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Inside the Matchup
Week 16

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



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:

LAR @ ARI | CHI @ SF | PIT @ NO | KC @ SEA



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

Redskins @ Titans - (Bales)
Line: TEN -10
Total: 37.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Titans feature a great pass defense, allowing only 219.0 passing yards per game this season. They have also allowed only 17 passing touchdowns, while recording eight interceptions. Josh Johnson has been a decent fantasy option in two games this season, as he’s averaging 173.0 yards and 1.0 touchdown on 20.5 pass attempts per game, although he only started one of those games. Furthermore, Johnson has totaled 45+ rushing yards in each game, which is where his value truly comes from.

Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris, and Vernon Davis are all questionable for the Redskins this weekend. Jeremy Sprinkle will start at tight end Davis sits. On top of that, this is a bad matchup and their passing attack will be lacking with Johnson at QB, who only holds small fantasy value because of his rushing ability. There isn’t anyone in the receiving group that should be considered in this matchup.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: Adrian Peterson is coming off of a 19 carry game, recording only 51 yards on those touches. He has struggled outside of a long touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles since the injury to Alex Smith. That likely won’t change this weekend against Tennessee, who is allowing 110.3 rushing yards per game. They have held their opponents to only eight rushing touchdowns as well. Chris Thompson will also see some time on the field, but he hasn’t seen a large enough role to be considered.

Value Meter:
QB2: Josh Johnson (low-end)
Bench: Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Josh Doctson, Vernon Davis

Passing Game Thoughts: Marcus Mariota has looked awful over the last two weeks, failing to score double-digit fantasy points in either game. He had scored 20+ fantasy points in four of his five games prior, and he does come with some value. This is somewhat of a difficult matchup, though, as the Redskins are allowing only 241.0 passing yards per game. They have allowed 23 passing touchdowns, while recording 14 interceptions. Mariota could struggle if Tennessee gets out to an early lead again, which has happened previously this season.

Corey Davis simply cannot be trusted at this point in the season, but he’s the only receiving option for Tennessee that should be considered. He has totaled only five receptions for 54 yards over the last two weeks, but he had scored a touchdown in three of his four games prior. Tennessee is relatively simple, as when Mariota finds success, Davis generally does as well. With Mariota potentially struggling in a game that could get out of hand quick, the same should be thought of for Davis, although he does come with some upside.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry has single-handedly taken fantasy owners to the finals this season, totaling 408 yards and six touchdowns on 50 carries over the last two weeks. Washington is allowing 116.6 yards per game on the ground this season, while also allowing 11 rushing touchdowns. It’s clear that Tennessee wants to ride Henry, and he should see 20+ carries in this matchup. It’s impossible to not feel he comes with some risk, but this is another great matchup. Dion Lewis comes with some upside, as well, but he is finally playing behind Henry in the Tennessee offense.

Value Meter:
RB1: Derrick Henry (low-end)
Bench: Marcus Mariota, Dion Lewis, Corey Davis

Prediction: Tennessee 31, Washington 10 ^ Top

Ravens @ Chargers - (Caron)
Line: LAC -4
Total: 43.5

Passing Game Thoughts: While the Ravens as a team have been fairly successful since Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback, there’s really no denying that the passing game has practically come to a complete halt. Jackson has not yet topped 180 passing yards in a game and he has thrown for just four total touchdown passes in his five starts. The lack of volume simply puts too much of a cap on the passing game as a whole to make any of the Baltimore pass catchers into viable fantasy options, other than in the deepest of leagues as touchdown-only options. But even without an effective passing game, Jackson himself remains a very solid fantasy contributor as he continues to score somewhere between 15 to 20 fantasy points per game, mostly due to his rushing ability. Jackson is averaging 85 rushing yards per game. That gives him an amazing floor with upside to strive for if he and his receivers can get on the same page. Jackson is a low-end QB1 in this matchup against the Chargers who actually held Patrick Mahomes somewhat in check this past week.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: The Baltimore running game has been a confusing situation for most of the year and just when we thought we might finally be getting some clarity in the form of Gus Edwards, along came Kenneth Dixon to muddy the waters once again. Dixon has slowly been working himself into the lineup over the past few weeks and actually out-snapped Edwards for the first time this past week. While Edwards still led the team with 19 carries which he took for 104 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs this past week, there has to be concern about his role in the offense in what should be a more competitive matchup against the Chargers this week. Edwards has been a complete non-factor in the passing game this season and is on a historic pace for lack of targets given his playing time.

Dixon, on the other hand, is a much more well-rounded back who has skills as a receiver. The Ravens haven’t passed a whole lot to their backs since Jackson took over at quarterback, but a lot of that is because they have led in many games and preferred to just hand the ball to the backs as opposed to utilize the short passing game. While Edwards has certainly been the better fantasy option between the two thus far, there’s absolutely a chance that Dixon ends up seeing more playing time given the potential game script in this game. That makes both players highly volatile and risky for seasonal leagues and even for DFS.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson
Flex: Gus Edwards (non-PPR), Kenneth Dixon (PPR)
Bench: Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree, Mark Andrews, Ty Montgomery

Passing Game Thoughts: The Chargers earned a huge road win over the Chiefs this past week and much of that can be attributed to the leadership and production of quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers threw two interceptions for just the second time this season, but his 313 yards and two touchdowns - most of which came after Keenan Allen got knocked out of the game - were the difference maker. Allen is expected to be back this week after the hip injury, but Rivers once again showed that he’s capable of producing fantasy-relevant performances even without his top target. He remains one of the safest options in all of fantasy, but he does have a very difficult matchup this week against the Ravens and their second-ranked fantasy defense against the quarterback.

With Allen out, it was Mike Williams who had the big day in Week 15, catching a pair of touchdown passes and the game-sealing two point conversion, along with a rushing touchdown. It was truly a coming-out party for the second-year receiver. Williams is a WR2 if Allen is unable to play due to the high target share and red zone utilization he should see, but he’s more of a Flex option if Allen is on the field. Allen himself is a risky play this week due to the matchup as well as his health, so think of him as more of a mid-to-low-level WR2 this week.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: With Melvin Gordon expected to be back on the field this week, the combination of Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler go back to being non-starters for fantasy purposes. Gordon was reportedly very close to playing this past week and likely would have if the Chargers weren’t playing on Thursday night, but he’s now had more than a week to recover and he should be back to being a bell cow RB1 for fantasy purposes. The Ravens are obviously an elite fantasy defense, but Gordon is such a workhorse that he’s been able to battle through even tough matchups this season and produce great fantasy days.

Value Meter:
QB1: Philip Rivers (low-end)
RB1: Melvin Gordon
WR2: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams (if Allen doesn’t play)
Flex: Mike Williams
Bench: Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Antonio Gates, Virgil Green

Prediction: Chargers 24, Ravens 20 ^ Top

Falcons @ Panthers - (Bales)
Line: ATL -3.0
Total: 43.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Panthers have struggled a bit against the pass this season, allowing 250.0 yards per game in 2018. They have also allowed 28 passing touchdowns, while recording only 12 interceptions. Matt Ryan has found plenty of success, averaging 307.6 yards and 2.1 touchdowns on 38.4 pass attempts per game. He has struggled on the road this season, but he’s coming off of two consecutive solid road games, suggesting he’ll find success this week. The only concern is a blowout, as Carolina will be without Cam Newton.

Julio Jones has been an elite option all season, averaging 7.1 receptions for 107.9 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 10.9 targets per game. He has been one of the most consistent options in the NFL, and he can be treated as such, even in a potential blowout. Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu are two solid options behind Jones, but there simply may not be enough volume for them to perform well. For what it’s worth, Sanu is the safer bet of the duo, while Ridley comes with significantly more upside. Austin Hooper (ankle) only saw one target as he dealt with an injury against the Cardinals last week, but he had found success in five consecutive games before that. In those games, he averaged 5.6 receptions for 39.0 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 7.0 targets per game. He makes a solid option at tight end, especially with his touchdown potential.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith have been placed on the IR, leaving Tevin Coleman to play major snaps for Atlanta. He’s coming off of a massive game against the Cardinals, rushing for 145 yards and one touchdown, although he only saw 11 carries. He makes a risky option against Carolina, who is allowing only 101.9 rushing yards per game this season. They have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns though, and Coleman could see extra carries in the event of a blowout. Brian Hill and Jeremy Langford will backup Coleman on Sunday.

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

Passing Game Thoughts: There’s very little to like about the Carolina passing attack. Cam Newton has been ruled out, leaving Taylor Heinicke to draw the start. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel come with upside because of their big play ability, but they also come with far too much risk. Atlanta is allowing 251.0 passing yards per game this season and they have also allowed 28 passing touchdowns, while recording only 11 interceptions. While the matchup stands out, there’s simply no reason to start anyone relying on Heinicke at this point in the season.

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: Atlanta is also allowing 126.1 rushing yards per game and 16 rushing touchdowns this season. Christian McCaffrey has been playing an elite amount of snaps for Carolina, and that will change this week. With that being said, McCaffrey could see a similar workload, even if his snaps aren’t the same. Through 14 games, he’s averaging 124.8 yards and 0.9 touchdowns on 20.6 touches (6.7 receptions) per game. Atlanta has struggled to defend running backs out of the backfield and Heinicke could check down to McCaffrey at a high rate this weekend. He’s the only safe option on the team, and the only one that should truly be used.

Value Meter:
RB1: Christian McCaffrey (elite)
Bench: D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, Ian Thomas

Prediction: Falcons 24, Panthers 10 ^ Top

Bengals @ Browns - (Swanson)
Line: CLE -9.0
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Jeff Driskel did something that Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston, and Cam Newton did not do last week: He threw a passing touchdown.

Week 15 of the NFL season proved to be one of the worst weeks in recent memory for fantasy quarterbacks, with only two quarterbacks throwing for at least 300 yards (Rivers, Goff) and the majority of top-12 fantasy quarterbacks failing to throw even one measly touchdown.

Although Driskel proved to be one of the few quarterbacks who did throw a passing TD, he still finished outside the top 12 at the position due to the fact that he threw for just 130 yards and an interception as Joe Mixon and the Bengals defense took care of the visiting Oakland Raiders.

Fantasy owners playing in the championship week hopefully are not left with a decision of whether or not to play Driskel for their title. The 25-year-old journeyman backup from Louisiana Tech has yet to throw for more than 240 yards and two touchdowns in any of his three career starts, and the Browns are playing inspired football under interim head coach Gregg Williams after limiting the Broncos to just 16 points last week.

To make matters worse, wide receiver Tyler Boyd suffered an MCL sprain last week against the Raiders and will likely miss this game and the remainder of the season. The loss of Boyd theoretically opens to the door for more targets and opportunities for John Ross, Alex Ericson, and Cody Core, but discerning who will be the player to get the boost in production is difficult and a risky proposition in the fantasy championship.

With the Bengals playing host to a Raiders team that allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends there was optimism in the fantasy community that C.J. Uzomah would finally post that big game so many analysts thought he could deliver. Instead, the Uzi managed just one catch for 27 yards on five targets.

On paper, the matchup looks attractive for Driskel and the Bengals with Cleveland allowing the 12th-most points to opposing wide receivers. But last week proved that Driskel and the Bengal receiving options are risky plays regardless of the matchup and should be avoided if possible.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: A player that should not be avoided is running back Joe Mixon. The second-year player from Oklahoma rushed for 129 and two touchdowns against the Raiders last week, reaching at least eight fantasy points for the seventh consecutive week. During that span, Mixon has three games of at least 19 fantasy points, and three games over 100 rushing yards.

It will be interesting to see if Gregg Williams implements a similar defensive scheme against the Bengals that he used last week against Phillip Lindsay and the Broncos. Williams played a single high safety most of the game with Jabril Peppers up in the box to stop the run. The Browns dared the Broncos to beat them in the air and Case Keenum could not come through.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jeff Driskel (Low-End)
RB1: Joe Mixon (Mid-Range)
WR3: John Ross (Low-End)
TE2: C.J. Uzomah (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The majority of skill position players will fantasy value in this game reside on the sideline of the Browns, including rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. The first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft ranks 21st overall among fantasy quarterbacks this season with 20.7 points per game.

Over the past five weeks, Mayfield is the No.10 quarterback, ahead of Russell Wilson, Jameis Winston, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Jared Goff. In hindsight, the owners of those other heavily owned quarterbacks would love a chance to play Mayfield over their otherwise stud QB over the past few games, especially those who were burned by Brees and Goff.

Mayfield and the Browns passing game should finish the fantasy season off with a bang against a Bengals defense that ranks second in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and 20th in points to wide receivers. Prior to last week’s game against the Raiders, the Bengals allowed a wide receiver to score at least ten points in all but two games this season, including Antonio Calloway of the Browns when the two teams played against each other Week 12 at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Bengals have played better on defense in the three games since head coach Marvin Lewis took over play-calling duties, limiting Case Keenum, Philip Rivers, and Derek Carr to one passing touchdown each. Prior to that span, nearly every opposing quarterback reached at least 20 fantasy points, including 30-point games from Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, and Patrick Mahomes.

One of the reasons why the Browns have found success on offense over the past month is their success running the ball with Nick Chubb and Mayfield spreading the ball around to all of his receivers instead of focusing most of his attention on Jarvis Landry. The correlation between Landry’s targets going down and the Browns record improving is just fine for Cleveland fans, but not great news for Landry’s fantasy owners. He is a strong low-end No.2 play this week against the Bengals, but the likelihood of a massive game based on his volume as of late is low.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb owners should be licking their chops at the prospect of a monster game in the fantasy championship against a Bengals defense that is downright dreadful against the run.

Chubb ranks tenth overall among running backs over the past five games with an average of 15.6 points per game. With a touchdown or at least 100 rushing yards in each game dating back to Week 9 against the Chiefs, Chubb has been a model of consistency for patient owners who drafted the second round pick hoping for an opportunity.

A home matchup against a Bengals defense that mentally is already on vacation is exactly what you want in the playoffs. When that matchup comes against a team that has allowed a whopping 20 total touchdowns in 14 games to opposing running backs, you should be well in line to win your fantasy championship.

Value Meter:
QB1: Baker Mayfield (Low-End)
RB1: Nick Chubb (Mid-Range)
WR2: Jarvis Landry (Low-End)
WR3: Antonio Callaway (Low-End)
TE1: David Njoku (Low-End)

Prediction: Browns 30, Bengals 21 ^ Top

Bucs at Cowboys - (Katz)
Line: DAL -7.0
Total: 48.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Did you know that Jameis Winston is top five in QBR this season? It seems impossible for a guy who was basically benched twice and only one fewer interception (13) than touchdowns (14). Winston was completely shut down by the elite Ravens secondary last week, completing just over half his passes for 157 yards and a pick. Things will not get much easier against the Cowboys. While the Cowboys are coming off a huge (but expected) let down, this is the same defense that shut down Drew Brees and they are far more effective in Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed just 19 passing touchdowns all season and are allowing 224 passing yards per game.

Mike Evans made due against the Ravens last week (4-121) and while he’ll see a lot of shutdown corner, Byron Jones, Evans has rarely busted this season, even if he hasn’t hit his ceiling as much as fantasy owners would like. The Cowboys only allow 12.5 fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s. Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries each could have solid days, but their usage is too inconsistent to trust. Cameron Brate remains a strong red zone option in a depleted TE field.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: Peyton Barber’s 85 yards on 19 carries was very impressive against the Ravens defense. He even managed to fall into the end zone. The Cowboys only allow 3.7 yards per carry and their overall strong run defense weighs more heavily than their letdown against the Colts last week where Marlon Mack ran all over them. The Bucs are going to struggle to move the ball in what should be a bounce back performance by the defense, making Barber an uninspiring option.

Value Meter:
WR2: Mike Evans (mid-range)
Flex: Peyton Barber
Bench: Jameis Winston, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries

Passing Game Thoughts: Dak Prescott had his first game without a touchdown since the opening week of the season, which is not surprising given that the Cowboys scored zero points. The team was riding hot on a five game win streak and the stars were just perfectly aligned for the team to lay an egg. I wouldn’t look too much into it. Prescott and Amari Cooper will rebound this week against a Bucs defense that has allowed 30 passing touchdowns this season. Michael Gallup and Cole Beasley aren’t fantasy options.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott was the lone bright spot for the Cowboys last week, touching the ball 25 times for a total of 128 yards. The last time Zeke failed to reach 100 total yards was Week 7. The Bucs allow 4.8 yards per carry to opposing rushers and have allowed 17 rushing scores. The Cowboys are going to be able to move the ball much better than last week, which should present multiple scoring opportunities. Elliott is going to find the end zone this week and will likely find himself on a lot of league winning rosters.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott (low end)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (elite)
WR2: Amari Cooper (high end)
Bench: Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup

Prediction: Cowboys 30, Bucs 13 ^ Top

Vikings @ Lions - (Swanson)
Line: MIN -6.0
Total: 42.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The first year of Kirk Cousins’ three-year $84 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings has been a mixed bag of strong performances sandwiched between games that have left Vikings fans questioning whether or not the team made the right move.

From a fantasy perspective, Cousins has been a low-end QB1 for the majority of the season and a disappointment when you consider the weapons he has at wide receiver and running back. The former Washington Redskin threw for four or more touchdowns just once this season, while posting six games with just one passing TD.

Adam Thielen looked to be one of the biggest steals in recent history with eight consecutive games of at least 100 yards to start the season. He has since posted just one game of over 100 yards and three receiving touchdowns and enters the fantasy championship week as the No.6 ranked WR in the league.

Stefon Diggs has a receiving touchdown in four of his last six games while reaching at least 115 receiving yards in two of those contests. It is interesting that Cousins is one of only a few quarterbacks to boast two wide receivers in the top 15 in fantasy points per game, yet he barely ranks as a QB1 himself.

Fantasy owners looking to start a skill position player in the Minnesota passing game, including running back Dalvin Cook, who has been excellent over the past month after missing most of the season with a hamstring injury, should be pleased with this week’s matchup against the Lions.

Detroit ranks in the middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks while allowing the 12th-most points to opposing wide receivers and running backs. Although there is always the concern of a divisional foe like the Lions looking to play playoff spoiler to the Vikings, the skill position players for Minnesota pair well against a Lions team that gave up 108 yards and a receiving touchdown to Robert Foster of Buffalo last week.

Look for Minnesota to exploit the middle of the field from the slot with Thielen against Teez Tabor or DeShawn Shead, two average cover slot corners who will find it difficult to cover the size and route running skills of Thielen.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Back Thoughts: If you managed to make it to the playoffs with Dalvin Cook missing the majority of the season with a hamstring injury, you should pat yourself on the back. Your reward has been the excellent play by Cook over the past five weeks as the No.9 ranked running back in points per game.

Cook is a dynamic pass-catching running back who is one of the most elusive players in the open field when healthy. His four touchdowns and 438 yards in the past five games helped propel owners deep into the playoffs, and his matchup this week against a Lions team that ranks 12 in fantasy points against running backs could make Cook a league-winner.

Look for Cook to make the majority of his runs on plays designed to go off tackle as the Vikings look to avoid the middle of the defensive line and DL Damon Harrison. Detroit has also been weak against pass-catching running backs this season and is tied for sixth in the league with four receiving touchdowns out of the backfield to running backs.

Harrison missed practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury and could be limited on Sunday. Should Snacks Harrison miss this game, Cook should find it very easy to break big chunk runs against the Lions.

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

Passing Game Thoughts: The loss of Marvin Jones to a season-ending knee injury and trade of Golden Tate to the Eagles took away two of the three favorite targets of quarterback Matthew Stafford, making an already borderline fantasy option unusable in even the deepest of leagues.

Stafford has not thrown for multiple touchdowns in a game dating back to Week 10 against the Bears, and the former first overall pick has just two passing touchdowns in his last four games. To put Stafford’s ineptitude into perspective; he has the same number of passing touchdowns as running back Christian McCaffrey in the previous two weeks.

Needless to say, you do not want to start Stafford in anything but the most attractive matchup, and even then he is not likely to score more than 20 fantasy points. To make matters worse, Stafford has been limited with a back injury this week.

The only pass-catching option on the team worthy of a start is wide receiver, Kenny Golladay. A budding star who ranks 25th in fantasy points per game despite posting nearly a goose egg against the Cardinals Week 14, Golladay’s volume in the passing game and ability to make contested catches even against the best cornerbacks makes him worthy of a start as a low-end No.2 WR.

Golladay was limited in practice on Wednesday with a chest injury and is also dealing with a lingering quad ailment. But if he is active, owners should give Golladay a start with the upside of 80 yards and a touchdown.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: It is amazing that it took nearly an entire season for the coaching staff of the Lions to figure out that LeGarrette Blount is slow and not very good at football. Head coach Matt Patricia and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter continued to insist on carries for the veteran running back even when rookie Kerryon Johnson was ripping off 100-yard games in the middle of the season.

Blount really looked impressive this past week when he gained nine yards on seven carries for a whopping 1.2 yards per tote. The Lions would have been just as well off having Matthew Stafford quarterback sneak nine times at that rate.

Zach Zenner clearly looked to be the better for the two early down backs with ten carries for 45 yards and a touchdown, while Theo Riddick looked fine with 56 yards on 10 touches.

On paper, the way to attack the Vikings this season as opposed to previous years is by running the ball as opposed to passing. Over the past five games, the Vikings rank 8th in points allowed to opposing backs, with Kalen Ballage, Chris Carson, and the Develin himself, James Develin, each double-digit posting games.

The Lions will no doubt look to establish the run and make this into a low scoring game. It is even possible that Zenner, Blount, or perhaps even Riddick scores a rushing touchdown against Mike Zimmer’s defense. But I am not willing to risk my fantasy championship on trying to guess who might score from that backfield, and frankly, neither should you.

Value Meter:
QB2: Matthew Stafford (Low-End)
RB3: Zach Zenner (Low-End)
WR2: Kenny Golladay (Low-End)

Minnesota 28, Detroit 14 ^ Top

Giants @ Colts - (Bales)
Line: IND -9.0
Total: 47.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Colts have featured a surprisingly good defense this season. They’re allowing 238.0 passing yards per game, while also allowing only 19 passing touchdowns. They have also recorded 12 interceptions. Eli Manning has struggled for the most part this season, averaging 263.5 yards and 1.3 touchdowns on 35.9 pass attempts per game. Manning could struggle with Odell Beckham Jr. expected to miss this week, and he’s far from a great option in a relatively difficult matchup.

With Beckham expected to miss this game, Sterling Shepard will likely be the most targeted receiver on the team. He has seen six or more targets in each of his last four games, but he’s only averaging 3.0 receptions for 29.8 yards and 0.3 touchdowns on 6.8 targets. Evan Engram finally looks healthy, and he makes a significantly better option than Shepard. He posted an 8/75 line on 12 targets last week and a 3/77/1 line on five targets the week prior. The other receivers are splitting snaps, and none of them should be considered.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley is coming off of his worst game of the season, but he’s averaging 129.2 yards and 0.9 touchdowns on 21.8 touches (5.9 receptions) per game. Aside from last week, he was consistently scoring 20 fantasy points per week with the upside for 35+ fantasy points. Indianapolis is only allowing 103.6 rushing yards per game, while holding their opponents to only 10 rushing touchdowns. While the matchup is less than ideal, Barkley is essentially a matchup proof player because of his versatility.

Value Meter:
RB1: Saquon Barkley (elite)
TE1: Evan Engram (mid-range)
Bench: Eli Manning, Sterling Shepard

Passing Game Thoughts: Andrew Luck has been a relatively consistent option throughout the season, averaging 282.2 yards and 2.4 touchdowns on 39.8 pass attempts per game. He gets a matchup against the Giants, who are allowing 237.0 passing yards per game. They have allowed 18 touchdowns, while recording 15 interceptions, as well. Luck saw limited pass attempts last week because of a relatively quick blowout, and that may be the case again this week.

T.Y. Hilton hasn’t practiced in weeks, but that hasn’t slowed down his play during games. On the season, he owns a 67 / 1,071 / 6 line on 106 targets in 12 games. He has caught fire over his last five games, averaging 7.6 receptions for 128.2 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 10.4 targets per game. Eric Ebron is the other focal point of the receiving group, although he wasn’t needed in their last game. Excluding that game, Ebron owns a 6.3 / 63.7 / 1.0 line and 10.3 targets per game over his last three games. There aren’t any other receivers that need to be considered here this week.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: New York has struggled against the run this season, allowing 128.4 rushing yards per game. They have also allowed 15 rushing touchdowns. Marlon Mack has found plenty of success this season, averaging 75.5 rushing yards and 0.7 rushing touchdowns on 15.8 carries per game. He’s coming off one of his best games of the season, totaling 139 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Indianapolis could pull ahead in this game, leaving Mack to handle plenty of carries in the fourth quarter.

Value Meter:
QB1: Andrew Luck (low-end)
RB2: Marlon Mack (high-end)
WR1: T.Y. Hilton (low-end)
TE1: Eric Ebron (high-end)

Prediction: Colts 31, Giants 17 ^ Top

Jaguars at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: MIA -4.0
Total: 38.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Blake Bortles absolutely deserved to be benched because entering 2018, he was not one of the 60 best QBs in the NFL. The problem is that, somehow, Cody Kessler is worse. What can I even say about this passing game? Dede Westbrook is the only receiver worth rostering in fantasy and this passing offense is too anemic and low volume to make him anything more than a bench guy. The Keelan Cole experiment is long over and Donte Moncrief simply isn’t good. Just bench everyone.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette saw just one carry in the second half last week. Nothing with this team can surprise me anymore given that they entered the season with Bortles and Kessler as their quarterbacks and decided drafting a running back at fourth overall was more important than taking Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes. Fournette is also dealing with a foot injury, which is nothing new. Whether it’s Fournette or T.J. Yeldon, the starting running back for the Jaguars couldn’t ask for a better matchup against a Dolphins team allowing 4.8 yards per carry and 49.8 receiving yards per game to running backs. If Fournette is less than 100%, he’s a huge risk to exit the game early and not return given that this game doesn’t matter. If Yeldon gets the nod, he’s a must start.

Value Meter:
RB1: Leonard Fournette (low end, if he plays)
RB2: T.J. Yeldon (high end, if Fournette sits)
Bench: Cody Kessler, T.J. Yeldon (if Fournette plays), Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief

Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill is averaging just 24.5 passing attempts per game. In his nine games started, he has thrown for 204 yards or fewer in six of them. He’s also thrown multiple touchdowns in six games. The Jaguars allow 199 passing yards per game and have allowed just 16 passing touchdowns this season. It will be tough sledding out there for Kenny Stills, the only Dolphins receiver you can even consider playing. Danny Amendola has five receptions in his last three games total and I actually had to just go look up whether DeVante Parker even played last week. I should be ashamed of myself for even mentioning DeVante Parker. Bench all Dolphins.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: With Frank Gore done for the season, it’s obviously the Kenyan Drake show given how efficient he’s been all season…right? Right. Wrong! Drake did play 53% of the snaps, but rookie Kalen Ballage played 49% and absolutely dominated with 123 yards on 12 carries. At the bare minimum, Ballage will have a sizable role this week. I wouldn’t be surprised if he played ahead of Drake given that there are two games left in the season and it would behoove Miami to see what Drake can do. Of course, applying rational thinking when it comes to NFL teams is typically a fool’s errand. Regardless, if you need a spot starter, you could do worse than Ballage, but temper expectations against a Jaguars team that ranks top five in fantasy points against by opposing RB1s.

Value Meter:
Flex: Kalen Ballage, Kenyan Drake
Bench: Ryan Tannehill, Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, Mike Gesicki

Prediction: Dolphins 19, Jaguars 12 ^ Top

Bills at Patriots - (Katz)
Line: NE -13.5
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Since Josh Allen returned from injury, only Patrick Mahomes has averaged more fantasy points per game. Do not confuse Allen for a good quarterback; he most certainly is not, but we’ve seen truly horrendous QBs post QB1 numbers because of rushing (looking at you, Tim Tebow). Allen is barely completing 50% of his passes, but he’s scored multiple touchdowns in three of his last four games and rushed for at least 99 yards in three of them. The Patriots are heavy favorites, which means Allen’s passing volume will be up and we know he will scramble making him a viable option this week. As for his receivers, we haven’t spoken much about Bills WRs this year because of how terrible they’ve been. Recently, Robert Foster and Isaiah McKenzie have become sneaky fantasy viable, and the Patriots are allowing 68 yards per game to opposing WR1s. In a game that should feature passing volume, Foster and McKenzie are at least in the conversation.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory both sat out last week, but both are on track to play this week. Regardless of who starts at RB, you can’t start him. Keith Ford is currently the lone remaining fully healthy back after Marcus Murphy was placed on IR. The Patriots allow five yards per carry to opposing rushers, but you still can’t trust any Bills running back.

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

Passing Game Thoughts: It is time to put to rest the Angry Tom Brady narrative. If Angry Tom Brady didn’t make an appearance last week following the Patriots loss via the Miami Miracle, he’s gone for good. The Patriots simply aren’t that good anymore. Brady is coming off another single touchdown game and Rob Gronkowski is barely a TE1.

Josh Gordon provided far more fantasy value than I ever thought he would, but, sadly, his career is almost certainly over. Clearly, whatever he’s dealing with is beyond mere substance abuse and transcends football so hopefully he gets the help he needs. As for the fantasy implications, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson will see increased snaps, but neither is a trusted option. Julian Edelman has been mostly reliable, though, and has seen 23 targets over the past two weeks. The Bills allow just 10.6 fantasy points per game to opposing slot receivers and Tre’Davious White is an elite shutdown corner. There’s simply no way to predict what the Patriots are going to do offensively so you start the guys you trust.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: The return of Rex Burkhead has turned this backfield into an Eagles-like situation. Burkhead, Sony Michel, and James White are all seeing the field and sapping each other’s value. White was once an every week ppr RB1. Now, he shouldn’t even be owned anymore. It’s now abundantly clear that White’s early season usage was a product of injuries and not a purposeful plan. White only sees the field during passing situations, while Burkhead and Michel split early down and goal line work. The situation is just one to avoid even in a game that should feature positive game script.

Value Meter:
QB2: Tom Brady (high end)
WR2: Julian Edelman (low end)
TE1: Rob Gronkowski (low end)
Bench: Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, James White, Josh Gordon

Prediction: Patriots 27, Bills 20 ^ Top

Packers at Jets - (Katz)
Line: GB -3.0
Total: 47.0

Passing Game Thoughts: There were some whispers of the Packers potentially shutting down Aaron Rodgers a la Cam Newton, but Rodgers stated he is going to play and I believe him. The Jets are a slightly below average pass defense; nothing that should scare Rodgers. That doesn’t make Rodgers a must start, though. The consensus overall QB1 heading into the season is just barely a QB1 at all. Rodgers played just six games in 2017 and had three or more touchdowns in four of them. He hasn’t thrown more than three in a game all season and has done it just twice in 2018 and not since Week 5.

The one guy you know you can trust is Davante Adams. Fantasy’s most prolific receiver hasn’t scored under 16 fantasy points all season. He hasn’t splashed much, but he has literally never failed. Against a mediocre Jets defense allowing 14.8 fantasy points to opposing WR1s, Adams is a lock to make that average go up. The Packers WR2 is a medley of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Randall Cobb, with a sprinkle of Jake Kumerow. Jimmy Graham has been irrelevant for months.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: With Aaron Jones in IR, we are back to the Jamaal Williams show in Green Bay. The Packers’ season is over and they know Williams isn’t the future for them at the position so they have no reason to not ride him as much as they can. Williams is in line for considerable volume where he should see 15+ carries and 5+ targets as a true workhorse. The problem, of course, is that Williams isn’t very good at football. With a number of running backs injured or mired in timeshares, Williams is a pretty safe RB2 that should be game script proof against a middling Jets run defense allowing 4.5 yards per carry.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers (low end)
RB2: Jamaal Williams (mid-range)
WR1: Davante Adams (elite)
Bench: Jimmy Graham, Randall Cobb, Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Passing Game Thoughts: Sam Darnold had one of his better games as a pro last week with 253 yards and two touchdowns while completing 63% of his passes. Most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over. Robby Anderson has emerged as the Jets WR1. He’s scored in two straight games and seen 18 targets over that span. The Jets should have to throw against the Packers, who allow 15.3 fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s. After Anderson, the uninspiring combination of Jermaine Kearse, Andre Roberts, and Chris Herndon can be safely ignored.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Despite losing a fumble, Elijah McGuire still played on 75% of the Jets offensive snaps last week. He is the clear lead back in an Isaiah Crowell-less backfield with Trenton Cannon merely serving as a change of pace. McGurie touched the ball 21 times last week for a mediocre 71 total yards, but he did find the end zone. He is a volume passed option against a Packers defense that ranks in the bottom five when adjusted for defense against pass catching RBs.

Value Meter:
RB2: Elijah McGuire (low end)
WR3: Robby Anderson
Bench: Sam Darnold, Jermaine Kearse, Chris Herndon

Prediction: Jets 23, Packers 20 ^ Top

Texans at Eagles - (Katz)
Line: PHI -1.0
Total: 46.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson continued his touchdown streak last week, having now thrown exactly one or two touchdowns in every game this season, except for Week 8 where he threw five. The Eagles have been a bottom third defense this season and have been particularly vulnerable through the air, despite Jared Goff’s face plant last week.

DeAndre Hopkins is coming off one of the best games of his career. He’s quietly having a very strong season with at least 74 yards and a touchdown in every game. The Eagles are allowing a league worst 19.6 fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s and it’s not particularly close. Hopkins should be able to do whatever he wants this week. Demaryius Thomas has gone over 63 yards receiving just once all season and zero times in Houston. No one else on the Texans is fantasy relevant.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: Lamar Miller is dealing with an ankle injury that is not particularly serious, but Miller also isn’t particularly good or that important to the Texans offense. They will be just fine with Alfred Blue and perhaps D’Onta Foreman should Miller miss this game. The Eagels allow 4.9 yards per carry to opposing rushers and the Texans should find themselves in scoring position quite frequently. This is a pretty nice opportunity for whomever shoulders the load for the Texans. Unfortunately, if it’s not Miller, I don’t think you can be sure Blue will be the guy and you certainly can’t trust Foreman to see any significant usage coming off an Achilles tear.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson (low end)
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins (elite)
Flex: Lamar Miller or Alfred Blue
Bench: Demaryius Thomas

Passing Game Thoughts: If you’re looking for a quarterback to stream this week, you could do worse than Nick Foles. I am no fan of the Eagles, but I can’t help but semi-root for Foles to win out and go on another Super Bowl run, just to see the reaction from everyone. Foles completed 77% of his passes last week for 270 yards and an interception, but he easily could have had multiple touchdowns; the Eagles just happened to run for all of their scores. Alshon Jeffery was Foles’ primary option, catching all eight of his targets for 160 yards. Foles completely ignored Zach Ertz because of a little known secret about Ertz – he’s not as good as his numbers suggest. Ertz is a reliable guy that thrives on volume, but he’s still more safety blanket than purposeful target. If Jeffery is working, that’s where Foles will continue to go. Fortunately, the Texans allow a second worst 11.6 fantasy points per game to opposing TE1s, which means, at least for this week, Ertz should be part of the game plan.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Josh Adams fell into the end zone last week, which was great. He also led all Eagles running backs in snaps, which is also great. The problem is that number was just 38% with Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles at 31% each. This is back to a three man committee. Smallwood scored the other two Eagles’ touchdowns, which was more accident than anything else. With this back to being a full blown timeshare, you cannot start any Eagles back, regardless of the opponent.

Value Meter:
QB2: Nick Foles (high end)
WR2: Alshon Jeffery (mid-range)
TE1: Zach Ertz (elite)
Bench: Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood

Prediction: Eagles 24, Texans 23 ^ Top

Rams @ Cardinals - (Caron)
Line: LAR -14.5
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: There may not be a colder starting quarterback in the league right now than Jared Goff. With just one touchdown pass over his past three games along with seven interceptions, Goff has simply fallen apart when fantasy owners have needed him the most. His struggles have also translated over to his top two receivers, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, who have both been catching a handful of passes each week but have not been particularly effective from a fantasy standpoint. In fact, it was Josh Reynolds who led the team in targets in Week 15 although that translated to just five catches for 70 yards. While Goff is almost certainly due to bounce back at some point, it might not come this week against the Cardinals who are actually still a pretty solid fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks. You could do worse than Goff as a low-end QB1 if you needed him, but realistically his lack of production has to be a major concern that makes him more of a QB2 in this matchup.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: The fantasy world will be eagerly waiting to find out the status of running back Todd Gurley who has not practiced this week as of Thursday and is not believed to be on the practice field on Friday. This is the kiss of death for many players, but Gurley is good enough and has earned enough respect that he might still end up on the field even if he doesn’t practice all week. The concern, of course, is that the Rams could get out to a fairly large lead against a poor Cardinals team which would almost certainly lead to Gurley making an early exit from the game to preserve his health for the team’s upcoming playoff run. That makes him a risky option, but still one who seasonal fantasy owners need to have in their lineup in championship week. DFS players would probably be wise to avoid this backfield, however, as we just don’t have much clarity. Rookie John Kelly and veteran C.J. Anderson could both see work if Gurley does sit, so the backup situation is also too unknown to trust.

Value Meter:
RB1: Todd Gurley (low-end)
WR2: Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks
Flex: Josh Reynolds
Bench: Jared Goff, John Kelly, C.J. Anderson, Gerald Everett, Tyler Higbee

Passing Game Thoughts: Having thrown for fewer than 150 yards in four of his past five games, Josh Rosen simply has not been effective enough to make anyone in this Arizona passing game a particularly exciting fantasy option here in Week 16. The Rams defense is one that could certainly exploit this great matchup and provide significant points for fantasy owners who are looking for a defense. The only player who’s worth considering in this passing game is veteran wideout Larry Fitzgerald who has had a down season overall but has caught 12 passes over his past two games. Fitzgerald remains a low-end WR2 in PPR formats and could even fit in as a Flex in non-PPR matchups. He’s not very exciting but he also shouldn’t give you a donut at the position if you put him in your lineup.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Week 15 was another “touchdown saved the day” type of performance for running back David Johnson who produced just 33 rushing yards on 11 carries in the Cardinals’ blowout loss to the Falcons. The lack of work in the passing game when the Cardinals fall behind in games is the biggest concern in this one because Arizona has been downright terrible in most games and the Rams are still one of the best offenses in the entire league. If Johnson isn’t catching five or more passes, there’s a real chance that he produces under 100 total yards and becomes a very touchdown-dependent option. He’s been producing a good number of touchdowns despite the Cardinals’ overall offensive woes, but that’s still a major concern. Think of him as more of a high-end RB2 this week.

Value Meter:
RB2: David Johnson
WR2: Larry Fitzgerald (low-end, PPR only)
Bench: Josh Rosen, Chase Edmonds, Ricky Seals-Jones

Prediction: Rams 30, Cardinals 16 ^ Top

Bears @ 49ers - (Caron)
Line: CHI -4.0
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky bounced back into fantasy relevance this past week following a disgustingly awful performance against the Rams in Week 14. Trubisky threw for 235 yards and a pair of touchdowns and he remains one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the game. Unfortunately, he’s spreading the ball around the field too much for any one of his receivers to be a spectacular fantasy play even in what should be a good overall matchup against the 49ers. San Francisco has allowed 12 passing touchdowns over their past five games while not forcing a single interception over that span. In fact, quarterbacks have only thrown a combined two interceptions against this 49ers defense all year. Trubisky is a safe floor low-end QB1 in this matchup who also has some upside if he ends up throwing a couple of touchdown passes. Allen Robinson is the top option in the passing game, followed by tight end Trey Burton who did get into the end zone this past week, but depth pass catchers Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel simply aren’t seeing enough targets to be taken seriously in fantasy even in what is a pretty good matchup on paper.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: Saved by a touchdown on just over 3.0 yards per carry this past week, Jordan Howard has become pretty much a touchdown-or-bust fantasy option in many games. Of course his usage has been much higher in games where the Bears have been ahead on the scoreboard as most expect they will be this week against the 49ers, so this is probably one of the better weeks to get him in your lineup. The risk is that the 49ers might stick around in the game a little longer than some expect due to being the home team, which would certainly hurt Howard and probably help Tarik Cohen. Cohen has been the better PPR fantasy option in this backfield so far in 2018 and he’s now gone over 12 PPR fantasy points in five of his past six games heading into this week’s contest. Cohen’s 68 receptions are among the most in the league and he’s a great high-floor option in PPR formats this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Mitchell Trubisky
RB2: Tarik Cohen, Jordan Howard (non-PPR)
WR2: Allen Robinson
TE1: Trey Burton (low-end)
Flex: Jordan Howard (PPR)
Bench: Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller

Passing Game Thoughts: Nick Mullens struggled a bit against the Seahawks this past week as he threw for just one touchdown pass on the day along with 275 yards and no interceptions. It wasn’t a terrible week, but it wasn’t anything that should give fantasy owners much excitement heading into this Week 16 matchup against the Bears. Chicago held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers off the scoreboard from a passing touchdown standpoint this past week and there’s a real shot that they do it again this week. The only receivers in this passing game who should be looked at for fantasy purposes are tight end George Kittle who is an elite option at the position and rookie Dante Pettis who remains the most-targeted 49ers wide receiver.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: Back on the field this past week, Matt Breida immediately got back to contributing for fantasy owners as he rushed for 50 yards and caught five passes for an additional 46 yards. He wasn’t particularly effective on a per-carry basis as he had fewer than three yards per carry, but Breida’s overall usage makes him a sneaky play even against the Bears and their strong defense. If the 49ers fall behind, as most expect they will, Breida should stay on the field and possibly see his highest target share of the season. The only concern at this point is whether or not Breida will actually play or not. He’s dealing with a reaggrevation of the ankle injury he had and he could end up being ruled out for this week’s game against Chicago. If he is out, look for Jeff Wilson to step in and take his place in the backfield. Wilson isn’t a terrible option himself but he’s also not as physically skilled as Breida and is a much riskier option against the Bears and their elite defense.

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

Prediction: Bears 24, 49ers 20 ^ Top

Steelers @ Saints - (Bales)
Line: NO -6.0
Total: 53.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers get an elite matchup against the Saints. New Orleans is allowing 263.0 passing yards per game this season. They have also allowed 25 passing touchdowns, while recording only 12 interceptions., Roethlisberger is averaging 318.7 yards and 2.1 touchdowns on 41.4 pass attempts per game. He’s been a consistent option, and we could see his ceiling in a potential shootout this week.

Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster are the two focal points of the Steelers passing attack, and that will be the case again this week. Through 14 games, Brown is averaging 6.4 receptions for 79.4 yards and 0.9 touchdowns on 10.6 targets per game. He hasn’t been the elite Antonio Brown we all know and love, but he still makes a great option in this matchup. Smith-Schuster has taken the next step forward, averaging a 6.8 / 91.0 / 0.4 line on 10.1 targets per game. He was injured during the Steelers practice on Thursday, but he’s expected to play this weekend. Vance McDonald is a high upside option at tight end, but he hasn’t been a consistent option throughout the season.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: James Conner is expected to sit once again this week, leaving Jaylen Samuels to draw another start. After seeing somewhat limited snaps against the Raiders, Samuels was unleashed last week. He totaled 172 yards on 21 touches without truly displaying his receiving potential. Samuels makes an elite option because of his versatility, although New Orleans is only allowing 79.1 rushing yards per game. They have allowed 10 rushing touchdowns, though. Samuels ability to contribute in multiple aspects of the game will make him a safe option but with a limited ceiling.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger
RB2: Jaylen Samuels (high-end)
WR1: Antonio Brown
WR1: JuJu Smith-Schuster
TE2: Vance McDonald (low-end)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Steelers have only allowed 237.0 passing yards per game this season, although they have also allowed 26 passing touchdowns. Furthermore, they have recorded only seven interceptions. Drew Brees has been an elite option, averaging 320.8 yards and 3.3 touchdowns on 32.8 pass attempts per game at home. This will be his first home game in four weeks, meaning Brees should be able to get back on track this weekend.

Surprisingly, Michael Thomas is the only player in the Saints passing attack that should be considered this week. Similarly to Brees, Thomas has looked outstanding at home. Through six home games, he’s averaging 8.7 receptions for 114.0 yards and 0.8 touchdowns on 10.0 targets per game. He’s expected to be shadowed by Joe Haden in a difficult matchup, but Thomas has found plenty of success in difficult matchups throughout the 2018 season.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts:. Through 14 games, Alvin Kamara is averaging 106.2 yards and 1.1 touchdowns on 18.9 touches (5.5 receptions) per game. He’s a matchup proof player because of his versatility, and he’ll be a major part in the Saints offense this weekend. Mark Ingram has been a bit more inconsistent than Kamara because of his dependency on touchdowns. Through 10 games, he’s averaging 72.9 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 14.0 touches per game. The Steelers have found success against the run, allowing only 96.9 rushing yards per game. They have also allowed 10 rushing touchdowns in 2018 and the 2nd fewest fantasy points running backs.

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

Prediction: Saints 31, Steelers 24 ^ Top

Chiefs @ Seahawks - (Caron)
Line: KC -2.5
Total: 54.5

Passing Game Thoughts: It seems almost silly to say that over 600 total passing yards and four touchdowns over his past two games is being “held in check,” but that’s how hot Patrick Mahomes has been this season. Sure, he hasn’t put up monster games against two very good secondaries in the Ravens and Chargers, but if that’s his floor, we can’t be overly concerned about him and the Chiefs heading on the road to Seattle to play the Seahawks. Seattle hasn’t been the elite defense this season that they have been in the past but they’re still no easy game for opposing passers. Still, Mahomes and his top two targets, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, are must-starts in seasonal formats if you own them due to their tremendous upside. The questions begin after those players, when you look further down the roster at the depth receivers behind Sammy Watkins, who is expected to be out again this week. Chris Conley has had his moments but he’s been used pretty sparingly as of late and is probably not a player we should be relying on in this contest. Kelvin Benjamin is finally getting some playing time, but he was held to just one catch for 17 yards this past week and isn’t reliable enough yet to be in fantasy lineups. Demarcus Robinson has actually been the most productive option in the passing game after Kelce and Hill over the past few weeks, but eight catches over his past three weeks is not enough to warrant fantasy consideration either.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: Damien Williams made fantasy owners very happy this past week as he scored two touchdowns for the second straight week, while adding 49 rushing yards and six catches for 74 yards. However, as good as he looked, it’s very likely that he’ll take a back seat to the returning Spencer Ware if he’s able to suit up. Unfortunately, given the time of this game (Sunday evening), there’s a real chance that we won’t have full clarity on the Chiefs backfield early enough in the day to give us many options. Those who own both Ware and Williams will likely be fine as they can just swap Ware out for Williams if he’s unavailable to play. But even if Ware does play, there’s a bit of a concern that Williams will break into his playing time after performing well.

The Chiefs typically do use one “bell cow” type of back, but Ware’s health is something the Chiefs will have to keep in mind due to their upcoming playoff run. It’s also worth considering that fellow running back Darrel Williams also got into the end zone as a receiver in Week 15. This backfield is very hazy so there’s a good chance that you have a better option on your roster, especially in this tough road matchup against Seattle, but the best case scenario from a fantasy standpoint would be Ware being inactive which would mean Damien Williams is as good as a mid-to-high-level RB2.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
RB2: Damien Williams (if Ware doesn’t play)
WR1: Tyreek Hill
TE1: Travis Kelce
Flex: Spencer Ware
Bench: Damien Williams (if Ware plays), Darrel Williams, Sammy Watkins, Chris Conley, Kelvin Benjamin, Demarcus Robinson

Passing Game Thoughts: Russell Wilson bounced back a bit this past week against the 49ers after a disastrous Week 14 performance against the Vikings. Wilson threw for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns against San Francisco, maintaining the almost absurdly high touchdown rate that he’s been able to sustain throughout the season despite a relatively low yards per game number.

This week he’ll face one of the best possible matchups for opposing quarterbacks as he plays at home against the Chiefs who rank dead last in fantasy points given up to opposing quarterbacks this season. Kansas City has been in so many shootouts that their numbers may not directly indicate the skill set of their defense, but all we care about is the end results from a fantasy standpoint. Wilson will likely need to pass heavily in this game for the Seahawks to win this game, and it’s a very important contest for their team to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. 35-plus pass attempts seems like almost a guarantee in this one, which makes Wilson a solid QB1 and even opens the door for Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett who have been an under-the-radar duo this season. It’s been a few weeks since Lockett got into the end zone but he’s still catching deep passes at an incredible rate which is bound to translate into more scores again if he can keep up that pace, while Baldwin scored twice this past week and is a strong Flex option yet again.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: The Seahawks continue to be one of the most powerful running games in the league this season and much of that has been because they’ve been able to control the pace of most of the games they’ve been in, thus allowing a heavy workload for Chris Carson. Carson has been a non-factor in the passing game, however, which is a big concern here in Week 16 where the Seahawks will likely have to pass the ball to keep pace with the Chiefs. If the Seahawks do find themselves behind on the scoreboard, there’s a very good chance that they will practically abandon the running game, thus leading to much less playing time for Carson and certainly would put the 22 rushing attempts he’s had in each of his past two games out of reach.

Rashaad Penny missed this past week’s game with a knee injury and while he’s probably the player with the better pass catching skill set, it’s Mike Davis who is more likely to have the role as the team’s primary back on passing downs. Davis quietly caught a season-high eight passes for 63 yards this past week against the 49ers and also has a seven-catch game on his resume from earlier this season. Davis is a very deep option only in PPR formats and he’s entirely game script-dependent, but he’s certainly a player who could end up surprising people and leading this team in fantasy points at the position this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
RB2: Chris Carson (high-end)
WR2: Tyler Lockett
Flex: Doug Baldwin
Bench: Mike Davis, Rashaad Penny, David Moore, Nick Vannett

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Seahawks 24 ^ Top

Broncos @ Raiders - (Caron)
Line: DEN -3.0
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: With just three total touchdown passes over his past three games and two games under 200 yards passing over that span, it’s safe to say that Case Keenum remains a non-starter for fantasy. However, that doesn’t mean that we should completely avoid his receiving weapons. Sure, Courtland Sutton has been disappointing and that’s probably the big story here, but Tim Patrick surprisingly caught another five passes for 65 yards this past week while DaeSean Hamilton again led the team with seven catches for the second consecutive week. Hamilton continues to play primarily the role that Emmanuel Sanders played when he was healthy whereas Sutton and Patrick are somewhat splitting the work that had been going to Demaryius Thomas earlier this season. There’s no question that Sutton has the highest pedigree in the bunch but he’s simply not being targeted enough right now to warrant anything other than a flier as a Flex, preferably in non-PPR formats. Hamilton is probably the safest of the bunch, at least in PPR, given his high number of targets and low depth of target thus allowing his catches to be more easily pulled in, but he’s also likely the lowest-ceiling option of the group. Patrick could find his way onto some DFS options as a very cheap play against this bad Oakland secondary, but he should probably be avoided in your typical seasonal league.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: After failing to exceed 30 yards on the ground now in back-to-back weeks despite 14 carries in each contest, it’s becoming clear that defenses are beginning to focus on slowing down Phillip Lindsay and the Denver running game rather than Case Keenum and the passing game. However, fantasy owners should remain strong and keep Lindsay in their lineups this week if for no other reason than that the Broncos have made it clear that he’s their lead back and they’re now facing an Oakland defense that has given up an average of a touchdown per game to opposing running backs this season and the seventh-most total fantasy points to running backs thus far in 2018. Lindsay has also remained active in the passing game during his recent mini-slump, catching four passes in each of his past two contests, so there remains a pretty decent floor for the rookie. Devontae Booker and fellow rookie Royce Freeman continue to pull some work away from Lindsay, but not enough that we should consider him anything lower than a high-end RB2.

Value Meter:
RB2: Phillip Lindsay
Flex: Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton (PPR only)
Bench: Case Keenum, Royce Freeman, Devontae Booker, Tim Patrick, Andre Holmes, Matt LaCosse

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s hard to whether Derek Carr has suddenly improved or if he’s just giving it everything he’s got down the stretch in 2018 in a desperate effort to convince Jon Gruden that he’s still the quarterback of the future in Oakland, but there’s no question that Carr has been playing better as of late. Over his past three games, Carr has thrown for an average of 290 yards per game and he’s thrown six total touchdowns to no interceptions. He’s done this while getting practically no consistent production out of his running game.

During this stretch, veteran receiver Jordy Nelson has now caught 22 total passes for 233 yards after being held to just 353 yards over Oakland’s first 11 games combined. Tight end Jared Cook struggled in Week 15 against the Bengals, but had previously delivered back-to-back 100-yard games, which has been practically impossible this season for any tight end not named Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz or George Kittle. This week the Raiders will host a banged-up Denver secondary that has conceded an average of 24 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks over their past seven contests. The Raiders are still among the least trustworthy passing games in the league but there’s hope here for the likes of Jared Cook and Jordy Nelson who should again be peppered with enough targets to be fantasy relevant.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: The Oakland running game continues to be a mess from a fantasy standpoint as Doug Martin produces horrible per-carry rushing numbers but remains the player who the Oakland coaching staff insists on feeding the ball to. Jalen Richard continues to be a much more effective back on a per-touch basis, but he’s simply not getting enough work to be considered anything more than a decent floor Flex play in very deep leagues. Martin, meanwhile is pretty much a touchdown-or-bust type of player and he’s facing a Denver run defense that hasn’t conceded a running back rushing touchdown since all the way back in Week 6. Neither player’s matchup is particularly intriguing, so both are a bench unless you’re in a very desperate situation.

Value Meter:
TE1: Jared Cook
Flex: Jordy Nelson
Bench: Derek Carr, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, Marcell Ateman, Seth Roberts

Prediction: Broncos 21, Raiders 17 ^ Top