Here’s my very quick look at the week.
If you want more information and analysis, you can always read our Week 15 Game Hubs.
Houston Texans (2-11) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)
Players I like more than usual: Brandin Cooks, James Robinson, Marvin Jones
Players I’m neutral on: Trevor Lawrence, Davis Mills
Players I like less than usual: Laviska Shenault
Longshot Plays: Nico Collins, Royce Freeman, Laquon Treadwell
Notes: I’m big on this game for fantasy, since Davis Mills looked damn good last week. It’s a very beatable matchup for Brandin Cooks if the OL can hold up for Mills, and I view Nico Collins as a viable longshot play with very legit 10+ point potential. If you’re going to reach for a Texans back, it might as well be Royce Freeman, who had 17 touches last week on 55% of the snaps.
Given the Urban Meyer fiasco, I’d expect the Jags to play with energy and to make some plays. James Robinson is looking at 20+ touches if he can handle them, and I’d think he wants to prove a point (Carlos Hyde is out). Trevor Lawrence is tough to trust, and they can’t figure out the offense’s problems in a week, but he did put up 332/3 passing in this matchup while chasing in Week 1. I love Marvin Jones’ chances of coming through with a big play. He played for new HC Darrell Bevel in Detroit, and the Texans have all kinds of injury problems at CB. Jones put up 6/70 last week with Lawrence and he posted 18.7 FP in this matchup in the season opener. Laquon Treadwell isn’t a horrible longshot play considering the matchup, and Laviska Shenault appears to be in the dirt.
Carolina Panthers (5-8) at Buffalo Bills (7-6)
Players I like more than usual: None
Players I’m neutral on: Stefon Diggs, Josh Allen, Dawson Knox, Cole Beasley
Players I like less than usual: Chubba Hubbard, DJ Moore, Cam Newton
Longshot Plays: Robby Anderson, Gabriel Davis
Notes: I’d really like to play Week 15 without a Panther because they have issues. Chuba Hubbard had just 10/33/1 rushing without a target on 39% of the snaps last week and was unimpressive. The Bills have been run on lately, but they still have a good defense, so Hubbard will need a TD to do anything. Good luck with that with Cam Newton lurking. Ameer Abdullah will likely get 50% of the snaps or more, but it’s not like he can be used. Cam simply can’t be used with any confidence because he’s no lock to play the whole game and also because he stinks. D.J. Moore is playing through a hamstring injury and he was limited all week, so he’s even riskier. The Bills still have two good CBs even with Tre’Davious White out. Robby Anderson did have a big game last week, so Fantasy Santa is a viable play if you’re fairly desperate, considering Mooore is banged up. Per our guy Adam Caplan, one of the reasons former OC Joe Brady was fired was his inability to get the ball to Robby, who quickly responded last week.
He’s banged up, but he’s a warrior and you’re using Josh Allen in all formats still. Stefon Diggs will have a tougher matchup with Stephon Gilmore, and Emmanual Sanders is likely out, so I like Gabriel Davis as a reach play. The Panthers have been good covering the slot, but Cole Beasley could easily get 6-7 catches in this one, as well, since the Panthers have some CB injuries this week (veteran AJ Bouye is out). Dawson Knox has hit 14+ FP in three of his last four games so you’re not sitting that guy. Kyle Pitts managed 5/61 in this matchup last week, and Hayden Hurst scored. The Bills backfield is officially one of my least favorites to handicap of all time. Devin Singletary is the best option since he has double-digit touches in three straight games. Oh, and the Panthers are still giving up the third-fewest FPG (20.0) to RBs.
Arizona Cardinals (10-3) at Detroit Lions (1-11-1)
Players I like more than usual: Kyler Murray, AJ Green, Zach Ertz, Amon-Ra St. Brown
Players I’m neutral on: James Conner, Chase Edmunds, Christian Kirk, Josh Reynolds
Players I like less than usual: None
Longshot Plays: Criag Reynolds, Jared Goff
Notes: The Lions have actually been quite decent defending the pass for much of the second half of the season, but you’re rolling with Kyler Murray, who is coming off a huge game. Our guy Wes Huber likes the matchup for AJ Green, and I can totally see Green surprising with an 80-yard, TD game. Christian Kirk has 12+ FP in two of his three games with DeAndre Hopkins in the lineup with a healthy 21% target share. Zach Ertz looks great on paper, since the Lions are giving up a whopping 8/80/.5 per game to TEs the last four weeks, and Ertz had a team-best 22% target share while Hopkins was out of the lineup in Weeks 9-11. We will have James Conner and Chase Edmonds together in this backfield again, which means we have to pull back from Conner, who is also dealing with his ankle injury. Of course, there’s room for both to produce RB2 totals since Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon both produced RB1 numbers last week with 40/193/4 scrimmage against the Lions.
I kinda like Jared Goff to have a decent game here, at home. The Cardinals won’t have CB Robert Alford, which is good news for Josh Reynolds, who has 3+ catches and 50+ receiving yards in three straight, He’s really opened things up for Amon-Ra St. Brown. St. Brown has 15+ FP and 12 targets in two straight games, and he may make it three this week with a solid matchup. The Cards are giving up the 10th-most FPG to slot receivers the last eight weeks. Goff won’t have TJ Hockenson, though, which stinks. D’Andre Swift is out and there’s no sign of Jamaal Williams, so Craig Reynolds looks like the guy again this week. He looked good last week with 11/83 rushing and 2/16 receiving and he led the backfield with a 46% snap share. The Cardinals can be run on and are giving up 4.6 YPC and the seventh-most catches per game (6.2) to RBs.
New York Jets (3-10) at Miami Dolphins (6-7)
Players I like more than usual: Tua Tagovailoa, DeVante Parker, Myles Gaskin
Players I’m neutral on: Michael Carter, Mike Gesicki
Players I like less than usual: Zach Wilson
Longshot Plays: Jamison Crowder
Notes: The Jets will get rookie RB Michael Carter back this week, and he’s expected to have a large role, but he’s still a so-so option with a bad matchup and 1-2 other RBs likely involved. Carter did manage 10/65 scrimmage on a 33% snap share in this matchup in Week 11 before suffering the ankle injury that put him on IR. The Jets are otherwise dead with Zach Wilson playing so poorly, and the Dolphins with their exotic blitzes and the like probably smell blood in the water. I do like Jamison Crowder’s matchup if you’re desperate, but I liked him last week and he could only muster 3/19 on six targets (although he did play a ton of snaps with a ton of routes). Apparently, Braxton Berrios has got to get on the field.
Tua Tagovailoa will not have Jaylen Waddle, and that’s obviously huge, but DeVante Parker is back, which is also big. Tua has posted 17.8 FP or better in four of his last six full games, and was good in the first matchup, going 27/33 for 273/2. The Jets have given up 2+ touchdowns (passing and/or rushing) to nine straight QBs, and Tua has clearly shown he will produce when the matchup is good, and it’s good. DeVante was eased back into action before their bye with a season-low 71% snap share in Week 13, but he’s the no-doubt #1 WR for Tua this week. Our guy Wes Huber says that Parker is a top-10 wideout when working against Cover 3, which is a foundation of the Jets coverage. Mike Gesicki is a royal pain in the ass and I’m glad I’ve never fully backed him. He at least saw a 10-week high of 11 targets before their bye, and he had a solid 5/50 receiving on six targets when these teams met in Week 11. He’s certainly not a must-play in any format, but I presume Myles Gaskin will continue to lead this backfield as Gaskin did when these teams met in late November. He put up 23/89 rushing and 3/7/1 receiving on four targets, and the Jets are still giving up a league-high 35.3 FPG to RBs this season. He’s volatile but he’s very capable of putting up 20+ FP with volume. They still have absolute crap at RB behind Gaskin.
Dallas Cowboys (9-4) at New York Giants (4-9)
Players I like more than usual: CeeDee Lamb
Players I’m neutral on: Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Dalton Schultz, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram
Players I like less than usual: Kenny Golladay
Longshot Plays: Sterling Shepard
Notes: Dak Prescott does not look good on film lately, and our Greg Cosell thinks it’s mental, not physical. That’s actually good news and means he could in theory bounce back nicely at any time, and I do think Dak has a chance to bounce back, even without LT Tyron Smith, because the Giants have no pass rush, won’t have CB Adoree Jackson, and got shredded last week by Justin Herbert for 275/3 passing for 24.9 FP last week. I like CeeDee Lamb, who has 10+ targets and seven catches in each of his last two games, and he’s leading the team with a 23% target share. The Giants are giving up the 11th-most FPG out of the slot, and slot WR Josh Palmer posted 5/66/1 receiving in this matchup last week. The matchup looks tougher for WR Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, but they’re hardly hopeless. Dalton Schultz has now fallen below 10+ FP in five of his last seven, but at least the Giants had their seven-game run of keeping TEs out of the end zone snapped last week with Jared Cook posting 2/8/1 receiving. He says he’s feeling better this week, but I’ll believe it when I see that with Ezekiel Elliott. He at least gets a good matchup this week against the Giants, who are giving up 4.4 YPC and the eighth-most FPG (25.7) to RBs. Tony Pollard should play, but he’s also banged up and risky.
The Giants remain a mess and Saquon Barkley is the only usable guy here for fantasy, and he’s mediocre. He got a garbage time TD last week to save his day, and he played only 55% of the snaps in a blowout. That could be a factor again this week against a good Dallas team, and the Cowboys are giving up the fourth-fewest FPG (20.0) to RBs and shut Antonio Gibson down last week and limited him to only 5.1 FP (Gibson did fumble and lost time for it). But with Mike Glennon showing little hope and the Giants too stupid to feature their best players with 12 different receivers getting a target last week, I’m out on these bums. If I’m using anyone it’s Sterling Shepard, who ran the second-most routes (31) behind Kenny Golladay last week. Evan Engram is simply awful.
Tennessee Titans (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1)
Players I like more than usual: Diontae Johnson
Players I’m neutral on: Najee Harris, Chase Claypool
Players I like less than usual: Pat Freiermuth, Julio Jones, Ryan Tannehill
Longshot Plays: Ben Roethlisberger
Notes: The Titans offense is so sad right now and there is zero juice. Julio Jones looks done and Ryan Tannehill has failed to throw for multiple TDs in 11 of his 13 games. D’Onta Foreman has looked okay, at least. The Steelers have been run all over, so there’s hope for Foreman, but I’d expect Pittsburgh to play better against such a weak opponent.
I hate recommending old guys, but Ben Roethlisberger is a decent option right now if you need him. He’s hit 18+ FP in three of his last four games, and it’s definitely easier to throw on the Titans than to run on them, so I’m expecting 35-40 attempts by Big Ben and a solid 17-18 points, which would represent a win with 3X return. Diontae Johnson last week hit double-digit targets for the 10th time in 12 games, and the Titans are giving up a league-high 15.4 catches per game to WRs. Diontae also dropped 9/80/2 against them in a game last year. Chase Claypool is worth using if you need him, but he played only 59% of the snaps last week after getting benched for a personal foul penalty and for blowing some blocking assignments, so James Washington could stay involved. The Titans have been good against TEs all year, so
Pat Freiermuth may have to find the end zone to come through. He’s done that in six of his last seven, of course. It’s not a great matchup for Najee Harris, but he’s a 22-year old guy getting 20+ touches, so you’re using him with no hesitation this week.
Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) at Denver Broncos (7-6)
Players I like more than usual: Ja’Marr Chase
Players I’m neutral on: Joe Mixon, Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Jerry Jeudy, Teddy Bridgewater
Players I like less than usual: Tyler Boyd, Courtland Sutton
Longshot Plays: Noah Fant
Notes: This is a tougher matchup for the Bengals, especially in their passing game, but there’s not much you can do but roll with at least Ja’Marr Chase, and likely Tee Higgins and Joe Burrow. You can sit Tyler Boyd, though, since he will see stud slot corner Bryce Callahan. It’s a below-average matchup overall for Joe Burrow, but Burrow is very aggressive vs. man coverage, and Denver runs that more than 1-2 other teams, so we can’t rule out a fine game, and this is hardly a shutdown defense. Joe Mixon was ill last week and played only 60% of the snaps, but he got 18+ carries for a fourth straight game, and the matchup is decent with the Broncos giving up 4.5 YPC (and 5.1 their last four games). I do have a weird vibe on Mixon, and their OL injuries/issues don’t help, but he’s hard to sit for most.
The Broncos are a nightmare right now, unless you’re talking Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. But even the backfield is annoying for us Javonte owners, since Melvin was back in business despite JW’s huge game the week before. The Bengals stuffed the 49ers running game last week and are facing the third-fewest rushing attempts per game (17.9) from RBs (and only 15.8 the last four weeks). Still, the game should be close and the Bengals are still down a key player in LB Logan Wilson, and starting CB Chidobe Awuzie is also out, which hurts their defense. If you’re invested in Denver’s passing game, you’re hoping they have to play from behind because Teddy Bridgewater has only 5 TD passes total in his last six games. Jerry Jeudy is the only viable fantasy WR, and he hasn’t been anything to write home about. Noah Fant is being erased for fantasy by Albert Okwuegbunam, so Fant is more desperation play than solid starter now. It is a good matchup, however, as the Bengals have given up 100+ yards and/or a touchdown to a tight end in five of their last six games.
Atlanta Falcons (6-7) at San Francisco 49ers (7-6)
Players I like more than usual: Russell Gage, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk
Players I’m neutral on: Cordarrelle Patterson, Mike Davis, Deebo Samuel, Jeff Wilson
Players I like less than usual: None
Longshot Plays: Jimmy Garoppolo
Notes: Everyone is starting Cordarrelle Patterson because he’s a savior, but Mike Davis isn’t dead yet with a solid snap share of 57% last week with 16/86 scrimmage. The 49ers are a little banged up up front on defense, but it’s still a mediocre matchup with the 49ers giving up just 3.9 YPC. Kyle Pitts played fewer snaps than Hayden Hurst (62% to 54%), and Hurst scored. It is a nasty matchup for the TE, however. The 49ers have given up more than 38 receiving yards to a TE only twice all season. Russell Gage has 4+ catches in four straight games and 60+ yards in three straight and he does get a very good matchup with the 49ers giving up the 10th-most FPG to outside receivers the last eight weeks. Matt Ryan is being minimized because their OL is terrible, so it’s Pitts, Gage, and that’s it. Ryan could always have to throw it 40+ times, but he’s failed to throw it even 30 times in recent blowouts.
He’s never a must-have, but Jimmy Garoppolo has 2 TD passes in five of his last six, and the Falcons are giving up the second-most FPG (21.4) to QBs this season. The 49ers will remain committed to their running game, but Jeff Wilson has not done well at all, so he’s a desperation play only (Eli Mitchell will not play). So they will likely need some points from Jimmy this week. Deebo Samuel may not do much in the passing game, but we do still have studs George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk, who are both looking good. Deebo may be running the ball a lot, and there’s stud CB AJ Terrell to deal with outside, so this should be another Kittle game. Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate combined for three TD receptions against the Falcons in Week 13.
Green Bay Packers (10-3) at Baltimore Ravens (8-5)
Players I like more than usual: Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Devonta Freeman
Players I’m neutral on: Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews, Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon
Players I like less than usual: Allen Lazard
Longshot Plays: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Tyler Huntley
Notes: He has now posted three of his four best fantasy performances in his last three games, so the toe can’t be considered an issue for Aaron Rodgers. The Ravens are decimated at CB on the outside, and they’re now giving up the second-most passing yards per game (280.0) to QBs. Even Baker Mayfield and Ben Roethlisberger have thrown for 2 TDs each against them the last two weeks. Rodgers won’t likely have to worry about DE Calais Campbell, and the Ravens should have no answer for Davante Adams. They have given up 90+ yards to at least one individual WR in four straight games (five total) and look fairly hopeless on the outside at CB, which is exactly why I like Marquez Valdez-Scantling as a reach play. Allen Lazard is certainly viable, since Randall Cobb’s on IR. Just keep in mind Tavon Young and the Ravens have given up the third-fewest FPG out of the slot the last two months. The Packers backfield is tough to figure out right now, but if we go off their last 1-2 games, A.J. Dillon is their top back. He saw the most touches (15), scrimmage yards (71), and snap share (54%) in this backfield last week, but Aaron Jones scored 2 TDs with only 8 touches and a 45% snap share. It’s also a really tough matchup, so it’s still Jones >Dillon for me.
It’s not looking great for Lamar Jackson, but he hasn’t been ruled out yet, at least. Whether it’s Lamar or Tyler Huntley, expectations have to be lowered for this offense and passing game. I don’t feel good seeing that low expected total of only 43, I’ll say that. Huntley has been pretty darn good, though, and he clicks with Rashod Bateman and wisely leans on MANdrews. Bateman is a shaky play, but a better one if it’s Huntley, and Sammy Watkins landed on the covid list, which helps Batman. If it’s Lamar, that’s probably good news for Hollywood Brown. The Packers got burned for long scores two weeks ago and gave some up last week to the Bears. GB has given up 21+ FP to three straight QBs, and even Justin Fields had a big game last week against GB. The Packers are giving up the 13th-fewest FPG (11.8) to TEs this season but I refuse to say anything negative about MANdrews. It’s all Devonta Freeman in this backfield, for what it’s worth. Freeman’s chances would improve if GB’s best run stopper DT Kenny Clark remains on the COVID list, so I like Freeman.
New Orleans Saints (6-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)
Players I like more than usual: Chris Godwin
Players I’m neutral on: Alvin Kamara, Taysom Hill, Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, Rob Gronkowski
Players I like less than usual: Mike Evans, Marquez Calloway, Tre’Quan Smith
Longshot Plays: Adam Troutman
Notes: It’s a really tough matchup for Alvin Kamara, who will not have both starting OTs, which is a problem for the whole offense. Kamara 19/61/1 rushing and 3/15 receiving in this matchup in Week 8, and I’d be happy with 17-18 points in this one. Taysom Hill looks shaky heading into this one, but he will get TE Adam Troutman back this week, which helps. The Bucs did just get gashed for 109/1 rushing by Josh Allen last week, and Jalen Hurts posted 44/2 rushing back in Week 6. He’s never NOT been a QB1 in six starts, so the final numbers should be there. Marquez Callaway almost scored last week, but he’s a poor reach, as does the annoying Tre’Quan Smith. TE Nick Vannett has actually been the most consistent receiver here, but that’s over with Troutman back. The Bucs do give up 15 FPG to TEs the last four weeks and Troutman is coming on, so I may start him in desperation in a 14-team league.
We obviously have the Mike Evans-Marshawn Lattimore battle going on in this one, which benefits Chris Godwin, who has 25/248 receiving on 32 targets over his last two games. Godwin put up 8/140/1 receiving on 12 targets when these teams met in Week 8, and I’m looking for a possible 10+ catch game in this one for him. Rob Gronkowski was erased in all three games against the Saints last season. He had only 4/27 receiving on 14 targets, but the Saints actually give up the 8th-highest EPA/target to TEs the last eight weeks and they play a lot of man, and Tom Brady likes throwing to Gronk in man. This matchup is really cryptonite for Brady, but what can you do? Brady in his first four games with the Bucs has just 8 TDs and 7 INTs and is averaging 255.5 passing yards per game. But this game is in Tampa, which is definitely a lot better than the dome. Leonard Fournette worked late in the week and is set to play, so you’re using him unless loaded. He did have his second-worst game of the season against the Saints back in Week 8, so he could certainly disappoint.
Minnesota Vikings (6-7) at Chicago Bears (4-9)
Players I like more than usual: Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Justin Fields, David Montgomery, Darnell Mooney
Players I’m neutral on: Kirk Cousins
Players I like less than usual: None
Longshot Plays: KJ Osborne
Notes: Given the circumstances in the league this week, the risk we’re taking with Dalvin Cook and his shoulder injury seems minimal considering the reward with 20+ touches likely. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon combined for 20/106/1 rushing and 3/30/1 receiving against the Bears last week and Cook could easily duplicate those numbers himself. Justin Jefferson is on another level right now, and the Bears don’t have much to slow him down. They will likely try with Jaylen Johnson, but while Johnson did a nice job on Davante Adams earlier in the season, he just hit the Bears for 10/121/2 receiving on 13 targets last week, Johnson on Jefferson is a good angle for KJ Osborne, but Adam Thielen hasn’t been ruled out. If he goes, he could be limited, so KJO is a solid reach play. Osborn has 14+ FP in consecutive games and is the clear second option behind Jefferson. Kirk Cousins came up small last week, but he still has 2+ TDs in six straight, and the Bears have been hit 29+ FP in consecutive games and they’re giving up the fourth-most passing TDs per game (1.8) to QBs. Tyler Conklin doesn’t stand out as a good play, and the Bears have given up just four TDs to TEs this season.
I’m totally behind Justin Fields because the matchup is great and his confidence should be higher than usual because, you know, the Vikings. They cut Breshad Breeland after I wrote that last sentence this weekend. We’ll see about Allen Robinson but it’s not a critical loss if he’s out. I’m very much all in on Darnell Mooney this week and don’t really blame his recent slump on him. The Vikings are a mess and ripe for the picking for a stud like Mooney. Cole Kmet is a desperation play only at this point. It’s a tougher matchup for a TE, but the Vikes have given up a TD to a TE in three straight, at least. David Montgomery has had an illness this week, but he’s practiced the last two days, including Saturday, so he should be fine. He’s run on them in the past with a 32/146/2 rushing performance in his last matchup against them last year.
Las Vegas Raiders (6-7) at Cleveland Browns (7-6)
Players I like more than usual: Hunter Renfrow, Nick Chubb
Players I’m neutral on: Josh Jacobs, Derek Carr, Foster Moreau
Players I like less than usual: Donovan Peoples-Jones
Longshot Plays: None
For the Raiders, Hunter Renfrow is looking good because Darren Waller is out, which means it’s almost all Renfrow. The Browns are down two of their top-3 corners, including slot corner Troy Hill, who has been very good this year. I am so disgusted by Derek Carr lately, so you see where I have him ranked. Use if you need, that’s it. We don’t know if they’ll have any of their many DBs on the covid list. TE Foster Moreau has flopped the last two weeks, so he can’t be used unless very desperate. The Browns could still be very thinned out on defense due to Covid. The one player who has a chance other than Renfrow, is obviously Josh Jacobs. With Kenyan Drake on IR, there’s really only Jalen Richard (COVID) who could take away from Jacobs’ production. It’s not the best matchup, but 15-20 touches are likely.
Even as of Sunday morning, the main thing with the Browns is I’m using Nick Chubb. But that’s about it, really. D’Ernest Johnson should play around 30% of the snaps with some work in the run and pass game, and the Raiders allowed a combined four TDs and 49.0 FP to three Chiefs RBs last week. I was going to use David Njoku if the game was played on Saturday, but with the possibility that Austin Hooper plays, and the uncertainty at QB, I’d use another option today. I liked Donovan Peoples-Jones last week and he was solid, but we don’t know who his QB will be, and Jarvis Landry is still on the Covid list. Nick Mullens has had success as a starter, but he’s hard to trust here.
Washington Football Team (6-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
Players I like more than usual: None
Players I’m neutral on: Antonio Gibson, Ricky Seals-Jones, Dallas Goedert
Players I like less than usual: Terry McLaurin, Miles Sanders, Devonta Smith
Longshot Plays: None
Notes: What a mess. Antonio Gibson was a disaster last week with little volume, a bad matchup, and a fumble that cost him snaps. At least for Gibson J.D. McKissic (concussion) is likely out again, and the matchup isn’t overall scary. But QB Taylor Heinicke is on the Covid list, and so is his backup Kyle Allen. It could be Garrett Gilbert, who was just signed this week. Terry McLaurin is trending toward playing, but do you really want to use him off a nasty concussion with the #3 QB? I’d like to use someone else. The only other player I’d consider here is TE Ricky Seals-Jones, who has a decent matchup.
We still don’t know who will start at QB for the Eagles, but given the delay, Jalen Hurts now has a chance. Had the game been played today, Hurts may not play. You have to have Gardner Minshew available as an option if you’re holding off on starting someone today to use Hurts, of course. The Eagles should be able to run the ball a ton, so they will. The order of preference for me is Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard (knee), Boston Scott (illness), and Kenneth Gainwell. Of course, Washington is giving up the second-fewest rushing yards per game (65.9) and just 3.6 YPC to RBs. I’d use Dallas Goedert with some confidence for sure, but the FT is giving up the 12th-fewest FPG (11.7) to the position this season, so he’s no lock. Devonta Smith has been unusable, and this matchup may not be great with a pair of decent CBs on the field for the FT. But the Eagles may throw it like 12 times in this one.
Seattle Seahawks (5-8) at Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
Players I like more than usual: Rashad Penny, Cooper Kupp,
Players I’m neutral on: Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, Darrell Henderson, Van Jefferson, Odell Beckham
Players I like less than usual: Tyler Lockett (covid)
Longshot Plays: Sony Michel
Notes: At least the Seahawks don’t have any major Covid issues, so we can at least use their key guys with some confidence. Russell Wilson has strung together three consecutive performances with two TDs in all three games and Kyler Murray (19.4) and Aaron Rodgers (26.3) have had success in this matchup in two of the last three weeks. Tyler Lockett is a must-start right now. DK Metcalf should see more of Jalen Ramsey, who is off the COVID protocols, but Lockett himself is on the COVID list, so you’ll have to have a plan in place for Lockett, like picking up Freddie Swain, who would be the next man up. Metcalf has seen exactly eight targets in four of his five games, and while I’m lowering expectations, he’s pretty appealing given this ugly week. Rashaad Penny has taken over his backfield, and it’s a mess behind him, so he should get 15-20 touches, and he looked great last week.
The Rams don’t have many major issues, so I’d feel good about using their key guys. Matthew Stafford, who threw for 365 yards in the first matchup. Cooper Kupp’s matchup is glorious, so he should go off. Van Jefferson could see a little more volume this week with Odell Beckham landing on the COVID list this week, but OBJ is back and worth using. Tyler Higbee is a low-end guy at this point. Darrell Henderson will return to presumably lead this backfield, but Sony Michel should still be a factor.
New England Patriots (9-4) at Indianapolis Colts (7-6)
Players I like more than usual: Rhamondre Stevenson, Hunter Henry/Jonnu Smith
Players I’m neutral on: Jonathan Taylor, Carson Wentz
Players I like less than usual: Michael Pittman
Longshot Plays: Mac Jones, Kendrick Bourne, TY Hilton
Notes: With Damien Harris out, it’s a week to be all in on Rhamondre Stevenson, who is certainly capable of catching 2-3 balls in addition to getting 15+ carries. Brandon Bolden will be a factor (and potentially J.J. Taylor), but while the Colts defense has been good against the run, we saw Leonard Fournette get the Colts for 131 yards and 4 TDs back in Week 12. You’re just not sitting such an impressive runner like Stevenson when he’s staring at 15-20 touches at least and whose chances of scoring greatly increase with Harris out. That said, I think Mac Jones is a sneaky bet to produce this week, and Colts players have even admitted to the notion that they may force Mac to beat them by loading up on the run. Coming off the bye with some new wrinkles likely added, I’m not that worried about the matchup, despite Indy’s recent success stopping QBs like Tom Brady and Josh Allen. It’s a tough matchup for Jakobi Meyers, who will see a lot of excellent slot corner Kenny Moore, so I like Kendrick Bourne to make a play or two. He’s their shot play guy, essentially, and they design big plays for him. Nelson Agholor may get the big play, but he can’t be trusted and Bourne is a lot more reliable this year and right now. I mostly like the Patriot TEs, but Jonnu Smith is starting to come on so neither he nor Hunter Henry are locks. Still, the Colts haven’t given up a TD to a TE in four straight games and they give up the fourth-most FPG (16.1) to the position. Henry is the better play, of course.
Obviously, the Pats have been preparing to slow down Jonathan Taylor, so we can’t assume Taylor will have his usual massive game. Of course, the weakness of the Patriots defense has been their run defense, as the Pats are giving up 4.5 YPC to RBs this season. Michael Pittman will also be a marked man of sorts, and he should see a lot of top corner JC Jackson, so I’ve lowered expectations for Pittman, who has averaged only 4.3/56/0 his last four games and can be sat down for another comparable option with a better matchup. Carson Wentz may have to throw it more this week, as he’s attempted 22 or fewer passes in two of his last three games, but the matchup is certainly tough, as the Pats haven’t allowed a quarterback to reach 16+ FP during their seven-game winning streak. If NE focuses on Taylor and puts their top corner Jackson on Pittman, then a secondary guy is a good bet to do something for Indy, and my money would be on T.Y. Hilton, who ran the most routes (18) behind Pittman in their last game, and who has never beaten the Pats and is used to being the focus of their attention.