Here’s a more condensed version of this column for the finale.
Miami Dolphins (10-5) at Buffalo Bills (12-3)
Myles Gaskin is obviously a must-play after he put up 14/87 rushing and 5/82/2 receiving last week off the bench. He played 78% of the snaps and has 19+ touches in five straight that he’s been healthy in. He also put up 13/82 scrimmage for 14.2 FP against the Bills in Week 2.
Mike Gesicki is a very good TE1 this week, due to at least his potential to log a big game. The Bills are allowing 60.1 receiving yards per game to TEs (4th-most) and he put up 8/130/1 on 11 targets against them back in Week 2.
We don’t know about WRs DeVante Parker (hamstring) and Jakeem Grant (hamstring), but I’d be okay taking a shot on Parker if he’s active. They need this win and the Bills do not.
We could see a lot of Lynn Bowden if Grant and/or Parker are out, but I don’t totally trust him as a reach.
He has not been good on film, so he’s tough to back, but Tua Tagovailoa will have to be the guy with Ryan Fitzpatrick out and he should do something of note with the Bills possibly resting some players.
I don’t think you can use Josh Allen or Stefon Diggs with any confidence. We could see these guys out there for only one series, or one quarter, or perhaps, at most, one half.
With Cole Beasley out, I may take a shot with Gabriel Davis, who ran the most routes of any Bills last week with 30, and he had a decent 5 targets (3/33). The matchup isn’t great, as the Dolphins have good outside corners, but I can see Davis being treated like their #1 WR in a relatively meaningless game. He may not get much action from Allen, though, so there is a downside.
The Bills RBs aren’t great fantasy plays when they’re playing 100% to win and they do have a couple practice squad players who could be called up. I don’t want to use either Zack Moss or Devin Singletary if possible.
Baltimore Ravens (10-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-10)
Lamar Jackson’s been a lot better on film and even more so for fantasy and has 22+ FP in four straight with 8 passing TDs and 4 TDs on the ground. The Bengals won’t have top corner William Jackson, and it’s a must-win, so Jackson is an easy choice for the QB1 ranking this week.
Especially with top Bengal CB William Jackson out, Marquise Brown is definitely a good play. He’s been at 12+ FP in five straight with 4 TDs. Brown had his best game of the season against the Bengals in Week 5 with 6/77/1.
Mark Andrews has posted 12+ FP in five straight with 60+ yards and 5+ catches in each game. I loved him in this matchup earlier in the season and he had a solid 6/56/1 back in October, and he’s averaging a whopping 18.6 FPG in this matchup in his last three dating back to 2019. It’s been a good matchup all year with the Bengals giving up 64.0 receiving yards per game (2nd-most) and 14.6 FPG the last four weeks.
I think J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards should combine for 150+ yards and 1-2 TDs in this one. Dobbins has scored in five straight with 70+ yards in each of those games. Edwards has looked great the last two weeks with 24/127 rushing and 4/73 receiving. It’s a great spot, but he has been limited this week with a back issue. I don’t know if it’s a problem or no big deal.
QB Brandon Allen gives them a puncher’s chance at least, as we saw last week with 371/2 passing. The Ravens are not a shutdown defense right now and do give up catches to WRs every week these days.
He needs 92 yards to reach 1000 yards as a rookie, and I’d say Tee Higgins has a decent chance to hit that. He put up 4/62 on 8 targets in this matchup in Week 5, but Tyler Boyd will be back and will command some targets and AJ Green is still alive.
I would not want to risk using Boyd, who is coming off his concussion from Week 15. He had 4/42 receiving in this matchup earlier this season, but he did have only 9/72 in two games against Baltimore last season.
A.J. Green had a decent 4/64 last week with Boyd out, but Boyd is back and Green had only 1 target in this matchup earlier this season.
I gave him a shot last week and he came through, but I’d have to be desperate to use
Giovani Bernard, despite his 49 touches in the last two weeks. Samaje Perine is well in the mix and Gio has done nothing in this matchup his last three.
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) at Cleveland Browns (10-5)
Honestly, the only Steelers player I feel pretty good about is James Washington, who has done some good things with Mason Rudolph in the pros, and they know each other very well because they played together for FOUR years at Oklahoma State. Washington has some risk, but he’s a good bet to play more snaps than their top-3 WRs, and the Browns won’t have top corner Denzel Ward, which is big. I could easily see Washington getting it done with 4-5 catches for 80+ yards and a TD.
He will not have TE Eric Ebron, so other than Washington, Mason Rudolph will likely throw often to Ray-Ray McCloud, and possibly Chase Claypool. Forgive me for not being excited, but I think Rudolph can get 200+ yards and a TD, at least.
The Steelers backfield is an avoid this week, but if he’s active, I may bump up the projections for Anthony McFarland, who has great speed and can pop off big plays. That’s the only reach I can see, and I’d like to get word pre-game about a promising plan for McFarland.
I’m basically all-in on the Browns this week.
Baker Mayfield is feeling it right now and the situation is ripe for exploitation with the Steelers resting some key players (CB Joe Haden is already out with TJ Watt). Before last week’s debacle, Mayfield was averaging 308 passing yards a game with 10 TDs and 1 INT in Weeks 12-15, and I think they go for the gusto offensively to ensure a win.
The Steelers are a mess this week and will rest most if not all of their key starters on defense with guys like TJ Watt and Joe Haden already ruled out. Nick Chubb will also get G Wyatt Teller back, and the Browns running game has been considerably worse without Teller (see last week). Chubb could easily go off with 125+ yards and 1-2 TDs. Obviously, Kareem Hunt is looking good, too.
Jarvis Landry had 6+ catches and 11+ FP in four straight games during Baker’s hot streak with three TDs in Weeks 12-15, so he’s also looking like a great start.
Rashard Higgins in his last game posted 4/76 receiving on 5 targets against the solid Giants defense in Week 15, which gave him 68+ yards and 11+ FP in three straight games in Weeks 13-15. The Browns should push the pedal to the metal with Baker and the passing game to ensure a win.
The Steelers won’t have a ton of defensive starters and Austin Hooper’s role has shifted in recent weeks. He’s kind of a go-to guy with 15 targets last week and 14+ FP in consecutive games even with all the WRs playing one of those games. I don’t think we see S Minkah Fitzpatrick play much, and I think the Browns will aggressively go for it to ensure a victory.
Minnesota Vikings (6-9) at Detroit Lions (5-10)
The planets have aligned for Kirk Cousins with Dalvin Cook out and the Lions in such sad shape on defense. Tom Brady got them for 348/4 passing last week…in the first half. Cousins has put up 18+ FP in eight straight and he’s at 21.2 FPG in his last three against Detroit. It’s his last chance to enjoy the magic that is Justin Jefferson’s rookie season, and the opponent could not be any better to give us a great chance for a big day.
Assuming he’s active, of course, Alexander Mattison should have a great opportunity against a defense that has been non-competitive for weeks now. I know he has come up small in big spots, likely when he crapped the bed starting for Cook earlier in the year, but have him with 16 touches, 80 total yards, and a 70% chance of scoring.
Justin Jefferson needs 111 yards to break Anquan Boldin’s rookie record of 1367 yards (2003) since the AFL-NFL merger, and the Lions just gave up 300 receiving yards to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown last week in less than a full 60 minutes of action. Adam Thielen's got 14 TDs and he’s leading the league in end-zone targets with 19, scoring on a remarkable 68.4% of those end zone targets. The Bucs top-3 WRs scored 4 TDs in this matchup last week, including two by Mike Evans. With no Dalvin Cook, it’s an easy call for the Vikings to throw 20-25 balls to these two studs.
You can try out Irv Smith if you need some upside at TE this week. Irv put up 6/53/2 receiving on 9 targets against the Saints last week and he’s been bust in the red zone for a number of weeks. The Lions gave up two TDs to Rob Gronkowski last week. On one of them, they literally forgot to cover Gronk.
He’s too risky to use, as Matthew Stafford is still no lock to start with rib, thumb, and ankle injuries. The Vikings haven’t allowed an individual QB to reach 16+ FP against them since Andy Dalton did it in Week 11 because teams have been running all over them.
I love D’Andre Swift IF Stafford is in, which is expected. Swift’s upside is through the roof against a Vikings defense that has been absolutely dreadful stopping the run. They are really struggling inside, and they also won’t have star LB Eric Kendricks again. Swift, meanwhile, is likely to get C Frank Ragnow in the lineup, so 20+ FP is in play.
But with Stafford looking like he’s in, and with top CB Cameron Dantzler out for the Vikings (plus great LB Eric Kendricks), I can’t pass on Marvin Jones’ upside in this matchup. The Vikings have no pass rush and are really, really struggling inside, so Detroit has a good chance to move the ball well. Marvin has also absolutely owned the Vikings with 7 TDs against them in his last five games, including a decent 3/43/1 line on only 4 targets in Week 9.
He flopped last week without Stafford, but TJ Hockenson is looking good with Stafford likely in. The Vikings are a mess on defense right now and they won’t have LB Eric Kendricks in coverage yet again. Jared Cook and Adam Trautman combined for 5/127 last week against the Vikings.
On the low-end, I did love Danny Amendola in this matchup back in Week 9, and he put up 7/77 on 10 targets. He’s had 4-7 targets in each of his last four games, including 7 in Week 16, and the Vikings have been one of the five worst teams all year against slot WRs.
New York Jets (2-13) at New England Patriots (6-9)
I do not trust the Jets passing game in this matchup, but Joe Flacco did get 262/3 in this matchup in Week 9, and that was also without Stephon Gilmore, who is out. Sam Darnold is a very low-end play still, and I can’t trust his receivers at all.
Jamison Crowder has been quiet in this matchup, probably because they know he’s the guy in their passing game, and he managed only 2/26/1 in this matchup back in Week 9. Obviously, he can be used if needed, but I like him less than usual. Denzel Mims failed to catch either of his targets last week and has just 5/58 receiving in his last three games while Breshad Perriman has been even less impressive. Perriman has just 5/69 receiving in his last four games, so forget it.
I also certainly don’t trust Chris Herndon, who has 7+ FP in two straight. That’s not impressive for most TEs, but it actually is for Herndon.
Frank Gore and La’Mical Perine are out, so Ty Johnson certainly has a chance. I don’t trust him too much with Adam Gase always potentially screwing us and Josh Adams in the mix. The Patriots have been gashed on the ground lately, at least, giving up 24/142 rushing to RBs the last four weeks (5.2 YPC). Zack Moss and Devin Singletary combined for 22/95/1 rushing last week against the Patriots, and they got crushed the week before by multiple deep backup RBs for the Dolphins.
This offense is obviously pathetic with Cam Newton, who could get pulled at any time. Jakobi Meyers at least has 6+ targets and/or 4+ catches in 5 of his last 6 and he had by far his best game of the season against the Jets back in Week 9 with 12/169 receiving, so he’s not hopeless.
Sony Michel has actually looked really good lately and Damien Harris is out again. Michel needs more carries, with only 20/143 rushing the last two weeks, but he’s not a terrible option if desperate. James White is still alive lately, at least, with 7/75 receiving the last two weeks. But this is not a good week to expect them to be throwing a lot playing from behind.
Dallas Cowboys (6-9) at New York Giants (5-10)
I don’t love the matchup for Andy Dalton, but he’s playing very well with 2 TD passes or more in four straight and the Giants have given up 20+ FP to Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson in the last two weeks.
Amari Cooper will see a lot of James Bradberry, who helped limit him to just 2/23 receiving on four targets against the Giants earlier this season. Cooper is still a strong starter given his recent play and motivation.
Michael Gallup has 4 TDs in his last four games and he put up 4/73 receiving in this matchup in Week 5, catching two deep balls from Dalton, who replaced an injured Dak Prescott.
The Giants will get solid slot corner Darnay Holmes back this week, but he’s a rookie like CeeDee Lamb, who has been good the last two weeks. Lamb also put up 8/124 receiving on 11 targets against the Giants earlier this season, and he will see less of Bradberry, which makes him more appealing.
Our guy Greg Cosell thought Ezekiel Elliott looked a lot better last week and he was the guy, out-snapping (37 to 33) and out-touching (23 to 10), Tony Pollard. The matchup is middling, but Zeke’s an RB1 this week.
It’s really hard to back Daniel Jones since he’s run for just 3 yards the last two weeks with a low 6.1 YPA.
I did like him a lot last week and Sterling Shepard had 9/77/1 receiving on 12 targets. He actually has 6+ catches in each of his last six full games with Jones in the lineup, and we should be good for another 5-6 grabs at least, since he’s clearly the go-to guy.
He has hit 35+ receiving yards just once since Week 11, so Darius Slayton is tough to use. He did have 8/129 receiving against Dallas in Week 5, at least. Dallas is healthier at CB right now, though.
He surprised me last week, but Evan Engram also dinged his ankle and is questionable after being limited all week. You’d think he’ll go, and he’s worth using if you need him, but there are other options at TE this week and Engram is not in our top-12 for the week.
I’ve felt for two weeks that it’s been over for Wayne Gallman, and it kinda has been over. He hasn’t scored in four straight and he’s been under 11+ FP in three straight. It is a potentially-good matchup, though, as the Cowboys are giving up 1.0 rushing TDs per game to RBs (5th-most) and won’t have Leighton Vander Esch. They did a good job against Miles Sanders last week, keep in mind, so I’m not inclined to back Gallman with Alfred Morris still getting work and looking good.
Atlanta Falcons (4-11) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5)
He’s looked incredible lately - unrecoverable - and Calvin Ridley is the man with Julio Jones out again. Ridley has put up 16+ FP in his six games without Julio this season, including 110+ yards in 5 of those 6 games, including a 10/163/1 receiving line and 32.3 FP against the Bucs two weeks ago. Tampa will likely rest some starters at some point in the game, and impact LBs Devin White and Shaq Barrett are already out with top corner Carlton Davis doubtful. Full green light on Calvin.
He has definitely shown life lately, so Matt Ryan can be used for sure, especially with the Bucs sitting some guys and possibly playing all backups late in the game. Ryan has 300+ yards and multiple TDs in his last two, including a 34/49 performance for 356/3 against the Bucs in Week 15.
Russell Gage came up small last week with 4/23 receiving on 5 targets, but he’s still averaging 7.8 targets per game over his last six and he had 5/68/1 receiving against the Bucs two weeks ago, which was the last game of a three-game run Weeks 13-15 with 15+ FP with Julio out of the lineup for Gage. Gage had previously been less effective when Julio was out, so he’s a solid option.
I thought he was dead for the season, but Hayden Hurst has 4+ catches with a TD in two straight, including 4/21/1 on 5 targets against the Bucs two weeks ago. I still don’t trust him, but the Bucs will likely rest guys and already are, like LB Devin Bush, which does help Hursts’ chances.
Forget the Falcons RBs if you want to stay sane. Last week was a terrible rotation with Brian Hill getting 10 touches and 61 yards followed by Mr. Todd Gurley with 7/50 and Ito Smith with 11/50. The Bucs won’t be nearly as strong against the run this week, but I’d still advise against using any of these three.
I know Tom Brady always wants to play, and they probably do want to stay hot because they are hot on offense, but it’s tough to back Brady as a play in a relatively meaningless game. Brady lit up for 390/2 passing just two weeks ago against this defense, so maybe he can get serviceable numbers in 2-3 quarters of action, but 2-3 quarters aren’t guaranteed.
Mike Evans is 40 receiving yards away from his seventh consecutive season with 1000 yards to start his career, and I’d bet he gets that. He did also drop 10/181/2 last week and 6/110 against the Falcons in Week 15, so he’s hot. But there’s definitely more downside than upside to using Evans and Chris Godwin, who has scored in consecutive games and had 4/36/1 against the Falcons two weeks ago. The same applies to Antonio Brown, who has scored the last two weeks and who had 5/93/1 receiving against the Falcons in Week 15. Hopefully, we get some information on their plans before the kickoff.
Rob Gronkowski had just 3/29 receiving on seven targets against the Falcons two weeks ago, and if they give anyone the day off, it could be him, which is why he’s outside our top-12 this week. It’s just a guess, though.
The Bucs backfield is not easy to handicap this week with Ronald Jones set to return. I could see them giving him some carries early to shake the rust off, but after that, who knows? He’s still playing with a surgically repaired finger, so his ball security may be a problem. Leonard Fournette finds a new way to underwhelm every week, but he has produced the last two weeks. But rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn could end up leading them in snaps this week and LeSean McCoy is still among the living.
New Orleans Saints (11-4) at Carolina Panthers (5-10)
The Saints won’t have all their top RBs, so it’ll be Ty Montgomery, who has been on the roster all year, and two practice squad RBs in the mix. I would not want to bet on Montgomery, who has only 3 touches all year.
I think the numbers will be there for Drew Brees with warm weather expected in Carolina with light winds and DE Brian Burns out. No Alvin Kamara will hurt, but with all their top RBs out, they have to throw it to ensure a win. Brees looked a lot better on film last week, which was reflected in the stats. He had a 73.1% completion rate with a YPA 12.0. He put up 287/2 passing in this matchup back in Week 7. I think he will easily hit 18-20 FP, but I don’t see much upside from there.He posted 287/2 passing in this matchup back in Week 7.
He’s clearly the top wideout now and Emmanuel Sanders has 11+ FP in three straight with 75+ yards in each of his last two games without Michael Thomas left the lineup again.
Marquez Calloway is the secondary Saints WR I’d take a shot with if I was inclined to (I’m not particularly). Callaway had 4+ catches and 45+ yards in this matchup in Week 7 and he was tied for second on the team among non-RBs with 4 targets last week.
They will need him more in the passing game this week, and Jared Cook had a season-high 82 yards last week and he posted 3/32/1 receiving in this matchup back in late October. Cook is actually averaging a healthy 15.5 FPG in his last three games in this matchup, dating back to 2019, and the Panthers have been bad against TEs all year and still give up a promising 15.6 FPG to the position the last four weeks.
Teddy Bridgewater has three excellent WR options and likely not much of a running game with Mike Davis out, so I think he can easily hit 16+ FP in this one. Earlier this year, in the Dome no less, Teddy was 23-of-28 (82%) for 254 yards (9.1 YPA) with 2 TD passes and 2/10 rushing, so I have confidence.
All three of the Panthers WRs are looking good in this one, since they are healthy with no playing time issues. D.J. Moore has 8+ targets in four straight and he put up 4/93/2 receiving against the Saints back in Week 7. He also got them for 6/126/2 receiving in his only game against them last season. Curtis Samuel is looking good in this one because we’re looking at 5+ carries for him after he put up career-highs in both rushing yards (52) and receiving yards (106) last week against Washington. Samuel has 16+ FP in 6 of his last 9 games. He should easily get 12+ opportunities. And Robby Anderson turned 10 targets into just 7/39 receiving last week, but he had 6/74 on 8 targets in this matchup in October.
He’s looked decent lately carrying the rock between the tackles but it’s a stretch to use Rodney Smith, who has 11/46 rushing and 5/39 receiving the last two weeks. The Saints are giving up the fewest FPG to RBs (18.4) this season, and Curtis Samuel will get carries, likely the bulk of the goal line carries.
Green Bay Packers (12-3) at Chicago Bears (8-7)
You are rolling with Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams in a meaningful game for the Packers and with two top CBs out for Chicago in Jaylon Johnson and Buster Skrine. Rodgers needs 2 TD passes to set a new career-high, so you know he’s getting that at least. He had 211/4 passing in this matchup in Week 12. Adams logged his THIRD game of the season with 40+ FP last week and did have a workable 6/61/1 in this matchup in Week 12.
Robert Tonyan had only 2 targets last week, but he did have 5/67/1 receiving in this matchup back in Week 12. I don’t love him here, but you could certainly do worse.
The Packers may have a three-man backfield this week with Jamaal Williams expected back and Aaron Jones taking a hit to the hip in the second quarter last week, which opened the door for rookie A.J. Dillon to get 22 touches. He turned those 22 touches into 129/2. Jones has only 17/90 rushing and 1/0 back in Week 12 in this matchup. You have to use Jones, but expectations should be lowered. Williams I’d view as a poor reach play at this point.
He busted out of a season-long slump in this matchup back in Week 12, so you’re keeping David Montgomery in your lineup, obviously. He had 16/143/1 against Green Bay in Week 12, so hope for the best. I do not like the Bears offense this week, so I was out on them for DFS FYI.
Mitchell Trubisky has clearly played better but also it’s clearly come against weaker defenses. He posted a solid 242/3 passing for 21.8 FP against them back in Week 12, but he also threw 2 INTs and he’s averaging only 5.6 YPA and 56% completion rate in his last three games in this matchup dating back to last year.
You’re just going to have to suck it up and use Allen Robinson and hope for the best. He does have a good history in this matchup, but they could put Jaire Alexander on him if he gets hot. I’d rather not try out Darnell Mooney in this matchup, but his speed could give Kevin King problems if Mooney is on King at times.
There’s no compelling reason to consider using Cole Kmet, even though he’s a full-time player at the point, because Jimmy Graham is still beasting in the red zone. Jimmy has scored on all three of his end-zone targets in the last three weeks while Kmet hasn’t seen a single endzone look in that span. The matchup hasn’t been good for TEs, so Graham is a desperation play only, you’re hoping for a TD, that’s it.
Las Vegas Raiders (7-8) at Denver Broncos (5-10)
I do always have trust issues with Derek Carr, but the Broncos are decimated in the secondary still with four CBs on IR, including their top-2 guy, and Carr has put up 23+ FP in his last three full games. This offense is unpredictable, but Carr’s looking good going into this one.
Nelson Agholor has 4+ catches in six straight with 88+ receiving yards in 3 of those 4, so while he had only an 8-yard catch on 4 targets in this matchup in Week 10, Agholor is worth using if you need him. Hunter Renfrow isn’t an awful choice if 8-10 PPR points will make you happy. Denver is down all those corners, including their slot corner.
Darren Waller has 5+ catches and 75+ yards in four straight and he had 13/177 receiving against Denver in two games last season, so use him.
I’m not a fan of Josh Jacobs right now, he’s a fantasy 2-face. Sometimes he looks great, sometimes not. Jacobs did have a big day the last time these teams met with 21/112/2 rushing and 4/24 receiving and the Broncos are giving up 4.5 YPC and .8 rushing TDs per game to RBs.
Melvin Gordon has looked very good lately and Phillip Lindsay is out, and Royce Freeman was barely involved last week with only 4 touches. Gordon needs 107 rushing yards to get to 1000 yards for the season, and he’s averaged 4.9 YPC or better in four straight (6.2 YPC in that span). The matchup is good, since the Raiders are giving up 4.8 YPC and 105.9 rushing yards per game to RBs (8th-most) and 5.5 YPC to RBs the last four weeks.
I really don’t think Drew Lock is the answer, for what it’s worth. He has fallen below 17 FP in 5 of his last 6 and he was bad last week with a poor 5.6 YPA with 0 TDs against the Chargers last week. Lock averaged 5.5 YPA with 4 INTs against the Raiders back in Week 10. Yay! At least he’s going to play the whole game, and he does have weapons and a still beatable matchup.
I know his drops were brutal last week, but I’m not bailing from Jerry Jeudy in his last chance to make a good impression in his rookie season. He finished with only 6/61 receiving last week, but the season-best 15 targets he saw is certainly a positive. I think he will get another 10+ looks and he did put up a solid 4/68 receiving against the Raiders in Week 10. Fellow rookie KJ Hamler is out, which helps.
No KJ Hamler probably helps Tim Patrick, and he needs help. He has not hit 40+ receiving yards or 4+ catches in three straight. He had a decent 4/61 in this matchup in Week 10, and he’s not hopeless. There’s just no compelling reason to like him.
He looks good lately, and Noah Fant is clearly healthier than he was last month. He’s a favorite target of Lock’s and he’s hit 55+ yards in each of his last three full games with 20 targets the last two weeks for 14/133/1. Mike Gesicki (4/54 receiving) and Hunter Henry (5/65/1) have had success in this matchup the last two weeks.
Los Angeles Chargers (6-9) at Kansas City Chiefs (14-1)
The Chiefs are resting a bunch of players and it’s the last game of Justin Herbert’s historic rookie season, so use him if you need him, even without Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry.
Austin Ekeler should eat in this one after seeing only 13 touches last week. Ekeler totaled 148 yards on 20 touches in this matchup back in Week 2.
With Keenan Allen out, Mike Williams is the top guy with Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson likely both seeing a lot of snaps. The order of preference for me is just as they are listed: Williams, Guyton, Johnson.
Hunter Henry is out, so it’s Stephen Anderson and Donald Parham again. The edge has to go to Anderson after he saw 6 looks last week and put up 4/48. Parham had 3/47 on 3 targets, so he was also in the mix. I’d use Alexander if I had to choose, but I’d rather not have to choose. Henry did have 6/83 receiving in this matchup in Week 2 and the Chiefs did give up 5/47/1 receiving to Hayden Hurst last week, so there may be some upside with the Charger TEs.
The Chiefs have nothing to play for in Week 17 and HC Andy Reid will rest key players like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Sammy Watkins.
Chad Henne will start and he won’t have to worry about Joey Bosa, who is out, as well as veteran CB Casey Hayward, with perhaps 1-2 other defensive starters out. I’d say the best play among their WRs is Damarcus Robinson, followed by Byron Pringle. Maybe we will get word on if Mecole Hardman will play before kickoff, which would help with any reach WR calls. Gehrig Dieter will also play at WR.
I think we’re looking at mostly Darwin Thompson in the Chiefs backfield, so he could surprise with 12+FP for sure. He’s not a big man but he’s a pretty good receiver out of the backfield.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
Mike Glennon will start again but he’s too risky to use because he could get pulled at any time. The Colts have given up 310+ passing yards in four straight, so Glennon does have some hope.
The only Jags receiver I’m inclined to back is Laviska Shenault. DJ Chark is out and Shenault has quietly posted 9+ FP in four straight, including 5/48/1 receiving on 7 targets against the Bears last week with a promising 87% of the snaps. He has 5+ catches in the three straight and got 3/37/1 receiving in his first pro game against the Colts in Week 1. Indy is down a CB this week in Rock Ya-Sin and they have been really struggling on the back end lately, giving up 17/218 receiving to WRs the last four weeks.
With Chark out, Keelan Cole, Chris Conley, and TE Tyler Eifert are good bets to see 3+ targets.
Dare Ogunbowale looked pretty darn good last week and is clearly the guy with James Robinson out again. He played 71% of the snaps last week and had 17 touches. James Conner and David Johnson each went for 17+ FP against the Colts in the last two weeks, so Dare could easily get you 10-12.
Jonathan Taylor is rolling now with 34/157/3 rushing the last two weeks and the Jaguars have given up 7 TDs to four different RBs the last four weeks. Taylor needs 84 rushing yards for 1000, and he will get the ball more than enough time to get that, so the only question I have is can the Jaguars put up a fight and keep Taylor in the game? If they can and Taylor plays nearly full-time all four quarters, Taylor could go off.
Nyheim Hines has 40+ rushing yards in three straight but he’s been under 20 receiving yards in that span and this doesn’t seem like an ideal game script situation for him this week. It’s still a good matchup for when he runs it, though. Hines ripped the Jaguars for 73/2 scrimmage in the season opener.
He does have some issues at OT, especially at LT with Anthony Costanzo out. But the Jags are much more of a mess with a ton of guys on IR, including CB Sidney Jones, who has been good. The Jags have given up 40+ points in consecutive games and the Colts are a great bet to score 30+ points, so Philip Rivers could easily have a 2-3 TD game. If he doesn't, it’ll mean Taylor has gone off.
I love T.Y. Hilton to show up in this must-win against a bad defense. Marquise Brown posted 6/98 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago.
Zach Pascal has 6 targets in each of the last two games, and he’s definitely viable, but Michael Pittman will likely play coming off his concussion, so Pascal is no lock.
Tennessee Titans (10-5) at Houston Texans (4-11)
Derrick Henry had his best game of the season against this bad Texans run defense in Week 6 with 264 yards and 2 TDs. The Texans continued to suck against the run last week giving up 262 yards and 2 TDs to the usually-worthless duo of Samaje Perine and Giovani Bernard last week. 150+ yards are once again in play with Henry this week.
I’m always worried about Henry bogarting all the production, but Ryan Tannehill comes through more often than not, and he has owned the Jags dating back to 2019 with 23.9 FPG in his last three and he crushed them for 364/4 passing in Week 6. Brandon Allen just put up 371/2 against this dreadful defense last week.
A.J. Brown needs 76 receiving yards to his 1000 for the second year in a row and Brown’s a must-play against the hapless Texans defense that he hit for 5/56/2 back in Week 6. I also like Corey Davis, who had little to do with his goose egg last week.
Jonnu Smith does have consecutive double-digit FP performances the last two weeks, if you’re desperate. It’s a small sample, but Drew Sample actually scored last week against the Texans.
Deshaun Watson injured his throwing hand late last week, but he appears fine to start and isn’t on the injury report. I hope nothing fishy is going on and they want to play all four quarters to win with Watson. He got the Titans for 335/4 in Week 6, and the reeling Titans have given up four TD passes to Aaron Rodgers and Baker Mayfield in two of the last three weeks.
Brandin Cooks has been solid and he saved the best for Week 16 with 7/141/1, and he had 9/68/1 against the Titans in October, so you’re using him.
I do like Keke Coutee assuming he’s active and okay. He has 10+ FP in his first four games without Will Fuller in the lineup and the Titans have been bad covering the slot all year. Keelan Cole posted 7/67/1 receiving in this matchup in Week 14.
Jordan Akins has been frustrating but he has 9/89 receiving on 10 targets the last two weeks and is a viable reach if desperate.
We don’t know Duke Johnson’s status yet, but assuming he’s out that’s good news for
David Johnson, who played 96% of the snaps last week and had his 100+ yard rushing performance of the season. Johnson even got it done in Week 6 against the Titans with a TD and 69 yards. He’s someone you’re happy to have on your side this week.
Arizona Cardinals (8-7) at Los Angeles Rams (9-6)
Kyler Murray now has a leg injury and he’s lost Christian Kirk, plus it’s a nasty matchup, so he’s scary this week. He had 173/3 passing and 5/15 rushing against the Rams in Week 13 and could underwhelm again.
DeAndre Hopkins will be needed with Kirk out but he will also see a lot of Jalen Ramsey, who helped limit Hopkins to an 8/52/1 receiving line in Week 13. Hopkins fantasy owners would certainly be happy with 19 FP, though. I think he might not get more than 14-15, but not much you can do.
With Christian Kirk out, the guy to look at is Keesean Johnson, who has been coming on lately with Andy Isabella losing out on snaps. Larry Fitzgerald is also questionable and it’s not looking good for Larry to play. It’s not a good situation this week with all these guys. I’d find another option.
Dan Arnold has 4 TDs his last has six games and he scored 2 TDs against the Rams back in Week 13, so he’s not a horrible long-shot.
We’ll see about Chase Edmonds’ status, but he is expected to go or try to go. But Kenyan Drake is looking better than usual with Edmonds out of practice all week. Drake has 6 TDs in his last six games and he put up 10/49/1 rushing (4.9 YPC) in the first matchup. If Edmonds is out Drake is a lock for 15-20 touches.
John Wolford is scrappy, and he will run, but let’s not use him just in case he stinks. Jared Goff stinks himself sometimes, though, and he put up 351/1 passing against the Cardinals in Week 13.
With Cooper Kupp out, Robert Woods will be busy, so start him. He had 10/85 receiving against the Cardinals in Week 13.
Josh Reynolds and Van Jefferson will see bumps in playing time with Kupp out and Reynolds is the logical choice, since he’s the veteran who has played a lot in the second half of the season. Jefferson also has some upside as he’s seen the second-team reps with Wolford since training camp.
Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett should also see their roles increase with Kupp out. Higbee posted 4/24/1 receiving and Everett had 6/44 against the Cardinals in Week 13, Higbee as usual is the better choice.
The Rams have only Malcolm Brown healthy this week, but Cam Akers is expected to try to play. The fact that reports having him basically giving it a shot don’t bode well for Akers’ downside and reliability, so I still think Brown can get you 10+ FP even if Akers is in. If Akers is out or limited, then Brown’s potential goes to 14+ FP with only Xavier Jones behind him. Arizona got run all over last week by Jeff Wilson and the 49ers.
Seattle Seahawks (11-4) at San Francisco 49ers (6-9)
At least with Seattle, they have only four guys who are viable for fantasy with Russell Wilson being one of them. Russ has only 1 TD pass in four of his last five, but he did get the 49ers for 261/4 back in Week 8, and I do love DK in this one.
D.K. Metcalf is a must-start with 5+ catches in five straight, and he had his best game of the season against the 49ers in Week 8 with 12/161/2 receiving.
Tyler Lockett has been a dud since he went nuts in Week 7 and he put up only 4/33against the 49ers in Week 8. I do like the Seattle passing game in this one, at least, so Lockett could easily do something of note.
With Carlos Hyde out, Chris Carson is looking good in this one. Carson has 12+ carries in four straight games and should approach 20 touches in this one, so he’s a good play.
Jeff Wilson continues to roll and he is their guy, coming off a career-best 183 rushing yards on 22 carries (8.3 YPC) along with a 21-yard TD catch and 70% of the snaps. Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman are pretty worthless right now.
C.J. Beathard will run, but with no Brandon Aiyuk, his potential is capped, so you can find a better option. The Seahawks have allowed just two TD passes and 191.5 passing yards per game in their last four.
It’ll be Richie James and Kendrick Bourne as his top two WRs, but I don’t like either.
It should be all about George Kittle, whose impact was immediate last week. Kittle posted 4/92 receiving on only targets against the Cardinals and just 50% of the snaps. Kittle’s workload should grow this week.
Washington Football Teams (6-9) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1)
The Football Team:
Alex Smith is expected to return, and the Eagles defense has been a mess and they are resting guys. Andy Dalton went off last week against them and they have given up 20+ FP to four straight QBs, if desperate.
Terry McLaurin may try to go, and he will likely try to go, but he’s risky. McLaurin managed just 5/61 receiving in this matchup back in Week 1. Cam Sims and Steven Sims would be the top WR options if McLaurin can’t play again this week with Cam being the better play.
Logan Thomas is averaging 10.8 targets a game and is an obvious must-start, especially with Smith back. Thomas got his season off on the right foot with 4/37/1 receiving against the Eagles in the season opener and Philly is without a ton of defensive starters.
Washington eased Antonio Gibson into the lineup last week with 30% of the snaps, and he did look good but he also aggravated the toe injury. He’s trended toward playing all week, but there is some risk. Of course, Ezekiel Elliott looked terrible before facing the Eagles last week and he looked great.
J.D. McKissic is always in play and has much more upside if Gibson is out or limited. The matchup isn’t great, but Philly is resting guys. I just don’t know if they are capable of making Washington get into catch-up mode.
Jalen Hurts has struggled a bit the last 4-6 quarters, and he’s not a 100% lock to play the whole game if things get ugly, so there is some downside. It’s not the best matchup, and his OL is decimated, so I think Hurts’ downside actually outweighs his upside this week.
You don’t want to use an Eagle WR, but if you have to it’s Greg Ward, who ran the most routes last week (44 of 48) and Jalen Reagor, who had the most targets (6) and catches (3). I do not like either, though.
Zach Ertz has a chance with Dallas Goedert out, if 5 catches for 35 yards will make you happy.
Miles Sanders will not play, so it’ll be Boston Scott and potentially Jordan Howard and possibly rookie Jason Huntley. I’d look at Scott, if desperate.