Here’s my very quick look at the week.
If you want more information and analysis, you can always read our Week 18 Game Hub.
Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) at Las Vegas Raiders (6-10)
The Chiefs continue to be a joke in terms of predicting receiver production, but Patrick Mahomes warned us of this in the summer, and he continues to be brilliant. Mahomes usually destroys the Raiders and he put up 292/4 passing when these teams met in Week 5. Travis Kelce hasn't scored since Week 12. Kelce scored 4 TDs the last time these teams met, but he’s oddly averaging only 6/57 receiving in his last three matchups dating back to last year. I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion he’s going off in a game at this point. I hate handicapping the Chiefs receivers, but I actually do like JuJu Smith-Schuster’s matchup this week against S Trevon Moehrig and/or diminutive slot corner Tyler Hall, who is 5 '8. If you need upside, Kadarius Toney made it look easy last week, catching all four of his targets for 71 yards with 32% of the snaps. Of course, Mecole Hardman should return, but Skyy Moore is also out, which helps Toney’s chance a tiny bit. Hardman could also be eased back a bit. Last week, I loved Christian McCaffrey to crush the Raiders, and he did, so that bodes well for Jerick McKinnon, but also Isiah Pacheco because their loss of LB Denzel Perryman last week was a huge one for their run defense. The Raiders are now allowing the seventh-most FPG (26.6) to RBs. If Pacheco can score, he’s a good bet for 15+ FP.
I was very wrong to completely undersell Jarrett Stidham last week because he looked like a very prepared player who was used really well by Josh McDaniels, who knows him well from their days in NE. Given the overall strong showing, explosive plays, and rushing production last week, I feel good about him this week. The Chiefs are improving on the back end, but they’ve given up 19.9+ FP to six of the last eight QBs they’ve faced, and one of those guys was the ill-equipped Bryce Perkins. Obviously, there’s no concern with Davante Adams after last week’s explosion, and he got them for 3/124/2 receiving back in Week 5. He also needs just five grabs to hit 100, so you can be damn sure he’s getting at least five. I was surprised to see Darren Waller balling last week, but he’s officially crushing it, and the Chiefs have allowed four TDs to TEs in the last three weeks, and even Albert Okwuegbunam got them for 3/45/1 last week. His snaps were a little limited last week, as Josh Jacobs is pretty beat up, but he still brought it and produced 19.5 FP in a tough RB matchup, and he dropped 30+ FP in this matchup back in early October. However, he’s had time away from the team this week, so you need to make sure he’s active before using him. There’s a lot of talk of rookie Zamir White getting a longer look in this meaningless game.
Tennessee Titans (7-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)
He is good to go, so Derrick Henry must be used in a non-DFS format in a must-win. He got 17/121/1 rushing and 3/34 receiving in this matchup a month ago. I thought Josh Dobbs looked decent last week, and he’s a good arm talent and can run a little, so he has a chance. If I was on the fence with him, I’d use Treylon Burks’ status to make my decision. Burks picked up a groin injury in Wednesday’s practice and missed the rest of the week, so he’s a risky play no matter what pending pre-game info that he’s feeling good. I really can’t back another Titans receiver, but they have decent options in Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, who scored a TD against the Jaguars back in Week 14 while playing for Burks. Chig Okonkwo had 31+ receiving yards in seven straight games in Weeks 9-15, but he at least had a passable 3/24 on four targets last week with Doubs. It’s a good matchup and he had his best performance of the season (6/45/1 receiving) against the Jaguars last month. I’ve picked over 24.5 yards for Chig as one of my best bets this week, which doesn’t make him a great start, but it does make him a viable reach.
The Jags are looking good to win this one in Jacksonville against a beatable Titans defense. They will get DE Denico Autry back, but their pass rush is still weak. They will get DT Jeffery Simmons back as well, so they will remain tough against the run, but you’re using Travis Etienne, even though he had just 17/32 rushing with no targets in this matchup back in Week 14. Since that game in Week 14, he’s been over 83 yards rushing in all three games with two 100-yard games, and he’s had 2 or 3 catches for 24-32 yards. I’d have to think he’ll catch 2-3 balls here. Hell, he might even catch four balls for the first time this year! Trevor Lawrence continues to roll and he crushed the Titans four weeks ago with a season-best 368/3 passing with a rushing TD, good for 33.4 FP. I really like Christian Kirk this week with a good matchup inside on Joshua Kalu or possibly Amani Hooker, both safeties. Kirk had just 5/45 receiving on seven targets when these squads met in mid-December, but that was mainly because Zay Jones and Evan Engram went completely nuts. I think this will be a Kirk game, but Zay’s certainly a solid play if you need him. Zay needs 98 receiving yards to earn $750K in incentives, so he’ll be hungry out there. And you certainly have to love Engram’s chances to produce again in this one after he crushed them for 11/162/2 receiving on 15 targets. The Titans just gave up 7/56/2 receiving to Dalton Schultz last week and are giving up an absurd 23.9 FPG to TEs the last four weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8) at Atlanta Falcons (6-10)
The Bucs are locked into the fourth seed, so they have little to play for and have already ruled out some key guys in NT Vita Vea, CB Carlton Davis, and T Donovan Smith. Tom Brady does tend to play in meaningless finale games, but with no bye next week, I’d be surprised to see more than 25 attempts. HC Todd Bowles has mentioned activating #3 QB Kyle Trask this week, and the Bucs are 4.5-point underdogs, so Vegas expects Brady to sit down at some point. Obviously, that makes dealing with their players tough, if not impossible. Ideally, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are only WR3s for you with 10 FP likely being their ceiling, but they could certainly play their guys longer than expected. Last year, Brady threw it 37 times in Week 18 and they didn’t have a ton to gain, and I’m sure Brady wants to build on last week’s momentum. If desperate, I like Cade Otten, who has 13 targets in Weeks 16-17 with Cam Brate out of the mix, and this is a great matchup, one Otton has already produced in Week 5 with 6/43 receiving on seven targets. I’d want to steer clear of the RBs, if possible, since they’ve been tough to handicap lately when playing all four quarters. They have Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard to handle the work this week.
I was tempted to put him in my DFS article this week but I opted against it, yet Tyler Allgeier is one of the better RB options this week. He’s got 15+ FP in three straight games, and the Bucs won’t have NT Vita Vea, which is nice for the Falcons running game, and Tampa will likely rest other starters. Allgier needs exactly 100 rushing yards to hit 1000 for the year, and he might get that. Out of nowhere, Cordarrelle Patterson had 6/42 receiving on eight targets last week, so he’s certainly a solid play with no playing time issues and not much left to lose for the Falcons. The rookie Desmond Ridder has proven allergic to the end zone thus far, but he’s peppering Drake London with targets, which is good. We saw what DJ Moore did last week without CB Carlton Davis in the lineup, and London now has 8+ targets and 5+ catches in four straight. If he can actually score, he’s a lock for 15+ FP and he’s probably good for 10 FP without scoring.
New England Patriots (8-8) at Buffalo Bills (12-3)
Hey, I don’t love the matchup, but at least Mac Jones has a ton to play for this week and he’s on a two-game streak with multiple TDs. His history in the matchup is not good and he has only 195/1 passing on 36 attempts (5.4 YPA) against them a month ago, but there’s hope it’s a little higher-scoring with another 35+ attempts, giving him a chance. It’s a tough matchup for
Jakobi Meyers, who struggled vs. Buffalo back in Week 13. He had just 3/22 receiving on five targets with slot man Siran Neal having a lot to do with that, and I warned of that potential problem in this very article then. That said, Tyquan Thornton has a little more reach potential for me, and we have him lining up more on Dane Jackson, which is better than Tre'Davious White. Check on DeVante Parker if you’re on the fence, since Parker may be active. Jonnu Smith (concussion) is out again, and Hunter Henry is off the injury report, so he’s viable. I really wanted to push him more last week, but I didn’t know about the knee. It’s not the best matchup, unfortunately, and he had just 2/13 receiving on five targets against them last month, but they’ll probably throw it more than usual and no Jonnu is big and likely makes Henry a frequent read for Jones. I have no idea what to do with Rhamondre Stevenson right now, but at least he’s playing. He’s now been below 8 FP in three of his last four, which is really bad. His receiving work has gone away, and now Damien Harris is back and he played 48% of the snaps. Their running game has been horrible, and it’s a bad matchup, so good luck. Again, at least they’re playing and it’s basically a playoff game for them.
Obviously, it’s been an emotional week, but Josh Allen on Thursday said he and the team are ready to play football, given the positive news on DB Damar Hamlin. Allen did post only 223/2 passing (6.8 YPA) and just 8/20 rushing against the Patriots in early December, and the Patriots are healthier at corner this week and will likely play Allen well. However, that will likely result in Alllen running more, and I think Stefon Diggs, an emotional leader for the team, will be balling in this one with Allen dialing him up 10+ times this week. He also got 7/92/1 receiving on nine targets in this matchup earlier this season. I’m much less confident about my guy Gabe Davis, who's been a disappointment but is at least healthier now than he’s been in months (ankle). Gabe has never caught more than 3 balls for more than 33 yards in his life in this matchup, but he at least has a TD in his last two, including 2/15/1 on seven targets in Week 13. Dawson Knox failed to catch his only target when these teams met in early December, but he was slumping then and he’s coming on with 12+ FP in three straight. I still don’t totally trust him in this matchup, but he’s certainly very usable. Picking the right Bills RB has been hard lately, but I have to go Devin Singletary in a big spot, and he outpaced James Cook in everything last week. There could be room for both guys to produce, as the Bills are now consistently running their RBs more than we’re used to and have now thrown for 240 yards or fewer in five of their last six. Singletary is the reliable veteran, and this is when he started heating up last year. Cook is certainly looking more than fine, as well.
Minnesota Vikings (12-4) at Chicago Bears (3-13)
It’s just my personal guess, but it’s an educated guess based on a ton of factors, including media reports on the game of Nick Mullens getting reps this week, but I think the risk outweighs the reward with the key Vikings players this week. I certainly appreciate the need for Kirk Cousins to remove the stench from himself and the offense after last week, but there’s like a 1% chance the Eagles or 49ers will lose, which would be their only chance at the two seed. The markets have them -6, so they think they will play to win. Or maybe they think the Bears are playing to lose and have a crack at the #1 overall pick with Nate Peterman at QB? My spidey sense is that guys like Alexander Mattison and KJ Osborne will be better plays than Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson, but those two studs could certainly throw up 10+ FP in just 1-2 quarters. As for T.J. Hockenson, I could see him getting 2-3 early grabs, and the Bears have given up three TDs to TEs the last two weeks, so that’s a decent angle there. Keep in mind for all Vikings players, this is a pretty good matchup overall against a Bears defense that’s stripped of it’s top talent.
I guess there’s a real question as to whether or not the Bears will handle David Montgomery the same way in a meaningless finale, and potentially in his last game as a Bear with his rookie contract expiring. He saw a season-low 54% snap share last week, and the Bears may want to get a closer look at Kahlil Herbert. Tough call, but unless we hear otherwise right before kickoff, I’d lower expectations a bit for Mongomery and raise them a bit for Herbert, but I'd mostly expect the same. Hopefully, they won’t look to evaluate the other RBs. With Nathan Peterman getting the start, the lame Bears receiving corps is even lamer, but I could see Peterman getting the ball to Cole Kmet 3-4 times, at least. Kmet caught all four targets for 45 yards when these teams met in early October.
Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)
I was a week early by predicting a return to form for Mark Andrews back in Week 16, but in that game they only threw the ball 17 times, and he did have a decent 3/45 on five targets, including a nice 36-yard catch from Tyler Huntley. Andrews clicked well with Huntley last year, and we finally saw that again last week, as he caught all nine of his targets for 100 yards in a tougher matchup against the Steelers. Andrews had 8/89/1 receiving on 10 targets in this matchup in Week 5, and since the Ravens literally don’t have a passing game without him and should have to throw more than usual against a top offense, he’s looking good. But Huntley simply hasn’t reached a level of trustability this year and he’s failed to throw for more than 140+ yards in each of his four starts. It doesn’t help that Lamar Jackson got only 174/1 passing in this matchup in October. I know HC John Harbaugh was not happy with Gus Edwards’ role last week, but the fact is J.K. Dobbins was the guy, with a 50% to 17% snapshare disparity. The Ravens are getting 9 points in this one on the road, so the Ravens may not be able to lean heavily on their running game. It’s a tougher matchup, but at least these two Ravens RBs have had some recent success and they’re playing to win.
Tough spot for the Bengals, but these guys are battle tested and led by a true professional in
Joe Burrow. It’s not the best matchup, and he got just 217/1 passing on 35 attempts (6.2 YPA) back in October against them (with a rushing TD), but if you have Burrow in a meaningful non-DFS environment, you’re using him. The same with Ja’Marr Chase, although he will likely see some Marlon Humphrey and/or special attention. I’m not sure Tee Higgins is ready to ball out after last week’s serious situation, but he should be because he did nothing wrong whatsoever last week. I’d be an idiot to suggest sitting him because of the incident, especially with the positive recent news. I know Trenton Irwin has stayed involved, but with the Ravens playing a ton of zone, and with S Kyle Hamilton manning the slot often, this is a good spot for Tyler Boyd to surprise. To that point to extent, another inside guy, Hayden Hurst, had a season-high 17.3 FP with 6/53/1 on seven targets in this matchup earlier this season, so you could do worse for a TE. The Bengals are playing to win, so all you can do is start Joe Mixon, who was no worse than your #2 pick this summer. It’s still a bad matchup, though, and Mixon had just 14/78 rushing and 3/10 receiving in this matchup back in Week 5.
Los Angeles Chargers (10-6) at Denver Broncos (4-12)
This is another tricky team in terms of playing time. In theory, the Chargers are motivated to win and grab the fifth seed since they’d get the AFC South winner in the Wild Card round, and HC Brandon Staley said as much this week. However, the markets aren’t buying that the Chargers are full-go. This spread opened LA -3 but has flipped to DEN -3. You can see how we have the game projected, even though I think we’ll see some Justin Herbert and their top receivers some. I’m least optimistic about Austin Eckler for obvious reasons, but who knows? There may be some reports that paint a more positive picture for playing time for these guys. But I'm still skeptical and expect a lot of Joshua Kelley, Larry Rountreee, and maybe even some Isaiah Spiller. And they could feature Josh Palmer a little more now that Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are healthy. Those two get hurt by people’s words at this point, so I wouldn’t play them much if I were the HC.
Welp, Russell Wilson can’t play the Chiefs every week, unfortunately, but at least he’s playing to win! And the Chargers may not exactly have the same energy for all four quarters, so you could do worse than old Russ. Jerry Jeudy’s someone to get behind with no playing time issues, and the same can be said for Courtland Sutton to a slightly lesser extent, based on their production down the stretch. They should have a slight advantage at least with the Chargers not likely to go balls to the wall. In the first matchup, Greg Dulcich went for 2/44/1, and Albert Okwuegbunam being revived this week, he’s not a bad longshot, especially with both backup TEs banged up this week. I have to give it up to Latavius Murray, who once again looked good last week with a 60% snapshare. It’s certainly an excellent matchup, and it seems too good to be true for this guy. If it is, it’ll be because the team wanted to take a look for a guy they traded for midseason in Chase Edmonds. Marlon Mack is done, so I’d expect 10+ touches for Edmunds, if you’re desperate, in this good matchup.
Houston Texans (2-13-1) at Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1)
Another miserable season comes to an end for the Texans and I’m not that interested to see if
Davis Mills can finish strong because he’s already failed on that front. He did finish with 240/2 in the first matchup, but that was the season opener and Brandin Cooks could see a lot of Stephon Gilmore if Indy decides he’s their only real threat, which he has been lately, and he did get 7/82 receiving on 12 targets back in Week 1 against the Colts. I don’t love it, but again, he should play the whole game. Chris Moore will likely have to play outside again with Phillip Dorsett out, and that’s bad news because I’d say that he’d have a chance if I knew he was lining up mostly inside, but the next man up is Amari Rodgers, who has to be inside. I refuse to back Rodgers, but FYI, it’s the best matchup for Houston WRs. It’s actually a good matchup for their running game, but their backfield has actually been one of the worst situations I’ve ever seen since Dameon Pierce went down.
Mr. Sam Ehlinger has not shown well, unfortunately, so this is not the time to invest in the Colts passing game. Houston is down a starting corner in Steven Nelson, at least, and it’s fair to say Michael Pittman will get some chances. He did score a TD from Ehlinger last week, and he did go off with 9/121/1 receiving on 13 targets in the opener in this matchup. Interim HC Jeff Saturday really wants a win here, and the best way to get it is to feed Zack Moss the ball against a weak Texans run defense, so look for that to happen. Moss needs to score to come through, but if he does, he’ll likely exceed 15 FP, and he’s been very solid as a runner with 51/220 rushing for 4.3 YPC and 73.3 rushing YPG in his three games as the lead back. The Texans are giving up 5.2 YPC and the most rushing YPG (141.4) to RBs, and they allowed three different Jags RBs to score last week.
Cleveland Browns (7-9) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
Hey, at least this game has some good players and no playing time issues. Both offenses are mostly stagnant, but still! Actually, Deshaun Watson is coming off his best game of the season, but I can’t say he’s a great play, since the Steelers have limited 7 of the last 8 QBs they’ve faced to 13.2 or fewer FP since T.J. Watt returned to the lineup out of their Week 9 bye. That’s impressive for Watt. Watson’s certainly not a bad option this week and he’s starting to click with
Amari Cooper, whose yardage totals have risen in five straight weeks. Cooper also collected 7/101/1 receiving in this matchup earlier this season. Donovan Peoples-Jones has finished with 44 or fewer receiving yards in four of his five games with Watson, and he had just a 10-yard catch on three targets against the Steelers in Week 3, but he has more than a puncher’s chance to score or make a big play or two. David Njoku has disappeared down the stretch for whatever reasons, but he did go off with 9/89/1 receiving in this matchup back in late September. Once again, at least Nick Chubb is set to play the whole game. He hasn’t scored in five games with Watson in the lineup, but he got 23/113/1 against them back in Week 3, and you know he’s getting 15+ touches. We may see some Jerome Ford in this one over Kareem Hunt.
I feel about the same as the Steelers as I do the Browns: at least these guys are playing the whole game. Kenny Pickett is up against a Browns defense that’s held four of the last five QBs they’ve faced to fewer than double-digit FP. However, CB Denzel Ward is questionable to play and was a DNP all week. If he’s out, that’s a break for Pickett, but I’m still not particularly concerned for Diontae Johnson (8/84 receiving against the Browns in Week 3) or George Pickens. Obviously, these guys aren’t crushing it, but they’re stud-level guys, and there are not playing time issues, so they’re pretty appealing to me. The same for Pat Freiermuth even though there’s no compelling reason to back him other than the fact that he’s Pat Freiermuth and he’s very, very good. The Steelers are finally rolling now in the running game, as the OL has improved and is executing better. They will work Jaylen Warren into the mix for sure, as the duo was a great 1-2 punch last week, but Najee Harris has 20+ carries in two of his last three and in five of his last eight, and he’s caught eight balls on 12 targets the last two weeks. The Browns have been a great RB matchup all year and Jadeveon Clowney is out again, and they’re giving up 5.0 YPC to RBs in their last four. Harris in three career games is also averaging 4.9 YPC with a fat 21.6 FPG average.
New York Jets (7-9) at Miami Dolphins (8-8)
I know he’s scary, especially with both starting OTs out, but Joe Flacco has also produced as a Jet. In four games with meaningful playing time dating back to one contest last year, Flacco has thrown for 309, 307, 285, and 291 yards, which is fairly remarkable. Clearly, he’s comfortable in this system. It looks like Miami will have CB Xavien Howard (knee), but they’re still giving up the second-most FPG (21.2) to QBs. This is still the lowest total on the board this week (37.5), and the OL issues are concerning, but I think Flacco is a legit longshot play this week. Garrett Wilson’s production has fallen off lately, but that’s why is out of the starting lineup for the finale. One of the only motivations for the Jets this week might be getting Wilson the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in a meaningless game, and it’s not like Wilson hasn’t already produced with Joe Flacco this year, as he put up 8/102/2 in just his second pro game with Flacco starting. Xavien Howard is dealing with a knee issue this week, and Wilson can be moved around to avoid him if need be, since Wilson lines up in all three receiver spots at least 25% of the time.
I liked Tyler Conklin last week, and he caught all six of his targets for a team-best 80 yards to Seattle. Conklin failed to catch his lone target against the Dolphins back in Week 5, but he was actually the TE3 in total scoring after Week Three (18/141/1 on 24 targets) this season, and that was all with Flacco starting. Miami has also been a choice TE matchup all year, and in their last four games they’re giving up a promising 5/8/63/5/.8 per game to the position, good for 16.6 FPG. He’s a boom-or-bust guy who might not get many targets, or who could wind up being a featured receiver for Flacco. The Jets backfield is an absolute landmine, and no one can be trusted with Ty Johnson emerging last week to lead the backfield with 47% of the snaps.
It’s Skylar Thompson time, most likely. He got 104/1 passing last week on 21 attempts for a weak 5.0 YPA off the bench last week, and he actually played extensively in this matchup last time and had a similar line with 166 yards on 33 attempts (5.0 YPA) and 0 TD. Obviously, we have to lower expectations about 35-40% for Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Hill at least caught all seven of his targets for 47 yards in this matchup with Thompson in Week 5. Waddle got only 3/23 receiving on four targets. Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert are pretty annoying and there’s no way to handicap the backfield on a weekly basis. Mostert got 18/113/1 rushing in this matchup in Week 5 and he caught 8 balls last week, so there’s reason to be optimistic. Wilson last week had more carries (15 to 9) and played more snaps (65% to 42%), so he’s well in the mix and they need to lean on their RBs this week.
Carolina Panthers (6-10) at New Orleans Saints (7-9)
There’s reason to be optimistic about Sam Darnold, who has two rushing TDs in five games with at least 1 TD pass in his first five starts. But the Saints have held five individual QBs to fewer than 15 FP in their last six games, and I’m worried about D.J. Moore getting locked down by Marshawn Lattimore, who played every damn snap last week and looked good. Moore had only 1 catch for 2 yards in the first matchup this year. Between Shi Smith and Terrace Marshall, one of them may do something, but they’re poor reach plays. D’Onta Foreman was added to the injury report Friday (limited, knee), so that could help Chuba Hubbard, who has looked good down the stretch. The Saints are allowing 4.5 YPC and the ninth-most rushing YPG (102.1) to RBs. Hubbard is the better play, and Foreman is a guy you’re using because your alternatives stink.
Obviously, the matchup is tasty for Chris Olave’s last game as a rookie, and he hasn’t looked like a rookie all year. Olave has only 1 TD in his last nine games, and he’s topped 65 receiving yards just once in his last six games, but he’s definitely worked well with Andy Dalton, and he did crush it with 9/147 receiving on 13 targets when these teams met in Week 3, and that was with Horn on the field. I also like Rasheed Shaheed, who caught all six of his targets for a team-best 79 receiving yards in a tough matchup against the Eagles last week, so he’s feeling it. Obviously, Dalton is a low-end guy, and he’s attempted 30 or fewer passes in each of his last six games, but he may sneak up on people this week with such a good matchup. The Panthers have been hit for 432/2 by Tom Brady and for 355/3 by Jared Goff the last two weeks with stud CB Jacee Horn (hurt in that Lions game) out, so I’m seeing 200+ yards and 2 TD passes as a likely outcome this week, given his strong weapons right now. Jameis Winston, even with Horn on the field, threw for 351/1 in this matchup in September. If he’s active, Juwan Johnson is a play, since he’s the TE7 since Week 6 and the Panthers allowed three TDs to Shane Zylstra in Week 16. As for Alvin Kamara, I think he’s worth a try this week. He’s fine health-wise, and I think there’s a chance the Saints dominate and move the ball extremely well, so he could actually score! Kamara had only 15/61 rushing and 2/12 receiving when these teams met earlier this season, but he should do more at least in the running game, and I would not be surprised at all if he enjoyed some TD regression and scored 1-2 times.
New York Giants (9-6-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
The Giants are reportedly going to pass on starting backup Tyrod Taylor in favor or #3 QB, which means there are two guys named “Davis” starting with Davis Webb getting the call. That tells us all we need to know: they’re sitting almost everyone so they will likely roll with Kenny Golladay and Marcus Johnson as their top two WRs and Gary Brightwell as their primary RB. They may even view playing Matt Breida a lot as too risky.
It’s a meaningful game for Philly, and if they win they get the bye, so you have to proceed as usual with Jalen Hurts back. I did actually pull back from usual projections, and Hurts still ranked in the top-5 this week. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are no-brainers, as is Dallas Goedert in TE leagues. The Giants got ripped by T.J. Hockenson for 13/109/2 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago. I’m not as confident in Miles Sanders, who will probably need to score a first half TD to come through. Otherwise, I think we’ll see a lot of the backups, and Boston Scott owns the Giants. Boston is scoring again this week.
Los Angeles Rams (5-11) at Seattle Seahawks (8-8)
Yet again, Cam Akers is going to get it done. Akers has looked about as good as he’s ever looked in the NFL the last 3-4 weeks, and he’s now coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances with 5.7 YPC over his last three games. Akers’ ascent started back in Week 13 when he put up 17/60/2 rushing in this matchup, so get ready for another 20+ touches and another big performance against a Seahawks defense that is seeing RBs get 30+ touches per game with 4.7 YPC against them the last four weeks. I’m not really trusting Baker Mayfield in this one, but Van Jefferson is the only WR you can consider. Tyler Higbee is definitely shaky, and he had only 2/14 receiving on five targets when these squads met in Week 13, but that was also with John Wolford at quarterback. This has been a good matchup all year, and TEs the last four weeks are averaging a healthy 5.8/89/.5, good for a promising 17.7 FPG. Given the tougher matchup on the outside, I can see Mayfield looking for Higbee a lot in this one.
Kenneth Walker is a little volatile, and he’s still dealing with an illness and his lingering ankle injury. But he’s played through the injury the last three weeks and is coming off of back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances, and needs 64 rushing yards to hit 1000 in his first NFL season. Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley averaged 8.7 YPC with 19/167/1 rushing in this matchup last week, so Walker’s hard to pass up. Geno Smith has slowed down, but he’s not playing poorly or anything the last 4-5 games. His OL has been failing him, but that shouldn’t be a huge issue this week against a Rams team playing out the string, and Geno crushed them with 367/3 passing on 39 attempts (9.4 YPA) when these teams met in Week 13. It looks like we’re okay with Tyler Lockett (shin), who worked on Friday. D.K. Metcalf caught all eight of his targets for 127 yards and a touchdown when he went against Jalen Ramsey and company in early December, so we’re okay there. You can use Noah Fant if desperate, but they refuse to feature him and throw a lot to their blocking TE, who is now Colby Parkinson. Fant got 4/42/1 receiving on five when these teams met in early December.
Arizona Cardinals (4-12) at San Francisco 49ers (12-4)
It’s David Blough again for the Cards, and he at least gives them a chance to hit 200 yards passing. The 49ers are easier to throw on than run, but they’re still allowing the eighth-fewest FPG (15.3) to QBs, and Colt McCoy finished with 218 /0 with an INT against the 49ers in late November. Marquise Brown was decent last week, at least, and he’s the top target, and the 49ers are allowing the sixth-most receiving YPG (169.2) and FPG (36.7) to WRs. When I back
Greg Dortch, he does nothing. When I don’t, he goes off, so I’m not saying anything, but he’ll be out there and he got 9/103 receiving on 10 targets in this matchup last month. I really like
Trey McBride and I loved his breakout performance last week. He’s more viable now for sure, but it’s a tough matchup. James Conner is out, so it’s likely Corey Clement getting up to 15 opportunities. But they do have rookie Keaontay Ingram, who could get carries. You have to favor Clement, who’ll be out there on passing downs for sure.
The Cards are a disaster and won’t have both starting CBs, and they’re also down LB Zaven Collins, who is a top playmaker here. Meanwhile, it looks like Brock Purdy will have Deebo Samuel at his disposal this week along with the premier TE matchup of the season for George Kittle, who dropped 4/84/2 receiving on the Cards back in Week 13. Purdy has 2 TD passes in five straight. Also, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 4 TD passes in this matchup back in Week 13.
Brandon Aiyuk looks great heading into this one, but you never know with these guys and Deebo likely back. Not all of the big plays he’s made have been designed for him, but Purdy is looking for Kittle when things break down, and it’s clear that he’s comfortable throwing to the TE in the middle of the field. Arizona is still allowing the most FPG (16.7) to the position, and Kittle dropped 4/84/2 on the Cards in Week 13. Samuel’s returns could hurt Kittle, and they won’t have to throw much most likely, but Kittle is balling, it’s a meaningful game, and the matchup is pristine. Christian McCaffrey crushed last week and this is a good spot, but I wouldn’t expect a go-off game with Elijah Mitchell back in the mix.
Dallas Cowboys (12-4) at Washington Commanders (7-8-1)
This will be a meaningful game for the Cowboys, but guys could be pulled is fate’s are essentially sealed during the game, so I’ve pulled back a little from all Cowboys projections.
Dak Prescott has thrown for multiple TDs in eight of his last nine games, and the Commanders have allowed five TD passes to Deshaun Watson and Brock Purdy in the last two weeks.
CeeDee Lamb is rolling and got 6/97/1 receiving on eight targets in this matchup in Week 4 with Cooper Rush at quarterback. You can avoid Michael Gallup with T.Y. Hilton getting worked into the mix. It’s a good matchup for Dalton Schultz, but he’s been hit or miss, and I’m not loving him here, so he will need a cheap TD. It’s not the best matchup for Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, but you gotta use them.
It’s the great unknown with Sam Howell at QB, and he probably hasn’t worked much with
Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel, so I’ve pulled back from expectations. In theory, since Dallas’ #2 CB spot has been a problem, Dotson is a matchup play, but the Howell factor is tough to handicap. Logan Thomas is coming on, but his floor is low with the rookie. It’ll be Jonathan Williams for DC, but they also have Jaret Patterson, who can catch it, so I’d use Williams in sheer desperation only.
Detroit Lions (8-8) at Green Bay Packers (8-8)
This is a trickier matchup for Jared Goff, but I say you keep firing with him as long as the matchup isn’t bottom-5, which I don’t think this is. He has thrown multiple TD passes in five of his last six. He put up just 137/2 passing in early November, but they won the game and he threw only 26 passes, plus his receiving corps is in way better shape now. There should be optimism with Amon-Ra St. Brown this week, even though he had just 4/55 receiving on nine targets when these squads met in Week 6, since he’ll likely avoid shadow coverage from stud Jaire Alexander, and he could beat up on S Darnell Savage at times inside. As for D.J. Chark, he may see a lot of Alexander, so keep that in mind. My gut feeling is that Jameson Williams will make one more big play to give us something to think about all off-season. Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift had a decent game in the first matchup with Williams getting 24/81 rushing and Swift finishing with 3/40 receiving and 2/10 rushing, but I think the Lions running game could give them problems, and Swift looked as good last week as he has since September. They know he’s a game-changer for their offense, so I think he should be ranked over Williams this week in PPR. Not that you’re actively sitting Williams, who has 15 TDs and no playing time issues.
Getting production is like pulling teeth, but you have to like Aaron Rodgers in a win-and-in game, at home, against a team he knows well. He had 291/1 but 3 INTs in the first matchup, but the passing game is in better shape now. I like Christian Watson’s chances to make a splash, and Allen Lazard has been back with 5+ catches in four of his last six games, and he got 4/87/1 receiving on 10 targets against the Lions in Week 9. The Lions got run all over two weeks ago by the Panthers, so feel good about Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. If very desperate, it’s been a good TE matchup all year, and Robert Tonyan did score last week.