Week 16 Fantasy Football Forecast

Hayden Winks
Rotoworld

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Forecast! My goal with this weekly column is to get you actionable information as quickly as possible. As always, hit me up on Twitter @HaydenWinks if you have questions. 

 

Matchup Charts

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The team-by-team previews are below this segment... 

Week16Pace
Week16Pace

The Ravens and Seahawks are in a league of their own from a projected points score standpoint, while the Patriots are crushing every offense in neutral-situation pace... For those playing DFS, I like the Seahawks/Cardinals game the best since Arizona is playing at the second-fastest pace... The Bengals/Dolphins game is very interesting. Both teams are in the upper-right quadrant, which is the one you want to be in… Vegas is optimistic about the Redskins Offense this week despite terrible numbers and league-slow offensive pace… Starting players on the Bills, Lions, and Jets is quite risky given their team total, although exceptions exist (Golladay comes to mind)... 

 

Attempts Allowed 16
Attempts Allowed 16

DET, ARI, LAR, WAS, and MIA are allowing the most plays on defense. That’s because they are bad teams and/or play at a fast pace on offense… BUF, PHI, LAC, NE, BAL, and SF are allowing the fewest plays for the exact opposite reasons… Teams aren’t running the ball very much against BAL, NO, and TB… CIN is so bad that they’ve been a run funnel this season (31st in pass attempts allowed, 1st in rushes), but that should even out in close games like this week against MIA… 

 

PPR Depth 16
PPR Depth 16

There are big differences in PPR points allowed on deep passes (15+ air yards from the line of scrimmage). Some defenses allow a noticeable amount of deep production (OAK, DET, MIA, NYG, TB, and ARI) while others rarely get beat deep (BUF, SF, NE, DEN). Teams that don’t get beat deep are the best defenses… 50 to 60% of PPR points happen between 1-14 yards from the line of scrimmage (intermediate). ARI, TB, HOU, and ATL have allowed the most intermediate production… Only 15 to 20% of PPR points occur behind the line of scrimmage, and I guess a chunk of it comes from running backs.

 

Slot Coverage 16
Slot Coverage 16

To be clear this data includes production from RBs and TEs if they are lined up in the slot, so it’s not limited to just slot WRs... There is clearly a massive difference from defense to defense with the teams on the left allowing a bunch of PPR points to the slot (ATL, DET, TEN, HST) and with the right-hand teams proving to be stingy to players in the slot (CLV, BUF, CIN, PHI)... Next year, I’ll make this chart a lot fancier -- I’ll include the names of receivers playing against these defenses and, of course, team colors -- but this gets the job done for now...

 

RB PPR Allowed 16
RB PPR Allowed 16

CAR, JAX, KC, DET, WAS, CIN, and MIA allow the most PPR points to RBs, mainly because they are bad teams… KC is the lone exception, partially because they are a run funnel if we look at efficiency stats and partially because teams want to keep Mahomes off the field… TB, SF, and NE are the toughest teams against RBs, by far… CAR is allowing the most ground-game points to RBs and is 30th against pass-game production to RBs. Weird but it’s because of their league-worst run DVOA defense… The opposite is true for HOU… 

 

Team-by-Team Previews

Teams are listed in order of their Vegas projected team points.

Page 1: Matchup charts, SEA, BAL

Page 2: ATL, NO, SF, IND, HOU, LAC, KC, DAL, MIN, MIA

Page 3: TEN, CIN, TB, DEN, WAS, NE, PHI, ARI, GB, PIT, 

Page 4: CHI, LAR, CAR, NYG, OAK, JAX, CLE, NYJ, DET, BUF

 

Seahawks (30.5 projected points, -10 spread) vs. ARI

SEAARI
SEAARI
SEAAY16
SEAAY16

Russell Wilson (Volatile QB1): The Seahawks have the highest projected team total of the week (30.5)... The Cardinals have allowed the second-most plays on defense… The Cardinals are the worst defense against fantasy quarterbacks… 

Chris Carson (RB1): Carson is averaging 21 carries and 2.6 receptions in the five games without Rashaad Penny… Carson compiled 104 rushing yards and a season-high 4-41-0 receiving line against these Cardinals back in Week 4... 

Tyler Lockett (WR1/2): Lockett has been slowed down by a semi-serious shin bruise and illness over the last month, which explains his WR43 ranking since the Seahawks’ Week 11 bye. But last week’s 8-120-1 receiving line should give us a lot of confidence that his issues are behind him… The Cardinals have allowed the 10th most PPR points to players lined up in the slot… 

DK Metcalf (Boom-or-bust WR3): The Cardinals have allowed the sixth-most PPR points on passes traveling at least 15 yards downfield… Metcalf will be shadowed by CB Patrick Peterson, PFF’s No. 60 coverage corner out of 133 qualifiers… Josh Gordon is suspended… 

Jacob Hollister (Upside TE1/2): Hollister has averaged 4.5-37-0.5 in the six games since he’s played at least 69% of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps… The Cardinals have allowed 3.8 more fantasy points per game to tight ends than the second-worst defense… TE Luke Willson (hamstring) may return after being a full participant in practice. His return should only marginally affect Hollister… 

 

Ravens (29, -10) @ CLE

BALCLE
BALCLE
BALAY16
BALAY16

Lamar Jackson (The QB1 overall): Play him…  

Mark Ingram (RB2): Ingram is averaging 69 yards and 0.7 touchdowns on 14 carries per game... The Browns have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to RBs on the ground… 

Marquise Brown (Boom-or-bust WR3/4): Brown hasn’t reached 50 air yards or eight targets since Week 3… The Browns have allowed the 26th-most PPR points on passes traveling at least 15 yards downfield… CB Denzel Ward is one of the few corners fast enough to cover Brown on go routes… Brown can score a touchdown on anyone, however… 

Mark Andrews (TE1): Andrews is the TE5 overall despite being subbed out on multiple fourth-quarter drives thanks to huge leads. He’s leading the position in touchdowns… 

Team-by-Team Previews

Teams are listed in order of their Vegas projected team points.

Page 1: Matchup charts, SEA, BAL

Page 2: ATL, NO, SF, IND, HOU, LAC, KC, DAL, MIN, MIA

Page 3: TEN, CIN, TB, DEN, WAS, NE, PHI, ARI, GB, PIT, 

Page 4: CHI, LAR, CAR, NYG, OAK, JAX, CLE, NYJ, DET, BUF

 

Falcons (27, -7.5) vs. JAX

ATLJAX
ATLJAX
ATLAY16
ATLAY16

Matt Ryan (QB1): Ryan is averaging 267 yards and 1.5 touchdowns in the six games since his injury… The Falcons are projected for the third-most points (27) this week… 

Devonta Freeman (Upside RB1/2): Freeman is averaging 15.3 carries and 3.3 receptions in his three games since his injury… The Jaguars have allowed the second-most PPR points to running backs and are equally bad in run DVOA defense… 

Julio Jones (Elite WR1): Last week, Julio became the only player with at least 20 targets in a game this season. He’s projected for the most targets of the week with Calvin Ridley on injured reserve…  Julio will be shadowed by CB A.J. Bouye, PFF’s No. 73 coverage corner out of 133 qualifiers… 

Russell Gage (WR4): Gage is averaging 5.0-43-0.25 over his last four games. I expect his usage to rebound after two low-usage games. Julio can’t see all of the targets, right? The issue is Gage’s 5.4 average depth of target... 

Austin Hooper (Low-end TE1): Hooper has been very quiet in his two games since returning from his knee injury, but he did increase his snaps last week, a good sign that he’s improving… The Jaguars are in the bottom 41st percentile against fantasy tight ends...

 

Saints (26.75, -3) @ TEN

NOTEN
NOTEN
NOAY16
NOAY16

Drew Brees (QB1): Brees is averaging 292 yards and 2.7 touchdowns since returning from his thumb injury… The Titans secondary is missing multiple starters, possibly including CB Adoree’ Jackson who did not practice Thursday… The Saints are projected for the fourth-most points this week (26.75)... 

Alvin Kamara (RB1/2): Kamara is still showing signs of being slowed by his ankle injury, but is averaging 11 carries and 6.7 receptions per game since returning in Week 10… Kamara’s other issue is his lack of red-zone work. He only has four carries inside-the-five this season after having 13 in 2018... The Titans have allowed the seventh-most PPR points to RBs through the air… 

Michael Thomas (Elite WR1): Thomas needs 11 receptions to break the single-season reception record…  Play Thomas.

Tre’Quan Smith (Dart-throw WR5): The Titans have allowed the third-most PPR points to players lined up in the slot… 

Jared Cook (TE1): Cook is averaging 14.7 PPR points since Week 10 despite leaving early two weeks ago… The Titans are in the bottom 22nd percentile against fantasy tight ends.

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49ers (26.25, -6.5) vs. LAR

SFLAR
SFLAR
SFAY16
SFAY16

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB2): Garoppolo is averaging 214 yards and 1.3 touchdowns in his 11 games not against the Cardinals and Saints… He threw for 243 yards, 0 touchdowns, and one interception against the Rams in Week 6… 

Raheem Mostert (Boom-or-bust RB2/3): Mostert has 24 carries to Tevin Coleman’s 10 over the last two weeks, but doesn’t necessarily have the firmest grip on the starting job. The 49ers have been riding the hot hand at running back all season long… The Rams have allowed the fifth-most rush attempts on defense because they’ve played at the third-fastest pace on offense… 

Deebo Samuel (WR3/4): Samuel hasn’t reached my “10 PPR Expected” threshold in four straight games with Kittle dominating targets. The rookie only had one reception last week… 

Emmanuel Sanders (Boom-or-bust WR3/4): Sanders has fewer than 42 receiving yards in six of his eight games with San Francisco, but he does have 112 and 157 yards with a touchdown in each of the other two games… The Rams have allowed the second-most 20+ yard passing plays this season… 

George Kittle (Elite TE1): Kittle accounted for 67% of the 49ers’ receiving yards on a 2019 position-high 17 targets last week… Play Kittle...

 

Colts (26.25, -6.5) vs. CAR

INDCAR
INDCAR
INDAY16
INDAY16

Jacoby Brissett (QB2): Brissett is averaging 202 yards and 0.8 touchdowns in the five games since returning from injury, largely because of a depletion of pass-catchers. Brissett needs Hilton to be healthy and effective… Vegas does project the Colts for the sixth-most points this week (26.25)... 

Marlon Mack (Upside RB1/2): The Panthers have allowed 22.1 fantasy points to running backs on the ground (this excludes receiving production). The second-worst defense is at 17.9. The Panthers are by far the worst run defense… 

T.Y. Hilton (Boom-or-bust WR3): Last week’s nine targets came on just 29 targets. The coaching staff believes Hilton will play more in Week 16 despite the Colts out of playoff contention… The Panthers are in the top 10th-percentile at preventing 20+ yard passes… 

Zach Pascal (WR5): Pascal has 1, 0, and 4 receptions in his last three games with Hilton… 

Jack Doyle (TE1/2): Doyle is averaging 7.3 targets in his three games without Eric Ebron… The Panthers are in the top 10th-percentile against fantasy tight ends… 

 

Texans (26, -3) @ TB

HOUTB
HOUTB
HOUAY16
HOUAY16

Deshaun Watson (Elite QB1): The Bucs have allowed the most passes on defense… Play Deshaun.

Carlos Hyde (questionable, no-floor RB3): Hyde has been on the injury report all week with an ankle injury… The Bucs have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points on the ground to RBs this season and are 30th in rush attempts allowed. Teams are avoiding the ground game against Tampa Bay… 

DeAndre Hopkins (Elite WR1): The Bucs have allowed the second-most PPR points on passes between 1-14 yards… Play Nuk.

Will Fuller (Upside WR2): The Bucs have allowed the fifth-most PPR points on passes traveling at least 15 yards downfield and are the worst defense at preventing 20+ yard pass plays… Play Fuller.

Kenny Stills (Upside WR5): Stills has reached my “10 PPR Expected” threshold just once this season, and that was in Week 3… The Bucs have allowed the seventh-most PPR points to players lined up in the slot… 

 

Chargers (25.75, -6) vs. OAK

LACOAK
LACOAK
LACAY16
LACAY16

Philip Rivers (Boom-or-bust QB1/2): This may be Rivers’ last home game with the Chargers and I can see it going either way. Rivers has been awful this season with career lows in multiple passing categories, but the Raiders are the second-worst defense against fantasy quarterbacks and have nothing to play for… 

Melvin Gordon (Upside RB2): Gordon is playing between 40-60% snaps depending on game script. Gordon should see 15-25 touches if the game is close or if they’re winning but is at risk of losing a lot of production if the Chargers trail. Luckily, the Bolts are 6-point “home” favorites…

Austin Ekeler (RB2): Austin Ekeler is only averaging 6.3 carries and 5.4 receptions in the 10 games with Gordon, but his 4.2 YPC, 9.8 YPT, and eight (lucky) receiving touchdowns have kept him in the RB2 conversation. Ekeler needs to continue playing with elite efficiency numbers to keep up his fantasy pace… 

Keenan Allen (WR1/2): The Raiders have allowed the fifth-most PPR points to players lined up in the slot… Allen has eight receptions or a touchdown in his last four games against Oakland… 

Mike Williams (Upside WR2/3): Williams has led the Chargers in air yards in four-straight games… The Raiders have allowed the most PPR points on passes traveling at least 15 yards… 

Hunter Henry (Low-end TE1): Henry has three-straight games with two receptions after seeing 6-10 targets per game in his previous six games… The Raiders are 30th against fantasy tight ends and allowed Henry to post a 4-30-1 line against them a few weeks ago… 

 

Chiefs (25, -5) @ CHI

KCCHI
KCCHI
KCAY16
KCAY16

Patrick Mahomes (QB1): Based on the eye test, I thought Mahomes had his best post-kneecap game last week against Denver. He looked a little more agile and confident after three-straight down games… The Bears haven’t allowed a quarterback to reach 20 fantasy this season…

Damien Williams (Boom-or-bust RB2/3): Damien Williams (ribs, illness) should actually make a return this week, which clouds things up even more in a tricky backfield to project. Williams’ return does render LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson, and Spencer Ware unstartable in fantasy because Williams set season-highs in carries (19) and snap percentage (73%) in his last healthy game (Week 10). Williams carries risk, but he’s an upside RB2/3 if he can retain his old usage… Bears elite run-defending DT Akiem Hicks returned last week...

Tyreek Hill (Upside WR1): Hill has seven touchdowns in his eight healthy games… Play Tyreek… 

Sammy Watkins (Dart-throw WR5): Watkins always has potential. That’s all I can say at this point… 

Travis Kelce (Elite TE1): If there’s a minor weakness in Chicago’s defense, it’s against tight ends… Play Kelce…  

 

Cowboys (24.5, -2.5) @ PHI

DALPHI
DALPHI
DALAY16
DALAY16

Dak Prescott (Boom-or-bust QB1): Dak is dealing with an unknown shoulder injury, one that has me nervous since he’s not throwing footballs at practice. The Cowboys have to win, so Dak is likely to tough it out, but the floor is extremely low unless news reports suggest otherwise… If he’s truly healthy, Dak has a plus matchup against a below-average pass defense in a must-win game… 

Ezekiel Elliott (RB1): Zeke is a locked-in top-five RB1 with a 20+ touch projection… If Dak’s shoulder is an issue, Zeke would be a mid-range to low-end RB1… 

Amari Cooper (Boom-or-bust WR1/2): Cooper’s status will be heavily dependent on Dak’s status, so I’ll have to update later, but the Eagles are 31st against fantasy receivers. 

Michael Gallup (Boom-or-bust WR2): The same can be said for Gallup, who has more air yards than Amari since Week 9. They’re closer in PPR projection than some are giving him credit for… 

Randall Cobb (WR5): Cobb has 3, 5, and 2 targets over his last three games… The Eagles have allowed the fewest PPR points to players lined up in the slot… 

Jason Witten (Touchdown-dependent TE2): Witten has yet to reach 60 receiving yards… The Eagles are a top 17th-percentile defense against fantasy tight ends thanks to S Malcolm Jenkins. They limited Witten to a 4-33-0 line earlier this season… 

 

Vikings (24.5, -4) vs. GB

MINGB
MINGB
MINAY16
MINAY16

Kirk Cousins (QB1/2): Cousins should pass more with Thielen back and RBs out… Cousins had 230 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions against the Packers in Week 2… 

Mike Boone (Boom-or-bust RB2): Update: Cook is ruled out and Mattison was able to at least practice in some capacity. Mattison is questionable, although I'm not convinced he plays even if he's active on Monday Night Football. I still expect Boone to be the lead back, but the floor is certainly lower. He's now a boom-or-bust RB2. If you are expected to win, then benching Boone for another viable RB2 makes sense. BUT if you are expected to lose, I like Boone as a hail mary upside RB2 play. This is a game theory decision to make with all this uncertainty.

Stefon Diggs (WR2/3): Three of Diggs’ lowest usage games came with Thielen healthy… The Packers have ana average pass defense outside of CB Jaire Alexander who will cover Diggs on occasion this week… 

Adam Thielen (Boom-or-bust WR3): Thielen played 51% snaps in his return last week,  but they were likely easing him in with the intention of him being fully ready for this week’s division rivalry game… Thielen was averaging 4.3-61-0.8 in his six healthy games, which includes a 5-75-0 line against the Packers in Week 2… 

Kyle Rudolph (Touchdown-dependent TE2): Rudolph is averaging 11.6 PPR points on 4.2 targets in his five games without Thielen and just 5.8 PPR points on 2.9 targets with him. Thielen is expected to play… 

 

Dolphins (24.25, -1) vs. CIN

MIACIN
MIACIN
MIAAY16
MIAAY16

Ryan Fitzpatrick (Upside QB2): The Dolphins and Bengals have above-average team totals this week and have played at above-average offensive pace this season. This is an underrated offensive game… Fitzpatrick is averaging 272 yards and 1.4 touchdowns with 22 rushing yards since Week 7 when he took the job back from Rosen. That’s enough production to be the QB5 overall during that span… The Bengals are bad… 

Patrick Laird (PPR RB3): Laird has at least 10 carries and five targets in three-straight games, but his snap rate dropped from 82% to 46% last week. His starting job can be removed at any second, especially since he’s averaging 2.7 YPC and 5.9 YPT over that three-week span… The Bengals have allowed the most rush attempts on defense this season, although that shouldn’t be projected this week with this game expected to be close… 

DeVante Parker (Low-end WR1): Parker has seen at least seven targets and 75 air yards in every healthy game without Preston Williams. He’s the WR3 overall since Week 10… The Bengals have allowed the seventh-most PPR points on passes traveling at least 15 yards downfield… Parker is expected to be shadowed by CB Williams Jackson, PFF’s No. 77 coverage corner out of 133 qualifiers… 

Albert Wilson (WR5): Wilson played over Allen Hurns last week… The Bengals have allowed the second-fewest PPR points to players lined up in the slot (Albert Wilson)… 

Mike Gesicki (TE1/2): Gesicki saw a season-high eight targets last week and has shown elite-level athleticism on contested catches recently (videos)… The Bengals have allowed the second-fewest PPR points to players lined up in the slot. 68% of Gesicki’s snaps have been in the slot… 

Team-by-Team Previews

Teams are listed in order of their Vegas projected team points.

Page 1: Matchup charts, SEA, BAL

Page 2: ATL, NO, SF, IND, HOU, LAC, KC, DAL, MIN, MIA

Page 3: TEN, CIN, TB, DEN, WAS, NE, PHI, ARI, GB, PIT, 

Page 4: CHI, LAR, CAR, NYG, OAK, JAX, CLE, NYJ, DET, BUF

 

Titans (23.75, +3) vs. NO

TENNO
TENNO

 

TENAY16
TENAY16

Ryan Tannehill (Low-end QB1): Tannehill is the QB3 overall since Week 7 when he was named the starter. His 21 touchdowns over that span only trail Lamar… Tannehill is leading the NFL in completion percentage over expected… The Saints have allowed the third-most pass attempts and 31st-most rush attempts on defense. It’s an underrated pass funnel with everyone still using efficiency metrics as funnel indicators… 

Derrick Henry (questionable, boom-or-bust RB1/2): Henry was limited Wednesday and did not practice Thursday due to his hamstring injury. He’ll be slowed by his injury if he does suit up… The Saints are 31st in rush attempts allowed, so Henry is likely to go under his season average for rushing production… 

A.J. Brown (WR2): Brown has set new season-highs in air yards in back-to-back weeks… Brown is averaging the highest yards per target (12.1) among rookie receivers with at least 51 targets since at least 1992 when YPT was tracked… The Saints are third in pass attempts allowed on defense… Brown will be shadowed by CB Marshon Lattimore, PFF’s No. 29 coverage corner out of 133 qualifiers… 

Corey Davis (WR5): Davis hasn’t reached my “10 PPR Expected” threshold in five-straight games… 

Jonnu Smith (Touchdown-dependent TE2): Smith has fewer than eight targets and 50 air yards in every game… Smith does look like a dominant athlete, however… 

 

Bengals (23.25, +1) @ MIA

CINMIA
CINMIA
CINAY16
CINAY16

Andy Dalton (Underrated QB2): Dalton has had a really tough schedule this season and was without Ross for most of it. He’s back now… The Dolphins are last in pass DVOA defense and adjusted sack rate… The Bengals and Dolphins have above-average team totals this week and have played at above-average offensive pace this season. This is an underrated offensive game…

Joe Mixon (Low-end RB1): Mixon is averaging 21.7 carries and 2.2 receptions since his Week 9 bye. He’s the RB4 overall during that span… The Dolphins are 29th in run DVOA defense and have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to RBs on the ground… 

Tyler Boyd (WR2/3): Boyd is averaging 13.3 PPR points on 9.6 targets per game with Dalton… The Dolphins have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to receivers… 

John Ross (Boom-or-bust WR4): Ross has only played 49% and 38% snaps in his two games since coming back from injury. It’s unclear if he’ll play more this week, but I’d guess so… The Dolphins have allowed the third-most PPR points on passes traveling at least 15 yards downfield, partially because they’re dead last in adjusted pressure rate on quarterbacks… 

Tyler Eifert (Touchdown-dependent TE2/3): Eifert has one game with over 50 yards and only has two games with a touchdown… 

 

Bucs (23, +3) vs. HOU

TBHOU
TBHOU
TBAY16
TBAY16

Jameis Winston (Boom-or-bust QB1/2): Winston will have a lower ceiling and floor without Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but he is still a gunslinger with a coaching staff willing to let him rip it. I’m expecting similar passing volume, just with worse efficiency… The Texans are 30th against fantasy quarterbacks… 

Ronald Jones (RB2/3) and Peyton Barber (RB4): RoJo is averaging 10.4 carries and  2.9 receptions since being named the starter in Week 9. He’s the RB25 overall during that span. Barber is the RB32… The Texans have allowed the most PPR points through the air to running backs this season. They’re 23rd in fantasy points allowed on the ground to running backs. Jones has 20 receptions to Barber’s seven since Week 9… 

Breshad Perriman (Boom-or-bust WR2): Perriman had season-highs in air yards and snap rate (89%) last week given all of the Bucs’ injuries. Evans, Godwin, and Scotty Miller accounted for 70% of the Bucs’ air yards this season… The Texans have been average at defending deep passes. Perriman has an 18.9 average depth of target over the last two weeks… 

Justin Watson (Upside WR4): Watson is a 91st-percentile SPARQ athlete with elite-level college production at Penn. I think he’s an NFL-caliber player, but the Bucs have continued to go out of their way to not play him. They now have no choice but to play him 50+% snaps with all the injuries… The Texans have allowed the fourth-most PPR points to players lined up in the slot where he played half of his snaps last week… 

O.J. Howard (TE1): Howard is the TE9 overall on six targets per game since Week 13. He’s, at worst, the second target on the team right now, assuming he doesn’t get benched midgame again… The Texans are in the bottom-third against fantasy tight ends this season… 

Cameron Brate (TE1/2): Brate will likely play around 40-50% snaps after hovering around 30% with everyone healthy, although it’s possible the Bucs feature a two-TE formation more. Brate should see 4-8 targets either way. He had seven of them last week...

 

Broncos (22.5, -6.5) vs. DET

DENDET
DENDET
DENAY16
DENAY16

Drew Lock (QB2/3): Lock has predictably been really good and really bad in his first three starts, winning two games against LAC/HOU and then nearly getting shut out by KC last week in the snow... The Lions have allowed the most plays against and are 29th against fantasy quarterbacks this season…

Phillip Lindsay (RB2): Lindsay is averaging 13.4 carries and 2.4 receptions per game. A multi-score deficit played into Lindsay’s lack of production last week. That game can be ignored… The Lions are 29th against fantasy running backs and have allowed the second-most PPR points to them through the air… Lindsay is one of just a few running backs as a home favorite… 

Courtland Sutton (WR1/2): Sutton has posted 4-74-2, 5-34-0, and 4-79-0 receiving lines with Lock. They are good fits for each other as vertical threats… The Lions have allowed the second-most PPR points on passes traveling at least 15 yards downfield… Sutton will be shadowed by CB Darius Slay, PFF’s No. 79 coverage corner out of 133 qualifiers… 

Noah Fant (TE2): Fant has played under 50% in each of his last two games while he works through an injury, but that does include a monster 4-113-1 receiving line against the Texans… Fant already has the 23rd most receiving yards in a tight end’s rookie season. He can reach the top 10 with two average games…  

 

Redskins (22.25, -2.5) vs. NYG

WASNYG
WASNYG
WASAY16
WASAY16

Dwayne Haskins (QB2/3): Haskins is averaging 190 yards and 1.0 touchdown in his five non-Buffalo starts… The Giants are in the bottom 19th percentile against fantasy quarterbacks and have had some defensive injuries in recent weeks… Vegas is bullish (22.25-point team total) despite the Redskins’ league’s slowest-paced offense… 

Adrian Peterson (Touchdown-dependent RB2/3): Peterson has 20 and 16 carries in the two games since Derrius Guice went down with another injury… The Giants have allowed the 13th-most fantasy points to running backs on the ground on the 4th most rush attempts allowed... Peterson will pass Walter Payton on the career rushing touchdown leaderboard on his next score… 

Terry McLaurin (Upside RB3/4): McLaurin is averaging 3.8-63-0.3 with Haskins… The Giants have allowed the fourth-most PPR points on passes traveling at least 15 yards downfield… 

Steven Sims Jr. (WR5): Sims has increased his targets and air yards in four consecutive games… Sims led the Redskins in usage last week as a low-aDOT check-down option… The Giants have been particularly vulnerable on deep passes, however… 

 

Patriots (22, -6.5) vs. BUF

NEBUF
NEBUF
NEAY16
NEAY16

Tom Brady (QB2/3): It’s been a career-worst season for Brady who now has under 217 yards in four of his last five games. Part of that can be explained by Edelman’s worrisome knee injury… The Bills are second against fantasy quarterbacks this season and held Brady to 150 scoreless yards with an interception last time they played… Even the Patriots’ league-high offensive pace can’t save Brady right now… 

James White (PPR RB2/3): White had an 8-57-0 receiving line on 10 targets the last time New England played Buffalo… He might be their best offensive player right now with Edelman ailing… Rex Burkhead’s 20-35% snap rate does limit White’s projection a bit… 

Sony Michel (Touchdown-dependent RB3): Michel has 0 touchdowns and just five receptions in his last seven games… He had 17 scoreless carries against Buffalo earlier this season… The Bills are 26th in rush attempts allowed… 

Julian Edelman (Questionable, Boom-or-bust WR2): Edelman is clearly playing through a knee injury. It’s serious to knock his volume efficiency projections down a tad. Edelman had season-low usage last week… The Bills have allowed the third-fewest PPR points to players lined up in the slot… Buffalo has allowed the fewest PPR points on passes traveling at least 15 yards downfield… 

Everyone Else: Targets and air yards over the last two games behind Edelman: Mohamed Sanu (9, 91), N’Keal Harry (5, 37), Jakobi Meyers (3, 20), and Phillip Dorsett (2, 38). I’ll be fading all of these guys against a top-end secondary… 

 

Eagles (22, +2.5) vs. DAL

PHIDAL
PHIDAL

Carson Wentz (QB2): Wentz has taken care of three easy matchups against MIA, NYG, and WAS recently (300 yards and 2.7 touchdowns) but is down all of his receivers and will be without RT Lane Johnson once again... Wentz had 191 yards and one touchdown in Dallas earlier this season… 

Miles Sanders (RB2): Jordan Howard remains limited in practice and unlikely to play. Sanders is averaging 17.2 PPR points on 14.8 carries and four receptions in the five games without Howard… 

Greg Ward (WR3): Nelson Agholor (knee) hasn’t practiced this week. Ward has seen nine targets in each of the last two weeks with Agholor and Alshon Jeffery sidelined… The Cowboys have allowed the 11th-most PPR points to players lined up in the slot this season… 

Zach Ertz (Elite TE1): Ertz is leading the position in targets by seven… I expect Byron Jones, PFF’s No. 28 coverage CB out of 131 qualifiers, to cover Ertz this week. As Benjamin Solak noted on Twitter, Jones has covered Ertz in high-leverage situations in the past and that was with a healthy WR group. Without a healthy WR group, it makes a lot of sense to use Jones on Ertz… But volume > matchup. Play Ertz… 

Dallas Goedert (TE1/2): Goedert is averaging 4.6-44-0.2 in the five games since his bye… He had his second-highest snap rate (84%) of the season last week given all the injuries… Goedert will have plus matchups against LBs Sean Lee and Jaylen Smith. The Cowboys are in the bottom 19th percentile against fantasy tight ends… 

 

Cardinals (20.5, +10) @ SEA

ARISEA
ARISEA
ARIAY16
ARIAY16

Kyler Murray (Upside QB1/2): Murray went under his season rushing yards average in Week’s 13 and 14 while dealing with a slight hamstring injury and tough defenses (LAR, PIT), but he broke out of his rushing slump against the Browns by rushing for 56 yards. Murray’s floor has been raised back to normal levels now that he appears fully healthy… The Seahawks are below average in just about every passing category, including QB fantasy points against, and have allowed the second-most pass attempts on defense this season… 

Kenyan Drake (RB2): Drake had one touchdown heading into last week but somehow scored four touchdowns against Cleveland. With Drake dominating touches -- he had 22 carries while playing 75% of the snaps -- he can be safely included in the RB2 conversation. David Johnson has been held to five or fewer carries in six-straight games…

Christian Kirk (Boom-or-bust WR3): Kirk is averaging a 4.8-57-0.5 receiving line in his six games since moving from the slot to the outside, but a chunk of that production came in the Week 10 spike. Kirk has been held below 42 receiving yards without a score in four of the five other games. Kirk’s high floor has been removed now that he’s on the perimeter, but the ceiling is still there… The Seahawks have allowed the second-most pass attempts on defense… 

Larry Fitzgerald (Low-ceiling WR4): Fitzgerald is averaging 4.5-41-0.2 over his last 12 games as a low-ceiling WR4/5. He hasn’t reached 72 yards during that span… The Seahawks have allowed the sixth-fewest PPR points to players lined up in the slot... 

 

Packers (20.5, +4) @ MIN

GBMIN
GBMIN
GBAY16
GBAY16

Aaron Rodgers (Upside QB2): Rodgers has under 244 yards in 10-of-14 games and only has 3+ touchdowns in just three games… Rodgers had 204 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings earlier this season.. Minnesota has allowed the fifth-most pass attempts on defense, however, and this game could turn into a mini shootout… 

Aaron Jones (Upside RB2): Jones is averaging 13.4 carries and 3.2 receptions this season. He’s also tied for the NFL lead in rushing touchdowns scored inside-the-10 (11)... Jones had a 23-116-1 rushing line against Minnesota earlier this year… 

Davante Adams (Upside WR1): Adams has double-digit targets in six of his last seven games… The Vikings have allowed the eighth-most PPR points on passes traveling beyond 15 yards and the 10th-most PPR points on passes between 1-14 yards… Adams has historically been the most targeted while trailing. The Packers are four-point underdogs… 

Allen Lazard (Dart-throw WR5): Lazard has three or fewer targets in four-straight games… 

Jimmy Graham (Touchdown-dependent TE2/3): Graham has three touchdowns this season… The Vikings are 31st against fantasy tight ends, however… 

 

Steelers (20.25, -3) @ NYJ

PITNYJ
PITNYJ
PITAY16
PITAY16

Devlin Hodges (QB3): Stop.

James Conner (RB2): Conner returned from injury last week to play 58% of the snaps and handle 12 touches. Those numbers should increase in his second game back. Conner was averaging 13.9 carries and 4.1 receptions per game prior to his injury… The Jets have allowed the 8th-most PPR points to running backs through the air… 

JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson (WR5s): I’ll be avoiding all of these receivers if JuJu returns. He was a full participant on Thursday… 

Team-by-Team Previews

Teams are listed in order of their Vegas projected team points.

Page 1: Matchup charts, SEA, BAL

Page 2: ATL, NO, SF, IND, HOU, LAC, KC, DAL, MIN, MIA

Page 3: TEN, CIN, TB, DEN, WAS, NE, PHI, ARI, GB, PIT, 

Page 4: CHI, LAR, CAR, NYG, OAK, JAX, CLE, NYJ, DET, BUF

 

Bears (20, +5) vs. KC

CHIKC
CHIKC
CHIAY16
CHIAY16

 

Mitchell Trubisky (QB2/3): Trubisky looks healthier -- he’s at least not scared to run anymore -- and has averaged 299 yards and 2.0 touchdowns over his last four games. They have come against NYG, DET, DAL and GB, however… The Chiefs are in the top 17th-percentile in pass DVOA defense and have been slightly above-average against fantasy quarterbacks with most teams trying to establish the run… 

David Montgomery (Low-end RB2): Teams have opted to run the ball as much as possible against the Chiefs to keep Mahomes off the field and to take advantage of their 31st run DVOA defense. I won’t be surprised if David Montgomery and Trubisky’s legs are utilized even more than normal this week. Hopefully the soft rushing matchup makes Montgomery not run like a 350-pounder, something that’s played into his 3.5 YPC average.

Tarik Cohen (PPR RB4): Tarik Cohen isn’t scoring touchdowns or picking up much yardage regardless of game script but is averaging 5.7 receptions in losses and 3.9 in wins. The Bears are 5-point underdogs.

Allen Robinson (Boom-or-bust WR2): A-Rob is averaging 6.5-98-1 in the four games Trubisky actually looks healthy and is coming off a season-high in air yards… The Chiefs are No. 2 against fantasy WRs...

Anthony Miller (Boom-or-bust WR3/4): Taylor Gabriel (concussion) remains sidelined at practice. Miller is averaging 7-100-0.7 on 10.7 targets in the three games since Gabriel’s concussion. 

 

Rams (19.75, +6.5) @ SF

LARSF
LARSF
LARAY16
LARAY16

Jared Goff (QB2/3): Goff against the No. 1 pressure defense on the road? I’ll pass… 

Todd Gurley (RB2): Gurley set season-highs in snaps and snap percentage last week with the Rams going all in to finish the season... Gurley will need garbage-time and/or goal-line production to pay off against the team that’s allowed the fewest plays on defense and is second against fantasy running backs… 

Robert Woods (WR2): Woods has been the receiver who has been generated manufactured touches for. He’s averaging 11.2 targets with a low of nine in his last five games… The 49ers have allowed the second-fewest PPR points through the air and will have PFF’s No. 2 coverage CB Richard Sherman back in the lineup… 

Cooper Kupp (No-floor WR3): Kupp is averaging 4.2-40-0.5 over his last six games with Woods taking over… The 49ers are 32nd in PPR points allowed on passes that travel between 1-14 yards downfield and have allowed the eighth-fewest PPR points to players lined up in the slot… 

Brandin Cooks (Boom-or-bust WR5): Cooks is averaging 2-26-0 since Week 5… The 49ers are 31st in PPR points allowed on passes that travel 15+ yards downfield… 

Tyler Higbee (Boom-or-bust TE1/2): Gerald Everett (knee) is expected to return after getting in two-straight full practices. That puts Higbee on notice, as Everett was operating as the lead tight end prior to his injury. I expect both tight ends to play and see targets, but the days of elite-level usage/production are likely over… The 49ers are in the top 10th percentile against fantasy tight ends… 

 

Panthers (19.75, +6.5) @ IND

CARIND
CARIND
CARAY16
CARAY16

Will Grier (QB2/3): The NFL Draft analytics community liked Grier more than consensus because of his production and accuracy, but it’s hard to get overly bullish on any quarterback drafted near the 100th pick, especially after a complete disaster preseason. A road matchup isn’t the spot to bet on Grier in fantasy, although I’m certainly curious to see how he looks. I’d take odds that he’s better than Kyle Allen… 

Christian McCaffrey (Elite RB1): McCaffrey is still the RB1 overall by a wide margin, but the quarterback change widens the range of his potential outcomes… 

D.J. Moore (Boom-or-bust WR1/2): The same can be said for Moore, who is the WR4 overall in targets and WR7 overall in air yards this season. Moore still should be viewed as a top-12 option, but the floor is lower with more uncertainty… The following Colts DBs didn’t practice Thursday: S Malik Hooker (hand), CB Kenny Moore (ankle), CB Quincy Wilson (shoulder)... 

Curtis Samuel (Upside WR4): I’m very confident that Grier is a better deep passer than Kyle Allen, so I think the quarterback change elevates Samuel’s fantasy ceiling… The Panthers have also lowered his average depth of target and given him carries in recent weeks to get him more involved. This is a sneaky dart-throw play… 

Greg Olsen (TE2): Olsen has cleared the concussion protocol and is expected to return. He may not have his entire workload back, however, with Ian Thomas flashing in recent weeks. With a lot of uncertainty, I’m looking elsewhere amongst TE1/2 borderline tight ends… 

 

Giants (19.75, +2.5) @ WAS

NYGWAS
NYGWAS
NYGAY16
NYGAY16

Daniel Jones (QB2): Jones is expected to start after a two-week absence… Jones was the QB10 overall from Week 3-13 when he was healthy but was very boom-or-bust… The Redskins are already a below-average defense and were missing S Landon Collins (Achilles), CB Quinton Dunbar (hamstring), and CB Fabian Moreau (hamstring) at practice Thursday… Jones had 225 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and 23 rushing yards against Washington in Week 4… 

Saquon Barkley (Upside RB1): Barkley still isn’t breaking long runs with regression and an ankle injury working against him, but the volume is still there. Barkley has averaged 19.3 carries and 3.0 receptions over his last four games… The Redskins are a bottom-six defense against fantasy running backs on the ground and through the air… 

Sterling Shepard (WR3/4): Shepard had a season-high 11 targets last week but has been better with Eli than Jones… 

Golden Tate (WR3/4): Tate only has one reception in two-straight games… The Redskins have allowed the sixth-most PPR points to players lined up in the slot… 

Darius Slayton (Boom-or-bust WR4): Slayton had a six-week low in targets and air yards last week… 

 

Raiders (19.75, +6) @ LAC

OAKLAC
OAKLAC
OAKAY16
OAKAY16

Derek Carr (QB3): Carr doesn’t have a 300-yard passing game and has thrown for 3 or more touchdowns just once this season… The Chargers have had two of their three best team coverage games since S Derwin James returned three weeks ago, per PFF.

DeAndre Washington (Low-end RB2): Josh Jacobs (shoulder) is out, so Washington will draw his second start of the season. It’s possible Jalen Richard sees slightly more work this time around, but Washington handled 14 carries and 7 targets on 63% offensive snaps in his lone start, numbers that could’ve been higher if not for a 21-point loss… 

Tyrell Williams (WR5): Williams has seen six or fewer targets with minimal air yards in every game since returning from injury in Week 8...

Hunter Renfrow (WR5): Slot WR Renfrow (ribs) is expected to play but is only averaging a 3.3-26-0.2 receiving line this season… 

Darren Waller (Low-end TE1): Waller is averaging 6.8 fewer PPR points (18.1 to 11.3) and 1.5 fewer targets (8.2 to 6.7) in the eight games where Hunter Renfrow plays more than 50% of the offensive snaps…

 

Jaguars (19.5, +7.5) @ ATL

JAXATL
JAXATL
JAXAY16
JAXAY16

Gardner Minshew (QB2/3): Minshew only has two games with 300+ yards and just one game with at least three touchdowns… The Jaguars play at the second-slowest offensive pace… 

Leonard Fournette (RB1): Fournette is averaging 17.9 carries and 5.2 receptions but only has eight inside-the-five carries and three rushing touchdowns… The Falcons have a very average run defense… 

D.J. Chark (questionable, WR2): Chark, the WR14 overall, has been limited in practice but should be able to play though his ankle injury. His floor is lower than normal, however… The Falcons are without CB Desmond Trufant (arm)... 

Dede Westbrook (WR3/4): Westbrook has been held under my “10 PPR Expected” threshold in four-straight weeks, partially due  to his 6.5 average depth of target… The good news is that the Falcons have allowed the most PPR points to players in the slot this season.

Chris Conley (Boom-or-bust WR4): Conley has been an inconsistent deep threat all year… The Falcons have been average at defending deep passes… 

 

Browns (19, +10) vs. BAL

CLEBAL
CLEBAL
CLEAY16
CLEAY16

Baker Mayfield (QB2/3): Mayfield has one game over 275 yards since Week 5 and it was against the Dolphins. It’s not happening this year, especially against the No. 3 defense against fantasy quarterbacks… 

Nick Chubb (RB2): Chubb’s rushing usage hasn’t changed with Hunt activated (19 carries per game with/without) but is only averaging 1.7 receptions in those six games… The Browns are only projected for 19 points and are 10-point underdogs against a Ravens Defense that’s last in rush attempts allowed per game… 

Kareem Hunt (PPR RB2/3): Hunt has receiving lines of 8-62-0 and 5-19-1 in the two games he’s lost… The Ravens are 31st in PPR points allowed to running backs through the air, however… 

Jarvis Landry (WR3): Landry is the WR15 on the season.. He had an 8-167-0 receiving line on 10 targets against the Ravens in Week 4, but Baltimore is 29th in PPR points allowed on passes between 1-14 yards downfield where Landry usually operates… 

Odell Beckham (WR3/4): Odell is the WR27 on the season despite being the WR6 overall in air yards. He’s simply not on the same page as Baker and is clearly injured/disinterested… The Ravens have been one of the best secondaries in the NFL since the Marcus Peters trade… 

 

Jets (17.25, +3) vs. PIT

NYJPIT
NYJPIT
NYJAY16
NYJAY16

Sam Darnold (QB3): Darnold will likely be the most pressured quarterback this week. Look at those adjusted sack rate columns above… 

Le’Veon Bell (Volume-based RB2/3): Bell has been a disaster this season and that shouldn’t change against a top-five defense… The Steelers are 27th in PPR points allowed to running backs on the ground and through the air… 

Jamison Crowder (WR3/4): Crowder theoretically benefits from the expected high pressure Darnold will be under this week. That’s what happened last week against the Ravens when he had a 6-90-2 receiving line on 11 targets… 

Robby Anderson (Boom-or-bust WR4): Anderson will have fewer chances at deep shots with Darnold expected to be under pressure at the highest rate of the week… The Steelers are also 27th in PPR points on passes traveling at least 15 yards downfield… At least Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) hasn’t practiced this week… 

 

Lions (16, +6.5) @ DEN

DETDEN
DETDEN
DETAY16
DETAY16

David Blough (QB3): Nope… 

Kerryon Johnson (No-floor RB3): Johnson is expected to return as the starter but shouldn’t be trusted off injury, especially on an offense projected for 16 points this week. It’s likely that Johnson is on some type of pitch count… 

Kenny Golladay (Boom-or-bust WR3): Golladay is averaging 17 PPR points on just 4.3 receptions with Blough at quarterback. That should regress a big… The Broncos have allowed the fourth-fewest PPR points in the air, partially because they’ve eliminated deep passes… Golladay will be shadowed by CB Chris Harris, PFF’s No. 51 coverage corner out of 133 qualifiers… 

Danny Amendola (PPR WR3/4): Amendola has 8, 8, and 13 targets over the last three weeks with Marvin Jones and T.J. Hockenson on injured reserve… 

 

Bills (15.5, +6.5) @ NE

BUFNE
BUFNE
BUFAY16
BUFAY16

Josh Allen (QB2): Allen can save the day with his legs -- he had 26 rushing yards and touchdown last time -- but he was absolutely owned by the Patriots as a passer earlier this season, finishing with 153 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions… 

Devin Singletary (RB3): Singletary is averaging 17.6 carries and 2.6 receptions in his last five games now that he’s taken the backfield over… But the Patriots are the toughest defense against fantasy running backs and Singletary doesn’t have much touchdown equity with Allen and Frank Fore’s presence… 

Cole Beasley (WR3/4): Beasley drew a team-high 13 targets against New England in Week 4 and will face a backup slot CB with Jonathan Jones (groin) ruled out. The Patriots are 30th in PPR points allowed between 1-14 yards, however… 

John Brown (No-floor WR4): The Patriots have allowed the fewest PPR points through the air, ranking 30th against passes 15+ yards downfield… Brown will be shadowed by CB Stephon Gilmore, my Defensive Player of the Year… 

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