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.
Jets (25, -5) vs. MIA
Update: Le'Veon Bell has an illness. Players usually play through illnesses. Hopefully Darnold didn't give Bell mono... jk. jk.
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:
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
Ravens (24.25, -5.5) @ BUF
A quarterback averaging 81 rushing yards per game will be the QB1 overall in my rankings every single time. Lamar Jackson is just too damn good at football. It’s really that simple. … Mark Ingram has been a touchdown-dependent RB2 for the entire season since he’s a near-zero as a receiver and only averages 13.8 carries per game. His matchup this week is a decent one with Buffalo in the bottom third in run defense DVOA.
Marquise Brown’s total lack of volume is notably worrisome. That can partially be blamed on injuries but inconsistent usage/production is a trait of a deep threat, especially as a rookie. Brown also faces elite CB Tre’Davious White this week, making Brown a boom-or-bust flex play. … Mark Andrews is the TE3 overall on the season and would see even more targets and air yards if Baltimore wasn’t smashing every team they face. This week’s matchup against the Bills’ No. 2 defense versus tight ends is tough on paper, but Andrews’ 27% team share of air yards easily keeps him in the top-eight conversation.
Rams (23.75, -1) vs. SEA
Update: Gerald Everett is out.
We had a 2018 Jared Goff appearance in Arizona last week, and we may see a similar version in Week 14 with the Rams hosting an average Seattle defense that has struggled to put pressure on quarterbacks. Goff hung 395-1 on them earlier in the season and this time we don’t have to worry about his bad home/road splits. Goff is a high-end QB2 with upside even though he is still searching for his first three-passing touchdown game of the year. … When asked about what has gone into Todd Gurley's recent increased usage, coach Sean McVay said, "Me not being an idiot". It sounds like those offseason reports suggesting Gurley would get fed late in the season are coming to fruition. As long as the game stays close as predicted, Gurley should handle 14-20 touches including goal-line work as a strong RB2 option. The Seahawks’ average run defense doesn’t move the needle in either direction.
Robert Woods is the captain now. He’s led the team in air yards in each of his last three games and even joined Tyfreak Hill as the only players with 19 targets in a game this season. The only thing haunting Woods right now is touchdowns. In fact, Woods has the most receiving yards (835) through the first 12 games of an NFL season since 1950 without scoring a receiving touchdown per PFR. Regression is coming. … Cooper Kupp is the second option right now with target totals of 4, 10, and 6 with Woods taking over post-bye. A low-aDOT receiver like Kupp (7.6 yards) can’t afford losing targets, so there are reasons to be mildly concerned. With that said, extra targets could float back his way at any time. Kupp is an upside WR2. … Brandin Cooks is simply not involved right now. He has 3, 7, 1, 4, and 2 targets in his last five games and hasn’t even been targeted deep over that time. Cooks is purely an upside WR4 based on his old resume but his most recent work is bad. … Gerald Everett missed Thursday’s practice, so Tyler Higbee is in line for another start. Everett predictably torched Arizona last week and now catches the 31st defense against fantasy tight ends. Higbee is a strong TE2 option in what’s quickly become a deep position group for fantasy.
Saints (23.5, -2.5) vs. SF
Drew Brees is averaging 253-1.8 in his four games since the Saints' bye. Those numbers are even worse considering they were against ATL (x2), TB, and CAR. Brees simply isn’t hitting an upside since he’s been a check-down machine in 2019. Facing the league’s No. 2 defense against fantasy quarterbacks won’t help either. Brees is a benchable QB2 in most one-quarterback leagues. … Over that same four-game stretch, Alvin Kamara is averaging 7.8 receptions and 9.8 carries. Kamara has elite RB1 usage in PPR leagues and is perhaps the biggest candidate for positive touchdown regression. Last year, Kamara had 18 touchdowns in 15 games. He’s at two through 10 games this season (thanks Taysom Hill). Predicting touchdowns against San Francisco is an uphill battle, but Kamara’s pass-catching role is safe. Kamara is an RB1.
You don’t bench players on pace for single-season records regardless of the matchup. Michael Thomas, who is on pace for 147 receptions, will at minimum be peppered with targets and may even get a limited CB Richard Sherman (knee) this week. This is a spot to not overthink things, although a true ceiling will be hard to achieve. … We can nahhh wave Ted Ginn and Tre’Quan Smith here. … Jared Cook is playing great football on tape and has 10, 2, 8, and 6 targets with elite-level air yards to match. Even against the No. 2 defense against fantasy tight ends, Cook is easily a top-10 TE1. Few tight ends have his weekly 4-9 target projection.
Chargers (23, -3) @ JAX
Philip Rivers’ washed-levels have reached “potentially benched for Tyrod Taylor”. A cross country matchup against a run-heavy offense isn’t the recipe for a bounceback despite Vegas’ odd point spread. Rivers has more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (10) over his last eight games. … Three straight losses haven’t stopped Melvin Gordon from averaging 18.7 carries and 2.0 receptions per game. A workhorse once again, Gordon offers RB1-level upside against the Jaguars’ 31st-ranked run defense. Gordon is a quality RB1/2. … Austin Ekeler is averaging 6.4 carries and 4.3 receptions since losing his starting job to MGIII. Ekeler can still reach a ceiling when game script allows him to do so, but it would be a mild surprise if the Bolts are trailing big against Minshew. Ekeler’s median projection makes him an RB2/3 in PPR leagues.
Keenan Allen’s usage has been all over the place with Rivers playing bad football, but he’s best projected for WR1/2-level usage from here on out. Allen has double-digit target upside when game script forces Rivers into passing a lot, but this should be a lower-volume game in general given the offensive identities. Allen remains on the WR1/2 borderline with nothing about his individual matchup changing his outlook. … Mike Williams has the third-most receiving yards through the first 12 weeks of a season without a receiving touchdown since at least 1950 per PFR. He’s a positive touchdown regression candidate but these yards (and air yards) do feel empty with many of them coming on empty last-minute drives. Williams is a zero-floor WR4. … Hunter Henry had his lowest usage game of the year last week but should bounce back since he was averaging 5.6-70-0.4 in the seven games prior to last week’s clunker. The Jaguars are notably without speedy LB Myles Jack to make his outlook slightly better as a mid-range TE1.
Steelers (23, -2.5) @ ARI
Devlin Hodges won’t have JuJu Smith-Schuster but will have the easiest quarterback matchup on the slate. The Cardinals are the worst defense against quarterbacks and play at a fast pace on offense, which should get Hodges pass attempts up from last week’s 21. Even a backup-level player can have a serviceable fantasy line against Arizona, but it’s hard to have too much confidence in an undrafted free agent making his second career road start. … James Conner is out, so Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels will form a forgettable two-back committee. Snell handled 16 carries and goal-line work in last week’s close win, while Samuels added two receptions and seven carries as a complementary back. I usually don’t like betting on slow running backs, but Snell should see 12-20 touches as a volume-based RB2/3 with touchdown equity.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is at least one more week away, so James Washington and Diontae Johnson will continue leading the way. Washington has out-air yarded Johnson in six straight games and is the preferred WR3/4 gamble, even though he’ll draw more of CB Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals dead last ranking against 20+ yard passes fits right into Washington’s strengths, too. … Diontae Johnson has a chance to pay off solely based on matchup, but he’s only reached my “10 PPR Expected” line once in his last five games. Volume is the concern here. … Vance McDonald will put the Cardinals’ flow chart to the test. McDonald only has one and three targets with close to zero air yards in his two most recent start, but Arizona is allowing 6.4-79-1.1 to tight ends this season. I’ll happily bet against McDonald this week even in this dream matchup. You won’t find me betting on low-volume players often, certainly ones who rely on a duck hunter to throw them the ball.
Chiefs (22.75, +3) @ NE
Update: Damien Williams is out.
Patrick Mahomes hasn’t played all that well in his two most recent games but odd field conditions played into that. Mahomes will have to get back on track this week against the league’s best defense. The MVP got the best of New England in the regular season (352-4) and in the playoffs (295-3) last year, but this defense is better and Belichick is likely to have a better game plan this time around. Mahomes will be a low-end QB1 this week who I wouldn’t rush to bench unless I had a quality backup option. … The running backs have an extreme matchup as well, and it’s unclear who will be handling the load. We can eliminate Darrel Williams (IR) and possibly Damien Williams, who didn’t practice Thursday. That would leave dusty old LeSean McCoy, unproven explosive rookie Darwin Thompson, and recently signed plodder Spencer Ware as the top backs. McCoy would be the most likely to see 10+ touches, but coach Andy Reid has previously said he’ll watch McCoy’s workload since he’s old. Thompson is the wild card here. In deeper leagues, he must be picked up BEFORE games kick off because Thompson has league-winning upside if he shows juice on his 5-12 projected touches this week. The Patriots have been willing to allow underneath receptions this year and Thompson could be the perfect weapon to fill the void this week. In last year’s playoff game, Damien Williams caught five passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Ultimately, I’m forecasting an RB3 finish for both McCoy and Thompson, but the floors are obviously low.
Tyreek Hill had 7-133-1 and 7-142-1 games in the regular season against these Patriots before Belichick had enough. In the playoffs last year, New England used bracket coverage to stop Hill, who finished with 1-42-0 on just three targets. I’m expecting Hill to see double coverage once again, but as we’ve seen time and time again, Hill can break off a big play at any time. Hill is a boom-or-bust WR2. … Sammy Watkins is a candidate to draw CB Stephon Gilmore’s shadow coverage. Watkins hasn’t been producing or racking up many air yards regardless, so he’s not a recommended start even though he posted a 4-114-0 line against the Patriots in the playoffs. … Travis Kelce will be another priority for Belichick, but he sees too many targets and makes too many plays to move out of the top three at the position. Kelce had a 3-23-1 receiving line the last time these Super Bowl contenders played.
Seahawks (22.75, +1) @ LAR
Russell Wilson has QB1 overall potential whenever he finds himself in a shootout #LetRussCook. That just might happen this week. Wilson has 3, 3, and 4 touchdowns against these Rams in his last three games and that’s been on sub-25 pass attempts each time. Russ is a top-three QB1 in an odd week for fantasy quarterbacks.
Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny split snaps and touches on Monday Night Football after Carson fumbled his way out of an every-touch role. Carson is still the best bet for touches and goal-line work, but Penny does have a role, specifically as a situational pass-catcher. Unfortunately for both backs, the Rams are in the top 7th percentile in run defense, so ceilings and floors need to be downgraded a tad bit. Carson is on the RB1/2 borderline while Penny makes for a flex play.
There is not an easy matchup against the Rams -- the unit has allowed the second-fewest 20+ yard pass plays -- but DK Metcalf’s is far easier than Lockett’s. Metcalf has a major size advantage over the Rams’ tiny outside corners and has been consistently targeted for weeks now. Metcalf is the safer WR3 and offers just as much upside as Lockett, if not more. The rookie is quietly inside the top 30 at the position through 13 weeks. … Tyler Lockett has 4, 2, and 3 targets over his last three games. I think part of that is just bad variance (also the flu), but Lockett’s usage has been up and down all season long. Catching CB Jalen Ramsey won’t help either. Lockett’s impossible to trust as anything more than a boom-or-bust WR3 at this point. … Jacob Hollister is averaging 4.2-34-0.5 on six targets since joining the starting lineup. That makes him a touchdown-dependent TE2. At least Hollister is attached to an MVP-caliber quarterback.
Panthers (22, +3) @ ATL
Kyle Allen is averaging 42.4 pass attempts in his five losses this year. Volume isn’t a concern. Neither is matchup. The Falcons are 30th against fantasy quarterbacks thanks to horrendous pass-rushing numbers. Allen’s issue is he’s Kyle Allen (4.1% TD rate and 6.7 YPA), but the surrounding pieces are good enough for Allen to turn in QB2 numbers. … Christian McCaffrey is a good play. This is unlikely to happen because the score should be closer, but CMC caught 11 passes for 121 yards against the Falcons a month ago. There’s not a running back even close McCaffrey right now.
D.J. Moore is the WR4 overall since Week 8. He doesn’t have WR1 usage. He has elite WR1 usage. Moore’s floor is legit -- he has at least five receptions and eight targets in eight straight games -- and he can obviously reach a ceiling against the Falcons. Moore is, at worst, a low-end WR1. … Curtis Samuel is way more boom-or-bust, but he at least has the volume that other flex options don’t have. Samuel remains a positive regression candidate and is the best downfield threat on the team. With Atlanta in the bottom 25th percentile against 20+ yard passes, Samuel is a nice flex play, especially with Greg Olsen (concussion) unlikely to play. … The Panthers will trot out a “committee” at tight end headlined by Ian Thomas, but there are other TE2 streamers to attack with more direct paths to volume.
Raiders (22, +3) vs. TEN
The Raiders are 26th in pass attempts and the Titans are dead last. This game should be a quick one, lowering Derek Carr’s already low ceiling. Carr doesn’t have a 300-yard game and only has one with three touchdowns. Carr is a forgettable QB2/3. … Josh Jacobs is playing through a fractured shoulder but has held up thus far. Jacobs is averaging 18.6 carries per game and has only gone under 15 carries in games where the Raiders lost by multiple touchdowns. His total lack of receiving work limits his ceiling and floor, however. That and the Titans’ top 10th percentile run defense are my primary concerns, making Jacobs a mid-range RB2 instead of fringe RB1.
No Hunter Renfrow (rib, lung) helps Waller a lot more than Tyrell Williams, who is still only seeing 4-6 targets per game. Williams is completely touchdown-dependent as a boom-or-bust flex play. Homefield advantage and the Titans’ below-average pass defense are the only reasons for optimism. … Darren Waller is by far the best pass-catching bet in Oakland. Waller already had a nice target projection, but that’s been increased with Renfrow sidelined. Last week, Waller had nine targets and set a five-week high for air yards. Waller is a nice mid-range TE1 with upside.
Colts (21.75, +3) @ TB
Update: T.Y. Hilton is out. Mack will play and reportedly won't be on a pitch count.
Jacoby Brissett is averaging 198/1.25 as a passer in the four games without T.Y. Hilton. In most matchups, I’d complete fade Brissett, but this one is too sweet to not keep Brissett in the two-QB-league mix. The Bucs defense has allowed the most pass attempts by far while ranking No. 1 in run defense DVOA. Even the “defense doesn’t matter” crowd would have to believe Tampa Bay is a pass funneling defense. Brissett is a candidate for above-average volume as a QB2/3. … For the same reasons, I’m expecting a below-average game from Marlon Mack, who should be returning from a hand injury. Mack should still see 15-25 touches with Hilton and Ebron out, but it will likely be tough sledding for the run-only back. Mack is a low-floor RB2.
T.Y. Hilton (calf) said he wasn’t sure if he’ll return this year, so I’m going to assume he’s out Week 14. That makes Zach Pascal the de facto No. 1 receiver. In games without T.Y., Pascal has seen 7, 6, 7, 6, and 10 targets while breaking my “10 PPR Expected” threshold every time. He’s likely to see WR2-level usage and gets the worst defense against fantasy receiver this week. Pascal is an underrated WR2/3. … Rookie WR Parris Campbell (hand) returned to practice and is a candidate for near full-time snaps right away. He should be the No. 2 receiver -- perhaps the No. 1 -- and deserves some dart throw WR4 consideration given how many targets are up for grabs with T.Y. and Ebron out. … Jack Doyle is a top-eight TE1 for the rest of the season and can reach a nice ceiling whenever T.Y. misses. In his first game without Eric Ebron (IR), Doyle saw 11 targets and now catches the 29th-ranked defense against fantasy tight ends.
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
49ers (21, +2.5) @ NO
Jimmy Garoppolo has averaged 370-4 against the Cardinals and 216-1.3 against everyone else. Playing in New Orleans is worse than playing “everyone else”, too. … I’m guessing we’ll get more clarity via a weekend news report on the running back pecking order in San Francisco. Last week, Raheem Mostert jumped Tevin Coleman on the depth chart, but Matt Breida (ankle) is expected to enter the mix after practicing this Thursday. It’s going to be a three-back committee of some sort. Any one of these three can take the horns as the No. 1, but it’s truly impossible to predict with confidence right now. If forced to pick, I’d go with Mostert since he was the star last week.
Garoppolo’s Cardinals/non-Cardinals splits make starting Deebo Samuel and/or Emmanuel Sanders a risky proposition. Both receivers have been low-volume targets since Kittle’s return, and I don’t have a good reason to change their projection as low-end flex plays, especially with CB Marshon Lattimore healthy again. Samuel is the better bet of the two since he’s younger and more athletic. … George Kittle is the only must start in the offense. He’s not being targeted downfield often, but Kittle has consistent 4-8 target usage and is one of the few players we can confidently project for big plays. I’m not in love with the matchup as road dogs against a smart coaching staff, but Kittle is still a no-brainer top-five TE1.
Cardinals (20.5, +2.5) vs. PIT
Kyler Murray has as many zero-passing touchdown weeks as weeks with passing touchdowns. His fantasy lines have largely been saved by his 37 rushing yard average and four rushing touchdowns. Murray’s hamstring should be better this week, but he has a very difficult matchup against an elite defensive line and above-average secondary. Murray is more of a high-end QB2 than confident QB1/2 with Arizona projected for just 20.5 points. …
Kenyan Drake maintained his starting status last week despite having David Johnson and Chase Edmonds active. There’s no reason to expect a change in the depth chart, making Drake the only startable fantasy asset. Drake faces an uphill battle with the Cardinals undermanned in the trenches but remains an RB2/3 option with a 12-18 touch projection.
Christian Kirk’s up and down usage make him a difficult projection, especially in a tough matchup like this one. Kirk should see 7-11 targets, but most will come on the outside where variance takes over. Kirk is a boom-or-bust WR3 against CB Joe Haden and company. … Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t broken my “10 PPR Expected” line in six games and remains a low-upside WR4 with forgettable volume. Ian Hartitz does note that Fitzgerald has a major size advantage on slot CB Mike Hilton.
Jaguars (20, +3) vs. LAC
Gardner Minshew’s 251-1.4 average isn’t anything to get excited about, especially with the Chargers Defense getting healthy and expected to outperform their current defensive stats down the stretch. Los Angeles also plays at a snail’s pace on offense, making Minshew a low-volume quarterback. … These same concerns spill over to Leonard Fournette, but he’s the game script-independent centerpiece here. Fournette has 23.0 carries in wins and 6.0 receptions in losses. His floor is elite, and he can, of course, reach a ceiling against any opponent as a locked-in RB1.
This is a week to downgrade D.J. Chark, who has turned into one of the most inconsistent fantasy receivers. Chark needs the deep ball to pay off and faces a top 13th percentile defense at preventing 20+ yard passes. He’ll also see elite CB Casey Hayward in his individual matchup. Chark is a boom-or-bust WR3 in this projected low-volume affair. … Dede Westbrook has seen 6, 9, and 8 targets since the bye but his 6.7-yard average depth of target makes it nearly impossible for him to reach a meaningful ceiling. My passing volume concerns in this matchup affect Westbrook more than Fournette, Chark, and Conley because Westbrook needs 7+ targets to pay off. Westbrook is a WR4. … Chris Conley is always undervalued based on air yards and projected ceiling but this is not the week to bet on him for the reasons I just laid out.
Dolphins (20, +5) @ NYJ
Ryan Fitzpatrick put up 288/3 against the Jets in Week 9 and now will face them likely without S Jamal Adams who is the Jets’ best pass rusher and coverage player right now. Fitzmagic at minimum will throw the ball a lot this week -- he has a seven-game stretch with at least 33 pass attempts -- and could even have his best fantasy game of the year if the weather allows. Fitzpatrick is a QB2 streamer. … Kalen Ballage was put on injured reserve, so rookies Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin will handle almost all of the Week 14 touches at running back. Laird, a fan favorite and DFS podcast hero, played a lot more snaps than Gaskin (42 to 16) and out-touched him 14 to three. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Laird is an RB3 option this week, especially in PPR formats. Laird likely won’t find success against the Jets’ No. 2 run defense but can catch 3-6 passes to make up for it.
DeVante Parker is the WR4 overall in PPR points on the third-most targets and air yards since Week 10 when Preston Williams (ACL) went on injured reserve. He’s balling and has all the usage you can ask for. His matchup is awesome this week, too. The Jets will likely be without their best player S Jamal Adams and were already in the bottom 29th percentile against fantasy receivers. Parker is on the WR1/2 borderline. Yes, you read that correctly. … Over that same four-game stretch, Mike Gesicki is the TE8 overall on the fifth-most targets and third-most air yards. Gesicki is an upside TE1/2 and stands to benefit the most from Adams’ potential absence. Check out these highlights from Parker and Gesicki last week:
Bills (18.75, +5.5) vs. BAL
Josh Allen’s rushing ability has led to a QB5 overall ranking through 12 games. It’s unlikely Allen has success as a passer against the Ravens’ top 7th percentile pass defense, and he may find it more challenging than normal to run. Baltimore gets to see Lamar in practice every day, which may have helped them hold Kyler, Russ, and DeShaun to 41 total rushing yards this season. With Buffalo projected for just 18.75 points, Allen is more of a high-end QB2 than low-end QB1. … The Bills have lost two games since Devin Singletary returned from injury. The rookie had three and eight carries in those games because Buffalo has been passing in passing situations more than other teams (they are smart). Singletary is at risk of seeing just 8-14 carries as 5.5-point underdogs and doesn’t get many goal-line chances with Frank Gore and Allen stealing looks. There are too many paths to failure to call Singletary more than an RB3 this week.
Tough matchups and blowout wins snapped John Brown’s 10-game streak of 50 receiving yards. Another tough matchup against CB Marcus Peters and the Ravens’ top 7th percentile pass defense awaits, but Brown can get free against anyone as a boom-or-bust WR2/3. … Cole Beasley took advantage of weaker matchups in the slot over the last two weeks but should regress as a low-aDOT receiver. Beasley has fallen below my “10 PPR Expected” line most weeks, making him a low-ceiling WR5.
Giants (17.75, +10) @ PHI
Daniel Jones’ high ankle sprain will force Eli Manning back into the starting lineup. Over his last three seasons, Manning has averaged 1.3 touchdowns and 252 yards per game with a 6.7 YPA. It’s been real bad, but this week’s matchup is at least manageable (Fitzmagic just hung 365/3 on Philly last week). Manning is a serviceable two-QB-league streamer, especially with Evan Engram (foot) expected back, but obviously carries a low floor. … Saquon Barkley is averaging 3.1 yards on his 100 carries since returning from his ankle injury. Saquon isn’t 100% Saquon right now, but he’s still seeing a mid-range RB1 workload and can break off a big play at any time. I don’t see a great reason to change expectations with Eli under center again.
This will be updated on Saturday because Golden Tate’s (concussion) status will determine if Sterling Shepard is a WR3 or WR4 and if Darius Slayton is a flex or bench option. Tate’s potential return would push Shepard outside and take away a target or two off his projection, but he does get a matchup against the 29th-ranked defense against fantasy receivers regardless. … Darius Slayton has seen WR2/3-level usage over his last three games but that will very likely come crashing down with Tate and Evan Engram expected back in the lineup. … Evan Engram (foot) expects to play but is a candidate to perform under seasonal averages (5.5-58-0.4) now that he’ll be competing for targets with Tate and Slayton. Engram also faces one of the best coverage safeties in Malcolm Jenkins this week, leaving him more likely to bust than reach a ceiling. Engram is on the TE1/2 borderline.
Broncos (16, +9.5) @ HOU
I thought Drew Lock looked better than his numbers in his NFL debut, but he’s still facing an uphill climb in Year 1. Lock’s offensive line and playmakers are inexperienced, and he’s heading into Houston to face a veteran defensive coordinator. With Vegas projecting Denver for 16 points, Lock is a QB3. … Phillip Lindsay continues to operate as the clear-cut top back with Royce Freeman handling 10 or fewer touches in four-straight games. Lindsay has averaged 13.8 carries and 1.5 receptions over that span, as a low-end RB2. There is nothing about the matchup to change Lindsay’s outlook this week.
Courtland Sutton is the WR14 overall and has had strong WR2 usage, especially since the Sanders trade. Sutton’s 17.5-yard average depth of target over his last three games has left him open to clunkers, but he also can reach a nice ceiling because of it. The Year-2 breakout is a boom-or-bust WR2 with a chance for a few big plays against the Texans’ bottom 35th percentile against fantasy receivers. … Noah Fant has only scored two touchdowns and has fewer than 40 yards in 10-of-12 games. Fant does have more athleticism and potential than the other dart throw TE2s, however.
Bengals (16, +8.5) @ CLE
Getting John Ross will elevate Andy Dalton’s ceiling, but it’s still a sketchy offense that carries a low floor. The Browns also haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer this season, making Dalton a QB2/3 option for deep leagues. … Joe Mixon believes Ross’ presence will help his run efficiency -- maybe that’s true -- but the real difference for Mixon is having Dalton back. Mixon has averaged just 13.3 carries and 2.6 receptions with Dalton this season, compared to 21 carries in the three games without the Red Rifle. The Bengals’ 16-point team total and his 14-20 touch projection make Mixon a low-end RB2.
John Ross is expected to play, but coach Zac Taylor said, “We will have to ease him back in. How much of a role he has? I don’t know if we’ll just start and throw him out there and play him 65 plays. He’ll have a role and he’ll have a spot on the offense moving forward for sure." Thanks to Ian Hartitz’s WR/CB for that quote. Ross will eventually push Auden Tate out of the mix, but Tate may squeeze one more week out as a WR4/5 dart throw. Ross was a high-variance deep threat earlier in the season, which led to two 100-yard games and two sub-40-yard games. Ross is an extremely risky play this week but can score a long touchdown at any time. It’s worth noting that CB Denzel Ward is one of the few corners in the NFL that can somewhat keep up with Ross in a sprint. … Tyler Boyd is the best bet for Week 14 production. He’s averaged 14.2 PPR points on 10.2 targets with Dalton. Boyd is a rock-solid WR3.
Lions (15.25, +13) @ MIN
David Blough made a couple of quality plays on Thanksgiving, but he’s certainly a player to bet against in the NFL. Blough went undrafted for a reason -- average talent and average college production -- and will face a decent Vikings Defense in a tough in-division environment this week. I don’t play quarterbacks with a 15.25-point team total. … Bo Scarbrough loses pass-game work to Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic but operates as a workhorse. Scarbrough has 14, 18, and 21 carries in his three starts and that’s with the Lions losing all three. He’s likely to handle 12-18 carries regardless of the scoreboard, making mini-Derrick Henry a volume-based RB3.
Golladay Per Game
Jones Per Game
Both receivers have seen drops in their usage in the four games without Matthew Stafford, not to mention the efficiency issues going from career-year Stafford to an undrafted rookie from Purdue. The Vikings’ issues at corner make the matchup okay this week, but it’s hard to have confidence in the situation they’re in. Both Golladay and Jones are boom-or-bust WR3/4 options. … T.J. Hockenson went to injured reserve, which may help slot WR Danny Amendola more than anyone. Amendola still can’t be started with six-straight games under my “10 PPR Expected” threshold.
Redskins (14.25, +13) @ GB
Dwayne Haskins is averaging 165/0.5 in his four starts. … Week 13 snaps, carries, and targets: Chris Thompson (23, 3, 2), Adrian Peterson (23, 13, 2), and Derrius Guice (19, 20, 2). This might be the most even three-back committee in the NFL. Guice has been busting off big plays since his Week 11 return but still can’t be counted on as more than an RB3/4 given his touch totals (8, 11, 12) in this horrendous offense (14.25 projected points). The second-year pro did handle goal-line work last week, making him the most attractive play of the group.
Terry McLaurin has three low-usage weeks and one elite-usage week with Haskins under center. McLaurin, as we saw in last week’s 2-8-0 game, carries zero floor in this offense. That doesn’t mean the rookie can’t hit a ceiling as a talented deep threat, but it does make it difficult. An individual matchup against CB Jaire Alexander adds to the struggle this week. … Rookie WR Kelvin Harmon is a near full-time player with Trey Quinn and Paul Richardson banged up. Harmon has been as up-and-down as McLaurin, just on 80% of the usage.