Blake Bortles, JAX (vs IND) - Bortles lit up the Colts for over 300 yards and a score in the first meeting. Chuck Pagano is losing his grip on reality and the Colts had lost their grip on competitiveness at home against the Jaguars. They could be a pushover in this one, allowing Bortles to pilot multiple scoring drives - drives that he has been showing a willingness to finish with his legs - which amplifies his ceiling in the very winnable games coming up on his schedule.
DeShone Kizer, CLE (at LAC) - The Browns have a tough matchup against the Chargers pass rush and secondary, but Kizer hasn’t had the luxury of playing with two legitimate deep threats, Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon. Kizer could hold the ball too long too often in the name of stretching the field and take too many sacks. He could revert to being the turnover machine he was earlier this year. He could also build on the growth and safe, smart play he has been exhibiting more of in recents, and incorporate his receiver duo to surprise the Chargers. Kizer also has five rushing touchdowns this year and will think run close to the goal line.
Trevor Siemian, DEN (at MIA) - The Broncos got to see just how much worse than Siemian it can get at quarterback over the last few weeks. Siemian was productive in garbage time last week, and he’s facing a Dolphins defense that has allowed ten passing touchdowns in the last three weeks - with multiple scores through the air allowed in every game. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas can also add value to Siemian’s high floor this week.
Brett Hundley, GB (vs TB) - Hundley seemed to turn the corner against the Steelers, with enough time to see the field and find open receivers. Yes, the Steelers had multiple breakdowns on defense, but the Bucs haven’t exactly been playing sound defense lately. They’ve allowed multiple pass touchdowns three of the last four weeks, and at least 262 passing yards in every one of those games. The Buccaneers pass rush has evaporated, which should allowed Hundley to get comfortable and take advantage of the talent he has at wide receiver.
Austin Ekeler, LAC (vs CLE) - Ekeler should be an obvious flex and RB2 consideration in PPR leagues at this point, but just in case you are overlooking him because he wasn’t on our radar at the beginning of year, think again. Cleveland has allowed four touchdowns to backs in the last four weeks, including two to the lowly Lions backfield. If this one gets out of hand, the Chargers could also choose to rest Melvin Gordon III’s knees and let Ekeler close it out.
Kenyan Drake, MIA (vs DEN) - Drake will get the backfield almost all to himself this week. The Broncos have one of the toughest run defenses in the league, but Drake has also shown a propensity to break big plays on a limited workload. With 15+ touches likely in store and a Broncos defense that has had its pride injured with nothing to play for, Drake could come through.
Alex Collins, BAL (vs DET) - Detroit has been horrendous against the run lately, allowing a touchdown to a running back in nine consecutive games, and at least 100 rushing yards to opposing backs in each of the last three games. Collins should get fed at least 15 carries as long as the Ravens defense can keep this close at home, and he has been converting his goal line opportunities in recent weeks.
Devontae Booker, DEN (at MIA) - As the Broncos look to the future, they could transition more to Booker, who came up short as a sleeper in a good matchup last week against the Raiders, but has an even better matchup against the crumbling Dolphins defense that gave up 181 total yards and two scores to Patriots backs last week. Weeks 9 and 10 also saw opposing backs ring up multiple touches against Miami.
T.J. Yeldon, JAX (vs IND) - Yeldon has a lot of paths to value this week. He has taken over the backup job from Chris Ivory and should get at least 8-10 touches in a game the Jaguars should control. His value is enhanced in PPR leagues, with two games of five or more receptions in the last three. He also had a long touchdown run in the first matchup with the Colts and accounted for 137 total yards on 11 touches. Leonard Fournette missed that game with an ankle injury and he’s not over it yet. Yeldon is the obvious candidate to get the work to close out the likely win, and he could have a big workload if Fournette aggravates the ankle injury during the game.
Derrick Henry, TEN (vs HOU) - We’ve been fooled by Henry and the Titans many times this year, but we can’t ignore that the predicate to make a move to Henry in the backfield has been laid down again. Henry vastly outplayed Demarco Murray last week, and his combination of size, determination, and athleticism may become too much for opponents to handle as he has been kept fresh, whether by design or coaching malpractice. Even if the Titans are going with the dreaded “hot hand” approach, that should favor Henry as the game goes on.
Josh Doctson, WAS (at DAL) **Thursday** - Dallas’s secondary has been generous lately, with multiple scores allowed to wide receivers in each of the last two weeks. Doctson scored in a downpour the first time these two teams met, and his role has grown greatly since then. The Chargers were able to complete downfield passes at will on Thanksgiving, and it only takes one for a big play artist like Doctson to reward your decision to plug him in this week.
Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, JAX (vs IND) - The Colts were powerless to slow down the Jaguars high-flying passing attack (I kid) the last time these two teams met. Allen Hurns had 5-100, Marqise Lee 4-72, and Keelan Cole 2-64. Westbrook should be the #2 in the pecking order for targets, with Lee #1 now. Either or both could have big games against a Colts secondary that will be overmatched without Rashaan Melvin.
Jermaine Kearse, NYJ (vs KC) - Kearse had his biggest yardage total of the year last week, and defenses are still going to be much more preoccupied with Robby Anderson, oh he of the five-game scoring streak. The Chiefs have been vulnerable to wide receivers for big plays and big gains all season, setting up Kearse for a high ceiling profile with Josh McCown as aggressive as ever going into this game.
Marquise Goodwin, SF (at CHI) - Goodwin has actually been sustaining some fantasy value with CJ Beathard, so we might be surprised at what he can do with a competent quarterback. He has at least 68 receiving yards in the last three games, and four of the last five. He’ll be the #1 receiver for Jimmy Garoppolo against the Bears, who have given up a score to an opposing wide receiver in the last three games, and six games of at least 50 receiving yards over the span. Goodwin has a very high ceiling as a proven deep threat.
Dontrelle Inman, CHI (vs SF) - Inman is the #1 wide receiver for Mitchell Trubisky, who was starting to turn the corner as a passer before running into the buzzsaw in Philadelphia. San Francisco hasn’t been able to slow down opposing passing games, or offenses in general, so if the Bears display the inventiveness in playcalling and design that they did in the loss to the Lions two weeks ago, Inman could be a serviceable WR3/Flex.
Brandon LaFell, CIN (vs PIT) - The Steelers have had six complete breakdowns to allow players to get free for long scores in the last three weeks. Rishard Matthews, Donte Moncrief, Chester Rogers, Jamaal Williams, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams have all scored from long range from Jacoby Brissett, Marcus Mariota, and Brett Hundley, which is not exactly a murderer’s row of skill players and passers. AJ Green could be the generator of big plays this week, but if it’s not him, LaFell is the next most likely candidate.
Josh Reynolds, LAR (at ARI) - Make sure that Reynolds shoulder is ok, but if you need to dig deep, the rookie could come through. Sammy Watkins is likely to match up with Patrick Peterson, leaving Reynolds one of the better matchups in the Arizona secondary. He was able to score last week and catch four balls in a similar situation against the Saints.
Ben Watson, BAL (at DET) - Watson has to share with Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle, but as long as he gets the calls in the red zone, he could be a very smart play for anyone still streaming tight ends. The Lions have allowed three scores to opposing tight ends in the last two games, including one to rookie Adam Shaheen. Seth DeValve hung a 4-70 on them the week before that, and Ed Dickson posted 5-175 earlier in the year.
Tyler Higbee, LAR (at ARI) - Like Reynolds, Higbee should benefit from an offensive gameplan that will employ Sammy Watkins as more of decoy than a primary target. Higbee has been downfield threat at times this year, and the Cardinals did give up two Jimmy Graham scores back in Week 10. You’re counting on Jared Goff to identity the best matchups and Higbee to one of them.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU (at TEN) - Fiedorowicz has returned to form after missing half of the season with a second concussion. Tom Savage has a directive to take care of the ball, which should mean more safe intermediate and short passing, putting Fiedorowicz in the crosshairs. Tennessee just gave up 7-94 to Jack Doyle, and before that they allowed Jesse James to catch five balls and score, and Ben Watson also had seven grabs against them in a recent game. Fiedorowicz could be heavily involved this week.
Austin Traylor, DEN (at MIA) - This is bottom of the ocean deep, but we know you’re playing Ricky Seals-Jones, so we need to get more obscure. Traylor has been a reliable target for the Broncos in his two games, and he faces a Miami defense that has allowed a score to a tight end in five of the last six games, and they gave up a 8-126 line to Jared Cook in the one game without a tight end score allowed.
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