- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Jets @ Ravens
- (Swanson) Line: BAL -16.0 Total: 45.0
Game Thoughts: Sam Darnold’s sophomore season was
hijacked by a case of mono that cost the former USC Trojan four
games at the start of the season. Darnold showed some of the brilliance
that made him a top-three pick with 338 yards and a pair of touchdowns
against the Cowboys in Week 6, only to follow up with 86 passing
yards and four interceptions in the infamous “I’m
seeing ghosts” game against New England.
Despite the ups and downs one would expect for a second-year
quarterback, Darnold bounced back with a string of solid performances
in a span of five games against some of the leagues’ worst
During that span, Darnold threw nine touchdowns and two interceptions,
while adding two rushing touchdowns and 50 rushing yards. His
24.1 points per game ranked 11th among qualified quarterbacks
during that streak, higher than Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson,
Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson, and Matt Ryan.
Yet as the old saying goes, all good things come to an end. And
for Sam Darnold and the Jets skill position players like Robby
Anderson and Jamison Crowder, the cupcake section of the 2019
schedule has come and gone with the Jets traveling to Baltimore
to take on the NFL’s No.6 ranked defense on Thursday Night
Only the Patriots and Bills have given up fewer points to opposing
quarterbacks this season, and only Patrick Mahomes has managed
to throw multiple touchdowns passes against the Baltimore defense.
Needless to say, starting Darnold this week is a risky proposition
for owners still alive in the fantasy playoffs. The more pressing
question is can you start Robby Anderson, who ranks seventh at
the wide receiver position over the last three weeks with 18 catches
for 303 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
From a game script standpoint, the Jets will likely be chasing
points, and Darnold will need to throw the ball a ton in the second
half. From a matchup standpoint, the Ravens rank 21st in fantasy
points allowed to the position, with a touchdown or 90 yards given
up to a wide receiver in seven of their last eight games.
Anderson is not a great start, but he could still put up top
30-production, and his volume of 21 targets in his last two games
in hard to ignore. Crowder is also in play in full point PPR formats
as a low-end flex, but it would take a leap of faith to start
him after three games three or fewer fantasy points.
Darnold will be without TE Ryan Griffin, who left the game last
week against the Dolphins early with an ankle injury and WR Demaryius
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: Only the Dolphins and the Giants have
combined to score fewer fantasy points than the Jets, with the
Jets scoring a mere three rushing touchdowns as a group in 13
games this season.
No Jet has topped 100 yards rushing in a game, and no Jet has
reached double digits in fantasy points since Week 12.
Le’Veon Bell is set to return to the field after missing
last week with an illness, but it is difficult to expect much
considering the matchup. The Ravens give up the ninth-fewest points
to opposing running backs this season, which is somewhat skewed
based on the 165-yard, three-touchdown game Nick Chubb dropped
on them back in Week 4.
The positive for Bell is his work in the passing game and the
volume that he gets from catching the ball. Although the Ravens
have given up just one receiving touchdown and they have given
up the fewest receptions to running backs in 2019, Bell could
be active with the Jets chasing points late.
Game Thoughts: Chances are if you own Lamar Jackson in
fantasy football you are alive and well in the fantasy playoffs.
And chances are, if you have Lamar Jackson, you are salivating
at the matchup of the Jets coming to M&T Bank Stadium this
Jackson is a must-start regardless of opponent, and the fact
that the Jets rank in the middle of the pack in points allowed
to quarterbacks should bring a smile to your face. But there is
a concern in the fact that Jackson is questionable with a quad
injury that he suffered against the Bills last week.
The quad injury and a stout run defense of the Jets that has
given up only 878 rushing yards this season to running backs lead
me to believe that Jackson may not run as much and lean more on
the passing game.
This bodes well for the receiving options for the Ravens like
Marquise Brown, Willie Snead, and tight end Mark Andrews, assuming
he is able to ply through a knee injury that forced him to miss
most of the Buffalo game.
The Jets are far easier to beat in the air than on the ground,
as evident to the fact that they rank 12th in points allowed to
wide receivers. 12 wide receivers have reached double-digit fantasy
points against the jests, including a pair of Giants in Golden
Tate and Darius Slayton, who amassed 24 and 21 points respectively
in Week 10.
It may take a leap of faith to start Brown this week after he
posted an improbable -2 yards on three receptions last week against
the Bills, but he could be the difference-maker for your team
this week and a home run play.
Sneed carries a much higher floor, but he does not have the monster
game potential that Brown possesses. If Andrews is active he is
clearly a must-start, but should he be out, Hayden Hurst could
be a sneaky play - but keep in mind only the Jets are tied with
the Ravens for the fewest points allowed to the tight end position.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: The quad injury to Lamar Jackson could
force the Ravens to adjust their game plan this week when it comes
to the running game. Don’t be surprised to see a heavier
dose of Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, with fewer designed runs
The Jets are far more susceptible to the pass than the run, and
the Ravens will likely take advantage of this fact will more passes
to wide receivers and tight ends. But make no mistake, the Ravens
are a team that believes they can run on anyone and they will
still run the ball a ton against the Jets.
Look for Ingram and Edwards to combine for around 30 rush attempts
this week, with Justice Hill also getting a bit of action. This
game has the makings of a blowout, and the Ravens may want to
limit the exposure of Jackson. Start Ingram with confidence despite
the bad matchup on paper, and hope he reaches pay dirt for the
10th time this season.
Game Thoughts: We’re only two starts into his career
but Drew Lock already looks like the best quarterback on the Broncos
roster and that should give fantasy owners some confidence as
they look at their Denver fantasy options this week.
Lock himself really isn’t a viable fantasy starter other
than in two-QB formats but he’s been good enough to keep
Courtland Sutton in fantasy lineups. Sutton has caught nine passes
in Lock’s two starts, including two touchdowns, and he’s
continuing to be targeted heavily. He’s been targeted at
least five times in every game this season and he caught six passes
for 87 yards when he faced the Chiefs back in Week 7 so it seems
reasonable to think that he’ll continue to be a WR2 here
in the fantasy playoffs.
The other fantasy-viable option in this passing game is rookie
tight end Noah Fant who is more of a borderline starter in normal
leagues given that he’s coming off of the second 100-yard
performance of his career. Fant is dealing with a combination
of foot and hip injuries that’ve limited him in practice,
but it does look like he’ll be active on Sunday. The Chiefs
have given up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight
ends this season which makes Fant a nice tournament DFS play.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: The Chiefs aren’t particularly strong
on defense as a whole but the biggest reason for their struggles
has been their run defense. Kansas City has given up the fourth-most
fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. They were
able to mostly hold Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman in check
when these teams played earlier this season, but there’s
reason to be hopeful about this situation, particularly for Lindsay
who is seeing nearly two-thirds of the team’s backfield
touches in recent weeks.
Lindsay has seen at least 14 touches in each of his past four
games while Freeman has been held to 10 or fewer touches in every
game over that stretch. It appears as if the Broncos are finally
committing to Lindsay and it’s the perfect time for them
to do so in this great matchup for the fantasy playoffs.
Lindsay isn’t quite an RB1 but he’s nearing that distinction
given his workload. He’s a high-floor RB2 this week who
does have upside. Freeman, unfortunately, has to be on fantasy
benches as he’s just not seeing the workload that he did
earlier this season. He could sneak in a touchdown and save fantasy
owners but the odds of him doing anything in the yardage department
are very low.
Game Thoughts: With only three touchdown passes over
his past three games, the confidence in 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes
has to be wavering. Mahomes has not been the fantasy super-stud
that he was a season ago and while he is certainly still a QB1,
he’s no longer the lock as the top quarterback on the board.
Part of Mahomes’ struggles have been that wide receiver
Tyreek Hill has been banged up throughout the season. Hill hasn’t
found the end zone since Week 10 but he’s still seeing plenty
of targets and he appears to at least relatively healthy, so don’t
get cute -- Hill is still a solid WR1 with huge, week-winning
upside. He only caught three passes when these teams played back
in Week 7, but he got to 74 yards on those three receptions and
scored a touchdown.
The Chiefs other wide receivers just have not provided enough
consistency for us to trust them in the fantasy playoffs but we
do know that Travis Kelce is still a stud tight end. Kelce has
caught at least four passes in every game since Week 1 and he’s
now been over 60 receiving yards in six straight games. There
isn’t a better fantasy tight end in the business and there’s
no reason to look elsewhere now.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: The Kansas City backfield continues to
be a mess from a fantasy standpoint even though Damien Williams
has been missing time and Darrel Williams is on IR. LeSean McCoy
and Darwin Thompson have been competing for touches with McCoy
typically leading the way in touches when they’ve been healthy.
Unfortunately that hasn’t led to much fantasy production
most weeks even though this remains one of the more productive
offenses in the league.
McCoy is still the back to own and start, but there’s a
chance that Williams is back on the field this week, in which
case there would be a three-headed backfield that we probably
want to avoid from a fantasy standpoint. If Williams it out, however,
McCoy could crack lineups as a Flex play given his touchdown potential.
Understand that is upside is limited, however, given that the
explosion and elusiveness just don’t seem to be there. This
is a quality Denver run defense that has only given up two 100-yard
rushers all season.
Game Thoughts: With a chance to maintain control of the
NFC's No. 1 seed, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks laid an egg
in Los Angeles, failing to score an offensive TD en route to a
28-12 loss to the Rams. It was arguably the low-water mark for
Wilson on the year as he threw for 245 yards and failed to pass
for a score for the first time all season. It was the continuation
of the MVP candidate's recent struggles as over the last four
games he's averaged just 229 passing yards, 1 TD and 1 INT per
Wilson's struggles (and perhaps lingering shin pain) have greatly
affected Tyler Lockett, who has managed eight catches, 107 yards
and no TDs over that same four-game stretch. It's a far cry from
the player that topped 50 yards receiving in all but one of his
first nine games. While Lockett has faded, rookie D.K. Metcalf
has improved, logging six receptions and at least 70 yards in
four of his last five games. Josh Gordon has done little since
being claimed off waivers and is a non-factor for fantasy owners.
Despite his recent work, I'd still value Lockett slightly ahead
Jacob Hollister has slowed after a fast start but remains a significant
part of Seattle's passing attack and could be used as a low-end
TE1 depending on your other options. That's especially true this
week with a matchup that looks like a good opportunity for Wilson
and company to bounce back, as Carolina has gone completely off
the rails, and the firing of Ron Rivera did nothing to alter their
trajectory. Their pass defense sits a respectable 15th (234.8
yards per game), but they're not doing anything well right now.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: Seattle's running game was dealt a major
blow when Rashaad Penny (knee) suffered a torn ACL last Sunday
night, bringing his recent breakout play to a screeching halt.
The injury means Chris Carson is back to carrying the load; he
ran 15 times for 76 yards last week, and it'd be surprising not
to see him log 20-plus carries against a Panthers squad that ranks
29th (139.2 yards per game) against the run this season. That
makes Carson a midrange RB1 for Week 15.
Game Thoughts: Although he passed for 293 yards, Kyle
Allen endured another tough outing in Week 14, turning the ball
over three times (two INTs, one lost fumble) as part of a 20-point
loss to the lowly Falcons. It's obvious that less is more with
Allen, who averaged 32 passes per game during his first six (5-1
record) and 43 over the last five (0-5). He's managed to add a
little value with his running by scoring in back-to-back games,
but Allen should be left on the bench this Sunday.
With Greg Olsen (concussion) out, backup Ian Thomas saw 10 targets,
catching five passes for 57 yards and a score. Olsen is likely
to return this week, but if not Thomas could be a bold one-week
play with some upside. D.J. Moore (4-81-0) and Christian McCaffrey
(11-82-0) continue to pace the aerial attack, and Carolina's struggles
to stay in games have helped their receiving numbers. At this
stage, Moore can be trotted out there as a low-end WR1 or strong
WR2. Curtis Samuel has seen his role shrink recently, and he's
barely hanging on as a middling flex candidate.
Seattle's defense has quietly been pretty bad against the pass
this season, sitting 29th at 271.2 yards allowed per game. They
struggled to handle Jared Goff a week ago and successfully made
the 2019 Rams look suspiciously like the 2018 Rams. The bottom
line is this Seahawks team is nothing like the Super Bowl teams
on the defensive end, and I wouldn't shy away from starting any
of Carolina's main offensive weapons.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: It's tough to stick with the run when you
keep getting your ass handed to you, which explains McCaffrey
posting fewer than 15 carries in three of his last four games
-- he failed to top that number just once in his first nine. His
receiving exploits keep his value at RB1 level, but with 332 touches
already this season, you have to wonder if the Panthers won't
scale things back a bit to save wear and tear on CMC in what's
now a lost season. Seattle is 13th against the run (104.4 yards
per game) and gave up 113 total yards and a TD to Todd Gurley
in Week 14.
Patriots @ Bengals
- (Swanson) Line: NE -9.5 Total: 41.5
Game Thoughts: The Patriots took advantage of one of
the easiest schedules in the NFL to jump out to an 8-0 record
with cupcake matchups against the Dolphins, Giants, Redskins,
Jets, and Browns. When faced with a slate of games against teams
with winning records like the Ravens, Texans, and Chiefs, deficiencies
in the New England offense were exposed and Patriot fans were
forced to come to the harsh realization that the 2019 Pats are
not as good as perhaps they all thought.
New England ranks 15th in yards per game and eighth in points
per game at 26. Perhaps most surprising of a Bill Belichick-led
team is the fact that the Pats rank 23rd in the league in rushing
after being one of the most dominant rushing offenses of the last
The Pats cannot run the ball, teams have finally gotten smart
and started double-teaming Julian Edelman, and the other skill
position players are not getting open and have not made plays
for Tom Brady.
On a positive note, this week’s matchup against the Bengals
has the makings of a get-right game for Brady and the passing
offense. The Bengals allow the 10th-most points to opposing quarterbacks,
with eight different QBs posting games of at least 20 fantasy
Although the Bengals have been better as of late against Mason
Rudolph, Sam Darnold, and Baker Mayfield, allowing just one passing
touchdown since Week 12, the Bengals cannot get pressure on the
quarterback and Brady should have tons of time to find open receivers
in the secondary.
Julian Edelman continues to be a PPR stud and should be considered
a must-start this week. The other wide receivers should be considered
risky plays for those in the playoffs, as their volume and inconsistent
play, even against a subpar defense like the Bengals, make them
too risky to lean on this week.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Sony Michel came into 2019 riding high
on a solid finish to the 2018 playoff that made him a breakout
candidate for many fantasy owners in drafts this past summer.
Instead of building on his solid rookie season, the former Georgia
Bulldog cut his yard per carry average in half and has not posted
a double-digit fantasy performance since Week 7 against the Jets.
With 15 carries in the last two weeks and next to no work in
the passing game, it is going to be difficult for Michel owners
to pull the trigger on him in the playoffs. The matchup is beyond
juicy with the Bengals giving up the seventh-most points to running
backs, but Michel could be a bust once again with Rex Burkhead
and even Brandon Bolden stealing work.
James White owners will also be hard-pressed to pull the trigger
this week based on his inconsistent play. White was a monster
two weeks ago in garbage time against the Texans with 29.7 fantasy
points on 177 total yards and two touchdowns, but it only his
second game of more than 10 fantasy points on the season.
Game flow could hurt White if the Patriots are up and do not
need to pass much on third down. It is very likely that New England
will enjoy a sizable lead in this game, which could marginalize
White in the second half.
Game Thoughts: It may surprise some fantasy owners to
learn that Andy Dalton has averaged more fantasy points this season
that Jared Goff, Jacoby Brissett, Kyle Allen, and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Red Rifle, despite losing his job temporarily to rookie Ryan
Finley in the middle of the season, is averaging 20.2 fantasy
points per game and is on pace to tie his career-high in rushing
There are likely no fantasy owners in the playoffs faced with
the dilemma of considering Dalton as a start this week, so I won’t
spend much time on his outlook as a fantasy asset. Dalton is not
worthy of a play in anything other than most deep two-quarterback
leagues, but his return to the passing offense has been a boost
to both the receiving options on Cincinnati and running back Joe
Tyler Boyd has at least 75 yards or a score in each of his last
three games, but his outlook should be tempered significantly
based on the assumption he will see a healthy dose of Stephon
Gilmore. If Boyd does not get Gilmore and the Pats opt to let
slot corner Jonathan Jones cover Boyd in the slot, he could have
a decent game despite the tough overall matchup.
John Ross returned to the field last week and posted a pedestrian
two catches for 28 yards on three targets. Look for Dalton to
lean more on Ross in this matchup with Boyd likely shadowed by
Gilmore. With Auden Tate out with an injury, Ross could be a sneaky
flex play this week.
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.23
Running Game Thoughts: Only Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry
have more scored more fantasy points than Joe Mixon over the past
five weeks. After seriously burning his owners in the first month
of the season, Mixon scored at least 13 fantasy points in five
of his last six games, including 24.5 points last week against
The hot streak by Mixon likely helped more than a few owners
make the playoffs. Keeping that hot streak going this week is
going to be a challenge, as New England gives up the fewest number
of fantasy points per game to running backs. Only one opposing
running back has scored a rushing touchdown vs. Belichick’s
defense, although three backs have topped 100 rushing yards, including
Mark Ingram with 115 yards on 15 carries back in Week 9.
The positive on Mixon is he will see at least 18 carries and
is used regardless of game script. He also can provide some added
work in the receiving game, with 29 catches for 230 yards and
three scores in the air this season.
Game Thoughts: Owning and starting Jameis Winston on
your fantasy team is a roller coaster ride filled with terrible
interceptions, a fumble here and there, but in the end, he seems
to come through with a solid fantasy performance.
Winston leads the league by a wide margin in interceptions (23),
but he makes up for with the second-most passing yards and touchdowns.
He is second in the league in pass attempts, and his yard per
attempt ranks eighth, ahead of Philip Rivers, Deshaun Watson,
Matt Ryan, and Aaron Rodgers.
One of the reasons why Winston has been so good for fantasy is
the fact that the Bucs defense is terrible against the pass and
forces Winston to throw the ball a ton to keep pace. Only Arizona
has allowed more passing yards per game than the Bucs, and only
the lowly Dolphins give up more points per game.
On a positive note, the Lions give up the third-most passing
yards, and their secondary, like the Bucs, is dreadful and cannot
Yet on a negative note, Winston will be without Mike Evans for
the rest of the season, and he has a small fracture in his throwing
thumb. Also, the Lions will be rolling out David Blough again
this week and may not put up a ton of points that would require
Winston to throw as much as in previous weeks.
With those concerns aside, the Lions have given up monster games
to Dak Prescott, Daniel Jones, and Kirk Cousins, and even Mitchell
Trubisky managed to post 29.3 fantasy points against Detroit two
With Evans out for the season, Breshad Perriman should see an
uptick in targets along with O.J. Howard possibly becoming a viable
fantasy tight end once again.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: The Tampa Bay backfield is a wasteland
of unpredictability and frustration. Just when you think Ronald
Jones is going to take control of the backfield, Peyton Barber
comes out with tow rushing touchdowns against Jacksonville.
Both players were given 11 rushing attempts last week against
the Colts, and both players did absolutely nothing with their
opportunities. And Dare Ogunbowale continues to be the third-down
back for some reason and limits the receiving value for both players.
Hopefully, you have a better option than Jones and Barber. Yet
on a positive note, the Lions are downright awful against the
run, with only the Panthers giving up more points to opposing
If forced to choose between Barber and Jones, I would choose
Barber based on the assumption he is more likely to score a rushing
touchdown. But Jones could also blow up, and Barber could disappoint,
continuing the trend of frustrating weeks owners have had to endure
Game Thoughts: As expected, rookie third-string quarterback
David Blough came crashing back down to Earth after shocking the
Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving with 280 yards and two touchdowns
in his first career start.
Blough could not keep the magic going against the Vikings last
week with 205 passing yards, a passing touchdown, and two interceptions
in a 20-7 loss to Minnesota. Although technically Blough improved
on his completion percentage from the previous week, he mad rookie
mistakes and was careless with the football.
From a pure matchup standpoint, things do not get much better
for Blough and the passing game of the Lions with the Tampa Bay
Bucs coming to town. Only the Cardinals and the Raiders give up
more fantasy points per game than the Bucs, with eight opposing
quarterbacks posting 20 or more fantasy points this season against
the dreadful Tampa Bay secondary.
This game has the makings of a shoot-out, but chances are if
you made it this far in the playoffs, you already have a solid
quarterback and do not need to consider starting Blough. However,
if you are a Kenny Golladay owner, you should be happy with this
matchup as he will be peppered with targets even more now that
Marvin Jones is on IR.
Danny Amendola should gain a sizable increase in targets and
could be a very low-end flex play in a full point PPR, but other
than that, you are not likely going to start Jesse James at tight
end or any of the running backs for the Lions.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Bo Scarbrough suffered a rib injury against
the Vikings last week but told reporters he was just a little
sore and would be fine for this week’s game against the
Bucs. That is good news for Scarbrough, but anyone considering
starting him this week in the semi-finals against Tampa Bay may
want to look elsewhere.
The Bucs are terrible at a lot of things. They cannot run the
ball, they can’t play pass defense, and Jameis Winston is
well on his way to lead the league in interceptions.
One thing they can do well is play run defense. Only Chris Carson
has managed to rush for over 100 yards this season against the
Bucs, and only two players have managed to score a rushing touchdown.
Tampa Bay ranks second behind the Pats for the fewest points allowed
to running backs, making any Lions running back a questionable
start this week.
Game Thoughts: After a slow start with five games a fewer
than 14 fantasy points his first seven starts, Mitchell Trubisky
has been on fire as of late with an average of 30 points in his
last three games against the Giants, Lions, and Cowboys.
Only Lamar Jackson, Jameis Winston, and Dak Prescott have move
fantasy points since Week 10 than Trubisky, who looked primed
to be replaced midway through the season.
One of the reasons why Trubisky has been much better as both
a real-life and fantasy quarterback is he reincorporated running
the ball back into is repertoire. Trubisky has two rushing touchdowns
in his last three games and a season-high 63 yards in an upset
win over the Cowboys last week at Soldier Field.
He will need to continue running and making plays outside the
pocket for the Bears to have any hope going into Lambeau and upsetting
the 10-3 Packers. The third-year former first-round pick is 1-3
against Green Bay, with three passing touchdowns and one interception.
The Packers give up the eighth-fewest points to quarterbacks
this season. Only Carson Wentz has managed to throw for three
or more touchdowns against the Pack, and only two quarterbacks
have topped 300 passing yards. While it is impressive that Trubisky
took advantage of bad defenses like the Lions and Giants, doing
the same against Green Bay on the road may be a challenge.
From an injury standpoint, the Packers may be without starting
cornerback Kevin King, who missed last week’s game against
the Redskins with a shoulder injury. King’s absence could
be a boost for Allen Robinson and the rest of the Bears receiving
Robinson enters Week 15 as the No.20 ranked wide receiver with
10.1 points per game. He has seven receiving touchdowns and is
on pace to post his first 1000-yard season since 2015.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: The Bears entered 2019 with high hopes
for their rushing attack after using an early-round pick on rookie
David Montgomery. The Iowa State star looked primed to be a stud
running back for both real life and fantasy, with his draft stock
creeping up into the third round in most drafts.
With 680 yards and five touchdowns, Montgomery has flashed some
of that greatness we saw in the preseason, but he has not lived
up to his draft capital, and his owners are likely not playing
fantasy football in Week 15.
If for some reason, you are a Montgomery owner, and you are still
alive, congrats. The Packers are far easier to run on than they
are in the passing game, giving hope that Montgomery may be in
line for 20 or more carries on Sunday.
The Pack ranks sixth in fantasy points allowed to running backs
and have allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns. Adrian Peterson
rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries last week, which
is well within reach this week for Montgomery.
Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers is the ninth-ranked quarterback
with 277.2 fantasy points in 13 games this season. Although he
continues to be among the league’s best in limiting turnovers
with a league-best two interceptions on 441 pass attempts (Both
picks were tipped balls or drops) he is not keeping pace with
the other leaders at the posting in passing yards, passing touchdowns,
and perhaps most importantly in today’s game, rushing touchdowns.
You can argue that Rodgers is playing some of his best football
this season, but he is not doing much for fantasy owners, and
he is likely to disappoint again this week.
The Bears rank fifth in fewest points allowed to quarterbacks
this season, with no opposing quarterback managing to throw for
more than two touchdowns in a game. Dak Prescott became only the
second quarterback to top 300 passing yards against Chuck Pagano’s
defense, while two of the last four quarterbacks to play Chicago
have failed to top 200 yards.
The Bears are playing well and will likely come into Lambeau
looking to avenge their 10-3 loss at home to the Pack Week 1.
Rodgers has struggled this season against teams like the Bears
who can put pressure on him from the outside.
A key factor in this game will be the ability of tackles Bryan
Bulaga and David Bakhtiari in protecting Rodgers’ backside
and allowing him enough time to find wide receivers downfield.
Rodgers was under constant pressure when they played Week 1 and
was unable to do much for fantasy owners.
Another worry about Rodgers is the fact that the ground game
for Green Bay is coming off a solid performance against the Redskins
that could and should carry over against the Bears. The Bears
have been far more beatable on the ground than in the air, and
it would make sense for the Pack to lean on their defense to force
turnovers and run the ball, with Rodgers limiting the number of
throws to avoid injury and sacks.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Aaron Jones is one of the hardest players
to predict in fantasy and one of the most frustrating, as he has
a habit of disappearing in games where he should be good and blows
up in matchups that do not appear to be great.
Despite these frustrations for his fantasy owners, Jones enters
Week 15 tied for second with Derrick Henry with 15 total touchdowns
and continues to be a week-winning asset when he blows up.
The question his owners must ask themselves is, will he blow
up this week against the Bears? Jones managed just 38 yards on
13 carries for 3.9 fantasy points against Chicago Week 1, only
to go bananas with 21 fantasy points at home against the Vikings
the following week.
Perhaps the better question is will the return of Akiem Hicks
to the middle of the Bears line stifle the run game and limit
Dolphins at Giants
- (Katz) Line: NYG -3.5 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming off a lackluster
effort against the Jets. The good news is he’s shown mid
QB1 upside and now gets a Giants pass defense that can’t
stop anyone. The Giants have allowed back-to-back QB1 performances
to Carson Wentz and Aaron Rodgers. They allow 22.6 fantasy points
per game to quarterbacks. Most of the damage done against the
Giants is by the opposing WR1, who averages 20.2 fantasy points
Unfortunately, the Dolphins don’t have a WR1. Preston Williams
was lost weeks ago and DeVante Parker is unlikely to play due
to a concussion. Albert Wilson is out as well, leaving Isaiah
Ford and Allen Hurns to operate as Fitzpatrick’s top two
options. Both are nothing more than desperation options as someone
has to catch passes. Mike Gesicki would appear to benefit from
all the injuries, but he didn’t capitalize on the opportunity
last week with just one catch. The Giants allow just 6.6 fantasy
points per game to TE1s.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Patrick Laird played well ahead of Myles
Gaskin in the first game of the post Kalen Ballage era. Laird
played 82% of the snaps and has now seen five targets in back
to back games. He is the clear lead back and absolutely comes
with fantasy value against a Giants defense that has seen opponents
target running backs 92 times this season. Laird doesn’t
come with much of a ceiling, but he has a nice touch floor and
given the rash of injuries we saw in Week 14, you can do worse
than Laird as a fill in flex.
Game Thoughts: Daniel Jones practiced this week and is
nearing a return, but, as fate would have it, Eli Manning is slated
for one final start as a home favorite to bring his career winning
percentage back to .500. Manning blindsided the Eagles in the
first half last week, but then reminded us why he was benched
with his dreadful second half play. With that being said, the
Dolphins are the easiest of matchups, allowing 22.8 fantasy points
per game to quarterbacks. Manning finds himself on the streaming
radar as the Giants need to rely on the pass with their generational
talent running back having a down season.
Last week it wasn’t Sterling Shepard or Golden Tate that
caught Manning’s eye, but rookie Darius Slayton, who had
never received a target from Manning. I think we have no choice
but to react to this. Slayton led the Giants with eight targets,
narrowly edging out Shepard’s seven. Tate was the odd man
out and while any of these three can produce against the Dolphins,
it will be difficult to predict which one(s). Fortunately, the
Dolphins rank near the bottom in fantasy points allowed to WR1s,
WR2s, and the slot. Perhaps the answer is all three? Evan Engram
is still working his way back from a foot injury and was limited
in practice Thursday.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Generational talent and 2019 mega bust
Saquon Barkley is averaging fewer fantasy points per game than
generational talent and 2018 mega bust David Johnson did last
season. Hopefully, the Dolphins are a one week fix as they allow
the third most rushing yards per game at 141.1. They’ve
also allowed nine runs of 20+ yards, which should be a positive
for a running back. Barkley has just five rushes all season of
over 15 yards. One potential negative is the Dolphins seldom see
teams throw to running backs against them, doing so just 17.14%
of the time. With the Dolphins so poor at defending receivers,
Manning should not need to check it down to Barkley so he will
have to do his damage mostly on the ground.
Texans @ Titans
- (Green) Line: TEN -3.0 Total: 50.5
Game Thoughts: Coming off one of the biggest wins in
the Bill O'Brien era, the Texans promptly laid an egg in a lopsided
home loss to the Broncos. Deshaun Watson wasn't great, completing
just 28 of his 50 passes and throwing a pair of interceptions
-- his third multi-pick game of 2019 and first since Oct. 20 --
but did account for three TDs, two of which came on the ground.
Any early-season MVP talk is a distant memory, and Watson hasn't
posted 300-plus yards and multiple scores in a game since Week
5. He's still worth starting, though.
It's hard to overstate how much the Texans miss Will Fuller (hamstring)
when he's out of action, which he was once again last Sunday.
Keke Coutee (five catches, 68 yards last week) and Kenny Stills
(2-8) just don't bring as much to the table when they're asked
to move up the depth chart. It's unclear whether Fuller will play
in Week 15, but if he's up he'd be worth consideration as a WR3.
If Fuller doesn't go you could roll the dice on Coutee if your
need is dire. DeAndre Hopkins (7-120-1) continues to deliver each
week, and he remains a strong WR1.
Tennessee ranks 25th against the pass this year (259.9 yards
allowed per game), which is almost exactly what Derek Carr threw
for last Sunday. This is definitely an area the Texans will look
to exploit, especially with Adoree' Jackson (foot) banged up;
he was a DNP in Week 14 and is no lock to return for this weekend's
AFC South tilt.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Even in a blowout, Carlos Hyde logged
14 carries for 73 yards against Denver. That seems to be right
in his sweet spot, as it marked the seventh time this season he's
finished with between 55 and 85 rushing yards. Duke Johnson was
barely used as a runner but did catch six balls for 40 yards.
The Titans are 10th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (101.6
per game) and held Oakland under 100 last week, albeit without
Josh Jacobs. In a critical showdown, I'd expect O'Brien to put
the ball in Watson's hands, leaving Hyde/Johnson as flex plays.
Game Thoughts: Even with the caveat that Oakland's secondary
is a train wreck, it's hard to simply dismiss Ryan Tannehill's
performance in Week 14: 21 of 27, 391 yards and 3 TDs. While the
yards haven't always been there, he's been steady with the scoring
and has now thrown for multiple TDs in six of his seven starts.
The mistakes have also been minimal, and his accuracy has been
excellent. It's an impressive redemption story for Tannehill,
who not only looks the part of an NFL starter once again but has
also ascended to viable QB1 status in the fantasy world.
While there are no week-to-week locks among Tennessee's pass
catchers, rookie A.J. Brown has clearly emerged as the best bet.
His 153 receiving yards last week were a new career high, and
he added two more TDs to bring his season total to six. There's
still some risk -- he had just 17 receiving yards in Week 10 --
but after him it's become a total crapshoot with the likes of
Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith probably coming the closest to being
playable. However, I wouldn't trust either of them at this late
After appearing to trend in the right direction recently, the
Texans looked woeful last week in allowing Drew Lock to throw
for 309 yards and three scores in just his second professional
start. Sitting at 27th in pass defense for the season (265.8 yards
per game), Houston offers very appealing upside for Tannehill
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry (hamstring) continued his
late-season push for All-Pro consideration, topping 100 yards
for the fourth straight time and pushing his TD count to 15 on
the year. He's dealing with some hamstring trouble, though, and
sat out practice on Thursday, so that's a situation to watch.
If he's active, Henry would be a strong RB1. If he can't go, the
team would likely call on seldom-used veteran Dion Lewis to hold
down the fort. Against the 18th-ranked run defense (109.5 yards
per game), Lewis would be a flex option as the lead back.
Eagles at Redskins
- (Caron) Line: PHI -4.5 Total: 39.0
Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz’s best fantasy game
of the season came way back in Week 1 against these very Redskins.
Wentz is a matchup based option and this is a quality matchup
as the Redskins allow 18.5 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
The biggest concern for Wentz is who will he be throwing to? It
is 2018 all over again for Zach Ertz as he’s the only game
in town with DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, and Nelson Agholor
all out due to injury. It will likely be Greg Ward and JJ Arcega-Whiteside
in two receiver sets. Ward did see nine targets last week, which
is at least something.
The Redskins allow 14.3 fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s
and 13.3 to WR2s. If you’re desperate, Ward is worth a look.
Arcega-Whiteside is not. He played 91.5% of the snaps last week,
but drew just three targets. Ertz is a near lock for double digit
targets yet again and Dallas Goedert is in play as well. He is
the de factor second option in the passing game and has seen at
least six targets in four straight games.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: After averaging a 90% snap share for three
games, Miles Sanders played just 54.9% of the snaps last week
as Boston Scott commanded usage with his impressive play. Sanders
still reached double digit fantasy points, but it’s hard
to imagine Doug Pederson not going back to his preferred committee
approach now that he knows he can trust Scott. The Redskins allow
the highest percentage of opposing targets to running backs at
25.12%. Sanders has seen five targets in three straight games,
but Scott saw six targets last week. In a favorable matchup, both
backs are in play, but come with a very low floor since we can’t
be sure how the touch distribution will play out.
Game Thoughts: I will preface this by stating that Dwayne
Haskins is a rookie with a weak supporting cast on a bad offense.
However, there is no denying he has looked completely awful in
every game he’s played. Haskins has finished QB26 or worse
in four of his five starts. Terry McLaurin is averaging 6.5 fewer
fantasy points per game with Haskins under center. There is no
need to spend unnecessary time on this passing game. Everyone
is off the table.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: Derrius Guice was playing very well in
his return from injury, but, as one would expect, Guice is back
on IR for the third time in his two year career. That brings Adrian
Peterson back into a lead role, splitting time with Chris Thompson.
AP played 49.1% of the snaps last week and figures to be around
50-60% this week. The Eagles allow the third fewest rushing yards
per game at just 89.6, but have allowed 99 targets to running
backs. This could be more of a Thompson game, especially with
the Redskins likely trailing.
Game Thoughts: It’s been a terrible fantasy season
for Baker Mayfield and the Browns passing game, but a matchup
against one of the league’s worst pass defenses may be exactly
what this group needs.
Mayfield himself hasn’t done much to give fantasy owners
confidence, but he’s one of the better streaming options
on the board here in Week 15. The Cardinals rank dead last in
fantasy points given up to opposing quarterbacks this season and
they haven’t held a single starting quarterback to fewer
than 15 fantasy points in any game this season. That’s not
a spectacular game, but if that’s the floor then Mayfield
is a pretty safe option to be a QB1 for fantasy this week.
If Mayfield is going to have a nice day then we need to look closely
at his pass catching weapons. While Odell Beckham Jr. is the obvious
star of the group, it’s also true that he’s been battling
an abdominal injury that is still bothering him and at this point
he’s outside of the WR1 conversation even in what is a great
matchup. It’s hard to put him outside of WR2 territory,
though, even given the high potential in this game, but don’t
be surprised if this is another tough fantasy day for him as the
other pass catching weapons fill in.
The Cardinals’ biggest struggles have mostly come against
opposing tight ends and slot receivers and that’s an area
where the Browns can absolutely exploit them. Jarvis Landry has
gone for 300 yards receiving over his past three games and he’s
averaging over 10 targets per game over his past seven games.
This looks like a potential smash spot for Landry and this might
be the first time all season when it actually makes sense to rank
Landry ahead of Beckham.
The tight end who could go off in this game is David Njoku who
continues to battle injuries this season. He’s been dealing
with a knee injury over this week’s practices, but he turned
in a full practice on Thursday which should indicate that he’ll
be ready to go in this juicy matchup. There aren’t many
tight ends who possess the physical tools that Njoku does and
the Cardinals have been comically bad against tight ends this
season so don’t be surprised if he turns in his first TE1
fantasy performance of the season.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb saw a touchdown get vultured
by Kareem Hunt in Week 14, but he still turned in a nice fantasy
performance with his sixth 100-yard rushing performance of the
season. Chubb remains one of the top fantasy backs on the board
despite his lack of usage in the passing game. He’s seen
at least 15 carries in every game this season and has only been
held under 10 PPR fantasy points in two games this season. He’s
not a top-end RB1 because he doesn’t catch enough passes
but he’s still very much entrenched as a great fantasy play
Hunt continues to see between five to 10 carries per week but
his real contributions remain in the passing game as he’s
now caught 22 passes in the five games since he was activated
in Week 10. Hunt hasn’t been held under 10 PPR fantasy points
in any game this season and this looks like a great opportunity
for him to continue that trend. He lacks high-end upside because
he doesn’t get enough total touches, but Hunt is a solid
high-floor, low-end RB2 in PPR formats.
Game Thoughts: Week 14 saw the first three-interception
performance of Kyler Murray’s career as the young quarterback
just could not avoid the Steelers defenders. Worse yet, Murray
didn’t contribute as a runner which didn’t allow him
to turn in a quality fantasy performance. Murray has been a very
hit-or-miss fantasy option, but this Week 15 matchup against the
Browns does look like one where he could find some success.
The Browns offense looks like a good one to exploit the Cardinals
defense, so expect there to be plenty of points scored on the
Cleveland side. That should mean that the Cardinals lean even
more heavily on their passing game than they already do, so look
for Murray to have plenty of opportunity to put up a solid fantasy
day. He’s too volatile to trust as a high-end QB1, but if
you’re still searching for a quarterback and need someone
who could give you a boom week, Murray might be your guy.
If he does go off, look for it to be primarily in conjunction
with wide receiver Christian Kirk. Kirk is a bit banged up with
an ankle injury but he does intend to play this week and he’s
been heavily targeted in this offense all season. He’s averaging
8.5 targets per game over his past six and he continues to be
by far the most productive pass catcher in this offense. We’ll
rank him as a low-end WR2 this week in PPR formats given that
he isn’t much of a touchdown producer, but he’s a
fairly safe bet to have a solid fantasy day against this middle-of-the-road
Larry Fitzgerald might be winding down his career in these final
few games and nostalgia might have you thinking about playing
him, but don’t fall for the trap. Fitzgerald has been held
to fewer than 70 receiving yards in eight of his past 10 games
and he has scored just one touchdown over that span. The upside
just isn’t there to play him in fantasy.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: Chase Edmonds has been
phased out, David Johnson is serving as a backup and the Arizona
backfield has been all but fully handed over to Kenyan Drake.
The offensive line situation is still as bad as it gets and the
Arizona offense as a whole is still not great but Drake has now
carried the ball at least 10 times in five straight games and
he continues to contribute in the passing game.
The Browns are a middle-of-the-road fantasy run defense but there’s
a good chance that this ends up being a sneaky shootout, which
would absolutely help Drake, especially if he ends up seeing some
goal line touches. We’ll rank him as a high-end Flex option
because he does have some decent upside. His floor isn’t
great, though, given that he’s been held under 10 PPR fantasy
points in back-to-back games despite seeing a good number of touches.
Jaguars @ Raiders
- (Caron) Line: OAK -6.5 Total: 45.5
Game Thoughts: With D.J. Chark now ruled out for this
weekend’s game, the Jacksonville passing game becomes quite
a bit more ambiguous as we look toward their matchup against the
Raiders. Oakland has one of the worst defenses in the league so
there is a real potential for this Jaguars passing game to do
some damage so identifying which players are most likely to see
an increase in playing time and targets could be important.
The obvious standout is Dede Westbrook who should see more targets
come his way with Chark out. He doesn’t replace Chark in
any way, really, given that he plays almost all of his snaps out
of the slot, but he’s the most established pass catcher
in this offense and the only one who’s really contributed
much for the Jaguars this season. We’ll look at him as a
high-end WR3 who has upside in this matchup.
The other two players who could see an increase in playing time
and touches are Chris Conley and Keelan Cole. Conley has been
much more productive than Cole this season so it would make sense
for him to be ranked higher, but Cole is the player who probably
sees the biggest bump in overall value with Chark out given that
he should see significantly more playing time now that he’s
not competing with Chark. Conley and Cole are both non-starters
in standard seasonal leagues but they both have some appeal as
cheap, deep DFS options who could significantly out-produce their
Gardner Minshew himself shouldn’t be started in standard
one-quarterback leagues but he has enough upside to be a middle-of-the-pack
QB2 in this matchup against the Raiders’ 31st-ranked fantasy
defense against opposing quarterbacks.
OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: Overall offensive struggles for the Jaguars
offense have not done any favors for running back Leonard Fournette’s
fantasy production. He’s failed to eclipse 50 rushing yards
in four of his past five games, but he’s been an absolute
beast as a receiver. Fournette has now caught 68 passes on the
season, including nearly seven catches per game over his past
six contests. The receiving production in PPR leagues has made
him one of the safest options on the board even despite his rushing
struggles and his continued inability to get into the end zone.
Fournette will be up against a Raiders defense that has given
up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this
season and they just got smashed for over 100 yards and a pair
of touchdowns by Derrick Henry this past week. Look for Fournette
to turn in a nice fantasy day.
Game Thoughts: Derek Carr finally turned in another solid
fantasy day this past week, but the Oakland offense as a whole
is just not producing well enough to be looked at for fantasy
purposes other than in the deepest of leagues. Carr had failed
to reach 20 fantasy points in five straight games prior to being
saved by some garbage time production against the Titans in Week
14. He had actually been held to under 10 fantasy points in back-to-back
games leading into that contest.
Tyrell Williams is completely off fantasy radars at this point
and the only player who we should really be looking at is tight
end Darren Waller who continues to produce solid numbers at a
position that is practically completely devoid of talent beyond
a few elite options. Waller has been targeted at least five times
in all but one game this season and he’s a top option at
the position because of that high usage.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: The Jaguars defense has
been exploitable this season, especially on the ground and that’s
what Oakland will almost certainly look to do this week. We’ve
seen the Raiders rely heavily on their running game throughout
the season which has led to a potential offensive rookie of the
year award for Josh Jacobs, but Jacobs missed the first game of
his career this past week with a shoulder injury.
Jacobs has been back on the practice field this week but he’s
been limited which leaves some serious questions about his availability
in what should be a great matchup this weekend. The nice thing
is that the Raiders actually got some solid production out of
DeAndre Washington this past week so they likely won’t rush
Jacobs back onto the field only to have him split touches. If
he’s active, Jacobs should return to a similar role as the
workhorse back in this offense. If he’s inactive, of course,
it should be expected that Washington will again see significant
playing time with the potential of turning in a sneaky nice fantasy
The Jaguars have given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing
running backs this season and they just gave up a ridiculous 326
total yards to the Chargers’ running back unit this past
week. There’s plenty of potential for a nice fantasy day
here so keep your eyes on the inactives list as we head into Sunday’s
contest. Be sure to handcuff Jacobs with Washington if he’s
available in your league, or even play the “block”
game and pick up Washington even if you don’t own Jacobs.
Vikings @ Chargers
- (Caron) Line: MIN -3.0 Total: 45.5
Game Thoughts: It was popular to make fun of Kirk Cousins
earlier this season, but there’s a reason why the memes
have all but completely stopped over the past two months -- because
Cousins is playing like the stud quarterback that the Vikings
paid him to be.
That increased productivity has led to some nice fantasy numbers
from the Vikings offense as a whole even though they’ve
been missing wide receiver Adam Thielen who continues to battle
a hamstring injury. Thielen has practiced now in back-to-back
days and seems to be trending toward playing this week for the
first time since Week 9, so that would be a huge boost to the
Vikings passing attack overall. It’d be difficult to trust
Thielen as anything more than a low-end WR2 just because we haven’t
seen him play in so long and he might have his snaps significantly
limited still, but he’s a player who can produce quality
fantasy numbers even on limited touches. Either way, he’d
be a welcome addition for Cousins, who could be utilized as a
low-end QB1 if you’re in a tough situation.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs continues to mostly produce quality
fantasy numbers but he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire
in Thielen’s absence. While Thielen’s return might
lead to slightly fewer targets for Diggs, it’s worth noting
that the targets he does see could be of improved quality against
less difficult coverage as the Chargers defense would have to
focus on shutting down more than just Diggs. Diggs’ value
likely doesn’t change much whether Thielen plays or not
and we’ll call him a mid-level WR2.
The rest of the Vikings pass catching weapons are just too inconsistent
to place in your seasonal fantasy lineups, but Kyle Rudolph does
have some value as a boom-or-bust TE option in DFS tournaments.
He’s scored five touchdowns over his past five games.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook’s continued run as an
elite fantasy option this season has been extremely impressive
and he hasn’t been held to fewer than 13 fantasy points
in any game this season. He’s now scored a touchdown in
seven of his past eight games and he continues to be one of the
most active running backs in the league in the passing game.
This week Cook gets a Chargers defense that has been great at
containing opposing running backs as of late, but we should still
be confident in starting him as one of the best high-floor / high-upside
combination backs in the league.
Game Thoughts: The Chargers have a tough matchup this
week against a Vikings defense that hasn’t given up more
than 240 passing yards in a game over their past three games while
also conceding just four passing touchdowns over that span. Philip
Rivers’ days as a trustworthy fantasy asset are behind him,
but that doesn’t mean that we have to completely neglect
his pass catching weapons.
Wide receiver Keenan Allen has caught at least five passes in
each of his past four contests and while he hasn’t reached
the 100-yard mark since Week 3, he’s seeing enough work
to be considered a solid mid-to-high-end WR2 against the Vikings.
Meanwhile, fellow wide receiver Mike Williams finally got into
the end zone for the first time this season in Week 14. Williams
had been one of the biggest candidates for positive touchdown
regression throughout the league so don’t be surprised if
he makes it happen again this week against a Minnesota secondary
that has struggled to defend some of the big, physical receivers
they’ve faced throughout the season. They’ve conceded
the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this
season and Williams could be useful as a nice high-upside WR3.
Tight end Hunter Henry has cooled off in recent weeks but he did
get into the end zone this past week in the Chargers’ blowout
victory over the Jaguars. The tight end position is terrible overall
so Henry remains a borderline top five option at the position
even though he hasn’t been producing huge numbers as of
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Austin Ekeler started
the 2019 season as one of the most productive fantasy players
in the league, then the return of Melvin Gordon relegated him
to Flex duty most weeks. Ekeler reminded everyone that he’s
still capable of being an RB1 this past week, however, as he completely
humiliated the Jaguars with 101 rushing yards along with 112 receiving
yards and a touchdown on just 12 touches. It’d be impossible
for us to assume that he’s going to do that with any sort
of consistency, but Ekeler’s per-touch numbers are off the
charts and he’s one of the few players who’s fantasy
viable even though he’s the second option in his own backfield.
The starter, Gordon, also produced in the dominating Chargers
victory over the Jaguars, but fantasy owners might be a little
disappointed that he only gave them one touchdown in such a huge
offensive output by the Chargers. Of course, the Chargers really
didn’t need much out of Gordon in that game so it makes
sense that they didn’t lean as heavily on him in that game
as they had been in recent weeks. The Vikings should put up much
more of a fight this week which should actually be a good thing
for Gordon and it’s safe to call him a low-end RB1 in this
matchup against a good, but not great Vikings run defense.
Rams at Cowboys
- (Katz) Line: LAR -1.0 Total: 49.0
Game Thoughts: It’s hard to imagine any quarterback
is more volatile than Jared Goff. Goff has six games of 18 more
fantasy points and five games of fewer than 10 fantasy points,
with four of those 5.2 or lower. From Week 5 to Week 10, Goff
failed to complete 60% of his passes in a single game. Over the
last three weeks, Goff’s completed at least 70% of his throws.
Despite Goff’s improved play, he has only posted one fantasy
viable performance since Week 8. The Cowboys are not the easiest
of matchups. They allow just 216.4 passing yards per game and
Goff’s road struggles are well documented. The Cowboys just
got lit up by Mitch Trubisky and have proven incapable of stopping
any team that isn’t terrible.
One thing we can be sure of is Goff’s top receiving option:
Robert Woods. Over his past four games, Woods has seen a whopping
48 targets and is coming off consecutive WR1 outings. Woods is
setup for another strong game. The WR2 on the Rams is undoubtedly
Josh Reynolds. He played 61.2% of the snaps last week and was
the primary option in two receiver sets. However, he is well off
the fantasy radar as his job was mostly to block, running just
12 routes and failing to record a single target.
The next option for fantasy purposes is Tyler Higbee. Now, Gerald
Everett may return this week, which would throw a wrench into
things, but Higbee has thrived in Everett’s absence. Higbee
has seen 19 targets over his past two games and surpassed 100
yards receiving in both. The Cowboys allow a not terrible 9.0
fantasy points per game to tight ends.
Brandin Cooks hasn’t finished higher than WR60 over the
past month, including two zero point performances. He played a
season low 38.8% of the snaps last week. Last to be mentioned
for a reason is Cooper Kupp. Perhaps I should have mentioned Johnny
Mundt first though. After all, Mundt played way more snaps that
Kupp’s 34.3%. It is entirely possible this was a one game
outlier, as Kupp averaged nearly 90% of the snaps prior to last
week, but clearly Sean McVay benched Kupp for a reason and, most
concerning, it worked. The Rams destroyed the Seahawks with 12
personnel and McVay has made it abundantly clear that Kupp will
not see the field unless there are three receivers out there.
Kupp salvaged his day with a touchdown, but saw just four targets.
It seems highly unlikely you can bench him this week, but you
absolutely should if you have a better option.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: In addition to focusing on more 12 personnel,
the Rams also focused more on Todd Gurley. Gurley touched the
ball 27 times and surpassed 20 fantasy points for just the third
time this season. The Cowboys allow 4.2 yards per carry, but have
allowed 603 receiving yards to running backs. If McVay watched
what the Vikings did to the Cowboys with Dalvin Cook in the screen
game, we could see Gurley more involved as a receiver. If you
have Gurley, you are obviously starting him.
Game Thoughts: Dak Prescott salvaged his fantasy day
last week with garbage time production. Prescott continues to
lead the league in passing yards because the Cowboys continue
to give up points at an alarming rate. The Rams allow just 221.2
passing yards per game and 17.1 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
This is not an easy matchup, but Prescott has proven to be mostly
matchup proof, at least to the extent that he won’t completely
fail. However, Prescott has been matchup dependent for his ceiling.
Amari Cooper is going to see a lot of Jalen Ramsey, but Ramsey
has been beaten by the likes of D.K. Metcalf and Allen Robinson.
Cooper is playing at well below 100%, so he’s more of a
floor than ceiling play, but he should be fine. Michael Gallup
is slated for the easier cornerback matchup. He’s coming
off a 100-yard day and is a solid option this week as well. Jason
Witten has finished higher than TE19 once in his past five games.
He can be safely ignored. Randall Cobb’s hot streak lasted
all of two games. He’s back to the guy who has finished
better than WR42 just four times this season. He’s off the
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott had four 30+ point fantasy
games in 2018. This season, he doesn’t even have one. On
a positive note, Zeke has been extremely consistent over the past
month, finishing between RB6 and RB9 in four straight games. The
Rams allow just 3.8 yards per carry and just 15.4 fantasy points
per game to RB1s. This is not an easy matchup for Elliott, but
he remains a locked in RB1. Tony Pollard did not play last week,
but should return this week. If he does, he will eat into a series
or so, but is no threat to Zeke’s workload.
Falcons @ 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SF -11.0 Total: 48.0
Game Thoughts: It’s been a rough second half of
the season for Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing game and it doesn’t
look like things are going to get much better now that they’ll
be without second-year wide receiver Calvin Ridley who was placed
on IR this week. Ryan threw for multiple touchdowns without an
interception for the first time in two months this past week and
he has been held to fewer than 20 fantasy points in five of his
past six games. This week he’ll be up against a 49ers defense
that has been excellent against opposing quarterbacks this season.
They got torched by Drew Brees this past week, but they hadn’t
given up more than two passing touchdowns in any game prior to
that this season. Don’t look for Matt Ryan to reach that
number this week. Ryan is still a QB2 given that he typically
sees plenty of volume, but his upside just isn’t great in
There are really only two fantasy options who we should be looking
at in this Atlanta passing offense here in Week 15, those being
wide receiver Julio Jones and tight end Austin Hooper. Jones hasn’t
scored a touchdown since Week 3 which isn’t all that out-of-the-ordinary
for him, but he’s also been held to six or fewer receptions
in five of his past six games. Jones is still a WR1 given his
high target volume but this isn’t a high-scoring offense
at the moment and they’re in a very difficult matchup.
Hooper made his return to the lineup this past week and didn’t
really do much, but we know that he’s likely to see an increase
in target share now that Ridley is out for the season. Hooper
is still a TE1 even if he’s not completely recovered from
the knee injury that held him out for multiple weeks.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: With 21 touches in each of his past two
weeks, Devonta Freeman is proving to be a bell cow running back
deep into the 2019 season despite the Falcons being far out of
playoff contention. It’s difficult to find this type of
workload upside throughout the league and even though Freeman
hasn’t been particularly efficient with his touches, that
many touches makes him a quality fantasy play.
Unfortunately, Freeman gets a terrible matchup this week against
one of the league’s best run defenses, the San Francisco
49ers, who’ve conceded the third-fewest fantasy points to
opposing running backs this season. They held Alvin Kamara to
fewer than two yards per carry this past week and haven’t
allowed a rushing touchdown since Week 10.
Freeman has a nice floor given his workload, but his upside is
limited in this one. Look for him to be a low-end RB2, but nothing
Game Thoughts: There was some concern that the 49ers
eventual downfall would be that they couldn’t score with
the best offenses in the league, but that was put to rest this
past week when Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers down the field many
times, earning a big victory over the New Orleans Saints in a
48-46 shootout. Garoppolo’s four touchdowns tied a season
high and his 349 yards were the second-most he’s had in
While the 49ers likely won’t need - or even want - to rely
on Garoppolo nearly as much this week as they did in Week 14,
it’s still worth considering that “Jimmy G”
is red hot right now and has to be considered a fantasy QB1 in
this matchup against the Falcons defense that has given up the
sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders have both been
producing as of late, but often times in different games from
one another. That’s made it difficult to play them in fantasy
as they’ve both had big games mixed in with some duds.
On paper, this looks like a Sanders game. The Falcons have been
absolutely terrible at defending opposing slot receivers as of
late and that’s a place where Sanders is much more experienced
playing than Samuel is. Sanders hasn’t played nearly as
much slot in 2019 as he did in 2018, but Kyle Shanahan is also
one of the coaches who will often scheme his players into advantageous
situations. Look for Sanders to play more out of the slot this
week than he normally does, which could lead to a bigger game
Samuel is still useful for fantasy, but his volume also fluctuates
greatly from week to week, which is to be expected for a rookie
wide receiver. Don’t put him in your lineup if you’re
looking for a safe option, but his upside does make him a nice
Of course, the one constant in this offense continues to be tight
end George Kittle who has now scored three times over the 49ers’
past four games. He’s a top five scorer on the season despite
missing multiple games due to injury, which should illustrate
why he’ll be at the top of fantasy rankings as long as he’s
on the field.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: The 49ers running game
has been a mess throughout most of the season as we’ve tried
to identify which back will end up seeing the most touches, only
for the script to completely change on us for seemingly no reason.
Recently, though, we’ve seen some serious breakout performances
from Raheem Mostert. Mostert started the season buried deep down
the 49ers depth chart but has now seemingly played his way to
the top of the group, with head coach Kyle Shanahan noting this
week that his performance had left the team with “no choice”
but to play him.
Finally some clarity! Or so we hope.
Even if Shanahan isn’t lying to us and Mostert does lead
the backfield in touches this week, he’ll likely still concede
touches to both Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman, who themselves
have both had some nice fantasy days this season. Mostert is the
player we’re most excited about right now, though, and it’s
worth putting him in your lineup as an RB2 in what could be a
nice fantasy day, particularly if the 49ers find themselves up
Game Thoughts: Josh Allen has put to rest any concerns
of a sophomore slump with 439 rushing yards and eight rushing
touchdowns to go along with 2737 passing yards and 17 passing
TDs. The second-year quarterback from Wyoming increased his completion
percentage nearly seven full points while cutting down on his
Allen’s 22.8 points per game place him ninth at the position
for qualified QBs who have made at least eight starts, ahead of
other mainstays like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz,
Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers.
Allen and the Bills passing game will be tested this week with
a road tilt against a surging Steelers team that has won three
straight games over the Bengals, Browns, and Cardinals. Pittsburgh
gives up the ninth-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks, and
only one QB has topped 20 fantasy points against Pittsburgh since
Cole Beasley has emerged as Allen’s favorite target with
a touchdown in each of his last three games and six receiving
touchdowns since Week 7. Although John Brown is technically the
No.1 WR on the team, Beasley is the more trusted receiving option
as of late and will continue to be active this week out of the
Brown has burned his owners with back-to-back games of 2.6 fantasy
points in Weeks 13 and 14, and could once again be a disappointment
with Joe Haden covering him on the outside.
Teams have found some success this season targeting tight ends
against the Steelers, with Pittsburgh entering Week 15 as the
No. 12 ranked team in points allowed to the position. Those numbers
are a bit skewed with games against Baltimore and Seattle, yet
seven touchdowns in 15 games is a number worth looking at with
regards to starting Dawson Knox as a low-end sleeper tight end.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie Devin Singletary continues to impress
with an average for 13 points in each of his last three games,
including 16.1 points on 101 total yards and a receiving touchdown
against Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.
Veteran Frank Gore is now just used sparingly as a change of
pace back and short-yardage yet continues to struggle even in
that limited role.
It will be difficult to bench Singletary in this matchup based
on his recent production, yet his owners may need to temper their
expectations based on how well Pittsburgh defends the run. The
Steelers give up the seventh-fewest points to the position and
only four rushing touchdowns on the year, although some teams
have found success passing to running backs on the flat, and Singletary
is a skilled pass catcher.
Game Thoughts: Devlin “Duck” Hodges continues
to provide a spark for a Steelers team in need of something from
the quarterback position after Mason Rudolph struggled this season
as an injury replacement for Ben Roethlisberger.
Duck’s fantasy production has not been anything special,
and he is not at all in consideration this week for owners alive
in the playoffs, but he has done a decent job proving value to
wide receiver James Washington, and the running back corps has
been given more room to run with the viable threat of a deep pass
keeping defenses somewhat honest.
Hodges gets a boost this week with the likely return of JuJu
Smith-Schuster from a knee injury, and running back James Conner
may also return to the field for the Sunday Night tilt against
Only the Patriots have allowed fewer points to quarterbacks this
season than Buffalo, and the Bills are far more susceptible to
the run than the pass. You are like going to start Smith-Schuster
for his upside, but don’t expect a monster game based on
his likely shadow coverage by Tre’Davious White.
The Bills are just as tough against tight ends, so don’t
give much thought to starting Nick Vannett with Vance McDonald
injured once again.
If possible, I would avoid all receiving options for the Steelers
aside from Smith-Schuster, as this game projects to be one of
the lowers scoring games of the week, and the Steelers will need
to move the ball on the ground if they plan on beating Buffalo.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: James Conner logged a full practice on
Wednesday and looks primed to return to the field against the
Bills on Sunday Night. Conner has been out since aggravating a
shoulder injury against the Browns back in Week 11.
His return to the field will come at a great time for the Steelers
as they will need a strong performance on the ground to beat the
Bills. Buffalo is one of the most difficult teams to pass on,
yet they can be beaten on the ground with a strong running game.
Fantasy owners who have Conner will no doubt fire him up again
and place him in their lineup. While the worry of another aggravation
of the injury is possible and a full workload is not guaranteed,
he is still worthy of a start in what is a must-win game for Pittsburgh.
Colts @ Saints
- (Green) Line: NO -9.5 Total: 46.0
Game Thoughts: A once-promising season has gone down
the tubes with the Colts dropping five of six after opening the
year at 5-2. It all started to go wrong when Jacoby Brissett injured
his knee against the Steelers. He returned two weeks later, but
he hasn't been nearly as crisp. Last week's loss, where they led
the Bucs by 14 in the third, was particularly tough, and Brissett
failed to lead his team on a scoring drive late in the game. Overall,
he threw for 251 yards and two TDs. That's QB2 stuff.
Brissett isn't the only Colt to get banged up lately, as the
team was again sans T.Y. Hilton (calf) last Sunday and lost Parris
Campbell (foot) for the season after he broke his foot in the
loss. Zach Pascal has had his moments as a stopgap, including
a 5-74-1 line in Week 14, but he tops out as a WR3. Marcus Johnson
served as the clear No.2 target in that one, hauling in three
passes for 105 yards and a score. He'd be a desperation flex play.
Jack Doyle disappointed with only two receptions, though he was
targeted six times and is still a possible low-end TE1 this week.
New Orleans had no answers for Jimmy Garoppolo last week as he
passed for 349 yards and four TDs. That leaves the Saints in the
20th slot against the pass this year, allowing 244.1 yards per
game via the air. Their defensive line took a hit in the wake
of the 49ers loss as well with Marcus Davenport (foot) and Sheldon
Rankins (ankle) both being placed on IR. There are plays to be
made here. It's just unclear if the Colts have the talent to take
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: While a lot of Colts are injured and missing,
Marlon Mack returned to action last week, carrying the ball 13
times for 38 yards and a touchdown. As expected, it was Mack's
show as Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines carried the ball a combined
five times. Despite Mack being the bell cow once again, I like
him more as a high-end RB3 or low-end RB2 as opposed to the borderline
top-12 option he was prior to injury. The Saints, who rate fifth
with 94.2 rushing yards allowed per game, also present a stiff
Game Thoughts: Offered tremendous protection by his offensive
line, Drew Brees stood in the pocket and picked apart a top-shelf
49ers defense last week for 349 yards and five touchdowns without
a turnover. It was easily Brees' best performance of 2019, and
it re-solidifies the future Hall-of-Famer as a solid QB1 down
the stretch with the Saints battling Green Bay, Seattle and San
Francisco for seeding, which should keep Brees in meaningful games
the rest of the way.
As usual, Michael Thomas (11 receptions, 134 yards and a TD)
was front and center as the focal point of New Orleans' passing
attack. His 15 targets were more than double anyone else, and
he remains the top fantasy wideout out there. Jared Cook (2-64-2)
was off to a great start as well, catching a pair of long touchdowns
before being knocked from the game with a concussion. He remains
in the NFL's protocol but has a good chance of being cleared in
time to play in Week 15. If Cook plays he's a TE1.
Tre'Quan Smith (2-29-1) and Ted Ginn Jr. (4-50-0) both had their
moments against the Niners, but there simply isn't enough weekly
production to warrant playing either one of them, even if Cook
is out -- in that scenario you'd probably just see more Thomas
and Alvin Kamara (4-18-0). The Colts couldn't hold up against
the Bucs last week, allowing 467 yards and 4 TDs. They now sit
22nd in pass defense (245.4 yards per game), and with their playoff
hopes fading it wouldn't be surprising to see them struggle.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: For all of the ways that the 49ers struggled
defensively last week, they made life miserable on Kamara, who
ran 13 times for 25 yards; that gave him 43 yards on 17 combined
touches, and he had a critical fumble. Latavius Murray was far
more effective, accounting for 94 total yards on nine touches,
which makes me wonder if the team might actually look to give
him more work down the stretch. Facing a Colts team that allows
99.7 rushing yards per game (eighth in the NFL), I'd consider
Kamara an RB1 and Murray a possible flex.