Week 13 Passing Matchups

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

Jump to Rushing Matchups

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


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.


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Case Keenum and the Broncos passing attack is one that appears to want to transition to a ball control, game management type offense instead of the heavy passing attack that we saw earlier this season. A large part of this is that Courtland Sutton has not developed as the Broncos would have hoped and has struggled with consistency which ultimately led to Vance Joseph publically challenging Sutton to play better. Over the last few weeks, this offense has had success running the ball that they have not needed to take chances and Keenum has not turned the ball over in three weeks after throwing at least one interception in the prior eight games. This is an offense that desperately needs a second receiving threat to step up especially after the loss of Jeff Heuerman who had 16 receptions over the last three weeks.

The Bengals secondary is one of, if not the worst unit in football as really it is a pick which way you want to beat this defense whether it is through the air or on the ground. The Bengals have allowed 300 yards or more or three touchdowns or more in every game except two this season in which they played the run-heavy Dolphins led by Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Jackson two weeks ago in which they allowed 117 yards rushing. The issue for the Bengals is that they are one of the few teams that plays a base 4-3 defense as their primary defense and do not frequently go to a Nickel package leaving their linebackers in tough spots covering wide receivers. The Bengals have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks on the year and could be a get right game for the Broncos passing attack if they choose to go that way.

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


Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Jared Goff has presided over a truly dominant passing game here in 2018. It’s been so good, in fact, that not even the loss of slot receiver extraordinaire Cooper Kupp looks to ding its outlook too badly. Kupp will be missed, but Goff still throws to an embarrassment of riches. On a given snap, he can choose from dynamic outside men Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, running back Todd Gurley, and a handful of talented supporting guys. Woods is a wildly underrated in-out receiver who can win downfield or underneath, while the explosive Cooks has averaged 99 yards per game over the last 4 weeks. Goff has thrown for 295 yards or more in each of those games, with 12 touchdowns, and didn’t miss a beat without Kupp in the Week 11 shootout with Kansas City (413 and 4 scores). With Gurley coming out of the backfield and jump-ball specialist Josh Reynolds in the mix, there is so much dynamism in this attack that Goff almost can’t help posting huge fantasy numbers. He and his main cast are top weekly plays regardless of matchup or game projections.

The Detroit pass defense continues to struggle mightily. Opponents are completing 69% of their throws and posting 7.3 net yards per attempt, sixth-most in football. Over the past 3 weeks, they’ve allowed huge days to Mitchell Trubisky (355 yards and 3 touchdowns) and Cam Newton (357 and 3), and even Trubisky’s replacement Chase Daniel had an easy Thanksgiving (27 of 37 for 230 and 2). The pass rush has been weak, but the main culprit is the secondary, which is manned by banged-up top cornerback Darius Slay and a host of mediocre names. Nevin Lawson and Teez Tabor have been burned consistently throughout the year, both down the field and on shorter, yards-after-catch routes. Perhaps undrafted rookie Mike Ford, who showed well on Thanksgiving, will steal more snaps from Tabor and bring more resistance. Until there’s more consistency on the back end, though, this unit should be treated as one of the NFL’s weakest.

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


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Eagles passing attack has struggled over the last two weeks after being a strength for a majority of the season. Golden Tate is still struggling to find his role in this offense and has hurt the Eagles passing attack as they are trying to work him into the offense as it has taken targets away from Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery. Carson Wentz has been taking more of a check down approach with the team having an increased emphasis on the run with new found running back Josh Adams in the mix.

The Redskins secondary is one of the worst in the NFL this season. The Redskins were absolutely torched by Amari Cooper last week on two deep throws. Josh Norman is a shell of his former self, Quinton Dunbar who started the season off tremendously has been dealing with health issues and looked hobbled in last week’s game and Fabian Moreau has struggled as of late in the slot. All in all, this is no longer the defense that it was to start the season and is averaging giving up 314 yards over their last five games which is the third worst in the NFL.

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


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Colt McCoy looked like a different quarterback last week in his first start for the Redskins. Instead of being the typical game manager that we have seen throughout his career, McCoy took some chances against the Cowboys tough secondary and while McCoy did throw three interceptions it was good to see him take some chances down the field. The key players were the tight ends for the Redskins as both Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis had tremendous games along with Josh Doctson who had a career-high in receptions and a season-high in yards last week. The Redskins should get Chris Thompson back this week and possibly Jamison Crowder which will get the Redskins back to close to full health heading into this game against the Eagles.

The Eagles secondary is one that has fallen on hard times for most of the season but continues to unravel due to health issues. Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills, and Avonte Maddox are all on injured reserve leaving the Eagles with very little in their secondary as they are rolling out undrafted Chandon Sullivan, and in-season free agent pickups Cre’Von LeBlanc and practice squad player De’Vante Bausby. This is a secondary who will play primarily Dime formation to get additional secondary on the field but are a unit that can be exploited.

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


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense at Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Lamar Jackson seemed to take a small but noticeable step forward in his second NFL start – or maybe it just looked that way against the Raiders’ pitiful defense. Jackson threw 2 interceptions and took a handful of bad penalties, but also showcased his deep arm with a bit more confidence than the previous week. He found rookie tight end Mark Andrews down the seam for a 74-yard completion, then hit John Brown for a 48-yarder that was called back. At the moment, Jackson is little more than a physical specimen in the Michael Vick/Vince Young mold. He often looks lost in the pocket and makes oddball decisions, but his cannon arm and aggressive mentality force defenses to respect the pass at least a little bit. His presence does, however, ding the fantasy value of his receivers. Brown and Michael Crabtree have posted a combined 6 receptions for 76 yards over the past 2 weeks as the Ravens scramble to rebuild their offense in Jackson’s image. The youngster brings plenty of fantasy appeal in other ways, but as a passer remains raw and limited at the moment, and the Baltimore air attack is squarely on hold.

As bad as the Falcons have been against the run, their pass defense has somehow looked even worse. They’ve allowed 6 opponents to post 300 yards through the air, and that doesn’t even account for the handful that have merely carved them up with low volume. Simply put, they can’t cover anyone at the moment, and opposing quarterbacks have little trouble finding their marks downfield. On the year they’re allowing 70% completions and 7.2 net yards per attempt, both sixth-worst in the league, and have given up 25 touchdowns. With very little pass rush and a banged-up, talent-starved secondary, there’s no end in sight for their struggles. Lamar Jackson may be in for his first efficient game as an NFL passer.

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


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

Clearly, in the case of rookie quarterback Josh Allen, less is more. Allen has flashed dynamism with his legs and captained two impressive upset wins, but has yet to generate any passing production to speak of. Through 7 NFL starts, Allen has completed just 53% of his throws and averaged a pitiful 142 yards per game. He sits dead last among 34 qualifying passers in adjusted net yards per attempt, which factors in sacks, touchdowns, and interceptions. But the Bills’ anemic passing game can’t be blamed solely on Allen. There’s still a striking lack of talent and dynamism in his receiving corps. Lead receiver Zay Jones averages just 36 yards a game, while Kelvin Benjamin continues to struggle for consistency. He’s topped 50 yards just once all year and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 2. Undrafted rookie Robert Foster has provided a few big catches over the past 2 weeks, but is a low-volume guy – even for this offense – who relies on busted coverages. In all, this unit is strictly hands-off for fantasy purposes. Allen has flashed a few impressive traits, but he and his weapons remain miles from statistical relevance.

The 2018 Miami pass defense has been a tale of two units. In 2 matchups against Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, they’ve given up just 58% completions and 7.04 yards per attempt. Unfortunately, all other passers have completed 70% of their throws at 8.56. The per-game numbers (269 yards) haven’t been terrible, as the Dolphins are often “saved” by game script and a slow pace that drags down everyone’s volume. But as long as quarterbacks are allowed to operate at such high levels of efficiency, there’s always a big play – and a big game – around the corner. Andrew Luck’s Week 12 gem (30 of 37 for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns) was a shining example of what a good passer can do in this matchup. There are positives: Xavien Howard continues to flash shutdown ability at times, and the unit as a whole sits second league-wide with 17 interceptions. But this is still far too permissive a unit to scare off any fantasy prospects. As Luck showed last week, passers can generally recover from those interceptions quickly.

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


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

Cam Newton’s arm looks just as powerful – and now more precise – than it ever has, and he’s spinning gold with his new batch of weapons. Most importantly, it’s been consistent gold. He’s completing a career-best 70% of his throws, with just 7 interceptions through 11 games. Newton has finished above 6.8 yards per attempt in 9 of those 11 games, and he’s thrown multiple scores in each outing since Week 2. No. 1 receiver Devin Funchess could return this week, but rookie D.J. Moore may have already supplanted him as Newton’s top option. Moore has caught 15 of 17 targets over the last 2 weeks, generating 248 yards and 1 touchdown. He’s speedy, aggressive, and a dangerous open-field weapon, and he brings elements to the table for Newton that the likes of Funchess, Greg Olsen, and Kelvin Benjamin never could. Funchess is a solid catch-point guy, but doesn’t create much separation or make many game-changing plays. This attack is now tailored around Moore’s dynamism and Christian McCaffrey’s outstanding work out of the backfield (6.5 catches and 55 yards a game). It’s been a great mix for Newton thus far, and a date with the Buccaneers defense looks juicier than ever.

On paper, the Tampa Bay pass defense is enjoying a major turnaround. After giving up 350 yards or more to the first 5 passing games they faced, they’ve allowed just 229 a game since. But those raw totals have hidden the fact that this remains a porous unit, easy on quarterbacks and usually beatable for big plays and touchdowns. It’s worth pointing out that the quarterbacks they’ve faced of late have been mostly lower-tier guys, and that they’ve still been efficient, completing 69% of their throws at a robust 5.9% touchdown rate. The secondary continues to struggle as a whole, leaving huge zones wide open downfield and failing to check tight ends up close (they give up 75 yards a game to the position). It’s at least been encouraging to see the pass rush, led by Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib, starting to wreak havoc on the pocket.

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


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Run down by the Golden Tate trade and an injury to Marvin Jones, the Detroit pass game is sputtering majorly right now. Matthew Stafford dearly misses Tate’s versatility and reliability underneath: over 4 games since the trade, he’s been sacked 19 times and thrown just 3 touchdowns to 4 interceptions, landing below 240 yards in 3 of those. There’s simply not much dynamism to work with while Jones is out, and most of this attack is centered on contested throws to Kenny Golladay and dump-offs to Theo Riddick. Golladay has done his part (82 yards a game since the trade), and Jones has a chance to return in Week 13, but there are huge problems here that the outside guys can’t solve alone. Saddled with poor pass blocking and stale play-calling, Stafford has been reduced to a desperate, “throw it up for grabs” mentality that just isn’t producing.

The Rams pass defense is star-studded, but has underperformed majorly throughout 2018. They’ve now allowed 5 quarterbacks to top 300 yards through the air, and only 8 teams have given up more net yards per attempt. The team desperately needs Aqib Talib to return soon, and to play at a high level, because these cornerbacks have been losing one-on-one matchups down the field all year. Marcus Peters has struggled with injuries and inconsistency, and he hasn’t looked like even a solid NFL cornerback in months. He’s been a big reason that wide receivers have posted seven touchdowns against the Rams over the past three weeks, and moving him inside on Travis Kelce in Week 11 didn’t go well, either. Still, the biggest vulnerability has been on the other side, where Sam Shields has been a sieve in place of Talib. Even with Aaron Donald (14.5 sacks) terrorizing pockets, the coverage play is so shaky that this now stands as one of fantasy’s juiciest matchups.

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


Houston Texans Passing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

DeShaun Watson has not been the same quarterback since being injured against the Bills back on October 14th. Watson averaged 324 yards prior to the injury, and since the injury is averaging just 197 yards per game. The good news for the Texans is that they are starting to integrate Demaryius Thomas and it is more out of necessity than anything else as they lost Keke Coutee to injury last week in addition to Will Fuller earlier this season. The Texans may get Coutee back this week which would be a nice addition to the slot for the Texans to compliment Deandre Hopkins and Thomas.

The Browns pass defense has been one in which has not been great on the season as they are allowing 298 yards passing per game which is the fourth most in the NFL. Part of this has to do with the Browns facing the second most pass attempts per game on the year, but it has also been an oft-injured unit as E.J. Gaines and Terrance Mitchell both have been lost for the year which has forced T.J. Carrie to slide to the outside and Briean Boddy-Calhoun to slide into the slot. The Browns shadow both of their corners, so it is likely the T.J. Carrie, will shadow Demaryius Thomas as he typically takes the bigger receiver while Deandre Hopkins will get the Browns best corner in Denzel Ward.

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


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense at Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Patrick Mahomes has played nearly flawlessly all season and finally got a chance to catch his breath after a late Week 12 bye week last week. At this point, there is not much more to say about the Chiefs offense that can beat you all over the field with their speed in Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and matchup nightmare Travis Kelce. This is one of the premier offenses in the NFL and will continue to cause matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.

Oakland’s pass defense is almost the exact opposite of Kansas City’s. If you were to just look at the statistics they are only allowing 240 yards per game which is the fifth-best in the NFL, but the statistics do not tell the full story. The reality is that they have faced 21 fewer pass attempts than the next closest team as teams just do not need to throw the ball that often against the Raiders due to how poor their rushing defense is and with their inability to keep games close. Cornerback Gareon Conley has made plays from time to time, but outside of Conley, rookie Nick Nelson and third-year corner Daryl Worley have both struggled this year.

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


New York Jets Passing Offense at Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The quarterback situation for the Jets may be tricky this week as Sam Darnold is still recovering from injury while Josh McCown, who has started in the past two games, suffered a hand injury of his own last week. Keep an eye on practice reports as both quarterbacks were practicing on a limited basis early in the week. It is clear that this offense led by McCown has been underwhelming in their past two games, as McCown has completed only 54.4 percent of his passes for an average of just over 200 passing yards per game with three interceptions to just one passing touchdown. This Jets offense has not scored more than one offensive touchdown in a game since Week 7 against the Vikings, with just three total passing touchdowns over that five-game span. Their receivers have been wildly inconsistent, with Jermaine Kearse now leading the team in targets after his season-high 12 targets last week, four of which were red zone looks. Robby Anderson is slowly making his way back into this offense from injury, while Quincy Enunwa is now a few weeks returned and appears to be healthy. Tight end Chris Herndon continues to carve out a role in this offense as he has 14 receptions in his last three games despite cooling off from a three-game touchdown streak from Weeks 6 thru 8. This offense will continue to be hamstrung by the play of its quarterback though. Whether that is Darnold or McCown, expectations will be rather low.

The Titans secondary has been very beatable throughout the season, and this week may be no different despite a lackluster Jets offensive attack. Over the course of the season, the Titans have given up games of over 100 receiving yards to seven different receivers, including two in their last three outings. They have allowed wide receivers to score the third-most fantasy points per game in PPR formats due mostly to the poor play from Titans cornerbacks. Malcolm Butler has been a target all season long, but even Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson have had some down games in recent weeks. Butler did leave last week’s game with a concussion, so keep an eye on his status in practice this week since the options behind Butler are quite thin despite Butler’s poor play. The Tennessee pass rush has been fairly strong on the year despite an uncharacteristically quiet performance against the Colts in Week 11. The Jets are giving up right around 2.3 sacks per game, which is slightly better than the league average mark of 2.5. However, since Week 8, the Jets quarterbacks have been pressured very heavily--third-most in the league over that span. This offensive line is barely an average unit that has been hit hard in recent weeks, and the Titans have the talent up front to take advantage of this by putting some extra pressure on the Jets quarterback to alleviate the stress on Tennessee’s secondary.

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


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

Jameis Winston is anything but a consistent passer, and he’s no longer a lock as the Buccaneers’ future at quarterback. But the last two weeks have shown just what he’s capable of, with a powerful, aggressive arm and a full complement of downfield receiving talent. Since stepping back under center in Week 11, Winston has hit on 76% of his throws at 9.45 yards apiece, with 4 touchdowns over 6 quarters of play. It’s a small sample, but it’s encouraging that Winston is avoiding sacks and turnovers yet still creating magic downfield. Mike Evans has topped 100 yards in 4 of his last 6 games, and is actually posting the best per-catch average (17.3) of his career. Both DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin are dynamic situational threats, and Adam Humphries is excelling in the slot, with 53 yards or more in 6 of the last 7 games. (He’s actually caught four touchdowns over that span, two from Winston over the last two weeks.) There’s a ton of volatility here, of course, and Winston is always on the verge of a faceplant. He still struggles to consistently make the right decisions and throws. But with all of the dynamism at play here, this is an extremely fertile passing game even on the bad days.

The Carolina pass defense remains an extremely volatile unit, one that could dominate or collapse on any given week. Of late, however, there’s been much more collapsing. The last 6 quarterbacks they’ve faced have completed 69% of their passes and thrown 16 touchdowns, with 3 easily topping 300 yards. Simply put, when the hit-or-miss pass rush isn’t hitting home, opposing pass games can have a field day beating downfield coverage. Cornerbacks Donte Jackson and James Bradberry alternate strong coverage with bad lapses, and slot man Captain Munnerlyn allows more than his share of big completions. The run-based safeties struggle to provide help down the field, a big reason the Panthers have allowed 8 different receivers to top 80 yards over this 6-week span. With the rushers struggling to pressure anyone of late, the secondary’s jobs are made even harder, and the results have not been pretty. This is a very attackable group for fantasy purposes, especially with downfield-oriented receivers and tight ends.

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


Chicago Bears Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Chase Daniel at this point is looking likely to get another start for the Bears. The strategy for Daniel is simple, get the ball out quickly and avoid making mistakes. Last week in his first start as a Bears quarterback, Daniel threw the ball 37 times, but for an average of 6.2 yards per attempt. Daniel was the fastest quarterback release this past weekend at 2.55 seconds which is faster than any quarterbacks average in the NFL so far this season. The Bears have perfect weapons to get the ball out quickly as they will continue to rely on Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen on short to intermediate routes.

The Giants are a middle of the road pass defense on the year. While it is a burnable unit that has allowed 300 yards or more in three of their games this season, they have also held opponents to 250 yards or less in seven games this year. Janoris Jenkins continues to be an up and down corner who looks great one week and a liability the next week. The one area that the Giants do struggle with is the tight end position which could lead to Trey Burton getting out of his slump as the Giants have allowed 7 receptions or more and 59 yards or more to opposing tight ends in each of their last four games.

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


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

With hopes for the playoffs now gone, the Packers passing offense has to try and rebound from what was a very poor outing last week against the Vikings. Aaron Rodgers had his worst game of the season as the Packers offensive line fell victim to constant pressure while Rodgers struggled to find open receivers. Davante Adams remained the top target in this offense for the eighth straight game as he found the end zone despite tough coverage from Xavier Rhodes. Adams will get another difficult matchup this week, but he has managed to excel despite who is covering him with consistently elite production throughout the season. Marquez Valdez-Scantling was a non-factor for the second straight game, while Equanimeous St. Brown went down with an elbow injury last week and is questionable for this game. Randall Cobb may be back this week as he was close to returning in Week 12, so keep an eye on his status as he could slide right back into the lineup in lieu of St. Brown. Jimmy Graham played through a thumb injury but was, again, ineffective in the passing game and could be questionable going into Sunday depending on how he practices this week.

In the words of their coach Steve Wilks, the “wheels fell off” for the Cardinals last week. It was one of the worst games this passing defense has played all season as the Cardinals allowed Phillip Rivers to break the NFL record for most consecutive pass completions (25) to start a game. Had it not been a blowout, Rivers could have easily amassed over 300 passing yards as the statistics of this passing defense were yet again saved by the game script. Last week aside, this Cardinals pass defense has been anchored by a solid pass rush that has propelled the Cardinals to 37 sacks this season--second-most in the league. The Packers offensive line will be tested as they have not been the best in pass protection this season, giving up 36 sacks on the season--nine of which have come in the last two weeks. Arizona lost one of their top defenders last week though, as middle linebacker Josh Bynes went down with a thumb injury that will end his season. While the loss of Bynes should not have a significant impact on the Cardinals’ ability to bring pressure, he was a contributor in coverage and will certainly be missed. Patrick Peterson remains a solid cornerback who should contribute to making it tough on Davante Adams this week, but Adams has proven to be rather matchup-proof throughout this season, so even Peterson should have trouble shutting him down.

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


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense at Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Simply put, Andrew Luck is in a very special quarterbacking zone at the moment. Over the last 5 weeks he’s completed a stunning 76% of his passes, averaging 8.86 yards per attempt and firing 16 touchdowns. Last Sunday, he became just the third passer in history to throw three touchdowns in eight consecutive outings. Luck is always a threat to chase 300 when the script calls for it – he’s topped 295 six times already – even with a receiving corps that’s been undermanned all year. His wideouts beyond T.Y. Hilton are ho-hum at best, and top tight end Jack Doyle, who’s battled injuries all season, just went on injured reserve. Still, as long as Hilton is dominating cornerbacks (280 yards and 2 touchdowns over the last 2 weeks) and the tight ends are finding the end zone (the non-Doyle guys have already caught 16 scores), Luck’s fantasy brilliance seems secure. He looks like his promising young self again, sharp and exceptionally accurate with the ball on all levels. This is a high-floor, high-ceiling offense that consistently turns whatever volume it gets into big, efficient fantasy lines.

Jacksonville’s pass defense, so feared throughout 2017, has taken a noticeable step backward. This is still a tough unit in general, but it’s given up a surprising number of big plays lately, leading to a handful of big fantasy lines. Prior to last week, 3 consecutive opponents each topped 280 yards, firing 8 combined touchdowns along the way. It’s hard to gauge much from Week 12, in which Buffalo’s Josh Allen threw just 19 passes en route to a run-dominant win. But it was discouraging to see a too-easy 75-yard touchdown that took advantage of a badly-blown Jalen Ramsey assignment. Ramsey remains an upper-tier cover man, but he’s been inconsistent throughout the year and is a big reason the Jaguars are losing downfield so often. This isn’t a unit fantasy players should seek to target – there are gobs of dynamic talent throughout the pass rush and the secondary. But cracks are showing, so it’s not a matchup that looks to affect red-hot Andrew Luck much.

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


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense vs Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Blake Bortles era is likely over for good, and the Jaguars will soon seek out their new franchise passer. It almost certainly won’t be Week 13 starter Cody Kessler, though. With his career 5.04 adjusted net yards per attempt, Kessler is little more than a game manager who won’t see many chances to be a hero. And even in that role, he’s extremely suspect. Over his last 63 dropbacks he’s absorbed 10 sacks and thrown 2 interceptions, terrible signs for a guy tasked with sustaining drives and avoiding turnovers. The Jaguars’ beaten-up front line doesn’t help matters, nor does the lack of offensive centerpiece Leonard Fournette. Like Bortles before him, Kessler won’t be asked to do much at all unless this game somehow turns into a track meet. Bortles threw for just 104 and 127 yards in his final 2 starts, with a single touchdown, and that looks like the high-water mark for Kessler. The Jaguars boast talent at wideout, but it’s relatively raw, and no one target has boosted his game noticeably this season.

Cody Kessler truly has his work cut out for him as he takes over the Jacksonville offense. But there are few softer matchups to debut against than the Colts secondary. Built to sit back and tackle after the catch, they’re allowing opposing passers to complete 72% of their throws. Their overall numbers aren’t terrible (23rd in net yards allowed per attempt, 11th in touchdowns), but they’ve been blessed to face a particularly weak set of passing games over the last 2 months. Better passers dominated this matchup early in the year, including Deshaun Watson (375 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Tom Brady (341 and 3). Kessler is nowhere near that level, of course, but he can take comfort in knowing that short throws underneath should have room all afternoon.

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


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Vikings passing offense broke out of a downward trend last week as Kirk Cousins led them to 342 passing yards and three touchdowns with solid games through the air to all four primary contributors on offense. This was a nice way to bounce back for Cousins, who averaged nine passing yards per attempt--his highest in a game this season. The turnover-free outing was also encouraging, as Cousins had thrown an interception in three straight games leading into last week. Adam Thielen managed to get back on track with his first game of over 100 receiving yards since Week 8. He remains one of the top receiving options in the league despite the number of mouths to feed in this offense. Stefon Diggs has now scored in three straight games with at least eight receptions in six of his last seven outings as he has come on strong in recent weeks. Even Kyle Rudolph saw an uptick in usage last week as Cousins was spreading the ball around well, leading to Rudolph’s second game of the season with seven receptions and over 60 receiving yards. Rudolph, however, has been held out of the end zone in eight straight games.

The Patriots pass defense has struggled at times this season, but their primary issue continues to be a lack of pressure being applied to opposing quarterbacks. They managed just two sacks last week against a below average Jets offensive line and have only 17 sacks now on the season--third-fewest in the league. The Vikings also have a very shoddy offensive line, which should present an opportunity for the Patriots to try and create some pressure. The New England secondary has been particularly susceptible to production from tight ends. Since Week 5, the Patriots have given up at least 50 receiving yards per game and a total of six receiving touchdowns to tight ends. They have allowed the league’s most fantasy points per game (PPR Scoring) to tight ends by more than a two-point margin over that span. Part of the reason for this is the funneled production due to what has been solid play from their talented cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore on the outside and Jason McCourty manning the slot. While both have had their ups and downs, this combination has primarily done a great job in coverage this season and should be tough matchups for both top Vikings targets with Gilmore shadowing Diggs while McCourty will run with Thielen as often as possible.

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


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Leading the NFL in completion rate (76.4%) and adjusted yards per attempt (10.2), Drew Brees remains football’s most efficient passer. But as the Saints continue to run away with games, neither his volume nor his downfield usage have been strong of late, hampering his fantasy output. Rookie phenom Tre’Quan Smith should return Thursday, which would make a big difference for Brees’ outlook. Without him on Thanksgiving, Brees was forced to throw to a preseason-like group of wideouts that included four undrafted players. (Brandon Marshall was a healthy scratch, a terrible sign considering this depth chart.) They showed well – amazingly, each one caught a touchdown – but Smith brings a special element to the offense. He’s averaging 16.9 yards a catch, with 4 touchdowns over his first 33 NFL targets. His Week 11 jewel against the Eagles (10 of 13 targets for 157 yards and 1 score) was a sight to behold; his deep speed and physicality are well beyond his third-round status. Of course, regardless of Smith’s availability, Michael Thomas continues to tower over this passing game. Catching 89% of his targets at a career-best 12.6 yards apiece, Thomas easily has the efficiency to keep a WR1 floor even with these dips in volume. There’s also still a ton of receiving value in Alvin Kamara, who’s caught just two passes over the last two games, but will always maximize his opportunity. He’s used heavily near the end zone and is an ever-present threat to break away with any touch.

The Dallas pass defense has been up-and-down throughout the year, allowing 4 opposing passers to top 290 yards, but holding 4 others under 200. Generally, though, they’ve been predictable, feasting on weaker passing games while being burned by the better ones. Top cornerback Byron Jones has been stout for most of the year, but the other cover men are beatable enough that Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan have had little trouble producing yardage. Beyond Jones, it’s hard to find anyone who projects to rattle Drew Brees and the Saints’ lightning-quick attack in Week 13. Tight ends have been especially productive of late, routinely working over the Cowboys’ linebackers and safeties. Zach Ertz put up 145 yards and 2 touchdowns in Week 10, while Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis consistently found room for big gains down the seams on Thanksgiving.

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


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense vs Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Raiders and Derek Carr are in disarray at the moment as they essentially have no talent surrounding Carr along with Carr having an inability to push the ball downfield to make a play. The team desperately needs a receiver to be a deep threat, but with Martavis Bryant out, Amari Cooper traded and Jordy Nelson is a shell of his former self it is essentially Jared Cook and that’s it. Marcell Ateman is an interesting rookie who the Raiders will continue to roll onto the field, but will need rapid development if the Raiders passing offense is going to improve any time soon.

The Chiefs secondary is a unit that is not as bad as the stats indicate. By no means is it a good unit as it is built on three slot corners learning to play the outside and the Chiefs have given up the most passing yards on the season. However, this is also partly due to the offense of the Chiefs being so dominant as they have faced the most passing attempts so far this year. The Chiefs have had success against below average quarterbacks holding San Francisco, Denver, Cincinnati, and Arizona to an average of 230 yards per game. This is great news for the Chiefs defense this week as they are going up against a passing offense that is struggling mightily in the Raiders as of late.

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


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense vs San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Russell Wilson had an opportunity to shine last week, and he did just that with his first outing of over 300 passing yards while extending his streak of games with multiple passing touchdowns to seven in a row. Wilson put together some artful drives with his precise passing ability, particularly on the deep ball, as he connected on multiple occasions with both Tyler Lockett and David Moore. Lockett has seen his usage actually increase in recent weeks as his play has been improving. Lockett now has five receptions in three straight games while he posted a season-high 107 receiving yards along with his eighth touchdown in last week’s game. David Moore also ended with a season-high 103 yards and a touchdown despite playing just half of the snaps. Doug Baldwin was missed in the end zone by Wilson for the second straight week in his last game as he turned in a bust of a performance, making for two five-catch, 39-yard outings in his last three games. Baldwin is not being used as he has in previous seasons, and his floor appears to be dreadfully low right now.

The 49ers have been decent against the pass this season with middling stats in both passing yards allowed per game and per attempt. Until last week, they hadn’t allowed a quarterback to pass for more than 300 yards since Aaron Rodgers in Week 6. This secondary did not look great against the Buccaneers though as Jameis Winston picked them apart, particularly focusing on the side of Richard Sherman who was outplayed by Mike Evans. The play of Richard Sherman has regressed in recent weeks, but he still presents an above-average challenge for the typical receiver and will not be an easy matchup for either Lockett or Moore. K’Waun Williams is playing well out of the slot right now also, which should not make Baldwin’s life easy this week. While the Seahawks do not target their running backs often, linebacker Fred Warner can help combat against any threat of pass-catching running backs while also helping to keep the Seahawks tight ends in check. The 49ers did officially release Reuben Foster at linebacker, but Foster had not been great in coverage anyway this season as Fred Warner has been the primary playmaker for that unit.

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


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Nick Mullens was beginning to look like a great find at quarterback for the 49ers, but last week, that excitement quickly faded away as Mullens turned in a very poor performance despite what was a great matchup on paper. Mullens completed just 56.3 percent of his passes for 221 yards and turned in his second straight game with just one passing touchdown but two interceptions. Despite these back-to-back poor performances, the 49ers have announced Mullens will get the start again this week, which is not something fantasy managers may be looking forward to for this offense. With both Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin sidelined, rookie receiver Dante Pettis is starting to shine as he turned in his best performance of the season last week. Pettis is a smooth route runner, and while he may not have game-breaking speed, he is quick enough to make plenty of plays through traffic for this offense. George Kittle remains the top dog for the 49ers though, regardless of the status of Goodwin and Garcon. Kittle saw another week with double-digit targets, but he could only do so much with inaccurate throws his way last week as he put up his worst statistical game since Week 6. Do keep an eye on the statuses of both Goodwin (personal) and Garcon (knee), as either returning to the lineup would depress the value of Pettis while also helping Mullens by adding more viable targets. Kittle should not be impacted though, as he has shown to be an integral piece of this offense regardless of who else is on the field.

The Seahawks have been average against the pass this season, but plenty of cracks have emerged in this secondary over the past few weeks. Since Week 8, the Seahawks are giving up the ninth and eleventh most fantasy points per game (PPR Scoring) to wide receivers and quarterbacks respectively. Quarterbacks have passed for multiple touchdowns in every game over that span while this secondary has come down with only two interceptions compared to nine in their first six games of this season. The competition, however, has been stiff in recent weeks facing the likes of Jared Goff, Phillip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and so on. This week is a different story with a flat 49ers offense coming to town, but these cornerbacks should still allow some production--with a particularly good matchup being Dante Pettis squaring off against Justin Coleman in the slot. Matt Breida has the hands to haul in a few receptions also, and while the Seahawks have Bobby Wagner to help cover running backs over the middle, he can only do so much without K.J. Wright’s talent there to help.

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


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Titans passing offense led by Marcus Mariota has been one of the more inconsistent offenses in football with injuries, poor offensive line play, and unpredictable quarterback performances plaguing them all season. Last week was certainly a surprise to see Marcus Mariota complete 19 straight passes until finally failing to connect on his first pass with just over a minute left in the game. Mariota crossed the 300-yard mark for the second time this season while passing for multiple touchdowns for the third straight game in which he played all four quarters. Mariota has relied heavily on short passes, but he has also shown the ability to air it out to the likes of Corey Davis as his top receiving target. Davis has seen great volume in the past three full games with Mariota while he has now found the end zone in two of his last three games. Jonnu Smith at tight end has looked like an end zone magnet for this offense, scoring in three of his last four despite low and inconsistent target volume. With both Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor battling through injuries, Davis, Smith, and Dion Lewis remain the primary weapons for Mariota to utilize.

The Jets did a decent job keeping Tom Brady and company in check through the air last week as they held him to a reasonable 64.5 percent completion rate and 283 passing yards with two touchdowns. In isolation, those are not great stats for a defense--especially considering how poorly the run defense played to keep those passing stats down. But the coverage by this secondary was pretty solid throughout last week’s game with the exception of their typical weak link in Buster Skrine covering the slot. Skrine allowed Julian Edelman to lead the Patriots in receiving, as he has been a target for opposing quarterbacks all season long. The Titans do not have much of a viable slot option with Tajae Sharpe struggling to play through an ankle injury, so there will not be much to exploit from a fantasy perspective. Corey Davis still should have a decent matchup against the likes of Morris Claiborne and Trumaine Johnson, but where Davis could be limited is on the deep balls when either of the talented Jets safeties slides over to double up on Davis. The Titans offensive line may also get a break here after giving up four or more sacks in four of their last six games, as this Jets defensive front has neither been consistent nor effective at rushing the quarterback despite their blitz-heavy approach.

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


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Josh Rosen turned in another ugly performance last week as he passed for a season-low 105 yards for just one touchdown and one interception. Rosen now has thrown 10 interceptions in his last six games while rarely completing more than 60 percent of his passes. This offense is handcuffed with Rosen under center playing as bad as he is, and the coaching staff seems to know it as they have begun limiting his pass attempts with just 20 and 19 in his last two outings compared to over 30 attempts in each of the previous four games. Larry Fitzgerald managed to score for his fifth time in as many games last week despite getting just two targets, but he has surpassed 50 receiving yards in a game just twice all year. David Johnson has seen only three targets in back to back games despite the upside he could bring to this offense. Both Fitzgerald and Johnson are the only viable fantasy players to consider in this offense, but neither bring much excitement given the low volume they are operating with.

Given the woes of the Cardinals passing offense, even the injury-laden the Packers defense should not have significant issues in this one. They did allow 342 yards and three touchdowns to Kirk Cousins last week, but this Packers defense had played relatively well in most prior outings as Cousins is the only quarterback to have passed for more than 300 yards in a game against them (has done it in both meetings). Rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander continues to play well on a weekly basis and should help with locking down Christian Kirk in this one. Larry Fitzgerald actually should have a positive matchup against Bashaud Breeland if Kevin King misses another game, but King did get in a limited practice at the end of last week, so keep an eye on his status. If King returns, this secondary is significantly upgraded. The Cardinals offensive line should be in for a challenge to keep Rosen upright against a Packers pass rush that has registered multiple sacks all but one game this season, tied with the third-most sacks in the league. That pressure combined with the above-average play from this Packers secondary should make it very difficult on the Cardinals come Sunday.

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


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Jeff Driskel is taking over this week and it appears he will likely get A.J. Green back which is a major upgrade to the passing offense. Driskel may inject some life into this sputtering offense that has struggled over the last few weeks in matchups that they should have had a decent chance of exploiting. Driskel is a quarterback who the Bengals like quite a bit, but he is a raw talent with mobility and will likely make some mistakes but at this point will provide a change of pace and the ability to take some more chances that Dalton had not been willing to take over the last few weeks.

The Broncos secondary is a unit that has fallen on hard times over the last two weeks as they have allowed 400 yards or more to both the Chargers and the Steelers including 462 yards to Ben Roethlisberger last week. This is particularly surprising as on the year this has been a very good pass defense as outside of those two performances they have allowed just one quarterback to throw for over 300 yards which was Patrick Mahomes who did it twice barely with an average of 304 yards. This is a tough defense to figure out going forward as it does not have any major injuries to indicate why it has fallen apart recently other than they faced two really good passing offenses. Expect a potential bounce-back week for the Broncos this week.

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


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense at Houston Texans Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Baker Mayfield under new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens has been a completely different quarterback than the one that we saw with Todd Haley. Part of that is schedule based and not all on Kitchens as the Browns have had one of the easier schedules when it comes to opposing defense over the last several weeks, but Mayfield has taken fewer sacks since the team moved Greg Robinson to left tackle, and is not making the same turnover decisions that he made earlier in the year. Since Kitchens has taken over, Mayfield has thrown nine touchdowns to just one interception and spreads the ball around to a variety of different receivers completing passes to eight receivers last week on just 19 receptions.

Houston’s pass defense is one that is has been mostly a tough unit on the season, but they are coming off of a down week allowing Marcus Mariota to complete 22 of 23 passes for 303 yards. Prior to this game, this was a defense that had allowed just one quarterback to throw for over 300 yards (Andrew Luck with 464 yards) and just two quarterbacks to throw for more than two touchdowns. Overall, this remains a talented unit with slot corner Kareem Jackson who is having a career season which should cause havoc for Jarvis Landry this week. This is a defense that plays a lot of Dime package with Tyrann Mathieu sliding down to cover the tight end which was something they did not do much against the run-heavy Titans, but expect them to get back to their stingy pass defense.

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


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense vs New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Dallas offense remains very run-oriented, riding heavily on the back of Ezekiel Elliott. Still, the past few weeks have been encouraging in showing us what a dynamic receiver can do for Dak Prescott. Suddenly, after one of the weakest starts in recent passing-game history, this unit is showing fantasy-relevant life. Over 4 games since the addition of Amari Cooper, Prescott has completed 70% of his throws for 7.77 yards apiece – well above his previous marks of 62% and 6.88 – and topped 270 yards twice. This is still Elliott’s offense in almost all situations, but the fact that this offense is supporting both a fantasy WR2 and a viable QB2 is a huge leap. Going forward, Cooper should maintain his stranglehold on the passing game (), and he’s now topped 58 yards in 3 of 4 games as a Cowboy. Of course, last Thursday’s 8-catch, 180-yard, 2-touchdown day reminded the fantasy world of his ceiling. He’ll have a tough Week 13 matchup, seeing a lot of Marshon Lattimore on the outside, but he moves around enough to project well overall. No one else in this group is producing, with Allen Hurns practically invisible and rookie Michael Gallup struggling majorly, catching just 3 of his last 11 targets for 29 yards. It’s entirely Prescott’s and Cooper’s show, but at least they’re hitting their upsides of late.

The Saints’ up-and-down pass defense has roared to life of late, showcasing those dominant traits of last season. The unit regrouped after a horrid start to the year, replacing inconsistent cornerback Ken Crawley with promising ex-Giant Eli Apple. Meanwhile, Marshon Lattimore has stepped up his play tremendously, and over the last three weeks the results have been strong. They stifled Andy Dalton and Carson Wentz in back-to-back weeks (a combined 58% passing and 309 yards, with 5 interceptions), then performed better than the numbers suggest against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Ryan racked up 377 yards, but was sacked 5 times and repeatedly came up short in the red zone. The Saints boast three dynamic edge rushers (once rookie Marcus Davenport returns) and a secondary that tends to gamble, but attacks the ball and makes clean completions difficult. If there’s an obvious vulnerability, it’s slot cornerback P.J. Williams, though even he’s boosted his game of late. This group is a bit too inconsistent to be called a shutdown unit, but like last year, it’s a tough one to target for big production.

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


Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Somewhat quietly, Philip Rivers is in the midst of the best season of his storied 15-year career. He’s posting his best-ever completion (70%), touchdown (7.6%), and yardage (9.1) rates – a big reason the Chargers are barreling toward their first 10-win season since 2009. Last week’s gem, a 28-of-29, 3-score performance against Patrick Peterson’s Cardinals, was truly a sight to behold. That efficiency hasn’t always blown up the stat sheet; volume works against him at times, and Rivers has landed below 250 yards 5 times thus far. But it’s good to know he’s in the zone, and that he’s always in position to maximize whatever volume the game affords him. Keenan Allen remains his top target, winning consistently underneath and contributing the occasional great downfield catch. And the two Williamses, Tyrell and Mike, provide great situational playmaking. Tyrell is playing through injury at the moment but has averaged a career-best 18.5 yards per catch. Amazingly, the pair has found the end zone on 12 of their 52 receptions, providing a fantastic downfield balance to Allen and the running backs.

The Pittsburgh pass defense has enjoyed a major turnaround from its early-season struggles. After allowing 320 yards per game over the season’s first 5 weeks, they’ve given up just 187 since, with just 8 touchdowns over the last 6 outings. Of course, scheduling has played a role in that upswing. Aside from Cam Newton, they haven’t faced a strong passer since Week 5. Still, it’s hard to deny just how stingy and mistake-free this group has been lately. The pass rush is deep and dynamic, and on its best days, it’s able to almost completely paper over the team’s concerns in the secondary. Cornerbacks Joe Haden and Coty Sensabaugh have been extremely up-and-down in coverage, and the safeties, who are primarily run defenders, continue to lapse when helping downfield. Ultimately, the week-to-week success of this group hinges on whether the Steelers can generate an organic rush without blitzing too many coverage men. Last week was a mixed bag in that department, and a better quarterback than Case Keenum could have capitalized.

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


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Eli Manning is undeservedly taking most of the blame for the Giants struggles this season. While the touchdowns have not been there for the Giants quarterback, he is on pace to set a career high in completion percentage and have the second most yards he has thrown in his career. The issue for the Giants has largely been their offensive line and the number of sacks that they have taken as a result of a poorly constructed offensive line. This is an offense that still has significant weapons around it in Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram continues to show signs of getting healthier.

The Bears secondary is by no means as good as their front seven and their run defense but it is still a tough unit to throw on consistently. The Bears have only allowed an opponent to throw above 300 yards twice this season, but have allowed two or more passing touchdowns in seven games this season. Prince Amukamara remains a gambling corner who takes a lot of chances which can leave him in bad positions at times including allowing Stefon Diggs to catch 13 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago, but Kyle Fuller has developed nicely into a shut-down corner. The problem for the Bears is they do not move sides of their corners at all, so the Giants will likely avoid having Beckham on Fuller for much of this game switching him between the slot and the left side to match up against Amukamara.

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


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger continues to dazzle statistically at age 36. Averaging a career-high 333 yards per game, he’s a matchup-proof QB1 for fantasy purposes. Still, there are subtle cracks in this high-flying attack. Roethlisberger has dominated the bad defenses on his schedule (Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati), but struggled noticeably against the better ones (Baltimore, Jacksonville, Denver). Last week, he posted what had to be the worst 41-of-56, 462-yard performance in NFL history. Interceptions remain a problem, as do the Steelers’ struggles in the red zone. But fantasy players won’t care, of course, as long as the gaudy numbers keep up, and that feels safe. Roethlisberger is a volume king, and he throws to arguably the league’s best wideout tandem. Antonio Brown hasn’t been quite his otherworldly self, averaging a good-not-amazing 70 yards a game, his lowest number since 2012. But he remains a nearly impossible cover, both down the field and underneath, and he’s found the end zone 11 times over 11 games. The bigger story has been JuJu Smith-Schuster, who’s on pace for a dazzling 112-1,534-6 line on the other side. Last week’s 97-yard catch-and-run – the second 97-yard catch of the 22-year-old’s career – was a perfect snapshot of his ability to win routes and excel in the open field. All told, there are a few real-life concerns at play here, but not enough to dampen the massive fantasy appeal of this attack.

The Chargers pass defense looks back to its dominant ways of 2017. They’ve feasted on a relatively week schedule of passing games, but haven’t allowed more than 243 yards since Week 5. The full-on return of star pass rusher Joey Bosa, who was in on 70% of defensive snaps last week, only makes this unit tougher to deal with. Bosa has looked great, bookending Melvin Ingram and allowing the entire pass rush more room to push pockets. Behind them, the league’s most talented secondary has snapped out of its early-season funk and is back to dominating wideouts. Even with Jason Verrett and 2017 breakout star Trevor Williams on the shelf, there’s still a ton of coverage ability scattered throughout the back end. Casey Hayward remains a shutdown stud, while Desmond King has developed into a major playmaker on the ball, and rookie safety Derwin James continues to impress week after week. There’s rarely much time to throw against this full-strength unit, and there are very few safe zones downfield to test.

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


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

If the Falcons weren’t 4-7, Matt Ryan would be a frontrunner for NFL MVP. He’s actually been even better, at least by fantasy measures, than in his actual MVP season of 2016. He leads the league in per-game yardage (335) and sits sixth per attempt (8.49), and has thrown 24 touchdowns through 11 games. He deserves a lot of the credit, but some needs to be reserved for his arsenal of weapons, which finally looks diverse and well-rounded. Julio Jones is Julio Jones; he continues to dominate secondaries left and right and is actually in the midst of the best season of his brilliant career. He’s posting personal bests in catch rate (67.2%) and yards per game (119), and even touchdowns are coming his way (3 over the last 4 weeks). Rookie Calvin Ridley has exceeded expectations as a dynamic target on all levels of the field – he’s a big reason Jones is finding more room than usual down the field. Slot man Mohamed Sanu remains dependable over the middle, and tight end Austin Hooper, who’s always flashed as an underneath mismatch, is enjoying a career year of his own (55 receptions). This is a difficult unit to stop and can be trusted to produce on even the worst of the Falcons’ days.

The Baltimore pass defense has been arguably the NFL’s best over the past two months. They’ve given up just 6.52 yards per attempt over their last 6 outings, which have included dates with Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Ben Roethlisberger. Outside wideouts are struggling the most, as cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey are excelling at funneling low-impact throws to slot men and running backs. Michael Thomas (69 yards on 9 targets), Devin Funchess (27 on 3), and Antonio Brown (42 on 11) have struggled mightily to make things happen down the field against this imposing secondary.

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


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

Ryan Tannehill’s Week 12 return to action was rather unceremonial. Stepping back in after 5 missed games, Tannehill looked scarcely better than Brock Osweiler, generating just 204 yards and having several bad throws nearly picked off. 36% of his yardage came on a single deep jump-ball to Leonte Carroo; aside from that, Tannehill had little impact on the game. Some of the blame falls on coach Adam Gase, who refuses to trust his passing game to do much of anything beyond short drag routes and dump-offs. And some is reserved for the beaten-up receiving corps, which lacks spark plugs Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson and offers little dynamism for Tannehill. All told, this unit is unimaginative and lacks impact at the moment, depending mostly upon blown coverages and after-catch running. Tannehill has averaged just 196 yards over his 6 starts, and a date with the Bills’ punishing pass defense doesn’t look very friendly.

The Buffalo pass defense has looked like the league’s most dominant unit over the past month. Of course, it’s helped tremendously to face Mitchell Trubisky, Josh McCown, and Blake Bortles over that span. But even the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson have struggled for efficiency in this matchup, and there’s no denying just how aggressive and high-impact this unit continues to be. The superstar is cornerback Tre’Davious White, who’s been one of the NFL’s premier shutdown men since around the midpoint of last season. White continues to erase half the field from the gameplan, and he’s the primary reason only 2 opposing wideouts (DeAndre Hopkins and Julian Edelman) have reached 50 yards over the last 7 games. Jerry Hughes leads a pass rush that’s a bit inconsistent, but often dynamic off the edges. There are just too many playmakers on this defense for quarterbacks to get comfortable, not much room downfield when they’re able to get throws off.

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


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Tom Brady looked slightly improved coming off the bye in his last start, but he has still yet to kick into the typical mode many have come to expect from one of the all-time greats. His two touchdowns last week marked the first time in four games that Brady has found the end zone more than once while his 64.5 percent completion rate was his best mark since Week 7. A healthy Rob Gronkowski certainly makes a big difference for Brady and this offense though. Gronkowski finished with just 56 receiving yards and a touchdown, but his usage was encouraging as he hauled in the deep touchdown while seeing three more targets from inside the red zone, marking four times Brady was actively trying to find Gronkowski in the end zone. Just having Gronkowski on the field (99 percent of snaps last week) running routes makes a world of difference for the Patriots passing offense, but it also lowers the fantasy ceiling for other contributors such as Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and James White--all of whom finished behind Gronkowski in targets last week.

The Vikings defense proved last week why they are one of the best groups in the league as they held Aaron Rodgers to his worst game of the season last week. While their first five games were not pretty to watch at times, the Vikings have now held both Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers to fewer than 200 passing yards and just one touchdown. Over their last six games, both quarterbacks and wide receivers are scoring just the second-fewest fantasy points per game when facing the Vikings. Even tight ends are being shut down with just the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game over that same span of games. A big part of the success has been the pressure this defensive front has managed to create. Ranking tied for third with 36 sacks, the Vikings employ blitz packages very effectively as one of the top defense in the league at selling out against opposing quarterbacks. Minnesota’s secondary also continues to play at a high level while their top linebacker, Anthony Barr, just returned to the field to help continue to apply that pressure while keeping an eye on the likes of James White coming out of the backfield. The Patriots passing offense will need to start playing like they typically have done so in December to have a chance in this one, as what they have shown over the past few weeks will not do the trick against this defense.

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