At this point in the fantasy season it is not about looking forward, but winning this week and taking home the title. For that reason, instead of running down players rising and falling, running through season long strategy or dealing with any policy issues, I’m going to run through every game and highlight certain players that I’m loving and hating this week. I’m bringing the energy with a positive, neutral and negative charge. One last note, I cannot emphasis enough to start your studs unless you have a clear better option. I repeat, a CLEAR better option. So sitting Frank Gore for Denard Robinson, yes. Sitting Odell Beckham Jr Jr. for Tyler Lockett, no.
Jets vs. Cowboys
- Jets Defense – Dallas is going to have a tough time doing anything this game. They are getting sacks lately and Revis is back to cover Dez Bryant.
- Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker – Dallas has a solid pass defense and three great cornerbacks. The problem for Dallas is that the Jets play a ton of four wide. Both these guys should be fine, although Decker could see a lot of stud rookie Byron Jones in the slot. I could see Kenbrell Thompkins coming through in this one for those in a desperate spot as well.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick – Not the week to reach for him, but if he is all you have, he should have a decent floor and throw at least 2 TDs.
- Chris Ivory – Bilal Powell limits his upside, but the Dallas offense getting pummeled should set up some choice field position.
- Bilal Powell – Has a decent floor in PPR leagues thanks to his pass catching ability. He is averaging over 15 points in his last four games.
- All Dallas players against this resurgent Jets Defense. I don’t trust Dez Bryant as anything more than a WR3 with Cassel at QB and with Revis covering him.
Panthers vs. Giants
- Greg Olsen – Giants actually decent against the TE. You are using him in season long, but probably a week to fade in DFS.
- Odell Beckham Jr Jr. – Lower expectations in what will be a lively matchup against top cornerback Josh Norman. Going to be fun to watch for everyone but ODB owners who will be gnawing their nails waiting for him to break free.
- Panthers Backfield – While neutral, fade them if you can. In standard leagues I like Mike Tolbert to get the goal line work, with Fozzy Whitaker carrying a majority of the load. I can see Tolbert finishing with a 5/20/2 line, while Fozzy finishes with 15/75.
- Eli Manning – With ODB battling with Norman, there won’t be much room for Eli to work facing this Panthers pass rush.
- Giants Backfield – Fade them all this week if possible. Rashad Jennings the best of the bunch.
Bills vs. Washington
- Sammy Watkins – Must start and averaging around 20 points a game recently. They will take a number of deep shots to him a game as well.
- Jordan Reed – The Bills pose a tough test, but they are vulnerable to tight ends. He can beat free safety Corey Graham and Jordan is rolling right now.
- Tyrod Taylor – A solid start in season long leagues, although not a ton of upside so someone to fade in DFS. Will take a number of deep shots every game, but what if they don’t hit?
- Washington Running Backs – Not a shutdown defense, but hard to trust Alfred Morris or Matt Jones. I would lean Jones and he's at least a decent flex play if you need him.
Bears vs. Vikings
- Adrian Peterson – Should get more than 25+ carries in a close game, low scoring affair (43 Vegas over/under). Worth paying up for in DFS this week as he usually kills the Bears.
- Alshon Jeffery – Should play and will get double-digit targets.
- Matt Forte – Langford limits his upside, that’s why not a “positive” start. But he is still a must start, just not a great DFS play.
- Jeremy Langford – He played more than half the snaps last week, so a viable flex play and DFS tournament reach.
- Jay Cutler – Solid floor and Anthony Barr, Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph are all still iffy to play.
- Zach Miller – Outside of Jeffery and Forte, he’s all they got. Not the greatest matchup, but injuries to the defense certainly help. Viable in season long and DFS if that’s the case.
- Kyle Rudolph – Usually touchdown dependent, but went 6/67 last week and the Bears are giving up big time points to tight ends recently.
- Minn Defense – As mentioned above, Anthony Barr, Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph all may be out again. If so, this defense isn’t nearly as appealing.
- Teddy Bridgewater, Stefon Diggs – This passing attack has been stuck in neutral, which makes them a negative play this week.
Falcons vs Jaguars
- Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman – Both should bounce back with solid games after last weeks debacle against the Panthers. Julio will see 15+ targets, while Freeman will do his damage in the pass game as well.
- Blake Bortles – Atlanta's defense just lines up and plays, offering very little in the way of disguise and looks. He should put up good numbers.
- Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas – All should score this week, with Thomas the preferred play in DFS this week if choosing between the three of then.
- Denard Robinson – What a playoff gift for those picking him up off waivers this week. No reason he shouldn’t rush for more than 100 yards. Just hope he also gets the goal line looks.
- Jacob Tamme – Jaguars giving up giving up 21.4 FPG to TEs the last 4 weeks. He should bounce back with a solid game.
- Matt Ryan – He’s played horribly, but the Jaguars are only good at stopping the run. Should have a decent floor this week and Julio and Freeman should help him put up big numbers.
Chiefs vs. Ravens
- Chiefs Defense – Top three play against Matt Schaub and his pick-sixes
- Jeremy Maclin – The Ravens have given up 16 touchdowns at home this season and the Ravens have struggled against the pass all year.
- Alex Smith – Great play for those streaming and in DFS. Ravens have given up at least two passing touchdowns a game.
- Travis Kelce – Could see a lot of Will Hill, which means keep expectations in check. They also just don’t feature him enough.
- Charcandrick West – Ravens have a tough run defense, but with Spencer Ware out, he will dominate touches and is viable in the pass game, making for a decent floor.
- Kamar Aiken – Not a great matchup, but gets peppered with targets, so a solid WR3 in PPR leagues. Schaub is healthy, which does help, somehow.
Titans vs. Patriots
- Brandon LaFell – Only if you are hurting at the wide receiver position, but despite his drops, he is getting targets and should put up numbers in this one.
- Brandon Bolden – Will handle lead duties and will make for a great RB2, although probably not much upside.
- Marcus Mariota – If you are starting him, you are hoping for garbage time/catch-up production, which her very well may get. You just don’t want to rely on that in the playoffs.
- Delanie Walker – The Patriots do a good job of taking away a teams top weapon, and he is the only weapon they have.
- Dorial Green-Beckham – Only if you are desperate, and like Mariota, it would be all about garbage time. The positive news is that the Pats should sell out to take away Walker, leaving DGB with one-on-one coverage.
Texans vs. Colts
- DeAndre Hopkins – Will face off against top cornerback Vontae Davis. Hopkins has also never scored against them and only averaged around 12 fantasy points per game.
- T.Y. Hilton – WR3 floor with WR1 upside.
- Frank Gore – He hasn’t looked the same since Andrew Luck went out. Decent floor with pass game stats in PPR leagues, but it’s tough to see any sort of ceiling.
Browns vs. Seahawks
- Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett – Wilson is hanging tough and making plays from the pocket. This has become a passing offense and all three of the guys are must starts.
- Seahawks Defense – The top defensive play of the week. Jonny Football could score on them, but he will also give up some big plays.
- Gary Barnidge – Seattle has given up production to opposing tight ends and you just know he will get one sneaky touchdown.
- Fred Jackson – In PPR leagues, he could get you 10 points.
- Christine Michael – I think he gets the bulk of the early down work since he knows this offense better than Bryce Brown. But using either of these guys is a total crapshoot. Yet, one will put up major points
- Johnny Manziel – You don’t want to rely on him in your playoff game.
Packers vs. Raiders
- Aaron Rodgers – You have to start him unless you have another top 5 option, but Khalil Mack is no joke.
- Randall Cobb – He got his mojo back with HC McCarthy calling the plays last week. Should be a solid PPR option this week.
- Amari Cooper/Michael Crabtree – Cooper looks like he has hit the rookie wall and this matchup is not an easy one. Despite their teams struggles, the Packer defense has been solid.
- Derek Carr – Probably a week to fade him unless you don’t have any other options. Two touchdown passes would be his ceiling.
- Eddie Lacy – He seems to be back in the drivers seat, although the Raiders front seven is pretty tough.
- Latavius Murray – Boom or bust option. This week looks like a bust, but like any starting running back, there is hope if you need him. But I would fade him in DFS without question.
Broncos vs. Stealers
- DeAngelo Williams – Could see a lot of dump offs and if they get near the goal line, he’s their best bet to score.
- Martavis Bryant – The Stealers will take a number of deep shots, and my bet is that he gets through for one or two. If not, could have 2 catches for only 20 yards.
- Antonio Brown – Brutal matchup, so plan for WR2 type numbers.
- Heath Miller – The most likely Stealers pass catcher to have a good game. But try and avoid if possible.
- Marcus Wheaton – with coverage focusing on Bryant and Brown, he’s a sneaky DFS tournament play.
- Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders –Osweiler has been limiting their upside, but they are easier to throw on than to run. Thomas should see a ridiculous number of targets.
- Vernon Davis – The Stealers give up a ton of production to tight ends. He caught 7 passes on 9 targets last week and could see the same sort of volume again.
- Brock Osweiler – The Stealers give up passing yardage, but he’s not a guy to trust in season long leagues. A contrarian dart throw in DFS tournaments.
- Ronnie Hillman/ C.J. Anderson – the Stealers are tough against the run and allow the 4th fewest points to the position this season.
Dolphins vs. Chargers
- Lamar Miller – If they give him just 10 carries, he should put up RB1 numbers. Imagine if they gave him 15. I get shivers.
- Jarvis Landry – An absolute PPR beast who will get peppered with targets.
- Antonio Gates – The only Charger you can trust doing something in this matchup. He went 6/78 last week and that should be his PPR floor. Malcom Floyd is a total flyer if you are desperate as well.
- Philip Rivers and Ryan Tannehill – Tough to trust either of these guys. I would rather go with Rivers if I had to make a choice.
Bengals vs. 49ers
- A.J. Green – McCarron has the tools to get him the ball and he should face little resistance. I would lean away from him in DFS because of his QB play, but he should put up big numbers and actually plays better on the road.
- Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard – The Bengals could run a ton as they control the game and look to limit A.J. McCarron. The Niners are giving up 35.5 FPG to RBs in the last four weeks. I would lean a bit more to Hill than Gio in this one, and both make intriguing DFS plays.
- Shaun Draughn – He’s all they got and his receiving ability should help get you at least 10 points in PPR leagues, but ceiling is incredibly low.
- Marvin Jones Jr – If Eifert misses, that could mean a few more balls Jones’ way. But this could be more of a Hill and Bernard game than a passing game.
Cardinals vs. Eagles
- Carson Palmer – Will continue to put up big numbers this week.
- John Brown and Michael Floyd – Both players should score this week and rack up yards as they do. The Eagled have big corners, but not fast enough to keep up with these two all game.
- David Johnson – An every-down back who is one of the better DFS plays of the week.
- Larry Fitzgerald – Decent floor in PPR leagues, not a great play anymore in standard ones facing off against Malcolm Jenkins. A player to avoid in DFS,
- Darren Sproles – With Murray on the outs, he holds a decent floor in PPR leagues. Tough defense to run on, which should also open things up for him in the passing game.
- Zach Ertz – The Cardinals are tough against tight ends, but he has been coming on lately as Jordan Matthews has faded. Teams have also essentially given up the middle of the field, daring Bradford to throw there. Hopefully this week he does.
- Sam Bradford, Jordan Matthews, Demarco Murray – Matthews and Murray are not startable and Bradford is tough to trust outside of 2 QB leagues as a low end QB2.
Lions vs. Saints
- Matthew Stafford – Highest over/under of the week and Stafford should be tossing the ball around a ton. 2 TDs is his floor with 5 his ceiling.
- Drew Brees – This is going to be a shootout despite the slightly better play of both defenses recently.
- Tim Hightower – They showed last week that they are committed to him after giving him 28 rushes. Should be on the field a lot and put up numbers on the ground and through the air. The Saints play much better at home.
- Ben Watson – Saw 11 targets last week, putting up 7/70. Lions are also giving up 13.6 FPG to TEs the last few weeks. A great DFS play.
- Calvin Johnson – In theory he could go off since both Brandon Browner and rookie CB Delvin Breaux are no match for him. In reality, he will see a lot of double teams, which could limit his production greatly as we saw last week with his one catch night.
- Golden Tate – Should be the main beneficiary of the attention received by Johnson. Last week he went 9/60/2.
- Theo Riddick – Could see a ton of targets this week in a high scoring game.
- Willie Snead IV and Brandin Cooks - Both should see time being covered by top CB Slay. It's not clear if he will shadow Cooks, or split time depending on where each of these guys lines up. Play them in season long but fade in DFS.
- Eric Ebron – Just not seeing enough targets to trust him.
- Ameer Abdullah – Just isn’t seeing the field enough to warrant consideration.
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