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Matchups

Silva's Week 15 Matchups

by Evan Silva
Updated On: December 16, 2018, 3:39 am ET

Saturday Football

4:30 PM ET Game

Houston @ NY Jets
Team Totals: Texans 24, Jets 17.5

Sam Darnold shook off continued early-game foot problems to help engineer last week’s comeback win at Buffalo, making a Russell Wilsonian play behind the line to find Robby Anderson for a seven-yard score and committing just one turnover, progress after Darnold turned the ball over eight times in his previous three starts. Darnold’s supporting cast is still among the NFL’s worst, and he has cleared 300 passing yards in 1-of-10 starts. Darnold is a low-end two-QB-league play against a Texans Defense that has allowed top-12 fantasy results to just three of its last 12 quarterbacks faced. … As Isaiah Crowell aggravated his own foot injury at Buffalo and did not return, Elijah McGuire took over as Gang Green’s feature back with 82 yards and the game-winning touchdown on 20 touches. Change-up back Trenton Cannon vultured a four-yard TD but managed five touches on 33% of the snaps. Although Houston’s AFC-best run defense has held enemy backs to 3.35 yards per carry and seven rushing TDs in 13 games, DC Romeo Crennel’s unit permits the NFL’s tenth-most catches per game to running backs (5.9). With Crowell now on I.R., McGuire offers volume-based flex value with RB2 upside in PPR leagues. A skilled receiver, McGuire caught 129 passes in college and has three catches in five of his last eight NFL games.

 

 

Darnold’s Week 14 target distribution: Robby Anderson 7; McGuire and Quincy Enunwa 4; Jermaine Kearse, Chris Herndon, and Jordan Leggett 2; Cannon, Crowell, and Rishard Matthews 1. … Anderson is easily Gang Green’s most-playable wideout with commanding team leads in targets (14) and Air Yards (195) in the last two weeks. A perimeter burner with 4.36 speed, Anderson’s matchup is enticing against elderly Texans boundary CBs Johnathan Joseph and Shareece Wright, who got cooked by T.Y. Hilton (9/199/0), Corey Davis (4/96/1), Antonio Callaway (3/84/0), Zach Pascal (5/68/1), and Rashard Higgins (4/62/1) in the last three weeks. Anderson is popping as Week 15’s No. 7 buy-low wideout in Josh Hermsmeyer’s predictive Air Yards model. Darnold making multiple second-reaction improvisational plays with Anderson on the Week 14 receiving end tells me all I need to know about his Week 15 start-ability. … Slot CB Kareem Jackson has been Houston’s best corner this year, most notable for Kearse, who runs over 80% of his routes inside. Kearse has one touchdown over his last 17 games. … Enunwa aggravated his high ankle sprain at Buffalo. He will likely be replaced by Matthews against Houston. … After last week’s one-catch dud, Herndon offers bounce-back potential versus the Texans’ leaky tight end coverage. Jeff Heuerman (10/83/1), Jordan Reed (7/71/1), Eric Ebron (4/65/1), Jonnu Smith (2/63/1), and Anthony Firkser (4/52/0) all beat expectations against Houston in the last five games. Herndon is Week 15’s No. 3 buy-low tight end in Hermsmeyer’s model.


Although he took five sacks against a struggling Colts pass rush, Deshaun Watson’s 38 pass attempts were his most since Week 5, and Watson led the Texans in rushing in last week’s three-point loss. Jets coach Todd Bowles’ blitz-heavy, man-coverage scheme is vulnerable to QB runs because defenders turn their backs to the offense, yielding rushing lines of 9/101/1 (Josh Allen) and 4/43/0 (Marcus Mariota) in the last two weeks. Missing 4.47 speedster WLB Darron Lee (suspension) especially hurts in this area. The biggest concern for Watson’s ceiling is this game’s 41.5-point total, third lowest of Week 15. … Even as Lamar Miller struggled to find Week 14 running room against the Colts’ quietly-stout front, he out-touched Alfred Blue 19 to 6 and avoided a complete dud with a Wildcat touchdown run and season-high five catches. The Jets have been trampled for 130-plus rushing yards in four straight games, giving up five rushing TDs during that span. Averaging 18.8 touches since Houston’s Week 10 bye, Miller remains a quality RB2 in this plus draw. Although D’Onta Foreman was activated off PUP last week, he was inactive against Indy and figures to threaten Blue’s role more than Miller’s when cleared.

Watson’s Weeks 11-14 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 34; Demaryius Thomas 17; Miller 13; Keke Coutee 11; Jordan Thomas and Ryan Griffin 10; DeAndre Carter 8; Jordan Akins 6. … The Colts used linebackers and safeties in bracket coverage to keep Hopkins quiet until his fourth-quarter TD. He still drew double-digit targets for the second straight week and now faces a Jets Defense allowing the NFL’s third-most yards per game to wideout units (189.2). These are Hopkins’ last three stat lines immediately after games where he was held to 50 yards or fewer: 6/82/2 – 8/224/1 – 7/123/0. Popping as Week 15’s No. 2 buy-low player in Hermsmeyer’s model, Hopkins is a must-play WR1. … On target counts of 3 – 1 – 5 – 4 – 6 since joining the Texans, Demaryius is a touchdown-or-bust WR4 regardless of matchups. Demaryius has topped 70 yards in just two of his last 24 games. … Coutee (hamstring) was ruled out on Friday, giving fill-in slot WR Carter DFS small-slate sleeper potential. Carter had six catches in Week 13. He got concussed early in Week 14 but is cleared for Saturday. … Griffin capitalized on Indy’s loaded Hopkins coverage with 80 yards, second most of Griffin’s 77-game career. Griffin’s highlight play was a 47-yard catch and run that set up Hopkins’ score. Still playing in a three-man TEBC with Thomas and Akins, Griffin is a poor streamer against a Jets Defense allowing a league-low 31.5 yards per game to tight ends.

Score Prediction: Texans 24, Jets 17

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8:20 PM ET Game

Cleveland @ Denver
Team Totals: Broncos 24, Browns 21

This is a bounce-back spot for Phillip Lindsay after last week’s 51 total yards in a game that got away from Denver early in San Francisco. Cleveland’s run defense has struggled all season and especially in its last three games, permitting a combined 64/324/2 (5.06 YPC) rushing line to Panthers, Texans, and Bengals running backs. The Browns have allowed 11 rushing TDs in their last eight games. Lindsay still out-touched Royce Freeman 18 to 6 against the 49ers and drew a season-high seven targets. With the Broncos coming off a road loss facing a road-tripping Browns team off its upset home win over Carolina, Lindsay is an upside RB2 in this plum spot. … Stripped of Demaryius Thomas (trade), Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles’), and Jeff Heuerman (ribs/lung), Case Keenum offers minimal fantasy appeal on a run-first team painfully thin on passing-game weapons. Keenum has multiple touchdown passes in just four of his last 12 starts and is averaging an anemic 184 yards per game since Denver's Week 10 bye.

Keenum’s Week 14 targets: Tim Patrick 10; DaeSean Hamilton 9; Lindsay 7; Courtland Sutton 6; Devontae Booker and Brian Parker 2; Freeman and Matt LaCosse 1. … Plus-sized (6’4/208) with 4.47 jets, Patrick dominated Richard Sherman for a team-best 7/85/0 stat line on career highs in snaps (87%) and routes (42) in Week 14. With Browns top CB Denzel Ward (concussion) still sidelined, Patrick will catch Chiefs castoff Terrance Mitchell and Raiders castoff T.J. Carrie on perimeter routes. Patrick is a low-floor WR4 but an appealing DFS small-slate play. … Hamilton jumped right into Sanders’ vacated role against the Niners, leading Denver wideouts in routes (49) with 67% in the slot and scoring a late-game goal-line TD among seven grabs. Fellow slot WRs Tyler Boyd (7/85/1), Mohamed Sanu (6/47/0), and DeAndre Carter (6/32/0) turned in above-expectation PPR production against the Browns in the last month. … Nagged by a quad injury, Sutton is a boom-bust WR4 with stat lines of 2/14/0 – 4/85/1 – 1/14/0 – 3/78/0 since Denver’s Week 10 bye. … Although LaCosse logged season highs in snaps (81%) and routes (31) in Week 14, he was out-targeted 2 to 1 by No. 2 TE Parker. With two targets in the last two games, only LaCosse’s playing time and matchup make him interesting as a desperate streamer or small-slate DFS play. The Browns coughed up 7/99/2 to Travis Kelce in Week 9, 10/56/1 to Austin Hooper in Week 10, 6/39/0 to C.J. Uzomah in Week 12, 3/32/1 to Jordan Thomas in Week 13, and 9/77/0 to Ian Thomas last week.

This is a theoretical letdown spot for Cleveland in Denver’s thin air following last week’s thrilling upset of the Panthers. Red-hot and always-dangerous Baker Mayfield will have his say, of course, after completing 112-of-153 throws (73.2%) for 1,406 yards (9.2 YPA) and an 11:4 TD-to-INT ratio since Hue Jackson’s firing five games ago. Already among the NFL’s most-efficient passers, Mayfield went 18-of-22 last week, and two of his four incompletions came on egregious drops. Their secondary far more vulnerable without star slot CB Chris Harris (fibula), Denver yielded top-15 fantasy results to seven of its last ten quarterbacks faced and got torched by Nick Mullens for 332 yards at 10.1 yards per attempt with two scores last week. Mayfield has been a top-15 scorer in five of his last seven starts, falling short last week only because the Browns’ offense ran a year-low 44 plays. Offenses facing the Broncos average 65.3 plays, seventh most in the league. Since Freddie Kitchens took over as Browns OC in Week 9, Mayfield has faced pressure on an NFL-low 11% of his dropbacks. … Nick Chubb’s matchup is tougher; Denver has held enemy backs to 142/509/0 (3.58 YPC) rushing over its last seven games. Chubb is a bet-on-volume RB2 play averaging 21.0 touches per game over his last six. With Duke Johnson no longer a factor, Chubb tallied season highs in targets (6) and catches (4) in last week’s win over Carolina, raising his floor.

Mayfield’s target distribution with Kitchens as OC: Jarvis Landry 30; David Njoku 21; Antonio Callaway 19; Johnson 18; Chubb 16; Rashard Higgins 15; Breshad Perriman 13. … Landry scored a three-yard rushing TD in last week’s upset of Carolina, caught a 51-yard Baker bomb for a score, and nearly hit pay dirt for a third time on a 51-yard jet-sweep run, only to be caught from behind by Luke Kuechly at the four-yard line, setting up Chubb’s TD. This week’s matchup in the slot softened by Chris Harris’ absence, Landry is a WR3 with WR2 upside. The Broncos resorted to using S Justin Simmons at slot corner last week. PFF has charged Simmons with 40 completions allowed on 48 targets (83%) for 505 yards (10.5 YPA) and three touchdowns this year. … Njoku’s box-score results have been frustrating, but his Week 15 draw is mouthwatering against a Denver defense allowing a league-high 75.2 yards per game to tight ends, including Antonio Gates (5/80/1) and George Kittle’s (7/210/1) season-best efforts in the last month. … Callaway goose egged Week 14, victimized by Mayfield attempting only 22 passes in the Browns’ lowest-volume game all year. Callaway still tied Landry for the team lead in routes run (18) among Cleveland receivers and maintains dart-throw WR4 appeal against burnable Broncos perimeter CBs Bradley Roby and Tramaine Brock. … Perriman caught a 66-yard Baker bomb on the opening drive against the Panthers, setting up Landry’s rushing score. Perriman is sharing time with Higgins as Cleveland’s No. 3 wideout, however, and Perriman has target counts of 2 – 1 – 2 – 2 in the last month. … Higgins had a nightmare game versus Carolina, dropping a would-be 31-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield and losing a fumble deep in Browns territory that led directly to a Christian McCaffrey score.

Score Prediction: Browns 24, Broncos 20

 

 

Sunday 1:00 PM ET Games

Arizona @ Atlanta
Team Totals: Falcons 27, Cardinals 17

Losers of five straight with 20 points or fewer in all five, the Falcons will continue playing out the string against lowly 3-10 Arizona. Matt Ryan still has top-12 fantasy scores in nine of his last 12 starts, including top-eight results in 5-of-7 home games, where Ryan averages 2.8 more yards per pass attempt than on the road. Keyed by an underrated pass rush and Patrick Peterson’s stingy coverage, the Cards haven’t allowed a top-12 fantasy passer since Week 5, even as they’ve faced Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers, and Kirk Cousins along the way. Ryan is a low-end QB1. … Albeit impacted by the Falcons’ lopsided deficit at Lambeau Field, Ito Smith out-touched Tevin Coleman for the second straight game in Week 14 as Coleman logged his lowest snap rate (47%) since Week 5. Coleman is an impending free agent who likely won’t be brought back, and coach Dan Quinn conceded he wants to see younger players get more run down the stretch of a lost season. The good news is Atlanta is a big home favorite facing an Arizona defense that has permitted a league-high 17 rushing TDs to running backs. The bad news is the Smith-Coleman split has devolved into a near-even timeshare, rendering both Falcons backs risky flex plays in a putrid running game that has rushed for 100-plus yards just three times all year.

Ryan’s post-bye target distribution: Julio Jones 63; Calvin Ridley 40; Austin Hooper 38; Mohamed Sanu 35; Coleman 23; Smith 16. … Julio gave Jaire Alexander a Week 14 beatdown the Packers’ impressive rookie corner will never forget. Jones has now cleared 100 yards in seven of his last eight games. Even if expectations should be lowered against Peterson, the Cardinals play enough zone that Peterson won’t necessarily chase Julio on every snap. Jones also runs 21% of his routes in the slot, where Peterson lines up less than 1% of the time. Julio’s box-score results in his last two dates with Peterson were 4/35/0 (2016) and 10/189/1 (2014). … Theoretically, Peterson’s probable Julio coverage puts Ridley in slump-busting position. With fewer than 55 yards in eight of his last ten games, however, Ridley remains a volatile WR3/flex whose outlook is enhanced by his matchup. Arizona's No. 2 corner is perennial burn victim David Amerson, who GM Steve Keim signed off the street in November. … Sanu’s WR4 prospects are also improved against slot CB Budda Baker, who is playing through a bad knee and gave up two TDs in his last three games. PFF has charged Baker with an 83% completion rate allowed. … Hooper will gut out ankle and knee injuries to face a Cardinals Defense allowing the NFL's ninth-fewest yards per game to tight ends (41.4).

After Chase Edmonds’ two-TD fluke, David Johnson retook a commanding lead in Arizona’s backfield with 23 touches on 89% of the Week 14 snaps. Johnson is a volume-based RB2 with 19-plus touches in nine of his last ten games facing an Atlanta defense that has coughed up 130-plus rushing yards to every opponent during its five-game losing streak, including 125/681/3 (5.45 YPC) rushing to running backs. Johnson set season highs in routes (38), targets (10), and catches (8) in last week’s loss to Detroit, albeit with 12 receiving yards to show for it. Atlanta allows the NFL’s second-most receiving yards per game to enemy backs (59.3). … Behind a decimated line throwing to people named Trent Sherfield and Jalen Tolliver, matchups haven’t mattered for Josh Rosen, who is a weekly target for D/STs. The last eight defenses to face Arizona and their weekly finish: Lions (DEF3) – Packers (DEF26) – Chargers (DEF12) – Raiders (DEF15) – Chiefs (DEF5) – 49ers (DEF5) – Broncos (DEF1) – Vikings (DEF7). … Even as the Lions doubled him in the slot, Larry Fitzgerald led Cardinals wideouts in Week 14 targets (9) and routes (44) and is a volume-driven WR3. Fitz runs over 80% of his routes inside, where Packers slot WR Randall Cobb got off the schneid (5/43/1) in last week’s win over the Falcons. … UDFA rookie Sherfield was Arizona’s clear No. 2 wideout against the Lions, leading the Cardinals in receiving yards (77) and tying No. 3 WR J.J. Nelson for third most targets on the team (7) behind Johnson and Fitz. Sherfield and Nelson would be low-cost DFS punts based on opportunity.

Score Prediction: Falcons 28, Cardinals 20

Detroit @ Buffalo
Team Totals: Bills 20.5, Lions 18.5

Particularly with LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Chris Ivory (shoulder) banged up, Josh Allen can be expected to remain Buffalo’s run-game focal point after becoming the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era (1966-present) to rush for 100-plus yards in back-to-back games. (Allen would have three straight if not for game-ending Week 12 kneeldowns that dropped his rushing line to 13/99/1.) A full-on one-read passer who takes off whenever his primary is covered, Allen logged 4/48/1 rushing on last week’s first drive alone. Although Detroit has permitted the NFL’s fewest QB rushing yards, Matt Patricia’s defense has been cooked by fellow dual threats Mitchell Trubisky (QB2), Cam Newton (QB3), and Russell Wilson (QB7), while Dak Prescott averaged a season-high 9.4 yards per attempt with two TDs against the Lions in Week 4. Despite wild passing and turnover-prone play, Allen has top-ten fantasy results in 4-of-7 full games and continues to warrant DFS-tournament consideration. Allen’s Week 15 matchup is improved by Lions top pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah’s (shoulder) absence. … McCoy and Ivory are on track to play despite injuries that forced them to leave last week’s loss to the Jets and not return. McCoy’s substandard health and ineffectiveness render him a low-floor flex in a rushing offense dominated by its quarterback. McCoy’s receiving usage has also been minor with Allen likelier to take off than check down.

 

Allen’s 2018 target distribution: Zay Jones 43; Robert Foster and Charles Clay 23; McCoy 21; Isaiah McKenzie 14; Jason Croom 12; Marcus Murphy 8; Logan Thomas 7; Deonte Thompson 6. … Jones led Buffalo in Week 14 targets (9) but dropped three balls and has an abysmal 46.5% catch rate on throws from Allen this year. After Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes were released, Jones moved from slot to perimeter receiver against the Jets and is a less-natural fit outside. He is also Buffalo’s likeliest wideout to draw Darius Slay’s coverage. … McKenzie took over slot duties for Week 14 season highs in routes run (43), snaps (78%), and targets (7) and quietly has four-plus touches in four straight games with a rushing TD in two of the last three. Diminutive (5’7/173) but a prolific return man at Georgia with 4.42 speed, McKenzie is a DFS sleeper with legit playmaking skills and an all-purpose role that is growing each week. McKenzie had four receptions in Week 13, then parlayed eight touches into 69 yards and a touchdown against the Jets. … Foster’s target totals in Allen’s last three starts are 4 – 3 – 8, good for 2/94/1 – 1/27/0 – 7/104/0 receiving lines. If Slay indeed chases Jones, Foster will be a candidate for another sneaky-big week. Foster ran more short and intermediate routes than usual in Buffalo’s first post-Benjamin game.

The Bills’ D/ST is a better Week 15 fantasy play than Matthew Stafford, a dome quarterback visiting Buffalo in mid-December at the controls of an offense averaging 16.3 points over its last seven games. Playing through a back injury, Stafford has a pathetic 4:7 TD-to-turnover ratio in his last six starts. Sean McDermott's Bills are allowing an NFL-low 25.3 yards per drive. … The Lions’ backfield is also best ignored after Zach Zenner emerged as a second-half factor in last week’s 17-3 win at Arizona, logging 12 touches behind LeGarrette Blount’s ineffective 14 with Theo Riddick mixing in for 10. Buffalo yields a stingy 4.1 yards per carry to running backs, although their loss of stud WLB Matt Milano (fibula) and allowance of 14 rushing TDs to the position – second most in the league – give Blount and Zenner mild touchdown-or-bust flex potential. Riddick remains scoreless on the year.

Stafford’s Weeks 11-14 target distribution: Kenny Golladay 34; Bruce Ellington 30; Riddick 22; Levine Toilolo 9; Michael Roberts 8; Blount and Andy Jones 5; T.J. Jones and Luke Willson 4. … Bills top corner Tre’Davious White’s recent struggles give Golladay some bounce-back hope after Davis couldn’t hang with Robby Anderson (4/76/1) in Week 14. Prior to being targeted only four times by Stafford in last Sunday’s win over Arizona – none coming versus Patrick Peterson – Golladay had drawn eight-plus targets in four straight games. On the road at Buffalo facing one of the NFL’s best pass defenses in one of the NFL’s worst passing offenses, Golladay is the lone Lions pass catcher worth fantasy consideration. Ellington (hamstring) was ruled out on Friday.

Score Prediction: Bills 20, Lions 3

 

 

 

Green Bay @ Chicago
Team Totals: Bears 25.5, Packers 19.5

In an ugly battle of abysmal quarterbacking, the Bears squeaked out last week’s 15-6 home win over the Rams in spite of Mitchell Trubisky, who averaged a season-low 3.7 yards per attempt with three INTs and finished below 170 passing yards for the third time in his last four starts. Although Chicago’s offense has advanced over the course of the year, the Packers held Trubisky to Week 1’s QB18 score on 171 passing yards at 4.9 yards per attempt, sacking him four times but allowing a 7/32/1 rushing line to Trubisky. Green Bay’s defense has significant home-away splits, permitting just 19.1 points per game at Lambeau versus 28.8 PPG on the road. Ultimately, Trubisky has been a boom-bust fantasy commodity with rushing dependency all year and should be treated as such against the Pack. … With Chicago favored by nearly a touchdown at home, Jordan Howard has Week 15 fantasy hope against a Packers front that recently placed DT Mike Daniels (foot) on I.R. and yielded a high-efficiency 195/936/7 (4.80 YPC) rushing line to running backs in its last eight games. Howard’s minimal passing-game involvement keeps his floor dangerously low, but he picked it up with a 5.06-yard average on 35 carries in the last two weeks and offers heightened flex appeal based on this game’s environment and projected script. … Tarik Cohen has double-digit touches in five straight games with team highs in targets (26) and catches (23) over the last three, earning every-week RB2/flex treatment in PPR. Only Christian McCaffrey (701) has more receiving yards than Cohen (679) among NFL backs.

Trubisky’s Week 14 target distribution: Allen Robinson 8; Taylor Gabriel 7; Trey Burton 5; Cohen 4; Howard 1. … Inconsistent quarterback play and pass-catcher depth have rendered Bears wideouts and tight ends highly unreliable fantasy producers week to week. … Robinson is the best Week 15 play in Chicago’s receiver group, but he is scoreless since Week 10 with fewer than 45 yards in three of his last four games. Robinson is a boom-bust WR3/flex option. It does help that Green Bay has allowed the NFL’s second-most touchdowns to wide receivers (19). Julio Jones beat Packers rookie CB Jaire Alexander to a pulp in Week 14 (8/106/2), and Robinson figures catch Alexander’s Week 15 coverage. … Gabriel has reached pay dirt in 1-of-13 games, settling in as a role player with low-floor WR4 value after a few big early-season teases. … Catch-less in last week’s win over the Rams, Miller ran his fewest pass routes since Week 9 (22) and has cleared 50 yards in just 1-of-12 appearances. … Burton hasn’t gone over 40 yards since Week 7 and is always at risk of getting “vultured” in scoring position by behemoth No. 2 TE Adam Shaheen. Green Bay allows the NFL’s sixth-fewest catches per game to tight ends (3.8).

As just three of the last 12 quarterbacks to face Chicago have logged top-16 fantasy scores, Aaron Rodgers is a high-risk Week 15 play with his matchup made more difficult by RT Bryan Bulaga’s (knee) expected absence. Khalil Mack mostly rushes the passer on Bulaga’s side of the field. Green Bay’s pass-catcher corps does appear to have enough edges for Rodgers to exceed expectations, but he is a fade-matchup gamble facing the NFC’s best defense on the road with a sub-20-point team total. … Although Jamaal Williams got last week’s nominal “start” against the Falcons, Aaron Jones predictably showed the hotter hand and wound up parlaying 20 touches into 106 yards and a touchdown on a 65% playing-time clip. Unfortunately, Jones’ Week 15 matchup couldn’t get tougher as a near-touchdown underdog at Soldier Field versus DC Vic Fangio’s shutdown defensive front, which held Todd Gurley to 58 scoreless yards on 14 touches last week and has allowed a league-low seven TDs to running backs in 13 games.

Rodgers’ Weeks 13-14 target distribution: Davante Adams 24; Jimmy Graham 16; Randall Cobb 11; Marquez Valdes-Scantling 9; Jones 7; Williams 5; Equanimeous St. Brown 4. … Adams has surpassed expectations in every difficult on-paper matchup he’s faced this year and has receiving lines of 5/88/1 – 5/90/1 in his last two meetings with Chicago. Averaging 11 targets per game over his last four, Adams is the best Week 15 fantasy play on Green Bay’s roster. … Rodgers hit Cobb for a third-quarter touchdown from 24 yards out with an absolute dime on third down versus Atlanta. Locked back in as the Packers’ No. 2 receiver, Cobb ran 36 routes to St. Brown’s 25 and Valdes-Scantling’s 20 and stands to benefit from Chicago’s loss of slot CB Bryce Callahan (foot, I.R.). The next man up is special teamer Sherrick McManis. Long a thorn in Fangio’s side, Cobb’s last six stat lines against the Bears are 9/142/1 – 3/42/0 – 4/44/1 – 11/95/1 – 6/74/0 – 5/38/1. … Fangio double teamed Graham in these teams’ Week 1 date, holding him to eight yards on four targets. No tight end has reached 50 yards against Chicago all year. … Splitting third-receiver duties down the middle, Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown lack fantasy viability.

Score Prediction: Bears 23, Packers 20

Oakland @ Cincinnati
Team Totals: Bengals 24.5, Raiders 21.5

Joe Mixon is an exciting RB1/2 play in a classic Raiders letdown spot visiting Cincinnati at 1pm ET after last week’s home upset of Pittsburgh. Mixon was the key to Week 14’s surprisingly competitive loss to the Chargers with 138 yards and a score on a year-high 31 touches. Oakland hemorrhages 159.6 total yards per game to running backs, including 4.95 yards per carry. Cincinnati's offensive line has quietly created 3.0 yards before contact per rushing attempt, the NFL's fourth-highest clip. … Jeff Driskel would be a more intriguing matchup-based dart throw if he was putting his 4.56 speed to use. Apparently encouraged to be a strict pocket passer by OC Bill Lazor, Driskel scrambled only once on 109 preseason snaps and has 3 and 2 rushing attempts in two starts, managing QB21 (Broncos) and QB23 (Chargers) fantasy results.

Driskel’s 2018 target distribution: C.J. Uzomah 20; Tyler Boyd 19; Mixon, John Ross, and Cody Core 12; Giovani Bernard 11. … Uzomah is a matchup-based streamer against a Raiders Defense allowing the NFL’s most fantasy points per game to tight ends. … Boyd’s box scores have frustrated with defenses keyed up to stop him. Even when he aligned in the slot last week, the Chargers shaded a safety over the top of Boyd’s man-coverage adversary. Nevertheless, this matchup is right to stay the course with Boyd as a WR3 play. PFF has charged Raiders rookie slot CB Nick Nelson with a 129.6 passer rating allowed, which would rank third worst in the league among slot defenders if Nelson had enough snaps to qualify. Oakland has yielded an AFC-high 19 touchdowns to wide receivers. … Ross has 18 catches all season; six happen to have gone for scores. He’s cleared 40 yards in 1-of-10 games.

0-4 with the NFL’s worst defense since bringing The Great Hue Jackson on board as a defensive assistant, the Bengals pose a favorable draw for Derek Carr, whose play has quietly improved since the Amari Cooper trade with top-15 fantasy sores in three of his last four starts. The Raiders’ offense has big home-road splits, however, averaging a mildly respectable 21.7 points per game in The Black Hole versus an anemic 15.3 PPG with a high of 23 outside of Oakland. In such an obvious letdown spot, Carr is best viewed as a boom-bust streamer/DFS play. … Another concern for Jon Gruden’s team is its injury-wracked offensive line, where LG Kelechi Osemele (toe) and RG Gabe Jackson (elbow) are in danger of missing Week 15 and top backup guard Jon Feliciano (calf) is done for the year. His efficiency already taking a turn for the worse with 93 yards on 34 carries (2.74 YPC) in the last two weeks, Doug Martin would be most impacted as the Raiders’ primary inside runner. Passing-game specialist Jalen Richard is a potential beneficiary against a Bengals Defense permitting the NFL’s eighth-most receiving yards per game to running backs (53.1). Richard’s touch counts are just 3 – 9 – 9 over the last three weeks, however. Richard hasn’t reached double-digit touches since Gruden compared him to Charlie Garner.

Carr’s Weeks 13-14 target distribution: Jared Cook and Jordy Nelson 18; Seth Roberts 13; Marcell Ateman 8; Richard 5; Martin 2. … Cook set an eight-week high in snaps (85%) and nine-week high in routes run (39) in last week’s upset of Pittsburgh and has topped 100 yards and/or scored a touchdown in four straight games. Cook is a confident TE1 play against Cincinnati’s barely-there linebacker corps. Only eight teams have allowed more catches to tight ends (67). … Nelson is scoreless since Week 5 and has cleared 50 yards once in his last nine games. … Roberts has one touchdown since Week 2 and just two games above 43 yards all season. … Ateman has failed to top 50 yards in all four of his starts. … All Raiders receivers have plus Week 15 draws – Cincinnati permits the NFL’s seventh-most yards per game to wideout units (173.5) – but this passing game remains untrustworthy on the road in a letdown spot.

Score Prediction: Bengals 24, Raiders 20

 

 

Dallas @ Indianapolis
Team Totals: Colts 25, Cowboys 22

Fresh off carving a widely-respected Texans Defense on the road for last week’s QB3 finish, Luck returns to the cozy confines of Lucas Oil Stadium’s dome having averaged over nine yards per attempt in four of his last five games with multiple touchdowns in 11-of-13 starts this year. Although Dallas’ defense is dominating, it has struggled a bit versus mobile QBs Marcus Mariota (QB7) and Carson Wentz (QB8, Q13) over the past six weeks while shutting down pocket passers Drew Brees (QB30), Matt Ryan (QB19), and Colt McCoy (QB18). Indianapolis is better positioned than most teams to keep the Cowboys’ pass rush at bay, yielding a league-low 2.9% sack rate and the NFL’s sixth-lowest QB hit rate (12%). A top-eight fantasy quarterback in nine of his last ten starts, Luck earned matchup-proof respect long ago. … The Colts’ running game grounded to a halt in Weeks 13-14 against the Jaguars and Texans, and this week’s draw is no softer versus a Cowboys Defense that is expected to get back LB Sean Lee (hamstring) and has held enemy backs to 3.63 yards per carry with just eight TDs in 13 games. Dallas’ allowance of the NFL’s seventh-most running back catches per game (6.1) favors Nyheim Hines over Marlon Mack, who is averaging 6.8 receiving yards over the past five weeks. Ultimately, both are weak flex options.

Luck’s Weeks 13-14 target distribution: T.Y. Hilton 25; Eric Ebron 24; Hines 14; Zach Pascal 7; Dontrelle Inman and Chester Rogers 6; Ryan Grant 3; Mack 2. … Although Hilton never found the paint himself, he worked wonders for his teammates by setting up Mack’s second-quarter TD with a 60-yard catch off play action and preceded Pascal’s 12-yard score by whipping Texans RCB Shareece Wright for 34 yards in the second half. Hilton has enough speed and quickness to work around Cowboys plus-sized perimeter CBs Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie and sees 25% of his targets in the slot, where Dallas is vulnerable. With 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 9-of-11 appearances, Hilton is always a confident WR2 play with WR1 upside. … Although Ebron left yards on the Week 14 field with two dropped passes, they were just his second and third drops all season, and Ebron’s matchup is favorable versus Dallas, which allows the NFL’s second-most catches (6.0) and eighth-most yards (62.1) per game to tight ends, including a 9/82/1 stat line to Eagles tight ends last week. Ebron is averaging 10.7 targets in Jack Doyle’s (kidney, I.R.) seven missed games, which would lead all tight ends if extrapolated over the full season. One matchup concern is the possibility the Cowboys guard Ebron with stud CB Jones on passing downs after containing Zach Ertz (5/38/0) with Jones last week. … With Inman (shoulder) due back, Colts complementary wideouts can be ignored in this tough draw. Pascal is coming off a productive game (5/68/1) but has run behind Inman and Rogers with everyone healthy.

Arguably pro football’s hottest team, the Cowboys visit Indy with five straight wins and top-ten fantasy finishes in five of Dak Prescott’s last eight starts, including last week’s overall QB1 result against the Eagles with LT Tyron Smith (stingers) back on Dak’s blind side. Prescott’s Week 15 pocket should be clean against a Colts Defense that ranks bottom ten in QB hit rate (14.7%) and allows an AFC-high 71.9% completion rate. In six games with Amari Cooper, Prescott has averaged 8.1 yards per attempt with 12 all-purpose TDs after managing 6.9 YPA with ten TDs in Dallas’ seven pre-Amari games. Sports Info Solutions raised a notable concern, however; Dak has significant man-zone splits since Cooper’s acquisition, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with an 8:1 TD-to-INT ratio against man coverage compared to zero touchdowns and two picks on 91 throws versus zone. The Colts run zone coverage at the NFL’s highest clip (72%). … Especially with Dallas' run blocking downgraded by RG Zack Martin's (MCL) loss, Ezekiel Elliott’s spiked passing-game usage will come in handy against the Colts, who stymied enemy backs for 112/345/4 (3.08 YPC) rushing in their last five games but yield the NFL’s second-most catches (7.4) and fourth-most receiving yards (58.5) per game to running backs this year. Elliott is averaging 6.7 receptions in the last six weeks with an 89% catch rate and zero drops. Even as a road dog, Zeke is a top-three RB1 play at Indy.

Dak’s Weeks 9-14 target distribution: Amari Cooper 53; Zeke 45; Michael Gallup 36; Cole Beasley 21; Blake Jarwin 12; Geoff Swaim 8; Dalton Schultz and Rod Smith 7; Allen Hurns 5. … Cooper has earned matchup-agnostic WR1 treatment by leading the NFL in receiving yards (642) and receiving scores (6) since arriving in Dallas, averaging nearly nine targets per game. Cooper’s main obstacle is Prescott’s play against zone coverage; Amari has scored all six of his TDs on throws versus man. … The rest of Dallas’ wideout corps is best ignored, however, against a stingy zone-based Colts secondary yielding the NFL’s sixth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers and the league’s seventh-fewest completions of 20-plus yards (35). DC Matt Eberflus’ defense is best attacked underneath and in the middle of the field. Beasley has hit pay dirt in 1-of-13 games and has fewer than 20 yards in three straight. … Jarwin topped 25 yards for the first time all season in last week’s overtime win over Philadelphia, mainly because Dallas ran a year-high 99 offensive plays and Dak threw 54 passes, completing 42. He typically completes 21 passes per game.

Score Prediction: Colts 27, Cowboys 21

Miami @ Minnesota
Team Totals: Vikings 26, Dolphins 18.5

The Vikings return home after last Monday night’s two-score loss at Seattle, where Kirk Cousins played in a panic and failed to move the offense with minimal help from his line and receivers. The defeat cost OC John DeFilippo his job, leaving interim duties to Kevin Stefanski, a Penn grad who's spent his full 13-year coaching career with the Vikings, coaching QBs for the last two seasons. Back beneath Minneapolis’ dome, Cousins’ pocket should be far cleaner facing a Miami team that ranks bottom two in sacks (22) and QB hits (55) and is without top CB Xavien Howard (knee). Six of the last seven quarterbacks to face the Fins logged top-15 fantasy results, five with top-six scores. More reason to buy into Cousins are plus draws throughout his pass-catcher corps, which we’ll hit on soon. … Dalvin Cook maintained Week 14 feature-back duties, out-touching Latavius Murray 18 to 3 and staying involved as a receiver with three-plus catches for the seventh time in eight games. Cook’s 86% snap rate was his second highest of 2018. Whereas Miami is on the road coming off an emotional home-game upset of the Pats, Minnesota is back home after its primetime road loss. Cook is an exciting RB2 play facing a Miami defense that has allowed over 100 rushing yards in nine of its last 11 games and the NFL’s 12th-most receiving yards per game to running backs (49.5). As DeFilippo and coach Mike Zimmer clashed over the Vikings’ refusal to run the ball, look for Stefanski to put Zimmer’s mandate into Week 15 action, featuring Cook.

 

 

Cousins’ post-bye target distribution: Stefon Diggs 41; Adam Thielen 38; Cook 23; Kyle Rudolph 20; Aldrick Robinson 14; Laquon Treadwell 11. … Miami got smashed by outside WRs T.Y. Hilton (7/125/0), Josh Gordon (5/96/0), Davante Adams (4/57/2), and Cordarrelle Patterson (2/51/1) in its last four games, boding well for Diggs. Missing Howard, the Fins figure to turn to rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick to chase Diggs. It’s a matchup Diggs should easily win with short-area quickness and elite route running. … As slot WRs Julian Edelman (9/86/1) and Zay Jones (4/67/2) had their way with Miami in each of the last two weeks, this is a no-fear matchup for Thielen despite his recent slowdown. Back home in a favorable spot, Thielen is a locked-in WR1 play with 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 11-of-13 games. … Rudolph has been a slug all year, but his Week 15 matchup couldn’t get much better. Gutted by Rob Gronkowski (8/107/1), Eric Ebron (5/45/2), and Jack Doyle (4/16/1) over the last three weeks, Miami has allowed a league-high nine touchdowns to tight ends. Rudolph is always a touchdown-reliant streamer.

On the road following its emotional last-play upset win over New England, this is a letdown spot for the Dolphins traveling to Minnesota. Mike Zimmer’s defense should tee off on Ryan Tannehill, who hobbled through last week’s second half with a significant ankle injury and has committed a Darnoldian eight turnovers over the last three starts in which Tannehill attempted more than 25 throws. Tannehill hasn’t thrown for 300 yards since September of 2016. The Vikings have held eight straight quarterbacks to fantasy scores of QB16 or worse. … Although Kenyan Drake’s last-play game-winning lateral went in the Week 14 books as a 55-yard TD catch, it was just Drake’s seventh touch in a game where Frank Gore logged 13 and Brandon Bolden scored twice to earn more usage going forward, per coach Adam Gase. The Fins have struggled to score points on the road this year, averaging 15.8 PPG away from Sun Life Stadium versus 25.0 PPG at home. With ten touches or fewer in five of his last seven games, Drake is a low-floor flex play. Drake also aggravated his troublesome AC shoulder sprain in last week’s fourth quarter. Gore hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown all season and has multiple catches in 2-of-13 games.

Tannehill’s 2018 target distribution: Kenny Stills 39; Drake 36; Danny Amendola 22; DeVante Parker 17; Mike Gesicki 13; Gore and Brice Butler 6. … Stills has come alive with Tannehill healthy the past two weeks, parlaying a team-high 15 targets into 4/37/1 and 8/135/1 receiving lines against Buffalo and New England. Stills is up to five TDs in Tannehill’s eight starts. He remains a boom-bust WR3/flex against a Vikings Defense that held Michael Thomas (5/81/0), Davante Adams (5/69/1), Marvin Jones (6/66/0), Josh Gordon (3/58/1), Kenny Golladay (3/46/0), Robby Anderson (3/44/0), Tyler Lockett (5/42/0), Larry Fitzgerald (5/39/0), Allen Robinson (3/39/0), Julian Edelman (3/25/0), Tre’Quan Smith (3/18/0), and David Moore (0/0) to below-expectation stat lines in its last eight games. … Parker ran the second-most Week 14 routes (20) among Dolphins wideouts behind Stills (24), with Amendola third (14) and Butler fourth (7). Parker has one 50-yard game and one touchdown this year. Hobbled by a knee injury, Amendola drew a single target in Miami’s upset of New England. Tannehill hit Butler in stride for a 23-yard touchdown on Butler’s lone Week 14 target, beating Stephon Gilmore to give Miami a 28-27 lead.

Score Prediction: Vikings 30, Dolphins 17

Tennessee @ NY Giants
Team Totals: Giants 22.5, Titans 21

Back in the playoff hunt with wins in four of their last five, the Giants host a Titans team that yielded a 96/494/3 (5.15 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs in the last month and 100-plus rushing yards in three of its last four games. After Saquon Barkley’s highlight-reel 197-yard Week 14 effort – totaled on a season-low 31 snaps because the G-Men rested starters up 40-0 at Washington – Eli Manning admitted he’s handing the keys to New York’s offense to its dynamic all-purpose rookie. “I think we’re starting to figure out that this offense runs through him a little bit,” said Eli. “When we’re running the ball, it sets up everything else.” Barkley is a top-three RB1 play each week. … Especially without Odell Beckham (quad) for the second straight week, Manning himself is a tougher sell in a projected low-scoring affair versus a Titans Defense allowing the NFL’s seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Absent of upside, Manning has one fantasy finish above QB12 through 13 starts.

Eli’s Weeks 7-14 target distribution: Odell Beckham 55; Barkley 45; Sterling Shepard 37; Evan Engram 23; Rhett Ellison 17; Bennie Fowler 16; Corey Coleman 5. … The Giants’ late decision to hold Beckham (quad) out of Week 14 seemed like an obvious tank job, but he got ruled out again this week, even amid New York's suddenly-genuine postseason aspirations. … Shepard stood out mostly for his Week 14 blocking on two monster runs by Barkley, absolutely leveling Josh Norman on the second. Shepard did contribute a wide-open three-yard TD in the second quarter. Even as he finished with 17 yards in New York's smooth-sailing, blowout win over Washington, Shepard led the G-Men in targets and averaged 8.6 targets per game with Beckham sidelined last year. Shepard is a WR3 play with WR2 upside and low-key double-digit target potential in what projects as a far closer Week 15 game. … Engram has scored just two touchdowns on the season and was recently reduced to a part-time player. Engram is a low-end TE1 option facing a Titans Defense permitting the NFL’s fourth-fewest yards per game to tight ends (35.9). ... Behind Shepard, New York's Week 15 three-wide set will be rounded out by Russell Shepard and Fowler. Coleman was the Giants' No. 4 receiver with OBJ shelved last week.

Marcus Mariota visits The Meadowlands with four top-ten fantasy scores in his last five full games, the sole exception coming in Derrick Henry’s Week 14 singlehanded destruction of Jacksonville. The Giants have yielded a 26.9-point average over their last ten games despite facing backup QBs Mark Sanchez, Josh Johnson, Chase Daniel, and Nick Mullens in three of the last five weeks. The G-Men have also allowed the NFL’s fifth-most QB rushing yards per game (21.9), while Mariota ranks sixth at his position in rushing (339). He is a strong two-QB-league play with underrated upside in this plus draw. 7-6 Tennessee remains firmly in the AFC playoff hunt. … Henry carried Tennessee’s second-half offense in Week 13’s comeback win over the Jets, then drilled the Jaguars for a franchise-record 238 rushing yards in last Thursday night’s division win. In his career, Henry has averaged 5.39 yards per carry with a 1.0-TD average in December games versus 4.19 YPC with a 0.27 scoring clip over the rest of the year. Late in the season with defenses spent is the best time to feed 247-pound Henry, who now draws a Giants Defense that yielded 115-plus rushing yards in five of its last six games, including 144/686/5 (4.76 YPC) rushing to running backs specifically. NT Damon Harrison (trade) and SS Landon Collins’ (shoulder, I.R.) losses hurt badly in run defense. … Despite Henry’s recent fanfare, Dion Lewis equaled him 48 to 48 in touches over the last month and remains a playable low-end PPR flex as the Titans’ most-versatile back.

Mariota’s Weeks 9-14 target distribution: Corey Davis 36; Lewis 22; Tajae Sharpe 18; Jonnu Smith 15; Taywan Taylor 14; Anthony Firkser 12; Cameron Batson 10. … Albeit plenty talented, Davis is always risky with fewer than 60 yards in 9 of his last 12 games. He’s a boom-bust WR3 facing gambling CB Janoris Jenkins. … Taylor quietly led Tennessee in receiving in back-to-back weeks (3/104/0 – 6/59/0) and worked ahead of Sharpe as the Titans’ Week 14 No. 2 wideout, running 21 routes to Sharpe’s 13. Sharpe has zero yards in four of Tennessee’s last six games. Whereas Sharpe is unplayable, Taylor’s big-play ability keeps him on the WR4 map. … With Smith (knee) done for the year, Harvard grad Firkser offers low-end TE1 streamer appeal with 16 catches on 16 targets for 201 yards and a touchdown this season. In Week 14, Firkser played a year-high 39% of Tennessee’s snaps and led the tight end corps in routes and targets. SS Landon Collins’ absence improves Firker’s matchup, while the G-Men have yielded 64-of-81 (79%) targets for 741 yards (9.1 YPA) to tight ends in their last ten games. On preseason tape, Firkser reminded me of Chris Cooley with soft hands and a knack for finding soft spots in zones.

Score Prediction: Titans 24, Giants 20

 

Washington @ Jacksonville

Team Totals: Jaguars 21.5, Redskins 14.5

Albeit uncomfortable to say, this is a rebound spot for Jacksonville following last week’s primetime road-game blowout loss to the Titans, returning home to face a Skins team on its fourth-string quarterback. Leonard Fournette managed 16 touches against Tennessee only because of negative script in the 30-9 beatdown loss. Fournette’s previous weekly touch counts were 21 – 30 – 29. Washington’s run defense collapsed long ago, dishing out a 157/839/3 (5.34 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs in its last six games. With the Skins down to street free agent Josh Johnson, this is a compelling spot to correlate Fournette with Jacksonville’s defense in DFS. … Although Cody Kessler has committed one turnover in two starts, he’s engineered a single touchdown drive in eight quarters and is averaging 5.8 yards per attempt. Kessler could be benched at any moment. Nothing suggests he’s more than a poor two-QB-league play.

Kessler’s 2018 targets: Donte Moncrief 20; Dede Westbrook 19; T.J. Yeldon 14; Keelan Cole 13; James O’Shaughnessy 6; D.J. Chark 5; Fournette 3. … Moncrief is an awkward fit for noodle-armed Kessler with a team-high 12.0-yard Average Depth of Target. His receiving lines in Kessler’s starts are 3/40/0 and 5/47/0 with one touchdown since Week 4. Moncrief is the Jaguars’ likeliest wideout to draw Josh Norman’s shadow coverage. … Westbrook’s aDOT (8.5) is more in Kessler’s wheelhouse, even as his box-score results in Kessler’s starts are inconsistent (3/25/0 – 7/88/1). Westbrook is still clearly Jacksonville’s top wideout bet. Fellow slot WRs Golden Tate (8/75/1) and Keke Coutee gave Washington recent trouble. … Cole’s stats in Kessler’s starts are 3/55/0 – 2/16/0. … Jags tight ends are safe fades against a Skins team yielding the ninth-fewest fantasy points to the position.

The Skins mercifully ended the Mark Sanchez era down 40-0 in The Meadowlands last week, inserting Josh Johnson in the third quarter. A dual-threat quarterback with 4.55 wheels, Johnson gave the offense a garbage-time spark with an eight-yard rushing score and 79-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder. Johnson is playable in two-QB-leagues against a Jaguars Defense permitting a league-high 25.7 rushing yards per game to quarterbacks. … Jacksonville entered its Week 14 date with Tennessee having held enemy backs to a putrid 41/117/0 (2.85 YPC) rushing line over its previous three games, then was promptly dumptrucked by Derrick Henry (17/238/4) as Jags defenders made business decisions on tackle opportunities all night. This happened one week after they shut out an otherwise white-hot Colts Offense. Their season down the tubes, it’s impossible to say at this point which version of the Jaguars’ defense we’ll see against the Redskins. Adrian Peterson has been a touchdown-or-bust RB2 option all year. Chris Thompson’s touch counts are 6 and 6 since returning from his fractured ribs two games ago. … You’re on your own throwing darts at Skins pass catchers playing with a quarterback they signed off the street on December 4, but here was Johnson’s Week 14 target distribution in case you’re feeling lucky: Josh Doctson 4; Vernon Davis and Byron Marshall 3; Thompson 2; Crowder, Michael Floyd, and Maurice Harris 1. With Jordan Reed (foot) shelved, Davis would be my personal favorite play.

Score Prediction: Jaguars 27, Redskins 17

 

 

Tampa Bay @ Baltimore
Team Totals: Ravens 27, Buccaneers 19.5

Lamar Jackson enters Week 15 with QB12 – QB13 – QB12 – QB11 finishes through four starts, asserting himself as one of fantasy’s most-consistent if low-ceiling starters. Jackson rushed for 70-plus yards in all four but hasn’t mixed in a quality passing performance yet. Although Tampa Bay’s defense has generated public plaudits for “turning a corner” under interim DC Mark Duffner, keep in mind the small-sample improvement occurred in three straight games at home, where the Bucs have held opponents to a 20.6-point average. They’ve allowed an NFL-high 39.8 points per game on the road. I would rank Jackson as a top-five QB1 this week. … Kenneth Dixon looked like the Ravens’ best back in last week’s loss to Kansas City, parlaying nine touches into 80 yards and a goal-line score on 32% of the snaps. Gus Edwards led Baltimore in carries again (16) but still hasn’t been targeted since Week 8, and his playing time (44%) fell for the fourth straight week. Ty Montgomery (3, 28%) is officially the third wheel but is getting just enough run to impact his teammates. This is not a matchup to fear; Tampa Bay got clobbered by enemy backs for 136/776/5 (5.71 YPC) rushing in Weeks 9-14 and has permitted the NFL’s 11th-most receiving yards per game to running backs (46.7). Edwards is touchdown-dependent flex option. Dixon is a PPR-preferred flex play with the most upside in the group. … As Jackson has yet to throw for 180 yards or complete more than 14 passes through four starts, the entire Ravens pass-catcher corps should continue to be ignored regardless of opponents.

Jameis Winston visits Baltimore with top-ten fantasy scores in 5-of-5 games played start to finish to face a Ravens Defense that is regarded as impregnable but permitted top-ten QB1 results in four of its last six games. Although expectations for Winston should be more volatile based on this game’s environment and Baltimore’s top-eight pass rush, Winston’s consistent play over the last month has lengthened his leash, and his to-date production with elite weaponry keeps Winston’s ceiling high. Perhaps Jameis’ biggest concern is the likelihood Baltimore tramples Tampa Bay’s porous run defense, controlling the clock and burying the Bucs’ play volume. Ultimately, Jameis is a gambling man’s play. … Peyton Barber’s near-certain Week 15 struggles provide more reason to buy into the possibility Jameis beats expectation on enhanced pass volume, assuming Tampa Bay’s defensive front holds up its end of the bargain. Just three running backs have cleared 80 total yards against the Ravens all year. Barber is a poor flex option.

Winston’s Weeks 12-14 target distribution: Adam Humphries 23; Mike Evans and Chris Godwin 20; Cameron Brate 14; DeSean Jackson 8; Jacquizz Rodgers 10; Barber 5. … You read that right. Slot man Humphries leads Tampa Bay in targets over the last three weeks, and also leads the team in catches on passes from Winston (37) over the course of the year. No Bucs wideouts have plus Week 15 draws, but Humphries’ isn’t the worst against 32-year-old slot CB Brandon Carr. … The Ravens figure to approach Evans and Godwin similarly to their Week 13 game plan versus Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, which left Ridley singled up on Marlon Humphrey while Smith played press coverage on Jones with safety help. Jones and Ridley were both shut down. Evans is a high-risk WR2 and Godwin a high-risk WR3 after securing 1-of-10 targets in last week’s loss. Marshon Lattimore won his battle with Evans, and Godwin lost his to Eli Apple. … Brate leads the Bucs in touchdowns (5) from Winston and has Tampa Bay’s top Week 15 matchup. The Ravens yielded above-expectation production to Bengals TEs (4/45/1) in Week 11, Raiders TEs in Week 12 (4/71/1), and Austin Hooper (5/44/1) in Week 13 before Patrick Mahomes went 10-of-12 for 105 yards and a score when targeting Chiefs tight ends versus Baltimore last week.

Score Prediction: Ravens 24, Buccaneers 23

4:05 PM ET Game

Seattle @ San Francisco
Team Totals: Seahawks 24, 49ers 20

Quietly a top-15 fantasy passer in back-to-back starts, Nick Mullens is a quality two-QB-league play against a Seattle defense that has yielded top-15 fantasy results to six of its last seven quarterbacks faced, including Mullens’ season-best finish (QB5) just two games ago. Mullens did the vast majority of his damage in garbage time of the 49ers’ 43-16 blowout loss, however, and the Seahawks’ D/ST remains a viable option with Mullens having thrown six interceptions over his last four starts and taken ten sacks over his last three. … Matt Breida’s (ankle) return bodes poorly for Jeff Wilson’s chances of maintaining fantasy usefulness, even against a Seattle defense that was pasted for 100/550/4 (5.50 YPC) rushing by enemy backs in Weeks 9-14. With Alfred Morris also potentially involved to siphon a handful of carries, Breida and Wilson have become lowered-ceiling, lowered-floor flex options in a split backfield.

 

 

Mullens’ Week 14 target distribution: George Kittle 9; Dante Pettis 7; Kendrick Bourne 4; Kyle Juszczyk 3; Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, and Wilson 2; Alfred Morris 1. … In addition to last week’s mammoth 7/210/1 receiving line in San Francisco’s upset win, Kittle drew three holding penalties against a Broncos Defense that simply couldn’t cover him. Second to only Travis Kelce in tight end PPR points since Mullens took over as starter in Week 9, Kittle’s Week 15 draw is softened with Seahawks SLB Mychal Kendricks (broken tibia) joining WLB K.J. Wright (knee) on the shelf. … Pettis has formed an obvious bond with Mullens on stat lines of 4/77/1 (Tampa Bay) – 5/129/2 (Seattle) – 3/49/1 (Denver) over the past three weeks, earning WR3 treatment as the star of the 49ers’ Week 13 garbage-time show against these same Seahawks. Pettis is locked into a starting job after Pierre Garcon (knee) was sent to I.R. Unfortunately, 49ers beat writers are skeptical to doubtful Pettis (foot) will play on Sunday. … Goodwin has been more of a clear-out guy in three games with Mullens on box-score results of 2/20/0 – 4/69/0 – 1/11/0. Goodwin is a big-play-reliant WR4 after playing only 33% of the 49ers’ Week 14 offensive snaps.

His eight-game streak of top-12 QB1 scores snapped in last Monday night’s 21-7 win over Minnesota, Russell Wilson catches a 49ers defense he waxed for 10.9 yards per attempt and four TDs in Week 13. San Francisco has supported high fantasy floors by yielding top-14 finishes to 9-of-13 quarterbacks faced, while Wilson’s ceiling has risen by averaging 38.2 rushing yards over his last six games after managing 11.0 in Weeks 1-8. … Although San Francisco has played mostly-stout run defense this year, DC Robert Saleh’s unit got rocked by Seahawks backs for 24/144/1 (6.0 YPC) rushing two weeks ago. Chris Carson stayed safely at the front of Seattle’s committee with 22 touches to Rashaad Penny’s 8 and Mike Davis’ 4 last week. Carson's workload projection is enhanced by Penny's (knee) absence, freeing up 7.8 touches per game and thrusting Carson into RB1/2 territory.

Doug Baldwin’s (hip) return to practice puts him on track to face a 49ers defense that has been shredded by fellow slot WRs Golden Tate (7/109/0), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (3/103/0), Larry Fitzgerald (8/102/1), Adam Thielen (6/102/0), Robert Woods (5/78/0), Tyler Lockett/Baldwin (3/74/2), Adam Humphries (6/54/1), and DaeSean Hamilton (7/47/1). Before missing last week's win over Minnesota, Baldwin tallied five-plus catches and/or a touchdown in four straight games. He's a good-not-great WR3 play. ... With 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 10-of-13 games, Tyler Lockett should remain a staple in Week 15 fantasy lineups despite last week’s slow game. Lockett benefits from San Francisco's slot weakness, running roughly half of his routes inside. … Lockett led Seattle in Week 14 routes run (22) with David Moore (21) a close second and Jaron Brown (18) third. Moore has been highly inconsistent with back-to-back goose eggs following Week 12’s blowup in Carolina (4/103/1), although his outlook is enhanced as Week 15’s No. 6 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards model. … Seattle's fourth receiver with everyone healthy, Brown has gained zero yards in 5-of-7 games since Seattle’s Week 7 bye.

Score Prediction: Seahawks 27, 49ers 21

 

4:25 PM ET Game

New England @ Pittsburgh
Team Totals: Patriots 27.5, Steelers 24.5

After missing a third of last week’s loss to Oakland – allegedly because The Black Hole’s outdated X-ray machine didn’t work – Ben Roethlisberger should return near 100% after practicing fully this week. Dropping three straight to the Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders has sent Pittsburgh to 7-5-1, giving this game utmost importance in a tight AFC playoff race. Big Ben’s bounce-back appeal is immense in Week 15’s third-highest-totaled affair (52) facing a Pats pass defense that has permitted top-six fantasy finishes to Ryan Tannehill, Marcus Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck, and even Blake Bortles. Including playoffs, Ben’s last four yardage/TD/INT lines against Bill Belichick’s team are 281/2/1 – 314/1/1 – 351/1/1 – 400/4/2. This year, Roethlisberger has top-12 results in eight of his last nine starts. … James Conner’s (ankle) absence will give Jaylen Samuels another week of feature-back duties after the versatile rookie dominated snaps (80%) and touches (18) over Stevan Ridley (5, 13%) in last week’s loss. Albeit lacking dynamic burst and acceleration, PFF credited Samuels with leading all NFL backs in Week 14 broken tackles (5) and yards after catch (78) on his seven receptions, and Samuels has caught 14-of-16 targets this year. The Patriots allow the NFL’s fifth-most catches (6.2) and sixth-most receiving yards (55.5) per game to running backs, locking in Samuels as an RB2 with RB1 upside in PPR. Promisingly, Samuels popped as Week 15’s No. 7 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards model. Plugged-in Patriots observers believe Belichick will "play coverage," devoting more defenders to Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, daring the Steelers to run, and giving the underneath passing game free access for Samuels and Vance McDonald to eat.

Big Ben’s post-bye target distribution: Antonio Brown 69; JuJu Smith-Schuster 65; Vance McDonald 34; James Conner 33; Ryan Switzer 21; Jesse James 16; Samuels and James Washington 15. … Brown’s last five stat lines in Pats meetings are 2/24/0 (injury shortened) – 7/77/0 – 7/106/0 – 9/133/1 – 5/71/1. Likely a squeaky wheel after last week’s scoreless 35-yard clunker, Brown shouldn’t struggle to bounce back at Heinz Field, where he averages 0.78 career touchdowns per game versus 0.35 TDs on the road. NFL Films guru Greg Cosell stated this week he expects the Patriots to double team Brown and stick top CB Stephon Gilmore on Smith-Schuster in man coverage. … Quietly making a run to pass Brown as Pittsburgh’s No. 1 wideout, Smith-Schuster is averaging 10.3 targets over his last six games. JuJu rinsed the Patriots for 6/114/0 receiving last Week 15. Burned for a 23-yard touchdown by Brice Butler last week, Gilmore would be a winnable matchup for JuJu. … New England has given up the NFL’s 12th-most fantasy points to tight ends, including stat lines of 9/126/1 (Trey Burton), 7/57/0 (Chris Herndon), 4/55/1 (Jimmy Graham), and 3/45/1 (Jonnu Smith) within their last seven games. With 32 targets to James’ 13 over the past six weeks, McDonald is firmly on the low-end TE1 radar in this projected high-scoring affair. … Washington and Switzer shared third receiver duties in last week’s loss to Oakland with Switzer logging a 47% playing-time clip to Washington’s 37%.

Tom Brady returns from his year-best game to face a Steelers Defense that wilted in the last two weeks, allowing Philip Rivers and Derek Carr to complete 51-of-70 throws (72.9%) for 621 yards (8.9 YPA), four TDs, and no picks. Rivers scored his most fantasy points since Week 2 against Pittsburgh, and Carr’s were his fourth most in 13 starts. This game’s shootout odds and New England’s plethora of plus pass-catcher draws raise Brady’s ceiling with a full supporting cast after the Patriots dealt with myriad early-season skill-player injuries. Brady’s last four yardage/TD/INT stat lines against Mike Tomlin’s club are 298/1/1 – 384/3/0 – 288/4/0 – 432/4/0. This year, Brady is averaging 4.1 more fantasy points per game when Rob Gronkowski plays. Two reasons for caution are Brady's ugly road splits and struggles versus the blitz. The Steelers blitz at a top-five rate (35%). … As Pittsburgh's defensive strengths are pass rush and run stoppage, a pass-first, quick-out Patriots game plan seems likely and would favor James White after last week’s dud. White didn’t touch the ball until the 1:10 mark in the first half at Miami, splitting snaps down the middle with Sony Michel at 41% apiece. Still, White has devolved into a PPR-specific flex since Michel and Rex Burkhead got healthy, averaging 8.8 touches over New England’s last four games after averaging 13.4 touches in Weeks 1-9. … FB James Develin has become a legitimate thorn in Michel’s side. Not only did he vulture three TDs in the last two weeks, Develin's holding flag negated Michel’s fourth-quarter 40-yard run against the Fins. Devoid of a passing-game role with seven catches all year, Michel can’t afford to lose goal-line chances. With touch counts of 23 – 18 – 20 since the Patriots’ Week 11 bye, Michel is a low-floor RB2/flex at Heinz Field.

Brady’s post-bye target distribution: Julian Edelman 25; Gronk 19; White 18; Josh Gordon 16; Cordarrelle Patterson 7; Chris Hogan 5; Burkhead 4; Michel 3. … The Patriots have exploited Pittsburgh’s tendency to cover slot receivers with linebackers for years; Edelman’s last three stat lines against the Steelers are 8/118/1 – 9/60/0 – 11/97/0. With 60-plus total yards and/or a touchdown in eight straight games, Edelman is a WR2 play with WR1 upside in PPR. … Even as Gronk looked bulky and mechanical, he rinsed Miami for his first 100-yard effort since Week 1 and now has seven or more targets in five of his last seven games. Jared Cook (7/116/0), Travis Kelce (7/109/2), Austin Hooper (9/77/0), O.J. Howard (6/72/0), C.J. Uzomah (6/54/0), Maxx Williams (5/51/0), Mark Andrews (3/50/0), Matt LaCosse (3/34/1), Cameron Brate (3/34/1), Derek Carrier (2/29/1), and Seth DeValve (2/28/1) have all met or beaten expectations against Pittsburgh. … Gordon took Fins rookie CB Minkah Fitzpatrick to Week 14 school, tacking a 41-yard pass-interference flag onto his 96 yards on five grabs. Gordon is an every-week WR2 with 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown in six of his last seven games. PFF charged Steelers top CB Joe Haden with 11-of-15 targets allowed (73%) for 124 yards (8.3 YPA) and two touchdowns in Weeks 12-14. … Patterson beat Dolphins DB Walt Aikens for a 37-yard touchdown on a Brady laser last week but has run fewer than ten routes in nine straight games. … Hogan’s lone Week 14 target came in the end zone. Wide open, Brady sailed it over Hogan’s head.

Score Prediction: Steelers 34, Patriots 27

Sunday Night Football

Philadelphia @ LA Rams
Team Totals: Rams 32, Eagles 20

You couldn’t dream up a better bounce-back spot than the Rams returning to sunny L.A. to face Philly’s decimated defense with Nick Foles quarterbacking following last Sunday night’s primetime loss at 25-degree Soldier Field. The Eagles have placed RCB Ronald Darby (ACL), LCB Jalen Mills (foot), FS Rodney McLeod (MCL), and DE Derek Barnett (shoulder) on I.R. since the end of September and won’t have MLB Jordan Hicks (calf) or CB Sidney Jones (hamstring) on Sunday night. Despite Jared Goff’s recent struggles – he also played poorly in Week 13 at Detroit – Goff should be teed up confidently as a high-ceiling QB1 in this gorgeous spot. Whereas Cali-born Goff has struggled mightily with a 9:9 TD-to-INT ratio and 7.41 yards per attempt on the road, he’s been a pinpoint marksman (18:2, 9.82) at home. … Philly’s run defense has collapsed since its Week 9 bye, yielding 100-plus rushing yards in each of its ensuing five games with an otherworldly 115/697/5 (6.06 YPC) rushing line allowed to running backs. As DC Jim Schwartz’s unit also permits the NFL’s seventh-most receiving yards per game to Todd Gurley’s position (53.8), this is a massive smash spot for football’s all-purpose TD leader (19). Carson Wentz’s (back) absence further favors Gurley with improved projected game script.

Goff’s target distribution sans Cooper Kupp (ACL): Robert Woods 46; Brandin Cooks 38; Gurley 27; Josh Reynolds 26; Gerald Everett 18; Tyler Higbee 14. … Each member of Los Angeles’ three-wideout package catches a plus draw; Philly’s secondary permits the NFL’s second-most catches (15.2) and yards (199.8) per game to receivers. … Woods is the steadiest bet with stat lines of 5/78/0 – 5/70/1 – 4/72/1 – 5/67/1 – 7/61/0 in Kupp’s five missed games. … Cooks offers the highest ceiling but lowest floor in the corps. The Eagles’ allowance of the NFL’s third-most 20-plus-yard completions (51) bodes especially well for Cooks, who runs 4.33 and has a team-high 13.4-yard aDOT. … Although his efficiency has lacked with Goff struggling, Reynolds’ 233 Air Yards over the Rams’ last three games rank top 30 in the league. He is an upside WR3/flex play with Schwartz certain to devote more defensive attention to Cooks, Woods, and Gurley. … Everett ran a season-high 29 pass routes and out-snapped Higbee (57%, 43%) for the first time all year in last week’s loss to the Bears, also drawing a season-high seven targets. Everett is firmly in play on DFS small slates. Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin (7/56/0) and Giants blocking TE Rhett Ellison (4/77/0) both beat expectations against Philadelphia’s porous pass defense within the last three weeks.

Nick Foles managed QB29 and QB18 scores in Weeks 1-2 starts against the lowly Falcons and Bucs’ defenses and is hard to trust beyond two-quarterback leagues and DFS small-slate tournaments, even against a Rams Defense allowing the NFL’s fourth-most touchdown passes (27). Foles adds nothing with his legs, and the Eagles’ offense is functioning at below-par levels after losing OC Frank Reich and QBs coach John DeFilippo in the offseason. … Despite the Rams’ run-defense vulnerability, Josh Adams is a Week 15 fade as a two-score road-dog back with no passing-game role. Adams hasn’t caught a pass since Week 11, and his 12 routes run in last week’s loss to Dallas were Adams’ fewest since Week 10. Although Darren Sproles logged only four Week 14 touches, he hit pay dirt in the passing game, quietly led the backfield in snaps (44%), and is a long-shot PPR sleeper. Sproles shared the backfield with Foles for 29 snaps in Week 1, while his usage expectation is enhanced by Corey Clement’s (knee) loss.

Foles’ 2018 target distribution: Zach Ertz 23; Nelson Agholor 22; Sproles 7; Dallas Goedert 3; Shelton Gibson 2. … The Rams pose a plus draw for Ertz, allowing the league’s sixth-most yards per game to tight ends (67.2) with above-expectation numbers to Travis Kelce (10/127/1), George Kittle (5/98/1), Levine Toilolo (4/90/0), and Ben Watson (3/62/1) within the last two months. Ertz’s Weeks 1-2 receiving lines with Foles were 5/48/0 and 11/94/0. This is a bounce-back spot after the Cowboys contained Ertz last week by guarding him with shutdown CB Byron Jones on passing downs. … Eagles wideout usage has devolved into a week-to-week proposition. This is how Week 14 routes were distributed: Jeffery 36, Agholor 32, Tate 11, Matthews 9. … The Rams quieted Kenny Golladay (3/50/0) and Allen Robinson (5/42/0) in back-to-back games since activating top man-coverage CB Aqib Talib, potentially concerning for fellow plus-sized perimeter WR Jeffery. Although Alshon snapped his five-game scoreless streak in last week’s loss to Dallas, he was held to 50 yards or fewer for the sixth straight game and remains a touchdown-or-bust WR3. … Despite his lofty route total, Agholor’s target counts are all over the map (7 – 2 – 1 – 8 – 3) in five games since the Eagles’ trade for Tate. Agholor is scoreless in 11 straight games. He did log catch totals of 8 and 8 in Foles’ Weeks 1-2 starts. … Tate’s 11 routes run at Dallas were his fewest all year. Tate’s role is nebulous with coaches struggling to incorporate the front office’s in-season acquisition, and he has never caught a pass in his life from Foles. … Goedert put himself back on the low-end streamer map on target counts of 4 – 3 – 5 in Philly’s last three games. Goedert’s 21 routes in last week’s loss were his most since Week 4.

Score Prediction: Rams 42, Eagles 17

 

 

Monday Night Football

New Orleans @ Carolina
Team Totals: Saints 29, Panthers 23

Reminiscent of his 2017 stretch-run fade, Cam Newton’s throwing-shoulder problems are getting worse by the week and hit rock bottom in Carolina’s last two games with five combined interceptions despite a coaching-staff emphasis on throwing short. Although New Orleans’ defense began the year slowly, DC Dennis Allen’s unit has carried the team lately with point totals allowed of 14 (Bucs) – 13 (Cowboys) – 17 (Falcons) – 7 (Eagles) – 14 (Bengals) over its last five games keyed by a ferocious pass rush that has 24 sacks and 44 QB hits during that stretch. Struggling to generate power and velocity on throws, Cam was again pulled in favor of Taylor Heinicke for last week’s Hail Mary at the end of the first half. The Saints’ D/ST should be teed up confidently. … Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL in TDs over the last seven weeks (12) and has 100-plus total yards in six straight games. Also popping as Week 15’s No. 1 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards model, CMC is always a matchup-proof cinch RB1.

Cam's Weeks 13-14 target distribution: Curtis Samuel 19; McCaffrey 17; D.J. Moore and Ian Thomas 16; Jarius Wright 8; Devin Funchess 6. … Samuel and Moore will have their hands full against Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple with a quarterback struggling to complete anything outside the numbers. Last week against a Browns secondary missing top CB Denzel Ward, Cam went 4-of-11 for 80 yards and a pick on throws ten-plus yards downfield. Still viable WR3s, Moore and Samuel are locked into full-time roles with bankable volume. Moore’s target counts are 8 – 9 – 8 – 8 in the last month. Samuel has 80-plus yards and/or a touchdown in five of his last six games. … Reduced to Carolina’s No. 4 wideout, Funchess went catch-less in Week 14. … Thomas capitalized on the Panthers’ dump-down Week 14 passing game for career highs in targets and catches (9) against the Browns, coming up just shy of a first-quarter TD when he was tackled at the half-yard line after a play-action pass. Thomas’ Week 15 matchup is far tougher against a Saints Defense allowing an NFC-low 34.8 yards per game to tight ends.

Drew Brees' main Week 15 concern are his stark home-away splits, tallying top-three fantasy scores in 4-of-6 Superdomed games but finishing QB17 or worse in 5-of-7 road starts. Brees’ matchup is about as good as it gets; Carolina supports high floors by surrendering top-15 results to 8 of its last 12 quarterbacks faced with multiple TD passes allowed in ten. Ron Rivera’s unit was carved by Baker Mayfield last week, hitting the Browns’ rookie just once as Mayfield went 18-of-22 on a season-high 10.8 yards per attempt. In one of Week 15’s three highest-totaled games, Brees is a no-brainer QB1 despite diminished road production. Panthers DT Kawann Short's (calf) expected absence is a crushing blow as by-far Carolina's top defensive lineman versus both the run and pass. … More reason to stay the course with Brees is Carolina’s pass-funnel tendency via improved run defense after holding enemy backs to 59/180/3 (3.05 YPC) rushing over its last three games. This is no time to give up on Alvin Kamara, though, as an obvious positive-touchdown-regression candidate after three straight scoreless games facing a Panthers Defense that has surrendered a rushing TD to a running back in five straight. Including playoffs, Kamara has 31 all-purpose TDs in 31 career games. … Although Mark Ingram finished below 70 total yards for the third straight game in Week 14, he carried Bucs DB Javen Elliott on a 17-yard fourth-quarter scoring run and is averaging a sturdy 14 touches per game. Ingram remains a solid-if-unspectacular RB2/flex with all of his truly big box-score efforts occurring in blowout wins.

Brees’ post-bye target distribution: Michael Thomas 69; Kamara 39; Tre’Quan Smith 29; Ingram 18; Dan Arnold and Ben Watson 17; Keith Kirkwood 15; Josh Hill 9; Austin Carr 6; Tommylee Lewis 2. … Thomas got back on track in last week’s 13-target, 11-catch bonanza at Tampa Bay and has historically had Carolina’s number with career stat lines of 5/70/1 – 7/87/1 – 5/68/0 – 5/78/1 against Rivera’s team. Coach Sean Payton would be wise to align Thomas over diminutive Panthers slot CB Captain Munnerlyn, against whom interior WRs Tyler Boyd (6/132/1), Tyler Lockett (5/107/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (3/90/1), Adam Humphries twice (8/82/2, 7/61/1), Sterling Shepard (4/75/0), Cole Beasley (7/73/0), Jarvis Landry (3/57/1), and Bruce Ellington (6/52/0) have all produced at or above expectation. … Smith has appeared in three home games and five on the road, tallying receiving lines of 10/157/1 – 2/23/1 – 3/111/2 at the Superdome versus 0/0 - 0/0 – 0/0 – 3/18/0 – 3/44/0 in away games. … These were New Orleans’ route totals at wide receiver in Week 14; Thomas 31; Smith 23; Kirkwood 18; Lewis 6; Carr 5. … These were their tight end route totals against Tampa Bay: Watson 17; Hill 11; Arnold 0.

Score Prediction: Saints 28, Panthers 23

Evan Silva
Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .