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NFL Game by Game Week 13

All we can hope for this week is we get another stack like we had with Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill. This slate has already changed as the Steelers game was moved to Monday, so we have 11 games in front of us. It’s not the prettiest slate we’ve ever seen but there’s a ton to talk about so let’s get to NFL Game By Game Breakdown Week 13!

Browns at Titans, O/U of 53.5 (Titans -5.5)

Browns – Pace is 26th

QB – I’ve been pretty loathe to play Baker Mayfield basically all season but at this price…I might have to consider it. He’s Kirk Cousins East in that his team is very run heavy. Only four teams attempt more rushes per game so Baker has to be efficient in his opportunities. I also don’t want to judge the three game stretch of Vegas, Houston and Philly too harshly. Those three weeks were where offenses went to die in the Cleveland weather.

At $5,300 we do not need a whole lot. Just last week’s performance of 258 yards and two touchdowns would work out fine. Tennessee has given up the second-most touchdown passes on the season and have no real pass rush to speak of. Mayfield is actually at a 0.43 pDB which is 19th in the league but that’s not horrible when you have to throw out almost a quarter of his schedule. Tennessee is in the bottom eight of both DVOA against the pass and are allowing the fifth-most passing yards per game. For about the first time all season, I like Mayfield this week.

RB – Seeing the results of Nick Chubb I felt like maybe I got a little too cute in fading him. However, he did almost exactly what I thought he would need to hit about 4x. He rushed for 144 yards, scored and actually got targeted in the passing game three times. That second part is huge because Chubb only has seven total targets this season. Lastly, it was the first time since coming back from injury that he out-snapped Kareem Hunt.

If Chubb consistently gets 2-3 targets and racks up 20+ touches, he should be over $8,000. That’s especially true in this matchup, but I’m still a little leery about that receiving floor. Chubb did see the RZ attempts shift to him with a 4-1 split this past week, another encouraging sign. Since Cleveland runs so much, Hunt can have 10-12 touches and Chubb can still be the man. The Titans are a little better against the run, ranking 18th in DVOA and 16th in rush yards per game. I still favor the run game for the Browns in this spot.

WR – With the passing game being secondary in Cleveland, Jarvis Landry is likely the only player from the corps I’d use. No other receiver was targeted more than three times. I know we’ve been harping on this point, but the target share for Landry has been massive since Odell Beckham was lost for the year. He’s at 32.6% and has a matching 32.6% of the air yards share as well. Only Davante Adams has a target share over 30% on the season, so this four game sample is really something that needs to be paid attention to. When Landry is in the slot, he’ll be facing Desmond King. It’s tougher to evaluate King with two teams this year but overall he’s given up a 1.60 pPT and a 66% catch rate.

A very sneaky play (so sneaky maybe it came from a DFS Ghost…) could turn out to be Rashard Higgins. The opportunity as far as targets is questionable. However, speed receivers against the Titans tend to do well. Their corners in Malcolm Butler and Breon Borders both run in the 4.5 40-yard dash range. Higgins got measured at 4.6 but that honestly seems off. Perhaps he’s a touch faster than an older measurement. Regardless, the aDOT for Higgins has been 14.8. It’s only going to take one double move.

TE – I feel a little lucky that Austin Hooper cashed in a touchdown last week because he didn’t do a whole lot else. He also was only targeted twice and the score helped save him a bit. Much like last week against Jacksonville, Hooper does draw another spectacular matchup. Tennessee has given up the seventh-most DK points per game, seven touchdowns and the ninth-most yards. Of the touchdown or bust options at the position, Hooper does check all the boxes we like. I just wish he was seeing the targets he was before the injury. This does have shootout potential, which increases his odds slightly.

D/ST – Nope. Tennessee only has five turnovers on the season, three fewer than the next team for the lead. Myles Garrett should be back this week, but Denzel Ward will likely not and Tennessee has only allowed 15 sacks on the year. The chances for splash plays aren’t great here.

Cash – Mayfield, Chubb, Landry

GPP – Hooper, Hunt, Higgins

Titans – Pace is 9th

QB – Ryan Tannehill has really seen his passing attempts go down lately, having not exceeded 31 attempts since Week 6. We talk all the time about this is the time of the season for Derrick Henry and that’s been the case lately. The Titans are only 27th in pass plays per game and that’s a reason to fear the floor for Tannehill. He’s playing good football ranking fifth in pDB at 0.56 and sitting sixth in touchdowns. Even with the Browns boasting Garrett, they are still in the bottom three in pressure rate in the league. When Tannehill is kept clean, he’s sixth in completion rate at 79.2%. This really comes down if he can be efficient in his scoring. If Tannehill can generate two total touchdowns or more, he should be golden at the price. If not, he’ll likely flop. Cleveland is mid-pack in DVOA against the pass and 20th in yards given up while having a 22-9 TD:INT ratio. With both quarterbacks having similar issues in lack of attempts, I might rather just play Mayfield in this game.

RB – I’ll admit that the DK pricing for Henry is a little scary, even with the immense ceiling he has. This is his time of the year and he destroyed the slate last week. We all know what he’s capable of but we need to do some math on the salary here. To hit 3x or higher, he needs to be at about 28 DK points. Since it’s not wise to mark him down for more than two receptions, he would need Henry needs 100 yards for the bonus and some mix of two touchdowns or about 60 more yards. It’s a lot when there’s not receptions to fall back on. At this price, I don’t think you consider Henry in cash. It’s one thing when he’s under $8,000. It’s a whole other ball game at this salary. Cleveland is ninth in yards allowed per game and 15th in DVOA. I don’t fear a defense against Henry but be aware of what format suits him best.

WR – Even as the alpha receiver in the passing game, A.J. Brown’s price is getting up there. It likely should be since he’s tied for fourth in touchdowns but he’s also 28th in yards and outside the top 40 in receptions. That comes with the package when you’re in an offense that is only 27th in pass plays per game. (Please give this man a pass heavy offense and a good quarterback once in his career). With the news already that corner Denzel Ward not likely to play, good luck stopping Brown this week. I’m actually good to play him in cash even at the salary with no Ward.

I’m still as interested as ever in Core Davis at this price and Cleveland is in the bottom 12 in yards to receivers and tied for the fifth most touchdowns allowed to the position. Davis is holding steady at a 22.9% target share and leads the team in air yards share at 33%. He also leads the team in receptions. Really he one factor he does fall a little short on is the RZ and EZ work. Davis sits third in both categories but at his price he doesn’t need to score to hit value. He could get here by going over 100 yards and has the chance to do it in this game.

TE – We’ve talked about the lack of routes for Jonnu Smith for a couple weeks and he came back to bite him last week. He played 75% of the snaps but was not targeted once against the Colts. That’s pretty terrifying for a tight end that is over $4,000 and is the TE7 in salary. It’s a phenomenal matchup as the Browns are bottom four in DK points allowed. They are also eighth in yards allowed, third in receptions allowed and tied for second in touchdowns allowed. I believe Smith could be part of a Tannehill double stack as leverage off Henry but that’s as far as I would go here.

*Update* Jonnu is out so Anthony Firkser steps up as a minimum-priced punt. I’m fine with him in whatever format to make everything else work, especially with the issues Cleveland has had with tight ends.

D/ST – I just can’t get there with this unit. They do have 16 turnovers forced, but only 14 sacks is tough to swallow. Baker can be a little careless with the football but they are too expensive for what they bring to the table.

Cash – Brown, Davis, Firkser

GPP – Henry (big time GPP play again this week), Tannehill

Colts at Texans, O/U of 50.5 (Colts -3.5)

Colts – Pace is 17th

QB – Taking out the Baltimore game (which is understandable), Philip Rivers has been a lot better for fantasy over the past six weeks. Maybe he’s just getting more comfortable with his new offense, or maybe it’s just tied to his attempts. The lowest number he’s had in this stretch is 33 and he’s averaged two touchdowns per game over the past six. Rivers has been quite good under pressure with a 48% completion rate under pressure. The matchup at hand is enticing as Houston sits 25th in DVOA and 23rd in yards allowed per game. It’s not going to help that their best corner Bradley Roby is now suspended for the season as well. The Texans only have three interceptions to 20 touchdowns on the year, so Rivers is on the board as an option this week.

RB – I was sort of hoping that Jonathan Taylor was inactive again this week (nothing against him and I wish no ill upon him) just to have clarity here. Now that Taylor is in, I’m interested in GPP in a major way. I will make sure to highlight GPP ONLY because Coach Frank Reich is evil with his running back rotation. However, Taylor really showed out against Green Bay. He played 56% of the snaps and recorded 26 touches, racking up 114 scrimmage yards. Taylor also had a long touchdown called back. If he gets 20+ touches, he’s going to wreck this Texans defense. They rank 27th in DVOA against the run and have surrendered over 2,000 scrimmage yards to running backs.

Nyheim Hines isn’t totally out of play, but his role could get thinner with Taylor back. Hines is second on the team in the past four weeks with 23 targets which is roughly the time Michael Pittman came into a larger role. It could absolutely be either of these players on any given Sunday. I prefer Taylor and if he’s not getting any attention, all the better in my eyes.

*Update* Tackle Anthony Castonzo is out which doesn’t exactly help the offense. I’m standing firm in liking the players we’ve talked about though.

WR – Historically, this is a T.Y. Hilton spot. He’s faced them 16 times in his career and has racked up 85 receptions, 1,537 yards and 10 touchdowns. Please don’t confuse this with an apples to apples comparison. Hilton is a different player now. In fairness, he is coming off his best game of the season and only the second time he’s crossed double-digit DK points. He does lead the team in air yards share at 24.9% and target share, but that’s only 15.9%. This is not a smash play that it has been in recent seasons but Hilton is also remarkably cheap.

I wonder how high Michael Pittman will be rostered this week. He saw another nine targets last week and even with a game script that favored him, he’s now seen 27 targets over the past four weeks. He’s played over 80% of the snaps in each game and he’s led with a 17.8% target share. He’s facing a corner we’ve targets a lot this year in Vernon Hargreaves since he’s allowed a 2.10 pPT and a 115.6 passer rating. If Hines comes in chalky, definitely look into a Rivers stack with either or both of these receivers as GPP leverage. With Roby gone, we’re not 100% sure how the individual matchups will shake out. If they put Hargreaves on Hilton, he could really have a day.

TE – This position is still kind of a pain, since three players all play significant snaps. Trey Burton easily did the most damage last week and is my favorite, but he’s playing under 50% of the snaps on the year and only has a route rate of 49.4%. Mo Alie-Cox is playing the most snaps but a 7.2% target share doesn’t do us much good. The Colts continue to use Jack Doyle between 30-50% of the snaps but he has fewer targets than Alie-Cox. Houston has been average against tight ends and with the splits going on, I’m likely to avoid this spot.

D/ST – Houston is in the top 10 in sacks allowed and if Indy gets players back from the Covid list, they could be interesting. The Texans are down multiple key offensive starters and the Colts could recover quickly from a beat down last week. They need DeForest Buckner back at least for this to be a play, but let’s check back closer to the weekend.

*Update* Buckner is active so I do like the defense here

Cash – Rivers, Pittman, D/ST

GPP – Taylor (and I love him), Hilton, Hines

Texans – Pace is 14th

QB – Normally I wouldn’t hesitate to play Deshaun Watson even at $7,500 but I might have some caution here. With the suspension of Will Fuller for the balance of the season, Watson is now without his most dangerous receiver. I’m not sitting here and saying Watson can’t get it done now, seeing as how he’s at a 0.55 pDB which is sixth in the league. He’s top 10 in passing touchdowns, points per game, fifth in yards and first in clean completion rate at 88.6%. The Colts are a challenge on paper, as they are sixth in DVOA against the pass and in yards allowed per game. I just can’t find a reason to pay this price this week without knowing how this offense reacts to no Fuller outside of GPP.

RB – There was some good to take from Duke Johnson’s game on Thanksgiving, as he played over 70% of the snaps again and scored. The three receptions were nice to see, especially since he cashed in a 33-yarder for a touchdown. However, the nine carries for only 37 yards against one of the worst run defenses in football wasn’t the best sign. There’s an argument to be made that Johnson will be a higher focus in the lineup to make some pressure off the passing game, but this matchup is tough. Sure, Derrick Henry smashed the Colts run defense but that’s Henry. Indy is still fifth in DVOA against the un and have allowed the seventh-fewest rush yards per game. I don’t think we need to go here and C.J. Prosise only played 10 snaps last game. We can safely avoid that.

*Update* In a surprise, David Johnson is active this week and Prosise is out. David isn’t super cheap and there’s not a real reason to go after him.

WR – With Fuller out, it’s possible that Brandin Cooks is about o be heavy chalk at his salary. Under this coaching staff, Cooks was leading the team in targets as it was with Fuller leading in air yards at 33.6%. That’s a lot to replace so I would expect Cooks to see 10 targets or more. The individual matchup is not ideal but the salary for target share doesn’t make sense now. The assumption is that Xavier Rhodes will go to Cooks now, as he’s due to be treated as the number one. Rhodes is ninth in the league at a 1.40 pPT, fifth in passer rating at 63.3 and third in catch rate at 47.1%. There is bust potential for Cooks here and I am likely to eat chalk in cash if a need to and have very little to none in GPP.

The secondary receivers have some appeal here. Keke Coutee will have to slide into the number two role by default since Randall Cobb is on the IR. He only has nine targets on the season but Houston doesn’t have much choice since they released Kenny Stills as well. He could bring some attention as well since he’s so cheap and gets Kenny Moore if he stays in the slot. Moore has allowed a 62.7% catch rate. The ultimate wildcard could be Isaiah Coulter. He’s reportedly going to see more time and he does have some speed at a 4.45 40-yard dash time. If he slides to the outside, Rock Ya-Sin would face him and runs a 4.5. We don’t have anything to go on since he’s not played in a game so far this season but with Watson at quarterback, he doesn’t need a whole lot. Houston also runs three wide receivers about 64% of the time.

TE – Jordan Akins was a big miss on Thanksgiving with just two targets but they didn’t really need him. The Colts are one of the toughest teams to the position with just one score allowed and under 420 yards allowed. Houston should be running a lot of two tight end sets as Akins, Darren Fells and Pharaoh Brown are all about 45% of the snaps. Akins would still be the choice since he has the highest target share at 11% on the team. You’re just hoping that he gets more work than he did last week, with the offense missing their best receiver. Beat reporters suggest his role will grow without Fuller and he is cheap.

D/ST – Houston only has eight turnovers forced on the season, though they have gotten to 25 sacks. Rivers has only been sacked 10 times on the season so the main play is to hope he turns it over. That’s always possible but not something I want to pay $2,800 for.

Cash – Cooks, Coutee

GPP – Watson, Coulter, Johnson, Akins

Raiders at Jets, O/U of 46.5 (Raiders -8.5)

Raiders – Pace is 25th

QB – Vegas….what the heck was that? After giving the Chiefs a test, the Raiders went to Atlanta and got the taste slapped out of their mouth and it started with Derek Carr. After giving him his due for playing so well, he was AWFUL this past week with four turnovers, no touchdowns and only 215 yards passing. Other than the Chiefs game, Carr has been no higher than 15 DK points the past four weeks. Two of those games have been under eight DK, which obviously cripples a lineup. He gets about the best possible bounce back spot here against the Jets, as they are dead last in DVOA against the pass and 30th in passing yards allowed. In addition, they are tied for fourth in touchdowns allowed. I don’t have trust in Carr at this point but he’ll likely not be as popular as he should after last week.

RB – We could have an interesting situation here. Josh Jacobs has not practiced yet this week after suffering an ankle injury last week. It’s starting to look like Devontae Booker might be the lead back here and he’s potentially interesting. Backup running backs are hit and miss, but Booker does have some pass catching chops. He’s been targeted 14 times which isn’t horrible for only playing 19.9% of the snaps. The issues are both Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick could be active and they can catch passes too. Booker is also not cheap at $5,500. Compounding the issues are the Jets defense being ranked eighth in DVOA against the run and giving up under 100 yards rushing per game to the backs. This is a spot where I’d play Booker as chalk for cash but play a Taylor in GPP.

*Update* Jacobs is out so Booker stands to be popular. I will say that Richard and Riddick are active and that does give me at least a little bit of pause. Booker is likely to be chalky and there’s nothing wrong with him in cash at all. I’m not sure I’ll be heavy in GPP though.

WR – There’s not really an individual matchup here to scare me, so I might as well go back to the well with Nelson Agholor. He still managed 10.4 DK points in the disaster of the game last week and I still believe he has the highest ceiling. The target share is thin at 13.1% but Henry Ruggs is only at 11.8% and Hunter Renfrow is at 14.8%. There’s nothing to write home about in that respect for anyone but Agholor is second on the team in RZ and EZ targets. That’s what we’re going to be after the most, although I absolutely want some exposure to Ruggs if he’s going to see five targets like he did last week. Agholor faces mostly Blessuan Austin who has allowed a 97.3 passer rating over 46 targets. Ruggs squares up with Bryce Hall for the most part and that is advantage Ruggs in one aspect – speed. Hall couldn’t do Combine work due to injury, but many believe he was in the 4.5 second range on the 40-yard dash. His top end speed was a big concern and Ruggs was sub-4.3. That’s a big difference. The receiver position is not the ideal way to go after the passing game since it’s so spread out but the matchup is too good to pass up not to have some shares along the line.

TE – Based on the metrics we chase, Darren Waller is the player to go after in the passing game. I may have some ill will since he cost me last week on multiple fronts, but the spot is just as good as it was last week. Just like Carr, this is among the best bounce back spot Waller could ask for. He has a 26.7% target share which is easily the highest mark on the team. Waller also leads the team by a lot in RZ targets at a 35.6% share. The Jets are bottom six in DK points allowed to the position and no team has allowed more touchdowns. He’s an elite play after a total dud last week.

D/ST – The Raiders got the “Jets offense” bump in salary at $3,400 and that’s tough to swallow. Vegas only has 12 sacks on the year and 12 turnovers across the 11 games they’ve played. I just don’t like paying a premium for the lack of splash plays here, but get why people might want to.

Cash – Waller, Booker

D/ST – Carr, Agholor, Ruggs, Renfrow

Jets – Pace is 11th

QB – As much as I want to take a shot with a quarterback that is only $5,000, I’m not sure I can get there with Sam Darnold. He only has one game over 12.2 DK points all season and that is frightening. Let’s face it, if he was a smash play he wouldn’t be just $5,000. He’s 36th in pDB at 0.29 and he has all of three passing touchdowns. Three. There’s not a doubt he’s attached to the worst offense in football but the Raiders are a soft matchup. They’re 18th in DVOA against the pass and all the way down to 27th in yards allowed per game. With Baker and Trubisky right there, it’s almost impossible to want Darnold. Adam Gase ruins everything.

RB – Frank Gore flirted with 3x value last week and he didn’t even score a touchdown. His price barely moved and he’s honestly pretty cheap with 20 touch upside. Not other back in the Jets lineup is getting any attention right now and Gore played just about 60% of the snaps. Vegas is a mixed bag against the run. They’ve only allowed the 12th fewest yards per game but they are 32nd in DVOA against the run. What could really put Gore over the top is the Raiders have surrendered 13 rushing touchdowns, the second-most in the league. He’s in play as weird as it sounds. I totally understand why folks don’t want to play him and I will only have a share or two. Don’t misinterpret my small interest into thinking he’s a major play for me.

WR – It seems like the passing offense is moving away from Jamison Crowder. Since he’s come back from injury, he’s only seen a 12.6% target share to 24% for Breshad Perriman and a whopping 30.4% for Denzel Mims. That’s a massive switch in the offense and if it holds up, the salaries are really cheap for Perriman and Mims. Both of them are working as deep targets with an aDOT over 18.0.

Perriman is mostly seeing Damon Arnette and he’s allowing a 12.9 YPR on 24 targets. The rookie Mims should face Trayvon Mullen who is at a respectable 1.70 pPT. Crowder gets the softest statistical matchup with Nevin Lawson who has allowed a 66.7% catch rate and a 111.3 passer rating. It’s just hard not to notice this shift in offense. Perhaps it’s just a two week blip and there was only one game with Darnold. I’d be willing to go to a low-owned Crowder one last time here before staying away.

TE – Over the past four games, Chris Herndon has three games under one DK point. That says all we need to say.

D/ST – It’s everyone’s favorite punt and the Raiders have 11 fumbles, second-most in football. They are capable of negative points but they’ve been playing fairly strong the past two weeks with three combined turnovers and seven sacks. I’m not going to argue if you throw them in and love the rest of the lineup.

Cash – Gore

GPP – Crowder, Perriman, Mims, Darnold, D/ST

Saints at Falcons, O/U of 45 (Saints -2.5)

Saints – Pace is 31st

QB – This is a repeat spot since these teams squared off just two weeks ago. In that game, Taysom Hill smashed his price point because he ran in two touchdowns. That’s been a staple of Hill’s game so far since he has four rushing touchdowns, one interception and zero touchdown passes. Hill hasn’t looked great so far although the Falcons did their best to make him feasible. They sit 26th in DVOA against the pass they are still 31st in passing yards allowed. I still have trouble making peace with playing Hill. He’s had 10 rushing attempts in both games which helps raise the floor, as we know rushing yards are the Konami code. If he hits a game where he throws a couple touchdowns with rushing production, he could hit a ceiling game. I still worry as the tape gets longer on Hill, he’ll get easier to stop. The floor here is safe with the rushing and the matchup so you can play him in cash I suppose but it’s not for me.

RB – Once again, I will not have any Alvin Kamara. Perhaps it’s a blind spot in GPP to have no interest, but the games with Hill have been a nightmare for Kamara. He’s had a combined 25 touches in those games and only one reception. That’s what Kamara does best and taking that away is going to potentially crush his value. Atlanta is 10th in DVOA against the run and New Orleans has split carries between Kamara and Latavius Murray all year. Kamara is a 128 attempt while Murray is at 121. Last week was mostly game script that Murray got 19 carries, but even he got a reception. This is not the best spot for either and I’m passing until we see some form of floor come back for Kamara.

WR – This isn’t just game log watching, but I’m interested in Michael Thomas in a big way this week. With Hill, Thomas has seen 75.9% of the air yards share and 48.7% of the target share. Sure, it’s only two games but Hill seemingly has one idea and that’s get the ball to Thomas. This game should require them to throw a good bit more seeing as how they have to face a real offense this week. Rookie A.J. Terrell didn’t stop him the first time and I tend to doubt he stops him this time with a 2.20 pPT on 61 targets so far this year.

Emmanuel Sanders is on the radar, but vaguely at that. He’s only been targeted six times so far, although five of them came against Atlanta. Darqueeze Dennard hasn’t been anything special with a 1.60 pPT but this is just opportunity-based for Sanders. There’s so many receivers to play that I’m not interested in chasing here. Hill has really killed many facets of the passing game so far through two games.

TE – Jared Cook has turned into a complete non-factor in the past month, scoring a total of 5.6 DK points across four games and seeing jus eight targets. The price has come down but I would rather play Austin Hooper because Hill seemingly caps the touchdown upside.

D/ST – The New Orleans defense is on a roll, scoring at least 14 DK for four straight weeks. They’ve only allowed 28 total points and one of those games came against the Falcons. If Atlanta is down offensive weapons again, New Orleans is well in play with 33 sacks (fourth-most) and 18 takeaways (fourth-most).

Cash – MT, D/ST

GPP – Kamara, Hill

Falcons – Pace is 7th

QB – Matt Ryan continued his poor fantasy play without Julio Jones in the lineup this year, only putting up 14.9 DK. I do think that was more due to the lead the Falcons had although he still threw the ball 39 times. The veteran has really been a little tough to trust this season. He’s second in attempts overall but only 25th in pDB at 0.41 and 15th in touchdowns. The yardage is great, sitting fifth in the league but he’s just 14th in points per game. It does not appear that he’ll have Julio Jones in the lineup this week either and that has meant bad results so far this year. Oddly enough, I prefer Baker and Trubisky to Ryan. I never thought that I would say that in 2020 if Ryan was just $5,600 but here we are.

RB – Todd Gurley may or may not suit up but I’m not at all interested in any Falcons running back. If it’s Brian Hill, Ito Smith, Gurley…it’s irrelevant. The Saints are nasty against the run, ranking second in DVOA and the fourth-fewest rushing yards to running backs. This is just a terrible spot and it’s not to cut it short, but any back from this backfield is just a really poor play. We’ll see who gets the call closer to kick, but it will not matter to me. Gurley would have to score probably at least twice to get to 3x. That’s possible but we don’t want to play for that.

WR – With Julio going from limited to no practice Thursday and the Falcons missing over pieces, the corps is getting thin. That could help us a good bit since these targets have to go somewhere. A play that Ghost has me looking at pretty hard is Christian Blake. He played 64% of the snaps last week and while the targets weren’t there yet, Olamide Zaccheaus is now on the IR as well. If it’s just Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and Blake, he could have a chance to destroy minimum price. It’s a risky play but Ridley should be occupied with Marshon Lattimore. He’s been bad this year with a pPT over 1.80 so Ridley and other can eat this week. Blake has played mostly outside which could mean Janoris Jenkins. Statistically he has fared better than Lattimore with only a 1.50 pPT and a 61.2% catch rate. Still, the Falcons could have to pass a lot and they’re sixth in the league in attempts per game. Let’s see who suits up here.

*Update* Julio practiced on Friday so that gives him a better chance of suiting up. What does help all Falcons receivers is the fact that Jenkins for the Saints is out.

TE – Hayden Hurst is falling into one of those tight ends that I’m just fine never playing and missing the occasional big game from. He has a 15.5% target share and runs a route on 84.3% of his snaps, ninth in the league. He just never seems to do ver much with his targets. Even this past week, he saw eight in part because Julio was out and he still couldn’t manage more than 8.8 DK points. It’s not like we’re missing on some giant ceiling either, since Hurst only has two games over 15 DK. Compare that to six games under 10 DK (i.e. not even 3x) and the floor is a more likely outcome. New Orleans is an average team to the position but Hurst actually got zeroed out last game on just two targets.

D/ST – The Falcons were fine for DK scoring the first time around with five points and they’re priced low enough to be worthwhile. I’m pretty interested since this will be the first time a team has seen Taysom twice, and in such a short timeframe.

Cash – D/ST, Ridley

GPP – Jones, Gage, Ryan (would be a cash option if Jones is active)

Lions at Bears, O/U of 44.5 (Bears -3)

Lions – Pace is 6th

QB – I’m not likely to be looking at Matthew Stafford this week considering he’s generally not been great for fantasy and the matchup. Stafford has been missing Kenny Golladay for most of the season and it’s showed, as he’s just 22nd in pDB at 0.42. Stafford is outside the top 12 in touchdowns despite the ninth-most RZ attempts in football. He has worked himself to 11th in yards but that’s not really enough to get me too interested. Not only is Chicago third in DVOA against the pass, Stafford has just four games over 20 DK this season. Chicago has only given up 16 touchdown passes and four of those came from Aaron Rodgers last Sunday night. There’s just not much here to love for Darrell Bevell wants the team to play faster but the jury is out on that.

RB – I’m going to assume that D’Andre Swift will be active this week since he almost made it back last week. In his last two games, he’s seized the backfield with 37 total touches and played over 70% of the snaps against Washington. Even with a coaching change, Swift should continue to be the featured back in this offense and I am quite interested. The Bears have a disconnect in some of their metrics. The DVOA looks very strong at third against the run, but they rank 20th in rushing yards given up per game. I don’t want to call the rookie matchup proof, but if he’s getting all the touches and snaps in this backfield I’m interested even in the difficult spot. If Aikem Hicks for the Bears is out this week, that opens up the possibilities in the run game quite a bit.

*Update* Swift is questionable and reportedly would be in a limited role if active. That would lead me to not want a piece of this backfield at all.

WR – Kenny Golladay is still not practicing and I don’t like the Lions receivers here much at all. He missed the first meeting against the Bears and Marvin Jones saw eight targets but only went 4/55. With no Golladay, Jones likely has to deal with Kyle Fuller. He’s had a 1.50 pPT on 76 targets, and that’s inside the top 20 for corners. You could maybe talk me into Danny Amendola who should be returning. Buster Skrine has manned the slot a good bit for the Bears and he’s allowing a 72.9% catch rate and 113.0 passer rating. I think I prefer him more on DK and in cash as the ceiling might not be there but if they do play fast, he could rack up a good six-to-eight receptions. The last healthy game Amendola played with no Golladay he hit 14.9 on seven receptions. That’s about as far as I would go with the Lions corps.

*Update* Golladay is out, as expected.

TE – This is a really good spot for T.J. Hockenson and he’s already got the Bears for a 5/56/1 line earlier in the year. Hockenson has been one of the most reliable options at the position, rivaling Travis Kelce in that regard. Only once has he been below nine DK points and he was on the injury report that week with a toe issue. Hockenson has earned a 17.7% target share on the season and co-leads in RZ and EZ targets. He’s the TE3 on the season in PPR settings and at $5,000, he’s quite affordable if not punting or spending on Waller. Regardless of who’s in at receiver, Hockenson is a rock solid play all the way around.

D/ST – I don’t mind Detroit, but I would rather play Atlanta. The Lions are talent-deficient on that side of the ball to be sure and only have 16 sacks on the season. They also have the ninth-lowest pressure rate and just 11 turnovers forced. Chicago is a roundly awful offense but Detroit’s defense isn’t much better.

Cash – Hockenson, Amendola

GPP – D/ST, Swift

Bears – Pace is 12th

QB – Garbage time points count too and that’s a good thing for Mitchell Trubisky. Otherwise he was trash as usual and even with three touchdowns, he barely scraped by with a 56.5% completion rate. The pDB doesn’t look that bad at a 0.46 mark, 18th in the league. The Lions defense has gotten shredded all season long and they’re 23rd in DVOA abasing the pass. Only five other teams have allowed more touchdowns than the 22 Detroit has given up. I will give Trubisky credit for putting up a big fantasy day the first game against Detroit with three touchdowns but he might be one of the most untrustworthy players at the position. I’d rather play Mayfield here but Trubisky is on the board as a GPP option with a nice stack in the receiving corps. I’m warming up to him as the week goes in all honesty.

RB – A player that catches my eye for cash early is David Montgomery. He continues to run this backfield when he’s healthy after another 16 touches and a big 28.3 DK score Sunday night. Detroit is a team we’ve attacked with running backs all season and Montgomery is priced too low to pass up. He’s played over 80% of the snaps in every game that he’s been healthy without Tarik Cohen and I love him this week. Detroit has allowed the fourth-most yards, the most DK points per game and 21 total touchdowns on the season. That 21 is pretty easily the most and Monty is likely in my Core as things stand. He could be a strong fade in GPP but seemingly near a lock in cash.

WR – The easiest stack with Trubisky (and an excellent solo play) is Allen Robinson. He’s one of the better receivers in football and has never had the quarterback to show it off totally but if he gets 13 targets like he did Sunday, he’s going to smash again. His 25.1% target share and 28.7% lead the team and there’s not a corner that scares me on the Lions roster. He’s looking like a popular choice this week and I can’t really argue that.

I Don’t know how much of the secondary receivers we really want. Darnell Mooney and Anthony Miller are fighting for the second fiddle of the corps and Mooney has a slight two target advantage. He’s also got an advantage in the snap count at 70.9% to 59.2%. Miller holds the RZ lead at 9-5 but Mooney has the air yards share lead at 25.3%. That leads me to prefer Mooney while knowing that neither is the likeliest to go off. Mooney also gets Desmond Trufant who has gotten worked for a 127.6 passer rating, 72.5% catch rate and 2.10 pPT. Those are all 70th or worse among corners. Justin Coleman has played the slot a good bit for Detroit and has allowed a 58.6% catch rate on 29 targets. Mooney is my favorite after Robinson.

TE – The great news for Jimmy Graham is he has 15 and 10 RZ and EZ targets, both which are second in the league. The bad news is unless he converts one of those targets to a score, he’s not going to do much of anything. The only games he’s hit double-digits in DK points have been the four games he’s scored. Detroit has given up the seventh-fewest DK per game to the position and I prefer using tight ends attached to better quarterbacks.

D/ST – I’m not really on Chicago at this price. They’ve been solid but the 21 sacks is nothing to write home about and it’s under two per game. They also only have 11 turnovers. Even though they may hold the Lions under 24 points, I’m not sure if they have enough splash ability to pay off.

Cash – Monty, Robinson

GPP – Trubisky, Mooney, Miller, Graham

Jaguars at Vikings, O/U of 51 (Vikings -10.5)

Jaguars – Pace is 4th

QB – I’m not falling for the Mike Glennon bait. He played well last week but so did Jake Luton in his first game. Glennon has never shown any ability to play well consistently and this is one of the easiest passes on the slate for me. Play Baker or Trubisky.

RB – It’s weird to see that James Robinson is a top five back in PPR, but that’s the kind of season we’ve had. He just doesn’t come off the field hardly ever, accounting for about 95% of the running back attempts from the Jags. He’s fourth in the league in attempts and seventh in receptions. So when we see his salary, it really is warranted as his volume is unique this season. The matchup doesn’t look especially intimidating either. Minnesota is 12th in DVOA against the run but they are also 19th in yards allowed per game. Additionally, they’ve given up the seventh-most receptions. Robinson isn’t a name we consider for cash all that often but doing this for a bad Jacksonville squad is impressive. He’s yet to dip below double-digits in any game this season and seven have been above 15 DK.

WR – We’ll need to update this Friday. As of now, both D.J. Chark and Chris Conley were limited and that is a huge factor for the corps. Colin Johnson popped and played 80% of the snaps with nearly 20 DK points. I might be willing to go back to the well since he saw eight targets to six for Keelan Cole and four for Laviska Shenault. We need to know who’s active and who’s not before we break it down much further.

*Update* Chark is active which throws this whole corps into even a bigger question mark. Honestly, the whole thing is mostly an avoid with Glennon pulling the trigger. I’m not interested in Johnson with Chark and possibly Conley back active.

TE – I’m not going crazy that Tyler Eifert caught a touchdown last week. He saw a whopping four targets and only gained 16 yards so it’s just not wise to chase the score. He only runs a route on 66.3% of his snaps and even the 18.6% RZ share doesn’t inspire much confidence in me.

D/ST – The Jags continue to be a bottom of the barrel unit with just 11 sacks and 11 turnovers forced. The minimum salary at least leaves them as a punt option but you cannot expect much from them.

Cash – Robinson

GPP – Chark

Vikings – Pace is 23rd

QB – I’m likely to have some Kirk Cousins this week at his salary. I was very concerned about how he and the offense as a whole would function with the loss of Adam Thielen last week. Well, Cousins kept right on going with a monster 30.18 DK point performance which was very impressive. In fact, Cousins has mostly turned his season around after some choppy waters a the start. Six of his 11 interceptions came in the first three weeks of the season, he’s up to seventh in pDB and seventh in touchdown passes.

The fear is always the lack of attempts at just 20th in the league but the touchdown upside is getting hard to ignore. That’s especially true this week since the Jaguars are 20th in DVOA against the pass and the second-most touchdown passes allowed. I don’t believe my trust level is there for cash, but stacking him with the passing game is super interesting this week. He’s actually looking chalky, which isn’t going to be for me. There’s a player $400 more that I will be ALL IN on if Cousins is actually chalk.

RB – Seeing how high Dalvin Cook is rostered this week is going to be fascinating. He was one of the highest owned players in cash for sure and he flopped pretty hard. Typically, 22 touches from Cook is going to amount to a lot more than just 11 DK points. The Jags got crushed on the ground last week by Chubb and the same outcome is in play here. They are 29th in yards allowed per game, are tied for the fifth-most receptions allowed and 12 total touchdowns. There’s no reason to think Cook doesn’t have a field day here, even if the price is still very high.

WR – I mentioned it with Cousins, but the best way to pivot from Cook is to play the passing game. Thielen and rookie Justin Jefferson are both expensive but their matchup is sterling as well. Jefferson filled in wonderfully with two scores last week but Thielen is fourth in RZ targets and first in EZ targets among receivers. He also has a massive 41.4% share of the air yards and deserves to be at this price. Now what’s interesting is these two don’t always go off together. It’s been an either or deal more weeks than not. The best three weeks they have together in DK points are –

Week 4 – Thielen 29.2, Jefferson 17.3

Week 10 – Thielen 20.3, Jefferson 24.5

Week 11 – Thielen 35.3, Jefferson 17.6

I’m leaning toward just playing one as opposed to the double stack as they typically eat into each other’s results. It would’ve be great if Minshew played because the Jags would have a better chance to keep this one close to force the ceiling result. There’s a lot of question marks for the Jaguars corner so we need to see who’s active to deal with individual matchups.

*Update* Corner Sidney Jones is out, a big help to the Vikings options.

TE – Irv Smith is still not practicing and that leaves Kyle Rudolph as a prime punt for the tight end spot. I still don’t love him with Thielen back, but he does make some sense. Rudolph should see at least 4-5 targets and the Jags are among the worst at defending the position. No team has given up more touchdowns than the nine Jacksonville has. I did like Rudolph more when Thielen was out.

D/ST – They are crazy expensive at $3,500 and I struggle to see why you should spend on them. If you hit this salary, just play the Saints or maybe even Seattle. Minnesota only has 19 sacks on the season and 13 turnovers.

Cash – Cooks, Cousins, Rudolph

GPP – Thielen, Jefferson

Bengals at Dolphins, O/U of 42.5 (Dolphins -11.5)

Bengals – Pace is 13th

QB – This offense was tough to watch last week. They only generated 10 points and Brandon Allen did virtually nothing to help. He was under 59% in completion rate, threw for a puny 136 yards and scored 8.1 DK points. Miami not only sits 11th in DVOA against the pass, but they have a 13:11 TD:INT ratio after not allowing a touchdown to the Jets last game. This is absolutely not the spot I’m looking to attack. The Dolphins are a good defense with a solid pressure rate of 23%. I can’t find reason to play Allen and would rather take the shot with Darnold (and I don’t want him).

RB – I kind of want to take a shot with Gio Bernard since the weakness of the Miami defense is against the run. I mean, Gore ran for over 70 yards. My fear is the Bengals might not commit to running the ball here considering they ran it with Gio eight times last week to 29 attempts to Allen. That’s just a silly game plan, even acknowledging that every team can load the box against the Bengals. The Dolphins are 29th in DVOA against the run and they are 26th in yards given up. Gio is cheap but the offense is very untrustworthy. He’s been under 10 DK for three straight weeks so he’ll certainly not be popular at all.

WR – It was mostly a rough week for Cincy but Tee Higgins came through yet again with a solid fantasy day. It did come with a touchdown because normally 5/44 isn’t that exceptional but with Allen, you’ll take what you can get. The matchup isn’t great for him against Xavien Howard either. Howard is 10th among corners with a 1.40 pPT and is first in passer rating allowed at 45.7. That really leaves me low on Higgins this week.

Since Tyler Boyd runs ins the slot, he’s going to be the favored receiver from the team but I don’t love him. He actually still has the target lead at a 21.6% share and he’s the RZ leader with 11 targets. Nik Needham can be picked on but we’ve seen Flores slide over a safety/linebacker to help him before. Boyd is my favorite but I’m not really going to this spot.

TE – I don’t want to get too crazy here, but it is interesting Drew Sample was involved in the offense this past week. He saw five targets which is the third-most he’s got all season long. He’s playing the 10th most snaps among tight ends and runs a route 68.7% of time which is passable. Sample was a bit of a security blanket for Allen and he is very cheap in salary, so I might punt with him. Miami hasn’t been bad to tight ends so far, in the top eight in DK points per game. Just 9-10 points would get it done as a punt play.

D/ST – Any defense against Ryan Fitzpatrick should at least be on the radar, but that’s about as far as I go. They only have 11 turnovers and 13 sacks on the season with the lowest pressure rate in football. Barring a FitzMagic Meltdown, I can’t see how they succeed in this spot.

Cash – None

GPP – Boyd, Higgins, Gio, Sample

Dolphins – Pace is 29th

QB – It’s shaping up to be another Ryan Fitzpatrick week as Tua is listed as doubtful. The Bengals offer another excellent matchup for The Beard as they rank 26th in DVOA against the pass and are tied for the third-most touchdowns given up. Even without pushing the envelope that much, Fitzpatrick put up a comfortable 250 and two last week against the Jets. In his playing time this season, Fitzpatrick is 14th in pDB, fifth in deep ball completion (20 attempts) and first in pressured completion rate. He’s another rock solid play this week if you find the upper tier in pricing not in your budget for cash, although I want to spend up a bit this week myself.

RB – We’re still waiting on Myles Gaskin news. There was a chance for him to play last week and he’s been at practice, so maybe this is the week he comes back. If not, Salvon Ahmed has been limited and could re-take the backfield. The Bengals are only 21st in DVOA against the run so that’s not all that formidable. They sit over 1,500 scrimmage yards allowed so my interest will be dictated by who I can or can’t play.

*Update* Ahmed is doubtful but we still don’t have clarity on Gaskin. That reads like the Dolphins would prefer to not play him but might not have a choice.

WR – DeVante Parker leads the Dolphins in air yards share, target share and touchdowns so he is quite interesting to me this week. With potential Allen Robinson chalk at $300 more, Parker could be a very stealthy pick and has a good matchup to boot. William Jackson has allowed a 14.7 YPR and that’s 66th among corners. Additionally, he’s 44th in yards per target at 8.3 and Fitzpatrick should continue to utilize him as a number one in the passing game. There really isn’t any type of trustworthy secondary option here and we have other routes to take.

TE – It was nice to see Mike Gesicki in the end zone and that was about all he did. He did see five targets but every game but one is under 15 DK on the season. Gesicki is now under 15% for his target share on the season and he’s only 30th in snap share on the season. In fairness, he’s running the eighth-highest route percentage among tight ends but it’s just not turning into anything. No team allows more yards to tight ends than the Bengals and they’ve given up six scores. I really just wish I had more faith that Gesicki could take advantage.

D/ST – They’re a smash play on paper but they are also the most expensive play and we know how I feel about those units. Miami has 18 turnovers forced which is third-most in the league and they have ceiling potential. The issue is you would want about 15 DK or more to pay off that price. That’s a lot for a defense, but it is possible in this spot.

Cash – Parker, Fitzpatrick

GPP – D/ST, Gesicki, Gaskin if active

Giants at Seahawks, O/U of 47 (Seahawks -10)

Giants – Pace is 19th

QB – Daniel Jones has not practiced yet so it looks like Colt McCoy is going to be the man this week. Over 933 attempts, McCoy has a completion rate of 60.7% and a 29:27 TD:INT ratio. The Giants offense was only scoring 19.5 points per game, 30th in the league. Seattle has certainly been a defense we’ve picked on but they have been better as of late. They also showed they can handle a sub-par offense and that’s why the Giants are at this point. There’s no reason to play McCoy in my eyes.

RB – I don’t want to say he’s out of play completely but I don’t love Wayne Gallman this week. The price is still very affordable even coming off an 18.1 DK point game but he’s still under $6,000. Gallman has been over 55% of the snaps the past three games and he’s taken over the backfield for the Giants. Last week was a massive 27 touches but that was a perfect game script. Not only is that a concern, but the Seahawks are actually pretty good against the run this year. They are eighth in DVOA against the run and have allowed the third-fewest rushing yards per game. Part of that is they’ve faced the fewest rushing attempts so far on the year, but this doesn’t shape up as a good spot for Gallman in my eyes.

WR – Sterling Shepard has been one of the focal points in the passing game since he returned from injury, with 40 targets over five games. If Jones was under center, I would have been happy to play him. Now, there is definitive risk. Since he only has a 7.2 aDOT he could still have enough receptions to make his price work but it’s a much more volatile spot. Shaquill Griffin should be tasked with checking Shepard and Griffin has allowed a 104.2 passer rating thus far. Darious Slayton is the deep threat but that means he has goose egg outcomes as a possibility, just like last week. With McCoy at the helm on the road, I’ll pass.

TE – The other focal point of the passing game has been Evan Engram, who leads Shepard by one target. He’s a player that I think has gotten a hair pricey with a backup quarterback. Most of his production last week came with with Jones playing and that is frightening. He has an almost identical aDOT that Shepard does so these two absolutely stand out as the best option of the passing game. Seattle (for all their flaws) is inside the top 12 to tight ends for DK points per game his year. Only four teams have allowed fewer receptions so Shepard is my favorite overall play from the Giants.

D/ST – The Giants might actually have some potential at their salary. As well as Russell Wilson has played this season, he’s second in turnovers and sacks taken combined. I fully expect the Giants to give up close to 30 but 2-3 sacks and a turnover gets them around 4-6 DK points. That’s enough at this salary.

Cash – None

GPP – Shepard, Engram, D/ST, Gallman

Seahawks – Pace is 20th

QB – The past three weeks have been pretty mediocre for Russell Wilson, scoring under 15 DK points twice and 20 DK in the other game. The yardage has not been over 248 and he’s only thrown three touchdowns. What’s interesting and needs to be noted is the change in philosophy the past three. Seattle has fallen to 23rd in passing attempts and are 12th in rushing attempts in that span. That’s the exact opposite of #LetRussCook and he could be over-priced if that continues. They are 2-1 in those games so it hasn’t exactly killed them. We all know what Russ is capable of. The Giants are 29th in DVOA against the pass and Wilson could throw for three or more touchdowns any given game. Russ is third in point per game, second in touchdown passes and third in yards. Still, I’m a little leery at his salary given the shift for the Hawks here. One reason to play him is he might be almost un-rostered (it’s a word, don’t worry about it) this week. If you get Russ with nobody playing him, that could be a slate-breaker.

RB – If we get some inkling towards the usage, Chris Carson could go absolutely nuts here. I was excited to see him back on the showdown slate Monday night but he played under 40% of the snaps and ceded touches to a 17-10 ratio. Carlos Hyde had a touchdown taken away but past that, he accomplished nothing. His 17 touches turned into 29 scrimmage yards. Hopefully Carson is full go for this one because the Giants have given up over 1,400 scrimmage yards and 10 total touchdowns. Carson is also sneakily involved in the passing game with an 11.3% target share. Let’s double back if we get some more information.

*Update* Coach Pete Carroll said Carson is going to see more work, so I’m playing him in any format. I really like him this week and if Jonathan Taylor turns popular, I’ll be making the effort to get to Carson in GPP.

WR – The receivers have turned into a pretty cut and dry situation for me. D.K. Metcalf is my favorite, every single time. Look, Tyler Lockett is a very talented player but he’s overpriced given his production week to week. He’s had two games over 40 DK and the rest have not hit 3x at his current salary. The only corner to fully mute DK so far has been Jalen Ramsey for the Rams. Metcalf had a poor scoring game against the Cards but he also had a long touchdown taken off the board due to penalty.

Metcalf now leads the league in receiving yards and has dropped at least two touchdowns the past couple games. Only Thielen has more EZ targets than Metcalf. Giants corner James Bradberry has played well, to be sure. He’s only given up a 9.8 YPR, fourth-best in he league. The 1.60 on 73 targets is very impressive as well. Metcalf is just different and that YPR is about to go up. There is zero question that Lockett gets the easier matchup against Darnay Holmes. He’s allowed a 68.2% catch rate, 111.6 passer rating and a 1.90 pPT but I still view Lockett as a dangerous investment. He’s either going ham or doing squat if the pattern continues.

*Update* Bradberry did apparently not learn the lesson from last week – don’t make DK angry. He was quoted as saying that if you take away the deep routes for DK, he won’t do all that much. I think Metcalf is going to take that personally (insert Michael Jordan meme).

TE – No player really stepped up with the loss of Greg Olsen although both Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister played 55% of the snaps or higher. Hollister looks to be the preferred play since he drew five targets to just one for Dissly, but we shouldn’t expect much from either player. On top of that, New York has been stout to the position so far with only two scores given up.

D/ST – I wish they were a little cheaper but they are still in play. It will also help if Carlos Dunlap is able to go as he has a foot injury. Seattle actually has 31 sacks on the season and Dunlap and the return of safety Jamal Adams have been huge. Daniel Jones has been sacked the fifth-most times in football so that’s not likely to improve here with McCoy.

Cash – Metcalf, Carson, D/ST

GPP – Lockett, Wilson

Rams at Cardinals, O/U of 48 (Rams -2.5)

Rams – Pace is 16th

QB – It could be time to play Jared Goff roulette again because he has a solid spot here. We’ve seen the good and the bad from Goff the past two weeks with a 28 DK showing against the Bucs and then a six DK point game against the 49ers. Alrighty then. Truthfully, there’s not a lot of metrics that would really stand out. He’s only 25th in pDB, he’s 27th in deep ball completion rate and RZ completion rate to go along with 15th while being pressured. About the only facet he really excels is play-action. No quarterback has attempted more passes from that style of play and he’s second in yardage. Arizona has matching rankings in DVOA against the pass and yards allowed per game at 13th in the league. The 18:10 TD:INT ratio isn’t the worst either so Goff is pretty much the same option he is every week – risky.

RB – Cam Akers has taken over as the most expensive back on the Rams but this is from the Waiver Wire article this week –

Yes, it is the second straight week Akers has found the paint and that’s a big-time positive sign. I’m not trying to put the rookie down. However, it’s important to realize where he’s still at in the pecking order for playing time and that’s still third. Akers has only touched the ball 15 times combined. On the 14 carries he’s had, he has 99 yards with a 61-yard gallop mixed in. You can’t really play the “take this play away and Akers stinks” card because Akers made that big play. It’s just illustrating that he’s been lucky to score twice and create one signature run in 15 touches. Unless he overtakes Darrell Henderson or Malcolm Brown for a bigger role, he could cripple a lineup this week.

Even if Akers took over a larger role, you’re not looking at more than 50% of the snaps based on the usage his year when all three are healthy. The Cards are 14h in DVOA against the backs and this is a situation that I’ll just steer away from instead of trying to predict who scores. Henderson has the RZ attempt lead at a 30-15-9 rate with Akers bringing up the rear.

WR – If I was DK, I’d just price the duo of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods the same every week. It can be hard to split these guys as far as who you want to play, but when Bobby Trees (Ghost Discord Special) is under $6,000, that makes it easier. Kupp does hold the target advantage by 10 but Woods has 20 rush attempts on the season to even touches out. They are about equal in every way, including RZ and EZ targets, aDOT and even PPR points. Only four points separate them with Woods on top.

Woods will surely see more Patrick Peterson since he’s on the outside of the formation more but I’m not worried there. We’ve talked all season about Peterson taking a step back in his play. He’s up to a 2.20 pPT and a 122.9 passer rating allowed. Byron Murphy plays the slot about 50% of the time so he’ll see most of Kupp. Murphy has been the statistically superior corner with just a 1.40 pPT and 85.5 passer rating. However, he also allows a 62% catch rate. The salaries do make it easy to play both with Goff if you get the roulette game right with the quarterback. The majority of the production will funnel through these two.

TE – I’m at the point of ignoring the Rams tight ends. Neither Tyler Higbee nor Gerald Everett run enough routes or get targeted enough to be valuable on anything approaching a consistent basis. Higbee only runs a route about 52% of the time and Everett sees fewer snaps and runs less routes.

D/ST – I feel like as long as Aaron Donald is on this side, they are in play. They’re a little pricey but Donald and company could really disrupt the offense here. The Rams have accumulated 34 sacks and 18 turnovers so far, along with a bottom 10 blitz rate. That could help them keep Kyler Murray in check on the ground, if he’s able to run.

Cash – Woods, Kupp

GPP – Goff, D/ST

Cardinals – Pace is 2nd

QB – Perhaps the biggest factor in this game is the ability of Kyler to run. Since he hurt his shoulder early in the Seahawks game, he’s run a combined 10 times the past two weeks. That facet has been such a massive part of the Cards offense and his fantasy success that it’s hard to not be leery here. Kyler has only scored a combined 29 DK the past two games and he bottomed out in New England. The Rams are fourth in DVOA against the pass and have allowed the fewest DK points per game to the quarterback. This is not the spot to play Kyler unless we know he can run. He’s an above average quarterback but take his legs away and the outlook becomes much more of a variable. At his salary, you want safety and upside.

*Update* Kyler practiced in full, a great sign for his shoulder

RB – Conversely, Kenyan Drake has seen his outlook take a huge leap with Kyler not running. Not only has Drake racked up 33 attempts and three touchdowns, but the targets suddenly appeared for him. It turns out that when Kyler doesn’t take off, he uses his safety valve and Drake has seen nine targets the past two games. That’s the exact same number as Chase Edmonds and it’s not hard to draw the exact line as to why. While the Rams are still a tough matchup (seventh in DVOA, sixth-least DK per game allowed) the RZ work for Drake has been massive. The past two games have seen him take a 12-1 ratio from Kyler and the Cards are clearly limiting Murray. Drake is still too cheap for his workload and touchdown equity until Kyler is healthy (which appears to be the case).

WR – I would have to assume that Jalen Ramsey is going to follow DeAndre Hopkins all over the field this week. Ramsey isn’t unbeatable with a 61% catch rate allowed. However, Ramsey also allows just a 1.40 pPT and a 79.0 passer rating. Do I really want to pay a premium for Nuk against a top-five corner with a banged up quarterback? I’m leaning no and will probably not have any Hopkins this week.

Does that mean we turn to Christian Kirk? Possibly, but the matchup on the outside against Darious Williams isn’t easy. He’s sporting a 1.60 pPT and just a 58% catch rate allowed. With Kyler not playing as well and not being as dangerous, the passing game certainly takes a big hit. I’m not looking to play anyone unless we get word through the week that Kyler is healthy. Andy Isabella is in play, but the Cards don’t seem to want to use him if they can help it. I really don’t love him.

TE – We can ignore this position just like the Cards do, same as it ever was.

D/ST – The Cardinals defense is certainly an option here as well. Even without stud Chandler Jones, they have been playing tough. It’s not spectacular with 28 sacks and 14 turnovers but they aren’t expensive either. We know that Goff is MORE than capable of poor outings. Arizona is in the top half of the league in pressure rate and they blitz over 40% of the time. It would stand to reason they can create a splash play or two.

Cash – Kyler, D/ST

GPP – Drake, Nuk, Kirk, Isabella

Eagles at Packers, O/U of 48 (Packers -8.5)

Eagles – Pace is 3rd

QB – Do I have to talk about the Eagles offense? Really? It’s so gross. Watching it Monday Night was borderline painful, and I can’t get on board with Carson Wentz. He had a little stretch were he was great for fantasy and a top 10 quarterback. Now he’s gone a month without a 20 DK point game and just looks hideous. Of course, it’s not all his fault with offensive line woes and other issues but let’s not pretend he’s blameless. Wetz is down to 28th in pDB at 0.38, he’s 18th in passing yards and 17th in touchdown passes. The only reason you play him is if you play the comeback narrative. The Packers should be able to have their way offensively, so Wentz could fall backwards into 4x return just like Trubisky did last game. There’s not much else to hang onto here.

RB – I actually love this spot for Miles Sanders provided the Eagles actual think it’s a good idea to get him the ball. We just saw David Montgomery torch this defense and that should be no surprise. Green Bay has given up nearly 1,500 scrimmage yards and they sit 24th in DVOA against the run. Even when he got little work on Monday, he still played over 60% of the snaps and has a 12.8% target share. The gameplan for the Eagles should without a doubt be to emphasize Sanders more. When the passing game is so dreadful, the answer isn’t drop Wentz back 40+ times and give Sanders single digit carries. If he gets 15+ touches, Sanders could be a dynamite GPP option with little attention on him. I do have scoreboard concerns so he’s only GPP for me.

WR – It’s an ugly scene in this receiver room all of the sudden. For some reason, Philly has dialed back Travis Fulgham which is mind-bending. He and Wentz had immediate chemistry but as soon as Jalen Reagor and Alshon Jeffery got back, Fulgham has been a ghost. Reagor and Greg Ward were the only receivers to play over 60% of the snaps and even then, it was barely. Reagor has shown little ability to separate or read a defense so far which is causing issues. It’s a little baffling as to why he’s only played 15% of his snaps from the slot. Jaire Alexander waits on the outside and that really leaves me off Reagor easily. With all the playing time divvied up and no ability to pay off, it’s an easy fade of the entire receiving group in my eyes.

TE – If you want to play Wentz for garbage time, the best stacking partner (and one of the two best solo plays from Philly) looks to be Dallas Goedert. He’s one of the only aspects of the Philly offense working with 16 targets over the past two weeks and back to back 70+ yard games with a touchdown. He would’ve crossed 100 yards on MNF if Wentz didn’t short-arm a throw. Goedert’s price is ridiculously affordable for his position and he’s one of my favorite tight ends on the slate. It’s the player Wentz is the most comfortable with and it might not even be all that close right now.

D/ST – Goodness, no. Philly can get to the quarterback with 36 sacks but I’m not going against the Packers offense at home unless the weather really is a factor.

Cash – Goedert

GPP – Sanders

Packers – Pace is 32nd

QB – Aaron Rodgers at $6,800 in a home game against a defense that can be had through the air? He might be the easiest play on the slate as far as salary and wanting to play him. Rodgers would likely be the MVP favorite if not for some dude named Patrick Mahomes as Rodgers leads the league in touchdown passes, is sixth in yards, sixth in points per game and first in pDB at 0.64. Only twice has he been below 20 DK points all season and he shapes up as my cash game quarterback of choice this week. He’s just far too cheap against the defense that is 20th in DVOA against the pass. Philly has only given up 14 touchdown passes on the year, which is commendable. That’s about to change and A-Rod shouldn’t be the QB5 in salary, much less under $7,000.

RB – The snaps for Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have really been close lately. Since the Jacksonville game Week 10, the highest split was 63% for Jones and since then it’s been closer to 50-50%. Jones also has the touch advantage, but only by a 50-34 rate. That’s closer than I expected and while the scoreboard played a big part in the split last game, it’s still noticeable. Could it be because they’re saving Jones for the playoffs? It’s interesting that Jones is barely over 15 touches a game right now. He always has the ability to go full nuclear but he’s also been over 22 DK just twice this season. Philly is still 11th in DVOA against the run and Jones might be just a straight fade for me.

WR – I’m not sure how to talk about how much I love the Rodgers-Davante Adams stack this week. Adams is expensive to be sure but he should be and the cheapness of Rodgers still give you plenty of avenues to build. His role is just virtually unparalleled in the league with a 33% target share, 43.9% share of the RZ targets and 38.2% of the air yards. I might avoid Darius Slay with lesser receivers but he’s allowed 630 yards on 80 targets so far this season. Adams should do whatever he pleases here.

Allen Lazard is back but Marquez Valdes-Scantling has actually gotten more snaps and two more targets. Lazard should face a good deal of Nickell Robey-Coleman who has allowed a 1.60 pPT. MVS squares off with Avonte Maddox. Both corners have been part-time players but Maddox has allowed a 106.3 passer rating. If playing either, I’ll give a slight edge to MVS but my second piece in the offense resides at the tight end position.

TE – Robert “Big Bob” Tonyan is very interesting to me this week. I’ve been brushing him aside a lot of weeks and that may have been a mistake. He’s still third on the team in both RZ and EZ targets and the 12% target share really isn’t that bad. When you’re attached to an elite offense, four to five targets a week isn’t that bad and the Eagles have struggled with tight ends all year. They’ve gotten tagged for the sixth-most receptions and six scores already. Rodgers and Big Bob are going to take advantage of the linebackers in coverage in this game. If Cousins and Rudolph get popular, playing the Rodgers/Tonyan combo is going to be incredible leverage on it.

D/ST – If a defense has a pulse and are facing the Eagles, you can play them. Wentz leads the league in sacks and turnovers combined, and that’s what we look for at this position. They are pricey but if Philly has to drop back and pass 40 times, the potential is there in spades fro Green Bay.

Cash – Rodgers, Adams, Big Bob

GPP – Jones, D/ST, MVS, Lazard

Patriots at Chargers, O/U of 47.5 (Patriots -1)

Patriots – Pace is 21st

QB – I really dislike I have to consider Cam Newton to some degree here. It’s mostly matchup based because Newton has been sketchy for fantasy all year long. He’s seen wild swing in each direction for his production and is 23rd in passing yards and 35th in passing touchdowns. The only thing keeping him afloat is the rushing production. He’s fourth in rushing yards among quarterbacks and second only to Kyler in rushing touchdowns with nine.

Past that, he’s been pretty dreadful as a traditional quarterback. Newton is under 200 yards passing per game and has more than double the interceptions to touchdowns. I know the Patriots have extremely poor skill position players but it’s still awful from Cam. The only reason I at least have to consider him is salary and the Chargers are 26th in DVOA against the pass. They’ve given up the ninth-most DK points per game and a 21:6 TD:INT ratio. Still, this is a leap of faith play and not likely one I’d go after in less than 20 lineups.

RB – At the risk of New England doing New England things, we might have some kind of read on the running back situation. Sony Michel played all of one snap last week so he’s not really in consideration at all. It comes down to Damien Harris and James White. Harris seems to have a concrete role in the offense since he’s hit double-digit carries in every game except one. I feel lucky White scored two touchdowns last week since he only saw one target. Even then, Harris had four RZ touches to two for White. LA give up a little over 100 yards rushing per game to the backs, so this could be a sneaky decent spot for Harris if it remains close. If not and Cam is forced to pass, maybe he can complete something to White. Then again, it’s Cam so maybe not.

WR – Since Week 7, Jakobi Meyers is fifth in target share which is great but we have to remember that New England is 30th in pass plays per game. He saw six targets last week but Cam only threw 18 times. Meyers has boom possibility and is the clear alpha but he is in a flawed passing game to be sure. If Chargers corner Casey Hayward makes it back, I would expect him to spend time on both Meyers and Damiere Byrd. I’m not thinking he shadows unless he’s required. Hayward has only allowed a 45.5% completion rate, the best in football among corners. What’s still interesting is Hayward has allowed an 18.6 YPR this season so when he’s been had, it’s been downfield. That could put Byrd in play but again, you’re banking on Cam being a functioning quarterback. Both receivers are a dicey play. If the Chargers can put up points, they should see the floors come up a bit.

TE – I’m not chasing Ryan Izzo’s high-water mark of 7.9 DK since he has a total of 19 targets.

D/ST – I’m not overly thrilled here with a West Coast swing and facing a dangerous offense, but I suppose Justin Herbert could have some rookie moments against Bill Belichick and company. I just wish New England got to the quarterback more with just 15 sacks. The young quarterback has taken the ninth-most sacks in the NFL so it’s possible but they aren’t my favorite play.

Cash – None

GPP – Meyers, Harris, White, Cam, Byrd, D/ST

Chargers – Pace is 8th

QB – As great as Herbert has been, I will have a very difficult time not playing Rodgers for $100 cheaper. That likely leaves Herbert as a great GPP option but for most of my exposure, it’ll be Rodgers. There’s a bit of a disconnect between the DVOA and results for New England. The DVOA says they’re 30th against the pass, but they’ve only given up the seventh-fewest DK points per game. The 16:12 TD:INT ratio allowed certainly helps those point totals. Herbert himself has been elite by about anything we could measure. He’s seventh in attempts, 11th in RZ attempts, seventh in touchdowns, eighth in yards, fifth in points per game and 10th in pDB. I don’t think the Patriots defense is something we actively hide from, it’s just loving Rodgers so much more.

RB – Another reason I’m not bending over backwards to play Herbert is because most of my LA exposure is coming from Austin Ekeler. He played 72% of the snaps and racked up 25 touches, true bell cow usage. Ekeler was a poor man’s CMC last week with SIXTEEN targets. That’s immense and on DK especially, that’s such a massive floor. The way he was used and the snaps are an absolute dream. No, I do not think he splits time with Kalen Ballage. So let’s get that out of the way. Herbert has targets a back on 23% of his throws. If Ekeler continues to get this style of work, he’s far too cheap. He went 3x despite at his current price despite not scoring last week. I absolutely love Ekeler again here.

WR – The great news is even with Ekeler seeing 16 targets, Keenan Allen still held strong with 10. He only caught four of them but we’re just looking for volume now that Ekeler is back. Allen is still splitting time about half and half in the slot, so I would not think he gets a true shadow treatment. When he’s in the slot, I’d expect Jonathan Jones and then likely some Stephon Gilmore when he’s out wide. Neither terrify me at this point, especially Gilmore. Hopkins was muted last week but I suspect that’s a Kyler issue. Jones has allowed a 105.1 passer rating on 64 targets while Gilmore is 102.6 with a 1.90 pPT mark over 44 targets.

The player I fear for most in this offense now is Mike Williams. He saw five targets but Herbert also threw the ball 51 times. He’ll likely see Gilmore when Allen doesn’t. I may not fear Gilmore with elite receivers, but secondary ones are different. I’m probably just using Allen from this corps this week.

TE – Hunter Henry has scored at least 13 DK points for three weeks straight but he really feels pricey. He did see 10 targets last week, a season high but that seems unlikely to repeat. If I’m spending this far up I’d rather just play Hockenson for Detroit (especially if they do play faster). The Patriots have only allowed one score to tight ends so far and for $4,800, I’d want more stability and a better chance at scoring.

D/ST – Joey Bosa went Wolverine Berserker last week and helped the Chargers score nine DK points. As long as Cam is a quarterback, I’m in on the opposing defense especially when they’re cheap. LA only has 20 sacks on the year but they’ve had horrible injury luck. This is a mostly un-skilled offense and a multi-turnover day with 2-3 sacks is in the range of outcomes.

Cash – Ekeler, Allen, D/ST

GPP – Herbert, Henry

Core Four

David Montgomery, Brandin Cooks, Devontae Booker, Dalvin Cook

This is a good time to remind folks that the Core is built for cash. For instance, Cooks and Booker will be chalky but I don’t particularly love either as a play. I think Cooks especially has a strong chance to fail. However, if I’m wrong and he goes nuts at 70% we’re in trouble. Booker may have touches stolen by Richard or others, but I still feel strongly about at least 12-14. Monty is chalk and Detroit’s run defense is so bad, he’s a very strong play regardless of format in my eyes. Lastly, Cook should crush Jacksonville just like Nick Chubb did one week ago.

Primary Game Stacks

PHI/GB – Rodgers, Adams, Tonyan, Sanders, potentially Goedert but I don’t love the two tight ends in the same lineup. The Packers side is my main stack overall this week.

CLE/TEN – AJB, Chubb, Henry, Baker, Landry, Davis, Higgins, Hooper, Tannehill

LAR/ARI – Woods, Kupp, Kyler, Goff, Drake, Nuk, Kirk

Secondary Game Stacks

IND/HOU – Taylor, Pittman, Hilton, Coulter, Coutee, Cooks, Rivers, Akers

DET/CHI – Trubisky, Robinson, Mooney, Monty, Hockenson, Miller

JAX/MIN – Cook, Thielen, Jefferson, Cousins – May not have a run back here past Robinson

Let’s get after it this week my friends! 

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