Week 12 2017
TEN (24.5) @ IND (21)
While Indy does rank an atrocious 27th against the pass, we need to recognize that Melvin is actually really damn good and has shutdown opposing WR1s for most of the season. Cases in point are his recent performances against AB and AJG who only put up lines of 3-47-0 and 3-27-1 respectively. He also shutdown Matthews when they previously played the Titans, but Davis was also out for that game. At this point, I’m not sure if the Colts will consider Matthews or Davis as the WR1, but I’m assuming that Melvin stays on Matthews due to his recent performances (these big days came from Davis opening things up for him). Thus, Davis will get the 99th-graded Pierre Desir on the other side, and he has seen 17 total targets across the two weeks that he has been fully back. I might be wrong about who will be on who and I would love to get some clarity from a beat writer, and we also need to watch out for whether Matthews will actually play here. Another intriguing piece here is Delanie Walker as the Colts are also 26th against TEs, and Delanie has seen 9 or more targets in 3 out of his last 4. Last week, he faced a very tough defense in the Steelers, but still put up a very respectable 6-92-0 line, which would have been truly massive if he didn’t drop a TD (he was literally wide open and let it go right through his hands). If Matthews does end up sitting, I might go all in on Delanie and will pair Mariota with him plenty.
The Colts are a stronger 19th against the run and have recently shutdown Bell and Miller, while most of the larger games that Indy has given up to RBs have come through the air. While Henry and Murray don’t see the normal split that other teams employ, this actually helps us here since Henry isn’t utilized much through the air. Instead, we have seen Murray get 4 or more targets in 5 out of their last 6, and I think we can comfortably project another 4-6 in this one. One note of concern is how Murray has only seen single-digit carries in 2 out of his last 3, but I’m prepared to chalk this up to his injuries in the first and then being severely behind against the Steelers. Since TEN should be well ahead in this one, I think we can expect closer to 14-16 carries here. Obviously, Henry could get another 80+ yard TD at the end of the game like he did last time against the Colts, but I really like DeMarco as a GPP option here and he should less than 5% ownership.
The Titans have also been gashed by receiving backs over their past 5 as they have given up an average line of 8.2-58.2-0.2 over that period. Mack has seen inconsistent usage in the passing game as he has fluctuated from 0 to 6 targets in the 4 games since Turbin went down – the 0 game does seem like an outlier though as he has been in the 4-6 range in each of the others. Both he and Gore at only $3600, but I don’t really love either in this spot.
The Titans are 12th against TEs, but only 26th against the pass in general, and we have seen WR1s destroy them over the previous couple of weeks with AB hanging 10-144-3 on them and AJG putting up 5-115-1 the week before. We know that Hilton likes playing on the quick turf field and we know that they will be playing from behind, so I’m absolutely going to have exposure to Hilton here. Outside of last week’s loss to the Steelers, Hilton has also seen 7-9 targets in his previous 3, so I think we can comfortably project another 7-9 here. Doyle has been one of the more consistent TEs as he has put up over 10 in 5 of his last 6 and has seen at least 7 targets in each of those 5. He should probably see another heavy dose here, but one thing to keep an eye on is the return of Erik Swoope. I’m not sure if he will play here or, if he does, how involved he will be since this would be his first game of the year, but we do know that Chuck Pagano in general likes to use a lot of 2-TE sets. I feel like once Swoope does fully return and builds some rapport with Brissett, we will see him vulture around a third of Doyle’s targets.
CAR (22.75) @ NYJ (17.25)
Greg Olsen plans to return for this one, which is obviously bad news for the Jets. While the Jets are a pretty strong 5th in DVOA against TEs, we have seen Gronk, Clay, and Hooper all put north of 14 points on the Jets so far this year. We also need to remember how much Cam likes targeting Olsen as he consistently saw 7+ last year. My biggest concerns here are whether they will try to ease him into things and the potentially very negative game script. I feel like his return might also take some RZ looks away from Funchess, but I’m not anticipating a big change here for a couple of reasons and it might open things up for Funchess in general:
- Funchess has had 6-10 targets every game from Week 2 onwards this year, and obviously K-Benj was around for most of these
- I assume Funchess will continue to run deeper routes than Olsen as Funchess currently has a 12.7 aDoT, so Olsen will be in different areas of the field
- The Carolina WRs are very bad outside of Funchess, so getting Olsen back will give them another superb receiving option (on a related note, I assume that they will run a lot of 2-TE sets with both Dickson and Olsen)
In regards to Funchess, he makes for a decent play here and he will probably split time between the Jets #1 CB, Morris Claiborne, and their other boundary CB, the 101st-ranked Juston Burris. Obviously, he will whip Burris whenever he gets him.
The Jets are a much stronger 11th against the run and have only allowed Fournette and Shady to put up 20+ point games against them so far this year. While CMC has back-to-back 20+ point games, he is priced all the way up at $6900 here and is still seeing minimal involvement in the running game (his 15 carry outlier from two weeks ago is an anomaly). While he should see around 7 targets in this one, I don’t think I can justify his price, so I will likely fade him. You can still get Stewart at a fraction of CMC’s price and ownership – he is only $3600 this week – and he has seen double-digit carries in every game other than 1 this year. I will probably also avoid him as I think his ceiling is capped, but I prefer him to CMC if you have to have a piece of this backfield.
The Panthers are a very strong 3rd against the run and haven’t given up a 20-point game to a back on the entire season. Between this and the negative game script, I’ll probably avoid McGuire here. If I do end up really needing salary relief, I might play him as he seems to be the main back over Powell now (Forte will probably miss this one) and is involved with the passing game, but he hasn’t had above 2.8 YPC in any of his last 6 games and this includes cupcake match-ups against the Pats, Bucs, and Bills.
I doubt I will end up on ASJ here as his usage is just too inconsistent for my tastes. While he did see 9 targets last week, he saw 12 combined over his previous 3 before that. The Panthers are also 4th against TEs. While CAR does rank a strong 8th against the pass in general, I feel like their CBs have graded out progressively worse as the season has gone along and their best CB, Bradberry, only clocks in at 84th out of 117. Robby Anderson has been by far the most consistent receiver for the Jets as he now has TDs in 4 straight games. While I don’t really like his price of $5700 and he obviously cannot continue this streak indefinitely, he will find himself in another positive game script here and is my preferred option among the Jets’ pass catchers.
CLE (15) @ CIN (23)
Hue Jackson has confirmed that Kizer will start for the rest of the season, so we should give a long look to each defense playing against him every week. While his rushing does offer some upside, I don’t think he is a good QB as he is yet to go above 242 passing yards in a single game and throws a ton of picks. Fun fact – he has yet to throw more TDs than picks in a game. Between his abilities and the lackluster talent around him, I’m going to keep clear of any pass-catcher here.
Let’s take a quick look at the RBs, but I’m not that excited here either. While Duke has seen 5+ targets in each of his last 5, he has only averaged 6 carries per game over this same span. Hue Jackson just came out and said that they will try to get him more involved, but I’m not sure if I believe it especially since Crowell has seen double-digit carries in every game other than 1 this year and has finally had a couple of recent strong showings against Detroit and Minnesota. While he doesn’t see as much involvement in the passing game as DJ-lite, he has still seen a respectable 14 combined targets over his previous 4 games. Due to the $700 discount, I think I prefer Crowell, but neither seems like an amazing option on a low-scoring offense.
While Cleveland does rank 24th against the pass, they recently got Jason McCourty back and he has been excellent so far this year. We know that AJG can struggle in tough match-ups (look at what happened against Ramsey a few weeks ago) and, while it never feels great to completely fade someone of Green’s talents, that’s where I’m headed this week. While LaFell should see around 5 targets this week, he has looked terrible throughout the year and has seen his RZ targets evaporate. Erickson beat Bradley Roby last week for his first career TD and seems to be getting slightly more involved, but he doesn’t have the consistency or upside for us to really think about rostering him here. Instead, let’s turn to Tyler Kroft. As I have continuously harped on, the Browns are god-awful against TEs and any TE playing against them has their best opportunity to score on the year:
|Week||Recs||Rec Yards||Rec TDs||DK Points|
My biggest concern with Kroft is his usage as he generally only sees a decent chunk of targets when the Bengals are playing from behind. I’ll end up with some exposure, but I don’t see myself going above 20%.
The Bengals’ o-line is still terrible and the Browns have the best run defense in football. Sure, Mixon is seeing consistent touches and only costs $4400, but I’m done trying to predict a breakout week. He will likely end up with around 12-15 points here, but that’s not enough to really get me excited.
TB (19.5) @ ATL (29.5)
As long as Julio continues to be underpriced versus his talent, I’m going to continue playing him. It’s unfortunate that he will be so chalky here, but I can’t avoid him as he has averaged 10 targets per game over his last 3 and TB is 28th against the pass. They are also particularly susceptible to boundary receivers as he saw from Kenny Stills last week, and have given up at least 1 receiving TD to outside WRs for each of the last 4 weeks. He’s going to have a monster week at some point this season and I think it will be here especially since he is finally fully healthy. With Julio’s target ascendance, we have seen Sanu take a back seat as he has averaged a little less than 4 targets per game in his last 3. Gabriel is also seeing minimal usage, but he does get a beautiful match-up against 94th-ranked, Ryan Smith in this one. You can also consider Hooper here as the Bucs are 18th against TEs, but his usage continues to be inconsistent as he only saw 2 targets last week after seeing 6 in each his 3 before that. He also hasn’t seen a RZ target in any of his last 3. Either way, Matt Ryan seems like a fine play here as well.
As expected, Freeman will miss this one, so Coleman will keep lead back duties and probably get another 20+ touches in this one. He will probably also be the highest owned player on the slate and Labs projects him at 40-50%. While I like him plenty here, I will probably be underweight on the field as TB is stronger against the run (14th in DVOA) and he isn’t catching that many passes as he hasn’t seen more than 2 targets at any point since Week 4. Even though they are stronger though, this isn’t really a matchup to fear as Damien Williams, Kamara and Ingram all went for over 4.8 YPC against them. ATL is also 12th in adjusted line yards with 4.23.
ATL is 28th against the run, but Doug Martin continues to disappoint in juicy matchups, so I can’t bring myself to go back to the well again here. He is still seeing plenty of volume, but he just looks bad. Also, the ATL d-line should own the Bucs here, and I fully expect Clayborn to add to his sack total.
Evans has a very tough match-up against Trufant in this one, but game script will be in his favor and I fully expect Fitzpatrick to target him extensively in this one. Overall, I much prefer attacking ATL across the middle, so I will probably avoid Evans in this spot but I might end up with small exposure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we have a great way to attack them here as both Humphries and Howard have graded out very poorly on the year, and Brate has seemingly taken a backseat to Howard with Fitzpatrick under center. D-Jax has a decent match-up on the other side, but I do have a lot of concerns about how much time Fitz will actually have before ATL gets to him.
MIA (15.5) @ NE (32)
Dolphins DL William Hayes could be shut down for the season and this will be a big blow to their run stopping as he is top-5 per PFF. Between this, game script, and Dion Lewis completely taking over this backfield after Burkhead’s fumble last week, I’m going to have a lot of exposure to Lewis here. Lewis now has double-digit carries in 5 straight and generally sees a few targets as well. If we assume that Burkhead won’t get another chance here, Lewis should see around 4-5 targets.
You also cannot go wrong with Brady here against Miami’s 31st-ranked pass defense. Hogan is out again for this one, so I’m going to continue to have plenty of Cooks. Gronk has had a couple of off games in a row, so his ownership will be severely depressed, but I’m going to go back to the well here as Miami has given up either a TD or 100+ yards to a TE in every game from Week 7 on.
With the severely negative game script, we can expect Matt Moore to look to his favorite target, Kenny Stills quite a bit in this one. Check out the numbers that Stills puts up with Moore at the helm per this lovely little chart that Scott Barrett put together:
We also know that the Pats sell out to stop the opponent’s top option, so I assume that they will plan on taking out Landry. While the Pats have been better recently, they still have some glaring weaknesses in their secondary and have given up a lot of big plays throughout the year.
|Rec TDs||DK Points|
Due to the continuing time share, I’m going to continue to ignore Williams and Drake.
BUF (18.25) @ KC (28.25)
Mike Tolbert (aka “Trollbert”) won’t be available this week to vulture goal line carries from Shady, which is obviously good news for Shady’s TD equity. A concerning development last week was Cadet eating into Shady’s pass-catching role, however, as he caught 6 passes in that one. KC also ranks dead last against the run, so this should be good news for Shady, but he has only averaged 11 carries over their last 3 games (all of which were losses). I don’t think I can roster him at $8500 with his potentially minimal workload.
K-Benj has already been ruled out for this one and Zay Jones has started seeing more targets regardless – he has seen at least 5 in each of his last 6 – so Jones looks like a great salary saving option this week. We know that Marcus Peters stays on one side of the field, and they just signed Revis off the street to man the other, so Zay will go up against him for most of the day. Last year, Revis was one of my favorite options to pick on weekly, so I’m going back to the well here.
On the other side of the ball, we have the 31st-ranked run D who have just bled fantasy points ever since they traded Dareus:
|Week||Rushes||Rush Yards||Rush TDs||Recs||Rec
|Rec TDs||DK Points|
|Gordon + Ekeler||11||26||120||2||2||18||0||27.8|
Kareem Hunt was the chalk last week, and Andy Reid severely disappointed a lot of people (me included) with his play calling in that one, so I expect a lot of people to be biased against Hunt here. I’m going to go back to the well and have some shares, and I think he will finally have another big game.
The Bills have also been destroyed through the air by their opponent’s top receiving option recently, so this bodes well for Kelce here (Allen went for 12-159-2 last week and Michael Thomas went off for 9-117-0 the week before). Kelce has also seen 9+ targets in each of his last 3. Tyreek finally saw an uptick in his usage last week, but I think that has more to do with them being behind than anything else, and I just don’t think I can pay $6900 for him this week.
CHI (15.25) @ PHI (28.75)
I really want to like Ajayi here, but he has only seen 15 combined carries over his two games with the Eagles, so I’m going to steer clear of this RBBC.
Even though Ertz should be fully healthy for this one, he didn’t do anything in last week’s great match-up against the Sean Lee-less Cowboys. The Bears are much better against TEs and across the middle of the field in general, so I much prefer Alshon in this one (WR1s have put up 14.7+ points against the Bears in each of their last 3). Alshon has also seen at least 6 targets in each of their last 5 and has 4 TDs in their last 3, but obviously this TD rate is unsustainable.
I honestly don’t know how the Bears will score points here as the Eagles rank 6th against the pass and 5th against the run. No receiver on the Bears is seeing huge volume and Trubisky hasn’t shown any upside, so I’m not going. You know Howard will see at least 15 carries in this one, but I just don’t think he will do much against Philly. The Eagles are a top-3 DST this week.
SEA (25.75) @ SF (19.25)
There is a lot of sharp money on SF here as the line has gone their way by a full point even though they have received only 20% of the bets.
It would be great if we get some clarity around McKissic here as he is only $3700 against the worst run defense in the league. Mike Davis went down with a groin injury, Lacy hasn’t shown anything (and was out-touched by JD 12-3 last week after Davis went down), and Rawls was inactive last week, so I assume that JD will get a full workload here. This is great news for him as SF is terrible against the run and they are just hemorrhaging points to opposing backs.
SF has also given up multiple receiving TDs in each of their last 4 weeks, so Russ Wilson is my top QB of the week here. Both Baldwin and Jimmy Graham are excellent options here as SF is particularly weak across the middle. Graham also has the most RZ targets out of any receiver on the year with 24, and has seen 8 or more targets in general in each of his last 3. While Baldwin has only seen 6 targets in each of his last two, he gets the 113th-ranked K’Waun Williams this week. This is clearly a match-up that Baldwin should win handily. Just for reference, in SF’s last game, Sterling Shepard pasted them for 11-142-0.
SEA is 11th against the run and have been completely lights out since they acquired Richardson. I’m going to ignore Hyde here. While the Seahawks rank 10th against the pass, this ranking hasn’t caught up with their injuries yet and both of their current outside CBs are bottom-10 in the league. Goodwin has seen his usage fluctuate quite a bit, but part of that is due to the windstorm that he played in last week. If we discount that one, he saw targets of 8, 3, 8, 5, and 11 in the previous 5 weeks. I feel like Goodwin makes for an excellent GPP dart this week due to the game script and weakness of the Seattle secondary that the casual player doesn’t know about. Kittle will be back for this one, but I have no idea if he will be limited at all, so I’m going to stay clear.
JAX (21.25) @ ARI (16.25)
While I didn’t hate playing Gabbert against the Texans, I am certainly not going back to the well here. Ramsey will miss this one, but Jaron Brown just hasn’t been very good, and I think the Jags will be able to compensate regardless. In general, the only way to put up points against Jacksonville is through pass-catching RBs and Arizona just cut their best (Ellington). Needless to say, AP and the Cards are in a lot of trouble here.
As we know, you need to attack Arizona with your secondary receivers as Peterson erases the WR1:
|Torrey Smith||Outside WR2||5||1||-3||0||3||70||1||15.7|
|Brice Butler||Outside WR2||3||0||0||0||2||90||1||17|
|Kenny Golladay||Outside WR2||1||0||0||0||4||69||2||22.9|
This is bad news for Lee and great news for Westbrook who I absolutely love. He saw 6 targets in his first game back, but had a couple of drops in poor receiving conditions, so he only put up 3-35-0, but I’m definitely going back to the well at only $3600.
Arizona is 9th against the run, but the Jags don’t care about how strong your run defense is as they will just keep running it into you. Just last week we saw them run Fournette into the Browns, the #1 run defense, 28 times. He managed to put up over 100 yards there, so his ankle seems better and he is always a likely candidate to get 100+ yards regardless of the week. He’s a good GPP option here, but I’m not sure how much I will end up with.
DEN (19.5) @ OAK (24)
It’s been a busy week for the Broncos as they just fired their OC and then promptly demoted Osweiler for Lynch. While Lynch has a super limited sample size so far, in his time on the field, Sanders has an amazing 35.4% of targets and 46.5% of air yards (thanks, Scott Barrett). He also gets the pleasure of going up against the historically bad Oakland pass defense. They get torched on a weekly basis and rank dead last in DVOA. I’m going to be very overweight on Sanders here, and I will also have some exposure to D-Thom as well.
Booker has quietly become the lead back in this backfield as he saw 14 totes last week and 6 targets last week. While Oakland is better against the run, they rank 21st in DVOA and really aren’t all that great. They have given up 18+ point games to Lewis, Williams, McCoy, Gordon, Buck Allen, and Chris Thompson on the year and DEN has created the 8th-most adjusted line yards in the league. I like Booker’s odds on putting up 18+ here, and this will more than 4x him.
Playing TEs against DEN is quickly becoming something I do every week, and I will absolutely have exposure to Cook here:
|Rec TDs||DK Points|
In each of his last 4, he has seen at least 5 targets in each, and has two 100 yard games in that span. He is quickly becoming a go-to weapon for Carr and this offense. He only has 1 TD on the year so far, but I fully expect positive regression for him in his remaining games. Crabtree has seen double-digit targets in 3 out of his last 5 and only costs $5500 here. Unfortunately, Cooper still cannot get anything going, so as much as it pains me to say it, I prefer Crabtree here. Sigh.
Denver remains a funnel defense as they rank 2nd against the run, and I’m going to continue ignoring the Raiders RBBC.
NO (26) @ LAR (28)
Well, I am excited for this one. We should see a lot of scoring especially because both of the Saints’ starting outside CBs have already been ruled out. This puts De’Vante Harris and Sterline Moore on the outside, and both have looked bad in their limited snaps so far. Unfortunately for the Rams, their WR1, Robert Woods, will also miss this one. I feel like Sammy Watkins will have to get additional targets moving forward, but I’m concerned that Goff will lock onto Kupp more than he already does. Either way, I will have exposure to both, but I prefer Watkins as he has greater upside and gets the easier matchup.
Alex Okafor will miss this one for the Saints, and he is PFF’s highest-graded edge defender, so this clearly provides a big boost for Gurley. I am still concerned about his usage as he hasn’t seen over 16 carries in any of his last 3 games, but he has a solid floor due to his involvement as a receiver. Even before this loss, the Saints were only 26th against the run and have given up four 100+ yard games on the year already. Even with his limited usage, I absolutely think that exposure to Gurley is warranted.
The Rams are already a runnel as they are 3rd against the pass and 20th against the run, and the Saints running game is incredibly strong. Ingram has gone above 4.2 YPC in each of his last 6 and is scoring TDs at a prodigious rate. While he did only see 11 carries last week, this is more due to the huge hole they had to dig themselves out of rather than any indictment of Ingram. Due to this deficit, Kamara saw a whopping 9 targets, which he turned into 6-74-1. If Vegas is correct in this one, we should see Kamara have another game with heavy involvement in the passing game. As I have noted previously, their line also grades out 1st with a huge 5.45 adjusted line yards created.
A lot of the Rams’ secondary strength comes from Nickell Robey-Coleman who mans the slot, but unfortunately he will miss this one. Obviously, this doesn’t really affect Thomas much and he is the only receiver we really care about here (GInn can always break off a big play, but you are basically counting on one to go for a TD if you roster him). He has seen double digit targets in each of his last 3 and is a lock for at least 14.5 points every week. Sadly, we have yet to see a ceiling game for him, but he is long overdue for a TD – he hasn’t scored in his last 6 – and positive regression has to come at some point. He will be much lower owned than either Kamara or Ingram and offers great exposure to the Saints offense here.
GB (15) @ PIT (28.5)
The only piece of GB that I’m interested in is Adams as he has actually seen a slight uptick in targets since Hundley has taken over (Barrett put together the following chart on GB WR usage):
Furthermore, PIT’s best CB, Joe Haden, will miss this one, making this an even better spot for Davante. While PIT does still rank 5th in DVOA, his absence definitely hurts as they have now given up back-to-back games of over 25 points to an opposing WR.
I suppose you can consider Williams from the run game as he is their only healthy back, but the Steeler’s are extremely strong against the run as they are 4th in DVOA.
JuJu will be out for this one with a hamstring pull, so Bryant should see a big uptick in his targets. Bryant definitely hasn’t looked great, but with his dirt cheap price on FD, I think that you have to consider him against this atrocious secondary. Obviously, AB is also in a great spot to just smash here as he has seen double-digit targets in all but two games this year, and GB’s best CB ranks 73rd on the year.
While GB is 8th against the run, Bell is virtually match-up proof due to his involvement in the passing game and game script will be heavily in his favor here. While he did see a downtick in touches last week, that feels more like it was due to the short week than anything else, and I assume that he will get back up to his normal, monstrous workload this week.