Welcome to Week 16 of The Docket, a weekly column that offers strategy and advice on players that you should be targeting and avoiding each week. We bring the energy each week with the positive, neutral and negative charge. I often mention PFF rankings below, for those that don't know, PFF is Pro Football Focus, a top rated analytics site that is used by many NFL teams. (UPDATED: 12/23 10am)
Redskins vs Bears (+3.5 o/u 46.5)
Weather: 37 Degrees and Partly Sunny
- Kirk Cousins – Disappointing Week 15, but I think he bounces back in this must win game and is second in passing yards per game on this season. He’s maybe not a high-end play this week on the road, but with the weather cooperating, he should be a fine QB1.
- DeSean Jackson – He’s best used as a WR3 and it’s an interesting matchup between the 30 year old Jackson and the 30 year old Tracy Porter, with the former running a 4.35 forty and the later a 4.37 forty. That said, Porter has fallen off lately and now ranks as PFF’s 96th rated corner on the year. I think Jackson keeps his strong post injury play going and returns at least WR3 value with upside for so much more.
- Rob Kelly – Major dud last week, rushing 9 times for 8 yards, but the Bears got gashed on the ground last week by Montgomery for over 150 yards. Kelly should return solid RB2 value for you in a must win week for the Redskins.
- Pierre Garcon – He’s become a reliable PPR option, averaging over 15 FPG the past five weeks and there is nothing scary about this week’s matchup. Look for him to continue putting up a high floor of points, but there is not much of a ceiling with him.
- Jamison Crowder – He’s been fading steadily the last few weeks, but with Jordan Reed unreliable and Garcon facing a tougher matchup, Crowder has a good chance to come through for you this week against backup CB Demontre Hurst.
- Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis – If Reed sits, Davis makes for a solid TE1 streamer, seeing 9 targets last week and performing whenever he’s been asked to take over lead duties. Reed on the other hand, is worthless and too tough to trust with his banged up shoulder.
- Jordan Howard – If not for that Zeke guy in Dallas, Howard would be getting a lot of attention for his great season, who already has gone over 1,000 yards with two games left and after riding the bench to start the season. The Redskins are giving up 4.5 yards per carry to opposing RBs on the year and Howard should keep things rolling this week.
- Cameron Meredith – While Alshon does battle with CB Norman, Meredith has a great matchup against PFF’s 94th ranked corner, Kendall Fuller. The back-to-backup connection continues as well, with Meredith Barkley’s favorite target, seeing another 13 last week. Another matchup for those is deep leagues is Deonte Thompson, who should see a plus matchup against PFF's 89th ranked corner Quinton Dunbar.
- Matt Barkley – Outside of CB Josh Norman, there is nothing scary about this Redskins secondary, giving up over 25 FPG over the past five weeks. He makes for a great streaming option at home in decent weather.
- Alshon Jeffery – Looked great in his return to action last week, going 6/89/1. Unfortunately this week he runs head on into a date with top CB Josh Norman. I think Alshon still puts up a decent day, and very well could have a similar line as last week, but he doesn’t have big upside in a matchup where Norman should shadow him most of the day.
Falcons vs Panthers (+2.5 o/u 52)
Weather: 53 Degrees with low wind but potentially steady rain
- Matt Ryan – He destroyed them for 504/4 earlier this year.
- Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu – All three of these guys are locked and loaded against a Panthers secondary that gets burned on the regular and are much easier to throw on than to run on. In DFS I could see fading Julio, but in season long he dropped 12/300/1 on them the last time they played. Meanwhile, with Julio a bit hobbled, Sanu has a great matchup in the slot against PFFs 111th rated corner, Leonard Johnson, making him a solid PPR WR3 with upside, while Gabriel is a WR3 with a huge ceiling, but a tougher matchup against solid CB James Bradberry.
- Devonta Freeman / Tevin Coleman – It’s a tricky spot for these guys this week. Freeman is the lead dog, but outside of last week’s cakewalk, he’s been living on TDs to put up big numbers. Unfortunately for him, those TDs could always easily go to Coleman. I would roll out Freeman as a RB2 and cross my fingers; while Coleman is only a cross my fingers flex play. There will be one or two rushing TDs this week without a doubt, especially against a Panthers team giving up over 25 FPG the past five weeks, but which guy gets those?
- Cam Newton – He disappointed big time in this matchup on the road earlier this year, but back at home he should be a solid QB1 due to his running ability, and he will take some shots in a game that very well could be a shootout. He makes for a steady option for you finals despite not playing great all season.
- Greg Olsen – He’s come back to life the past two weeks and should have a solid game against a Falcons team he knocked for 6/76/1 earlier this year and who are giving up over 15 FPG the past five weeks.
- Jonathan Stewart – The Falcons have been solid against the run lately, but getting hit by RBs through the air, unfortunately that isn’t Stewart’s game. As we saw last week he often gets gaffled at the goal line, being sniped by fullback Tolbert last week and by Cam all season long. If you use him as your RB2, you have to just hope he comes through because it is not a given.
49ers vs Rams (-3.5 o/u 40)
Weather: Only 50 Degrees with some rain & winds over 15 MPH
- Carlos Hyde – He looks great and game script should be in his favor in this low scoring affair. He’s a rock solid RB2. 25+ touches is a very real possibility for him this week.
- Colin Kaepernick – The man can’t throw, but he can run. I would try and avoid him, but if you need some points in a 2 QB league, he will get you 15 or so. He could also get benched.
- Todd Gurley – He’s killed you all year, but if you are alive (or playing DFS), this is finally the week to use him. The Niners give up over 100 yards in all but two games, nearly 5 YPC and 30+ FPG to opposing RBs on the year. One bit of caution, Ajayi played them at home in Week 12 and after 18 rushes, had just 45 yards. Unfortunately that could easily happen here too, but the matchup is good.
- Kenny Britt – He’s fantasy’s #13 receiver and seems to get it done every week, and that should continue again this week at home. For those that like to live dangerously, Tavon Austin actually also have a goot matchup against CB Keith Reaser, PFF's 98th ranked corner. He's very hard to trust though.
Dolphins vs Bills (-3.5 o/u 41.5)
Weather: 29 Degrees, some rain and cloud and 15MPH winds
- Matt Moore – Proved that he wasn’t a downgrade to Tannehill, putting up 4 TDs on the lowly Jets last week, albeit on only 18 throws, which is either a problem or a sign of good things to come. The Jets blitzed him on 14 of his 19 drop backs and he still performed well, so I’m thinking he's got some talent. Things are a bit tougher this week against a solids Bills pass defense allowing the 4th fewest passing TDs on the year and around 200 yards and 1 TD on average to opposing QBs the past five weeks. A 2QB league reach only, but he will probably come through for you.
- Jay Ajayi – He hit them up for over 200 yards earlier this year and they are giving up a monstrous 29FPG to opposing RBs the last 5 weeks. He has fallen off, mainly due to line play, but at least he is running tough and in a shallow year for good RBs, he’s as viable a RB2 as anyone else out there.
- Jarvis Landry – He’s actually not been a PPR stud lately, but seems to make a big play every game to come through as a WR2. It’s a scary scenario as he could easily come up small, especially this week against PFFs 20th rated CB Nickell Robey-Coleman.
- DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills – Too tough to trust either of these guys this week. Yes, Still scored last week on a deep bomb, but it was his only catch.
- LeSean McCoy – The Bills are putting up over 30 yards a game at home, and it is in large part due to the production of this man here. He’s on fire lately and the Dolphins are giving up 5.1 YPC and over 7 catches a game the past five weeks. Locked and loaded as a top 3 RB1.
- Tyrod Taylor – The pressure is on, but I think he gets it done in the air and on the ground. If you are looking for a cheap DFS play, he makes for a great reach this week.
- Sammy Watkins – He ripped them last year for 168/1, but he just doesn't seem to play as well hurt as when he's healthy. Fortunately he does catch a break with PFF's 12th rated corner, Byron Maxwell out and instead gets to face off against backup Xavien Howard, PFF's 67th rated corner. He's hard to trust, so best used as your WR3 in a game where the weather at least won't be an issue.
Titans vs Jaguars (+4.5 o/u 43.5)
Weather: 74 Degrees and Sunny with just one cloud in the air.
- DeMarco Murray – You’re getting him in your lineup every week and he is looking good as their clear lead back. Should have had 2 TDs last week, but game flow getting tackled near the goal line allowing Henry to come in and steal those. I always say that TDs are a fluky thing, but it should be noted that Henry has 7 red zone carries to Murray's 3 since Week 13, and Henry had 5 last week to Murray’s 0. That still doesn't scare me off of Murray, but for those thinking of chasing Derrick Henry’s TDs, I would be careful since he is still just a change of pace back, but Murray does have his upside capped.
- Marcus Mariota – If you’ve been using him as your QB2, he’s a safe play, if you have been using him as your QB1, then I would look elsewhere against a Jags defense that is giving up just over 15 FPG to opposing QBs the past five weeks and allowed only 10 TD passes over the past 12 weeks, as pointed out by Rotoworld’s Lord Reebs.
- Delanie Walker – It’s a start your studs week and he’s clearly their best receiving option this week and the Jags have given up a ton of production to opposing TEs the past five weeks. That said, on the year the Jags have played the TE position tough, so I wouldn’t go all in in DFS.
- Rishard Matthews – He’s tangle with stud rookie corner Jalen Ramsey, but he seems to come through every week, so he’s as a reliable WR3 as any out there.
- Marqise Lee – He’s MR 5/50 going for around 5 catches and fifty yards every week. Even last week when Bortles put up just 92 passing yards, Lee came through with a 100-yard punt return for a TD. He’s a playmaker, so as your WR3 against this Titans secondary that has been burned all season, giving up over 45 FPG the past five weeks, so he’s a viable option in all formats.
- Allen Robinson – The Titans secondary is giving up over 45 FPG the past five weeks, but Robinson is doing absolutely nothing, finishing 83rd, 69th, 83rd and 90th in fantasy the past four weeks. How many weeks can we assume it is the week he goes off? Is he one of the most talented receivers in the NFL, hands down, but Bortles is bad, real bad. I have a sneaky suspicion he may get benched for Chad Henne though, and then Robinson may produce, like we saw with Hopkins last week when Savage took over at QB. I can’t tell you what to do with Robinson, live and die with that decision all on your own. For what it's worth, I will own shares in DFS this week.
- T.J. Yeldon – He’s become a reliable flex PPR option, but for just around 10 points a game, so there is not a huge ceiling.
- Blake Bortles – He’s horrible. Threw for 92 yards last week and was 10 of 20 for 80 yards when not pressured for a QB rating of just 39.6. Good chance he gets benched this week for Chad Henne. Once again, can he come through and throw for 4 TDs, yes, but so can Matt Moore, so maybe look that way.
Chargers vs Browns (+6 o/u 43.5)
Weather: 29 degrees with some sun and 13mph winds
- Philip Rivers – The only thing working against him this week is the 10am pst game time and that the Browns are so easy to run on that you don’t need to pass. Besides that there is no reason he doesn’t throw for at least 2 TDs.
- Dontrelle Inman - The Browns are best attacked in the middle of the field, where Inman does most of his damage. He should come through with at solid 5+ catches for over 100 yards this week against corner Tramon Williams, rated 102nd by PFF.
- Tyrell Williams – The Browns outside corners have been coming through lately and he’s still dealing with the shoulder injury, which has hurt his production. This is the Browns and he has talent, but best relied on as a WR3 and hope for the upside.
- Ronnie Hillman – Ronnie Hillman out played Kenneth Farrow last week, making him the more viable reach play this week.
- Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry – The Browns are getting destroyed by opposing TEs so both of these guys should be very active. I would love to put them in the “Positive” section, but since there is two of them; it makes it a bit dicey. They have a combined 12 TDs on the year and Henry has 3 in the past four games. I like both of them to score this week.
- Corey Coleman – Total long shot, but at least he has a very good matchup against PFF’s 107th rated corner, Trevor Williams.
- Terrelle Pryor – CB Casey Hayward has shut down every top WR he has faced, so not the week to reach for Pryor, who is also banged up.
- Isaiah Crowell , Duke Johnson Jr and Gary Barnidge – Nah.
Jets vs Patriots (-16.5 o/u 43.5)
Weather: 38 Degrees with some rain and 10mph winds
- Bilal Powell – With Forte out, Powell slots in as a true workhorse back that can get it done on all three downs. Back-to-Back weeks with big time production and in a game where they should be playing catch-up, Powell should be heavily involved the whole game, catching 11 of 12 targets last week.
- Robby Anderson – The backup QB to backup WR connection is a real thing, especially if that backup WR is actually talented. Anderson stands 6’3” and ran a 4.36 at his pro day coming out of college last year. He’s a top 24 WR as long as Petty starts, especially since top CB Malcolm Butler will be covering Marshall.
- Brandon Marshall, and Quincy Enunwa – With QB Petty under center it’s tough to trust either of these guys. Both of these guys at least saw targets when Fitzpatrick came in the game last week.
- Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan – Great week to use all of these guys. Hogan is the most boom or bust of them against once great CB Darrelle Revis, but he will get a deep shot or two and has the speed to win that matchup, while Edelman and Mitchell should abuse corners Marcus Williams and Juston Burris.
- Martellus Bennett – He’s the toughest receiver to trust, but the Jets are giving up a monstrous 19 FPG to opposing TEs the past five weeks. With all mouths to easily feed, maybe there are not enough to go around.
- LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis and James White – The Jets have a solid run defense, although they usually give up a big run or two a game and do get gashed in the pass game. It’s tough to guess exactly how things will pan out, but I think Lewis and White get some PPR points early and Blount hammers home points once the game is out of hand. Blount is a must start in all formats since all he does is score TDs, with 15 already on the year. The other two are just flex PPR plays, and a bit risky ones at that since they may be pulled by half time.
Vikings vs Packers (-7 o/u 43)
Weather: 32 Degrees and Sunny
- Kyle Rudolph – He’s Bradford’s guy and the Packers haven’t been great at defending the position. He went 8/97 on 10 targets last week and could have a similar line this week.
- Jerrick McKinnon – With Adrian Peterson ruled out and Asiata banged up, McKinnon is a viable RB2 in PPR leagues and Flex play in standard.
- Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen – Both of these guys are banged up and really tough to trust in your championship week. They are talented and the Packers are giving up 43 FPG to opposing WRs the past five weeks, but man, this Vikings offense is not making it happen right now. Diggs target share the past five weeks: 37, 25, 17, 15, 12.
- Aaron Rodgers – He’s in a zone and at home, plus he put up nearly 24 FPG against them earlier this year. If Andrew Luck can light them up in Minnesota, Rodgers can do the same at home.
- TY Montgomery – This Vikings defense is banged up and getting gashed weekly, allowing 25.4 FPG to opposing RBs the past five weeks. He’s involved in all phases and getting it done for fantasy, forcing 7 missed tackles last week and led the league with an insane 10 yards averaged after contact.
- Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson – The Vikings secondary is as tough as it comes, but there is no stopping Nelson, who has 90+ yards and/or a TD in 12-of-14 games this year and 8 straight since Week 8. Meanwhile Adams claims his drops were due to cold weather gloves. Do you believe him? Benefit of the doubt, perhaps, especially against a team without their starting Saftey and have been burned on some deep bombs lately.
- Randall Cobb – Too untrustworthy to start at this point, but the matchup is good with the Vikes top two corners dealing with Adams and Nelson.
- Christine Michael – Eventually he will become a bigger part of this offense, but that may be in the the real NFL playoffs.
Colts vs Raiders (-3.5 o/u 53)
Weather: 44 Degrees with Clouds and 16mph winds
- T.Y. Hilton – Will move around the formation and the Raiders have been destroyed by small and quick receivers all year, not reason to think things should be different this week in a game Vegas projects to have a major over under.
- Andrew Luck – The Raiders haven’t allowed a Top 12 QB the second half of the season, but they have been giving up 25.5 FPG over the past four weeks. In your fantasy finals, start him as always.
- Frank Gore – He’s a safe play for 10 fantasy points every week based on volume. While Robert Turbin stole two TDs last week, that shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. Look for him to put up mid-level RB2 numbers, but it’s pretty bankable.
- Donte Moncrief - It looks like he will play this week and he is always a good bet for a TD, seemingly scoring one every week with Luck. Unfortunately he is not seeing a ton of volume or any deep shots, so not a huge GPP upside to him.
- Jack Doyle – The Detective Doyle is the team’s main pass catching tight end, not Dwayne Allen. Yet, Allen exists and can always limit his production so tough to trust either of them.
- Derek Carr – There is a little risk here since the Colts have surprisingly given up only 17 FPG the past five weeks, but he should give you solid QB1 value this week in a game that could devolve into a major shoot out.
- Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper – Both of these guys should produce this week and CB Vontae Davis has been a shell of his former self with all his injuries. I think this game easily reaches the over and points will be scored. Big bounce back spot for both of these guys this week.
- Latavius Murray – Just when we thought he had taken over the backfield, he goes and fumbles twice, playing only 50% of the team’s snaps. Part of this could be him and part could be Carr not being able to take handoffs from under center with his finger injury. In season long, he’s best used as a RB3 with upside, and pay attention to make sure DeAndre Washington isn’t activated in addition to Jalen Richard.
Buccaneers vs Saints (-3 o/u 52.5)
- Jameis Winston – The Saints defense playing much better the second half of the season and he only had around 11 fantasy points in their meeting two weeks ago at home. This game should be higher scoring in the Dome and I think he should have at least 2 TDs, but he’s only trustworthy as a QB2.
- Mike Evans – He just might luck out as top CB Delvin Breaux is looking very iffy to play, which means he will see CB Ken Crawley, PFF’s 106th rated corner. He’s a no brainer in season long, but after going just 3/38, 4/42 and 4/59 the past three weeks, he’s not a sure fire DFS option. That said, he has the second best matchup by the numbers according to PFF this week.
- Cameron Brate – Came up small against them two weeks ago, but he’s been scoring with regularity and besides Mike Evans, he’s all they got at receiver. He’s as good a gamble as any of the tight ends after the top 5.
- Doug Martin and Charles Sims – Martin is a standard league option only after averaging only 2.7 YPC the past six weeks (2.1, 2.6, 3.8, 2.7, 2.9, 2.6). The Saints are also much better against the run, giving up just 3.5 YPC over that same time period. In a potential shootout where they could be forced to play keep up I prefer Sims, who played over 30% of the teams snaps last week and could be used heavily in the pass game. In DFS, Sims makes for an intriguing shot in the dark at a flex play on Draft Kings.
- Drew Brees – He tanked at home against the Lions three weeks ago and then flopped against the Bucs in Tampa two weeks ago, which is certainly cause for concern. He then went into Arizona and lit up a much better defense and now returns home to the dome. Unfortunately Brees play this year has been as volatile as all the other top QBs, but I would bet on him having a good game this week in the friendly confines of the Superdome. He’s a top 3 option.
- Michael Thomas – While Cooks will do most of his battle with corner Brent Grimes, Thomas gets a cushy matchups against Vernon Hargreaves III III, PFF’s 80th rated corner who has allowed the most catches, receiving yards and fantasy points this season to opposing receivers according to NFL's Mike Clay. This is a week Thomas gets back to serious business and is one of the top WR plays of the week depsite most rankers keeping him outside of the Top 10 for some reason.
- Brandin Cooks – He has the toughest matchup of all the Saints receivers against PFF’s 10th rated corner, Brent Grimes, but in the dome, all Cooks needs is one step and he’s gone. After burning the Cardinals secondary last week, you should feel good about starting Cooks this week especially since Cooks will move around the formation and won't have Grimes on him every snap.
- Willie Snead IV – He had a solid 6/85 when they played two weeks ago, and then another solid 8/76 against the Cardinals last week. Unfortunately before that he had six weeks under 11 PPR fantasy points. He’s not totally trustworthy, but as a WR3 in PPR leagues, he looks to be turning the corner as a reliable option and there is nothing scary about his matchup.
- Coby Fleener – Nah.
- Mark Ingram II and Tim Hightower – Both are part time players and going up against one of the league’s best-run defenses lately. Now we also have to worry about Cadet catching some passes.
Cardinals vs Seahawks (-7.5 o/u 43)
Weather: 39 Degrees with a mix of rain and clouds and 7mph winds
- David Johnson – This is as tough as it gets, and unfortunately it comes during your fantasy finals. Trust me, I feel your pain since I have him in two leagues. He’s the foundation of their offense, so while the Hawks are only giving up around 11 FPG the past five weeks to opposing RBs, he dropped 25 fantasy points on them when they played earlier this year. Although, playing in Seattle in the rain is not the same thing as the comfy confines of Arizona. It should be noted that he just had his 7th game with multiple TDs, the most by a player in a season since Gronk did it in 2011. He will get it done for you in season long, but I wouldn't think of paying up in DFS.
- Larry Fitzgerald – He hasn’t scored in nine weeks now, so tough to trust in standard leagues. In PPR, he’s best used this week as a WR3, but the PPR upside is there with the big time target volume he is getting.
- Carson Palmer – This Seattle defense isn’t the same without Safety Earl Thomas, but this is still as tough a matchup as it gets, especially since HC Arians insists on him still making 5 and 7 step drop backs. He’s viable in 2 QB leagues, but I would start a guy like Matt Barkley over him this week if possible.
- J.J. Nelson and John Brown – Nelson bobbled and dropped a bunch of passes last week, while Brown is still dealing with sickle cell. Facing DeShawn Shead and Richard Sherman is not what the doctor ordered. The good news is that with Michael Floyd gone, they are both full time players and the Seahawks haven’t been the same without Safety Earl Thomas, giving up 40.2 FPG to opposing WRs since he left. Sometimes volume is king and Palmer will take shots. I can’t recommend them as good plays, but in a league where I have to start 6 WRs, I’m rolling with Nelson as one of them.
- Jermaine Gresham – Seeing 4 or 5 targets a game but the Seahawks giving up just 9 FPG to opposing TEs over the past five weeks.
- Russell Wilson – He’s playing much better lately and the Cardinals are getting gashed in the air, giving up 48 FPG to opposing WRs and 24 FPG to opposing QBs the past five weeks.
- Doug Baldwin – Outside of CB Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals are getting burned, allowing 48 FPG the past five weeks. He hasn’t been lighting it up, but he should have a good game and slot CB Tyrann Mathieu is playing hurt and clearly not himself. If you need a reach play, Jermaine Kearse is a viable threat going up against CB Marcus Cooper, who is been burned all year and ranks as PFF”s 115th corner.
- Jimmy Graham – The Cardinals have been silencing opposing TEs, giving up just 6.9 FPG to opposing TEs the past five weeks, yet they haven’t faced a TE as good as Graham in that period. He put up 5/53 on them in Arizona, I could see him beating that at home.
- Thomas Rawls – The Cards are tough against the run and the Seahawks don’t have much of an offensive line, making Rawls a risk play. Yet they have also allowed 5 games with multiple rushing TDs. He at least will get a good amount of volume and they do seem to play better at home.
- Tyler Lockett – Lockett is coming alive now that he is healthy and is finally playing like the player we expected him to be at the start of the season. He’s also out targeting Jimmy Graham 35 to 31 over the past six weeks. Unfortunately this week he runs smack dab into CB Patrick Peterson, so you can’t start him with any confidence. Lockett at least is used on end arounds and on special teams, where he is dangerous.
Bengals vs Texans (+3 o/u 44)
- Tyler Eifert – Like most TEs, he’s become very TD dependent in recent weeks and the Texans play the tight end position tough, giving up the third fewest yards to opposing tight ends in the league. Not worth paying up for in DFS on the road. At least in season long he is a TD beast.
- Jeremy Hill – Due to heavy volume, he’s getting it done in fantasy and that should continue this week, despite a Texans defense giving up just 3.1 YPC.
- A.J. Green – Since the Bengals have been eliminated from the playoffs, there is no reason to bring back Green unless he is fully healthy. So despite the matchup being very tough against PFF’s #6 rated corner, AJ Bouye, if I’m a Green owner, and I am, I’m not sitting him in my fantasy playoffs. This isn’t an over the hill Adrian Peterson coming back here, this is one of the league’s top 3 receivers in his prime. It's a tough call, but I'd rather go down swigning with Green then starting a guy like Rishard Mathews or Tyrell Williams.
- Brandon LaFell – The return of A.J. Green would be huge for LaFell, as he would see coverage against Robert Nelson, one of PFF’s lowest rated corners this week with Jonathan Joseph still out. A sneaky matchup to exploit.
- Andy Dalton – Not a great week to trust him on the road against one of the league premier defenses. The return of AJ Green should at least help if you need to use him in 2 QB leagues.
- Tyler Boyd – Should see CB Kareem Jackson, so it’s not an easy matchup for the rookie.
- Lamar Miller – He gives me a heart attack every week, getting dinged up, sitting out some plays and then somehow coming back to get 20+ touches. He’s a bit like Spencer Ware and Jeremy Hill this year where through sheer volume alone they provide you RB2 value, even if it’s not always pretty. The Bengals are at least giving up the 5th most yards per carry on the season.
- DeAndre Hopkins – He’s going to do battle with Adam Jones so it’s not an easy matchup, but Hopkins looked like he found a spring in his step with Savage at the helm. He’s not going to be a high end WR1 this week, but I would roll him out as a back end WR2 with the sort of volume he should see this week. After Savage entered the game he targeted Hopkins on 15 of his 36 attempts (42%), so except to see similar stats this week even though the Bengals have allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points on the year to receivers lined up on the outside. There is risk here, but he has the talent to do something of note with that volume.
- C.J. Fiedorowicz – It looks like both him and Ryan Griffin will play this week, which isn’t optimal, but the Bengals are giving up 14 FPG over the past five weeks, so he has a chance to come through in a week where there are not a lot of great options.
- Tom Savage – He’s only even thinkable in 2 QB leagues against a Bengals secondary giving up just 16.7 FPG the past five weeks. I have a feeling though he plays well enough to get you 2 TDs and over 200 yards, but it’s just a feeling.
- Will Fuller - As mentioned above, the Bengals have allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points to both wide receivers lined up on the outside, which doesn't bode well for Fuller, especially with Hopkins seeing such heavy volume from Savage. His matchup with CB Dre Kirkpatrick is not one to target.
Ravens vs Steelers (-6 o/u 40.5)
Weather: 43 Degrees with a bit of rain and 7mph winds
- Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon – Game script will determine the value of these guys. West is clearly the lead "running" back, so I would lean to him as a reach flex in standard leagues and Dixon in PPR, as the Steelers could put up some points in this one. The Steelers also should be without DE Cameron Heyward and maybe DE Stephon Tuitt this week, which would help, although due to pass protection issues from Dixon and West last week, Ravens RB B Kyle Juszcyzk actually out snapped both last week. So really, this whole situation is a mess.
- Joe Flacco, Mike Wallace and Steve Smith – Not loving any of these guys this week. I can see Wallace and Smith putting up 4/60 type of lines.
- Dennis Pitta – Lacks upside and this is not a great matchup.
- Le'Veon Bell – He’s locked and loaded as a top play at the position every week, even in this tougher matchup. Probably not worth paying up for in DFS.
- Ben Roethlisberger – He’s a different man at home and the Ravens are easier to pass on then run on especially without CB Jimmy Smith.
- Antonio Brown – No Jimmy Smith at corner is big, as he is the only corner on this team that could hope to contain him. He dropped 7/85/1 on them on the road against Smith, imagine what he’ll do now.
Broncos vs Chiefs (-3.5 o/u 37.5)
Weather: 30 Degrees and mostly sunny
- Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas – Both of these guys are playing well right now and will each see 10+ targets as the Broncos have zero run game at the moment. They will be under owned in DFS and if leaning to one, I would bet on Sanders, since they will move him around to get him away from CB Marcus Peters despite naturally lining up on that side of the field more.
- Trevor Siemian – Had a great game against them at home, but playing in Kansas City is a different beast. While their corners outside of Peters are vulnerable, this isn’t a good game to reach for him.
- Devontae Booker and Justin Forsett – If you need to use one, I would roll with Forsett as Booker is clearly not a good fit for the teams outside zone run scheme. The Chiefs are tough to run on, so you can’t expect much, but I could see Forsett catching 5+ passes this week.
- Spencer Ware – Like Jeremy Hill, Ware gets a ton of volume, which holds value especially at home. It’s going to be tough passing on the Broncos, so dump off passes to Ware may be the teams best form of attack. Start him as a RB2.
- Travis Kelce – He may be asked to block more than usual, and this certainly is not a great matchup, but over the middle against their linebackers is Chiefs best bet for moving the ball.
- Alex Smith – He couldn’t get it done last week at home against a weak Titans secondary, so not looking good against a Denver defense allowing just 12.7 FPG to opposing QBs the past five weeks.
- Tyreek Hill and Jeremy Maclin – Chris Harris Jr and Aqib Talib are PFF’s top two rated corners and they will be covering these guys. For those that still want to take a flyer on Hill, he can at least do a lot with a little; since Week 8 he ranks 75th in WR snaps but is 5th at WR in receptions (42) and 14th in receiving yards (428). That said, he went 9/52 in their first matchup this year, which is great PPR value, although it is often better to avoid receivers facing a team a second time in DFS according to DFS guru Jonathan Bales.
Lions vs Cowboys (-7 o/u 44.5)
- Matthew Stafford – Most people are counting Stafford out, but with the division on the line the next two weeks, I think he comes through and weather won’t be an issue for his finger this week. He’s a back-end QB1 and without a run game, you know he’s going to be throwing in the red zone.
- Golden Tate – Nothing scary about this matchup and he should produce against this Cowboys defense giving up nearly 38 FPG to WRs the last five weeks. I think he clears 100 yards and has at least one TD.
- Eric Ebron – He keeps letting me down, but by the numbers this is a good matchups against a Cowboys defense giving up 17.6 FPG to opposing TEs the past five weeks. Inside a dome on turf, I think he gives the Cowboys some trouble.
- Marvin Jones Jr – So tough to trust. He could come through and if you are debating between him and some other deep reach plays, he’s viable, but he’s not someone to actively get in your lineup.
- Ezekiel Elliott – No brainer. And in DFS, no brainer.
- Dez Bryant – No CB Darius Slay is huge for him, lock him in as a solid WR2 with some upside.
- Cole Beasley - Has a fantastic matchup in the slot against corner Asa Jackson, who is the second lowest rated corner starting this week according to PFF, which also ranks Beasley with the best matchup of the week. Great sneaky play in PPR leagues such as Draft Kings.
- Jason Witten – 10 catches last week and tight ends are killing the Lions all season, so he’s worth a start this week.
- Dak Prescott – He’s never going to put up huge numbers when he has Zeke and the Lions defense is very solid, so use in 2 QB leagues only.
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