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Inside the Matchup
Week 15
12/13/18; Updated: 12/14/18

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | Justin Bales





Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:




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

Chargers @ Chiefs - (Caron)
Line: KC -3.5
Total: 53.5

Passing Game Thoughts: A seemingly great matchup for Philip Rivers in Week 14 fell as a dud for fantasy purposes as the quarterback threw for just 220 yards and one touchdown in a relatively close game. Rivers was, however, able to avoid turning the ball over and is now on pace for nearly 4,500 passing yards and 36 touchdowns on the season, so it’s easy to just write the one game dip as more of an aberration than a trend.

This week he and the Chargers will need to get their passing game going again as they head to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in what could again turn out to be a shootout. The Chargers fell by a final score of 28-38 against the Chiefs back in Week 1 and that was on the shoulders of Rivers’ 424-yard, three touchdown day. With the running game in flux due to injuries, he’ll likely need to put up similar numbers to that in order for the Chargers to have a real shot of winning this game.

That’s good news for wide receiver Keenan Allen who continues to feast on defenses in the second half of the season. He’s now caught a touchdown in five straight games and caught at least five passes in seven straight contests, making him one of the safest fantasy wide receivers in the league due to his high target share.

The other options in the Los Angeles passing game are not nearly as trustworthy, however, as players like Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Antonio Gates and Virgil Green are all seeing far too little work to warrant serious fantasy consideration, even in a good matchup.

The one other receiver in this offense who could be useful is second-year wideout Mike Williams who hasn’t done much over the past two weeks and has been very streaky over the course of his young career. Still, Williams had a season-high five receptions for 81 yards against the Chiefs back in Week 1 and currently leads the team with seven touchdown receptions on the season, so there’s reason to believe that he could be a solid WR3 or Flex this week.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: With Austin Ekeler already ruled out with an injury, the Chargers will be hoping they can get their star running back, Melvin Gordon, back onto the field. He’d probably be able to suit up if the game was on Sunday but reports don’t seem to be too confident that he’ll be available for Thursday night’s contest against the Chiefs. Gordon had a monster fantasy day against the Chiefs back in Week 1, in large part due to his nine receptions for 102 yards, but the Chargers aren’t likely to rush him back onto the field if he’s not healthy enough to take a pretty hefty workload.

If he’s on the field, Gordon should be in your lineup, but fantasy owners need to be prepared with a backup plan which might include Justin Jackson. Jackson was quite efficient with his touches in Weeks 12 and 13 but did practically nothing with his nine touches in Week 15 against the Bengals. Still, the rookie could be in line for some serious touches as the Chargers really don’t have any other running backs who are experienced in the offense. If Gordon is not active, Jackson could slot in as high as a high-end RB2 in this matchup against the Chiefs who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this season.

Value Meter:
QB1: Philip Rivers
RB1: Melvin Gordon
RB2: Justin Jackson (if Gordon is inactive)
WR1: Keenan Allen
Flex: Mike Williams
Bench: Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates, Virgil Green

Passing Game Thoughts: Week 15 saw one of Patrick Mahomes’ least-productive fantasy days of the season, but that still meant a 377-yard, two touchdown day that was marred by just one interception. Mahomes did struggle a bit with Tyreek Hill nursing a foot injury that kept him off the field more often than the Chiefs would have liked, but he still put up gigantic numbers and Hill himself still had another huge day with eight receptions for 139 yards. With Hill expected to be active, this top-level quarterback-wide receiver duo, alongside tight end Travis Kelce, will again be must-starts as they face a Chargers defense that they crushed back in Week 1. Mahomes went for four touchdowns - two of which went to Hill - in that contest, as he began what is now one of the most dominant fantasy seasons in history.

Kelce was actually held in check that day as he caught just one pass for six yards, but he’s been red hot down the stretch including seven touchdown receptions over his past six games and six or more catches in all six of those contests. Kelce is the unquestioned top tight end in fantasy and needs to be in your lineup.

With Sammy Watkins out again, the other player to look at in this passing game is Chris Conley, who was held to just two catches for 13 yards against the Ravens this past week but who had scored three touchdowns on 10 catches over his previous two games before that. Conley is more of a boom-or-bust option but there is a chance he booms in this one, especially if Hill reaggravates his foot injury.

The Chiefs did add Kelvin Benjamin prior to their Week 14 game against the Ravens but opted to keep him inactive. He is expected to be on the field this week, but will likely be used in a limited capacity and should not be in your fantasy lineup until we see how he’s utilized in Kansas City.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: With Kareem Hunt off the team and Spencer Ware listed as doubtful with a hamstring injury, the Chiefs will now be looking deep down their bench to find running back production here in Week 15. Running back Darrel Williams might end up seeing a few touches, but the player to be paying attention to for fantasy purposes is Damien WIlliams, who was fairly unproductive in terms of yardage with his touches this past week, but who scored twice in Kansas City’s narrow victory over Baltimore. Williams had his moments at times as a member of the Dolphins but he may now be getting the best opportunity for fantasy production of his career as the lead dog in perhaps the league’s best offense. Double-digit touches seem like almost a guarantee for Williams this week so he’s worth a speculative add and possibly a start as a Flex or even a low-level RB2 this week, particularly in PPR formats. The Chargers have given up at least 19 fantasy points (non-PPR) to an opposing running back in three straight contests leading into this week, so Williams actually has a higher floor than some might think, as well.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
RB2: Damien Williams (low-end)
WR1: Tyreek Hill
TE1: Travis Kelce
Flex: Chris Conley
Bench: Charcandrick West, Darrel Williams, Kelvin Benjamin, Demarcus Robinson

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Chargers 24 ^ Top

Texans at Jets - (Katz)
Line: HOU -7.0
Total: 41.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Are the Houston Texans actually good? I’m not sure, but I know they beat bad teams and the Jets are a bad team. Deshaun Watson has just two rushing touchdowns on the season and has only thrown more than two touchdowns once all season. The Jets have allowed 59% fewer fantasy points to QBs against league average making Watson nothing more than a middling option. DeAndre Hopkins salvaged a bad game with a touchdown last week because that’s what he does – he makes it work. Hopkins has survived a lot on scoring this season, but he’s an elite WR and that’s what the best receivers do. The Jets secondary is no match for Hopkins. Keke Coutee is perennially questionable and can’t be trusted, while Demaryius Thomas is an afterthought in this offense.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: Lamar Miller did what he always does every time you think he’s turning a corner and puts up a dud. He followed up back to back 100-yard games with 33 yards on 14 carries. Fortunately, he fell into the end zone. Miller should have an easier time against a Jets defense allowing 4.6 yards per carry. It is also worth noting that the Texans activate D’onta Foreman, who was about to take over Miller’s job last season before tearing his Achilles.

Value Meter:
QB2: Deshaun Watson (high end)
RB2: Lamar Miller (low end)
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins (mid-range)
Bench: Keke Coutee, Demaryius Thomas

Passing Game Thoughts: Sam Darnold threw for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception last week. I’m not saying Darnold is a bust because it’s too early for that, but he’s been terrible this year. Robby Anderson saw seven targets last week, catching four for 76 yards and a touchdown. He’s a talented player, but is too inconsistent to trust with Darnold at the helm. Quincy Enunwa is out with an ankle injury and Jermaine Kearse is not seeing anywhere near enough consistent usage. The Texans have been average against the pass, but they’ve mostly faced weak offenses. This, however, is another weak offense. Avoid Jets in this spot.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: With Isaiah Crowell out, Elijah McGuire has a chance to show what he can do as a primary back. He will undoubtedly split time with Trenton Cannon, but this will be a McGuire led backfield. He didn’t do much with his chance last week, but he volumed his way to 83 total yards and a score. That’s at least worth starting in fantasy. Only four teams allow fewer fantasy points below average to opposing RBs than the Texans, but since this game is in MetLife, game script shouldn’t completely get away from the Jets. Plus, McGuire is the pass catching back. He could be sneaky useful this week.

Value Meter:
Flex: Elijah McGuire
Bench: Sam Darnold, Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Chris Herndon, Isaiah Crowell

Prediction: Texans 23, Jets 19 ^ Top

Browns at Broncos - (Caron)
Line: DEN -2.5
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Many analysts had predicted that Baker Mayfield might struggle in the previous Browns regime under head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, and he didn’t get off to a hot start in that system. However, since the Browns moved on from those coaches, Mayfield is beginning to look like the budding young superstar that made him the No.1 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. Since Freddie Kitchens took over the Browns offense, Mayfield is putting up some truly staggering numbers. His 9.3 yards per attempt are among the highest in the league and his 73.2 completion percentage would be the highest mark in NFL history if he was able to sustain it for an entire season. From a fantasy standpoint, his 11 touchdowns in five games doesn’t sound like anything special, but he’s throwing for 281 yards per game and he’s thrown just four interceptions in those five games under Kitchens. Mayfield isn’t quite a QB1 for fantasy at the moment, but he’s getting close and is a decent streamer this week if you’re looking for someone with a relatively high floor and decent ceiling.

The only issue for fantasy purposes is that Mayfield isn’t exactly locking in on one receiver. Sure, Jarvis Landry has hit the mark in each of the past two weeks, but he was also saved by a touchdown this past week and has been held to under 60 yards receiving in five of his past six games. That’s concerning when Mayfield is playing as well as he has been. Landry would typically be a player who we might recommend against playing this week due to what would be a tough matchup against slot cornerback Chris Harris, but Harris was sent to the IR this week, which does open things up for Landry to stay a WR2 in this game.

The only other pass catcher worth looking for fantasy purposes at the moment is tight end David Njoku who has been admittedly a bit disappointing this season, but who has caught at least three passes in each of his past three games. With the tight end position as decimated as it has been this season, Njoku should again be considered a mid-to-low-end TE1 for fantasy.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: Rookie running back Nick Chubb continues to impress and has now scored touchdowns in five straight contests, which is - not coincidentally - when Freddie Kitchens took over as the Browns’ offensive coordinator. The yards per carry haven’t always been huge but Chubb is getting a significant workload and solidified himself as a solid RB1 for fantasy down the stretch. Chubb gets the Broncos this week who just gave up 90 yards rushing to San Francisco’s Jeff Wilson in Week 14 in his first ever start. Look for another 15-plus touch say for Chubb who is a safe option in any format, but is probably better in standard leagues over PPR leagues. The other running back in the Browns offense, Duke Johnson, should be on fantasy benches for the time being, even in PPR formats where he used to be one of the underappreciated studs at the position. Johnson has caught just one pass in his past two games and simply doesn’t appear to be much of a fixture in the new Kitchens offense.

Value Meter:
RB1: Nick Chubb
WR2: Jarvis Landry
TE1: David Njoku
Bench: Baker Mayfield, Antonio Callaway, Rashard Higgins

Passing Game Thoughts: Finishing with under 16 fantasy points in seven straight games, Denver’s Case Keenum is simply not a fantasy option even against a less-than-stellar Browns defense. The players we do care about, however, are his pass catching weapons. Rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton, to be specific. Sutton fell flat on his face in Week 14 in what many believed would be a potentially big game for him against the 49ers as he caught just two passes for 14 yards. It was Sutton’s first game without both Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas who has been pulling targets away from him early in the season. There’s still hope for Sutton to emerge, but we have to understand that he’s a rookie who’s simply not a reliable option. We could still put him in lineups against the Browns this week but understand that he could give you a dud again.

Fellow rookie DaeSean Hamilton, who had caught just five passes this season prior to Week 14, caught seven passes for 47 yards and caught the Broncos’ only touchdown pass of the day; leading the team’s pass catchers in fantasy points for the week. Hamilton essentially took over the Sanders role, primarily playing out of the slot, and he could actually be more reliable than Sutton down the stretch even though he’s not likely to have as high of a weekly ceiling. The other receiver to look at is wide receiver Tim Patrick, who actually led the team with 10 targets, seven of which he caught for a team-high 85 yards. Patrick has never done much throughout his career prior to this game so he’s a player we’ll want to see something from this week before we consider putting him in lineups in Weeks 16 and 17, however.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: He took over 60 percent of the Broncos’ carries in Week 14, but Phillip Lindsay is still giving up too many touches to fellow running backs Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker to be considered an elite option for fantasy. Instead, due primarily to efficiency, Lindsay is a low-end RB1 even against the Browns’ porous run defense who have given up 100-plus total yard days to individual running backs in five of their past six games. Freeman and Booker, however, are not fantasy options other than in extremely deep leagues.

Value Meter:
RB1: Phillip Lindsay
Flex: Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton (PPR only)
Bench: Case Keenum, Royce Freeman, Devontae Booker, Tim Patrick, Matt LaCosse

Prediction: Browns 24, Broncos 20 ^ Top

Cardinals @ Falcons - (Bales)
Line: ATL -10.0
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Falcons have struggled against the pass this season, allowing 256.0 passing yards per game. They have also allowed 27 passing touchdowns, while recording only nine interceptions this season. With that being said, Josh Rosen is only averaging 173.6 yards and 0.9 touchdown on 28.6 pass attempts. He has struggled in nearly every game this season, and he’s a bad fantasy option at this point in his career.

Larry Fitzgerald is the only receiver that should be considered for Arizona. He lacks upside because of Rosen, but he has scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in six of his last seven games. Trent Sherfield also saw seven targets last week, but he simply isn’t playing enough to be considered at this point.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: David Johnson is currently questionable this week, but he makes a great option in this matchup. On the season, Johnson is averaging 88.5 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 20.2 touches (3.3 receptions) per game. He has been more involved in the passing offense recently and Atlanta is one of the worst defenses in the NFL against running backs in the receiving game. Atlanta is also allowing 131.2 rushing yards per game and have allowed 15 touchdowns on the ground this season, as well. If Johnson is out, Chase Edmonds will make a great option.

Value Meter:
RB1: David Johnson (low-end)
WR2: Larry Fitzgerald (low-end)
Bench: Josh Rosen

Passing Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan has found plenty of success this season, averaging 313.5 yards and 2.2 touchdowns on 38.6 pass attempts per game. He’s also averaging more yards and touchdowns per game at home this season. He gets a matchup against the Cardinals, who are allowing only 211.0 passing yards per game. Arizona has allowed only 17 touchdowns, while recording six interceptions this season, as well. The only real concern for Ryan would be limited pass attempts in a blowout.

Julio Jones has been an elite option for the Falcons, averaging 7.2 receptions for 109.9 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 11.1 targets per game. He has struggled at times at home, and will be shadowed by Patrick Peterson, who is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Calvin Ridley has performed well at home this season, but he hasn’t been nearly consistent enough to be considered, especially in a game that could quickly turn into a blowout. Mohamed Sanu is averaging 3.9 receptions for 49.0 yards and 0.2 touchdowns on 5.4 targets per game. Sanu could see a few extra targets with Peterson lining up against Jones, and Sanu is a fairly consistent option, although he lacks upside. Austin Hooper has also found success in Atlanta this season, totaling 30 receptions for 291 yards and three touchdowns on 38 targets in seven games. He’s a strong tight end option this weekend but has missed practice this week with an ankle injury. Check his status on Sunday before setting your lineup.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: Tevin Coleman has been struggling recently, but he’s averaging 63.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns on 13.0 touches (2.4 receptions) per game. He could see an extended role in a potential blowout this weekend. Arizona has also struggled against the run, allowing 139.5 rushing yards per game. They have also allowed 18 rushing touchdowns on the season making this is an ideal matchup for Coleman.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (low-end)
RB2: Tevin Coleman (high-end)
WR1: Julio Jones (low-end)
WR3: Mohamed Sanu
TE1: Austin Hooper (low-end)

Prediction: Falcons 28, Cardinals 13 ^ Top

Buccaneers @ Ravens - (Swanson)
Line: BAL -7.5
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Jameis Winston is quietly having his best fantasy season as a pro since joining the league as the first overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft. Winston’s 24.3 fantasy points per game is a full three points per game better than in previous years, and his eight-game pace would have him posting career highs in yards (4,300), completion percentage, and rushing yards.

Winston will find it difficult to match his season average in fantasy points this week on the road against the Baltimore Ravens, a team that ranks seventh in fewest fantasy points over the previous five weeks. Only Andy Dalton in a flukey Week 2 performance with the Ravens down their best cover cornerback has reached more than two passing touchdowns in a game against Baltimore. And only two quarterbacks, including Patrick Mahomes last week, have thrown for over 300 passing yards.

Interceptions have always been a problem for Winston. Despite playing in only eight games, Winston is tied with Cam Newton, Josh Rosen, and Mitchell Trubisky for the second-most interceptions in the league (12), just two behind Sam Darnold for the most in the NFL.

Although Baltimore is tied for second for the fewest interceptions as a defensive unit, they excel at putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and forcing poor throws, especially at home at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens allow the fewest points per play in the league while ranking second behind New Orleans in time of possession. Look for the Ravens to force Winston into making ill-advised throws and turnovers, while the offense runs a methodical run-heavy attack to shorten the game and dominate time of possession.

Due to the question marks surrounding Winston and his ability to move the ball against the Ravens, the skill position players on Tampa Bay are also questionable starts. Mike Evans is no longer getting elite targets that made him a must-start in previous seasons (just under seven targets per game over the last five contests), and cornerback Jimmy Smith will blanket him most of the game.

One area that teams have found success against Baltimore is targeting tight ends. A tight end has reached the end zone in four of the last five games against the Ravens, making Cameron Brate an interesting touchdown-dependent option in 12-team leagues.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: One of the reasons why Winston may struggle against the Ravens is the lack of balance provided by the Tampa Bay ground attack. The Bucs as a team rank dead last in fantasy points scored by RBs, with just 851 rushing yards and five touchdowns between Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers, Shaun Wilson, and Ronald Jones.

Conversely, Baltimore ranks first in allowing the fewest points to opposing running backs. Without a running threat to worry about defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will be able to focus more on getting pressure on Winston and disguising coverages.

If you own Peyton Barber, you can start him with the glimmer of hope that he may get a fluky rushing touchdown, but expecting a ton of yards or a multi-touchdown game is not likely.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jameis Winston (Low-End)
RB3: Peyton Barber (Low-End)
WR2: Mike Evans (Low-End)
WR2: Adam Humphries (Low-End)
TE2: Cameron Brate (Mid-Range)

Passing Game Thoughts: Lamar Jackson will make his fifth start of the season at quarterback for the Ravens despite Joe Flacco returning to the team after missing four games with a hip injury. The Ravens are 3-1 with Jackson under center, with wins over Cincinnati, Oakland, and Atlanta.

Jackson has been fortunate in that the four opponents in the games he has started rank in the bottom quarter of the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and running backs. The first round pick from Louisville has made the most of those each matchup, averaging 23 points per game and just over 80 yards rushing per contest.

Jackson’s fortunes continue this week against a Buccaneer defense that ranks in the bottom-eight in fantasy points to all skill position players, including the fourth-most points to opposing running backs.

The downside of Jackson starting at quarterback is the massive hit to the skill position weapons for Baltimore. Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and John Brown no longer are start-worthy based on the low volume of passes in the Ravens passing game. Sure, one of the receivers may catch a sporadic touchdown here or there, but the downside of a goose egg or two catches for 20 yards is just as likely.

The quad of tight ends that the Ravens employ also creates a quagmire that fantasy owners should avoid at all costs. Just when Mark Andrews or Hayden Hurst appears to be gaining fantasy value, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle sneak in for a touchdown vulture. The bottom line is that Lamar Jackson is the only player you should consider playing in the Baltimore passing game, and his matchup this week at home against the Bucs makes him a low-end QB1 play.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: The Ravens are equally confounding with regards to running backs, with four tailbacks working in the mix for offensive coordinator Marty Mornhingweg. Just when we all thought Gus Edwards would take over as the bell cow back on first and second down Kenneth Dixon returns to the team and runs well against the Chiefs. The team also loves to use Ty Montgomery in passing downs, taking value away from both Edwards and Dixon.

Head coach John Harbaugh told reporters on Tuesday that Dixon continues to impress with his plays in practice and will likely get more carries against the Bucs. Of the two early down backs, it appears that the Gus Bus experience may be running out of gas. Edwards shouldn’t be dropped, but starting him this week may present a frustrating result if Edwards receives fewer than 15 carries.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson (Low-End)
RB2: Kenneth Dixon (Low-End)
RB2: Gus Edwards (Low-End)
WR4: Michael Crabtree (Low-End)
WR4: John Brown (Low-End)
TE2: Mark Andrews (Low-End)

Prediction: Ravens 28, Bucs 21 ^ Top

Lions at Bills - (Katz)
Line: BUF -2.0
Total: 39.5

Passing Game Thoughts: I can’t remember a time when Matthew Stafford played worse. With Golden Tate gone and Marvin Jones on IR, the Lions passing attack has become a fantasy wasteland. Stafford has long belonged on waiver wires, having thrown for zero scores in three of his last six games and just one in two of them. Recently, Kenny Golladay should have joined Stafford on waivers as this passing attack is so anemic that it cannot support even a single fantasy viable WR. Golladay will be covered by Tre’Davious White this week. The Bills elite shutdown corner allows just .24 fantasy points per snap, third fewest in the league. Bruce Ellington has 30 targets over his last four games, but is not turning them into anything helpful with no more than 52 yards in a single game. The Bills have been the league’s top pass defense, allowing a league low 186 yards per game. With the Lions also on the road, stay away from anyone involved in this passing attack.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: has no business being in the NFL. He is arguably the worst RB currently on an NFL roster. Hopefully, last week was a sign of change as Zach Zenner was receiving the bulk of the carries later in the game over LeGarrette Blount. All Zenner does is produce when given the chance, yet the Lions have spent years pushing talentless players like Blount and Ameer Abdullah ahead of him. Either way, it is way too risk to trust Zenner this week, even with Kerryon Johnson remaining sidelined with his MCL injury. Theo Riddick comes with a safe PPR floor, but we know how low his ceiling is with touchdowns being highly unlikely and his rushing game involvement minimal. The one area where the Bills rank slightly below average is in defending RBs out of the backfield, which makes Riddick a viable floor option.

Value Meter:
Flex: Theo Riddick
Bench: Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Bruce Ellington, LeGarrette Blount, Zach Zenner, Kerryon Johnson

Passing Game Thoughts: Step aside Lamar Jackson, the real cheat code is in Buffalo and his name is Josh Allen. The Bills rookie QB has eclipsed 200 passing yards in each of his last two games, which is really all he needs to be a QB1 while supporting it with 100 yards on the ground for the third consecutive game (okay, the first game was 99, but I’m counting it). Allen put up 20 fantasy points last week despite throwing two interceptions while failing to throw for a touchdown. The only reason Allen is viable is because of his running ability so even though the QB is useful, you aren’t interested in Zay Jones, Robert Foster or Isaiah McKenzie. Yes, that is really the Bills trio of WRs. The Lions struggle defending the run so expect the Bills to try and pound the ball at home on the ground and use Allen’s mobility, rather than have him air it out.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: LeSean McCoy is dealing with hamstring injury, but practiced on Thursday and looks poised to play on Sunday. While the Lions have struggled to defend the run, they are only allowing 13.5 FPts/G to opposing RB1s. The Bills offense is not potent enough to generate any ceiling plays and Josh Allen’s rushing ability hasn’t translated into any extra space for McCoy. If you’ve made it this far, you did so without McCoy. Don’t change now.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh Allen (low end)
Bench: LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, Zay Jones, Robert Foster, Isaiah McKenzie

Prediction: Bills 20, Lions 16 ^ Top

Packers @ Bears - (Swanson)
Line: CHI -6.0
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers set the NFL record for most completions without an interception last week against the Falcons, as Green Bay beat Atlanta 34-20 at Lambeau Filed. The record is an impressive feat and a testament to the greatness of Rodgers. Unfortunately, Rodgers’ impressive streak does not make up for the fact that he has been a supreme disappointment for fantasy owners as the No.14 QB in points per game.

In a season in which Patrick Mahomes, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, and Drew Brees are posting massive numbers, Rodgers has just to games of more than two passing touchdowns, and he has topped 300 passing yards only three times. Perhaps most shocking is the fact that Rodgers has failed to reach a mere 200 passing yards three times.

Rodgers outlook does not look like it will change this week with a road matchup against a Bears defense that held the Rams to a pair of field goals and Jared Goff to negative fantasy points last Sunday Night.

Only Rodgers Week 1, Tom Brady, and Brock Osweiler have thrown for three touchdowns this season against the Bears, and three opposing quarterbacks failed to throw at least one passing touchdown against Vic Fangio’s defense in 2018.

The primary reason why Rodgers will likely struggle to put up elite fantasy points this week is the poor pass protection provided by the Green Bay offensive line against the stout pass rush of Akiem Hicks, Leonard Floyd, and Khalil Mack. Under interim head coach Joe Philbin last week the Packers opted for a quick pass attack to negate the pass rush of the Falcons, which is one reason why Rodgers threw for a pedestrian 196 passing yards.

Davante Adams continues to be an elite wide receiver, and a must-start regardless of the matchup based on his impressive ability to find the end zone against even the best cover corners. Adams and DeAndre Hopkins are the only two wide receivers this season to post double-digit points in every game this season. Outside of Adams, the receiving options for the Packers should be considered questionable starts at best.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: It was thought by many in the fantasy community that the firing of former head coach Mike McCarthy would finally result in Aaron Jones taking over as the bell cow running back for the Packers. Jones did receive 17 of the 21 rushing attempts for the Packers against the Falcons, posting 106 total years and a touchdown on 20 touches, but Jamaal Williams was still a factor in the game for his perceived prowess in pass protection.

The Packers will look to establish the run with Jones this week against the Bears to take the pressure off Rodgers and the passing game, and to slow down the Chicago pass rush. Unfortunately, the Bears excel in run defense and Jones will likely struggle to put up fantasy points like is owners have come accustomed to over the past five games.

Only the Ravens have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Bears, and only three players have reached the end zone rushing the ball vs. Fangio’s front seven. Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is a big reason why the Bears are so stout against the run, with Hicks plugging up the middle of the offensive line to allow speedy linebackers Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan shutting down outside zone and off tackle runs.

On the injury front, the Bears lost starting slot cornerback Bryce Callahan to a broken foot last week against the Rams. Look for Rodgers to try to exploit the loss of Callahan by targeting Jimmy Graham and Randall Cobb on quick passes out of the slot.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers (Low-End)
RB2: Aaron Jones (High-End)
WR1: Davante Adams (Low-End)
WR4: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Low-End)
WR4: Randall Cobb (Low-End)
TE1: Jimmy Graham (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Mitchell Trubisky returned to the field last week after missed two games with a shoulder injury. Although the Bears won their home matchup against the Rams, Trubisky did not look sharp, overthrowing wide receivers for a pair of ugly interceptions, while making more than a few questionable decisions on throws against the Rams secondary.

Trubisky threw for just 110 yards and one passing touchdown, with three interceptions and 16 completions on 30 attempts. It was the third time in the previous four games in which the second year quarterback failed to throw for more than 165 yards, making him somewhat of a questionable start this week in the fantasy playoffs.

At times this season, Trubisky has looked like a fantasy stud with a three-game stand from Weeks four through seven in which he averaged 38 fantasy points per game and well over 300 passing yards. But he has been dreadful dating back to Week 11 and continues to be one of the most inconsistent fantasy quarterbacks in the game.

With four rookies starting on defense, including cornerbacks Josh Jackson and Jaire Alexander, and a slew of injuries on the defensive line and in the secondary, it is impressive that the Packers rank 23rd in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.

Mike Pettine’s defense has held five opposing quarterbacks to fewer than 20 fantasy points and three opposing quarterbacks, including Mitchell Trubisky Week 1, to zero passing touchdowns. Although the unit continues to deal with injuries, especially in the defensive line, Green Bay presents a difficult matchup for Trubisky as he tries to pull out of his funk and return from his shoulder injury.

One positive for the Bears is the fact that the Packers defense allows nearly ten more points per game on the road than at home.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson did not practice on Wednesday due to a hip injury. Head coach Matt Nagy told reporters today that Robinson missing practice was more of a maintenance day than anything and that Robinson will be ready to go against Green Bay.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: Jordan Howard is high on a short list of early round busts for fantasy owners this season. If you are lucky enough to still be alive in the playoffs with Howard and his 3.6 yard per carry and 8.6 fantasy points per game average on your team you should pat yourself on the back for doing a solid job with waiver claims and trades.

After posting two consecutive seasons of at least 1100 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, Howard has just five total touchdowns through 13 games and will most likely not reach the century mark in rushing yards for the first time in his career.

Backfield mate Tarik Cohen is the better fit for Matt Nagy’s offense, and the player fantasy owners should consider starting this week. Cohen Ranks 16th among running backs with 1,063 total yards and six touchdowns, and his 63 receptions rank sixth in the league.

With 26 targets in his last three games and nine or more fantasy points in seven of his last ten contests, Cohen is a strong start in all formats and a borderline RB1 in full PPR leagues.

Value Meter:
QB1: Mitchell Trubisky (Mid-Range)
RB2: Tarik Cohen (Low-End)
RB3: Jordan Howard (High-End)
WR3: Allen Robinson (High-End)
TE2: Trey Burton (High-End)

Prediction: Bears 24, Packers 17 ^ Top

Raiders @ Bengals - (Swanson)
Line: CIN -3.0
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Fantasy football owners who survived the madness of Week 14 and advanced to the semi-finals hopefully have better options at quarterback than Derek Carr against the Bengals. To make it this far in the season likely means you already have your quarterback situation secure, along with your other skill position players and D/ST.

But for owners in very deep leagues and two quarterback formats, Carr against the lowly Bengals is not the worst play this week. Over the past three weeks, the much-maligned former second-round pick from Fresno State ranks just outside the top 12 among quarterbacks with 22.5 points per game, well ahead of other widely owned players like Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers.

Carr has not thrown a pick since Week 5 against the Chargers, and he has thrown at least two touchdowns in three of his last four games. With difficult road matchups for Rodgers at the Bears and Jameis Winston taking on the Ravens in Baltimore, Carr may be a safer play this week against a Bengals defense that ranks first in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and just over 30 points per game to the opposition.

Jared Cook continues to be a strong start as Carr’s favorite receiving option in the offense. Although defending the tight end is the only thing the Bengals do relatively well on defense (10th in point allowed), seven different tight ends have reached the end zone this season, including two different Cleveland Browns two weeks ago. Cook ranks fourth in targets at the tight end position over the past five games, while trailing only Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz in yards over that span. With the Bengals likely to find success moving the ball against the Raiders defense, this game could be a sneaky shootout and Cook could be a top 3 play this week.

Another player to consider starting as a flex in deeper plays is wide receiver Jordy Nelson. The former Packer has been very active as of late with 16 catches on 18 targets over the previous two games after missing time with a leg injury. Nelson has not scored since Week 5, but his increased volume makes him an intriguing option for owners hurting at WR.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: Say what you will about Jon Gruden and the unusual moves made by the Raiders front office this season. One move that actually looks pretty smart in hindsight is the addition of veteran running back Doug Martin. As the change of pace and eventual injury replacement for Marshawn Lynch, Martin has been surprisingly effective for both the Raiders and fantasy owners.

Over the past five games, Martin ranks 26th among running backs in fantasy points per game, ahead of Dalvin Cook, Adrian Peterson, and Sony Michel. Martin’s streak of at least one rushing touchdown in each of the last three games has provided an excellent floor as a low-end No. 2 or flex running back in the critical final weeks of the fantasy football regular season.

Owners who have trusted Martin this season should continue to roll with him this week against Cincinnati, a team that is downright awful against running backs. Thirteen opposing tailbacks have reached at least 10 fantasy points this season vs. the Bengals, and six of those players posted monster games of at least 20 points. Simply put, it is always a good idea to start your running backs against Cincinnati, even older backs playing in subpar offenses like Doug Martin.

Value Meter:
QB2: Derek Carr (High-End)
RB2: Doug Martin (Low-End)
WR4: Jordy Nelson (High-End)
WR4: Seth Roberts (Low-End)
TE1: Jared Cook (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: In two starts for the injured Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel has yet to throw for over 240 yards against the Broncos and Chargers, and he has not thrown for more than one touchdown in any game this season. To make matters worse for the journeyman backup, stud wide receiver A.J. Green was placed on injured reserve two weeks ago and will not play again this season.

Like his counterpart on the Raiders, Driskel is not someone that should be started on many playoff teams, as one would hope that teams who made it past the first round have better options on Sunday. For those owners in two-quarterback leagues, or leagues with 14 or more teams and deep benches, this week’s home matchup against the Raiders is about as good as it gets for Driskel.

We all know that the Raiders stink, with Jon Gruden and company setting their sights on an early draft pick in 2019. But what many people may not know is just how bad the Raiders have been open a per reception basis to opposing tight ends and wide receivers. Oakland allows the fewest receptions to wide receivers this season (132), better than the Cowboys, Jags, Colts, Ravens, and even the Vikings.

Yet with those 132 receptions, opposing teams have been incredibly efficient with 19 touchdowns and 1,853 yards. Teams don’t pass on the Raiders because it is just as easy to run the ball, and when teams do pass on Gruden’s defense, finding the end zone has been quite easy. By comparison, the Cowboys have allowed 67 fewer fantasy points to opposing WRs despite allowing four more receptions.

A favorite breakout candidate in the fantasy community earlier in the season, tight end C.J. Uzomah did not materialize into the weapon many anticipated with Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft out for the season. Volume has been the issue for the Uzi, but that changed when Driskel took over for Andy Dalton. Uzaomah is tied with Jared Cook for the fourth-most targets over the past three weeks and could finally be a fantasy league winner this week against the Raiders, a team that allows the most touchdowns and points to opposing tight ends.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Second-year RB Joe Mixon continues to be an excellent fantasy player despite the loss of his starting quarterback and stud win receiver. As one of the better pass-catching backs in the league, Mixon supplements his rushing totals with a healthy baseline of receptions and has totaled over 100 total yards in each of the last three games.

Mixon found success against the Chargers, Broncos, and Browns, leading me to feel confident that he will also be successful this Sunday against the Raiders. 12 running backs in 13 games have scored at least 10 fantasy points against Paul Gunther’s defense, including monster games from Nick Chubb, Melvin Gordon, Marlon Mack, and Todd Gurley. Not only to the Raiders rank in the bottom quarter in stopping the run, but they also can be beaten through the air on receptions by tailbacks.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jeff Driskel (High-End)
RB1: Joe Mixon (High-End)
WR2: Tyler Boyd (Low-End)
WR3: John Ross (Low-End)
TE1: C.J. Uzomah (Low-End)

Prediction: Bengals 34, Raiders 28 ^ Top

Cowboys @ Colts - (Bales)
Line: IND -3.0
Total: 47.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Dak Prescott has been enjoying a solid season, but he has caught fire over his last three games. Over that span, he’s averaging 331.0 yards and 2.0 touchdowns on 37.7 pass attempts. He has also added 42 yards and one touchdown on the ground. He gets a tough matchup against the Colts who are allowing 242.0 passing yards per game. They have also allowed only 19 passing touchdowns, while recording 11 interceptions. Prescott could be throwing the entire game, though, as it projects to stay close throughout.

Amari Cooper has been the receiving beneficiary of Prescott’s big numbers. In those games, he’s averaging 8.7 receptions for 157.7 yards and 1.7 touchdowns on 10.0 targets per game. The Colts have allowed only one WR1 game on the season, making this a terrible matchup for Cooper. Michael Gallup has quietly been posting solid numbers recently, totaling nine receptions for 100 yards over the last two games. Over that span, he has seen 16 targets, as well. He likely shouldn’t be used outside of difficult situations, but he’s worth noting. Blake Jarwin is coming off of a 7/56 line on seven targets, but he has struggled for the most part this season and that’s unlikely to change this weekend.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott has been one of the best running backs in the NFL, and he’s matchup proof. On the season, he’s averaging 135.7 yards and 0.7 touchdowns on 25.6 touches (5.0 receptions) per game. He has recorded five or more receptions in each of his last five games, and he has scored 20+ fantasy points in each. The Colts are allowing only 102.9 rushing yards per game and have also allowed only 10 rushing touchdowns in 2018. Even with the tough matchup, Elliott makes an elite option.

Value Meter:
QB2: Dak Prescott (high-end)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (elite)
WR1: Amari Cooper (low-end)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Cowboys have featured one of the best passing defenses in the NFL, allowing only 227.0 passing yards per game. They have allowed 19 passing touchdowns, while recording eight interceptions, as well. Andrew Luck has been a consistent QB1, averaging 289.2 yards and 2.6 touchdowns on 40.8 pass attempts per game. Even in a tough matchup, Luck makes a great option, as he should see enough volume to be valuable in Week 15.

T.Y. Hilton (ankle) should spend a bit of time across from Byron Jones, which is one of the worst matchups in the NFL. With that being said, he is averaging 5.6 receptions for 89.6 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 8.9 targets per game. Similarly to Luck, he’ll be a volume play this weekend. Eric Ebron is the other player in the receiving group that should be considered. He’s playing a major role in the offense, and he has totaled a 58/654/13 line on the season. Over the last three weeks, Ebron is averaging 6.3 receptions for 63.7 yards and 1.0 touchdown on 10.3 targets. The way to attack Dallas is with the tight end, making Ebron an elite option on this slate.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: Dallas has also featured one of the best run defenses in the NFL this season. They’re allowing only 86.8 rushing yards per game, while allowing only seven touchdowns on the ground. Dallas could potentially get Sean Lee back, making their defense that much more dangerous. Marlon Mack has found some success, averaging 68.4 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 14.6 carries per game. This is an awful matchup for Mack and he needs to be bumped down the rankings this weekend.

Value Meter:
QB1: Andrew Luck (low-end)
RB2: Marlon Mack (mid-range)
WR2: T.Y. Hilton (mid-range)
TE1: Eric Ebron (elite)

Prediction: Cowboys 24, Colts 21 ^ Top

Redskins @ Jaguars - (Bales)
Line: JAX -7.5
Total: 36.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Jaguars are allowing only 204 passing yards per game this season. They have also allowed a league-low 15 passing touchdowns, while recording 10 interceptions. Josh Johnson will draw the start for the Redskins making this is a situation to completely avoid. He threw for 195 yards and one touchdown, while adding 45 yards and one touchdown on the ground in limited action last week, but Jacksonville will be preparing for one of the oddest signings of the season.

Josh Doctson (concussion) and Jordan Reed (toe) are expected to miss this game, and there isn’t much to like about Washington’s passing attack with Johnson under center. Jamison Crowder and Vernon Davis come with some value based on potential volume, but neither should truly be considered on this slate.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Adrian Peterson has only seen 20 touches over the last two weeks, and there’s no reason to believe he’ll have more value in this matchup. Chris Thompson makes the better option at running back because of his big play and receiving abilities. With that being said, neither make elite options in what should be a defensive game. Jacksonville has allowed 120.4 rushing yards per game and 14 rushing touchdowns this season, though.

Value Meter:
Bench: Josh Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Vernon Davis

Passing Game Thoughts: The Redskins are allowing 258.0 passing yards per game this season. They have also allowed 23 passing touchdowns, while recording 13 interceptions in 2018. Cody Kessler attempted 43 passes last week, totaling 240 yards and one touchdown. That’s virtually his ceiling and he still struggled as a fantasy option. He isn’t a player to use at this point.

Kessler’s limitations at quarterback will limit the success of the Jacksonville receivers. Dede Westbrook is the best of the group, as he posted a 7/88/1 line on 10 targets last week. He’s far from a great option, though. Donte Moncrief also saw 10 targets and could be a volume-dependent option, but there’s very little reason to believe the Jacksonville passing attack will find much success against this defense.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette is averaging 81.5 yards and 0.8 touchdowns on 20.0 touches per game through six games. He has scored 20+ fantasy points in three of his four games since returning from injury. Fournette gets a matchup against Washington, who is allowing 112.3 rushing yards per game. They have also allowed 11 rushing touchdowns in 2018 and he could see a plethora of touches again in this matchup.

Value Meter:
RB2: Leonard Fournette
Bench: Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief, T.J. Yeldon

Prediction: Jaguars 13, Redskins 7 ^ Top

Dolphins @ Vikings - (Swanson)
Line: MIN -7.5
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Although he is not someone who fantasy owners would want to start in the playoffs in anything other than perhaps two-quarterback leagues, Ryan Tannehill has been a decent fantasy quarterback this season, including 26.6 fantasy points on 265 yards and three touchdowns last week against the Patriots.

Tannehill has more three-touchdown games than Aaron Rodgers despite playing in only eight games in 2018, and he has scored more fantasy points over the last three weeks than Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers.

Despite these favorable stats, owners should consider benching Tannehill for more attractive options this week with the Dolphins heading on the road to take on the Vikings. Not only does Minnesota allow the fifth-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks, but Tannehill also suffered an ankle injury against the Patriots last week and will likely have limited mobility on Sunday.

Tannehill’s return from injury has proven to be a massive boost to the fantasy value or wide receiver Kenny Stills. Over the past two weeks, Stills has 12 catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns after failing to post a game of more than 40 receiving yards dating back to Week 4 in New England. Stills clearly is a favorite target for Tannehill and should be considered a low-end No.3 wide receiver in deep leagues even in this tough matchup against the Vikings.

With Tannehill’s mobility likely limited, an interesting matchup to watch will be the matchup between the pass rushing specialist Danielle Hunter against the tackles of Ja’Wuan James and Laremy Tunsil. Miami ranks in the middle of the pack at 17th overall in sacks allowed, but stopping Hunter and his fellow pass rushing lineman Everson Griffin will be critical for Miami to upset the Vikings.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: At age 35 Frank Gore continues to prove his doubters wrong with 708 rushing yards on 151 carries, with 124 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown on 12 receptions.

In limited work alongside Kenyon Drake, Gore has averaged more yards per carry that Alvin Kamara, James Conner, Adrian Peterson, David Johnson, Sony Michel, and Dalvin Cook. He is not flashy and continues to be the bain of existence for Drake owners everywhere, but there is no doubt that he has been a solid contributor to the Dolphins this year.

Although he does not get a bellow workload, Drake has been a solid low-end No.2 running back this season. His 10.5 fantasy points per game ranked 25th among running backs, and his nine total touchdowns are the same as Ezekiel Elliott and Aaron Jones.

Look for both players to be very active on Sunday against a Vikings team that is surprisingly bad against the rush this season after allowing the fewest points to opposing running backs in 2017. You can run on Minnesota and reaching the end zone against Mike Zimmer’s team is no longer an impossible task. Head Coach Adam Gase will heavily feature both players on Sunday to control time of possession and limit the number of possessions for Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota offense.

Value Meter:
QB2: Ryan Tannehill (High-End)
RB2: Kenyan Drake (Low-End)
RB3: Frank Gore (High-End)
WR3: Kenny Stills (High-End)
WR4: DeVante Parker (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Vikings moved on from offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after Monday Night’s loss to the Seahawks. Although DeFilippo’s calls were certainly questionable at times, especially his play calls on third and short, he is not the only reason why the Vikings offense has struggled over the past month.

The offensive line is doing a horrible job of protecting quarterback Kirk Cousins, and Cousins by his own right is not making correct reads or accurate throws.

The $84-million man that the Vikings added this offseason ranks 21st among quarterbacks over the past five weeks with 20.3 fantasy points per game. Lamar Jackson, Nick Mullens, and his opponent in this game, Ryan Tannehill, all rank higher than Cousins over that span despite the fact that the three players combined earn less than Cousins does from his monster free-agent contract.

Cousins’ struggles have a direct effect on his receiving skill position players, with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen ranking 11th and 16th respectively over the last five games. Thielen was the top fantasy wide receiver and on pace to break the all-time single season reception record at the midway point of the season, only to taper off significantly with single-digit performances in four of his previous five games.

On a positive note for fantasy owners of Cousins, Diggs, and Thielen, a get-well game at home against the Dolphins is exactly what the doctor ordered in the semi-finals of the fantasy playoffs.

No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks since Week 12, with Andrew Luck, Josh Allen, and Tom Brady each posting 30 or more fantasy points. With stud cornerback Xavien Howard week-to-week after undergoing a minor knee procedure, the Dolphins are very weak at cornerback, and the Vikings should be able to exploit that weakness with both Diggs and Thielen.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: Fantasy owners who drafted Dalvin Cook in the late first or early second round of fantasy drafts likely missed the playoffs. But for those who managed to keep the ship afloat and survive the opening round, Cook might just be a week-winning stud this week against Miami at home.

Cook appears to be healthy, the coaching staff continues to get him more involved, and Miami allows the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs. Over the last three weeks, Cook ranks 16th among running backs with 12.8 fantasy points per game, with 265 total yards and three touchdowns. Cook should be viewed as a low-end RB 1 this week and started with confidence.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kirk Cousins (Low-End)
RB1: Dalvin Cook (Low-End)
WR1: Adam Thielen (Elite)
WR2: Stefon Diggs (High-End)
TE1: Kyle Rudolph (Low-End)

Prediction: Vikings 30, Dolphins 14 ^ Top

Titans at Giants - (Katz)
Line: NYG -2.0
Total: 43.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Marcus Mariota is coming off a very quiet game where he didn’t really have to do much because of a man we’ll get to in a moment. You’re obviously not starting Mariota in the fantasy semifinal, but Corey Davis is certainly worth returning to your lineups after a week trapped with Jalen Ramsey. The Giants only allow 13.2 fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s, but the Titans really don’t have anyone else. Jonnu Smith’s season ended with a sprained MCL last week. Tajae Sharpe is not a good receiver. Taywan Taylor should be great, but the Titans don’t use him properly or nearly enough. The Giants also allow a league low 7.7 fantasy points per game to receivers out of the slot. It’s Davis or bust for this passing game.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: I think it goes without saying that you should obviously be starting Derrick Henry over guys like Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Christian McCaffrey. No? That’s not a good idea? You could’ve fooled me after the reactions from people who had Henry on their bench last week as if anyone could have foreseen Henry breaking Chris Johnson’s single game Titans rushing record. Please do not go chasing last week’s points. I know how frustrating it is to stare at that 50 spot on your bench, but Henry hadn’t topped 58 yards all season prior to last week. It was a random occurrence buoyed by putrid tackling and multiple splash plays. Henry won’t even rush for 50 yards this week. That doesn’t mean you should go back to Dion Lewis, either. Mike Vrabel can’t seem to make up his mind regarding his running backs, which makes both difficult to trust. With the Titans small road underdogs, that likely means a little more Lewis as they shouldn’t be milking a lead. Despite Henry’s massive performance, he still played just 40% of the snaps last week against 63% by Lewis. The Giants are seventh in the league against opposing RBs out of the backfield so that’s another strike against Lewis. The most likely scenario is that Lewis and Henry eat into each other’s workload enough to sap the other’s value.

Value Meter:
WR3: Corey Davis
Flex: Dion Lewis
Bench: Marcus Mariota, Derrick Henry, Taywan Taylor

Passing Game Thoughts: Eli Manning went full Russell Wilson last week with a sub 200-yard performance and three touchdown passes. Manning should be asked to do a little more this week as the Titans are actually starting a real life NFL QB under center. Manning’s three touchdowns from last week were just his second three touchdown game of the season. It sure looks doubtful that Odell Beckham Jr. will return from his quad injury. With the Giants somehow clinging to the most far-fetched of scenarios in which they can grab the second wild card spot at 8-8, Beckham at least has some incentive to play if he can, but I’m not optimistic.

With Beckham out, it will be Sterling Shepard who benefits from a Titans secondary allowing 17.9 fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s. One Giant you don’t want to touch is Evan Engram. Even with Beckham out, Engram still played just 52% of the team’s snaps and the Titans allow a league low 5.1 fantasy points per game to TEs. While it’s fair to project a bit of a bump in a game that is actually competitive, Engram is just not being treated like he matters in this offense.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley rushed for 78 yards on one carry last week. Normally, this is the part where I tell you how inefficient he was on his other 13 carries. But Barkley is not Adrian “one carry for 90 yards and eight carries for 8 yards” Peterson. Barkley added 92 yards on his other 13 carries. It was his most efficient game of the season as he didn’t see the field much after halftime with the game noncompetitive. The Titans are strong against opposing RB1s, but who really cares? Barkley is already one of the five best RBs in the league and locked into massive volume. I suspect there are many Barkley owners in the semifinal and he’s ready to carry you into a final.

Value Meter:
QB2: Eli Manning (mid-range)
RB1: Saquon Barkley (elite)
WR3: Sterling Shepard (bump to mid WR2 if Beckham sits)
Bench: Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr. (quad, but obvious elite WR1 if he plays)

Prediction: Titans 24, Giants 20 ^ Top

Seahawks at 49ers - (Caron)
Line: SEA -3.5
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: We figured that Russell Wilson would probably have a tough time producing a high-end fantasy day in Week 14, but even the most skeptical of fantasy analysts couldn’t have predicted that he’d only complete 10 passes for 72 yards against the Vikings. He did buoy his fantasy day with 61 rushing yards - his second-highest total of the season - but Wilson looked terrible throwing the ball and that has to be a concern as we go deeper into the fantasy playoffs. Doug Baldwin missed the Monday night game which really cost some fantasy owners and David Moore was held catchless for the second straight week, which makes both of them serious question marks heading into this weekend’s contest.

Tyler Lockett, on the other hand, continues to defy the odds and score touchdowns at a rate that most of us would consider to be completely unsustainable. Lockett now has nine touchdowns on the season on just 49 receptions and continues to be a fairly reliable WR2. The ceiling isn’t particularly high due to his lack of total targets, but he’s someone who probably needs to be in lineups given how efficient he’s been in the red zone.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: He remains practically a complete non-factor in the passing game, but if Chris Carson continues to get as many carries as he has, there’s almost no way that he doesn’t finish as at least a high-end RB2 for fantasy. Carson carried the ball 22 times for 90 yards and a touchdown in the Seahawks’ Week 14 victory over the Vikings and he has now touched the ball at least 15 times in each of his past four games. That type of consistency is very difficult to come by but as long as Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis remain afterthoughts in the running game, Carson will be a solid fantasy contributor, especially in non-PPR formats.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson (low-end)
RB1: Chris Carson (low-end)
WR2: Tyler Lockett
Flex: Doug Baldwin
Bench: Rashaad Penny, Mike Davis, David Moore, Nick Vannett

Passing Game Thoughts: With 746 total yards passing in Weeks 14 and 15, no quarterback has thrown for more yards than San Francisco’s Nick Mullens over their past two games. Mullens has shockingly done this without Pierre Garcon and with a banged up Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis as his top wide receivers. The player who he’s been most connected with, however, is tight end George Kittle who absolutely exploded this past week, catching seven passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. Kittle has truly emerged as one of the elite, must-start tight ends in all of fantasy football and easily San Francisco’s best player, but he does have a bit of a tough matchup this weekend against the Seahawks and their seventh-ranked fantasy defense against tight ends. Kittle did catch six passes for 70 yards when these teams played just two weeks ago, however, so it would be surprising if he didn’t turn in another solid fantasy day at home against this same defense.

We know Kittle’s a must-start but the under-the-radar breakout star for the 49ers over these past few weeks has been Pettis, who has now caught four touchdowns in his past three games, including the two-touchdown, 129-yard day he had against the Seahawks in Week 13. Pettis is nursing a foot injury and has been limited in practice this week but he’s expected to play and would be a good Flex option for those looking for a potential boom game.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Running back Jeff Wilson made his debut in Week 14 and immediately got a heavy workload that made him a decent enough fantasy option despite his low yards per carry average. Wilson rushed for just 90 yards on 23 carries, but the real disappointment was that he caught just one pass for eight yards. We warned fantasy owners that he wouldn’t likely need to catch as many passes against the Broncos as he did in against this Seahawks defense Week 13, but he’s facing Seattle again this week in what could end up being another significant negative game-script situation. If the 49ers do find themselves behind on the scoreboard again, look for Wilson to be involved in the passing game to the tune of five or more receptions, which makes him a viable low-end RB2 or Flex play in PPR formats.

Also keep an eye on running back Matt Breida who continues to be quite limited in practice due to an ankle injury but could end up being active in this game. If Breida plays, this is probably a backfield to avoid entirely as there would almost certainly be some sort of a committee in what is already a relatively low-upside backfield.

Value Meter:
RB2: Jeff Wilson (if Matt Breida is out)
TE1: George Kittle
Flex: Dante Pettis
Bench: Nick Mullens, Matt Breida, Kendrick Bourne, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor

Prediction: Seahawks 24, 49ers 20 ^ Top

Patriots @ Steelers - (Swanson)
Line: NE -2.5
Total: 52.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Tom Brady and the Patriots head to Heinz Field on Sunday to take on the Steelers just one week after giving up a last-second game-winning touchdown to the Dolphins in the Miami Miracle. The shell-shocked Patriots continued to downplay the loss all week, claiming that they moved on to the Steelers and their focus now is on beating Big Ben and the Steelers this week.

It remains to be seen how the Patriots will respond and whether or not there will be a hangover. Brady is 8-2 in 10 matchups against Pittsburgh in his career, with a 111.8 passer rating to go along with 25 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

The ageless one currently ranks 16th in fantasy points per game, just a half point per game worse than Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers, and Philip Rivers. Although Brady will all off the pace of his best fantasy years as in 2007 and 2001, he has been playing well as of late with at least 20 points in each of his last three games, including 30.2 points last week in the loss at Miami.

But Brady and the Patriot offense has been a much better team at home than on the road this season, while the Steelers defense is much better at limiting points to opposing quarterbacks at home (at least to those not named Patrick Mahomes). New England averages a full ten points fewer on the road than in the friend confines of Gillet Stadium, although the Patriots do own a five-game win streak against Big Ben and the Steelers.

The matchup that is most attractive in the Patriots passing game is Julien Edelman lined up in the slot against Steelers linebackers. Unless they change their scheme and learn from the butt kicking the Chargers and Keenan Allen gave them last week, look for Edelman to be featured extensively against slower and less agile Steeler linebackers like Bud Dupree. This logic also applies to James White out of the backfield.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: The Patriots as a team rank third in fantasy points scored by running backs. On face value that stat sounds great for fantasy owners, but the truth is Bill Belichick, and the Patriot coaching staff keep fantasy owners and their opponents guessing who will score points and who will be featured.

Earlier in the year when Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel went out with injuries we all thought Kenyon Barner would get the first and second down carries. Instead, Belichick used wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson as the primary running back for a few games.

With Sony Michel back from a knee injury fantasy owners were thrilled with the chance of goal line carries against Minnesota, Miami, and the Jets. Of course, that did not go as planned, with goal line vulture James Devlin scoring three rushing touchdowns in the last two games.

In the past five games, the Steelers allow the 10th-most points to opposing running backs. Once again that sounds great for Patriot fantasy running backs, but guessing who will score those points is often an exercise in futility. James White’s snap count last week fell to just 40% after going as high as 80% in Week 8, and Rex Burkhead returned to take 20% of the snaps in each of the last two games.

If forced to choose who leads the team in receptions out of the backfield it will be White, a player that the Patriots often turn to when playing against teams with strong pass rushes like the Steelers. Michel should have value on first and second downs, and perhaps at the goal line as long as the Devlin vulture doesn’t strike again.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (Low-End)
RB2: Sony Michel (Low-End)
RB2: James White (High-End)
WR2: Josh Gordon (Low-End)
WR3: Julian Edelman (High-End)
TE1: Rob Gronkowski (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Ben Roethlisberger is not part of the NFL MVP race with Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees putting up record numbers. But from a fantasy perspective, we all should give Big Ben more credit as a fantasy MVP based on the impressive season he has delivered in 2018.

With 27 fantasy points per game, Roethlisberger is four full points better this season than his career best in 2014 when he threw for a career-high 32 touchdowns. He is on pace for to set personal bests in passing yards (5,200), passing touchdowns (35), and has already tied his own record of three rushing touchdowns.

Perhaps the best aspect of Roethlisberger’s season is how consistent he has been. He has scored fewer than 20 points in just one game this year and has yet to play a game without throwing for at least 250 yards and a touchdown.

All of the passing skill position players on the Steelers are above average plays and should be started in what could be one of the highest scoring games of the week. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster are almost matchup proof when playing at home, and the Patriots defense that allows the 14-most points to opposing QBs and 20th to opposing WRs is not a team to avoid.

If you buy into the clichéd narrative that Bill Belichick will attempt to stop the primary weapon for the Steelers, then the team will look to double team Antonio Brown outside with Stephon Gilmore and safety Devin McCourty. But doing so will put a ton of pressure on Jonathan Jones in the slot against Smith-Schuster.

An area in which the Patriots have struggled this season is the tight end position, with Eric Ebron, Trey Burton, and Jimmy Graham each posting solid games against New England. If Belichick does look to stop Brown, the tight end combination of Vance McDonald and Jesse James could be in for a big day.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: Although head coach Mike Tomlin has not yet ruled out James Conner from returning to the field after missing last week with an ankle injury, it is likely that Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley will once again man the running back duties for Pittsburgh. Ridley did get a goal line carry for a touchdown against the Raiders, but the primary work and the majority of snaps were taken by Samuels.

The Patriots rank seventh in fantasy points allowed dating back to Week 10. All three running backs for the Dolphins last week scored in double figures, including Brandon Bolden in the ultimate revenge game (eye-roll). New England has played well at times against the run, but on the road against a dynamic offense like the Steelers will likely be a tough task for the Patriot run defense. Assuming Conner is out again, fire up Samuels as a high-end No.2 RB with the upside of a monster game. Ridley is also an interesting flex option in very deep 14 team leagues, but he will likely once again get only a few short yardage carries.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger (Elite)
RB2: Jaylen Samuels (High-End)
RB4: Stevan Ridley (High-End)
WR1: Antonio Brown (High-End)
WR1: JuJu Smith-Schuster (Low-End)
TE2: Vance McDonald (High-End)

Prediction: Steelers 35, Patriots 30 ^ Top

Eagles @ Rams - (Caron)
Line: LAR -11.5
Total: 52.5

Passing Game Thoughts: It was reported on Thursday that Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz is dealing with a fractured vertebrae and may end up sitting out the remainder of the 2018 season. We saw this late in 2017 when Wentz suffered a season-ending ACL injury which led to Nick Foles stepping in and making an unlikely run to become a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. The Eagles have not yet officially ruled Wentz out, but either way this is a serious blow to the fantasy potential of everyone in this passing game. Foles, while admittedly a Super Bowl champion, was not particularly effective from a fantasy standpoint in the games he played in 2017 and he hasn’t played much since that point. A downgrade from Wentz to Foles would almost certainly knock Alshon Jeffery down from being a WR2 for fantasy to more of a Flex play. Even tight end Zach Ertz would be downgraded a tick, although his role in the Philadelphia offense and the relative lack of competition at tight end makes him a much safer play for fantasy purposes.

We’ll have to keep an eye on this one, but the Rams are not a team that you want to be headed on the road to play against without your starting quarterback. Los Angeles has forced an average of over an interception per game from opposing quarterbacks and potential quarterback-to-offensive line miscommunication could be a major problem when trying to defend the likes of Aaron Donald.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: With more than 20 carries in both Weeks 12 and 13, Josh Adams’ sudden drop off to just seven total touches in Week 14 was shocking and potentially crushing blow for fantasy owners as he produced just 36 total yards on offense. Instead, the return of Darren Sproles has made things difficult for Adams as he was out-snapped by the veteran pass-catching back by a total of 24 snaps to 20. Of course, the Eagles found themselves behind the Cowboys on the scoreboard for most of the evening and that played a big part in the play calling, but that is probably likely to happen yet as the Eagles head on the road to Los Angeles.

Assuming the Rams get close to back on track offensively and the Eagles are without Wentz who is dealing with a back injury and might get shut down, there’s a real chance that the Eagles fall behind multiple scores early in this game, which would almost certainly make Adams a non-factor for fantasy purposes. Sproles, on the other hand, sees a significant upgrade in PPR formats if Philadelphia is playing from behind. He’s one of the best pass-catching backs in the history of the league and could realistically see double-digit targets in this one. Still, his upside is capped due to his lack of actual rushing attempts, so he’s more of a Flex play in PPR formats.

Value Meter:
TE1: Zach Ertz
Flex: Darren Sproles (PPR only), Alshon Jeffery
Bench: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Golden Tate, Nelson Agholor

Passing Game Thoughts: We knew that the Rams offense wouldn’t always be as effective as it has been these past two seasons, but none of us could have predicted the type of collapse that we saw from them in Week 14 against the Bears. Sure, Chicago’s defense has proven to be elite this season but four interceptions with no touchdowns from Goff? Negative fantasy points from a starting quarterback who played the full game?! Inconceivable! Still, it’s one week and it’s something we need to be able to look beyond if we want to make a run at a fantasy football championship. The Eagles could find themselves in some tough spots offensively which would presumably give solid field position to the Rams offense, which is something they are well suited to take advantage of. Even after his disastrous Week 14 performance, Goff has still thrown 27 touchdown passes on the year with just 11 interceptions and he’s given fantasy owners six games of 20 or more fantasy points. Robert Woods has remained reliable from a PPR standpoint even through Goff’s recent struggles, so he’s again a borderline WR1 in a game the Rams should win. Cooks is also a borderline WR1 although his struggles are a bit more concerning as he has not been able to get much going these past two weeks. Josh Reynolds remains a DFS option for those looking for a cheap piece of this Los Angeles offense, but should not be relied on in seasonal formats.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: It was his first non-double-digit PPR fantasy day of the 2018 season and it came in a game where his quarterback threw four interceptions, so I think we should be willing to give Todd Gurley the benefit of the doubt and return him to the top of our fantasy rankings here in Week 15. While their seasonal rankings against running backs look great, the Eagles have actually struggled mightily against the position in the second half of the season. In fact, since Week 5 the Eagles have given up nine different 14-plus point PPR fantasy days to opposing running backs. Gurley, being fantasy football’s most-prized commodity, is in line for another huge day, especially if the Eagles offense struggles as it very well might be given the quarterback situation. It can be tough to forgive a player when they disappoint you, but this is one of those times when you just need to bite the bullet and trust the guy who’s brought you this far.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff
RB1: Todd Gurley
WR1: Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks
Bench: Josh Reynolds (possible cheap DFS option), Gerald Everett, Tyler Higbee

Prediction: Rams 34, Eagles 20 ^ Top

Saints vs Panthers - (Bales)
Line: NO -6.5
Total: 51.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Panthers have allowed 255.0 passing yards per game this season and have also allowed 28 passing touchdowns, while recording 11 interceptions. Drew Brees has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, averaging 266.4 yards and 2.4 touchdowns on 31.9 pass attempts per game. Brees has been a significantly better option at home this season, which is a major concern. With that being said, this game should quickly turn into a shootout and Brees makes a top option on the slate.

Michael Thomas has struggled in a few games this season, but he has looked outstanding overall. Through 13 games, he’s averaging 7.9 receptions for 93.7 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 9.1 targets per game. He’s coming off a big game against the Buccaneers, and this is another plus matchup for Thomas. Surprisingly, Thomas is the only receiver for the Saints that should be considered, and their tight ends have been splitting snaps, limiting the value of each.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: Carolina has featured a dominant run defense, allowing only 97.8 rushing yards per game this season. They have allowed 11 rushing touchdowns, though. Alvin Kamara has been their best running back, averaging 106.5 yards and 1.2 touchdowns on 18.7 touches (5.4 receptions) per game. While he has been struggling a bit more recently, Kamara makes an outstanding option and is game script proof because of his versatility. Mark Ingram has struggled quite a bit this season, but he has also flashed quite a bit of upside. Overall, he’s averaging 72.8 yards and 0.7 touchdowns on 14.0 touches per game. Ingram is touchdown dependent, and this game is expected to score plenty of points.

Value Meter:
QB1: Drew Brees
RB1: Alvin Kamara (high-end)
RB2: Mark Ingram
WR1: Michael Thomas (high-end)

Passing Game Thoughts: Cam Newton has been an elite fantasy option for the majority of the season. In 2018, he’s averaging 251.1 yards and 1.9 touchdowns on 34.0 pass attempts per game. Newton is also averaging 36.4 yards and 0.3 touchdowns on the ground adding to his weekly floor. He gets an elite matchup against the Saints, who are allowing 271.0 passing yards per game. They have also allowed 24 passing touchdowns, while recording 11 interceptions. As mentioned above, this game should feature plenty of scoring, and Newton is a major part of this offense.

D.J. Moore has seen a bigger role for the Panthers recently, as he has seen 8+ targets in each of his last four games. In those games, he’s averaging 6.0 receptions for 89.8 yards and 0.3 touchdowns on 8.3 targets. Curtis Samuel has also taken over as a significantly bigger part of the offense in those games, as well. Over that span, he’s averaging 4.3 receptions for 6.0 yards and 0.5 touchdowns on 7.0 targets. Ian Thomas has taken over for an injured Greg Olsen, and he quietly makes a great option at tight end. Over the last two weeks, he has totaled 14 receptions for 123 yards on 16 targets.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: Christian McCaffrey is as matchup proof of a running back as there is in the NFL. On the season, he’s averaging 125.1 yards and 1.0 touchdown on 20.4 touches (6.6 receptions) per game. McCaffrey is also averaging 7.6 targets per game. He’s been playing at an elite level and will continue to see plenty of volume this weekend. The Saints are allowing a league-low 77.6 rushing yards per game, although they have allowed 10 rushing touchdowns this season. McCaffrey has multiple ways to score fantasy points, meaning the tough matchup likely won’t be able to slow him down.

Value Meter:
QB1: Cam Newton (mid-range)
RB1: Christian McCaffrey (elite)
WR2: D.J. Moore (mid-range)
WR3: Curtis Samuel (high-end)
TE2: Ian Thomas (high-end)

Prediction: Saints 31, Panthers 27 ^ Top