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Inside the Matchup

Week 12

By: Andy Swanson | Ken Ilchuk | Nick Caron | HC Green



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:




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

Bears @ Lions - (Green)
Line: CHI -3.0
Total: 41.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Who needs tryptophan to make them sleepy Thanksgiving Day when the NFL is giving us the Bears and Lions? As meh as this matchup was already poised to be, it took another hit when Justin Fields (ribs) was knocked out of Chicago’s Week 11 loss to Baltimore. While he didn’t suffer broken ribs, the rookie won’t recover in time to play Thursday morning. That means Andy Dalton is back in the saddle. The Red Rifle passed for 201 yards and 2 TDs in relief on Sunday, but those numbers are skewed by a WR screen that ruptured into a 60-yard TD and what was essentially a Hail Mary for a 49-yard score. To be clear, Dalton is unplayable.

With Allen Robinson (hamstring) inactive with a hamstring injury, Darnell Mooney (5-121-1) was joined by Marquise Goodwin (4-104-1) as the primary receivers. Considering he did nothing in practice last week it’d be surprising to see Robinson (Doubtful) ready to play on a short week. That should push Mooney up to WR3 status. Goodwin was on the receiving end of the late 49-yard TD and should be ignored by fantasy owners. Cole Kmet (1-12-0) continued his yo-yo routine, but he at least offers desperation play potential.

The Lions effectively limited Baker Mayfield on Sunday, allowing just 176 yards and a touchdown while intercepting two passes. While this is normally where I’d toss in some quip about Mayfield’s ongoing struggles as a passer, it’s not as though Dalton is a step up in talent or competency. Expect lots of dinking and dunking when the Bears choose to throw against the 13th-ranked Lions pass defense (236.2 yards per game).

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: In his second game back from a knee injury that he suffered against these same Lions in Week 4, David Montgomery carried the ball 14 times for 58 yards. Expect a heavier workload on Turkey Day from Montgomery, who’d already ran for 102 yards and a pair of scores in that October meeting before going down. Given how poor Detroit is against the run (140.5 YPG; 31st), it wouldn’t be shocking to see Khalil Herbert worked back into the rotation, though considering how little he’s played since Montgomery returned it’s not worth taking the chance. Montgomery is an RB1.

Value Meter:
RB1: David Montgomery
WR3: Darnell Mooney
Bench: Justin Fields (inj-ribs), Khalil Herbert, Allen Robinson (inj-hamstring), Cole Kmet

Passing Game Thoughts: From the “be careful what you wish for” files, we submit the case of Jared Goff (oblique). The former Ram had been much maligned for his play this season, but with Goff unavailable the Lions gave Tim Boyle his first career start. It… did not go well. Boyle completed 15 of 23 passes for 77 yards, 0 TDs and 2 INTs. Unless Goff makes an fast recovery, Boyle is in line to make his second start. Perhaps playing in front of the home fans in a dome environment will lead to better results. Perhaps not. It’s not worth finding out. Goff is listed as Questionable and the Lions have yet to name a starter as of Wednesday evening.

Fifty-one of Boyle’s 77 passing yards went to T.J. Hockenson on six receptions. That at least allows the third-year pro to maintain modest TE1 value, making him far and away the only playable option in Detroit’s passing game right now. Amon-Ra St. Brown (4-18-0) led the wideouts, and Josh Reynolds made his Lions debut, going without a catch on three targets. Neither player is worth owning outside of deep leagues.

If there’s a breath of hope for the Lions to move the ball through the air it’s this: the Bears let Tyler Huntley pass for 219 yards in Week 11 despite being a late choice to start when Lamar Jackson (illness) was too sick to play. Losing in the way they did, in a game where Baltimore held a 39-to-21 advantage in time on possession, could leave Chicago’s defense a depleted and dispirited bunch this Thursday. Oh, and Khalil Mack (foot) is out for the year after undergoing foot surgery. Happy Thanksgiving!

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: In a very real way, D’Andre Swift (14-136-1) is the Lions offense with 975 combined yards on the season. His worst game of the year came back in Week 4 against the Bears, but he’s coming off consecutive weeks of 130-plus yards on the ground and has reached must-play status as an RB1. Running mate Jamaal Williams (7-11-0) returned Sunday after a two-game absence with a thigh injury. He ran for a season-high 66 yards against Chicago this year and does have some familiarity with Boyle from their time in Green Bay. He could fill a flex slot against Chicago, which sits 24th in run defense at 122.8 yards per game allowed.

Value Meter:
RB1: D’Andre Swift
Flex: Jamaal Williams
TE1: T.J. Hockenson
Bench: Jared Goff, Josh Reynolds, Amon-Ra St. Brown

Prediction: Lions 16, Bears 15 ^ Top

Raiders at Cowboys - (Ilchuk)
Line: DAL -7.5
Total: 52.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Raiders offense was off to a hot start early in the season, led by QB Derek Carr. But in the three weeks since WR Henry Ruggs III was dismissed from the team, the wheels have fallen off. Carr lost his best deep threat, which in turn has changed the way opponents defend TE1 Darren Waller. With no one else really stepping up in production other than Hunter Renfrow, Carr’s numbers have suffered. In the last three weeks, Carr has thrown just four TD’s and an equal four INT’s, and doesn’t have a 300-yard game, something he did five times in the first seven games.

As you might expect, Waller has become the go-to receiver in this offense with 26 targets over the last three games, including 92 and 116-yard efforts. But opposing defenses aren’t making it easy, bracketing him with two defenders. Last week, more bunch sets, rub routes, and even some WR/TE screens helped combat that. Either way, expect the Raiders to continue to force him the ball.

Renfrow had his worst game of the season last week, but in the three prior games, he had at least eight targets and seven catches and caught two touchdowns. RB Josh Jacobs seems to have earned a bigger role in the passing game as well with a season-high five catches on seven targets last week. Still, until the Raiders find a receiver to take the top off the defense, defenders are going to sit on the short stuff and limit YAC yards that are so valuable to every fantasy owner.

The Cowboys have not gotten the QB on the ground as much as they’d like (21 sacks through 10 games), but they’ve got things covered on the back end with 15 INT’s (2nd in the NFL), while allowing an opposing passer rating of just 81.6 (3rd in the NFL). Unless DeSean Jackson, Zay Jones, or Bryan Edwards can step into a bigger role, I see more struggles for Carr and company on a short week in Dallas.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Jacobs has been the workhorse this season, averaging 11 carries and 41 yards per game. But since Ruggs left, he has taken on a bigger role as a receiver as well with 16 targets over the last three weeks – and he’s caught all but two of them. That used to be Kenyan Drake’s domain, but he has become expendable in all formats, while Jacobs is a solid RB2 with dual threat ability.

Value Meter:
QB2: Derek Carr (low-end)
RB2: Josh Jacobs (mid-range)
WR3: Hunter Renfrow (mid-range)
TE1: Darren Waller (high-end)
BENCH: RB Kenyan Drake, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Zay Jones, WR Bryan Edwards, TE Foster Moreau

Passing Game Thoughts: This is the most productive passing attack in the league, though it hasn’t looked like it for most of the last three weeks. QB Dak Prescott passed for at least 300 yards (including two 400-yard efforts) three times in his first six games and threw at least three TD’s five times in that span. He’s done neither since Week 6. The issues have started with injuries along the o-line, particularly to LT Tyron Smith, who is expected to return this week. Prescott will be without WR’s Amari Cooper (Covid) and possibly CeeDee Lamb (concussion) although Lamb did practice on Wednesday.

Michael Gallup looks poised to fill the WR1 role. He and Prescott struggled to connect against the Chiefs on Sunday, but I expect the chemistry to be a little better this time around, making Gallup a solid mid-range WR2. Cedrick Wilson should also start (if Lamb misses) after running most of his routes from the slot last week. He could be a decent flex play against the Raiders. TE Dalton Schultz’ numbers spiked with Lamb out in the second half last week, catching six passes on eight targets for 53 yards, his highest production in more than a month. Expect Dak to lean on him on Thursday.

Las Vegas can get after the QB (24 sacks), so expect them to follow Kansas City’s blueprint and get Prescott off his spot with interior pressure. Dak struggled when throwing on the run against the Chiefs, something that usually isn’t a problem for him. This defense has put up some decent numbers against the pass, but they are a little deceiving. The Raiders have been gashed by the run, so the Cowboys may just pound the rock until Vegas proves they can stop it and avoid pushing the passing game, especially with their top two targets out. That may be the biggest limiting factor on the fantasy value of the Dallas skill players.

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: Zeke Elliott missed part of Sunday’s game with a tweaked ankle. He was well enough to return, but didn’t look the same when he did. The truth is Elliott has been fairly average since back-to-back 100-yard efforts in weeks four and five, and Tony Pollard has looked explosive in stealing what feels like significant snaps from his backfield mate (double digit touches in six of ten games this season). You should still expect Elliott to see significant work, but both are in play against a Raiders defense allowing over 4.5 yards per carry and nine plays of at least 20 yards on the ground (2nd-most in the NFL).

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott (mid-range)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (low-end),
WR2: Michael Gallup (mid-range)
WR3: Cedrick Wilson (low-end)
TE2: Dalton Schultz (high-end)
FLEX: RB Tony Pollard
BENCH: WR Amari Cooper, WR CeeDee Lamb, WR Noah Brown, TE Blake Jarwin

Prediction: Cowboys 27, Raiders 24 ^ Top

Bills @ Saints - (Swanson)
Line: BUF -6.0
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and the other Bills passing weapons close out a Thanksgiving tripleheader with a road matchup against a schizophrenic Saints defense that has multiple personalities.

At times the Saints have looked dominant, holding Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to just three points in Week 1, only to follow with over 300 passing yards allowed to Sam Darnold.

Last week, the team held Jalen Hurts to just 147 passing yards, but he did burn them on the ground with 69 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Which team will show up on Thursday Night is anyone’s guess. If Matt Ryan can post 31 points on the road in the Super Dome, it would not be out of the question for Josh Allen to do the same.

We should also question which Josh Allen will show up. Will it be the one who torched KC for 36.5 fantasy points, or the one who lost on the road to Jacksonville, and the one who dropped a turd last week at home against Indy.

The NFL has been even more unpredictable this season than in recent memory, and Allen could have another dud performance. While that is possible, we anticipate him to shine in the national television spotlight and finish as a top-5 play.

You are also starting Diggs for sure, although the matchup against Marshawn Lattimore is not the best.

With just nine catches in his last four games, including a goose egg on four targets against the Dolphins back in Week 8, it is hard to trust Emmanuel Sanders. His average depth of target is one of the highest in the league, making his targets some of the most valuable. But he is not getting enough of those targets to make him a must-start.

After a slow first game in his return from a hand injury, Dawson Know looked like his old self with six catches for 80 yards on a whopping ten targets. New Orleans has given up the sixth-fewest points to tight ends this season and just one touchdown. Based on matchup alone, we are not super high on Knox, but if he gets a massive target volume again, he will be a solid play.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: No player has posted 100 rushing yards this season against the Saints, and nobody has reached the end zone on the ground since Antonio Gibson did it twice back in Week 5.

Neither of the Bills running backs are great plays in neural matchups. In subpar matchups like this, they are serious bench considerations.

It also doesn’t help that the Buffalo two-headed monster grew a third head over the past two weeks, with Matt Breida being 32% of snaps, compared to just 29% for Zach Moss and 38% for Devin Singletary.

It is not out of the question to predict one of these players scoring a touchdown. But picking the right one is likely an exercise in futility and one which we recommend avoiding.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh Allen (High-End)
RB3: Zack Moss (High-End)
RB3: Devin Singletary (Low-End)
WR1: Stefon Diggs (High-End)
WR4: Emmanuel Sanders (Low-End)
TE1: Dawson Knox (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Saints front office signed offensive weapon Taysom Hill to a lucrative extension this week, leading some to believe he will take over for the ineffective Trevor Siemian.

Here’s a fun fact not many people know. The Saints quarterbacks this season have averaged 23.3 fantasy points per game. Only the Bills, Bucs, Ravens, and Chargers have averaged more points per game from that position.

That includes Siemian completing just 57% of his passes on the season, and he has yet to top 300 yards passing. Should Hill take over the role full time and add the majority of passing yardage along with the assumed production on the ground, he could be a solid fantasy option available in 95% of Yahoo leagues.

From a matchup standpoint, it does not get any worse than the Bills. Buffalo has given up just seven passing touchdowns on the season while forcing 15 interceptions. They are tied for the third-most rushing touchdowns allowed, which would fit nicely into Hill’s skill set.

Both Marquez Callaway and Lil’Jordan Humphrey scored a receiving touchdown last week in garbage time against the Eagles. Neither saw more than five targets, and Humphrey turned his one target into a four-yard touchdown.

With 15 targets in the last two games, Tre’Quan Smith looks to be the volume play you want to target, although he could be mitigated by the stellar pass coverage by Tre’Davious White.

Tight End Adam Trautman looked like he was becoming a thing in this offense, with 21 targets over his past three games. He has just one score on the season and has topped 50 yards just once, but that target volume is ideal, except Trautman suffered a knee injury has been placed on IR.

Stud running back and top receiving threat Alvin Kamara is out for this game, and veteran backup Mark Ingram (knee) is limited.

Stud right tackle Ryan Ramczk is likely out again with a knee injury, and all pro left tackle Terron Armstead did log a limited practice on Tuesday.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: Alvin Kamara is out again this week with a knee injury, and Mark Ingram is also dealing with a knee injury that forced him to miss practice yesterday.

Should Ingram be inactive, look for Tony Jones to be activated and get some work against the Bills. Jones is not a great option, but if there is a way to beat the Bills this season, it has been on the ground.

We all know what Jonathan Taylor did last week, and Derrick Henry torched Buffalo for 143/3 back in Week 6. While Jones or Ingram are nowhere near the skill level of those two backs, Michael Carter had 85 yards and a score vs. Buffalo, and Antonio Gibson posted just over 100 total yards and a score as well.

They are not impossible to run against, and if Hill gets the start, he could open up the run game with his read-option threat.

Value Meter:
QB2: Taysom Hill (High-End)
RB2: Mark Ingram/Tony Jones (Low-End)
WR3: Tre’Quan Smith (High-End)
WR3: Marquez Callaway (Low-End)

Prediction: Buffalo 34, New Orleans 17 ^ Top

Falcons @ Jaguars - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan and the Falcons look to bounce back from a pair of terrible performances against the Cowboys and Patriots in which they scored a combined three points.

Ryan threw a pair of interceptions in each game while under constant pressure behind his subpar offensive line. The offense also struggled to move the ball without Cordarrelle Patterson, who missed last week against the Patriots with an ankle injury.

Patterson logged limited practices this week and looks to be back on track.

From a matchup perspective, the Jaguars are much more difficult of a challenge than their 2-8 record would indicate. Over the past five weeks, the Jags have given up the 7th-fewest points per game to QBs, with impressive performances against Carson Wentz, Josh Allen, and Ryan Tannehill.

The Jags stink. That is not in doubt. But don’t assume that just because they have two wins, they are a-plus matchup for quarterbacks. Matt Ryan is not a great start in most matchups, and this one on the road against the Jags would fall under the column of a bad matchup.

If Patterson is active, you are starting him. He is their best running back and their best receiver and should be active in this game.

Russell Gage has eight targets in two of his last three games. He is worth a flex play in very deep leagues, but he could also goose you as he did against Dallas back in Week 10.

The Jags are not great against opposing tight ends, so get Kyle Pitts back in your lineup after his disappointing performance last week against the Patriots. We advised you last week that Pitts could be phased out by Belichick and the Pats, but we doubt that will be the case again this week against the Jags.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: No other team in the league has scored fewer points than the Falcons this season. If Arthur Smith had aspirations of taking his power-running game from Tennessee to Atlanta, he has been given a rude awaking. It is one thing to pound the rock when you have Derrick Henry. It is another thing altogether when you try to run the ball with journeyman backups and a subpar offensive line.

From a matchup perspective, the Jags are not a difficult opponent based on the performances we have seen up to this point. Although they did shut down the 49ers on the ground last week, seven players have topped ten fantasy points on the ground, including three players of 17 or more.

Mike Davis saw the field just 48% of the time last week against the Patriots. After four consecutive weeks of at least 60% of snaps, he has fallen well below the 50% mark over the last two weeks.

Linebackers Dakota Allen and Myles Jack missed practice on Wednesday with shoulder and knee injuries, respectively. Jack has been dealing with the knee issue for a while and did play last week, while Allen was unable to suit up against the 49ers.

Value Meter:
QB2: Matt Ryan (High-End)
RB3: Mike Davis (Low-End)
WR2: Cordarrelle Patterson (Low-End)
WR4: Russell Gage (Low-End)
TE1: Kyle Pitts (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Trevor Lawrence is finding the NFL is a bit more difficult than beating up on teams in the ACC. After starting with 332 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Texans, Lawrence has been terrible as of late, with three games of fewer than 165 passing yards, and the first overall pick has not thrown a touchdown since Week 8.

You could argue that this is his best matchup since his game against the Texans, as the Falcons have given up the sixth-most points to opposing quarterbacks. Five opposing quarterbacks have thrown more than 20 fantasy points vs. the Falcons, including 30 points by Tua Tagovailoa back in Week 7.

You can pass on the Falcons. Wide receivers have 14 TD receptions in ten games, with nine double-digit fantasy performances. If you have held onto Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault this long, you might be rewarded for your patience.

Another reason why those two are more attractive this week is because of the unfortunate season-ending injury to Jamal Agnew, who was eating into the volume for both players.

Look for Shenault to get some of the jet sweeps and running play that Agnew earned this season. He is the most likely candidate to assume that role.

It may take some intestinal fortitude to start Dan Arnold this week after he dropped a zero last week vs. the Niners. Atlanta is middle of the pack in points given up to tight ends, but no tight end has caught more than four passes in a game than Mike Gesicki. With Arnold being more of a volume play than a red zone threat, he could disappoint again.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: James Robinson has battled through a foot injury over the past few weeks. While his usage and efficiency have not been what it was earlier in the season, he has scored in each of the last two games and could score again this week.

Robinson did not practice on Wednesday, as the team continues to limit his usage in practice in hopes of mitigating his knee and heel injuries. We think he will play, but expect to see Carlos Hyde share some of the workload.

The Falcons are an equal-opportunity giver when it comes to fantasy points. They are in the bottom 12 in points allowed to QBs, RBs, and WRs. Although no player has reached 100 rushing yards, Atlanta has given up 11 total touchdowns to running backs.
Look for a rushing touchdown or two in this game, and make sure Robison is in your lineup if he is active.

Value Meter:
QB2: Trevor Lawrence (High-End)
RB2: James Robinson (Low-End)
WR3: Marvin Jones (Low-End)
WR4: Laviska Shenault (Low-End)
TE1: Dan Arnold (Low-End)

Prediction: Jacksonville 28, Atlanta 20 ^ Top

Jets @ Texans - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: Zach Wilson is set to start at quarterback for the Jets after missing time since Week 7 with a knee injury. Joe Flacco and Mike White were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list this week after White tested positive. There is a chance Flacco can return by Sunday, but the team has already announced Wilson will start.

Wilson’s return is not overly welcomed by fantasy managers of Elijah Moore and the running backs in the backfield, as Moore looked to be building a rapport with the other QBs, and Wilson did not throw much to his running backs at the start of the season.

It is possible that Wilson learned of the value of learning on running backs in the passing game, and Moore could pick up where he left off with White and Flacco. We won’t know the answers to those questions until Sunday.

What we do know is the Texans are a great matchup for any quarterback, even rookies who are coming off a knee injury. Houston ranks 7th on the season in fantasy points allowed to QBs, with six games of at least 19 fantasy points allowed to opposing signal callers.

The Texans did succeed in forcing four interceptions of Ryan Tannehill last week and held Jacoby Brissett to just 14 fantasy points back in Week 9. But those numbers are a bit skewed by poor weather in Tennessee and Brissett struggling in reserve of Tua Tagavoila.

Corey Davis injured his groin in practice on Wednesday and missed practice Thursday indicating he’s likely to sit this week.

Wilson will also be without his best pass-catching running back in Michael Carter, who will reportedly miss a few weeks with an ankle sprain. Ty Johnson projects to be the pass-catching back, but it is all academic if Wilson does not alter his approach.

Only Justin Jefferson has scored more fantasy points over the last three weeks than Elijah Moore. He is a must-start in what projects to be a plus-matchup. With a score in each of the last three weeks and 11 targets against the Phins, you must stay in the fire with the rookie.

Jamison Crowder is a fine PPR option as well.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: We assumed that Ty Johnson would take over the lead running back duties with Michael Carter sidelined with an ankle injury, although it is possible that Tevin Coleman could be the running back to play.

We like this matchup on the road against the Texans, and whoever gets the most carries and receptions will be a solid low-end RB2 or flex. Who that running back will be, is still up in the air.

Houston has given up nearly five yards per carry this season and 11 total touchdowns in ten games to opposing RBs. Running the ball effectively is the best thing that the Jets could do for their young QB to get comfortable, and this is the matchup to do it.

There are no injuries on the Texans that would greatly affect the outlook for the Jets running game.

Value Meter:
QB2: Zach Wilson (High-End)
RB3: Ty Johnson (High-End)
WR2: Elijah Moore (High-End)
WR3:Jamison Crowder (Low-End)
TE2: Ryan Griffin (Low-End)
Bench: Corey Davis (inj)

Passing Game Thoughts: Tyrod Taylor and the Jets shocked the NFL world by going into Nashville and beating the 8-2 Titans. Taylor rushed for 28 yards and a pair of scores while throwing for a pedestrian 107 passing yards in less than optimal weather conditions.

Taylor took advantage of mistakes made by the Tennessee offense and limited the number of turnovers and bad plays for the Texans. We anticipate a similar approach in this game, with the Texans looking to force Wilson into making poor decisions with the ball while running the ball effectively and limiting turnovers.

This is not a great formula for fantasy goodness, but Taylor is still worth a play in deeper Superflex leagues.

The Jets run defense is one of the worst in the league. While the Texans are one of the worst running teams, they will look to run early and often.

The only pass-catching option on the Texans that is a must-start is Brandin Cooks. His numbers last week were dreadful with Taylor, but that is more to do with the weather than anything. Cooks is by far the target leader on the team and the one you should play.

Rookie Nico Collins is a favorite dark horse sleeper, but he is too much of a risky play in most standard 12-team leagues.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: The Texans shocked many with the release of Phillip Lindsay this week, opening the door for David Johnson and Rex Burkhead to get more carries. The two vets combined for 31 carries last week (for just 58 yards), with Burkhead leading with 18 carries.

We anticipate Burkhead will be the lead back with Johnson working in as well. The matchup is solid, as no other team in the league has given up more fantasy points to RBs than the Jets.

To put it into perspective on just how bad the Jets are at stopping the run, they have given up 21 total touchdowns in ten games to opposing running backs. Seventeen different players managed to score at least ten fantasy points in those games.

If you ever wanted to start Burkhead or Johnson in a game, it does not get any better than this.

Value Meter:
QB2: Tyrod Taylor (High-End)
RB3: Rex Burkhead (High-End)
RB3: David Johnson (Low-End)
WR2: Brandin Cooks (Low-End)
TE2: Pharaoh Brown (Low-End)

Prediction: Houston 24, New York 17 ^ Top

Titans at Patriots - (Ilchuk)

Passing Game Thoughts: For a game that will hold a great deal of importance in the AFC playoff race, there’s a whole lot of nothing going on here in terms of fantasy. QB Ryan Tannehill is playing with whatever the opposite of a stacked deck is. WR’s Julio Jones and Marcus Johnson are on IR and it doesn’t look like A.J. Brown (chest) will see the field this weekend either (though owners should continue to check his status). That could mean that Dez Fitzpatrick and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine could be lining up as your starters in 2-WR sets. That’s a cause for concern against a Patriots defense that is 1st in the NFL in INT’s, 2nd in passer rating, and 3rd in completion percentage. Still, Tannehill will have to throw to someone and those two guys are as good a sleeper play as any this week.

RB Jeremy McNichols (concussion), who had been getting most of the receiving and 3rd down work out of the backfield has been hurt. If he can’t go, Dontrell Hilliard has a similar skill set. TE Anthony Firkser is coming off his best game of the season (5-for-26), but Geoff Swaim has done a better job of stretching the seam and has a TD in two of the last three games. Owners should check his progress through the concussion protocol this week

Tannehill has been less than stellar this season, but he’s been solid, and he’s become a running threat around the goal line. He’s had multiple TD’s in five of the last six games, which is the only thing that keeps him in the discussion as a borderline QB2 against a Patriots defense that is among the hottest in the league right now.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: It’s more of the same in the rushing department for the Titans. Derrick Henry is done for the year, Adrian Peterson has been waived, McNichols may or may not be back this week, which mean D’Onta Foreman will likely get the ball on 1st and 2nd down, with Hilliard picking up the 3rd down work as a receiver. Foreman is averaging 28 yards per game and 3.7 per carry over the last three weeks, but his workload should increase with Peterson gone. Hilliard saw his first significant time last week and caught eight of 10 targets for 47 yards. Expect New England, which is allowing 4.0 yards for the season, but has been much stingier than that in recent weeks, to stack the box early and shut down the backups, forcing Tannehill to beat the Patriots top-ranked passing defense.

Value Meter:
QB2: Ryan Tannehill (low-end)
RB3: Dontrell Hilliard (mid-range), D’Onta Foreman (low-end)
WR2: A.J. Brown (low-end, if he plays)
WR3: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (mid-range), Dez Fitzpatrick (low-end)
TE2: Geoff Swaim (low-end, if he plays)
BENCH: RB Jeremy McNichols, WR Julio Jones, WR Marcus Johnson, WR Chester Rogers, TE Anthony Firkser, TE MyCole Pruitt

Passing Game Thoughts: Over the last two weeks, QB Mac Jones has completed 83% of his passes, averaged over 8.0 yards per attempt and thrown four touchdowns, but his volume has been so low (barely 200 passing yards per game), that it is hard to put him up as anything more than a back end QB2 against a tough Titans pass defense.

As they have for years in the run game, the Pats are sharing the load amongst a diverse receiving corps. WR Jakobi Meyers is far and away the favorite target with 82 balls thrown his way. But while he gets volume, he has only averaged over 10.0 yards per catch once in the last five games, making him a better play in PPR leagues. Nelson Agholor is coming off a strong outing against Atlanta, but has more than five targets in just one game since Week 3. Kendrick Bourne has been cutting into Agholor’s reps with at least four targets of his own in each of the last five games, and at least 50 yards in three of the last six. TE Hunter Henry has just one game of at least 50 yards, but has stayed relevant with TD’s in six of the last eight games.

The Titans have struggled in recent weeks, but for the season rank in the top ten in the NFL in completion percentage, passer rating, and yards per attempt.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson have essentially been splitting reps at RB. However, Stevenson has been nursing a knee injury this week and was a late addition to the injury report. If he plays, both players are low-end RB2 or flex options against a Titans unit allowing just over 4.0 yards per carry. If Stevenson can’t play, Harris enters the RB2 conversation on volume.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mac Jones (low-end)
RB2: Rhamondre Stevenson (low-end), Damien Harris (low-end)
WR3: Kendrick Bourne (low-end)
TE1: Hunter Henry (low-end)
FLEX: WR Jakobi Meyers
BENCH: RB, Brandon Bolden, WR Nelson Agholor, TE Jonnu Smith

Prediction: Patriots 21, Titans 17 ^ Top

Eagles at Giants - (Ilchuk)

Passing Game Thoughts: There’s not much to talk about when it comes to the Eagles passing attack. This unit is 26th in the NFL in passing yards and pass attempts and 28th in completion percentage. Jalen Hurts is the No.7 ranked fantasy QB, but that has more to do with his production in the run game than anything else. He has the same number of rushing TD’s as passing TD’s over the last month (3) and hasn’t thrown for over 200 yards since Week 7.

That’s bad news for a receiving corps that features a WR1 talent producing low-end WR2 numbers in rookie DeVonta Smith. Dallas Goedert is the reason Zach Ertz is now in Arizona and is a low-end TE1 in his own right. But since the Eagles’ move to a run-heavy attack over the last month, Goedert’s numbers have suffered. He’s averaging just three catches per game over the last three games and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 4 – and he’s the SECOND leading receiver on the team.

The Giants have been fairly susceptible to the pass, ranking near the bottom of the league in yards allowed (2557) and opponent completion percentage (67.8), but don’t expect the Eagles to come off their commitment to the run. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a mantra birthed by NFL coaches.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: This is where the money is when it comes to the Eagles offense. They rank in the top three in the NFL in rushing attempts, yards, and yards per carry. But the game really changed in Philly over the past month. Hurts has led a rushing attack (1st on the team with 618 yards on the season) that has amassed over 200 ground yards in three of the last four games.

The best news is that they’ve been piecing it together with some combination of Jordan Howard, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell in the backfield with Hurts. But with the return of Miles Sanders last week (16-94 rushing), they will all fade into the fantasy background. Sanders is a borderline RB1 play moving forward as long as he can get a grip on his fumbling issues. It remains to be seen how long the coaching staff will tolerate him putting the ball on the ground (he had two last week, though one was whistled dead).

There’s no reason to believe, after seeing what they did to the Saints top-ranked run defense last week, that the game plan will change this Sunday against a Giants team that has allowed almost 1200 ground yards this season at a 4.4-yard clip.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jalen Hurts (mid-range)
RB1: Miles Sanders (low-end)
WR2: DeVonta Smith (low-end)
TE1: Dallas Goedert (low-end)
FLEX: RB Boston Scott
BENCH: RB Jordan Howard, RB Kenneth Gainwell, WR Quez Watkins, WR Jalen Reagor

Passing Game Thoughts: Well, at least Jason Garrett doesn’t have to spend time trying to figure out why Daniel Jones is throwing the ball to opposing defensive linemen anymore. That’s Freddie Kitchens’ job now. The Giants fired their OC this week after a horrific offensive showing against the Buccaneers on Monday night. It’s hard to defend anything Garrett was doing. There’s not a single receiver on this team averaging 70 yards per game, and only one averaging more than 50. But Jones, despite a strong enough and accurate enough arm, and some decent athleticism, has been unable to put it together. He’s averaging just 222 passing yards per game with 9 TD and 10 turnovers (7 INT, 3 FUM), and continues to make baffling decisions with the ball, and struggles to get the offense moving with any sort of sense of urgency. Kitchens had a rep as Browns OC for being very aggressive. I’m not sure that’s what Jones needs right now, and I have him only as a desperation QB2 this week, even against a non-existent Eagles pass rush.

There are some weapons here, they just can’t seem to stay healthy. WR Sterling Shepard (quad) has been out and could return this week. He’s no more than a WR3 though until we see what this offense looks like after the coaching change. Rookie wide out Kadarius Toney (quad) has some run after catch ability, but doesn’t get to display much of it in this system. He works primarily out of the slot and should continue to earn significant targets. WR Darius Slayton has just one touchdown and hasn’t eclipsed 70 yards in a game all season, and he’ll likely lose snaps with the return of Shepard. TE Evan Engram should be a weapon, but has had five or more catches in a game just once in the last five weeks. WR Kenny Golladay missed three games due to injury and hasn’t had more than three targets in the three games since.

The Eagles are amongst the worst defenses in the league against the pass. Contrary to former DC Jim Schwartz’ style, Jonathan Gannon has a more passive approach. The result has been opposing QB completing over 70% and posting a 99.2 passer rating. If there is a get-well game on the Giants schedule, this could be it.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: The good news is RB Saquon Barkley is back. The bad news is that he’s averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. He looked about as healthy as he has all season last week, so he could be trending towards better production. But it will have to come as a receiver as well. He hasn’t rushed for more than 57 yards in a game this season. The offensive line continues to be an issue for this team. Until they come together, it’s hard for me to expect any consistency out of Barkley or anyone else hoping to get the ball. Devontae Booker falls into fantasy irrelevance with Barkley’s return.

Value Meter:
QB2: Daniel Jones (low-end)
RB2: Saquon Barkley (low-end),
WR2: Kadarius Toney (low-end, if he plays)
WR3: Sterling Shepard (low-end, if he plays)
TE2: Evan Engram (low-end)
BENCH: RB Devontae Booker, WR Darius Slayton, WR Kenny Golladay

Prediction: Eagles, 24, Giants 20 ^ Top

Steelers @ Bengals - (Green)

Passing Game Thoughts: With the defense severely undermanned and bleeding points to the Chargers, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 273 yards and a season-high three TDs in Pittsburgh’s four-point loss. It wasn’t exactly a vintage performance from Big Ben, but it rates as one of his better efforts of the year. One of his worst came against the Bengals back in Week 3. Yes, he passed for a season-high 318 yards, but that was attached to four sacks and two interceptions in a 24-10 loss. He could be used in two-QB formats but is better left on the bench in traditional leagues.

Diontae Johnson (7-101-0) and Chase Claypool (5-93-0) looked every bit the one-two punch that the Steelers need them to be in Week 11. Johnson is typically the short and midrange target with Claypool the deep threat, but both players flashed a well-rounded repertoire in LA. Pat Freiermuth (4-11-1) didn’t get much done in terms of yardage; he did score his fourth TD in four weeks, though, as he continues to develop into one of Roethlisberger’s favorite targets. The rookie tight end scored his first career TD in the Week 3 meeting with Cincy, while Claypool posted a 9-96-0 line. Johnson missed that game with a knee injury.

Cincinnati is a bottom-10 pass defense, ranking 26th at 254.9 yards per game allowed. They’ve shown an ability to get pressure at times this year, though, and had little trouble limiting the Raiders to 215 yards this past Sunday. Johnson could offer WR1 value this Sunday with Claypool slotting in as a low-end No. 2 or strong No. 3 option. Freiermuth has entered the TE1 chat as well.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: There must be some concern about the state of Pittsburgh’s ground game after Najee Harris managed 144 yards and a TD combined on 38 carries over the last two weeks -- those came against the NFL’s bottom-two run defenses. He had little success running against the Bengals earlier this season but supplemented that effort with 14 receptions for 102 yards. He should remain a solid RB1 against Cincy’s fifth-ranked run D.

Value Meter:
RB1: Najee Harris
WR1: Diontae Johnson
WR2/WR3: Chase Claypool
TE1: Pat Freiermuth
Bench: Ben Roethlisberger

Passing Game Thoughts: In nine games before the bye, Joe Burrow averaged 277 yards passing, 2.2 TDs and 1 INT per game. Against the Raiders in Week 11, Burrow hit on 20 of his 29 passes for just 148 yards and a touchdown. It’s not enough to be concerning, though on the heels of Cincy’s 41-16 loss where the second-year pro tossed two INTs and no TDs it should be enough to pay a little closer attention. Back in Week 3, Burrow maximized his opportunities, throwing for 172 yards and 3 TDs with 1 INT.

In a “chicken or egg” style question, are Burrow’s struggles affecting Ja’Marr Chase, or is it Chase’s struggles hampering Burrow? While there’s no definitive answer, the rookie has totaled 113 yards and 2 TDs over his last three games with a high of 49. In his first seven games, Chase had less than 65 just once. Tee Higgins (2-15-0) was quiet in Week 11 but has otherwise played well of late, averaging 79 receiving yards per game over his previous three. Tyler Boyd (6-49-0) led the way against Las Vegas; he’s only topped 50 yards in a game once in his last six games, however.

Pittsburgh had no answers Sunday night with a defense that was meeting several key players. If they can get TJ Watt (hip, knee), Minkah Fitzpatrick (illness) and Joe Haden (foot) back, you can throw out what happened against the Chargers. If not, the Bengals could be in for a field day throwing the ball. Pencil in Burrow and Chase as low-end No. 1 options are their respective positions. Higgins could be a solid WR3 while Boyd is a hit-or-miss flex candidate.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: For the first time since Week 1, Joe Mixon ran for more than 100 yards in a game, scampering for 123 yards and 2 TDs on 30 carries against Las Vegas last weekend. He ran for 90 against the Steelers in Week 3, and he should bring RB1 value against a Steelers defense that is just one week removed from allowing the Lions to run for 229 yards at a rate of 5.9 yards per carry.

Value Meter:
QB1: Joe Burrow
RB1: Joe Mixon
WR1: Ja’Marr Chase
WR3: Tee Higgins
Flex: Tyler Boyd
Bench: Samaje Perine, C.J. Uzomah

Prediction: Bengals 24, Steelers 20 ^ Top

Bucs @ Colts - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: Tom Brady continues to defy logic and reason in his 22nd season in the NFL. As the oldest player in the league, Brady is just .5 points per game off of his then record-setting season in 2007, when he threw for 50 passing touchdowns.

After a torrid start to the season, Brady has been a bit off lately, with just a pair of passing touchdowns in what should have been easy matchups against the Football Team and the Giants. Brady also has five interceptions in his last three games after going four games in a row without throwing a pick.

The formula used to beat the Colts this season is to do so via the air, which fits perfectly in what the Bucs like to do on offense. Seven opposing quarterbacks have at least 19 points vs. the Colts, including Josh Johnson with 317 passing yards and three touchdowns for the Jets back in Week 9.

Brady is a smash play this week, along with all of the Bucs receiving options. Antonio Brown is still likely out, but Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Gronk are all starts.

The Colts have an old secondary that can be exploited. Xavier Rhodes has been dealing with nagging injuries and has lost a step. Andrew Sendejo is overly aggressive at times and struggles covering big tight ends like Gronk.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: After seeing the field on just one snap back in Week 10, Ronald Jones played in 29% of the snaps last week against the Giants, with Leonard Fournette playing in just 59%. This could have been more of a game flow issue than a change in philosophy, and Bruce Arians could be working Jones back into the mix to keep both he and Fournette fresh for the playoff run.

Neither are great options in this game, as the Colts have given up the fewest points this season to running backs. With only five total touchdowns allowed to RBs and just two 100-yard games allowed this season, it might be tough sledding for both Jones and Fournette. Of the two, the latter is the starter and the better play, and he is more trusted in close matchups than Jones.
A matchup to watch in this game will be all-pro linebacker Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner against the interior lineman of the Bucs. With starting guard Ali Marpet likely out with an abdomen injury, the Bucs could roll out Aaron Stinnie or Nick Leverett.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (High-End)
RB2: Leonard Fournette (Low-End)
WR1: Mike Evans (High-End)
WR1: Chris Godwin (Low-End)
TE1: Rob Gronkowski (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz currently sits just outside the top-12 at the QB position for fantasy, with 18 passing touchdowns and three interceptions. He also has 138 rushing yards and a rushing TD.

Over the past two games, Wentz has taken a back seat to the Jonathan Taylor show, with the second-year back torching the Jags and the Bills. In those two games, Wentz has just 286 total yards and one passing touchdown.

Michael Pittman Jr. was also hurt because of the massive games by Taylor and the strong defensive performance by the Colts. Pittman Jr. posted just seven receptions for 94 yards in those two games, a stark contrast to what he did in the previous three games, with four touchdowns.
This matchup will likely bring a return to prominence for Pittman Jr., as the Bucs will likely have little trouble scoring points on the Colts secondary, and Taylor will not find it as easy to run against the Tampa from seven. Look for Pittman Jr. to get around seven targets, with 80 yards and a score well within reason.

This especially holds true if stud defensive tackle Vita Vea is back from a knee injury that forced him to miss the Giants game.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: Jonathan Taylor is a beast and a must-start regardless of format. If he can go into Buffalo and post five touchdowns on the Bills, he should still be a solid play against a tough Bucs defense.

Tampa does look like they are going to get some reinforcements with Vita Vea possible back and Jason Pierre-Paul getting healthy from a shoulder issue.

But something to monitor is the health of stud linebacker Devin White, who missed practice on Wednesday with a quad injury. He is critical to the success of the run defense, and his absence would be a big hit.

If you are hurting for a running back play in PPR formats, you could do worse than Nyheim Hines. Tampa Bay has given up the fourth-fewest points to opposing RBs, but they have given up 67 catches for 424 yards and three scores to RBs.

Taylor will certainly be the back to play. Yet it would not surprise us to see Hines get some work in the passing game and reach the end zone on a screen or choice route out of the backfield.

Value Meter:
QB2: Carson Wentz (High-End)
RB1: Jonathan Taylor (Elite)
WR2: Michael Pittman Jr. (High-End)
WR4: Zach Pascal (Low-End)
TE2: Mo Alie-Cox (Low-End)

Prediction: Indianapolis 34, Tampa Bay 30 ^ Top

Panthers at Dolphins - (Ilchuk)

Passing Game Thoughts: Superman made his return to Carolina on Sunday and fantasy owners were pleased. Cam Newton only passed for 189 yards, but he threw two touchdowns and ran for 46 yards and another score to rank as the No.6 fantasy QB in Week 11. He’ll have a tougher time with Miami’s defense this week, but should still be considered a low-end QB1 while playing in the same backfield as Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey led the team with 7 catches, followed by WR’s D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson with five each. But Newton, in a very run-heavy attack, threw just 27 passes, so wideouts will have to rely on run after catch to produce a bigger fantasy return if HC Matt Rhule continues to lean on the run game. Both Moore and Anderson top out at WR3 consideration.

The Dolphins secondary has seen the most pass attempts of any team in the league. As a result, they have yielded the most passing yards and most passing TD’s in the NFL this season. With that being said, their 7.7 yards per attempt allowed and 63% completion percentage are respectable. Carolina could try to open things up this week, but I expect them to stick to their formula, run the ball, and mix in some play action, screen game using McCaffrey and Newton’s athleticism.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: Newton and McCaffrey split 20 carries last week against Washington, and McCaffrey appears to be back in his workhorse role, sending RB Chuba Hubbard back to the fantasy bench. McCaffrey is averaging 5.5 yards per tote over the last three weeks since his return and has 21 catches in that span as well. He’s a RB1 this week against a tough, physical Miami front seven. Look for him to attack the edges of the defense on outside zone runs and in the screen game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Cam Newton (mid-range)
RB1: Christian McCaffrey (mid-range)
WR3: D.J. Moore (mid-range), Robby Anderson (low-end)
BENCH: RB Chuba Hubbard, TE Tommy Tremble

Passing Game Thoughts: Tua Tagovailoa has posted fantasy starter stats just once since Week 7. That was last week against a Jets defense that can’t get out of its own way. He tossed two TD’s, completed almost 82% of his passes and averaged over 8 yards per attempt. This Panthers defense is more formidable and will present some challenges for Tua. He’s a borderline QB2 moving forward.

Jaylen Waddle continues to hoard targets with DeVante Parker and Will Fuller likely sidelined again this week. Mack Hollins is in the mix, but his production isn’t consistent enough to warrant any fantasy consideration. TE Mike Gesicki is good for 4-5 catches and 50 yards every week, though his lack of scoring this season is a concern, and in my mind, leaves him short of TE1 status. RB Myles Gaskin is averaging four catches per game and is actually more of a scoring threat as a receiver in the red zone.

The Panthers are stingy against the pass, allowing less than 2000 air yards on the season, and just 6.6 per attempt. They also get after the quarterback. They have 30 sacks on the season – 3rd most in the league. This group could make life difficult for Tua and company.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: Gaskin has been solid over the course of the season, but still doesn’t have a 100-yard game on his resume. With his receiving skills, and his scoring tendency, he’s only a back end RB2 for me. Carolina is yielding 4.3 per rush and has limited opponents to less than 100 ground yards in two of their last three games before last week.

Value Meter:
QB2: Tua Tagovailoa (low-end)
RB2: Myles Gaskin (low-end)
WR2: Jaylen Waddle (mid-range)
TE2: Mike Gesicki (high-end)
BENCH: WR DeVante Parker, WR Will Fuller

Prediction: Panthers 17, Dolphins 13 ^ Top

Chargers at Broncos - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: Justin Herbert has been extremely hot or very cold over his past six games, going back to his four touchdown performance against the Browns in Week 5. Since then, he’s finished with under 14 standard scoring fantasy points in three contests while exceeding 30 points in the other two. That kind of volatility can be frustrating for some fantasy managers, but those who stick by the young signal caller have been happy more often than not this season, as Herbert now sits firmly inside the top-half of QB1s for fantasy football this season.

This week he and the Chargers head on the road to face the Broncos, who are themselves a top five fantasy defense against quarterbacks this season. The on-paper matchup doesn’t seem overly exciting from a ceiling standpoint, but the Broncos have given up six 20-point fantasy days to opposing quarterbacks, so it’s not as though they’ve completely shut down opposing QBs - they’re just limiting their upside a bit. This info should tell us that Herbert is more of a low-end QB1 this week but he should still be good enough to be in most lineups.

From a receiver standpoint, Keenan Allen has been hot lately, having averaged about 20 PPR fantasy points per game over the past month. He’s seen at least 11 targets in each of those games and while he’s averaging nearly 100 receiving yards per game over that stretch, he’s actually only scored one touchdown so there’s even some possibility of positive touchdown regression for him. His volume alone makes him a solid WR1 in PPR and probably more of a low-level WR1 or high-level WR2 in non-PPR formats.

Mike Williams had been going through an extremely bad stretch of performances over the month prior to Week 11 when he caught five passes for 97 yards against the Steelers. That game helped remind us that Williams’ early season performances aren’t necessarily something he can’t get back to, but he continues to see very low target numbers and that’s going to make things difficult if he can’t start seeing the ball come his way more often. To put things in perspective, Williams had averaged over 10 targets per game over his first five games, but he’s barely averaging five targets per game over his past five contests. It’s not that Williams hasn’t been efficient with the opportunities he’s had - he’s just not seeing enough opportunities. On the bright side, the Broncos defense has struggled at times this season against “big play” type receivers, including Marquise Brown, Marvin Jones, Chase Claypool, and Henry Ruggs III. Williams remains a boom/bust option so we’ll call him a high-end WR3 this week, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get into the end zone and finish in the WR2 range.

While Jared Cook has had a couple of decent games this season, his 2021 has mostly been extremely forgettable and this is not the week to trust him in your fantasy lineup. The Broncos have allowed the NFL’s fewest points per game to opposing tight ends this season, having not allowed a single touchdown or even a 70-yard game to any tight end. Stay away from this situation.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: Every once in a while we get reminded that Austin Ekeler is an elite fantasy player who’s too often forgotten when having those discussions. This past week’s gigantic game against the Steelers was one of those days. Ekeler crushed Pittsburgh for 115 total yards and four total touchdowns, proving once again that he’s essentially matchup-proof.

While he won’t likely have a repeat four-TD performance, his on-paper matchup for Week 11 against the Broncos looks like an even more enticing fantasy situation. The Broncos are currently a middle-of-the-pack defense overall against opposing fantasy running backs, but they’ve actually faced a pretty weak schedule. The only real “workhorse” backs they’ve faced have been James Robinson back in Week 2, and then Najee Harris and D’Ernest Johnson who operated in the bell cow role against them in Week 7. Both Harris and Johnson turned in big games against the Broncos and we should be expecting a nice day from Ekeler as well.

Value Meter:
QB1: Justin Herbert
RB1: Austin Ekeler
WR1: Keenan Allen
WR3: Mike Williams
Bench: Larry Rountree III, Jalen Guyton, Josh Palmer, Jared Cook, Donald Parham

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s now been three weeks since Teddy Bridgewater threw for multiple touchdown passes in a single game and the Broncos QB has also failed to reach 20 fantasy points in seven of his past eight contests. His only 20-point fantasy day over that stretch came in Week 9 and that was only because he ended up running in a short yardage touchdown against the Cowboys. Otherwise, the Broncos passing game has been struggling overall and that’s even with the returns of both Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant.

The player who’s suffered most, however, has been wide receiver Courtland Sutton. Sutton has just 10 receptions for 146 yards and no touchdowns over his past four games. What’s worse is that his target numbers are way down from where they were earlier in the year when he was the locked-in alpha receiver in the offense. The Broncos are coming off of a bye so there’s some reason to be optimistic that they worked on their offensive scheme during that break and perhaps that’ll mean good things for Sutton, but it’s going to take a pretty big turnaround to save his fantasy season at this point. He’s not completely worthless for fantasy as we know that he’s capable of turning in some big fantasy performances even on limited touches, but the situation is bad enough that we shouldn’t be looking at him as more than a WR3.

Jerry Jeudy’s return to the lineup has certainly correlated with Sutton’s struggles, but the second-year receiver from Alabama has, quite frankly, outplayed Sutton since getting back on the field. Jeudy hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this season, but he’s played in four games, averaging seven targets per game in those contests (and that doesn’t even account for the fact that he didn’t play the whole game back in Week 1 when he was targeted seven times). If Jeudy can continue to see a high target share then he’s going to be a useful WR2/WR3 range wide receiver down the stretch. He does, however, face a difficult matchup in Week 12 against a Chargers defense that has been excellent against opposing wide receivers in 2021. They’ve allowed just five touchdowns to opposing wide receivers on the entire year, so if you’re on the fence between Jeudy and another pass catcher, it’s probably fine to go the other way this week.

Tim Patrick is the lone remaining fantasy-relevant wide receiver in Denver and while he’s had some breakout performances, particularly during Jeudy’s absence, he’s also failed to see a significant enough target share to be trustworthy in fantasy. He’s been targeted just 19 times over his past four games and been held to under 10 PPR fantasy points in three of those four contests. You could consider Patrick if you’re absolutely desperate, but this is probably a smart week to keep him on your bench.

Tight end Noah Fant is actually a little more interesting this week than usual. While the Chargers have been locking up opposing wide receivers, it’s been tight ends who’ve been able to exploit this Los Angeles defense. Wide receivers have only scored five touchdowns against LA, but tight ends have hit the end zone a whopping nine times against them in 2021. It’s been happening lately, too, as they’ve conceded four touchdowns to opposing tight ends over just their past two weeks. Fant is at best the third but probably more like the fourth option in this passing game, but he’s a red zone weapon and he’s seen more targets than any Broncos player over the past four weeks. He’s a fun upside TE1 this week.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: The nearly even split between Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams continues to frustrate fantasy owners as neither player has been able to really break into legit RB1 conversation this season. Still, both players have some low-end RB2/Flex appeal this week against a Chargers defense that is one of the worst at stopping opposing fantasy running backs.

Los Angeles has already given up 1,199 rushing yards (most in the NFL) and 13 rushing touchdowns (second-most in the NFL) to opposing backs in 2021. It’s hard to believe that the Chargers are suddenly going to step up and shut down one of the league’s better one-two punches at the running back position.

Unfortunately, the risk here is that the Chargers could get out to an early lead which would force the Broncos into a heavier reliance than they’d like to have. Still, the Broncos have shown us already this season that they’re willing to continue to feed their backs even in games where they fall behind on the scoreboard.

Value Meter:
RB2: Melvin Gordon (low end)
WR3: Jerry Jeudy
TE1: Noah Fant
Flex: Javonte Williams, Courtland Sutton
Bench: Teddy Bridgewater, Tim Patrick

Prediction: Chargers 27, Broncos 23 ^ Top

Vikings at 49ers - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: A three touchdown performance from Kirk Cousins in Week 11 helped lead the Vikings to a huge division victory over the Packers and now the quarterback will be looking to make it four straight multi-touchdown performances as the team heads on the road to face the 49ers.

San Francisco started the season off quite bad against opposing QBs this season, but they’ve been much better in recent weeks. Sure, it’s helped that they’ve faced the Jaguars and the Kyler Murray-less Cardinals recently, but they also did an excellent job against the Rams and Matthew Stafford, so there’s probably more to this turnaround than just schedule. Cousins is more of a bye week fill-in or mid-level QB2 in two-QB/SuperFlex leagues most weeks, but he does move up just a touch this week because of the Chiefs and Cardinals both having byes. It’s possible that you have a better option as a low-end QB1 this week, but Cousins isn’t a bad option and he’s certainly a solid QB2.

Wide receiver Justin Jefferson continues to be red hot this season and he’s absolutely crushed in back to back weeks. Assuming he continues to see a heavy target share as he has throughout most of the season, Jefferson is a must-start WR1 in any matchup.

Teammate Adam Thielen has been a bit more hot-and-cold than Jefferson this season, but his target share remains strong enough that he needs to be a weekly WR2. Thielen has quietly seen at least seven targets in all but one game this season and he’s coming off of an eight catch, 82 yards performance with a touchdown on 10 targets. He’s taken a back seat to Jefferson in terms of big plays, but he’s still a very reliable fantasy option.

Tyler Conklin feels like the kind of tight end who everyone knows can and maybe even should be breaking out, but it just hasn’t happened. He’s hovering around borderline TE1 range for the season, but he’s only had two games with over 11 PPR fantasy points all season long and he’s been held to fewer than seven PPR points in four games. That kind of inconsistency is sort of something you have to deal with at the tight end position when you’re not working with a top-level stud, but this probably isn’t the week when you want to play Conklin if you have other decent options. The 49ers did give up a tight end to Tyler Higbee this past week, they’ve held every tight end that they’ve faced, other than T.J. Hockenson, to fewer than four catches and no one else has reached even 40 receiving yards. Conklin quickly becomes a touchdown-or-bust option which isn’t necessarily outside of the norm, but you can probably find someone with more upside on your waiver wire in Week 12.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: Running back Dalvin Cook missed a couple of games due to injury, but he’s otherwise been one of the league’s most reliable running backs this season. He’s averaging over 90 rushing yards per game while scoring a decent number of touchdowns and contributing a bit through the air. While he hasn’t had any of the massive spike weeks that we’ve seen from him in the past, he’s someone who’s rarely disappointed and has been close to matchup-proof.

The 49ers defense isn’t great against opposing runners, but they’re also not one to be too worried about. Cook should be in lineups as a solid mid-level RB1 this week and really every week.

Value Meter:
QB2: Kirk Cousins (high end)
RB1: Dalvin Cook
WR1: Justin Jefferson
WR2: Adam Thielen
Bench: Alexander Mattison, K.J. Osborn, Tyler Conklin

Passing Game Thoughts: It hasn’t always been pretty and it’s certainly not particularly exciting from a fantasy standpoint, but the 49ers have now won three of their past four games and it doesn’t appear that there’s going to be a quarterback change anytime soon. This means that we’ll continue to see Jimmy Garoppolo here in Week 11 as the 49ers host the Vikings.

Garoppolo isn’t completely worthless as a fantasy player himself as he’s been a mid-level QB2 most weeks and that’s where he’ll be ranked this week, but it’s more important that we focus on where he’s throwing the ball. The volume has been low as of late as the 49ers have had the benefit of facing some weak opposing passing games, but Garoppolo has been looking in the direction of tight end George Kittle quite a bit.

Kittle has now scored in each of his three games since returning from IR and he’s looking like the locked-in elite TE that he always was. Minnesota has been quite good against opposing tight ends this season, however, having held all but one tight end to fewer than 55 receiving yards against them, while only conceding one touchdown to the position all year. Kittle, of course, is not a normal tight end and thus he needs to be in seasonal starting lineups even in difficult matchups, but this is probably a week to look somewhere else than Kittle rather than shove him into your DFS lineups.

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has also seen an uptick in production in recent weeks and he’s now turning in some decent fantasy days. Aiyuk started the season off about as cold as can possibly be imagined for a player who broke out as a rookie in 2020, but he seems to have earned the trust of his coaching staff again and perhaps more importantly the trust of his quarterback. Aiyuk has now averaged 6.5 targets per game over his past four contests and that includes a couple of very low total pass attempt games for the 49ers, so there’s some real upside if San Francisco ends up having to pass more than usual in this one. He’s still more of a WR3, but things are looking up.

It’s been nice to see Kittle and Aiyuk get back to being relevant, but the player who continues to ball out seemingly every week is Deebo Samuel. Samuel has scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in all 10 of San Francisco’s games this season and that even includes this past week when he was held to just one catch for 15 yards. He struggled to do much in the passing game, but the 49ers were low on running backs and opted to get innovative with things. They ended up giving Samuel eight carries against the Jaguars, which he took for 79 yards and a touchdown. That might sound somewhat unsustainable on the surface, but it’s worth noting that he also carried the ball five times for 36 yards and another touchdown the previous week against the Rams. Certainly we shouldn’t expect five-plus carries from Samuel every week, but the bigger thing to note is that the 49ers are clearly emphasizing getting the ball in his hands by any means necessary. That’s an amazing thing for value and it’s why he should continue to be ranked as a weekly WR1.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: Minor finger surgery held starter Elijah Mitchell out in Week 11, leading to veteran Jeff Wilson getting a heavy workload for the 49ers in their blowout road victory over the Jaguars. Wilson was not, however, particularly effective with his touches as he carried the ball 19 times for a measly 50 yards, no touchdowns, and he added just one catch for eight yards through the air. If Mitchell is unable to play again, then we’ll likely see more of Wilson as the lead back, considering that JaMycal Hasty looks like he’s still struggling with the ankle injury that kept him out in Week 10, in addition to the indications that Kyle Shanahan just does not trust third round NFL Draft pick Trey Sermon in any sort of meaningful role.

We don’t yet know whether or not Mitchell will be able to suit up to play this week, but it would seem to make sense that he’ll return to his role as the 49ers’ lead back once he’s healthy enough to do so. Mitchell has carried the ball at least 17 times in five of his seven starts this season, including a huge workload in Week 10 when he carried the ball 27 times against the Rams.

If he’s able to go, Wilson needs to be back in lineups against the Vikings. Minnesota hasn’t really given up any huge blow up games to running backs this year, but opposing backs have been quietly solid against them. 13 different running backs have scored double-digit PPR fantasy points against Minnesota this season, so whoever the starter is has a pretty decent built-in floor for this matchup.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jimmy Garoppolo
RB2: Elijah Mitchell
WR1: Deebo Samuel
WR3: Brandon Aiyuk
TE1: George Kittle
Flex: Jeff Wilson (only if Elijah Mitchell is inactive)
Bench: Jeff Wilson, Trey Sermon

Prediction: 49ers 27, Vikings 24 ^ Top

Rams @ Packers - (Green)

Passing Game Thoughts: Entering Week 9, Matthew Stafford was on the short list for MVP favorites. Then the Rams lost back-to-back primetime games with Stafford tossing four interceptions against two TD strikes and getting sacked seven times. He also passed for a season-low 243 yards against the 49ers right before the bye. We’ll see if the break reinvigorates the Rams, which were 7-1 and flying high prior to their two-game skid. While this will be Stafford’s first trip to Lambeau Field as a Ram, the longtime Lions QB has been here many times over the years.

For all the talent in LA’s offense, the passing game really is Cooper Kupp (11-122-0) and everyone else. Kupp has emerged as an elite producer, and with Davante Adams on the other side this game arguably features the top two fantasy wideouts. Although Kupp is a clear WR1, it’s murky after that. Robert Woods (knee) suffered a torn ACL the day after the team inked Odell Beckham Jr. (2-18-0), who was mostly quiet in his debut. Perhaps an extra week of prep will get OBJ assimilated, but he’s still a risky play. Van Jefferson (3-54-0) feels like a solid flex choice and the superior option of the two for now.

There’s also Tyler Higbee (3-20-1), who scored LA’s lone TD in Week 10. He’s not the safest selection, but fellow TEs Travis Kelce and Gerald Everett led their teams in receiving in Weeks 9 and 10, respectively. Green Bay was mostly excellent since their Week 1 disaster but couldn’t stop Justin Jefferson last Sunday. They’re still ranked seventh against the pass (213.2 passing yards per game) and know Stafford very well, though the veteran remains a midrange QB1 play.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: While he may not be as explosive as Cam Akers (Achilles’), who was lost during the preseason, Darrell Henderson has proven a capable alternative with 747 yards and 7 TDs on the season. You’ll see Sony Michel sprinkled in here and there as well, but Henderson is the only one worth playing. The Packers are 12th in run defense this season at 105.6 yards per game, and they did a very solid job in holding Dalvin Cook to 86 yards on 22 carries (3.9 YPC) this past Sunday. Henderson should offer up decent RB2 value.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford
RB2: Darrell Henderson
WR1: Cooper Kupp
Flex: Van Jefferson
Bench: Sony Michel, Odell Beckham Jr., Tyler Higbee

Passing Game Thoughts: Between a bout of COVID and a sore toe, Aaron Rodgers (toe) had taken precious few practice reps over the past three weeks. For the second straight week he looked rusty early on, but once he got rolling the Vikings had no answer. Green Bay scored touchdowns on each of their final four drives, and when the dust had cleared Rodgers had passed for 385 yards and 4 TDs. It looked like the 2020 offense, and the reigning MVP will try to build on that against LA. The Rams visited Lambeau in January with Rodgers throwing for 296 yards and a pair of scores in a Divisional Round win. He can be played as a solid QB1 for their lone meeting of 2021.

With No. 12 going off in Minnesota, Davante Adams (7-115-2) checked in with his best game since he posted 206 yards receiving against the Bengals in Week 5. It also marked his first multi-touchdown effort of the season; a year ago, he did it five times. Rodgers even showed a little deep-ball accuracy, connecting with Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a 75-yard touchdown as part of MVS’ 4-123-1 line. In the playoffs it was Adams (9-66-1) and Allen Lazard (4-96-1) that had big days against the Rams. We’ll see if Lazard can return from his shoulder injury, but MVS could offer lottery ticket potential.

Los Angeles is currently ranked 16th in pass defense (241.7 yards per game), and they’ll be hoping that Aaron Donald and Von Miller can get after a Packers line that’s missing three of its five starters. If so, the Rams have a good chance to limit Rodgers. If not, it could be a long day. While Adams and Rodgers are the must starts, it might be time to keep an eye on Josiah Deguara (2-37-1), who looks like the closest thing the Packers will have to a replacement for Robert Tonyan (knee) this year.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: With Aaron Jones (knee) set to miss a second straight game, AJ Dillon will be the primary back. Dillon accounted for 97 total yards against the Vikings on 17 combined touches, which feels like a light load for a back of his size. If Green Bay is worried about pressure from the Rams look for more work from Dillon, who rates as a low-end RB1 here. LA is the No. 11 run defense at 105.2 yards per game; in 2020, they were No. 3, and the Packers gained 188 yards on 36 rushing attempts.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers (inj-toe)
RB1: AJ Dillon
WR1: Davante Adams
Bench: Aaron Jones (inj-knee), Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Prediction: Packers 27, Rams 23 ^ Top

Browns @ Ravens - (Green)

Passing Game Thoughts: Were the fans saying “boo” or “boo-aker” in Cleveland last Sunday? The first one... definitely the first one. To put it mildly, Baker Mayfield failed to impress during the team’s 13-10 triumph over the winless Lions, completing 15 of 29 passes for 176 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs. Even considering his smorgasbord of injuries and personnel deficiencies, this season has been a miserable one for Mayfield, who played well down the stretch in 2020. That included a 343-yard, 2-TD game against the Ravens last December where he also ran for his lone score of the season.

It doesn’t help that Jarvis Landry is battling through knee issues with the veteran gaining just 26 yards on four completions. Donovan Peoples-Jones, who has had some nice moments this year, didn’t suit up due to a groin injury. Against that backdrop, Austin Hooper (4-53-0) has shown a pulse with back-to-back games of four receptions -- hey, baby steps, people, baby steps. If Hooper can somehow rediscover his Falcons form that’d be big for Mayfield and potentially fantasy owners as well.

Only the Jets have given up more yards per game via the air than Baltimore (281.1), which has put some ugly coverage breakdowns on film recently against the likes of Andy Dalton and Tua Tagovailoa. Could Mayfield be the next to victimize them? Maybe. Is it worth riding that possibility in Week 12? Absolutely not. Only Landry deserves a spot in fantasy lineups, and even then, it’s as no more than a shaky WR3 or flex.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: In his two starts, D’Ernest Johnson amassed 325 total yards. For whatever reason, however, when Nick Chubb (22-130-0) is healthy, Johnson’s role completely evaporates. It might not matter anymore, though, as Kareem Hunt (knee) looks poised to return to action this Sunday. Hunt hasn’t played since Oct. 17 due to a knee injury, but when healthy he and Chubb form arguably the NFL’s top RB duo. The Ravens boast the league’s No. 2 run defense, but Cleveland isn’t going to change its DNA. Chubb is an RB1/RB2 with Hunt as an RB3 if he does indeed return; if the Browns decide to hold Hunt out until after the bye, Chubb becomes a midrange RB1.

Value Meter:
RB1/RB2: Nick Chubb
RB3: Kareem Hunt (IR)
WR3/Flex: Jarvis Landry (inj-knee)
Bench: Baker Mayfield, D’Ernest Johnson

Passing Game Thoughts: With Lamar Jackson (illness) unable to play in Week 11 due to a non-COVID illness, Tyler Huntley made his first NFL start. It was uneven to be sure, but Huntley delivered a game-winning drive in the final two minutes to lead the Ravens over Chicago on the road. Jackson is expected back in Week 12, which is bad news for the Browns. Last season, the former MVP averaged 219 yards passing, 85 yards rushing and 3 total TDs per game in sweeping the season series. Unless he suffers a setback in his recovery, Jackson is a top-tier QB1 this Sunday.

Jackson was joined on the inactive list by Marquise Brown, who managed just one practice last week due to a thigh injury. He has a good chance to return versus Cleveland as well; he posted a combined 7-151-1 line against them in 2020. Rashod Bateman (3-29-0) was under the weather, too, but did play in Week 11. If both are active, Brown would be a WR2 with Bateman as a flex. If Brown misses again, Bateman slides up to WR3 status and Sammy Watkins (3-48-0) could be deployed as a flex by anyone desperate for help.

Cleveland ranks eighth in pass defense this season (215.4 yards per game), though once you realize they played Justin Fields and Tim Boyle in their first starts and got to face Davis Mills in his NFL debut, that number doesn’t seem nearly as impressive. In addition to Jackson and Brown, Mark Andrews (8-73-0) is a fantasy starter as he comfortably led the team in receiving with Huntley at the helm. He had 136 yards and two TDs against Cleveland last year and is a steady TE1.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: Even with Latavius Murray (10-32-0) returning after a three-game absence, Devonta Freeman (16-49-1) operated as the top back. He even added six receptions in Week 11, which matched Murray’s season-to-date efforts. Although the Browns rank seventh against the run this year (101.4 yards per game) they had all kinds of trouble with the Lions last weekend when Detroit ran for 168 yards on 23 carries -- that was a whopping 7.3 yards per carry. Start Freeman as an RB3 while considering Murray a decent option as a flex.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson (inj-illness)
RB3: Devonta Freeman
Flex: Latavius Murray
WR2: Marquise Brown
TE1: Mark Andrews
Bench: Rashod Bateman

Prediction: Ravens 27, Browns 19 ^ Top

Seahawks at Football Team - (Ilchuk)

Passing Game Thoughts: I know what he’s telling everyone publicly, but there’s no way anyone is going to convince me that Russell Wilson is completely healthy right now. Quite simply, despite the valiant effort, he’s playing some pretty bad football right now, behind an offensive line that has been even worse. Wilson hasn’t thrown a touchdown in two weeks since his return, and even against a Washington defense that has been forgiving, I don’t know that Wilson is even a QB2 right now.

WR DK Metcalf has established himself as the top target in this offense and is a borderline WR1/WR2 every week. Tyler Lockett on the other hand has struggled to connect with Wilson. He’s been targeted 13 times over the last two games, but only caught six, and hasn’t scored since Week 2. He’s a WR3 or flex with upside. HC Pete Carroll has made it clear he wants TE Gerald Everett more involved in the offense. With 11 catches for 100 yards over two weeks, it seems reasonable to expect this to be a trend.

Washington is among the worst pass defenses in the league. They are yielding a passer rating of 106.0, allowing a completion percentage near 70% and almost 8.0 yards per attempt. With DE Chase Young out on season-ending IR, their pass rush has been anemic. If there was ever a get-well game for the Seahawks, this has to be it.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: Chris Carson is done for the year…again. His replacement, Alex Collins, has yet to put up 50 yards in a game. The team wanted to get Rashad Penny more involved, but he predictably got hurt. Expect Collins to continue to start, but don’t be surprised if DeeJay Dallas gets a look. He is averaging over 6.0 yards per carry over his last six carries. That’s not a big sample, I understand. But the Hawks are grasping at straws right now and looking to save their season. Pete Carroll will always compete. Everything is on the table.

Value Meter:
QB2: Russell Wilson (low-end)
RB3: Alex Collins (low-end)
WR1: DK Metcalf (low-end)
WR3: Tyler Lockett (low-end)
TE2: Gerald Everett (low-end)
BENCH: RB Rashaad Penny

Passing Game Thoughts: It seems like QB Taylor Heinicke has figured some things out since the bye. In his last two games he’s averaging over 77% passing and just under 9.0 yards per attempt with 4 touchdown passes and no interceptions. He’s also shown a willingness to tuck and run with the rock, which is keeping him in the QB2 conversation this week.

WR Terry McLaurin is approaching 100 targets for the season and is coming off his fourth 100-yard effort of the season, his second in the last four weeks. His fantasy value is tied to which Taylor Heinicke shows up on Monday, but he’s worthy of WR1 status. After that it gets thin with RB J.D. McKissic up next in target share, but he averages about four targets per game. TE Ricky Seals-Jones has found a role in the offense in recent weeks, but the return of Logan Thomas could be a nice boost to this unit. He’s a borderline TE1 if he makes the active roster this week.

Seattle has been unrecognizable on defense this season. They play a lot of Cover 2 shell, but lack the aggressive corner play and blitz-free pressure packages that make Pete Carroll’s system work. Seattle will give up yards and tighten in the red zone, so look for Washington to exploit that to their advantage.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: Antonio Gibson is the workhorse in HC Ron Rivera’s ball control offense. He already has over 150 carries and averages about 18 total touches per game, good for about 75 yards per game. Expect Washington to continue to feed him the ball despite a stingy Seattle run D allowing less than 4.0 per carry.

Value Meter:
QB2: Taylor Heinicke (low-end)
RB2: Antonio Gibson (mid-range)
WR1: Terry McLaurin (low-end)
TE1: Logan Thomas (low-end, if he plays)
FLEX: RB J.D. McKissic
BENCH: WR Curtis Samuel, WR Adam Humphries, TE Ricky Seals-Jones

Prediction: Seahawks 17, Washington 16 ^ Top