Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens
In a battle of MVP candidates, Lamar Jackson had a monstrous performance (9.3 YPA with four passing TDs) while Deshaun Watson put up a dud, as the QB3 by expert consensus ranks this week took six sacks and committed two turnovers with no scores. Watson dropped back 35 times to pass Sunday and produced just 120 net yards while adding only a dozen more on the ground. Jackson, meanwhile, rushed for 86 yards, which means he effectively threw six touchdowns for fantasy owners. Just 22 years old (younger than Joe Burrow!), Jackson took another step toward winning the MVP award Sunday, and he’s been a massive difference maker at a position that’s not easy to be in fantasy leagues.
Remarkably, this marked the first time Watson has ever been shutout in the first half or lost a game by more than two scores during his life, and he’s sure to bounce back with three upcoming home tilts (and hopefully he gets Will Fuller back soon)…DeAndre Hopkins, who was blatantly interfered with in the end zone during the first quarter but no flag was thrown, saw another healthy 12 targets but failed to score yet again. He’s on pace for six touchdowns this season after scoring 24 over the last two years (and Kenny Stills hasn’t picked up any of the slack).
Mark Ingram hadn’t recorded a receiving TD in more than a year before grabbing two Sunday, and backup Gus Edwards gave a reminder he’d hold plenty of fantasy value should Ingram go down with a late 63-yard touchdown run (he’s only 7% owned in Yahoo leagues). Carlos Hyde, meanwhile, contributed his own garbage time TD but otherwise had just 24 yards on eight carries, although it counts the same for fantasy owners.
Mark Andrews turned four targets into four catches, 75 yards and a score, as Baltimore moved the ball at will against a Houston defense that badly misses J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney (it remains ridiculous what they gave him away for). Marquise Brown was barely needed, as Jackson approached 35 fantasy points while attempting fewer than 25 passes, highlighting a truly special player (and fantasy asset) who’s only getting better. The Ravens have a strong argument as the best team in football (what a terrific trade for Marcus Peters), and Jackson is on pace to score the most fantasy points ever in a season.
Dallas Cowboys @ Detroit Lions
Dak Prescott had a huge game, now leads the NFL in passing yards and is second only to Patrick Mahomes in YPA (8.8). Jeff Driskel was a profitable DFS play, producing three touchdowns while recording more rushing yards than Ezekiel Elliott. Given Detroit’s setup with three legit weapons in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and T.J. Hockenson to go with a poor running game and defense, Driskel should continue to help fantasy owners in Superflex leagues…Bo Scarbrough was the latest Lions back to come out of nowhere and is worth adding in deeper formats, although all Detroit RBs are tough to trust…Teams to hold a lead every game this season: 49ers, Chiefs and Lions…Amari Cooper is clearly compromised and a huge finish by Michael Gallup could be in store if it continues. Gallup is so, so good.
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints’ fantasy defense bounced back thanks to 51 pass attempts from Jameis Winston, who was picked off four times (one went for a score). Bruce Arians is not without blame, as he put Winston in shotgun on 2nd-and-goal from the one-yard line (it almost had to result in a fumbled snap and sack like it did)…O.J. Howard had a ridiculous drop that led to an interception on his lone target and was benched afterward, as Cameron Brate saw a game-high 14 targets (leading all tight ends in air yards in Week 11), proving Howard’s season could in fact get even lower…Mike Evans was held in check considering Marshon Lattimore was inactive, while Alvin Kamara managed 5.8 YPC against the No. 1 ranked rush defense in DVOA while also securing all 10 targets. He looks ready to carry fantasy owners to championships down the stretch.
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers
Since Dan Quinn gave up play calling duties, Atlanta’s defense has held the Saints and Panthers to 12 total points while on the road as big underdogs the last two weeks. The Falcons’ secondary entered Sunday with two interceptions all year and had three by halftime (finishing with four), while their front seven had a league-low seven sacks on the year before recording 11 over the last two games. It’s a small sample, but what a wild turnaround with a tangible change to point to the cause…Brian Hill got just 2.0 YPC against a Carolina run defense that entered ranked last in DVOA and lost a goal-line score to Qadree Ollison, so it appears he wasn’t underpriced in DFS after all…Christian McCaffrey became the first player in NFL history with 1,000 rushing and 500 receiving yards over his first 10 games, while Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones are both going to eat down the stretch with Austin Hooper out.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
Nick Foles’ return didn’t lead to more targets for Dede Westbrook in the slot as hoped, as DJ Chark (who led the league in air yards in Week 11) just solidified himself further into WR1 status…Marlon Mack was on his way to a huge fantasy game (including one of the best highlights of the day) but is now out indefinitely with a broken hand, making Jonathan Williams the clear No. 1 waiver target this week. With Jordan Wilkins injured and the Colts’ strong offensive line, feel free to bid the rest of your FAAB on Williams…Zach Pascal was a big disappointment but not as much as Leonard Fournette, who had fewer rush attempts than the Colts had carries that went for 10+ yards. Fournette is up to 229 touches with one TD on the season.
Denver Broncos @ Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings won despite being down 20-0 at halftime thanks to another big effort from Kirk Cousins, who continues to get it done despite missing Adam Thielen…Dalvin Cook was surprisingly held in check but scored, while Courtland Sutton continues to look like the real deal. Now Denver just needs to find him a quarterback (Sutton had the team’s best throw Sunday)…Noah Fant saw 11 targets, an encouraging sign for the intriguing young tight end.
New York Jets @ Washington Redskins
Sam Darnold erupted with four TD passes for the first time in his career, getting 9.8 YPA against a packed-it-in Washington defense…Terry McLaurin had a 67-yard yard catch called back by penalty, and his rapport with former college teammate Dwayne Haskins remains a work in progress. But his future is extremely bright…Le’Veon Bell is playing at far less than 100% (Bilal Powell looked like Barry Sanders in comparison), while Derrius Guice impressed during his TD. The Redskins get the Lions and Panthers up next, so with Chris Thompson injured, Guice could soon be a fantasy factor…Jamison Crowder did indeed get his revenge.
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
Josh Allen exploded with four touchdowns in a plus matchup, peppering John Brown with 14 productive targets…Devin Singletary got 5.0 YPC but didn’t score, while Kalen Ballage got 1.0 YPC and hit pay dirt. Ballage also turned six targets into eight yards and continues to separate himself as the league’s least efficient player…DeVante Parker had another nice game (10-7-135) despite seeing plenty of Tre’Davious White, so he’s locked in as a weekly fantasy WR2.
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
Kyler Murray got just 4.5 YPA but still helped fantasy owners thanks again to his legs, while Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 424 yards (9.4 YPA) and four touchdowns despite missing George Kittle and then Emmanuel Sanders for a good chunk of Sunday’s game. Jimmy G also threw two red-zone interceptions, as his up-and-down season continues. The 49ers’ tough upcoming schedule could actually help Garoppolo’s fantasy outlook, as it should result in San Francisco having to throw more than it did over the first half of the season…Deebo Samuel has 246 receiving yards over the last two weeks and has emerged as the team’s clear WR2, with good fantasy upside considering the injuries…Christian Kirk had a bad drop likely costing him 25+ yards, while David Johnson didn’t receive a single touch...Ross Dwelley had two touchdowns with a third called back by a shaky holding penalty, as Arizona continues to treat tight end coverage as optional...The 49ers’ struggling rushing attack badly misses Kittle (SF has averaged nearly 1.0 YPC more with him on the field this year)…SF somehow nearly covered the spread and gifted fantasy owners a TD with this insane defensive score on the game’s final play (no extra point attempt mattered greatly in Vegas).
New England Patriots @ Philadelphia Eagles
Tom Brady had the most incompletions (14) in the first half of a game during his career, got 4.6 YPA and watched Julian Edelman throw the team’s lone TD pass Sunday. Windy conditions contributed, but Brady has just four touchdown passes over his last five games and has gotten only 5.8 YPA over his last four. The Patriots keep winning anyway, but it appears Brady has quite possibly finally begun to lose his fastball…It turns out the answer to which was the best cheap DFS RB play between Brian Hill and Miles Sanders was neither, as the latter also disappointed in what should’ve been an expanded opportunity with Jordan Howard out (and Jay Ajayi not playing a snap), instead seeing the same amount of touches as last week…Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert both predictably racked up extra targets with Philadelphia so devastated with injuries at wide receiver. Goedert should be treated as a top-12 tight end as long as Alshon Jeffery is sidelined...Losing RT Lane Johnson didn’t help, but something seems off with Carson Wentz.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Oakland Raiders
Derek Carr played well again (an 86.2 completion% with a 10.1 YPA will work), even helping fantasy owners with a nice TD run (and remarkably throwing for 101 yards on one drive), but Oakland underwhelmed with just 17 points in a close win after entering with this week’s highest implied team total (30.5 points)…Auden Tate suffered a scary-looking injury, while Tyler Boyd and Alex Erickson somehow managed zero yards on eight targets…Joe Mixon has suddenly come to life the last two weeks, and his TD run Sunday was definitely earned and remarkably also the first by a Bengals player this season not named Andy Dalton (who had three)…Josh Jacobs lost a fumble and didn’t reach the end zone in a favorable setup, but he’s arguably already the league’s best runner right now as a rookie. I’d like to openly apologize for criticizing Oakland for drafting a running back in round one, as that pick was worth it, and I was dead wrong.
Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff didn’t help fantasy owners (although he had a 50-yard TD strike to Josh Reynolds called back by an illegal formation flag that didn’t affect the play), but he got 9.6 YPA and led the Rams to a win, whereas Mitchell Trubisky was awful (4.4 YPA) and seemingly benched for Chase Daniel…David Montgomery had a familiar unproductive line, while Todd Gurley was given a season-high 25 carries. He lost a goal-line score to Malcolm Brown late, but it was no doubt an encouraging game for Gurley owners…Cooper Kupp somehow saw just three targets one game after producing a goose egg and with Robert Woods (and Brandin Cooks) inactive and Gerald Everett quiet (one target), as LA didn’t need to throw the ball much Sunday night in what might be a turning point for the Bears’ franchise.