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Matchups

Silva's Week 14 Matchups

Updated On: December 9, 2018, 1:10 am ET

1:00 PM ET Games

NY Jets @ Buffalo
Team Totals: 20.5, Jets 17.5

Wildly erratic but a dynamic dual threat with field-flipping big-play chops, Josh Allen’s back-to-back top-five fantasy finishes went largely unnoticed but were colossal Weeks 12-13 difference makers for those courageous enough to start him. Beginning with most recent, Allen’s weekly scores in games played start to finish are QB2 (@ MIA) - QB4 (vs. JAX) - QB28 (vs. TEN) – QB30 (@ GB) – QB5 (@ MIN) – QB26 (LAC), perfectly depicting Allen’s boom-bust on-field play. The Jets’ defense poses a plus draw as a man-coverage and blitz-heavy team against which Marcus Mariota ran for 43 yards last week. Jets WLB Darron Lee was hit with a season-ending suspension on Friday, an especially big loss in this matchup because of Lee's 4.47 speed and sideline-to-sideline range. Lee has played 97% of the Jets' defensive snaps. Allen is again a compelling DFS-tournament play. … Allen’s aggressive read-option keeps, goal-line runs, and decisions to scramble over check down cost LeSean McCoy Weeks 12-13 fantasy points. Shady still logged touch counts of 18 and 19 and catches a tempting Week 14 matchup with the Lee-less Jets, who got lit up for 192/948/7 (4.94 YPC) rushing by running backs in Weeks 5-13. Shady personally pummeled Gang Green for 118 yards and two TDs in Week 10. With Allen likely to attract more defensive attention after rushing for 99 and 135 yards over the last two weeks, McCoy is an underrated RB2 play as a home-favorite feature back with 20-plus-touch upside.

 

 

Allen’s 2018 target distribution: Zay Jones 34; Kelvin Benjamin 29; Charles Clay 22; McCoy 20; Robert Foster 16. … Benjamin and Andre Holmes’ releases this week free up over seven targets per game. … Jones’ Week 12 goose egg versus Jacksonville was a reminder of his nonexistent floor, but the sophomore wideout is developing Allen chemistry with three TDs in the last three weeks and two games above 65 yards. Jones runs over half of his routes in the slot, where Gang Green has been set on fire by Dede Westbrook (9/130/0), Adam Thielen (9/110/1), Jarvis Landry (8/103/0), Zay himself (8/93/1), Julian Edelman (4/84/1), Golden Tate (7/79/1), Emmanuel Sanders (9/72/0), Chester Rogers (4/55/1), and Anthony Miller (3/37/1). … Foster is a fun theoretical talent with 4.41 speed, but his target counts are 3 – 4 – 4 over the last three weeks. Ultimately, this passing attack remains a high-risk investment with dual-threat Allen averaging just 14.2 completions in his six full games.


Sam Darnold’s (foot) return does nothing to instill Jets offensive confidence, particularly considering its tough Week 14 draw. Gang Green’s wayward pass protection is likely to get pulverized by Buffalo’s top-four QB hit rate (18.2%) and top-ten sack percentage (7.5%), while Darnold committed eight turnovers in three starts before his four-week breather. Coach Todd Bowles admitted Darnold looked “rusty” in practice leading into Week 13, so the Jets held him out for another game. Buffalo’s D/ST deserves to be popular and is viable in DFS stacks with Allen and/or McCoy.

Score Prediction: Bills 24, Jets 13

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Carolina @ Cleveland
Team Totals: Panthers 24.5, Browns 22.5

Baker Mayfield turned in the worst half of his nine-start career in last week’s 29-13 loss with three INTs in the first two quarters, including Texans ILB Zach Cunningham’s pick six. The rookie resiliently led two and nearly three second-half touchdown drives despite little help. Error-prone Antonio Callaway lost a goal-line fumble following a 71-yard Baker bomb, and LT Greg Robinson’s holding flag negated a would-be 76-yard TD earlier on the drive. Throwing for 397 yards at 9.2 yards per attempt, Mayfield still logged top-13 fantasy results for the fifth time in his last six starts. Back home facing a Panthers Defense in such turmoil that Ron Rivera stripped DC Eric Washington of play-calling duties and fired two assistants, this is a prime rebound spot. Carolina has coughed up multiple touchdown passes in 10 of its last 11 games. Mayfield is an upside QB1 with DFS appeal. … Nick Chubb was victimized by Mayfield’s mistakes that put the Browns in negative script, but a deeper dive reveals some promising signs. Chubb drew three targets for the fourth time in his last five games, hit pay dirt from two yards out in the third quarter, and out-touched Duke Johnson 12 to 2. Carolina’s run defense tightened up to hold Seahawks and Bucs backs to 120 yards on 44 carries (2.73 YPC) in the last two weeks, but Rivera’s unit has still yielded a rushing touchdown to a running back in four straight games. Drawing an unimposing matchup in a winnable game at home, Chubb warrants fringe RB1 treatment. Johnson is no longer playable with touch counts of 3 and 2 in the last two weeks.

Mayfield’s target distribution with Freddie Kitchens as OC: Jarvis Landry 26; Duke and Antonio Callaway 18; David Njoku 17; Rashard Higgins 12; Breshad Perriman 11; Chubb 10. … Albeit with much of it in garbage time, Landry got off the schneid for a productive Week 13 (6/103/0), busting his slump on a team-high nine targets. Landry can stay hot versus Carolina, which has yielded at- or above-expectation stat lines to fellow slot WRs Tyler Boyd (6/132/1), Tyler Lockett (5/107/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (3/90/1), Adam Humphries twice (8/82/2, 7/61/1), Sterling Shepard (4/75/0), Cole Beasley (7/73/0), and Bruce Ellington (6/52/0). … Drew Brees is Mayfield’s most-common skill-set comparison. They also share a tendency to keep lower-rung ancillary pieces involved, which can prevent individual Browns pass catchers from dominating targets. … Although Njoku’s Week 13 bottom line (3/8/0) severely disappointed, he set four-week highs in routes (32) and snaps (81%) and is worth staying the course with against a Carolina defense permitting the NFL’s third-most fantasy points to tight ends. … Callaway came up just shy of a monster Week 13, losing the aforementioned 76-yard score on Robinson’s hold, drawing a 47-yard DPI flag on Texans CB Kareem Jackson, and fumbling at the one at the end of his 71-yard catch. With 50-plus yards and/or a TD in four of his last five games, Callaway remains worthy of WR4/DFS-tournament discussion as a big-play threat facing a Panthers secondary that has allowed the NFL’s third-most touchdown passes (27). … This was Cleveland’s Week 13 routes-run distribution at wide receiver: Landry 35; Callaway 31; Higgins 28; Perriman 22; Damion Ratley 7. Higgins scored from 17 yards out in what amounted to garbage time at Houston.

Cam Newton’s removal for Taylor Heinicke on last week’s game-ending Hail Mary was eyebrow raising after Newton threw a career-high four picks in Carolina’s fourth straight loss. Cam admitted afterwards to experiencing shoulder soreness; Newton had rotator cuff surgery during the 2017 offseason and has struggled with throwing-arm issues on and off ever since. Cam escaped Week 13’s loss to Tampa Bay with 333 all-purpose yards and multiple touchdown passes in an 11th straight game, good for Newton’s seventh top-ten fantasy score in his last eight starts. Nevertheless, his questionable health is at least worth mentioning. Cam’s Week 14 matchup is favorable against a Browns Defense that has supported high fantasy floors by yielding top-15 finishes to five of its last six quarterbacks faced, and is now missing top CB Denzel Ward (concussion) and DT Larry Ogunjobi (biceps). … Running games have trampled the Browns’ defense all year with Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue’s combined 32/157/0 (4.91 YPC) rushing line as the latest evidence, even as Blue lost a late-game touchdown run on LT Julie’n Davenport’s holding penalty. Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL in TDs over the last six weeks (10) and has totaled 100-plus yards in five straight games. Used similarly to LaDainian Tomlinson under ex-Chargers coach Norv Turner, McCaffrey is among fantasy’s highest-floor and highest-ceiling RB1 plays each week.

Cam’s Week 13 target distribution: Curtis Samuel 11; McCaffrey 10; D.J. Moore 8; Ian Thomas 5; Devin Funchess and Jarius Wright 3; Greg Olsen 1; Torrey Smith 0. … With Funchess (back) and Smith (knee) active in last week’s loss to the Bucs, Moore led Carolina’s wideout corps in routes run (46) with Samuel (41) second. Wright (29 routes) and Funchess (22) operated as the Panthers’ Nos. 3 and 4 receivers, respectively. Although Samuel paced the team in targets and receiving (6/88/0), Moore still looks like the best WR3 bet of the group based on passing-game participation with steady target counts of 8 – 9 – 8 over the last three weeks. Samuel has been an explosive but more-volatile producer. … Funchess returned as a rotational red-zone specialist against the Bucs, losing a third-quarter touchdown to a holding call on LT Chris Clark but scoring from ten yards out on the next drive. Until his playing time picks back up, expect Funchess to remain a touchdown-reliant WR4. … Olsen’s plantar fascia tear frees up five targets per game, most of which figure to go to rookie TE Ian Thomas. Thomas managed stat lines of 2/10/0 – 3/20/0 – 3/38/0 when Olsen missed Weeks 2, 3, and 5 and isn’t an exciting streamer.

Score Prediction: Browns 27, Panthers 24

 

 

Atlanta @ Green Bay
Team Totals: Packers 27.5, Falcons 22.5

With Mike McCarthy out after 13 years as Packers coach, Aaron Rodgers should have near-full autonomy with milquetoast OC Joe Philbin donning the interim tag. Green Bay’s offense may be too broken to fix in one week, but this matchup is favorable enough to offer get-right potential for Rodgers, whose disdain for McCarthy was never hidden. Giving up the NFL’s fifth-most points (27.8) and seventh-most yards (394.2) per game, the Falcons are 1-4 on the road with a near-nonexistent pass rush that ranks 28th in sacks (23) and 31st in QB hits (50) while allowing the NFL’s seventh-most touchdown passes (25). Still playing the worst football of his career, Rodgers is a matchup- and narrative-based QB1 amid the coaching change. … McCarthy’s unforgivable going-away present was to turn Green Bay’s running game back into a near-even split between explosive playmaker Aaron Jones and black-hole Jamaal Williams. Jones’ 39 snaps in last week’s embarrassing home loss to Arizona were his fewest since Week 8. Williams logged his most playing time since Week 2 (50%), managing 27 scoreless yards on 11 touches. Albeit hardly a lock, it would be rational to expect Philbin and Rodgers to restore Jones to feature-back usage to give Green Bay its best chance to win. This week’s matchup is ripe for the picking; Atlanta has coughed up 130-plus rushing yards to every opponent during its four-game losing streak, including a massive 104/586/2 (5.63 YPC) rushing line specifically to running backs. Jones is an RB2 with RB1 upside facing a swiss-cheese run defense favored by five at home.

Rodgers’ Week 13 target distribution: Davante Adams 13; Jimmy Graham 11; Marquez Valdes-Scantling 7; Randall Cobb 5; Jones and Williams 4; Jake Kumerow 2; Equanimeous St. Brown 1. … Adams leads the entire NFL in red-zone targets (25) and ranks second in touchdown catches (11), while Atlanta has allowed the league’s fourth-most TDs (17) to his position. Always Rodgers’ best DFS-stack partner by far, Adams hit pay dirt from 13 yards out on a fourth-and-four play in last week’s first half. Adams avoided Patrick Peterson on 9 of his 13 targets. … Graham is a potential beneficiary of Rodgers running the show after Rodgers lobbied for his offseason signing and for Graham to play a bigger role during the year. Graham caught a season-high eight passes and tied his season high for targets last week, running his third-most routes of the year (45). … Back from his three-week hamstring injury against Arizona, Cobb lost Green Bay’s longest completion of the game to a holding flag on RT Jason Spriggs. Cobb still hasn’t topped 40 yards or sniffed the end zone since Week 1. … Valdes-Scantling was Green Bay’s clear-cut No. 3 wideout versus the Cardinals, running 45 routes while St. Brown (8) and Kumerow (4) worked as the Nos. 4 and 5. MVS hasn’t cleared 20 yards since Week 10, however, devolving into a leap-of-faith WR4.

Inherently disadvantaged as a dome team visiting Lambeau in December, the Falcons are sputtering on offense with 19 points or fewer in four straight games amid continued pass-protection breakdowns that become exacerbated on the road. Matt Ryan has taken 20 sacks in five away games versus only 16 in seven games at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Ranked No. 3 in sacks (38) and permitting just 19.0 points per game at home versus 28.8 PPG on the road, Green Bay’s D/ST is back in streamer contention. Ryan is a risky QB1 option; 8-of-12 quarterbacks to face the Packers have finished QB16 or worse. … Forced to place difference-maker DT Mike Daniels (foot) on I.R., Green Bay poses a plus running-game matchup after yielding 173/826/7 (4.77 YPC) rushing to enemy backs in the last seven weeks. Far more concerning than Tevin Coleman’s opponent is his usage and lack of production. Out-touched 8 to 7 by Ito Smith against Baltimore last week, Coleman has averaged an anemic 45.5 total yards per game with one score during Atlanta’s losing streak. Smith’s 45% snap rate in Week 13 was his highest since Week 6.

Ryan’s post-bye target distribution: Julio Jones 52; Calvin Ridley 36; Austin Hooper 32; Mohamed Sanu 27; Coleman 22; Smith 12. … The main detriments to Atlanta’s Week 13 offensive output were running a season-low 45 plays and getting clocked in time of possession 40 to 20 by Baltimore. Hooper (5/44/1) was the lone Falcon to do much of anything. Offenses facing Green Bay run 63.5 plays per game. … Julio was last week’s biggest dud (2/18/0) as Ryan passed for a season-low 131 yards after averaging 351.1 yards over his prior nine starts. Jones still has 100-plus yards in six of his last seven games and is a prime fade-recency-bias DFS play. … The Ravens doubled Julio, using Jimmy Smith in press with safety help over the top and leaving Ridley singled up on Marlon Humphrey. Albeit given only five targets to work with, Ridley didn’t hold up his end of the bargain against his college teammate, finishing below 55 yards for the seventh time in his last nine games. Ridley also lost a fourth-quarter touchdown to a hold on RT Ryan Schraeder. Ridley remains WR3/flex viable at Green Bay, which has allowed the NFL’s seventh-most touchdowns to wide receivers (16) and at- or above-expectation stat lines to fellow perimeter WRs Josh Gordon (5/130/1), Marquise Goodwin (4/126/2), Kenny Golladay (4/98/1), Stefon Diggs (8/77/1), Tyler Lockett (5/71/0), and Josh Reynolds (3/42/2) over its last seven games. … Hooper benefited from Ridley’s negated score, hitting pay dirt plays later from a yard out. Hooper has passed Sanu as Atlanta’s No. 3 passing-game option with 29 targets to Sanu’s 22 over the last month and remains in the low-end TE1 hunt.

Score Prediction: Packers 28, Falcons 21

Baltimore @ Kansas City
Team Totals: Chiefs 29.5, Ravens 22.5

Leading all quarterbacks in fantasy points and passing scores (41), Patrick Mahomes earned matchup-proof QB1 treatment long ago with multiple touchdowns accounted for in 11-of-12 starts in a Chiefs Offense pacing the league in points per game (37.0). In Week 14, Kansas City may have to lean especially heavily on Mahomes’ arm due to its likely lack of run-game success. … Spencer Ware operated as the Chiefs’ Week 13 lead back with 15 touches on 69% of the snaps to Damien Williams’ 7 touches on 27% playing time. Darrel Williams came in for three downs, blocked on all three, and still hasn’t touched the ball this season. Ware warrants RB2 treatment with a 15-17 touch projection favored at home, but his floor is low with touchdown dependency and minimal receiving involvement facing a Ravens front that holds enemy backs to 3.44 yards per carry with just five rushing TDs allowed to the position in 12 games.

 

 

Easily Week 14’s biggest fantasy dud relative to expectations, Tyreek Hill returns home in prime bounce-back position sans Sammy Watkins (foot) with Kansas City’s pass-game reliance potentially elevated by Baltimore’s stout front. Hill busted at Oakland because he dropped a 51-yard touchdown bomb late in the third quarter and barely stepped out at the two-yard line on his 13-yard catch. Hill is an enticing fade-recency-bias tournament play in DFS, where Mahomes-to-Tyreek stacks figure to have minimal ownership in this perceived-bad matchup. … Mahomes missed Chris Conley for a would-be long TD after he beat Raiders CB Daryl Worley cleanly in last week’s third quarter. Conley finished with 3/25/1 receiving and now draws a tougher date with the Ravens, who yield the NFL’s second-fewest yards per game (128.0) to wideouts. Nevertheless, Conley will remain a boom-bust WR3/flex the rest of the year in Watkins' absence. … With SS Tony Jefferson (ankle) still sidelined and ILB C.J. Mosley struggling in coverage, Travis Kelce has the top matchup in Kansas City’s pass-catcher corps. Austin Hooper (5/44/1) was last week’s beneficiary of the Ravens’ leaky middle-field defense. ... Late-week add Kelvin Benjamin is not expected to be active on Sunday and is unlikely to play more than a red-zone specialist role once he gets up to speed.

Lamar Jackson’s first Week 14 concern is Kansas City’s home-field advantage, especially pronounced this year with 17.6 points allowed at Arrowhead versus 33.7 PPG given up on the road. Second is the possibility Joe Flacco (hip) sees snaps, particularly if Jackson struggles early in the game, which he did in the first halves of both Weeks 12 and 13. In last Sunday’s win over Atlanta, Jackson missed John Brown for a wide-open first-half score, then got fumble-sixed by Falcons DE Vic Beasley plays later. Showing limited upside with fantasy finishes of QB12 – QB13 – QB12 in three starts, this is Jackson’s riskiest spot to date. … Although Gus Edwards logged carry totals of 17 – 23 – 21 in Weeks 11-13, he drew zero targets and is at major Week 14 game-script risk with Baltimore installed as seven-point underdogs at Arrowhead. Kenneth Dixon returned from I.R. to siphon nine touches on 21% of last week’s snaps, while Ty Montgomery mixed in for eight touches and led the Ravens in catches (5). Edwards is best viewed as a touchdown-reliant, low-floor flex option with nothing but rushing attempts on which to accrue points. … Baltimore’s run-heavy commitment and Jackson’s developmental-level passing have rendered Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead unplayable in fantasy leagues. Rookie TE Mark Andrews’ box-score results look decent the past two weeks, but his target counts are 1 – 1 – 3 in Jackson’s three starts.

Score Prediction: Chiefs 34, Ravens 17

New England @ Miami
Team Totals: Patriots 27, Dolphins 20

Although three of Ryan Tannehill’s 16 completions in last week’s win over Buffalo happened to go for touchdowns, he finished with 25 attempts or fewer for the fifth time in his last six starts and hasn’t cleared 300 yards since September 25 of 2016, a 17-game stretch. Tannehill is a full-fledged game manager in Adam Gase’s balanced attack. In Tannehill’s lone meeting with Bill Belichick’s defense since 2016, he threw for 100 scoreless yards on 20 attempts and committed two turnovers in a 38-7 blowout loss. … Although Kenyan Drake caught a first-half touchdown and played 55% of Miami’s offensive snaps against the Bills, he split touches right down the middle (9) with Frank Gore and enters Week 14 with ten touches or fewer in four of his last six games. Although featuring Drake against the Patriots would make theoretical sense in the Dolphins’ bid to score as many points as possible, Gase has shown no inclinations of using him that way, and Drake set season lows in snaps (45%) and touches (4) when these clubs met in Week 4. Gore remains scoreless on the ground with multiple catches in just 2-of-12 games.

Tannehill’s 2018 target distribution: Drake 35; Kenny Stills 30; Danny Amendola 21; DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki 13; Gore and Brice Butler 5; Durham Smythe 4; Leonte Carroo 2. … Stills has four TDs in Tannehill’s seven 2018 starts but 40 yards or fewer in five of the seven. Last week, Stills defeated Bills S Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde’s bracket coverage on his second-half end-zone trip. Stills remains a big-play-dependent WR4, while New England is middle of the pack in big-play allowance, ranking 16th in 20-plus-yard completions against (42). Stills’ appeal is enhanced as Week 14’s No. 10 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s predictive Air Yards model. … Apparently past his shoulder sprain, Parker paced Miami in Week 13 targets (7) and receiving (4/43/1) as a full-time member of three-receiver sets with Stills and Butler. Tannehill perfectly threaded a zone-beating throw in the middle of the field on Parker’s score. Based on size, Parker is the likeliest candidate for Stephon Gilmore’s shadow coverage. … Amendola missed Week 13 with a knee injury. He is expected to return for this “revenge” game with questionable health, dipping Butler to No. 4 duties. … Struggling rookie Gesicki has fallen behind Nick O’Leary.

Tom Brady visits Miami as one of fantasy’s biggest disappointments, managing top-12 scores in just 4-of-12 starts but finally surrounded by full weaponry. The Dolphins have supported high fantasy floors by yielding top-15 results to six of their last seven quarterbacks faced while ranking 29th in sacks (20) and 31st in QB hits (50). Miami is also without top CB Xavien Howard (knee). Brady remains best approached as a high-floor, low-ceiling QB1 based on to-date production. … Although Rex Burkhead siphoned nine touches on 17 snaps in his Week 13 return, Sony Michel remained New England’s lead back with 18 touches and a stranglehold on goal-line work. This matchup favors Michel; Miami has yielded 100-plus rushing yards in nine of its last ten games and 4.70 yards per carry to enemy backs on the year. Michel’s passing-game expectation is low, but he is a solid RB2 in this plus draw. Michel trampled the Fins (25/112/1) in these clubs’ Week 4 date. … The Pats went heavy on two-back sets in last week’s win over Minnesota, so James White emerged with 13 touches and led New England in receiving (7/92/0). White creamed Miami for 112 yards and a touchdown on 16 touches in Week 4. The Dolphins allow the NFL's tenth-most receiving yards per game (52.2) to running backs. White also checks in as Week 14’s No. 2 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards model. (No. 1 was Dede Westbrook, who dropped 7/88/1 receiving on Thursday night.)

Brady’s post-bye target distribution: White 14; Julian Edelman 13; Rob Gronkowski 11; Josh Gordon 8; Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson 4; Michel 3; Burkhead and Phillip Dorsett 2. … With 60-plus total yards and/or a touchdown in seven straight games, Edelman is a shoo-in WR3 with WR2 upside facing the Dolphins’ interior coverage, where Zay Jones (4/67/2) ate last week against struggling slot CB Bobby McCain. … Gordon has caught a perfect 8-of-8 targets for 128 yards and a score since New England’s Week 11 bye. This matchup is no pushover against impressive rookie CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, but Howard’s absence helps, and Gordon has earned every-week WR2 treatment with 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown in five of his last six games. … Even as Gronkowski deals with a bad back and loss of athleticism, he is a difficult fade against a zone-based Dolphins Defense that has yielded the NFL’s third-most touchdowns to tight ends (8). Gronk has devolved into a mid-range to low-end TE1, however. In leagues where Jaylen Samuels is tight end eligible, he is a superior Week 14 fantasy play to Gronk.

Score Prediction: Patriots 34, Dolphins 20

New Orleans @ Tampa Bay
Team Totals: Saints 32, Buccaneers 24

Bucs-Saints should be leaned toward in fantasy-lineup decisions with Week 14’s highest total (56) and Jameis Winston coming off back-to-back turnover-free starts, lowering his odds of an in-game benching. Winston’s matchup is tougher than it appears, though; New Orleans has held enemy passers to a 4:6 TD-to-INT ratio while generating 20 sacks and 34 QB hits over its last four games. The Saints allowed 23 points or fewer in eight of their last nine games with the exception of Week 9’s 45-35 shootout win over the Rams. This is a fade-matchup QB1 spot for Jameis, whose last four fantasy scores in games played start to finish are QB6 – QB9 – QB4 – QB1. … Even in a projected track meet, the entirety of Tampa Bay’s running back corps is a Week 14 fade facing the NFL’s premier run defense. Peyton Barber lost a Week 13 fumble and has cleared 70 yards from scrimmage once in the Bucs' last five games.

Jameis’ Weeks 12-13 target distribution: Adam Humphries 15; Mike Evans 14; Cameron Brate and Chris Godwin 10; DeSean Jackson 8; Rodgers 5; Barber 3. … Humphries’ receiving lines are 7/61/1 – 6/54/1 – 4/37/0 – 3/82/0 in Winston’s last four full games. Humphries now catches his team’s softest pass-catcher draw facing Saints slot CB P.J. Williams, whom PFF has charged with a 73% completion rate and six TDs allowed. … Although Marshon Lattimore is always an imposing force, perimeter WRs Evans (7/147/1), Julio Jones twice (11/147/0, 5/96/0), Calvin Ridley twice (7/146/3, 8/93/1), DeSean Jackson (5/146/2), John Brown (7/134/1), Stefon Diggs (10/119/1), Brandin Cooks (6/114/1), Antonio Callaway (3/81/1), Michael Gallup (5/76/0), Amari Cooper (8/75/0), Chris Godwin (3/41/1), and John Ross (2/39/1) all hit or beat expectations against the Saints. Evans is a WR1, and Godwin is a WR3 with WR2 upside with D-Jax (thumb) on the shelf. Godwin ran 38 routes on a season-high 80% playing-time clip with Jackson inactive last week. ... Brate has Tampa Bay’s toughest Week 14 pass-catcher matchup facing a Saints Defense holding tight ends to an NFC-low 35.7 yards per game. He’s purely a touchdown-or-bust play.

The Saints visit Tampa Bay in prime rebound position after last Thursday night’s three-point primetime loss on the road in Dallas. The Bucs return from last Sunday’s upset of Carolina with non-zero playoff aspirations. New Orleans had won five straight games by double-digit points before last week’s blip. Drew Brees has three-plus touchdown passes in four of his last five starts and is among this week’s highest-ceiling QB1 plays with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas as his best DFS-stack partners. Brees’ main reason for Week 14 box-score concern is rainy conditions at Raymond James Stadium, although wind is expected to be light. … Creamed by enemy backs for 114/673/4 (5.90 YPC) rushing in Weeks 9-13, the Bucs hemorrhaged 181 yards from scrimmage to 49ers RBs in Week 12 and 161 yards with a score to Christian McCaffrey last week. Last week’s Thursday night loss to Dallas gave us a reminder the Saints view Alvin Kamara as their clear lead back over Mark Ingram. Kamara out-touched Ingram 19 to 9 and out-snapped him 69% to 40%. Only a fantasy contributor in blowout wins, Ingram is a touchdown-or-bust flex. Kamara is a locked-in RB1 with 126 touches to Ingram’s 94 since New Orleans’ Week 6 bye.

Brees’ post-bye target distribution: Michael Thomas 56; Kamara 33; Tre’Quan Smith 27; Dan Arnold 17; Ingram 15; Ben Watson 14; Keith Kirkwood 13; Josh Hill 8; Austin Carr 6. … In Week 14’s highest-totaled game, this is a prime spot to buy low on Thomas after consecutive sub-50-yard weeks. Tampa Bay has permitted the NFL’s second-most touchdowns to wide receivers (18) and got dusted by Thomas for a franchise-record 16 catches, 180 yards, and a TD when these teams met in Week 1. … Since replacing Ted Ginn (knee, I.R.), Smith has appeared in three home games and four on the road. Smith’s receiving lines at the Superdome are 10/157/1 – 2/23/1 – 3/111/2 versus 0/0 – 0/0 – 3/18/0 – 3/44/0 in away games. Tre’Quan logged season highs in routes (32) and snaps (85%) last week in Dallas but dropped his lone target and has been unplayable away from New Orleans. … Arnold has been the Saints’ most productive tight end lately but hasn’t run more than 11 pass routes in any game and is a weak streamer.

Score Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Saints 24

 

 

NY Giants @ Washington
Team Totals: Giants 21.5, Redskins 18.5

Underdogs in a game totaled at 40 with Mark Sanchez quarterbacking following Alex Smith and Colt McCoy’s year-ending injuries, it’s safe to say we don’t want anything to do with Redskins passing-game members. … The lone exception on the 53-man roster may be Adrian Peterson against a Giants Defense that sent NT Damon Harrison packing before the trade deadline and placed physical run-support SS Landon Collins (shoulder) on I.R. this week. New York has been rocked for 115-plus rushing yards in five straight games, including a combined 130/643/5 (4.95 YPC) rushing line by running backs specifically. Concerns remain regarding injury-ruined line play and Chris Thompson’s return to siphon virtually all passing-game work. Game script may not set up as poorly, however, after Odell Beckham (quad) was ruled out on Saturday, robbing the Giants of their best quarterback.

Although coach Pat Shurmur insists it won’t happen before New York is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, Eli Manning is drawing dangerously close to an in-game benching. The Giants promoted rookie Kyle Lauletta onto their game-day 46 last week, and Manning proceeded to spend the afternoon looking like the worst player on the field. The Giants once again resorted to Beckham throwing touchdown passes. (He now has two TD passes of 40-plus yards this season. Manning has none.) With fantasy results of QB20 or worse in 7-of-12 starts, Eli is a poor two-quarterback-league play. Since Beckham entered the league in 2014, Eli has averaged 49.2 fewer yards per game, a full yard less per attempt, and a whopping 5.1 fewer fantasy points in OBJ's missed games. … This matchup plays perfectly into Saquon Barkley’s hands, especially with Beckham's 10.3 targets per game freed up for rest-of-team distribution. The Giants are in the rare position of being favored, while Washington surrenders the NFL’s tenth-most running back catches per game (6.1) and got burned for 124/610/2 (4.92 YPC) rushing by enemy backs in the last five weeks. Barkley remains on track to be a top-three season-long fantasy pick alongside Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott next year.

Eli’s Weeks 7-13 target distribution: Odell Beckham 55; Barkley 40; Sterling Shepard 31; Evan Engram 20; Rhett Ellison 17; Bennie Fowler 15. … Josh Norman's shadow coverage will likely go to waste on some combination of Fowler and Corey Coleman on outside routes. Norman covers the perimeter on 97% of snaps. … Held below 40 yards in five straight games, Shepard injured his ribs in last week’s first half, returned in the third quarter still clearly in pain, and couldn’t extend for a potential 26-yard touchdown catch in overtime. Shepard averaged a team-high 8.6 targets in Beckham's 12 missed games last year, however, and his significantly elevated volume expectation boosts Shepard to an upside WR3. Shepard runs 67% of his routes inside and should see very little of Norman. … Engram (hamstring) is ticketed for Week 14 return, but he fell into a timeshare with blocking TE Ellison before missing the past two games. ESPN Giants reporter Jordan Raanan recently suggested Engram is playing his final season in New York. Just one tight end (Zach Ertz, 9/83/0) has reached 60 yards against the Skins this year. At this point, Engram is no sure bet to out-target Ellison despite OBJ's absence.

Score Prediction: Giants 20, Redskins 17

Indianapolis @ Houston
Team Totals: Texans 27.5, Colts 22.5

Although Deshaun Watson didn’t light up the box score in last week’s smooth-sailing 29-13 win over Cleveland, it was promising to see Watson drop back to pass 35 times after the Texans held him to 28 dropbacks or fewer in each of Watson’s previous five starts. Watson also has 100 combined rushing yards in the last two weeks. On a whopping nine-game win streak, Watson catches the Colts in Week 14’s fifth-highest-totaled game (50) indoors at Reliant Stadium in what should be a clean pocket. Indy's defense has just 13 sacks over its last eight games, ranks bottom eight in QB hit rate (14.3%), and is surrendering an AFC-high 72.0% completion rate to enemy passers. … Lamar Miller’s matchup isn’t a cupcake against a Darius Leonard-keyed Colts front that stymied enemy backs for 92/291/2 (3.16 YPC) rushing in the last month. Alfred Blue’s siphoning of 13-plus touches in four of the last five weeks is at least mildly concerning combined with D'Onta Foreman's (Achilles') return from PUP. Nevertheless, Miller has earned every-week RB2 treatment by averaging 111.7 total yards over his last six games on a decidedly run-first team. His Week 14 outlook is enhanced as a five-point home favorite. The Texans would be smart to increase Miller’s receiving role against a zone-heavy Colts Defense willing to permit catches underneath. Only Atlanta (7.8) allows more per-game running back receptions than Indy (7.6).

 

 

Watson’s Weeks 11-13 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 24; Demaryius Thomas and Keke Coutee 11; Miller 7; Jordan Thomas 6; Ryan Griffin 5; Jordan Akins 4. … As Watson’s Week 13 pass attempts rose, Hopkins capitalized to draw double-digit targets (12) for just the second time in his last seven games. With in-season trade acquisition Demaryius still posing minimal volume competition, this game’s shootout potential keeps Hopkins in the WR1 crosshairs. … Indianapolis does not offer a plus matchup for wide receivers, yielding the NFL’s third-fewest yards per game (132.5) to the position and limiting big plays in DC Matt Eberflus’ Tampa-2 zone with the league’s seventh-fewest 20-plus-yard completions (32) surrendered. Demaryius’ weekly target counts since coming from Denver are 3 – 1 – 5 – 5, rendering him a touchdown-or-bust WR4. … Coutee aggravated his longstanding hamstring injury in Week 12 and did not play last week. Coutee won’t be a fantasy option until he reproves his health. … A hulking red-zone presence, Thomas (6’6/265) has four touchdown catches in the last five weeks. He’s averaging 2.2 targets during that stretch, however, and has cleared 35 yards in just 1-of-12 games. In last week’s win over the Browns, Griffin led Texans tight ends with 31 routes run. Thomas ran 16 and Akins ran 11.

Jacksonville’s defense arose from the dead in last week’s 6-0 shutout of the Colts, harassing Andrew Luck relentlessly with nine hits and three sacks, and immediately tackling Indy’s pass catchers whenever they got the ball. Luck draws another tough matchup at Houston, which has permitted a 15.9-point average over its last eight games. The best offense the Texans faced during that span was Cleveland’s, however, and Baker Mayfield still threw for 397 yards at 9.2 yards per attempt one game after Marcus Mariota dropped Week 12’s QB8 fantasy finish on Houston. This game’s indoor setting and shootout potential keep Luck every bit playable as a QB1 and DFS start. As we’ll get to in a minute, Luck’s top pass catchers also experience enticing individual Week 14 draws. … Marlon Mack is a high-risk flex play as a road underdog facing Houston’s shutdown run defense, which has held enemy backs to 3.45 yards per carry and just six rushing TDs in 12 games. Although they never trailed by more than six points in last week’s loss to the Jags, the Colts abandoned Mack for nine touches on 38% of the snaps, his lowest playing time since Week 6. Receiving specialist Nyheim Hines (59%) benefited to log 13 touches and catch nine balls. As the Texans permit the NFL’s sixth-most running back receptions per game (6.2), Hines has reentered PPR-flex discussion averaging nine touches in four games since the Colts’ Week 9 bye.

Luck’s Week 13 target distribution: Eric Ebron 16; T.Y. Hilton 13; Hines 9; Dontrelle Inman 6; Ryan Grant 2; Mack, Zach Pascal, Jordan Wilkins, and Erik Swoope 1. … Injuries have narrowed Indianapolis’ target distribution, making this pass-catcher corps easier to predict. … Ebron was a ten-catch ballhog in the Colts’ first post-Jack Doyle (kidney, I.R.) game and is a cinch top-three TE1 at Houston. Enemy tight ends have efficiently caught 65-of-83 targets (78.3%) for 769 yards (9.3 YPA) and six TDs against the Texans. … Even as Jalen Ramsey won last week’s on-field battle, Hilton emerged with eight catches for 77 yards and has cleared 75 yards and/or scored a touchdown in 8-of-10 games this year. On the outside, Hilton’s speed and quickness will be too much for Texans 34-year-old LCB Johnathan Joseph and 31-year-old journeyman RCB Shareece Wright to handle. Although Hilton is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury, he returned to practice Friday and beat writers expect him to play. … With Inman (shoulder) shelved, Chester Rogers will operate as the Colts' main slot receiver and Grant as the No. 3.

Score Prediction: Colts 27, Texans 24

4:05 PM ET Games

Cincinnati @ LA Chargers
Team Totals: Chargers 31, Bengals 17

The Chargers should make quick work of a Jeff Driskel-quarterbacked Bengals team that lost A.J. Green (foot) to I.R. in addition to six of its last seven games. This gives both Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson flex appeal in a game the Bolts project for elevated rushing attempts as two-touchdown home favorites. Ekeler was the Chargers’ clear-lead back in last Sunday night’s upset of Pittsburgh, logging 18 touches on 78% of the snaps. Jackson’s hand was much hotter, though, parlaying his nine touches into 82 yards and a score. In the last month, Marvin Lewis’ defense got waxed for 125/669/7 (5.35 YPC) rushing by enemy backs and has given up a league-high 19 TDs to running backs this year. Cincinnati also surrenders the NFL’s eighth-most receiving yards per game to the position (53.1), giving Ekeler ample bounce-back potential even after he disappointed against a much-stouter Steelers Defense. I would play Jackson over Ekeler in non-PPR leagues and Ekeler in full PPR. … Philip Rivers’ lone risk is the real possibility he simply doesn’t have to do much to get this win. His matchup is gorgeous; the Bengals give quarterbacks clean pockets with bottom-eight clips in sack rate (5.7%) and hit rate (14.3%) and have permitted the NFL’s fourth-most touchdown passes (26). Ultimately, the best bet is on L.A. imposing its will on Cincinnati’s barely-there defense with Rivers at the early-game forefront before Ekeler and Jackson put the Bengals away.

Rivers’ post-bye target distribution: Keenan Allen 57; Ekeler 23; Gordon 18; Tyrell Williams 17; Mike Williams 13; Antonio Gates 12; Virgil Green 11; Travis Benjamin 9. … Allen has a touchdown and/or 100-plus yards in five straight games, while Cincinnati’s secondary yields the NFL’s eighth-most yards per game (175.6) to wide receivers. … Mike and Tyrell are touchdown-or-bust WR4s every week on low volume. Mike has four targets or fewer in nine straight games. Tyrell hasn’t cleared 50 yards since the Chargers’ Week 7 win over the Titans in London. … Gates’ involvement continued its quiet-upward trend in last Sunday night’s loss to Pittsburgh, running his most routes (20) since Week 1. Unfortunately, Gates finished without a catch and hasn’t been useful in fantasy all season.

The Chargers are among Week 14’s top D/ST plays as massive home favorites against erratic Jeff Driskel, who took four sacks and committed two turnovers in last week’s 24-10 beatdown by the Broncos. A.J. Green’s season-ending foot injury cements Driskel as a quarterback to attack with opposing defenses. … Although Joe Mixon’s matchup is unimposing versus a Bolts defense that has been throttled by interior losses of DT Corey Liuget (knee), NT Brandon Mebane (personal), MLB Denzel Perryman (knee/hamstring), and WLB Kyzir White (knee) to I.R., this is a worrisome spot based on the lopsided spread and likelihood the game gets out of hand. It especially doesn’t help that Mixon’s receiving usage has been so inconsistent; Giovani Bernard ran 21 routes to Mixon’s 19 and out-targeted him 8 to 2 as the Bengals played from behind in last week’s loss to Denver. Mixon is a risky RB2.

Driskel’s 2018 target distribution: C.J. Uzomah 17; Tyler Boyd 13; Bernard 9; John Ross and Cody Core 8; Auden Tate 7; Mixon 6. … Driskel and Uzomah’s second-team connection carried over into Driskel’s first start with seven targets and five catches, putting Uzomah on the back end of streamer consideration based on volume. Uzomah also popped as Week 14’s No. 6 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards model. The Bolts do not pose a plus tight end matchup, however, holding the position to the league’s eighth-fewest yards per game (41.4) with strong safety play. … Boyd was the lone Bengal to clear 35 receiving yards in Driskel’s first start. Green’s loss does not help Boyd from an on-field matchup standpoint, but Boyd’s volume upside remains tough to resist with eight-plus targets in four of his last five games. Although Desmond King has emerged as one of the NFL’s premier playmaking and tackling slot defenders, PFF has charged King with 48 completions allowed when targeted, sixth most among NFL cornerbacks. Boyd ran 89% of his Week 13 routes in the slot. … Ross has cleared 40 receiving yards in one game all year and is the Bengals’ likeliest candidate to draw Casey Hayward’s shadow coverage.

Score Prediction: Chargers 34, Bengals 13

Denver @ San Francisco
Team Totals: Broncos 24.5, 49ers 21.5

Nearly benched as admitted by coach Kyle Shanahan before last week’s game, Nick Mullens did enough in garbage time of San Francisco’s 43-16 blowout loss to Seattle to stay under center for another week. Making it through four quarters is still no guarantee against a hot Denver pass rush that ranks No. 4 in sacks (37) and No. 6 in QB hits (78), while Mullens has taken seven sacks over his last two starts behind a Niners line that run blocks much better than it pass protects. Mullens is a low-floor two-quarterback-league option in this projected low-scoring affair. … With Matt Breida finally ruled out, UDFA rookie Jeff Wilson is San Francisco’s likeliest Week 14 lead runner over Alfred Morris after out-touching (23) and out-snapping (71%) Breida (8, 13%) handily once Breida aggravated his multi-month high ankle sprain in pre-game warmups against Seattle. At 6-foot, 208 with 4.57 wheels, Wilson caught 53 passes over his final two seasons at North Texas and has secured 9-of-10 targets through two NFL games, showing plus versatility to go with workable size and speed. The Broncos do not pose a walkover matchup, however, limiting enemy backs to 117/415/0 (3.55) YPC) rushing over their last six games and allowing the NFL’s ninth-fewest running back catches per game (5.0) this year. Wilson is a volume-based RB2/flex play.

Building on his Week 12 breakout (4/77/1) in Tampa Bay, Dante Pettis was the biggest reason for Mullens’ garbage-time assault of Seattle with 5/129/2 receiving, including a monstrous fourth-quarter run-after-catch score from 75 yards out. Marquise Goodwin’s (personal) return from a two-game absence means he and Pettis will bookend each other at outside receiver with Pierre Garcon (knee) on the shelf. With Wilson, George Kittle, and Kendrick Bourne also commanding looks, however, the 49ers’ target distribution is among Week 14’s toughest to project. Pettis and Goodwin are high-variance WR3/flex options in a plus matchup with a Denver cornerback corps that was vulnerable even before star slot CB Chris Harris fractured his fibula. … Kittle has the most-secure role in San Francisco’s pass-catcher corps facing a Denver defense yielding the NFL’s fifth-most yards per game to tight ends (63.9). Kittle is a top-five TE1 play behind Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and Eric Ebron with Jaylen Samuels (where TE eligible) also in the mix. I would rank Rob Gronkowski No. 6. Kittle’s stat lines in Mullens’ starts are 6/70/0 – 6/48/0 – 9/83/0 – 4/100/1.

Whereas Royce Freeman lost a fumble and managed 48 yards on 12 carries, Phillip Lindsay reasserted himself as Denver’s most-dynamic player in last week’s 24-10 drubbing of Cincinnati, erupting for a season-high 159 yards with two scores on 20 touches, his second most all year. Afterwards, coach Vance Joseph conceded Lindsay deserves even more work going forward. San Francisco has contained run-game efficiency for most of the year but served up 24/144/1 (6.00 YPC) rushing to Seahawks backs last week. Lindsay is a high-end RB2 play with RB1 upside as Denver’s offensive centerpiece. … Although the 49ers pose a plus quarterback matchup each week, the Broncos’ run-heavy commitment combined with Emmanuel Sanders’ (Achilles’) devastating loss keep Case Keenum out of QB1 streamer contention. Keenum has been reduced to a game manager without a 300-yard game since Week 6.

Sanders’ injury removes team highs in targets (7.8) and Air Yards (73.5) per game from Denver’s offense, creating opportunity for everyone else. … The Broncos’ new three-receiver set will position Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton outside with DaeSean Hamilton in Sanders’ old interior role. … Finally flashing late-season chemistry with Keenum, Sutton drew a season-high seven targets and led Denver in Week 13 receiving at Cincinnati, hitting pay dirt from 30 yards out in the second half. Sutton runs 70% of his routes at right and slot corners, notable since 49ers LCB Richard Sherman never moves. Sutton is an upside WR3 play at San Francisco. … Hamilton is a WR4/DFS sleeper in this plus draw. Fellow slot WRs Golden Tate (7/109/0), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (3/103/0), Larry Fitzgerald (8/102/1), Adam Thielen (6/102/0), Robert Woods (5/78/0), Tyler Lockett/Doug Baldwin (3/74/2), and Adam Humphries (6/54/1) have all met or beat expectations against the Niners’ interior coverage. … Matt LaCosse played a season-high 80% of Denver’s Week 13 offensive snaps but went catch-less on one target, victimized by Keenum’s low-volume outing in a game dominated by Lindsay’s rushing attack. LaCosse is best viewed as a touchdown-or-bust punt against the 49ers, who will be without designated TE stopper Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder).

Score Prediction: Broncos 23, 49ers 21

4:25 PM ET Games

Philadelphia @ Dallas
Team Totals: Cowboys 23.5, Eagles 20.5

Winners of four straight with their defense in true shutdown form, the Cowboys will undoubtedly look to control this game on the ground versus an Eagles Defense missing MLB Jordan Hicks (calf) and NT Timmy Jernigan (back). Ezekiel Elliott has faced Philadelphia three times since entering the NFL, logging touches/yardage/TD counts of 25/187/2 – 30/141/0 – 26/148/0. Zeke has 28 catches on 32 targets over the last five weeks, while Philly allows the league’s sixth-most running back receptions per game (6.3). Since the Cowboys’ Week 8 bye, only Christian McCaffrey, James Conner, and Todd Gurley have run more pass routes than Zeke among running backs. … Dual-threat quarterbacks have given Philadelphia the most fits on specific fantasy results of QB3 (Cam Newton), QB7 (Marcus Mariota), QB9 (Dak Prescott), and QB12 (Blake Bortles) to mobile passers. Combined with DC Jim Schwartz’s injury-depleted secondary, this makes Prescott a more intriguing fantasy bet than is typical with a rushing touchdown in five of his last seven games and no environment concerns beneath JerryWorld’s dome. Dak’s outlook is further enhanced by LT Tyron Smith’s (stingers) return from a two-game absence.

Dak’s Weeks 9-13 target distribution: Amari Cooper 40; Elliott 32; Michael Gallup 27; Cole Beasley 17; Geoff Swaim 8; Rod Smith 5; Blake Jarwin 5; Allen Hurns 4. … Averaging eight targets per game since Dallas acquired him from Oakland, Cooper has earned every-week WR2 treatment with 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in four of the last five weeks. Only the Saints allow more yards per game to wide receiver units than Philadelphia (194.1). … Through 12 games as a Cowboy, Gallup has hit pay dirt once and cleared 55 yards twice. With Gallup popping as Week 14’s No. 12 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards model, however, this week’s matchup makes Gallup a more compelling roll of the fantasy dice than usual.

This game’s low total and Dallas’ defensive dominance render Carson Wentz a high-risk start after the Cowboys shut down Drew Brees (QB30) and Matt Ryan (QB19) in two of their last three games with Colt McCoy (QB18) in between. Dallas ranks No. 8 in sack rate (7.7%) and No. 3 in QB hit rate (18.5%) and has allowed the third-fewest touchdown passes in the league (16). … Similarly stingy against the run, the Cowboys have held enemy backs to 3.62 yards per carry and just seven TDs in 12 games, most impressively shutting down the Saints’ vaunted Alvin Kamara-Mark Ingram duo for 18/63/0 rushing last Thursday night. Although Josh Adams has clearly taken control of Philly’s backfield with 22 and 20 carries in the last two weeks, he has zero catches in that span and has drawn more than one target in just one game all year. Adams is a touchdown-reliant low-end RB2 at Dallas.

Wentz’s Weeks 10-13 target distribution: Zach Ertz 37; Golden Tate 27; Alshon Jeffery 21; Nelson Agholor 18; Jordan Matthews and Corey Clement 9; Dallas Goedert 8; Adams 7. … The Eagles’ top Week 14 matchups do happen to go to their top-two pass catchers. Dallas allows the NFL’s 11th-most yards per game to tight ends (60.4) and had no answers for Ertz (14/145/2) in these teams’ Week 10 date. … Tate has drawn steady target counts of 8 – 8 – 7 in Philly’s last three games, finally breaking out for 7/85/1 receiving in last Monday night’s beatdown of Washington. That earned Tate WR3 treatment against the Cowboys, who are much more vulnerable in interior than perimeter pass coverage as Tate showed in Week 4 when he was still with the Lions, tormenting Dallas for a perfect 8/132/2 receiving line on eight targets. … Jeffery’s Week 14 matchup is toughest against big-bodied Dallas outside CBs Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie. Held scoreless and below 50 yards in five straight games, Jeffery has devolved into a touchdown-or-bust WR3 option since Tate’s acquisition. He drew five targets or fewer in four of those five contests. … Agholor’s targets (7 – 2 – 1 – 8) are all over the map since the Tate trade with zero TDs in his last ten games. … Goedert has finished catch-less in three of four games since Dallas’ Week 9 bye.

Score Prediction: Cowboys 24, Eagles 23

 

 

Pittsburgh @ Oakland
Team Totals: Steelers 31, Raiders 20.5

Although Derek Carr turned in his best fantasy performance of 2018 in last week’s 40-33 shootout loss to K.C., continued success is difficult to trust facing a Steelers Defense that held seven of its last eight quarterbacks faced to fantasy scores of QB18 or worse keyed by a rambunctious pass rush that ranks No. 1 in sacks (41) and No. 2 in QB hits (91). As Carr has absorbed three-plus sacks in nine of his last ten starts, Pittsburgh’s D/ST is firmly in play. Last Sunday, the Chiefs allowed 33 points to the Raiders and were still a top-11 D/ST on the week. … With Doug Martin (knee) ailing but expected to play and C.J. Anderson strangely signed off the street, Raiders backs are difficult to trust as Week 14 fantasy starters in a game where they project to chase points and as many as four individual runners could see playing time. Albeit lacking a safe floor with touch counts of 3 and 9 in the last two games, Jalen Richard is most playable against a Steelers Defense that got hit hard by enemy backs for touches/yardage/TD counts of 21/137/3 (Panthers), 45/217/1 (Jaguars), 21/133/1 (Broncos), and 27/125/1 (Chargers) in Weeks 10-13.

Carr’s Week 13 target distribution: Jordy Nelson 11; Jared Cook 8; Seth Roberts 6; Richard and Marcell Ateman 4; Martin 2. … Although Nelson awoke for a season-high ten catches against the Chiefs’ slouch corners in last week’s loss, he now projects to catch Joe Haden, who has allowed a 57.7% completion rate when targeted. Jordy has cleared 50 yards twice all year and hasn’t hit pay dirt since Week 5. … One way Jordy could become legitimately playable is if Roberts sits after suffering his third concussion of the year. Nelson would then likely kick inside, where Pittsburgh guards slot receivers with linebackers in zone coverage and has been rinsed for at- or above-expectation production by Keenan Allen (14/148/1), Jarvis Landry (7/106/0), Emmanuel Sanders (7/86/1), Mohamed Sanu (4/73/1), Tyler Boyd (7/62/2), and Willie Snead (7/58/0, 6/56/0). … Cook’s 36 routes run versus Kansas City were his most since Week 5, and Cook hit pay dirt for the fourth time in his last six games en route to 100 yards. Pittsburgh poses an above-average tight end matchup, allowing the NFL’s 14th-most fantasy points to the position. … Nelson led Oakland’s wideouts in Week 13 routes (36) with Roberts and Ateman (35) tied for second. Ateman scored on a nine-yard fade but finished below 20 yards for the second straight week and is purely an opportunity-based WR4 dart.

Ben Roethlisberger visits The Black Hole with top-12 fantasy results in seven of his last eight starts to face a Raiders Defense that doesn’t rush the passer and hemorrhages big passing plays. Whereas Big Ben ranks No. 8 in the NFL in 20-plus-yard completions (43) and No. 2 in 40-plus-yard gains (13), Oakland has allowed the league’s eighth-most 20-plus-yard pass plays (46) and a league-high 12 40-plus-yard throws. Roethlisberger’s historical road struggles have primarily occurred in 1pm ET games. He should continue to be approached as a high-floor, high-ceiling QB1 play in this plum draw. … Ben’s pass-attempts outlook is enhanced by Pittsburgh’s loss of James Conner (ankle), thrusting ex-NC State WR/TE Jaylen Samuels into lead-back duties. Samuels has run a pass route or pass blocked on 73% of his 2018 offensive plays after graduating college with more career catches (201) than rushing attempts (182). From a skill-set standpoint, Samuels looked more like Trey Burton than a running back on college tape. Stevan Ridley will mix in as a situational runner, but Samuel is fully expected to start. In leagues where he is tight end eligible, Samuels is a top-four play at the position behind only Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and Eric Ebron. As a running back, he is a low-end RB2/flex play with a shot at 9-12 carries and 4-6 receptions.

Big Ben’s post-bye target distribution: Antonio Brown 64; JuJu Smith-Schuster 56; Conner 33; Vance McDonald 31; Ryan Switzer 20; Jesse James 14; James Washington 11; Samuels 9. … Brown leads the league in touchdown catches (12) and faces a Raiders secondary permitting the NFL’s fourth-most TDs to wide receivers (17). Chiefs wideouts nearly scored three more touchdowns at Oakland last week, only for Tyreek Hill to drop one, Patrick Mahomes to miss Chris Conley on another, and Hill to step out at the two-yard line on a would-be third. … Smith-Schuster continued to primarily play outside receiver in last week’s loss to the Chargers, with Switzer in the slot. Switzer’s playing time was limited by a concussion, but he is on track for Week 14 clearance. Either way, JuJu is an upside WR2 who stands to benefit from Pittsburgh’s probable pass-heavier approach in Conner’s absence. Smith-Schuster is already averaging ten targets over his last five games. … The Raiders hosted the Chiefs allowing the NFL’s seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends. After Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris got through with them (15/207/3), Oakland is now giving up the most. McDonald has out-targeted James 28 to 11 over the past five games and ran 33 routes to James’ 17 last week. McDonald is an upside TE1 play in this premium matchup.

Score Prediction: Steelers 34, Raiders 20

Detroit @ Arizona
Team Totals: Lions 21.5, Cardinals 18.5

Lions-Cardinals is a game to fade in lineup decisions with Week 14’s second-lowest total (40). Although Josh Rosen avoided turnovers in last week’s upset at Lambeau Field, he finished as the QB23 or worse for the seventh time in nine starts, still doesn’t have a top-12 fantasy score on the year, and will play the rest of 2018 without top outside weapon Christian Kirk (broken foot). … Although David Johnson was frustratingly vultured twice by Chase Edmonds inside the ten-yard line last week, Johnson out-touched (21) and out-snapped (84%) Edmonds handily (7, 21%) in what’s unlikely to be a sign of things to come. In a winnable game against a Lions team that’s dropped five of its last six and can’t score points, Johnson is a volume-based RB2 play with RB1 upside who will have minimal DFS ownership. Detroit’s defense coughed up seven running back receptions in Week 10, six to Panthers RBs in Week 11, and ten to Bears RBs on Thanksgiving before Todd Gurley ran all over them (23/132/2) last week. … Larry Fitzgerald is Arizona’s lone playable pass catcher left standing with Kirk on I.R., Ricky Seals-Jones continuing to show nothing, and “Trent Sherfield” rounding out the wideout corps. Fitzgerald runs 74% of his routes inside, where Anthony Miller (5/122/1) and Robert Woods (5/67/1) each ate against Detroit’s slot coverage within the last month. Old Man Fitz stands 6’3/225 to bite-sized Lions slot CB Nevin Lawson’s 5’10/190.

 

The Lions’ disgusting offense treks to the desert averaging 16.2 points over its last six games to face an underrated Arizona defense that ranks No. 3 in sacks (38) and No. 7 in QB hits (77) and has given up the NFL’s sixth-fewest touchdown passes (17). In OC Jim Bob Cooter’s slug-paced "attack," Matthew Stafford long ago settled in as a two-QB-only play with one top-12 fantasy score in 12 starts. On a tackle-eligible play, Stafford’s lone Week 13 touchdown literally went to LT Taylor Decker on an 11-yard screen. As Stafford is listed as questionable with a back injury, the Cardinals' D/ST is squarely in Week 14 play. … LeGarrette Blount once again projects as Detroit’s lead back with Kerryon Johnson (knee) still on the shelf after pacing last week’s backfield in touches (16) on a 42% playing-time clip against the Rams. Theo Riddick handled 11 touches on 53% of the downs. Arizona allows the NFL’s fifth-most total yards per game to running backs (168.8) and has coughed up a league-high 15 rushing TDs to the position, giving Blount RB2/flex life in non-PPR leagues. Riddick remains an unexciting PPR flex on a low-scoring team.

Stafford’s Weeks 11-13 target distribution: Kenny Golladay 30; Bruce Ellington 26; Riddick 18; Levine Toilolo 7; Michael Roberts 6; Luke Willson 4; Andy Jones and T.J. Jones 3; Blount and Johnson 2. … Golladay is a bet-on-volume, fade-matchup WR2/3 play averaging 11 targets over his last four games. Sure to be chased by Patrick Peterson on perimeter routes, Golladay does run 29% of his patterns inside. Peterson has guarded the slot on just seven snaps all year. … This game sets up nicely for complementary pass catchers with Peterson on Golladay. Slot man Ellington’s catch totals through three games as a Lion are 6 – 6 – 7, while Cards slot CB Budda Baker’s tape reveals a player clearly battling ongoing knee problems. Ellington is an underrated WR3/flex in PPR leagues.

Score Prediction: Cardinals 24, Lions 20

 

 

Sunday Night Football

LA Rams @ Chicago
Team Totals: Rams 27.5, Bears 24.5

Back from his two-game absence due to a throwing-shoulder injury, Mitchell Trubisky is a boom-bust QB1 option against a Rams pass defense that got pummeled for two and a half months after losing LCB Aqib Talib (ankle) in Week 3. Talib returned on a limited basis in Los Angeles’ Week 13 win over Detroit and is slated to be a near-full-time player at Soldier Field. Talib’s value is immense in DC Wade Phillips’ defense because of his man-coverage skills. Due to the area of his injury and any lingering effects in the unideal Windy City elements, Trubisky can only be viewed as an unknown until we see him in action. … Tarik Cohen is the Bears’ lone trustworthy backfield member with double-digit touches in four straight games and the NFL’s second-most receiving yards among running backs (659), behind only Christian McCaffrey. Even as Jordan Howard injected first-half life into Chicago’s Week 13 rushing attack versus the Giants, the Bears turned away from him in the second half. No. 3 back Taquan Mizzell’s siphoning of eight touches in the last two weeks doesn’t seem like much but is enough to leave a dent in what was already a full-fledged committee. Cohen is a quality RB2/flex play in PPR. Howard is a touchdown-or-bust flex who hasn’t hit pay dirt since Week 9 and has almost no passing-game role to buoy his floor.

Deep, inconsistent, and game-plan based, the Bears’ passing offense is one of fantasy’s least-stable investments. It also must contend with Cohen – who has team highs in targets (22) and catches (19) over the last two weeks – plus Trubisky’s uncertain arm health and Sunday night’s sub-optimal environment. Allen Robinson is the top WR3/flex bet, but his fantasy results are all over the map. Taylor Gabriel has reached pay dirt in 1-of-12 games and lost a back-breaking fumble inside the Bears’ own 20-yard line in last week’s loss to the Giants. It is noteworthy that Gabriel is Week 14’s No. 4 buy-low target in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards model. (Robinson is No. 7.) Rookie slot WR Anthony Miller is a touchdown-reliant WR4 with 50-plus yards in 1-of-11 games. Sophomore TE Adam Shaheen returned from his concussion against the G-Men and caught a red-zone TD, while Trey Burton went catch-less. When trying to pinpoint which Bears pass catchers are going to have big nights, your guess is as good as mine.

A Cal-Berkeley grad born in California who now plays in L.A., Jared Goff has had very few football exposures to sub-freezing temperatures in his entire life. Goff visited Denver for an October 14 game with temperatures in the 20s and had his worst fantasy performance of the season, completing 14-of-28 throws for 201 scoreless yards with a pick and five sacks. Sunday night’s forecast calls for temperatures in the high 20s. As just three of the last 11 quarterbacks to face Chicago logged top-16 fantasy scores, Goff was already catching a tough matchup. Albeit with more-bankable health than Trubisky, Goff should be viewed similarly as a high-variance fantasy bet. And Goff lacks Trubisky’s rushing floor. … Although Chicago has defended running backs stoutly in both the run and pass games all year, Todd Gurley can draw Week 14 optimism from Saquon Barkley’s 146 yards from scrimmage in last week’s Giants win over the Bears after Lions backs poured 206 total yards and two touchdowns on DC Vic Fangio’s defense on Thanksgiving. Gurley runs behind a far-better offensive line than both the Giants and Lions bring to the table and is always a matchup-proof RB1 with elite talent and workloads.

Goff’s target distribution sans Cooper Kupp (ACL): Robert Woods 33; Brandin Cooks 31; Gurley 20; Josh Reynolds 19; Tyler Higbee 13; Gerald Everett 11. … Woods’ stat lines in Kupp’s four missed games are 5/78/0 – 5/70/1 – 4/72/1 – 5/67/1. No Rams pass-catcher matchups stand out as favorable on Sunday night, but Woods has been Goff's most-reliable target all season and runs Los Angeles’ highest-percentage routes in the slot. Last week, Woods beat Lions top CB Darius Slay for his first-half touchdown from eight yards out. … Chicago’s allowance of the NFL’s second-fewest 20-plus-yard completions (30) is the biggest concern for big-play specialist Cooks, whose 13.5-yard Average Depth of Target (aDOT) is highest on the team. A boom-bust WR2, Cooks’ stats with Kupp out are 4/64/1 – 3/74/0 – 8/107/0 – 4/62/0. … Reynolds’ are 2/19/0 – 3/42/2 – 6/80/1 – 1/19/0, putting him in touchdown-or-bust territory. … Higbee and Everett haven’t benefited from Kupp’s injury in an offense that rotates and doesn’t feature its tight ends. No tight end has reached 50 yards against the Bears all year.

Score Prediction: Bears 24, Rams 23

 

 

Monday Night Football

Minnesota @ Seattle
Team Totals: Seahawks 24, Vikings 21

Sending TD-rate truthers into hibernation, Russell Wilson enters Week 14 with touchdown passes on a league- and career-best 8.9% of his attempts to go with top-12 fantasy results in eight straight starts. Wilson is on far too hot a heater to fade in a difficult on-paper matchup softened by RCB Xavier Rhodes’ suspect hamstring health and LCB Trae Waynes’ latest concussion. … Chris Carson maintained clear lead-back duties with 16 touches on 59% of Seattle’s Week 13 offensive snaps, while Rashaad Penny (7, 21%) and Mike Davis (4, 17%) brought up the rear. As the Vikings’ run-defense stoutness is no secret, bets on Carson are made on his stable workload with 16-plus touches in six of his last eight games and Seattle’s home-favorite status, setting up the Seahawks for positive run-first script.

Wilson’s Weeks 4-13 target distribution: Doug Baldwin 48; Tyler Lockett 39; David Moore 37; Davis 27; Nick Vannett 24; Carson 9; Jaron Brown and Ed Dickson 7; Penny 5. … Despite up-and-down results in Seattle’s low-volume passing attack, Baldwin has a team-high 21 targets over the past three weeks with five-plus catches and/or a touchdown in four straight. If Baldwin (hip) can't play -- he is considered a game-time decision -- Lockett would occupy the slot with Brown and Moore outside. … Lockett has been more consistent and dynamic with 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 10-of-12 games in a true breakout season. Last week, the Seahawks got Lockett matched on 49ers LB Malcolm Smith for a 52-yard first-quarter TD. Late in the third, Lockett drew a 40-yard DPI flag on 49ers S Antone Exum. With Rhodes playing at less than full health and Waynes ruled out, the Vikings will start UDFA rookie Holton Hill and shaky slot CB Mackensie Alexander with special teamer Marcus Sherels in a potentially major role. There are no cornerback-wideout matchups to fear here. … Even after destroying Carolina in Seattle’s Week 12 upset win, Moore ran a six-week low 14 routes on a seven-week-low 48% of the Seahawks’ Week 13 snaps and was out-produced by Brown, who scored twice and led Seattle in receiving. An individual named “Malik Turner” has entered the mix. Until Moore’s usage picks back up, Baldwin and Lockett will be Seattle’s only playable wideouts. … Vannett and Dickson continue to rotate in a value-sapping timeshare.

Although playing fantasy quarterbacks in Seattle never feels comfortable, doing so this year has paid off with six straight signal callers logging top-15 fantasy results against the Seahawks, three occurring at CenturyLink Field. Working against Kirk Cousins is Minnesota’s untrustworthy offensive line, Stefon Diggs’ (knee) sub-standard health, and this game’s low-scoring projection. Cousins is more QB2 than QB1 in this spot. … The good news for Dalvin Cook is that Seattle is vulnerable on the ground, yielding a combined 84/491/4 (5.85 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs in Weeks 9-13. The Seahawks have also allowed the NFL’s second-most receiving yards per game to running backs (62.1). The bad news is Vikings rookie OC John DeFilippo has shown minimal commitment to the run, and Cook arrives at The Clink as a road dog with a low floor in desperate need of DeFilippo to feed him in the pass game. He's a low-end RB2. 

Cousins’ post-bye target distribution: Stefon Diggs 35; Adam Thielen 31; Kyle Rudolph 15; Cook 16; Aldrick Robinson 13; Laquon Treadwell 8. … Playing through a swollen knee, Diggs’ Week 13 usage was only slightly below his norms with six targets on 39 routes. He should be confidently started as a WR2 with WR1 upside against the Seahawks, who’ve been carved by fellow perimeter WRs Davante Adams (10/166/0), Dante Pettis (5/129/1), Marvin Jones (7/117/2), Brandin Cooks (10/100), and D.J. Moore (8/91/0) lately. … Thielen is a never-fade commodity with 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 11-of-12 games. As Minnesota’s road-dog status increases its pass-attempts projection, Thielen stands to benefit as the most-targeted player on the team this year with 15 more than Diggs. … Rudolph is a touchdown-or-bust TE2 who doesn’t score anymore and provides no floor or ceiling. Seattle has allowed the NFL’s ninth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.

Score Prediction: Seahawks 24, Vikings 23


Source URL: https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/matchups/silvas-week-14-matchups