- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Cowboys @ Saints
- (Swanson) Line: DAL -4.5 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: The Cowboys passing game is getting some
much-needed reinforcements today with the news that Amari Cooper
has been activated from the COVID-19 list and will travel with
the team to New Orleans. There was some worry that Cooper would
not be activated because he reportedly still had a cough, but
the team announced today he will likely play.
Joining Cooper will be CeeDee Lamb, who missed the Thanksgiving
game with a concussion. Dak Prescott and the passing game were
clearly not the same without the two top receivers, although Cedrick
Wilson did post a nice day for fantasy owners on Turkey Day.
Dak will need his weapons because the Saints defense is one of
the strongest against the run this year. Despite their poor record,
no opposing running back has topped 100 yards rushing, and only
two running backs have scored over ten fantasy points dating back
to Week 5.
Conversely, only the Football Team has given up more fantasy
points to opposing quarterbacks on the year. Kellen Moore knows
this and will craft a game plan similar to what he did against
the Bucs in Week 1 when he ran the ball just 14 times versus that
stout defensive front.
Look for bootlegs, play action to tight ends, and more passes
out of the backfield than normal.
The only injury of note for the passing game for Dallas is Cedrick
Wilson, who is questionable with an ankle injury. With Cooper
and Lamb back, you were not starting Wilson anyway, but it should
be noted that the Cowboys will be a little light at WR should
one of the stars go down.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: Jerry Jones went on his usual radio spot
in Dallas yesterday and said that Ezekiel Elliott would get his
normal workload this weekend, and contrary to some reports, the
team does not plan on resting his injured knee. Zeke was listed
on the practice report as a full participant on Tuesday, so we
should expect a full Zeke on Thursday.
The question is how effective will Zeke and his running mate,
Tony Pollard, be at running the ball against the league’s
best run defense. We anticipate that Kellen Moore will use a similar
approach that the Bills used last week in their dominant performance,
throwing early and often and not focusing on the run. The Cowboys
used a similar approach in Week 1 against the Bucs, a stout run
defense with corners who can be beaten.
That is not to say you should not start Zeke as a No.2 RB and
Pollard as a flex. But keep in mind that the yardage on the ground
may not be there, and they will need to make up for it in short-yardage
touchdowns and in the passing game.
Defensive end Marcus Davenport missed last week’s game
with a shoulder injury and did not practice on Tuesday. He looks
very iffy to play. As does fellow DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, who is
questionable with an ankle injury.
Game Thoughts: Sean Payton is a master play-caller. An
innovative offensive mind and a Super Bowl-winning head coach.
He also fashions himself a great deceptor, offering little information
to the media and his opponent on who will start at quarterback
this week and how many snaps Taysom Hill will get.
Considering Hill was a full participant on the practice report
on Tuesday and Trevor Siemian has been mediocre at best, it makes
sense for the Saints to go with Hill. Their team is on playoff
life support at 5-6, and they are dealing with a ton of injuries
to the offensive line that would be a huge disadvantage for an
immobile QB like Siemian.
Another huge question mark for the team is the status of Alvin
Kamara and his injured knee. The all-pro running back has not
been ruled out, but he has yet to log a full practice. We anticipate
they will make Kamara active but will play Mark Ingram with more
of a workload.
For the passing game, it looks like stud left tackle Terron Armstead
could miss this game with a knee injury, and all-pro right tackle
Ryan Ramcyck is questionable with a knee injury of his own. Add
in the fact that you have DeMarcus Lawrence possibly returning
from a foot injury for Dallas, and you have a recipe for a rough
game for Taysom.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: The running game will be key to victory
for the Saints. They need to keep pressure off their depleted
tackles, limit the number of passes from Taysom Hill, and keep
Dak and the Cowboy offense on the sideline.
If they do not run the ball, this game will be a blowout. To
do so, the team hopes Alvin Kamara can return from an MCL injury,
but he is still limited in practice and will likely not get a
full workload should he play.
Their other goal is to get Mark Ingram and Taysom Hill going
on the ground. It doesn’t matter that the Cowboys pass rush
is getting healthier if you just run on them. That is what Sean
From a matchup perspective, the Cowboys are not great for fantasy
purposes. Only seven total touchdowns have been allowed to running
backs all season by Dan Quinn’s defense and just two total
rushing performances of over 100 yards.
Look for the Saints to do what the Broncos did to Dallas. Run
the ball, and take advantage of their mistakes.
Cardinals @ Bears
- (Green) Line: ARI -7.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: It’s been over a month since Kyler
Murray (ankle) last took the field in a Thursday night loss to
the Packers. Initially, it was believed the extra few days of
rest might get Murray back under center the following Sunday.
Instead, he’s missed three straight games with veteran Colt
McCoy leading the team to a 2-1 record. Murray is expected to
return this weekend in Chicago as Arizona tries to protect its
half-game lead over Green Bay for the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
While the former Heisman Trophy winner will be well rested, we
could see some rust after the long layoff.
During his lengthy rehab, Murray has been joined by DeAndre Hopkins
(hamstring), who hasn’t suited up since the Packers game,
either. He, too, is expected back this Sunday, and the combo should
provide a jolt to the offense. Where that leaves the team’s
other pass catchers is less clear. A.J. Green (4-78-0) is probably
the No. 2 option, followed closely by Christian Kirk (2-25-0).
Speedy rookie Rondale Moore (11-51-0) can also be a valuable weapon
in the right matchup, though he’s mostly working around
the line of scrimmage these days. Zach Ertz (8-88-2) has been
a nice addition to what might be the NFL’s deepest group
of receiving threats.
Chicago ranks eighth against the pass this season at 215.8 yards
allowed per game, but they’re in the bottom five in opponent
passer rating and miss the presence of Khalil Mack (foot) in their
pass rush. Despite the long absences, don’t hesitate to
get Murray or Hopkins back into your lineup; they’re top
guys at their respective spots, even if you should manage expectations
a bit. After that, Green is the best play as a flex with Ertz
and Kirk risk/reward types for owners in need.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: With Chase Edmonds (ankle) ineligible
to return from IR until Week 14, James Conner (21-62-1) will be
the bell cow this Sunday. In three games without Edmonds, the
former Steeler has averaged 112 total yards and 1.7 TDs; only
Jonathan Taylor (14) has more rushing TDs than Conner (12) this
season. Chicago has experienced some uncharacteristic struggles
with the run, yielding 118.5 yards per game on the year, which
is 22nd in the NFL. View Conner as a strong RB1 this week.
Game Thoughts: With Justin Fields (ribs) sidelined due
to bruised ribs, Andy Dalton got the call on Thanksgiving. He
completed 24 of 39 passes for 317 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT in leading
the Bears to their first win since Oct. 10. Although Fields has
done some work at practice this week, signs point to Dalton making
his second consecutive start (and fourth overall) in Week 13 against
the Cardinals. It’s a weird situation with Matt Nagy on
the hot seat and Dalton arguably more capable of delivering wins
at this juncture while Fields is considered the QB of the future.
One player that has done good work with both is Darnell Mooney
(5-123-0), who has posted back-to-back 100-plus-yard games and
is now averaging 15.1 yards per catch on the season. His running
mate Allen Robinson (hamstring) has missed the last two games
due to a hamstring injury and hasn’t practiced this week,
either, which doesn’t bode well for his availability come
Sunday. Cole Kmet (8-65-0) has had his moments during his sophomore
season, but he’s dealing with a groin injury and may not
play in Week 13.
Arizona’s defense has been one of the bigger surprises
of the 2021 season, and they exit their bye ranking fourth in
the NFL in pass yards allowed (204 per game) and tied for eighth
in sacks (29). Chandler Jones (8 sacks) and Marcus Golden (10)
lead the way in that department. As of now, Mooney is the only
solid option for fantasy owners. He’s a WR3 but could bump
up to WR2 if Robinson and Kmet both sit. Whether it’s Dalton
or Fields, they should be left on the bench.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: David Montgomery (17-46-0) was surprisingly
ineffective in Detroit on Thanksgiving, managing 74 combined yards
and no TDs against a bottom-five rush defense. Expect him to be
given every chance to rebound against the Cardinals, which have
given up 4.7 yards per carry this year, which is more than just
two other clubs. Play Montgomery as an RB2 with some upside.
Game Thoughts: In the last five weeks, QB Jalen Hurts
has thrown just 3 TD passes and 4 interceptions and has not eclipsed
200 passing yards in a game. Of course, none of that matters because
this week he faces the New York Jets, quite possibly the worst
defense in the NFL. Confusing matters is the fact that Hurts is
nursing an ankle injury, which will hinder the strength of his
game, his ability to make plays with his legs. However, this is
a game where he can get right in the passing game and give that
wheel a rest. He’s a high-end play as a QB1 this week.
Because of the matchup, just about every skill position starter
gets a bump this week. DeVonta Smith should pay good value as
a high ceiling WR3, and even last week’s Stone Hands Award
winner, Jalen Reagor could have some flex appeal. TE Dallas Goedert
suddenly jumps back into the TE1 discussion as well.
There’s really no way to sugarcoat the Jets’ situation
on defense. It’s bad – like epically bad. They are
bottom three in the league in passing yards, yards per attempt,
and completion percentage, and own the worst opposing passer rating
and lowest interception total in the NFL. This group had a tough
time corralling a bad Texans offense last week. They will struggle
to contain the elusive and athletic Hurts and company.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Hurst has been the driving force in the
Eagles rushing attack, averaging over 60 ground yards per game.
Miles Sanders, who was thought to be lost to injury…again,
has been practicing this week and should play on Sunday. This
group has run for over 200 yards in three straight games and four
of the last five. Against a Jets defense that has allowed over
1400 yards at a 4.5 clip and yielded a league-worst 20 rushing
TD’s, expect to see another two bills, maybe led more by
Sanders than Hurts, especially if Boston Scott (illness) isn’t
cleared to play.
Game Thoughts: After struggling badly in the first half
against the Texans last week, QB Zach Wilson cleaned things up
a bit after halftime to salvage some hope out of his return to
the field. But he is still struggling with his reads and accuracy,
and continues to show he will make big mistakes when pressured,
which is almost constantly behind this o-line.
His veteran security blanket, WR Corey Davis, has been nursing
a groin injury for two weeks. He hadn’t practiced through
Thursday, so he might not play, and is only a low-end WR3 if he
does. Even against the Eagles, who like the Jets are amongst the
worst pass defenses in the league, guys like WR’s Jamison
Crowder and Elijah Moore, TE Ryan Griffin, and receiving back
Ty Johnson barely offer any flex value.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: Michael Carter was developing into a solid
weekly RB2 play, but he’s expected to miss 2-3 weeks with
a high ankle sprain. It sounds like Tevin Coleman and Johnson
will split the load, with Johnson having more appeal as a potential
PPR play given his receiving skills.
Colts @ Texans
- (Swanson) Line: IND -10.0 Total: 45.5
Game Thoughts: The Colts head to Houston looking to right
the ship after a disappointing loss at home to the Buccaneers
in a turnover-laden game. Miscues and a lack of running the ball
effectively early cost the Colts a chance at a win that would
have placed them just one game behind the AFC South leading Titans.
If there ever was a get-right-game opponent to play after a tough
loss, the lowly Houston Texans would be it. The Texans rank in
the bottom 15 in points allowed to all skill position players,
making them an equal-opportunity giver of fantasy goodness.
Carson Wentz threw for 223 yards and a pair of scores when the
two teams faced off back in Week 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Jonathan
Taylor went bananas with 14/145/2 on the ground, and T.Y. Hilton
led the Colts receivers with 80 yards on four receptions.
Hilton abuses the Texans like no other and should garner consideration
as an upside flex in deeper leagues.
Michael Pittman Jr. is still the alpha wide receiver on the team
and should be started in all formats. He has been in a bit of
a fantasy production slump over the past few weeks, but he should
get back on track in this game. Look for around 80 and a score
The Texans offense has been playing better as of late with Tyrod
Taylor back, which could present a better game script for the
passing options for the Colts. One of the reasons why Wentz had
so few yards in the first matchup was the lopsided 31-3 score.
We anticipate the Colts will win this game without a hitch, but
it may not be a one-sided blowout as some expect.
Zach Pascal is on the field for an average of nearly 90% of the
team’s snaps as the No.2 wide receiver in three-receiver
sets. It is impressive for a player to have that many snaps with
next to no fantasy production. Could this be the week for the
obligatory 3/40/2 game for Pascal, the touchdown vulture?
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: 14/145/2. That is all you need to know.
Taylor is a stud and the best play of the week. He torched the
Texans for 30 fantasy points back in Week 6 and will likely do
the same. He is a no-brainer start and needs no further discussion.
Nyheim Hines is not getting enough snaps or touches to justify
playing him right now. Sure, the game could go sideways, and Hines
gets a ton of garbage carries with the goal of keeping Taylor
fresh for the playoff run. But he could also give your 3.7 fantasy
points like he has averaged over his last three games.
Game Thoughts: Over the past two weeks, Tyrod Taylor
has quietly been a top-12 fantasy quarterback. His 18.2 points
per game are better than Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, Derek Carr,
Joe Burrow, and his opponent in this game, Carson Wentz.
His two starts during that period are really too small of a sample
size to get excited about, and it should be noted he played against
the struggling Titans and the Jets. Regardless, Taylor has not
been a complete doormat for fantasy defenses, and he has produced
enough fantasy value to make Brandin Cooks (illness) still valuable.
The rest of the Texans passing options: not so much.
As has been the case all season, Cooks is the only player in
the passing game worthy of a start, while Taylor could be started
in two-QB leagues.
From a matchup standpoint, the Colts are somewhat hard to peg.
On the season, they have given up the 11th most points to QBs,
and that is even with Tom Brady not throwing a touchdown last
Yet, they stifled Josh Allen and the Bills just two weeks ago
on the road in Buffalo and dismantled Jimmy Garoppolo and the
49ers on the road back in Week 7.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: At the start of the season, we bemoaned
the Texans for having four veteran running backs on their roster,
wishing the team would run with just a few backs instead of a
Mark Ingram was traded to the Saints. Phillip Lindsay was released.
And yet, the Texans still stink at running the ball, posting just
63 yards on 22 carries against the worst run defense in the league.
Are David Johnson (illness) and Rex Burkhead really that terrible,
or is it the offensive line and the scheme? Regardless, you do
not want to touch either of them with a ten-foot pole in this
Even with four touchdowns allowed to Leonard Fournette last week,
the Colts have still just given up ten total scores to running
backs on the year. If Burkhead and Johnson can’t get it
done against a team that has given up 21 touchdowns to opposing
RBs, why on Earth would we expect anything in this game?
Game Thoughts: To paraphrase the late Roddy Piper, just
when you think you have the answers, the Chargers change the questions.
Coming off a game in which he threw for 382 yards and 3 TDs (while
rushing for an additional 90 yards), Justin Herbert once again
had trouble stacking success. He passed for a respectable 303
yards, but that was a bit deceptive as a fourth-quarter pick six
left LA down 28-7 with less than eight minutes remaining. It’s
a pattern of inconsistency from Herbert, who has been lights out
in five of the team’s six wins and shaky in all five of
Keenan Allen (7-85-0) has been the team’s most consistent
producer, posting 75 or more receiving yards in eight of 11 games,
including five in a row. He’s been a no-show in the red
zone, however, managing just two touchdowns on the year. Perhaps
that’s the problem. Mike Williams (4-39-0) has seven TDs,
which is more than double any other tight end or receiver, but
his production has ebbed and flowed. With his 6-foot-4, 218-pound
wideout unable to deliver consistently, Herbert has struggled
to find a reliable second choice in the red zone.
Cincinnati ranks 25th in the NFL against the pass, allowing 254.5
yards per game, but only the Bills have allowed fewer TD strikes
than the Bengals (14). They had little trouble with Las Vegas
or Pittsburgh in consecutive blowouts, and they’re likely
to make things tough on LA’s passing attack. Despite that,
Herbert and Allen remain No. 1 options while Williams is a low-end
No. 2 or strong No. 3 receiver.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: Although Austin Ekeler barely ranks in
the top 20 in carries or rushing yardage, he’s an elite
fantasy back because of his exploits as a receiver and his nose
for the end zone -- his 14 touchdowns are second in the NFL. The
only possible issue right now with Ekeler is durability as the
slightly built RB has already established a career high in carries
with six games to go. The Bengals are a tough team to run on,
yielding just 93.7 yards per game, which is fifth in the NFL.
Those pass-catching skills keep Ekeler as a strong RB1, however.
Game Thoughts: In two games since returning from the
bye week, Joe Burrow has been more game manager than game changer.
That includes last Sunday against the Steelers when the LSU product
completed 20 of 24 passes for 190 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT while
also adding his first rushing score of the season. The question
is whether we’re seeing a philosophical change with an increased
focus on running the ball, or if it was purely game situation
-- they won their last two games by a combined 50 points. It’s
difficult to say if we’ll get much clarity in Week 13 as
LA is a sieve against the run, which might encourage a lot more
Joe Mixon on Sunday.
Following a white-hot start, Ja’Marr Chase (3-39-0) has
cooled considerably, accounting for just 152 yards combined over
his last four games. For comparison, Chase had 201 yards against
Baltimore in Week 7. Perhaps not coincidentally, Tee Higgins (6-114-1)
has been on his best run of the season, averaging 76 yards per
outing during that same four-game stretch. Tyler Boyd (2-13-0),
meanwhile, has been completely hit or miss, with four contests
of less than 25 yards receiving in his last seven.
When a team is as bad as LA is against the run, it’s hard
to measure their relative strength as a pass defense. The numbers
say they’re very good, surrendering 204.9 yards per game,
which is fifth in the league. Their pass rush has flatlined, though,
with just six clubs posting fewer sacks on the year despite the
presence of Joey Bosa. At this point, Burrow is a shaky QB1, and
you shouldn’t hesitate to explore other avenues. Chase and
Higgins should both be started, but Boyd is a roll of the dice.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Burrow’s loss has been Mixon’s
gain, as the talented back is coming off his two best games of
the season, posting a 30-123-2 line against Las Vegas and a 28-165-2
game versus Pittsburgh. Next up is a Chargers squad that sits
at the bottom of the NFL in run defense, allowing 145.3 yards
per game on the ground and 4.7 yards per carry. Mixon is a high-end
RB1 with a plus matchup.
Game Thoughts: Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay passing game
get a plus matchup this week on the road against a Falcons defense
that has given up the third-most points to opposing quarterbacks
Brady posted his best week of the season when the two teams faced
off in Week 2 in Tampa Bay, with 276 yards and five touchdowns.
Mike Evans posted 5/75/2, Chris Godwin added 4/62/1, and Rob Gronkowski
also posted two receiving touchdowns.
Needless to say, you are starting a Tampa Bay player if you have
one, and you should expect big games from the big three receiving
Brady surprisingly did not throw a passing touchdown last week
against the Colts and should make up for it this week against
one of the league’s worst defensive units.
Antonio Brown will miss this game as well as he continues to
recover from an ankle injury and will miss additional time thanks
to a three-game suspension. Why the team did not place Brown on
IR is a mystery.
On a positive note, it does look like Brady and the offense will
get back Ali Marpet, their stud guard who has missed a few games
with an abdomen injury. Marpet logged a limited practice on Wednesday
but appears to be on track to play.
There are no injuries on the defensive side of the football to
report that would improve the outlook for Brady and the Bucs receiving
weapons. Frankly, they do not need any injuries on the Falcons
to destroy that defense.
Look for Brady to have at least three passing touchdowns with
a ceiling of five. Evans and Gronk are near locks for a score,
and Godwin is also in must-start, WR1 consideration.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette nearly doubled his touchdown
output last week against the Colts with four total touchdowns.
He jumped from just outside the top 12 at the position to 6th
and currently has more fantasy points than Aaron Jones, Nick Chubb,
Alvin Kamara, and Dalvin Cook.
If you used a mid-to-late round pick on Fournette, kudos to you.
The question is not if you are starting the former LSU star.
The question is where will the abundance of fantasy points scored
this week fall? Considering Brady did not throw a passing touchdown
last week, one would think he would want to get his and get his
receivers some love.
Yet as bad as the Falcons are against the pass, they are nearly
as bad against the run, and Fournette could be in for another
Game script is a consideration here, and it would not be the
worst thing in the world for head coach Bruce Arians to not play
Fournette on 81% of the snaps like he did last week in what was
a close game against the Colts.
We anticipate a blowout that could give Ronald Jones some garbage
time runs. It may be too much of a risk to play him in season-long,
but as a cheap DFS play, Jones could be interesting. He saw the
field on nearly 20% of the snaps in each of the last two weeks.
A lopsided game could push that to 30 %or even 40% of snaps.
Game Thoughts: For most of the season, the only two players
worthy of a start on the Falcons were tight end Kyle Pitts and
WR/RB Cordarrelle Patterson. At times other players like Russell
Gage, Mike Davis, and even Olamide Zaccheaus have provided fantasy
production, but for the most part, it has just been Pitts and
Patterson is a stud and a must-start in all formats despite this
challenging matchup. Pitts is another matter. The rookie has not
posted more than 62 yards or scored a touchdown since he had two
monster games against the lowly Jets and the Dolphins, who at
the time were struggling on defense.
Since then, Atlanta has faced four good defenses, and the Jaguars
and Pits has been a bust. The Buccaneers do rank 8th in points
allowed to opposing tight ends on the year, so technically, this
is a plus-matchup for tight ends like Pitts.
However, Matt Ryan is going to be under constant pressure, and
the entire passing offense is going to struggle if the team does
not give Ryan time. The tight end position is shallow, and finding
a stud tight end is not easy, but we are not high on Pitts in
If you are looking for a home run streaming option, Russell Gage
should be in consideration. He does have 15 targets in his last
two games and a score. Not great, but we anticipate the Falcons
will be down early and forced to pass, making Gage a possible
garbage time play.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: My first inclination was just to write
the word “no” and move on to the next game. But, I
owe it to the readers to explain why you should not consider starting
Mike Davis in this game. I wrote above that as a wide receiver
and running back, Cordarrelle Patterson is a start.
Davis, on the other hand, as just a running back, is a hard bench.
Only the Saints and the Panthers have given up fewer fantasy points
to opposing running backs in 2021. The Falcons are the worst running
offense in the league and managed just 41 rushing yards when these
two teams played in Week 2.
I would rather start Ronald Jones in this game than Mike Davis,
because and least Jones has the chance to give you some production.
Giants at Dolphins
- (Ken Ilchuk) Line: MIA -4.5 Total: 40.5
Game Thoughts: The big news here is the status of QB
Daniel Jones. A neck injury suffered last week has limited his
practice time and put his availability into question. Under interim
OC Freddie Kitchens, we saw more scripted run plays for Jones
and more calls that allowed him to use his athleticism in and
out of the pocket. Unfortunately, the result was the same lack
of scoring that has plagued this group all year. Whether it’s
Jones or backup Mike Glennon, the Giants don’t seem like
a place to be looking for your QB this week.
WR Sterling Shepard has only played in five games this season,
but when he has, he’s led the team in targets. He’s
been limited in practice this week again with a quad injury, but
if he is able to go, which there seems to be a chance of, he’s
a legitimate WR3 no matter who the QB is. Fellow wideout Kadarius
Toney is dealing with a quad injury of his own, but seems less
likely to play. An elusive playmaker when healthy, Toney has ben
battered by injury and illness and can’t be relied on. WR
Kenny Golladay’s seven targets were a positive and the most
he’s had since Week 4, but the 50 yards receiving were disappointing.
TE Evan Engram is on the field a lot, but hasn’t had more
than three catches in a game since Week 7.
The Dolphins’ 61% completion percentage is top five in
the league, but they have given up 50 plays of 20 yards or more,
second-worst in the league. But they have nearly 30 sacks and
have done a better job of pressuring the QB in recent weeks. Against
a battered, struggling Giants offense, they could be a sneaky
D/ST play this week.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: RB Saquon Barkley has yet to run for even
60 yards in a game through seven games this season. With Jones
possibly sidelined, you could make an argument that Barkley will
get a sizeable workload and put the team on his back. I would
argue that the Dolphins, who absolutely shut down Christian McCaffrey
last week, will stack the box, stop the run, and force Mike Glennon
to beat them with his arm. RB Devontae Booker is only a worthwhile
pickup if Barkley is out. I won’t be picking either up this
Game Thoughts: In his last five games QB Tua Tagovailoa
has completed at least 80% of his passes three times. He’s
attempted at least 30 passes in five of his last six games and
passed for at least 250 yards in three of his last six with nine
TD’s. He’s a borderline QB1, even against a Giants
defense that has done a good job against the pass this year.
DeVante Parker looks to be back in the fold this week and should
slot in as a WR3 if he does in fact play. Jaylen Waddle has been
targeted 104 times this season, 35 of them coming in the last
four weeks. He’s also coming off his first 100-yard game
of the season and is a WR1. TE Mike Gesicki is second to Waddle
on the team with 79 targets, and he’s on pace to shatter
all his best single season numbers. But despite not being much
of a scoring threat, he’s still a borderline TE1 against
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: RB Myles Gaskin gets the bulk of the carries,
stays on for all three downs, is a receiver out of the backfield
and a top scoring threat as a runner and receiver in the red zone.
Make him a high-end RB2 this week and he will serve you well.
Vikings @ Lions
- (Green) Line: MIN -7.0 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: Eleven games into the season, Kirk Cousins
has yet to throw for 300-plus yards in consecutive outings. Coming
off his best game of the year, a 341-yard, 3-TD effort in an upset
win over the Packers, Cousins regressed to the mean, completing
20 of 32 passes for 238 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT -- he put the cherry
on top by lining up behind the guard before a critical fourth-down
play. At this point, there’s not much more to be said. Cousins
giveth, and Cousins taketh away. He has a solid matchup on tap,
but the veteran passed for 275 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT in the earlier
encounter with the Lions. As always, proceed at your own risk.
Despite the inconsistency of Cousins, Justin Jefferson (4-83-0)
and Adam Thielen (5-62-2) continue to put up steady numbers. In
Year 8, Thielen has become an underneath and intermediate target,
averaging a career-low 10.9 yards per catch; but with two scoring
grabs last Sunday he’s now tied with Cooper Kupp for the
NFL lead in receiving TDs (10). Jefferson, meanwhile, has continued
his ascent into the upper stratosphere of wideouts, ranking third
in yardage (1,027) while posting 65 receiving yards or more in
all but one of his 11 games. Tyler Conklin (2-25-0), who had a
nice midseason run, has tapered off with just 71 combined receiving
yards during the past three weeks.
The Lions sit smack dab in the middle of the NFL pass defense
rankings, allowing 242.9 yards per game. They contained both Cousins
and Thielen (2-40-0) back in Week 5, but Jefferson lit them up
for 124 yards on seven receptions. Minnesota’s top two receivers
are both must-plays with JJ as a WR1 and Thielen a WR2.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: For the second time this season, the Lions
will avoid facing Dalvin Cook (shoulder), who dislocated his shoulder
last Sunday and is expected to miss at least two games. Alexander
Mattison will take over Cook’s duties. Back in October,
Mattison piled up 153 total yards and a touchdown in Minnesota’s
19-17 win. This Sunday, he should be viewed as an RB1 against
the league’s No. 29 run D.
Game Thoughts: Jared Goff returned from a one-game absence
to start against the Bears on Thanksgiving, completing 21 of his
25 attempts for 171 yards and 2 TDs. An early bomb to Josh Reynolds
for a 39-yard TD offered a glimmer of hope that we might see some
juice from Detroit’s offense, but none of Goff’s other
20 connections covered more than 17 yards. He threw for 203 yards,
0 TDs and 1 INT against Minnesota in Week 5 and is once again
of zero interest to fantasy owners.
As expected, Reynolds (3-70-1) immediately became the Lions’
most talented wideout after he was claimed off waivers from the
Titans (wonder if they’re regretting that?). His connection
with Goff from their time with the Rams is a bonus, and he has
enough potential to make a risk/reward flex play for the bold
(or desperate). T.J. Hockenson (3-35-1) snagged his first TD grab
since Week 2 last Thursday and remains playable as a TE1, though
he did little (2-22-0) in his first matchup with the Vikings.
Make no mistake, Minnesota does not have a good defense. A handful
of familiar names may try to fool you, but don’t let them.
The Vikings are 22nd in pass defense by virtue of giving up 248.5
yards per game. They’re also unlikely to have Patrick Peterson
(illness), who was placed on the COVID-IR earlier this week. Of
course, the Lions don’t have the players to truly take advantage
of it, but it’s still a plus matchup.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: As it happens, Cook won’t be the
only starting back that will be sidelined Sunday as D’Andre
Swift (shoulder) is expected to miss some time with a sprained
AC joint suffered on Thanksgiving. That should mean a heavy workload
for Jamaal Williams (15-65-0). Williams and Swift combined to
post a 24-108-1 line back in Week 5, and that looks like an attainable
goal for Williams this Sunday. Consider him an RB2 against the
Vikings, which are 30th in the league at 134.4 yards allowed per
game on the ground.
Jaguars at Rams
- (Caron) Line: LAR -13.0 Total: 48.0
Game Thoughts: Expectations are low in Jacksonville so
it’s hard to be too critical on him, but it’d be difficult
to sell the rookie season of Trevor Lawrence as anything more
than disappointing thus far. The No. 1 overall pick has had his
moments, including in Week 1 when he threw three touchdown passes,
but he’s now failed to reach even two touchdown passes in
a single game in any other contest. He’s added a couple
of scores with his legs and he’s typically been contributing
20 to 30 yards or so on the ground which is more than most would’ve
expected, but he’s still been a low-end QB2 at best most
weeks. Don’t look for that to change much in Week 13 as
he and the Jaguars head on the road to face Jalen Ramsey, Aaron
Donald and the Rams.
While Los Angeles has only been middle-of-the-pack against opposing
QBs, they’ve mostly been lit up by some of the truly elite
quarterbacks in the game including Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray
and Tom Brady. When they’ve faced non-elite quarterbacks,
they’ve almost always held them in check from a fantasy
That doesn’t bode well for Lawrence and really any member
of the Jacksonville passing attack. The Jaguars lost tight end
Dan Arnold to a sprained MCL and he’ll likely miss the remainder
of the season, which really depletes an already ugly passing game.
Wide receiver Marvin Jones started the season off hot and he’s
continued to see a decent target share given the situation, but
Jones has now failed to reach even 10 PPR fantasy points in seven
of his past eight contests. He’ll likely see most of the
coverage from Jalen Ramsey, so he’s a must-avoid for sure.
Meanwhile Laviska Shenault has been in a similar boat, having
also failed to exceed 10 PPR fantasy points in six of his past
seven games. This just is not a passing game that anyone should
be investing in at the moment - at least until we see one of the
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: The Jaguars have been an ugly fantasy situation
for awhile now, but running back James Robinson (heel) continues
to be a viable weekly RB2 for fantasy despite some truly horrible
game scripts. Robinson has carried the ball at least 12 times
in eight of his past nine games and the only exception was in
a game that he was knocked out of early with an injury. That type
of carry total, especially on a team that doesn’t win many
games, is pretty impressive in the year 2021.
Unfortunately, Robinson does seem to lack the true high-end RB1
upside that he had throughout much of the 2020 season. He’s
checking in with decent numbers, but he hasn’t reached a
20 point PPR total since Week 5. The Rams aren’t great against
opposing running backs, but they aren’t bad either, so we’ll
continue to look at Robinson as being a solid RB2 in this contest.
Game Thoughts: The Rams have been going through some
tough times in recent weeks, but, even in a Week 12 game which
saw them down multiple scores for much of the afternoon, quarterback
Matthew Stafford showed that he’s still capable of putting
a nice fantasy day on the board. Stafford threw for 302 yards
- his fifth 300-yard day - and three touchdowns with an interception.
Stafford has now exceeded 20 fantasy points in six of his 11 contests.
This high volume passing attack has been great for Rams receivers
all season and we now see Odell Beckham Jr. emerging with his
new team. Beckham tied Cooper Kupp with 10 targets in Week 12,
five of which he caught for 81 yards and a touchdown. Being in
a more high volume passing attack seems like a huge improvement
for his fantasy prospects going forward and it’s now reasonable
to start looking at him as a borderline weekly WR2/WR3.
Kupp and third WR Van Jefferson appear to be essentially keeping
their same roles following the injury to Robert Woods. This means
that Kupp remains one of, if not the top wide receiver in all
of fantasy football while Jefferson is a WR3/Flex.
Tight end Tyler Higbee remains a bit of a disappointment given
how much of an opportunity he’s seeing. He’s been
targeted 20 times over the past three weeks alone, but has only
caught nine of those passes for 74 yards. That’s just not
enough. He did get into the end zone against the 49ers in Week
10, but he’s otherwise been held out of the end zone since
Week 5. It’s hard to find much at the tight end position,
but it looks as though Beckham Jr. is indeed going to fit in as
the team’s second wide receiver option, essentially replacing
Woods completely, so the potential for Higbee to get more involved
seems to be slipping away. You can still put him in your lineup
as a low-end TE1, but he’s probably going to disappoint
more often than he delivers.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: Darrell Henderson headed into Week 12 with
his first back-to-back sub-10 PPR point performances in his rear
view mirror, but he got back to RB1 status by getting involved
both as a runner and as a receiver in the Rams’ victory
over the Packers. Unfortunately, Henderson exited the game with
a thigh injury and his status for this week’s contest against
the Jaguars is now in question. He hasn’t practiced as of
Thursday and there’s a real chance that he’ll end
up being sidelined in what should be a game that presents a potentially
big fantasy opportunity.
If Henderson is unable to go, look for the Rams to turn to Sony
Michel to be the team’s primary back on Sunday. Michel has
been used only sparingly since Henderson returned from injury
early in the season, but we did get a glimpse of what his usage
might be like without Henderson when he carried the ball 20 times
and caught a season high three passes against Tampa Bay back in
Week 3. The Rams don’t seem to care who their top back is
- they’re going to feed him - and that’s great news
in what could be a game in which the Rams enjoy a significant
positive game script.
Pay close attention to what the injury reports sound like, but
we’ll want to rank the Rams starter as an RB2 this week
at Raiders - (Caron) Line: LV -1.0 Total: 49.5
Game Thoughts: Quarterback Taylor Heinicke isn’t
exactly a household name, but the truth is that he’s actually
been a viable QB2 this season and even a decent bye week fill-in
at QB1. Heinicke has not scored double-digit fantasy points in
five straight games and he’s scored 20 or more points in
five out of his 11 starts. Sure, he’s been held to fewer
than 12 points in five games as well so it’s been very boom
or bust, but he’s the kind of player who can really help
put you over the hump when he does boom.
Las Vegas earned an impressive win over Dallas on Thanksgiving
and has now had a week and a half to prepare for this contest
against Washington. The Raiders have also been very up and down
with their defense this season, particularly against quarterbacks.
They’ve conceded seven 20-or-more-point fantasy days to
opposing quarterbacks, but they’ve also had a few games
where they’ve pretty much shut down the opposing quarterback.
One thing that is a bit interesting is that they’ve struggled
against some of the more mobile quarterbacks they’ve faced,
having given up 86 rushing yards to Lamar Jackson back in Week
1 and then 61 rushing yards to Jalen Hurts in Week 7. Heinicke
is not as mobile as Jackson or even Hurts, but he’s definitely
shown himself to be one of the better runners at the position.
He’s already rushed for 279 yards this season and there’s
a good chance that he’ll need to use his legs to keep drives
alive for Washington this week.
While Curtis Samuel made his return to the starting lineup in
Week 12 and appears likely to suit up again in Week 13, the truth
is that there’s really only one player who we’re very
excited about in the Washington passing game and that’s
Terry McLaurin. McLaurin hasn’t been extremely consistent
this season, but he’s delivered four 20-point PPR fantasy
days which has allowed him to be a WR2 even in a season where
his team’s quarterback play has been shaky at times. McLaurin
has been targeted at least seven times in every game since Week
1, so he’s getting plenty of opportunities and that makes
him a nice WR2 even in what could be a good matchup against a
Raiders defense that has given up the 5th most fantasy points
to opposing wide receivers this season.
The only other pass catcher in Washington that should be interesting
to fantasy owners is tight end Logan Thomas. Thomas made his return
to the lineup after missing six straight contests and immediately
returned to his role as the team’s primary tight end. Backup
John Bates still saw significant playing time, but it’s
worth considering that Washington played quite a few two-TE sets
against Seattle, so Thomas was on the field for the vast majority
of the snaps. Thomas started the season off by scoring two touchdowns
in three games and should be back to his role as the team’s
second option in the passing game. The tight end position is horrible
this year so it’s probably worth taking a shot on him against
the Raiders this week, especially considering that Las Vegas has
given up the third-most fantasy points per game to the position,
including eight touchdowns on the year.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: A concussion knocked J.D. McKissic out
of Washington’s Week 12 game against Seattle and he still
hasn’t practiced as of Thursday so his chances of playing
are becoming less likely by the day. If he doesn’t play,
second-year back Antonio Gibson immediately becomes a legit RB1
for fantasy in this matchup.
Gibson had been a bit of a disappointment this season, but he’s
finally been getting a large touch share over the past three weeks,
including a ridiculous 36-touch game against Seattle in Week 12.
Gibson carried the ball 29 times for 111 yards, but more interesting
was his usage in the passing game where he caught seven passes
for an additional 35 yards. McKissic has been really throttling
Gibson’s fantasy value due to his role in the passing game,
but if he’s out then Gibson immediately becomes the team’s
best pass catching back and should find himself seeing plenty
of opportunities in that area.
Las Vegas has given up the sixth-most fantasy points per game
to opposing running backs and there have been times where they’ve
really been exposed by pass catching backs. Even if McKissic does
suit up, Gibson should see enough carries to be a reliable RB2
with RB1 upside.
Game Thoughts: The Raiders have suffered some serious
losses in their passing game, but nothing is more noteworthy than
the knee injury that tight end Darren Waller suffered in the team’s
victory over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. We don’t yet know
when Waller will be back on the field, but we have to assume that
he’ll be out this week and that’s obviously a concern
for quarterback Derek Carr who’s been a bit of a rollercoaster
fantasy performer as of late. While he’s delivered a couple
of 20-point fantasy days, Carr has been held to fewer than 12
points in three of his past seven games. He’s typically
been a reliable QB2 throughout most of his career, but Carr just
hasn’t done enough to be considered a QB1 even when Waller
has been on the field.
With Waller out, the team will turn to tight end Foster Moreau
to be their primary pass catching tight end for the foreseeable
future. Moreau hasn’t done much most weeks this season,
but he’s had his moments where he’s been involved
in the offense and he does have some impressive physical attributes.
He’s not Waller, but Moreau is in an interesting spot to
potentially finish as a fantasy TE1 this week. The Raiders pass
catchers are depleted in general and Washington’s pass defense
is horrendous in general, so the upside is certainly there.
Only one wide receiver in Las Vegas has really been worth owning
and that’s slot receiver Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow has been
unbelievably consistent all season long, having scored at least
10 PPR fantasy points in all but two starts, but he finally got
his first 20-point day against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Renfrow
led the team with eight receptions for 134 yards in that contest.
With Waller now out, look for Renfrow to see his target share
rise even more throughout the remainder of this injury, especially
since he and Waller often operate in a similar part of the field.
It’ll be hard to ever really consider Renfrow a WR1 for
fantasy, but at this point it’s pretty hard to deny that
he’s a very reliable PPR WR2.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: If you’re looking for a weekly reliable
RB2 for fantasy, your search is over. I present to you: Raiders
running back Josh Jacobs. Jacobs missed a couple of games earlier
this season, but he’s otherwise been an extraordinarily
reliable fantasy RB2 this season, having finished with at least
10 PPR fantasy points in all but one game he’s played in.
What’s perhaps not overly surprising, though, is that while
Jacobs has delivered decent numbers most games, he hasn’t
yet delivered a truly big game as he hasn’t yet reached
the 20-point mark in any one contest.
Part of that is that while Jacobs has been by far the most productive
back, he’s still giving up between five to 10 touches in
just about every game to backup Kenyan Drake. That might not sound
like much, but in an offense that isn’t particularly high-paced,
it can certainly be enough to prevent Jacobs from ever really
reaching a truly significant ceiling.
This week Jacobs faces a Washington defense that has been a pass
funnel, which defenses have been happy to take advantage of while
limiting their running backs’ touches. Only three times
all season has a running back carried the ball 15 or more times
against Washington. Washington has, however, been quite exploitable
through the air as of late. Five different running backs have
caught at least five passes in a game against Washington over
their past seven games. Jacobs hasn’t been a high-end pass
catcher, but he’s seeing more usage in the passing game
over the past month than he did earlier in the year, so there’s
some hope that he can continue to do that this week against Washington.
Realistically, though, Jacobs is more of a mid-to-low-end RB2
in this matchup, as the Raiders are much more likely to want to
pass the ball than run against this defense.
Ravens @ Steelers
- (Green) Line: BAL -4.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: It’s difficult to play much worse
than the Ravens did on SNF and still win. How difficult? Before
Sunday night, teams that had: a) scored fewer than 17 points,
b) gained less than 325 total yards, and c) thrown four more INTs
than their opponents, had a combined record of 0-275-1 in the
Super Bowl Era. Make 1-275-1 after the Ravens beat Cleveland in
a game where Lamar Jackson completed 20 of 32 passes for 165 yards,
1 TD and 4 INTs. He salvaged a smidgen of value by rushing for
68 yards on 17 carries, but it was still among the worst performances
of his career.
Marquise Brown (8-51-0) returned after a one-game absence to
catch a bunch of short passes. It was essentially the same role
he played during their Week 10 loss to Miami when he posted a
6-37-0 line. This isn’t a good trend for Brown, who averaged
better than 17 yards per catch in three of his first four games.
Mark Andrews (4-65-1) is still the 1b to Brown’s 1a in the
pecking order, and his 39-yard reception Sunday night will be
seen for years to come. Rashad Bateman (4-31-0) looks like a capable
third option, but with Baltimore’s passing game scuffling
he’s someone to leave on the bench.
Pittsburgh has been shredded the past two weeks. Most of it came
on the ground this past Sunday, but they gave up 382 yards passing
in Week 11. For the year, the Steelers are 12th at 234.5 yards
per game. Despite his recent struggles, Jackson, who passed for
208 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs in his lone meeting with Pittsburgh
in 2020, is still a solid QB1. Andrews remains a must-start TE1
while Brown can still be used as a WR2, though he’s been
delivering nothing more than flex value of late.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: When Latavius Murray (9-44-1) injured
his ankle back on Oct. 17, he was clearly the top back in Baltimore.
While he returned two weeks ago, that job firmly belongs to Devonta
Freeman (17-68-0), who has 39 combined touches over the past two
weeks compared to 20 for Murray. Once a proud run defense, Pittsburgh
had no answer for Joe Mixon last Sunday and currently sits 28th
in the league, yielding 133.1 yards per game on an NFL-high 4.8
yards per carry. Freeman is the safe play as an RB3, but Murray
can be dusted off as a flex play in this matchup.
Game Thoughts: Not much went right for the Steelers last
Sunday, starting with an abysmal showing by Ben Roethlisberger.
The 39-year-old looked like he was moving in slow motion, absorbing
three sacks and turning the ball over three times with a pick-six
late in the first half officially ushering in garbage time. If
things keep trending this direction, you wonder how many starts
Big Ben has left in him. Obviously, they won’t make a change
while still in the thick of the playoff hunt, but the clock is
There is at least some young talent at the skill positions in
the Steel City, starting with Diontae Johnson (9-95-0), who has
solidified his spot as the team’s No. 1 receiver. He has
been targeted at least 13 times in five of his last six games,
and though he has only scored once since Week 5, Johnson has earned
a spot as low-end WR1. Chase Claypool (3-82-0) hasn’t been
able to match the success he enjoyed as a rookie, but he’s
posted 175 yards receiving over the past two weeks and has borderline
Pittsburgh also appears to have found a young tight end with
Pat Freiermuth (head), who has five TD receptions in his last
five games. He’s currently in the NFL’s concussion
protocol but looks to have chance of being cleared to play in
Week 13. The rookie is a TE1 if he’s active. All three of
the Steelers’ young playmakers should be attractive versus
a Ravens defense that is currently last in the NFL in pass defense;
they’ve given up 275.5 yards per game through the air. Even
with that, Big Ben must remain benched.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: As I noted last week, there were some
worrying signs for the Steelers’ running game when Najee
Harris (8-23-0) totaled 144 yards on 38 carries in a two-game
span against the league’s two lowest ranked run defenses.
Last week, the rookie set career lows in carries and yards. He
also saw limited involvement as a receiver out of the backfield.
Only Tampa Bay has allowed fewer rushing yards per game than the
Ravens (84.2), so Pittsburgh will need to involve Harris more
in the passing attack. He's still an RB1, but things are heading
the wrong way.
49ers at Seahawks
- (Caron) Line: SF -3.5 Total: 45.5
Game Thoughts: Fantasy managers who selected Trey Lance
early in drafts have been hugely disappointed, but the reality
is that veteran starter Jimmy Garoppolo has done just enough to
hold onto his starting job throughout the season and now it looks
like he’s going to continue to keep it down the stretch
as the 49ers make a final push for the playoffs. Unfortunately,
Garoppolo himself doesn’t bring nearly the fantasy excitement
that Lance would from the quarterback position. He’s been
held to fewer than 20 fantasy points in all but one game and he’s
finished with fewer than 12 points in three contests. That lack
of upside combined with still possessing a pretty low floor makes
Garoppolo a low-end QB2, especially against a team like Seattle
who prefers to run a very slow-paced offense themselves and limit
the total opportunities for both teams.
While Garoppolo himself isn’t exciting for fantasy, things
have been good for wide receiver Deebo Samuel who has not only
been an exceptional traditional pass catcher, but has also been
one of the league’s most prominent “gadget”
type contributors. Unfortunately, it looks as though Samuel is
going to miss this week’s contest due to a groin injury,
which certainly throws a wrench into things for this offense which
has been featuring him so prominently.
With Samuel out, the obvious beneficiaries should be wide receiver
Brandon Aiyuk and tight end George Kittle, both of whom have mostly
been performing well as of late even with Samuel on the field.
Aiyuk appears to be completely out of the dog house now and he
has to be looked at as a pretty solid WR2 this week. The Seahawks
have actually been quietly good against opposing wide receivers,
but a consolidated target share should allow Aiyuk to still deliver
a pretty decent fantasy day.
Kittle did have his worst game of the 2021 season this past week,
but it looks to be mostly a blip on the radar, as he had scored
a touchdown in each of his three previous games since returning
from injury. The tight end position is just so terrible that it’s
hard to believe that anyone has a better option than Kittle on
their roster, so just try to look beyond this past week’s
performance and understand that Kittle is one of the league’s
most physically gifted players and should have an increased opportunity
share here in Week 13.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie running back Elijah Mitchell missed
Week 11’s contest against the Jaguars due to injury, but
sandwiching that game on either side is a 27-carry performance
against the Rams and a 27-carry performance against the Vikings.
That kind of usage on the ground is almost completely unprecedented
in today’s game and with Deebo Samuel likely sidelined,
there’s a real chance that Mitchell makes a push for that
level of touches yet again this week.
Mitchell has emerged as a potential league winner down the stretch
and he’ll have a huge opportunity this week against a Seahawks
defense that has been horrible against opposing running backs.
Seattle is coming off a game in which they just allowed the duo
of Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic to 202 total yards and two
touchdowns, including 12 receptions. The week prior to that saw
them give up nearly 100 total yards and a touchdown to James Conner.
Then before that they gave up 214 total yards and a pair of touchdowns
to the duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. Needless to say, this
team is getting exposed by opposing backs and Mitchell is red
hot heading into this one. It’s been tough to truly call
him an RB1 going into most weeks, but this is that opportunity.
Play Mitchell with confidence this week.
Game Thoughts: Following his injury and three relatively
mediocre performances, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has
now failed to reach 20 fantasy points since all the way back in
Week 4. He had started the season off fairly hot with three such
performances in his first four starts of the season, but he’s
now been held to fewer than 250 yards passing in every game since
Week 3. We’ve rarely seen Wilson be a truly high volume
passer, but he’s typically been able to remain fantasy relevant
due to his rushing ability and touchdown efficiency. That hasn’t
been the case, however, as Wilson has reached 30 yards on the
ground just once and he’s been held to one or fewer passing
touchdowns in four of his seven starts. It’s tough to admit,
sure, but this might just be what we get from Wilson through the
remainder of the season, as it seems obvious that he isn’t
fully healthy and the Seattle offense just isn’t innovative
enough to get much out of him at the moment. With that information,
it’s safe to move Wilson out of your fantasy team’s
QB1 role, especially when playing a defense like San Francisco’s
which hasn’t allowed a 250-yard passer since all the way
back in Week 3 when Aaron Rodgers narrowly did it.
The low volume Seattle passing attack hurts everyone in the offense,
but DK Metcalf has suffered the worst of all as of late. Metcalf
has now turned in three straight sub-10-point PPR fantasy days
for the Seahawks - the three worst fantasy games of his 2021 season.
He’s only gone over 10 targets once this entire season,
but he had been still delivering for fantasy owners due to his
big play expertise and touchdown proficiency. That hasn’t
been the case as of late, obviously. We have to assume that Metcalf’s
upside is limited right now due to the Seahawks offense in general,
so he needs to be dropped down from his usual mid-to-low WR1 status
to more of a WR2.
Fellow wide receiver Tyler Lockett has actually put up decent
fantasy numbers in back to back weeks, but he’s done so
on just 10 total targets and it’s tough to believe that
he can continue to have much success given his low opportunity
share. The Seahawks have made it clear that they plan on continuing
to run a very slow-paced, control-the-clock-type offense which
just doesn’t give many opportunities for pass catchers to
truly have huge days. Still, Lockett is a WR3/Flex player this
week given that he’s scored 12 or more PPR fantasy points
in three of his past four games. He’s a notoriously streaky
player and this could just be one of his “hot” streaks.
Tight end Gerald Everett is a sneaky pickup on waiver wires this
week as he’s now seen 21 targets over his past three games.
For perspective, that’s more than either Metcalf or Lockett
over that stretch. Certainly we shouldn’t be expecting that
Everett is suddenly emerging as some sort of target volume monster,
but we do know that Wilson seems to trust him and he’s been
performing relatively well with the opportunities he’s been
given. Tight end is a dumpster fire, so if you’re looking
for a Darren Waller replacement or just in need of a change at
the position, you could do worse than Everett right now.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: An abdomen injury has Alex Collins’
status in doubt for this Sunday’s game against the 49ers.
The running back saw just seven carries this past week - his fewest
since becoming the every week starter earlier - and the Seahawks
just added Adrian Peterson to their practice squad this week.
Peterson hasn’t yet been activated to the main roster and
likely won’t be if Collins is able to play, but that’s
a situation to keep an eye on as Peterson’s lack of effectiveness
in the passing game would be totally fine in this Seattle offense
that pretty much doesn’t even bother to use their running
backs as anything other than between-the-tackles grinders.
Assuming Collins is able to go, it’d be tough to trust him
as anything more than a non-PPR flex play. Despite being the top
back on the roster, Collins has failed to reach even 12 total
touches in any game since Week 7. Not coincidentally, he also
hasn’t scored a touchdown in any of those games.
Opportunity is king in fantasy football and we know that Seattle
is willing to give him the ball near the goal line so there’s
always the potential for a touchdown or even a multi-touchdown
game, but this is just not a backfield you want to be invested
in right now.
Broncos at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: KC -9.5 Total: 47.0
Game Thoughts: Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
hasn’t thrown for multiple touchdowns since all the way
back in Week 7 and he’s now failed to reach even 225 passing
yards in five straight contests after being knocked out of this
past week’s contest against the Chargers. This week he gets
another division matchup against the Chiefs.
Kansas City ranks third-worst in the NFL in fantasy points per
game conceded to opposing quarterbacks this season so there’s
some reason to believe that Bridgewater has hope in this game.
However, the Chiefs have actually been quite good against opposing
passers as of late. They completely shut down Dak Prescott when
we saw them most recently, allowing him to throw just 216 yards
and no touchdowns with two interceptions. They haven’t allowed
a quarterback to reach 300 passing yards or throw for more than
two touchdowns in a game since they played against Josh Allen
back in Week 5. With the Chiefs coming off of their bye week,
they should be well-rested and as healthy as they’ve been
in quite some time, so it’s just too risky to go with someone
with a low ceiling like Bridgewater in your lineup this week.
There are really only two pass catchers in Denver who should be
considered for fantasy at the moment. The top one is wide receiver
Jerry Jeudy who is coming off of his worst performance of the
season, catching just two passes for 25 yards on only three targets
this past week. Jeudy had, however, seen 17 targets over his previous
two games and while he’s yet to find the end zone since
returning from his injury, he’s still likely to continue
to see the heaviest share of targets in this low volume Denver
passing game. He’s not very exciting, but you could do worse
than Jeudy in a PPR right now.
Tight end Noah Fant is also coming off of a disappointing performance
against the Chargers, but he’s seen at least four targets
in all but one game this season while averaging nearly six targets
per game. No, those numbers aren’t anything to jump out
of your chair for, but the tight end position is pretty terrible
in 2021 so he’s a low-end TE1 in this contest.
Wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick have each had
their moments, but neither player has done much since Jeudy returned
to the lineup. In fact, the two of them each have just one double-digit
PPR game over the Broncos’ past five games. That’s
just not enough to make them viable fantasy options right now.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: As fantasy owners, we absolutely hate split
backfields. We’d much prefer one back to just become the
every down bell cow so that we can reap all of the rewards in
one easy little roster spot. Unfortunately, that’s not what
we’ve seen in Denver at all this season. Through 12 weeks,
Denver’s duo of Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams have
split the work almost equally and it’s shown in the fantasy
numbers as neither player has been able to consistently deliver
RB2 numbers, but both have been productive enough to be pretty
consistent Flex players.
However, for the first time this season, it appears as though
we might actually see a close-to-full touch distribution headed
in one direction as Gordon is nursing multiple injuries that have
kept him off of the practice field this week. He’s currently
listed as questionable and we don’t have a great understanding
of what’s to come for the remainder of the week, but with
Gordon hampered and potentially completely sidelined, Williams
becomes a very intriguing upside fantasy running back this week.
The Chiefs defense has been quite good against opposing running
backs this season, but don’t let that take you off of Williams
if we do find out that Gordon is going to be out or even limited.
A 20-touch game would be quite attainable for him in that scenario
and we’ve seen the rookie show off some truly special talent
Pay close attention to the injury reports leading up to this weekend’s
games, but understand that the Broncos and Chiefs play on Sunday
night and there’s a chance that you won’t have the
opportunity to shift around your lineup if Gordon does end up
being out, so plan accordingly.
Game Thoughts: It’s no secret that the Chiefs and
quarterback Patrick Mahomes have been struggling on offense as
of late. Sure, they had the Week 10 slaughtering of the Raiders
in which Mahomes threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns, but
aside from that one exceptional performance, he’s been far
outside of QB1 range in recent memory. Mahomes has been held to
14 or fewer standard fantasy points in four of his past five games,
including his most recent game against the Cowboys in which he
threw for just 260 yards and an interception while failing to
throw a touchdown for the second time this season.
With the fantasy playoffs just around the corner, it’s reasonable
to be worried about this passing game as defenses seem to be fully
aware that the only two players on the roster who are capable
of consistently getting open are Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
To make matters worse, the Chiefs now have the difficult task
of playing against the Broncos who boast one of the league’s
best pass defenses in 2021. While they struggled a bit this past
week against Justin Herbert, Denver has still not allowed any
quarterback to score more than two touchdowns against them yet
this season and they’ve conceded just three passing days
of over 270 yards on the year.
We know that Mahomes is capable of completely shattering all expectations,
but this just isn’t an ideal on-paper matchup. He’s
still a QB1 because of his insane upside, but we shouldn’t
be looking at him as a locked in top-end option for this week.
While the other wide receivers in Kansas City have been a gigantic
dud from a fantasy standpoint, Hill remains one of the league’s
best. Not only has he delivered some big spike weeks with six
20-or-more point PPR days and four 27-or-more PPR days, but Hill
has also been remarkably consistent for a player of his skill
set. He’s only been held to fewer than 12 PPR points in
three games. Sure, he does have a difficult on-paper matchup against
a good Denver secondary, but his combination of floor and ceiling
is practically unmatched. He’s a WR1 in just about any matchup.
With Darren Waller going down, the tight end position got even
thinner this past week and it’s again looking more and more
likely that Travis Kelce is going to finish as 2021’s highest-scoring
fantasy tight end. The only player who even has a realistic chance
of catching him is Baltimore’s Mark Andrews. Sure, it’s
easy to look at Kelce’s total numbers this season and be
a bit disappointed when comparing them to what he did last year,
but the reality is that he’s still an incredible producer
at the fantasy football’s thinnest position. The Broncos
have been great against opposing tight ends this season, but this
is a different beast that they’re facing here in Week 13.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: Second-year running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire
made his return to the field in Week 12, rushing for 63 yards
and a touchdown on 12 carries against the Cowboys. This was notable
because we weren’t entirely sure that he’d be able
to get back to the workhorse role that he had been carving out
earlier this season prior to his injury. What ended up happening,
though, was that Darrel Williams saw just six touches in the game
and it appears that the backfield is back to being a roughly 70/30
Edwards-Helaire is in an interesting spot this week as he’ll
be up against a Denver defense that is fairly good overall, but
they’ve really struggled against opposing running backs
in games that they’ve lost. With the Chiefs being about
a 10-point favorite on sportsbooks, we have to assume that the
Broncos could fall behind multiple scores in this one, which could
certainly lead to a higher-than-normal workload for the Kansas
City running backs.
Edwards-Helaire’s usage in the passing game has been disappointing
since he came into the NFL, but he’s shown himself to be
a reliable between-the-tackles runner. He had an additional week
to get even healthier this past week, so this looks like a potential
smash matchup for him. We’ll keep him out of RB1 territory
for now, but CEH might be getting slept on by some fantasy analysts
Game Thoughts: Don’t look now, but Bill Belichick
may be loosening the reins on rookie QB Mac Jones. Over the last
three games, Jones is completing nearly 80% of his passes, has
tossed 6 TD’s, is averaging just under 9.0 yards per attempt,
and even has a 300-yard effort thrown in for good measure. Experts
keep talking about his rookie mistakes and the Patriots’
run-first attack. But in that same three week span he’s
thrown just one INT, and the run game is setting up the play-action
game that is essentially driving his success. It’s a tough
machup this week against a defense that has been embarrassed recently
and may be looking to avenge itself. But Belichick and OC Josh
McDaniels have been putting Jones in a position to succeed, and
I wouldn’t be afraid to play him in a pinch.
The volume hasn’t been there for the Pats’ receivers.
Given the run focus of the system and Jones’ ability to
spread the ball around, only Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne
get flex treatment this week. Bourne has caught 13 of 14 targets
over the last three games for 201 yards and 3 TD. Meyers has caught
13 of 18 for just under 190 yards in the same span. TE Hunter
Henry has been quiet in recent weeks and is coming off back-to-back
scoreless weeks for the first time since Week 3. He will always
be a threat the closer New England gets to the goal line, but
he’s a TD-dependent TE2 this week.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: The Bills defense was exposed by Colts
RB Jonathan Taylor two weeks ago. I would expect Belichick to
take a page from that book and attack Buffalo on the ground, keeping
that pass rush at bay and using the play action pass to by time
for Jones. Damien Harris splits 1st and 2nd down work with Rhamondre
Stevenson, but Harris has been the favored back and should maintain
RB2 status given his goal line work. Brandon Bolden has emerged
as a 3rd down receiving threat, but as mentioned above, look for
Harris to drive the offense, especially early.
Game Thoughts: When Allen has been on this year, like
he was Thanksgiving night, he has been unbelievable. But when
he’s struggled, he’s struggled badly. Last week, he
faced a banged up Saints team. This week he lines up across from
the best defense in the league, especially against the pass. Expect
Bill Belichick to pressure from every corner of the field to keep
Allen off-balance. He will also have to deal with a ball-hawking
secondary that leads the NFL with 19 INT’s.
The good news is Allen has started to re-connect with WR Stefon
Diggs, who has 6 TD’s in his last six games and at least
five catches in five games during that stretch. Given the matchup,
he’s a safe play as a WR2. TE Dawson Knox has returned from
injury with 10 catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns in the
last three games. He has been a go-to guy for Allen, but Belichick
historically takes away what you do best, so expect tough sledding
for the young, budding superstar this week.
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: The Patriots are allowing a surprising
4.5 yards per carry. RB Devin Singletary has taken over the lead
role for now, and as a bit of a slasher, could post some decent
numbers on the ground. But Matt Breida was averaging just under
10 yards per carry over two games leading up to Thanksgiving,
and may be auditioning for a bigger role. But the truth is either
of them is as critical to the rushing attack as Allen. The Bills
staff has started including more designed runs in the game plan
and given Allen more freedom to tuck it and run when he sees the
opportunity. That could be a key to keeping this New England defense
honest, but it will boost Allen’s stock more than any of