Welcome to the Rundown where I give at least a sentence on every single fantasy relevant player this week. Let’s begin!
Kyle Allen has been a usable fantasy asset as of late. Although he posted a dud in Week 11 against this same team, with 4 interceptions, he did manage to hit 325 passing yards. Allen has the tools to remain QB2 relevant but his propensity for picks is undeniable. Consider him a QB3 option with serious mid-tier QB2 upside. He’s a risky play but there is a path for him to succeed in the box score. DJ Moore has proven to be a rock-solid WR2, regardless of matchup. That remains the case here. Curtis Samuel is a moderate .5PPR/PPR flex option, although it’s worth noting he failed to produce the last time these two teams met. TE Greg Olsen is in the league’s concussion protocol and is unlikely to play. Ian Thomas deserves serious TE1 streaming consideration. He’s a true talent and the Falcons defense has been friendly to opposing tight ends. Christian McCaffrey should continue his campaign towards the Yards From Scrimmage record with little resistance. He’s the overall RB1.
Matt Ryan is just a mid-tier QB2 this week as the Panthers’ pass defense is top notch. Julio Jones has returned to practice while recovering from an AC joint sprain, per Pro Football Doc (use site interface to locate Jones’ info). He’ll be able to play, with an injection. He’s a bit worrisome though, given that Atlanta’s been eliminated from the playoffs. Calvin Ridley should be considered a WR2 with Julio-injury-based upside. Although Russell Gage will remain the team’s No. 3 WR, TE Austin Hooper has returned to practice and will likely regain his monster target share, pre-MCL/ankle injury. Gage is not a recommended start. Hooper is a surefire TE1. Devonta Freeman has an excellent matchup this week. He’s been so bad though, he can only be trusted as a flex, albeit with volume-based RB2 upside.
Pour in the powder and shot and let the cannons roar. Jacoby Brissett is in position to demolish the box score in Week 14, as he squares off with one of the NFL’s most dilapidated secondary. The Bucs’ secondary gets flamed by opposing passing offenses on a weekly basis while, conversely, shutting down opposing run games. This is a heavy pass-funnel team. Brissett is the overall QB8. With TY Hilton possibly being placed on Injured Reserve, Zach Pascal assumes WR1 status. The matchup and the target volume should be there for Pascal to smash box score expectations. Parris Campbell is due back from injury this week and should immediately takeover No. 2 WR duties. He’s a strong flex option with WR2 upside. Jack Doyle has sky-high TE1 upside as well. Marlon Mack should immediately retake his 20-touch workload, now that’s he’s expected back from injury. Jordan Wilkins and Jonathan Williams can be put back out to sea. Nyheim Hines could retain PPR-only 2nd-flex responsibilities although this is a bit of an unknown.
Indy’s pass defense is respectable but the Bucs’ passing game is just too strong. Jameis Winston is the overall QB5 this week with interception-proof upside. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are every-week WR1s. That remains the case this week. Indy’s scheme is built around defending the deep-ball so last week’s flash from Breshad Perriman should largely be ignored. He’s a Hail Mary 2nd-flex option in Standard leagues. Cameron Brate has slipped back into irrelevance and OJ Howard has teased us off and on. The Colts handle tight ends well so both are recommended bench residents. Ronald Jones II blew a pass pro responsibility and Bruce Arians immediately benched him. With that short of a leash, against a solid run defense (outside of the hurt that Derrick Henry put on them), Jones can only be trusted as a flex option. Neither Peyton Barber nor Dare Ogunbowale are recommended starts.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has the perfect compliment for his gunslinging ways in DeVante Parker. The two of them have risen to the “1” tiers of their respective positions. Fitz is this week’s QB12, facing a middling Jets’ pass defense. Parker, meanwhile, can be confidently started as a surefire WR1, regardless of opponent. His Week 11 shellacking of the Bills’ top-tier secondary is a testament to his abilities. Although Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson have made noise as of late, neither are more than risky 2nd-flex options. TE Mike Gesicki is a locked-in TE1, receiving a delectable weekly workload. With Kalen Ballage going on Injured Reserve, Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin takeover the Dolphins’ backfield. Laird has proven to be a proficient pass catching back who Fitz has placed his trust in. He’s an excellent flex option with strong upside in PPR. Gaskin should see 12 or so touches this week but the Jets’ run defense is great. Gaskin could be speculatively added but is not a recommended start.
Sam Darnold has an excellent matchup on tap against a poor Dolphins secondary. Now that the Ryan Fitzpatrick has Miami’s offense moving the chains, opposing teams are forced to keep their foot on the gas. That bodes well for Darnold’s prospects. HC Adam Gase’s involvement with the offense keeps Darnold’s ceiling in question though, making Darnold a mid-tier QB2 with high-end QB2 upside based on the matchup. As evidenced by their showings against slot receivers like Jarvis Landry and Jamison Crowder, as well as perimeter receivers like John Brown and Alshon Jeffery, the Miami secondary is a red carpet for opposing receivers. Jamison Crowder is a WR2 with WR1 upside in PPR. Robby Anderson is a strong flex option with a great chance to score. Demaryius Thomas is a low-end PPR-only 2nd-flex option. TE Ryan Griffin caught 6 of 8 targets for 50 yards when these teams squared off in Week 9. He’s likely to be able to repeat that respectable performance with a good shot at pay dirt. Le’Veon Bell was not able to practice this week due to an illness. Illnesses typically don’t keep players out but we’ve seen a number of standout starters be seriously limited with the flu this year. Although it’s likely Bell plays, adding Bilal Powell or Ty Montgomery is the prudent move. Powell has received slightly more work, week-to-week, than Montgomery has, making him the preferred add. Whoever gets the starting nod needs to be in fantasy lineups. This is an outstanding matchup. Bell currently sits as the overall RB8.
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans
This is a tough spot for Jimmy Garoppolo, dropping him to the QB3 ranks. George Kittle retains top-notch TE1 status as the NFL’s premier tight end. Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel are both limited to flex status. Samuel has been far more productive than Sanders in recent weeks, perhaps making him the safer of the two options. He’s drawn Jimmy G’s eye in scoring position. Ancillary pass catchers are not worth considering. HC Kyle Shanahan has been willing to ride with the hotter hand in the backfield, as evidenced by Raheem Mostert’s workload (and ensuing production) last week. With Matt Breida returning to his 1B role and Tevin Coleman flailing, it’s Mostert is the best bet to keep ahold of 1A backfield duties. It’s a tough matchup though so consider Mostert just a strong flex. Breida is flex-able in PPR. At this point, Tevin Coleman belongs on your bench.
The 49ers defense has done a good job of limiting opposing quarterback passing production. Drew Brees and Co. are too good to just full-on fade though. Brees is a back-end QB1. Perhaps the best receiver in football, Michael Thomas is a matchup-proof WR1. Start him with confidence. Carbon copy deep burners, Ted Ginn Jr. and Tre’Quan Smith are impossible to predict (outside of oftentimes being largely ineffective) and are not recommended, even as 2nd-flex options. Jared Cook has been on fire as of late. Although the Niners have had great success in limiting opposing tight ends, the truly talented ones have retained TE1 production against them. San Fran’s defensive front has played well against banger backs but those who are utilized both through the air and on the ground have lit up box scores. Alvin Kamara’s receiving game prowess keeps him in the middle of the RB1 tier. Latavius Murray is just a premier handcuff.
We’ll keep expectations low for David Blough, given his small sample size. He acquitted himself very well last week though and has an unimposing matchup with the Vikings secondary on tap this week. Blough takes a QB3 floor ranking, however, he’s got serious mid-tier QB2 upside. Kenny Golladay established a strong connection with Blough last week and we should expect that train to keep on rolling. Start Golladay and a fringe WR1/2. Marvin Jones Jr. is a solid flex option with back-end WR2 upside. Danny Amendola, however, is not a recommended start. Although TJ Hockenson caught six of eleven targets last week for just 18 yards. It’s clear that Blough has found his safety blanket. Hockenson should be fired up as a TE1 this week. The Vikings’ defensive front has been solid against opposing running backs -- except for last week when they were slashed by the Chris Carson/Rashaad Penny duo. Bo Scarbrough’s lack of receiving game involvement keeps him out of the RB2 ranks, however, he’s run very well and continues to see a high volume of carries. Start him as a strong flex option. 90 yards and a score is well within his range of outcomes. JD McKissic and Ty Johnson are ignorable. Kerryon Johnson has returned to practice and is eligible to come off of Injured Reserve in Week 16. Add him.
Kirk Cousins should pummel the hapless Lions defense, even without the Doubtful Adam Thielen. Cousins is the overall QB7. Stefon Diggs is in contention for a Top 3-5 WR finish this week in what aims to be a target-hog showing. Adam Thielen’s absence last week lead to a smattering of pass catchers posting wonky days. Laquon Treadwell reeled in just one of his 2 targets for a 58-yard score. That kind of production is unreliable, especially on a 26% snap share. Olabisi Johnson is a moderate PPR-based 2nd-flex option. Tight end Kyle Rudolph has had a thunderous late season surge and should be fired up as a top-end TE1. Dalvin Cook and his SC joint sprain but should be able to play this week with a pre-game injection. He’s likely to get pulled if the team is up though so consider him more of a back-end RB1 for this one. Alexander Mattison is a flex-able standalone asset.
Drew Lock is just a QB3 this week, even in a good matchup. He’s still very raw and just learning the ropes. It’s possible Courtland Sutton drags him into the back-end of the QB2 box scores. Sutton retains weekly WR2 viability as his breakout season marches on. There aren’t any ancillary pass catchers worth considering on this team. TE Jeff Heuerman even out-targeted Noah Fant, who was in the midst of a mid-season breakout. Phillip Lindsay is the clear cut lead back in this offense, although Royce Freeman is still involved as a pass catcher. Lindsay comes in as the overall RB17, Freeman the RB46.
After slaying the vaunted Patriots defense last week, Deshaun Watson should have little trouble shellacking the Broncos’ lesser group. He’s the overall QB2. Of course, this makes for likely monster showings from DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller V, and breakout tight end Darren Fells. Consider Hopkins a top-notch WR1, Fuller a touchdown-likely WR2, and Fells a Top 12 TE. Kenny Stills could be started as a 2nd-flex option in Standard leagues. Duke Johnson Jr. has encouragingly seen more work over the last few weeks. As a result, Carlos Hyde is finally seeing a dip in his rushing share. Duke Johnson Jr. has finally re-leapfrogged Hyde in the tiered running back rankings. He’s a decent flex option with upside while Hyde holds a moderate floor/capped ceiling flex outlook.
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
Outside of being beaten up by Dak Prescott last week, the Bills’ defense has been very strong against the pass. Fortunately for Lamar Jackson, he’s one of the most unique quarterbacks to ever play the game. We’re fearlessly sticking with him as the overall QB1 this week, despite the tough matchup. WR Marquise Brown will likely face shadow coverage from shutdown CB Tre’Davious White. White’s the real deal, making Brown a boom/bust flex option but a real chance of busting. Ancillary receivers, Willie Snead IV and Myles Boykin remain ignorable in this one. TE Mark Andrews is always an every-week TE1. Nick Boyle’s excellent snap share keeps him on the TE2, TD-dependent radar. Buffalo is willing to concede rushing production to prevent team’s gaining yardage via the pass. Mark Ingram II can be confidently fired up as a high-end RB2 with delightful multi-TD upside. Gus Edwards is unlikely to see much work this week and the contest likely won’t feature garbage time.
Lamar Jackson’s Week 14 counterpart, Josh Allen, faces a similarly difficult matchup. He’s playing too well and has too many ways to win to discount him though. He’s the overall QB5. John Brown, perhaps the player that Marquise Brown will one day fully emulate -- or even surpass -- must also be downgraded a bit. Brown, however, drops from a back-end WR1 to a back-end WR2. Without any other receivers establishing themselves and Dawson Knox just existing as a frustrating weekly TE1/2 fringer, Cole Beasley has cemented himself as Allen’s safety blanket and can be started in all leagues as a decent flex play. Beasley has terrific PPR upside. Baltimore’s run defense is starting to reveal itself as just nominally strong. Devin Singletary can be started as an RB2. Frank Gore is an unsexy 2nd-flex option is deep leagues.
The lack of AJ Green drops Andy Dalton’s reliability, even in a decent matchup. He’s a QB3 with moderate QB2 upside. Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate are volume-based flex options, however, their stability is in-flux given John Ross III’s return to the lineup after coming off of IR-Return this week. Ross should be rostered but only started out of desperation. There are no tight ends of note. Joe Mixon is a back-end RB2, given the shakiness of the offense overall. It is a great matchup though so a high-end RB2 finish is within range. Gio Bernard is ignorable.
Currently ranked as a back-end QB2 given the slight possibility that his hand injury hampers him, Baker Mayfield does have an excellent matchup on tap here -- to the point that a back-end QB1 finish is possible. Monitor reports on his hand. Jarvis Landry is an incredibly safe WR2, every week, given his target volume. Start him as such. Odell Beckham Jr. deserves a WR1 ranking this week in a blow-up spot. The return of TE David Njoku from Injured Reserve nukes ancillary WR/TE value. He’s a risky TE1 option this week. Nick Chubb should pummel this hapless Bengals linebacking corps, en route to a safe RB1 finish. Kareem Hunt has a standalone 10-15 touch role with a significant amount of the work coming via the high-value, highly efficient passing game. He’s a rock-solid RB2/flex option, especially in PPR leagues.
Washington Football Team at Green Bay Packers
Dwayne Haskins Jr. is in for a tough one here. He is, once again, this week’s worst-ranked quarterback. Terry McLaurin is just a flex option. Kelvin Harmon could be given a look as some sort of a 3rd or 4th flex option in PPR leagues-only. He is not a recommended play though. Jeremy Sprinkle is just a TE2. Green Bay’s running back defense is subpar, making Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson viable flex plays this week.
Aaron Rodgers should have no issue taking this Washington defense to task. He’s the overall QB4. Davante Adams is a top-end WR1 with ungodly potential. Fire up Allen Lazard as a flex option with decent WR2 upside. He’s the No. 2 pass catcher on this squad. Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are just boom/bust 2nd-flex option in PPR. They are not recommended starts. Jimmy Graham is a banged up TE2. Aaron Jones makes for a mid-tier RB1 this week in a stellar matchup against the woeful Washington front. Jamaal Williams is a TD-likely flex option.
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville’s offensive prowess should keep the Chargers offense in “Go” mode. Rivers is just a back-end QB2 though. His arm is shot. Keenan Allen is able to retain WR1/2 value with his safe target volume. Mike Williams, however, is approaching the record for most receiving yards without scoring. Williams is a 2nd-flex option in PPR leagues. Hunter Henry is a safe TE1. Melvin Gordon III is playing extremely well and seeing lots of work. He’s a shoe-in RB1. Even so, Austin Ekeler has still managed to produce at an RB2 level. The kid’s the real deal.
Gardner Minshew Jr. is back at the controls of the Jacksonville offense and immediately garners a mid-tier QB2 status. The Chargers’ pass defense is stout, making for a tough outing on the Jags’ side of things. DJ Chark Jr. must be lowered to mid-tier WR2 status while Dede Westbrook is just a flex. Chris Conley should be avoided this week. There are no relevant tight ends. Leonard Fournette once again lead the team in targets last week. He is a true dual threat running back at this point who deserves every-week high-end RB1 consideration. He’s matchup-proof.
Pittsburgh heads to Arizona, lead by a bevvy of backups. QB Devlin Hodges is a low-end QB2 with moderate upside in a sublime matchup. With JuJu Smith-Schuster Out, Hodges’ hunting partner and favorite passing game target, James Washington, has serious WR2 viability against the hapless Cardinals defense. As far as the rest of the receivers go, Diontae Johnson deserves flex consideration in PPR leagues. The real pass catching winner this week though, is tight end Vance McDonald. Arizona is far-and-away the league’s worst defense when facing tight ends. Fire up Vance as a Top 5 TE option this week. With James Conner Out, Benny Snell Jr. is in line for 20 downhill touches in a terrific matchup. He’s a locked-and-loaded RB2. Jaylen Samuels deserves PPR-only flex consideration as he’s been largely relegated to just pass catching duties.
This is an extremely tough matchup for QB Kyler Murray this week. He’s been dropped into the mid-to-high QB2 pool. Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald are really the only pure-pass catchers worth considering in this offense. Kirk is a low-end WR2/flex option while Fitz is a PPR-flex. There are no tight ends worth starting here. Kenyan Drake has taken over all of the usable running back work in this offense. Given the difficult matchup though, he’s just a mid-tier RB2.
Ryan Tannehill enters prime position to bounceback from last week’s dud. There’s a small chance this is a Derrick Henry-only show, given how bad the Raiders defense is. It’s much more likely though that Tannehill lights up the Raiders secondary throughout the first half. He’s a high-end QB2 with an easy path to a Top 12, QB1 finish. Receivers Corey Davis and Tajae Sharpe have been hardly-boom/mostly-bust flex options throughout the year. It’s possible Davis corrals a TD pass but he is not a recommended, bankable option. Adam Humphries’ (ankle) absence could bode well for AJ Brown though. Consider Brown a mild-floor/high ceiling WR2/flex option. You could do far worse than rolling with him this week. Neither Jonnu Smith Jr. nor Anthony Firkser has evolved into a trustworthy fantasy option at tight end. It’s all systems go for Derrick Henry this week. He’s absolutely in contention to take overall RB1 honors, coming in as this week’s overall RB3.
Derek Carr comes in as just a QB3 this week, facing the Titans’ so-so pass defense. Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller are the only pure-pass catchers worth considering. Williams is a solid flex option with a decent chance to score. Waller’s talent and target-volume keep him a matchup-proof TE1. The Raiders’ backfield faces a pretty good matchup this week. It’s possible Josh Jacobs’ shoulder injury keeps him out of the contest though. Should he play, he’s the overall RB12. Were he to miss, DeAndre Washington would likely walk into 15+ touches, with Jalen Richard taking on 10 or so, mostly in the passing game. Washington would be a plug-and-play RB2, Richard a PPR-flex.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
This is a very tough spot for KC, but the Chiefs’ loaded passing corps should help Patrick Mahomes retain high-end QB1 box score results. Tyreek Hill is a matchup-proof receiver who can take home overall WR1 honors any given week. That remains true here, even under Stephon Gilmore’s shadow coverage. Travis Kelce, similarly, retains high-end TE1 status. Sammy Watkins has become a professional decoy at this point while Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman snipe TDs here and there. That whole trio is a recommended avoid this week. Damien Williams is Out this week and Darrel Williams has been placed on IR. Showing a lack of confidence in LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson, the team opted to sign one of their former running backs, Spencer Ware. McCoy should be considered a startable flex option as the veteran back is likely to be given first crack at lead back duties. Beyond that it’s a crap shoot. The signing of Ware, a capable back in his own right who’s familiar with the KC system could easily leapfrog Thompson for 1B duties. Neither Thompson nor Ware are startable but it might be prudent to add either one of them, should clear separation occur this week.
Although Tom Brady can only be trusted as a high-end QB2 given recent box score results, this is a strong matchup for him. The Chiefs’ defense is banged up and had trouble slowing opposing offenses to begin with. The only clear cut fantasy options are WR Julian Edelman and RB James White. Consider Edelman a steady WR1 as he could seriously approach 15 target in this one. James White took over rushing work last week while also tying Edelman for a team-leading 11 targets. White is currently listed as a high-end flex option given the small possibility that Sony Michel suddenly looks good against the run-inept KC D. However, James White really should be in lineups. He has back-end RB1 upside. Michel is a risky flex. Phillip Dorsett II could be started as a flex option, as the matchup is there for him to shine. Mohamed Sanu is clearly still battling through a crippling ankle injury though and should be left out of lineups. Jakobi Meyers deserves 2nd-flex consideration in PPR leagues. N’Keal Harry will not be a fantasy factor moving forward unless things drastically change. Ignore the New England tight ends.
SNF: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams
The last time these two teams faced off in Week 5, everyone got in on the fun. Russell Wilson was a scoring machine and we can expect a similar result in this one. Seattle’s doubled down on its run-dependence but Wilson is still a back-end QB1, albeit with sky-high possibility. Fire up both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf this week as both are good bets for touchdowns. Lockett was not on the injury report this week (illness) and should be considered a WR1/2 fringer. He’ll likely have to contend with Jalen Ramsey’s shadow coverage but can’t be dropped too far. He’s bankable based on his talent and expected workload. Metcalf’s target totals have reliably stabilized. He’ll be able to run free, downfield while Ramsey and Lockett duke it out. Get ready for fireworks. Josh Gordon and Jaron Brown have largely been silent, which can be expected to continue this week. David Moore made noise last week, finding the end zone for the first time since -- you guessed it -- Week 5 against these Los Angeles Rams. He’s a Hail Mary 2nd-flex option. Week 5 was the pre-Jacob Hollister era. Back then, Will Dissly was still tearing it up to the tune of 4 catches on 4 targets for a team-leading 81 yards with a 7-yard carry sprinkled on top. Hollister is a rock-solid TE1. Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny can be started together -- both are Top 20 options. Expect 18-20 touches for Carson and 15 or so for Penny.
Facing Seattle in Week 5 was one of Jared Goff’s bright spots in an otherwise dreary, Seattle-esque season. His appalling play makes him impossible to trust as anymore than a back-end QB2. Given the historical success against the ‘Hawks though, he’s got a high-end QB2 ceiling. The receiving corps’ alpha status seems to have shifted from Cooper Kupp to Robert Woods, giving Woods the higher scoring expectation. Consider him a WR2 as Goff’s top target. Kupp is a solid flex option, while Brandin Cooks is nothing more than a Hail Mary end-flex option. With Gerald Everett sidelined last week, Tyler Higbee blew up the box score, hauling in 7 of 8 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown. Everrett is Out again this week, making Higbee a strong TE1 streamer play. Todd Gurley II has once again been granted bell cow status and can be counted on as a high-end RB2 in this matchup. Malcolm Brown is just an infrequent touchdown-vulture. Darrell Henderson Jr. is irrelevant.