- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Saints @ Falcons
- (Swanson) Line: NO -3.0 Total: 45.5
Passing Game Thoughts: Taysom Hill and the New Orleans Saints
head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons at the Mercedes Benz Stadium.
In two games as a starter, Hill has a pair of rushing touchdowns
and topped 20 points against both the Falcons back in Week 11
and the Broncos in Denver last Sunday.
After completing an impressive 78% of his passes against the
Falcons in his first start, Hill struggled to pass the ball against
the Broncos, with 78 yards on nine of 16 passing. Look for Hill
to put up numbers closer to what he did in his first start vs.
Atlanta, with around 200 passing yards to go with at least one
rushing touchdown, making him a solid QB1 play.
Michael Thomas had his first 100-yard game of the season against
Atlanta in Week 11, with nine catches for 104 yards on 12 targets.
If he gets that type of volume again this week, he will finish
as a WR1. If the Saints defense shuts down Matt Ryan and the passing
game, Thomas and the other passing options could disappoint.
From a matchup standpoint, the Falcons entered last week’s
game against the Raiders allowing the most points to quarterbacks.
Those poor souls who streamed Derek Carr can attest that the Falcons
are playing much better defense as of late and the season-long
points against stat is a little misleading.
Guard Andrus Peat missed the Bronco game due to a concussion
that he sustained against the Falcons in Week 11. If he is cleared
in the concussion protocol and can return to the field, he would
give a boost to both the passing and rushing game for the Saints.
Starting Jared Cook or any Saints tight end with Hill under center
is not advised. Tight ends have logged 35 total receiving yards
in the last two games, effectively making Cook a must-bench until
Drew Brees returns.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: The Saints running backs have combined
to score the most fantasy points at the position, with Alvin Kamara
and Latavius Murray combining to score 16 total touchdowns and
just over 2000 total yards.
Murray rushed for a season-high 124 yards and a pair of scores
against the Broncos, while Kamara was seldom used for 11 carries
for 54 yards, as the dynamic runner continues to nurse a nagging
Kamara owners cannot be happy with the transition to Hill and
a running quarterback, as Kamara posted his two lowest-scoring
games of the season in Weeks 11 and 12. Those owners should continue
to play Kamara with the upside of a score, but his one reception
for negative two yards in those games is striking.
Passing Game Thoughts: The New Orleans Saints DST leads the league
in fantasy points scored over the past three weeks, with an average
of 10.3 fantasy points. Their 13 sacks are tied with the Seahawks
for the most during that span, and no other team has more interceptions
(7) since Week 9.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons helped boost the scoring for New Orleans
with eight saves and two interceptions in the 24-9 shellacking
at the Super Dome in Week 11. Ryan was under constant pressure,
and the Saints shut down the rushing attack of Todd Gurley and
No other team has given up fewer points to opposing running backs
in 2020, leaving Matt Ryan and the passing game as the only viable
way to beat the Saints. Atlanta will need to figure out their
protection scheme and move to a short passing attack to mitigate
the New Orleans pass rush.
It would also help to run screen passes and quick throws to running
backs out of the backfield, but for some reason, the Falcons have
not done well throwing to running backs. They are one of only
five teams who have yet to post a receiving touchdown to a running
The Falcons passing offense is not the same without Julio Jones.
Jones missed last week’s game against the Raiders with a
hamstring injury. Interim head coach Raheem Morris told reporters
on Monday that he is hopeful to have both Jones and Gurley back
for the Saints, but he is not certain they will be on the field
Both Julio and Gurley did not practice on Thursday after logging
limited practices on Wednesday. Keep a close eye on both players,
as they are likely going to be game-time decisions on Sunday morning.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: With Gurley on the sidelines, the Falcons
used both Ito Smith and Brian Hill in an even timeshare, with
Smith scoring the lone rushing touchdown.
Unless you are hoping for Gurley to play and get a rushing touchdown,
this is a backfield to avoid most weeks, and certainly one to
avoid against the league’s best rush defense in the Saints.
New Orleans has yet to give up a 100-yard rusher, and no opposing
back has scored a touchdown, receiving or rushing, since Adrian
Peterson reached the end zone in Week 4. Unless you are desperate,
you should strongly consider other options in what could be another
lopsided loss for the Falcons and a rough game on the ground for
Gurley if he can return to the field.
Lions @ Bears
- (Green) Line: CHI -3.0 Total: 45.0
Passing Game Thoughts: Forced to play without Kenny Golladay (hip),
D'Andre Swift (concussion) and Danny Amendola (hip) for a second
straight game, Matthew Stafford passed for 295 yards, a touchdown
and an interception in a Thanksgiving loss that signaled the end
of the Matt Patricia Era. That moves Darrell Bevell into the top
job, though it's unclear how much will change for Stafford. He
threw for 297 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT against Chicago in Week 1,
which seems like a reasonable projection for the rematch and keeps
Stafford in QB2 territory.
Golladay missed the Week 1 meeting and looks likely to miss the
rematch as he hasn't been able to practice this week due to an
ongoing hip injury that dates back to Nov. 1. Assuming he doesn't
go, Marvin Jones (6-48-0) should be the primary receiver and a
middling WR3. He'll likely be joined by Amendola, who appears
set to return after a hip issue kept him out of the action the
past two games. T.J. Hockenson (5-89-0) is the passing game's
top weapon with Golladay out and is a solid TE1.
Entering play last Sunday night, the Bears had allowed just 12
TD passes all season. They gave up four to Aaron Rodgers in by
far their worst showing of 2020, allowing 41 points through three
quarters (their previous high points allowed for the year was
26). Look for the Bears and their 11th-ranked pass defense to
be fired up this Sunday.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: Facing one of the worst run defenses in
football, the Lions turned to Adrian Peterson (15-55-2) and Kerryon
Johnson (11-46-0) with Swift out due to a concussion. Swift has
since cleared protocol but is now dealing with a non-COVID illness.
Assuming he's able to work through it he should be the primary
back and an RB2 against the Bears. Chicago's run defense had no
answers against Green Bay, giving up 182 yards on the ground,
but they hope to get anchor Akiem Hicks (hamstring) back from
injury. For the year, the Bears have allowed 121.2 rushing yards
Passing Game Thoughts: Back in the saddle for the first time since
being benched in Week 3, Mitchell Trubisky delivered about what
we've come to expect. He threw a pair of interceptions and had
a fumble returned for a touchdown before rallying in garbage time
to post a respectable 242 yards and three TD passes against the
Packers. While he's normally the type of quarterback you want
to avoid in fantasy leagues, Trubisky has had Detroit's number
over the years, including a 242-yard, three-TD outing against
the Lions in Week 1 -- it was his third consecutive game with
three TD passes versus Detroit.
It doesn't matter who is delivering the ball, Allen Robinson is
the Bears passing attack. He caught eight passes for 74 yards
and two TDs against the Packers on Sunday night and now has a
71-829-5 line for the year; Darnell Mooney is second on the team
in receiving with 385 yards, less than half of Robinson's total.
Jimmy Graham (3-32-0) remains on a downward trajectory after a
solid start and has scored just once in his last six games. Outside
of Robinson as a WR1 you can safely avoid the rest of Chicago's
receivers and tight ends.
If you watched on Thanksgiving you got a pretty good idea of Detroit's
struggles in the secondary as Deshaun Watson passed for 318 yards
and four TDs on 17 completions. The Lions have since placed nominal
top CB Desmond Trufant (hamstring) on IR, which further weakens
an already shaky group. If there was ever a week to roll the dice
on Trubisky as a risky upside play, this is it.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: David Montgomery returned to action last
Sunday after missing the last game before the bye with a concussion.
He turned a simple run up the middle into a 57-yard gain to jumpstart
his best game of 2020, finishing with 143 total yards and a touchdown.
While not a top talent, Montgomery runs hard and should hold RB2
appeal against the Lions, which sit 28th in the NFL in run defense
with 133.4 yards per game allowed.
Colts @ Texans
- (Swanson) Line: IND -3.0 Total: 51.0
Passing Game Thoughts: Philip Rivers and the Indianapolis Colts
head to Houston this week, licking their wounds after getting
beat up by Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill, and the Titans. The
Titans took advantage of injuries to the defensive front of the
Colts and exposed the Colts in the secondary.
The good news for Rivers and the Colts is they now play a Texans
defense that ranks 20th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks
and is one of the worst rush defenses in the league. Look for
the Colts to get back to running the ball this week with Jonathan
Taylor returning from the COVID-IR list. Only the Lions give up
more fantasy points to running backs than the Texans, and the
Texans will be without their best wide receiver and cornerback.
For the passing game, the Texans losing Bradley Roby is a hit
to an already suspect secondary. We still do not like Rivers for
fantasy purposes, but we do think the tight ends for the Colts,
and Michael Pittman Jr. are interesting options.
Pittman Jr. burned fantasy owners last week with two catches
for 28 yards. While that is obviously terrible production, the
fact that he got nine targets is reassuring, and the Texans have
given up a whopping 15 receiving touchdowns to wide receivers
this season. It would not surprise us to see Pittman Jr. reach
the end zone, with around five catches for 80 yards.
Of the tight ends, Trey Burton continues to lead the bunch in
targets and is the one to play in this game.
An area of concern for the Colts is the loss of starting left
tackle Anthony Castonzo to a sprained knee. J.J Watt is not the
same player he was a few years ago, but he is certainly capable
of making Rivers’ life miserable with Chaz Green playing
in place of Castonzo.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: For a team that many considered to have
the best offensive line, the Colts have been shockingly inept
and running the ball in 2020. As a team, the Colts rank 15th in
total rushing yards by a unit, with just seven rushing touchdowns.
What has saved them from a fantasy perspective has been a few
breakout games by Nyheim Hines, including 115 total yards and
two scores against the Titans back in Week 10. Although the Texans
have given up just one receiving touchdown to tight ends, they
have allowed nearly 500 receiving yards and 53 catches to backs.
Fire up Hines, and hope he has one of those monster games both
on the ground and in the air.
If there were ever a game for Taylor to excel, this would be
it. The Texans cannot stop anyone on the ground with eight different
players topping ten fantasy points this season. The latest is
Adrian Peterson, who scored two rushing touchdowns against Houston
The absence of Castonzo on outside zone rushing plays will hurt
Taylor a bit, and the fact that the team uses a hot-hand approach
coach once again limit his value if Hines goes off. But regardless
of both issues, if you have held onto Taylor this long, this is
the game for you to start him.
Passing Game Thoughts: After a slow start to the season that
included tough matchups against the Steelers, Ravens, and Chiefs,
Deshaun Watson has been on fire as of late, with back-to-back
34-point games against the Patriots and Lions.
During that span, only Patrick Mahomes has more passing yards
and points. This week’s matchup against a Colts defense
that gave up back-to-back big performances to Aaron Rodgers and
Ryan Tannehill would have been a good play; however, top wide
receiver Will Fuller is out for the remainder of the season for
failing the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
The team moved on from veteran Kenny Stills, and Randall Cobb
is out with an injury. That leaves Keke Coutee and Brandin Cooks
as the only two remaining starters for Watson. Both are talented
wide receivers with fantasy value, but they both are not as effective
without the threat of Fuller in the lineup.
Pass-catching tight end Jordan Akins could get a nice boost in
volume with Fuller out of the picture. Akins did nothing against
the Lions last week, but he was very active vs. New England, with
five catches for 83 yards and a score. If you are a Gronk owner
looking for a bye-week fill-in, Akins might be your guy.
The Texans have no injuries outside of Cobb that would affect
the outcome of this game for fantasy purposes. The Colts, on the
other hand, have injuries to starting strong safety Khari Willis
and backup nickel-corner Isaiah Rodgers. Willis suffered a quad
injury as is going to play through it, but could be limited in
his coverage abilities on deep passes to Cooks.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: Starting running back David Johnson is
eligible to return off of IR and is still trying to come back
from a concussion. We did not know at this time if he will be
able to play and start, and Duke Johnson would get the majority
of carries again if David Johnson is out.
Duke Johnson had a nice game last week against the Lions, with
80 total yards and a receiving touchdown. He did share carries
with C.J. Prosise, who also posted a receiving touchdown from
One of the reasons why the Titans found so much success running
the ball against the Colts, outside of the fact that Derrick Henry
is a beast, was the absence of DeForest Buckner in the middle
of the defensive line. According to head coach Frank Reich, Buckner
is making good progress, but he is not certain if he will play
Raiders at Jets
- (Katz) Line: LV -8.0 Total: 47.5
Passing Game Thoughts: Derek Carr is coming off one of the most
embarrassing quarterback performances of the season. He failed
to throw for a touchdown against the worst pass defense in the
NFL and somehow managed to lose three fumbles on top of throwing
an interception. He did not score a single fantasy point.
With that being said, fantasy managers, like Carr, would be wise
to have a short memory as the Jets are the ideal bounce back spot.
No team allows more fantasy points per game to quarterbacks than
the Falcons, but the Jets are a close third.
In addition to Carr, Darren Waller could be in line for a big
game. The Jets allow 0.82 touchdowns per game to the tight end
position, the highest rate in the league. Hunter Renfrow was back
to being the most targeted wide receiver last week, but I still
prefer Nelson Agholor (ankle). He has the higher ceiling and has
15 targets over the past two weeks. Just be sure to check the
practice reports as Agholor did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
Henry Ruggs III is nothing more than a burner. Bryan Edwards was
up to 30% of the snaps last week, but he’s not taking on
a more significant role anytime soon.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Josh Jacobs came out of last week’s
game with an ankle sprain. It’s considered minor and as
of now, but I have a feeling he’s not going to play. Devontae
Booker has looked just as good as Jacobs in a relief role and
would be an RB1 if Jacobs were to sit. Whichever back starts this
week has a great matchup against a Jets defense that allows 25
fantasy points per game to running backs. Jets’ opponents
also tend to target running backs a lot, doing so 23% of the time.
Jacobs has never been a big factor in the passing game, targeted
three times or fewer in six games this season, but throwing to
running backs could be part of the game plan. Projected positive
game script will also benefit the running backs. The Jets have
allowed 12 rushing scores this season and are a good bet to surrender
another one this week.
Passing Game Thoughts: The only thing standing between the definitive
certainty that Sam Darnold is a bust is the fact that history
has proven Adam Gase ruins everything. Darnold hasn’t thrown
a touchdown since Week 3. His season high in passing yards is
230 and he’s thrown for more than 200 yards just twice.
That naturally caps the upside for any Jets’ receiver. Even
so, Denzel Mims is a sneaky play this week. He’s been a
90% snap share player since returning from injury and has at least
seven targets in four of his five games.
With that being said, the Raiders struggle at defending the slot,
so this could be a bounce back week for Jamison Crowder, who was
on fire to start the season, but has since cooled off considerably.
Crowder is averaging just under four targets over his past three
games. That could increase considerably this week. Breshad Perriman
isn’t getting big volume, but he’s averaging 16 yards
per reception. There are talented pieces here that could be fantasy
viable if Darnold could just improve a little bit.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: We live in a world where Frank Gore touched
the ball 21 times. He’s only a playing a little more than
half the snaps, but he’s dominating touches. Without a touchdown,
Gore is nothing more than a floor play; a “he won’t
get you zero” guy, but you could do worse in a pinch. The
Raiders allow just 113 rushing yards per game, but 17% of their
receiving yards allowed have gone to running backs. Gore is typically
a zero in the passing game, but he does have seven receptions
over his past three games. That’s not much, but it’s
more than he usually gets. Despite Gore’s sub 60% snap share,
no other running back picks up the rest of the snaps, as the Jets
just go without a running back. Ty Johnson probably deserves a
chance at the primary role because what do the Jets have to lose
(besides every game), but Adam Gase is playing 4D chess using
an 89 year-old running back in a lost season.
Browns @ Titans
- (Swanson) Line: TEN -6.0 Total: 54.0
Passing Game Thoughts: After hanging on to beat Mike Glennon and
the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-25 in Week 12, the Browns face a much
more difficult matchup this week against Derrick Henry and the
The Titans boast the leagues’ top running back in Henry
and a budding superstar in wide receiver A.J. Brown. Ryan Tannehill
continues to be a viable QB1, and Corey Davis has quietly put
together a solid season.
One thing the Titans do not have is a strong defense when it
comes to limiting fantasy production. Tennessee is one of a few
teams who rank in the bottom seven in points allowed to both quarterbacks
and running backs. Eight quarterbacks have posted at least 20
fantasy points vs. the Titans, including Gardner Minshew scoring
30 points back in Week 2.
At this point in the season, it may be difficult to start Baker
Mayfield if you are in the playoff hunt, but his outlook does
make it easier to plug in the receiving options of Jarvis Landry
and Austin Hooper.
The Browns are a run-first team and want to keep the Titans offense
off the field. But chances are that Tannehill and Henry will have
a ton of success against Cleveland and will force Kevin Stefanski
to throw the ball more than he would like.
The Titans have given up a touchdown to a tight end in each of
their last three games. Austin Hooper is someone who should be
in play this week and could end up as a top-5 tight end vs. Tennessee.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: This game features two of the league’s
best rushing attacks, with Derrick Henry going against the tandem
of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Hunt and Chubb are both on pace to rush for 1000 yards, with
the latter averaging a ridiculous 6.3 yards per carry. Chubb’s
16-game pace puts him at 1,643 yards and 14 touchdowns, making
him easily one of the best pure runners in the game.
Hunt has not been as efficient as a runner compared to Chubb,
but his 22 receptions for 151 yards and four receiving touchdowns
makes up for his 4.5 rushing average. Both players are excellent
plays in this game and should be in your lineup.
If the Titans steamroll the Browns defense like they did last
week against the Colts, look for Hunt to get more passing work
than usual. Chubb is still a must start and could continue his
streak of three-straight 100-yard games against a defense that
gives up an average of 92 yards per game.
Two injuries to keep an eye on are tackle Jack Conklin and center
JC Tretter, two of the best offensive linemen on the team. Both
are dealing with knee injuries, and both posted limited practice
sessions on Thursday.
Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill threw for 221 yards and
a score and rushed for another touchdown to score 21.4 fantasy
points against the Colts. Tannehill is the No. 9 ranked QB in
fantasy points and is quietly posting the best season of his career.
The Browns defense presents an excellent matchup for Tannehill
and all of the passing options on the Titans. Cleveland ranks
8th on the season in points allowed to quarterbacks and will likely
be without their top cornerback in Denzel Ward.
If Carson Went and Mike Glennon can reach 20 fantasy points vs.
the Browns, the chances are that Ryan Tannehill can do the same.
Fire up A.J. Brown with confidence. The second-year wide receiver
has a score in all but two of his games this season and continues
to be one of the more consistent players at the position. His
12.4 points per game are fifth on the season, and his 66.67% average
for WR1 performances his third best.
If you need a secondary option with upside, you should consider
Corey Davis. The Browns have given up big games to No.2 or No.3
wide receivers like Collin Johnson, Tee Higgins, Dontrell Inman,
and Willie Snead.
Davis has 250 yards receiving in his last three games, including
113 yards against the Ravens two weeks ago. Don’t be surprised
to see him finish with around 80 yards and a score.
The usage of tight end Jonnu Smith has been a head-scratcher
for both fantasy managers and Titans fans. Just when it looked
like Smith would become a star, with five touchdowns in his first
four games, only to post three games in a row with less than 30
receiving yards and zero touchdowns.
He is a risky play with upside, and the Browns do give up the
6th-most points to opposing tight ends.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry continues to make all fantasy
analysts look silly for not ranking him as the No.2 running back
after CMC. Heck, Henry should have garnered more consideration
as the No.1 player in drafts.
King Henry leads the league with 1257 rushing yards on 256 carries,
with 12 rushing touchdowns. His 207 points trail only Dalvin Cook,
and he has just two games of less than ten fantasy points.
You are starting Henry regardless of matchup, and he should have
a field day against a defense that just gave up 150 total yards
and a rushing touchdown to James Robinson.
Henry is a lock for at least 80 yards and a score, with the upside
of another monster multi-touchdown game like he dropped on the
Colts last week.
Bengals at Dolphins
- (Katz) Line: MIA -11.5 Total: 42.0
Passing Game Thoughts: It was not Ryan Finley, but Brandon Allen
who started last week in the Bengals’ narrow loss to the
Giants. Allen was about as bad as we could’ve imagined,
throwing for just 136 yards. He evenly distributed targets between
Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and checkdown option Drew Sample. Higgins
salvaged his day with a late touchdown, but it’s very clear
that neither Higgins nor any Bengal is trustworthy anymore. Even
against a Dolphins team that sees 70% of the targets against it
go to wide receivers, Higgins, as well as Boyd, are risky starts
in the post Joe Burrow era. It’s difficult to envision Allen
exceeding 200 passing yards so there just aren’t enough
yards to go around. Boyd’s three catches for 15 yards were
both season lows. He previously had at least four receptions in
every game. As for Sample, I wouldn’t make much of this
five target effort. He’s not fantasy viable. My sources
continue to tell me A.J. Green is rostered in fantasy leagues
and I continue to not understand why.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: The problem with Giovani Bernard is not
so much Samaje Perine – it’s the Bengals offense.
Without Burrow, this team is going to struggle to score any points
or sustain any drives. Bernard has totaled 55 yards or fewer in
his last three games, so he wasn’t really producing even
with Burrow. He did play a season high 78% of the snaps last week,
but he’s nothing more than a volume based floor play. The
Dolphins allow just a 17% target share to running backs and are
middle of the road in defending the ground game. There is no ceiling
with Bernard. He’s not good enough and this offense isn’t
good enough. We are not going to be seeing Joe Mixon until 2021.
Passing Game Thoughts: The Dolphins probably never should’ve
benched Ryan Fitzpatrick in the first place. He picked up right
where he left off with a shellacking of the Jets. I expect Tua
Tagovailoa to remain on the bench as long as Fitzpatrick keeps
winning, especially with Brian Flores having the built in excuse
of blaming an injury, when, in reality, Fitzpatrick is just the
better quarterback right now. Excluding Week 1, Fitzpatrick has
scored at least 18 fantasy points in all of his starts.
The Bengals are a pass funnel defense that particularly struggles
to defend wide receivers. DeVante Parker is setup to absolutely
smash this week. He’s coming off his best game of the season
with 8-119 on a season high 14 targets. The Dolphins are currently
bereft of pass catchers so Parker is going to get all the targets
he can handle.
Second on the team in targets with just five was Mike Gesicki.
Normally, I’d dismiss Gesicki because he’s not good,
but the Bengals have allowed a league high 25% of receiving yards
against them to go to the tight end position. Given the state
of the position in fantasy, Gesicki is bordering on a must start
if you have him. Jakeem Grant and Mack Hollins are not fantasy
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: The only thing we can be sure of in the
Dolphins backfield is the answer is never Matt Breida. DeAndre
Washington (hamstring) had played all of four snaps prior to last
week’s 48% snap share. He carried the ball 13 times and
saw five targets. cannot return this week. Given how close Myles
Gaskin was to playing last week, I do expect him to be active
and back in his pre-injury role. Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) certainly
proved capable in Gaskin’s absence, but his status is also
uncertain. The Bengals may be a pass funnel defense, but as we
saw with the Giants last week, that’s not necessarily a
negative for the running backs, as efficient passing opens up
scoring opportunities. If Gaskin plays, I like him enough to start
him. If not, this is probably a backfield to avoid.
Jaguars @ Vikings
- (Green) Line: MIN -10.0 Total: 52.0
Passing Game Thoughts: With Gardner Minshew still bothered by
a thumb injury and Jake Luton playing like a sixth-round rookie,
the Jaguars turned to Mike Glennon last Sunday. Making his first
start since 2017, the journeyman passed for 235 yards and a pair
of touchdowns while nearly leading his club to an upset win over
Cleveland. It was enough that Doug Marrone has elected to stick
with Glennon even though Minshew has been deemed ready to return.
Glennon's moderate success was made all the more impressive by
the fact that he did it without top receiver D.J. Chark (hip)
and Chris Conley (hip). Both have practiced in limited fashion
this week, so there's hope they could return. Chark would be the
big one, as he provides a downfield threat that nobody else in
Jacksonville can match. The team did get Laviska Shenault back
with the rookie accounting for 37 yards in his return from a hamstring
injury. Collin Johnson (4-96-1) actually led the way, but he'd
need to show more before we advocate he be plucked off waivers.
Secondary play has been a season-long issue for the Vikings,
which is why they've given up the second-most touchdown passes
in the NFL this season. They fare a little better in yardage (261.3
per game; 25th), but this is an area that's ripe for exploitation.
If Chark can go he'd be a WR3 with decent upside with Shenault
as an intriguing flex play; if the DJ can't answer the ball elevate
Shenault to WR3 and give Keelan Cole consideration in that flex
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: There aren't many bright spots on a 1-10
team, but by far the brightest for the 2020 Jags has been the
play of James Robinson. Over his last five games, the undrafted
rookie out of Illinois State has averaged a shade over 120 total
yards per game and scored four times. His play has more than justified
the team's decision to move on from Leonard Fournette. Minnesota
is 19th in the NFL against the run (120.7 yards per game, 4.3
per carry). You can pencil Robinson in as an RB1.
Passing Game Thoughts: Whatever the Vikings' coaching staff did
over the past month-plus to turn Kirk Cousins around has worked.
Cousins was terrible in his first six games and came out of the
bye completely marginalized. Week by week they've amped up his
involvement, culminating in him going 34-for-45 for 307 yards
and three TDs in a one-point win over Carolina last Sunday. That
he did it without Adam Thielen (COVID) and Irv Smith (back) just
speaks to his resurgence. He's a legitimate QB1 in Week 13.
Thielen was unavailable against the Panthers but has been cleared
and will be good to go this weekend. His return pushes everyone
down a peg, and with a renewed focus on the passing game you can
deploy Thielen as a WR1. Justin Jefferson (7-70-2) was one of
four Vikings to catch seven passes in Week 12, but he's the only
one to care about in the weeks ahead as Bisi Johnson and Chad
Beebe are likely to see little work with Thielen back in the lineup.
Consider Jefferson a solid WR2.
When it comes to pass defense, Jacksonville is definitely cut
from the same cloth as the Vikings, ranking 29th in yards allowed
(279.5 per game) and allowing the same number of touchdowns. This
is a plus matchup for everyone involved in Minnesota's passing
game, though you can never have full confidence because Mike Zimmer's
preference is to run the ball, and on that front the Jags provide
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: For the second straight week, Dalvin Cook
had to be helped off the field after losing a fumble. And for
the second straight week he came back. This time it was an ankle
injury, and Cook claims he's ready to roll this Sunday. Still,
the attrition of such heavy usage is taking a toll on a player
who has had durability issues since he entered the league. Still,
Jacksonville has a poor run defense, yielding 136.2 yards per
game, and Cook should be in for a big game.
Rams at Cardinals
- (Caron) Line: LAR -3.0 Total: 48.5
Passing Game Thoughts: Jared Goff is coming off of the worst game
of his season after throwing for just 198 yards and no touchdowns
with two interceptions. That performance marked the first time
this season that he’s been held to fewer than double-digit
fantasy points so it’s not exactly something that we should
come to expect, but Goff has now been held to fewer than 12 fantasy
points in five of his 11 starts. His lack of upside this season
has also made him fall out of the weekly QB1 conversation as he’s
become more of a situational starter.
Even in a down week for Goff, though, Robert Woods continued to
show why he’s one of the most reliable players in all of
fantasy football. Woods was targeted 12 times against the 49ers,
catching seven of those passes for 80 yards. He also continues
to see carries in the running game which has provided some unexpected
upside here in 2020. Woods has been targeted at least five times
in every game this season, but it’s the 27 targets he’s
seen over the past two weeks that should give us some added confidence
heading into this week’s game against the Cardinals. Woods,
however, will likely be matched up regularly with star cornerback
Patrick Peterson. That does hurt his upside in this matchup, although
he moves around enough that he shouldn’t face Peterson on
Cooper Kupp disappointed in Week 12 against the 49ers as he caught
just two passes on five targets, but he could be in line for a
return to fantasy prominence here in Week 13. Kupp is still playing
the majority of his snaps out of the slot which will allow him
to avoid Peterson and he’s been feasting in some of the
matchups the Rams have had when opposing defenses have been focused
more on stopping Woods. Prior to his down week in Week 12, Kupp
had been targeted a ridiculous 40 times over his previous three
games. Look for him to again return to be a strong WR2 in this
matchup against the Cardinals who’ve really struggled against
slot receivers this season.
Tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett, along with depth receivers
Josh Reynolds and Van Jefferson need to remain benched in seasonal
leagues until we see them getting more involved in the offense
and doing more with the opportunities they are getting.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: The Rams backfield has been ugly throughout
most of the season but we might finally be witnessing the emergence
of rookie running back Cam Akers. While it was Darrell Henderson
who led the team with 10 carries against the 49ers in Week 12,
it was Akers who stood out, rushing for 84 yards on just nine
carries, including a touchdown. Perhaps most importantly, Malcolm
Brown has been less involved in recent weeks, having touched the
ball fewer than 10 times in three straight contests.
We’ve been misled by this backfield multiple times throughout
the season already but if we’re to trust the team’s
“hot hand” approach then it would appear that Akers
should be in line for additional carries this week against the
Cardinals. Unfortunately, Akers - and really every back for the
Rams - is pretty much an afterthought in the passing game. They
simply aren’t seeing enough targets to help prop up their
floors on a week to week basis, making them risky touchdown-or-bust
options in most contests.
The Cardinals aren’t a bad run defense but they have been
conceding quite a few touchdowns to the position as of late. We’ll
give Akers the nod as the top back in LA for the moment but understand
that this is likely still a committee situation so don’t
Passing Game Thoughts: Kyler Murray had been consistently dropping
20-plus fantasy points each week this season so it was a huge
surprise to everyone when he was held in check by the Patriots
in Week 12. We’ll write off that performance as a blip on
the radar during an otherwise MVP-level fantasy season from Murray,
but it’s worth noting that he has another difficult matchup
this week as he and the Cardinals host the Rams. Los Angeles has
held opposing quarterbacks to the league’s fewest fantasy
points per game this season so this might not be the week to deploy
Murray for DFS purposes.
With that said, Murray should remain a QB1 for standard seasonal
leagues even in difficult matchups like this one. His combination
of floor and upside as a passer, along with the tremendous effort
he’s putting in on the ground this season, make him one
of the safest options from week to week.
Where we should have a little bit of concern is that top wide
receiver DeAndre Hopkins has another difficult matchup here in
Week 13. Last week he saw plenty of attention from star cornerback
Stephon Gilmore and he was only able to put together a five catch,
55-yard day. That’s not disastrous from a fantasy standpoint,
but we had been getting WR1 performances most weeks from Hopkins
so it’s always a bit disappointing when he doesn’t
see the volume to finish in that range. This week Hopkins gets
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who remains one of the league’s
top shadow corners. While Hopkins is certainly capable of feasting
in any matchup, it’s always more difficult to trust him
- or any receiver - when they’re matched up with Ramsey.
We’ll still rank Hopkins as a WR1, but temper your expectations
a bit this week.
With Larry Fitzgerald on the COVID-IR and not really performing
anyway, the only other pass catcher in Arizona that we should
have any interest in this week is Christian Kirk. Kirk has been
disappointing as of late, catching just 11 passes for 96 total
yards and no touchdowns over his past three games combined. That
stretch comes immediately following a huge three game stretch
prior to that wherein he scored four touchdowns. The reality is
that Kirk just isn’t seeing the type of volume needed to
produce as a reliable fantasy option. He hasn’t reached
double-digit targets in any game and while he’s seeing the
ball come his way between six to eight times in most contests,
he needs to be very efficient with his targets if he’s going
to be producing anything more than WR3/Flex scores. He could see
a bit of an uptick in targets this week with Hopkins dealing with
Ramsey, but it’s probably wise to leave him on your bench
in most leagues unless you’re very thin in which case you
might be able to find a spot for him in your lineup as a Flex.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: A 24-touch game from Kenyan Drake in Week
12 should have fantasy owners feeling quite satisfied and confident
that their running back has re-taken control in the Arizona backfield.
Drake scored twice on the ground and has now out-touched Chase
Edmonds in each of the three games he’s played in since
returning from injury.
The Arizona offense is one of the league’s most explosive
so getting significant touches within it gives Drake some huge
upside down the stretch here in 2020. Unfortunately for him, this
week Drake faces one of the league’s top defenses anchored
by defensive lineman Aaron Donald and the unit has conceded the
fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs
so far this season. For that reason Drake is going to find himself
down in the RB2 range this week, but understand that he’s
quite capable of finding the end zone multiple times - as he did
against the Patriots - which would easily catapult him into an
Edmonds has still been involved in the Arizona offense to an extent,
particularly in the passing game where he’s caught at least
three passes in all but two Cardinals games this season, but he’s
now seen just 16 total carries over his past three games since
Drake returned to the active roster. That low carry volume really
limits his upside and makes him only a low-end Flex play in PPR
Giants at Seahawks
- (Caron) Line: SEA -10.0 Total: 46.5
Passing Game Thoughts: A hamstring injury knocked Giants quarterback
Daniel Jones out of his Week 12 game against the Bengals and it’s
now threatening his status for this weekend’s contest with
reports indicating that he’s more likely to sit than to
play. If he does play, Jones has an excellent matchup against
a truly awful Seattle secondary that has given up more fantasy
points per game to opposing quarterbacks than any other defense
Jones himself has been pretty bad as of late, having thrown just
one touchdown pass over his past three games combined. He does
still possess some rushing ability so that helps, but his leg
injury is likely to limit him so he is going to need to start
moving the Giants down the field through the air if we’re
going to trust him as anything more than a QB2 even in great matchups
like this one. If Jones is unable to play, it’ll be veteran
Colt McCoy behind center again. McCoy is a low-upside, low-floor
option who would be one of the worst plays on the board.
What we do like, however, is the Giants’ top two pass catchers.
Sterling Shepard has been a reliable PPR contributor since he
came back from injury in Week 7, having caught at least six passes
in every game since. He’s only found the end zone once over
that stretch and he hasn’t reached even 75 yards in any
contest, but he does have a nice, reliable floor with upside this
week against the Seahawks’ terrible defense. Meanwhile,
Darius Slayton has been the exact opposite of consistent, having
caught zero passes against the Bengals in Week 12 after a five
catch, 93-yard performance in his previous game against the Eagles.
Then the week before that he was held to just one catch for six
yards. Slayton might be the most physically talented of the bunch
at this point but he’s simply way too inconsistent for us
to trust in anything other than DFS tournaments. Golden Tate remains
a solid depth contributor for Jones but the days of him being
fantasy relevant are over.
Tight end Evan Engram is really the player who we should probably
be most excited about right now in this New York passing game.
He’s been targeted at least nine times in four of his past
five games, culminating in a six-catch, 129-yard performance this
past week against the Bengals. Engram hasn’t been an excellent
fantasy contributor for most of the season, but the talent is
still there and the Giants seem to be making a concerted effort
to get the ball into his hands. He’s a solid TE1 play this
week against the Seahawks who allowed touchdowns to both Philadelphia
tight ends Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers this past week.
They’ve also given up five total touchdowns to opposing
tight ends over their past five games.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: With Devonta Freeman sidelined, it’s
been the Wayne Gallman show as of late and Gallman has actually
been surprisingly - and very quietly - productive in his new workhorse
role. Gallman has now scored a touchdown in five straight games.
His rushing totals haven’t been spectacular, but he did
reach 94 rushing yards against the Bengals in Week 12.
Unfortunately for Gallman, he’s starting at what is actually
a pretty difficult matchup here in Week 13 against the Seahawks.
Seattle hasn’t allowed an opposing running back to surpass
even 40 rushing yards against them since all the way back in Week
7 when Chase Edmonds did it because of a long run. While opposing
backs have been getting into the end zone against them, it’s
been in large part lucky due to pass catchers getting stopped
near the goal line which has led to some fairly easy goal line
Gallman isn’t an extremely strong play, but he’s a
solid RB2 this week due to his workload and the Giants’
willingness to feed him near the goal line.
Passing Game Thoughts: The Seattle passing game started off extremely
strong this season and while wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler
Lockett have remained fairly good starts most weeks, the quiet
reality is that things haven’t been excellent for quarterback
Russell Wilson as of late. It hasn’t been disastrous, but
the team has definitely been leaning more on their running game
which has led to some low volume games for Wilson who has now
failed to reach 250 passing yards in three straight contests while
throwing just three total touchdown passes over that stretch.
He’s continuing to contribute some fantasy production on
the ground but the MVP discussion is quickly dissipating.
Wilson has to still be a QB1 for fantasy given the positional
woes throughout the league. This week he’ll be up against
a Giants defense that has actually been quite good at containing
opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Much of it has been
due to game script, but the Giants have held all but three quarterbacks
they’ve faced to 280 passing yards and they haven’t
allowed more than two passing touchdowns against them since they
faced Ben Roethlisberger back in Week 1.
It’s not the best matchup, but the Seahawks’ top two
pass catchers have just been too good to bench at this point.
Lockett was held to just three catches for 23 yards against the
Eagles this past week, but he had previously had an excellent
game against the Cardinals in Week 11. He’s been more boom-or-bust
than Metcalf, surprisingly, but Lockett has been good enough to
be a WR2 even in matchups like this.
Metcalf has had a few big games on national stages already throughout
his career, but his one this past week against the Eagles was
one to remember. Metcalf caught 10 passes for 177 yards on 13
targets and he’s now averaging 22 PPR fantasy points per
game over his past five contests. He’s been one of the league’s
top performers and there’s really no reason that anyone
should be looking at him as anything other than a fantasy WR1.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: We often hear that players will be “eased
back” into the lineup which causes fantasy owners to overreact
and bench studs, but it actually happened this past week when
Seattle running back Chris Carson returned from a four game hiatus.
Carson carried the ball just eight times on the night and while
he ended up getting into the end zone, he was clearly playing
behind veteran Carlos Hyde who got 15 carries. Carson was, however,
by far the more productive back on a per-carry basis, so it would
stand to reason that the Seahawks would get back to giving him
a bigger share of the workload here in Week 13.
Assuming Carson is back to shouldering at least close to his usual
workload, he should be back in fantasy lineups as at least a low-end
RB1 against the Giants. While New York has held opposing running
backs to fewer than 4.0 yards per carry to opposing backs this
season, they’ve had the benefit of facing some pretty weak
rushing attacks. Seattle should be able to move the ball against
the Giants which will give Carson a higher-than-usual chance to
get into the end zone.
Passing Game Thoughts: Even as skill players have gotten out of
the trainer's room and back onto the field, Carson Wentz has continued
to struggle. The state of the offensive line is a big part of
the issue, leading to a league-high 46 sacks of Wentz, including
six to Seattle on Monday. His final numbers (215 yards passing,
2 TDs, 1 INT) were helped by a late Hail Mary pass, and it's hard
to see where dramatic improvement will come. Wentz played well
in Green Bay last year but isn't more than a low-end QB2 this
Tight ends drive the passing game in Philly, led by Dallas Goedert
(7-75-1) and former Packer Richard Rodgers (3-53-1), who caught
last week's Hail Mary. The Eagles also activated Zach Ertz (ankle)
from IR, but it's unclear if he'll play in Week 13; even if he
does, he'll likely be on a snap count. Travis Fulgham (2-16-0)
was a nice story, but he only has four catches in the last three
games. Alshon Jeffery also returned recently but is still acclimating.
Of this group, only Goedert is a surefire fantasy option as a
Green Bay is 15th in the NFL against the pass, allowing 230.5
yards per game; they also rank in the bottom half of the league
in TDs (20). There are some caveats, though, as they've played
in a few blowout wins where they gave up significant garbage production
(like Sunday night), and CB tandem Jaire Alexander and Kevin King
have only played a handful of games together this year. They're
healthy now, though, and with the pass rush trending up this could
be a tough matchup for Philly.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: Despite Miles Sanders' status as the team's
most explosive player, he only got eight combined touches against
Seattle for 22 yards. That's not going to cut it, so expect him
to get more work in Lambeau in an effort to keep the NFL's top
scoring offense off of the field. The Packers have struggled with
power-based ground attacks despite their respectable 14th-place
standing (114.5 yards per game), which is enough to give Sanders
Passing Game Thoughts: Pitted against two of the NFL's better
defenses over the past two weeks, Aaron Rodgers has passed for
a combined 522 yards and seven TDs with one interception. He was
in complete control on Sunday night, staying a step ahead of the
Bears by mixing the pass and run. It wasn't a great approach from
a yardage standpoint -- his 211 yards passing were his second-lowest
total of 2020 -- but by the end of the third quarter the Packers
had hung 41 points on the Bears, which hadn't allowed more than
26 in any other game this season.
Another reason Rodgers' yards were down was a tough game from
Davante Adams (6-61-1), who dropped a ball on a free play and
also failed to come up with a couple of other downfield catches
that he normally makes. Expect an angry Adams this week against
a team he posted 180 receiving yards against last season. Fresh
off a game in which he had a crucial fumble, Marquez Valdes-Scantling
didn't see the ball in 56 snaps as Alan Lazard (4-23-1) got more
involved before taking a vicious hit and watching from the sidelines.
While Adams is a clear WR1, Lazard is a shaky flex play and MVS
is nothing more than a lottery ticket for desperate owners.
One big difference between the 2019 Packers and this year's version
is the growth of Robert Tonyan (5-67-1), who now has seven touchdown
receptions this season. He has emerged as a low-end TE1 going
forward. Philly ranks a solid eighth in pass defense, allowing
210.7 yards per game. Their hope lies in getting pressure on Rodgers,
which is something only Tampa Bay did consistently this season.
Keep Rodgers in your lineup as a QB1 this Sunday.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: With the Packers working from the front
for almost the entire game, Aaron Jones (17-90-0) and Jamaal Williams
(17-73-1) each got 17 carries with neither player playing a role
in the passing game. Green Bay has been judicious with Jones'
workload from Week 1, a luxury afforded to them by the talent
of Williams in the complementary role. The Eagles stymied Seattle's
ground game, but they still rank 24th in the NFL (128.2 yards
per game) and their 16 rushing scores allowed are fewer than only
Detroit and Las Vegas. Consider Jones an RB1 and Williams a solid
Patriots at Chargers
- (Caron) Line: Pk Total: 47.0
Passing Game Thoughts: Another rough performance for Cam Newton
in Week 12 has to make fantasy owners even more reluctant to start
him in fantasy right now. Newton started the season off red hot
but has cooled off significantly as of late, having thrown just
two touchdown passes over his past seven games. He’s continued
to contribute on the ground, particularly near the end zone, which
has propped up his fantasy value to the point that he’s
at least been usable as a QB2 most weeks, but he’s turned
in couple of truly awful fantasy performances when he’s
failed to get into the end zone on the ground. While Newton is
one of the players who we can trust more than almost anyone to
score a rushing touchdown, it’s still tough to rely on that.
In Week 13 Newton faces a Chargers defense that has done a pretty
good job of containing opposing quarterbacks as of late. While
they’ve given up multiple touchdown passes in four of their
past five games, they’ve been rather unlucky in that regard
because they’ve held every one of those passing games to
fewer than 250 yards through the air.
With Newton being a low-volume passer to begin with, this becomes
a very difficult matchup to trust him in. Newton could make some
lineups as a low-end QB1, but we’re really banking on rushing
from him in this one.
Newton’s top pass catcher remains Jakobi Meyers, who has
caught at least three passes in six straight games. The lack of
red zone passing proficiency has led to him still being held out
of the end zone this season, but he’s consistently producing
as the top pass catcher in this offense. That still makes him
only a WR3, but it’s the best this offense has.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Ohhh Patriots...just when we thought that
Damien Harris had finally taken over as the lead back in New England
and someone we could have some faith in from a fantasy standpoint,
in steps James White to swipe away two goal line touchdowns from
him. While Harris is still the top back in New England, this was
a cold reminder of the uncertainty in the New England backfield
and why we need to be careful trusting any of them.
On the bright side, Harris has now seen double-digit carries in
six straight games. He’s clearly the team’s between-the-tackles
grinder, but the flip side of that is that he’s practically
completely worthless in the passing game. Harris has just three
total catches on the season, meanwhile White has three separate
games where he’s caught six or more passes. White, however,
doesn’t have a single game this season where he’s
carried the ball more than five times, making him a low-upside
The Patriots backs do have a good matchup this week, though, against
a Chargers defense that has struggled even against lesser-talented
backfields like the Jets, Bills and Dolphins as of late. While
we can’t trust Harris as much more than a low-end RB2 or
Flex option, he’s a good bet to touch the ball 15 or more
times this week which should give him a good chance to find the
Passing Game Thoughts: Some truly bizarre play calling led to
a surprisingly high number of short passes from rookie quarterback
Justin Herbert this past week as he and the Chargers fell short
on the road against the Bills. Herbert himself still had a decent
enough fantasy day as he was able to reach the 300-yard mark for
the third time over his past four games, but we have to be a bit
concerned that his upside might have been cut into with the return
of Austin Ekeler given the way that the coaching staff decided
to utilize him.
Still, there’s enough reason to remain optimistic about
Hebert as a fantasy QB1 this week even in a not-so-great matchup
against the Patriots. New England ranks in the top 10 in fewest
fantasy points given up to opposing quarterbacks this season but
they have also been less than stellar as of late. In fact, prior
to containing Kyler Murray in Week 12, they had given up three
straight multi-passing-touchdown days to opposing QBs. Herbert
has thrown the ball at least 32 times in seven straight games,
including a season high 52 pass attempts this past week, so look
for him to have plenty of opportunities to produce fantasy points
again here in Week 13.
Keenan Allen’s monster fantasy season just continues to
roll on as the wideout has now scored in five straight games.
Better yet, he’s being targeted at an absolutely crazy pace,
having seen at least 10 targets in all but three contests this
season. Allen moves all over the field which should allow him
to avoid shadow coverage from the Patriots’ excellent outside
corners, making him one of the top fantasy options on the board
here in Week 13.
Mike Williams has been an up-and-down receiver throughout his
career and this looks like more of a “down” than an
“up.” With Keenan Allen playing roughly half of his
snaps from the slot this season, Williams remains almost exclusively
an outside receiver, which means he’ll almost certainly
be lined up against either Stephon Gilmore or J.C. Jackson on
practically every snap. Williams is capable of making some highlight
reel catches in tough coverage, but the target volume won’t
likely be there, so he’s going to have to be extremely efficient
and that’s not something we should have much faith in.
Tight end Hunter Henry has been hitting his stride as of late,
having scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in three straight
games. He’s still a low-upside option, but he’s a
relatively high floor option given the uncertainty at the position
throughout the league.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Many of us expected that Austin Ekeler
would be eased back into the Chargers offense this past week after
he missed six straight games due to injury, but that certainly
was not the case. The Chargers back immediately took over his
duties as the bell cow back in Los Angeles, carrying the ball
14 times, albeit for only 44 yards. Where he truly shined, though,
was in the passing game as he caught a ridiculous 11 passes for
85 more yards.
We can’t expect that Ekeler is going to get quite that much
work in the passing game on a week to week basis, but what this
game showed us is that Ekeler is back and healthy enough that
the Chargers coaching staff trusts him enough to make him a focal
point of their offense. That’s enough for fantasy owners
to immediately get back to relying on him as one of the top backs
in fantasy football as well.
Ekeler does get a somewhat difficult matchup against a New England
defense that has mostly been good against opposing running backs
as of late, but they did get exposed a bit this past week by Arizona
running back Kenyan Drake who got into the end zone twice against
them. There will be better matchups for Ekeler down the stretch,
but he’s essentially game script proof at this point and
that makes him an easy RB1 this week.
For those in deeper leagues, rookie Joshua Kelley did remain at
least somewhat involved this past week and he did score a goal
line touchdown, but he hasn’t reached double-digit carries
in a game since all the way back in Week 7. He’s capable
of stealing a goal line carry or two, but it’s probably
best to keep him on your bench especially now that Ekeler is back.
Broncos at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: KC -14.0 Total: 50.5
Passing Game Thoughts: We can talk about the Kendall Hinton Experience,
but what good would that really do for anyone? Let’s move
on and talk about their usual quarterback play which, coincidentally,
has also been awful this season. Drew Lock should be back on the
field, but he should remain out of fantasy lineups even in what
projects to be a potentially high-volume day against the Chiefs.
Lock has only produced two multi-touchdown games all season and
he was held without a passing touchdown when he faced the Chiefs
at home back in Week 7 so we’re not going to bother with
him on the road in this one.
What Lock’s return does do, however, is bolster the pass
catching weapons in Denver. Rookie Jerry Jeudy has been limited
both in practice and on the field due to an ankle injury and that’s
really limiting his upside. He was held to just two catches for
20 yards when these teams played earlier this season, so with
him still being limited in practice this week it’s probably
wise to bench Jeudy this week.
Fellow rookie KJ Hamler has been seeing an increase in playing
time and targets but he’s still not producing the numbers
we’d need to make us confident in putting him in fantasy
lineups quite yet.
Instead, the player who might be flying under the radar right
now in this passing game is Tim Patrick. Patrick was coming off
of a five catch, 119-yard performance prior to the Broncos’
Week 12 debacle and he had produced double-digit PPR fantasy points
in six of his previous seven games. He’s a low-upside play
but with Jeudy limited there’s a chance that Patrick leads
the team in snaps and targets here in Week 13.
Tight end Noah Fant remains a player who is being started in most
leagues but only because the tight end position as a whole is
so terribly depleted and underwhelming. Fant has been held to
fewer than 10 PPR fantasy points in seven of his past eight games.
He has big play potential given his physical skill set but he’s
not someone we’re overly excited about.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: The Denver backfield has essentially become
a full blown split between Melvin Gordon and Royce Freeman so
an already low-upside situation becomes even worse if it’s
not all going to one player. Gordon started off the season quite
strong but has been extremely underwhelming as of late and it’s
come to the point that we have to stop treating him as a strong
RB2. Right now he’s a low-end RB2, bordering on being a
Flex, unless Phillip Lindsay is completely out which would likely
give him enough touches to be a decent enough RB2 against the
Passing Game Thoughts: Another week, another monster fantasy performance
for Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has thrown
multiple touchdown passes in all but one game this season and
he’s still only thrown two interceptions all year. While
his rushing seems to be less prioritized than in the past, Mahomes
is making up for it by slinging the ball down the field for touchdowns
-- hey, we’ll take it.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill produced one of the greatest fantasy
performances in NFL history this past week when he obliterated
the Buccaneers for 13 catches, 269 yards and three touchdowns.
Hill has now seen double-digit targets in four of his past five
games and he’s making his case for being the top wide receiver
in all of fantasy football. He was held to just 55 yards when
these teams met earlier this season, but he’s been red hot
as of late and he scored a touchdown in that Week 7 game anyway.
Sammy Watkins made his return to the lineup for the Chiefs in
Week 12, quickly returning to a prominent spot in the high-powered
Kansas City offense. Watkins finished the day tied with Demarcus
Robinson for the second-most snaps at wide receiver behind Hill,
but both players significantly out-snapped second-year receiver
Mecole Hardman. Watkins finished the day with four catches for
38 yards, but it’s important to note that he was targeted
seven times to Robinson’s six and Hardman’s five.
Watkins is likely to continue to operate as the second wide receiver
in Kansas City, but we know that this can mean some wild swings
ranging from high-end fantasy WR2 to complete fantasy irrelevance.
He’s a high-risk/high-reward Flex against the Broncos this
Tight end Travis Kelce continues to extend his lead on the field
and it’s beginning to look like he might not need another
point from now through the remainder of the regular season to
finish 2020 as the top-scoring fantasy tight end. Don’t
worry, though - plenty more scoring is coming from this future
Hall of Famer and he’ll look to make up for the dud he dropped
against the Broncos when these teams played earlier this season.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: The running back situation in Kansas City
remains a frustrating one for fantasy owners as Le’Veon
Bell has remained involved enough to really cut the upside of
rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire hasn’t exceeded
15 carries in a game since Week 6 and his usage in the passing
game has taken a significant toll since Bell joined the team.
While the upside remains limited, Edwards-Helaire does have touchdown
potential in any game and that’s good enough to continue
to roll him out as an RB2. He scored against the Broncos when
these teams played back in Week 7 and there could be more of that
in this contest.
Washington @ Steelers
- (Green) Line: PIT -7.5 Total: 42.0
Passing Game Thoughts: It doesn't take a statistical deep dive
to understand Alex Smith's divergent production this season. When
the team is behind, he throws (358 passing yards per game in two
losses). When the team is ahead, he doesn't (158 per game in two
wins). This Monday those worlds may collide, however, as Pittsburgh
is a heavy favorite but also boasts the kind of defense that's
unlikely to meekly surrender yardage regardless of game situation.
As such, Smith should be benched in Week 13.
One player that can stay active, though, is Terry McLaurin (7-92-0
last Sunday), who has quietly become one of the most dependable
receivers in the league. In fact, only once in 11 games has he
accounted for fewer than 60 yards receiving -- and in eight of
those he went for 80-plus. Logan Thomas (4-20-1) has also emerged
as a fringe TE1, which is quite a journey for the one-time Cardinals
After shutting down the JV version of the Ravens on Wednesday,
the Steelers now lead the NFL in pass defense, allowing just 193.2
yards per game via the air. Their 16 INTs also top the league,
and they are one of just two teams, along with the Rams, to have
not allowed more TD passes than picks.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: After enjoying modest success early on,
Antonio Gibson has dialed things up a few notches over the last
five games. In that stretch, the rookie has tallied 98 total yards
per game and scored eight touchdowns, including at least one in
each game. J.D. McKissic works primarily on passing downs, though
after catching 16 passes in Weeks 9 and 10 he's totaled just five
grabs the past two weeks.
Pittsburgh ranks eighth against the run (105.7 yards per game),
but you have to believe that Ron Rivera will try to work the ground
game this Monday. With that in mind, you should view Gibson as
an RB2 with RB1 upside and McKissic as a flex candidate.
Passing Game Thoughts: Pittsburgh's offense has undergone an
identity change over the course of the season with Ben Roethlisberger
now emphasizing the short passing game as almost an extension
of the ground attack. Against the Ravens, Roethlisberger completed
36 of 51 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown; it was the fourth
time in six games that his yards-per-attempt average finished
below 6.0 (for perspective, his career YPA is 7.7). That approach
has made it nearly impossible to sack Big Ben, who is a moderate
QB1 against Washington.
At this stage we all know the names. JuJu Smith-Schuster (8-37-1)
works primarily on short routes and offers a physical presence.
Diontae Johnson (8-46-0) is a quality route-runner that does a
bit of everything. Chase Claypool (6-52-0) has been the big-play
guy and red-zone aficionado, though most of his downfield work
came early on. You can make a case for each of those players to
be a low-end WR2 or strong WR3. Eric Ebron (7-54-0) has also emerged
as a decent TE1 at a shallow position.
Washington was the team that the Steelers leapfrogged on Wednesday
in the passing defense ranks as they're now second at 194.6 yards
per game. Don't let that dissuade you, though, as Washington hasn't
faced many upper-echelon quarterbacks this season. The last good
one they faced was Matthew Stafford, and he threw for 276 yards
and three TDs.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: With James Conner (COVID) out, Benny Snell
(16-60-0) is the lead back in the Steel City. The ground game
was already underperforming with Conner in that role, and with
the team focused on spotlighting their receiver talent it's unlikely
anything will change in that regard. Snell is a competent receiver
out of the backfield, which should help him maintain RB2 status
against a Washington group that is currently 15th against the
run (114.9 yards per game).
Bills at 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SF -1.0 Total: 47.5
Passing Game Thoughts: A 157-yard, single touchdown passing day
against the Chargers had to be a disappointment for fantasy owners,
but Bills quarterback Josh Allen continues to be one of the highest-floor
options on a weekly basis primarily due to his rushing ability.
Allen contributed 32 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground
and he has now brought his total to six rushing scores on the
year. He hasn’t had the huge rushing yardage performances
this season, but his passing production has been good enough that
he’s been able to make up for it and become a borderline
elite option at the position.
This week he and the Bills face a 49ers defense that has been
mostly good against opposing quarterbacks as of late, but they’ve
also had the benefit of playing some weak passing attacks. The
last time they faced top-level fantasy quarterbacks was in Weeks
8 and 9 when they got smashed for four touchdowns in back-to-back
games by Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. Allen isn’t quite
the passer that Wilson and Rodgers are but he’s been productive
enough for us to consider him a strong QB1 play again this week.
Along with Allen being one of the top QBs in the league, his top
pass catching option, Stefon Diggs, remains one of the league’s
highest floor options while still having elite upside. Diggs has
now been targeted at least eight times in seven straight contests
and he hasn’t been targeted fewer than six times in any
game with his new team. This has meant that Diggs has produced
double-digit PPR fantasy points in every game this season. That
type of floor is extremely difficult to find, even amongst elite
players, and it’s helped to propel Diggs into the top five
conversation at the wide receiver position. He’s an easy
start this week against a 49ers defense that has been exposed
this season by opposing outside top wide receivers.
With John Brown still out, another player who is somewhat interesting
in PPR formats is slot receiver Cole Beasley. While Beasley was
only targeted four times against the Chargers in Week 12, he had
previously been targeted 13 times in a game against the Cardinals.
Unfortunately Beasley doesn’t bring the high floor that
some other slot receivers do, but he does possess a surprisingly
high ceiling this season which is enough that we should be looking
at him as a low-end WR3 or Flex option this week.
Other pass catchers in this offense include wide receiver Gabriel
Davis along with tight ends Dawson Knox and Tyler Kroft, but those
players are essentially touchdown-or-bust options that are useful
only in the deepest of leagues.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: The full backfield split between running
backs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss has continued to cause headaches
for fantasy owners and it’s caused both players to be relegated
to fantasy insignificance. While they’ve both produced some
RB2 weeks, they’re just not seeing enough volume to have
RB1 upside, especially given that they’re not even necessarily
the top goal line rushing option in the Bills offense due to Josh
Allen being behind center.
Things don’t get any easier for the Bills backfield this
week as they’ll be facing a San Francisco defense that,
although banged up, remains one of the league’s best run
defenses. They recently held Alvin Kamara to just 15 rushing yards
and they’ve only allowed two running backs to reach even
65 yards on the ground against them. With Singletary and Moss
still splitting backfield touches, this simply isn’t a situation
we should be excited about from a fantasy standpoint. They’re
both Flex options if you’re in a bad spot but don’t
expect much upside in this one.
Passing Game Thoughts: It’s tough to be excited about a
San Francisco passing game that’s missing its starting quarterback,
starting tight end, and first round rookie wide receiver. But
if there’s one thing that Nick Mullens did this past week
that should give us some hope, it’s that he was able to
get Deebo Samuel involved in the offense now that he’s back
from injury. Samuel was targeted near the line of scrimmage almost
exclusively, but he was able to snag 11 of the 13 passes that
came his way against the Rams. While he failed to get into the
end zone, he was able to turn those 11 catches into an impressive
Samuel broke out as a rookie in 2019 and he’s shown that
he can produce even in some ugly offensive situations. That, along
with a likely poor game script situation, should make him a quality
WR2 option this week for fantasy owners. Samuel will also likely
avoid Bills top cornerback Tre’Davious White, who is expected
to primarily line up against rookie Brandon Aiyuk now that he’s
been activated from the COVID-IR list.
Aiyuk had been operating as the 49ers’ WR1 in recent weeks
prior to Samuel being activated but he’ll now have to compete
for targets with another young pass catcher who is a bit better
suited to make plays closer to the line of scrimmage. Aiyuk can
still be put in your lineup as a Flex, but understand that this
is a very difficult matchup for him and it could be a disappointing
week. Remain confident in Aiyuk going forward, but this is a tough
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Raheem Mostert returned from injury in
Week 12 and immediately regained his role as the 49ers’
lead back. While we saw Jeff Wilson and Jerick McKinnon make contributions,
it’s Mostert whose fantasy value is back on the rise.
This week he faces a Buffalo defense that has struggled against
opposing running backs as of late. Damien Harris, Kenyan Drake
and Austin Ekeler have all contributed 100-total-yard games against
the Bills over their past three contests and Mostert could very
well be in line to make it four straight. The only real concern
about Mostert in this one is that the 49ers could find themselves
in a negative game script and needing to pass the ball in this
one. Fortunately the Bills are only a small favorite in this one
so the 49ers should stay close enough that Mostert won’t
be game scripted out, but it’s still something to be aware
We’ve seen Mostert produce plenty of RB1 performances in
his relatively short amount of time as the lead back in San Francisco,
so we should feel confident placing him in our lineups as at least
a high-end RB2, if not a low-end RB1.
Passing Game Thoughts: For much of Thanksgiving, the Cowboys played
a nip-and-tuck affair with NFC East rival Washington. Then came
the disastrous fake punt early in the fourth quarter and a four-point
deficit ruptured into a 41-16 defeat in short order. Andy Dalton
(25-for-35, 215 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) was mostly efficient before
getting caught up in the late avalanche with a pick six. As a
fantasy performer, though, he leaves much to be desired, having
authored just one playable outing in four starts.
Amari Cooper (6-112-1) continues to be the focal point of the
passing game, operating well ahead of CeeDee Lamb (5-21-0) and
Michael Gallup (6-41-0). It's a stark departure from Dak Prescott's
work where all three were seemingly interchangeable. Right now
Cooper is playable as a steady WR2 with Lamb as a low-end WR3
or flex that boasts some upside since he seems to be more of a
weekly priority than Gallup, who should remain on the bench. Check-down
guru Dalton Schultz (5-24-0) has a little low-end TE1 appeal,
particularly in PPR formats.
Baltimore ranks ninth in the NFL in passing yardage allowed (221.5
per game) and did an admirable job Wednesday against the Steelers'
talented trio of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and Chase
Claypool under difficult circumstances. With more rest and likely
more players available they have a chance to make things tough
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: On the NFL's most disappointing team,
Ezekiel Elliott stands alone as the single most disappointing
player. Yes, the offensive line has endured a lot of key injuries,
but Elliott is paid like a superstar, and his 3.9 yards per carry
and six fumbles (five lost) is practice-squad production. Perhaps
the extra rest afforded by having the game pushed back will help
against a Ravens squad that sits 12th in run defense at 111.6
yards allowed per game. Slot Elliott in as an RB2.
Passing Game Thoughts: With Lamar Jackson (COVID) out, Robert
Griffin III made the Week 12 start but suffered an early leg injury
that further diminished his skill set. His main contributions
came on the ground as he threw for just 33 yards before giving
way to Trace McSorley, who connected on a 70-yard TD to Marquise
Brown to at least add a bit of suspense to their meeting with
Pittsburgh. The team is hoping to get Jackson back for their Tuesday
night game, and if he does return he should generate QB1 value
against one of the league's worst defenses.
While Jackson could return, top target Mark Andrews (COVID) is
unlikely to have enough time to clear the NFL protocol and should
miss Week 13. Without him, it's debatable whether the Ravens have
a single playable receiver. Brown (4-85-1) had 85 of the team's
110 passing yards against Pittsburgh and could be a flex if you're
optimistic. Willie Snead (COVID) would be another option, but
he's out as well. Veterans like Dez Bryant and TE Luke Willson
could fill larger roles, though it's not enough to consider playing
Don't read much into Dallas' 12th-place ranking against the pass
as it's born out of their deficiency against the run. That they've
allowed an NFL-high 25 touchdown passes is a more accurate barometer
of their secondary.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: Despite finishing their quarantine and
being eligible to play against the Steelers, J.K. Dobbins (COVID)
and Mark Ingram (COVID) were both inactive, leaving Justice Hill
(9-35-0) and Gus Edwards (9-10-1) to carry the load. Look for
both to return this Tuesday with Dobbins checking in as an RB3
and Ingram as a shaky flex. Prior to the outbreak Dobbins seemed
to be claiming the top spot in the backfield, and he has a nice
matchup against the Cowboys; Dallas is dead last in yards allowed
(156.4 per game) and yards per carry (4.9).