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.
Teams are listed in order of their Vegas projected team points.
Page 1: SF, KC, SEA, NO, TEN, OAK, NE, NYG, CLE
Page 2: LAR, DAL, MIN, HOU, GB, ARI, PHI, MIA, DET, CAR
Page 3: LAC, JAX, PIT, TB, IND, CHI, DEN, WAS, BUF, ATL, CIN
TNF: BAL, NYJ
49ers (29 projected points, -11.5 spread) vs. ATL
Jimmy Garoppolo is averaging 9.2 fantasy points more with Emmanuel than without him, but that also includes the two four-touchdown games against the Cardinals. Jimmy G is undoubtedly better when he has Sanders, Kittle, and Samuel healthy and when he faces a weak opponent. This week, he checks both boxes, making him a low-end QB1.
Following last week’s game, coach Kyle Shanahan said, “I mean, we keep trying to balance it out, but what Raheem has done these last few weeks and has continued to do, we need to give him more opportunities. He’s given us no choice.” I expect Mostert to handle at least 10-15 touches as the clear-cut No. 1 back this week, making Mostert a high-end RB2 with the Niners projected to score 29 points as 11.5-point favorites… Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman are boom-or-bust RB3/4s.
Already a below-average secondary, the Falcons will now be without Desmond Trufant and face two capable receivers in Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel. Emmanuel has more usage and production than Samuel over the last two weeks but that trend can switch at any moment. Both Sanders and Samuel are WR3s with upside against a defense that’s in the bottom 11th percentile at creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks… George Kittle showed why he’s the best tight end in the NFL last week (see video below). The weekly top-three tight end has consistently been targeted 4-8 times.
Chiefs (27.75, -10) vs. DEN
Patrick Mahomes has three-straight games with one passing touchdown while working at less than 100% health. The Broncos won’t make things easier, but Mahomes did have 300 yards in both of his games against them last year. Mahomes’ upside is way too high to keep out of the top three even with the recent dip in production.
This is a three-back committee led by LeSean McCoy whenever Damien Williams (ribs) misses. Williams has been limited in practice this week and will likely be a game-time decision. If Williams is out, McCoy will be on the RB2/3 borderline with a 10-15 touch projection. If Williams returns, McCoy will drop to the RB4 range because Williams was the lead back when he last played. Williams would be a boom-or-bust RB3 in a so-so matchup.
As Ian Hartitz notes in his WR/CB column, Tyreek Hill should avoid stud CB Chris Harris by moving into the slot, a place Harris rarely travels to. Hill would be a WR1 with a ceiling even if Harris was shadowing him, but the fact that he dodges Harris makes a ceiling game even more likely. Hill is due for a high air yard game after three weeks of limited opportunities… Sammy Watkins (48 routes last week), Demarcus Robinson (41 routes), and Mecole Hardman (14 routes) are pure WR4/5 dart throws with Watkins being the most utilized of the bunch. The Broncos’ top 13th percentile defense at preventing 20+ yard plays makes this a semi-difficult matchup for these one-trick ponies, but Mahomes can make things happen against anyone… Travis Kelce has 6-10 targets in every game this season and is the TE1 overall in most weeks. Kelce has a touchdown or 100 yards in five of his six games against Denver with the only miss coming in Mahomes’ knee cap game.
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Seahawks (27.25, -6) @ CAR
Russell Wilson is always at the mercy of play calling, and the Seahawks are likely to run the ball a lot against this porous Carolina run defense. Another potential issue is the Panthers’ elite pass rush going up against the Seahawks’ awful pass protection. With that said, Wilson’s ceiling is far too high to drop out of the top-six. There are just more paths to “failure” this week… Chris Carson is back in the every-week RB1 club with Rashaad Penny (ACL) out for the season. Carson will see 15-25 touches per game down the stretch and gets the league’s worst defense against fantasy running backs this week. Carson is a top-five RB1.
Usage has been a major issue for Tyler Lockett in recent weeks. He has seen just 4, 2, 3, and 6 targets since his monster 18-target game. Lockett is clearly a boom-or-bust play, but he is at least nearing full healthy after leg and illness issues have limited him. Carolina’s bottom 35th percentile defense against 20+ yard passes increases his odds of a “boom”... DK Metcalf’s usage has been far better but that could take a dip if Lockett’s health cooperates. Another concern is a potential matchup with CB James Bradberry, although Ian Hartitz believes it’s more likely that Metcalf won’t be fully shadowed. Metcalf is a boom-or-bust WR3… Jacob Hollister is averaging 4.8-40-0.6 over the last five games but may lose a target or two per game if Luke Willson (hamstring) returns after getting in a limited practice this week. This paired with a tough individual against a top 13th-percentile defense versus fantasy tight ends make Hollister a TE2.
Saints (27.25, -8) vs. IND
After last week’s unpredictable six-touchdown game against the Niners, Drew Brees is averaging 300 passing yards and 2.57 total touchdowns in his seven healthy games. Another home game awaits, and it’s against a far worse defense. Brees’ football IQ is a mismatch against Indy’s zone defense, so I’m expecting a very efficient passing game. The only potential concern is passing volume given the Colts’ bottom five offensive pace, but that’s not enough to move Brees out of the top six at the position.
I can’t project elite efficiency from Alvin Kamara while he’s battling through an injury. That’s one issue. Another issue is his lack of goal-line work. Kamara only has four inside-the-five carries this season, which partially explains his rushing touchdown decline (14 last year to one this year). Kamara is still due for some positive touchdown regression and is seeing 10 carries and seven receptions since his return from injury, but he isn’t in the elite RB1 tier right now. Kamara is closer to the RB6-10 range.
Michael Thomas is the WR1 overall every week. He only needs 23 more receptions to set the single-season record (143, Marvin Harrison)… Ted Ginn (8-102-1) and Tre’Quan Smith (6-69-2) have done nothing in their last five games. Ginn is the slightly better WR5 dart throw… Jared Cook is the TE2 overall on the second most air yards since returning in Week 10. If he’s healthy (concussion), he’s a top-five TE1 with touchdown equity. The Colts’ bottom 29th-percentile defense against fantasy tight ends is the cherry on top.
Titans (26.5, -3) vs. HOU
Ryan Tannehill is playing at an unsustainable rate right now, but it’s reached the point where I believe Tannehill is a legit starting-level quarterback. His completion percentage above expected is at the top of the league. The main issues here are volume (27 attempts per game) and a previous reliance on yards after the catch -- 47% of his passing yards are YAC yards. A soft home matchup with shootout potential makes Tannehill a top-10 fantasy option… Derrick Henry’s hamstring issue is a concern even if he’s practicing this week, but when he’s fully healthy, Henry is a top-five RB1. The Texans’ bottom 16th percentile defense against fantasy backs improves his outlook. Henry is looking to extend his 100-yard streak to five games. The Titans’ 26.5-point team total suggests that’s certainly in play if his health cooperates… Dion Lewis is worth a pickup in deeper leagues just in case Henry suffers a setback.
A.J. Brown has superstar upside. He’s been the most efficient receiver in Mariota’s and Tannehill’s careers and is fourth in PFF’s predictive yards per route run metric. A home matchup against a bottom 16th percentile pass defense improves his outlook further, but I do want to temper expectations a little bit. Targets with Tannehill as the starter: 8, 3, 7, 4, 5, 4, and 7 (5.4 average). That usage forces me into ranking Brown as an upside WR3… Corey Davis has 1, 2, and 1 receptions since coming back from his injury. More usage should come his way, but he’s a WR5 dart throw for the time being… Jonnu Smith is a touchdown-dependent TE2 in an above-average matchup.
Raiders (26, -6.5) vs. JAX
The Jaguars are ranked 1st in my “Given Up” rankings. That’ll help Derek Carr, but he’s been way off the one-quarterback league radar with Oakland 25th in pass attempts. With Jacksonville playing at the second-slowest pace, volume will be a major issue for Carr’s streaming outlook… Josh Jacobs is best viewed as a boom-or-bust RB1/2. On one hand, Jacobs could bust with his worrisome fractured shoulder, but he can also smash the Jaguars if he can play a full game. Jacksonville is now the No. 30 defense against fantasy running backs after allowing at least 195 rushing yards in four of the last five games, not to mention Ekeler’s 100-yard receiving game. In most season-long cases, I’d start Jacobs and chase his ceiling unless weekend news changes his outlook. If Jacobs is ultimately ruled out or severely limited, DeAndre Washington is the plug-and-play option after dominating snaps and touches over Jalen Richard last week.
Volume and scheme fit have plagued Tyrell Williams all year. Facing a bottom 19th percentile defense at preventing 20+ yard passes this week is a reason for optimism, but Williams remains a no-floor WR4… Hunter Renfrow (ribs) practiced Thursday and will be questionable for Week 15. He’s a low-ceiling WR5 whenever healthy, averaging 3.3 receptions and 36 yards on 7.5 YPT… Renfrow’s return would be a negative for Darren Waller. In the eight games with Renfrow seeing more than four targets, Waller averaged 11.3 PPR points. In the other five games with Renfrow out or limited, Waller averaged 17.6 PPR points. That’s the difference between a top-four TE1 and a mid-range TE1. But Waller’s outlook was improved with Foster Moreau (team-high five red-zone touchdowns) heading to injured reserve. Waller’s touchdown equity is improved, making him a borderline top-five TE1.
Patriots (25.25, -10) @ CIN
The only thing that can save Tom Brady right now is some illegal sideline filming. Luckily for Brady, he plays for the Patriots, so his prescription has been filled. Brady is averaging 254 yards and 1.1 touchdowns over his last eight games, and that includes garbage-time production against the Texans two weeks ago. The matchup keeps him in the QB2 mix, but Brady is no longer elite. In fact, I’d argue he’s a below-average starting quarterback.
James White’s role as a reliable pass-catching option is secure. He’s the “lead back” if you will and is the only Patriots’ back I’d throw into the flex with any confidence. That’s because Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel are splitting rushing reps, something I’ve been calling for since October with Michel clearly washed/injured. A 25.25-point total gives these back a path to a mini-ceiling but the muddiness of the backfield gives them all low floors.
Julian Edelman is the WR3 overall since Week 6. He’s a locked-in WR1 with an elite floor given his league-leading targets over that span. Edelman is one of two pass-catchers that Brady trusts, so he’s going to see 9-13 targets most games… Here are the receptions and targets for New England receivers since Week 11 when Harry made his debut: Julian Edelman (27, 45), Jakobi Meyers (9, 21), Mohamed Sanu (6, 10), Phillip Dorsett (5, 13), and N’Keal Harry (5, 10). There isn’t a reliable No. 2 right now. If forced to take a flier, I’d roll the dice on Dorsett, who is the best bet to take advantage of the Bengals’ bottom 6th percentile defense against 20+ yard passes… Ben Watson was cancelled long ago.
Giants (25, -3.5) vs. MIA
Eli Manning wasn’t awful last week, partially because the Eagles blew a few coverages that led to touchdowns. A similar performance is possible with Miami coming to New York. The Dolphins are the worst pass defense per DVOA and the third worst against fantasy quarterbacks. Manning has 300-yard upside as a QB2 streamer. This game will determine if Manning finishes with a sub-.500 career record. He has a lot to play for… Saquon Barkley is now averaging just 3.19 yards on his 117 carries since returning from his ankle injury. He’s clearly a little slowed down, but this is also regression at its finest. His breakaway percentage -- the percentage of rushing yards that came on 15+ yard runs -- has dropped from 55% last year to just 15% since his ankle injury. The home run plays haven’t been there this season. Perhaps that changes against the Dolphins this week. The matchup and his usage still keep him inside the top 10 even if he’s a little slower right now.
Here are targets and air yards in the two recent games with all three receivers healthy: Darius Slayton (15, 180), Sterling Shepard (16, 107), and Golden Tate (12, 153). All three are in the upside flex mix, but it’s impossible to be confident with their floors since volume is spread pretty evenly… Evan Engram was limited in practice and could be a game-time decision. If he starts, he’ll be on the TE1/2 radar but carries a low floor given his worrisome injury. If he sits again, Kaden Smith will be a near-full time player as a punt TE2/3.
Browns (25, -2) @ ARI
The Cardinals are allowing 2.0 more fantasy points per game to quarterbacks than the second worst defense. They’re truly awful, but so is Baker Mayfield with this coaching staff. Mayfield has one or fewer total touchdowns in 9-of-13 games and has hit three touchdowns just twice (PIT, MIA). Vegas’ 25-point team total puts Mayfield in the top-12 quarterback conversation this week, but he’s by no means a must play…
Chubb (w/o Hunt)
Chubb (w Hunt)
Since Kareem Hunt was activated, Nick Chubb has gone from being a bellcow back to being a one-dimensional runner. His receiving volume has been slashed in half, which makes him more game script-dependent than ever. That’s concerning because we’ve already seen a 5.7 PPR point drop in Chubb’s production even though the Browns have won four of their last five games. Chubb’s floor will be tested if Cleveland ever trails. A matchup with the Cardinals alleviates some of my concerns, however. Arizona is second in offensive pace and is in the bottom 35th percentile against running backs. Chubb should see 15-25 touches as an RB1/2, while Hunt chips in an additional 10-15 as a flex play.
Odell Beckham is reportedly playing through a sports hernia, which definitely explains his 2019 season. His usage has been strong almost every week, but he is the WR27 on the season. In another matchup, I’d stop calling Odell a positive regression candidate, but the Cardinals are seriously awful defensively. Even an 80% Odell can reach a ceiling here, which keeps him in WR2 mix despite a year’s full of disappointment… Jarvis Landry is now up to the WR13 overall while operating as Mayfield’s true top option. Landry’s 7-12 target projection gives him a high floor and ceiling as a locked-in WR1/2. Betting against the Cardinals’ bottom 16th-percentile defense against fantasy receivers has been profitable all year long… David Njoku returned last week but only saw three targets. Volume will be a major concern for Njoku with Landry, Odell, Chubb, and Hunt as the main options, but Njoku is on the TE1/2 radar with Arizona allowing 6-74-1 per game to fantasy tight ends.
Teams are listed in order of their Vegas projected team points.
Page 1: SF, KC, SEA, NO, TEN, OAK, NE, NYG, CLE
Page 2: LAR, DAL, MIN, HOU, GB, ARI, PHI, MIA, DET, CAR
Page 3: LAC, JAX, PIT, TB, IND, CHI, DEN, WAS, BUF, ATL, CIN
TNF: BAL, NYJ
Rams (25, -1) @ DAL
Jared Goff and the Rams Offense looks more stable in recent weeks, but Goff is still averaging 274 yards and 1.1 touchdowns in non-Arizona contests this season. Last week’s strategy involved hiding Goff in two-TE sets, something we could see once again because it was quite effective. Vegas’ 25-point team total gives Goff some upside, but I’m forever worried about his floor since he’s one of the worst every-week starting quarterbacks. Goff is a QB2… If we exclude the bloodbath against Baltimore, Todd Gurley is averaging 22.3 carries over the last month. The offense has changed over that time frame, opting for more run-heavy schemes to feature Gurley once again. Gurley should see 15-25 touches as a low-end RB1 with a nice team total.
The offense completely changed in Week 14. It led to the following routes run percentages: Robert Woods (97%), Brandin Cooks (62%), Cooper Kupp (53%), and Josh Reynolds (47%). Basically, Gurley was made the centerpiece, which limited Kupp and Cooks’ usage. Kupp is now averaging 3.8-40-0.4 in the five games since the bye. Expectations need to be adjusted… Brandin Cooks has four receptions in his three post-concussion games... That makes Robert Woods the clear-cut No. 1 receiver right now, especially if this two-TE personnel grouping continues. Woods is averaging 8.3-115-0.3 on 11.8 targets in his last four games. He’s a low-end WR1… Josh Reynolds can still be avoided despite the snap rate spike. He’s still not being targeted enough… Gerald Everett (knee) has been sidelined at practice this week and appears likely to miss another game. That keeps Tyler Higbee in the mid-range TE1 mix. His last two stat lines (7-107-1 and 7-116-0) are extremely impressive, but they did come against the worst and second-worst defenses against tight ends. I’m still expecting 5-8 targets. Just not elite TE1 production like others are.
Cowboys (24, +1) vs. LAR
Tough matchups against NE, BUF, and CHI have slowed down Dak Prescott, but he still had 300 yards in two of the three games. The Rams are another above-average defense, although catching them at home lessens the blow. Prescott is averaging 351 yards and 2.3 touchdowns at Jerry World this season. The QB3 overall on the season is a mid-range QB1 this week… Ezekiel Elliott gets the slightly tougher individual matchup against the Rams’ No. 3 run DVOA defense, but his volume (19 carries, 3.2 receptions per game) are far too high to move him out of the top five.
Amari Cooper will line up across CB Jalen Ramsey this week, which will put his home splits to the test. Cooper is averaging 25.5 PPR points at home and just 10.1 on the road, although other variables played into those road numbers. Cooper should still see 6-10 targets and is more than talented enough to produce against elite corners. I’m only downgrading Cooper to the WR1/2 borderline… Michael Gallup will benefit from Ramsey’s coverage on Amari and has already been heavily targeted. Since the Week 8 bye, Gallup is the WR7 in targets and WR5 in air yards. Gallup is a positive touchdown regression candidate as a low-end WR2 with upside… Randall Cobb’s usage and production have declined in the last three weeks after a somewhat random mid-season surge. Those recent matchups have been unbelievably tough, so a bounceback game is certainly possible. Cobb is a WR4 with an average slot matchup… Jason Witten is quietly the TE9 overall with consistent TE1/2 level usage. He does nothing after the catch and is largely touchdown-dependent, but Witten is a solid TE2 play.
Vikings (23.75, -2.5) @ LAC
Kirk Cousins will likely have Adam Thielen (hamstring) back, but Cousins’ on/off splits with Thielen indicate his return doesn’t move the needle in terms of fantasy production. What does move the needle is Chargers S Derwin James’ return. Not only are the Chargers a quality defense, but they also play at a snail’s pace on offense, which limits Cousins’ attempt projection. Cousins is a mid-range QB2… Dalvin Cook practiced fully on Wednesday and is feeling “healthy” after seeing 20 touches against the Lions last week. A setback could happen any time, but Cook appears to be getting healthier and healthier. The Chargers Defense is better than what the bar charts indicate now that they’re healthy, but Cook’s 15-25 touches make him a top-five RB1… 42% of Alexander Mattison’s carries have come with the Vikings winning by at least 15 points. With this game expected to be close, Mattison is nothing more than an RB4.
Adam Thielen (hamstring) is expected to play after weeks and weeks of recovery, but he may be on a snap count and is difficult to trust as more than a boom-or-bust WR3/4 play. The Vikings have played it slow with him thus far, and there’s no reason to expect that to change. Thielen would at least dodge the Chargers’ best corner if active… Stefon Diggs will draw CB Casey Hayward and will also be dealing with elite S Derwin James (see below). It’s a very tough draw, especially with Diggs’ weekly volume concerns. Adding Thielen to the mix only muddies that up more. I still like taking shots with Diggs because he’s a stud, but the floor is low here, making Diggs a WR2/3 assuming Thielen plays… Kyle Rudolph’s TE1/2 run will come to an end when Thielen returns. Rudolph only averaged 1.5 receptions in the six games with a healthy Thielen.
Texans (23.5, +3) @ TEN
Deshaun Watson, the QB2 overall, finds himself in a potential shootout against a secondary that’ll likely be without CB Adoree’ Jackson. Further improving his outlook is the fact that Watson is an underdog. As we’ve seen time and time again, running quarterbacks ball out with their legs whenever they’re trailing… Duke Johnson has closed the gap a bit, but Carlos Hyde is still the lead back in Houston. Hyde is averaging 71 yards on 15 carries per game as a touchdown-dependent RB3. The Titans’ top 13th percentile run DVOA defense is a small concern in this spot… Duke has played 50% or more of the snaps in four-straight games as a passing-down RB4.
DeAndre Hopkins is an elite WR1 play this week with CB Adoree’ Jackson trending in the wrong direction. There isn’t a box that Nuk doesn’t check… Will Fuller (hamstring) expects to play. I’m not expecting him to be overly limited in an important divisional game. In his seven healthy games, Fuller is averaging 5.7-83-0.42 (16.6 PPR points) on 8.4 targets. Fuller is an upside WR2/3 and needs to be heavily considered in DFS tournaments… Kenny Stills hasn’t done enough to warrant redraft consideration, especially with Fuller returning… Darren Fells and Jordan Akins split snaps and targets, but Fells is the better bet for a touchdown given his red-zone usage. Fells is a desperate TE2/3 in a plus matchup.
Packers (23, -5) vs. CHI
Aaron Rodgers eviscerated the Raiders (5 TDs) and Giants (4 TDs) this season but is averaging 1.3 passing touchdowns in the other 11 games, which includes a 203-1 passing line against Chicago earlier this season. Catching this above-average defense in outdoor Wisconsin conditions likely won’t help Rodgers turn things around. It’s been profitable to be underweight on Rodgers for years, and this is a spot to do it again. Rodgers is a high-end QB2 with upside, not a must-play QB1… Aaron Jones’ 13.5-carry and 3.5-reception averages make him at least an RB2 every matchup, including this one, but the Bears are expecting to get elite run-stuffer Akiem Hicks (elbow) back this week. Chicago limited Jones to 39 scoreless yards on 13 carries and one target the last time they played, a reminder of his floor with Jamaal Williams playing 40-60% snaps each week.
The Bears are a tough matchup for Davante Adams -- they’ve held him to 14.2 PPR points on average in his four games against the Bears with Rodgers since 2017 -- but they are without CB Prince Amukamara right now and have allowed WR1 games to opposing WR1s in recent weeks. Adams is a low-end WR1 with touchdown upside… Allen Lazard is averaging 8.0 PPR points in the five games since Adams’ return. He’s a WR5 dart throw… Jimmy Graham is completely reliant on touchdowns as a zero-floor TE2/3.
Cardinals (23, +2) vs. CLE
Kyler Murray has survived off garbage time and his rushing ability this season, but he has a chance to get things done the right way this week against the visiting Myles Garrett-less Browns. Murray should have time to operate, an issue he’s had against tougher opponents, and has all of his weapons healthy. Kyler is an upside QB1/2. The Cardinals’ 23-point team total is higher than it’s been in most weeks.
Last two games (AVG)
It’s firmly Kenyan Drake’s backfield with David Johnson only being rotated in on occasion. I’m expecting a decent performance from Drake this week given the run efficiency advantage the Cardinals have on the Browns (see bar charts). A sudden depth chart change lowers the floor, but I’ll keep riding with Drake as long as he sees the touches. Drake is on the RB2/3 borderline.
Christian Kirk’s move to the outside makes him a more boom-or-bust fantasy asset, but he’s had at least six receptions in three of those four outside-receiver games, a stretch that’s included matchups with SF, LAR, and PIT. This week’s softer home matchup gives him a path to a ceiling game as an every-week WR2/3… Larry Fitzgerald is seeing 4-7 targets every week but hasn’t reached 72 yards since Week 2. Fitzgerald does have a slightly higher floor than other WR4 options but his ceiling is tied to random touchdowns, something difficult to project for against an above-average slot CB T.J. Carrie.
Eagles (22.25, -4.5) @ WAS
Carson Wentz will be throwing to his tight ends and a bunch of salesmen this week with Jeffery (IR) and Agholor (questionable) banged up. He’ll also be without stud OT Lane Johnson (ankle), too. The only thing keeping him in the fantasy mix right now is a matchup against Washington, who he torched for 313-3 in Week 1 this year. Wentz is a QB2 with a middling 22.25-point team total… Jordan Howard may get cleared for contact this week. That would push Miles Sanders back to the RB3 mix as a primary pass-catcher, but if Howard misses again, Sanders will be an upside RB2. We can ignore his snap counts from last week due to cramps -- don’t worry about Boston Scott -- and focus on this week’s contest. The Redskins are in the bottom 25th percentile against fantasy running backs. Expect Sanders to handle 3-6 receptions with all of the receiver injuries.
Alshon Jeffery was sent to injured reserve and Nelson Agholor hasn’t practiced this week. If Agholor can push through his hamstring injury, he’ll be a risky WR4 play with a 5-8 target projection, but I doubt that happens… Instead, I’m expecting rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside to operate as the de-facto No. 1 receiver with Greg Ward sliding into two-WR sets. JJAW profiled as a red-zone and deep-threat weapon but has eight receptions on the season. The rookie and Ward, who was targeted nine times on 86% snaps last week, will be WR4/5 dart throws if Agholor is out… Zach Ertz is the real No. 1 target, however. Ertz should see 10-15 targets as the TE1 overall this week. The Redskins’ bottom 25th percentile defense against fantasy tight ends is the cherry on top… Dallas Goedert could end up being the No. 2 target. He has at least six targets in four-straight games as a reliable check-down option. Goedert needs to be upgraded into the mid-range TE1 conversation if Agholor is out.
Dolphins (21.5, +3.5) @ NYG
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s outlook is dependent on if Parker, Hurns, and Wilson play this week. As of now, only Hurns is fully expected to play. That’s a concern as Fitzpatrick has been reliant on YOLO balls to Parker this season. The Giants’ awful secondary still gives him a shot to pay off as a QB2, but the ceiling is capped if Parker is out… Patrick Laird is averaging 12.5 carries and 4.0 receptions since Kalen Ballage went down with an injury. Laird played a season-high 82% of the snaps last week and has a nice grasp on the Dolphins’ backfield right now. That could change at any time, but I like Laird’s chances at catching 3-6 passes if Parker is out. Laird is a viable RB2/3 option in an average matchup, particularly in PPR leagues. Davis Mattek and Peter Overzet love to see it. As do I.
DeVante Parker remains in the concussion protocol as of midnight heading into Friday. If he can get cleared, Parker will be a borderline top-12 option. He’s had double-digit targets on elite air-yard totals since Preston Williams went down and catches a Giants’ defense that’s in the bottom 16th percentile at preventing 20+ yard passes… If Parker is out, Allen Hurns will be the new No. 1 receiver. Hurns had a season-high eight targets last week when Parker left early and has played at least 79% snaps in the five games without Williams. Hurns could be an underrated WR3 in an awesome matchup… Mike Gesicki would also have an improved outlook if Parker is out but has posted TE2 numbers even with him. Gesicki has shown life over his last six games, averaging a 3.8-43-0.3 receiving line. The Giants losing S Jabrill Peppers to injured reserve makes them more vulnerable to tight ends. Gesicki is a recommended TE2 streamer.
Lions (TBD, TBD) vs. TB
The only thing keeping David Blough in the mix is this week’s matchup against the biggest pass funnel in the league. Blough is still just a shot in the dark QB2/3, especially with Marvin Jones and T.J. Hockenson on injured reserve… Expect another 14-20 inefficient carries from Bo Scarbrough this week. He’s facing long odds of success against Tampa Bay’s No. 1 run DVOA defense. Scarbrough is merely a touchdown-dependent RB3/4.
Marvin Jones leaves behind 19% of the Lions’ targets, 26% of the air yards, and 1.1 red-zone targets per game. That’s significant usage that will be spread to Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola. Golladay is double-digit target candidate and faces the 32nd-ranked defense against fantasy receivers. Golladay is an upside WR2 even with Blough at quarterback… Danny Amendola is even a little interesting as a flex play. Amendola played a season-high 80% of the snaps last week and is a scheme fit with Blough as an underneath target. The Bucs have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points in slot coverage this season.
Panthers (21.25, +6) vs. SEA
Kyle Allen needs to be benched for Will Grier. That’s not up for debate. But it’s also meaningless chatter. Allen will be out there Sunday, tossing inaccurate deep balls to Samuel to tilt me off the planet. Game script should, once again, force Allen into 35-45 inefficient pass attempts as a low-end QB2. The Seahawks Defense, particularly with a hobbled Jadeveon Clowney, isn’t one to worry about… Christian McCaffrey is the RB1 overall.
Since Week 5, D.J. Moore has exceeded my “10 PPR Expected” line in every game and has at least 73 receiving yards in 8-of-9. His floor is elite, even with horrid quarterback play. Moore also can hit a ceiling, especially in good matchups like the one he gets on Sunday. The Seahawks are also below-average against fantasy receivers, making Moore a WR1… Curtis Samuel has eight games with over 100 air yards. He has zero games with 100 receiving yards. Calling this a rough stretch would be a major understatement. Samuel is “due” for positive regression but how confident can we be in Kyle Allen to get him the ball to convert those air yards to actual yards? I’m still treating Samuel as a boom-or-bust WR4… Greg Olsen has been limited in practices this week but hasn’t quite cleared the concussion protocol. Olsen will be on the TE1/2 borderline if he’s active, especially with the Seahawks allowing the second-most production to fantasy tight ends this season… If Olsen is out, we’ll get another start from athletic streamer Ian Thomas, who had 10 targets last week. Thomas is a recommended TE1/2 option whenever Olsen is out.
Teams are listed in order of their Vegas projected team points.
Page 1: SF, KC, SEA, NO, TEN, OAK, NE, NYG, CLE
Page 2: LAR, DAL, MIN, HOU, GB, ARI, PHI, MIA, DET, CAR
Page 3: LAC, JAX, PIT, TB, IND, CHI, DEN, WAS, BUF, ATL, CIN
TNF: BAL, NYJ
Chargers (21.25, +2.5) vs. MIN
The issue with the Chargers for fantasy is their fourth-slowest pace and 21.25-point team total. With so many mouths to feed, it’s inevitable that one or two of their skill position players will bust each week, especially with how Philip Rivers has played this season. Before last week’s fluky 314-3 game, Rivers was averaging 286 yards, 1.4 touchdowns and 1.3 interceptions per game on a career-worst touchdown rate. I’m chalking up last week to luck, something I’m not willing to bet on with the Vikings’ above-average defense against fantasy quarterbacks coming to town… Melvin Gordon’s 14.7 carries and 2.8 receptions per game put him squarely in the RB2 mix, especially since he sees most of the goal-line work… Austin Ekeler is averaging 6.2 carries and 5.4 receptions with Gordon and 14.0 carries and 6.0 receptions without him. Ekeler’s so darn good that he can reach a ceiling on this limited volume, but it’s not something I’ll bet on often because volume > skill. Ekeler is on the RB2/3 borderline in PPR leagues and an RB3 in standard leagues.
Keenan Allen is averaging 12.3 PPR points on eight targets per game with MGIII and 24.4 PPR points on 12 targets per game without him. Allen's usage is no longer elite, but he's still a rock-solid WR2 play, especially in good matchups like this week's. The Vikings are in the bottom 19th-percentile against fantasy receivers this year… Mike Williams finally scored a touchdown last week -- that's good -- but he now has three targets in three of his last five games. Usage is becoming a real problem with everyone in the offense healthy. Williams is a pure dart throw WR4... Hunter Henry only has one below-average usage game since returning in Week 6. Over that span, Henry is the TE3 overall on the third-most targets. The Vikings' above-average tight end defense makes Henry a mid-range TE1 this week.
Jaguars (19.5, +6.5) @ OAK
The Jaguars have the look of a team that’s given up on the year. That will be made worse by Chark’s absence. Gardner Minshew has everything but matchup working against him. Luckily the Raiders are absolutely awful in the secondary, leading to a 31st-ranked defense against fantasy quarterbacks… Leonard Fournette’s 18.1-carry and 5.2-reception averages lock him inside the top-five every week. A matchup against a bottom 16th percentile run DVOA defense awaits.
D.J. Chark (ankle) leaves behind 22% of the Jaguars’ targets, 35% of the air yards, and 0.61 red-zone targets per game. Keelan Cole will soak up some of that usage as the new starting receiver, but I’m way more interested in Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley… Dede Westbrook is a candidate to exceed his 7.5-target average over the last four games. Not only does Chark’s absence open up a lot of looks, but Westbrook also catches the Raiders nonexistent secondary after A.J. Brown destroyed them last week. Westbrook is a higher-floor WR3 play with volume and matchup on his side… Westbrook has the floor, but Chris Conley has the ceiling. Conley’s 14.4-yard average depth of target meshes well with Oakland’s No. 32 defense against 20+ yard passes, as long as Minshew is willing to chuck it deep. Expect 5-9 targets as an upside WR3/4.
Steelers (19.25, -1.5) vs. BUF
Update: JuJu Smith-Schuster is unlikely to play.
Devlin Hodges against the No. 3 defense against fantasy quarterbacks? Nah… James Conner (shoulder) has practiced in full and is expected to start Week 15. It’s unclear if he’ll get a full complement of snaps, however. When healthy, Conner was averaging 14 carries and 4.1 receptions per game, numbers he’d be lucky to hit in his first game back, especially with a 19.15-point team total. Conner is a boom-or-bust RB2/3. If Jaylen Samuels (groin) can’t play, Conner would be slightly more appealing since his receiving projection would improve.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) is now not expected to return this week, which moves stud CB Tre’Davious White to James Washington and Diontae Johnson. I'm not convinced that White will shadow either receiver, but both receivers need to be downgraded given the matchup. Washington and Johnson are low-floor WR4/5s with inconsistent usage in the three games without JuJu.
Bucs (TBD, TBD) @ DET
Jameis Winston has been throwing tennis balls at practice with his fractured thumb. There’s no way you can be fully confident in his floor this week, but as always, the upside is still there. The Lions traded away their best safety a few weeks back and are 30th at preventing 20+ yard passes because of it. For now, I have Jameis just inside my top 10 but will be adjusting based on injury news.
Last 3 Games (AVG)
Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones are splitting touches and snaps evenly. Last week, Barber played 30 snaps. Jones played 27. Even Dare Ogunbowale played 23. The Lions are in the bottom 9th percentile against fantasy running backs, but volume is a concern for all three backs. Barber and RoJo are RB3s and would be downgraded if Jameis’ thumb injury is somewhat serious.
Mike Evans (hamstring) leaves behind 23% of the Bucs’ targets, 35% of the air yards, and 1.23 red-zone targets per game. Chris Godwin will consume some of that, vaulting him into the elite WR1 club, and the rest will be spread out to Breshad Perriman, Justin Watson, Scotty Miller (hamstring), the tight ends, and the running backs... As the air yards chart shows, Perriman has been the most stable receiver behind Evans and Godwin, and he’s been on the field the most. In Week 14, Perriman ran a route on 50-of-52 dropbacks compared to Watson’s 34-of-52. If Miller (hamstring) remains out, I like Perriman as an upside WR4 and Watson as an upside WR5. But if Miller returns, things get really muddy because Miller out-targeted, out-airyarded, and out-snapped Perriman in his last healthy game (Week 11)... O.J. Howard has had his three highest-usage games of the season over the last five weeks, and he’s in the mix for an additional target or two with Evans sidelined. Howard has upside, but there’s no way to rule out him getting benched, making him a boom-or-bust TE1/2 in a plus matchup.
Colts (19.25, +8) @ NO
Jacoby Brissett only had 251 yards and two touchdowns in a game where the Colts scored 35 points against the league’s worst pass defense. He just doesn’t provide any sort of ceiling with low-level pass-catching options… Indy has opted to run the ball with Marlon Mack regardless of the score this season -- Mack’s averaging 17.8 carries in losses this season. That will likely be the formula in this one, especially with the Saints losing DT Sheldon Rankins and DE Marcus Davenport to injured reserve. Mack, however, has only caught one (1) pass in losses this season, so he’ll need to find the end zone to pay off as an RB2/3.
T.Y. Hilton (questionable) will likely join Parris Campbell (foot, IR) on the sidelines, leaving Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson as the primary receivers. Pascal has seen awesome usage with them sidelined, clearing my “10 PPR Expected” threshold in six of his last eight games and checking in as a top-10 receiver in both targets and air yards over the last two weeks. Pascal is a strong WR3 option because of his volume… Marcus Johnson got behind the Bucs secondary for a 46-yard touchdown and will be Indy’s best deep threat whenever Hilton is out. Johnson doesn’t have the floor Pascal has but can score a long touchdown as a dart throw WR5. The Saints are a 54th-percentile defense against 20+ yard passes… Jack Doyle is a positive regression candidate. Doyle has had strong TE1 usage in both of his games without Eric Ebron and should continue to see 6-12 targets down the stretch as a mid-range TE1.
Bears (18, +5) @ GB
Easy matchups have led to back-to-back three passing touchdown games for Mitchell Trubisky but going into Green Bay in December should put this nonsense to an end. Trubisky had 228 scoreless yards on 45 attempts last time they played. The only saving grade is Trubisky’s sudden willingness to run. That’s how he saved his stat lines in 2018… David Montgomery’s matchup is far easier with the Packers sitting in the bottom 20th percentile in run DVOA. Montgomery’s issues are his athletic limitations (speed in particular) and 1.8-reception average. The rookie should see 15-20 carries, but he has a low ceiling given his one-dimensional role... Tarik Cohen is averaging 5.5 receptions and 31 receiving yards in losses. The Bears are 5-point underdogs.
Allen Robinson is the WR11 on the season with a top-10 target total. His individual matchup could be better, but it’s not terrible. Ian Hartitz notes CB Jaire Alexander did not shadow A-Rob in their previous contest, so Robinson will dodge him whenever he moves into the slot. Robinson is a volume-based WR2… Taylor Gabriel (concussion) being out again would make Anthony Miller a viable WR3/4 again. Miller has had a touchdown or six receptions in each of his last four games while running routes at near full-time rates. If Gabriel returns, Miller would be a risky WR4 play. Luckily Gabriel hasn’t practiced yet.
Broncos (17.75, +10) @ KC
Drew Lock made some gutsy throws in last week’s blowout win over Houston. Those are the plays he made in college, but he can also easily bust with his boom-or-bust playing style. Game script won’t be an issue for Lock as 10-point favorites, but the Chiefs’ pass rush and secondary are above-average. Lock is a QB2/3 in his first game in Arrowhead… A lopsided scoreboard allowed Royce Freeman to play more last week, but this is still very much Phillip Lindsay’s backfield. Lindsay is averaging 15.5 carries and two receptions over his last four games, which are very similar to his averages in losses. Lindsay is an RB2/3 on volume alone and can reach a mini ceiling because of the Chiefs’ 30th-ranked run DVOA defense.
Courtland Sutton is seeing 40% of the Broncos’ air yards with Lock starting. Their strengths work well together, but they will likely be very boom-bust since a lot of their production will come on high-variance deeper routes. Complicating things further is Kansas City’s No. 2 defense against fantasy receivers. Sutton needs to be downgraded to the WR3 range while Lock plays in Arrowhead for the first time… Noah Fant is dealing with multiple injuries and will likely draw a questionable tag. Fant will have the easier individual matchup compared to Sutton if he plays, but the rookie tight end is still only seeing 3-5 targets per game. Fant’s insane athleticism gives him some upside as a TE2 (see below). The floor is just nonexistent.
Redskins (17.75, +4.5) vs. PHI
Dwayne Haskins. No thanks… Another knee injury will take Derrius Guice out of the mix, leaving Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson as the clear top-two backs. Peterson will handle 14-20 carries and goal-line work while Thompson operates as a receiver. Game script will always lean Thompson’s way, but Washington’s willingness to run the ball while trailing keeps AP in the RB2/3 mix.
Terry McLaurin currently has the sixth-best PFF season among rookie receivers since 2010, only trailing Odell, Michael Thomas, Mikey Evans, Antonio, and Keenan. He’s a legit player, but McLaurin is only averaging 3.7-43-0.2 with Haskins. Playing the 31st-ranked defense against fantasy receivers clears a path to a ceiling game as a boom-or-bust WR3/4, however. We’ve seen spike weeks from him before… Everyone else is too thin to mention.
Bills (17.75, +1.5) @ PIT
Josh Allen’s 34 rushing yards and 0.62 rushing touchdowns per game keep him in the mix, but this matchup is brutal for Allen. The Steelers have the defensive line personnel to limit Allen’s rushing -- Pittsburgh allowed 28 rushing yards to Russ, Kyler, and Baker combined this season -- and will give him a lot of issues when he passes. The 17.75-point team total suggests Allen is a QB2 this week despite ranking inside the top 10 this season… Devin Singletary has taken over the backfield -- he played a season-high 81% of the snaps last week -- but Allen and Frank Gore are still options near the goal-line. In an impossible road matchup, Singletary needs a random touchdown or extended receiving work to pay off as a flex. The rookie did catch six passes in a similar matchup against the Ravens last week, so that’s in play.
“High floor John Brown" has retired. He has gone under 30 receiving yards in three straight and will be tested this week. The Steelers have four top-32 corners per PFF and have DPOY candidate Minkah Fitzpatrick as safety. Since their Week 7 bye, they’ve allowed 191 passing yards on average. Brown is a risky WR3 who needs a signature big play to pay off… Cole Beasley is averaging four receptions and 40 yards in the eight games since the Bills’ bye, but somehow has six touchdowns over that span. How? Idk. But I’m confident in that being an unsustainable pace, rendering Beasley a low-floor WR4 given the matchup… Dawson Knox’s questionable talent, low volume, and tough matchup make him an easy fade.
Falcons (17.5, +11.5) @ SF
Matt Ryan not only loses Ridley for the season, but now has to travel across the country to face a top 23rd percentile defense against fantasy quarterbacks. Ryan should drop back a ton but efficiency and pressure will be issues. A 17.5-point team total makes Ryan a mid-range QB2… Devonta Freeman should also struggle and has a low touchdown projection give the team total, but he is averaging 4.5 receptions and 30 receiving yards in losses this season. As 11.5-point underdogs, Freeman should be projected for 4-7 receptions as an RB2/3 in PPR leagues. The veteran isn’t a “must bench” by any means unless his knee issue is worse than it appears.
Calvin Ridley (abdomen) leaves behind 17% of the Falcons’ targets, 27% of the air yards, and 0.54 red-zone targets per game. It’s a major loss but will make Russell Gage a more appealing fantasy option. Gage should see 5-10 targets per game down the stretch as a WR3 in good matchups and WR4 in bad ones. Going into San Francisco definitely qualifies as a bad one... Julio Jones should also see a slight uptick in usage, but the matchup this week is the bigger news. The 49ers are top five against fantasy receivers and Atlanta is only projected to score 17.5 points. Those are concerns, but this is a spot to bet on volume and talent, especially if/when CB Richard Sherman (hamstring) misses. Julio remains a WR1 with an 8-12 target projection... Austin Hooper struggled in his return from an MCL sprain (2-32-0 on six targets), but he’s a slight bounceback this week even with the matchup being beyond brutal. Hooper will see 6-10 targets and should be more comfortable playing through his injury the second time around. Hooper is a mid-range TE1 based on his volume projection.
Bengals (15.25, +10) vs. NE
I have nothing to say about Andy Dalton… Joe Mixon is averaging 21 carries and two receptions per game since the Bengals’ Week 9 bye. His usage and even his rushing efficiency have been great in recent weeks but that will likely regress given the matchup. Only five running backs have exceeded 40 rushing yards against the Patriots this year.
Auden Tate leaves behind 18% of the Bengals’ targets and 29% of the air yards. His injury puts more pressure on John Ross, who only ran 17 routes in his return from injury. He’s a candidate to double his snaps and usage, but the Patriots Defense is too good to take a Ross gamble… Tyler Boyd is the best bet since New England is somewhat willing to allow underneath passes, but Boyd is a low-ceiling WR3/4 at best. A Dalton receiver facing the No. 1 defense against fantasy receivers is a bad formula… Alex Erickson should play a lot of snaps if you care… As will Tyler Eifert.