The Docket: Week 15

A rundown of all the matchups, including notes on all the best players to start, sit and stomach in Week 15. 

Welcome to Week 15 of The Docket, a weekly column that offers strategy and advice on players that you should be targeting and avoiding each week. We bring the energy each week with the positive, neutral and negative charge.

Dolphins vs Jets (+2.5 o/u 38)

Weather: 51 degrees with a bit of rain and 10-15 MPH winds

Dolphins

Neutral 

  • Jay Ajayi – The Jets are a tough run defense on most runs, but they are also giving up a bunch of big runs every game, like they did last week, allowing Hyde to run for 193 yards last week, Frank Gore (79 yards) the week before and Blount (67 yards on just 11 carries) the week before that. Overall they are giving up 23.4 FPG over last 4 games, although some of that is inflated due to Hyde’s huge game. With his offensive line healthy, I think the Dolphins will stay committed to Ajayi enough for him to return solid RB2 value, especially with Matt Moore under center, although a monster game is probably not in the cards playing on the road.
  • Jarvis Landry – In PPR leagues he’s a solid bet for WR2 value every week due to volume, but with Matt Moore at the helm, it’s a risky bet for many TDs, which really isn’t Landry’s game anyhow. That said, the Jets are much easier to pass on then throw on, so there will be plenty of throws in this one too.

Negative 

  • Matt Moore, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills – The Jets are giving up 34 FPG to opposing WRs over last 4 games and are certainly easier to pass on than to throw on, but I don’t have weekly confidence in these guys to begin with, let alone on the road with Moore under center. That said, Moore may not be much of a passing downgrade from Tannehill. 

Jets

Positive

  • Bilal Powell – With Forte out, Powell slots in as a true workhorse back that can get it done on all three downs. He exploded last week for 145 yards and 2 TDs, adding another 5/34 through the air. Granted, that was against the 49ers, the worst defense in the league, so don’t expect that sort of explosion; it just isn’t going to happen. That said, Powell carried the ball 29 times and I think the Jets will give him 20+ carries this week easily.

Neutral

  • Robby Anderson – The backup QB to backup WR connection is really, especially if that backup WR is actually talented. Anderson stands 6’3” and ran a 4.36 at his pro day coming out of college last year.  He’s seeing an insane number of targets, occupying over 31% of Petty’s passes last week, going 6/99 on 11 targets, after seeing 12 targets and going 4/61/1 the week prior. While the catch rate isn’t amazing, volume is king and he is seeing a ton of it against a Dolphins secondary giving up nearly 40 FPG to opposing WRs over last 5 games. One word of caution, now that Petty has been practicing with Marshall and Enunwa for three full weeks, this backup-to-backup could come to an end at any time. But I say keep riding it against this suspect secondary. 

Negative

  • Brandon Marshall, and Quincy Enunwa – With QB Petty under center it’s tough to trust either of these guys, even in a solid matchup. Hopefully Petty stops relying on his boy Anderson and check downs to Powell, but it’s a risk to guess that will happen this week.

Browns vs Bills (-10 o/u 41.5)

Weather: Real Feel 17 degrees with snow and 12 to 20 MPH winds

Browns

Neutral

  • Isaiah Crowell – HC Hue Jackson wants the run game to be the foundation of this offense, so they should go back to Crowell after a solid game last week, especially since there are calls of snow flurries, with 15 MPH winds and a real feel of 17 degrees. He makes for a decent play against a Bills defense that is getting gashed on the ground giving up 31 FPG over last four weeks to opposing RBs and are without DE Kyle Williams, which hurts big time. Sneaky play in all formats.

Negative

  • Terrelle Pryor – RG3 killed him last week and could very well do the same this week, especially in this weather, but I remember those pre-season bombs and I think they take some shots to him this week. He’s a major risk, but if you roll him out as your WR3, that risk has some big upside.
  • Corey Coleman – He saw 11 targets last week, but unfortunately just 3 catches for a measly 26 yards. It’s tough to trust him, but like Pryor, I think there is some upside as long as you are relying on him as no more than your WR3.
  • Duke Johnson and Gary Barnidge – Far too tough to trust either guy with RG3 under center in DFS or season long.

Bills

Positive

  • LeSean McCoy – Per Mr Lord Reebs at Rotoworld, the Browns give up 3.7 TDs on the road while the Bills average 3.7 TDS at home, so TDs will be scored and McCoy is the guy to do it since they Browns allow the second must rushing yards per game, giving up 25.6 FPG over the past four weeks. He’s a top play at the position this week.
  • Sammy Watkins – Sammy has a few weeks under his belt and this is the spot where he will go off. He’s far and away the Bills best receiving option outside of McCoy, so expect solid WR2 production with WR1 upside. He will be covered by CB Joe Hadden who has fallen off the planet after getting paid, coming in at PFF’s 90th rated CB.

Neutral  

  • Tyrod Taylor – The pressure is on, but I think he gets it done in the air and on the ground. If you are looking for a cheap DFS play, he makes for a great reach this week. 

Packers vs Bears (+6.5 o/u 40.5)

Weather: -7 with 12 to 20 MPH winds

Packers

Positive

  • Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson – Start these guys with joy and glee, as they will get you points this week. While the yardage may not be huge, this is a pass first team and all these guys do is score TDs.

Neutral  

  • Aaron Rodgers – Neutral?  Why is Rodgers a neutral? Despite what people think the Bears actually play pretty good defense, especially at home, giving up only 18.7 FPG to opposing QBs the last past five weeks. I’m not saying to bench Rodgers in season long, but this won’t be one of those huge Rodgers weeks, especially playing in -7 (yes, negative seven) degree weather that will feature blistering 12 to 20 MPH winds.
  • TY Montgomery – He’s their lead running back and will get carries and at least 3 to 5 targets in the pass game. In Fantasy leagues where he is still listed as a WR, he makes for an intriguing WR3 with upside since you at least know he will get touches.

Negative

  • Randall Cobb – It’s hard to trust Cobb these days, but if you need him at least he has averaged over 18 FPG the past three games against the Bears and besides the weather there is nothing scary about his matchup in the slot.  
  • Christine Michael – They would love it if Michael stepped up, but he played on less than 30% of the teams snaps last week, although he did at least log 10 carries. If you are absolutely desperate, he’s at least someone that should see 8 to 10 touches this week, but he’s a real reach at this point.

Bears

Positive             

  • Jordan Howard – The Packers have played great defense at home, but they are back on the road and giving up 5.1 YPC over the past five weeks. Howard is the foundation of this offense and he tore apart a much better Viking’s run defense at home, so lock and load him as a RB1.

Neutral

  • Alshon Jeffery – The Packers have one good corner in Ladarius Gunter, who naturally plays on Alshon’s side of the field. But Gunter is not a lock down guy, Alshon is well rested and he knows he needs to play well down the stretch to get paid in free agency this year. If you have him in season long trot him out without a second thought, in DFS he will probably be under owned.
  • Cameron Meredith – He has a great matchup on the other side of the field against CB Micah Hyde, PFF’s 87th rated corner. With Alshon back, Meredith should get a fair share of one-on-one looks that he can exploit. It also helps that he has back-to-backup mojo with Matt Barkley.
  • Matt Barkley – Speaking of Barkley, for those in need of a streamer or for those who just lost Tannehill, Barkley is a viable reach this week. Once again, this Packers defense is playing better, but also much better at home and are still giving up 24.5 FPG to opposing QBs the past five weeks. He’s been playing well and Alshon, Meredith and Howard make for a solid trio of weapons. Weather is just something to pay close attention too, negative seven is bone chilling, and at least he has big hand. No really, he has big hands.

Negative

  • Marquess Wilson – He may be back this week, which would be huge for Barkley, but I’m not sure if he will get the passes, or if it will be Meredith or Alshon.

Titans vs Chiefs (-5.5 o/u 42)

Weather: Cloudy and 16 Degrees 

Titans

Neutral  

  • DeMarco Murray – You’re getting him in your lineup every week and he is looking good as their clear lead back. This week presents a tougher matchup against a Chief’s defense giving up just over 19 FPG the past five weeks. He gets it done every week, but maybe a fade in DFS.
  • Marcus Mariota – He’ll get sacked, he’ll make some mistakes, he’ll throw a pick six, but he’ll also throw at least 2 TDs and probably get some yards on the ground against a Chiefs defense giving up 22.2 FPG to opposing QBs the past 5 weeks.
  • Kendall Wright – Sneaky play of the week alert!!  Yes, the Chief’s have been gashed in the slot and even though Wright is a part time player, he should abuse Steven Nelson, PFF’s 89th ranked CB.

Negative

Chiefs

Positive

  • Travis Kelce – That makes four games in a row with over 100 yards for Kelce and the Titans do have a weak secondary. While the Titans are giving up only 5.4 FPG to opposing TE’s the past five weeks, they also haven’t faced a decent tight end since Week 4.
  • Tyreek Hill and Jeremy Maclin – The Titans were giving up 51.3 FPG to WRs the last 5 weeks, and then Sanders and Thomas went off against them last week for over 100 yards each and a combined 21 catches. Hill is a solid WR2 and Maclin is a WR3, with upside now with one game back under his belt.

Neutral

  • Alex Smith – Tough to trust him in your fantasy playoffs, but the matchup couldn’t be better against a Titans defense giving up a monster 27 FPG to opposing QBs the past five weeks.
  • Spencer Ware – He’s a better standard league play against a tough run defense. At least he’s getting volume, but there doesn’t seem to be much upside unless he gets some goal line runs. In standard leagues he’s a RB2, in PPR more of a flex.

Jaguars vs Texans (-6 o/u 39)

Weather: Dome

Jaguars

Neutral

  • Marqise Lee – He’s been a steady option for them and their best receiver this season. He also has by far the best matchup against CB Robert Nelson with Jonathan Joseph still out. He’s a great bet for at least five catches.
  • T.J. Yeldon - With Ivory still limited he has PPR value since he will see a ton of volume, even against a tough Texans front 7. He's more of a RB3, but as good a shot as any to score. 

Negative  

  • Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson and Julius Thomas – Another tough game with a projected low scoring affair, with Vegas thinking the Jags are going to score only around 16 points. Robinson will also square off against A.J. Bouye, PFF’s 3rd rated corner who held Moncrief to zero points last week. A lot of people want to get on Robinson this week in DFS because his price is so low and he did well against them earlier this year, but just because a broken car is on sale doesn’t mean it’s worth anything. Robinson also did that damage against CB Jonathan Joseph who is out and as DFS champ Bales mentions, it’s never a great idea to play a WR in daily the second time they are playing the same defense.

Texans

Neutral  

  • Lamar Miller – He gives me a heart attack every week, getting dinged up, sitting out some plays and then somehow coming back to get 20+ touches. He’s a bit like Spencer Ware and Jeremy Hill this year where through sheer volume alone they provide you RB2 value, but it’s not always pretty. The Jags are also much tougher against the run, giving up just 3.8 YPC.
  • Ryan Griffin –  Makes for a sneaky DFS play with no C.J., but the Jags are solid against the tight end. 

Negative

Steelers vs Bengals (+3 o/u 44)

Weather: 19 Degrees with a bit of snow and 9-16 MPH winds

Steelers

Positive

  • LeVeon Bell – He’s locked and loaded as a top play at the position every week, even in this tougher matchup on the road. The dude is averaging over 200 yards a game the past four weeks.  Baller.
  • Ladarius Green – The weather last week erased the passing game and Big Ben was dreadful. Green should bounce back this week against a Bengals team giving up over 15 FPG to opposing TEs the past five weeks and the most receiving yards on the year.

Neutral

  • Ben Roethlisberger – Man does he struggle on the road. Drew Brees and him are too talented and old to be melting down like they do.
  • Antonio Brown – The Bengals have his number and he’s on the road, so while you can’t sit him in season long, he’s not worth the cash in DFS.

Bengals

Neutral  

  • Tyler Eifert – All he does is catch touchdowns, which is more than almost every single other TE does.
  • Jeremy Hill – The presence of Rex Burkhead does cap his PPR upside a bit, but Hill still sees a ton of touches, with 28 last week and 26 the week before, so through sheer volume alone he’s a middle of the road RB2.

Negative

  • Andy Dalton – Hasn’t played well against them recently and the Steelers defense playing better this year, so tough to trust especially without Green back.  If you need in a 2QB leagues, at least he’s at home and could pass for around 250 yards.
  • Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd – Both just long shot reaches. If you need one, I would look to Boyd, but he actually has the tougher matchup against CB William Gay.

Eagles vs Ravens (-6 o/u 40.5)

Weather: 49 Degrees with a bit of rain and 7 to 17 MPH winds

Eagles

Neutral

  • Ryan Mathews – This is a very tough matchup, especially on the road. That said, without Sproles and Smallwood, he’s the only game in town. He’s best used as a Flex, but he could easily have over 20 touches and will get all the goal line looks as an every down player this week. 
  • Jordan Matthews – Seeing a ton of targets and by far the best matchup of all the receivers against beatable slot CB Jerrod Powers. It also helps that we know CB Jimmy Smith is out with injury. 
  • Zach Ertz – He’s had an awakening since Week 9, leading all TE’s in targets and is getting it done every week. While safety Eric Weddle has been great covering TEs this year, the Ravens are giving up more production to the position over the past five weeks, with TE’s averaging around 14 FPG. He’s not a must start, but he’s a good one.

Negative

Ravens

Positive

  • Joe Flacco – Flacco has come alive the past two weeks, finishing as a Top 5 QB in back to back weeks. He now gets an Eagles defense at home that is falling apart, giving up over 23 FPG to opposing QBs the past five weeks. If you need a streaming option, Flacco makes for a great one.
  • Mike Wallace and Steve Smith – Both guys are locked and loaded as great plays this week against an Eagles secondary that is being shredded weekly, giving up over 44 FPG to opposing WRs the past five weeks. Wallace particularly ha a great matchup against Nolan Carroll, PFF’s 105th rated CB.

Neutral 

  • Kenneth Dixon – He’s edging West in snaps and touches, so he’s on the map, especially in PPR leagues if you need a flex play with some upside in this weeks matchup. The downside is that West is still there and could easily get all the goal line runs. It's a risk I'm willing to take. Makes for a great flex play on DK. 
  • Breshad Perriman - Total long shot, but has a chance to score this week against this beatable secondary. Only a very deep league play.
  • Dennis Pitta – Not a lot of upside, but they may be missing Jaylen Watkins and he’s always a decent bet for 5 catches and 50 yards.

Negative

  • Terrance West – I’d lean toward Dixon this week if you need one of these guys. He’s more of a TD dependent option and is now officially on the lower side of the snap count than Dixon.  However in standard leagues, at least he gets the goal line looks.

Lions vs Giants (-4.5 o/u 41)

Weather: 50 Degrees with a little rain and 10 to 15 MPH winds

Lions

Neutral

  • Dwayne Washington - With Theo Riddick out this week he should see 15+ touches in a game that should be low scoring and close. That said, the Giants are a stout run defense, giving up just over 3.6 YPC over the past five weeks, and even with the finger issue, this is a team that likes to throw in the red zone. I would only feel comfortable using him as a flex play. 
  • Golden Tate – Should face off against rookie CB Eli Apple who has played well this year, but he has the talent to beat him. It’s a tough matchup but he’s their best bet to score.
  • Eric Ebron – The Giants are giving up over 14 FPG to opposing TEs, so while he has been letting owners down, he has a good matchup if you need tight end help, which most teams do.

Negative

  • Matthew Stafford – The hand is an issue and the Giants defense is even a bigger issue, giving up only 17.5 FPG over the past five weeks. If you have been rolling with him all season, I still think he comes through since they don’t have a solid run game and they are more likely to pass than run in the red zone. That said, tough for me to call him anything but a negative play this week. For what it’s worth, I’m starting him in two leagues and going with Alex Smith in one.
  • Marvin Jones – CB Janoris Jenkins shut down Dez and most everyone else, do he should have no problem with Jones this week.

Giants

Neutral  

  • Odell Beckham Jr. – Eli isn’t playing well and the Lions defense is getting pressure. These days you are just counting on him taking a slant to the house and his matchup is tougher going up against top notch CB Darius Slay, PFF’s 6th rated corner. Although Slay has given up around 9 TDs this year.  It’s going to be a fun matchup to watch in real life, but could be tough for ODB owners to watch in fantasy.  That said, he gets so many targets he’s bound to do something.

Negative

  • Eli Manning – He’s not playing well and should be avoided if possible.
  • Sterling Shepard – He’s touchdown dependent since Eli is only looking at ODB, yet, he does catch a lot of TDs lately, so viable if you need a flex or WR3 reach play.

Colts vs Vikings (-4 o/u 45)

Weather: Dome

Colts

Neutral

  • T.Y. Hilton - In season long I would be hard pressed to sit Hilton who they move around a lot and should see snaps in the slot against CB Captain Munnerlyn. If Moncrief sits he should also see 12+ targets with ease and you can only contain him for so long.

Negative

  • Andrew Luck, Frank Gore – Can’t say any of these guys are good starts on the road this week, especially since they are missing three key pieces to their offensive line. It could get nasty.
  • Jack Doyle and Dwayne Allen – You have no clue which one of these guys will catch the passes that mean something. Total coin flip that I’m not betting on in my fantasy playoffs.

Vikings

Positive

  • Kyle Rudolph – He’s Bradford’s guy and the Colts are giving up the fourth most points per target to opposing tight ends. Safety Mike Adams is also out this week.

Neutral

  • Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen – Touchdowns are rare, but five catches and 100 yards is certainly possible for both of these guys. Diggs actually has the tougher matchup against slot CB Darius Butler, while Thielen should see Vontae Davis who is getting worked this year.
  • Jerrick McKinnon – He’s getting carries and touches in the pass game making him a decent RB2.

Saints vs Cardinals (-2.5 o/u 50)

Weather: Dome

Saints

Neutral 

  • Drew Brees – He’s now come up extremely small in two in a row, including a supposedly solid matchup at home against the Lions two weeks ago. He did just miss throwing for two TDs last week, but it is very tough to trust him on the road against this Cardinals defense, especially now that he is missing LT Terron Armstead who was just put on IR.  In DFS he’s totally off the map, but in season long, unless you have another great option, I would roll with your studs and hopefully he comes through. It’s Drew Brees after all, this isn’t Blake Bortles.
  • Willie Snead – With CB Branch done for the year and Mathieu limited, Snead has a chance to be a useful PPR option this week after catching 6 passes for 85 yards on 6 targets last week.  That said, he’s had plus matchup often this year and come up short, so he’s still just a WR3.  If Mathieu does play, it's an obvious downgrade. 
  • Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas – One of these guys will see Marcus Cooper (PFF’s 116th rated corner) and one Patrick Peterson (PFF’s 8th rated corner). Word on the street it should be Peterson on Cooks most often, although I bet they both see time against him, making neither player a must avoid in season long, but it’s not a great matchup overall either.

Negative

  • Coby Fleener – Too tough to trust and the Cards allowing the fewest yards per target in the league to opposing TEs, giving up fewer than 8 FPG to the position.
  • Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower – Both are part time players and going up against one of the league’s best-run defenses lately. I would look to avoid if possible, especially since Ingram is still banged up.

Cardinals

Positive 

  • David Johnson – He killed teams last week by merely having a good game for a mere mortal last week. He’s an every week stud; so you are not thinking twice about starting him season long. In DFS however, the Saints are actually much better against the run lately so he may not be worth the no brainer money you would normally spend on him. Well, scratch that, he’s worth the money.  

Neutral

  • Carson Palmer – He had been playing better the past few weeks before tanking in the rain last week. It’s too bad HC Arians asks him to take 7 step drop backs, because it doesn’t suit him or this teams offensive line. Fortunately the Saints shouldn’t bring too much pressure and Palmer should bounce back at home, making him a viable back end QB1.
  • Larry Fitzgerald – Try and put last weeks mess out of your mind and go back to Fitz, especially playing at home where he is seeing more than 11 targets a game. With Floyd gone, he’s clearly still the teams’ best receiving option.
  • Jermaine Gresham – He’s caught 5+ passes the past three games and faces a Saints secondary missing standout Safety Kenny Vaccaro. He’s never going to be a high-end option, but makes for a relatively safe PPR floor play in season long and a cheap option in DFS for someone that is just looking to get some points out of the position.
  • J.J. Nelson – With Michael Floyd now on the Patriots and John Brown hobbled, Nelson should see a fair number of deep shots as a full time player in this offense.  He’s not going to be a PPR beast, but he did see 12 targets last week and he can take one to the house for 80 yards in the blink of an eye. He’s a great play in all formats.

49ers vs Falcons (-14 o/u 44.5)

Weather: Dome

49ers

Positive

  • Colin Kaepernick – While the Falcon’s defense only gives up around 17.6 FPG the past five weeks, but they allow the 3rd most passing yards to opposing QBs on the season and throwing really isn’t Kaep game anyhow. With DE Adrian Clayborn out, he should find plenty of room to run in the dome and could easily run for 100+ yards playing catch-up in a game they are heavy underdogs in. 20+ fantasy points seems very reasonable.
  • Carlos Hyde – He’s on a tear lately, putting up over 95 all purpose yards in four straight games, while the Falcons are giving up over 30 FP the past four weeks to the position.  Even if they go down, HC Chip Kelly is loathed to abandon his offensive scheme, which features Hyde heavily.

Falcons

Positive

  • Matt Ryan – $$$$
  • Devonta Freeman / Tevin Coleman – I think both of these guys get heavy usage this week and I wouldn’t hesitate to roll both out as RB2’s with upside and with Coleman the obvious value on DFS sites.
  • Taylor Gabriel – If Julio plays I think it actually helps his value, since Julio will be limited and more of a decoy than a necessary piece to the game plan against this 49ers defense. The 49ers are giving up over 40 FPG to opposing WRs the past five weeks, so Gabriel will once again take flight this week.

Neutral  

  • Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu – Both guys are banged up, but if they go, move them up to Positive plays, with Jones a high end WR1 and Sanu a solid WR3. If Jones misses, which seems likley, Sanu has WR2 potential this week, especially in PPR leagues playing out of the slot.

Raiders vs Chargers (+3 o/u 49.5)

Weather: 62 Degrees and a bit cloudy, which is freezing here for us in SD and LA

Raiders

Positive  

  • Derek Carr – He’s had ten days to get his finger healthy and he’s also not playing in the freezing cold. He should bounce back this week and has done well against them in the past.
  • Michael Crabtree – With CB Casey Heyward mainly on Cooper, Crabtree has one of the easiest matchups of the week against CB Trevor Williams on the other side. He’s an obvious DFS play and makes for a solid WR2 in season long.
  • Latavius Murray – He’s the lead dawg here now and he is getting it done every week, seeing over 20 touches the past few weeks. The Chargers are also giving up the second most TDs to opposing RBs on the year.

Neutral

  • Amari Cooper – Shutdown corner Casey Heyward should be all over Cooper this week and Cooper has struggled against press man coverage in the past. In season long I would look elsewhere if you have other good options such as a Tyreek Hill or Taylor Gabriel.

Chargers

Positive

  • Philip Rivers – Rivers should bounce back big time at home this week in a game that very well should devolve into a major shootout. With Melvin Gordon done for the moment, Rivers will lead the way.

Neutral

  • Kenneth Farrow – The Raiders are giving up over 4.5 YPC on the year, so Farrow should slot right in as a mid-level RB2. He’s probably going to be vastly over owned in DFS where there are a lot of great mid-priced options (Coleman, Murray, Powell, Hyde), but in season long, if you need him trot him out.
  • Tyrell Williams – Targets are down the past two weeks, but the Chargers play was down as well. Look for the gazelle to bounce back this week with a solid game against a team he dropped 5/117/1 earlier this year on the road. While CB Sean Smith usually matchups up well against bigger receivers, Williams has the speed to and smooth moves to make it happen this week.
  • Dontrelle Inman- With shutdown CB David Amerson on Benjamin and Williams dealing with Sean Smith, Inman should have himself a solid day and once again see 6+ targets.
  • Antonio Gates – He’s just three TDs shy of the touchdown record and should get at least one of those this week against a Raiders defense that is actually better against tight ends this year, but certainly not a lock down group. Without Gordon, Rivers very well could also throw more in the red zone, and that would be to Gates and Henry. He’s a mid-level TE1.

Negative

  • Hunter Henry – He’s catching TDs, but seeing very few targets. Best to look elsewhere if you have options, yet he can always come through with a lucky one especially since Rivers may throw more near the goal line without Gordon to run the ball. 

Patriots vs Broncos (+3 o/u 44)

Weather: 30 Degrees and mostly sunny

Patriots

Neutral

  • Tom Brady – The Broncos’ keep opposing QBs on lock, allowing just 17 FPG over the past five weeks, although Brady did drop  280/3 on them last season in Boston against a slightly better Denver Defense. Unless you have a solid QB1 option like Matt Ryan because Brady fell in drafts, you have to just roll him out and hope for the best, but without Gronk, this is a tough one.
  • Julian Edelman – With Gronk out he’s been seeing over 14 targets a game, and that should continue this week against this tough Denver secondary. He should see a decent amount of lock down CB Chris Harris, but nobody can stop Edelman catching passes on quick 5-yard slants. He’s PPR gold this week, probably catching 10 passes, but probably for only 50 yards and no TDs.
  • LeGarrette Blount and James White – It’s far easier to run on the Broncos’ and the Pats very well may lean on these two. Blount is a RB2, while White is just a flex play in PPR. It also helps that ILB Brandon Marshall will probably miss this week. 

Negative

  • Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan – I bet these guys both have at least 3 or 4 catches, but it’s a hope and a prayer against this secondary. Denver allows the fewest pass completions per game in the league and rarely allows guys to get deep on them. That said, Brady will test them, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that one of these guys does some damage. If I was to choose one, I would lean to Mitchell in 3 wide sets when CB Harris kicks inside and he should see Bradley Roby in coverage, PFF’s 91st rated CB.
  • Martellus Bennett – The Bronco’s are giving up point to opposing TEs so feel free to trot him out if he’s who you have available, but he’s going to help block more than usual this week, so you are just hoping on a red zone TD grab. He’s also not seeing many targets, as you would hope for with Gronk out.

Broncos

Positive  

  • Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas – Both of these guys are playing well right now and will each see 10+ targets as the Broncos have zero run game at the moment. They will be under owned in DFS and if leaning to one, I would bet on Thomas as Sanders will be dealing with top CB Malcolm Butler more often than not.
  • Trevor Siemian – He’s a sneaky DFS play this week for those wanting to pay down and a possible alternative to guys like Brees and Stafford if you want to move away from them this week. He’s averaging nearly 20 FPG the past four games, and 320/2 in his last three.  The Pats can be thrown on.

Negative

  • Devontae Booker and Justin Forsett – If you need to use one, I would roll with Forsett as Booker is clearly not a good fit for the teams outside zone run scheme. The Pats are tough to run on, so you can’t expect much, but I could see Forsett catching 5+ passes this week, as the Pats are giving up over 7 a game to opposing RBs.

Buccaneers vs Cowboys (-7 o/u 46.5)

Weather: Dome

Buccaneers

Positive

  • Cameron Brate – The Cowboys are giving up the second most receptions to opposing TEs on the year and over 17 FPG the past five weeks. I like Brate this week to score.

Neutral

  • Jameis Winston – I have a feeling this game is going to be low scoring and slow paced, making Winston more of a 2QB league guy only.
  • Mike Evans – He’s had two mediocre games in a row and I think he makes it three this week. The Cowboys have allowed only two 100 yard receivers on the year despite giving up 42.8 FPG to opposing WRs the past five week. When you are the only passing game in town, slowing you done is made easier. I wouldn’t pay up for him on the road at Jerry’s world in DFS but he’s a must start in season long. Hopefully I’m wrong.
  • Doug Martin and Charles Sims – Martin saw whopping 25 touches last week, although I think that should go down with Sims fully back now. The Cowboys are giving up over 21 FPG to opposing RBs the past five weeks, but this should be a slow paced and low snap game for both teams, making it hard to trust Martin as anything more than a RB3 and Sims as a dart throw PPR flex play.

Cowboys

Neutral

  • Ezekiel Elliott – He’s a sure shot RB1 in season long, but this Bucs defense is playing very well lately. Will he have over 100 total yards, no doubt, but he’s a “neutral” since this probably won’t be a monster game and there is downside in this slow paced affair. That said, with Zeke at home, there is always upside that he busts an 80 yard run on the first drive. Did I just contradict myself?
  • Dez Bryant – I told people Dez was going to get locked down last week. This week, the Bucs secondary has been playing great lately, but when they are in their zone defense Dez should make some plays. He may never again be the WR1 we once knew, but he still makes for a decent WR2 at home this week.

Negative

  • Dak Prescott – Even if he throws 2 TDs, the passing yards are going to be very low in this slow paced game against a resurgent Bucs defense giving up around 17.5 FPG to opposing QBs the past five weeks. The pressure is also on, how will he respond?  Romo? Nah.
  • Jason Witten – Hopefully you don’t have to rely on him just because the upside is not there.

Panthers vs Redskins (-4.5 o/u 51)

Weather: Partly cloudy and cold, around 25 Degrees

Panthers

Positive

  • Greg Olsen – This is the week he should bounce back and passes are funneled into the middle of the field against a Redskins defense giving up 21.2 FPG to opposing TEs the past five weeks.

Neutral

  • Cam Newton – He’s playing horribly and the Redskins have a solid secondary. You’re hoping he shines in the bright lights of the big stage on national TV, but I’m looking elsewhere in the fantasy playoffs.
  • Jonathan Stewart – The Redskins run defense is no longer a sieve, but he’s hard to trust averaging just 2.8 YPC at home last week on 20+ carries. Can he score any week?  Sure, so he’s a standard league reach play. Will Cam probably steal his TD? Oh yes, yes he will.

Negative

Redskins

Positive

  • Kirk Cousins – He will light up this secondary at home. Best believe it.
  • Jamison Crowder, Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson – Use ‘em if you need ‘em against a Panthers secondary giving up nearly 350 yards to receivers a game on the road. DJax is a high upside WR3, Crowder a solid floor WR3 and Garcon a steady PPR WR3.
  • Rob Kelly – He’s getting the rock and getting it done. RB2 all day every day.
  • Jordan Reed – After playing just 10 snaps last week he should be a full time player this week against a Panthers defense giving up TDs to opposing TE’s like Santa giving out gifts the night before Christmas.

  Please check out my Zig Zag Fantasy Football Podcast and I Invite You To Follow Me On Twitter: