Hansen's Hints: 2023 Week 12


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Hansen's Hints: 2023 Week 12

My goal for this article is to cover every nook and cranny for all remaining matchups after the practice week concludes while also making it easy to consume so you know everything you need to know after a 10-15-minute read on a Saturday night or Sunday morning.

This week, I’ll roll the column out in three parts, starting with the Thanksgiving games, then the Black Friday game Thursday and the rest Saturday night, as usual.

Note: If I reference a data point from FPD, it’s using the last five weeks of data for the defenses. NFL teams typically look back only 4-5 games, so that’s what I’ve always done, and it’s more important than ever with the ever-shifting effectiveness of NFL defenses.

Sunday Morning Updates:

  • 10:30 AM: Apparently, Raiders DE Maxx Crosby is planning to play, despite being listed as doubtful. That wouldn’t be good news for the Chiefs offense.

  • 10:30 AM: Schefter is reporting today that Marquise Brown (heel) is expected to play.

  • 10:30 AM: Schefter is reporting that signs continue to point to Mac Jones starting for the Pats, which is not a surprise, but I’d bet he gets pulled if he stinks.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Saints: They won’t have CB Marshon Lattimore, which helps Drake London’s chances. Backup RB Kendre Miller is out again, so Jamaal Williams will get some chances as the #2.

  • Falcons: WR Mack Hollins is out again, Van Jefferson is his backup.

Saints Analysis

  • The Falcons have given up the ninth-fewest passing YPG (214.5) to QBs, but QBs have also posted 24+ FP against the Falcons in their last three, and Derek Carr has the sixth-best coverage grade for us this week based on his success against the zone defense he’ll see. He scored between 15.7 and 19.3 FP in five straight, including back-to-back games with 2 TD passes, and he’s looking good to stay productive in this plus matchup.

  • The Falcons are allowing the fourth-fewest receiving YPG (127.1) to WRs, and held down Marquise Brown (1/28 receiving) and Jordan Addison (5/52) in their last two games, but it’s a positive matchup for Chris Olave per our WR Coverage Matchup tool, but that’s mostly about his success against their various zone coverage. Olave will see a lot of Jeff Okudah, a tough matchup, but it’s good to know he excels in general against the coverages he’ll often see.

  • The Falcons could opt to travel CB AJ Terrell against Olave, but we’re not projecting that. If Okudah is often on Olave, rookie A.T. Perry would often be on Terrell, which helps make the case for Rashid Shaheed, who gets a good matchup inside against Dee Alford. The Falcons have allowed the 10th-most receptions (17) and the fourth-most TD receptions (7) on passes of 20+ air yards, and Shaheed has been deadly against zone. He’s at .52 FP/RR against zone, tied for the third-best in the league with Olave, so this is a Shaheed matchup.

  • The Falcons have allowed the second-fewest rushing TDs (4) this season, which is worth noting for Taysom Hill. Otherwise, he did have a seven-week low 30% snap share last week, and he’s below a 33% route share in three straight games since the return of Juwan Johnson (who’s worthless with Hill in the mix). Good luck.

  • The Falcons have yet to allow a rushing TD to an RB, and they’re giving up the fourth-fewest receptions per game (3.3) to the position, so this could be a tough spot for Alvin Kamara, who has fallen below 10 rushing attempts in his last two games. He’s hit 17.4+ FP in six of his seven games, so he’s an elite option in PPR with volume, but he’s one of the more underwhelming elite RBs I’ve seen in a while.

Falcons Analysis

  • The Saints are giving up the fifth-fewest adjusted yards before contact (1.09) and the third-fewest FPG (16.1) to RBs, so it’s good to know that the Falcons actually gave Bijan Robinson some rushing volume with more than 14 carries for the first time since Week 2, including all of the carries inside the 5-yard line. It looks like HC Artie Smith is finally using some common sense, but Bijan could certainly come up small with a tough matchup and with Smith being a meathead and all.

  • The Saints will not have CB Marshon Lattimore, and they have given up 18+ FP to three of the last four QBs they’ve faced, thanks to rushing production from Josh Dobbs (8/44/1 rushing), Tyson Bagent (8/70), and Trevor Lawrence (8/59), which bodes well for Desmond Ridder, who has 4 TDs on the ground. Ridder is shaky, so the rushing upside helps, as does the poor Saints pass rush, one of the weakest in the league, and Ridder threw for 250+ passing yards in three straight games Weeks 5-7 before being pulled. I do not think they will have a quick hook, as they have committed to Ridder the rest of the way.

  • The Saints are giving up the third-fewest receiving YPG (76.1) and the third-fewest YPRR (1.53) to receivers aligned on the perimeter, but they’ll be without Marshon Lattimore (ankle), which helps Drake London’s chances. This is a plus matchup for London per our WR Coverage Matchup tool and based on the coverages he’ll see, including a little more man coverage than most opponents. London also accounted for 54% of Ridder’s completions (7 of 13) and 72% of his yards (70 of 97) against the Saints without Lattimore last December.

  • The Saints have been good against TEs for years, but all of a sudden, they’re vulnerable to the position with 6 TDs given up to TEs in their last seven games. Kyle Pitts has seen 5 targets in four straight games, but Jonnu Smith is still preventing him from being a reliable option. The sad thing is Jonnu is probably a safer bet to produce, but I’m still going Pitts > Jonnu.

Looking better than usual: Drake London, Falcons TEs

Looking worse than usual: Alvin Kamara

Reach plays: Derek Carr, Rashid Shaheed, Desmond Ridder,

Prop Picks:

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Steelers: They are again without S Minkah Fitzpatrick, a huge blow. They’re also down a starting DT in Montravius Adams, decent news for Joe Mixon.

  • Bengals: They are down CB Cam Taylor-Britt, one of their top-3 outside CBs, which is decent news for the Steelers.

Steelers Analysis

  • We’ll probably see some extra life from the Steelers offense after they fired OC Matt Canada, who was clearly a big part of Kenny Pickett’s horrible play or else they wouldn’t have let him go in-season, as the Steelers haven’t made a move like this during the season since the FDR administration (seriously). The Bengals have allowed 21+ FP to four straight quarterbacks since their bye, and they’re down CB Cam Taylor-Britt, who is no worse than their third outside CB. Our WR Coverage Matchup Tool loves the matchups for his top WRs, but Pickett is still a low-end option. He’s been pressured at 7% or more above expectation in all but two of Pittsburgh’s games this year, and the Bengals have the 2nd-highest QBPROE over expectation among all teams yet to play this week, and DE Sam Hubbard is back this week.

  • The biggest problem for the Steelers passing game may be their running game, which looks good going into this one. New OC Eddie Faulkner is the former RBs coach, and the Steelers feature or #2 Rush Grade of the slate, since the Bengals have given up a league-high 2.13 aYBC/A over the last five weeks. Both Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris are looking better than usual, but while Faulkner could utilize Warren more than Canada did, I’d have to think Harris has a chance for volume in the second half, since Pittsburgh is a road favorite against Cincy’s #2 QB. The Bengals have allowed an individual RB to score 21+ FP in three out of their last four games, so Harris and Warren should be good for 12+ FP each.

  • As stated above, our WR Coverage Matchup likes this one for Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, as the Bengals are giving up the fourth-most YPRR (2.33) and the most YPR (16.6) to outside receivers after an Odell Beckham got them downfield last week with 4/116 receiving. Pickens will see a lot of Chidobe Awuzie, which has been a very decent matchup lately, but Diontae should see a lot of rookie DJ Turner, who has been excellent. Of course, Pickett has thrown for 160 or fewer yards in four straight games, so opportunities are minimal for both. I like Pickens to make at least one big play, which could be all he needs, but he’s still volatile.

  • If you’re desperate at TE, Pat Friermuth is back, and he’s averaged 6.5/77 receiving in his last two games in this matchup, and he’s 4-for-4 in terms of producing in this matchup in his career with 11+ FP in every game with 20/216/2 total in four games on 31 targets. They’re also giving up 6.5/84 receiving to TEs in their last four games.

Bengals Analysis

  • It’s the Jake Browning show now and he’ll make his debut against a Steelers defense with only the 14th-best pressure rate (35.0%), but a defense that can certainly put pressure on him. No S Minkah Fitzpatrick helps, and Browning last week ran for 4/40, but he won’t have Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase is looking at a tough shadow matchup, so I don’t see much upside with Browning.

  • The Steelers have used CB Joey Porter as a shadow CB, and he’s been fantastic recently covering DeAndre Hopkins in Week 9 and Amari Cooper in Week 11, giving up only 5/41 total to those two alphas. D-Hop and Cooper had shaky QB situations, but so does Ja’Marr Chase in this one, so it means less that the Steelers have hit for the fifth-most receiving YPG (185.5) by WRs.

  • When Browning entered the game last week, he immediately looked for Trenton Irwin, who led their WRs with 3/36 on 5 targets, but he just missed a couple of bigger plays. He’s not a horrible reach, and I like his prop, but he’ll see a lot of CB Patrick Peterson, who has been solid.

  • Slot man Tyler Boyd will see a lot of Chandon Sullivan inside, and he’s been solid, so there’s no compelling reason to use him unless desperate.

  • If TE Tanner Hudson produces again, then he might just be a thing. He’s the TE14 the last three weeks with 14/127, but I’d like to see it with Browning before backing him as a reach.

  • Obviously, the Bengals will need more from Joe Mixon, and he should get volume at home. Pittsburgh is allowing the sixth-most rushing YPG (107.4) to RBs, and Mixon has scored in four straight games with his two best receiving performances coming in the last three weeks, and he caught 10 balls in this matchup last year.

  • Rookie backup RB Chase Brown may play this week, FYI, but he’s less appealing as a handcuff with the QB situation.

Looking better than usual: Jaylen Warren, Najee Harris

Looking worse than usual: Ja’Marr Chase

Reach plays: Pat Friermuth

Prop Picks:

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans, 1 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Jaguars: Top CB Tyson Campbell is out again, good news for the Texans passing offense.

  • Texans: They are down starting FS/CB Jimmy Ward again, decent news for the Jags. Noah Brown is out again, so Robert Woods is a good bet for some looks.

Jaguars Analysis

  • Last week was nice, but Trevor Lawrence‘s history in this matchup is concerning. Lawrence posted a decent 279/1 passing and 1 INT on 40 attempts (7.0 YPA) against the Texans in Week 3, but he’s at 6.6 YPA with only 1 TD pass total in this matchup in three games dating back to last year with only 11 FPG. The Texans have allowed 19+ FP to QBs (Kyler, Burrow, Baker) in three straight games, at least, and our QB Matchup Tool isn’t totally down on the matchup, but I’d brace myself for a so-so game.

  • The good news for Lawrence is that our WR Coverage Matchup Tool likes the matchup for Calvin Ridley, whose best three fantasy performances have come with Zay Jones in the lineup, which was pointed out here last week before Ridley went off. One of the factors is that it’s easier to press Ridley at the line when he plays at split end on the line of scrimmage, so we want Jones playing that spot. Houston plays the sixth-highest rate (76.8%) of zone coverage, Ridley is averaging a solid 1.83 YPRR on a 19.9% target share on 240 routes against zone coverage, and as long as Jones plays, I’m not passing up Ridley’s upside in what could be a high-scoring game with a total expected of 48.

  • Christian Kirk is doing a little better against zone coverage, with a team-best 1.99 YPRR on a 18.7% target share on 235 routes against zone. Kirk turned in 4/54/1 receiving on 6 targets against the Texans in Week 3, but it’s a so-so matchup inside when he’s on Tavierre Thomas. Kirk’s a little less appealing than he was earlier in the year, as he’s seen 6 or fewer targets in four of his last five, but he’s still hit 13.9+ FP with 78+ receiving yards and/or a TD in six of his last eight.

  • Zay Jones’ presence has been missed in the red zone, but the Texans are giving up the second-fewest TDs per game (.5) to WRs, and he was still limited all week with his knee, so he’s too risky to use.

  • Evan Engram had one of his best fantasy performances of the season against the Texans in Week 3 with 7/67 receiving on 8 targets, and he leads the team in receptions (47) and target share (21%) against zone, even though he’s averaging only 1.28 YPRR on 244 routes against zone coverage. This looks like it could be a high-catch game for Engram will lower yardage than usual, so he could go off with a TD. Of course, he has 0 TDs this year.

  • This doesn’t look like a good week for Travis Etienne to rebound from his mini-slump, since their OL stinks and the Texans are giving up just 0.77 aYBC/A allowed over the last five weeks, which is the lowest in the league. The Jaguars run blocking by adjusted yards before contact, per @FantasyPtsData, is only 1.04 Adj YBC per carry (29th) this year, down from 2.06 (5th-best) last year. Jacksonville has averaged under 3.0 YPC on non-scramble runs in four of their last five games, and hasn’t had an explosive run since Week 6, and they’re giving up just 3.5 YPC to RBs. Etienne finished with 19/88 rushing and 4/50 receiving against Houston in Week 3, so he’s hardly hopeless, and he’s still sixth in snap share (77.8%), seventh in carry share (60%), and seventh in route share (53.2%) among all RBs.

Texans Analysis

  • We’re probably hitting some regression with C.J. Stroud, who had 2 INTs heading into last week but tossed picks. He still hit 300+ passing yards for the third straight game with multiple TD passes in six of his last nine. The Jaguars play zone at the fourth-highest rate (80%), and Stroud is averaging 8.6 YPA with 8 TDs and 1 INT andranks second passer rating (102.6) against zone coverage, in part because he got the Jaguars for 280/2 passing for 20.6 FP in this matchup in just his third pro game. Stroud’s 9.41 ANY/A when pressured this year is behind only Brock Purdy for 2nd-best in the NFL, and the Jaguars pass rush is very inconsistent and sometimes weak.

  • There’s too much data and history this week for Tank Dell to ignore, since he has a team-best 21.9% target share and a very strong 2.63 YPRR on 199 routes against zone, and since he dropped 5/145/1 receiving in this matchup back in Week 3. I spoke very highly of this kid for months and months this off-season and repeatedly said I wasn’t doubting him, and yet I’m still in awe of how he’s leading the the Texans in target share (20.3%), targets per route run share (26%), and air yards share (32.9%), and he’s the freaking WR14 in scoring. Dell told me he’s been doubted at every level, but those days are over because everyone knows he’s a dog.

  • The matchup is actually a little better for Nico Collins, per our WR Coverage Matchup Tool, and he benefits the most from top CB Tyson Campbell is out again. Nico will see a lot of Montaric Brown, who has been generous in coverage, and NIco is averaging an excellent 2.80 YPRR on a 20.6% target share on 186 routes against zone coverage.

  • Noah Brown and his team-best 2.96 YPRR on 100 routes against zone coverage will not be available this week, so Robert Woods has a chance on the low-end with a beatable matchup against Tre Herndon. Woods caught 5-of-8 targets last week with Brown out.

  • The Jags haven’t given up much to TEs lately, but they’re at 14 YPR against them the last four weeks, and Dalton Schultz is averaging a healthy 2.09 YPRR on a 15.5% target share on 191 routes against zone coverage, and Brevin Jordan scored in this matchup back in Week 3.

  • There’s talk of Dameon Pierce getting right back into a timeshare mix with Devin Singletary, so snaps and touches could be performance-based. If so, that heavily favors Singletary, who looks fantastic the last two weeks. It’s a tougher matchup with Jacksonville giving up 3.6 YPC and the third-fewest rushing YPG (61.9) to RBs, and they shut down Derrick Henry last week, but I’d still expect Singletary to get at least 15 opportunities.

Looking better than usual: Calvin Ridley, Evan Engram, Tank Dell, Nico Collins

Looking worse than usual: Travis Etienne

Reach plays: None of note.

Prop Picks:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Buccaneers: They are down LB Lavonte David, a big loss and a potential big gain for the Colts. They’re also down a starting CB in Jamel Dean, good news for Indy.

  • Colts: They are down a starting CB in Juju Brents, which is solid news for the Bucs outside WRs. C Ryan Kelly is out again, which is a buzzkill for their offense.

Buccaneers Analysis

  • He did pop on on the injury report late in the week with a knee, but Rachaad White has been very durable so far, and he told me in the off-season the he built up his body to prepare for this big workload, which could explain his underwhelming juice as a runner but also his ability to take a pounding. My friend Adam Schefter reported late Saturday night that there’s no structural issue with his knee. He’s the RB5 the last five weeks and has 4 TDs on the ground in his last three games, and the Colts are giving up the second-most rushing TDs per game (1.1) and the 14th-most receptions per game (4.9) to RBs, so my man is looking good.

  • He clearly can’t be used against a top-10 defense, but Baker Mayfield has routinely hit 17+ FP against beatable defenses, and this is a beatable defense. The Colts are giving up the 13th-most FPG (18.2) and the 13th-most passing YPG (249.6) to QBs, and they also play the highest rate of zone coverage (84.4%), which is notable because Baker has a 3.6% completion percentage over expectation with a solid 7.3 YPA on 309 dropbacks against zone coverage. It’s not all rosy, though, as our QB Matchup Tool indicates he’ll see some tricky coverage shells for him.

  • Something has to give for Mike Evans because the Colts give up the 12th-most YPT (8.7) and the 11th-most receiving YPG (124.0) to outside receivers, plus Evans leads this receiving corps in YPRR (2.74), air yards share (42.2%), and target share (21.2%) on 231 routes against zone coverage. But our WR Coverage Matchup Tool doesn’t love the data for Evans, who will see a lot of CB Jaylon Jones, who has actually been very good. The Colts are also giving up the 10th-fewest receptions per game (11.7) to WRs.

  • This looks more like a good day for Chris Godwin, who is averaging 1.82 YPRR on a 20.4% target share on 243 routes against zone coverage. That’s a solid target share, and it could go up this week against CB Darrell Baker, who is a backup filling in for CB Juju Brents, who is out.

  • If you need him, the Colts are allowing the fourth-most targets (8.5) per game to TEs, and Cade Otton ranks fourth in routes (311) at the position and has 4+ catches in four of his last five games. This could be a decent 4/38 game, and if he scores, he goes off.

Colts Analysis

  • The Colts are down C Ryan Kelly, which stinks, but the Bucs also also down LB Lavonte David, which is a big loss and big for Jonathan Taylor, who is 100% back to full bellcow duties with an 89% snap share in their last game. It’s a tough matchup with the Buc allowing just 3.8 YPC and the fifth-fewest rushing YPG (73.2) to RBs, and they’ve yet to give up a rushing TD to the position. However, no LB David is big, and I’ve got Taylor with 20 touches, so a 15-17 FP day should be the low end of his range of possible outcomes.

  • Bucs HC Todd Bowles is Mr. Blitz and Gardner Minshew is averaging a terrible 5.0 YPA with 1 TD and 3 INTs on 107 dropbacks against the blitz, but Tampa is down a starting CB in Jamel Dean, and TB has been hit for 26+ FP in three of their last four, including last week when Brock Purdy logged a perfect passer rating against them (333/3 passing). I do think JT will have a good game, so 2 TDs from Minshew would not surprise me.

  • It’s a good matchup for Michael Pittman, since TB’s +4.0 schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game surrendered to wideouts over the last five weeks is 4th-most, and Tampa won’t have CB Jamel Dean with a foot injury, and CB Carlton Davis is questionable with a hip injury. Pittman has 8 catches in three straight and now ranks ninth in first-read rate at 35.3% and 10th in target share at 27.4%. The Bucs are also giving up the fifth-most YPRR (2.31) and the sixth-most receiving YPG (129.8) to outside receivers after Brandon Aiyuk crushed them for 5/156/1 receiving time out. Pittman’s props are really high this week, which is a good sign.

  • The Bucs have been crushed for the second-most receiving YPG (103.5) and the sixth-most receptions (84) by receivers aligned in the slot, but Josh Downs will see a lot of CB Christian Izien, who has been stingy. Still, they’re hopeless at TE, and Alec Pierce has done little, and Downs had 5+ catches and 13+ FP while playing 70% of the snaps or more in four straight games before his knee injury.

  • He’s been off the radar, but I do like Alec Pierce’s prop below, at least. It’s a leap of faith, but he’s been coming on slowly, and he should see the most of Jamel Dean’s replacement.

Looking better than usual: Rachaad White, Chris Godwin, Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman

Looking worse than usual: None of note.

Reach plays: Alec Pierce

Prop Picks:

Over 4.5 receptions.

New England Patriots at New York Giants, 1 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Patriots: They have a bunch of players who were mostly limited all week and are questionable, but no one of note. We also may not know who the QB is until starters are announced, and they could have a quick hook on whomever starts.

  • Giants: Starting DT Dexter Lawrence is out, which is good news for the struggling Pats offense. WR Darius Slayton is doubtful with what I’d call a WRCB replacing him. LT Andrew Thomas is back, which should give the offense a boost.

Patriots Analysis

  • The Giants have been able to feed Saquon Barkley 18+ touches, and 3+ catches in five of his last six games, so you feel good about his volume, especially against such an inept offense on the other side. The Pats are giving up just 3.5 YPC but the 10th-most receptions (5.1) to the position, and Barkley should be more than fine with 20+ touches.

  • The Patriots are back to playing well in the secondary, despite personnel issues, and they’re giving up the 12th-fewest FPG (15.6) to the position. They usually swallow young QBs up, but Tommy DeVito has at least 2 TD passes and 14.5+ FP in back-to-back games.

  • Top guy Darius Slayton is almost certainly out, but I don’t see anything appealing here to replace him or step up. Wan’Dale Robinson (69% route share last week) and Jalin Hyatt (56%) are the best options, but this is an avoid.

  • TE Daniel Bellinger led the group in route share (78%) last time out, but the Patriots are giving up the 11th-most FPG (37.2) to WRs and the 28th-fewest FPG (8.9) to TEs. He’ll get 2-3 grabs, as he does most weeks, but there’s no reason to get excited.

Giants Analysis

  • No DT Dexter Lawrence helps a lot, and the Giants are already giving up the third-most adjusted yards before contact per attempt (1.79), 4.6 YPC, and the third-most rushing YPG (114.2) to the position, so it’s a good spot for Rhamondre Stevenson and also Ezekiel Elliott. Last time out it was 67% to 33% in terms of their snap shares, and Rhamondre has 100+ yards in his last two with 3+ catches in four of his last five, so all we need is a TD for him to go off. For Zeke, if he scores, then he will be a top-20 RB this week, and he’s well in the mix for them in goal line situations.

  • It’s a good matchup with the Giants giving up the 12th-most passing YPG (250.5) to QBs, but it’s a good schematic matchup for Mac Jones, per our QB Matchup Tool with Mac excelling against man coverage this year. But we don’t know if he’ll start, and he’ll likely get pulled for Bailey Zappe if Mac’s not leading them to a potential win.

  • Regardless of who starts at QB, Demario Douglas should be in decent shape. Douglas has 20/217 receiving on 29 targets and 3/24 rushing in the last four games, and he’s been getting a little better each week in most areas. The Giants are giving up the seventh-most receiving YPG (181.4) to WRs, and Douglas has a top individual matchup inside against Cordale Flott.

  • We’ll see if DeVante Parker can play, but does it matter? Does Tyquan Thornton still play for them?

  • It’s not the best spot for Hunter Henry, since the Giants give up the fourth-fewest receptions per game (3.9) to TEs. He’s been over a 70% route share in the last two games, at least, and if it’s Mac Jones, Mac is good against man coverage. DC’s Logan Thomas did get 5/58 receiving on 8 targets in this matchup last week.

Looking better than usual: Saquon Barkley, Rhamondre Stevenson, Demario Douglas

Looking worse than usual: None of note.

Reach plays: None of note.

Prop Picks:

Over 4.5 receptions.

Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Panthers: They’re listing starting CB C.J. Henderson as doubtful, and key defensive players Jeremy Chinn and Yetur Gross-Matos are still out. Jaycee Horn is on IR and listed as doubtful, so he’s unlikely to play.

  • Titans: They are down the starting RT in Chris Hubbard, not great. WR Treylon Burks is out yet again with no remarkable replacement.

Panthers Analysis

  • The Titans looked like they were going to be bad against the pass this year, but they’re actually good and give up the 14th-fewest FPG (17.2) to the position. It’s an easier matchup than usual for Bryce Young in some respects, but mostly importantly it’s a bad matchup schematically, per our QB Matchup Tool.

  • The Titans are allowing the 11th-most YPRR (1.80) but somehow the ninth-fewest receptions (65) to slot receivers this year, and Christian Kirk managed just 3/48 receiving on 6 targets in this matchup last week. But Adam Thielen’s individual matchup inside on CB Elijah Molden is good, so I’d assume another 5+ catches.

  • It’s a bad schematic matchup for Young, so I’m out on reaching DJ Chark, Jonathan Mingo, Laviska Shenault, and Terrace Marshall. Mingo’s been hopeless lately with Bryce.

  • The Panthers running game has been a wasteland lately, with Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders splitting things up fairly evenly last time out. Sanders did finish with more carries (11>10) as he notably had a bigger role with Frank Reich retaking play-calling duties, but you’d have to be incredibly desperate to use either, especially with the Titans giving up 3.9 YPC to RBs after they held Travis Etienne to 14/52 rushing and 3/7 receiving last week.

Titans Trends

  • It’s very simple with Derrick Henry: if you don’t use him this week, then you might as well cut him. Henry is not only notably better after Thanksgiving, with 98 rushing YPG and 5.43 YPC compared to 73.1 and 4.3 before Turkey Day, he’s averaging 100 rushing YPG in their three wins, and 100 rushing YPG in their four home games. The Titans are 3.5-point home favorites, and the Panthers are allowing the second-most rushing YPG (114.8) and the second-most FPG (29.0) to RBs. It’s not the easiest matchup, so he’ll need volume, but that’s why I like his carry total prop. Start Henry and expect good things.

  • The Panthers haven’t allowed 190+ passing yards in four straight games, but the data in our QB Matchup Tool says this is a good matchup schematically for Will Levis. The Panthers are also down 3-4 of their best defensive players, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Levis made a couple of big plays.

  • The Panthers are allowing the fifth-fewest receiving YPG (128.9) and the fourth-fewest FPG (28.7) to WRs, and it’s also a slightly negative matchup schematically for DeAndre Hopkins, whose low volume (4 or fewer receptions in five straight) may continue with Henry running well.

  • It’s a nondescript matchup for TE Chigoziem Okonkwo, as the Panthers give up fewer than 8 FPG to TEs in their last four despite playing the Texans, Bears, and Cowboys, three teams with solid TEs.

Looking better than usual: Derrick Henry

Looking worse than usual: None of note.

Reach plays: Will Levis

Prop Picks:

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Rams: They are down S/nickel corner Quentin Lake, decent news for the Cards and their tiny slot receivers.

  • Cardinals: They are down starting CB Antonio Hamilton, decent news for the Rams. WR Michael Wilson is out again, which is a concern because Marquise Brown didn’t practice all week with a heel injury.

Rams Analysis

  • He’s activated from IR and Darrell Henderson is off the active roster, so Kyren Williams is in line for 15-20 touches with Royce Freeman behind him. He may not have quite the bell cow role he had before going on IR, but it’s a great matchup against a Cardinals defense that got hit hard by Devin Singletary, who ran for 22/112/1 with 19.8 FP.

  • He does not look good throwing a football lately, and Matthew Stafford has the lowest TD rate of his career by far at just 2.9%. The Cardinals haven’t give up more than 19 FP to a QB since Week 5, and he had only 226/1 passing in this matchup in Week 6, but the Cards play the second-highest rate of two-high safety coverage (61.8%), and Stafford has a 2.0% completion percentage over expectation against 2-high, for what it’s worth.

  • The two-high safety looks in theory open up some big holes in the middle of the field, and Puka Nacua leads the team in YPRR (2.62) and target share (32.8%) on 137 routes against two-high safety coverage. This was his first bad game of the year back in Week 6 in this matchup with just 4/26 receiving on 7 targets, and it’s a better matchup for Cooper Kupp inside, but Kupp’s also shakier with his injury status. Puca will likely Starling Thomas — a UDFA rookie — or Kei’Trel Clark, a 6th-round rookie, so he’s looking good.

  • It’s tough to project a guy who put up 15/266/1 receiving on 21 targets in his first two games back from the injured reserve, including 7/148/1 receiving in this matchup earlier this season, but only 9/109 receiving on 25 targets over the last four games since, and that is Cooper Kupp. It’s at least a good schematic matchup for Kupp, per our WR Coverage Matchup Tool.

  • It’s also a good matchup for Tutu Atwell, often against the very beatable CB Marco Wilson, but he’s impossible to trust.

  • Also impossible to trust is Tyler Higbee, who I thought was a good play on the low-end last week. He was not, and he has 3 or fewer catches in 5-of-6 games, plus the Cardinals are allowing the third-fewest receptions per game (3.5) to the position and he had only 2/18 receiving on 3 targets against the Cards in Week 6.

Cardinals Analysis

  • The Rams are giving up a league-high 4 rushing TDs to QBs, which is good because Kyler Murray is dealing with a thinned out receiver group. Josh Dobbs put up 235 yards with 7/47 rushing in this matchup back in Week 6, but the Rams have slipped against the pass. In their last four games, QBs are completing 70% of their passes against them for a healthy 8.0 YPA.

  • Marquise Brown did not practice all week with a heel injury, but if he goes they’ll need him with Michael Wilson already ruled out. Hollywood had only 4/34 receiving on 11 targets in the first matchup, though, and he’s fallen below 8 FP in five of his last six games before getting hurt, so that's not positive.

  • Trey McBride had a mini-breakout in this matchup back in Week 6 with 4/62 receiving on 5 targets, and LA is giving up a generous 12.6 YPR and the seventh-most receiving YPG (56.8) to the position, so you have to view McBride as an elite TE1 option.

  • Someone else has to step up, and the Rams are down S/nickel corner Quentin Lake, which is decent news for the Cards and their tiny slot receivers, like Rondale Moore, who had 4/30 receiving in this matchup earlier in the year. The problem is Greg Dortch out-produced him last week, catching 6-of-8 targets for 76 yards, and these two are hard to predict (Moore had season-highs in targets (8), catches (5), and receiving yards (43) in Week 10).

  • One thing that’s easy to predict is James Conner getting the ball, and the Rams are giving up 4.2 YPC, but he will need to score and/or get more love in the passing game to have a big day, but he should be solid with 15-20 more touches.

Looking better than usual: Trey McBride, Kyren Williams, Puka Nacua

Looking worse than usual: Marquise Brown, Tyler Higbee

Reach plays: Rondale Moore

Prop Picks:

Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos, 4:05 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Browns: They are down a starting CB in Denzel Ward, which helps the Broncos passing game and maybe even Marvin Mims. Starting LB LB Anthony Walker is very questionable, and if he can’t play that’s a small bump for Denver’s RBs in particular.

  • Broncos: None of note.

Browns Analysis

  • The Broncos have allowed rushing TDs to QBs in back-to-back games, but I’m not yet confident in Dorian Thompson-Robinson the runner, and Denver’s pass defense has been lights out and they’re giving up the fourth-lowest passer rating (72.8) in the last five weeks.

  • It’s a terrible matchup for Amari Cooper, who has only 5/50 receiving on 14 targets (17.7%) in his first two games with DTR, and Patrick Surtain and company have limited Jordan Addison (3/44 receiving) and Stefon Diggs (3/34) in the last two weeks, so it’s a no for Cooper unless he’s by far your best talent.

  • Cooper’s in trouble, but Elijah Moore has 5/44/1 receiving on 7 targets (20%) and 6/60 receiving on 7 targets (16.3%) with DTR entering the lineup, and he could make some hay here with a beatable matchup against Ja'Quan McMillian.

  • If not Moore, then it’ll be David Njoku, who has 4+ catches and 46+ receiving yards in four of his five games without Watson, and DTR is already looking for him as a checkdown option and underneath receiver. The Broncos are giving up the fourth-most receptions per game (6.3) and the most FPG (16.5) to the position, so it’s a great matchup for him.

  • It’s also a great matchup for the Browns running game, as Denver’s been awful against the run. They’re allowing a league-high 138.0 rushing YPG and a ridiculous 5.8 YPC to RBs, and they made Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler look like world-beaters last week with a combined 28/154 rushing. I think we’re looking at a lot of volume for Jerome Ford, and there should be enough scraps for Kareem Hunt to come through as well.

Broncos Analysis

  • The Browns are giving up the fewest passing YPG (166.5) to QBs, but they haven’t faced many good ones, and they are down a starting CB in Denzel Ward, which helps the Broncos passing game and Russell Wilson. Our QB Matchup Tool likes the matchup for Russ, likely because they play a lot of man coverage, and Russ is good against man. The Browns do have a good pass rush, but Wilson’s 5.26 ANY/A when pressured this year is 2nd-best among all NFL QBs, so I think he’s a sneaky play this week.

  • We have both Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy with top-10 matchup scores in our WR Coverage Matchup Tool, which once again is due to the Browns playing a lot of man coverage and both receivers excelling against it. They’ve also allowed the fifth-fewest receiving TDs per game (.6) to WRs overall, so maybe Sutton doesn’t score this week, and they give up the fewest receptions (54) and the seventh-fewest receiving YPG (84.7) to outside receivers. As for Jeudy, the Browns are allowing the fewest YPT (5.9) and the fewest receiving YPG (42.7) to receivers aligned in the slot, so my endorsement for both players is all about the man coverage success of the QB and these two WRs.

  • If Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy disappoint, then it will most likely be because either Russ didn’t do anything, or because Marvin Mims finally made another big play, which he could in this matchup.

  • It’s a tough matchup on the ground with the Browns giving up the fewest adjusted yards before contact per attempt (.74) and the eighth-fewest FPG (18.1) to RBs, but Jaylen Warren got them for 9/129/1 rushing and 3/16 receiving last week, and Javonte Williams is pretty entrenched as their primary back. The Broncos are home favorites against a raw rookie, so Javonte should get some volume.

Looking better than usual: David Njoku, Jerome Ford

Looking worse than usual: Amari Cooper

Reach plays: Kareem Hunt, Russell Wilson, Marvin Mims (longshot reach)

Prop Picks:

Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders, 4:25 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Chiefs: Jerick McKinnon is out, so Clyde Edwards-Helaire will likely get some work as the #2. Mecole Hardman is out, so one fewer mouth to feed.

  • Raiders: DE Maxx Crosby is out, which is huge news for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Chiefs Analysis

  • No DE Maxx Crosby is huge news for Patrick Mahomes, who may need some help, since Matt Nagy and a poor receiving corps has helped him fail to reach 20+ FP in six of his last seven games. This looks like another bad schematic matchup for him, as evidenced by our QB Matchup Tool, and while Tua Tagovailoa did put up 325/2 passing in this matchup last week, Tua actually has really good receivers, and Mahomes does not. The Raiders also limited six straight QBs to fewer than 15 FP in Weeks 6-10, so I’m lowering expectations for Mahomes.

  • This should be a good game for Travis Kelce, since the Raiders are top-5 in their rate of zone coverage (77.7%), and Kelce is averaging 2.49 YPRR on a 24.7% target share on 191 routes against zone. The Raiders are allowing the 13th-fewest FPG (10.9) to TEs, but Tyler Conklin posted 7/70 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago, and Kelce also scored 4 TDs against the Raiders last year in two games.

  • He’s been the only KC wideout to consider, and Rashee Rice is looking good against a zone-heavy defense in this one, since he’s top-5 this week in expected FP/RR, per our WR Coverage Matchup Tool, and Rice lead the Chiefs with 3.10 YPRR on 110 routes against zone coverage. He’ll see the solid Nate Hobbs inside, but Hobbs has been giving.

  • He’s now a viable option for the Chiefs, but this looks like a poor matchup schematically for Justin Watson, who will see a lot of the solid Amik Robertson, and the Raiders are giving up the 12th-fewest FPG (31.4) to WRs.

  • The Raiders have been surprisingly good against the pass, and predictably bad against the run, and they’re giving up the fourth-most adjusted yards before contact per attempt (1.75) and the fifth-most rushing YPG (109.7) to RBs, so Isiah Pacheco is looking great, especially with Jerick McKinnon out and Clyde Edwards-Helaire looking thicc last week.

Raiders Analysis

  • The Chiefs are giving up 4.7 YPC and the 13th-most rushing YPG (87.7) to RBs, so Josh Jacobs should prepare for as much as he can handle and as many touches as they can afford him, which is a lot, since he’s first in carry share (76.3%) at the position. D’Andre Swift in this matchup last week had 15 touches with 12/76/1 rushing and 3/31 receiving, but it’s hard to predict a score for Jacobs.

  • Rookie Aidan O’Connell has been pretty decent, so I don’t think he’ll get shut down, but it’s a tough spot against a Chiefs defense that’s giving up the third-fewest passing YPG (190.8) and on that has limited three straight QBs (Hurts, Tua, Russ) to 193 or fewer yards.

  • I’ve undersold Davante Adams lately, but this week does pose a problem with KC slowing down some top receivers lately like A.J. Brown (1/8 receiving), Tyreek Hill (8/62), Courtland Sutton (2/29/1), and Keenan Allen (4/55) in just their last four games. Almost all of that is CB L'Jarius Sneed, who travels and shuts down top wideouts. However, KC plays the highest rate of two-high safety coverage (64.6%) in the league, and Adams is averaging 2.23 YPRR on a 26.8% target share and a 42.3% air yards share on 78 routes against the coverage with the rookie at quarterback, so I’d expect some chunky plays to Adams underneath those safeties and/or after the catch.

  • The Chiefs are giving up the seventh-fewest receiving YPG (130.9) and the sixth-fewest FPG (29.1) to the position, and Jakobi Meyers has been a flop with O’Connell in at QB with just 1.28 YPRR. But he did have a solid game last week with 4/49 receiving on 5 targets, and he does get the best matchup here often against Jaylen Watson, if you’re considering him.

  • I’d love to back Michael Mayer, who has a fairly encouraging 3/19/1 and 4/46 receiving on 5 targets the last two weeks, but the Chiefs are giving up the third-fewest FPG (8.7) and the fourth-fewest receptions per game (4.0) to TEs.

Looking better than usual: Travis Kelce, Isiah Pacheco, Rashee Rice

Looking worse than usual: Davante Adams

Reach plays: Jakobi Meyers

Prop Picks:

Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles, 4:25 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Bills: They’re down a starting CB in Dane Jackson, so AJ Brown will work on his backup.

  • Eagles: They are still down TE Dallas Goedert, who will be replaced by no one of note.

Bills Analysis

  • The Eagles have let four different QBs throw for 300+ yards and 3+ TDs this season, so this is a potential blowup spot for Josh Allen. Most likely, it’ll be a bit of a struggle, since it’s not the best matchup schematically for Allen, as reflected in our QB Matchup Tool. But even though he’s not running as much, I have to think another 20+ points are forthcoming from Allen, who suddenly has some nice weapons to spread the ball around to.

  • Based on alignment numbers, Stefon Diggs should see a lot of CB James Bradberry, which is great for Diggs because Bradberry’s struggled, and the Eagles are giving the seventh-most receptions (102) to outside receivers. However, it’s a so-so matchup overall schematically, and Diggs has 8 or fewer targets in three straight games, so may be only a good, not great, week for Diggs.

  • Here’s the deal with Gabe Davis this week: he’s been much better against zone, and Philly plays a lot of zone, but he’ll also see a lot of Darius Slay, who is playing well. So he’ll probably need to score to come through. The good news is the Eagles have given up an NFL-high 12 TDs to outside receivers, with 11 of them coming on end-zone targets.

  • The schematic matchup is great for the suddenly-viable Khalil Shakir, as shown in our WR Coverage Matchup Tool, so he’s not a bad reach, especially since the Eagles are giving up the most receiving YPG (111.8) and the most receptions (97) to receivers aligned in the slot, so he has upside against CB Eli Ricks and/or veteran Bradley Roby, who is old and just joined them.

  • Philly has allowed 16+ FP to Travis Kelce (7/44/1 receiving), Jake Ferguson (7/91/1), and Logan Thomas (6/44/1) in three straight games, so things are looking good for Dalton Kincaid, who has 5+ catches 10.6+ FP in five straight. He has a team-best 26% targets per route run share in that span, which is second best for a TE, which is crazy-good.

  • The Eagles are still stingy on the ground, giving up 3.9 YPC and the fewest rushing YPG (59.1) to RBs, but I have not felt that they are as good as years past, and the numbers back that up. The Eagles’ 2.11 aYBC/A allowed is the 2nd-worst the last five weeks, and Buffalo’s 2.17 aYBC/A over the last five weeks is 2nd-best, and James Cook got 17/73 rushing under new play-caller Joe Brady, which is a good sign. They did also get Latavius Murray to double-digit carries and somewhat surprisingly used Ty Johnson a lot with 6/58/1 scrimmage, but the data backs Cook here, so hopefully the coaches continue to.

Eagles Analysis

  • The Bills allowed 2 passing TDs and 18+ FP in four straight games before facing the inept Zach Wilson last week, and they’re down a starting CB in Dane Jackson, and Buffalo’s zone-heavy defense came up as a solid enough matchup for Jalen Hurts in our QB Matchup Tool. I don’t see a huge day, though, as the Bills have generated a positive QBPROE in all but one game since Week 3, and Hurts still looks a little lumbering in the pocket to me.

  • The Bills are giving up the sixth-fewest receiving YPG (82.9) to outside receivers, down starting CB in Dane Jackson, and A.J. Brown should often see his backup, Christian Benford, and he’s due. Courtland Sutton (8/53/1 receiving) and Tee Higgins (8/100) got it done in this matchup in Weeks 9-10.

  • I also like Devonta Smith, whose schematic matchup is okay, and he should see a lot of CB Rasul Douglas, who has been good but is beatable and was added to the roster a month ago. They have nothing at TE and at the third receiver spot, so Devonta has to eat.

  • The Bills are allowing the third-fewest adjusted yards before contact per attempt (1.04), but they’re giving up the fifth-most receptions per game (5.9) to RBs, and D’Andre Swift has 2+ catches in seven straight. He could be in for a tougher day, but they are very low on quality skill players, so another 15+ touches are coming.

Looking better than usual: Stefon Diggs, Dalton Kincaid, AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith

Looking worse than usual: None of note.

Reach plays: Khalil Shakir

Prop Picks:

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers, 8:20 p.m.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Ravens: CB Marlon Humphrey missed last week but was limited all week, giving him a chance to play. LT Ronnie Stanley is expected to play. Backup LB Malik Harrison is doubtful, which does hurt their run defense. WR Odell Beckham may be iffy to play (back).

  • Chargers: TE Gerald Everrett is expected to play, which ruins Don Parham’s sleeper appeal. LA lost Edge Joey Bosa to IR, which is a huge blow and good for Lamar Jackson this week.

Ravens Analysis

  • I actually think LA’s pass defense is improving, but they’re still allowing the most passing YPG (316.3), and got hit last week for 322/2 passing by Jordan Love, so Lamar Jackson should be okay. The Ravens have 2.29 aYBC/A generated over the last five weeks, best among all teams playing today, so they may run a lot, but maybe Gus Edwards is due for some regression.

  • He’s a little banged up, but less so than OBJ, and Zay Flowers had a long touchdown taken off the board last week on a bad holding call, and he’s got a good matchup often against CB Michael Davis and one of the best overall coverage grades this week in our WR Coverage Matchup Tool. LA has been hit for 14.9 YPR and the second-most receiving YPG (198.3) by WRs, so you have to like Flowers.

  • He worked fully on Friday, but Odell Beckham is still talking about his shoulder injury, so he might not be a 100% lock to play, FYI. That makes him risky, and his snaps will be limited, but the Chargers are giving up the second-most FPG (41.6) to WRs after three different Packers WRs posted 12+ FP last week, and he’ll have a beatable matchup against mostly Asante Samuel.

  • Rashon Bateman has been at 70% of the snaps the last two weeks, which could rise with OBJ banged up, so he’s not a bad reach play.

  • It’s the perfect matchup this week for Isaiah Likely, since you don’t have to think much about it because the Chargers are giving up the second-most FPG (14.9) and the second-most receiving YPG (67.5) to the position. I’m not totally sold on Likely, but I am this week.

  • The Ravens have 2.29 aYBC/A generated over the last five weeks, best among all teams playing today, and LA got hit for 26/193/3 rushing by David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs in Week 10, so Gus Edwards is hard to sit as at least an RB3/flex. Of course, his TD luck could run out, and Keaton Mitchell could steal the show.

Chargers Analysis

  • It looks like the Ravens will be getting CB Marlon Humphrey back this week, which is not good news for Justin Herbert, as the Ravens are giving up the sixth-fewest passing YPG (201.5) and the second-fewest FPG (12.8) to QBs, and Humphrey can slow Keenan Allen down. Herbert has come through this year with 20+ FP and accounted for multiple TDs in 8-of-10 games, but he could come in well under 20 FP in this one.

  • The Ravens are giving up the ninth-most receptions (78) but the fourth-fewest YPRR (1.50) to receivers aligned in the slot, and Keenan Allen will likely have to deal with CB Marlon Humphrey, who is a good matchup for him. He’s obviously in your lineup with a sick 30.8% target share and a 41% air yards share since Week 4, but I’d lower expectations.

  • The Ravens are allowing the fewest YPRR (1.46) and the eighth-fewest receiving YPG (88.9) to outside receivers, so now is not the time to reach for Quentin Johnston, who is struggling and dropped a potential game-winning 70-yard touchdown with under a minute left in the game. That could stay with him a bit.

  • The Ravens are giving up the 10th-fewest FPG (9.4) to TEs, and with TE Gerald Everrett expected to play, it ruins Donald Parham’s sleeper appeal. I will say, though, that they have but allowed 49+ receiving yards to a TEsin four out of their last five games, and Parham is a way better bet to get to 49 than Everrett.

  • I said a month ago that I think we’re seeing the beginning of the end for Austin Ekeler, and his lack of burst on his 37-yard run down the sideline last week was startling. But he can probably squeeze several more good games out of his body, and the Ravens are giving up 4.3 YPC and 117.6 scrimmage YPG to RBs, but he needs to get back involved in the passing game. Despite their issues at receiver, Ekeler has 2 or fewer catches in three of his last five games, which is nuts.

Looking better than usual: Zay Flowers, Isaiah Likely

Looking worse than usual: Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen

Reach plays: Keaton Mitchell, Rashon Bateman

Prop Picks:

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings, 8:15 p.m., Mon.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Bears: RB D'Onta Foreman is doubtful, so he’s 98% out.

  • Vikings: WR Justin Jefferson was limited all week, and they have until 3pm Monday to activate him, but I’d be shocked if he played this week. I’m sure my friend Adam Schefter has the info, and he’lll pass it along.

Bears Analysis

  • It’s a plus matchup schematically for Justin Fields per our QB Matchup Tool, and I can see it, even though the Vikes are playing less man coverage lately. Fields was bad in the first matchup before he hurt his thumb in the third quarter, but he’s also hit 21+ FP in his last three full games, and I thought he looked very good last week. I think he’ll be a top-10 guy this week with a big game from DJ Moore.

  • He’s set to see a lot of CB Akayleb Evans, who is playing with a calf injury, so I like D.J. Moore, who has a whopping 23/457/5 receiving in Fields’ last three full games. Fields has the fourth-most receptions on targets of 20+ yards (9), and the Vikings have allowed the second-most receptions of 20+ yards (20), so expect some shot plays and at least one huge connection from Fields to Moore.

  • I’ve retired from analyzing Darnell Mooney, not really his fault, but it’s just not worth it.

  • The #2 receiver in Chicago is Cole Kmet, who got off to a nice start last week but was stuck on 3/20 receiving on 4 targets. This probably isn’t a great week to use him, as the Vikings are giving up the 14th-fewest FPG (11.3) to the position, but he could score 1-2 TDs any time.

  • D’Onta Foreman is doubtful, so he’s 98% out, so Khalil Herbert will lead the backfield this week, but it’s a tough matchup with the Vikings giving up the seventh-fewest adjusted yards before contact per attempt (1.18) and the fourth-fewest rushing YPG (72.4) to the position. Darrynton Evans is gone, so it’s only Hebert and Roschon Johnson, who looked good last week with 9/32 rushing and is a viable reach if desperate with 7-10 touches likely.

Vikings Analysis

  • We might be seeing some leveling off for Josh Dobbs, who needed a rushing TD in his fifth consecutive game last week to hit 18.9+ FP in for the fourth straight games. I do think Chicago’s defense is a lot better than the numbers indicate, but the numbers are promising, with Chicago allowing multiple passing TDs to QBs in three of their last four games, with the sixth-most FPG (20.1) given up to the position. Most likely, Dobbs will find a way again to get it done.

  • As covered above, Justin Jefferson was limited all week, and they have until 3pm Monday to activate him, but I’d be shocked if he played this week. The Bears are giving up the 16th-fewest FPG 34.2) to WRs, and he’d likely see top CB Jaylon Johnson if he returned, which means KJ Osborne likely will, so I’d pass on him.

  • The Bears are giving up the seventh-most receptions per game (5.7) to TEs, and this looks like a T.J. Hockenson game, given the tougher matchup on the ground and for their WRs. Hockenson should at least duplicate the 6/50 receiving he put up against the Bears in Week 6 with a 33.3% target share and a 41% air yards share in his first three games with Dobbs.

  • It’s not the best schematic matchup for Jordan Addison, but he should see a lot of CB Tyrique Stevenson, who is giving up more FP/RR than all but 3-4 other CBs, and the Bears are giving up the eight-most receptions (102) to outside WRs. Addison finished with 3/28/1 receiving in this matchup earlier this season, and he may need another TD to come through here.

  • If you saw Alexander Mattison last week, I’d try to forget it because Chicago is allowing the second-fewest adjusted yards before contact (.99), so it’s a much tougher matchup. Mattison posted 18/44 rushing and 4/28 receiving against the Bears in mid-October, and they are giving up the most receiving YPG (63.3) to RBs, but Ty Chandler had 4/37 receiving on a 31% snap share last week. I’d prefer to use neither of them, but Mattison is still the best choice, and Chandler is a shakier reach given the matchup.

Looking better than usual: DJ Moore, T.J. Hockenson

Looking worse than usual: Alexander Mattison, KJ Osborne

Reach plays: Roschon Johnson

Prop Picks:

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets, 3 p.m., Fri.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Dolphins: They are down starting LG Robert Jones.

  • Jets: Starting slot CB Michael Carter is doubtful, which is good news for Miami’s WRs, who can all line up inside.

Dolphins Analysis

  • The news came down Friday morning that De’Von Achane is not expected to play, which was likely determined due to the short week. It is a good matchup from a volume standpoint, since the Jets are seeing 29 rushing attempts by RBs per game. Raheem Mostert is the main guy, so he should get upward to 20 opportunities with only Jeff Wilson of note behind him.

  • Speaking of Jeff Wilson, you could do worse for a longshot play, if very desperate. The only other RB they have is Darrynton Evans, who was on the Bears about 10 days ago. I don’t see how he doesn’t get 8-10 chances or more behind Mostert, since the Dolphins should be in control in this one.

  • It’s certainly a tougher matchup for Tua Tagovailoa, but slot CB Michael Carter is doubtful, which should help his chances, and New York’s allowing only the third-fewest YPA (6.1) and the fourth-fewest passing YPG (194.2) to the position. Josh Allen was able to rip the Jets for 275/3 passing last week without much contributions from his starting outside WRs. He averaged 264/1.8 per game in two games in this matchup last year, good for 16.8 FPG, and I could see another solid, but unspectacular, showing here.

  • The likely absence of slot CB Michael Carter certainly helps Tyreek Hill, who lines up inside about 30% of the time. But he will mostly see the two outside CBs, who are outstanding, and Hill’s individual matchup often against Sauce Gardner is about as tough as it gets. The Jets are allowing the fewest receiving YPG (106.6) to WRs, and they limited Stefon Diggs to 4/27 receiving last week, but they did allow productive games recently against studs Davante Adams (6/86 receiving) and Keenan Allen (8/77) in Weeks 9-10.

  • Even though the Jets are allowing the fewest receiving YPG (70.6) and the third-fewest receptions (64) to outside receivers, Jaylen Waddle has the third-best matchup grade based on coverage, per Fantasy Points Data. That’s because the Jets predominantly play Cover-4 and Cover-6 zone (44.6% of passing snaps), and Waddle (3.25) actually leads Hill (2.64) in yards per route run. Waddle had only 8/67 total in two games against the Jets last year, so it’s still a tough assignment, but he’s hardly hopeless based on the data.

  • TE Durham Smythe has been limited all week, but even if he goes, he’s hard to feel good about, since he had a three-game run with zero receptions in October, and the Jets have been stingy against TEs lately with only 7.6 FPG given up their last four, despite giving up 6/46 to Dalton Kincaid last week.

Jets Analysis

  • It’s Tim Boyle for the Jets, and we can expect at least a slight improvement over Zach Wilson, since Boyle knows the offense and will likely process things better than Wilson pre snap and post snap. Of course, Boyle last week completed only 7/14 passes for just 33 yards and 1 INT for an awful 2.4 YPA, and rookie Aidan O’Connell, who is better than Boyle, managed only 12.1 FP in this matchup last week throwing for 271/1, which Boyle won’t likely match.

  • The Dolphins are playing a lot of zone now and don’t travel their corners, and they have given up the third-most receptions (14.8) to WRs, so there’s some hope for Garrett Wilson, who has somehow scored between 14.0 and 18.3 FP in 7-of-10 games. Davante Adams posted 7/82/1 receiving in this matchup last week, which was a mild surprise. Still, he has to be looking worse than ever since he’ll see a lot of Jalen Ramsey, and it’s hardly a lock that the QB change is a positive for Wilson, at least this week.

  • The Dolphins are giving up the ninth-most receiving YPG (55.5) to TEs, and Michael Mayer posted 4/46 receiving in this matchup last week, so there’s some hope for Tyler Conklin, who has been clicking with Zach Wilson but who also didn’t catch his 2 passes last week until Tim Boyle entered the game. Still, Conklin is nothing more than a desperation play only.

  • It’s a tough matchup on the ground for Breece Hall, who has just 63/157/1 rushing for 2.5 YPC in his last five games. Miami just held Josh Jacobs to 14/39 rushing and a 12-yard catch last week, and they’re giving up the fewest receptions per game (2.7) to the position. He’s had at least 10+ carries in six straight games with 3+ receptions in seven straight after he put up 5/50/1 rushing against the Bills. Over the last two weeks, Hall has collected 88% of the backfield’s fantasy production with 31 touches and all other Jets RBs (Dalvin Cook) have only six, so with Hall you’re just counting on the volume and his talent.

Looking better than usual: Raheem Mostert

Looking worse than usual: Tyreek Hill, Garrett Wilson

Reach plays: Jeff Wilson

Prop Picks:

Note: I’ll post the rest of the games on Saturday evening, as usual.

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions, 12:30 p.m., Thurs.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Packers: The Packers elevated WR Bo Melton from the practice squad, which does not bode well for Dontayvion Wicks, who was listed as limited yesterday, so he was not ruled out. They also signed James Robinson because Aaron Jones is out. AJ Dillon should play a ton of snaps and get a ton of touches unless he’s stymied completely. Jayden Reed should play after being listed for a full practice Wednesday (walkthrough).

  • Lions: They won’t have LG Jonah Jackson again, but he’s been out a little while.

Packers Analysis

  • Tough spot for Jordan Love, who’ll be down at least two key guys in Aaron Jones and TE Luke Musgrave. This is a below-average matchup using coverage data from the last five weeks, but I do like the matchup for Christian Watson, and Love’s accounted for multiple TD in seven of his 10 games with 40+ passes in three of his last four, so he should at least get some garbage time production unless it gets ugly. He put up 246/1 passing with 2 INTs in the first matchup this year but he had a rushing TD and 19.6 FP, and Detroit has allowed 21+ FP to QBs in three of its last four. The Lions have also been crushed lately by mobile QBs Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields, and Love has 7-8+FP potential with his legs.

  • It’s a challenging matchup for Romeo Doubs often against CB Jerry Jacobs, but given the sorry state of the Packers receiving corps, it’s safe to say Doubs is looking a little better than usual. He’s still leading the league in end-zone targets (13) and TDs, and he’s now scored in four of his last five. He also had season-highs in targets (13), receptions (9), and receiving yards (95) in Week 4 against the Lions, who are giving up the third-most TDs per game (1.2) to WRs.

  • Doubs scores a lot of TDs, but the sexy fantasy option in this one has to be Christian Watson, who finally re-acquainted himself with the endzone last week. He’s still dropping balls and has yet to hit 12+ FP in his first seven games, but he gets the best receiver matchup in this game, per our WR Coverage Matchup Tool, against mostly Cameron Sutton, who could have problems with Watson’s speed. He’s been all over the place with a bunch of red zone looks, so the potential for a big game is solid this week — IF he can stop sucking.

  • I’d imagine we’ll see Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks as gametime decisions on Turkey Day, at least Wicks, but Doubs, Watson, and Reed are the only Packer WRs you want to consider. I love what Reed is doing, but he was added to the injury report with a chest injury, and he has a tougher matchup inside mostly against CB Brian Branch, and put up just 2/25 receiving on 4 targets (but with a TD) in his first game against the Lions in Week 4.

  • But since I grew up with his dad, here’s a shoutout to WR Bo Melton, who will be up for the game!

  • TE Tucker Kraft made a nice play for 20+ yards down the sideline last week and he just missed a TD, but he stepped out of bounds. The Lions have been a good TE matchup this year and are giving up the 12th-most FPG (12.6) to the position, and they’ve also given up 2 TDs to the position in their last four, if you’re looking for a deep reach play, Kraft is the man now with Luke Musgrave on IR.

  • It’s a potentially ugly spot for AJ Dillon, as he tries to handle the bulk of the backfield duties against a tough front that is allowing just 3.5 YPC and the second-fewest rushing YPG (62.3) to RBs. The volume isn’t helping him too often this year, and he’s finished with fewer than 8 FP in three of his four games with Aaron Jones mostly out in Weeks 2-5, including a horrendous 5/11 rushing performance with 0 catches. However, HC Matt LaFleur has liked Dillon’s running lately, and he has ripped off a couple of nice runs the last 2-3 weeks, and he has 7 targets and 5/43 receiving the last two weeks. I’d say 10 FP should be forthcoming, but that might be about it.

Lions Analysis

  • It’s not an ideal schematic matchup for Jared Goff, per our QB Matchup Coverage tool, and Goff has only a 6.5 YPA with 3 TDs total in his last three matchups against the Packers dating back to 2022. GB has allowed just two QBs to post 240+ yards and 2+ TDs, something Goff could always do with relative ease, but he posted just 210/1 passing on 28 attempts in the first matchups, and we’re probably counting on Jordan Love to greatly exceed expectations if Goff’s to have much upside this week.

  • This is a defense that just got shredded by Keenan Allen for 10/116/1 receiving, and it could have been more were it not for some drops, but I do think we could see something similar to the 5/56/1 receiving on 7 targets Amon-Ra St. Brown put up back in Week 4 vs. GB. He’ll see a lot of CB Keisean Nixon, who’s been solid, and they may not need to feed him 10+ targets.

  • We now know what we’re dealing with when it comes to Jameson Williams: the dude could score at the drop of a hat, or he could goose egg your ass. He should see a lot of CB Carrington Valentine, who has been very good, but Williams had a season-high 65% snap share last week, and I can see them trying to hit for an explosive big play on the national stage (not like they’re not always looking for that).

  • Based on alignment numbers, Josh Reynolds should see a lot of Jaire Alexander, and Reynolds is not worthy of consideration anyway.

  • Things have leveled off for Sam LaPorta, but two backup TEs combined for 21.8 FP in this matchup last week for the Chargers, and the rookie had a solid 4/56 receiving on 5 targets against the Pack in Week 4. They’ve given up 15 YPR to TEs in their last four, so the matchup is solid at worst.

  • Green Bay’s 0.89 aYBC/A allowed over the last five weeks is outstanding, but they’re allowing the seventh-most rushing YPG (103.0) to RBs, and gave up 183 non-scramble rush yards to the Steelers two weeks ago, plus Austin Ekeler had a big run against them last week despite looking like he wa running with ankle weights. It’s a backfield that can support two RB1s, and their OL is mauling people for Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery, who dropped 32/131/3 rushing and 2/20 receiving against GB in Week 4. They are 7.5 home favorites, so if anyone gets the short end of the stick, it could be Gibbs.

Looking better than usual: Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, David Montgomery

Looking worse than usual: Josh Reynolds, Jayden Reed

Reach plays: Tucker Kraft (deep reach)

Prop Picks:

Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m., Thurs.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • Commanders: They’re down a starting DE in James Smith-Williams, which can’t hurt Dallas.

  • Cowboys: They won’t likely have starting SS Jayron Kearse, who is doubtful. RB Rico Dowdle is a little iffy, which could mean a few more carries for Tony Pollard.

Commanders Analysis

  • It’s a shame Antonio Gibson (toe) is a true gametime decision because if healthy, he’d be a great PPR option for those who need him, like me, what with DC being 13-point road underdogs. If he’s active, that means he should play, and he certainly could haul in 5+ balls. But there’s also a downside if he’s limited or he aggravates the toe. They elevated veteran Jonathan Williams yesterday, which isn’t a great sign for Gibson (but it could be about special teams and the fumble by Chris Rodriguez last week).

  • The Gibson situation bodes well for Brian Robinson to get another bell-cow role. If Gibson’s active, B-Rob may not match last week’s season-highs in snap share (78%) and touches (24), but Robinson will need to get it done in the passing game with Dallas allowing only 3.8 YPC and the seventh-fewest rushing YPG (74.5) to RBs. No RB has reached double-digit FP against them in the last three games.

  • He’s struggled a bit against man coverage, and definitely a lot against pressure, and Dallas has a lot of both, but Sam Howell continues to hang in here, and he’s still getting hit less than he was earlier in the season, which is good. This is a passing team by necessity, so he’s attempted 41+ passes in five straight games and in 7-of-8. Howell ranks 28th in passer rating (60.7) when pressured, among 35 QBs with 50+ dropbacks against pressure, so it could get ugly. But he’s also fifth completion percentage over expectation (2.2%) against pressure, he's throwing to a plethora of weapons.

  • Terry McLaurin has scored just once in his last eight games, but he’s getting the ball every week with 4+ catches in 10 straight. Few teams play man more than Dallas, and McLaurin is the man vs. man with team-bests in YPRR (1.76), target share (21.9%), and air yards share (36.9%) on 129 routes against man coverage. He may not go off, but I like him in a big spot against a man-heavy divisional opponent.

  • I also like Jahan Dotson against man coverage, despite his averaging a weak 1.07 YPRR on a 14.5% target share on 140 routes against man coverage. Or, said another way, I like him vs man more than zone, and his FP/DB vs. man is twice as much as zone, thanks to a TD or two. I can’t say he’s a great play, since Dallas is giving up the sixth-fewest receiving TDs per game (.7) and the third-fewest FPG (25.2) to WRs, and he’ll see a lot of CB Daron Bland, who is balling.

  • He’s had only one bad game all year, of course it was a week I backed him strongly, but Logan Thomas has been steady with 4+ receptions in five straight with 40+ yards in 4 of the 5. He’s not looking great, since he’s averaging just .95 YPRR on a 14.5% target share on 110 routes against man coverage, and since Dallas is allowing the sixth-fewest targets per game (5.7) to TEs, but they have allowed TDs to Tom Tremble and Larry Cager in the last two games.

Cowboys Analysis

  • DC’s giving up most FPG (21.6) to QBs after they got hit for 246/3 by NJ legend Tommy DeVito, and Dak Prescott is up against DC’s sixth-lowest pressure rate (29.0%) since they traded their best two DEs. Dak is averaging 7.6 YPA with 14 TDs and 4 INTs, and he also crushes man coverage and the Commanders deploy the sixth-highest rate of man coverage, so I’m expecting a 2-3 TD performance with 4-5 in play.

  • DC’s giving up 14.9 YPR and the fourth-most receiving YPG (191.8) to WRs, and CeeDee Lamb has a very beatable matchup often against veteran Benjamin St-Juste inside, plus Lamb is averaging an insanely-high 4.22 YPRR with a league-leading 443 receiving yards on 105 routes against man coverage.

  • I like a Michael Gallup prop over 23.5 yards, for what it’s worth. Rookie CB Emmanuel Forbes is out, which may not be a bad thing because he’s been roasted, but Gallup’s looking at running outside on a backup CB, and he’s been steadier with 2+ catches in eight straight games, and he’s at 12.7 YPR.

  • Brandin Cooks is averaging a solid 1.71 YPRR on a 13.6% target share on 89 routes against man coverage, and DC gives up the third-most FPG (40.6) to WRs, so you could do worse for a play. There's only one ball, but Tyler Lockett got 8/92/1 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago.

  • DC is giving up the ninth-fewest receiving YPG (42.3) to TEs, but also 5 TDs to the position since Week 5, which should work for Jake Ferguson, who gets most of his fantasy juice from TDs. A Dallas TE did score last week in Luke Schoonmaker, but Ferguson is also averaging a strong 1.60 YPRR on a 17.9% target share on 91 routes against man, so he looks like a TE1 this week.

  • It’s another good matchup for Tony Pollard, since the Commanders are allowing the seventh-most adjusted yards before contact per attempt (1.64). Saquon Barkley put up 14/83 rushing and 4/57/2 receiving in this matchup last week. They’re giving up 6/59 receiving to RBs the last 4 weeks, so with Rico Dowdle a little banged up, this looks like a nice 20-touch game for Pollard in a game where Dallas should score a bunch of TDs.

Looking better than usual: Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard, Jake Ferguson, Terry McLaurin

Looking worse than usual: None of note.

Reach plays: Michael Gallup, Antonio Gibson (if active and you can accept some downside)

Prop Picks:

Over 1.5 TD passes.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks, 8:20 p.m., Thurs.

Fantasy Injuries:

  • 49ers: They just lost S Talanoa Hufanga to IR, which is a big loss and good news for Seattle’s running game and offense.

  • Seahawks: Starting RB Kenneth Walker is doubtful, which means he’s 99% out with Zach Charbonnet filling in. They have veteran DeeJay Dallas as the RB2, but also rookie receiving specialist Kenny McIntosh, who was just elevated from the practice squad.

49ers Analysis

  • The CMC machine should roll on this week, since the Seahawks are giving the fifth-most FPG (25.0) and the sixth-most receiving YPG (43.9) to RBs, but they do give up the fourth-fewest adjusted yards before contact per attempt (1.05), so he may not go off.

  • Our QB Matchup Coverage tool doesn’t love the schematic fit for Brock Purdy this week, but he’s on fire and all his receivers generally crush zone coverage, so another 2-3 TDs could easily be coming.

  • Again, this could be a tricky matchup for Purdy, and Seattle is allowing just 11.2 YPR and 7.1 YPT to opposing WRs, but Brandon Aiyuk also ranks behind only Tyreek Hill in YPRR (3.61) with a 25.5% target share on 150 routes against zone coverage, and the Seahawks deploy the third-highest rate of zone coverage (82.9%). Aiyuk will see a lot of CB Tariq Woolen, though, and he’s been very good.

  • Given the Aiyuk/Woolen matchup we’ll likely often see, this could be a Deebo Samuel game, since Deebo is averaging a strong 2.85 YPRR with an 18.5% target share on 112 routes against zone coverage, and he should see a slightly better matchup often on CB Tre Brown. Touches have been hard to come by, though, and he hasn’t seen more than 4 targets in a game since Week 3.

  • The big matchup winner looks like George Kittle, who is averaging a strong 2.66 YPRR with an 22.0% target share on 161 routes against zone coverage. Seattle is allowing the 10th-most receptions (5.3) and the 11th-most receiving YPG (54.2) to TEs, and their coverage should often leave some major voids in the middle of the field, so if anything, this looks like a Kittle game.

Seahawks Analysis

  • It’s a tough matchup with the 49ers giving up the second-fewest rushing YPG (60.1), but it’s not hopeless for Zach Charbonnet. He needs to rack up the touches to come through, but that’s doable, as we saw last week with Rachaad White finding a way to put up 9/30/1 rushing and 6/28 receiving for 17.8 FP last week.

  • He’s a low-end option all the way, especially since he’s not 100%, as it’s bad timing for Geno Smith to pick up a throwing elbow injury. The 49ers are giving up the third-fewest FPG (13.7) to QBs right now, and they will bring the heat. Geno’s OL is okay, but he’s hit 16+ FP just once in his last seven games.

  • The one good thing for Seattle this week is their WRs matching up well with the 49ers scheme, and D.K. Metcalf dropped 10/136/2 receiving on 13 targets against the 49ers last postseason, the last time these teams met. He’s off the injury report, and he can beat CB Ambry Thomas, and the 49ers are giving up the 14th-most receiving YPG (120.6) to outside receivers. He just needs Geno to be decent.

  • Tyler Lockett has downside if they need to go to Drew Lock, and he’s been playing through a hamstring injury, but SF gives up the fourth-most receptions (108) and the 14th-most receiving YPG (120.6) to outside receivers, and Lockett has the best matchup grade on the day in our WR Coverage Matchup Tool.

  • This may not be a day for rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba, since he will see a lot of CB Deommodore Lenoir, who has been their stingiest corner. The 49ers are giving the 10th-most receptions (78) to slot receivers, but the fewest YPRR (1.40).

  • The Seahawk TEs are…hopeless.

Looking better than usual: George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett,

Looking worse than usual: Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Reach plays: Zach Charbonnet

Prop Picks:

Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Famer John Hansen has been an industry leader and pioneer since 1995, when he launched Fantasy Guru. His content has been found over the years on ESPN.com, NFL.com, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded FantasyPoints.com.