Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes.
Start of the Week: Jameis Winston vs. 49ers: The Bucs flip-flop on the quarterback spot more than any team in the league; neither Winston nor Ryan Fitzpatrick can seem to last more than 3-4 weeks under center before coach Dirk Koetter grows tired of the turnovers and poor play and makes a switch. The question some ask is, “Why are we using a quarterback who turns the ball over so much in fantasy?” The reality is turnovers are easy to make up in fantasy box scores, as an interception is only docking 1-2 points in most leagues. That’s 25-50 passing yards to make those points back, and these guys throw so many touchdowns that it’s relatively simple to jump right back ahead. The Bucs also throw the ball over 64% of the time, good for the seventh-highest clip in the league. There is just so much opportunity for fantasy production in this offense. Winston and Fitzpatrick’s 410 combined pass attempts is second in the to only Ben Roethlisberger’s 416. Winston and Fitzpatrick have totaled 247.7 fantasy points, which would be the overall QB3 behind only Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff. Winston steps back in and gets a home date against a Niners team traveling across the country for a 1 PM ET start. San Francisco has two interceptions on the season; only the Bucs have fewer with one. Only five teams have allowed more passing touchdowns than the 49ers’ 21. San Fran is No. 21 in pass-defense DVOA. Both the Bucs and Niners are top-10 in offensive pace, and this game’s 55-point total is the second-highest on the board behind the Falcons and Saints (60.5) on Thanksgiving night. Niners-Bucs should be the weekend shootout. Even if it is unlikely to be pretty on either side, we should see plenty of points. Winston is a top-five QB1. In his three starts, he’s averaged 34 rushing yards with one touchdown on the ground. Winston also had a rushing score in relief last week. That rushing output solidifies his floor.
Andy Dalton vs. Browns: This mostly hinges on A.J. Green (toe) returning from his two-game absence, which sounds like a better than 50/50 proposition after ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported on Sunday there was a “good chance” Green would be back for Week 12. Dalton was horrific in Week 10 against the Saints without Green but did answer the bell last Sunday on the road in Baltimore for 240 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the overall QB9. That’s barely a top-15 week most weeks, but with multiple teams on bye, Dalton squeaked into the top 12 with ease. The Browns are No. 2 in pass-defense DVOA and coming off a bye. However, Cleveland has faced the second-most pass attempts behind only the Chiefs and checks in at No. 23 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. The Browns have also intercepted the third-most passes. That likely has a lot to do with more opportunities. Cleveland plays three of its next four and four of its final six games on the road. Derek Carr (QB5) and Jameis Winston (QB9) both have top-10 finishes in home games against the Browns. Ben Roethlisberger was the QB16 in his blowout home win in Week 8, and way back in Week 2 was Drew Brees’ outlier performance of the season as the QB14. As long as Green is back in the lineup, Dalton should have a relatively easy path to a top-15 day and makes for a reasonable streamer for Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff managers looking for a bye-week filler. Prior to Green’s injury, the Bengals were one of the six fastest-paced offenses in the league, but have since ran 43 and 55 plays in back-to-back games, their two lowest play counts of the season. If Green is out, Dalton is knocked down a tier or two and is then only a two-quarterback league option for the most part. The 47.5-point total for Browns-Bengals is currently the fourth-highest of the week. Cincinnati throws the ball at the sixth-highest rate in the league, 65.22% of the time.
Carson Wentz vs. Giants: Wentz laid a total egg in a dream spot at the Superdome last Sunday against the Saints, finishing as the QB29 after throwing for just 156 scoreless yards with three interceptions. The Saints field one of the worst pass defenses from a statistical standpoint. Simply put, it was a horrendous day for the Eagles all around. Prior to Week 11, Wentz had been on a tear, throwing multiple touchdowns in six-straight games while completing over 71% of his throws. Weeks 4-10, Wentz was the overall QB8. It’s tough to not see him bouncing back in a must-have divisional game. The Giants are a middling 14th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks but check in at 27th in pass-defense DVOA, 22nd in passing yards allowed, and dead last in adjusted sack rate. When Wentz faced the Giants in Week 6 on the road, he completed 26-of-36 throws for 278 yards and three touchdowns with no picks, finishing as the QB8. The G-Men gave up the QB7 day to the combo of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston last Sunday. Matt Ryan completed 79.5% of his passes for 379 yards and a score in Week 8. With the Eagles dealing with a laundry list of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, this one has some shootout appeal. The Eagles’ implied team total of 26 points is the seventh-highest of 30 teams in action this week. Wentz is a set-and-forget QB1.
Kirk Cousins vs. Packers: Since Week 5, Cousins is the overall QB22 in fantasy points per game. It’s been a struggle ever since lighting up the Rams for 422 yards and three scores in Week 4. In that six-game stretch, Cousins has three one-touchdown games and three two-score days. He’s topped 300 yards just twice. A little bit of it had to do with blowout wins over the Cardinals and Jets in Weeks 6-7. On a positive note, the volume has been there for Cousins. The Vikings throw the ball at the highest rate in the league, 67.34% of the time. And Cousins has dropped back to pass an NFL-high 451 times while firing off 409 attempts, second only to Ben Roethlisberger’s 416 passes. Cousins has attempted 40-plus passes in a game six times. A couple pick-sixes over the last three games have been real crushers to the Vikings in losses to the Saints and Bears. The last time Cousins faced the Packers, however, back in Week 2, he had his best game of the season, going 35-of-48 for 425 yards and four touchdowns in an eventual 29-29 tie. It was one of the best games of the season to date. While Minnesota is No. 1 in pass-run ratio, Green Bay is No. 2. This game should be an aerial assault. The Packers are No. 5 in pass yards allowed, No. 7 in fantasy points surrendered to quarterbacks, and No. 15 in pass-defense DVOA, but throw that all out the window here. Green Bay just lost its best defensive lineman and pocket-pusher in Mike Daniels to a multi-week foot injury last Thursday night. This defense, particularly the secondary, has been decimated by injuries/trades. Jared Goff (295 yards, 3 TDs), Tom Brady (294 yards, 1 TD), and Russell Wilson (225 yards, 2 TDs) have all had strong days against this defense since the Packers’ Week 7 bye. None of the three tossed an interception. In between those guys, the Packers faced Brock Osweiler, who predictably was terrible. Cousins is an upper-echelon passer in a pass-happy attack playing in a game with a 47.5-point total, good for fourth-highest of the week. That total is probably too low.
Editor's Note: If you love Fantasy Football you have to be playing on DRAFT. It's daily fantasy football snake drafts instead of salary caps. All the fun of season long drafts but with no management and they last for just one week. They take minutes to complete and there's even auction drafts! No more setting lineups or constantly worrying about pros, just draft and win! Right now DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers an exclusive FREE entry into a real money draft when you make your first deposit! Here's the link
Dak Prescott vs. Redskins: Prescott disappointed last week in Atlanta with 208 scoreless passing yards but was able to save his day a bit with a four-yard rushing score. He has four rushing touchdowns over his last five games, and that includes a 33-yard, one-score rushing day against these same Redskins back in Week 7. Prescott also threw for a season-high 273 yards that day in D.C. with a touchdown via the air. He was the QB8 that week. Things have been trending up for Prescott the last month or so, as he’s attempted at least 31 passes in four-straight games and topped 200 yards in all four of them after only accomplishing that feat twice over the first five contests. That’s all great news, but fantasy managers have really been living and dying on that rushing floor with Prescott in this five-game upswing. He pretty much has to score on the ground to be fantasy-viable. The one game over the last five when Prescott didn’t score as a runner, Week 9 vs. Tennessee, he finished as the QB18. Prescott has zero 300-yard passing games and seven zero- or one-touchdown games through the air. The Redskins are No. 8 in pass-defense DVOA and play at one of the slowest offensive paces. Volume is going to be a real concern for Prescott on Thursday, especially with the Cowboys as heavy 7.5-point home favorites against a Colt McCoy-led offense. Dallas should be able to handle the Skins by just feeding Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott has been on a tear in three games since the bye, totaling 500 yards and three touchdowns on a whopping 76 touches. The 41-point total for Redskins-Cowboys is the second-lowest of Week 12, with Jaguars-Bills at 37.5 points. Washington limited Deshaun Watson to 208 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs last week. The Bucs didn’t score a touchdown against them in Week 10. Matt Ryan went berserk in Week 9. But Eli Manning had 306 yards, one score, and two picks the previous game. Prescott is a mid-range QB2.
Deshaun Watson vs. Titans: Watson has attempted 25 passes or fewer in five-straight games as the Texans have turned into a run-heavy unit that runs the ball at the fourth-highest rate. In this five-game stretch, Watson has failed to top 239 passing yards and was held to fewer than 200 yards twice. He has just two multi-score games over his last six outings. And since Week 6, Watson is the overall QB22 in fantasy points per game. This is a totally different Texans Offense since Week 2 when Watson had 310 passing yards and two scores on 40 drop-backs. The Titans just got lit up by Andrew Luck in Indianapolis last Sunday, giving Watson some hope, but overall Tennessee is No. 3 in fantasy points surrendered to quarterbacks. The Titans have stonewalled Dak Prescott and Tom Brady in 2-of-3 games since the bye. This game’s 41-point total is the second-lowest of the week, along with Redskins-Cowboys, only better than Jaguars-Bills at 37.5 points. Watson is a low-volume QB2.
Philip Rivers vs. Cardinals: Rivers had a strong individual box score last week against the Broncos, throwing for 401 yards — his second-most of the season — and two scores, but he also had his first multi-interception game of the year with a pair of picks. Rivers is having an MVP-type season, but he’s doing it on relatively-low volume. His 315 pass attempts is 20th in the league, but he’s crushing most other categories with a high TD rate and 9.1 yards per attempt average. The Cardinals are terrible, having just lost at home to the hapless Raiders last week, but their pass defense is the backbone of the team. Arizona is No. 5 in pass-defense DVOA, No. 4 in pass yards allowed, No. 2 in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks, and No. 2 in adjusted sack rate. Patrick Mahomes had one of his worst statistical days against the Cardinals two weeks back with just 249 yards and two scores. Three of the last five quarterbacks to face Arizona have been held to fewer than 200 passing yards, while none of the five have eclipsed the 250 yards mark. That coupled with the Chargers being massive 12-point home favorites, Rivers could really threaten his season-low 20 pass attempts set in a Week 6 blowout win over the Browns. He’s fired off 27 or fewer passes in five of the last six games. Rivers would have to throw 3-4 touchdowns on that low volume to have a top-12 QB1 week.
Start of the Week: Gus Edwards vs. Raiders: Rookie UDFA Edwards essentially dropped out of thin air last week to lead the Ravens with a 17-115-1 rushing line against the Bengals while playing 62% of the snaps. Prior to Week 11, Edwards had been in on 31 total snaps and carried the ball 15 times for 64 scoreless yards. Alex Collins was the assumed chalk play of Week 11, but he played a season-low 21.5% of the downs and was benched in favor of Edwards. Collins was able to save his day with an early touchdown run, but the Ravens have seemed flippy-floppy on Collins ever since the season kicked off in September. The coaches don’t seem to trust him. Edwards is a 238-pound bruiser, and coach John Harbaugh praised his efforts last week, saying the rookie “took the bull by the horns”, seemingly admitting he’ll get the first crack at carries this Sunday. It’s a risky play, but the matchup couldn’t be much better. Oakland is 25th in run-defense DVOA, 25th in fantasy points allowed to running backs, and has surrendered the most rushing yards in the league. Running backs are averaging a robust 5.12 YPC against the Raiders. With Lamar Jackson under center last week, the Ravens were by far the most run-heavy team of Week 11, running the rock 72% of the time. For reference, Seattle is the run-heaviest team on the season at 51.03%. As 10.5-point home favorites against a Raiders Defense that has given up and is traveling across the country for a 1 PM ET start, the Ravens will likely go with the same recipe. Since the Raiders’ Week 7 bye, Marlon Mack (25-132-2), Raheem Mostert (7-86-1), Melvin Gordon (165 total yards, 1 TD), and David Johnson (25-137-0) have all had huge days against Oakland. Edwards is a risky, yet high-reward RB2.
Elijah McGuire vs. Patriots: In two games since making his season debut, McGuire has played 54.5% and 57.1% of the snaps. In that span, he’s ran 47 routes and drawn 11 targets, good for third on the Jets. McGuire has also received 13 carries in that span, averaging 4.6 yards per tote. The downside is he has zero looks inside the red zone, as Isaiah Crowell continues to dominate the snaps near the goal line. This is more of a play where we’re banking on the Jets to get blown out as 9.5-point home ‘dogs. With the Patriots winning handily a lot of times this season, they’ve allowed the 10th-most catches to running backs for the fifth-most yards and 10th-most touchdowns. LeSean McCoy led the Bills with a 6-82 receiving line in Week 8. Tarik Cohen had an 8-69-1 day through the air the previous week. Kareem Hunt had 5-105-1 in Week 6. And Nyheim Hines caught seven balls for 45 yards the previous game. All four were Patriots wins. Crowell could very easily fall out of the game plan with McGuire again threatening 55-60% of the backfield snaps. He’s looked like the team’s best back since being activated, and the Jets should really consider increasing his work coming out of the bye. McGuire offers more value in PPR formats but is on the RB3 map due to game script.
Josh Adams vs. Giants: The UDFA out of Notre Dame has seen his snaps steadily rise over the last four games; Adams played a season-high 54.9% of the downs last week in New Orleans after playing 30.6% the previous week. Over his last four games, Adams is averaging a robust 6.59 YPC on 27 totes. He scored his first touchdown in Week 11 and has vastly outplayed backfield mates Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood. There’s no reason Adams shouldn’t be the lead back this week against the Giants. The Eagles really need to settle on a back. All of the swapping in and out may be affecting the offense’s flow. Prior to last week’s blowout at the hands of the Saints, coach Doug Pederson confirmed Adams would get more work. The lopsided score last Sunday played a role in Adams seeing just seven carries and 10 touches total. Now coming back home as six-point favorites, Adams should have a chance to reach double-digit carries for the first time and potentially even fly by that number. The Giants are 20th in run-defense DVOA, 22nd in fantasy points allowed to running backs, and 25th in overall rush defense. Peyton Barber had his best game of the season against the G-Men last week, hanging an 18-106-1 line on the board. Matt Breida had a 17-101-1 day the previous game. That’s just since the Giants’ Week 9 bye. Much like Gus Edwards above, Adams is a bit risky, but he’s done everything to keep growing into the lead role. Adams is an RB2.
Lamar Miller vs. Titans: Miller came out of the Texans’ Week 10 bye last week to handle to play a six-game-high 73% of the snaps and handle his second-most carries (20) of the season. Miller was also target five times, his second-most on the year. It was Miller’s third 100-yard day over the last four games. Miller’s lone bad game in that stretch was Week 9 at Denver when coach Bill O’Brien scaled back his snaps in favor of Alfred Blue, and Miller produced just 21 yards on 12 carries. Blue has been pretty ineffective, and D’Onta Foreman (Achilles’, PUP) doesn’t appear to be ready to make his debut just yet. After out-touching Blue 23-8 last Sunday, Miller is comfortably back on the volume-driven RB2 map, even in a tough draw against the Titans. The Texans have become one of the run-heaviest offenses in the league, rushing the ball at the fourth-highest clip. Tennessee is No. 3 in fantasy points allowed to running backs and No. 9 in run-defense DVOA, but it’s impossible to pass up the kind of volume Miller is getting right now. Colts RBs Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins were able to combine for a 20-91-2 rushing output last week against the Titans. Miller turned 16 touches into 70 scoreless yards against Tennessee in Week 2.
Kenyan Drake at Colts: After playing at least 60% of the snaps six of the first seven games, Drake has seen his role scaled back the last three weeks, playing 56.1% > 49.1% > 50% of the downs while averaging 10.3 touches in that span. Over the last two, Drake is averaging 8.5 touches with no touchdowns. Coach Adam Gase has turned to Frank Gore as the Dolphins’ lead back, giving him double-digit carries in seven-straight games. The Colts present a relatively tough matchup on the ground, checking in at No. 6 in run-defense DVOA after blanking the Titans’ running backs in Week 11. Leonard Fournette averaged just 2.2 YPC against Indianapolis the previous week. This defense has played much better at home in recent games. Couple that with Drake’s reduced role, it makes him a nobody-else-to-use RB3/FLEX with a scary-low floor. This is also a #RevengeGame for Gore, heading back to Indianapolis after spending the 2015-2017 seasons with the Colts. Gase absolutely seems like the type of coach that will play Gore even more than normal in that type of situation. Gore, averaging 4.5 YPC at 35 years old, is the preferred play over Drake moving forward.
Jordan Howard at Lions: Howard played a seven-game-high 64.9% of the snaps last week against the Vikings and turned in 18 carries for 63 scoreless yards, his second-most totes in that span. The problem for Howard is he’s averaging a pitiful 3.4 YPC on the year and brings nothing to the table in the pass game, catching one or zero passes each of the last eight weeks. The Lions and Bears just met two weeks ago, and Detroit totally stamped Howard out, holding him to a measly 21 yards on 11 attempts. It was easily Howard’s worst game of the season in a home win as the overall RB51 in fantasy. After being a total sieve against the run prior to acquiring NT Damon Harrison, the Lions have done a complete 180 in that area. Over the last three weeks, the Lions are No. 8 in fantasy points allowed to running backs, giving up just 3.96 YPC to the position. Panthers RBs put together a 14-54-0 rushing line last week after Howard flopped the week before. The only thing working in Howard’s favor may be volume. It Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) sits, coach Matt Nagy could dial up a more run-centric plan with Chase Daniel under center. But Daniel also knows the offense more than well enough to be given a shot as a passer. The Lions run at the third-slowest pace in the league and their defense faces the fewest plays. If the Bears end up playing even slower under Daniel, the upside for this game is slim-to-none. The 44.5-point total is the week’s fifth-lowest.
Tevin Coleman at Saints: It’s a really tough spot to flat-out sit Coleman when he’s going to be involved in a game with a 60.5-point total on Thanksgiving night, but he and Ito Smith essentially splitting touches 60-40 has really sapped Coleman’s upside. If Smith would just fade to the background as a true No. 2 back instead of a 1B, we could feel a lot more comfortable with Coleman. But that doesn’t appear to be the plan. Since Devonta Freeman was sent to I.R. in Week 6, Coleman is averaging just 10.6 carries per game. He had a huge Week 9 at Washington, turning 18 touches into 156 yards and two touchdowns as the RB4. In the other four games, Coleman has been the RB23, RB14, RB31, and RB23. He’s been a back-of-the-pack RB2. But Coleman now draws one of his toughest individual matchups of the year against a Saints Defense that is No. 5 in fantasy points allowed to running backs and No. 3 in run-defense DVOA, yielding just 3.45 YPC and facing the fewest rushing attempts in the league. The Saints blow so many teams out that opposing offenses are forced to go full pass mode in an effort to play catchup ball. That could very easily be the case again Thursday, with the Saints the biggest favorites of the week, giving Atlanta 13 points. Coleman turned 15 carries into just 33 yards against New Orleans in Week 3. He’ll need a touchdown this time.
Start of the Week: Calvin Ridley at Saints: Ridley had an incredible month of September, scoring six touchdowns Weeks 2-4 with one 100-yard game and two others above 50 yards. It’s been a real struggle since the calendar flipped to October. Since Week 5, Ridley has been limited to 47 scoreless yards or fewer in 5-of-6 games and has zero 100-yard efforts. The good news is he’s playing heavy snaps, setting a new season-high in snap percentage each of the last three weeks, jumping from 69.1% to 70.7% to 71.4% of the downs last week. Ridley is 15th among all wideouts with 101 routes ran in that span. He’s still acting as the Falcons’ No. 3 wideout, but Atlanta runs plenty of three-wide sets with Ridley averaging just under six targets per game in his healthy games since Week 5. The Saints get lit up by the pass on a week-to-week basis because teams routinely play from behind against them. New Orleans has allowed the third-most catches for the most yards, second-most touchdowns, and most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. They check in at No. 28 in pass-defense DVOA, 27th in pass yards surrendered, and 29th in yards per attempt. Ridley had — by far — his best game of the season against New Orleans back in Week 3, corralling 7-of-8 targets for 146 yards and three touchdowns. The eight targets are his second-most of the year. Matt Ryan threw for 374 yards and five scores total that afternoon. The Superdome is known for shootouts. The Rams and Saints combined for 80 points there three weeks back. The Bucs and Saints went for 88 points in Week 1. The Saints have blown out the Redskins and Eagles with 43 and 48 points in two other tilts in New Orleans. The Falcons are a near-lock to be chasing points. Ridley is a rock-solid upside WR3 with a great shot to get off the schneid for his best game in nearly two months.
Danny Amendola at Colts: With Albert Wilson (hip) and Jakeem Grant (leg) both done for the season, the Dolphins have settled on a three-wide set that includes Amendola in the slot between DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills on the outside. Injury-prone Amendola is the only receiver of the five to not miss a game this year and leads Miami with 61 targets, 12 more than second-place Kenyan Drake. Amendola is averaging 6.1 targets per contest but saw 8.2 per in the five games before last week’s bye. All of that came with Brock Osweiler at quarterback. Ryan Tannehill is returning from his shoulder injury and will make the start against the Colts. After playing roughly 75% of the snaps Weeks 1-5, Amendola has been in on over 96% of the snaps four of the last five weeks. Amendola is an ultra-safe floor play in PPR formats but faces long odds for a touchdown with just one red-zone target on the year. Slot wideouts have had success against the Colts. Dede Westbrook led the Jaguars with five catches in Week 10. Seth Roberts had 42 yards and a touchdown in Week 8. Jermaine Kearse went 9-94 in Week 6. And Julian Edelman had 7-57 in Week 5. The Colts play at the second-fastest offensive pace, and therefore their defense has faced the eighth-most plays. One of the league’s slowest teams, Miami will be considerably paced up on Sunday. More plays equal more opportunities for fantasy points. The 51-point total for Dolphins-Colts is the week’s third-highest.
Adam Humphries vs. 49ers: Over the last four weeks, Humphries has quietly ran the sixth-most routes among all receivers at 164. Only Kenny Golladay (179), Robert Woods (178), Brandin Cooks (176), teammate Mike Evans (176), and Antonio Brown (166) have ran more. In that same span, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin have settled in as the third and fourth wideouts, running 133 and 100 routes, respectively. Humphries has been targeted 35 times over the last five weeks, second only to Evans’ 47 and more than both Jackson (31) and Godwin (26). Humphries is the WR19 since Week 7. Humphries has topped 75 yards in two of Jameis Winston’s three starts and saw eight targets the lone contest he didn’t eclipse that mark. The 49ers are 21st in pass-defense DVOA. Humphries will avoid the lone daunting cornerback matchup in the secondary against Richard Sherman, with him likely sticking on Evans all afternoon. Giants slot WR Sterling Shepard caught a touchdown against the Niners in Week 10. Larry Fitzgerald went 8-102-1 out of the slot in Week 8. Robert Woods had 5-78 in Week 7. And Marquez Valdes-Scantling had 3-103 in Week 6. This game has ugly shootout written all over it with a 55-point total, the second-highest of the week.
Sterling Shepard at Eagles: Shepard has been in dream spots each of the last two weeks against the Niners and Bucs, but he’s mustered receiving lines of 2-9-1 and 2-22-0 on five total targets. That’s very concerning, but the Giants have won both games against inferior opponents. At this point, the Eagles may not be all that much better than the G-Men, but this game is in Philly and the Eagles are favored by a comfortable six points. The Giants likely won’t be able to dictate the flow of the game with Saquon Barkley on the ground as much as previous weeks. Before Week 10, Shepard had seen at least seven targets in 7-of-8 games, including seven in Week 6 against these Eagles. Since then, however, the Philly secondary has been totally wrecked by injuries. CBs Jalen Mills (foot) is week to week and was DNP Wednesday, Ronald Darby is done for the year after a Week 10 ACL tear, Avonte Maddox exited Week 11 with a knee injury, Rasul Douglas is day to day with a knee issue, and Sidney Jones has been sidelined with a hamstring pull. I can’t even name another Eagles corner off the top of my head without having to look it up. The three healthy ones are Cre’von LeBlanc, Chandon Sullivan, and DeVante Bausby. All three are former UDFAs. The Eagles have surrendered the most catches for the second-most yards and second-most fantasy points to receivers. They’re dead last in fantasy points allowed to wideouts the last five weeks. Shepard’s production of late is tough to overlook, but this is an absolute plum spot in a potential shootout.
Willie Snead vs. Raiders: Snead is actually tied for 10th in the NFL averaging nine targets per game over the last four weeks. And he paced the Ravens with eight targets in Lamar Jackson’s first career start last week against the Bengals. Snead was able to turn them into a 5-51 line but has provided zero upside on the year. Snead has topped 50 yards in 7-of-10 games but hasn’t scored since Week 1 and has yet to breach the 60-yard plateau. He’s as consistent as they come if you want five grabs for 50 scoreless yards. Snead is the WR47 in PPR points per game. He made for a decent floor play during heavy bye weeks. With Jackson under center last week, the Ravens dialed up a run play just 72% of the time. For comparison, the Seahawks are the run-heaviest team in the league at 51.03%. The volume is just highly unlikely to be there, especially with the Ravens as heavy 10-point favorites. The Raiders also operate at the second-slowest offensive pace, which may lead to fewer possessions for Baltimore. This game just isn’t all that attractive fantasy-wise outside of the Ravens run game. The 43-point total is the fourth-lowest of Week 12.
Devin Funchess vs. Seahawks: Funchess has been a mega disappointment through 11 weeks, failing to produce a single 100-yard game and not even eclipsing the 80-yards mark. He has just three touchdowns and is coming off a horrendous outing in Detroit after being charged with three drops. Funchess has been held under 45 yards in four-straight games. The Seahawks don’t present a very tough matchup on paper, checking in at 27th in fantasy points allowed to wideouts over the last five weeks. And No. 1 CB Shaquill Griffin has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 109 cover corner out of 110 qualifiers. But Funchess’ lack of production to this point and D.J. Moore, Greg Olsen, and Christian McCaffrey emerging as the go-to playmakers has usurped Funchess. He was also spotted limping at the end of last week’s loss to the Lions, so he could be playing at less than 100% health. Torrey Smith (knee) is also back for the first time since Week 7. This is a crowded group with Funchess falling down the pecking order in a contract year. He’s a low-floor WR4.
Corey Davis at Texans: Every time we start believing in the Titans Offense, they come out and lay a total egg. After smashing the patriots 34-10 in Week 10, Tennessee never got up for their divisional road game in Indy last week, scoring a measly 10 points against one of the worst defenses. With Marcus Mariota getting harassed and then re-injuring his hand, Davis was stamped out for a 2-30 receiving line on four targets. Davis still commands the lion’s share of the targets for Tennessee, but it’s real hard to get behind him with either a less-than-100% Mariota or Blaine Gabbert in a spot start. With Mariota banged up Weeks 2-3 earlier this season, Davis had receiving lines of 5-55 and 2-34 with zero touchdowns. The former was against this Texans Defense. The Texans are No. 10 in pass-defense DVOA and No. 8 in pass yards allowed. They’re the only team not to allow a touchdown to an opposing wideout over the last five weeks and totally shut down Emmanuel Sanders (6-47) and Courtland Sutton (3-57) three weeks back. Mariota has shown no ability to produce when injured, and Gabbert is simply terrible. No matter who starts under center, Davis is someone to try and avoid.
Start of the Week: Jordan Reed at Cowboys: Reed is second among all tight ends averaging 8.75 targets per game over the last four weeks with target totals of 12 > 6 > 6 > 11 in that span. He had his best game of the season last week against the Texans, setting 2018-highs with seven grabs for 71 yards and scoring his first touchdown since Week 1. It was notable that the score was delivered by Colt McCoy after coming on for Alex Smith, who is done for the year with a broken leg. McCoy started four games in Reed’s sophomore 2014 season, and Reed had a mixed receiving lines of 7-40 > 9-123 > 3-25 > 3-13. Reed was injured in that final game. McCoy is a popgun-armed risk-averse passer who loves to kick it to his tight ends in the middle of the field. It may be just what the doctor ordered for Reed. The Cowboys are 22nd in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Austin Hooper was targeted eight times last week against Dallas. Zach Ertz exploded for 14-145-2 the previous week. Jonnu Smith caught his first touchdown of the year in Week 9. Reed is firmly back in the second tier of fantasy TE1’s and is a must-start on Thanksgiving.
Jeff Heuerman vs. Steelers: Heuerman has been the biggest winner on the Broncos in the wake of the Demaryius Thomas trade, corralling 14-of-16 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown in the two games since the deal. His seven targets per game over the last four weeks is seventh among tight ends. Heuerman leads the Broncos both in red-zone targets (12) and targets inside the 10-yard line (7), scoring twice. The Steelers are 25th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. C.J. Uzomah (6-54) in Week 6, Austin Hooper (9-77) in Week 5, Maxx Williams (5-51) in Week 4, O.J. Howard (6-72), and Cameron Brate (3-34-1) in eek 4 have all had strong games against this defense. Pittsburgh hasn’t faced many tight end threats in recent weeks. Heuerman is very much on the streaming radar and could provide steady points the rest of the way as plug-and-play each week. The Broncos will be up in pace against the high-octane Steelers and could have to pass even more.
David Njoku at Bengals: Njoku’s production has trended in the wrong direction in recent weeks. He wasn’t targeted in Week 8, had a 4-53 day in Week 9, and then caught his lone target for 18 yards in Week 10 against the Falcons. It’s coincided with Njoku popping up on the injury report with a knee issue. But coming out of the bye, Njoku should be relatively healthy and now gets a dream spot against the Bengals. Cincinnati is 30th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. O.J. Howard went 4-68-1 against the Bengals in Week 8. Travis Kelce had 5-95 the week before. Vance McDonald and Jesse James combined for 12-94 in Week 6. Cincinnati has been hemorrhaging yards and points in recent weeks. Njoku is on the back of the TE1 map with obvious upside.
Jared Cook at Ravens: The Raiders have traded Amari Cooper, lost Brandon LaFell to a torn Achilles’, and Jordy Nelson has an injury of his own. It has left this already talentless offense even more decimated, propping Cook up as the unit’s top option. Cook corralled a touchdown on six targets in a tough draw against the Cardinals last week. The draw against Baltimore isn’t completely easy, but the Raiders just don’t have many options. They’re 10-point underdogs and will probably have to throw the ball heavily at some point. Greg Olsen went 4-56-1 versus Baltimore in Week 8. Ben Watson had 6-43-1 the previous game. David Njoku had 6-69 in Week 5. Cook is tied for fifth among all tight ends in targets. He should have no issue getting 6-8 looks or more in this one.
Kyle Rudolph vs. Packers: Rudolph has been a massive disappointment this season. He hasn’t topped 50 yards since Week 4 and hasn’t scored since Week 3. Rudolph is 11th among tight ends in target and has converted just one of his six targets inside the 10-yard line for a touchdown. The Packers are No. 5 in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Rudolph actually had his best game of the year against Green Bay in Week 2 with a 7-72 day, but his role has totally devolved since then, and that game played out an entire overtime, so 10 extra minutes. Green Bay shut down George Kittle (4-30) in Week 6. They haven’t faced many top-end tight ends. But Rudolph has shown zero upside with a basement-level floor. He’s a distant third or fourth in the pecking order.
Evan Engram at Eagles: Engram has seen more than five targets in a game just twice this season and has only topped 50 yards a pair of times. He’s coming off a two-target day against a horrid Bucs defense and is no higher than third or fourth in line for targets in an offense that prefers to run the ball. They may have to throw it more in Philly this week, but the Eagles are annually one of the best defenses against tight ends. They’re No. 4 in fantasy points allowed to the position and have allowed the second-fewest catches to tight ends. Ben Watson didn’t have a catch for the Saints last week. Greg Olsen was held to 2-5-1 in Week 7. Eric Ebron had 5-33 sans Jack Doyle in Week 3.
Antonio Gates vs. Cardinals: Gates turned back the clock last week against the Broncos, going 5-80-1 in a narrow loss. Gates had 141 yards and one score in the first 10 weeks combined. Gates’ Week 11 line isn’t one to chase for those looking for a streamer. The Cardinals are No. 6 in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. And with the Chargers as heavy 12-point home favorites, Rivers is likely to go back to throwing the ball 25-28 times like normal after 41 attempts in Week 11.