- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Steelers @ Vikings
- (Green) Line: MIN -3.0 Total: 43.5
Game Thoughts: Just when you think the Steelers are out...
they pull you back in. Coming off a three-game stretch that included
a tie with Detroit and consecutive losses in which they allowed
41 points, Pittsburgh knocked off the AFC’s No. 1 seed last
Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger completed 21 of 31 passes for 236 yards
and a pair of TDs, marking the third time in four games that the
veteran has passed for multiple scores without an interception.
He’s still not doing enough to entrust with regular QB1
duty, but Big Ben can be carried as a serviceable secondary option.
It's been trending this way for a while now, but Diontae Johnson
(8-105-2) has really separated himself and is coming into his
own as a legit No. 1 receiver in the NFL. He had a bad drop in
Week 13 but still had a huge day that included a game-winning
touchdown grab in the final minutes. Chase Claypool (2-52-0) works
as the downfield threat, and Pat Freiermuth (3-26-0) has become
a dangerous option in the red zone and on third down. Meanwhile,
the idea that someone like Ray-Ray McCloud or James Washington
would carve out a significant role without JuJu Smith-Schuster
The Vikings are 23rd in the NFL in pass defense at 250.5 yards
per game. After sinking a lot of money into overhauling the secondary,
the results have been disappointing. You can blame some of it
on injury -- Patrick Peterson (illness) was out last Sunday on
the COVID list -- but the struggles have come regardless of who’s
healthy. Johnson is now a weekly WR1 with elite-level utilization,
while Claypool is a low-end WR2 or strong WR3 against the Vikings.
Freiermuth is a low-end TE1.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: While Najee Harris (21-71-0) averaged
less than 4.0 yards per carry for the sixth time in seven games
last Sunday, he had his biggest receiving output since Oct. 17
with 36 yards on five grabs. It put the rookie over the century
mark in total yardage for the sixth time. Only three clubs have
surrendered more yards per game on the ground than Minnesota (131.5),
which is second only to the Steelers themselves in YPC allowed
(4.7). Play Harris as an RB1.
Game Thoughts: You could feel it coming, couldn’t
you? Flying high after they beat division rival Green Bay in Week
11, the Vikings have dropped back-to-back games to San Francisco
and Detroit. Unlike in the 49ers loss, however, Kirk Cousins played
well in Motown, connecting on 30 of 40 throws for 340 yards and
a pair of touchdowns. It was his fifth outing of 2021 with 300-plus
yards passing and multiple TDs; by basically any statistical measure
Cousins is having a career year. He can be played as a low-end
QB1 with the usual disclaimers about his uneven week-to-week production.
Cousins will be playing without his security blanket Thursday
night after Adam Thielen (ankle) suffered a high ankle sprain.
There hasn’t been a definitive timetable put on the veteran’s
injury, but he’s been ruled out for this week. Without him,
Justin Jefferson (11-182-1) will be the undisputed top target.
He’s ascended into the fantasy heights reserved for the
likes of Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp in Year 2, and he’s
a clear must start. With Thielen out, K.J. Osborn (4-47-1) is
a nice streaming addition that can be plugged in as a flex or
even a WR3 for Week 14.
Ty Conklin (7-56-0) could also see an expanded presence offensively.
He looked like he might be an emerging force in October but went
four straight games without topping 45 yards before the Lions
game. He’s a low-end No. 1 tight end against the Steelers,
which rank 14th in pass defense on the year, allowing 233.2 yards
per game. The worry for Minnesota is if Christian Darrishaw (ankle)
can’t go they’ll be utilizing a makeshift line against
TJ Watt, who can ruin a gameplan.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: With Dalvin Cook (shoulder) out, Alexander
Mattison once again showed he’s among the league’s
best backups, totaling 124 yards and a score versus the Lions
this past weekend. Cook was expected to miss at least two games
but has been listed questionable for TNF and figures to be a game-time
decision. Pittsburgh is a plus matchup as they’re currently
27th in run defense; the Steelers have given up 130.9 rushing
yards per game and a league-worst 4.8 YPC. If Cook is up, he’s
an RB1 with Mattison sliding to the bench. If not, Mattison fills
the RB1 slot.
Game Thoughts: Lost in the shadow of Baltimore’s
8-4 record is this little tidbit, Lamar Jackson is having his
worst season by a significant margin. The former MVP has accounted
for just 18 total TDs, putting him on pace for 26; to put that
in perspective, he amassed 43 touchdowns in 2019 and 33 last year
in 16-game slates. He hasn’t rushed for a score since Week
2, and he has just two games all year with more than one touchdown
pass. His worst game came in Week 12 when he passed for 165 yards,
1 TD and 4 INTs against Cleveland. This Sunday is the rematch.
Marquise Brown (5-55-0) has leveled off after a strong start.
Through his first five games, the speedy wideout was averaging
16.1 YPC and had five touchdowns. Over his last six, he’s
averaging 10.1 YPC and one score. He posted an 8-51-0 line in
that ugly Sunday night encounter with Cleveland. Mark Andrews
(4-50-0) has been the most consistent producer for the Ravens
passing game; that includes his crazy catch against the Browns
back in Week 12 as part of a 65-yard, one-touchdown game.
Cleveland currently sits eighth in pass defense (210.3 yards
per game allowed) and tied for 10th in sacks (31). Of their 11
interceptions this season, four came during their tilt with the
Ravens two weeks ago. Despite his atrocious play in that game,
Jackson offers too much as a runner to be left on the bench and
can be used as a QB1. Brown is still seeing a lot of targets,
so he retains midrange WR2 value. Andrews is a top-five TE and
weekly start. One player that has faded after a quick start is
Rashod Bateman, who has seven grabs for 60 yards over his last
three games combined. If you’re still rostering the rookie,
it’s best to keep him benched.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Each successive week seems to bring more
work for Devonta Freeman (14-52-1) and less for Latavius Murray
(2-1-0). In addition to his increased load in the backfield, Freeman
has also become an emerging weapon as a receiver, hauling in 15
passes over the last three games. Freeman had 60 combined yards
against Cleveland in Week 12 compared to 14 for Murray. The Browns
are tough on the run, ranking 11th at 105.3 yards per game, but
Freeman can fill an RB2/RB3 role. Bench Murray.
Game Thoughts: Cleveland has had two weeks to stew on
their primetime setback in Week 12. Baker Mayfield was one of
the primary culprits in that loss, hitting on just 18 of his 37
passes for 247 yards and one TD. He also lost a fumble. The hope
for the Browns must be that the bye provided some amount of relief
for Mayfield’s lengthy list of maladies and puts him in
better position to succeed. He’s clearly unplayable at this
time, but his best run of 2020 came in December so it’s
at least worth watching.
When Odell Beckham Jr. was here you could make a case that both
he and Jarvis Landry (6-111-0) carried some amount of value each
week. Now, it’s Landry and nobody. The veteran had a season-best
111 yards against Baltimore, and though he’s sitting out
practice with knee trouble, that’s residual maintenance.
If you rolled all of Cleveland’s tight ends into a single
player, they might be a fantasy force, but with Austin Hooper,
Harrison Bryant and David Njoku mixing and matching there’s
nothing there. Due to injuries and Covid-19 protocols, Hooper
is the last man standing at the position so he’s viable
Only the Seahawks have allowed more passing yards per game than
the Ravens (272.4), and some of the coverage breakdowns have been
of the egregious variety. The loss of Marlon Humphrey to a torn
pectoral muscle further weakens an already suspect group. While
most teams would receive a big bump with this matchup, the Browns
haven’t done enough to warrant playing anyone other than
Landry, who is merely a WR3.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: The Browns couldn’t get anything
going on the ground in Baltimore with Nick Chubb (8-16-0) and
a returning Kareem Hunt (7-20-0) combining to rush for just 36
yards. They’ll need to do more in the rematch. The Ravens
won’t make it easy, though, as they have overtaken the Bucs
by a single yard for the top run defense in the NFL. This is an
iron sharpens iron collision, and though it’s fair to anticipate
reduced effectiveness, Chubb and Hunt should still be played as
an RB2 and RB3, respectively.
Cowboys at Washington
- (Ken Ilchuk) Line: DAL -4.5 Total: 48.0
Game Thoughts: QB Dak Prescott has been inconsistent
at best in recent weeks, downright sloppy at worst. But in that
way he’s sort of a poster child for the whole Cowboys offense,
particularly in the passing game. Prescott has passed for less
than 250 yards in two of his last three games and three of his
last five. In that five-week window, he’s thrown just seven
touchdowns against four interceptions.
Despite that, just about everyone is in play from a fantasy standpoint
this week against a Washington secondary that has been torched,
frankly, and can’t be bailed out by a pass rush that will
be without Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Washington is among the
worst teams in the league in completion percentage allowed, yards,
yards per attempt and passing touchdowns allowed.
With CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper both back in the fold along
with Michael Gallup and TE Dalton Schultz, Prescott will have
his full complement of receivers for a second consecutive week,
which should make him, Lamb and Schultz sure fantasy starters,
with Cooper and Gallup in a position to bring value as well.
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.16
Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott has been working on a
bad knee, but still averaging 15 touches a game over the past
month. He may have to take on a bit more because Tony Pollard,
who has been spelling Elliott to the tune of 10-11 touches per
game in recent weeks, suffered a foot injury on his 58-yard touchdown
run a week ago. He hasn’t practiced, but expect both to
try and go with probably limited production this week. Washington
has been solid against the run, allowing just about 4.0 per carry.
Game Thoughts: Taylor Heinicke has led Washington to
four straight wins, throwing seven touchdowns and just two interceptions
during the run. A deeper look at his stats will show at least
30 pass attempts in three of the last four games at a completion
rate of 77%. But the volume is not there as he’s passed
for at least 250 yards just once (256 vs. TB). This is a team
that is trying to run the ball 30+ times a game and has been able
to do so because they have been playing with a lead through most
of the winning streak.
That’s likely to change this week when a mostly healthy
Cowboys offense comes to town. With TE Logan Thomas done for the
year, receiving back J.D. McKissic questionable with a concussion,
and WR Terry McLaurin still working his way back to full speed,
Heinicke’s arsenal is limited. Even WR Curtis Samuel has
been limited with a groin injury. Heinicke is a moderate play
as a QB2 this week, with McLaurin and Seals-Jones providing moderate
fantasy production if they are fully healthy.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: With all due respect to Heinicke’s
toughness and clutch playmaking ability, Antonio Gibson has been
the workhorse and a budding star in Washington. He has posted
at least 88 rushing yards in three straight games and has 20+
carries in three of the last four. He’s also added 12 catches
in the passing game the last two weeks. Though he doesn’t
score, the volume is there, and HC Ron Rivera continues to push
the formula. Given Dallas’ 4.5 yards allowed per carry this
season, don’t be surprised to see a lot of Gibson as Washington
tries to stay ahead of the chains, play the possession game and
keep the ball out of Dak Prescott’s hands.
Game Thoughts: Derek Carr disappointed in Week 13 as
he failed to throw a touchdown pass against Washington. Washington
was (and still is) the worst fantasy defense against opposing
quarterbacks this season, but Carr threw for just 249 yards and
failed to throw a touchdown pass for just the second time this
season. This could’ve made sense if the Raiders had gotten
out to a big lead and ended up relying heavily on their running
game, but that wasn’t the case - Las Vegas actually lost!
Carr’s game wasn’t completely horrible, but it just
furthers the point that he seriously lacks a high-end ceiling
at this point and his floor isn’t anything spectacular either.
Even in what should be a good on-paper matchup against the Chiefs,
Carr still isn’t a QB1 and he’s really more of a mid-to-low-end
QB2 given that he doesn’t possess much rushing ability and
the Raiders lack the offensive firepower to give him even one
three-touchdown game this season.
The wide receiver situation in Las Vegas isn’t doing much,
either, as Bryan Edwards and DeSean Jackson are both seeing too
few targets to have any meaningful value. Zay Jones has surprisingly
seen his targets increase over the past two weeks, but he’s
still not someone who should be trusted in lineups.
It remains the reality that only one Vegas wide receiver can even
be considered a fantasy starter and that’s Hunter Renfrow.
Renfrow has now scored at least 17 PPR fantasy points in four
of his past five games, including back-to-back 100-yard games
in Weeks 12 and 13. Renfrow has quietly been extremely reliable
for fantasy this season and while he’s lacked the big boom
games that true top-level receivers have, his floor has typically
been around 12 PPR points. That’s allowed him to remain
a WR2 most weeks and he should be in that range this week against
a Kansas City defense that he caught seven passes against back
in Week 10, including a touchdown.
Tight end Darren Waller missed Week 13 with multiple injuries,
but reports out of the Raiders seem to indicate that he’s
much more likely to suit up for this weekend’s game than
he was this past week. If Waller is back, look for him to again
play the role of the “1B” to Renfrow’s “1A”
in the Las Vegas offense. He’s been targeted at least five
times in every game - even the ones he’s been injured in
- which is extremely tough to come across at tight end. Waller’s
2021 season has absolutely been a huge disappointment, but he’s
still a must-start player at the position if he’s out there.
If Waller is unable to go, backup tight end Foster Moreau does
have some potential against the Chiefs. Kansas City has allowed
the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season
and Moreau should see plenty of playing time and a handful of
targets. He’s probably more of a high-end TE2 than a low-end
TE1, but he’s someone you could sneak into your lineup if
you’re in need.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: A nine-catch game was probably more or
a “take what the defense gives you” situation than
anything else, but it’s worth noting that Las Vegas running
back Josh Jacobs has now caught at least four passes in four of
his past five games. He’s not getting the huge rushing totals
that we’ve seen from him in the past as he’s averaged
just under 54 rushing yards per game over that stretch, but his
additional contributions in the passing game have made him a quality
RB2 option with RB1 upside when he gets into the end zone as he
has in each of his past two outings.
With Kenyan Drake undergoing ankle surgery and Jalen Richard on
the COVID list, look for Jacobs to dominate touches out of the
Las Vegas backfield. Backup Peyton Barber will likely check in
as the only other player who sees any sort of significant playing
time in this backfield, but he’s not much of a pass catcher
and has only seen two total carries since his 23-carry start in
replacement of Jacobs all the way back in Week 3.
Jacobs’ high usage should make him a high-end RB2 this week,
but it’s worth noting that he had his worst rushing performance
of the season against this Chiefs defense back in Week 10. He
was held to just 16 yards on seven carries in that contest, while
saving his fantasy day to some extent by catching five passes.
Kansas City’s defense did struggle this past week when they
allowed Javontae Williams to trample them for 178 total yards,
though, so don’t think that this is too awful of a matchup.
Game Thoughts: If you check the post-game box scores
for Kansas City games, you’d almost have to assume that
someone other than Patrick Mahomes is playing quarterback for
the Chiefs right now. The former league MVP is in the middle of
what has been the coldest streak of his career, having failed
to throw for multiple touchdown passes in five of his past six
games. That kind of (lack of) performance is just completely unheard
of for Mahomes, who actually started the season off with seven
straight multi-passing-touchdown games. Perhaps worse yet, Mahomes
has actually failed to throw even one touchdown pass in back-to-back
games, despite both being Chiefs victories. It’s hard to
know exactly what’s going wrong for this offense, but at
this point we have to come to the realization that this offense
just is not clicking well.
If there’s an opponent that they can bounce back again,
though, perhaps it’s the Raiders. We mentioned that Mahomes
had failed to throw for multiple touchdowns in five of his past
six games, but that one outlier? A gigantic, 400-yard, five touchdown
performance against - you guessed it - the Las Vegas Raiders.
It’s not fair to expect that Mahomes comes anywhere near
that kind of a game in Week 14, but there’s plenty of hope
that this could be the one to get the offense back on the same
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill didn’t get much going this past
week against the Broncos, but he now faces a Las Vegas defense
that he torched for seven receptions, 83 yards and a pair of touchdowns
when they played in Week 10. Hill has remained a weekly must-start
even during this bad stretch from Mahomes.
Likewise, tight end Travis Kelce turned in one of his worst performances
of the season this past week, but he’s been otherwise quite
reliable - especially for a tight end. Kelce has been targeted
at least six times in every game this season and he’s the
unquestioned overall TE1 for fantasy. He had a season-high 119
yards against the Raiders back in Week 10, so he’s a strong
play yet again here in Week 14.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: Running back Darrel Williams is still seeing
between five to ten touches per week, but it’s been the
Clyde Edwards-Helaire show since the second-year back returned
from injury back in Week 11. Edwards-Helaire hasn’t been
doing anything particularly special with his touches, but he’s
seen 14 and 17 of them in his two games back. That type of usage
is difficult to come by in today’s NFL, so he needs to be
in lineups as at least an RB2, if not a low-end RB1 in this matchup
against a bad Las Vegas run defense. The Raiders have given up
the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs
this season and it’s worth noting that Williams got 20 touches
- including nine catches - against this defense when he was the
starter against this defense.
Game Thoughts: To say that Russell Wilson has struggled
since returning from his injured finger would be an understatement.
Wilson has not topped two passing touchdowns in any game since
Week 10 while posting two games of fewer than 10 fantasy points.
The veteran QB looks uncomfortable in the pocket, is missing
reads, and continues to overthrow his receivers. On the positive
note, he did start to look like his old self in the second half
of last week’s win over the 49ers and will hopefully build
on that in this game.
From a matchup perspective, the Texans present an excellent chance
for Wilson and DK Metcalf to get back on track and fix the issues
that have made Metcalf a bust over the past month. The Texans
are 14th points allowed to wide receivers and 13th to quarterbacks.
It should be noted that Metcalf has been dealing with a foot
injury. He is questionable and will play, but it is something
to monitor. Another injury to monitor is center Kyle Fuller, who
is questionable with a calf injury.
Tight End Gerald Everett had one of the worst games you could
imagine last week, with two fumbles and a dropped touchdown pass
that led to an interception. It will be interesting to see how
he responds and if Will Dissly will get more snaps.
The matchup for tight ends in this game is choice, with Houston
giving up the ninth-most points to the position.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: The Texans rank 4th in fantasy points
allowed to running backs, with only the Jets, Seahawks, and Lions
giving up more points to RBs. Those numbers are a bit skewed by
Jonathan Taylor, but if you look and the list of players who have
at least 10 fantasy points, it is a pretty extensive collection.
The problem is the backfield of Seattle is a ripe mess. Veteran
Adrian Peterson was brought in for some reason to poach a rushing
touchdown, despite posting a pathetic 16 yards on 11 carries.
Rashaad Penny is back and in the mix but could get hurt at any
time. And now it sounds like Alex Collins could be back this week
after missing with an abdominal injury.
The matchup is great, but I’m not sure you can trust any
Game Thoughts: The Houston Texans are a dumpster fire
on both sides of the ball. They are dead last in total offense
and 27th in total defense. Their head coach, David Culley is likely
out after this season, and the previous head coach/gm Bill O’Brien
mortgaged their future with terrible moves. And that does not
even include the drama surrounding Deshaun Watson.
The only player worthy of fantasy consideration on this team
is Brandin Cooks, simply because he is an above-average wide receiver
who has an elite target share. Cooks’ upside is limited
because of rookie Davis Mills under center, but Cooks still should
be considered a solid WR3 with WR2 upside.
The Seahawks present a challenge on defense, as they currently
rank 9th in fewest points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Only
one opposing QB has topped two passing touchdowns in a game, and
six players, including Aaron Rodgers, failed to score 20 fantasy
Seattle did take a hit to their secondary with the loss of safety
Jamal Adams. While his coverage skills are questionable, his run
support and ability to rush the passer on blitzes make him one
of the better safeties in the league. Adams suffered a season-ending
injury last week against San Francisco.
An injury to monitor on the Texans is center Justin Britt, who
is questionable with a knee injury. Pressure up the middle is
the worst thing for young quarterbacks, and missing his starting
center bodes poorly for Davis Mills.
If you are looking for a streaming D/ST option, the Seahawks
could be a great play.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Houston’s GM went with the veteran
running back by committee approach this season, with the Texans
collecting four older backs to carry the load. Since then, Mark
Ingram was traded back to the Saints, Phillip Lindsay was released,
and David Johnson has been dealing with injuries.
This is a backfield that should be avoided at all costs. No Texan
has topped 100 rushing yards, and only three times all season
has a Texan topped 10 fantasy points.
This game projects to be a negative game script for the Texans
ground game, so everything looks to be working against this backfield.
Jags @ Titans
- (Swanson) Line: TEN -8.5 Total: 43.5
Game Thoughts: Trevor Lawrence is learning on the job
just how much more difficult it is to play quarterback in the
NFL than in the ACC. The first overall pick ranks 23rd at the
position for fantasy points scored, with just one game of more
than one passing touchdown on his resume.
Lawrence has scored fewer than 10 fantasy points in four of his
last five games and continues to limit the value of the passing
weapons in the Jacksonville passing offense. It is difficult for
someone like Marvin Jones to have a solid fantasy day when Lawrence
is completing fewer than 60 of his passes and continues to spread
the ball around to multiple receivers.
Five different receivers had at least two targets last week for
the Jags, but none of them had more than five targets.
The latest Jag to join the mix is former first-round bust Laquon
Treadwell, who caught a team-high four passes for 62 yards last
The matchup dictates that this should be a good game for Lawrence
and the receivers, as the Titans have given up the third-most
points to opposing QBs and the most to opposing WRs. However,
predicting which Jaguar wide receiver will have the big game is
It is possible that Treadwell will continue to build on his rapport
with Lawrence. Yet it is also possible he could give you two catches
for 15 yards.
Targeting a bad passing offense that spreads the ball around
is never a good idea.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Urban Myer continued to be a knucklehead
in his usage of his running backs, with Carlos Hyde getting nine
carries last week and James Robinson just eight. Neither player
did much, but Robinson is clearly the better player and should
get more run.
Robinson came out and said he was frustrated with his playing
time. Lawrence said he thinks Robinson is one of the best players
on the team and should get more work. Yet Meyer, who should never
have been hired, continues to use one of his old Ohio State players
in Carlos Hyde, despite a 3.5 yard per carry average.
Hopefully, Meyer will give Robinson at least 20 touches in this
game. Teams have found far more success passing the ball against
the Titans than running it, but you should know that Robinson
had his best game of the season against the Titans back in Week
5, and could be in for another strong game on Sunday.
Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill entered 2021 with high
hopes. He posted his top season as a pro in 2020 with 24.5 fantasy
points per game, Derrick Henry looked to be unstoppable, and the
team added Julio Jones to help A.J. Brown in the passing game.
Instead of a monster season, Tannehill has been terrible. King
Henry missed significant time with a broken foot, AJ Brown cant’
stay healthy and Julio Jones has been a bust. Tannehill is on
pace to throw a career-worst 18 interceptions, and he has just
14 passing touchdowns in 12 games.
On a positive note, the team looks to get Jones back for this
game, and a get-right game against a terrible defense is exactly
what Mike Vrabel’s team needs.
Although the Jags have given up the 9th fewest points to opposing
quarterbacks on the season, the defense has been reeling as of
late, giving up an average of nearly 30 points per game to The
Colts, 49ers, and Rams.
From an injury perspective, the Titans are getting healthy after
the bye, with pass-catching running back Jeremy McNichols returning
to practice and a much-needed week off last week for their offensive
On the flip side, the Jags might be without stud linebacker Josh
Allen, who missed practice with a shoulder injury. Fellow starting
linebacker Myles Jack continues to be listed as questionable with
a knee injury, but he will likely suit up.
You can start Tannehill has a high-end QB2, and Jones is worth
a start as a possible flex play. The recent play by Nick Westbrook-Ikhine
makes him an interesting option as well. He has 100 yards or a
score in each of the last two games and was on the field for 83%
of snaps last week.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: Projecting the Titans was a simple exercise
in the prior three seasons. A few sentences on how Derrick Henry
continues to dominate and was a must-start no matter who he was
playing. With King Henry on the mend, projecting the Titans has
not been as easy.
The team used Dontrell Hilliard and D’Onta Foreman in a
near 50-50 split against the Patriots before their bye. Both players
played well with over 100 yards rushing each, with Hilliard also
adding a rushing touchdown.
We love this matchup against a banged-up Jags defense, but the
uncertainty of how much volume each player will get makes is difficult
to project. The return of Jeremy McNichols also makes things murkier.
Look for both Hilliard and Foreman to get work, with Hilliard
getting more passes and Foreman working as the primary first and
second-down back, while also getting goalline carries.
Saints at Jets
- (Ken Ilchuk) Line: NO -5.5 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: In his first real opportunity under center
last week, Taysom Hill threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns.
He also completed just 46% of his passes and tossed four interceptions,
averaging just 6.4 yards per attempt. Let’s be honest. Hill
isn’t a QB1 this week because of his play. It’s because
of the matchup with a Jets team that has allowed a league-worst
108.8 opposing passer rating and 8.3 yards per attempt. Their
70.5% completion rate against is 2nd-worst in the NFL.
Still, with Hill learning the QB position under fire, so to speak,
and working through a mallet finger injury on his throwing hard,
it’s hard to find a receiver with any fantasy value on the
Saints. Tre’Quan Smith is worth a flyer as a flex option,
but this will be a controlled passing game that will feature a
lot of short, high percentage passes to TE Nick Vannett and RB
Alvin Kamara, both of whom are in play this week.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: Speaking of Kamara, expect a big day on
the ground as well. After a better week of practice, a clean bill
of health, and fellow RB Mark Ingram deposited on the Covid list,
it’s not unreasonable to think Kamara will get a significant
workload this week. He’s probably drooling at the prospect
of facing a Jets defense that is getting gashed at a rate of 4.5
yards per carry and has allowed 11 plays on the ground of at least
20 yards. When Kamara needs a blow, look for backup Tony Jones,
who has some big play ability of his own, to produce enough to
earn some RB3 or flex value.
Game Thoughts: People in New York are pretty amped about
Zach Wilson’s 226 yards and two touchdowns last week. I
suppose that’s progress. But while he possesses a strong
arm and some excellent athleticism for the position, all stuff
that looks great in a workout, it hasn’t come together on
the field. He has been inconsistent, and his best work has come
against a bad Texans defense and a very passive Eagles group.
He has also thrown at least one interception in seven of his eight
Despite that, rookie WR Elijah Moore has blossomed in recent
weeks and become the focus of the passing game. He has averaged
12.5 yards per catch with five touchdowns on the season, and his
48.9 yards per game is second on the team to Corey Davis, who
is out for the rest of the season due to injury. That means more
Moore (quad injury) if he’s able to play. Continue to check
his status. Keelan Cole should return this week, but even with
Davis out, I don’t expect him to have any serious fantasy
value at this point.
This Saints defense is no joke, especially against the run, allowing
an NFL-best 3.6 yards per carry. Expect them to shut down the
run game and come after Wilson hard. While the sacks haven’t
come at the rate they’d like, the front four generates a
tremendous amount of pressure, which will spell trouble for Wilson.
OC Mike LeFleur will try to get the ball out of his hand quickly,
so RB’s Tevin Coleman (concussion) and Ty Johnson, and TE
Ryan Griffin could see some higher volume in terms of targets,
garnering some PPR value at the least.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: RB Michael Carter continues to nurse his
high ankle sprain, leaving the workload to Coleman and Johnson.
I don’t expect it to go well for them behind a struggling
and ailing offensive line that is still without Mekhi Becton.
If Johnson or Coleman is going to have any value, it will come
as a receiver.
Falcons @ Panthers
- (Swanson) Line: CAR -2.5 Total: 41.5
Game Thoughts: The first year of the Arthur Smith era
of Falcons football has been a dud. Smith wanted to bring the
smash-mouth system he used in Tennessee but failed to realize
that Mike Davis is not Derrick Henry.
In addition, the team lost star receiver Calvin Ridley to off-field
mental health issues, effectively killing the passing game and
limiting Matt Ryan to a rookie tight end learning how to play
in the NFL and a bunch of No.3 options.
The result is the worst season for Ryan since his sophomore campaign.
His 15.9 points per game place him 27th at the position, outside
of even QB2 consideration. Needless to say, Ryan should not be
on your radar in this game.
Two players who should be on your radar and Cordarrelle Patterson
and Russell Gage. Patterson’s elite dual-threat capabilities
as a receiver and runner make him a must-start. The Panthers are
a great run defense and ranked 2nd in fewest points allowed to
RBs, so expect more production in the passing game.
Gage has been a top-10 play over the past three weeks and continues
to see more volume from Ryan.
It will be interesting to see who Stephon Gilmore covers in the
passing game, as whoever does not get the Gilmore treatment should
have a nice game.
You are starting Kyle Pitts because of where you drafted him
and the lack of options at the position. However, he has been
M.I.A. for a while now and could struggle in this matchup against
the talented secondary.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: We told you not to play Mike Davis last
week against the Bucs because of his lack of usage and the tough
matchup. Of course, Davis ripped off a 20-yard TD scamper and
made me look silly.
But a closer examination of the game proves that the fading of
Davis was correct. Davis saw just four carries on the day and
would have been a bust without that one, fluky run.
Don’t chase the points on Davis and don’t expect
a revenge game. The Panthers are second in the league in run defense
and should shut him down.
Game Thoughts: Cam Newton’s glorious return to
his old team looks to be short-lived, as Newton played terribly
against the Dolphins prior to the team’s bye last week,
and was benched for P.J. Walker.
Assuming Newton gets the start, he should still be considered
a low-end QB1 in this matchup, as the Falcons are one of the worst
defenses in the league. They rank in the bottom ten in points
allowed to every position except tight end.
Newton will get a rushing touchdown or two, and hopefully, he
can provide enough passing volume to make D.J. Moore and Robby
Anderson viable. Moore is a must-start, although we are not super
excited about his matchup against AJ Terrell.
Anderson takes a bit more of a leap of faith considering he has
just one game of over 10 fantasy points this season. You would
think that a guy who is on the field for 93% of the snaps would
fare better than one catch for 15 yards, but that is an example
of just how terrible Newton was back in Week 12.
Starting guard Trent Scott was placed on the COIVD-19 list and
is likely out. His backup, John Miller, missed practice on Wednesday
and is questionable with an ankle injury. That would leave rookie
third-string guard Deonte Brown to start at right guard.
That matchup between Deonte Brown and Grady Jarrett, one of the
best interior linemen in the league, could be a huge disadvantage
for the Panthers in this game, especially in the run game between
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: With Christian McCaffrey out again with
a season-ending injury the Panthers will use an RBBC to carry
the load the rest of the way. Rookie Chuba Hubbard will likely
get the first and second down work with veteran Ameer Abdullah
working in as a change of pace and passing game threat.
Neither player is an elite option because of the fact that Newton
will steal goal line carries and limit their ceiling. However,
if you are in need of a flex play, both should be in consideration,
especially Abdullah in full PPR formats.
The matchup could not be better and the projected game script
of the Panthers defense limiting Matt Ryan bodes well for running
production. 14 different players have topped 10 fantasy points
against this defense in 12 games, including Leonard Fournette,
who had 18 points last week for the Bucs. Look for around 18 points
to be distributed between Hubbard and Abdullah.
Game Thoughts: A surprise rushing touchdown against the
Vikings in Week 13 allowed Lions quarterback Jared Goff to turn
in his first game over 14 fantasy points since all the way back
in Week 4. Not only that, but the Lions actually WON A GAME! It
must’ve been a fun one for Lions fans, but it’s time
to get back to reality because Detroit has been absolutely horrible
all season long and quarterback Jared Goff has been one of the
worst fantasy performers just about every single week.
The team simply does not have a reliable pass catching option
outside of tight end T.J. Hockenson. Amon-Ra St. Brown finally
broke out with his biggest game of the year against the Vikings
as he was targeted 12 times, catching 10 of those passes for 86
yards and his first professional touchdown. St. Brown had been
held under 14 PPR points in every other game this season, however,
so don’t jump to toss him in your lineup just yet. We need
to see more before we have any trust in him. Similarly, Josh Reynolds
and Kalif Raymond have both been involved in the Lions passing
game, but the overall numbers just are not strong enough to make
them adds in anything other than the deepest of leagues.
We mentioned Hockenson (hand) as being reliable, but even he’s
been up and down. At least he’s been able to turn in eight
double-digit PPR games this year, but obviously his upside has
been limited given that the Lions are just not in scoring position
with any sort of regularity. Still, Hockenson plays a position
that’s down overall on the year and he has to be a top-end
TE1 in really any matchup. It’s worth noting, though, that
the Broncos are quite good against opposing tight ends, having
allowed the second-fewest points per game to the position on the
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: Running back D’Andre Swift was sidelined
during the Lions’ win over the Vikings in Week 13 and so
far it seems fairly likely that he’ll be out yet again here
in Week 14 as his team faces the Broncos. Backup Jamaal Williams
stepped in after Swift’s early-game injury against the Bears
and played the entirety of the Vikings game as the starter so
we now have a two game sample size of how the Lions would like
to utilize their running backs in the absence of Swift. Williams
has touched the ball an impressive 38 times in those two games
and while he hasn’t yet gotten into the end zone or turned
in a game with big yardage, it seems to be only a matter of time
before he does one of those two things and makes his fantasy owners
Williams is utilized more in the passing game than you’d
probably assume if you haven’t been paying close attention,
even when Swift is on the field. Without Swift, of course, he
becomes the primary option in the screen game as we saw in Week
12 when he caught five passes against the Bears.
The Broncos aren’t a great offense themselves, so this will
probably be a relatively low volume game overall for both teams,
but look for Detroit to lean heavily on Williams in this one.
He should be a low-end RB2/Flex option in this matchup.
Game Thoughts: It’s now been five starts in a row
where Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has failed to throw
multiple touchdown passes and given his willingness to spread
the ball around, it’s been extremely difficult to do much
at all with this Denver passing attack from a fantasy standpoint.
Bridgewater himself has crested 20 fantasy points just once over
his past 10 starts and it’s easy to assume that a game against
the Lions will be the cure for that incompetence, but that really
hasn’t been the case for most of their opponents. Detroit
actually ranks just about middle-of-the-pack among NFL teams in
fantasy points given up to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Part of that, of course, is that the Lions tend to not score many
points themselves, so opposing teams simply do not feel the need
to pass the ball very much against them and instead they turn
to their running game to run out the clock. Given the Broncos’
success in running the ball this season, look for that to again
be the case this week, which will obviously limit Bridgewater’s
chances for a big game while affecting all of the Broncos’
Only Jerry Jeudy has been even a moderately reliable fantasy option
at wide receiver for Denver since he returned to the lineup. Jeudy
himself has been a bit disappointing, but at least he’s
turned in three double-digit PPR days out of his five games since
returning. Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton, meanwhile, have seemingly
completely fallen off the radar and are no longer in serious consideration
as starters in fantasy.
Even tight ends Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam have been cannibalizing
one another’s playing time and targets, so it’s gotten
to the point that neither of them should be in lineups, either.
This is just a bad passing game overall and one that should probably
be avoided entirely if at all possible.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Week 13 gave us our first glimpse of the
Broncos running game with only one running back in it and it certainly
did not disappoint. Veteran Melvin Gordon was sidelined which
led to rookie Javonte Williams getting his first game as the primary
back. Williams responded by absolutely wrecking the Chiefs as
he rushed for 102 yards on 23 carries while also adding an additional
76 yards and a touchdown on six receptions.
With Gordon expected to be back this week, however, we should
expect that this will be back to being roughly a 50-50 split.
It’s possible that Williams has earned a larger share, or
that the Broncos will ease Gordon back onto the field, but it’s
still unlikely that Williams will get anywhere near the kind of
workload against the Lions that he did against the Chiefs.
Fortunately for Williams and Gordon, they have a pretty great
matchup against one of the league’s worst fantasy defenses
against opposing running backs. Detroit has given up the third-most
points per game to the position this season, including a big game
this past week to Vikings backup running back Alexander Mattison.
The split backfield makes it impossible to trust either Williams
or Gordon as RB1s, but Williams looks like a pretty solid RB2
this week and Gordon should be a low-end RB2/Flex option. If Gordon
ends up being out, of course, Williams should be back in lineups
as a solid RB1.
Game Thoughts: Daniel Jones may miss his second straight
game with a neck injury, but things got even worse this week when
we found out that backup Mike Glennon suffered a concussion during
this past week’s loss to the Dolphins. It’s uncertain
whether Glennon will be unable to suit up at this time, but things
aren’t looking particularly good. Without Jones or Glennon,
the Giants would turn to Jake Fromm. Fromm hasn’t yet thrown
an NFL pass so it’s hard to believe that New York is going
to turn him loose in his first game.
To make matters even worse, the Giants wide receiver room is extremely
banged up right now. They could get Sterling Shepard back, but
other receivers including Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay are
themselves nursing injuries and could be limited or miss this
week’s contest entirely. Darius Slayton is really the only
wide receiver who’s not on the injury report right now so
he’s probably the safest bet if you’re absolutely
desperate for someone to start, but it’s best to avoid this
Tight end Evan Engram is an option in two-TE leagues as he’s
been providing low-double-digit PPR fantasy points more often
than not as of late, but he’s still a very low ceiling player
who has only exceeded five receptions in a game once this season.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Running back Saquon Barkley is really the
only Giants player who should be looked at for fantasy purposes
this week and even he has been pretty disappointing since making
his return to the lineup. Barkley has rushed for just 120 yards
in the three games he’s played since coming back and he
hasn’t scored a single touchdown yet. In fact, he’s
been carried by his receptions as he’s made 16 of them in
those three games, although they haven’t gone for many yards.
The Giants are likely to see a stacked box against them this week
no matter who’s behind center, so don’t expect much
from Barkley on the ground. If he’s going to produce anything
for fantasy, it’ll have to be as a pass catcher, which he’s
certainly capable of doing, but understand that his ceiling is
quite low this week.
Game Thoughts: Three straight 300-yard games for second-year
quarterback Justin Herbert have resulted in the young superstar
elevating himself into the conversation of being a borderline
elite fantasy quarterback while his Chargers are now joining the
discussion as a potential Super Bowl contender.
Herbert has done quite well throughout most of the season and
while he’s thrown more interceptions than we’d probably
like to see out of a top-level quarterback, he’s making
up for it by throwing a ton of touchdown passes and for a boatload
of yards. This week he does face a Giants pass defense that has
stepped up in the second half of the season, but will likely be
put in some tough spots this week as their own offense isn’t
likely to move the ball much. Look for the Chargers to be playing
with some good field position throughout most of the day, which
should give Herbert some multi-touchdown upside even if he won’t
likely be required to throw for a ton of yards in order for the
Chargers to get a win.
Herbert will be without wide receiver Keenan Allen, however, as
the pass catcher tested positive for COVID-19. Look for this to
lead to increased targets for Mike Williams, who finally went
over 100 yards again this past week for the first time since Week
5. Williams started the season off with some huge target games,
but has since fallen down to about five to seven targets per game.
With Allen out, however, Williams has to vault back into the strong
WR2 range with WR1 upside. Please note that Williams was deemed
a close contact with Allen and could still end up being ruled
out, but he tested negative for the virus and reports indicate
that he will be allowed to play on Sunday.
Tight end Jared Cook could theoretically see enough of a boost
in targets to become fantasy relevant if both Allen and Williams
end up being ruled out, but he’s otherwise pretty boring
and shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups. Other receivers who
should see a bit of a boost include Jalen Guyton and Josh Palmer,
but neither player should be relied upon until we see them put
it together on the field.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: Workhorse running back Austin Ekeler is
dealing with an ankle injury, but he’s expected to be active
and should be in line for another heavy touch day against the
Giants. Ekeler has carried the ball at least 11 times in all but
two games while also catching at least three passes in every game
since Week 1. In fact, Ekeler has now made it three straight games
where he’s caught five or more passes. The usage alone would
make Ekeler a stud player, but he’s been effective with
his touches this season, particularly near the goal line which
had been an issue for him early in his career. Ekeler has already
scored 15 total touchdowns this season and he’s in serious
contention to finish the season as the overall RB1 for fantasy.
The Giants have done a good job limiting rushing yardage this
season, but they rank within the top 10 teams in most fantasy
points given up to opposing running backs this season, both in
standard-scoring leagues and PPR formats.
Ekeler is an every week RB1 regardless of the matchup, but this
is a particularly enticing one as the Chargers could get out to
a big lead and end up utilizing Ekeler even more than usual here
in Week 14. Another added bonus for Ekeler owners is that, with
Keenan Allen out, Ekeler could also see some additional work in
the passing game on top of his already high usage in that category.
Game Thoughts: There’s a clear trend when it comes
to the 49ers and winning this season. The less Jimmy Garoppolo,
the better. In San Francisco’s six wins, he has averaged
25 attempts per game. In the five losses he started, that number
is 32 -- it’s worth noting that it jumps to 36 if you add
Trey Lance’s throws in relief of an injured Jimmy G in Week
4. So, have no doubt, the Niners are headed to Cincinnati with
a desire to run the football. That makes it impossible for fantasy
owners to rely on Garoppolo’s usage and production.
With Deebo Samuel (groin) out last week, George Kittle (9-181-2)
was the focal point of the passing game. The dynamic tight end
has been much better since returning from IR, averaging 76 yards
and 1 TD per game over the past five weeks; that’s way up
from his four-game pre-IR work of 57 yards and 0 TDs per outing.
Brandon Aiyuk (3-55-0) has also gotten going a bit, tallying 22
receptions, 346 yards and 2 TDs since Kittle’s return. That
after catching just 12 balls in his first six games.
Cincinnati is 27th in the NFL in pass yardage allowed (256.9
per game), and they really struggled with the Chargers last Sunday.
Even though this isn’t San Francisco’s preferred avenue
of attack, this is the Bengals’ weakness. Plus, there’s
the state of the 49ers RBs to consider. If Samuel returns, he’s
a WR1, but this is a case where his status doesn’t really
affect those around him with Aiyuk playable as a WR3 and Kittle
a TE1 regardless of who’s active. Jimmy G could be a risky
flier with an emphasis on risk.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Injuries and the 49ers’ running
back room go together like peanut butter and jelly these days.
To that end, both Elijah Mitchell (concussion/knee) and Jeff Wilson
(knee) are iffy for Week 14. Mitchell has proven himself an RB1
when healthy, so if he’s active and ready to roll he can
be slotted in. Wilson would be a flex in that scenario but could
bump up to an RB2 if Mitchell can’t play. If both are inactive,
the burden would be fall to JaMycal Hasty, who would become an
RB3 with upside. The Bengals are tough against the run (92.5 yards
per game; 4th), but Kyle Shanahan won’t be changing his
Game Thoughts: While Joe Burrow’s final numbers
weren’t great (300 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs), part of that
can be laid on Ja’Marr Chase, who turned what should’ve
been a 71-yard touchdown into an interception with an improbable
mishandling of the pigskin. Of greater long-term impact, the second-year
pro injured his pinkie finger in the Week 13 loss. He won’t
miss time, but it could hamper his accuracy. It could also affect
his usage, which had been down coming out of the bye as the team
put more onto the shoulders of Joe Mixon. That could be the case
here, making Burrow a shaky QB1.
It's been a rough stretch for Chase (5-52-0), who hasn’t
topped 60 yards receiving in a game since Oct. 24 and has just
two TDs over those five games. Whether it’s the result of
increased attention from defenses, gameplan changes or even the
dreaded “rookie wall,” the result has been Chase going
from surefire WR1 to reputation-based WR2 in short order. Tee
Higgins (9-138-1), meanwhile, continues to deliver. The Clemson
alum has back-to-back games of 100-plus yards and a score, and
he has posted more than 75 yards in four of his last five. He’s
a WR2 as well, and probably the safer play.
That leaves Tyler Boyd (5-85-0), who continues to bounce between
relevant fantasy contributor and complete afterthought; to that
end, Boyd has logged fewer than 15 receiving yards in two of his
last four games. He’s a risk/reward flex play against a
49ers defense that ranks fifth in the league in pass defense at
205.1 yards per game. Only five teams have fewer picks than San
Francisco, though, which could be good news for Burrow, who leads
the NFL in interceptions (14).
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Facing the league’s worst run defense
in Week 13, you would expect that Joe Mixon had a field day. He
didn’t. Mixon carried 19 times for 54 yards (2.8 YPC) and
a touchdown. He also went without a catch. The Bengals will need
better efficiency against the No. 18 run defense (114.3 yards
per game) this weekend to help keep the pressure off Burrow and
his damaged digit. Mixon is dealing with an illness, but the team
hopes he’ll be ready to roll come Sunday. If he is, Mixon
is an RB1. If not, look for Samaje Perine to step in with RB3
Game Thoughts: Josh Allen and the Bills look to bounce
back from a disappointing 14-10 loss at home to the Patriots in
a game in which 35 MPH winds limited the passing ability of both
teams. Allen threw for a season-low 145 yards, while the Patriots
won the game despite throwing the ball just three times.
From a matchup perspective, the Bills are one of the worst running
teams in the league and have been successful in beating teams
in the passing game. That works well in this game considering
the Bucs are stellar against the run but can be susceptible to
You are starting Allen and Stefon Diggs for certain. Diggs will
likely go against Carlton Davis on the outside in a matchup he
should find favorable. The Bucs young secondary of Sean-Murphy
Bunting, Davis, and Antoine Winfield Jr. is talented and up and
coming, but Diggs should still find success.
The number two or three passing option on teams have found success
against the Bucs over the past few weeks. T.Y. Hilton, Russell
Gage, and DeAndre Carter all have reached the end zone or posted
over 100 yards. It is difficult to recommend playing Gabriel Davis,
Cole Beasley, or Emmanuel Sanders based on their low target volume,
but we will not be surprised to see one of them have a big game
in this contest.
Davis is someone to watch. He has three double-digit games in
his last six, including 30/1 last week. Again, the volume is not
there, but he could be a sneaky play in DFS or very deep leagues
and a flex.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Head Coach Sean McDermott has been doing
his best Bill Belichick or Doug Pederson impersonation this season
when it comes to running backs. Zack Moss was a preseason breakout
candidate based on how he played down the stretch and in the playoffs,
only to be a surprise inactive Week 1. Moss has sprinkled in some
good games this season, but also apparently fell back to third
on the depth chart behind Devin Singletary and Matt Breida.
Then, just when we all thought Moss was done, he comes back and
posts a pedestrian 33 total yards on 11 touches.
This backfield is a mess and it does not look like it is getting
better any time soon. Even in a good matchup, it is difficult
to project any of these players doing well. In a subpar matchup
like this against the Bucs, you should avoid it like the plague.
Game Thoughts: As we all expected, Tom Brady had a field
day last week against the lowly Falcons. Brady threw for 368 yards
and four touchdowns, with strikes to Gronk, Leonard Fournette,
and 143 receiving yards on a season-high 15 catches by Chris Godwin.
Brady will not find it as easy to move the ball through the air
against Buffalo, but the Bills are far from a matchup that you
Buffalo on paper looks like a trap for quarterbacks, with the
Bills giving up just eight passing touchdowns in 12 games. However,
if you did a little deeper, you will notice that those numbers
are a bit skewed based on who the Bills have played.
Outside of Patrick Mahomes, who threw for a modest 272/2, no
other Bills opponent ranks in the top 12 at the QB position. Also,
remember that Mac Jones threw the ball just three times last week.
Don’t let the matchup scare you, and start all of your
Bucs. Mike Evans, Gronk, and Godwin are no-brainers.
Fournette is too hot to bench and continues to get work running
If the Bills still had top corner Tre'Davious White, we might
feel a little worried about Evans outside. But with White out
for the year with a knee injury, the Bills do not have a shutdown
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: Over the past five games, only Jonathan
Taylor, Joe Mixon, and James Conner have averaged more fantasy
points per game than Leonard Fournette. He has three rushing touchdowns
in the last four games, and his 28 receptions are the most of
any back during that span.
The Patriots showed that you can run on the Bills over and over
again, even if they know the run is coming. While we do not anticipate
a similar game plan this week, I’m sure Byron Leftwich can’t
help but want to see how his rushing offense will do against that
Start Fournette with confidence in what could be a fairly high-scoring
game. A touchdown or two and 100 total yards is not out of the
Game Thoughts: After the Bears split two games with Andy
Dalton (hand) under center, they will welcome back Justin Fields
(ribs), who has been medically cleared, this Sunday night. The
rookie had some encouraging moments leading up to his rib injury
on Nov. 21, most notably a 291-yard passing game in Week 9 and
103 yards rushing the week before, but this is tough duty. He
threw for 174 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT in the first meeting with
the Packers. On the road against a defense that made things awfully
tough on Kyler Murray, Patrick Mahomes and more, it’s best
to leave Fields on your bench.
One player that might be sad to see Dalton gone is Darnell Mooney,
who racked up 220 yards receiving in just under 10 quarters of
action with the Red Rifle delivering the ball. Still, he’s
been Fields’ No. 1 target for most of 2021, and there’s
no reason to think that won’t continue Sunday night. He
could be played as a WR3. Allen Robinson (hamstring) hasn’t
suited up since Nov. 8, but he was back at practice on a limited
basis Wednesday and at least has some hope of returning. Robinson
had a season-high 68 yards his last time out and is worth watching
down the stretch, though he should be benched here.
The Packers feature the ninth-ranked pass defense, yielding 219.2
yards per game on the year. They’ve had some trouble with
the deep ball in their last two games, though, and you’d
think the Bears will try to take some downfield shots. Reinforcements
look to be on the way for the Packers with Jaire Alexander (shoulder)
designated to return from IR this week, though it’s unlikely
he’ll play in Week 14. One player to watch is Cole Kmet
(3-41-0); he’s had six or more targets in five of his last
six games and could be a flier.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: After logging 141 yards and a touchdown
on 29 touches in Week 13, David Montgomery (shoulder/groin) is
dealing with several injuries and his status for Sunday is murky.
Assuming he’s able to work through it, Montgomery would
make a solid RB2. If not, Khalil Herbert would get the nod. Herbert
ran for 97 yards and a TD against the Packers back in Week 6 and
could fill that same RB2 slot if Montgomery is down. Green Bay
has improved as the season has worn on and is currently eighth
against the run, giving up 102.5 yards per game on the ground.
Game Thoughts: All anyone really remembers about the
earlier encounter between the long-time rivals is Aaron Rodgers
bellowing “I own you!” to the Solider Field crowd.
His final line -- 17 for 23, 195 yards, 3 total TDs -- are hardly
the stuff of legend, but it got the job done. The rematch may
be different. When the teams met in Week 6, the Packers were 4-1
and the Bears were 3-2. Chicago gave it their best shot. Now,
Green Bay is fighting for the No. 1 seed and the Bears are wondering
who their coach will be in 2022. While anything can happen in
a rivalry game, you shouldn’t hesitate to play Rodgers in
as a QB1.
It took a while, but Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4-50-0) is starting
to round into form with eight receptions, 173 yards and a score
in his last two games. He’s still going to be a hit-or-miss
contributor, but his upside is such that a flex spot is warranted.
Davante Adams (8-104-0) resides at the top of the mountain among
NFL wideouts, and though his lack of production in the red zone
has been frustrating, he’s still a weekly WR1. Randall Cobb
(core) is coming off his best game since being reacquired in the
offseason, but he won’t play for a while due to an injury
suffered in Week 12.
Chicago’s pass defense is No. 6 in the NFL in terms of
yardage allowed (207.8 per game), but they’re one of just
three teams to give up 20 or more TD passes while collecting five
or fewer interceptions. They managed just one sack of Kyler Murray
last week and miss the presence of Khalil Mack (foot), who is
out for the season.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: The most interesting subplot of Week 14
is seeing what the Packers will do with their backfield split.
Aaron Jones (10-23-0) missed just one week with a knee injury
but did little in his return against the Rams. Meanwhile, AJ Dillon
(20-69-0) has emerged as a legitimate weapon, and his bruising
style seems like a good fit for cold Lambeau nights. The Bears
are 23rd in run defense at 120.1 yards per game allowed, and they
figure to get a healthy dose of Jones and Dillon. Pencil Jones
in as an RB1 (17-110-1 combined v CHI in Week 6) and Dillon (11-59-0)
as an RB3.
Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford had been on a bit of
a skid in Weeks 9 and 10, but the Rams’ Week 11 bye week
seems to have rejuvenated the quarterback as he has now thrown
for three touchdowns in back-to-back games since. The quarterback
now faces an Arizona defense that he performed fairly well against
earlier this season, but the Rams were unable to even keep things
close on the scoreboard. With Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins
both back for the Cardinals, we should expect that this game could
again turn into a shootout and that would mean good things for
both Stafford as well as his weapons.
Cooper Kupp remains the overall WR1 on the season and it looks
as though only an injury would threaten his chances of holding
onto that crown through the end of the regular season. Unfortunately,
Kupp is dealing with a toe injury that’s kept him limited
in practice early this week and there is actually a possibility
that he could miss Monday night’s game. We shouldn’t
expect that to be the case, but fantasy owners of Kupp need to
be sure that they have a backup plan should the super stud WR
end up being sidelined.
Odell Beckham Jr. has certainly had an interesting 2021 season
and he’s been thrust into an important role as one of the
team’s starting outside wide receivers. Beckham has now
scored in back to back games, including being targeted 15 times
over that two game stretch. He’s only caught seven passes
for 109 yards in those games so it hasn’t been anything
that jumps off the page from a fantasy standpoint, but he’s
certainly been a focal point of the passing game right away. Beckham
hasn’t been quite productive enough to call him a locked-in
fantasy WR2, but he’s someone who you could slot in that
range if needed, although he’s probably better suited to
be a WR3/Flex.
It looked like teammate Van Jefferson would see his playing time
reduced when Beckham joined the team, but that really hasn’t
been the case. In fact, since Robert Woods went down with an injury,
Jefferson has actually seen his usage in the offense increase.
He was targeted nine times in Week 12 and another eight times
in Week 13 - each of which were his two highest target games of
the season. Not surprisingly, they were also two of his best fantasy
games of the season as he, too, was able to get into the end zone
against both the Packers and Jaguars. Jefferson doesn’t
have the brand equity that Beckham does and it doesn’t appear
as though the team is scheming quite as many plays specifically
for him, but he’s now been targeted at least six times in
six straight games for the Rams. That kind of usage, in a high-powered
offense, in what could be a shootout atmosphere, makes Jefferson
a pretty enticing WR3 against the Cardinals.
Tight end Tyler Higbee has been disappointing this season despite
plenty of playing time and we haven’t really seen his targets
increase much throughout the year. Fantasy owners should probably
avoid him, but he could have some value as a low-end TE1 in the
scenario that Kupp ends up being out. We likely won’t have
the luxury of knowing a day in advance if Kupp is out, though,
so waiting until Monday night to start Higbee is probably not
a great option.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Rams running back Darrell Henderson missed
the team’s Week 13 blowout victory over the Jaguars and
that allowed us to get a glimpse of Sony Michel being the team’s
primary back for the first time this season. Michel responded
by delivering in a big way, rushing for 121 yards on 24 carries,
adding a touchdown on the ground and three receptions through
the air to make him an RB1 for the week.
Although Henderson produced 116 total yards against the Cardinals
earlier this season, we don’t yet know his status for Monday
night’s game and that makes him a risky start if you don’t
also own Michel. Even if you do, there’s a possibility that
the two backs split more work than we’ve seen earlier this
season which would mean that Henderson is more of a low-upside
fantasy RB2/Flex. If Henderson is out, however, Michel should
shoot up back to the high-end RB2 conversation.
If we don’t end up knowing Henderson’s situation in
advance, however, fantasy owners need to be very careful about
what they do in this matchup. The Rams typically utilize a single
back approach and there likely won’t be many touches going
to anyone other than Michel if Henderson does get ruled out, so
you’ll need to plan accordingly.
Game Thoughts: Fantasy owners have been without Kyler
Murray for the past four weeks, but their star QB got back onto
the field this past week against the Bears and immediately reminded
us why he was in the conversation for NFL MVP prior to going out.
Although he only completed 11 passes for 123 yards, Murray did
deliver two touchdowns through the air while also contributing
an additional two scores and 59 yards as a runner. It was one
of his biggest fantasy performances and it’s exactly why
Murray was ranked so high before the season started. While he
still looked to be a bit hampered by his ankle, Murray showed
his toughness and battled through the pain, which is exactly what
we’ll need him to do this week in what could end up being
a shootout against the Rams.
Murray threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns, adding 39 yards
on the ground back when these teams met back in Week 4. While
that’s an acceptable stat line on its own, it should also
be noted that the Cardinals were ahead 34-13 headed into the fourth
quarter in that game, so Murray’s usage was a bit down from
where it could be if the Rams were able to keep up on the scoreboard.
Murray’s return to the field was an obvious jolt of energy
for the Cardinals, but they also got top wide receiver DeAndre
Hopkins back after he, too, had been out for four weeks with a
hamstring injury. While Hopkins was held to just two targets in
his return game against Chicago, he caught both passes and even
scored a touchdown, so it wasn’t a completely horrible fantasy
day for him. We hope that an additional week will get him even
closer to full strength as he’ll now have to face a Rams
defense and more specifically an extraordinarily difficult matchup
against cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Hopkins was held to four catches
for 67 yards when he faced the Rams earlier this season and if
he’s not feeling fully healthy then he’s probably
going to be in for a long day in this one. He’s still DeAndre
Hopkins so it’s hard to bench him, but Hopkins is not a
WR1 right now. If anything, he’s a low-end WR2 this week
and potentially a WR3 if your team is deep at the position.
The other wide receivers in Arizona just simply cannot be trusted
for fantasy purposes at the moment. Sure, one or two of them will
probably contribute something of value, but A.J. Green, Christian
Kirk and Rondale Moore combined for just six targets this past
week. Obviously it was an unusually low passing volume game for
the team as a whole, and that could change this week, but we just
don’t have a good grasp on which one of these players is
going to be featured in this matchup. If you’re looking
for some context from the previous matchup between these teams,
it could be noted that Green was by far the most productive of
the bunch as he delivered five receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown
against the Rams. Meanwhile, Kirk was held to just one catch for
five yards and Moore was held to just three catches for 28 yards.
It’s just too crowded of a situation to trust any of these
players in normal leagues.
Tight end Zach Ertz is really the only other player who fantasy
owners should be trusting in this passing game, and even that
is pretty sketchy. Ertz was held to just one catch this past week,
but he was a major focal point of the passing game in the Cardinals’
previous game when he caught a season high eight passes for 88
yards and two touchdowns. Of course, that was not with Murray
at quarterback, so take that with a grain of salt, but you could
do worse than Ertz in a game that could be a shootout against
a Rams defense that has given up touchdowns to opposing tight
ends in three of their past five games.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: The Cardinals designated Chase Edmonds
to return from injured reserve on Thursday, opening the potential
for the running back to make his return as early as Monday night’s
game against the Rams. While that still seems relatively unlikely
as a return window, there is the potential for it and we’ll
have to keep our eyes peeled for any additional information. Chances
seem stronger, though, that we’ll see Edmonds sidelined
for at least one more game which will mean another start for veteran
Conner has been an absolute fantasy monster this season, despite
the fact that he’s averaging less than four yards per carry
as a runner. Conner has already scored a ridiculous 14 touchdowns
on just 186 total touches this season. He’s scored at least
once in six straight games, including this past week when he made
an impressive one-handed catch on his way into the end zone. Conner
isn’t quite as productive as a receiver as Edmonds, but
he’s unquestionably one of the league’s most dominant
goal line runners and in an offense as good as Arizona’s,
that makes him a viable weekly RB1.
Conner scored twice on 18 carries for 50 yards when the Cardinals
faced the Rams earlier this season and that was while he was still
splitting touches with Edmonds. Assuming he’s the starter
again this week, fantasy owners should feel pretty confident putting
him back in their lineups.