Hopefully you all survived the carnage that was Week 14 or had a bye in your fantasy playoffs. If you didn't move on or if you failed to make the postseason, the season doesn't have to end for you as you can dabble into the Daily Fantasy waters if you've yet to try it out. Here's the disclaimer that I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points in conjunction with your own information and thought process rather than searching out your own players in the individual player diagnosis and turning that section into a linear start/sit guide. With that out of the way, let’s hit all of the Week 15 games in a PPR fashion....
Tampa Bay vs. St. Louis
|41.9%||Opp. Rush %||42.7%|
|58.1%||Opp. Pass %||57.3%|
- Todd Gurley has 97 carries for 348 yards (3.6 YPC) in the first half of games and 92 carries for 627 yards (6.8 YPC) in the second half this season. That +279 yard difference in the second half is the largest increase for any back on the year.
- Tampa Bay allows just 12.4 rushing points per game, the third fewest in the league.
- Tavon Austin has had more rushing yards than receiving yards in five of his past six games, with 217 yards rushing to 101 yards receiving total over that stretch.
- In the three games that Vincent Jackson missed this season, Mike Evans caught 19 passes for 324 yards, seeing 31 percent, 52.8 percent and 33.3 percent of the team's targets.
- In the other nine games, he averaged 4.2 receptions for 62.8 yards with just two games reaching 70 receiving yards.
- Doug Martin is tied with Adrian Peterson for the most games with double-digit carries while averaging over 5.0 yards per carry with six.
- The Rams are allowing 136.7 rushing yards per game over their past six games after allowing 98.1 over their first seven games of the season.
- Jameis Winston is the only quarterback this season to start every game who hasn't yet had a 300-yard passing game.
Trust: Doug Martin (has shown consistency in terms of usage and rushing production and this is a game that projects to be low scoring with a slow pace)
Bust: Jameis Winston (has been in the back half of quarterback scoring in four of his past five, which includes tilts against the Colts and Saints), Tavon Austin (has been inside the top-48 just once over his past five games and you’re relying on manufactured touches)
Reasonable Return: Mike Evans (the opportunity should be massive when throwing; giving him more than a solid floor even if he runs into fits of inefficiency), Charles Sims (you may be really hurting at flex this week and his average scoring week is RB29), Todd Gurley (I don’t love this matchup for him, but the script should be relatively neutral for him to keep getting touches deep into the game like last week when he could pop runs), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (still not playing enough snaps to really feel good about, but more targets are vacant for him to flirt with high TE2 numbers)
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New York (AFC) vs. Dallas
|34.6%||Opp. Rush %||44.4%|
|65.4%||Opp. Pass %||55.6%|
- Since returning in Week 11, Bilal Powell ranks eighth in running back scoring (63.4 points) while Chris Ivory ranks 21st (47.4).
- Over that four game span, Ivory has just six red zone touches (Powell has five) after having 35 touches in the red zone over his first nine games.
- Since being injured in Oakland in Week 8, Ryan Fitzpatrick is sixth in the league in points per game (22.0 points) with weekly finishes of QB11, QB17, QB13, QB3, QB8 and QB4.
- Fitzpatrick has thrown multiple touchdowns in 10 games this season, the most ever in a season for his career.
- Eric Decker (24) and Brandon Marshall (22) have combined for 46 red zone targets, the most of any duo in the league and more than four complete NFL teams (Eagles, Vikings, Bills and Rams).
- Dallas allows just 256.9 passing yards to quarterbacks per game, the fourth fewest in the league.
- The Cowboys are allowing just 12.8 receptions (sixth) for 153.8 yards (eighth) with seven total touchdowns (fourth) to wide receivers on the season.
- Dallas has scored a touchdown on just 12.3 percent of their drives under Matt Cassel (eight of 65). They scored a touchdown on 20.6 percent of Brandon Weeden's drives (seven of 34) and 14.7 percent of Tony Romo's (five of 34).
- Since being the starter in Week 7, Darren McFadden has faced three top-10 rushing defenses (the Jets are first) and in those games he carried 47 times for 107 yards (2.3 YPC).
Trust: Eric Decker (Dallas has been tougher on boundary receivers this season than interior ones, giving Decker an edge this week)
Bust: Darren McFadden (his touches are down and this game where he’ll have to do some passing game work to float his floor), Dez Bryant (if you’re still starting him, this is another really poor spot to expect return)
Reasonable Return: Brandon Marshall (he’s still far better than anyone checking him in this game and this offense is running through the passing game at the moment), Ryan Fitzpatrick (I like his floor more in this one, but still has shown the ceiling to push past that over the past three weeks), Chris Ivory ( I would like him more if the total and spread were larger, but I still feel like the script will be in his favor this week, but he still needs to find the paint to compensate for Powell soaking up the passing work), Bilal Powell (similar flex play to Charles Sims, only in a better offense)
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Kansas City vs. Baltimore
|36.7%||Opp. Rush %||41.3%|
|63.3%||Opp. Pass %||58.7%|
- Baltimore is allowing .559 passing points per attempt, the fourth most in the league.
- The Ravens have allowed 16 touchdown passes at home this season, the second most in the league behind New Orleans (19).
- Travis Kelce hasn't finished above TE7 since Week 3 and has six weeks outside of the top-12 over those 10 games.
- Opposing tight ends average just 4.7 receptions per game against Baltimore, the third fewest in the league.
- Only the Eagles have allowed more receiving points to wide receivers than the Ravens (42.8 per game).
- Since Steve Smith was lost for the season, Kamar Aiken ranks fifth in the NFL in targets (50) and 14th in fantasy points at wide receiver.
- That target volume is relevant because Aiken ranks 25th in points per game (15.0) and 58th in points per target (1.53) over the same stretch.
- 50.8 percent of Javorius Allen's 59 rushing attempts (30 of 59) over the past four weeks have gone for two yards or less (league average is 46.2 percent) while just 27.1 percent have gone for five or more yards (league average is 33.1 percent).
- Allen has 60.8 receiving points (most in the league) over those four games after Justin Forsett had just 46.3 receiving points through 10 games.
- Kansas City is allowing just 4.8 receptions (fourth) for 34.3 yards (first) receiving to running backs this season.
Trust: Alex Smith (one of the best floor options gets a strong opportunity to turn that into a QB1 ceiling this week), Jeremy Maclin (someone has to go along with Alex if he’s going to get there and lead receivers have given Baltimore handfuls of trouble)
Bust: Javorius Allen (he showed last week that his receiving floor wasn’t enough in a bloodbath and this week is setting up similarly, more of a lower RB2 this week then the bar he set Weeks 11-13)
Reasonable Return: Kamar Aiken (through various scripts and quarterbacks, he’s still been a top-30 scorer in every week since Steve Smith was lost except for one), Travis Kelce (the matchup isn’t strong enough to make you feel great about him crashing the low ceiling he’s shown, but if the targets get inflated by game plan like they should, he should have a useful reception floor at the position), Charcandrick West (if Spencer Ware plays, I’m still avoiding this group, but if Ware is out, West had three straight games with 20-plus touches prior to his own injury)
Houston vs. Indianapolis
|42.2%||Opp. Rush %||41.4%|
|57.8%||Opp. Pass %||58.6%|
- The Colts have allowed 69 plays of 20 yards or longer, the most in the league.
- After having four straight 100-yard receiving games Weeks 3-6, DeAndre Hopkins has had one over his past seven games, averaging 50.3 fewer yards per game than he did through the first six weeks of the season.
- Through six weeks, Hopkins had 16 red zone targets (most in the league) while having just six since.
- Chris Polk has played 43.2 percent of the snaps and Jonathan Grimes 34.1 percent to Alfred Blue's 6.8 percent over the past two weeks.
- Polk has 48 percent of the team carries (23) over the past two weeks, while Grimes has 25 percent (12).
- T.Y. Hilton has reached 75 receiving yards in six of seven games against the Texans, including a five reception, 88 yard game against them in Week 5.
- The Colts have scored one touchdown on their past 28 offensive possessions.
- Indianapolis averages just .404 rushing points per attempt as a team, 31st in the league above only San Diego (.355).
Bust: Frank Gore (he’s been a top-24 scorer just once over the past month and needed a receiving score to get there), Matt Hasselbeck (the genie has been put back in the bottle the past two weeks in matchups far better than this one), Houston Backfield (I don’t mind this group in bulk this week, but there’s still too much ambiguity here to trust anyone in any lineup)
Reasonable Return: DeAndre Hopkins (has been more of a WR2 with upside over the past seven weeks and he could be peppered with targets again with T.J. Yates taking back over, but Houston may control the tempo and cap the overall volume), T.Y. Hilton (he’s back to being a weekly ball of volatility, making more of a WR3 play this week), Cecil Shorts (had three straight WR3 scoring weeks prior to last week’s egg and secondary/interior receivers have hurt the Colts this season)
Tennessee vs. New England
|45.2%||Opp. Rush %||37.5%|
|54.8%||Opp. Pass %||62.5%|
- Through seven games, the Titans had allowed just one top-12 scoring quarterback and 16.0 points per game to them. Over their past six games, they’ve allowed 24.0 points per game with five of the six quarterbacks they've faced finishing inside of the top-6 that given week.
- No quarterback has more 20-plus point games than Tom Brady on the season with nine.
- The Titans allow a touchdown once every 14.4 pass attempts, the second worst behind only New Orleans (12.4).
- Brady averaged 17.5 points per game in the eight games that New England has been favored by 14 or more points since the 2008 season.
- Rob Gronkowski returned to play 62.3 percent of the snaps last week. He had played on 83.7 percent of snaps prior to injury.
- Brandon Bolden played 49 snaps last week to 25 for James White.
- Over the past four weeks, White has seven red zone touches to three each for LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden.
- White has converted four of those touches for touchdowns while neither Blount nor Bolden has scored.
- Despite scoring on just 4.0 percent of his targets, Delanie Walker is still sixth in points per target (1.87 points) of all tight ends with 50 or more targets on the season.
- Walker averages 85.0 receiving yards per game over the past six weeks, the most of all tight ends.
- Since allowing 84 yards to Heath Miller in Week 1, the Patriots have allowed just one tight end (Will Tye, 56 yards) to reach 50 receiving yards in a game.
- After averaging 14.9 points with one top-12 scoring week through his first five games, Marcus Mariota has averaged 22.8 points with four top-12 scoring weeks over his past six games played.
Trust: Tom Brady (historically New England has pounded the ball in games where they are favored to this degree, but his floor and the matchup are worth salivating over and bucking that trend), Rob Gronkowski (in a position littered with low floors, he showed why you always roll him out, even when it takes a step of faith), Danny Amendola (after Gronk, he’s next in line and we like this offense overall)
Bust: Marcus Mariota (this can go two ways, one where he stacks late production or the game just gets buried like it was for him last week and we can’t count on another 10 points from the receiving game, but I generally don’t like pursuing quarterbacks that can face this much of a negative game script on paper), Titans running backs (a group of huge underdogs with already a low ceiling to begin with)
Reasonable Return: Delanie Walker (even in a rougher paper play, he’s still the only steady pass catcher here in a game that should feature plenty of attempts), Brandon LaFell (he’s been brutal, but the implied point total weakness for Tennessee means there could be a piece for just about anyone), Brandon Bolden (potential script points to this being a game where a back grinds work late and that would seem to point to Bolden who has worked ahead of White except for most no huddle situations), James White (has had two, four, five and six touches outside of his 12 touch game when game script was extremely negative, but more opportunity is open to keep him as a flex option)
Buffalo vs. Washington
|38.1%||Opp. Rush %||42.8%|
|61.9%||Opp. Pass %||57.2%|
- LeSean McCoy's -37 carries in the second half from the first half this season (115 to 78) are the largest decrease in the league.
- McCoy is the first Bills player to have 100 or more yards from scrimmage in seven straight games since Thurman Thomas (nine consecutive games) in 1993.
- 11 of Tyrod Taylor's 18 passing touchdowns (61.1 percent) have come on throws over 15 yards in the air, the highest percentage in the league.
- 25.7 percent of Taylor's fantasy output is from rushing, the second highest dependency in the league behind Cam Newton (29.9 percent).
- Since returning from injury in Week 9, Sammy Watkins ranks fifth in receiving yardage per game at 94.8 yards.
- Jordan Reed has 18 red zone targets, tied with Rob Gronkowski for the most of all tight ends and seven red zone touchdowns, tied with Gary Barnidge for the second most behind Tyler Eifert's 11.
- Reed has seven top-6 scoring weeks, tied with Rob Gronkowski for second behind Gary Barnidge (eight) for the most of all tight ends.
- Since DeSean Jackson returned, Kirk Cousins has averaged 8.4 yards per pass attempt (fifth) as opposed to 6.5 yards (31st) in the seven weeks prior.
- Pierre Garcon's average weekly finish prior to Jackson's return was WR33.0 and WR51.3 with him active.
Trust: LeSean McCoy (the best floor of volume and production going at the position), Sammy Watkins (a volume loss is always in the back of your mind, but he’s surging to end his sophomore season), Jordan Reed (even in a tougher matchup and not being into Cousins, he’s dominating scoring opportunities)
Bust: Kirk Cousins (if DeSean Jackson is out, could revert back into his dink/dunk shell that was prevalent earlier in the season. If Jackson plays, he’s up a notch into the mid-QB2 tier), DeSean Jackson (banged up and Buffalo plays boundary receivers really well), Alfred Morris/Matt Jones (there’s still no level of trust here, regardless of Jones taking a commanding lead in snaps the past two weeks as he’s carried 36 times for 111 yards in those games and Morris got the short score last week)
Reasonable Return: Tyrod Taylor (has regained the grip on this floor with 18 or more points over his past three), Pierre Garcon (reliant on Jackson missing, was the poor man’s Jarvis Landry when he was out earlier in the season), Jamison Crowder (he would be a desperation play only even with Jackson out, but Buffalo has struggled the most versus slot options this season)
Chicago vs. Minnesota
|43.6%||Opp. Rush %||42.1%|
|56.4%||Opp. Pass %||57.9%|
- Adrian Peterson has rushed for at least 100-yards in five straight games against Chicago.
- Teddy Bridgewater has three passing touchdowns at home this season in six games, the fewest of all quarterbacks to start every game this season.
- Over their past six games the Vikings wide receiver unit has combined for 43 receptions, 514 yards and one touchdown.
- Matt Forte averaged 72.7 percent of the team carries in his six full games prior to injury. Since returning, he's 48.4 percent, 50 percent and 45.5 percent of the carries.
- Since Week 9, Zach Miller leads all tight ends in yards per target at 12.1 yards.
- In games in which Alshon Jeffery has played at least 60 percent of the snaps, his weekly finish has been WR28, WR4, WR4, WR6, WR29, WR36 and WR8.
- After not allowing any top-10 scoring quarterbacks through eight games, the Vikings have allowed a top-10 fantasy scorer in four of their past five games.
Trust: Alshon Jeffery (his target share is nearly unmatched and broke his scoring drought last week), Adrian Peterson (has run into back to back rough paper matchups the past two weeks and the potential game flow and matchup are much more alluring this week to see him carry the ball 20-plus times effectively)
Bust: Teddy Bridgewater (threw for the most yards in his career last week and was still just the QB17)
Reasonable Return: Jay Cutler (fine floor play this week with limited upside to get over the low QB1 grouping), Matt Forte (I’d definitely use him, but the timeshare has been a lot more even than hoped for in establishing him as a clear cut RB1 since his return), Zach Miller (seeing 6-7 targets weekly and has scored in four of his past six), Stefon Diggs (this passing game should be avoided, but Diggs makes for an interesting option as his targets have settled in the 18-20 percent range and will have an opportunity to be a WR3 with upside this week)
Carolina vs. New York (NFC)
|33.5%||Opp. Rush %||38.9%|
|66.5%||Opp. Pass %||61.1%|
- After throwing a touchdown pass once every 23.5 pass attempts over his first four seasons, Cam Newton has thrown one every 14.1 passes this season, the best rate in the league.
- Newton's 90.0 rushing points would rank 20th amongst running backs for the season.
- The Giants have allowed 15 or more points to six consecutive quarterbacks for an average of 24.1 points over that stretch.
- Ted Ginn now has 13 touchdown receptions in 29 games with the Panthers and six touchdown catches in 104 games with everyone else in his career.
- Rashad Jennings had 68.8 percent of the team carries last week, the highest total for any Giants running back on the season.
- New York allows 10.6 targets (fourth), 7.4 receptions (second) and 88.7 receiving yards (second) to opposing tight ends.
- Eli Manning's 87.1 percent completion rate this past week was the highest of his career, becoming just the fifth quarterback ever to complete 87 percent of his passes on 30 or more attempts in a game.
- Carolina is allowing just .283 passing points per attempt and just 4.8 adjusted yards per attempt to opposing passers, both the fewest in the league.
- Odell Beckham already has the most receptions (176) over the first two years of a player's career, but also needs just 101 yards to pass Randy Moss for the most receiving yards through two seasons, something he’s done in six consecutive games.
Bust: Giants Backfield (don’t expect them to run this week like they did against Miami, even if Rashad Jennings gets the bulk of work again), Eli Manning (was flawless last week, but Carolina has allowed only one top-12 scorer this season), Ted Ginn (if he doesn’t score, his floor is bottomless and the Giants struggle on the interior more than outside with Prince Amukamara back), Will Tye (he’s been right around TE1 production for four straight weeks, but there’s a low ceiling here this week)
Reasonable Return: Odell Beckham (the hottest receiver going and Carolina hasn’t had Josh Norman completely shadow in a while. I’d still start with WR2 expectations with hope for more based on everything we’ve seen lead receivers do against Carolina this season), Fozzy Whittaker (he’s likely a longer play to actually score with Cam and Mike Tolbert in the fold, but he’d be my bet to see a lot of carries here and Carolina runs more than any team in the league and the Giants are accommodating to backs)
Atlanta vs. Jacksonville
|43.2%||Opp. Rush %||41.2%|
|56.8%||Opp. Pass %||58.8%|
- 42.2 percent of Blake Bortles' passing yards have come on throws 15 yards or further downfield, the second highest rate in the league behind Ben Roethlisberger (43.6 percent).
- The Jaguars have 11 offensive touchdowns over the past two weeks. The Cowboys have 12 offensive touchdowns since the start of October.
- Julius Thomas has scored a touchdown in four straight games, the second Jaguar to accomplish that this season (Allen Hurns scored in seven straight Weeks 3-10). Allen Robinson can make it a third Jaguar to reach that streak this week as he's scored in three straight games.
- Robinson is tied with Eric Decker for the most red zone targets over the past five weeks with 13.
- T.J. Yeldon has outscored the 15.7 points Denard Robinson put up last week just three times all season.
- In Denard Robinson’s six starts prior to injury last year, he was a top-20 scorer in four of those weeks and a top-11 scorer three times.
- Since Week 7, the Falcons have scored a touchdown on 12.3 percent of their drives (nine of 73), ahead of only San Francisco (10.2 percent) over that stretch.
- Over the span, Matt Ryan has thrown a touchdown once every 33.5 pass attempts (28th).
- Since Week 9, Ryan ranks 25th in points per game (14.0 points) and 33rd in passing points per attempt (.310).
- After scoring four times on his first 46 targets of the season, Julio Jones has scored twice on his past 122 targets.
- After rushing for over 100-yards in each game Week 5-7 totaling 369 rushing yards on 65 carries (5.7 YPC), Devonta Freeman has carried 62 times for 230 yards (3.7 YPC) in his five games since.
- Jacksonville allows 7.5 receptions per game to running backs, the third most in the league.
Trust: Allen Robinson (Desmond Trufant rarely moves off his left corner spot and that’s where the Jaguars will send Marqise Lee as a sacrificial lamb for most of the game), Blake Bortles (multiple touchdowns in eight of his past nine and in 10 games on the season), Julio Jones (hasn’t had scoring opportunities and Atlanta isn’t scoring, but this is a game in which he may flirt with 20 targets)
Reasonable Return: Denard Robinson (Atlanta has allowed the most rushing touchdowns to backs and also the most receptions to give a solid floor), Allen Hurns (he’s in line for another great matchup, but his target share frequently leaves his floor potential low), Devonta Freeman (Jacksonville is good against the run, but have been beaten by backs in the passing game, something Freeman is living off of now for his production), Matt Ryan (he’s been awful, but Jacksonville has been such a reliable floor for passing production and even broke Philip Rivers out of his slumber a few weeks ago for a moment. Plus this game has sneaky back and forth scoring upside if Atlanta can muster anything resembling an offense), Julius Thomas (he's living off of touchdowns, which is scary but the Jags are throwing a lot of them)
Green Bay vs. Oakland
|41.0%||Opp. Rush %||35.8%|
|59.0%||Opp. Pass %||64.2%|
- The 230 rushing yards by Green Bay last week was the most in a game by them since rushing for 231 yards in Week 12, 2004.
- Eddie Lacy had 56.6 percent of the team rushing attempts in 2014. Over the past four weeks, he’s had 64.7 percent, 60.7 percent, 20.8 percent and 54.5 percent of the team attempts.
- Lacy has been a top-20 scorer in four of his past five games after just once over his opening six games with two top-5 weeks over his past three games.
- The Packers ran a season-high 81 plays after averaging 63.9 over their first 12 games.
- Randall Cobb had 36.4 percent of the team targets last week, his second largest total of the season and matched a season-high eight receptions.
- After posting consecutive weeks as the WR14, WR13 and the WR4 Weeks 7-9, Michael Crabtree has been the WR35, WR33, WR40, WR27 and WR64 since.
- Crabtree's 6.5 yards per target rank only above Golden Tate (6.1) and Davante Adams (4.8) of all 45 wide receivers with 70 or more targets on the season.
- Derek Carr has faced five teams in the bottom half of the league in passing points per attempt and in those games he's been the QB5, QB8, QB5, QB6 and the QB5.
- In his other eight games against teams in the top half (Green Bay ranks eighth), he has just two top-12 scoring weeks with six games as the QB20 or lower.
- In those games against bottom half teams, Amari Cooper averages 6.8 receptions for 98.4 yards and 18.7 points per game.
- Outside of them, Cooper averages 3.5 receptions for 53.5 yards and 10.3 points with just one top-20 scoring week.
- Since Week 10, Latavius Murray has carried 83 times for 243 yards (2.9 YPC) with three weeks outside of the top-30 scorers at running back.
Trust: Aaron Rodgers (this hasn’t been the Rodgers we’ve been accustomed to, but he’s still reeled off five top-10 scoring weeks over his past six games)
Bust: Derek Carr (he’s lived on crushing soft defenses while having a low floor in tougher draws), Amari Cooper/Michael Crabtree (they’ve gone as Carr has gone and Green Bay has allowed just four top-20 scoring receivers on the season), Davante Adams (had a season low 8.6 percent of the targets last week as Green Bay altered their play calling switching to Mike McCarthy)
Reasonable Return: Randall Cobb (whether it was really the play calling change or just matchup a week ago, Cobb was more involved and has another strong individual matchup this week), Eddie Lacy (outside of getting himself into trouble in Detroit has been rejuvenated), James Starks (he’s still finding his way to usage while Lacy has gotten going as he’s been the RB20, RB23 and RB3 the past three weeks), Latavius Murray (he’s not an easy start by any means, but his workload has never been compromised through his struggles and Green Bay has allowed six top-24 backs since their Week 7 bye)
Cleveland vs. Seattle
|45.6%||Opp. Rush %||38.5%|
|54.4%||Opp. Pass %||61.5%|
- Doug Baldwin is the first Seattle receiver ever to catch multiple touchdowns in three consecutive games and the first receiver since James Jones in 2012.
- Baldwin now has 11 touchdowns this season on 80 targets after catching 15 touchdowns on 305 targets over the first four years of his career.
- Tyler Lockett has averaged 14.7 points per game over the past month with three top-24 scoring weeks.
- Russell Wilson is the first Seattle quarterback to ever throw three or more touchdown passes in four consecutive games.
- Wilson has averaged .939 passing points per attempt over the past four weeks after posting .416 passing points per throw through nine games.
- Over that span, Wilson has thrown a touchdown pass once every 7.4 pass attempts.
- Over that four game run by Wilson, Baldwin ranks first in points per target (3.6 points) and Tyler Lockett ranks second (3.2).
- With Thomas Rawls out, Fred Jackson still only had eight touches last week to 18 for DuJuan Harris, who was released.
- Cleveland ran for a season-high 230 rushing yards last week after rushing for 254 yards combined over their previous five games, the most rushing yards the Browns had in a game since Week 9, 2010 (also 230 yards).
- Seattle has allowed just 18 runs of ten or more yards on the season, the fewest in the NFL.
- Against teams in the bottom half of passing points per attempt (Cleveland ranks 21st), Seattle has allowed just five total touchdowns on 81 possessions. Against teams in the top half, they’ve allowed 16 touchdowns on 60 drives.
Reasonable Return: Gary Barnidge (the only Browns player I would use this week and Seattle has been vulnerable to tight ends), Tyler Lockett (as long as Wilson is rolling like this, keep rolling him out as a WR3 with upside), Bryce Brown (I don’t know how you trust a guy who was just signed during the week, especially when Fred Jackson will play significant snaps, but the game script should be elevating here for volume and the matchup is ripe even if you only get late carries)
Cincinnati vs. San Francisco
|34.8%||Opp. Rush %||46.2%|
|65.2%||Opp. Pass %||53.8%|
- After having just two top-12 scoring weeks through 10 games, A.J. Green has been the WR11, WR8 and the WR6 the past three weeks.
- The 49ers have allowed 170 or more rushing yards in five of their past seven games.
- After averaging 17.2 touches per game over the first five games of the season, Giovani Bernard is averaging just 10 touches per game since with four of those in the single digits.
- San Francisco has allowed just five passing touchdowns at home this season, tied with Cincinnati for the fewest in the league.
- Shaun Draughn played 73.2 percent of the snaps, his fewest since Week 9 and had just 13 touches, his lowest total since coming to the 49ers.
- Just 44.1 percent of all running back points scored against the Bengals this season have been rushing, the second fewest in the league behind the Jets (38.4 percent).
Trust: A.J. Green (even with the quarterback change, McCarron proved functional and lead receivers have torched San Francisco), Jeremy Hill (was getting going prior to last week in what was set up to be a poor matchup for him to get over to begin with, now gets a team just bleeding rushing yardage over to teams)
Bust: 49ers passing game (the Bengals are in the top half of defending both quarterbacks and receivers for fantasy and there’s little here to latch onto to begin with), Marvin Jones (the game script should be run heavy with Green doing the lifting in the passing game, leaving little left over, but bump him up if Eifert sits), A.J. McCarron (San Francisco has limited Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Carson Palmer at home, leaving him as a floor play in 2QB leagues)
Reasonable Return: Tyler Eifert (big tight ends have been friendly to back up quarterbacks before, but has been taking on multiple injuries lately), Giovani Bernard (his usage has dried up, but this may end up being a game where the Bengals run it 35 plus times), Shaun Draughn (showed his floor is still tied to this offense and didn’t have a high ceiling to begin with, but if he regains passing game work the Bengals have allowed backs to catch a lot of passes)
Denver vs. Pittsburgh
|40.1%||Opp. Rush %||36.3%|
|59.9%||Opp. Pass %||63.7%|
- Only San Francisco (35) has fewer offensive plays of 20 yards or more than Denver's 39.
- Demaryius Thomas has scored on just 2.1 percent of his targets which is last of all of the 46 receivers and tight ends that have 80 or more targets on the season.
- Just 14.8 percent of Thomas' receptions (13) have gone for 20 or more yards, down from the 22.5 percent mark he had in 2014.
- Brock Osweiler was just the seventh quarterback ever to attempt at least 50 passes in a game without throwing a touchdown or an interception.
- Just 12.4 percent of Osweiler's pass attempts have been on throws 15 yards or further downfield, the lowst rate in the league. 21.7 percent of Peyton Manning's throws met that threshold, the ninth highest.
- Vernon Davis' seven receptions last week were the most he's had in a game since Week 6, 2013.
- Emmanuel Sanders' target share the past three weeks has been 19.3 percent, down from the 24.6 percent it was at through nine games.
- Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 13 touchdowns at home on 188 pass attempts to two touchdowns on 156 attempts on the road this season. He also had a 23 to nine home/road touchdown mark in 2014.
- Over that span, Antonio Brown has gone along with him with 16 touchdown receptions at home and four on the road.
- Denver allows just 11.6 passing points per game, the fewest in the league.
- Denver has allowed 84.7 fewer fantasy points to wide receivers to the next closet team (Atlanta) on the season.
Trust: DeAngelo Williams (the running back spot in this offense has been a Gibraltar all season and has done so in multiple ways. I see Williams being an asset in the passing game this week)
Bust: Martavis Bryant (I’m only using him out of necessity or as a ceiling WR3 play since he still only needs one play to do damage, but his floor is lowered here), Emmanuel Sanders (the matchup isn’t poor, but he’s hardly been involved and it sets up well for Thomas and Davis to be more involved than him again this week), Denver Backfield (I'd assume if C.J. Anderson is healthy, he's as close to the main option you'll see since Ronnie Hillman has been dreadful, but Pittsburgh allows the fourth fewest points to backs and there’s going to be a timeshare of some sort), Markus Wheaton (he’s been a WR3 three weeks in a row, but also stands to see Chris Harris the most of the group)
Reasonable Return: Ben Roethlisberger (Andrew Luck and Tom Brady both got inside of the top-10 against Denver, so I still believe in this offense enough for him to get there), Antonio Brown (like Beckham this week and Julio a week ago, I believe you have to go in with WR2 expectations while being pleased with anything extra that comes your way), Demaryius Thomas (he’s settled in as a floor WR2 play), Heath Miller (Denver ranks first in targets allowed to tight ends and Miller was set up to be a big part of the game plan when the Steelers faced Seattle, another good pass defense), Vernon Davis (the Steelers rank in the bottom-10 in every major category against tight ends, he just needs to roll over the target share he had last week), Brock Osweiler (the Steelers are willing to give up passing yardage, but he’s been more of a caretaker so far)
Miami vs. San Diego
|46.7%||Opp. Rush %||44.2%|
|53.3%||Opp. Pass %||55.8%|
- Since Week 9 (post Keenan Allen), the Chargers have scored just five offensive touchdowns (fewest in the league) on 50 possessions and four came in one game.
- Over that span, they average 0.96 points per drive, ahead of only the Rams (0.85) during that stretch.
- Philip Rivers has averaged just 6.3 yards per pass attempt during the decline after 7.9 yards per pass prior.
- During the same timeframe, Rivers has thrown a touchdown once every 38.6 pass attempts after throwing one once every 19.3 passes beforehand.
- Antonio Gates' 62.1 yards per game rank sixth of all tight ends.
- Lamar Miller has a -309 yard differential in second half rushing yards from first half ones this season, the largest gap of any running back.
- San Diego has allowed just five top-20 scoring wide receivers, the fewest behind Seattle and Green Bay (four each).
Trust: Lamar Miller (we can’t trust his workload, but we can trust the matchup and he showed that he was still a prime producer in a soft matchup with limited volume last week)
Bust: Ryan Tannehill (has had two phenomenal paper plays the past two weeks and managed just 5.4 yards per attempt in those games), DeVante Parker (unless Jason Verrett follows Landry around, Parker will see him the most in base defense and he struggled versus Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie a week ago), Danny Woodhead (he’s been all but completely phased out as San Diego is going down with the ship on Gordon)
Reasonable Return: Melvin Gordon (201 touches without a touchdown, but this defense made Rashad Jennings and the Giants look viable last week. If he can’t find his way to being useful this week with all of the touches he’s been getting, we might as well call it a career), Philip Rivers (it understandably takes a step of faith, but like Matt Ryan, I can see painting a good picture here for points despite how bad it’s been recently but wouldn’t extend myself over safer floor plays at the position), Antonio Gates (there’s no one else to throw to), Jarvis Landry (turned 18 targets into just 99 yards a week ago but turned in his fifth top-12 scoring week over his past eight), Stevie Johnson (if he’s back, he’s the only pass catcher outside of Gates I’m comfortable using)
Arizona vs. Philadelphia
|37.0%||Opp. Rush %||41.0%|
|63.0%||Opp. Pass %||59.0%|
- The Eagles allow 19.1 passing points per game, the third most in the league. Carson Palmer averages 20.5 passing points per game, second behind only Tom Brady (22.0).
- Per Pro Football Focus, Larry Fitzgerald's average depth of target has been just 6.0 yards (100th) over his past three games.
- Fitzgerald's 5.6 yards per targets ran 84th over that span after having 9.7 yards per target (19th) prior.
- Since Week 6 (each with seven games played), John Brown has 594 yards to Michael Floyd's 548 yards.
- Over that same span, Fitzgerald averages 15.9 points, Brown 15.6 and Floyd 17.5 points per game.
- Targets in the red zone over that same run have been Brown (10), Floyd (eight) and Fitzgerald (six).
- David Johnson has had 61.1 percent and 65.5 percent of the team attempts. Chris Johnson averaged 68 percent of the team carries Weeks 2-11 prior to injury.
- Darren Sproles played 34 snaps, DeMarco Murray 25, Ryan Mathews 20 and Kenjon Barner 12 snaps last week.
- Mathews led the team with 13 carries, Murray 11 and Sproles seven.
- Nelson Agholor's 62 receiving yards last week were the most by an Eagles wide receiver since Week 9.
- Over his past seven complete games, Zach Ertz averages 17.7 percent of the team targets (7.0 targets per game) and 11.1 points per game.
Trust: Carson Palmer (a layup this week for the best floor at the position and is the play when covering your bases on all of the receivers at once), David Johnson (even if Andre Ellington is back, he’s taken command of the lead role and Bruce Arians has shown to stick with what is working)
Bust: Sam Bradford (the last time he was inside the front half of scoring was Week 5), Jordan Matthews (against the Honey Badger all game while averaging 29.8 yards over his past five), DeMarco Murray/Ryan Mathews (only the Jets allow fewer rushing yards to backs than the Cardinals)
Reasonable Return: Michael Floyd (has been the steadiest receiver in terms of output despite playing the fewest snaps, let’s hope he makes good after the he delivered in this matchup a year ago), John Brown (it’s rare to see a player be this efficient with the types of targets he gets and has been used more near the end zone), Larry Fitzgerald (trending in the wrong direction in every area outside of receptions, which still keep his floor intact), Darren Sproles (he’s been the most fantasy friendly option of rotation with three top-20 weeks over his past four), Zach Ertz (this passing game has come down to trusting Sproles and the tight end and that’s it)
Detroit vs. New Orleans
|44.4%||Opp. Rush %||43.0%|
|55.6%||Opp. Pass %||57.0%|
- Drew Brees ranks 10th in points per game (19.4), but third in passing points per game at 19.1 points per game.
- Tim Hightower played 58 snaps (70.7 percent) and had 28 rushing attempts, the most by a Saints running back since Week 9 of last season.
- The Saints average 4.0 offensive touchdowns per game at home, the most in the league.
- The past three games played in New Orleans have seen 101, 62 and 79 points scored between both teams.
- It was the first time since Week 7 that the Saints didn't trail at all during a game.
- Ben Watson is averaging 54.8 yards receiving per game. Jimmy Graham had 55.6 yards per game in 2014.
- Golden Tate's 32 receptions over the past four weeks are tied with Brandon Marshall for the most in the league.
- Calvin Johnson's 8.0 yards per target is currently the lowest mark in his career for a season.
- After averaging 11.3 points and an average finish of QB23 through five weeks, Matthew Stafford has averaged 20.7 points since with an average rank of QB11.
Bust: Eric Ebron (the matchup is alluring, but that’s all you’re selling yourself as he’s seen more than five targets just twice and topped 30 yards just once over his past eight games), Willie Snead (as it lays out now, he’ll find Darius Slay the most often if Slay doesn’t follow Cooks), Ameer Abdullah (the overall scoring here between both teams could make him interesting since he's seeing the bulk of carries now, but Joique Bell is still the gola line option and Riddick is catching all of the passes)
Reasonable Return: Calvin Johnson (coming off a lone catch game in which he was shut down by Trumaine Johnson, Delvin Breaux has been the lone bright spot for the Saints D and Johnson should see the most of Brandon Browner. Still, he’s been a floor play option this season), Golden Tate (getting peppered with opportunity and still has yet to top 80 yards receiving in a game), Drew Brees (back at home, but Detroit has been solid since their bye while Brees has still had just three top-12 scoring weeks on the season), Tim Hightower (things were set up perfectly for him last week in terms of script and a layup score, but at worst he’s Shaun Draughn in a much better situation), Brandin Cooks (there’s still a chance he’s chased around by Slay, so I wouldn’t go all in and he’s shown to be a volatile option in his own right), Ben Watson (28 targets over the past three weeks with a low mark of eight), Theo Riddick (floor flex play with a limited ceiling)
Trust = Set him in your lineups this week
Bust = Player to underperform season average
Reasonable Return = On par with seasonal average