Houston Texans vs. New York Jets
Start: DeAndre Hopkins in DFS, Robby Anderson
Keke Coutee is out and won’t be able to take advantage of the Jets’ biggest weakness in the slot, which should mean even more targets for Hopkins, who already ranks second in “dominator rating” this season. The Jets have generally defended the outside well this year but have ceded the fourth-most fantasy points to Hopkins’ primary side over the last month. Pay up for him during Saturday’s slate.
Anderson has seen seven targets in back-to-back games and should be even busier Saturday with Quincy Enunwa out and facing a Texans funnel defense that ranks second in run DVOA and is middle-of-the-pack against the pass. Anderson is a sneaky player who could go off in Week 15.
Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos
Start: Jarvis Landry, Phillip Lindsay in DFS
Landry has bombed before in favorable matchups this year, but he’s coming off back-to-back productive games. He now gets a Denver secondary that’s allowed the most fantasy points to the slot over the last eight weeks and is without Chris Harris.
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Lindsay should bounce back coming off his worst YPC (2.1) game of the season up against a Browns front seven that’s yielded the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. Expect him to be featured heavily Saturday night, as Denver tries to hide Case Keenum versus a strong Cleveland secondary (although Denzel Ward will be absent).
Miami Dolphins vs. Minnesota Vikings
Start: Kenny Stills, Adam Thielen in DFS
The Vikings are in the middle of a disappointing season in which they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record, but they still present a tough road matchup. Stills has seen erratic usage this season but is an interesting flier coming off a week in which he led the NFL in WOPR.
After opening the season with eight straight 100-yard games, Thielen has totaled 98 yards over the last two weeks. Expect a big rebound, however, against a Miami secondary that’s ceded the second-most fantasy points to the slot over the last month. They’re likely to be without Xavien Howard as well. Dalvin Cook should also eat with the team emphasizing the run after OC John DeFilippo was fired. Both Thielen and Cook can have big games in this matchup.
Oakland Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Start: Doug Martin, Tyler Boyd
Martin lacks upside and has yet to reach 75 rushing yards in a game this year, but he’s scored in three straight and gets a Bengals front seven that’s ceded the most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Boyd is coming off a couple of tough matchups but now gets a prime one against Oakland’s bottom ranked DVOA pass defense. He’s a top-15 WR on my board this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Start: Kenneth Dixon
Sit: Jameis Winston
Dixon is a gamble, averaging a modest eight carries over the past two weeks, but he’s impressed with those touches and should continue to further separate himself from Gus Edwards moving forward. As more than touchdown home favorites on a team wanting to run the ball every play — while hiding its quarterback — and up against a dreadful run defense this week, the talented Dixon has serious upside.
Winston has played relatively mistake-free since retaking the starting job, but he’s also taken eight sacks over the last two weeks. He’s thrown nine picks (with three fumbles) over four road games this season. A matchup in Baltimore against the NFL’s second-best defense could spell disaster for this pass-happy offense. I also moved Mike Evans outside my top-25 WRs this week.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Indianapolis Colts
Start: T.Y. Hilton in DFS
Sit: Michael Gallup
Over the last four games, Hilton has averaged 11.0 targets and 139.0 receiving yards, and I have him as a borderline top-five WR at home against a Cowboys defense that’s shut down running backs more than any other team over the last five weeks. Yet, they’ve proven vulnerable with Chidobe Awuzie lined up mostly on his side. But Hilton’s a full-blown game-time decision after missing practice all week, so be sure to check his status.
Gallup is going to blow up one of these games and is due for regression after Dak Prescott keeps missing him on wide open throws downfield. It may have to wait a week, however, as few teams have defended perimeter receivers better than Indy this season.
Detroit Lions vs. Buffalo Bills
Start: Robert Foster
Sit: Kenny Golladay
Foster has eclipsed 90 yards in three of the past four games, saw eight targets last week and continues to develop good chemistry with Josh Allen, whose big arm works well with him downfield. Darius Slay should be lined up mostly across Zay Jones on Sunday. This will leave Foster matched up with Mike Ford, who’s allowed NFL-highs both in catch% and yards per route covered. The rookie wideout (who was once a top recruit at Alabama before injuries struck) is an intriguing flier this week who’s also cheap in DFS.
Golladay’s nightmare schedule continues this week with a shadow matchup against Tre’Davious White, who’s allowed an anemic 0.84 yards per route covered this season. The Bills have also allowed the third-fewest yards per play this year, so things could get ugly for this sluggish (and injury-riddled) Detroit offense in Buffalo.
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Start: Allen Robinson
Sit: Aaron Rodgers
Robinson has seen 17 targets the last two games and should benefit from a healthier Mitchell Trubisky and an easier matchup after having to battle Aqib Talib last week. Sunday, he gets rookie Jaire Alexander, who’s had his moments but is among the league-worst in fantasy points allowed per pass route.
The Packers won easily last week, but Rodgers’ play wasn’t suddenly fixed with Mike McCarthy gone as hoped, as the problems in Green Bay appear to run deeper. Rodgers has just four touchdowns over the past three games and has gotten only 6.7 YPA over the last six contests. He’s also running less than usual thanks to his knee injury. He now gets the No. 1 ranked defense in DVOA while on the road, where the Packers are one of only two teams in the NFL yet to win this year. I don’t have Rodgers as a top-15 QB during this crucial week of the fantasy playoffs.
Tennessee Titans vs. New York Giants
Start: Taywan Taylor, Sterling Shepard
Taylor led the Titans in targets last week after going for 104 yards the previous game. He’ll be mostly matched up with a struggling Janoris Jenkins, who’s helped contribute to the Giants ceding the seventh-most fantasy points to Taylor’s primary side over the last month.
Shepard didn’t see an increase in targets with Odell Beckham out last week, but that had to do with game flow and the Giants barely having to throw (Eli Manning finished with 22 attempts). That likely won’t be the case Sunday, so expect Shepard to be busy with no OBJ, although hopefully New York moves him out of the slot more, as Tennessee is most vulnerable on the outside.
Washington Redskins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Start: Leonard Fournette in DFS
Sit: All Redskins
As 7.5-point home favorites in a game featuring Josh Johnson and Cody Kessler at quarterback, Fournette is looking at a monstrous workload against the 25th ranked run defense DVOA. I have him as a top-five RB this week, so he’s a must at his DFS price ($25). Dede Westbrook ($12) is also a strong flier versus struggling slot corner Greg Stroman.
Washington’s implied total (14.5 points) is easily the lowest of the NFL season. It’s safe to expect Jacksonville to take out its year-long frustrations on them at home Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons
Sit (in DFS only): David Johnson and Julio Jones
Johnson gets a plus matchup against a Falcons defense that welcomes opposing backs to catch passes, but he’s coming off a week in which he recorded negative 13 air yards. He’s also posted just one 100-yard rushing game this season and hasn’t scored in any of the past four games. Game script doesn’t setup well as near double-digit road underdogs either, so I’d much prefer Leonard Fournette at the same price…J.J. Nelson is a deep sleeper here if you’re looking for a Hail Mary flier.
Jones is obviously a stud, but he’s got a tough assignment this week with Patrick Peterson shadowing him. Atlanta doesn’t figure to have to throw a ton facing an Arizona team that’s poor against the run and on offense. I’d much prefer to play a cheaper JuJu Smith-Schuster instead (and fire up Atlanta — $12 — if you’re searching for a cheap defense).
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
Start: David Moore, Nick Mullens in DFS
No one will want to use Moore coming off back-to-back goose eggs, but he actually finished third among all receivers in WOPR last week, and Seattle should throw more Sunday facing a Niners team that’s easier to beat through the air than on the ground (and whose offense should score some points against the Seahawks too). Moore is a contrarian buy low who’s sure to have low ownership in this week’s Million Dollar Baller contest.
Mullens has gotten 9.0 YPA with six touchdown passes over three home games this year and ranks last in “aggressive” throw percentage according to Next Gen stats, as Kyle Shanahan is scheming him to huge success (he threw for 414 yards in Seattle just two weeks ago). With Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Matt Breida and George Kittle solid options at his disposal, Mullens is a borderline top-15 QB option this week at a bottom-barrel DFS price ($22).
New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Start: Julian Edelman and Jaylen Samuels in DFS
Edelman had 12 targets last week and should benefit from a high-scoring game Sunday, especially with Joe Haden shadowing Josh Gordon and the Steelers having been gashed for the second-most fantasy points to the slot this season. I have Edelman as a top-10 WR this week.
Samuels didn’t impress as a runner last week (2.5 YPC) but secured all seven of his targets and should be busy Sunday assuming James Conner sits again. Both teams enter top-seven in pace (situation neutral), so there should be a ton of plays, and New England is vulnerable to receiving backs. In a high-scoring game with Stephon Gilmore locked onto Antonio Brown, a bunch of targets and an RB1 performance is coming from Samuels (if Conner’s out).
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Los Angeles Rams
Start: Golden Tate, Josh Reynolds
The switch from Carson Wentz to Nick Foles is of some concern, but the Rams have yielded the most fantasy points to the slot over the last month. Tate’s an option despite last week’s disappearance.
The Rams should put a ton of points on the board in a get-right game Sunday night back at home, and while Todd Gurley figures to go crazy as a result, Reynolds should also benefit from facing a banged-up Eagles secondary that’s allowed the most fantasy points to his primary side this season.
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers
Start: Curtis Samuel
Sit: Mark Ingram
Samuel has a team-leading 19 targets over the last two weeks after scoring the previous two games before that, as the sophomore receiver is breaking out. Samuel ranks second in fantasy points per pass route and sixth in fantasy points per target, and he gets a Saints secondary Monday night that’s been burned for the most fantasy points to his primary side over the last month. I have Samuel as a top-20 WR this week.
The Panthers are 5-1 at home this season, so game script might not be as favorable for Ingram as the spread suggests. Moreover, the Panthers have the eighth-ranked run defense DVOA yet have ceded the fifth-most fantasy points to perimeter receivers, so expect a big game from Michael Thomas (and if you can stomach it, Tre’Quan Smith is a sleeper and hopefully not to the catatonic state this time around).