clever ways to reference
Jameis Winston's blatant disregard for core concepts of successful
football, most notably his outright disdain for protecting the
ball. The former top overall pick was back at it in Week 11, tossing
four interceptions to give him 18 on the season, which is easily
the most in the NFL. As usual, the yards were there (318), as
were a couple of TDs. While that certainly isn't winning football,
there's no arguing Winston is a fantasy QB1.
Nine different players caught passes last week, and yet O.J.
Howard wasn't one of them after a catchable ball deflected off
of him for a pick; Cameron Brate, meanwhile, caught 10 for 73
yards on 14 targets. There's no shortage of fingers to point for
Tampa's 3-7 record, but the collective inability of Winston and
Bruce Arians to get Howard involved is mind boggling. To have
two tight ends of that caliber and manage for neither to be a
fantasy asset is truly an accomplishment.
Although they were third and fourth, respectively, in receiving
yards last week, Mike Evans (4-69-0) and Chris Godwin (3-47-1)
remain must-start WR1s. Evans lit up Atlanta in the 2018 finale
for 106 yards and two scores, while Godwin scored three times
in two meeting with the Falcons. Atlanta has been much better
against the pass recently than their ranking (26th in the NFL)
suggests, but they haven't faced a tandem like this.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: If you can explain a game plan that involves
calling 55 passes and six runs I'm all ears. Incredibly, that
was the run-pass split in Week 11 as Ronald Jones carried four
times for 13 yards and Peyton Barber didn't even get a carry (he
did have two receptions, one for a TD). A few weeks ago I viewed
Arians' announcement that Jones would be the lead back as providing
clarity. Instead we've traded the mystery of "who'll get
more touches?" for "will they call any runs?"
Atlanta currently sits 19th in rushing defense, yielding 107.6
yards per game. In two games since the bye, however, the Falcons
have stiffened, giving up just 129 yards combined. Jones has only
topped 40 yards rushing once in six games but is a better option
than Barber as a shaky RB3.
Game Thoughts: After using a run-heavy approach to down
the Saints in Week 10, the Falcons looked more like themselves
last Sunday with Matt Ryan completing 21 of 31 passes for 311
yards and a touchdown; it was his seventh 300-yard game of the
season. Expect more of the same this week against an atrocious
secondary. In 2018, Ryan passed for 733 yards and five TDs in
two wins over the Bucs.
With Austin Hooper (knee) out of action, the Falcons passing
game had a streamlined feel to it as Julio Jones (six receptions
for 91 yards) and Calvin Ridley (8-143-1) were the targets on
16 of Ryan's 31 attempts. Russell Gage, who has taken over the
No. 3 spot in the absence of Mohamed Sanu, caught a pair for 32
yards. Luke Stocker assumed most of Hooper's snaps but was a nonfactor
in the passing attack. With Hooper out again, Jones and Ridley
are both must starts.
Tampa Bay rates second-to-last in pass defense (290.9 yards allowed
per game), and the release of Vernon Hargreaves didn't seem to
improve matters. Drew Brees did whatever he wanted, completing
80 percent of his passes for 228 yards and three TDs, and the
Bucs haven't had any answers all season long. Why would this Sunday
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: With Devonta Freeman (foot) out with a
foot injury, Brian Hill got the yeoman's share of the carries,
turning 15 totes into 30 yards. There's an outside possibility
that Freeman returns against the Bucs, though the expectation
is he'll miss at least another week. Whoever goes faces a tough
front, as the Buccaneers have allowed just 80.9 yards per game,
which is second in the NFL. Given the matchups, I'd expect the
Falcons to put this one in Ryan's hands.
Broncos at Bills
- (Katz) Line: BUF -4.0 Total: 38.0
Game Thoughts: Unsurprisingly, Brandon Allen has been
an upgrade on Joe Flacco. Allen has been a boon for Courtland
Sutton, who is averaging 2.26 more fantasy points per game with
Allen. Sutton will be matched up with the dangerous Tre’Davious
White, but Sutton has already beaten Casey Hayward, Malcolm Butler,
Greedy Williams, and Xavier Rhodes. He’s a matchup proof
every week WR2.
Allen has also benefited Noah Fant, who has seen increased usage
over the past three weeks. Fant ran a season high 35 routes and
saw a season high 11 targets last week. The Bills only allow 5.0
fantasy points per game to opposing TE1s, but they also haven’t
faced many teams that throw to their tight ends. Fant is at least
a streaming option.
Tim Patrick appears to have supplanted DaeSean Hamilton in two
receiver sets. He saw eight targets last week and could be even
more involved this week if Allen looks to avoid throwing at White.
Patrick is definitely on the deep streaming radar. With all that
being said, the Bills are one of just three teams allowing fewer
than 200 passing yards per game and one of just four teams yet
to allow double digit touchdowns on the season. Broncos’
pass catchers are more floor plays than ceiling plays in this
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Prior to last week’s game, there
was talk of Phillip Lindsay really dominating the backfield looks.
That proved mostly true as Lindsay played a season high 63% of
the snaps. The way to beat the Bills is on the ground, where they’ve
surrendered 11 touchdowns and 4.4 yards per carry. The Broncos
look to be moving away from Royce Freeman. Despite being the far
bigger back, Freeman has just two goal line carries this season
and after never playing fewer than 50% of the snaps, he played
just 30% last week. I don’t know how you can trust Freeman
this week, but Lindsay should be locked into lineups.
Game Thoughts: Josh Allen wasn’t merely an elite
fantasy option last week, he legitimately played well. Allen has
proven quite adept at exploiting favorable matchups. Although
he is at home, Denver is not one of those matchups. The Broncos
allow just 210.3 passing yards per game and have only allowed
10 passing touchdowns this season. Allen will always have a decent
floor due to his rushing ability, but despite last week’s
performance, his passing peripherals are not good. Allen ranks
near the bottom in true completion percentage, red zone completion
percentage, deep ball completion percentage, pressured completion
percentage, and clean pocket completion percentage.
Allen has relied heavily on John Brown, which could be a problem
with Brown facing off with Chris Harris. The Broncos allow just
12.7 fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s. Cole Beasley continues
to operate as the Bills’ WR2, lining up primarily from the
slot. He has mostly been a WR3/4 this season and comes with a
relatively high floor this week as well. Dawson Knox found the
end zone last week and played 70% of the snaps, but he only saw
three targets. The Broncos allow just 7.8 fantasy points per game
to opposing TE1s so he is not a legitimate streaming option.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: It was yet another game around 70% of the
offensive snaps for Devin Singletary, who has finally nullified
Frank Gore. Even with immense positive game script, Singletary
touched the ball 16 games because he got 15 carries. If Singletary
is going to be carrying the ball 12-15 times when the Bills are
ahead while also operating as their passing down back, he should
be an every week RB2. The usage has been there the last two weeks
while the production has not. The Broncos only allow 31 receiving
yards per game to opposing running backs as well as just 3.9 yards
per carry. This is a tough spot for the Bills, but they are home
and Singletary’s usage floor keeps him in play. As for Gore,
he belongs on the waiver wire.
Giants @ Bears
- (Swanson) Line: CHI -6.5 Total: 40.5
Game Thoughts: Daniel Jones’ rookie season has
been an up and down rollercoaster that one would expect of a first-year
player learning to play at the NFL level.
When playing against stout defenses, Jones has struggled, throwing
three interceptions against the Patriots and just 182 yards and
a pick against the Vikings. When playing against bad defenses
like the Bucs, Lions, and Jets, Jones has played well with eight
passing touchdowns, and zero interceptions against those three
teams ranked in the bottom ten in pass defense.
Although the Bears are not the same insurmountable force they
were last season on defense, they do allow the fifth-fewest points
to opposing quarterbacks making Jones a questionable start this
week at Soldier Field.
Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Jared Goff, and Derek Carr all
failed to score more than one passing touchdown against Chicago
this season, and only one QB, Case Keenum, topped 300 yards passing
against Chuck Pagano’s defense.
As you would expect based on their success against quarterbacks,
the Bears have also limited wide receivers to the second-fewest
points per game. Darius Slayton has been an excellent breakout
candidate for the Giants this season, but he will have difficulties
keeping up with his stellar play this week on the road vs. Chicago.
The one area in which the Bears have been beaten in the passing
game is via the tight end. Chicago ranks 11th in points allowed
to tight ends. This would have been a decent game for Evan Engram
owners. However, it appears he is still limited with a foot injury
and won’t play. Rhett Ellison is also out with a concussion
leaving the Giants extremely thin at the position.
Sterling Shepard practiced in full on Thursday after missing
the last five games with a concussion. It is too early to say
if he will be active on Sunday, but his return to the passing
corps would be a big win for Daniel Jones but could hurt the number
of targets for Slayton.
The blueprint on beating the Bears is simple. Without Akiem Hicks
up front the Bears struggle at stopping the run, and teams have
found it far easier to move the ball between the tackles and hope
that Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago offense make mistakes.
Both things have happened on a regular basis this year, which
is a big reason why the Bears are 4-6.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain
against the Bucs in Week 3 and shocked the world by coming back
to play against Arizona just four weeks later. His yard-per-carry
average of 2.8 since returning to the field suggests that he is
not back to full health, and the injury continues to limit the
start running back.
Barkley carried the ball 13 times against the Jets before the
bye for a whopping one rushing yard. He did add 30 receiving yards
on the day, but he has not scored a touchdown since Week 8.
This matchup is pretty attractive for Barkley owners based on
the fact that the Bears have been far more susceptible to the
run than the pass, with seven different players topping ten fantasy
points against Chicago in 2019. Heck, even Todd Gurley posted
the biggest game of his season against the Bears.
Should Barkley aggravate his injury, look for Wayne Gallman to
once again have fantasy relevancy. Gallman does not provide much
from a pure skillset standpoint, but the lead back for any team
this late in the season is worthy of a speculative add.
Game Thoughts: Head coach Matt Nagy replaced Mitchell
Trubisky with Chase Daniel in the closing minutes of the Bears
17-7 loss against the Rams. Nagy told reporters that Trubisky’s
hip was hurting, and the move was due to the ailment and not because
the third-year quarterbacks completed just 55% of his passes and
could not move the ball.
Regardless of what you think about how that situation was handled
or whether or not Trubisky is really injured, he is listed as
a full participant in practice on Thursday and appears ready to
play against the Giants.
Make no mistake. Trubisky has been terrible for both real life
football and fantasy. He has failed to score more than 14 points
in six of his nine games, and he failed to top 200 passing yards
in four of them. He has just nine passing touchdowns on the season,
and he is no longer running with the ball, which was a huge aspect
of what made him valuable for fantasy owners.
Trubisky has all but killed Allen Robinson’s value over
the past month, while opposing defenses have stifled the Bears
ground game by not honoring the pass.
On a positive note, it does not get much better for Trubisky,
Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and the other Chicago passing options
than a home game against the Giants.
The Giants rank 9th in points allowed to quarterbacks, and only
the Tampa Bay Bucs have given up more points to opposing wide
receivers. You have been burned for a month now with Robinson
and likely hung onto him. This is the game where you should get
80 yards and a score or two.
Gabriel and Anthony Miller could both be a sneaky flex play.
The former has 11 catches for 96 yards and a score on 20 targets
in his last two games, while the latter hit double figures in
targets for the first time this season last week against the Rams.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: David Montgomery fantasy owners are likely
stressing out on what to do with the rookie running back who,
at times, has looked good. Montgomery scored a combined 30 fantasy
points against the Chargers and Eagles in Weeks 8 and 9, only
to follow up with 60 yards and zero touchdowns on 17 carries at
home against the Lions, the worst team in the league against running
Montgomery then burned owners with 31 yards on 14 carries against
the Rams, as Tarik Cohen carried the ball a season-high nine times
for 39 yards while adding 35 yards and a score in the air.
Considering the fact that the Giants rank 12th in points allowed
to running backs one would assume that Montgomery would get the
lion’s share of carries and excel this week. But that is
what we all thought two weeks ago when the Lions came to town.
Is Nagy frustrated with Montgomery’s play and pivoting
to the more shifty Cohen? Was last week an anomaly or the trend
for the rest of the season? Your guess is as good as ours, and
hopefully, you have better options than either of the backs in
the Chicago Backfield.
Game Thoughts: Lost in all the drama in the final minutes
of the Steelers/Browns melee is the fact that the Steelers suffered
injuries to two starting wide receivers. JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered
a concussion and knee injury, while Diontae Johnson suffered a
scary concussion that included blood dripping out of his ear.
Smith-Schuster has not practiced this week and is likely out
for Sunday’s game against the Bengals, while Johnson practiced
in full on Thursday but has yet to clear the concussion protocol.
The injuries to the wide receiving corps of the Steelers should
open up an opportunity for James Washington to earn more targets
and catches against a Bengals defense that gives up the fourth-most
points to quarterbacks and the 20th-most to wide receivers.
This is arguably the best matchup on paper for Mason Rudolph,
although it is hard to play him in anything other than super-flex
leagues based on the fact that he doesn’t complete enough
passes to be an elite fantasy option, even against the Bengals.
The second-year player from Oklahoma State has yet to top 300
yards or two passing touchdowns in a game, and he enters Sunday
on the heels of throwing four interceptions against the Browns.
Vance McDonald could be in line for a solid game this week and
continues to earn a decent amount of targets from Rudolph. McDonald
has seven targets in each of his last three games, yet has not
converted those targets into a top-12 fantasy week.
Perhaps this week against the Bengals, a defense that ranks ninth
in points allowed to tight ends, McDonald will hit pay dirt and
provide a solid fantasy performance for his owners. The Raiders,
Bills, 49ers, and Ravens (twice) all posted at least 50 yards
from the tight end position against the Bengals.
One reason why Cincinnati has been dreadful on defense this year
is their lack of pass rush. The Bengals are tied with the Dolphins
for the least amount of team sacks on the year, with opposing
quarterbacks benefiting from far too much time in the pocket to
pick apart the Bengal secondary.
Another thing to look for is the Steelers taking advantage of
the Bengals’ inability to stop the run and reception to
running backs. Pittsburgh ranks third in the league in receptions
to running backs and the Bengals rank fourth in points allowed
to running backs. This mismatch is going to be a key for success
for Rudolph and the Steelers offense on Sunday.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: James Conner owners have to be frustrated
beyond belief that their stud running back is injured and will
likely miss this choice matchup against the Bengals. The Bengals
are terrible against the run, giving up 23.5 fantasy points per
game. Conner scored 18.5 points when they played against each
other in Pittsburgh Week 4, and Jaylen Samuels, the likely starter
if Conner is ruled out, scored 14 points of his own with 83 total
yards and a rushing touchdown.
Samuels is a must start and a solid No.2 running back this week
against the Bengals. Trey Edmunds would also be an interesting
play in deeper leagues, but owners need to keep an eye on rookie
Benny Snell who practiced in full on Thursday and appears to be
on track to return from a knee injury.
If Snell is not active and Edmunds is the clear No.2, he should
garner some low-end flex consideration in deeper leagues, especially
if you are dealing with bye week blues.
Game Thoughts: The Ryan Finley experiment has been a
bust. You can’t fault the winless Bengals from wanting to
see if they have anything in their fourth-round rookie before
entering the 2020 NFL draft with presumably the No.1 overall pick
and a chance for Joe Barrow, but Finley has done nothing so far
to make a claim as the QB of the future in Cincinnati.
The former North Carolina State star has completed 47% of his
passes for 282 yards and one touchdown in two games. You can throw
out the Baltimore game because it was his first start, and the
Ravens are a tough defense. Finley’s second start against
Oakland, a defense that has been torched all year by opposing
quarterbacks, is one that makes you question the rookies place
as an NFL quarterback.
It is difficult to have any fantasy value for skill position
players when the quarterback throws for 115 yards and an interception.
With nine games of fewer than seven fantasy points and just one
touchdown, Tyler Boyd, and favorite breakout candidate of the
fantasy community has been a complete bust and should be avoided
Auden Tate suffered a nasty concussion against the Raiders and
is likely out, and John Ross can return, but he too is a risky
play because Finley has been so terrible.
Pittsburgh ranks 19th against the pass and 16th against wide
receivers on the season. No opposing wide receiver had topped
100 yards against the Steelers, and only Phillip Dorsett in Week
1, has managed to post more than one receiving touchdown in a
The one area in which Pittsburgh has struggled in pass defense
is against tight ends. The Steelers allow the sixth-most points
to tight ends this year, with six receiving touchdowns allowed.
Will Dissly and Hunter Henry each scored two touchdowns against
Pittsburgh, giving hope to Tyler Eifert owners that their tight
end could be in line for a score.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon has been the lone bright spot
for the Bengals as of late with three games of double-digit fantasy
production. Mixon posted back to back 100-total yard performances
against the Raiders and Ravens, including a season-high 114 rushing
yards on 30 carries against Baltimore Week 10.
It will be difficult for Mixon to continue his streak of solid
performances this week against the Steelers, a team that has yet
to give up 100 rushing yards in a game to a single player. Pittsburgh
has not given up a receiving touchdown to a running back, and
Mark Ingram back in Week 5 was the last rushing touchdown allowed
by the Steelers.
Mixon owners likely do not have a better option this week, so
they will need to start him regardless of the matchup. Should
the Bengals use a similar approach as they did against Baltimore
and give Mixon 30 carries, he could come through with a top-20
performance again. However, if he is limited to fewer than 20
carries because of game flow, he could be a bust with 70 or fewer
Game Thoughts: The Miami Dolphins continue on their path
for an early first-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft with a 2-8
record. The defense is one of the worst in the league, while the
offense, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, ranks 30th in average yards
per game and second to last in points, just ahead of the lowly
The Dolphins are in full tank and rebuild mode - that is for
certain. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t fantasy
value to be found. Fitzpatrick is not the most skilled quarterback
in the league, but he is one of the most willing passers to push
the envelope and chuck the ball downfield to his big wide receiver,
Parker, a former first-round bust who is trying to resurrect
his career, has four games of over ten fantasy points and four
receiving touchdowns this season. With an average of nine targets
in his last five games, Parker continues to be a focal point of
the passing offense in Miami and should be considered an excellent
high-end No.3 wide receiver.
The Browns pass defense started out as one of the worst in 2019
with cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams out due to injury.
With the secondary back to full strength, Cleveland has given
up the eighth-fewest points to wide receivers over the past five
weeks. No wide receiver has topped 100 yards during that span,
and only three touchdowns have been scored by WRs since Week 8.
The indefinite suspension of Myles Garrett is a boost for the
Dolphins, as tackles Jesse Davis and Julie’n Davenport have
struggled in pass protection. Miami ranks first in the league
in sacks allowed at 4.2 per game.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: The Dolphins rank dead last in the league
at combined fantasy points scored at the running back position.
The Miami offensive line ranks dead last in run blocking efficiency
according to FootballOutsiders.com, with 26% of all runs stuffed
behind the line of scrimmage.
The Dolphins line does not open up many holes for the running
backs, and the running backs used by Miami are not very skilled
at creating yards with agility and breaking tackles.
Kalen Ballage is averaging 1.9 yards per carry this season on
64 carries for 122 yards. Without three rushing touchdowns to
help boost his stats, Ballage would be one of the worst fantasy
running backs in recent years.
Mark Walton flashed some skills in his short time with the team
but was recently cut for off-field domestic violence issues. Rookie
Patrick Laird could be an interesting deep sleeper in PPR formats
after his six-catch performance last week against the Bills.
The Browns rank 15th in point allowed to running backs, with
six running backs reaching double figures in fantasy points this
season. Ballage’s inability to make yards on his own mixed
with the poor offensive line play makes him a risky start. Laird
could be a low-end flex in PPR formats, but if given a choice,
I would avoid the ground game in Miami if possible.
Game Thoughts: Fantasy owners who held on to Baker Mayfield
over the Browns’ terrible start to the season were rewarded
with three strong performances against Denver, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh.
Mayfield’s 64 fantasy points over the previous three games
are higher than Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, and Deshaun Watson.
The good times should continue this week for Mayfield and the
skill position players for the Browns with the Dolphins coming
to town. Miami gives up the 7th-most points to opposing quarterbacks
and just gave up an impressive 36.4 fantasy points to Josh Allen
When given time to throw, Mayfield has been much better this
season, which bodes well for Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry
owners, as the Dolphins are tied with the Bengals for the fewest
sacks forced on the season.
Baker should have ample time to find open targets and pepper
OBJ and Landry with a ton of wide-open receptions.
Chances are if you drafted Beckham in the latter stages of the
first round of fantasy drafts this season, you are not in playoff
contention. Beckham has just two 100-yard games on the season
and has not scored a touchdown since Week 2.
On the bright side, the volume has been there with 22 targets
in his last two games. If, for some reason, you are an OBJ owner
and you are still in playoff contention, this is the week that
you are going to finally reap the dividends of your early-round
Jarvis Landry has quietly earned nearly the identical target
share as Beckham, yet he has produced nearly a full fantasy point
more per game and is riding a streak of a touchdown in three straight
games. While there is always the revenge narrative of a player
like Landry playing against his old team, the better narrative
is the connection he appears to have with Mayfield and the success
he has had as of late getting into the end zone.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: Unlike their competition in this game,
the Browns have been a successful running team with the 10th most
fantasy points scored at the position. Nick Chubb continues to
be a heavily used first and second-down back with 67 combined
carries in his last three games, while Kareem Hunt has slid into
the pass-catching role with 17 receptions for 90 yards in his
two games from the suspension.
Chubb owners who worried about Hunt taking carries should not
be concerned based on what we have seen in the last two games.
Chubb continues to get the monster share of carries and was just
eight yards away from a fourth-consecutive 100-yard game last
week against a stout Pittsburgh Steeler run defense.
From a matchup standpoint, it doesn’t get a whole lot better
than playing the Dolphins at home. Miami ranks 6th in points allowed
to running backs, with ten total touchdowns allowed to the position
in 10 games, including four receiving touchdowns out of the backfield.
Both Chubb and Hunt should be considered strong starts in all
formats, with Hunt getting a boost in PPR formats. A possible
positive game script when the Browns building an early lead could
equate to more carries for Chubb in the second half.
The Browns do not have an injury on the offensive side of the
ball that would affect the performance of skill position players
The Dolphins, on the other hand, have a few substantial injuries
in their secondary that will positively affect both the run and
pass game for the Browns. Staring safeties Rashad Jones and Bobby
McCain were placed on injured reserve on Wednesday with shoulder
injuries. Jones played last week against Buffalo after missing
five weeks due to injury, but apparently was still injured and
required placement on IR.
Look for the Browns to take advantage of these injuries with
plays designed to take advantage of safeties over the middle of
Panthers @ Saints
- (Green) Line: NO -9.5 Total: 47.0
Game Thoughts: A few weeks ago, Panthers fans were thinking
about where they could spend all those free-agent dollars they'd
save by cutting Cam Newton and letting Kyle Allen run the show.
Yep, it's Lee Corso time... not so fast my friend! The Panthers
have dropped three of four, bottoming out (they hope) with a 26-point
home loss to Atlanta in which Allen threw four interceptions --
it was the second time in four games he's thrown multiple picks
and zero TDs.
There was a silver lining for fantasy owners as Allen passed
for 325 yards, 121 of which went to Christian McCaffrey on 11
receptions. D.J. Moore (8-95) was next, followed by Greg Olsen
(5-57) and Curtis Samuel (4-25). That's the continuation of a
recent trend as Moore and Olsen have moved well ahead of Samuel
in terms of looks. Moore is now locked in as a legit WR2 for fantasy
owners while Olsen is back as a top-10 tight end. Samuel, however,
has faded a little and feels slightly overvalued as a WR3.
With 256.5 yards allowed per game, New Orleans ranks ninth in
pass defense, though a decent chunk of that has definitely come
during garbage time. Even without Marshon Lattimore (hamstring)
they did a nice job of holding Tampa Bay's dynamic duo of Mike
Evans and Chris Godwin in check last week. They'll look to pressure
Allen into making mistakes and continuing his downward spiral.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: McCaffrey ran 14 times for 70 yards in
last Sunday's loss, bringing his combined yardage to 191. He's
been the steadiest fantasy performer out there with only the Buccaneers
finding a way to really slow him down in 2019. A year ago, CMC
accounted for 120 yards against the Saints in Week 15; he played
sparingly in the finale against New Orleans' JV roster. With the
Saints allowing 107.5 rushing yards per game (17th) you can bet
the Panthers will feature McCaffrey heavily.
Game Thoughts: Coming off of a shocking loss to Atlanta,
the Saints took it to the Bucs last week. Drew Brees completed
28 of 35 passes for 228 yards and three scores as they jumped
out to a 20-point lead before stumbling a little in the second
half. The veteran has had his share of battles with Carolina over
the years, including a hard-hitting Week 15 affair last year where
Brees threw for just 201 yards with no TDs. Of course, that was
on the road, and Brees has long been better in the dome.
It was SSDD for the Saints passing game last week. Michael Thomas
led the way with eight receptions, 114 yards and a TD on 11 targets.
Beyond Thomas, only Alvin Kamara (10) saw meaningful looks, which
is a pretty accurate reflection of the team's weekly approach.
On that front, Tre'Quan Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. continue to offer
minimal contributions and aren't worth owning in most leagues.
Jared Cook scored for the third time in four games: that's enough
to earn him a spot as a TE1 despite modest yardage.
The Panthers are middle of the road against the pass, ranking
14th with 233.6 yards allowed. While Carolina doesn't have an
elite secondary, they're tied with San Francisco for the NFL lead
in sacks with 39. They'll need to get after Brees if they have
any hope of springing the upset. At 5-5, the Panthers can't afford
many more losses so I'd expect an inspired effort against the
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: We're 10 games into the season, and the
Saints still haven't been able to mold Kamara and Latavius Murray
into the kind of cohesive backfield that they had when Mark Ingram
was there. That's despite Murray looking like a stud when Kamara
was out of action. At least the touches are getting closer: in
Week 11, Kamara had 23 combined touches to Murray's 12. Carolina
has really struggled against the run this year, allowing 128.4
yards per game (27th), so I'd expect Sean Payton to give them
a healthy dose of Kamara and Murray on Sunday.
Raiders at Jets
- (Katz) Line: OAK -3.0 Total: 45.5
Game Thoughts: Derek Carr is playing much better this
season, which has been great for the Raiders. Unfortunately, it
hasn’t really translated into fantasy success. Carr has
finished higher than QB11 just once, but he has shown the ability
to exploit favorable matchups. He was QB6 against the Texans and
QB11 last week against the Bengals. Now, he gets a Jets defense
allowing 20.4 fantasy points per game to opposing QB1s.
The Jets do not have anyone that can cover Darren Waller or Tyrell
Williams. Waller has been a must start all season and will remain
so even though the Jets have been relatively stingy against the
tight end. Williams has largely been touchdown and splash play
dependent, but on a week where many fantasy relevant players are
on bye, he’s pretty much a must start. I think Williams
finds the end zone this week. Hunter Renfrow has really come on
over the past month as well. He’s reached double digit fantasy
points in three of his last four games while averaging six targets
a game. He’s a safe, floor option against the Jets.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Josh Jacobs really disappointed in a smash
spot last week and now faces a Jets defense that somehow is allowing
the fewest rushing yards per game at just 79.1. The silver lining
is their pass defense is so bad, the have allowed 10 rushing scores
so Jacobs has a decent chance to punch one in from close. He has
also seen eight targets over the past two weeks, increasing his
PPR floor. While Jacobs has been impressive on the field, his
usage is still concerning. He hasn’t played more than 61%
of the snaps since Week 1. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard
are getting more work than Jacobs owners would like, but not enough
for either to be fantasy viable.
Game Thoughts: After appearing just once over the first
nine weeks, good Sam Darnold has now shown his face in consecutive
games. Darnold has posted back-to-back overall QB7 finishes, taking
advantage of two easy matchups. That’s enough to inspire
confidence that Darnold can exploit another easy matchup against
the Raiders, who have allowed 24 passing touchdowns this season,
third most in the league. This game has sneaky shootout potential,
making multiple Jets pass catchers relevant.
Robby Anderson is not amongst that group. He’s finished
outside the top 40 in all but one game this season. Jamison Crowder,
on the other hand, has now scored in three straight and been on
the WR1/2 border. The Raiders only allow 7.8 fantasy points per
game to opposing slot receivers, but Crowder is averaging nearly
eight targets per game over the past three weeks and has just
been too good to fade.
You should also fire up Ryan Griffin. He face planted against
the Giants, but has been the overall TE2, TE14, and TE2 in three
of his last four games. The Raiders allow 11.7 fantasy points
per game to opposing TE1s. Griffin is currently third on the target
totem pole in a game Darnold could throw nearly 40 times. Demaryius
Thomas is also worth mentioning purely because of the plethora
of relevant pass catchers on bye this week. Thomas has posted
WR4 or better numbers in five of his last seven games, which is
at least something. He should be good for at least a handful of
points for those in a bind.
OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Another week. Another favorable matchup.
Another low end RB1 performance for Le’Veon Bell. He’s
not going to win you weeks like he did in Pittsburgh, but he’s
extremely reliable. Bell’s finishes over the past three
weeks: RB9, RB10, RB9. The Raiders are a middle of the pack run
defense, but their awful pass defense will allow the Jets multiple
scoring opportunities, giving Bell touchdown upside. The Raiders
allow 4.9 receptions per game to opposing running backs, which
bodes well for Bell’s reception floor, too.
Lions at Redskins
- (Katz) Line: DET -3.5 Total: 41.5
Game Thoughts: Credit to Matt Patricia for fooling everyone
into thinking he was going to run a really incompetent offense.
While the Lions aren’t one of the pass heaviest teams, they
are throwing a healthy 60% of the time. Matthew Stafford is going
to miss another game and I am still skeptical as to whether he
plays again this season. Jeff Driskel is a capable replacement
and for fantasy, he brings with him the cheat code. Rushing quarterbacks
are always QB1s and Driskel gets a Redskins defense that was just
eviscerated by Sam Darnold for four touchdowns. Driskel has been
a QB1 in both of his starts this season and is an excellent streaming
Driskel did only attempt 26 passes last week, which could be
problematic for his pass catchers. Kenny Golladay’s target
share is fine, but the overall volume is not. Golladay has caught
just four passes from Driskel while Marvin Jones has caught nine.
That could be a product of opponents taking away Golladay, which
is something the Redskins are incapable of doing. Both Jones and
Golladay are strong plays this week. As for T.J. Hockenson, continue
to ignore him as he is not a big part of the offense.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: For the second time this season, the Lions
have signed someone off the street and pushed that guy ahead of
Ty Johnson. First, it was Tra Carson out-carrying Johnson. Last
week, it was Bo Scarbrough. With Week 12 being one of, if not
the worst in terms of bye weeks this season, any running back
guaranteed 8-10 carries and goal line work is worth starting.
The Lions project to see positive game script and the Redskins
allow the fifth most rushing yards per game at 133.9. Scarbrough
can certainly fall into the end zone again and J.D. McKissic is
in play as a floor option. He’s seen 11 targets with Driskel
at quarterback and should be a lock for at least a handful of
Game Thoughts: Dwayne Haskins has some sneaky streamer
appeal in a game where he should need to throw. Haskins was a
QB1 last week, racking up some garbage time stats against a bad
defense. The Lions are also a bad defense. They allow 288.6 passing
yards per game and have allowed 22 passing touchdowns against
just three interceptions.
Terry McLaurin has yet to score a touchdown or catch more than
four passes with Haskins at QB. A matchup with Darius Slay is
not as imposing as in previous years, but Haskins has turned McLaurin
from an every week WR2 into a WR4. It is difficult to view McLaurin
as anything more even in a strong matchup. Trey Quinn, Kelvin
Harmon, and Jeremy Sprinkle are way off the fantasy radar.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: Derrius Guice returned and played just
29% of the snaps. We have no way of knowing if that was a plan
to ease him back in or if the Redskins really are going to push
Wendell Smallwood, who saw a team high 46% of the snaps. Guice
did out-snap Adrian Peterson, but Peterson out-carried Guice 9-7
with neither being particularly effective. Guice did show some
flash on his 45-yard touchdown reception and certainly looks healthy
and by far the best back on the team.
The Lions are bad against the run, allowing 124.2 rushing yards
per game and a total of 10 touchdowns. The Reskins should be able
to score this week, making Guice a viable flex option. It is worth
noting that Chris Thompson returned to practice this week and
is on track to play. We have no way knowing how substantial his
role will be. It is entirely possible that this is a three-man
committee. It’s also possible that Thompson walks right
back into his old role, capping Guice’s ceiling and rendering
AP useless. Either way, you can’t trust anyone in this backfield
other than Guice.
Seahawks at Eagles
- (Katz) Line: PHI -1.5 Total: 49.0
Game Thoughts: Fresh off a bye, Russell Wilson returns
in a dream spot against the Eagles. On the road, the Seahawks
should choose to throw against a team with a good run defense
and bad pass defense. The Eagles have allowed 17 passing touchdowns
this season and the only reason their yards allowed is only 237.5
is because they’ve faced Mitchell Trubisky and Luke Falk.
The Eagles struggle against opposing WR1s and WR2s, allowing 16.4
and 15.0 fantasy points per game to each, respectively.
Tyler Lockett has been limited in practice, but Pete Carroll
is optimistic that Lockett will be ready to go on Sunday. Carroll
is known for being overly positive about injuries, but this time
his comments comport with the prevailing thoughts of doctors following
Lockett’s injury. I believe Lockett will play and if he
plays, you start him.
DK Metcalf is also an excellent start. He will see a lot of Ronald
Darby, who is quite capable of getting burned deep and allows
2.02 fantasy points per target, 69th in the league. There should
be plenty of Wilson targets for both Lockett and Metcalf. If Lockett
doesn’t play, then Josh Gordon is a consideration. He only
played 38% of the snaps two weeks ago and while the number should
go up with another two weeks to learn the offense, he’s
still the fourth option in run first offense.
The final relevant member of this passing attack is Jacob Hollister.
He’s played over 80% of the snaps his past two games and
has finished as the TE3 and TE4. Ed Dickson returning this week
doesn’t concern me as Hollister has done nothing to justify
being taken off the field.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: Chris Carson will likely need a touchdown
in this one as the Eagles allow just 14.8 fantasy points per game
to opposing RB1s. They allow the fourth fewest rushing yards per
game, but have allowed nine touchdowns due to their struggles
against the pass resulting in teams marching into the red zone.
There are no concerns about Rashaad Penny as Carson played 100%
of the snaps two weeks ago and touched the ball 28 times. He is
locked into elite level volume.
Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz hasn’t finished higher
than the overall QB17 in his past four games, but he’s also
faced four good pass defenses. Wentz can attack weaker pass defenses,
which is what he has this week in Seattle. The Seahawks allow
271.8 passing yards per game, fifth most in the league, and this
game has shootout potential. The Eagles’ running game is
putrid, which has led to Wentz attempting 40 and 39 passes in
his last two games. The volume is great, but who exactly is he
throwing to? Zach Ertz will see all the work he can handle with
DeSean Jackson on IR and Alshon Jeffery still nursing an ankle
injury. Ertz’s volume is tied directly to the amount of
weapons the Eagles have. With Jeffery out, Ertz saw 11 targets
in each of his past two games.
The Eagles should use a lot of 12 personnel with Dallas Goedert
as well. Goedert has played over 80% of the snaps his past two
games. He is the second option in this passing game and a very
worthy start at tight end. Jeffery practiced on Thursday and looks
like he will play, but if he doesn’t, Nelson Agholor is
the de facto WR1, that is, if he plays. Agholor is also dealing
with a knee injury and missed practice on Thursday. Both players
have a very easy matchup against a Seahawks defense allowing 17.2
fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s and 13.5 points per game
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: Prior to the Eagles’ bye, Jordan
Howard suffered a stinger. It is now three weeks later and he
still hasn’t been cleared for contact. It is entirely possible
Howard gets cleared Saturday or Sunday and plays. It is also possible
Howard misses the remainder of the season. Without Howard, the
Eagles’ running game has been atrocious. However, Miles
Sanders did play 88% of the snaps last week, by far the highest
in the Doug Pederson era. He only touched the ball 13 times, but
it was against the Patriots. Sanders should have a much easier
time against the Seahawks who allow 5.5 receptions per game to
running backs. Sanders does his best work in the passing game
and is far more valuable as a receiver than a runner.
Boston Scott only played 18% of the snaps, but he did see seven
carries. If Sanders continues to struggle, Scott could have sneaky
value down the stretch should Howard remain out. For this week,
Scott does not belong in the conversation. The Seahawks have allowed
12 rushing touchdowns, tied for third most in the league. If this
game is high scoring, Sanders has a much better chance at finding
the end zone than last week.
Jaguars @ Titans
- (Green) Line: TEN -3.0 Total: 41.5
Game Thoughts: Jacksonville made the switch from Gardner
Minshew to Nick Foles after the bye, but they still endured a
second straight massacre, losing 33-13 to the Colts. Forced to
play from behind for much of Sunday, Foles connected on 33 of
his 47 attempts for 296 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. Those numbers
sound decent, but much of it came against soft coverage as the
Jags racked up meaningless yards. The jury remains very much out
on the Foles/Minshew debate.
With 15 targets, D.J. Chark (8-104-2 in Week 11) remained the
focus of the passing game, reaffirming his status as a weekly
WR2 option. It gets hazier after that, though, as Chris Conley
(6-58-0 on eight targets) and Dede Westbrook (4-32-0 on six) vie
for the No. 2 spot on the outside. I feel like Westbrook holds
a little more value right now, but it wouldn't surprise me to
see them alternate statistical superiority going forward.
To be clear, these aren't the '18 Rams where you can legitimately
start three WRs in the same offense week after week. Chark should
get his, but after that you'll be rolling the dice between Westbrook,
Conley and, to a lesser extent, Keelan Cole (4-41-0). Perhaps
we'll get a little more clarity this Sunday as obviously Jacksonville's
game plan isn't to have almost 50 drop backs to nine runs.
Defensively, Tennessee ranks 22nd against the pass, surrendering
256.0 yards per game via the air, though they gave up 446 yards
and 3 TDs last time out. Granted, that was against Patrick Mahomes,
but it was also the first game sans Malcolm Butler (wrist), so
it'll be interesting to see how well the Titans hold up.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: With consecutive blowout losses, Leonard
Fournette has had just 19 carries for 63 yards over his last two
games combined. He's generated a little value in the passing game
-- Fournette quietly has 27 receptions in his last five games
-- but you can bet Doug Marrone wants to re-establish the run.
Fournette accounted for 92 yards in the Week 3 meeting with Tennessee,
which is allowing 102.5 rushing yards per game on the year, and
remains an RB1.
Game Thoughts: Tennessee has won three of four with Ryan
Tannehill under center, though the former Dolphin has been feast
or famine with the yards, topping 300 twice and failing to crack
200 in the other two. He's excelled in the red zone, though, and
has posted multiple touchdown strikes three times. It was Marcus
Mariota at the helm back in Week 3, a game in which he threw for
304 yards, but given J-Ville's struggles with the run you'd have
to think Tannehill will pass judiciously on Sunday.
Incredibly, we may've reached a point where no one associated
with the Titans passing game can be started in fantasy. Corey
Davis (hip) and A.J. Brown, ostensibly the team's top two receivers,
have been wildly inconsistent since Tannehill took over -- Davis
was held under 10 yards once and Brown has accounted for fewer
than 20 twice. Delanie Walker (ankle) has been injured, Adam Humphries
has done little and so on. There's no one here you can rely on
to produce on a weekly basis.
Jacksonville currently ranks eighth in passing yards allowed
(219.3), though part of that "success" stems from their
vulnerability against the run. Clearly the team would like to
stop Derrick Henry and force Tannehill to beat them, but I'm not
sure that they can. Guys like Brown and Davis offer low-floor,
middle-ceiling production. Avoid playing any of them if possible.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Henry ran 23 times for 188 yards and two
scores in the upset win over Kansas City. He could be eyeing similar
numbers this week after journeyman Jonathan Williams came on for
an injured Marlon Mack and compiled almost 150 yards of offense
last week. The Jags sit 29th against the run this year (134.6
yards allowed per game) and dead last in yards per carry (5.3).
Expect to see a lot of Henry in Week 12.
Cowboys at Patriots
- (Katz) Line: NE -6.5 Total: 45.5
Game Thoughts: Dak Prescott has been outstanding this
season. By all accounts, he should be third in the NFL MVP race
behind Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson. From a fantasy perspective,
he’s been just as good. Outside of Week 4 against New Orleans,
Prescott has finished as QB1 every game this season, including
four top five finishes. This week, he gets his toughest test against
the Patriots defense that has allowed just four passing touchdowns
all season against 19 interceptions. The Patriots only allow 152.6
passing yards per game. Prescott leads the league in yards per
game at 322. Something has to give. This game will come down to
whether Jason Garrett and Kellen Moore play not to lose like they
did against the Vikings or play to win like they did against the
Prescott leads the league in deep ball completion percentage
so the Cowboys should push the ball down the field to Amari Cooper
and Michael Gallup. Cooper will see a lot of Stephon Gilmore who
is allowing just 0.97 fantasy points per target, second in the
league. Gallup will see Jason McCourty, who is allowing 0.93 fantasy
points per target, best in the league. Randall Cobb has been hot
of late as well, with back to back WR1 finishes. His 83% slot
rate keeps him away from the Patriots’ set of elite cornerbacks,
but if Prescott can’t sustain drives, there won’t
be enough volume for Cobb. Jason Witten is playing over 80% of
the offensive snaps, but is not a fantasy option against a defense
allowing just 5.2 fantasy points per game to TE1s.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott is overall RB6 on the
year, but he hasn’t come anywhere close to being the guy
fantasy owners expected. Zeke only has four RB1 finishes and none
higher than overall RB4. He’s only seeing 3.7 targets per
game after he saw 6.3 per game in 2018. The Patriots are weaker
against the run than average, allowing 4.6 yards per carry; they
just don’t see much rushing volume because their opponents
are always trailing. Elliott does lead the league in carries and
opportunity share. Tony Pollard has impressed every time he’s
seen the field, but the Cowboys are committed to getting their
money’s worth from Elliott. It would be smart for the Cowboys
to look to scheme Zeke into space in an effort to avoid throwing
at the Patriots’ elite cornerbacks. We’ll see if they
actually do it. You’re never benching Zeke anyway so just
sit back and hope the Cowboys can move the ball.
Game Thoughts: In a smash spot against the Eagles last
week, Tom Brady didn’t throw a touchdown pass. He is just
barely a QB1 despite leading the league in red zone attempts.
The Cowboys have great numbers against opposing QBs, but those
are largely buoyed by their soft early season schedule. Over the
past two weeks, the Cowboys have allowed QB1 performances to Kirk
Cousins and Jeff Driskel. The Patriots are aware of their offensive
issues and if anyone can correct them in a week’s time,
it’s Bill Belichick. Unfortunately, Brady is working with
a banged up supporting cast. Mohamed Sanu is out with an ankle
injury and Phillip Dorsett still needs to clear the concussion
protocol. As it stands, Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry
are the team’s healthiest receivers.
Look for James White to be heavily involved as Belichick tries
to emulate the Vikings’ use of Dalvin Cook in the screen
game, which was very effective. Edelman has seen double digit
targets in five consecutive games. He should make it six this
week. The Cowboys only allow 7.5 fantasy points per game to the
slot, but Edelman has been spending about half his snaps outside.
He is a strong play regardless. If Dorsett sits, Harry is in play
as a bye week filler. He only played 40% of the snaps last week,
but he did see four targets and is in line for more if he’s
the team’s #2. If Dorsett does play, his near 100% snap
share makes him a startable option, but Byron Jones leads the
league with just 4.7 fantasy points allowed per game.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: James White is more receiver than running
back. The Cowboys allow the third most receptions to running backs.
White is an excellent option this week as discussed above. Sony
Michel, on the other hand, belongs as far away from your starting
lineup as you can get him. Sure, he can fall into the end zone,
but that is literally the only thing he can do to be useful. Michel
had an overall RB22 finish against the Giants without a touchdown.
Other than that, his highest weekly finish in games where he didn’t
score was RB37. Rex Burkhead has been playing about 30% of the
snaps, but without any reliable volume or goal line work, he is
not a fantasy option.
Packers @ 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SF -3.0 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers has always been known as
one of the most consistent fantasy quarterbacks in the league,
but that simply hasn’t been the case here in 2019. Rodgers
has somehow failed to reach even 15 fantasy points in six of his
10 starts thus far, while he’s finished with 25 or more
fantasy points of three of the other four. The big games he’s
had have come against some of the league’s less-intimidating
pass defenses (Oakland, Kansas City, Philadelphia) and here in
Week 12 he faces his toughest matchup to date as he and the Packers
head on the road to face the 49ers.
San Francisco has given up the second-fewest fantasy points per
game to opposing quarterbacks this season and they’ve been
absolutely dominant most weeks, having held opposing quarterbacks
to fewer than eight fantasy points in four of their contests.
Certainly Aaron Rodgers is a prolific enough passer that we have
to consider him in typical fantasy leagues, but the point here
is that his upside just isn’t great on the road against
a really good defense. Rodgers is more of a low-end QB1 than the
usual mid-to-high-end QB1 that he is most weeks.
Because of this lack of upside from his quarterback, wide receiver
Davante Adams is the only Green Bay pass catcher who we should
be looking at for fantasy purposes. Adams has battled injury through
most of the 2019 season and is still limited in practice, but
he’s expected to make his third straight start after catching
seven passes in each of his two games since returning from injury.
Adams, who has been one of the league’s most prolific touchdown-scorers
in recent seasons, has not yet found the end zone in 2019 and
should be in line for some positive touchdown regression if he
can get healthy and continue to see the target volume that he’s
been getting, but it’s hard to trust him as an elite option
at the moment, especially in a matchup like this. Think of him
as a lower-end WR1 this week.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: There really isn’t anywhere that
San Francisco struggles on defense as they not only rank as the
second-best fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks, but
also as the fourth-best fantasy defense against opposing running
backs. The 49ers have given up just two 100 rushing yard performances
to opposing running backs thus far in 2019 and they’ve only
allowed opposing backs to score three total touchdowns on the
season. If you’re looking for some optimism, it is worth
noting that both of the 100-yard performances and all three touchdowns
have been scored over the past three weeks against this defense,
but don’t get it confused - this is still an elite run defense
that we don’t want our running backs to be facing.
The back who gets the displeasure of playing against this defense
here in Week 12 is Aaron Jones, who absolutely crushed the Panthers
to the tune of 93 rushing yards and three touchdowns the last
time we saw him, before the Packers bye, back in Week 10. While
players like Davante Adams have been far below their expected
touchdown output, Jones has been massively outperforming his expectations
in that area. Jones has already scored 14 touchdowns this season,
including 11 as a runner and three as a receiver, despite Jamaal
Williams continuing to see significant playing time in the same
offense. The duo of Jones and Williams have scored a whopping
20 touchdowns on the season already and will almost certainly
finish the season as the highest-scoring duo in the league from
a touchdown standpoint. The Packers are simply utilizing their
running backs more often near the goal line than their competitors
and the results have been gigantic for fantasy purposes. Don’t
expect that to change much, even in a tough matchup against San
Francisco here in Week 12.
Unfortunately, with the 49ers defense being as good as it is,
there likely will not be nearly as many scoring opportunities
for the Packers backs as they’ve typically been seeing.
This means a lower ceiling for the backs and makes Jones more
of a low-end RB1 whereas he’s been a mid-to-high-end RB1
in most games. It also makes Williams very difficult to trust
given his unpredictable touch totals. WIlliams has been kept to
10 or fewer total touches in three of his past four games and
while he still sees enough usage near the goal line and in the
passing game to remain a Flex option, he’s not much more
than that in what is a very difficult matchup.
Game Thoughts: After providing fantasy owners with a
four-touchdown performance in two of his past three games, Jimmy
Garoppolo is back on fantasy radars despite his early season struggles.
Garoppolo seems to be falling in love with rookie wide receiver
Deebo Samuel who has been an absolute monster in each of his past
two games, catching eight passes in each game for 112 and 134
yards respectively. He’s only scored one touchdown on the
season, but he’s providing Garoppolo with a viable weapon
outside of his running backs while tight end George Kittle has
been out with injury. Samuel should be owned in practically every
league and he can be considered a WR2 especially if Kittle and
fellow wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders are out again, but he’s
still at worst a Flex play even if those players are on the field.
Sanders himself is likely to be limited if he is able to go, but
he was a strong performer in his short time in San Francisco so
look for him to still turn in a Flex-worthy performance if he’s
active on Sunday.
The 49ers offense is certainly better as a whole when Kittle is
on the field, which the team supposedly is “hoping”
that he will be, but he’s been out in each of the 49ers’
past two games and has been limited in practice this week so make
sure that you have other options leading into this Sunday Night
Football game. Backup tight end Ross Dwelley actually scored twice
in Week 11 with Kittle sidelined and fantasy owners who roster
Kittle need to have him, Jimmy Graham, or one of the tight ends
who play on Monday Night Football rostered just in case Kittle
is unable to go. If he does play, Kittle is a high-end TE1 option
unless we know that he’ll be significantly limited, and
then it’s just a crap shoot. The lack of talent at tight
end throughout the league probably means that he’s in your
lineup if he’s able to go but don’t get too high of
expectations even though he’s playing against a Green Bay
defense that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points per game
to opposing tight ends so far in 2019.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Tevin Coleman against the Cardinals, with
Matt Breida sidelined, was supposed to be one of the biggest smash
spots for any running back in Week 11, but the former Falcon fell
flat on his face, rushing for just 14 yards on 12 carries while
failing to get into the end zone. While he did salvage a bit of
his fantasy day in PPR leagues by catching three passes for an
additional 48 yards, Coleman was a massive disappointment and
his lack of production in a great matchup really illustrates why
it’s tough to trust any of these San Francisco backs on
a week to week basis.
It does appear as though Breida is unlikely to play here in Week
12 given that he hasn’t practiced as of Thursday, so Coleman
should be in line for another relatively heavy workload and he
could provide a nice bounce-back performance. Fortunately, he
faces another great fantasy matchup as he’ll be up against
a Packers defense that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points
per game to opposing running backs so far this season. They got
the Christian McCaffrey treatment this past week and were even
beaten up by the Chargers’ backfield the week prior so Coleman
is looking to turn in the third straight RB1 performance against
the Packers. Of course, even if Breida is out, Coleman will likely
have to share at least some of the touches with Raheem Mostert
and even potentially some with Jeff Wilson. The 49ers are not
a team that’s going to give all of the running back touches
to one player, so Coleman’s upside will continue to be capped,
but Breida being out would make him a high-end RB2 as opposed
to a low-end RB2 if Breida is out there this Sunday.
Ravens @ Rams
- (Caron) Line: BAL -3.0 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: The breakout fantasy season for Lamar
Jackson seems to just get better and better every week as he threw
for another four-touchdown performance while still contributing
huge yardage on the ground this past week in the Ravens’
win over the Texans. Jackson is not only performing as a runner,
which we expected, but he’s also typically producing good
enough numbers as a passer that he’d be a viable fantasy
option even without his legs. Jackson is one of the very few matchup-proof
quarterbacks and he’ll continue to be a QB1 for the foreseeable
Of course, the passing game production isn’t exactly translating
into much production for his wide receivers. No Ravens wide receiver
has caught more than four passes in a game since all the way back
in Week 2. In fact, it only happened that one time as rookie Marquise
Brown caught eight passes for 86 yards. The lack of volume for
the Baltimore receivers just makes them all big play or bust type
performers. They really need to score a touchdown or they’re
just not going to be particularly viable and none of them have
proven to be consistent touchdown scorers. Brown is certainly
the most productive of the bunch, but he’ll likely be matched
up quite a bit against star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey hasn’t
been great since the trade that brought him to Los Angeles, but
he’s still not someone who fantasy owners should be excited
about their rookie wide receiver playing against. Brown is a Flex
option at best.
If you’re looking for production out of these Baltimore
pass catchers, it’s likely to come in the form of the tight
end position, more specifically Mark Andrews. We’ve seen
other tight ends have productive games here and there which has
been a little frustrating, but Andrews has been by far the best
of the bunch and he’s really established himself as one
of the league’s premier fantasy options at tight end. Andrews
has scored six touchdowns on the season, including three over
his past two games. He’s facing a Rams defense that has
been pretty good against opposing tight ends this season, especially
recently, but they haven’t exactly faced the most difficult
schedule against the position. Look for Andrews to again be Jackson’s
top target which makes him a quality TE1.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Mark Ingram’s 10 total touchdowns
on 829 total yards is an extremely high rate of scoring that is
probably unsustainable to some extent, but it’s also worth
considering that this Baltimore offense has one of the most efficient
running schemes that we’ve seen. Lamar Jackson being on
the field keeps defenses honest as they can’t fully commit
on stopping Ingram without the possibility of giving up the big
run (or pass) to Jackson. That’s an extremely difficult
scheme to contain, especially near the goal line, and it at least
partially explains why Ingram’s touchdown scoring has been
so impressive and also why he might not be in line for as much
regression in that area as one might think simply by looking at
Ingram does face a very difficult matchup here in Week 12, however,
as he’ll be up against a Rams defense that hasn’t
allowed a single running back to rush for more than 70 yards against
them since all the way back in Week 5. Ingram’s usage in
the passing game has been very limited this season, so he’s
not padding his fantasy stats with catches and that does make
him a little riskier to play against this defense. Still, the
Ravens are a red hot offense right now and Ingram is seeing a
dozen or more touches per week, so he’s fine to put in your
lineup as an RB2.
Gus Edwards did have a great game this past weekend in the Ravens’
blowout victory over the Texans and certainly that could happen
again this week against the struggling Rams, but it’s not
something that’s wise to bet on. Even this past week, when
he rushed for 112 yards, he did so on just eight attempts. He
hasn’t touched the ball 10 times in a single game since
all the way back in Week 1 so let’s not get overzealous
about a single performance. Edwards remains one of the league’s
top handcuff options and should probably be owned in most leagues
at this point of the season due to that fact, but keep him out
of your starting lineup.
Game Thoughts: After a slow start to the season and now
having thrown zero touchdowns and three interceptions over his
past two weeks, the panic button has been smashed down by fantasy
owners of Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Goff was one of the breakout
fantasy stars of the first-half of the 2018 season and rode that
performance to a top-12 performance at the position on the year,
but he really struggled down the stretch this past season and
now it’s been a full calendar year since we’ve really
seen any sort of consistent high-end production from Goff. At
this point he needs to be on your bench in normal, single-QB fantasy
leagues, especially against a Ravens defense that ranks in the
top eight in fewest fantasy points given up to opposing quarterbacks
so far this season. They just got done holding Deshaun Watson
to 169 passing yards and they have only given up one multiple-touchdown
passing day to an opposing QB so far this season.
Thankfully, Goff’s struggles don’t necessarily spell
disaster for the Rams pass catching weapons. The team consolidates
their targets to their three receivers - whichever grouping that
might be - and this season they’ve also been sprinkling
in passes to tight end Gerald Everett. Beyond those players, though,
it’s pretty much a wasteland for anyone else in this offense,
which is a good thing for fantasy because we know that the fantasy-viable
options will typically have opportunities.
It’s been a very weak start to the second half of the fantasy
season for Cooper Kupp, however, as he’s now been held to
under 55 receiving yards in four of his past five games. Of course,
that does include the one exception, in Week 8 when he destroyed
the Bengals for 220 yards and a touchdown, but it’s still
been a pretty tough stretch for Kupp’s fantasy owners as
of late. He does have by far the best matchup among Rams players
this week, however, as the Ravens have actually struggled quite
a bit against opposing slot receivers as of late. Both Mohamed
Sanu and Julian Edelman, who primarily play out of the slot, caught
10 passes against the Ravens back in Week 9 and players like Jarvis
Landry as well as both Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald - all
of whom are slot receivers - went over 100 yards against this
defense. Baltimore’s secondary is good overall so DFS players
might be off Kupp more than usual which should give fantasy owners
a nice opportunity to get him at a potentially suppressed ownership
rate given his own recent struggles and the perceived difficult
The other players in this passing game, however, should probably
be avoided at the moment. Sure, you can maybe get tight end Gerald
Everett in your lineup as a low-end TE1 given the dumpster fire
that is the position as a whole, but Baltimore is a top five defense
as a whole against opposing tight ends so it’s not a great
matchup. Also, while they’ve struggled against slot receivers,
the Ravens have been elite against outside pass catching weapons,
so it’s going to be difficult to trust any of these other
Brandin Cooks is expected to be back on the field as he finally
cleared the concussion protocol, but he hadn’t been particularly
great before that injury anyway. Meanwhile, Robert Woods, who
missed Week 11 with “personal reasons,” does not carry
an injury designation heading into this game but there has been
no confirmation that he’ll play on Monday night. Given the
lack of certainty and the fact that it might be too late to pivot
off of Woods into another quality receiver on what could be short
notice, Woods should probably be avoided in most leagues. If you
take the chance and he’s on the field, sure, he’s
a quality play, but that’s a very big risk to take. Last,
Josh Reynolds is an option for the most desperate of fantasy owners,
but he’s only someone you could put in your lineup if either
Cooks or Woods is sidelined. Otherwise he simply won’t be
on the field. It’s too difficult to trust him given the
lack of opportunity to get him out of your lineup if Woods and
Cooks are on the field.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: The rumor out of Rams camp was that the
team was planning on using Todd Gurley more down the stretch this
season than they did in the first half of the season and we may
have just seen the first indication of that being true this past
week when the former All-Pro back touched the ball 28 times for
133 yards and a touchdown against the Bears. It was by far his
best yardage output of the season and only his second 100-yard
day of 2019.
Certainly we can’t expect that Gurley is going to see that
high of usage on a weekly basis, but him getting 28 touches in
a single game seems to indicate that the Rams realize that this
season may be slipping away and they need to take the necessary
risks to scratch their way back into playoff contention. The passing
game is struggling mightily at the moment, so that probably means
another heavy workload is coming for Gurley here in Week 12 against
Baltimore has been a great defense as a whole this season, but
they have stumbled a bit in recent weeks, having given up over
100 rushing yards in each of their past two games against the
Bengals and Texans. They’ve also quietly given up 10 total
touchdowns to the position this season, so Gurley actually might
have a decent opportunity of getting into the end zone in this
The Rams offensive struggles hurt Gurley’s upside as a whole,
but he’s still a potential low-end RB1 in standard leagues
and a high-end RB2 in PPR leagues.