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These are the players who stood out for fantasy-relevant reasons — the good reasons, the bad reasons, and the in-between.
This column will be posted every Monday afternoon.
Players about whom we’re feeling more optimistic based on recent play or news.
Kyler Murray (Ari) — Murray didn’t put up huge numbers against a good Giant defense in Week 14, but we got some positives. He went 24/35 for 244 yards and a TD as a passer. That’s OK, though he’s had much better. But the fact that he took off running 13 times — for 47 yards — is probably the best indicator yet that his sore throwing shoulder feels better. Since running 11 times in Week 10 against Buffalo, ending a streak of four straight games in which Murray had 10 or more rushes, he carried just 5 times in each of Weeks 11 through 13, before this week’s promising performance. Kyler seems to be getting healthier, and in Week 15, he takes on a Philadelphia secondary that could be down as many as three starters. (Joe Dolan)
Miles Sanders (Phi) — If you managed to make it this far with Sanders at RB, he rewarded you in a big way in Week 14 — he posted 14/115/2 rushing and 4/21 receiving on 5 targets. Certainly, you’d think the presence of QB Jalen Hurts helped to open things for the run game in general, but most of Sanders’ production came on a single 82-yard TD run. That said, throwing that run out is throwing out what makes Sanders special. He’s a home-run threat every time he touches the football: he is the first running back since 2012 to have three or more runs of 70 yards in the same season. The three guys who did it then? Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, and Adrian Peterson. That’s some company, and with Hurts helping this offense look more functional, Sanders is back on the RB1 radar for these last few weeks. (JD)
Cam Akers (LAR) — We’ve been waiting for it to happen for three months but Akers has finally staked his claim to the Rams’ backfield heading into the stretch run of the fantasy playoffs and the NFL postseason. Akers ran the Patriots into submission in a dominant 24-3 victory in Week 14. The second-round pick gashed and pounded out 29/171 rushing and 2/23 receiving on three targets on a 79% snap share. Our only complaint with his performances over the last two weeks is that he’s failed to punch in one of his five goal-line carries. Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown are unlikely to completely disappear behind Akers, but the rookie has clearly earned the trust of Sean McVay going forward. Don’t be afraid to use him as a boom-or-bust RB2 against the Jets and the Seahawks over the next two weeks. (Tom Brolley)
Jonathan Taylor (Ind) — Taylor is finally getting his chance to shine in the final weeks of the season with 16+ touches and 110+ scrimmage yards in each of his last three games. The only thing that has slowed him down recently was his brief appearance on the COVID-19 list as a high-risk close contact, which kept him out of the lineup in Week 12. Taylor erupted for 20/150/2 rushing and 2/15 receiving on a 56% snap share against the Raiders. He now has 55/331/2 rushing (6.2 YPC) and 9/83/1 receiving for 22.8 FPG over his last three games, which makes him the RB3 in that span behind only David Montgomery (25.6) and Derrick Henry (25.5). Taylor should keep the good times coming this week against a Texans defense that he skewered for 131/1 scrimmage two weeks ago. (TB)
David Montgomery (Chi) — Montgomery has been an unlikely fantasy savior over the last three weeks. He’s been the RB2 in that span with 25.6 FPG, which ranks behind only Derrick Henry (27.2), as he’s hit his stride since Mitch Trubisky was reinserted back into the starting lineup. Montgomery hit 24+ FP for the third straight game with an efficient 11/113/1 rushing and 3/42 receiving on four targets against the Texans in Week 14. Montgomery is now averaging 6.6 YPC (66/434/3 rushing) in his five full games with Trubisky playing under center compared to 3.7 YPC (102/326/1) in the seven games in which Foles has appeared. Montgomery has a chance to stick as a high-end RB1 against a friendly fantasy schedule (@Min, @Jax), especially with Trubisky seemingly locked in as the starter for the rest of the season. (TB)
Melvin Gordon (Den) — The Broncos offense has been extremely underwhelming all year, but Gordon has been one of their lone bright spots recently. After a slow start and getting out-played by Phillip Lindsay in the middle of the year, Gordon has turned it on as of late. Over the Broncos last six games, he’s turned his 72 carries into 378 yards and 2 TDs (5.3 YPC) while Lindsay has struggled (62/177, 2.9 YPC). Make sure you monitor his practice reports this week because Gordon did hurt his shoulder late in the Broncos win over the Panthers, but his schedule to close out the year couldn’t be much better. Gordon gets the Bills in Week 15 and then faces the Chargers in the fantasy finals. (GB)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) — Even though he struggled to pick up yards on the ground, it was great to see Edwards-Helaire get bell-cow usage once again. The Chiefs demoted Le’Veon Bell and let CEH handle the most snaps he’s played in a game this season (74%), he got 16 of the 18 RB carries, and ran 23 routes to Bell’s six. CEH turned his 21 touches into 91 scrimmage yards. He’s been far from a league-winner, but Edwards-Helaire has at least shown a decent floor in his rookie season with 10+ PPR points in 10-of-12 full games (not including the Week 13 game where he sat because of an illness). CEH’s strong usage this past week is a positive ahead of the fantasy semi-finals when the Chiefs play the Saints. (GB)
Chris Carson (Sea) — Despite the fact HC Pete Carroll has been adamant that Carson still isn’t 100% back from his foot injury, it at least hasn’t looked that way. Carson only needed 15 touches to hang 98 scrimmage yards and a score on the lifeless Jets. The Seahawks rolled 40-3 and if you just look at the box score, it would look like Carlos Hyde (15 carries, 66 yards) played over Carson. That wasn’t the case. Hyde only had four touches in the first-half as he did most of his damage when the game was already salted away. The Seahawks are going to continue to be smart with their lead back and not overload Carson before the playoffs, but make no mistake: He’s a borderline RB1 for the rest of the fantasy postseason. (GB)
Stefon Diggs (Buf) — Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill have separated themselves from the rest of the pack at WR this season, but Diggs is making a late push to be considered in that elite group. He’s now the WR3 for the season with his 19.0 FPG average after he torched the Steelers for 10/130/1 receiving on 14 targets in Week 14. Diggs now has 9+ catches and 90+ receiving yards in four of his last five games with Josh Allen working his way out of a mid-season rut. Diggs should keep the momentum going this week against a cleaned out Broncos secondary before he gets a date with Stephon Gilmore and company in Week 16. (TB)
T.Y. Hilton (Ind) — The Ghost has risen from the dead and he’s back with a vengeance in the fantasy playoffs as he’s clearly gotten on the same page with Philip Rivers. Hilton reached double-digit FP just once in his first nine games, but he’s now posted 18+ FP in three consecutive games with 80+ yards and a touchdown in each contest after hanging 5/86/2 receiving on the Raiders in Week 14. He’s the WR3 over the last three weeks with 22.9 FPG, and he has a great chance to keep the momentum going in the final weeks of the season (Hou, @Pit). The Texans killer is averaging 5.4/96.2/.61 receiving per game in 18 career matchups against Houston (playoffs included) after posting 8/110/1 receiving against Houston in Week 13. (TB)
Brandon Aiyuk (SF) — This rookie wide receiver class is absolutely ridiculous. And honestly, Aiyuk might be the best of the bunch after Justin Jefferson. Aiyuk just crushed Washington for 10/119 on 16 targets, pushing his streak of top-20 weekly finishes to now five-straight. Aiyuk missed time because of COVID, but over his last five games, he’s averaging 20.7 fantasy points per game and hasn’t dipped below 75 yards. With Deebo Samuel (hamstring) potentially out for the rest of the season, Aiyuk will continue to operate as the 49ers go-to receiver and main weapon. And he gets a mouth-watering draw next week against Dallas for the fantasy semifinals. You likely drafted (or picked up) Aiyuk as your WR5 and he’s turned into a bonafide WR1. (GB)
Players about whom we’re feeling less optimistic based on recent play or news.
Deshaun Watson (Hou) — Watson didn’t have much of a chance for fantasy production heading into his matchup with the Bears after Brandin Cooks (neck) and David Johnson (COVID-19) were ruled out before Week 14. Watson was down to Keke Coutee, Chad Hansen, and Steven Mitchell as his top receivers as he completed 21/30 passes for 219 yards and one TD with 7/38 rushing. Watson also took a big hit to his elbow in the third quarter, which is something to monitor the rest of the season just in case the issue persists and potentially knocks him out early this season. Watson has been playing at a high level this season, but there’s only so much burden one quarterback can shoulder before it becomes too much. Watson is at that point right now heading into the final two weeks (@Ind, Cin) of the fantasy playoffs. He’s going to be a boom-or-bust mid-QB1 option down the stretch because of his weaponry and his elbow injury. (TB)
Matt Ryan (Atl) — With Julio Jones (hamstring) out and potentially shut down for the rest of the 2020 season, Ryan’s time as a useful fantasy QB in 2020 — which was already extremely fragile this year — is likely over. He was awful against the Chargers in Week 14, going 21/32 for 224 yards with a TD and 3 INT. Check out these splits — in games in which Julio played 70% or more of the snaps this year, Ryan averages 22.5 FPG (seven games), with 15 TD, 3 INT, and a 67.8% completion rate. In games in which Julio hasn’t reached that benchmark, Ryan has averaged 10.9 FPG (six games) with 4 TD, 8 INT, and a 58.7% completion rate. So, extrapolated, he goes from QB8 to QB38 among QBs who have played four or more games.
Cam Newton (NE) — Cam’s time in New England is quickly coming to an end after he got benched for Jarrett Stidham with 10 minutes left in a beatdown by the Rams in Week 14. He threw for 119 yards with a pick-six on just 16 attempts as Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick were clearly petrified to throw the ball against an elite Rams secondary. He’s now thrown for fewer than 120 yards in four of his last five games, and Belichick showed in Week 14 that he’s willing to pull the plug on Cam if he struggles this week against the Dolphins. The Patriots could also give Stidham starts in the final two games to evaluate him before 2021 if they lose this week to fall out of playoff contention so Cam is an undesirable option in the fantasy playoffs. (TB)
Ezekiel Elliott (Dal) — The Cowboys finally had the chance to boss around an inferior opponent in Week 14, and Zeke still managed just 7.9 FP even with the Cowboys scoring 30 points against the Bengals. Elliott managed just 12/48 rushing and 2/11 receiving on three targets against the Bengals as he has just one TD in his last eight games without Dak Prescott in the lineup. Zeke got stuffed on another carry inside the five-yard line as he’s now converted just 4 of his 23 carries from that area into touchdowns (17.4%). For perspective, he converted 10 of his 18 carries inside the five-yard line into touchdowns (55.6%) in 2019. He also hasn’t reached 20+ receiving yards in any of his seven games without Dak. Zeke is nothing more than a touchdown-dependent low-end RB2 in the fantasy playoffs (SF, Phi). (TB)
Josh Jacobs (LV) — Jacobs trolled fantasy players mere hours before kickoff in Week 14 by posting on Instagram that he wasn’t playing because of his ankle injury. In reality, Jacobs was ready to play against the Colts but most of his owners probably wish they would’ve benched his ass anyway. He finished with 13/49 rushing and 3/25 receiving on five targets for 10.4 FP while playing a backfield-high 43% of the snaps. Jacobs has reached 14+ FP just once since Week 5 as his YPC average sits at just 3.8 yards. He’s also reached 6+ FP as a receiver just once since the season opener so he’s just an RB2 in the final weeks of the season (LAC, Mia). (TB)
James Conner (Pit) — The Steelers’ offense is completely broken heading into the final weeks of the season as they have no rushing attack and no downfield passing game to speak of. Pittsburgh has failed to reach 70 rushing yards in seven of their last eight games after averaging 136.8 rushing yards per game in their first five games. Conner could only scratch out 10/18 rushing in his return to the lineup with the Steelers’ O-line getting dominated once again — he didn’t see a target in the passing game. Conner and the Steelers running game have a good rebound spot against the Bengals this week before a matchup with the Colts in Week 16, but using Conner as anything more than a low-end RB2 takes a leap of faith with this broken rushing attack. (TB)
Todd Gurley (Atl) — If it wasn’t obvious already, it’s over for the Toddfather. Gurley posted 6/19 rushing and 2/12 receiving against the Chargers in Week 14. He played 33% of the offensive snaps, and a season-low 19 snaps total. It was his third consecutive game below 40% of the offensive snaps, after opening the season with 45% or more snaps in eight straight games. He just has no juice left in his beat-up body, and this team absolutely stinks. He shouldn’t even be on rosters. (JD)
Diontae Johnson (Pit) — HC Mike Tomlin kept to his word when he threatened to bench players who drop the ball before Week 14 as the NFL’s drop leader was at it again in Week 14. Johnson dropped two early passes from Ben Roethlisberger, which earned him a spot next to Tomlin on the sidelines for the rest of the first half. He finished with just 4/40 receiving on seven targets while playing 49% of the snaps against the Bills. Diontae is one of the best WRs after the catch with his 5.1 YAC average, but his aggressiveness after the catch has led to a league-leading 12 drops. Johnson is going to be a volatile WR2 option over the next two weeks (@Cin, Ind) since he could go off for eight catches or he could get benched in-game if he drops more passes. (TB)
Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown (TB) — The Buccaneers passing game wasn’t magically fixed during their bye week with Tom Brady failing to reach 200+ passing yards in their victory over the Vikings in Week 14. Evans led the group with 3/56 receiving on five targets followed by Brown (5/49 on five targets) and Godwin (2/25 on three targets). Scotty Miller was the only Buccaneers receiver to reach double-digit FP thanks to his 48-yard touchdown reception. Brady and this passing attack have great spots (@Atl, @Det) to rebound this week but none of these receivers are slam-dunk fantasy options since Brady is spreading the ball around and since his play has been uneven for most of the season. (TB)
CeeDee Lamb (Dal) — Lamb once had an amazing floor with 5+ catches in each of his first six games, but he no longer has a floor or a ceiling in recent weeks. He’s failed to reach double-digit FP in four of his last seven games after seeing just two targets against the Bengals in Week 14, which he turned into 2/46 receiving. Lamb hasn’t reached 50+ receiving yards in any of the four games since Andy Dalton returned to the lineup, and we’re down to trusting just Amari Cooper for fantasy production in this offense — he has 14+ FP in every game since Dalton returned to the lineup. Lamb isn’t a must-start in the fantasy playoffs (SF, Phi) as a WR4 in this limited offense. (TB)
Mike Williams (LAC) — Williams played all of 2 snaps in Week 14 against Atlanta before being shut down with a back injury. Given his history of back and neck issues — dating back to his time at Clemson — this is a big worry and it’s probably past the point where Williams is anything resembling trustworthy for the rest of the 2020 fantasy campaign. (JD)
DeVante Parker (Mia) — Well, Parker’s fantasy season is ending on a sour note. He’s been far less productive without his guy Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm and just picked up an injury. Parker left the Dolphins game against the Chiefs in the second quarter with a leg injury and did not return. Before getting hurt, Parker failed to haul in either of his two targets so his day ended with a goose egg. Gross. We don’t have an update on Parker’s injury at press-time, but he’ll be nearly impossible to trust next week against the Patriots if he can suit up. Lynn Bowden ended up playing a ton with Parker sidelined for most of the game and actually tied Mack Hollins for the team lead in targets with nine. Bowden turned those looks into 7/82. After the Raiders gave up on him after misidentifying him as a running back, the Dolphins are correctly playing Bowden as their main slot WR over the last two weeks. Bowden may end up being hte Dolphins WR1 next week with Parker, Mike Gesicki, and Jakeem Grant all banged up. (GB)
Terry McLaurin (Was) — After performing like a borderline league-winner in Week 1-12 with 6.3 receptions and 87.5 yards per game, McLaurin’s season has bottomed out over the last two weeks. The Steelers shut him down for just 2/14 on six targets in Week 12 and he was just held to 2/24 after Alex Smith exited early with a leg injury. Dwayne Haskins came in for the injured Smith and completed 7-of-12 passes for just 51 yards. Haskins starting in place of Smith would be an obvious downgrade. For his career, McLaurin is averaging 13.2 fantasy points per game in Haskins’ starts and 15.3 FPG with any other QB. (GB)
Deebo Samuel (SF) — Injuries suck. And unfortunately for the talented Deebo Samuel, his 2020 season has been littered with them. Samuel came up gimpy on his first snap against Washington with a hamstring injury, immediately went to the locker room, and did not return. Samuel has had brutal luck this year. After missing all of training camp and the first three games with a broken foot, Samuel missed an additional four games during the middle of the season with a pulled hammy. After the game, Samuel signalled in a deleted instagram post that he may be done for the season. With Samuel likely out next week regardless, Brandon Aiyuk will be on the WR1 borderline against the flammable Cowboys secondary. (GB)
Evan Engram (NYG) — Engram’s production has gone in the toilet the last two weeks, catching just 6 passes for 50 yards on 12 targets with Daniel Jones out or less than 100%, including just 2/18 on 4 targets against the Cards in Week 14. With Jones (hamstring) looking iffy to go — he couldn’t move out there against Arizona — it’s at the point where no one in this Giant passing game is a recommended play for these must-win fantasy weeks. While Week 15 against Cleveland is, in theory, a solid matchup for Engram, Week 16 against Baltimore isn’t. A hobbled Jones or Colt McCoy just isn’t going to get it done, so look for better options. (JD)
Mike Gesicki (Mia) — Gesicki was well on his way to a monster game this past week before getting hurt in the fourth quarter as the Dolphins tried to play catch up against the Chiefs. On a short catch, Gesicki was slammed to the ground on his shoulder and immediately left the game. Gesicki at least went off for 5/65/2 before leaving. After the game, Tua Tagovailoa said that Gesicki was “really hurting” while HC Brian Flores said it’s “too early to tell” how much time Gesicki will miss. The timing of the injury is brutal because Gesicki was finally starting to heat up and show chemistry with Tua and it’ll leave the Dolphins potentially very thin at receiver next week. DeVante Parker (leg) is banged up and Jakeem Grant (hamstring) is week-to-week. (GB)
Players whom we’re not ready to upgrade or downgrade, but their situations demand monitoring based on recent play, injuries, or news.
Drew Brees and Taysom Hill (NO) — If Brees is indeed ready for Week 15 — and an upset loss to the Eagles in Week 14 might accelerate the Saints’ timetable a bit, or at least prevent them from being overly cautious — we’d like to thank Hill for his service. As an NFL player, he was up-and-down, but his 89.3 fantasy points from Weeks 11 through 14 in his four starts ranks him 5th among all QBs for the last month. Those who rostered and rolled with Hill for these four weeks may have to stream QBs the rest of the way, but he contributed to a lot of wins heading into the playoffs, and even revived WR Michael Thomas’ season. (JD)
Matthew Stafford (Det) — Stafford went 24/34 for 244 yards and a TD in Week 14 against the Packers before getting blasted by DL Kenny Clark, leaving the action with a rib injury. Stafford tried to throw on the sidelines but was clearly in extreme discomfort, so his status is going to have to be monitored all week. It’s not totally over for the Lions yet, but with Stafford dinged and it becoming less and less likely by the day that Kenny Golladay (hip) will return this season, it’s looking like yet another lost season in the motor city. It’ll be very hard to trust Stafford in Week 15 even if he does play against the Titans. (JD)
Christian McCaffrey (CAR) — Is CMC finally back (again)?! Despite the Panthers being ruled out of the playoff hunt, HC Matt Rhule has been saying for weeks that McCaffrey’s season isn’t over and that he’s planning to return. Carolina “hopes” that CMC can return to practice Tuesday and get ready to play ahead of the Panthers Saturday night game against the Packers. Getting McCaffrey back would obviously tip the scales in all fantasy leagues towards any team that survived and advanced to the semifinals without him. In three full games this year, CMC is averaging more fantasy points per game (30.1) than he did in his record-breaking 2019 season (29.3). With McCaffrey out in Week 14, Mike Davis turned in his best game in weeks with 11/52/2 on the ground and 5/42 through the air. (GB)
Ronald Jones (TB) — The Buccaneers, in a bit of a shocking move, decided to make an ineffective Leonard Fournette a healthy scratch coming out of their Week 13 bye. Bruce Arians did say after their Week 12 loss to the Chiefs that RoJo needs to have 20 touches per game, and he nearly kept to his word in their Week 14 victory over the Vikings. Jones posted 18/80/1 rushing with a four-yard catch on two targets while playing a nine-week high 67% snap share. LeSean McCoy moved into Fournette’s old role with 5/35 scrimmage on a 31% snap share while rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn managed a three-yard loss on his only carry on an 8% snap share. It looks like the Fournette experiment has run its course in Tampa, leaving Jones as a low-end RB1 option since he could be good for 15+ touches per game for the fantasy playoffs (@Atl, @Det). Jones did fracture his pinkie in their victory over the Vikings, which is notable since he’s had ball security issues with two lost fumbles this season. He played through the injury last week and we’ll see if a minor surgery to place a pin in his pinkie will keep him out of the lineup this week. (TB)
David Johnson (Hou) — HC Romeo Crennel expects Johnson to rejoin the team this week after he had to sit out Week 14 as a high-risk close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Duke Johnson managed just 8/26 rushing in Week 14 before giving way to Buddy Howell when the game was a blowout, but Duke did add 2/53 receiving against the Bears. David Johnson has played in just one game since suffering a concussion in Week 9. He posted 10/44/1 rushing without a catch on two targets in Week 13 against the Colts, who is this week’s opponent. DJ won’t offer much upside this week as he’ll need to score to come through as a low-end RB2 option. (TB)
D’Andre Swift (Det) — In his last game before a mysterious three-game absence with a concussion and then an illness, Swift posted 149 yards from scrimmage and a TD against Washington in Week 10, with a season-best 73% snap share. Well, Swift returned in Week 14 against Green Bay, and while his snaps were down to 53%, he still came through with 15 fantasy points in PPR — 50 yards from scrimmage, a short rushing TD, and 4 receptions. The entire Lion offense will take a hit if Matthew Stafford (ribs/chest) can’t play, or is at less than 100%, but Swift’s snaps could go up, and his usage in Week 14 shows that he can be trusted for fantasy in playoff weeks if you’re so inclined. (JD)
Antonio Gibson (Was) — Gibson didn’t seem particularly close to playing last week with a nasty turf toe injury and he’s unlikely to play again in Week 15 when The Team takes on the Seahawks. Edwin Porras mentioned that the median return time for similar turf toe injuries is 28 days, which might only give Gibson a shot at returning in Week 17. With Gibson out, J.D. McKissic (11/68 rushing; 2/18 receiving) and Peyton Barber (12/37 rushing; 2/1 receiving) split the touches in their win over the 49ers. Unfortunately, it sounds like Washington will be without Alex Smith (leg) next week as well, which will make McKissic a dicey FLEX option and Barber a distant RB4. (GB)
AJ Brown (Ten) — Not only is Brown garnering a reputation as one of the league’s best and most exciting receivers — his one-handed catch on a 37-yard TD pass from Ryan Tannehill shows you that — but he’s also becoming one of the league’s toughest. He’s dealt with knee injuries all year, and the ankle injury he picked up in Week 13 and cost him practice time heading into Week 14 against the Jaguars clearly bothered him throughout the game. At this point, you have to expect Brown to miss multiple practices the rest of the way, and hopefully his injuries don’t affect him so much that the Titans choose to sit him down to get him ready for the playoffs. But putting up 7/112/1 on 9 targets in a must-win fantasy week while not nearly 100% is legendary stuff from Brown. (JD)
Julio Jones (Atl) — The Falcons held Julio (hamstring) out of their Week 14 loss to the Chargers, and we’re getting to the point where we wonder if they’re going to shut him down permanently as they try to get their team right for a transition to a new front office and coaching staff in 2021. If so, that directive will have to come from team owner Arthur Blank since everyone else here is a lame duck. Maybe Julio plays this coming week against Tampa, and maybe he doesn’t. But it’s been a rough year for him overall. (JD)
D.J. Moore (CAR) — After testing positive for COVID on Monday of last week, D.J. Moore should be able to return for the Panthers Week 15 date against the Packers. Players that test positive have a mandatory 10-day quarantine, which means that Moore’s window for return opens up on Wednesday this week. But remember: the Panthers prep time is a day shorter this week since they play on Saturday. Moore will still have time to get involved in the game-plan, but it’s possible he’s used a bit more sparingly on a short week. With Moore out, Robby Anderson (8/84 on 12 targets) and Curtis Samuel (7/68 on 9 targets) were Teddy Bridgewater’s top two targets against the Broncos. (GB)
George Kittle (SF) — So you’re saying there’s a chance!? Even though the 49ers are eliminated from the playoffs, GM John Lynch said that the team is still “hopeful” that Kittle can return by the end of the season. Kittle’s original timeline for his foot injury was six to eight weeks and the back-end of that eight-week window would be Week 16. We’ll see. Kittle is probably dying to get back out there and suit up, but San Francisco obviously has no reason to risk their franchise player if he’s not truly 100%. Still, getting Kittle back for the fantasy finals would be killer. (GB)