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Week 15 Passing Matchups

by Justin Howe, Devin Knotts, and Keith Roberts, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Jump to Rushing Matchups

Great Matchups: [CAR] [DEN] [NE] [NO] [PHI]
Good Matchups: [ARI] [ATL] [BAL] [BUF] [CHI] [CLE] [DAL] [JAX] [LAC] [PIT]
Neutral Matchups: [GB] [LAR] [MIA] [MIN] [OAK] [SEA] [SF] [TB]
Tough Matchups: [CIN] [DET] [KC] [NYJ] [TEN] [WAS]
Bad Matchups: [HOU] [IND] [NYG]


PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT replace the Cheatsheet ranking. The Cheatsheet rankings are the final say on where we see a player for that week. The Matchup Breakdowns are simply one more tool in the box when it comes to helping choose your lineup.

Also note, just because a player has a "bad" matchup, it does NOT mean he's not a starter in your league. If Tom Brady is playing the toughest pass defense in the league, that just means he's got a tough matchup that week. He's also your starter unless you're loaded at QB. In the same way, if the worst QB on your roster has a "great" matchup that week, it doesn't necessarily mean he's your starter. It means we think he'll fare better than normal that week.

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Cam Newton continues to put up lackluster yards through the air as he is leading this offense with his rushing ability instead of passing. In the second half of Newton’s season since Week 9, he has passed for over 200 yards only one time while completing just 54% of his passes. However, Newton has done a much better job at taking care of the football as he boasts a 7-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio compared to a 10-to-11 ratio through his first eight games. The combination of Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey have really been the only options for Newton to throw to. Funchess continues to lead the team in targets since the departure of Kelvin Benjamin and is averaging 81 receiving yards per game with four touchdowns over his last five games with a touchdown in back to back weeks now. McCaffrey, however, has been wildly inconsistent as he is used only on short screens that blow up more often than not. Greg Olsen played 92% of the snaps last week against the Vikings, but he was targeted only one time and is tough to trust in this offense based on that usage last week—especially considering the fact that the Packers have given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends this year.

The Packers secondary continued to struggle last week as they have now allowed nine passing touchdowns over their last three games, fueling a league-leading 26.3 fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks over that span. Green Bay was the first team to allow a Browns quarterback to pass for three touchdowns this season. While they have racked up five interceptions in their last four games, this secondary has been routinely beaten by opposing offenses. Morgan Burnett will be asked to continue filling in at cornerback, especially now that Davon House is sidelined for the next 1-2 games with a back injury. Josh Hawkins should see an expanded role here, but he has not seen the field very often this season and may be tasked with covering Devin Funchess for a good bit of the game this week. Overall, this is a terrific spot for the Panthers passing offense to get back on track.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Trevor Siemian remains, in essence, an NFL QB2. He’s proven time and again that he lacks the tools and mechanics to lead an offense effectively, and in 2017 he’s reached new lows, “boasting” an anemic 4.48 adjusted net yards per attempt (factoring in touchdowns, interceptions, and sacks). That’s “good” for 31st among regular 2017 starters – lower than Mitchell Trubisky, Brian Hoyer, and C.J. Beathard. But he’s the preferred option to Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler, so he’ll have the reins for the foreseeable future. That’s frightening for the Broncos – Siemian is somehow both a low-impact thrower and a turnover machine – but if nothing else, he’s at least willing to feed the Broncos’ ball-dominant starting wideouts relentlessly. Last week he sent 12 targets to Demaryius Thomas (for 93 yards and 1 touchdown), and he’s always involved Emmanuel Sanders in the past. Those two consistently boast fantasy WR3 consideration at worst due to their volume outlooks, but their upsides are capped tightly by Siemian’s rough play.

The Colts pass defense continues to sink to the league’s absolute bottom. Besieged all year by injuries and poor play, they’ve allowed more net yards per attempt (which factors in sacks) than anyone in football. If the Bills employed a starting-caliber quarterback and even fairly dynamic receivers last week (and thrown more than 16 passes), they certainly would’ve topped their 92-yard Week 14 total. We’ve seen that, of course, as they’ve been throttled by most opposing passers, including the likes of Brian Hoyer and Blake Bortles (twice). As a result, we’ve seen a whopping 17 players record 60+ receiving yards against the Colts thus far. With breakout cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin and Pierre Desir lost to injury and little pass rush to speak of, it’s hard to imagine they’ll turn things around against Broncos starters Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New England Patriots Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Tom Brady hasn’t produced much fantasy-wise over the past two weeks. He’s posted just 258 and 243 yards, both well below his league-leading average of 302.7, with just 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. It’s especially concerning that those underperformances came against the mediocre-to-bad pass defenses of the Bills and Dolphins. It’s nothing particularly new for Brady: his passing efficiency and output have typically fallen off in December, and he’s averaged about 20 yards less than in the season’s first 3 months. But typically, that drop has been rooted in game flow, and the Patriots aren’t likely to dominate the Steelers this week (Vegas currently pegs them at -2.5). It’s safe to expect 35+ throws to his full complement of weaponry. He boasts elite deep threats in Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan, and he’ll get back Rob Gronkowski from suspension, so his outlook is typically bright even in this semi-dicey matchup. His history against the Steelers’ Dick LeBeau/Keith Butler defense is certainly encouraging, as well. Dating back to 2004 he’s averaged 317 yards, 2.62 touchdowns, and 29.2 fantasy points over 8 regular-season games against the Steelers.

The Steelers pass defense continued its slow-burn slide in Week 14. After opening the year as a thoroughly dominant unit, essentially rivaled only by the Jaguars, they’ve shown cracks in recent weeks. Dating back to Week 8 they’ve allowed 283 yards per game – third-most in the NFL – and a surprising 1.7 touchdowns. Some of the slip can be attributed to cornerback Joe Haden’s injury, but Haden hadn’t been earth-shattering when healthy. It seems more likely that the team’s shaky cover men are simply struggling to shut down receivers at the line, at least in comparison, and Steelers opponents are more able and willing to test them down the field. This is, of course, great news for Tom Brady and his massive collection of talent.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Make no mistake: Drew Brees’ mega-efficiency remains intact. Still deadly accurate and immune to the pass rush, he leads the NFL in completion rate and net yards per attempt. His connection with Michael Thomas is impressive: they’re hooking up 6.5 times per game for 76.3 yards. But with the Saints’ run game simply eviscerating opponents – and their core of weaponry thinned out from recent years – we’ve hardly seen the ultra-prolific side of Brees at all in 2017. He’s averaging 274.5 yards per game, his lowest mark as a Saint (12 years), and posted just 3 games of 300+ yards. He’ll also almost certainly end the year below 30 touchdowns for the first time since he was a Charger. Brees remains a fantasy QB1, of course, and we know what he’s generally capable of should a game get out of hand. But in a vacuum, there may not be enough volume or touchdown expectation to prioritize him like fantasy owners used to. Brees looks locked in as a mid-tier QB1, and Thomas is a weekly WR1. But their realistic floors and ceilings aren’t particularly mind-blowing anymore.

The Jets pass defense remains a particularly shaky unit that we can target with confidence in fantasy. They’ve allowed 250+ yards to 6 of their last 9 opponents, including 366 to Alex Smith just 2 weeks ago and 326 to the Jay Cutler/Matt Moore combination back in October. They’ve limited a few of the weaker passing games they’ve faced of late, but that’s been mostly due to game flow. Given the Jets’ lack of quality cover men, their wildly burnable tandem of rookie safeties, and a pass rush that often borders on the toothless, It’s generally safe to hold strong expectations for opposing pass games. Drew Brees shouldn’t have much trouble whatsoever spinning whatever volume he needs into top-notch efficiency, and Michael Thomas should have downfield openings all day. Dating back to Week 5, they’ve allowed an eye-popping 13 receivers to record 68+ yards and/or a touchdown. That’s a list that includes the likes of Deonte Thompson, Zay Jones, and Chris Godwin.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Last week was an absolutely brutal injury to Carson Wentz who was lost for the season with an ACL injury. In comes backup Nick Foles who while he was not asked to do much last week did look competent as the veteran has game experience and while he is not on the level of Wentz, he should be able to keep this Eagles team competitive down the stretch as they prepare for the playoffs. Helping Foles is that they should get Zach Ertz back this week from a concussion as he missed last week’s game which will give Foles an additional target in the passing offense.

The Giants pass defense is an absolute mess at the moment as Brandon Dixon is filling in for the injured Janoris Jenkins and has been one of the worst cornerbacks in the league so far. Over the last three games, the Giants have allowed the third most passing yards per game at 287 yards per game including last week where they allowed 332 yards to Dak Prescott which was a career high for the Giants quarterback. The Giants did shut down the Eagles earlier this season although the one player that did have success was Zach Ertz as the Giants have struggled with tight ends for most of the season allowing both the most yardage and most touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. This is a prime spot for the Eagles to bring Nick Foles into the mix in what should be a tremendous matchup.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Blaine Gabbert continued his regression back to what we were used to seeing in years past as he went all the way from three touchdowns and 257 passing yards in Week 11 to zero touchdowns and 178 passing yards last week against what was the best matchup of his four weeks under center this season. Gabbert and the rest of the Cardinals offense were seriously hindered last week by their offensive line that allowed eight sacks on the day. The Cardinals have now given up 15 sacks over the last two games, which is a stat that has to have the Redskins pass rushers licking their chops—especially since the Cardinals lost even more offensive linemen to injury last week. Larry Fitzgerald continues to be the only reliable pass-catcher as he hauled in five receptions for 44 yards last week. While a subdued performance, Fitzgerald continues to get the targets for the Cardinals whole nobody else on that offense can be trusted.

The Redskins were throttled last week by the Chargers after having a couple nice games in Weeks 12-13 against opposing passers. The Redskins allowed two separate wide receivers to surpass 110 receiving yards last week, and have now allowed seven receivers to surpass 75 yards in their last six games, including four 100+ yard performances. With the exception of Eli Manning in Week 12, Washington has let every opposing quarterback they have faced pass for multiple touchdowns since Week 9. Josh Norman has been decent this year, but he has struggled in recent weeks. Norman had a rough outing against the Chargers last week as he allowed a 75-yard touchdown to Tyrell Williams and a 51-yard bomb to Keenan Allen. Unfortunately for Larry Fitzgerald, The Redskins best cornerback has been Kendall Fuller covering the slot—so Fitzgerald will not have as positive of a matchup as the rest of the Cardinals receiving corps.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Try as he might, Matt Ryan cannot seem to break through as an upper-tier fantasy producer here in 2017. His dazzling 2016 is firmly in the rearview; Ryan has regressed from last year in completion rate, touchdown rate, and all of his adjusted yardage numbers. They’ve fallen in line with his career rates, which have typically kept him a low-end fantasy QB1, but the Falcons’ drop-off in passing volume has left him with his lowest yards-per-game (252.2) since 2010. Ryan has topped 221 yards just once over the past 5 games, and he’s thrown just 2 touchdowns over his last 3. Lacking in both volume and touchdown upside, he’s a tough sell as a Week 15 play, even in a tasty matchup. The only piece of this passing game to prioritize remains Julio Jones, who’s always a real threat to chase 150 yards, but who remains allergic to the red zone. And Ryan’s ceiling doesn’t realistically extend far beyond Jones, so he’s not a major priority, even against this Buccaneers secondary.

This has been one of the league’s more targetable units at various points throughout the season. They’ve allowed more yardage on the year than anyone (280 per game), a number that’s been amplified by an exceptionally rough 4-game stretch that’s still going. The Buccaneers shut down Brett Hundley 2 weeks ago, but were torn to shreds by Matt Moore/Jay Cutler (365 yards), Matt Ryan/Mohamed Sanu (368), and Matthew Stafford (381). The cornerbacks have been inconsistent at best (and often atrocious); aside from Brent Grimes, there’s not a single dependable cover man in the secondary. Since Week 9 they’ve allowed 85+ yards and 1+ touchdowns each to Robby Anderson, Kenny Stills, Julio Jones (a whopping 253 and 2), and Golden Tate.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Simply put, Joe Flacco is having his worst year of his career as he is averaging just 185 yards passing per game and has only 13 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. However, over the last two weeks, he has started to look better as he has thrown for 269 yards and two touchdowns in each of his last two games. A big reason for the improved play is that the success of Alex Collins and the running game is setting up the pass as Flacco is using play-action more to set up Mike Wallace deep downfield.

The Browns secondary started off this season as one of the top units however this is quickly changing as over the last five games they have allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The problem for the Browns is the number of touchdowns that they are allowing as they have allowed ten passing touchdowns over that stretch which is tied for third worst in the NFL. They also have been failing to get interceptions as they do not have an interception in their last four games. This is a secondary that the individual parts are better than the collective whole as Jason McCourty and Briean Boddy-Calhoun both have played well this season, but with how much the Browns run zone defenses it leaves them exposed as their safeties and linebackers have struggled in coverage this season.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

It’s been a rocky ride, but Tyrod Taylor is likely the Bills’ unquestioned starter again. Rookie Nathan Peterman has been abjectly terrible, posting a league-worst 1.24 adjusted net yards per attempt (factoring in sacks, touchdowns, and interceptions). Third-stringer and ideal Wildcat specialist Joe Webb could be even worse. So, assuming he’s recovered adequately from his knee injury, Taylor will be back under center in Week 15. That’s nice, and it’s helpful to us as fantasy owners, but it may not mean too much for start/sit purposes. Taylor is an exceptionally one-dimensional fantasy producer; he’ll generally either run for 60+ yards and pay off for owners or fail to bring value. He’s only reached 225 passing yards twice thus far in 2017. It certainly doesn’t help that he throws to virtually no starting-caliber talent. Kelvin Benjamin remains hurt – he’s caught just seven passes over three appearances as a Bill, anyway – while Zay Jones has suffered through an atrocious rookie season (68 targets but just 291 yards), and Deonte Thompson isn’t anyone’s idea of a WR1. Frankly, the only worthwhile pieces of the Bills passing game are running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Charles Clay, and both have capped upsides as receivers in this offense.

Is it possible to wash away a season’s worth of poor pass defense with just one masterpiece against Tom Brady? Probably not, but it’s worth noting just how great of a game this unit played last week. Second-year cornerback Xavien Howard, one of the league’s least effective cover man for most of the year, was thoroughly dominant against the Patriots, refusing to allow a catch and picking off two passes. And there’s even further reason for optimism, as the Dolphins have now slotted T.J. McDonald into the lineup to construct a top-tier safety tandem. McDonald and Reshad Jones should discourage downfield throws to a degree, and while Howard’s aggressive playing style won’t always win out, it’s a nice weapon to have. There’s still tons of reason for concern here, especially with the team’s pass rush still not showing up. But there are steps being taken in the right direction, and the Dolphins may not be an eminently targetable matchup anymore.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Chicago Bears Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Mitchell Trubisky had the best game of his short career last week as he completed 78% of his 32 pass attempts for 271 yards and a touchdown while also rushing in another touchdown—his first multi-touchdown game ever. Trubisky has been very efficient over the last two games with just under a 79% completion rate with two touchdowns and no interceptions—the first time he has put together back to back games without a turnover. Still, though, he is an unpredictable young quarterback in a run-first offense that would rather not have him sling the ball all over the field if possible. Dontrelle Inman had been leading the Bears receiving corps since joining the team five weeks ago, and despite playing more snaps than any other receiver, Inman was held without a single target last week after getting targeted just twice the week prior. It was Kendall Wright who made an appearance last week with a whopping 11 targets out of absolutely nowhere, as Wright had seen more than five targets just three times prior to this game. Wright did look good last week as he hauled in 10 of those targets for 107 yards, but he is not a receiver you can trust based on the inconsistency we have seen in this offense.

The Lions secondary has had a tough last few weeks against opposing quarterbacks as they have allowed over 265 passing yards and two touchdowns in each of the last three games, resulting in the third most fantasy points allowed to the position over that span. In fact, the Lions have given up the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks since Week 9 of the season. This comes after they had a strong start to the year, allowing just the 12th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks over their first seven games with 10 interceptions over that span. Darius Slay has been playing well all season long, and we saw it again last week as he helped hold Mike Evans to just two receptions on five targets for 25 yards. It is the other cornerbacks that have been hurting the Lions. With Quandre Diggs looking rough in the last few games, Kendall Wright should have a good chance at beating him out of the slot here. Darius Slay may not even shadow a Bears receiver this week, but if he does, Inman will be the likely target.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

DeShone Kizer this year has been hit or miss and the first three quarters last week against the Packers might have been the best three quarters he has played all season. Kizer threw for 3 touchdowns while completing 71.4% of his passes on the day, but when it came to the fourth quarter he simply fell apart throwing two critical interceptions which ultimately cost the Browns the game. Josh Gordon continues to show that he is the best receiver on this team as he has led the Browns in receiving yards for both of his two games back and appears to give some stability to this pass offense that was seeking another playmaker alongside Corey Coleman.

The Baltimore Ravens are desperately missing cornerback Jimmy Smith who is out due to a suspension. This is a secondary that was exposed last week by the Steelers giving up 506 yards and two touchdowns passing to the Steelers. With the suspension, to Smith, Maurice Canady and rookie Marlon Humphrey have been asked to play more. Humphrey did a great job last week primarily defending Martavis Bryant will likely be matched up against Corey Coleman this week, while Josh Gordon gets the opportunity to go up against the Ravens weakest cornerback in Brandon Carr. This could be a tremendous matchup for Gordon to have a breakout game.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Dak Prescott had one of his best games of the season, and certainly his best game since being without Ezekiel Elliott, last week. Prescott passed for 332 yards with three touchdowns while staying upright for the entire game with great protection from his offensive line. This was a much-welcomed game as Prescott had passed for fewer than 180 yards in four straight games with zero passing touchdowns in three of those outings. Dez Bryant was targeted only five times as Prescott relied more heavily than ever on his running backs last week. Bryant did find the end zone for the second straight week, but big plays from Bryant have been mostly absent for the entire season as he has noticeably lost some explosiveness. Rod Smith exploded in the passing attack last week, but this was the first time he had amassed over 20 receiving yards in a game, with most of it fueled by an 81-yard catch and run. Do not expect a repeat performance this week by Smith. Jason Witten’s inconsistency continued as he saw only two targets last week but also found the end zone for the second straight week.

The Raiders have been atrocious against good quarterbacks for most of this season, and this week they will face Dak Prescott who is coming off his first 300+ yard game of the year. While the Raiders held Alex Smith without a passing touchdown while picking him off once last week, Smith did not have to do much due to the game script since the Chiefs held a lead for the entire game and just ran it down the Raiders’ throat. With a lackluster pass rush and only two interceptions on the whole season, opposing quarterbacks have not had a ton to fear from the Raiders outside of Khalil Mack. All three of the Raiders cornerbacks were burned by the Chiefs receivers and tight end last week and have allowed fantasy points on a pretty consistent basis for most of the season. T.J. Carrie covering from the slot looks to be the weakest link of that group, offering a solid matchup for Cole Beasley—but all of the Cowboys receivers should be in good shape here.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Blake Bortles is starting to play like a quarterback who could do some damage in the playoffs as while many people wrote off his game two weeks ago where he dominated the Colts, he followed that up with a very impressive performance last week against Seattle. A big reason for the improved play from Bortles is the improved play of his wide receivers which have increased his completion percentage thus increasing his production, giving the team more first downs, and allowing for longer drives and more plays to be run. Dede Westbrook is really emerging as a player who has a tremendous skillset to complement Marqise Lee and then Keelan Cole as a deep threat down the field.

The Texans secondary is one that has been up and down this season. In these two team’s first meeting the Texans absolutely shut-down the Jaguars holding Blake Bortles to just 125 yards passing. Interestingly enough, the Texans have only allowed one quarterback to throw between 200-300 yards over their last 11 games. They have allowed six quarterbacks to throw over 300 yards including Jimmy Garoppolo last week and four quarterbacks to throw for less than 200 yards. Johnathan Joseph continues to be solid, but the inconsistent play of Kevin Johnson is really hurting this team, Johnson who was one of the major reasons that the Texans let A.J. Bouye leave in the off-season has really struggled for most of this season while Kareem Jackson has also struggled out of the slot. Joseph will stick to the left-side of the field for most of the game so the Jaguars will be able to design plays around who they want Joseph to be matched up with and to be able to exploit Jackson and Johnson.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Chargers are on an absolute roll at the moment as Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen are playing some of the best football that they have ever played together. Over his last four games, Allen has gone for 100 or more yards in each of the four contests while scoring four touchdowns in those four games. Phillip Rivers has thrown for 300 or more yards in three consecutive games while throwing for six touchdowns in those three games. Hunter Henry has also emerged as of late as an additional threat in this passing attack as he has 50 yards or more in each of his last three games with two touchdowns in each of them.

The Chiefs get Marcus Peters back in this game after a one-game suspension last week and it is much needed as Peters the team played Darrelle Revis 56 snaps last week which is not something that they likely want to do every week moving forward for the 32-year-old cornerback who did play well last week. The biggest issue for the Chiefs, however, is that the one position on the field that they have been torched by is the Chargers best position which is the slot cornerback. On the season the Chiefs have given up the third most fantasy points to opposing slot cornerbacks including allowing 107 and 157 yards to Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson both who rotated at times in the slot two weeks ago.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs New England Patriots Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger, ever the streaky gunslinger, is currently sitting on a blistering six-game fantasy-QB1 stretch. After posting career near-lows in efficiency and touchdown production to open the year, he’s averaging 331 yards and 2.5 over that span. That of course includes last week’s 506-yard eruption, which wasn’t particularly fluky – it was built not on deep-prayer throws but on a smart, controlled Steelers attack. His volume is through the roof, with 40-66 attempts in each of his last 4 games, and with all of his offense’s playmakers it’s genuinely difficult not to produce. Antonio Brown remains the world’s best receiver and an ever-present threat for 150+ yards regardless of matchup, and LeVeon Bell remains the league’s most dynamic receiving producer from the backfield. Martavis Bryant adds at least a theoretical layer of dynamism, as do the tight ends. This week, ultra-impressive rookie wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster will return from suspension to work the slot, likely bumping Bryant down the pecking order but adding a strong net gain in terms of offensive explosiveness.

The New England pass defense has tightened of late after a historically awful start, but all in all remains a fairly Swiss-cheese unit, one we can target with strong passing games. We can’t discount their improvement – they’ve allowed just 214 yards per game over their last 7 games – but we can certainly take note of the poor competition it’s come against. Over the past five weeks they’ve faced the toothless passing games of the Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins (twice), and Bills; I’m not interested in trying to glean much from those matchups. The fact remains that, when facing stronger passing games, this defense tends to fold. Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler have been exceptionally up-and-down, the safety play has been terrible, and the pass rush has provided almost no persuasion for opposing passers to get the ball out quickly. We don’t want to expressly label this an atrocious, targetable pass defense. But we do want to roster a few opposing pieces when they play a strong offense.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Packers passing offense will be a hot topic of discussion this week as there is a chance that Aaron Rodgers returns from his collarbone injury—keep a very close eye on this situation. While Brett Hundley has shown some flashes of upside with a couple three-touchdown games in his last two weeks, he has been extremely inconsistent and, for the most part, has left a lot to be desired for the Packers passing offense. Davante Adams has loved having Hundley around as he has led the team in targets in six of Hundley’s seven starts with four touchdowns over that span of games. Jordy Nelson, on the other hand, will be heavily anticipating a return by Rogers as has failed to exceed 35 receiving yards with no touchdowns since Hundley took over as the starter. Compare that to averaging 58 yards per game with six touchdowns in the first six games of the season with Rodgers, and Nelson suddenly becomes a viable fantasy option again with Rodgers under center.

This Panthers defense is fighting for a division title and coming off a very impressive outing against the Vikings in which they picked off Case Keenum twice while sacking him six times. Considering the fact that the Vikings had allowed just 14 sacks all season going into last week, grabbing six sacks in a single game against them is an absolutely outstanding showing by this Panthers pass-rushing group. The Packers have a bottom tier offensive line according to Matt Bitonti, so whoever plays at quarterback here should be under constant pressure. The Panthers secondary, however, has still given up plenty of yards and points to wide receivers in recent weeks as they are allowing the most receiving yards (203) and fantasy points per game to the position since Week 9. Opposing quarterbacks have also had success recently against the Panthers as they are passing for 276 yards per game with multiple passing touchdowns in four of the last six games. The Panthers are certainly more opportunistic with six interceptions over that last six-game span compared to only one in their first seven games, but the yards and touchdowns have still been there for opposing offenses. All three cornerbacks can be exploited here, so as long as Rodgers or Hundley have time in the pocket, the Packers receivers should have a great shot at getting open.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jared Goff passed for two touchdowns for the third straight game last week, but his yardage total and accuracy both slipped as he barely completed 60% of his passes for only 199 yards. Goff started well, but his production noticeably fell off with the loss of left tackle Andrew Whitworth to look after his blind side. Goff should expect his former favorite target Robert Woods to return this week after Woods has missed the last three games with a shoulder injury. Both Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp played 100% of the snaps last week with Robert Woods sidelined for the third straight week. Watkins must be loving not having Woods around as he has scored a touchdown in three straight games despite a relatively low workload with only three or four receptions in each of those outings and only 21 yards in last week’s game. Cooper Kupp has not seen a touchdown boost, but he has seen his production increase as he amassed two 100+ yard outings in those last three games, averaging just over 100 yards and six receptions per game compared to his 48-yard and four receptions per game average with Woods in the lineup. Todd Gurley also continued his steady level of production through the air last week as Gurley ranks behind only Alvin Kamara in receiving yards among running backs this season.

The Seahawks passing defense struggled for the second straight week as they let the Blake Bortles rack up 268 passing yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers against them in the losing effort. The Seahawks struggled to apply pressure with zero sacks last week while their secondary looked lackadaisical in man-to-man coverage for most of the game. They will have to deal with a much better offense this week as the Rams have one of the best running backs in the league behind a top tier offensive line and their top receiver coming back from injury. While this defense is not instantly a great matchup for opposing offenses, the Rams should have a much better chance at putting up numbers at this point in the season than they did in Week 6 due to how many injuries the Seahawks have been dealing with on that side of the ball.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense at Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jay Cutler is coming off his best game of the season, but he’s still not much of a fantasy option. All told, he’d actually be a fairly tough Week 15 sell as a QB2 if not for his prime defensive matchup. Cutler has been uncharacteristically gun-shy all year, throwing deep (15+ yards downfield) on just *****% of his throws. As a result, the Dolphins offense has been tragically built around low-impact check-down man Jarvis Landry, and Cutler’s downfield receivers have produced hit-or-miss numbers at best. DeVante Parker has taken a huge step back in 2017 – mainly by his own doing – and Kenny Stills doesn’t see consistent enough volume to truly matter for fantasy purposes. Cutler is generally more interested in throwing four-yard slants to Landry. We can’t merely discount Cutler’s Week 14 as nothing, but we do have to note the opponent (the Patriots pass defense) and the fact that if you’re a startable fantasy quarterback, 263 yards and 3 touchdowns shouldn’t be your season’s second-best performance.

The Bills pass defense is by no means a consistent one, but it’s no pushover, either. They’ve allowed 284+ passing yards to 4 of their last 9 opponents, with some dazzling lines given up to WR1s – A.J. Green, Mike Evans, Michael Crabtree, Michael Thomas, and Keenan Allen have all recorded 83-189 receiving yards in this matchup. The Bills do boast an impressive secondary, including rookie cornerback TreDavious White and ascending star safety Jordan Poyer. This unit can indeed flow aggressively through a game and limit a passing attack – they’ve shut down a handful of mediocre passing offenses, after all. But of late, it’s not manifesting on the stat sheet. It’s generally fair to chase efficiency, if not volume, in plays against the Buffalo defense.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

There’s always the hanging implication that Teddy Bridgewater is just one rough Case Keenum start away from taking over the job – he reportedly came very close to getting the nod four weeks ago. But Keenum continues to run this offense well, and he’ll likely close the season as the starter. Keenum has not only brought a relatively safe, solid presence to the Vikings’ quarterback spot. He’s also flashed dynamism, taking full advantage of his dazzling 1-2 wideout punch and producing touchdowns at a strong rate. Dating back to Week 8, he’s averaging 277 yards – topping 280 in 5 of those 6 games – and 2.2 touchdowns, with 2+ scores in 5 of the 6. In Adam Thielen, one of the league’s breakout stars in 2017, and Stefon Diggs, there’s more than enough explosiveness in this passing game to keep Keenum rolling along. Always note his floor, but enjoy the ride, and take heart that he has such dynamic talent to work with.

The Bengals pass defense has actually remained the team’s strength through a turbulent season. They’re allowing the league’s sixth-fewest passing yards (229 per game) and ninth-fewest touchdowns (1.23). Granted, most of those solid numbers have been built by facing a who’s who of poor passing games. The Bengals have predictably struggled against the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. This unit is strong, but not necessarily prohibitive; prolific passing games don’t have too much trouble working their way past. With both starting cornerbacks hurt – Adam Jones is on IR and Dre Kirkpatrick is uncertain after a Week 13 concussion – this unit could break apart going forward, and the Vikings’ emerging pass game could feast.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Derek Carr has really struggled to lead this Raiders passing offense for most of the season. Carr has played just three games in which his performance ranked him as a top-12 quarterback that week, and all three games came within the first seven weeks of the season. Since Week 8, Carr has just seven passing touchdowns with six interceptions. He has put up some yards, but simply is not scoring points and taking care of the ball. Michael Crabtree had a decent game in his return from suspension last week as he hauled in a season-high seven receptions from 13 targets for 60 yards. Those 13 targets easily led the team as the next closest to him last week were both Cordarrelle Patterson and Jared Cook with six targets each. Amari Cooper was banged up going into last week and tried to play, but he injured his ankle while blocking and could not finish. Cooper is expected to miss more time going forward and may not be available for the remainder of the season. Jared Cook bounced back from a couple dreadful outings as he hauled in five receptions for 75 yards and his second touchdown of the year, but after what we saw from Cook in Weeks 12-13, it is hard to trust him even when in a decent matchup.

The Cowboys did a great job against Eli Manning last week as they picked him off twice while allowing just one touchdown and 228 passing yards, however, stopping the Giants offense is not a feat worth boasting given the issues that team has had this season. Leading up to last week, the Cowboys secondary was getting toasted on a regular basis by opposing passing offenses as they were without Orlando Scandrick for the second straight week. This defense has also amassed only five sacks in the last five games with zero sacks in three of those five games, including last week. The Raiders offensive line has been excellent this season, so Derek Carr should be afforded some time to find his receivers here with both Michael Crabtree and Jared Cook having a decent shot at getting open against the Cowboys secondary, especially if Scandrick sits again.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense vs Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Seahawks had a tough time with Jaguars defense last week, but nonetheless, Russell Wilson still stacked up numbers as he finished as the fifth best fantasy quarterback of the week with his second straight three-touchdown game. Wilson did, however, struggle with the tight coverage by Jacksonville as he tossed three interceptions for the first time this season—all three going to Jaguars cornerbacks. Doug Baldwin has seen his usage drop in recent weeks with three or fewer receptions in three of his last five games, but he is still amassing decent yardage totals and finding the end zone on a relatively regular basis. Both Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett have been unpredictable, boom or bust plays for the entire season. Jimmy Graham had been the most consistent fantasy performer on the team outside of Russell Wilson, but his streak ended sharply last week as he laid a fantasy egg for the first time since 2014 as Graham was held with no reception on two targets while playing his usual range of snaps (67%). Graham had hauled in at least three receptions in each game and scored nine touchdowns in his last eight games leading up to last week, with the first of those coming against the Rams in Week 5. His yardage totals had not been spectacular, but that is to be expected from the routes run by a typical tight end.

The Rams defense struggled to contain a potent Eagles passing offense last week as they gave up 333 passing yards and four touchdowns while four different receivers posted 50+ yard outings. This game was a true shootout, so the 51 passes attempted by the Eagles must be factored into those numbers as that marked 13 more passes than any other team has attempted against the Rams in a game this season. The Rams still possess one of the league’s better secondaries with a top-tier duo of safeties in LaMarcus Joyner and rookie John Johnson who has come along well throughout the season and has back to back games with two passes defended. The Rams did allow three touchdowns to Eagles tight ends last week and have now allowed seven on the season, so look out for Jimmy Graham to try and bounce back.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jimmy Garoppolo proved again last week why he is a huge upgrade for this 49ers passing offense as he surpassed 300 passing yards for the first time in his career while leading the 49ers to their second straight victory. He wasn’t as accurate as he was in his first start, but he still played well both under pressure and with a clean pocket by making some impressive throws downfield. Marquise Goodwin was again his favorite target with a season-high 12 targets last week, hauling in six of them for 106 yards. Goodwin now has over 75 receiving yards in four straight games and is showing excellent chemistry with his new quarterback. While Carlos Hyde continues to be involved in the passing game, the rest of the weapon for Garoppolo remain suspect compared to Goodwin and Hyde.

The Titans defense played very well last week despite the losing effort caused mainly by their offense’s ineptitude. They did not allow a single touchdown by Arizona and sacked Blaine Gabbert eight times with seven different players chipping in on that effort. This was the second time in the past three weeks that the Titans have racked up eight sacks in a game. They have at least three sacks in each of the last four games, tallying a league-leading 23 sacks over that span when the next closest team has only 14. They have faced three very bad offensive lines in their last three games though, so the 49ers should be able to withstand this pass rush a bit better than those offensive lines of the Colts or Cardinals did. From a coverage perspective, the Titans have been up and down this season. Overall, they are allowing opposing wide receivers to score the 11th most fantasy points per game. Logan Ryan is their best cornerback in coverage, but he plays most snaps from the slot. Marquise Goodwin’s matchup will be the one to watch here. He moves around the field, but plays around half the snaps from the left side, meaning he should line up against Adoree Jackson. Jackson has played well as a rookie but has definitely been susceptible to big plays when heavily targeted.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jameis Winston’s midseason shoulder injury seems to have held back his 2017 majorly. In 2 games since returning he’s been solid from a fantasy perspective (270 and 2 touchdowns and 285-2), but mostly ineffective in reality. Winston has been a sack/giveaway machine, absorbing 10 sacks over those 2 games and coughing up 4 turnovers. Throughout 2017 he’s failed to capitalize on the presence of Mike Evans – the duo has connected for just 3 touchdowns all year – and can’t seem to create anything downfield at the moment. It’s probably fair to pin the blame primarily on his injured throwing shoulder, and Winston is far better than this. Remember, he averaged 316 yards and threw 10 touchdowns over his first 5 starts. But he’s always been an erratic decision-maker and thrower, and there’s a strong chance we won’t see Good Winston again all year. That dings the outlook for Evans, of course, but also for DeSean Jackson and tight end Cameron Brate, both of whom are generally dependent upon Winston to produce.

The Falcons carry a stout, if unspectacular, pass defense. They’re allowing just 232 yards per game, eighth-best in the league, as well as just 1.31 touchdowns. Still, those numbers have largely been skewed based on opposing quarterback quality. Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Drew Brees averaged and even Ryan Fitzpatrick posted 283 just 3 weeks ago. This is a strong unit, but not a prohibitive one. Top cornerback Desmond Trufant is having another great season as a sometimes-shadow cover man, but there are enough openings elsewhere that we shouldn’t flee Jameis Winston and company based on matchup.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Andy Dalton remains a solid NFL quarterback, but his fantasy prospects are rarely great. He’s generally dependent upon A.J. Green’s brilliance and heaps of red zone opportunity; when Green is plastered all day or the offense struggles, this is an exceptionally limited passing game. Dalton hasn’t reached 235 yards in any of his last 4 games, and he’s only topped the number 4 times all season. Mired behind a poor pass-blocking line, and without a dynamic downfield weapon beyond Green, Dalton looks like a weekly fantasy QB2 with tightly-capped upside. Luckily for him, Green is good enough to singlehandedly turn a blah passing day into a worthwhile one; he’s always an upper-tier fantasy WR1, and when the matchup looks conducive, Dalton typically joins him as in intriguing QB1/2 stack play. We just don’t get those fireworks very often.

The Vikings boast a truly stout pass defense, one that’s allowed just 3 of their 13 opponents to top 250 yards through the air. They’re giving up just 5.5 net yards per attempt, third-best in the NFL, and only 0.92 touchdowns per game (second-best). Shutdown cornerback Xavier Rhodes continues to harangue opposing WR1s; he played the lead role in neutralizing Julio Jones (just 2 receptions for 24 yards) in Week 13. Still, they’ve been beaten soundly in recent weeks by the likes of Robert Woods (8 for 81), Cooper Kupp (6 for 64), and Marvin Jones (6 for 109 and 2 touchdowns). All told, this remains one of the league’s better pass defenses, one that’s not as prohibitive against WR1s as their reputation suggests but fully capable of holding an overall passing game down.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matthew Stafford put up his second-highest yardage total of the season last week with 381 yards but threw two interceptions and just one touchdown as the Lions actually struggled to barely win over the Buccaneers. Stafford has been a top-five fantasy quarterback since Week 6, averaging 295 passing yards per game with 14 touchdowns over that span with just two games below 290 passing yards over that eight-game span. Stafford has also been absolutely locked in over the last two weeks as he has completed over 80% of his passes in back to back games. Golden Tate has hauled in 16 receptions over his last two games, tied for third-most among receivers over that span as he has been the apple of Stafford’s eye recently. Marvin Jones has not seen as many looks as Tate recently, but he has still been putting up decent numbers himself with an average of 88 receiving yards per game over his last eight games and three 100+ yard games over that span. Eric Ebron has also been heating up as he now has at least four receptions in four straight games, including a PPR explosion last week as he hauled in 10-of-11 targets for 94 yards. This big of a game was truly an outlier for Ebron though, as he had just 32 receptions on the season going into last week.

The Bears have really been playing well against the pass for most of the season, giving up ninth fewest passing yards and the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game against opposing quarterbacks. Racking up 35 sacks is solid for any defense at this point in the season as Akiem Hicks continues to play at a high level, leading the team in sacks with seven. Despite only snagging six interceptions, this Bears secondary has been very effective on the season. They have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in just three of 13 games this season with the pair of Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller locking down opposing receivers. We saw this in action last week as both cornerbacks and the rest of the Bears secondary did a great job shutting down AJ Green and the Bengals offense. This should be a fun matchup to watch with the Bears defense and Lions passing offense both playing at high levels right now, but the edge has to go to the Bears here as these cornerbacks are tough to get open on.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Chiefs passing offense has been all over the place this season, but in their first meeting, the Chargers got the most of Alex Smith and the passing game holding the Chiefs to just 155 yards passing. A big reason for this was the ability to take Travis Kelce out of the game holding him to just one reception for one yard in week three. Smith and company will need to get Kelce more involved this week as they kept him in to help block more than he has all season and potentially for good reason as Alex Smith was sacked five times in these two teams first meetings.

The Chargers pass defense continues to be one of the top units in football on the season as they are led by elite cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Trevor Williams. Over the last five games, the Chargers have allowed just 208 yards passing which is the fifth best in football and just four passing touchdowns which is tied for the best in football. This is a unit that is built at all levels to defend the pass whether it is pass rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa or safeties Trae Boston and Jahleel Addae this is a tremendous unit that has the opportunity to once again cause issues for the Chiefs as we saw earlier this season.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Jets Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

To the shock of any awakening pundits who went comatose during the preseason, the Jets’ promising 2017 may be torpedoed by the loss of Josh McCown. McCown had served as a strong (and occasionally dynamic) bridge/mentor type in the vein of 2015 Ryan Fitzpatrick, sitting 11th among regular starters in QBR and 14th in adjusted yards per attempt, which factors in touchdowns and interceptions. But McCown, injury-ravaged throughout his 15-year career, fractured his non-throwing hand in Week 14 and will undergo season-ending surgery. And as much as the Jets’ top two wideouts have achieved thus far, their fantasy floors coming crashing to Earth with Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg taking the reins. Petty and Robby Anderson did share a solid connection last year, but Petty is such a poor thrower that we can’t merely trust that that rapport will resurface. In Week 14 relief, he completed just 2 of 9 passes for 14 yards as the Jets posted four straight three-and-outs down the stretch. Hackenberg, who has failed for two years to unseat Petty as the No. 2, could be even worse. Simply put: without McCown, there’s little reason to prioritize Anderson or Jermaine Kearse, though tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins could hold some value as an exceptionally low-impact PPR option.

As expected, the Saints pass defense quickly returned to its impressive midseason form upon the return of cornerback Marshon Lattimore from injury. Lattimore’s outstanding rookie play had stabilized a long-awful unit; from Weeks 3-11, they’d allowed just 188 yards per game – second-fewest in the league over that span – and just 24.2 total fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts (third-fewest). They missed Lattimore terribly when he missed Weeks 12 and 13, but he returned last Thursday and helped hold the Falcons to just 221 yards through the air. (He also intercepted a target for Julio Jones, which snuffed out a Falcons drive late in the first half.) Lattimore is needed for this unit to succeed: the safeties and other cornerbacks have been subpar in coverage, and even with their star rookie healthy they’re wholly beatable downfield. But with Lattimore healthy and plugged back in, there’s a visible floor in place for opposing passing games. They’re certainly fortunate to face off against arguably Week 15’s worst starting quarterback (Bryce Petty).

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Titans passing offense has been grotesquely bad for the past few weeks. Marcus Mariota had one of the worst games of his career last week as he barely completed 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions with no touchdowns. Mariota now has more interceptions than touchdowns on the season and has failed to pass for more than 200 yards in three straight games despite some very favorable matchups. The Titans receivers have of course struggled statistically as a result of Mariota’s struggles. Delanie Walker has been one consistent factor as he is the most involved in the passing attack and continues to put up solid numbers for a tight end. Rishard Matthews made it back to the field last week after missing two games with a hamstring injury, but he was not a factor as Patrick Peterson covered him for most of the day. It is also worth noting that Mariota injured his knee when sliding at the end of a run in last week’s game, but he did not leave the game and is looking like he should be good to go this Sunday.

The 49ers defense has played poorly against the pass for most of this season. After a one-off great outing against the dreadful Bears offense, the 49ers went back to their old ways as they allowed a backup quarterback (TJ Yates) to pass for two touchdowns and 175 yards against them last week. This multi-touchdown game allowed marks the ninth time the 49ers have given up multiple passing touchdowns in a game, bringing their tally up to 23 passing touchdowns allowed (T-7th most). Cornerback Dontae Johnson has been a weak spot for this secondary all season. In a tough matchup with DeAndre Hopkins last week, Johnson allowed nine catches on 10 targets for 140 yards and a touchdown. He was actually benched early last week, but if he plays this week, he should be up against Rishard Matthews. While Matthews had a tough game last week, he should be back to full health and capable of putting up big numbers in this matchup if Marcus Mariota can get right after his recent struggles.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Washington Redskins Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kirk Cousins had his worst game of the season last week as he finished with season lows of 151 yards and a 55.6% completion rate. This was a tough matchup though as the Chargers have been playing very well against the pass. Leading up to that game, Cousins had passed for 220 or more yards in all but one game this season. Cousins ranks fifth in fantasy points among quarterbacks as he has been having a very solid season. Cousins spread the ball around last week as all of his receiving options struggled from a fantasy perspective. Jamison Crowder has been his most reliable option as he had surpassed 65 receiving yards in five straight games leading up to last week’s 34-yard outing. Vernon Davis contributed for the first time in a couple weeks as he led the team in targets and scored the only Redskins receiving touchdown, his second of the season. Davis had not been a big part of the game plan in the previous two weeks, but he was a big focus of Cousins’ last week and was even targeted on a few deep balls that barely missed.

The Cardinals looked good against a struggling Titans offense last week. This secondary has been playing much better in recent weeks and has been one of the most consistent playmaking units in the league. Despite only 13 interceptions on the season, the Cardinals have at least one interception in all but two games this season. Patrick Peterson has been a shut-down cornerback for most of the season and should match up on Jamison Crowder since he is the top target for the Redskins. Tramon Williams on the other side has had his challenges this season, but he had an amazing game last week allowing just three receptions with one broken up pass and an interception. While Cousins may put up some yards, his upside should be limited in this matchup.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Tom Savage is expected to miss this game this week with a concussion which means that T.J. Yates will draw the start for the Texans which likely means a lot of volume for Deandre Hopkins as Hopkins had 16 targets last week and 12 in the last time that Yates started a game. While Yates may be a familiar name due to starting a playoff game that was now six seasons ago and this will be just Yates’ second start since those two playoff games in 2011.

The Jaguars continues to be the best secondary in football with A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey leading the way at the cornerback position. On the season, this Jaguars team is allowing just 195 passing yards per game which is the best in the NFL. This should be a very tough day for the Texans who had just 174 passing yards but were sacked 10 times in that game for a net of just 110 passing yards in that contest. Since then, the Texans no longer have left tackle Duane Brown, so this pass rush could be all over T.J. Yates and company this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Jacoby Brissett has impressed, if only modestly, as the Colts’ starter. But he still hasn’t been particularly effective, averaging just 5.21 adjusted net yards per attempt (26th among starters) and just 0.92 touchdowns per game. Brissett has reached 225 yards in just 3 of his 12 starts, and while his mobility is a nice asset, it’s not enough to provide him with fantasy utility. As a result, of course, we’ve seen extremely limited contributions from the Colts receivers; these are the Dark Ages compared to their time with Andrew Luck. T.Y. Hilton has topped 30 yards in just 3 of his last 10 games, while Donte Moncrief sits even further from relevance than usual, with just 10 receptions over his last 6 appearances. The most consistent producer has been tight end Jack Doyle, who’s capitalized on Brissett’s lack of downfield confidence to produce solid PPR volume. But it hasn’t been enough to elevate his quarterback, and this remains an exceptionally dicey fantasy offense. It’s likely not worth exploring against the Broncos’ elite pass defense.

With cornerback Aqib Talib back in the fold, the Broncos pass defense again looked indisputably elite in Week 14. Granted, most of their day was spent defending Jets backup quarterback Bryce Petty, but it was an impressive showing nonetheless. Scorching Jets wideouts Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, in lockdown coverage by Talib, Bradley Roby, and world-class slot defender Chris Harris, combined for just 31 yards across 12 targets. This is still an exceptionally difficult unit to compile numbers against: through 13 games, only Tom Brady (266) and Derek Carr (253) have topped 250 yards. That said, they’re allowing 2.0 passing touchdowns a game, third-most in football. The play of the safeties has been generally poor, and the red zone defense has been less-than-impressive, so scoring on this unit has indeed been doable. We just have to rein in our volume/yardage expectations against these dominant cornerbacks.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Eli Manning surprisingly had by far his best game earlier this season against the Eagles throwing for 366 yards and three touchdowns in a typical Eli Manning game of years past. However, since that point, Manning has not been his normal self which even led to the benching of the quarterback two weeks ago. Manning has topped 225 yards just twice in his last nine games that he has started and has completed 60% or more of his passes just three times in his last nine games. Needless to say, this has been an atrocious season for the Giants with very little to play for this season.

The Eagles pass defense has been a top ten fantasy defense against the pass since they were embarrassed by Eli Manning in week three. The Eagles are allowing the eighth-fewest passing yards per game since that point which is over their last ten games and over the last four games have been the best defense in football against the pass as they are allowing just 180 yards per game and have allowed just one passing touchdown to opponents. A big reason for the emergence of this defense is the return of Ronald Darby who was injured in week one and has played tremendously since returning in week 11 which is the same point that the Eagles have been the best secondaries in football in terms of yards allowed and fantasy points allowed.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.