Win. Your. League.

Receive 3 Free Downloads More Details

Week 16 Passing Matchups

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

Jump to Rushing Matchups

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


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.


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense vs New York Giants Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Drew Stanton will start this game, replacing Blaine Gabbert as the starting quarterback for the Cardinals this week. Stanton was largely unimpressive in his three games that he has played this season as he has only completed 48.4% of his passes thus far. When Stanton was in the game, he locked onto two players, the first being Larry Fitzgerald as Fitzgerald had 23 targets in the two games with Drew Stanton as the starter, and the second being Jermaine Gresham as he had 12 targets in the two games with Drew Stanton as a starter. Gresham is questionable for this game, and if he is unable to go, expect Ricky Seals-Jones and Troy Niklas to be a heavy target option for Stanton. Niklas was on the field for all but one play last game with Gresham missing due to illness last week.

The Giants secondary is a disaster so far this season as they are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing receivers on the season as they have allowed 272 yards passing per game which is the second worst in the NFL and they have allowed 2.1 passing touchdowns per game which is the worst in the NFL. Over the last six weeks, they have not been much better at 269 yards passing and 2.0 touchdowns. The issue with this defense is that they just did not play up to expectations this season as Janoris Jenkins is now lost for the year, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has essentially taken himself out of the picture as his snap counts over the last two weeks have plummeted to just 50% of the snaps. Brandon Dixon was largely a non-factor last week as he was questionable, and Eli Apple played for the first time in five weeks after being a healthy scratch during that time. Simply put, this is a defense that came in with a lot of expectations this season and has been the worst unit in football.

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


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Mercifully, Joe Flacco has snapped out of his early- to mid-season funk and is back to turning wild volume into passable fantasy numbers. He’s topped 260 yards in 3 straight games and 4 of his last 6, with multiple touchdowns in 3 of them. Finally free of his preseason back woes, Flacco is testing downfield a bit more each week and utilizing Mike Wallace (92.3 yards per game over the past 3 weeks) to great avail. Jeremy Maclin looks unlikely for Week 16, but he’s fallen behind Wallace in the pecking order and his absence wouldn’t swing things much. Against the Colts, who tend to maximize their opponents’ passing opportunities, Flacco is poised to post his best fantasy day of the season.

The Colts pass defense continues to flail wildly as quite possibly the league’s worst unit. They’ve allowed more net yards per attempt (which considers sacks) than anyone in football, and a wide variety pass-catchers have found success against them. Through 14 games we’ve seen a whopping 20 different players post 60+ receiving yards, a list that includes the likes of George Kittle, Eric Decker, Taywan Taylor, Keelan Cole, and Cody Latimer. They’re just beatable for splash plays on all sides and levels of the field, and it seems the only force that slows things down for this unit is the game flow of a big Colts deficit. They’ve cratered even further since the loss of ascending star cornerback Rashaan Melvin, who at this point seems unlikely to return in 2017. The Ravens passing game is no great shakes, of course, but you could do much worse in desperation than targeting a Baltimore receiver in this matchup.

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


Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense at New York Jets Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Philip Rivers has enjoyed a generally great second half of 2017. Since Week 11 he’s averaged 315 yards and 1.8 touchdowns, posting 3 straight thoroughly dominant performances along the way. He hiccupped badly in Week 15, flailing to just 227 and 3 interceptions against Kansas City, but projects well against the Jets’ inexperienced and porous pass defense. Keenan Allen appears healthy after a scary Week 15 moment that saw him carted off the field, and he’ll spearhead a unit that will be without tight end Hunter Henry. As Allen goes – he’ll likely be in line for 12+ targets yet again, as well as a decent red zone role – so will go Rivers and the offense.

The Jets pass defense, an exceptionally inexperienced unit that starts two rookie safeties, has been predictably porous throughout 2017. They’ve allowed 250+ passing yards to 7 of their last 10 opponents, a list that includes not only elite passers like Tom Brady and Drew Brees, but also Alex Smith (366) and the Dolphins’ Jay Cutler/Matt Moore tandem (326). The pass rush has been hit-or-miss, but the major issues have been in coverage, an area where only cornerback Morris Claiborne has been any better than subpar. Since Week 5, the Jets have allowed a stunning 15 players to record 68+ receiving yards and/or 1+ touchdowns. That generosity has been spread around plenty, from WR1s (Devin Funchess, Demaryius Thomas, Michael Thomas) to dynamic deep threats (Tyreek Hill) to tight ends and backs (Travis Kelce, Mark Ingram). Simply put: this is a unit to target expressly with any competent passing game, and one that Philip Rivers shouldn’t have much difficulty brushing aside. Game flow looks like the only realistic impediment to a huge Rivers day.

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


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The top-10 Vikings passing offense continues to impress as Case Keenum had a near-perfect game against the Bengals last week. With an 87% completion rate for 236 yards and two touchdowns, Keenum basically had his way with that Bengals secondary. This game marks the third time Keenum has finished with a completion rate of over 80% this season and the fourth time in his last five games that he has played turnover-free football. Keenum’s high completion rate was facilitated by how often he found Jerick McKinnon on short, simple passes as McKinnon led the team in all receiving categories for his best receiving game of the season. Recent pro-bowler Adam Thielen had his worst game of the season, but that is not much to be concerned about as the Vikings really had no need to pass downfield in this game due to how badly they were blowing the Bengals out. Stefon Diggs has certainly cooled down as the season progressed, as he has no games above 80 receiving yards since his Week 5 injury after starting the season with over 90 receiving yards in three of his first four games. Kyle Rudolph has also been dealing with an ankle injury as of late, but he still suited up for 20 snaps last week before being quickly rested once the win was well within reach. With the Vikings now locked into the playoffs with a good shot at the first-round bye, they may elect to limit Rudolph’s snaps in these last two games.

The Packers secondary was again torched last week as they allowed Cam Newton to throw for four touchdowns and 242 yards. The Packers have now given up 13 passing touchdowns in their last four games—three more than the next closest team. This massive scoring rate, of course, ranks them atop the list of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks over the last month but also propels them up to having given up the seventh-most points to quarterbacks and sixth-most to wide receivers this season. Vikings receivers should have no problem against this secondary, with Stefon Diggs looking to have the best matchup of the bunch against Josh Hawkins on the right side.

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


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Nick Foles picked up right where Carson Wentz left off last week as he had an extremely impressive season-debut as a starter with 237 passing yards and four touchdowns. The Eagles look to have opened up most of the playbook to Foles as he spread the ball around pretty evenly to all of his primary weapons, throwing touchdowns to four different receivers while splitting 9, 9, and 10 targets between Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, and Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery has been their most consistent wide receiver as he now has seven straight games of at least 45 receiving yards with seven touchdowns over that span. Zach Ertz also had a nice game last week returning from his latest concussion. The big story to watch for the Eagles offense is whether or not the Vikings can pull off a win on Saturday. A Vikings loss would mean the Eagles have clinched the conference and could lead to many starters, such as Foles and Ertz resting for a portion of this game especially if the Eagles get out to a big lead. If the Vikings do lose, pay very close attention to the active/inactive list for this game and proceed with extreme caution. While this could be a risk this week, it is an even bigger risk next week.

The Raiders are just one of four teams that have allowed a passer rating of over 100 this season, ranking second in the league with a 102.6 passer rating allowed. They notably have only four interceptions on the season and have given up four 300+ yard passing games to opposing quarterbacks. The stats in recent weeks look great as the Raiders have taken advantage of weaker offenses such as the Broncos, Giants, and Elliott-less Cowboys, but this passing defense is still one that can be exploited. They rank dead last in the league against the pass using DVOA with a front-seven that has underperformed in rushing the quarterback for most of this season and a secondary that has been lit up on multiple occasions as just mentioned.

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


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Jameis Winston had one of his best games of the season last week, passing for 299 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers for just the second time in his last six games. This was Winston’s third three-touchdown game of the season, and he has now passed for multiple touchdowns and over 270 yards three straight games since returning from injury. Mike Evans finally saw his targets go back up to a typical level with eight targets, five receptions, 79 yards, and one touchdown. Evans is averaging just under 65 yards per game with only five touchdowns this season. He has failed to cross the 100-yard mark in a single game and has just one touchdown (last week) since Week 7. Needless to say, this has been a big letdown of a season for Evans. Tight end Cameron Brate may have an expanded role this week as he had been losing snaps to O.J. Howard at an increasing rate until last week’s game when Howard went down with a foot injury. If Howard cannot suit up, Brate could be in for a big day.

The Panthers passing defense gave up three touchdowns and 290 passing yards to Aaron Rodgers last week, but they also picked him off three times in the process as this unit has been making plays on a very consistent basis during the second half of the season. They are giving up the sixth most passing yards per game to quarterbacks since Week 8, but this secondary has also picked off those quarterbacks nine times over that seven-game span with five interceptions in their last two games. The Panthers have noticeably struggled with slot receivers as Captain Munnerlyn has been a big weakness for them. The Buccaneers do not use their slot receiver Adam Humphries very often, but he still has the best cornerback matchup on the team. Safety Mike Adams has done a great job at covering tight ends this season though, so look for that to be a downgrade for Brate.

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


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tyrod Taylor has the starting job to himself, but that’s not saying much, at least from a passing standpoint. Taylor remains a limited thrower handcuffed by a deeply conservative offense, one that rarely affords him the chance to create anything resembling fireworks. Taylor has thrown deep (15+ yards downfield) on just 16.6% of his attempts, completing just 35.4% (about 2 deep completions per game). As a result, he’s thrown for 225+ yards just twice over 11 full games, and he’s thrown multiple touchdowns only 3 times. Outside of LeSean McCoy and tight end Charles Clay, there’s virtually no dynamism in his supporting cast. Kelvin Benjamin is likely playing out the string of a lost, injury-ravaged year, while rookie Zay Jones still looks like a mess more often than not. Taylor is a weekly QB2 consideration due to his legs, but if his rushing is pinched off for the day, we can’t pencil in usable fantasy numbers with any confidence.

The Patriots pass defense has tightened noticeably over the past two months, but it’s debatable as to just how predictive that is week-to-week. Most of their statistical upturn has stemmed from an objectively weak stretch of schedule: they’ve neutralized the likes of Brock Osweiler and Nathan Peterman, but looked thoroughly beatable by Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler. All told, this is a unit that’s allowing the league’s fourth-most yards and sixth-most standard fantasy points per game. With a wildly up-and-down coverage unit and a pass rush that’s barely there, not even Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia have been able to stitch together a prohibitive group. We have to respect their ability to dominate this toothless Bills passing game, but we also have to brace for the possibility that Tyrod Taylor chases season-high numbers. This unit is more volatile than “bad,” and we’re likely to see one of those extremes.

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


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Cam Newton led the Panthers passing offense to a big win last week as he passed for 242 yards and four touchdowns—his second four-touchdown game of the season. Newton finished as the top fantasy quarterback last week, the fifth time he has finished within the top-5 this season. He has struggled with accuracy throughout the season, but it was not a problem last week as this was one of Newton’s best passing performances of the season. Turnovers have also been down as Newton has thrown just one interception in his last six games compared to 11 in his first eight games. Greg Olsen made his presence felt for the first time this season with a huge game last week as Newton was locked on to him, targeting Olsen 12 times resulting in nine receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. This game nearly tripled Olsen’s total stats on the season. Devin Funchess had a big let-down game, getting just four targets after leading the team in targets for three straight weeks. With Olsen appearing to be back in a groove with Newton, it will be hard to trust Funchess as we had earlier in the season.

The Buccaneers were proficient against Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing offense last week, but that was in large part due to how ineffective their run defense was, as the Falcons did not really need to pass too often with Devonta Freeman running wild. From a scoring perspective, the Buccaneers have actually done a decent job at limiting passing touchdowns in the latter part of this season as they have allowed just two multi-touchdown games since Week 6, helping keep them in the bottom half of most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. From a yardage perspective though, this Buccaneers defense still leads the league with an average of 271 passing yards per game allowed. Vernon Hargreaves remains sidelined as their cornerback group continues to struggle. Newton had a rough game against this defense earlier in the year, but this is still a good matchup for him to continue the success we saw last week. It is also worth noting that the Buccaneers have given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends.

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


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Mitchell Trubisky has been putting up some big numbers as of late, as over his last two games he has thrown for an average of 293 yards. This needs to somewhat be taken into context as while he threw for 314 yards last week, a lot of this was in garbage time in which the Bears were trailing 20-3 heading into the fourth quarter. Kendall Wright has emerged as Trubisky’s top target, as over his last two games Wright is averaging 12 targets per game. The problem with the Bears is that you never know when they are going to go with a run-heavy game where Trubisky plays a game manager role as in Trubisky’s three wins this season he has only thrown for an average of 18.3 times and in a one-point loss to San Francisco in which the Bears should have won, Trubisky only threw 15 times.

The Browns secondary has really struggled so far this season as they have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and have really struggled over the last four weeks as they have allowed 278 yards and 1.8 touchdowns per game to opposing offenses. Briean Boddy-Calhoun one of the bright spots for the Browns missed last week and looks to be highly questionable for this game which if he is unable to go puts a big hole at the slot corner position as Jamar Taylor is expected to move into the slot as he did last week. Taylor who is not a traditional slot corner last week gave up a big catch to Jeremy Maclin out of the slot early on in the game before Maclin left due to injury. One of the Browns big weaknesses is against the tight end as on the season the Browns have allowed the second most touchdowns to tight ends and the fifth most yards to opposing tight ends.

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


Detroit Lions Passing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Detroit offense functions almost entirely based on the production of Matthew Stafford and the passing game. That hasn’t provided Stafford the volume we’d expect – he’s thrown 35+ passes just twice over his last 7 games – but his extreme efficiency has kept his fantasy production solid. Stafford is averaging a meaty 280 yards per game, and he’s topped 290 in 6 of his last 9. It goes to show what having such a well-rounded and dynamic core of receivers will do for a passer. Golden Tate remains a fairly one-dimensional if electric producer as a slot/underneath target, while Marvin Jones has been one of 2017’s most explosive producers on deep balls and in the red zone. He’s generated the league’s seventh-most receptions of 20+ yards and posted a scintillating 14.8% touchdown rate; he’s a wild card but not quite as volatile as some similar de facto WR1s. Even hot-and-cold tight end Eric Ebron has strung together some consistency, posting 4+ receptions in 5 straight games.

In Week 15’s loss to the Vikings, the Bengals continued to demonstrate that their impressive pass defense of 2017 is generally limited to matchups with poor opposing quarterbacks. They’ve had little trouble neutralizing the likes of Jacoby Brissett and Brock Osweiler, but have struggled against Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and now Case Keenum. Besieged horribly by injuries – cornerback Adam Jones is on IR, while Dre Kirkpatrick and George Iloka look iffy for Week 16 – this unit looks thoroughly targetable for fantasy purposes. The pass rush is impressive, but there simply aren’t enough coverage chops downfield to shut down productive pass games.

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


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jacoby Brissett has been better than expected in Andrew Luck’s place, but still a bottom-tier passer (26th in adjusted net yards per attempt) and a suffocator of this passing game. Brissett has reached 225 yards just 3 times in 13 starts, and he’s posted more games of 0 touchdowns than of multiples. T.Y. Hilton has topped 50 yards just 4 times all season, Donte Moncrief continues to be invisible (just 33 yards per game), and low-impact tight end Jack Doyle has become the only weekly-viable option in the unit. Aside from his and Hilton’s weekly diets of 5-10 targets, we can project much with any sort of clarity, and that pair doesn’t even produce consistently. Both have their value in fantasy – as does Brissett, whose rushing at least puts him on the streaming map in decent matchups – but no one here boasts much dynamism at all. Luck is truly the lynchpin here and the line between electrifying and unusable.

The Ravens pass defense suffers mightily without top cornerback Jimmy Smith. You wouldn’t guess it from last week – DeShone Kizer was truly awful in gifting the Ravens defense a strong performance – but on the whole, it’s apparent just how much they miss their most impactful cover man. After allowing the league’s second-fewest yards and PPR points per game over their first 11, they’ve given up the most yards and 11th-most points since Smith went down. The pass rush remains strong, and rookie cornerback Marlon Humphrey has been quite strong. But there’s little coverage ability elsewhere, and opposing passers now have mismatches to exploit all over the field. The Colts don’t generally present a powerful passing game, but their capabilities could be maximized against this decimated unit.

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


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Blake Bortles continues to be one of the best stories of the season as there were a significant number of people who were legitimately angry that he won the job over Chad Henne to start the season, and Bortles has proven them wrong especially over the last three weeks as Blake Bortles is averaging 301 yards and 2.3 touchdowns per game. Even last week, when Marqise Lee left the game early, Bortles was able to utilize his other receivers particularly Keelan Cole who now has consecutive games with a 70-yard touchdown reception or longer.

The 49ers passing defense has been one in which has largely been untested for most of this season as the schedule that they have faced particularly recently has been very soft. Over the 49ers last six games, they have averaged allowing 216 yards and 1.8 touchdowns per game which is the 11th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, which on the surface looks like their unit is league average. However, when you factor in those six quarterbacks have been, Marcus Mariota, T.J. Yates, Mitchell Trubisky, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning, and Drew Stanton the only quarterback who scares you out of that group is Russell Wilson. From a personnel standpoint, Dontae Johnson who should be matched up with Keelan Cole has really struggled so far this season and K’Waun Williams has also struggled out of the slot. This could be a good opportunity for Bortles to continue his recent success.

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


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Alex Smith and this passing game continue to be a two-headed monster as the passing attack is going through Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce as it has been for most of the season. The script is changing a little bit however as Tyreek Hill ever since Matt Nagy took over the play calling has been the primary focus of this offense with three consecutive very strong games while Kelce is still getting targets there have not been as many deep down the field as he was seeing earlier in the season. This is an offense that is great in the sense that we know exactly where the volume in the passing game is going to go pretty much each week.

The Dolphins secondary has been one that on the season has been particularly strong against wide receivers holding them to just 129 yards receiving which is the fifth-fewest in football. While it would be easy to say that the Dolphins corners are good, they are by no means a top-five unit, but instead the wide receivers have been held in check because running backs and tight ends have had tremendous success against this Dolphins defense as their linebacking group is likely the second worst in football behind the Giants. Over the last six weeks, the Dolphins have allowed the third most passing yards to opposing running backs, and the ninth-most passing yards to opposing tight ends. This is a spot where both Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt could have huge games against this Dolphins defense.

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


Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense at Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jared Goff did not have to do much passing at all last week as the Rams blew the doors off the Seahawks very early in the contest, resulting in Goff finishing with just 120 passing yards from 21 pass attempts with two touchdowns and an interception. Goff showed to have lost no love for Robert Woods as he managed to feed Woods a team-high seven targets in Woods’ first game back from a three-week injury stint. Woods went right back to being the team’s top receiver as both Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins finished with only two receptions for 21 and 14 yards respectively. Todd Gurley also remains a consistent force in the passing game with his sixth game in a row of at least three receptions and his 11th game this season with over 25 receiving yards as he is now averaging just under 50 receiving yards per game with four receiving touchdowns.

The Titans gave up 381 passing yards in a sloppy loss to the 49ers last week. This game was the most passing yards they had allowed all season, and the third time they have given up over 350 passing yards in a game. After an impressive streak of playmaking with nine interceptions in their first eight games, the Titans have just one interception in their last six outings while allowing the second most passing yards per game (281) over that span. Logan Ryan has been their best cornerback, but he has been on and off the injury report in the last few games with a concussion, and now an ankle injury sustained last week. Leshaun Sims should draw most snaps against Robert Woods here, and Sims has been the worst cornerback on the Titans’ squad with the weaker of their two safeties, Johnathan Cyprien, covering that side of the field. The Titans have also struggled to cover pass-catching running backs this season, giving up the second-most receiving yards to the position despite their impressive efficiency against the ground game—a definitely bump up for Gurley.

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


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jay Cutler is potentially in his final games as an NFL quarterback. Cutler started off the season slow, but has actually been about league average since his first four games. Over his last seven games that Cutler started and finished, he has thrown for 226 yards per game with 2.0 touchdowns per game. The team is trying to integrate DeVante Parker back into the fold after struggling in the middle of the season as he had 12 targets last week. Unfortunately for Parker, he is dealing with an ankle injury and if he were unable to go this would open up the opportunity for Kenny Stills.

The Chiefs secondary is one that gives up a lot of yards but has been stingy on the touchdowns so far this year. On the season, the Chiefs are allowing 257 passing yards per game which is the eighth most in the NFL, but are allowing just 1.4 touchdowns per game which is the 11th best. Over the last five games, the Chiefs have been even better allowing just 0.8 touchdowns per game including shutting down the red-hot Los Angeles Chargers last week. From a personnel standpoint, this defense relies heavily on Marcus Peters who has played 100% of the snaps for seven straight games he has played in. With Peters returning from suspension, the Chiefs alternated Darrelle Revis and Terrance Mitchell on the outside opposite Peters which is probably their best bet as Revis is best in small sample sizes in order to keep him playing at a league average pace.

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


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Tom Brady has disappointed fantasy owners of late. In fact, dating back to Week 13, he’s just fantasy’s QB23 (standard scoring). He hasn’t been terrible over that span, of course, averaging 263 yards. But he’s completed just 62% of his throws, with 2 touchdowns to 4 interceptions It’s hard to write it off to cold weather, as he was most atrocious in Miami 2 weeks ago (a 59.5 passer rating and 12.3 standard fantasy points). The dip isn’t new for Brady, who’s struggled somewhat in December for years. His career adjusted yards per attempt, touchdown rate, interception rate, and yardage per game fall off semi-dramatically in December games, for whatever reason (probably a multitude of them). Brady is rarely bench-worthy, thanks to his ever-present upside in terms of volume and touchdown potential. But with fluctuating efficiency and bad marks in both opponent and weather outlook, this would be an intriguing week to pass in favor of a surging option in a better matchup. Again, it’s not advised, but there’s indeed some history behind the idea. Regardless, though, Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks remain matchup-destroyers, and either could flourish on a week in which Brady struggles overall; neither are avoidable in the slightest.

The Bills field one of the NFL’s more wildly variant pass defenses. On some weeks they’re fantastic, boasting ascending stars in cornerbacks TreDavious White and safety Jordan Poyer, both of whom have been fantastic in coverage for most of 2017. On others, though, they struggle mightily. This is a highly aggressive unit that could succeed using a heavy pass rush or a jumped route, and they’ve given up massive fantasy days to the likes of Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, and Derek Carr as well as a number of their receivers. Still, they’ve gotten healthy and tightened up so well over the past handful of weeks – including a strong showing against Tom Brady just 3 weeks ago (258 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception) – that I’m again thinking twice before blindly facing off against them in fantasy.

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


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Drew Brees’ high-efficiency, low-ceiling season rolls on, as the ultra-prolific future Hall of Famer continues to ride his dynamic running game and opportunistic defense to easy wins. Brees simply hasn’t had to throw to nearly his typical level since early in the season; as a result, he’s on pace for his lowest yardage and his first season of sub-30 touchdowns over his 12 years as a Saint. He’s still completing roughly 70% of his throws, and he’s always a common-sense threat to erupt on any given week. With the pace/volume and touchdown opportunity he’s afforded in a typical Saints shootout, we can never rule out his chances at 300 yards and multiple scores. But we have to keep those ceiling expectations in check. The Saints are semi-comfortable favorites, and they’ve spent most of their 2017 grinding out that status with their dominant run game. Recent history forces our hand to project Brees to a solid yet capped-impact day, though top wideout Michael Thomas continues to look good. He’s dominating Brees’ volume (28.5% of targets) and shredded these Falcons for 10 catches, 117 yards, and 1 touchdown just 2 weeks ago.

The Falcons pass defense has been effectively mediocre for most of the year. They’ve built solid numbers (just 5.8 net yards per attempt allowed, seventh-best in football), but done so on the back of a fairly easy stretch of quarterback scheduling. The top passers they’ve faced – Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Drew Brees – have averaged a sturdy 277 yards and 1.8 touchdowns. (Even Ryan Fitzpatrick chimed in with a 283-yard game back in Week 12.) The bottom line is that this is neither a particularly strong nor weak unit. Shutdown cornerback Desmond Trufant has posted another fine season as a sometimes-shadow man, and some opposing WR1s (like Doug Baldwin, Mike Evans, and the Vikings’ prolific duo) have indeed been slowed. But the rest of the secondary has enough holes to allow stronger passing games to find their spots. Brees’ second crack at this defense projects similarly to his first (271 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception), as does that of top wideout Michael Thomas, whose first go-round (10 catches for 117 yards and 1 score) was one of relatively few WR1 success stories against Trufant and company.

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


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense at Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger has been absolutely on fire of late, averaging 45 attempts, 345 yards, and 2.8 touchdowns over the last 5 weeks. He’s thrown for 281+ and multiple touchdowns in each game, rescuing his season from some of the worst efficiency numbers he’s ever posted. He’ll hit as hard a wall as a quarterback can in Week 16 with all-world mega-producer Antonio Brown sidelined, but all hope is not lost. This is a deep, eruptive passing game, one that can absolutely weather a Brown-less storm, if only on paper. In his last game without Brown – a 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff Game – Roethlisberger produced 339 yards, with Martavis Bryant (154 yards on 15 targets) leading the way. Roethlisberger may be missing the game’s best wideout, but he’ll throw to no shortage of dynamic weapons this week as usual. Bryant and rookie phenom JuJu Smith-Schuster both provide massive splash-play ability at wideout, while LeVeon Bell’s greatness extends to the short passing game and greatly boosts Roethlisberger’s fantasy opportunity. Considering the pristine matchup, Roethlisberger carries a QB1 projection and outlook, if one slightly less shiny and lustrous than if Brown were suiting up.

The Houston pass defense has been picked on relentlessly for most of the season, and it’s easy to see why. The team’s cornerback corps has been absolutely ravaged since last year, with ascending star A.J. Bouye thriving in Jacksonville and Kevin Johnson missing most of the season with various injuries. That’s to say nothing of top pass rushers J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus watching their 2017s end early as well; the unit’s decline has been sharp and devastating, to say the least. Even with Johnson back in the lineup, this remains an immensely shaky unit, one we can project the Steelers to work over even without the services of Antonio Brown. After all, they’ve allowed the league’s seventh-most pass yards (259) and second-most touchdowns (1.9) per game, and they’ve been roasted for 100+ yards by speedy wideouts in back-to-back weeks. These cover men will struggle to contain talented young wideouts Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster downfield.

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


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense vs Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Andy Dalton looks hopelessly defeated at the moment. He’s been pulled late in back-to-back blowout losses, hemorrhaging sacks and bad interceptions and clearly incapable of elevating this talent-starved offense on his own. Altogether, this passing game has generated just 381 yards (no touchdowns) over its last 10 quarters, and it’s hard to find optimism that that’ll turn around soon. Dalton has never been the most dynamic passer, and that’s amplified when he possesses only one proven starting-caliber receiver; no one outside of A.J. Green is creating anything worthwhile down the field. With one of the league’s worst pass-blocking lines up front and a backfield that’s been slimmed down by injury, this passing game doesn’t appear to be worthy of fantasy attention at the moment – aside from Green, that is. Even with his and the offense’s efficiency down, the mega-stud is still making plays downfield and maximizing the poor circumstances around him.

Darius Slay remains a strong shadow cover man, often (though not always) trailing the opponent’s best outside receiver. But overall, they’re still allowing opposing WRs to generate numbers. The issues seem to stem from the team’s non-Slay cornerbacks, especially slot man Quandre Diggs, who’s been roasted in recent weeks by Adam Thielen and Kendall Wright. With a hot-and-cold pass rush and breakdowns in the secondary, it’s shrewd to view this unit as an aggressive, ball-hawking group designed to create splash plays but not stop many by the opponent.

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


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

After a sharp performance in Week 14 by Dak Prescott and the Cowboys passing offense, they went right back into the dumpster last week as Prescott passed for just 212 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions against the Raiders bottom-ranked passing defense that had only two interceptions on the season going into that game. Prescott has been wildly inconsistent, and mostly awful, without Elliott in the lineup. This week, though, Elliott makes his way back to the field which should be a much-awaited relief for Prescott and the rest of this passing offense. Having Elliott should help open things up downfield for Dez Bryant to make a play as he now has back to back games with a reception of 40-yards or more after failing to cross that mark all season long. Temper expectations though, as having Elliott back will also likely entail the Cowboys leaning heavily on their ground game with limited pass attempts for Prescott against what is still a very talented Seahawks secondary despite their abysmal performance last week.

Speaking of the Seahawks defense, that unit was torched by the Rams in all facets of the game last week. With both Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas playing banged up, it was tough for the Seahawks to defend anyone, including Todd Gurley as they let him run all over them while also hauling in three receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown. From a statistical perspective, the Seahawks did hold the Rams to just 120 passing yards—but that does not tell the story as the Rams basically did whatever they wanted in that game. The Seahawks have given up the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers over the last three weeks. Dez Bryant has made some nice plays downfield, and things should be opened up with the attention that Seattle will need to pay to Elliott.

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


Houston Texans Passing Offense vs Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

T.J. Yates is likely locked into the starting quarterback role for the rest of 2017, and given the circumstances, that’s actually the Texans’ best-case scenario. Tom Savage was a true disaster under center, hemorrhaging sacks and turnovers as one of the NFL’s least dynamic passers. Yates, a relatively stable seventh-year veteran, brings at least a steadying force to the Houston pass game. He’s been scattershot (just 45.6% completions) and taken sacks on a near-Savage level in a game and a half of relief, but it’s important to note that most of those numbers were compiled against the Jaguars’ smothering pass defense. Yates is clearly the better option under center, and last week he showed most importantly that he’s willing to target DeAndre Hopkins relentlessly (13 targets) despite a matchup against stud cornerback Jalen Ramsey. As Hopkins goes, so goes this passing game – he’s gobbled up an absurd 34.7% of Texans targets on the season – so the most crucial characteristic the team would like to see in Yates is a rapport with the star wideout. If the two boast strong timing this week, they’ll likely spin WR1/2 gold even in another tough matchup. Otherwise, this is simply a fall-to-pieces unit. Given the massive hole in their upside outlook, it wouldn’t be wise to assign too much fantasy optimism here.

The Steelers pass defense, like the run defense, has slid markedly as 2017 has gone on. Once the league’s most statistically suffering units, they’ve allowed a whopping 285 pass yards per game (and 1.6 touchdowns) since Week 8. That run has included a handful of surprisingly strong fantasy days from Matthew Stafford (423 yards), Brett Hundley (245 and 3 touchdowns), and Joe Flacco (269 and 2). Last Sunday they simply had no second-half answers for Tom Brady and the Patriots weapons, who helped prove just how porous this unit can be in a variety of game scripts. Still, some help is on the way: cornerback Joe Haden should return for Week 16, and while he’s been up-and-down as a Steeler, he brings plenty of coverage chops to the matchup with DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is the engine behind the Texans offense, and he’ll find a way to produce at least somewhat regardless of the defensive personnel; he’s done it all year. But Haden could represent the stark difference between the suffocating early-season Steelers pass defense and this recent rag-doll unit. It makes plenty of sense to expect something of a turnaround here, but there’s enough uncertainty for us to treat this matchup as a neutral one until we see it.

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


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Seahawks offense could not get anything going at all against the Rams last week as Russell Wilson had his worst game of the season. Wilson completed fewer than 50% of his passes and accumulated less than 150 passing yards for the first time this season. This was also the first time since Week 5 that Wilson failed to pass for multiple touchdowns in a game. The Rams were constantly in his face last week as Wilson was under pressure on virtually every drop back, taking seven sacks on the day while completing more than one pass to just two wide receivers. The Seahawks offensive line had been playing better lately also, but a matchup with the Rams defensive front can make any offensive line look like a group of rookies. This entire offense had a horrible day statistically last week, but they will look to get back on track in a softer matchup with the Cowboys.

The Cowboys secondary has stepped up their coverage over the past three weeks, allowing just 217 passing yards per game despite giving up five passing touchdowns over that span. Cornerback Anthony Brown had been having a horrible season and even was benched for the majority of snaps in Weeks 13-14, but he saw more playing time last week with the Orlando Scandrick still out, and Brown actually had a great game with three pass breakups on the seven times he was targeted. Chidobe Aquzie has also been playing well since he has seen more playing time in the last three weeks. The Cowboys still have a weakness at safety in addition to a huge weakness at defensive line as they had yet another game with zero sacks last week (zero sacks in four of their last six games now). The cornerbacks can only do so much with limited help over the top and little pressure being applied to the opposing quarterback. They get a better matchup this week against a weak interior Seahawks offensive line, but Russell Wilson should be able to extend plays long enough to find his guys here.

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


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing game simply can’t get on track as a productive unit. Even in cherry matchups, there just isn’t enough volume or dynamism here to project them beyond 225-250 weekly yards. The touchdown outlook isn’t great, either: Ryan’s touchdown rate has tumbled mightily from last year’s explosion, and with limited red zone opportunity, he’s notched just three scores over the past five weeks. Simply put, there just isn’t enough aggressiveness here to truly take advantage of Julio Jones’ and Austin Hooper’s dynamic games, and the Falcons’ slow pace trims their opportunities for splash plays and scores. This passing game is unlikely to ever truly bust a week, especially against a shaky secondary like this. And we don’t want to lose sight of Jones’ ever-present upside. But it’s hard to sanely project Ryan and company beyond 225-250 yards and generally disappointing production.

This Saints pass defense, once a league-wide laughingstock always ripe to target in fantasy, has rapidly blossomed into a weekly strength. Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore has made a world of difference in his return from a knee sprain. Across Weeks 3-11 and 14-15 (sandwiched around Lattimore’s injury), the Saints have allowed just 190 yards per game (second-fewest in the league). That includes an impressive shutdown of Matt Ryan (221 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions) and this Falcons passing game just 2 weeks ago. There’s even some depth in play here: fellow cornerback Ken Crawley has been a pleasant surprise, and safety Kenny Vaccaro has had an upper-tier season in the slot.

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


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Duke Johnson put it best this past week when he said that DeShone Kizer’s confidence was shot at the moment. Kizer has been playing horrendously, and you could make the case that he really should not be playing at all for this Browns team. Kizer has thrown five interceptions in his last three games and 19 on the season compared to just 9 touchdowns. The Browns are continuing to try to force the ball to Josh Gordon who has 28 targets in his first three games as a Browns receiver, but has just 12 receptions on the season as the defenses are either covering him, the pass is overthrown or the pass was dropped as Gordon has dropped several passes that he should have caught so far this season.

The Bears secondary has been a solid unit so far this season led by veteran Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller on the outside. The Bears have failed to allow a quarterback to go over 300 yards since week one when Matt Ryan was able to do it, and a big part of that is how slow the Bears play. The Bears have only one opposing quarterback who has thrown the ball 40 times or more which in this day and age in the NFL is incredible as they want to get in a game where both teams run the ball as they are the fourth slowest team in the NFL this season and the slowest in the first half or when the game is in a neutral situation meaning the game is within seven points. This has played a big factor into why the Bears have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks on the season.

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


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Brock Osweiler was back in action last week as Trevor Siemian was knocked out of last week’s game with a season-ending shoulder injury. The Broncos coaching staff reacted well to Osweiler’s sudden appearance by leaning heavily on their run game to limit his pass attempts, as they have seen by experience that Osweiler can throw interceptions with the best of them from the four interceptions in three starts he gave them this season. The combination of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders predictably dominated the targets here as they finished with similar stat lines. Sanders had to exit the game early with an ankle injury that has him day to day coming into this week. Thomas has by far been the more reliable Broncos receiver as he has finished with at least five receptions in seven of the last eight games with four touchdowns over that span. This season has still been a disappointing one for Thomas though, as he is on pace for his lowest single-season yardage total since becoming a regular starter in 2012.

The Redskins have been an up and down passing defense for most of the season, either allowing huge games with multiple touchdowns or completely shutting down an opposing offense. Last week, it was the latter as they silenced the Cardinals passing game. This week looks like it could be much of the same due to unreliable the Broncos offense has been for much of the season. The Broncos have allowed 13 sacks and five turnovers in their last four games. The Redskins have 12 sacks and three interceptions over that same span of games. Slot cornerback Kendall Fuller has been having a very impressive season, as he has yet to allow over 38 receiving yards in a game this season while ranking among the best in the league in fewest yards allowed per route covered. On the other hand, Josh Norman and Brashaud Breeland have been just average covering outside receivers this season. Norman is no longer playing as the shut-down cornerback from his days in Carolina, but he has definitely been serviceable throughout the season and a big part as to why this Redskins secondary is giving up just the 10th fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. The Broncos offense should be expected to have a tough time with this top-10 passing defense.

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


New York Giants Passing Offense at Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Eli Manning is coming off of his best game of the season as if he could play the Eagles every week the Giants would be in a much better spot than where they currently are at. Manning in his two games against the Eagles has thrown for an average of 400 yards and three touchdowns per game against a very good defense. The rest of Eli’s season has been a struggle as he does not have a 300-yard game. Sterling Shepard had a huge game last week which we have seen a few times this season, but the real story is Roger Lewis having 21 targets in his last two games which shows that he can be a player who continues to have a role in this offense.

The Cardinals passing game is one in which is playing much better than where they were at when they started the season which was basically target whoever is not being covered by Patrick Peterson as they will be wide open all game. A big reason for the turnaround is simply personnel as Budda Baker has been playing great football at the strong safety position who was out early in the year and Tramon Williams who also was out to begin the season has been one of the best cornerbacks in the league since his return. There are two spots that the Cardinals can be beaten, the first is out of the slot when Tyrann Mathieu steps down to be the slot corner out of the nickel formation, the second is the Cardinals have struggled against pass receivers out of the backfield which could lead Wayne Gallman to a big day through the air.

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


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Derek Carr continued to struggle last week as he completed only 55.3% of his passes for171 yards and two touchdowns, with a very costly goal-line fumble that otherwise could have won them the game. Carr has now seen his completion percentage decline in four consecutive games as accuracy has been a very noticeable issue for him. He did have a pair of touchdowns last week, but both were goal line passes to Michael Crabtree. Crabtree had a massive week from a target perspective as Carr threw his way 17 times, but those 17 targets still resulted in only seven receptions for 39 yards and those couple of goal-line touchdowns. With Amari Cooper still sidelined, we can expect another high-volume week out of Crabtree here—but Carr’s accuracy will be a big wild card in whether that volume turns into anything from a fantasy perspective.

The Eagles will be a very tough matchup for this struggling Raiders passing offense. This defense ranks ninth against the pass using DVOA, with most of their passing yards coming in garbage time as the Eagles have led entering the fourth quarter in the vast majority of games they have played this season. They did have a massive breakdown against the Giants last week though as the Eagles allowed Eli Manning to pass for 434 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles have now given up eight passing touchdowns in the last three weeks after allowing only 14 through their first 12 games of the season, but that is in large part due to the quality of opponents they have faced recently. This Eagles team still has an extremely fierce pass-rush along with a solid secondary unit that should have few issues with the Raiders. The big thing to watch here, however, is the outcome of the Saturday’s matchup between the Vikings and Packers. If the Vikings pull off a win, the Eagles may decide to give some of their starters early rest since the division will have been clinched. If that is the case, the matchup for Derek Carr and team would slightly improve.

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


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense vs Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Marcus Mariota had his first multi-touchdown game since Week 9 last week as he passed for 242 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. This was a solid outing compared to what we have seen for most of this season as it has been a very tough year for Mariota and the Titans passing offense. The only relatively reliable fantasy contributors here have been Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews. Walker continues to lead the team in targets on almost a weekly basis and has picked up his scoring with touchdowns in three of his last four weeks. Rishard Matthews has also scored in three of his last six games and has an encouragingly solid performance last week after the dud he put up in Week 14 just after returning from a hamstring injury. Matthews appears to be healthy now and was a great downfield target for Mariota last week as four of his five receptions went for over 20 yards.

This Rams defense was flat out dominant last week, and a big part of that was their extremely impressive pass rush. This front seven has been on fire in recent weeks, amassing 15 sacks and 61 quarterback hurries while contributing to forcing five turnovers over their last three games. Aaron Donald alone had three sacks and five hurries on just 31 pass-rushing snaps in what was one of his best games of the season. The Titans have an offensive line that should match up well against the Rams though, so this will be a good matchup in the trenches to watch. From a cornerback perspective, the Rams have certainly shown some weaknesses at times—but this secondary has still done a great job on the year by giving up just the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Cornerback Troy Hill is a name to watch as he has seen more playing time in recent weeks and gave up just one catch on four targets while playing all 57 snaps last week, but he has not shown much outside of that in his short career. Corey Davis should draw most snaps against Hill, while Rishard Matthews will likely be covered by the Rams’ top cornerback Trumaine Johnson.

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


Washington Redskins Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kirk Cousins had a better game last week but has now finished with fewer than 200 passing yards in back to back games for the first time since the 2013 season. Cousins did a good job at protecting the ball last week though, as he completed nearly 70% of his passes with his first turnover-free game in four weeks. These last two weeks have been highly off-script from the season Cousins had been having, as he was near the top of the league in both pass attempts and yards through the first 13 weeks. Jamison Crowder continues to be his most dangerous and reliable weapon through the air as was back to leading the team in targets last week, finishing with 55 yards and a touchdown. Crowder had a tough outing in a bag matchup with the Chargers in Week 14, but outside of that game, he has exceeded 50 receiving yards in six of his last seven outings.

The Redskins will draw a Broncos defense that has looked much better against the pass in recent weeks in large part due to extremely favorable matchups against the struggling Bears, Jets, and Colts offenses. The weakness for this passing defense has been touchdowns, as they are tied for the fifth-most passing touchdowns allowed on the year compared to their 189 passing yards allowed per game, which ranks them second-best in the league. From a DVOA perspective, Denver currently ranked right in the middle at 15th against the pass. However, this unit still has some an immense amount of talent on the field. All three cornerbacks can be considered elite, so the only upside that can be seen for a Redskins wide receiver would be on big plays as safety has been a notable weakness for the Broncos this season. Where there is a true matchup advantage will be at tight end, as Vernon Davis should be covered by one of these Broncos safeties. The Broncos have given up some big games to tight ends this season, including eight touchdowns (T-3rd most) and 902 receiving yards (2nd most)—good for the third most fantasy points per game allowed to the position this season. Much of this has been by nature of the funnel created by how talented the Broncos cornerbacks have been, but situational or not, this is a matchup that Davis should have a chance to take advantage of if he can get some targets.

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


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

All we get is one week of the much-anticipated return of Aaron Rodgers before he is shut back down for the season, placed on injured reserve this past Tuesday. Rodgers clearly did not look right as he struggled in his return last week with just a 57.8% completion rate and three interceptions. Yet, Rodgers still managed to pass for 290 yards and three touchdowns, making for decent fantasy outing. When Brett Hundley passed for three interceptions on two occasions earlier this season, his fantasy stat line came nowhere near that of what Rodgers was able to do last week. Hundley will be back under center for the rest of the season for the Packers as they have officially been eliminated from the playoffs after last week’s loss. The other big news for the Packers will be the status of Davante Adams, who suffered a concussion in last week’s games at the hands of an illegal hit from Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. There is a chance that Adams is shut down for this game, and maybe even the season, so keep a close eye on his status. If Adams sits, Jordy Nelson may actually make an appearance while Randall Cobb should have an even better chance at continuing his recent success as Cobb is coming off 15 receptions in his last two games.

The Vikings defense continued their impressive season last week as they suffocated the Bengals offense, limiting Andy Dalton to just a 50% completion rate with 113 passing yards and two interceptions in the blowing victory. The Vikings have now held opposing quarterbacks under 200 passing yards in three straight games with only one passing touchdown allowed and three interceptions over that span. They did not face unproven talent over this span either, as the quarterbacks they shut down included Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, and Andy Dalton. The Vikings have shut down nearly every quarterback they have faced this season, and they are doing a great job overall at limiting fantasy scoring from all offensive positions playing against them. There are no visible matchups to be exploited for this defense, which should make for a very tough day the Packers as nearly double-digit underdogs at home this week.

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


New York Jets Passing Offense vs Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Jets’ season was virtually done even before Josh McCown was lost for the remainder of it, but now it’s effectively on ice with bottom-of-the-barrel quarterbacking. Bryce Petty isn’t a terrible passer, and he’s even a moderately solid one-off backup option in today’s quarterback climate. But like most mid-level backups, he’s also a one-speed, one-dimensional check-down artist that appears incapable of creating many fantasy-worthy fireworks. Over 39 attempts in last week’s start, he generated an anemic 179 yards and threw 2 interceptions. He’s a scattershot passer who presents a surprisingly heavy decline from McCown. The silver lining here is Petty’s apparent connection with Robby Anderson. Dating back to last year, Anderson averages 69.8 yards across Petty’s 5 extended appearances. Given the body of Anderson’s breakout 2017, we can at least hope for decent volume and one deep-ball connection to create unexpected fantasy utility. Realistically, though, it’s just hard to expect much on the whole from a Petty-led offense. This unit is currently looking to hide its passing game and play out the 2017 string.

The Chargers pass defense remains one of the league’s best. They boast a dynamic pass rush and exceptional cornerback play. Casey Hayward has been arguably the league’s best shadow cover man in 2017, while second-year undrafted Trevor Williams has broken out of obscurity in a major way. The pair grades fantastically in coverage and has contributed majorly in erasing top wideouts like Demaryius Thomas (2 receptions for 9 yards), Brandin Cooks (5 for 26), and Dez Bryant (3 for 37). That said, they’ve allowed a handful of successful deep balls of late, including a 64-yard Tyreek Hill touchdown from last week on which Hayward simply couldn’t hang in terms of footspeed. This unit can be stifling and disruptive, but isn’t unbeatable by any means. In the hands of a better quarterback, the Jets would have a vulnerability or two to take advantage of this weekend.

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


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

It’s absolutely amazing that the 49ers were able to get Jimmy Garoppolo for just a second-round pick with how good he has looked this season as the starter of this 49ers team. Garoppolo has completely turned this team around as they have now won three of their last four and this team has turned Marquise Goodwin into a wide receiver who is extremely productive in this system as he has gone for 99 yards or more in each of his last three games. If there is one flaw in the passing game for the 49ers it has been the sacks as Garoppolo has been sacked seven times in his first three games and this offensive line has been poor for most of the season in pass protection.

The Jaguars secondary continues to be one of the top units in football. The stats explain most of it as they have only allowed four quarterbacks to throw for over 225 yards, three quarterbacks to throw for two or more touchdowns, have 20 interceptions this season, and have 51 sacks on the season. This secondary is led by two of the best cornerbacks in football in A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey and this defensive line is led by two of the best pass rushers in Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue who was snubbed from the Pro Bowl when the rosters came out this week.

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