Welcome to the Fantasy Football Forecast! My goal with this weekly column is to get you actionable information as quickly as possible, regardless if you’re playing season-long fantasy, DFS, or are grinding player props. If you’re just looking for fantasy football rankings and only have 10 minutes to skim through for your sit/start decisions, then head over to the “Forecast” sections below where I project each player’s PPR finish based on a 12-team league. But if you want to get your research on, then I have full player breakdowns. As always, hit me up on Twitter @HaydenWinks if you have questions. … Expect an update on Saturday.
Teams are listed in order of their Vegas projected team points.
Page 1: MIN, GB, PHI, NE, HOU, ATL, NYJ, TEN, TB, CLE
Page 2: BAL, NO, SEA, PIT, LAC, KC, LAR, CAR, OAK, IND
Page 3: SF, ARI, JAX, MIA, NYG, BUF, DEN, CIN, WAS, DET
TNF: DAL, CHI
Vikings (28.25 projected points, -13 spread) vs. DET
Update: Cook was left off the final injury report after practicing in full on Friday. There’s a risk for a reinjury, but he’ll draw the start and has the potential for 20+ touches in an ideal home matchup. ... Adam Thielen is officially doubtful.
Kirk Cousins has been a mid-range QB2 most weeks, but he has a path to a mini-ceiling against the Lions this week. He’s already hung 337-4 game on Detroit, who is in the bottom 22nd percentile against fantasy quarterbacks. Vegas’ 28.25-point team total further backs up my low-end QB1 projection. … I’m going to rely on news reports this weekend when it comes to Dalvin Cook. If he’s healthy and starting, he’s an upside RB1, but he could be limited or suffer a setback even if he starts. I’d still roll the dice on him in this elite matchup (see the bar charts) as long as the news isn’t too worrisome. The injury does make Alexander Mattison an interesting flex play. He was a bellcow after Cook left last week and offers high-end upside if he gets volume. If Cook is out or significantly limited, Mattison will climb my ranks significantly.
Adam Thielen did not practice Thursday, so it’s all on Stefon Diggs again. Diggs has 7, 4, 6, 5, and 9 targets without Thielen, averaging 4-68-0.2 over that five-game span. If Dalvin Cook is truly limited, Diggs could see an additional target or two, but the real upside is in the matchup. The Lions are 30th in preventing 20+ yard passes, and Diggs had a 7-142-0 line on eight targets against them a few weeks back. Diggs is an upside WR2. … Bisi Johnson and Laquon Treadwell are the other receivers. … But Kyle Rudolph is the true No. 2 target without Thielen. Rudolph has a 3.8-34-1.0 receiving line over his last five games. His low usage keeps his floor low, but only a few tight ends have his touchdown equity this week. Rudolph is a TE1/2.
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Eagles (27.75, -10) vs. NYG
A primary difference between 2017 Carson Wentz and 2019 Carson Wentz is downfield passing. Not having a reliable deep threat has lowered his intermediate and deep passing (graph here), but the Giants struggling on 20+ yard passes leaves the door open for a big Week 14. Wentz also has Alshon back, which fortunately means fewer targets for Nelly. With the Eagles projected for 27.75 points, I’m firing up Wentz as a low-end QB1 with upside. … Jordan Howard hasn’t been cleared for contact yet, so Miles Sanders should continue to handle a “bulk of the carries”. That meant 17 carries and five receptions last week, which is also a decent projection for Monday Night Football. Sanders is a volume-based RB2 in an average matchup.
Alshon Jeffery had the most shocking usage of Week 13. Just look at the chart above. With nobody worth mentioning behind him, Jeffery should see 7+ targets down the stretch as a WR2/3 depending on the matchup. This week, the matchup is amazing. The Giants are 31st against fantasy receivers, making Jeffery a low-end WR2 with touchdown upside. … A blowout win limited Zach Ertz last week, but he’s still leading the position in targets and receptions as an elite TE1. … Dallas Goedert has the third-most targets (21) over the last three weeks among tight ends, but his 3.9-yard average depth of target over that span has kept his ceiling low. With Alshon back and with the Giants in the top 10th percentile against tight ends, Goedert is more of a TE1/2 than low-end TE1 this week.
Packers (27.25, -13) vs. WAS
Aaron Rodgers has been bad against good defenses and great against bad defenses. Washington is the latter. Rodgers is an upside QB1 with Green Bay projected for the second-most points of the week (27.25). Getting Adams healthy has seriously raised his ceiling. … In a similar matchup to this week’s, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams split work against the Giants in Week 13. Jones finished with one more carry (11) and two more targets (2), although Williams out-gained him as a rusher and receiver. Jones is still the higher ceiling play since he’s second in the NFL in inside-the-10 rushing touchdowns (9), but he can only be projected for 9-15 touches right now as a boom-or-bust RB2. … Jamaal Williams is a negative touchdown regression candidate (five receiving TDs on just seven red-zone targets) but can be projected for 7-14 touches as a close 1B behind Jones. The Packers’ 27.25-point team total is big enough to keep Williams in the RB2/3 mix.
Davante Adams has returned to elite WR1 usage and has turned back into the touchdown machine he’s been for years. A home matchup against the Redskins gives him a high ceiling. … Allen Lazard is the best bet behind Adams but that’s not saying much. Lazard has four, six, two, and three targets since Adams’ return, although three of those games have cleared my “10 PPR Expected” threshold. Lazard is a dart throw WR5. … Jimmy Graham is a zero-floor TE2 who needs a random touchdown to barely pay off.
Patriots (25.75, -3) vs. KC
League-leading passing volume (40.5 attempts per game) is keeping Tom Brady in the QB2 mix despite a career-worst touchdown rate (3.7) and decade-worst yards per attempt average (6.7). Brady simply isn’t getting help from his weapons and now faces a top 17th percentile pass DVOA defense. I’m obviously concerned with his efficiency, and Belichick could limit Brady’s pass volume given the Chiefs’ run/pass splits on defense. Brady is a mid-range QB2. … Week 13 snaps, carries, and targets: James White (67, 14, 10), Sony Michel (15, 10, 0), and Rex Burkhead (4, 3, 0). These numbers were skewed by last week’s rare loss, but it would make sense if White stays very involved down the stretch. White has been the best rusher on the team and is obviously the most-gifted receiver, too. The matchup also sets up well for White this week. The Chiefs have allowed the most receiving yards to running backs and are dead last in PFF’s run-defense grades. White is an upside RB2. … Efficiency and total volume are concerns for Sony Michel, but he remains a boom-or-bust RB3 based on his red-zone usage. Michel is tied for 12th in inside-the-five touchdowns (4).
Targets behind Julian Edelman are difficult to sort out, but Edelman has a seven-game streak of 10+ targets. His usage and production are bankable since he’s the only receiver Brady is comfortable with. The Chiefs’ No. 2 defense against fantasy receivers will affect New England’s outside receivers more than Edelman, who faces slot CB Kendall Fuller (PFF’s No. 72 corner out of 124 qualifiers). Edelman is an every-week WR1. … Week 13 routes out of 58 dropbacks: Edelman 57, Phillip Dorsett 46, Jakobi Meyers 46, N’Keal Harry 12, and Mohamed Sanu 11. Week 13 targets and air yards also suggest Dorsett and Meyers are the second and third receivers behind Edelman, but neither are confident plays against a surging Kansas City secondary. … Benjamin Watson is averaging 24.5 yards.
Texans (25.5, -9.5) vs. DEN
The Broncos have only allowed one quarterback (Cousins) to go over 20.0 fantasy points this season, but they did give up 56 rushing yards to Josh Allen two games ago. Deshaun Watson will need to run to make up for expected volume and efficiency issues. Watson, however, does have elite playmakers at receiver, so there is a path to a mini ceiling as a low-end QB1. … Despite leading by multiple scores for most of the second half last week, Carlos Hyde tied his season-low in offensive snaps (21) and only handled 10 carries, his lowest total in a win this season. Duke Johnson may have finally earned a bigger role in the offense, which has been long overdue -- Johnson is No. 1 in PFF’s elusive rating among backs with 50 carries. Hyde can only be projected for 8-14 carries as a low-floor RB3 with Johnson’s role potentially on the rise.
DeAndre Hopkins’ 5-64-0 line is all you could’ve asked for against CB Stephon Gilmore last week and is in the range of outcomes from him against CB Chris Harris this week. Harris is a total stud, but Nuk can get the best of anyone and did post a 10-105-1 line against Denver late last year. With consistent high volume and top-five talent, Nuk can only be downgraded to the WR1/2 mix and not further down than that. … Will Fuller’s individual matchup is easier than DeAndre’s but is far from easy because Denver is one of the best defenses at preventing deep completions. This isn’t a week to bet on a ceiling game from Fuller, but he’s always one play away. Fuller is a boom-or-bust WR3. … Kenny Stills hasn’t exceeded my “10 PPR Expected” threshold since Week 3 and remains a low-volume WR5 with playmaking ability. Stills ran a route on 72% of Texans’ dropbacks last week. … The only thing separating TE3s Darren Fells and Jordan Akins are red-zone touchdowns -- Fells has seven on 11 targets and Akins has one on three targets.
Falcons (25, -3) vs. CAR
“300-Yard Lock” Matt Ryan has retired due to injuries/trades, but we still have “High Upside in the Right Matchup” Matt Ryan. This week qualifies. Ryan had 311 yards in Carolina a few weeks ago while hobbled on a bad ankle, and his defense has reverted back to their porous ways. Ryan should drop back 35-45 times and flirt with 300 yards, especially with multiple Panthers’ defensive linemen on the injury report. Ryan is a low-end QB1. … Devonta Freeman returned from injury to handle 17 carries and five targets last week. He hasn’t been effective but has a chance for a ceiling week against the Panthers league-worst run defense. Freeman is an underrated RB2.
Julio Jones is practicing this week after a one-week absence. Assuming he plays, Julio will be more of a low-end WR1 than an elite option because of CB James Bradberry and the potential of a reaggravation. Ian Hartitz notes Julio has posted 118, 80, 64, 28, and 91 yards with just one touchdown against Bradberry. Of course, Julio can post elite WR1 numbers against anyone. … Calvin Ridley’s recent-week usage is elite (see above), and he gets the softer individual matchup compared to Julio. Despite a Week 9 bye, Ridley is the WR14 overall since the Mohamed Sanu trade (Week 8 and beyond). Ridley is an upside WR2. … Russell Gage’s usage should take a big hit with Hooper expected to return. … Austin Hooper (knee) is practicing and should return to his TE1 ways. Before going down, Hooper was on pace to flirt with TE1 overall numbers. Without Sanu, Hooper’s elite TE1 volume is safe, so the only concern is his slight negative touchdown regression. That, of course, isn’t enough to knock him below the TE5 overall.[[ad:athena]]
Jets (25, -5) vs. MIA
Update: Le’Veon Bell has been ruled out with an illness, so Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery will operate as the lead backs. Montgomery was No. 2 on the depth chart earlier in the season, but it’s been Powell as the No. 2 in recent weeks. I’m not very confident in projecting touches here, although I’d rank Powell ahead of Montgomery. If you’re in a tough spot, Powell can be flexed.
Sam Darnold has faced MIA, NYG, WAS, OAK, and CIN over his last five games, yet has only averaged 267-1.6 passing. Not ideal, but Darnold does get another crack at popping off against a bad defense. Vegas is mildly intrigued in the spot -- the Jets are projected for 25 points -- and the Dolphins have been in shootouts in their last three games, making Darnold an upside QB2. … During this same five-week span, Le’Veon Bell has averaged 48-0.4 on 15 carries with a 4.6-43-0 receiving line. The volume is there, but Bell’s 3.2 YPC and 6.0 YPT aren’t cutting it. A matchup against a bottom 9th percentile run defense should help square things away this week, keeping Bell on the RB1/2 borderline.
Jamison Crowder somehow only caught two of his nine low-aDOT targets last week, but he’s a rebound candidate against Miami, who has been lit up by slot receivers in 2019. Crowder had 8-83-1 on nine targets in an earlier matchup against them for example. Crowder is my best bet for production as a flex play. … Robby Anderson is even more inconsistent than Crowder, but he did finally get back to a playable workload last week after a concerning five-game stretch. Anderson could take advantage of the Dolphins’ IR-exposed secondary but is best viewed as a boom-or-bust WR3/4. … Ryan Griffin is also in play as a boom-or-bust option. Griffin has benefited from wide-open coverage recently and is the type of player I like to bet against (small sample breakout player on a bad team). The matchup, of course, is a good one, so I’m prepared to own myself here by calling Griffin a TE2.
Titans (25, -3) @ OAK
Ryan Tannehill has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks since taking over. That should regress -- small sample alert -- and it hasn’t exactly translated to huge fantasy weeks anyways because the Titans are dead last in pass attempts. With Oakland 26th in pass attempts, I’m expecting this to be a low-volume game for both teams. Tannehill is a nice QB2 streamer but nothing more than that. … Derrick Henry is taking a three-game streak of at least 149 rushing yards into Week 14. He’s been elite recently and is up to 19.3 carries per game on the season. With Oakland in the bottom 19th percentile against the run, Henry should produce RB1 numbers despite only catching 1.4 passes on average. Henry might have the most touchdown equity of the week given the Titans’ 25-point team total.
A.J. Brown left practice on Thursday, so we’ll have to track his status going into the weekend. Even if healthy, Brown is a big-play dependent WR4 since he’s seen 4, 5, and 4 targets in recent weeks. Luckily for Brown, the Oakland defense is 31st at preventing 20+ yard passes. … The same can be said for Corey Davis, but on slightly less volume, making him a WR5 in a good matchup. … Jonnu Smith is a complete TE2 dart throw since he has 0 and 2 targets since the bye. The Raiders are in the bottom 16th percentile against tight ends at least.
Bucs (24.75, -3) vs. IND
Jameis Winston snapped a six-game 300-yard streak last week but that was just a weird outcome with Tampa Bay jumping out to an early lead. There’s nothing about this matchup or team total to move Jameis off his normal projection. He’s been the QB9 this season. … Ronald Jones is reportedly “still the starter” but that’s tough to trust. Peyton Barber handled 17 carries including goal-line work last week after RoJo missed a block. I’m expecting touches to be split between the two, rendering both useless for most fantasy leagues especially with Dare Ogunbowale still hanging around. It’s also worth noting the Colts are in the top 13th percentile against fantasy backs.
Mike Evans is the biggest rebound candidate of Week 14 based on last week’s elite WR1 usage. Evans, as always, is a high-upside WR1, especially against a Colts cornerback group that doesn’t have a 200-pounder. … Chris Godwin is coming off his worst air yard game of the season, but that can be chalked up to variance. Godwin is a bounceback candidate as an every-week WR1. … O.J. Howard can pop up for a random game or two but usually gives us nothing. An average matchup doesn’t change his Week 14 projection as a TE2/3.
Browns (24.5, -8.5) vs. CIN
Update: Njoku expects to play Week 14.
Baker Mayfield will play through his hand/thumb injury because “Mama didn’t raise no wuss” but I’m curious if mama raised a QB1 this week. The Bengals 31st-ranked pass defense has been raising them this season, and Mayfield did post a 327-3 passing line in a similar matchup against the Dolphins two weeks ago. With a decent 24.5-point total, Mayfield is a strong QB1/2 with upside as long as his injury is good to go.
Per Game Since Week 10
The Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt duo has been very effective as they’ve slid into distinct roles. With the Browns listed as 8.5-point favorites, this week sets up for big Chubb -- although Hunt is still involved enough to keep him in the upside RB2/3 category -- especially since Cincy is in the bottom 22nd percentile against fantasy backs.
In my weekly Monday morning column, I list 10 pass-catchers who are regression candidates based on the previous week’s usage. Both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry made an appearance this week because they didn’t produce much despite hovering around my “20 PPR Expected” line in the chart above. OBJ and Landry are obvious bounceback candidates as high-upside WR2s against the Bengals’ 31st-ranked pass defense. … David Njoku expects to be activated before Week 14. I’m not sure he even sees four targets with all of the weapons the Browns have, but Njoku is talented enough to rip off a big play. He’s a touchdown-dependent TE2.
Here are three different ways to analyze NFL defenses based on player tracking data from Next Gen Stats. This is the good stuff folks: