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.
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
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.
Bills at Patriots
- (Katz) Line: NE -6.0 Total: 37.0
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Ravens @ Browns
- (Swanson) Line: BAL -10.0 Total: 48.5
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.
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
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
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
Panthers @ Colts
- (Green) Line: IND -6.5 Total: 46.5
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
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.
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.
Bengals at Dolphins
- (Katz) Line: MIA -1.0 Total: 46.5
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
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
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
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.
Steelers at Jets
- (Katz) Line: PIT -3.0 Total: 37.5
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.
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.
Saints @ Titans
- (Green) Line: NO -2.5 Total: 50.0
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
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.
Giants at Redskins
- (Katz) Line: WAS -2.0 Total: 41.0
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
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.
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
Lions @ Broncos
- (Caron) Line: DEN -6.5 Total: 38.5
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Cowboys at Eagles
- (Katz) Line: DAL -2.0 Total: 46.5
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Packers @ Vikings
- (Swanson) Line: MIN -5.5 Total: 45.5
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.
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
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.