Week 15 is here and hopefully you’re moving on in your fantasy playoffs for a chance to play in the championship game. If by some poor fortune you’ve already been eliminated from your postseason, then you can still dabble into daily fantasy games to keep your fantasy fix satiated. This week begins the yearly tradition of late season games on Saturday, so make sure that you have players in those games set in lineups before waiting until Sunday morning.
As for the token disclaimer, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.
Lastly, as the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is NOT a start/sit column, rather an expectations column. The labels for each subset of players for each game are simply a vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player that you can find at the end of the column. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process. Remember, you control your own team. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 15 games with a PPR light…
Broncos @ Colts
|45.6%||30||Opp. Rush %||46.3%||31|
|54.4%||3||Opp. Pass %||53.7%||2|
- The Colts rank last in the league in yards per play (4.6) while the Broncos rank 31st (4.7).
- Indianapolis (37.5 percent) ranks last in the league in touchdown conversion rate in the red zone while Denver ranks 31st (40 percent).
- Denver has just two pass plays of 40 or more yards on the season, last in the league.
- The Colts are the only team in the league with fewer red zone touchdowns (12) than games played on the season.
- The Broncos are allowing 16.5 passing yards per possession, second behind Jacksonville.
- Jacoby Brissett is averaging 19.1 passing yards per drive, 32nd for all quarterbacks.
- Frank Gore's 130 rushing yards last week were the most by a player 34 years or older since Earnest Byner's 149 yards rushing in Week 5, 1996.
Trust: Demaryius Thomas (he’s still prone to becoming a victim of poor quarterback play, but this is as good of a setup that he's had. He’s still receiving 9.1 targets per game and the Colts are just decimated at the cornerback position, rolling out rookie starters Kenny Moore and Quincy Wilson alongside Nate Hairston)
Bust: Jacoby Brissett (after a mid-season surge, Brissett has fallen back into the bottom of the position and although Denver has allowed a handful of passing scores this season, Brissett isn’t throwing them and Denver isn’t allowing high yardage), T.Y. Hilton (his spike weeks have been identifiable and this is not one against a defense that is allowing the fewest receptions per game to opposing wide receivers), Frank Gore (coming off 37 touches on a short week should have him with a reduced workload and he only holds low-ceiling flex appeal against a defense that has allowed just five backs to hit 75 yards from scrimmage in a game this season)
Reasonable Return: Jack Doyle (he’s had fewer than 20 yards receiving in three of his past four games, so the floor is low here, but he’s been the only reliable target in this offense while opposing teams against Denver target their tight ends 25.7 percent of the time, the second highest rate in the league), Emmanuel Sanders (he has just 54 yards total over his past four games while averaging just 16.5 percent of the team targets per game over that span, so he still only holds flex expectations, but as mentioned with Thomas, the Indy secondary is on its last legs), Trevor Siemian (he’s low on the list of streaming options for leagues that play just one quarterback because he’s struggled mightily even in soft matchups, but the Colts have allowed the most QB1 scoring weeks to non-QB1 passers on the season if you really want to chase a rainbow), C.J. Anderson (he has RB2 flex appeal as he’s had 19 and 24 touches over the past two weeks while running into an elusive setup for positive game script)
Editor’s Note: FanDuel is hosting their Super Duel for a Difference contest this Sunday, where you can win tickets to the Big Game in Minneapolis! Support a good cause and compete for an unforgettable grand prize.
Bears @ Lions (Saturday)
|43.3%||20||Opp. Rush %||42.7%||18|
|56.7%||13||Opp. Pass %||57.3%||15|
- Detroit is allowing 3.4 offensive touchdowns per game over the past five weeks, the most in the league.
- The Lions have allowed a rushing touchdown in eight straight games, their longest streak as a franchise since 2008.
- Jordan Howard is tied with Todd Gurley for the most runs of 10 or more yards (30) on the season.
- Howard's 12 100-rushing games are the most over a player's first two seasons since Chris Johnson's 16 over 2008-2009.
- The Bears have just 20 pass plays of 20 or more yards on the season, the fewest in the league.
- Detroit has 53 pass plays of 20 or more yards, tied for second in the league.
- Chicago has allowed just two passing touchdowns of 20 yards or longer, the fewest in the league.
- Just 22.2 percent of the yardage gained by the Lions this season has been rushing -the lowest rate in the league- and just 17.2 percent over the past four weeks.
- In the nine games in which Theo Riddick has played at least 50 percent of the team snaps over the past two years, he's averaged 14.4 points per game and has been a top-24 scorer in seven of those nine games.
Trust: Marvin Jones (he had a quiet week last week, but lead boundary receivers have given Chicago more trouble than interior options on the season as five of the past six lead wideouts on the outside versus the Bears has posted 14.7 points or more, including Jones himself when he had 4-85-1 in Week 11)
Bust: Mitchell Trubisky (he’s coming off the best game of his young career and the matchup is right as Detroit is allowing 18.6 points per game to opposing passers over the past seven weeks, but Trubisky was just the QB18 when these teams last met and that was on the strength of 53 rushing yards), CHI WRs (there’s marginal volume here to be spread around while Kendall Wright and Dontrelle Inman have low floors to go along with limited ceilings), Eric Ebron (last week’s box score appeared out of thin air, but we’re not going to chase it as the Bears have allowed just three TE1 weeks on the season and just three touchdowns to the position), Golden Tate (he’s more of a WR3 this week as he’s put up 62 yards or fewer in six of seven games against the Bears while with Detroit while being a top-30 scorer in just two of those games)
Reasonable Return: Jordan Howard (he’s pulled the rug out on us all season long as he’s followed up all his big games on the season with duds and this is a game where he’s a road dog, but the matchup is still strong as Detroit is handing out rushing touchdowns weekly and have allowed an RB1 in four of their past five games, including 15-125-1 to Howard himself over that span, the second time in three games that Howard has hit 100 yards against them), Tarik Cohen (he’s back on the radar as a low-end flex option as he had 13 touches when these teams last met and the matchup is still strong against a defense 21st in yards from scrimmage allowed to backfields), Matthew Stafford (his hand was fine last week and being at home and attached to a relatively high total are attractive, but I’m still entering with lower-end QB1 expectations for Stafford as the Bears are in the top-10 in yardage and touchdowns allowed to opposing passers on the season), Theo Riddick (you can’t keep banking on him to find the end zone on the ground like he has in each of the past two weeks, but he has 15 targets over the past two weeks, so as long as Ameer Abdullah remains out, Riddick will remain a viable option)
Editor's Note: Play these two WRs in your FanDuel lineups this week. Find out who here!
Chargers @ Chiefs (Saturday)
|LA Chargers||Rank||@||Kansas City||Rank|
|42.1%||14||Opp. Rush %||43.5%||21|
|57.9%||19||Opp. Pass %||56.5%||12|
- Since their Week 9 bye, the Chargers are second in the league with 20 red zone possessions after ranking 26th in the league with 17 prior.
- Over that span, the Chargers average 6.3 yards per play, fourth in the league.
- The Chiefs have allowed 20 or fewer points in 11 straight games at Arrowhead, the longest such streak at home since the Panthers over the 2012-2014 seasons. If they reach 12 games, they will match the Browns from 1993-1995.
- The last time Philip Rivers was a QB1 versus the Chiefs was Week 17, 2013 and he's been the QB21, QB27 and QB30 over his past three starts in Arrowhead over that span.
- Rivers has been in the bottom-half of QB scoring just twice on the season, matching Russell Wilson for fewest times in the league for quarterbacks to play at least half of the season.
- The Chargers are allowing just 2.2 red zone attempts per game (second) and opponents to convert just 37.9 percent of those opportunities into touchdowns (second).
- 40.8 percent of Alex Smith's passing yards have come on throws 15 yards or further downfield, the highest rate in the league.
- The Chargers have allowed 27.3 percent (24-of-88) of passes 15 yards or further to be completed, the lowest rate in the league.
- The Chargers have allowed 109.4 yards from scrimmage to opposing backfields since their Week 9 bye after allowing 174.9 yards per game prior.
Trust: Keenan Allen (he’s riding a ridiculous tear where he has over 100-yards receiving in four straight games with buckets of receptions while facing the secondary that has allowed the most 100-yard receiving games to wide receivers on the season)
Bust: Tyrell Williams (he’s still dependent on hitting a money ball as he’s had just 11 targets total over his past four games), Alex Smith (he’s been the QB21 or lower in three of his past four games as his ceiling goes along with when he can connect on the long ball, something the Chargers are shutting down on the season), Tyreek Hill (he’s averaging 44.3 yards per game at home and his outlook dovetails into the one for Smith as the Chargers have stifled big plays in the passing game), Travis Kelce (you're obviously playing him because the position is borderline awful this week lik emost, but he’s never scored a touchdown against the Chargers and has had three or fewer catches in three of his past four games facing them while the Chargers have allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends this season)
Reasonable Return: Philip Rivers (the Chiefs have had his number and they have limited everyone at home dating back to last year, but Rivers has had one of the best fantasy floors of all quarterbacks), Melvin Gordon (since the bye he’s lived in RB2 land and he’s had one or fewer receptions in four of his past seven games, but the volume has still been steady to hold his floor, having 20 or more touches in five straight), Hunter Henry (he’s had five or more targets in four straight and he’s been a TE1 in seven of the eight games in which he’s gotten to five targets), Kareem Hunt (he had 28 touches last week after just 24 total over the previous two weeks, so he’s still prone to losing opportunities, and while the Chargers have gotten better in terms of limiting yardage to backfields, they are still allowing 5.1 receptions per game to the position to keep Hunt in the RB2 mix)
Eagles @ Giants
|32.4%||1||Opp. Rush %||45.5%||29|
|67.6%||32||Opp. Pass %||54.5%||4|
- 26.8 percent of Alshon Jeffery's fantasy output has come from touchdown production while 25.9 percent of Nelson Agholor's has, the first and third highest dependency of all top-30 scoring receivers on the season.
- The Giants allow .512 passing points per attempt and 17.8 passing points per game, both the most in the league.
- The Giants have allowed a league high 12 passing touchdowns of 20 or more yards and league high seven passing touchdowns of 40 yards or longer.
- Jay Ajayi's snap share since the Eagles' Week 10 bye each week has been 20 percent, 28 percent, 41 percent and 47 percent.
- The Giants have allowed over 100-yards rushing in seven straight games, their longest streak in a season since 2004.
- The Giants have scored 17 points or fewer in eight games this season, their most in a season since 2007.
- The Giants have scored 17 points or fewer points in four straight games, their longest streak in a season since 2004.
Trust: Zach Ertz (he’s expected back this week and although he does lose Wentz, he still has a terrific matchup against a defense that is the worst in the league at defending tight ends while they also could be missing Landon Collins)
Bust: Eli Manning (he’s been QB21 or lower in six of his past seven games), NYG RBs (with Wayne Gallman attempting to get back in the mix late in the season as the Giants see what they have entering the offseason, this backfield is avoidable against the defense allowing the fewest yards from scrimmage to opposing backfields), Sterling Shepard (he’s returned to just nine targets over the past two weeks and the quality of the offense isn’t good enough to elevate him past flex status), Evan Engram (he’s averaging 8.3 targets per game over the past eight weeks to try and keep him afloat in poor matchups and he has another one here as the Eagles have allowed just three TE1 weeks on the season and just three to reach 50-yards receiving in a game this year)
Reasonable Return: Nick Foles (he doesn’t have be the 2013 version of himself nor even a proxy of Wentz this season to be a streaming option this week against a Giants defense that ranks 30th in passing yardage allowed per game and will be without Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins), Alshon Jeffery / Nelson Agholor (in an extremely small sample of 14 targets from Foles this year, Agholor has five of them, but both receivers take a step back with the transition to Foles as they both were options inflated by touchdown production. The Giants can aid their cause to remain usable options as they rank 25th in yardage allowed to wideouts and 27th in points per target to the position), Jay Ajayi (the looming threat of a committee is still present, but he’s averaging 6.4 YPC since joining the Eagles and his usage is on the rise while the Giants have been getting gashed regularly on the ground)
Bengals @ Vikings
|45.4%||28||Opp. Rush %||38.8%||5|
|54.6%||5||Opp. Pass %||61.3%||28|
- Case Keenum has 16 or more points in six straight games, trailing only Russell Wilson (eight) for the longest active streak among active quarterbacks.
- The Bengals have allowed opposing quarterbacks to score 17.6 points per game since their Week 6 bye after allowing 12.9 per game prior.
- The Bengals are last in the league in time of possession per game (26:52).
- Opponents are rushing for 150.1 yards per game against the Bengals since their Week 6 bye, the most in the league.
- The Vikings have rushed for 121.1 yards per game this season (eighth) after rushing for 75.3 per game in 2016 (32nd).
- 23.2 percent of Latavius Murray's carries have gained five or more yards, 34th of 35 backs with 100 or more carries on the season. 37.4 percent of Jerick McKinnon's carries have gained five or more yards, fifth-highest of the same group.
- Opposing teams run 10.5 red zone plays per game against Cincinnati, the most in the league.
- Minnesota is allowing a league low 13.8 points per game at home this season.
Trust: Case Keenum (he just keeps producing solid fantasy lines weekly and the Bengals have allowed at least 250 passing yards to six consecutive passers, including DeShone Kizer, Brock Osweiler, Mitchell Trubisky and Marcus Mariota over that span), Adam Thielen (he has double-digit targets in six of his past eight games and he’s begun to find the end zone, scoring in four of his past six)
Bust: Andy Dalton (the highest a quarterback has finished in Minnesota on the season is QB16), A.J. Green (you’re still using him as a few lead wideouts have now found the end zone against the Vikings over the past few weeks, but you still have temper expectations for Green in this matchup since we can’t count on a touchdown and he’s averaged 4.1 receptions for 55.8 yards per game over his past eight)
Reasonable Return: Latavius Murray/ Jerick McKinnon (the Vikings have suffered some injuries to their offensive line that may impact the run game, but both are RB2/flex option options against a Bengals' defense that is getting shredded on the ground as it is facing 33.2 touches per game to the running back position, the most in the league), Stefon Diggs (he’s had double-digit points in just three of his past six games, but with Kyle Rudolph out and the Bengals defense down multiple bodies defensively, Diggs has a shot to be more boom than bust), Giovani Bernard (with Joe Mixon out, he is back on the table for enough touches to hold lower-end RB2 value, but is in a far worse spot than a week ago as a huge road dog with a subterranean team total against a defense that is allowing the second fewest yardage per game to running backs)
Ravens @ Browns
|42.4%||17||Opp. Rush %||45.2%||27|
|57.6%||16||Opp. Pass %||54.9%||6|
- The Ravens lead the league in points per play (.553) on offense over the past three weeks.
- The Browns are allowing a touchdown pass on 17.2 percent of their opponent's possessions, 31st in the league.
- Just 11.8 percent of the pass attempts versus the Browns are on throws 15 yards or further downfield, the lowest rate in the league.
- just 6.6 percent of Joe Flacco's pass completions have come on throws 15 yards or further downfield, ahead of Mike Glennon on the season.
- Baltimore has forced a turnover on 18 percent of their opponent's drives, the highest rate in the league.
- Cleveland has turned the ball over on 19.9 percent of their drives, the highest rate in the league.
- Over his past six games, Isaiah Crowell has carried 83 times for 429 yards (5.2 YPC) with 13 carries on 10 or more yards (15.7 percent of his carries) after rushing 91 times for 287 yards (3.2 YPC) with eight runs of 10 or more yards (8.8 percent) through seven games.
- The Ravens are allowing 65.7 rushing yards per game over their past six games - fewest in the league- with a high of 78 yards after allowing 145.3 per game through seven games, the most in the league.
Trust: Alex Collins (he’s averaging 19.8 touches per game over his past four with a touchdown in each while the Browns have allowed the lead back of each of the past four teams they’ve faced to clear 100-yards from scrimmage)
Bust: Ben Watson (you can always throw a dart on a tight end facing a Cleveland defense that has allowed nine touchdowns to the position, but Watson has hardly been involved in the offense, totaling 10 targets over the past four weeks), DeShone Kizer (he’s been a QB1 now in four of his past six games, but the two in which he wasn’t were obvious spots against tough defenses. The Ravens aren’t as intimidating as a pass defense without Jimmy Smith, but they are still more than formidable enough to take down limited passers), Isaiah Crowell (he’s gotten it going for fantasy, but like Kizer, over that time his poor output has come in obvious spots where the offense was set up to fail against a good run defense, which is what we have here), Corey Coleman (as a secondary option in a limited passing game, he’s only a target in games where the entire passing game is elevated like a week ago)
Reasonable Return: Joe Flacco (he’s had at least 16 points in each of the past two weeks and while he may be touchdown dependent here over stacking volume, Cleveland has been a weekly target for passing touchdowns on the season), Mike Wallace/Jeremy Maclin (with Flacco being in a rare spot where we’re entertaining using him, his receivers are on the board as flex options. Wallace has been the more stable of the two as of late, putting up 13.1 points per game over his past four with 73 yards per game over that run while Maclin still leads the team in targets over that span with 29, Josh Gordon (he’s flashed the upside that made him such a coveted fantasy option in each of his first two games and will not have to contend with Jimmy Smith in the Baltimore secondary, but his ceiling is still attached to inefficient quarterback play as only seven of his 17 targets have been deemed catchable per Pro Football Focus), Duke Johnson (the Ravens are tied for sixth in receptions allowed to opposing backfields, but have allowed 14 over the past two weeks, with an RB13 week on 14 touches in there to Theo Riddick, who is in the ilk of Johnson), David Njoku (he takes more courage than other streamers because the weekly usage just isn't here, but Baltimore is coming off a game in which they allowed 16 catches for 150 yards to Pittsburgh tight ends and seven catches for 71 yards the previous week)
Cardinals @ Washington
|41.0%||9||Opp. Rush %||44.5%||24|
|59.0%||24||Opp. Pass %||55.5%||9|
- Arizona has a 2-9 record in 1 PM ET start times over the past two years and has lost seven of those games by 10 or more points.
- Blaine Gabbert has been sacked on 12.2 percent of his dropbacks after Carson Palmer was at 7.6 percent and Drew Stanton 4.2 percent.
- Washington is averaging 268 yards of offense per game over the past three weeks, 28th in the league.
- Kirk Cousins has passed for 214.7 passing yards per game over that span after averaging 279.6 per game through 10 games.
- Arizona is allowing 216.8 passing yards per game to passers since their Week 8 bye (ninth) after allowing 259.3 per game prior (23rd).
Bust: Blaine Gabbert (he’s gotten progressively worse for fantasy purposes in each of his four starts, finishing as the QB8, QB14, QB24 and QB25), Kerwynn Williams (he’s a lower-end flex option as he’d had 16 and 21 touches over the past two weeks, but isn’t getting the goal line opportunities behind Elijah Penny nor the receiving work, leaving him on the floor as a road dog), Josh Doctson (another week, another extremely awful individual for Doctson, this time against Patrick Peterson)
Reasonable Return: Larry Fitzgerald (there’s a wide gap between his ceiling an floor as he’s been a top-10 scorer in three games post Carson Palmer and the WR29 or lower in the other three, but the slot is where we want to target the Washington defense as they’ve allowed five top-20 weeks to wideouts who primarily run out of the interior), Samaje Perine (he has 20 or more touches in three of his past four games and has been his best in favorable game script, but ceiling output shouldn’t be expected against an Arizona defense that is fifth in rushing yards allowed to opposing backs), Vernon Davis (the targets bounced back last week and he’s still running 30.4 routes per game over his past seven games), Jamison Crowder (even in back to back down weeks, he’s received 20.8 percent of the team targets while Arizona is most vulnerable in the slot, allowing top-30 weeks four of the past six interior options they’ve faced), Kirk Cousins (he’s been the QB17 or lower in five of his past seven games with the two bright spots coming in shootouts while Arizona has allowed a QB1 in just two of their past six games, but he's a home favorite with a modest team total against a team that hasn't travel East very well, so I'll keep the lights on), Ricky Seals-Jones (he should see an opportunity boost with Jermain Gresham inactive against a defense that is 31st in receiving yardage allowed per game to opposing tight ends)
Packers @ Panthers
|44.6%||25||Opp. Rush %||37.5%||2|
|55.4%||8||Opp. Pass %||62.5%||31|
- Opponents have scored on 39.9 percent of their drives versus Green Bay, the second highest rate in the league.
- Devin Funchess has been targeted on 28.3 percent of his routes over the past five weeks after 20.9 percent through eight games with Kelvin Benjamin on the roster.
- Over that span, Funchess has been the WR23, WR3, WR15, WR16 and WR26.
- Cam Newton is averaging 8.4 rushing points per game over his past eight games, which rank 14th among running backs on the season.
- Christian McCaffrey has had 20.5 percent of the team touches and 18.9 percent of the team targets over the past four weeks after having 26.2 percent of the team touches and 24.5 percent of the team targets prior.
- Aaron Rodgers has thrown a touchdown pass on 26.5 percent of his possessions, -the highest rate in the league- while Brett Hundley has thrown a touchdown on 9.6 percent of his drives, 33rd in the league.
- Carolina has allowed 14.6 receptions for 202.8 receiving yards and 1.4 touchdowns per game to opposing wide receivers over their past five games.
- Over their previous eight games, those totals were at 10.9 receptions for 121.6 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game.
Trust: Devin Funchess (he still delivered a week ago in his toughest matchup to date while this week he draws a secondary that is allowing the third most yardage per game to opposing WR1s and just lost another defender a week ago in Davon House), Cam Newton (his floor is elevated by his rushing while his passing output should be elevated by a Green Bay defense that has allowed a QB1 in three straight weeks), Davante Adams (there may be a target dip as Adams averaged 28.4 percent of the team targets in Hundley’s starts as opposed to 21.5 percent in Rodgers’ complete games played, but his weekly touchdown upside has remained intact regardless of quarterback while Carolina has been victimized by opposing lead wideouts over the past five weeks)
Bust: Greg Olsen (despite just one target, he played 92 percent of the snaps last week, but gets another poor draw against a Green Bay defenses that has allowed just one TE1 on the season and three touchdowns to the position)
Reasonable Return: Aaron Rodgers (players coming off long injuries are always suspect to disappointment and the last time that Rodgers returned from a similar injury to his non-throwing shoulder he was the QB11 and scored five points under his season average, but you didn’t hold him this long to not use him and the Carolina pass defense has been trending down for fantasy, allowing 276.4 passing yards per game over their past five games with three QB1 scoring weeks as opposed to 201.6 passing yards and three QB1 weeks over their opening eight games), Jonathan Stewart (he’s gone over 100-yards rushing in two of his past four games and the Packers are 29th in rushing attempts faced per week and have allowed 100-yard games to both Peyton Barber and Isaiah Crowell over the past two weeks, the first for each on the season). Christian McCaffrey (he’s had 53 or fewer yards from scrimmage in five of his past seven games, but Green Bay is 27th in receiving points allowed per game to backfields to go along with their poor performance defending the run), Jamaal Williams (he’s had 95 or more yards from scrimmage in four straight games and 20 or more touches in five straight to overcome a difficult matchup as a road underdog against a defense that is fifth in total yards allowed per game to opposing backfields), Jordy Nelson (he scored a touchdown in all four of his complete games with Rodgers to start the season and his yardage per game dropped from 57.5 yards to 21.9 yards in Hundley’s starts), Randall Cobb (even Cobb is back on the radar as a WR3/flex option since he’s already been that in two of his past three games, but his yardage dropped in all four of his games with Rodgers, leaving only as a floor option with upside)
Jets @ Saints
|NY Jets||Rank||@||New Orleans||Rank|
|44.2%||23||Opp. Rush %||41.7%||13|
|55.9%||10||Opp. Pass %||58.3%||20|
- New Orleans is averaging 56.0 plays per game over the past three weeks (30th) after averaging 64.8 per game prior (14th).
- 88 percent of Mark Ingram's carries have gained positive yardage, the highest rate in the league for a running back.
- 66 percent of Alvin Kamara's rushing yardage has come on runs of 10 or more yards, the highest rate for all backs with 50 or more carries on the season.
- The Jets have allowed 9.5 percent of the completions against them to be touchdowns, 31st in the league.
- Michael Thomas has five or more receptions in eight consecutive games, one shy of the team record.
- Bryce Petty targeted Robby Anderson on 26.7 percent of his throws last season as the starter, the highest rate on the team.
- Opposing passers have averaged 10.3 points per game versus the Saints when Marshon Lattimore has fully played over his past seven games.
- Just 25 percent (11-of-44) of Austin Seferian-Jenkins' receptions have gained 10 or more yards, the lowest rate for all tight ends in the league.
Trust: Alvin Kamara (he was the RB9 or higher in the six games prior to leaving the game last Thursday and notched five points on just one possession in that game while the Jets are stout versus the run which should benefit Kamara’s skills the most), Michael Thomas (his floor has been stellar and he’s now found the paint in each of his past two games while the past three lead WR1s to face the Jets have posted 108, 185 and 95 yards receiving), Drew Brees (recent pace of play is a potential issue, but the Jets high passing touchdown rate allowed is a match for Brees’ touchdown rate that is begging to get a spike)
Bust: Bryce Petty (his highest week as a starter last year was QB16 and the Saints have limited passers with Lattimore active), Jermaine Kearse (he has the most favorable outlook in the slot, where the Saints have allowed a top-20 receiver in three of their past four games, but Petty makes him a boom or bust option), Robby Anderson (he’s the only Jet you can play based on his opportunity from Petty a year ago, but will also draw Lattimore enough in coverage to need to connect on splash play), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (he’s been a TE1 in one of his past seven games with two or fewer receptions in four of his past five), NYJ RBs (Bilal Powell has out-touched Matt Forte in each of the past two games, but with the Jets as huge road dogs and turning the keys over to Petty, we don’t have to push sorting out the mess here)
Reasonable Return: Mark Ingram (this run game has overcome many tough matchups, but the Jets have allowed just one back to have more than 62 yards rushing over their past nine games while Ingram has averaged just 12 attempts per game over the past four weeks)
Dolphins @ Bills
|42.4%||16||Opp. Rush %||44.9%||26|
|57.7%||17||Opp. Pass %||55.1%||7|
- The Dolphins average a league low 11.9 points per game on the road this season.
- Buffalo is the only team in the league to allow more rushing touchdowns (18) than passing touchdowns (11).
- 91.7 percent (22-of-24) of the Miami offensive touchdowns have been passing, the highest rate in the league.
- Miami has five rushing attempts inside of the 10-yard line and just one inside of the 5-yard line all season, both the fewest in the league.
- The Dolphins have called a pass play 83.3 percent of the time (25-of-30 plays) inside of the 10-yard line, the highest rate in the league. League passing average outside of Miami is 49.4 percent.
- 40.6 percent of the fantasy output posted by skill players versus Buffalo has been put up by running backs, the second highest rate in the league behind Cincinnati (40.9 percent).
- LeSean McCoy has averaged 24.6 touches for 138.3 yards from scrimmage with 13 touchdowns in 11 games as a home favorite in Buffalo.
- In four of those games this season, McCoy has had 159, 122, 173 and 156 yards from scrimmage with four of his six touchdowns.
Trust: LeSean McCoy (he’s smashed as a home favorite while the Dolphins have allowed 196, 294 and 174 rushing yards over their past three games on the road), Kenyan Drake (as highlighted above, running backs have been the targets for posting fantasy output against Buffalo and Drake has been an RB1 in four of the six games since the Jay Ajayi trade, whether Damien Williams has played or not)
Bust: Jay Cutler (his few usable weeks have come on the back of high touchdown output, something the Bills aren’t allowing), DeVante Parker (he hasn’t been higher than WR52 over the past month, catching just 10 passes over that span), Kenny Stills (he’s more reliable than Parker, but going against an opponent that isn’t surrendering passing scores on the season), Charles Clay (he’s yet to be a TE1 since returning five weeks ago and has just 13 percent of the team targets over that span), Tyrod Taylor (we should expect his rushing to be limited if he’s active and while healthy has been the QB20 or lower in each of his past three starts), Kelvin Benjamin (the past two WR1s to face Miami have caught 3-of-17 targets for 65 yards)
Reasonable Return: Jarvis Landry (his floor is among the best in the league and if the Dolphins do pass for touchdowns here, odds are they will be going to Landry as he leads the league in touchdown receptions from inside of the 10-yard line)
Texans at Jaguars
|43.1%||19||Opp. Rush %||41.3%||12|
|56.9%||14||Opp. Pass %||58.7%||21|
- The Jaguars have allowed 12 touchdowns from outside of the red zone (tied for the third most), but have allowed just seven from inside of the red zone, the fewest in the league.
- Jacksonville has trailed for 25.1 percent of their offensive snaps, the second lowest rate in the league behind only the Patriots.
- Houston is allowing 158.7 yards from scrimmage to opposing backfields over their past three games after allowing 106.6 total yards per game through 10 weeks.
- Over their past nine games, Houston has allowed 276.6 passing yards per game (30th) and 18 passing touchdowns (31st).
- Over that span, the only quarterbacks that failed to post 15 or more fantasy points against Houston have been Joe Flacco and Kevin Hogan.
- Dede Westbrook’s 235 receiving yards rank second in franchise history over their first four games behind Allen Hurns (254).
- The Texans have rushed for 3.0 yards per carry over the past three weeks, last in the league.
Trust: Blake Bortles (he’s had 16 or more points in six of his past seven games and has been a QB1 in three straight while Houston has been hemorrhaging passing yardage)
Bust: T.J. Yates (he’s not Russell Wilson), Lamar Miller (the touch volume is enough to keep him in the RB2/flex mix, but he’s had 60 yards from scrimmage or less in two of his past three games and has two or fewer receptions in three of his past five games), Stephen Anderson (he turned six targets into 16 yards last week while the Jaguars have allowed one TE1 over their past 10 games), Leonard Fournette (his prospects for playing look dim after failing to practice at all over the final three days of the week)
Reasonable Return: Marqise Lee (he’s had five or more receptions in six of his past eight games) Dede Westbrook (his yardage has risen in each game while Houston has struggled with speed receivers, allowing over 100-yards to Marquise Goodwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, T.Y. Hilton and Brandin Cooks), DeAndre Hopkins (although this is a matchup we typically avoid, he was a WR1 when these team played in Week 1 and he's hit in multiple rough spots such as Arizona and Baltimore since Deshaun Watson was lost for the year as he’s averaging 12.9 targets per game over his past seven games), Chris Ivory (with Fournette looking doubtful, Ivory moves into RB2 territory as he was the RB30 and RB16 in the two games that Fournette has missed already)
Rams @ Seahawks
|41.1%||10||Opp. Rush %||41.1%||11|
|58.9%||23||Opp. Pass %||58.9%||22|
- Todd Gurley has a league-leading 14 rushing attempts from inside of the 5-yard line on the season after having 18 such attempts over the first two years of his career.
- Since losing Richard Sherman, Seattle has allowed 15 pass plays of 20 or more yards -tied for the fifth most in the league - after ranking 17th in the league prior.
- Over that span, opposing passers have averaged 7.4 yards per pass attempt (19th) after allowing 6.6 Y/A prior (ninth).
- 19.9 percent of Jared Goff's pass completions have gone for 20 or more yards, the highest rate for all active quarterbacks.
- Over the past three weeks with Robert Woods inactive, Cooper Kupp has been the WR9, ranking fifth in receiving yards (302) and tied for eighth in receptions (18) among wide receivers.
- Seattle ranks 25th in first half scoring (8.5 points) per game while ranking second in second half scoring (15.6 points) per game.
- Russell Wilson has 17 passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter this season, the most ever in an NFL season.
Trust: Todd Gurley (he’s had fewer than 100-yards from scrimmage in just one of his past eight games and Seattle could be without both Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright), Russell Wilson (last week was as tough as it gets, and Wilson came out as the QB6 with over 20 points, his seventh game eclipsing 20 points over his past eight)
Bust: Cooper Kupp (he was a WR3 or better in just three of 10 games with Woods active, needing a touchdown in those three games to get to those marks), Paul Richardson (he’s always a threat to score given how well Wilson is playing, but both Baldwin and Lockett will run into better individual matchups while he contends with Trumaine Johnson most of the receiving group), J.D. McKissic (a low-level flex option, he’s had eight or fewer touches in each of the past three games and has hit 50 yards from scrimmage just once on the season)
Reasonable Return: Doug Baldwin (he’s been held to fewer than 40 yards receiving in four of his past five games against the Rams, but slot receivers have done major damage to the Rams since their Week 8 bye, with all of Sterling Shepard, Bruce Ellington, Nelson Agholor, Larry Fitzgerald and Adam Thielen posting 12 or more points), Jared Goff (as good as the Rams offense has been, it’s still fair to question Goff as fantasy option that you can lean on outside of soft matchups as he’s been a QB1 just five times and all came attached to neon lights, but Seattle keeps loses defenders and have been susceptible to splash plays, something Goff and the Rams have consistently generated), Robert Woods (he was the best receiver on the team prior to injury, posting double-digit points in six straight games through matchups against Jacksonville, Minnesota and a then healthy Seattle team over that span), Sammy Watkins (he’s scored in five of his past six games and Seattle is getting beat vertically since losing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor), Tyler Lockett (he’s scored in each of his past two games and will get the biggest boost with the loss of Kayvon Webster), Jimmy Graham (last week was a reminder just how touchdown dependent he has been as he’s had fewer than 40 yards in five of his past seven games, but the Rams have allowed a TE1 in three of their five games since the bye and four touchdowns to the position), Mike Davis (if he’s ready to go, he’s a flex option against a Rams defense that is 31st in rushing yards allowed per game to opposing backfields)
Titans @ 49ers
|38.3%||4||Opp. Rush %||47.5%||32|
|61.7%||29||Opp. Pass %||52.5%||1|
- The 49ers and Titans have allowed the most red zone opportunities per game (3.6).
- The 49ers have scored on 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) of their possessions led by Jimmy Garoppolo after scoring on 28.6 percent prior, which was 26th in the league.
- Garoppolo has averaged 29.3 passing yards per possession, which would rank second in the league behind Tom Brady (29.8) over the course of a full season.
- Marquise Goodwin has received 28.2 percent of Garoppolo's targets. His target share with C.J. Beathard was 13.6 percent and 15.9 percent with Brian Hoyer.
- The Titans have sacked opposing quarterbacks on 16.1 percent of their dropbacks the past three weeks, the highest rate in the league.
- Just 27.8 percent of the yardage allowed by Tennessee is from rushing, the second lowest rate in the league.
- San Francisco is allowing 3.3 offensive touchdowns per game at home this season, the most in the league.
- Marcus Mariota is averaging 164.3 passing yards per game over the past three weeks after averaging 232.1 per game over his first nine games.
- The Titans have run the ball 82.3 percent of the time inside of the 5-yard line this season (14-of-17 plays), the highest rate in the league. League average outside of them is 55.9 percent.
Trust: Delanie Walker (a few bad drops kept from posting another TE1 week last week, but he has 30.8 percent of the Tennessee receiving yardage over the past seven weeks and the 49ers have allowed six TE1 weeks over their past seven games)
Bust: DeMarco Murray / Derrick Henry (after getting smashed by the run nearly all season, the 49ers have allowed just 3.0 yards per carry to opposing backs over their past three games, limiting both Jordan Howard and Lamar Miller the past two weeks to RB60 and RB39 scoring weeks while this Tennessee backfield is slowly making its way to a near even timeshare)
Reasonable Return: Marcus Mariota (he’s been a QB1 in just two of his past 11 games, is dealing with multiple ailments and has left many good matchups on the table that prevent us from thrusting him forward based solely on his opponent, but if you can stomach another one, he gets a 49ers' team that has allowed QB1 weeks in seven of their past nine games, including T.J. Yates and Eli Manning over the past month), Rishard Matthews (he returned last week to a miserable matchup, but San Francisco has been more giving to lead receivers, allowing 100-yards or a touchdown to three of the past four lead wideouts they’ve faced), Jimmy Garoppolo (he’s passed for 293 and 334 yards while Tennessee is 21st in yardage allowed per game to quarterbacks, but the touchdowns are still a hurdle in making him more than a fantasy QB2 as he’s been the QB24 and QB16 in those games and Tennessee has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in just three of their past nine games), Carlos Hyde (a rare time we get him as a home favorite, he found the end zone last week, which made up for his lack of receiving work, but that lack of receiving output makes his floor dangerously low if it continues and he fails to score), Marquise Goodwin (the Titans have been good versus speed receivers and limiting splash plays, allowing the third fewest receptions of 20 or more yards, but Goodwin has been the WR13 and WR19 with Garoppolo under center and is getting jammed with targets that aren’t dependent on hitting long gains)
Patriots @ Steelers
|38.0%||3||Opp. Rush %||40.4%||8|
|62.0%||30||Opp. Pass %||59.6%||25|
- The Steelers lead the league in red zone opportunities per game at home (4.5).
- The Patriots are second the league in red zone opportunities per game on the road (4.3).
- The Steelers have thrown the ball on 71.2 percent of their offensive plays over their past four games (highest rate in the league) after throwing 53.8 percent of the time through nine games (24th).
- Over that span, Ben Roethlisberger has been the QB2, QB1, QB10, QB1.
- During that time, Antonio Brown leads the league in receptions (40) while Le’Veon Bell is third (35).
- Antonio Brown leads the league in receptions on 10 or more yards (62), 20 or more yards (27), 30 or more yards (13) and is tied for the league lead in receptions of 40 or more yards (seven).
- Pittsburgh is allowing 285.6 passing yards per game to opposing passers over their past six games (30th) after allowing 172.3 per game prior (first).
- 39.7 percent of the receiving yardage allowed by the Steelers has come on throws 15 yards or further downfield, the highest rate in the league.
- 73.8 percent of Brandin Cooks' receiving yardage has come on throws that far downfield, the highest rate in the league.
- Rob Gronkowski has scored eight touchdowns in five career games versus Pittsburgh while averaging 99.2 receiving yards per game.
Trust: Le’Veon Bell (the Patriots are allowing league-high 4.95 YPC to opposing backfields and 13.7 receiving points per game to them as well, the most in the league), Antonio Brown (he’s on an insane hot stretch right now as Pittsburgh has leaned into throwing the ball a ton and he’s given Malcolm Butler fits in the past, having seven or more receptions in each of the past three times these teams have played with over 100-yards receiving in two of those games), Ben Roethlisberger (being at home and the weakened state of the Steller defense have allowed Ben to start throwing it all will as he has 40 or more pass attempts in each of the past four games. The Patriots have been allowing just 213.7 passing yards per game to quarterbacks over the past seven games, but they haven’t faced a passer as hot as Roethlisberger over that run and Ben has thrown for over 300 yards in each of his past two games versus New England), Rob Gronkowski (he’s torched Pittsburgh repeatedly over his career and now gets them without Ryan Shazier, their best coverage linebacker), Tom Brady (these teams have played three times over the past two and half years and Brady has thrown nine touchdowns to zero interceptions in those games while the Steelers have lost their way as a pass defense over the past six weeks as injuries have caught up to them), Brandin Cooks (he’s had two down weeks, but where he wins is where the Steelers have become most vulnerable as a pass defense and although Joe Haden may return, we’re not turning away from Cooks versus a corner returning from a broken leg)
Bust: Martavis Bryant (he’s been higher than WR42 twice all season and Butler matches up with Brown, Bryant will have to contend with Stephon Gilmore, who has been the better of the two), Danny Amendola (as mentioned last week, all his usable games have come with Gronk out of the lineup or held in check, something we’re not stocking up on here), James White (he played 35 snaps last week, his most since Week 5, but still managed just three touches and 11 total yards)
Reasonable Return: JuJu Smith-Schuster (with the Steelers throwing so much and likely needing points here, he’s a solid WR3 option and has the best individual draw of the entire receiving group on the interior should more targets find him), Chris Hogan (he played fully last week and is second on the team in red zone targets, which is enough to go back to him against a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed 10 top-30 wide receivers over their past six games) , Dion Lewis/ Rex Burkhead (just keep using each in your flex spots as even in a game that saw them only get 10 combined rushing attempts last week, each was a top-25 scorer), Jesse James (while you can't bank on another 12 target game, he's on the streaming block in a week where the tight end position is razor thin as the Patriots are 25th in receptions allowed to the tight end position)
Cowboys @ Raiders
|40.0%||6||Opp. Rush %||43.6%||22|
|60.0%||27||Opp. Pass %||56.4%||11|
- The Raiders average 3.3 touchdowns on offense per game at home, second in the league.
- Dallas averages 3.2 offensive touchdowns per game on the road, the most in the league.
- Opponents have scored on 42.3 percent of their drives versus Oakland, the highest rate in the league.
- The Raiders are second in the league in touchdown rate per red zone possession (66.7 percent), but rank 30th in red zone possessions per game (2.1).
- Both Oakland and Dallas are tied in allowing 1.51 passing points per drive to opposing passers, the most in the league.
- Derek Carr has finished higher than QB15 just once over his past 10 games and QB20 or lower in six of those games.
- Marshawn Lynch ranks 13th in first half rushing yards (396) while ranking 34th in second half rushing yards (223) on the season.
- 32.6 percent of Lynch's fantasy scoring has come from touchdowns, the highest dependency for all top-30 scoring running backs on the season.
Trust: Dak Prescott (he got his mojo back as he set career highs for passing yards and yards per attempt last week and has multiple touchdown passes in back to back games while the Raiders are 27th in passing points allowed per game), Michael Crabtree (he had a season high 13 targets last week with Amari Cooper sidelined and Cooper can’t be counted on after reaggravating his ankle while Dallas is 29th in receptions allowed to opposing wideouts and is allowing the highest touchdown rate per target to wide receivers)
Bust: Rod Smith (he’s living dangerously in one sector of the game as 45 of his 62.5 points scored with Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended have come in the fourth quarter, something that is flimsy for holding water), Jared Cook (30 percent of his scoring has now come in his two games versus Kansas City, but he’s hit double-digit scoring just three times in 11 other games and his target share remained the same as always, a week ago)
Reasonable Return: Dez Bryant (even though the raw counting stats for receptions and yardage are still lagging, he’s gotten to double digits in scoring in four of his past six games while Oakland is 29th in points allowed per target to opposing wide receivers), Alfred Morris (he’s had 27 and 22 touches the past two weeks while Oakland is 21st in rushing yardage allowed per game, but Morris still needs specific script to reach his ceiling), Jason Witten (he has exactly one reception in four of his past six games, but is still in play as a low ceiling option against a defense that is 30th in receptions allowed per game to tight ends), Marshawn Lynch (he’s scored a touchdown in four of his past five games and is averaging 4.7 YPC over that span, but still needs the game script to keep him involved in getting touches), Derek Carr (he’s thrown multiple touchdowns just twice over his past 10 games, but Dallas is 27th in passing touchdowns allowed per game and 28th in passing points allowed per game)
Falcons @ Buccaneers
|40.2%||7||Opp. Rush %||42.1%||15|
|59.8%||26||Opp. Pass %||57.9%||18|
- In 10 career games versus the Buccaneers, Julio Jones has 80 catches for 1,363 yards and 10 touchdowns. He averages 25.2 fantasy points per game with at least 16.6 points in 10 of those 11 games.
- The Buccaneers have allowed 144.3 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry over the 18 career games that Gerald McCoy has missed as opposed to 110.8 yards and 4.1 YPC with him active.
- Mike Evans hasn't reached 100-yards receiving in 17 straight games, the longest draught of his career.
- Tampa Bay has rushed for 165 and 133 yards over the past two weeks after averaging 79.8 rushing yards per game over their previous eight games.
- Peyton Barber has 22 runs of five or more yards on just 65 carries. Doug Martin has 28 such runs on 128 attempts this season.
- The average length of passing touchdown allowed by Atlanta is 12.7 yards, the lowest rate in the league.
Trust: Julio Jones (while we can’t count on another 50-point game from him in this spot, it’s still one that he’s continuously crushed), Devonta Freeman (he’ll be lined up for a larger day if Tevin Coleman can’t clear the concussion protocol against a Tampa Bay team that has ravaged on the ground without Gerald McCoy over his career and one that was sketchy at best with him in the lineup to begin with during this season), Matt Ryan (Ryan hasn’t shown a high ceiling to cruise along as a QB1 as he’s yet to finish higher than QB10 on the season, but he’s thrown for 300-yards in three straight games versus Tampa Bay and the Bucs are 31st in yardage allowed to passers while missing multiple key defenders for this game)
Bust: Doug Martin (the Bucs handed him his job back last week and once again he was outplayed by Barber, who should get more work after his play the past three weeks and Martin fumbling in a crucial spot last week), Peyton Barber (if we knew Tampa Bay was going to commit to him, he’d be an RB2/flex option, but we’re flying blind only with the knowledge that he’s the better option at this stage), DeSean Jackson (he’s averaging a career-low 13.4 yards per reception and 50.5 yards per game while Atlanta is allowing the fewest yards per completion and lowest rate of 20-yard completions in the league), Cameron Brate (he’s always a threat to score with Winston under center, but he has just seven catches over his past six games as Tampa Bay has clearly tried to give more opportunity to Howard down the final stretch of the season)
Reasonable Return: Mohamed Sanu (he’s had a steady floor and outscored Jones in three of the past four games while he had a season-high eight receptions when these teams last played two weeks ago), Mike Evans (he’s had a rough second half of the season, but matched a season high in targets when these teams last played and has six catches or a touchdown in five of the past six times he’s faced Atlanta), Jameis Winston (Atlanta has allowed 17 or more points to six of the past eight quarterbacks they’ve faced with 16 or more passing points to five of those passers), O.J. Howard (he is running 23.7 routes per game over the past three weeks as opposed to 15.6 per game through 10 weeks per Pro Football Focus and has 50 or more receiving yards in three of those games)
Trust = Player to outperform baseline expectations
Bust = Player to underperform baseline expectations
Reasonable Return = Baseline Play that won't hurt you
**All Vegas Lines are taken from Yahoo listings on Tuesday Evenings