This article was originally about 6,000 words long. And then Baltimore @ Pittsburgh got moved to Sunday afternoon. And now this slate is far less fun. And a bunch of words were written in vain.
I’ll leave everything else just about as it is, but will update the TLDR section.
Anyway, here’s the DFS Thanksgiving Slate Breakdown:
Best Values / TLDR
QB: Deshaun Watson is far-and-away the best QB play of the slate. For everyone else, just make sure you’re optimally stacking.
RB: In order: D’Andre Swift (if he plays), Ezekiel Elliott, Duke Johnson (decent leverage play if underweight on Deshaun Watson & co.), Antonio Gibson (stack with WAS DEF), J.D. McKissic (stack with DAL DEF). If Swift is out, Kerryon Johnson slides behind McKissic, but is probably a tier behind.
WR: (Prioritize WR in flex if Swift is out.) In order: Brandin Cooks, Terry McLaurin, Will Fuller, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Marvin Hall, Cam Sims, Keke Coutee, Jamal Agnew, Marvin Jones, CeeDee Lamb.
TE: It is like we said it is. TE has been brutal all year, and this week is probably no exception. I like Jordan Akins the most at value. And then T.J. Hockenson for his ceiling is a close 2nd. But Dalton Schultz and Logan Thomas are also fine, and will draw much lower ownership.
DEF: Washington slightly ahead of Dallas are your two best pure-values. But really, again, the most important thing is how you’re constructing your lineups. If you’re playing Antonio Gibson, you might want to think about stacking with Washington’s defense. If you’re nearly full-fading Detroit, you might want to play Houston’s defense. As Johnny always says, “Make sure your lineups tell a story.” And, just FYI, this is a pretty bad slate for single entry. It’s really projecting as an MME week.
- Texans Slot WR Randall Cobb is OUT.
- Texans WR Kenny Still sis OUT.
- Texans starting DT P.J. Hall has not practiced all week.
- Lions WR Danny Amendola is OUT. - Lions WR Kenny Golladay is OUT.
- Lions starting DT Da’Shawn Hand is OUT.
- Lions starting CB Jeff Okudah is OUT.
- Lions RB D’Andre Swift is QUESTIONABLE.
- Lions starting LB Reggie Ragland is QUESTIONABLE.
- Washington WR Terry McLaurin earned a Questionable tag (ankle) despite practicing in full on Wednesday.
- Washington starting DE Ryan Anderson is OUT.
- Washington starting S Deshavor Everett is OUT.
- Washington backup LB Jared Norris is OUT.
- Cowboys starting CB Anthony Brown is QUESTIONABLE.
Late-swap is going to be massively important this week. If you faded, let’s say, Will Fuller, and he dropped 36.3 fantasy points in the 12:30 game. Then you’re probably going to need to utilize late-swap on all of your non-Will Fuller lineups. You’ll need to get unique. Don’t be afraid to get weird.
Houston has the highest implied point total of the slate (26.75), followed by Dallas (24.5), Detroit (24.25), and then Washington (21.5).
Dallas is favored by 3.0 over Washington. Houston is favored by 2.0 over Detroit.
Houston and Detroit have arguably the two worst rushing defenses in the league, but they’re also bad against the pass. And both teams (assuming D’Andre Swift sits out) sport bottom-5 rushing attacks. Given the 51.0-point Over/Under (5.0 more than next-closest) and the close spread (-2.5), this is easily the game most ripe with fantasy-potential. A high-scoring pass-heavy shootout is very likely.
The spread is close in Washington @ Dallas – Dallas being favored by 3.0 – but slightly favors Ezekiel Elliott and J.D. McKissic. Dallas averages just 14.4 points per game since Week 6, but they have a 24.5-point implied total this week, and in spite of the tough matchup. That’s good news for every player on Dallas, though it’s not really being talked about.
Texans @ Lions: 67.8 plays per game
Washington @ Cowboys: 70.4 plays per game
Dallas: 71.0 expected plays
Texans @ Lions (12:30 PM)
Looking at schedule-adjusted FPG allowed, Houston is about neutral everywhere defensively. Everywhere except against the run, where they easily rank bottom-3. They’re giving up the most YPC (5.38) and the most rushing FPG (21.8) to opposing RBs, but they’re also giving up the 12th-fewest receiving FPG (9.2) to enemy RBs. They’re not giving up a lot of fantasy production to opposing QBs, but they’re terrible on a per-attempt-basis, ranking dead-last in opposing passer rating (109.0) and 4th-worst in passing fantasy points allowed per pass attempt (0.537). Bradley Roby is one of the top-5 shadow CBs in football, so this is a tough matchup for any outside WR1. It’s a top-12 matchup for slot WRs and outside WR2s.
Detroit has also been especially bad in recent weeks. Over their last 5 games, they rank 5th-worst against QBs, 4th-worst against RBs, 3rd-worst against WRs, and 11th-worst against TEs.
Vulnerabilities: Everything else
As vulnerable as Houston is against RBs, Detroit is even worse – easily worst in the NFL. They rank worst in total FPG allowed (33.8), 2nd-worst in rushing FPG allowed (20.7), 3rd-worst in receiving FPG allowed (13.1), and 6th-worst in YPC allowed to enemy RBs (4.68). Like Houston, they’re just about neutral everywhere else per schedule-adjusted FPG allowed. Though, they rank 10th-worst in passing FPG allowed to opposing QBs (17.3) and bottom-10 in opposing passer rating (97.8) and passing fantasy points allowed per pass attempt (0.490). They’re giving up the 15th-most FPG to slot WRs (14.1), and the 11th-most FPG to outside WRs (23.2).
Like Houston, they’ve been pretty bad in recent weeks. Over their last 5 games, they rank 10th-worst against QBs, dead-last against RBs, 13th-worst against WRs, and dead-last against TEs.
Strengths: Coaching. LOL, JK. Nothing.
Football Team @ Cowboys (4:30 PM)
Led by their ferocious pass rush, Washington is better than average against QBs and RBs, and elite against WRs. They’re somewhat weak against TEs, however. They’re giving up the 12th-most FPG to opposing TEs (13.5), but a league-high 28.9% of their total passing fantasy points allowed have gone to TEs. Washington is giving up the 5th-fewest passing FPG to opposing QBs (13.7) along with the 2nd-fewest passing YPG (216.1). They’re giving up the 5th-fewest FPG to opposing RBs, and (against RBs) they’re equally strong against the run and the pass. Washington – by a margin – is giving up the fewest FPG to opposing slot WRs (that’s a function of scheme) and the 8th-fewest FPG to outside WRs.
By schedule-adjusted FPG, Dallas ranks poorly everywhere but slightly above average against opposing RBs. Still, digging deeper, they’re clearly vulnerable against the run. They rank best in receiving FPG allowed to opposing RBs (5.2), but 3rd-worst in rushing FPG allowed (18.0) and 5th-worst in YPC allowed (4.74). They rank 7th-worst in passing FPG allowed to opposing QBs (18.4). They rank 4th-worst in opposing passer rating (105.4) and dead-last in passing fantasy points allowed per pass attempt (0.573). They’re giving up the 9th-most FPG to opposing outside WRs (24.1) and rank neutral against slot WRs (13.7). They’re also giving up the 2nd-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing WR1s (+7.7). They rank neutral in FPG allowed to TEs, but 10th-worst if schedule-adjusted.
Strengths: Pass-catching RBs
Vulnerabilities: Everything else
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
If excluding Week 10 due to weather-related issues (gusts of wind up to 45 mph), where the Over/Under dropped 8.5 points and neither team reached even 165 yards passing, then…. Watson has reached 24.0 fantasy points in 5 of 5 games since the firing of Bill O’Brien, averaging 27.7 FPG and a league-high 325.6 passing YPG over that span. Watson also averages 7.7 carries and 41.3 rushing yards over his last 4 games, hitting at least 25 rushing yards in each of his last 6 games. That’s notable, given the fact that Detroit plays man coverage at the 3rd-highest rate in the NFL. That means defensive backs will often have their backs turned to the QB, giving Watson an opportunity to run.
Detroit is a run funnel defense, but Houston is probably a pass funnel offense, and it’s not like Detroit has been at all good through the air. They rank 10th-worst in passing fantasy points per pass attempt and 10th-worst in passer rating allowed. It’s just easier for most other teams to run on the 4-6 Lions. Watson is far-and-away the best QB play of the slate. Stacks: Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, Jordan Akins, Duke Johnson, Keke Coutee
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Stafford drew a Questionable-tag heading into Week 11, dealing with a “minor ligament tear in his throwing thumb”. Ian Rapoport told us on Sunday morning,” Stafford made it through the week without issue and shouldn’t be at all limited in this game.” But he was horrible, completing just 18 of 33 for 178 yards (0:0 TD:INT) in a game Detroit lost 20-0 to the Panthers. On this short week, I’m nervous and skeptical, but it’s worth noting this injury came in the first half against Washington in Week 10. He finished that game with 23.0 fantasy points. Perhaps the poor outing in Week 11 was also due to a depleted receiving corps, but it’s depleted again with Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola both still out. All of this being said, the matchup is pillow-soft – far softer than his last 2 matchups. He’s about even in a tier with our next 3 QBs.
Stacks: T.J. Hockenson, Marvin Hall
Andy Dalton, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Dalton was strong in relief in Week 5. He was embarrassingly bad in Week 6 and in Week 7 prior to injury. He was effective in his Week 11 return, scoring 19.8 fantasy points, which ranked 13th-most on the week. Week 7 – 3.6 fantasy points in 3 quarters of work – came against this same Washington defense that’s held opposing QBs to just 214.2 passing YPG (2nd-best). He’s a tough sell, but is cheap (allowing you to pay up elsewhere), and Vegas actually expects Dallas to put up points (and win!) this week. Dallas averages just 14.4 points per game since Week 6, but they have a 24.5-point implied total this week, and in spite of the tough matchup. That’s good news for Dalton, but also for every other Dallas skill-position player. Stacks: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Dalton Schultz
Alex Smith, QB, Washington Football Team
Smith threw for 325 yards in Week 9 and 390 yards in Week 10. Those numbers represent the most- and 7th-most passing yards he’s ever thrown in any game of his 170-game career. But he’s also thrown only 2 touchdowns this year, to 4 interceptions. And he flopped last week against the Bengals, throwing for just 166 yards on 25 attempts. This week’s matchup is phenomenal (sneaky terrific), and he’s an easy stack with Terry McLaurin, but he’s surely also the toughest QB to trust on the slate. Stacks: Terry McLaurin, J.D. McKissic, Cam Sims, Logan Thomas
Dallas Cowboys RBs
Ezekiel Elliott played on 70% of the team’s snaps in Week 11, to Tony Pollard’s 31%. Elliott earned 21 of 26 carries, 2 of 2 targets, and 3 of 3 opportunities inside the 10-yard-line. Pollard only saw 5 carries, but totaled 60 yards and a score. Since Week 5, Pollard averages 7.5 carries and 2.0 targets per game. He’s in play (as a punt or late-swap option), I suppose, but he’s a pretty thin one.
Elliott hasn’t quite looked like himself all year, but volume remains terrific. Elliott has played on 562 snaps thus far – Alvin Kamara is next-closest with 433. He’s basically playing 5 quarters per game to any other RB’s 4. Elliott is also averaging 20.0 XFP per game, which is just 0.35 away from leading all RBs not-named Christian McCaffrey. It’s a tough on-paper matchup, but Dallas is favored (by 3.0), and they do have the 2nd-highest implied point total of the slate. He’s an easy one-off, and, just based on volume as it relates to price, a glaring value. On DraftKings last year, he had an average salary of $8,369. This week, he’s just $6,800. He’s a great play.
Detroit Lions RBs
Assuming D’Andre Swift is out:
In Week 11, with Swift out, Kerryon Johnson played on 69% of the team’s snaps to Adrian Peterson’s 31%. Johnson earned 6 carries and 5 targets to Peterson’s 7 carries and 1 target. Johnson should have the higher median projection. Peterson should be favored if you expect Detroit to win and put up points. Johnson should be favored if you expect Detroit to trail and lean pass-heavy. Vegas is projecting a close game, slightly in Houston’s favor (-2.0). I’m projecting the same, and a pass-heavy shootout. It’s a great on-paper matchup, but Houston is far more vulnerable to RBs on the ground than through the air, which benefits Peterson slightly. Really, both are RBs are in play (with Johnson slightly above Peterson), but neither are very good plays. Mostly because neither RB is very talented at all.
If Swift plays, he’s probably the best RB play on the slate. Here are my thoughts in full: Since Detroit’s Week 5 bye, Swift ranks 5th in FPG (17.2) and 8th in XFP per game (14.9). He earned the start and totaled 16.3 XFP in Week 10, slightly above his Week 9 total of 15.6, but below his season-high 19.9 in Week 6. But, more importantly, that 16.3 XFP represented a season-high 82% share of the team’s backfield XFP. From Weeks 1-9, he earned just 46% of the backfield XFP. If he saw an 82% share of the backfield XFP all season, he’d be averaging 20.3 XFP per game, which would rank 4th-most among all RBs. Maybe an 82% share of the team’s workload is a little too lofty of an expectation this week, but still, given the matchup, it’s hard to imagine he’s not the best RB play of the slate. Houston is giving up the most YPC (5.38) and the most rushing FPG (21.8) to opposing RBs.
Washington Football Team RBs
In Week 11, Antonio Gibson played on 54% of the snaps to J.D. McKissic’s 52% and Peyton Barber’s 21%. This was a game Washington won easily 20-9, which was a massive benefit to Gibson. He earned 16 of 30 carries, 2 of 6 targets, and 3 of 3 opportunities inside the 10-yard-line. He scored 17.4 fantasy points on a 15.7-point expectation. McKissic earned 6 carries, 4 targets, and scored 9.9 fantasy points on an 8.6-point expectation. Here’s what we had to say about these 2 RBs last week:
Here’s something I didn’t see coming: J.D. McKissic leads all players in XFP over the last two weeks (51.8), earning +12.1 more than the next-closest RB (Dalvin Cook).
From Weeks 1-8, McKissic averaged only 9.2 XFP per game, with a season-high of just 13.5 in Week 6. In Week 9, McKissic totaled 22.0 XFP, which ranked 2nd-most among RBs, scoring 17.2 fantasy points on 3 carries and 14 targets. In Week 10, McKissic led all players in XFP, totaling 29.8. He scored 17.9 fantasy points on 8 carries and 15 targets. Over the last two weeks, he’s seen a whopping 47 snaps lined up at WR, which is absurd for a RB. And he is seeing phenomenal target-quality (for a RB), with one of his targets last week traveling 23 yards through the air.
Again, this was something I didn’t see coming, but maybe I should have. Alex Smith has played in only three games this year. In Week 5, he targeted McKissic on 5 of his 17 attempts (29.4%). In Week 9, that jumped to 13 of Smith’s 32 attempts (40.6%). In Week 10, McKissic was targeted on 15 of Smith’s 55 attempts (27.2%). That’s obscene usage – a 31.7% target share and an average of 12.0 targets per four quarters with Smith under center.
This is no doubt troubling for Antonio Gibson owners, though he was productive in Week 10. He scored 22.5 fantasy points, but on just a lowly 14.8-point expectation, earning 13 carries and 4 targets. McKissic more than doubled Gibson’s XFP average over the last two weeks (25.9 to 12.4), while also out-snapping him 99 to 55. On third downs, McKissic out-snaps Gibson 104 to 11.
Smith is under center again in Week 11, but expected game script is more in Gibson’s favor. Washington is favored this week (-1.5), and for just the second time all year. This time against a Bengals defense that ranks 2nd-worst in YPC allowed (5.21). Still, based on the volume McKissic has been getting (granted, in mostly negative game script) it’s not obvious to me that Gibson is the better play this week. And in fact, both are likely strong DFS values, with Gibson priced at $5,800 / $6,500 and McKissic at $5,200 / $5,600. I’m confident both RBs are better plays than ownership will imply.
That’s a lot of words, I know. I’m sorry. But here’s the key takeaway – Gibson has a massive ceiling if Washington leads throughout. McKissic has a massive ceiling if Washington trails throughout. Flip a coin if game script is mostly neutral throughout. Vegas is projecting negative game script, but not by a lot (+3.0), which is a huge boon to McKissic.
However, Dallas is far more susceptible to RBs on the ground rather than through the air. (They’re giving up the 3rd-most rushing FPG and the fewest receiving FPG to opposing RBs.) That’s big, and Gibson was the better play last time these two teams faced off (18.8 fantasy points to McKissic’s 7.1). Lean Gibson slightly, though McKissic’s upside is going to be underrated and he’s likely to go under-owned.
Houston Texans RBs
In Week 11, Duke Johnson played on 77% of the team’s snaps. C.J. Prosise (25%) was the only other Texans RB to play a snap. Johnson has now played on 77%, 94%, and 81% of the team’s snaps over Houston’s last 3 games. That’s phenomenal usage, but it hasn’t exactly translated into fantasy production. He averages 13.3 carries, 3.3 targets, 12.6 XFP, and 9.4 FPG over this span. Prosise earned just 3 carries and 2 targets last week.
Detroit is the ultimate RB matchup, and, luckily for Johnson, they’re also very vulnerable to RBs through the air. They rank worst in total FPG allowed (33.8), 2nd-worst in rushing FPG allowed (20.7), 3rd-worst in receiving FPG allowed (13.1), and 6th-worst in YPC allowed to enemy RBs (4.68). He’s not an amazing play, but he is one of the better plays at the position.
Here’s what we said about Terry McLaurin last week:
It can be easily argued that McLaurin’s had the league’s toughest CB draw to-date. Shadow coverage from Darius Slay (Week 1), Patrick Peterson (Week 2), James Bradberry (Weeks 6 & 9), Trevon Diggs (Week 7), and Desmond Trufant (Week 10). His 3 non-shadow games came against the league’s toughest, 2nd-toughest, and 15th-toughest defenses against opposing outside WRs. It’s also even easier to argue that McLaurin’s been the most disadvantaged WR by poor QB play. And still, he averages 17.2 FPG (11th-most) on 9.6 targets per game (6th-most).
Week 11 was another tough matchup – shadow coverage from William Jackson III. Still, he caught 5 of 7 targets for 84 yards. This week will be the softest matchup he’s had all season. His 2nd-softest matchup was Week 7 when he faced Dallas, catching 7 of 11 targets for 90 yards and a score. Trevon Diggs shadowed him that week, but he’s now on IR. Dallas ranks 2nd-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s (+7.7). What that means is you can basically add an additional 7.7 FPG onto McLaurin’s per-game average and use that as the expectation this week. Or, likely, more than 7.7 FPG, given how tough his schedule has been this year. Really, Dallas has absolutely no one with the ability to cover McLaurin, and there’s a good chance he breaks the slate.
Steven Sims is averaging 10.1 FPG over the last 2 weeks. Cam Sims is averaging 9.1 FPG over the last 3 weeks. Isaiah Wright is averaging 6.5 over the same span. McLaurin ran 27 routes last week, to Cam Sims’ 26, Steven Sims’ 11, and Isaiah Wright’s 10. If you’re playing another Washington WR it’s Cam Sims. He’s not a strong play, but he might make sense if making a lot of different lineups, or on lineups where you’re fading McLaurin and need a punt.
Since the Bill O’Brien firing in Week 5, Brandin Cooks has seen better volume (measured by XFP) than Will Fuller in 5 of 6 games. Over this span, Cooks ranks 10th in XFP per game (15.7) while Fuller ranks 26th (13.6). Over this span, Cooks ranks 12th in FPG (17.4) and Fuller ranks 17th (16.1). Both WRs get the same soft matchup – Detroit is giving up the 11th-most FPG to opposing outside WRs – earning a decent mix of Desmond Trufant and Amani Oruwariye. Fuller’s matchup is slightly softer, but that’s basically just splitting hairs. While both WRs are great plays this week, at price Cooks is the better play, and arguably one of the best plays of the slate.
Slot CB Justin Coleman is probably Detroit’s best CB. With Randall Cobb out, Keke Coutee is a very viable low-upside punt. In 3 quarters last week, he caught 2 of 4 targets for 10 yards and a score. He’s in play, but it’s a great play by any stretch.
Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola are both out.
Last week, Hockenson led the team in targets (7) and yards (68). Marvin Jones ranked right behind him, catching 4 of 6 targets for 51 yards. Jamal Agnew also saw 6 targets, catching only 3 for 10 yards. Quintez Cephus caught 1 of 2 for 9 yards. Hall caught all 3 of his targets for 16 yards. Jones led the WRs in routes with 36, to Hall’s 30, Agnew’s 21, and Cephus’ 9.
With Kenny Golladay out, it is highly likely that Marvin Jones draws shadow coverage from Bradley Roby, who has been terrific this year. That basically pushes him out of play, and makes Hall a solid swing-for-the-fences punt-play. He averages 4.5 targets per game and 10.0 FPG since Week 8.
Agnew isn’t a great play by any stretch, but he’s certainly in play. Houston is giving up the 11th-most FPG to opposing slot WRs, but they’re a little more vulnerable to outside WR2s when Roby is shadowing. For that reason, I greatly prefer Hall, though he’s also not someone I’m very excited about.
Andy Dalton has thrown 116 times this year. On those attempts, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb are tied with a 22% target share, Michael Gallup and Dalton Schultz rank tied behind them at 13%. Cooper has been far more efficient, earning a 34% yardage share, while Lamb and Gallup rank tied behind him at 18%.
As much as we love CeeDee Lamb here at Fantasy Points, he’s not the play this week. He’s likely to be the highest-owned of the 3 WRs, but he’s also easily the worst play. Washington is giving up the fewest FPG to opposing slot WRs, and by a good margin (it’s a function of their scheme). Washington is also tough outside, but fairly vulnerable deep – giving up the 9th-most FPG to opposing WRs on deep passes. Cooper is a strong play, and Gallup is a fine punt. As we alluded to at the top – given their implied point total, expect them to be something close to 80% of what they were when Dak Prescott was on the field, rather than who they’ve been in their last 5 games. Though, it’s also certainly possible the best way to approach this offense is by playing Ezekiel Elliott and fading everyone else.
Thoughts: In 2020, the TE position is basically no different than the DST position. Low-scoring and unpredictable. In both spots, you can punt and be fine. That’s especially true on smaller slates.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
Here’s what we had to say about Hockenson two weeks ago:
Since Week 6, Hockenson ranks 2nd in FPG (13.8) and 2nd in XFP per game (15.3). He’s finally seen an uptick in target volume with Kenny Golladay out (recording 18 targets over his last 2 games), which he’ll now pair with phenomenal target quality. He ranks 46th among all players in targets (49) but ranks 1st in targets inside the 5-yard line (6), 2nd in end zone targets (9), and 2nd in XTD per target (0.11).
What’s happened since? Well, he picked up a toe injury, and practiced just once (in only a limited capacity) in Week 10. And he flopped, scoring just 3.3 fantasy points on 4 targets. In Week 11, he practiced all week, but only once in a full capacity. He played well, catching 4 of a team-high 7 targets for 68 yards, but wasn’t exactly a slate-buster. But, remember, he’s very touchdown-or-bust, and this was a game in which Detroit never reached the red zone. I think the toe injury is less of a concern now, and target-volume should again be good (with all of the injuries elsewhere), but Detroit will need to put up points if we want Hockenson to beat out all of the other punt-options at TE. Luckily, Vegas is projecting about ~3 touchdowns for Detroit this week, so there’s a good chance he scores.
Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Schultz leads Dallas in receptions (14) since Week 8. Lol, what? You heard me. His 19 targets rank 2nd-most, and his 126 receiving yards is just 27 yards shy of the team-high. Since Week 2, he averages 6.3 targets, 34.8 routes run (77% route share), and 44.1 yards per game. Those numbers rank 6th, 5th, and 4th-best respectively. And well, yeah, that’s pretty shocking to me. As we mentioned at the top, Washington ranks 12th-worst in FPG allowed to opposing TEs, and rank highest as a % of passing fantasy points allowed to TEs. That said, Dalton has targeted him a good deal less than the other Dallas QBs, and I question his ceiling.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team
Thomas got some hype last week but we were never on it – per Wes Huber, it was a brutal matchup though it seemed soft on paper. He caught 2 of 5 targets for 7 yards. But in the 4 prior games, Thomas averaged 4.8 targets, 39.0 yards, and 11.4 FPG. He’s run a route on 89% of his team’s dropbacks, which is elite usage, but he’s far from an elite talent. Dallas looks like a fairly neutral matchup on paper, though he did tag them for 16.0 fantasy points on 4 targets in Week 7.
Houston Texans Tight End
Akins is fresh off of a big game – the biggest game of his career, catching 5 of 6 targets for 83 yards. Fells caught 2 of 2 targets for 29 yards. Pharoah Brown also caught 2 of 2 targets for 22 yards. Akins ran 24 routes (on 43 total dropbacks), to Brown’s 13 to Fells’ 9. Per HC Romeo Crennel, it’s unlikely Kahale Warring plays much at all (besides special teams) in his first game back from a torn pectoral.
In games in which they both played, Akins averages 7.9 FPG to Fells’ 4.3 this year. Brown – his uptick in usage is a recent development – scored 10.1 points in Week 10 (2-2-21-1), on 9 routes before his Week 11 surge in usage (leapfrogging Fells for the first time all season). Fells has 10 touchdowns over the past two years, to Akins’ 3. Fells (praying for a touchdown) or Brown (he’s min. priced) are viable punts if making 150 lineups, I guess. But Akins is by far the better play, and probably the top TE-play overall at his price. And I can’t help but wonder if his big game was related to Randall Cobb’s injury.