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Inside the Matchup
Week 16
12/20/19

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | HC Green



Saturday:

HOU @ TB

Sunday Early:

BUF @ NE | LAR @ SF | JAX @ ATL | BAL @ CLE

CAR @ IND | CIN @ MIA | PIT @ NYJ | NO @ TEN

Sunday Late:

NYG @ WAS | DET @ DEN | OAK @ LAC | DAL @ PHI | ARI @ SEA | KC @ CHI

Monday:

GB @ MIN

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

Texans @ Buccaneers - (Green)
Line: HOU -3.0
Total: 50.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Coming off their worst loss of the season, the Texans bounced back to put themselves in control of the AFC South. It wasn't a great day for Deshaun Watson, though, who threw for just 243 yards to go with two touchdowns and two picks. In hindsight, his Week 5 demolition of Atlanta (426 yards, 5 TDs) probably set expectations too high as Watson has topped 300 yards just once since that day. Perhaps Saturday will be his second against a Bucs secondary that yields 276.8 passing yards per game, which is 30th in the league.

As I've often opined, Will Fuller (5-61-0 in Week 15) seems to be a huge part of the Texans' success regardless of his numbers. His speed opens things up for everyone, though seeing Kenny Stills (3-35-2) reap the benefits of Fuller's presence doesn't do much for fantasy owners. Despite that uncertainty, I'd still rather roll the dice on Fuller as a WR3 than Stills, who I'd keep benched. DeAndre Hopkins (6-119-0) might be the best receiver this side of Michael Thomas thanks to his consistency. Keke Coutee, who has had some decent games, was a healthy scratch with Fuller up.

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

Running Game Thoughts: For just the third time all season, Carlos Hyde (ankle) had more than 20 carries in a game during the Week 15 win over Tennessee. The results were impressive: 26 rushes for 104 yards and a touchdown. Despite that performance, I'd expect the Texans to lean on Watson this Saturday as Tampa Bay enters play as the NFL's top run defense, allowing a paltry 73.3 yards per game on the year. That pushes Hyde down into the RB3 zone.

Duke Johnson saw just four touches last week, but his skills as a receiver make him a better fit for this game, at least on paper. As such, I'm tempted to value Johnson nearly on par with Hyde even with the huge gap in their workload last Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson
RB3: Carlos Hyde
Flex: Duke Johnson
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
WR3: Will Fuller
Bench: Keke Coutee, Kenny Stills

Passing Game Thoughts: On the strength of his 458-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Lions in Week 15, Jameis Winston now leads the NFL in passing yards (4,573) and is second in TD throws (30). Of course, he also has the interception title locked up, throwing his 24th pick of the year last Sunday; Phillip Rivers is six behind. The question with Winston (thumb/knee) is health, both his and that of his receiving corps. Assuming he's active, I'd roll Winston out there as a mid-range QB1 no matter who takes the field with him as you know he's gonna throw a lot.

Mike Evans (hamstring) was inactive last week and has been officially shut down by the team this week. Making matters worse, Chris Godwin (hamstring) strained his hammy as well, putting a damper on his 5-121-0 outing and first Pro Bowl berth. Both Godwin and Scotty Miller (hamstring) have have been ruled out for Week 16.

That leaves Breshad Perriman, who went crazy against the Lions for 113 yards and three touchdowns on five catches. He's really turned it on over the last three games and rates as a solid WR2 against the Texans, who are 28th against the pass (266.1 yards/game) on the season. O.J. Howard has also done some damage recently, totaling 13 receptions for 180 yards in that same three-game span. He could be a high-upside TE1 if you're looking to a chance in Week 16.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: The combination of Ronald Jones (11 carries, 23 yards) and Peyton Barber (10-17) was abysmal against the Lions last week. Sadly, that's pretty much par for the course. Over the past five games, Jones has topped 50 yards rushing just once while Barber has failed to eclipse 44. As usual, I'd rate Jones slightly above Barber, but they're both best served as flex plays. The Texans are 19th against the run (113.3 yards per game) but did a nice job of holding Derrick Henry in check last week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jameis Winston
RB3/Flex: Ronald Jones
Flex: Peyton Barber
WR2: Breshad Perriman
TE1: O.J. Howard (low-end)

Prediction: Texans 27, Buccaneers 24 ^ Top

Bills at Patriots - (Katz)
Line: NE -6.0
Total: 37.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Over the past four weeks, Josh Allen has faced three elite pass defenses and has failed to throw for 200 yards against any of them. The Patriots are an elite pass defense and the first time these teams played, Allen threw for just 153 yards and no touchdowns. The Patriots are still allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks at just 11.1. Stephon Gilmore will shadow John Brown and Brown managed a 7-99 outing last week, but struggled big time in his three previous games. He caught 5 passes for 69 yards the first time against the Patriots. A repeat of that would be a win for fantasy owners.

Dawson Knox caught a touchdown last week, but is well off the fantasy radar. Cole Beasley’s three game touchdown streak came to an end and it’s hard to imagine it restarting this week. The Patriots allow 9.7 fantasy points per game to the slot, which makes Beasley an uninspiring low ceiling option, but it is worth noting that Jonathan Jones is going to miss this Saturday’s contest. Jones has been the league’s best slot corner this season. At the very least, this increases Beasley’s chances of producing.

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.21

Running Game Thoughts: The Patriots are a run funnel defense and despite getting blown out at home, the Bengals demonstrated the Patriots’ vulnerability on the ground by pounding Joe Mixon. Devin Singletary is nowhere near as talented as Mixon, but that’s just because Mixon is one of the best backs in the league. Singletary has proven to be better than his measureables suggest and has been used as a true bellcow the past five games while playing around 75% of the snaps. His touchdown upside is capped against a Patriots run defense that has only allowed six rushing scores all season, at least half of which have come from quarterbacks, but Singletary is a volume based option. Frank Gore is a seldom used backup.

Value Meter:
RB2: Devin Singletary (mid-range)
WR3: Cole Beasley
WR3: John Brown
Bench: Josh Allen, Frank Gore

Passing Game Thoughts: By now, fantasy owners should have come to grips with the fact that the Patriots do not have a good passing game (or a good offense, in general). Much like his counterpart in Buffalo, Tom Brady has failed to reach 200 yards passing in three of his past four games and he also suffered the same fate during these teams’ first meeting.

Julian Edelman had been the only trustworthy member of this passing game, but now he’s seriously hampered by various injuries to the point where he is expected to be limited this week. The Bills allow just 10.5 fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s. Even with Edelman banged up, none of Mohamed Sanu, Phillip Dorsett, or N’Keal Harry is a fantasy option, regardless of matchup, but especially against a tough Bills defense. Harry ran the second most routes last week among Patriots’ wide receivers, so if you must throw a dart at someone in this game other than Edelman, it’s probably him.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: We are now two weeks removed from James White’s 30 point explosion and since then, he has touched the ball fewer times combined than he did in that game alone. White did see 10 targets against the Bills the first time around, but didn’t do much with them – just 57 yards on eight catches. That is still a viable PPR day and fantasy owners can hope White does something similar this week. Sony Michel did turn 20 touches into 103 scoreless yards last week, which marked his first double-digit fantasy outing since Week 7. Last time against the Bills, Michel rushed for 63 scoreless yards. Rex Burkhead is nowhere near fantasy relevant, but he is playing enough snaps to sap the value of White. You probably can’t get away from White this week, but everyone else is a waste of time.

Value Meter:
RB2: James White (low end)
WR3: Julian Edelman (risky start)
Bench: Tom Brady, NíKeal Harry, Mohamed Sanu, Sony Michel

Prediction: Patriots 19, Bills 13 ^ Top

Rams @ 49ers - (Caron)
Line: SF -6.5
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Rams passing game stumbled in a big way through the middle part of the season but it has actually started to bounce back a bit down the stretch. Jared Goff’s multiple touchdowns in three straight games should give us some hope heading into this Week 16 matchup, but he has a very difficult matchup against the league’s sixth-best fantasy defense against quarterbacks, the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers completely humiliated Goff earlier this season, holding him to just 78 passing yards and zero touchdowns when these teams played back in Week 6. We shouldn’t expect that type of struggle again this week but it’d be very difficult to be confident heading into this matchup if you’re a fantasy owner of Goff or most of these Rams receivers.

Brandin Cooks shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups at this point. He simply hasn’t been productive enough since his concussions and he hasn’t caught more than four passes in a game since back in Week 4. Robert Woods has been much better but he did disappoint this past week against the Cowboys in what should have been a good spot for him to produce. Unfortunately this week’s matchup is significantly tougher as he’ll be against a 49ers defense that held him catchless when these teams played back in Week 6. He did sneak into the end zone on a run which somewhat saved his fantasy day but it still wasn’t a very inspiring performance. Still, the targets are coming Woods’ way much more late in the season and that should give him a decent enough floor to be considered a WR2 this week. Cooper Kupp is the final wide receiver of consequence for the Rams and he’s also the one who we should be most excited about from a fantasy standpoint. It’s unlikely that the Rams are going to pass enough for any of these receivers to have a big yardage day, but Kupp has been by far the team’s best red zone receiver this season, having caught eight touchdowns on the season. No other Rams pass catcher has caught more than two touchdowns.

Perhaps the most interesting matchup of them all this week, however, is that of sudden breakout tight end Tyler Higbee against the 49ers and their fourth-best fantasy defense against opposing TEs. Higbee was stuck behind fellow tight end Gerald Everett in targets for most of the season but he has now seemingly taken over as the team’s primary pass catching weapon from the tight end position. He’s been targeted a ridiculous 39 times over the past four games alone, including a season-high 14 targets against the Cowboys in Week 15. Higbee has gone over 100 yards in three straight contests which is practically unprecedented from any tight end and it’s a clear indication that he needs to be in fantasy lineups again this week, even against what is a good San Francisco pass defense.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley’s fantasy production was again propped up by touchdowns this past week as he scored twice against Dallas - once as a runner and once as a receiver - despite producing just 38 total yards of offense. Gurley missed the Rams’ Week 6 matchup against the 49ers so we don’t have a great idea of how he’ll be deployed in this contest but we have to assume that he’s going to struggle to do much from a yardage standpoint.

The 49ers have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and worse yet, they’ve held opposing running backs to just four total touchdowns, which is second-fewest, behind only the Patriots. That doesn’t bode well for Gurley as an abnormally high percentage of his fantasy points are coming via touchdowns. If he can’t get into the end zone then he’ll struggle to produce even RB2 numbers in this matchup. It’s tough to justify ranking him outside of the RB2 range just because he’s scored as such a high rate and the position is a mess overall, but make no mistake about it - this is not a smash spot for Gurley.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jared Goff
RB2: Todd Gurley
WR2: Cooper Kupp (high-end), Robert Woods (low-end)
TE1: Tyler Higbee
Bench: Darrell Henderson, Brandin Cooks, Josh Reynolds

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s been a very up and down fantasy season for Jimmy Garoppolo who now sits just outside of the season-long QB1 tier. The 49ers have been successful enough running the ball that they haven’t often needed a big game from Garoppolo and that has consistently contributed to deflated numbers from their highly-paid quarterback. Of course, that has also led to some very frustrating fantasy performances from his pass catchers.

Rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel has quietly been a solid, relatively consistent fantasy producer in the second half of the season as he’s produced at least 13 PPR fantasy points in six of his past eight contests. He was surprisingly held in check by the Falcons this past week in what was a shocking loss for the 49ers, however, and fantasy owners should be a little skeptical about his chances to produce this week. There’s a chance that the Rams choose to match cornerback Jalen Ramsey primarily up with Samuel, which would really put a damper on his fantasy output.

It’s more likely, however, that the Rams opt to place Ramsey on wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who he has experience playing against in the past. Ramsey completely locked up Amari Cooper in Week 15 and has been playing better down the stretch this season, so don’t expect a huge game out of Sanders. Still, he’s been the team’s most highly-targeted wide receiver so he’s still a decent enough WR3 in this matchup.

The star of the show in the 49ers passing game continues to be tight end George Kittle. Kittle absolutely crushed the Falcons this past week with 13 catches for 134 yards on 17 targets, his best output of the season in each of those categories. He’s had at least 100 yards in four straight games against the Rams, so he’s probably the top tight end on the entire board this week.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: The Raheem Mostert show continued this past weekend as the veteran scored a touchdown for his fourth straight game. He’s now touched the ball at least 12 times in three straight games and no other 49ers back is seeing significant touches as either a runner or a receiver.

Mostert will face a Los Angeles run defense that got absolutely smacked by the Cowboys’ duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard this past week for over 300 total yards and three touchdowns. Don’t expect that type of ceiling for Mostert, but there’s a realistic chance that he gets 15-plus touches against a Rams team that has seemingly given up this season. If the 49ers can move the ball like they have in most games then Mostert is a good bet to get into the end zone for the fifth straight week.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jimmy Garoppolo
RB2: Raheem Mostert
WR3: Emmanuel Sanders
TE1: George Kittle
Flex: Deebo Samuel
Bench: Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Kendrick Bourne

Prediction: 49ers 28, Rams 17 ^ Top

Jaguars @ Falcons - (Green)
Line: ATL -7.0
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Down 13 at the half and staring down a sixth straight loss, the Jaguars rallied to score the game's final 17 points behind rookie Gardner Minshew, who shook off some early struggles to pass for two TDs in the fourth quarter. It was his first multi-score game since being reinserted as the starter, and the first sign of the Minshew Mania that captivated fans earlier on as the Jags have run a very conservative offense in recent weeks. Still, it seems unlikely that they'll open things up in Week 16, so Minshew should remain on fantasy benches.

With D.J. Chark (ankle) out last week, Chris Conley stepped up with four receptions, 49 yards and both touchdowns. Chark looks to be on track to return in Week 16, however, and at this point this feels like an either/or situation where Conley would only be worth a lineup spot if Chark can't play. Keep an eye on it. Dede Westbrook has just 39 yards combined over the last two games, but he should be low-end WR3 or flex option whether Chark plays or not. Keelan Cole, who led the team with 76 receiving yards, is too inconsistent to consider for a spot.

Like Jacksonville, Atlanta is coming off a last-second West Coast victory, authoring their second massive upset of 2019 with a win over the 49ers. For the year, Atlanta is 23rd in passing yardage allowed (253.7 per game), but they're as Jekyll and Hyde as anybody, locking down a contender one week and getting throttled by a bottom feeder the next. Who knows which version we'll see in Week 16?

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: It was another grind on the ground for Leonard Fournette, who carried 15 times for 42 yards against Oakland; Fournette has now rushed for 50 yards or less in five of his last six games after having only one such performance over the season's first eight. His development as a receiver has been a godsend for fantasy owners, though, as he's averaging over five catches for 30-plus yards per game.

Atlanta is 16th against the run this year (108.9 yards per game), and they were solid against a tough 49ers rushing attack, holding them to 4.4 yards per carry. Regardless of matchup, Fournette is comfortably in RB1 territory.

Value Meter:
RB1: Leonard Fournette
WR2: D.J. Chark
Flex: Dede Westbrook
Flex: Chris Conley (if Chark doesn't play)
Bench: Gardner Minshew

Passing Game Thoughts: For the second time this season, Matt Ryan played a secondary role and helped lead the Falcons to an upset of an elite opponent. In Week 10, it was the Saints when Ryan threw for 182 yards and two TDs. This time, it was the 49ers, with 210 passing yards and a pair of scores. It wouldn't be surprising to see a "less is more" approach once again in Week 16 against a Jacksonville team that has struggled against the run for large stretches this year. Still, I'd rate Ryan as a solid QB1.

When the season started, Atlanta boasted one of the NFL's top receiving trios in Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu. With Sanu traded and Ridley out for the year due to an abdominal injury, Jones was the last man standing in Week 15. Despite the 49ers knowing that, Jones couldn't be stopped. He was targeted on 20 of Ryan's 39 attempts, catching 13 for 134 yards and two touchdowns. While Jones is a clear WR1, Austin Hooper has done little since returning from injury, combining for five receptions and 52 yards in the last two games.

Although Hooper's quiet performances generate some concern, I'd consider him a solid No.1 fantasy tight end this Sunday. Other than Jones and Hooper, only Russell Gage has flashed any upside, but he's too inconsistent to plug into your lineup against a Jags D that ranks a respectable 14th against the pass (232.3 yards per game) this season.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: Devonta Freeman carried 12 times for 39 yards against the 49ers last week, marking the eighth time this season he's failed to run for at least 40 yards in a dozen games. The veteran has yet to reach the century mark this year, but he has a golden opportunity against a Jacksonville team that is 29th against the run (140.1 yards/game) for the year. With this matchup, Freeman should be a high-end RB2.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan
RB2: Devonta Freeman
WR1: Julio Jones
TE1: Austin Hooper
Bench: Russell Gage

Prediction: Falcons 27, Jaguars 17 ^ Top

Ravens @ Browns - (Swanson)
Line: BAL -10.0
Total: 48.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Lamar Jackson is two games away from becoming the first player in NFL history to lead the league in passing touchdowns and rushing yards at the quarterback position. Not too shabby for a 22-year-old who many so-called experts claimed could not play quarterback in the NFL.

For fantasy purposes, Jackson has been nothing short of a revelation. Owning Jackson is like starting two players in one spot - the equivalent of starting Jameis Winston and Miles Sanders in one player, but without all of the turnovers committed by Winston.

Jackson posted 247 passing yards, 66 rushing yards, and three passing touchdowns when the Ravens lost to the Browns in a shocking upset Week 4 at M&T Bank. I would expect that number to be a floor for Jackson in what should be a motivated Ravens offense looking for a bit of revenge.

Although the Browns have given up the fifth-fewest points to quarterbacks over the past three games, those numbers are a bit skewed based on the competition. When facing more talented competition like the Rams, 49ers, Seahawks, and Patriots, Cleveland game up at least 20 fantasy points to quarterbacks or a ton of points to opposing running backs, in the case of the 49ers.

Mark Andrews scored the third touchdown of his eighth total touchdowns this season against the Browns earlier in the year and should be considered a top-5 tight end this week. The Browns have given up seven receiving touchdowns on the season to tight ends. Frankly, based on how they played last week in a lopsided loss to the Cardinals, they look like a team that has quit and moved on to the 2020 season.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Speaking of a team who has quit, the Browns are hemorrhaging points to running backs over the past three weeks. Starting with a rushing touchdown given up to Benny Snell and commencing with 137 rushing yards and four touchdowns by Kenyan Drake, only the Panthers and Jags have given up more points to running back since Week 13.

Two weeks ago, Joe Mixon torched the Browns for 186 yards and a score, giving hope to Mark Ingram and Lamar Jackson owners that a big game is in store on Sunday.

Ingram continues to be one of the most efficient running backs in the league, with 1174 total yards and 14 touchdowns. His 5.0 yard per carry average is the second-best of his career, and his four receiving touchdowns ties his best season as a Saint, putting to rest the narrative that he would not get enough work in the passing game to be an elite running back.

The one injury of note that will have a direct impact on the Ravens rushing attack is the prolonged absence of left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who missed last week’s lopsided win over the Jets with a concussion. He is still in the league’s concussion protocol, and his status for the Browns game is still up in the air.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson (Elite)
RB1: Mark Ingram (High-End)
WR3: Marquise Brown (High-End)
WR4: Willie Snead (Low-End)
TE1: Mark Andrews (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: To say that Baker Mayfield’s sophomore season has been a resounding bust would be a gross understatement. Considering how well Mayfield played as a rookie and the fantastic skill position players he has around him, the fact that he is the No.17 ranked QB in fantasy points scored this season is mind-boggling.

Mayfield’s 17 interceptions are third-worst in the NFL, he is completing barely 60% of his passes, and 6-8 Browns are going to miss the playoffs after entering the season with a ton of hype.

From a fantasy perspective, chances are you do not have Mayfield as your quarterback in the championship game, so reviewing his outlook is a moot point. However, there are likely some owners who have Jarvis Landry or Odell Beckham Jr. who are wondering what to do this week.

If you made the championship with ODB as your first-round pick, you deserve some sort of medal. Beckham has fewer rushing/receiving touchdowns than Baker Mayfield on the year, with his first and possibly only season in Cleveland turning out to be one to forget.

Beckham managed 27 receiving yards on six targets back in Week 4 against the Ravens, and since that time, the Ravens have gotten healthier in the secondary and added Marcus Peters. You may not have any other options, but ODB is a risky play this week.

Jarvis Landry got into a sideline scuffle last week with head coach Freddie Kitchens. According to Landry, he simply told his coach to get him the ball. If you believe in the squeaky-wheel narrative, Landry may bounce back with a good game. I do not, and I would not feel great playing him this week.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb has quietly been a stud running back for fantasy owners with an NFL-high 1408 rushing yards in 14 games. His 15.5 points per game place him as the No.6 fantasy running back on the season, and he enters this week’s divisional matchup riding a two-game streak of 100-yard games.

Chubb burned the Ravens for 165 yards and three touchdowns back in Week 4, taking advantage of a Baltimore team that suffered some significant injuries to the defensive front.

The Ravens are a different defense as of late, giving up the third-fewest rushing yards to opposing running backs over the past five weeks, which includes matchups against the 49ers and the Rams.

Fantasy owners who made the playoffs with Chubb or Kareem Hunt will likely need to play their running backs for lack of better options. While I do not recommend benching the league’s leading rusher, just don’t be surprised to see Chubb have a far worse game than what he delivered the last time these two teams played.

Value Meter:
QB2: Baker Mayfield (High-End)
RB1: Nick Chubb (Low-End)
RB2: Kareem Hunt (Low-End)
WR2: Odell Beckham Jr. (High-End)
WR3: Jarvis Landry (Low-End)
TE2: Ricky Seals-Jones (High-End)

Prediction: Baltimore 34, Cleveland 17 ^ Top

Panthers @ Colts - (Green)
Line: IND -6.5
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Carolina's tailspin has provided at least one positive: the team no longer believes Kyle Allen (277 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs last Sunday) can be a long-term NFL starter. Thus, the team will turn the reins over to third-round pick Will Grier for their Week 16 matchup with a Colts team that has seen its own strong start give way to late-season misery. For what it's worth, Grier was uneven during the preseason and is likely to endure some "teaching tape" moments in his first NFL start.

While nobody in their right mind will start the rookie during fantasy playoffs, Grier's insertion into the lineup will doubtless affect the passing game as a whole. Given how well D.J. Moore has played of late, including an eight-catch, 113-yard performance last week, I wouldn't hesitate to start him as a WR2. Young QBs often zone in on their top players, which in this case would be Moore, Christian McCaffrey and, if healthy, Greg Olsen (concussion), who has cleared the NFL's protocol.

I do like Olsen's upside if he plays as there's talk he could hang up the cleats at season's end. Conversely, I'd lean toward benching Curtis Samuel, who has already been a fringe option in recent weeks. Defensively, the Colts sit 21st in pass defense (249.8) and were barely competitive in a Monday night beat down against the Saints. It sure feels like Indy has checked out, which could help the Panthers' passing game.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: Despite having nothing to play for, the Panthers keep running McCaffrey into the ground -- he had 27 total touches last weekend, including 19 carries, for 175 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts, who rank ninth in the NFL with 100.9 rushing yards allowed per game, did a respectable job against dual-threat back Alvin Kamara in Week 15, but they played a ton of snaps and will face Carolina on short rest. I think McCaffrey could have another big day.

Value Meter:
RB1: Christian McCaffrey
WR2: D.J. Moore
TE1: Greg Olsen (low-end)
Bench: Will Grier, Curtis Samuel

Passing Game Thoughts: It's hard to put into words how uninspired the Colts looked in all phases Monday night when a win would've put them just a game behind Pittsburgh for the final Wild Card spot. Now, their season is effectively over. Jacoby Brissett, who looked so solid early on, could never get anything going, completing 18 of 34 passes for 165 yards -- his third sub-200-yard effort in five games. A borderline QB1 at times this season, Brissett is, at best, a middling QB2 now.

T.Y. Hilton returned from a calf injury but showed no explosiveness in New Orleans, hauling in just four passes for 25 yards. Unless he steps up over the final two weeks he'll finish 2019 without a single triple-digit performance. Zach Pascal (4-44-0) was the best of the bunch, but with Hilton back he didn't get the touches needed to generate much value. Jack Doyle (2-21-0) has been a huge disappointment since Eric Ebron bowed out with a season-ending injury. It's a truly uninspiring group at this stage of the year.

Seattle pretty much did whatever they wanted in Carolina last Sunday with Russell Wilson averaging 11 yards per attempt en route to 286 yards and a pair of TD passes. For the year, Carolina has been better (237.6 YPG; 16th), but like Indy, they're playing out the string and haven't shown the ability to stop anyone recently.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: Marlon Mack's 11 carries covered just 17 yards against the Saints, and one of Jordan Wilkins' three totes accounted for Indy's lone touchdown, robbing Mack owners of even the tiniest silver lining. If anything can shake the Colts' offensive doldrums, however, it's the Carolina run defense, which allows 140.2 yards per game on the season, ranking 30th in the NFL. If you believe in playing matchups, Mack deserves a spot in your Week 16 lineup.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jacoby Brissett
RB2: Marlon Mack
WR2/WR3: T.Y. Hilton
Bench: Jack Doyle, Zach Pascal

Prediction: Colts 24, Panthers 16 ^ Top

Bengals at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: MIA -1.0
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Andy Dalton has been pretty bad since regaining the starting job from Ryan Finley. His last two opponents haven’t been the easiest, but he was just the QB20 against the Jets. The Dolphins are as easy as it gets. They allow 22.4 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and this game has sneaky shootout potential giving Dalton life on the streaming radar. Tyler Boyd was predictable erased by Stephon Gilmore last week but things should be much better against a Dolphins defense allowing 21.6 fantasy points per game to WR1s. The Dolphins also struggle against WR2s and the slot. John Ross returned, but is only playing a handful of snaps. You can’t trust him in the championship. Alex Erickson is a deeper option as the clear WR2, but he comes with a very low floor. Tyler Eifert remains a part time player and has been a nonfactor all season.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: In an eerily similar season arc to that of 2018, it’s been a tale of two halves for Joe Mixon. Early in the season, the Bengals were mixing in Giovani Bernard and Mixon couldn’t get anything going. Over his last seven games, Mixon has been an absolute monster. He’s scored at least 17 fantasy points in all but one game, that being against the Steelers’ elite defense. For the fantasy championship, he gets one of the softest opponents possible. Only the Bengals themselves allow more rushing yards per game than the Dolphins, who have also surrendered 16 scores on the ground. The Dolphins allow 19.5 fantasy points per game to RB1s. Mixon has overall RB1 upside this week.

Value Meter:
QB2: Andy Dalton (high end streamer)
RB1: Joe Mixon (mid-range)
WR2: Tyler Boyd (mid-range)
Bench: Tyler Eifert, John Ross, Alex Erickson

Passing Game Thoughts: Over his last seven games, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s worst fantasy outing was 13.1 points. That’s at least passable. He’s also mixed in four 20+ point performances, including last week. Fitzpatrick has also rushed for at least 33 yards in three of his past four starts.The Bengals allow 20.2 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks making him the best streaming option this week.

Helping his cause has been the unprecedented and unexpected ascendance of DeVante Parker. The Dolphins’ leading wideout is coming off a two touchdown game and has been a legitimate WR2 since about Week 4. In what could be a high scoring affair, Parker is a must start. Alongside Parker should be Albert Wilson who did see eight targets last week, but you can’t trust him to produce. Mike Gesicki is a streaming option purely based on potential targets although the Bengals allow just 7.6 fantasy points per game to TE1s.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: Patrick Laird was poised for another huge workload last week but it didn’t happen because he simply played poorly. That opened the door for Myles Gaskin to command a 48.5% snap share and touch the ball 11 times. The Bengals allow 16.1 fantasy points per game to RB1s, but with two replacement level talents in an unknown timeshare, you are not playing either of them in your fantasy championship.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ryan Fitzpatrick (low end)
WR2: DeVante Parker (mid-range)
TE2: Mike Gesicki (streaming option)
Bench: Patrick Laird, Myles Gaskin, Albert Wilson

Prediction: Bengals 28, Dolphins 24 ^ Top

Steelers at Jets - (Katz)
Line: PIT -3.0
Total: 37.5

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s never a good sign when a coach has to name a starting quarterback just so people know who the starter is. I wouldn’t say Devlin “Duck” Hodges earned another start. It’s more likely that Mike Tomlin went through the memories of Mason Rudolph impersonating a professional quarterback and was too terrified to relive it. With that being said, I’m not entirely sure Hodges is better than Rudolph, and it’s torpedoing the fantasy values of all Steelers.

Diontae Johnson is an absolute stud. He is a superstar in the making. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen in 2019 because of the quarterback play. Johnson has been up and down this season, but has posted at least 5-60 in back to back games. James Washington flashed for a couple weeks, but, like Johnson, just isn’t getting catchable balls with enough consistency to be reliable.

The Jets are a favorable matchup because they are a pass funnel defense, allowing 16.4 and 13.1 fantasy points per game to WR1s and WR2s, respectively. Against a normal opponent, we would be all over the opposing receivers. With the Steelers, even though the Jets are elite against the run and awful against the pass, expect Tomlin to emphasize a run heavy game plan in an effort to avoid having his quarterback throw passes. The reality is the Steelers can likely win this game on the heels of their defense and just need Hodges to not lose it like he did last week.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: James Conner returned last week and was eased in, playing just 58% of the snaps. He looked like the best back on the team, as he has all season, so he should see his snap share increase this week. The problem is the Jets allow a league low 3.3 yards per carry. If you have Conner, you are certainly starting him, just don’t expect efficiency. Conner’s path to productivity lies in volume, targets in the passing game, and touchdowns. The Jets have allowed 12 rushing scores, which is mostly a product of their poor pass defense allowing opponents in the red zone.

Value Meter:
RB2: James Conner (mid-range)
Bench: Devlin Hodges, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Jaylen Samuels

Passing Game Thoughts: Sam Darnold predictably struggled against the Ravens’ elite pass unit last Thursday and things don’t get much easier against the Steelers. The Steelers allow just 204.1 passing yards per game and only the Patriots have intercepted more passes than the Steelers’ 19. Darnold has thrown a pick in 7/11 starts this season and has been sacked in every game.

Jamison Crowder was the lone bright spot for the Jets last week, scoring two touchdowns. The Steelers allow 9.6 fantasy points per game to the slot. Crowder is unlikely to defy the matchup once again, but he is the most appealing of the Jets’ pass catchers. Robby Anderson has recorded double digit fantasy points in four straight games, but just barely got there against the Ravens, while the other three were against bottom of the barrel pass defenses. Anderson is a low ceiling option against the Steelers.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: Le’Veon Bell couldn’t get anything going against the Ravens and despite the negative game script, saw just two targets. Things might somehow be worse against a Steelers unit allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to RB1s with just 8.8. Bell’s volume is never a concern, but it’s hard to get excited about his prospects given the lack of ceiling. Bell has a very low probability of scoring a touchdown this week so you are hoping he racks up the receptions.

Value Meter:
RB2: LeíVeon Bell (high end)
WR3: Jamison Crowder
WR3: Robby Anderson
Bench: Sam Darnold

Prediction: Steelers 16, Jets 10 ^ Top

Saints @ Titans - (Green)
Line: NO -2.5
Total: 50.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Drew Brees was nearly flawless this past week, connecting on 29 of his 30 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns -- that allowed him to surpass Peyton Manning for the NFL's all-time lead in TD passes, which is something you might not have known given that the MNF crew almost didn't mention it. How much you want to attribute that to Brees' brilliance versus Indy's indifference is up to you, but expect a much tougher test in Week 16 against a desperate Titans squad.

As ever, the Saints passing game begins with Michael Thomas, who caught a dozen passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. He's the absolute gold standard at the position right now and a must-start every single week. After that, the only other playable pass catcher is Jared Cook (4-54-0), who rates as a middling TE1. There have been some encouraging signs with Taysom Hill (2-42-1), but there's no consistency right now. The same can be said of Tre'Quan Smith (1-21-1) and Ted Ginn Jr. (1-13-0).

Tennessee ranks 25th against the pass (258.1 yards allowed per game) and had their struggles with Deshaun Watson and a similarly skilled set of wideouts last week. Brees has never been the same player on the road, though, much less outdoors, so I don't foresee him lighting up the Titans. He's still a top-10 fantasy option for Week 16, but there's some legitimate downside potential.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: Even with a large lead, neither Alvin Kamara (14 carries, 66 yards) nor Latavius Murray (9-29) saw an uptick in carries. You can pretty safely pencil in Kamara for around 20 combined touches each week, which makes his lack of TDs pretty incredible -- one touchdown in 225 rushes/receptions. Murray gets the leftovers, and he either hits a big play to give him value (as in Weeks 12 and 14) or he doesn't (Weeks 13 and 15). The Titans are solid against the run (104.4 YPG; 13th) so I'd try to keep Murray on my bench if possible. Kamara remains an RB1.

Value Meter:
QB1: Drew Brees
RB1: Alvin Kamara
WR1: Michael Thomas
TE1: Jared Cook
Bench: Latavius Murray, Tre'Quan Smith

Passing Game Thoughts: With a chance to take control of the AFC South, the Titans fell short in a 24-21 loss to the Texans. They remain in Wild Card contention, though, and the play of Ryan Tannehill is a primary reason. He completed 22 of 36 passes for 279 yards, 2 TDs and an INT in Week 15. The Titans have looked increasingly comfortable giving the former Dolphin more to do, and even though the offense ultimately revolves around Derrick Henry, Tannehill has emerged as a low-end QB1.

For the third time in four games, A.J. Brown topped 100 yards receiving and scored, posting eight receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown in Week 15. The rookie has been a tremendous find for the Titans, and his chemistry with Tannehill has turned him into a solid WR2. On the other side of the spectrum is Corey Davis, whose 57 receiving yards last week was his best showing since Week 7. There's always upside with him, but his floor is too low to roll the dice here. The same holds true for Jonnu Smith (5-60-0), who has been uneven since taking over for Delanie Walker (ankle).

The Saints had little trouble holding Jacoby Brissett and the Colts in check on Monday, but for the year they rank 17th with 238 yards allowed per game. It wouldn't be a surprise to see New Orleans try to stick Marshon Lattimore on Brown, though they'll also be hoping the addition of Janoris Jenkins represents an upgrade over Eli Apple.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: Henry saw his four-game stretch of 100-plus-yard outings come to an end last week as he ran 21 times for 86 yards. It was also the first time he didn't score since Week 8. The Saints are stout against the run, sitting fourth in the league with 90.8 yards allowed per game, but the Titans will test them with Henry, who remains their top offensive weapon and a solid RB1.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ryan Tannehill
RB1: Derrick Henry
WR3: A.J. Brown
Bench: Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith

Prediction: Titans 27, Saints 24 ^ Top

Giants at Redskins - (Katz)
Line: WAS -2.0
Total: 41.0

Passing Game Thoughts: As expected, Eli Manning got to make one last start in Week 15 to get back to .500. Daniel Jones has been taking the first team reps in practice and will return this week. Jones actually completed a season best 74.2% of his throws during his first game against the Redskins, but only threw for one touchdown while getting picked off twice. The Redskins allow 18.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and Jones comes with a decent rushing floor, averaging 21.9 rushing yards per game.

Evan Engram predictably went on IR this past week, but other than that, Jones has his top three receivers all healthy. Sterling Shepard is coming off a 9-111 performance and although Darius Slayton barely reached double digit fantasy points last week, he is operating as the Giants’ WR2 and has reached double digits in five straight games. He only saw three targets, though, which is a bit disconcerting. The good news is the Redskins are generous to WR1s and WR2s, allowing 13.3 and 13.7 fantasy points per game to each, respectively. Golden Tate found the end zone last week, but he only played 60% of the snaps and hasn’t been a huge part of the offense in about three weeks. He is hard to trust.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley finally looked like himself last week - the Dolphins will do that for opposing running backs. Barkley missed these two teams’ first meeting, but has to be licking his chops to take on a defense allowing 19.7 fantasy points per game to RB1s. Barkley is coming off his best game of the season after underperforming for five straight games. If you somehow made it to Week 15 with Barkley, he likely carried you to Week 16 and is poised to lead you to the promised land.

Value Meter:
QB2: Daniel Jones (low end streamer)
RB1: Saquon Barkley (high end)
WR3: Sterling Shepard
WR3: Darius Slayton
Bench: Golden Tate

Passing Game Thoughts: Dwayne Haskins actually looked like a real quarterback last week with, by far, his best game of the season. Haskins is going to be much better than the zero touchdown, three interception guy we saw against the Giants back in Week 4. The Giants allow 22.5 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Haskins is definitely not the worst QB you can start, but if you’re starting Haskins in a final, you are bold.

Terry McLaurin has struggled since Haskins took over, but he is coming off a 5-130-1 game. He has to be considered a borderline must start against a Giants defense allowing 20.4 fantasy points per game to WR1s. Also in play on the deep streaming front is Steve Sims. The Giants struggle against wide receivers in general and Sims has seen 18 targets over the past two weeks with a 70% snap share. He’s an intriguing option if you’re desperate.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: With Derrius Guice done for the season, Adrian Peterson logged a 58.5% snap share, his highest in five weeks. Peterson found the end zone for the third straight week and actually finished as the last RB1. He is somehow in play for the fantasy championship in the year 2019. The Giants allow 115.1 rushing yards per game and have allowed 14 rushing scores. They are not the softest of run defenses, but with the Redskins home, game script shouldn’t get away from them, keeping AP on the field. The Redskins should be able to move the ball into the red zone where AP can punch it in from close. Chris Thompson can be expected to play around 35-40% of the snaps, but he can remain in free agency. CT carried the ball exactly zero times the past two weeks.

Value Meter:
QB2: Dwayne Haskins (deep streamer)
WR2: Terry McLaurin (low end)
Flex: Adrian Peterson, Steve Sims
Bench: Chris Thompson

Prediction: Giants 24, Redskins 20 ^ Top

Lions @ Broncos - (Caron)
Line: DEN -6.5
Total: 38.5

Passing Game Thoughts: His first start brought some optimism from a fantasy standpoint, but it appears the shine has already worn off of Detroit quarterback David Blough who has now failed to reach even 10 fantasy points in two straight games. Some of that is due to the fact that he’s thrown a pair of interceptions in each of those two contests, but it’s also true that he’s just not getting the ball into the end zone. It’s worth noting that he did get a bit unlucky this past week, as the team scored two short-yardage rushing touchdowns against the Buccaneers.

Blough is obviously not someone who we’re looking at from a fantasy standpoint, but the concern is more about wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola. Golladay produced a monster game in Blough’s first start, but it was on just four total catches so we should’ve been a bit skeptical about that continuing anyway. He’s now failed to exceed 100 total receiving yards over his past two games combined and now he’ll be against a Denver defense that has conceded the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers so far in 2019. He’s still a startable option but he’s more of a lower-end WR2 this week.

With Marvin Jones now on IR, veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola could be a sneaky play in DFS. He’s been targeted 29 times over Blough’s three starts and while he’s not the big play type, he’s certainly capable of producing fantasy-relevant numbers. He’s not worth looking at in seasonal formats unless you’re desperate for a Flex in deep PPR formats.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: Running back Kerryon Johnson is eligible to return from IR this week and it sounds like there’s a decent possibility that it happens. While it’d be nice to have him back on the field so we can get an idea of where he’s at physically as Detroit heads into the offseason, there’s little reason to trust him in normal seasonal fantasy leagues in what will be his first game back since Week 7.

The Broncos rank 11th-fewest in fantasy points given up to opposing running backs and they’ve only given up two 100-yard rushers all season. They’ve also given up just two total running back rushing touchdowns since Week 3. This is not a good matchup for the Lions backs and even if Johnson is healthy, it’s possible that he’s splitting touches with other backs.

If Johnson is unable to go, look for practice squad call-up Wes Hills to lead the backfield again here in Week 16. He touched the ball 12 times in the Lions loss to the Buccaneers in Week 15 and got into the end zone twice on short-yardage conversions. He’s not a great talent and this isn’t a good situation so we’d pretty much be hoping for another short-yardage touchdown for fantasy purposes, but you could do worse in your Flex in standard-scoring leagues.

Value Meter:
RB2: Kenny Golladay
Flex: Wes Hills (if Kerryon Johnson is out, standard scoring only), Danny Amendola (PPR only)
Bench: David Blough, Kerryon Johnson, Logan Thomas, Jesse James

Passing Game Thoughts: Week 15 was a struggle on the road against the Chiefs, but there’s still hope for rookie quarterback Drew Lock. This week he faces a Detroit Lions pass defense that ranks fifth-worst in fantasy points given up to opposing quarterbacks and they just gave up a 458-yard, four touchdown game to Jameis Winston who was without Mike Evans and without Chris Godwin for most of the game. Lock isn’t someone who should be looked at himself in normal leagues but he’s a decent high-upside QB2 and someone who you could be looking at as a cheap DFS option. Most importantly, however, is that this looks like a great matchup for some of Denver’s pass catching weapons.

The one that’s juiciest has to be for wide receiver Courtland Sutton who was targeted 10 times this past week in the Broncos loss to the Chiefs and has scored double digit PPR fantasy points in all but three games this season. He’s a monster talent who could produce a big game in this matchup against an overmatched Detroit secondary.

Tight end Noah Fant is also someone who could sneak into some lineups in this matchup. Fant is dealing with a shoulder injury that has limited him in practice but he’s expected to play. If he does, he’s a solid play against a middle-of-the-road Detroit defense against opposing tight ends. Fant has been the de-facto second option in this passing game for most of the season and he’s produced 169 total yards over his past two games.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Negative game script certainly did not help the Broncos running backs this past week on the road against the Chiefs as both players were major disappointments, but don’t look for that to happen again this week as the Broncos host the Lions. Detroit has been been in a free fall since early this season and have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing backs on the year. They’ve been better in the second half of the season against the run than they were in the first half, but this is still a good matchup for the Broncos backs.

Phillip Lindsay is still the stronger play of the two and could be played as high as a low-end RB2, but Royce Freeman does have some upside as a Flex option. This could potentially end up being a Broncos blowout victory which would benefit both players and could lead to both backs having decent fantasy days.

Value Meter:
QB2: Drew Lock
RB2: Phillip Lindsay
WR1: Courtland Sutton (low-end)
TE1: Noah Fant (low-end)
Flex: Royce Freeman
Bench: Tim Patrick, DaeSean Hamilton

Prediction: Broncos 27, Lions 16 ^ Top

Raiders @ Chargers - (Caron)
Line: LAC -7.0
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Oakland passing game was never going to be a high-powered attack but Derek Carr’s lack of big games has made him practically useless for fantasy purposes. He hasn’t thrown for 300 yards in any game this season and he’s only thrown for multiple touchdowns in six games, with only one three-touchdown game on his resume. What’s been even worse is that Carr isn’t even consolidating his passes to any one wide receiver who could theoretically at least be producing viable fantasy numbers. He did earlier this year when he threw a touchdown to Tyrell Williams in five straight games to start the 2019 season, but Williams has been held to fewer than 13 PPR fantasy points in every game since that red hot start. Rookie Hunter Renfrow could be back on the field this week but he wasn’t producing great numbers when he was healthy and there’s no guarantee that he’ll see a full complement of snaps in his first game back, especially given that Oakland has little to play for now that they’re all but eliminated from playoff contention. No other Oakland wide receiver is producing numbers that are even worth talking about from a fantasy standpoint.

The only player in this Oakland passing game who should realistically be looked at is tight end Darren Waller. Waller has enjoyed a breakout season as an elite fantasy tight end and continued that production this past week when he caught eight of his 10 targets for 122 yards. He’s still only scored three touchdowns on the year, but he’s now over 1,000 receiving yards on the season which is extremely rare for any tight end. He’s by far the best weapon in the Oakland passing game and the team is going to need him this week against the Chargers as they’ll be without workhorse running back Josh Jacobs to slow down the pace. Waller was held to three catches for 40 yards when these teams met back in Week 10, but he’s still a top five option at the position this week.

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.20

Running Game Thoughts: With Josh Jacobs ruled out after reaggravating his injured shoulder this past week, the Raiders will again turn to the duo of DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard to pick up where their rookie left off.

Washington was by far the more utilized back when the Raiders were in a similar situation just two weeks ago, as he touched the ball 20 times to Richard’s nine against the Titans. Look for that to be about the touch split once again this week, which certainly would make Washington a consideration for Flex purposes. Jacobs went over 100 total yards with a touchdown when these teams met earlier this season and while Washington is not quite the talent that Jacobs is, he’s proven to be useful enough to be fantasy relevant in the past. Richard won’t likely see enough touches to be usable.

Value Meter:
QB2: Derek Carr (low-end)
TE1: Darren Waller
Flex: DeAndre Washington
Bench: Jalen Richard, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow

Passing Game Thoughts: Philip Rivers has scored fewer than 17 fantasy points in six of his past seven games and he’s simply not a viable fantasy option in anything other than two-QB formats. Still, he’s doing enough to sustain fantasy relevance for at least three pass catchers in the Los Angeles offense.

The primary weapon continues to be Keenan Allen who has not had the big splash games that we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him throughout his career, but he’s been fairly consistent, having produced at least double-digit PPR fantasy points in seven of his past eight contests. This week he’ll face a Raiders defense that he caught eight passes for 68 yards against back in Week 10 and he’s a safe option to rank as a high-end WR2.

Deep threat Mike Williams didn’t score a single touchdown in the first 13 weeks of the 2019 season but positive touchdown regression was always in his future. We’ve seen that now as he’s scored in each of his past two games. Surprise - he didn’t just magically become bad at scoring touchdowns. Williams is more of a low-end WR2 in this matchup but he’s capable of producing WR1 numbers.

Tight end Hunter Henry is the final member of this pass catching trio and he’s the one who’s been most disappointing in recent weeks, having caught just six total passes over his past three games. Henry plays tight end, a position which is just a complete dumpster fire, so he’s still a TE1, but he’s slowly sliding down the TE1 ranks.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: The matchup to watch here in this game is whether or not the Raiders have any answer to the running back duo of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Gordon rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown while adding a 25-yard reception when these teams met back in Week 10, while Ekeler added 19 rushing yards with 29 receiving yards on a pair of receptions with a touchdown of his own. The Raiders have given up five touchdowns to opposing running backs over their past three games and the Chargers could very well add to those numbers here in Week 16.

Gordon is seemingly the stronger play in this one as it seems unlikely that the Chargers will be forced to pass much against a struggling Oakland team who will be without their top running back. Gordon could very well see 20 touches in this game which would almost certainly lock him in as an RB1. Ekeler is still a decent enough RB2 in PPR formats, though, as he’s proven to be an elite producer on a per-touch basis and may only need around 10 total touches to turn in a quality fantasy day.

Value Meter:
QB2: Philip Rivers
RB1: Melvin Gordon
RB2: Austin Ekeler
WR2: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams
TE1: Hunter Henry
Bench: Justin Jackson, Andre Patton

Prediction: Chargers 27, Raiders 20 ^ Top

Cowboys at Eagles - (Katz)
Line: DAL -2.0
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: We got a bit of a scare early in the week with some concern over Dak Prescott’s shoulder, but it does appear he will be at or near 100%. That’s great news for not just the Cowboys, but fantasy owners as well. Prescott has been a top five quarterback this season and this game sets up to be potentially quite high scoring. The Eagles have allowed 26 passing touchdowns this season and Prescott was a mid QB1 against them the last time around, despite throwing for just one score. The Eagles struggle against outside receivers, allowing 17.2 and 12.1 fantasy points per game to WR1s and WR2s, respectively. That sets up nicely for Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Cooper went over 100 yards the last time these teams met. Jason Witten scored a touchdown last week, but is still slow with no splash play ability. If you reached the fantasy final, you probably didn’t have Witten as your tight end. Keep it that way.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott spent the vast majority of the season floor low end RB1. However, right when it matters most, Zeke is turning it on and showcasing that ceiling. Elliott has scored twice in each of his last two games and with this game likely to be high scoring, there should be scoring opportunities for Elliott. That’s the good news. The bad news is the Eagles are a pass funnel defense. They allow the third fewest rushing yards per game at just 90.4. The first time these teams faced off, Elliott was heavily involved in the passing game, catching six balls en route to his best fantasy performance of the season until last week. Hopefully, he can repeat that effort.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott (high end)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (mid-range)
WR2: Amari Cooper (high end)
WR3: Michael Gallup
TE2: Jason Witten
Bench: Randall Cobb, Tony Pollard

Passing Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz is coming off his third consecutive QB1 performance to face a Cowboys defense that held him to his worst game of the season during their first meeting. Wentz scored 6.8 fantasy points in that game. Suffice it to say he will be better this week. The Eagles are home and the Cowboys are much more forgiving to quarterbacks on the road, allowing 22.4 fantasy points per game away from Jerry World.

Wentz will have to continue to deal with one of the weakest group of wide receivers in the NFL. Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are on IR and Nelson Agholor hasn’t practiced in three weeks. Zach Ertz is the target hog. With the exception of his dud against Miami where he was playing through a hamstring injury, over his last six games, Ertz has finished no lower than overall TE5 and scored no fewer than 17 fantasy points while seeing at least 10 targets in every game. The Cowboys are also one of the weaker teams against tight ends, allowing 10.2 fantasy points per game to the position. Dallas Goedert is also a fantasy option as the Eagles run a lot of 12 personnel due to their lack of receivers. If there is one receiver to consider (other than a healthy Agholor), it would be Greg Ward. Ward has played about 85% of the snaps over the past two weeks and has seen nine targets in back to back games. You could do worse.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: With Jordan Howard clearly not returning this season, Miles Sanders has taken over this backfield. Sanders was a matchup winner in Week 15 with 35 fantasy points. Sanders played a healthy 71% of the snaps last week and did not cede much to Boston Scott. The Cowboys allow 17.1 fantasy points per game to RB1s. Sanders is an auto start. Scott is also at least a consideration if you’re desperate. He played 46% of the snaps last week and was on the field with Sanders a fair amount. If this game is a shootout, Scott could be a sneaky flex play, but he’s definitely not someone you should go out of your way to start.

Value Meter:
QB1: Carson Wentz (mid-range)
RB1: Miles Sanders (low end)
TE1: Zach Ertz (high end)
TE1: Dallas Goedert (low end)
Flex: Greg Ward
Bench: Boston Scott, Jordan Howard, Nelson Agholor

Prediction: Eagles 27, Cowboys 23 ^ Top

Cardinals @ Seahawks - (Caron)
Line: SEA -9.5
Total: 50.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Kyler Murray gave fantasy owners a decent enough day in Week 15, but it could’ve been a massive game if the team had opted to pass for even a couple of those short-yardage touchdowns that they ended up giving to their running game. Nevertheless, we saw that the Cardinals offense has not given up on the season yet and that’s something we should keep in mind as they head on the road to face the division-leading Seahawks here in Week 16.

Murray threw for just 241 yards and no touchdowns when these teams met back in Week 4 - Murray’s fourth professional start - but he also rushed for an additional 27 yards and a touchdown. Rushing continues to buoy Murray’s fantasy production as he’s rushed for at least 25 yards in all but four games this season. In fact, if Lamar Jackson wasn’t having such a monster season as a runner, we’d probably be talking much more about Murray’s contributions as a runner. He’s second in the league in rushing yardage among quarterbacks and he’s added four touchdowns on the ground. That type of production on the ground gives Murray a great floor and he has to be considered a low-end QB1 in this contest.

Unfortunately the Cardinals passing game just has not been strong enough this season to make many of their pass catching weapons into viable fantasy contributors. The only one who we should really be considering right now is Christian Kirk. Kirk has been hit or miss but he’s averaging eight targets per game since returning from his injury back in Week 8. He doesn’t have a great floor so only start him if you’re looking for a potential boom game against an opponent who you don’t think you’ll beat without one, but don’t be surprised if he duds out on you.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: With David Johnson and Chase Edmonds both seemingly still not at full strength, the Cardinals continue to utilize Kenyan Drake at a high rate. That was never more true than this past week than when the former Dolphin exploded for 137 yards and a career-high four touchdowns on 22 carries. Needless to say, this backfield is fully Drake’s and he has to be considered an RB2 with RB1 upside in this matchup against the Seahawks and their middle-of-the-pack fantasy defense against opposing running backs.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kyler Murray
RB2: Kenyan Drake
WR3: Christian Kirk
Bench: David Johnson, Chase Edmonds, Larry Fitzgerald, Andy Isabella, Damiere Byrd, Charles Clay

Passing Game Thoughts: Russell Wilson started the season off red hot from a fantasy standpoint, but has mostly been disappointing since Week 6. Since that game against the Browns, Wilson has failed to reach 20 fantasy points in all but one contest. While he’s done a good job at avoiding the truly bad games that can cost fantasy owners their weeks, he’s just not producing the numbers to win games either.

That could all change this week, however, as Seattle hosts the Cardinals and their NFL-worst fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks. Arizona has given up at least 15 fantasy points to the opposing starting quarterback in every game this season. Wilson himself only scored 16.7 fantasy points when these teams met back in Week 4, but that was also a blowout win for the Seahawks where the team simply didn’t need to pass the ball to put the game away. That could very well be the case again this week, but Wilson will almost certainly contribute decent enough numbers to be a solid QB1 and there’s always the possibility that he gives us another monster week against this terrible defense.

If Wilson goes off, that’d obviously mean great things for his pass catching weapons. The primary recipient would likely be Tyler Lockett who has struggled in the second half of the 2019 season but he finally went off again for eight catches, 120 yards and a touchdown this past week in the Seahawks’ victory over the Panthers. Lockett was held to four catches for 51 yards when these teams played earlier this season, but again, that was in a game where the Seahawks simply didn’t need to pass the ball much to win. It’s still tough to forget that Lockett had been so disappointing over the previous month or so prior to his Week 15 performance, but there’s plenty of reason to be excited about this matchup. We’ll call him a high-end WR2, but don’t be surprised if he sneaks into the WR1 range at the end of the week.

Fellow receiver DK Metcalf is also looking like a nice play this week. Metcalf has produced double-digit PPR fantasy points in six of his past seven games. He’s often looked at as a boom or bust type receiver given his physical stature and play style, but Metcalf has actually been a more reliable option than Lockett over the second half of the season and he surprisingly has only exceeded 15 PPR fantasy points three times all season and 20 PPR points once. The Cardinals did hold Metcalf to the worst fantasy game of his young career thus far when he caught just one pass for six yards against them back in Week 4, but that was only his fourth professional game so we need to cut him some slack. He’s seeing a high enough target share to justify putting in your lineup as a WR3 or Flex in what looks like a great matchup.

The Cardinals struggles against opposing TEs are well documented so I won’t bore you with all of the details, but there’s really just one that matters - touchdowns. Arizona has given up an absolutely ridiculous 15 touchdowns to opposing tight ends so far this season - six more than any other team. Not only that, but things haven’t even been getting better down the stretch as they’ve now given up seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends over their past six games. Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister hasn’t done much in recent weeks and it’s been four games since he scored, but the tight end position is bad enough that he has to be considered a solid play this week against this horrendous pass defense.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: With Rashaad Penny on IR, the Seattle backfield is fully Chris Carson’s and he continued to show that this past week with a huge 133-yard, two touchdown performance against the Panthers. Carson continues to be extremely under-utilized in the passing game which does put a bit of a cap on his fantasy upside, but this is a spot where he could and probably will see at least 20 total touches against a mediocre Arizona defense. This could also end up being a blowout which could put Carson’s touch upside around the 30 mark if the Seahawks end up grinding out the clock in the second half.

This is a truly high potential matchup against a Cardinals defense that gave up 224 total yards to Browns duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt this past week. Get Carson in your lineup - this might be the best situation he sees all season and it could be a league-winning performance.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
RB1: Chris Carson (high-end)
WR2: Tyler Lockett
WR3: D.K. Metcalf
TE1: Jacob Hollister
Bench: C.J. Prosise, Jaron Brown, David Moore

Prediction: Seahawks 31, Cardinals 20 ^ Top

Chief @ Bears - (Swanson)
Line: KC -6.0
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Patrick Mahomes started the season off red hot with 11 passing touchdowns and no interceptions in his first three games. He appeared to be on pace to prove the regression narrative wrong, with three games of at least 30 fantasy points and no fewer than 370 passing yards in September.

But ankle and knee injuries derailed Mahomes’ bid to repeat as the fantasy MVP, while Lamar Jackson stole his crown with a season for the ages.

Mahomes owners who made the championship game are faced with a difficult matchup on the road against a Bears defense that gives up the 5th-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks. Only the Pats, Bills, and Ravens gave up fewer passing touchdowns this season, and no opposing quarterback has topped two passing touchdowns in a game.

You are no doubt starting Mahomes, but your confidence in him delivering a monster performance should be somewhat tempered.

Tyreek Hill owners should not have the same level of worry, as Chicago has given up three big fantasy performances to opposing wide receivers over the past three games, including 7/103/1 by Davante Adams last week in Green Bay.

The Bears do not have a defensive back who can keep up with Hill, and big-play wideouts like Michael Gallup and Kenny Golladay have burned the Bears deep this season.

Travis Kelce owners should also have a high level of confidence starting their stud tight end against Chuck Pagano’s defense that ranks in the middle of the pack in points allowed to the position. Kelce is a must-start regardless of the matchup, but he is even more attractive in a game like this and against a defense with injuries to their linebacking corps.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: As a team, the Kansas City Chiefs rank 6th in fantasy points scored at the running back position. Despite their success overall as a unit, fantasy owners have not been able to cash in on the otherwise lucrative Kanas City backfield with injuries and turnover plaguing the team.

No Chiefs back ranks in the top 40 in fantasy points per game, with Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy ranking 44th and 47th, respectively.

Williams has missed the last few weeks with knee and rib injuries, but he could return this week and is currently listed as questionable. Veteran Spencer Ware and rookie Darwin Thompson combined to get 75% of the snap counts last week with McCoy getting the remaining 25%.

With no definite running back starter, avoiding this backfield may be the best course of action this championship weekend.

The Chicago defense got a boost last week with the return of Akiem Hicks to the defensive line. Hicks missed most of the season with an elbow injury. Although the Bears did limit the Packers to 77 rushing yards, Aaron Jones did score two rushing touchdowns.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes (High-End)
RB3: LeSean McCoy (Low-End)
WR1: Tyreek Hill (High-End)
WR4: Sammy Watkins (Low-End)
TE1: Travis Kelce (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: After a dreadful start to the season in which he failed to throw a touchdown against the Packers and the Broncos, Mitchell Trubisky has been on fire over the last four weeks of the regular season, with an average of 28 fantasy points.

Trubisky took advantage of easy matchups against two of the worst defenses in the league in the Giants and the Lions and also played well against the Cowboys in Week 14.

Although only completing 55% of his passes in a 21-13 loss last week against the Packers that officially eliminated the Bears from playoff contention, Trubisky did throw for 334 yards and a touchdown, along with two unfortunate interceptions.

The common perception of the Chiefs defense is a secondary that gives up a ton of points, as that was the case for most of 2018 and the start of 2019. The truth is, the Chiefs have been tough against opposing quarterbacks as of late, giving up the second-fewest points to the position.

The wide receiving tandem of Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson has been red hot as of late, and both players should be started in all formats. Miller and Robinson combined for 29 targets last week against the Packers, posting a combined 243 yards and a touchdown. With no threat at tight end, an injury to Taylor Gabriel, and no running game to speak of, Trubisky has no other option but to pepper Miller and Robinson with passes.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thought: Last week I wrote about how David Montgomery could be in line for a big day based on the narrative that the Packers are far easier to run on than they are to be beaten in the pass game.

As he has done for most of the season, Montgomery failed to take advantage of that opportunity and burned owners with 39 yards on 14 carries, while Tarik Cohen provided some fantasy value in PPR formats with seven catches for 57 yards.

I would assume that the majority of Montgomery owners are no longer playing in the fantasy championship. However, if you did somehow overcome his lackluster year, I’m not sure I would risk playing him this week against a Kanas City team that has given up just one rushing touchdown since Week 10.

Of the two backs, Cohen would be the better option based on a likely game script of the Bears chasing points. Montgomery could get a random rushing touchdown, but with Chris Jones healthy and playing well in the middle of the Kanas City defensive line, the chance of a big yardage day is slim.

Value Meter:
QB1: Mitchell Trubisky (High-End)
RB3: David Montgomery (Low-End)
RB3: Tarik Cohen (Low-End)
WR2: Allen Robinson (High-End)
WR2: Anthony Miller (Low-End)

Prediction: Kansas City 30, Chicago 17 ^ Top

Packers @ Vikings - (Swanson)
Line: MIN -5.5
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers continues to be a good but no longer great fantasy option at the quarterback position. His 293.7 fantasy points through 14 games place his at 11th overall, but outside of a few monster games against the Raiders and the Giants, Rodgers has averaged just one passing touchdown per game since Week 4.

It is hard to see how Rodgers will provide a championship-winning performance this week on the road against a Vikings team that has held the future hall of fame QB to just three passing touchdowns in the last four meetings.

Minnesota ranks 21st in points allowed to QBs, yet they have given up the ninth-most points to opposing wide receivers. The once stout secondary led by Xavier Rhodes is no longer dominant, and Davante Adams has had his way against this team as of late, including touchdowns in two of the last three times he faced off against the Vikings.

A matchup to watch in this game will be the outside pass rush of Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen against the Packer tackles, Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari. If the two tackles can play the whole game healthy and limit the outside pass rush. Rodgers should be able to find Adams and the wide receivers for big gains. However, if Rodgers is constantly under pressure and forced to throw the ball earlier than he would like, he could be in for a long day against Mike Zimmer’s pass rush.

Look for the Packers to try and take advantage of the aggressive nature of Zimmer’s defense by dumping the ball off to Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams on screens. Minnesota is tied for 6th in receiving touchdowns allowed to running backs.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: The Vikings entered this season as one of the most dominant run-stopping units over the past three seasons. That success has not carried over into 2019, especially over the past five weeks, with the Vikings allowing the 10th-most points to opposing running backs.

The tandem of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny lit up the Vikings for 176 combined rushing yards and three total touchdowns two weeks ago in Seattle.

Aaron Jones posted a solid game of 116 yards and a score on 23 carries when the two teams faced off at Lambeau earlier in the season, and Jamaal Williams added in a touchdown reception out of the backfield.

Jones is a must-start based on his success against Minnesota earlier in the season and the fact that he is coming off a huge two-touchdown game last week against the Bears. Williams could be considered a very low-end flex play, but he will need to hit pay dirt to have much value on Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB2: Aaron Rodgers (High-End)
RB1: Aaron Jones (Low-End)
RB3: Jamaal Williams (Low-End)
WR1: Davante Adams (Low-End)
WR4: Geronimo Allison (Low-End)
TE2: Jimmy Graham (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Kirk Cousins is on pace to post the highest completion percentage of his career, while also throwing the fewest interceptions. Although he may not reach 4000 passing yards for the first time as a starter, he could break his career mark of 30 passing touchdowns, and he is not turning the ball over much or making bad mistakes with his passes.

This is great news for Vikings fans, but fantasy owners have not received much love from Cousins over the past two weeks, with 449 passing yards and two touchdowns combined in matchups against the Lions and Chargers in which the Vikings won easily.

I would not expect a big game from Cousins this week as well based on the narrative that it is much easier to run on the Packers than pass the ball. However, the fact that Dalvin Cook may be out could force Minnesota to throw more than they normally would.

The Packers enter the championship weekend for fantasy giving up the eighth-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks. Only Carson Wentz has topped more than two passing touchdowns this season against Mike Pettine’s defense, although the Bears and Mitchell Trubisky did hit 334 passing yards last week.

Perhaps the key this week will be Adam Thielen. The star wide receiver returned to the field last week against the Chargers but was limited to modest fantasy production based in a game that quickly grew out of hand with Phillip Rivers turning the ball over at will.

Thielen posted two games of over 100 yards and a touchdown last year against the Packers. The fact that he left the game with the Chargers and is not listed on the injury report this week leads me to believe he will be a full go against the Packers in a must-win game for Minnesota.

If by the grace of the fantasy gods, you have Thielen and made the championship game, he could finally pay dividends on the high draft capital you wasted this draft season.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison did not participate in practice on Thursday, with both running backs expected to miss this critical NFC North tilt. Head Coach Mike Zimmer has been coy with the media regarding the status of Cook. ESPN’s Adam Schefter mentioned Cook is a long shot to play, and if he did play, he is a risk again to burn fantasy owners with a re-aggravation.

Enter Mike Boone as the starting running back for the Vikings and a possible fantasy legend should he lead owners to super bowl glory.

An undrafted second-year player for Cincinnati, Boone rushed for 56 yards and two touchdowns last week against Los Angeles. His 4.3 yard per carry average was nothing to get excited about, but a full workload at home against a Packers team that ranks eighth in points allowed to running backs would make him a high-end RB 2 in your fantasy championship.

The injury of note for the Packers that could have an impact on both the passing and rushing attacks of the Vikings is a calf and hand injury to starting linebacker Blake Martinez. Martinez was limited in practice on Thursday and is questionable for the Monday Night Game.

Value Meter:
QB2: Kirk Cousins (Low-End)
RB2: Mike Boone (Low-End)
WR2: Stefon Diggs(Low-End)
WR2: Adam Thielen (Low-End)
TE2: Kyle Rudolph (High-End)

Prediction: Minnesota 28, Green Bay 21 ^ Top