Welcome back to the Rookie Report! Hopefully the regular season has been good to you and you’ve managed to find yourself in the fantasy playoffs. This is what the last 13 weeks have been for…making the playoffs and setting yourself up for an extremely gratifying victory or a soul-crushing defeat, at least if you weren’t able to secure a bye. If you do have a playoff game this week, you’ve likely been aided by a rookie or 2 at some point to get here. If you have Alvin Kamara and didn’t make the playoffs, you should maybe give up at this fantasy football thing.
Plenty of rookies have made a big impact this season: Deshaun Watson, Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, Cooper Kupp, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Evan Engram, and plenty more. Plenty of those rookies will continue to make an impact in the fantasy postseason as well. As usual, I’ll tell you which guys you should be starting, which you should be sitting, and provide some insight into some of the borderline options as well. If you have a bye or missed the playoffs, there will be some DFS tidbits along the way as well. There are plenty of sleepers this week for DFS tournaments. Alright, that’s enough chit chat, let’s dive into week 14…
Rookies to Start:
RB Alvin Kamara, NO (Wk 14: @Atl.): If you own Kamara, the Mark Ingram injury probably feels like Christmas come early (unless you own Ingram too). While it’s true the Ingram injury certainly helps Kamara’s outlook for this week, I wouldn’t expect him to suddenly handle a workhorse load. Ingram has averaged 20.6 touches per game since Adrian Peterson was traded, and Kamara has averaged 13.9 and hasn’t handled more than 18 in any game. I think he’ll end up somewhere around 20 this week if Ingram is out. Ultimately, that doesn’t matter when it comes to your fantasy lineups. He’s still an obvious start in season-long leagues, and should be in just about every DFS cash game lineup imaginable. He’s been the overall RB1 in 4 of the past 5 weeks, and was tied for 4th in the other week. The Falcons rank 31st in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA stat, and rank 23rd in pass defense DVOA on throws to opposing RBs. The hot streak should continue for Kamara with no problem.
RB Leonard Fournette, JAX (Wk. 14: vs. Sea.): This is a tough spot for Fournette this week. The Seahawks allow the 4th-fewest RB points per game, rank 7th in run defense DVOA, and Fournette has averaged just 50.5 rushing yards per game since returning from injury (and a disciplinary benching) 4 weeks ago. Before being injured, he was only held below 59 yards rushing once in 6 games. The volume and TD upside keep Fournette a must-start this week, but you should probably treat him as a fade or at most a contrarian play in DFS lineups. He should be treated as an RB2 this week in season-long leagues.
RB Jamaal Williams, GB (Wk. 14: @Cle.): I believe that Williams’ production over the past few weeks has bought him at least one more week as the lead back. The Browns are actually a pretty tough matchup, allowing just the 9th-fewest RB points per game, but the game script should be at least neutral in this one, and the Packers have been leaning more on the run game with Brett Hundley under center. Aaron Jones will likely play a little bit more this week, and should cut into Williams receiving work at the very least, but I still like Jamaal to return starting value at least one more time.
WR Cooper Kupp, LAR (Wk. 14: vs. Phi.): Kupp is averaging 6.25 catches and 73.8 yards per game in past 4 games, and he’s seen 17 targets in the 2 games that Robert Woods has missed. Woods isn’t practicing as of Wednesday. The Eagles have been a middling defense against WRs, allowing the 16th-fewest points per game to the position. Kupp’s floor has been rock solid of late, and the Eagles aren’t a defense to shy away from. Cooper should be a solid WR3 this week.
TE Evan Engram, NYG (Wk. 14: vs. Dal.): Engram got back on track last weekend with a 7-99-1 game catching passes from Geno Smith, and this week he gets back Eli Manning. Despite his struggles over the past couple weeks, the targets never went away for Engram. He’s still seen at least 6 of them in every single game since Odell Beckham was lost for the year. The Cowboys rank 25th in pass defense DVOA on throws to the tight end. Get Engram in there if you’ve got him.
QB DeShone Kizer, CLE (Wk. 14: vs. GB): It may feel reckless to even consider starting Kizer in a fantasy playoff game, but he’s quietly been a QB1 in 3 of his past 5 games and gets a great matchup this week against the Packers. Green Bay has allowed over 270 passing yards in 5 of their past 6 games, and the other was against Joe Flacco. They also placed starting CB Kevin King on IR this week. King was their top pick in the draft last April. With Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon back and looking good, and David Njoku coming on, this could quickly turn into a dangerous passing attack if Kizer can limit the turnovers and get them the ball. Kizer is actually a pretty good play this week in 2-QB formats, and his a ton of upside this week. The concern is that you know what kind of floor comes with it.
RB Christian McCaffrey, CAR (Wk. 14: vs. Min.): The matchup is a tough one this week for McCaffrey. The Vikings rank 6th in run defense DVOA and 6th in pass defense DVOA on throws to the running backs. McCaffrey’s rushing production wasn’t there last week, but he’s been a pretty steady RB2 or better just about every week. I’d still lean towards getting him in there this week, especially in PPR formats, but I would temper expectations a bit and probably avoid him in DFS formats.
RB Samaje Perine, WAS (Wk. 14: @LAC): Last week was a bit of a letdown in what appeared to be a good matchup on paper. Washington shot themselves in the foot early in the game and got in a negative game script, and Byron Marshall starting cutting into Perine’s receiving workload. The end result was Perine finishing as the RB33 for the week. He gets another solid matchup this week, but Washington needs to stay in a positive game script for him to really hit his ceiling. Playing from behind last week, Byron Marshall handled 43% of the running back snaps. The Chargers rank 28th in run defense DVOA, and have allowed the 3rd-most RB rushing yards and 6th-most RB fantasy points. The ingredients are there for Perine. If Washington sticks to the recipe, he should be a strong flex play in non-PPR leagues, and at least a passable one in PPR formats.
RB Kareem Hunt, KC (Wk. 14: vs. Oak.): I’m sure there are plenty of Hunt owners who don’t want to go to this well again. It feels as though Hunt should have ‘missing person’ posters up around Kansas City at this point, but it hasn’t been quite as bad as it feels. Aside from one real clunker against the Bills, Hunt’s floor has still been pretty stable. He’s topped 60 yards from scrimmage in every other game this year, and had at least 3 catches in all but that game and the one against the Chargers in week 3. Nobody was complaining about his lack of catches that week though. The problem is that his ceiling disappeared after the hot start. He’s topped 9 points in 4 of his past 5 games, but he didn’t get to 11 in any of them. There is some hope for this week. The Chiefs turned over play-calling duties to the offensive coordinator last week, and had their best offensive game in at least a month, and Hunt also put up 117 scrimmage yards in his first meeting with the Raiders. I’d probably lean towards playing Hunt, but I’d understand if you couldn’t do it. I’d certainly be afraid to go to Hunt in DFS lineups.
RB Joe Mixon, CIN (Wk. 14: vs. Chi.): It seems unlikely that Mixon will play this week after suffering a concussion on Monday night, but he would be a decent option if he does. Mixon has looked great when he’s been on the field the past 2 weeks, and the Bengals should be in a positive game script as a 6-point favorite. The Bears’ defense has been decent against RBs, but not really imposing. They rank 12th in run defense DVOA. If Mixon is able to clear the protocol, he should be an RB2 this week. Keep an eye on the situation and make sure he’s really good to go before plugging him in.
WR Dede Westbrook, JAX (Wk. 14: vs. Sea.): Westbrook’s fantasy star is on the rise right now. He played more snaps than Keelan Cole for the first time last weekend, and he’s now handled 19 targets in the past 2 weeks. The Seahawks’ defense had shown vulnerability against WRs even before Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor were injured, and it’s gotten a little worse since. Seattle has allowed 37 fantasy points per game to WRs in the 3 games the duo missed. That number would rank as the 4th-most in the league over the full season. Westbrook is in the mix for WR3 or WR4 status for the week.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI (Wk. 14: vs. Ten.): The numbers RSJ has been putting up on the number of snaps he’s been playing is ridiculous. In the past 3 weeks, his snap count has gone from 8 to 17 to 15, and he’s handled 5, 6, and 5 targets in those games. Blaine Gabbert has targeted him on an absurd 53% of the routes he’s run in the past 3 weeks. I can’t imagine the Cardinals don’t get him more involved down the stretch. The matchup this week is pretty good, with the Titans allowing the 12th-most TE points per game. He’s got a floor that won’t kill you, and a ceiling worth chasing. If you don’t have a starting tight end you believe in right now (Vernon Davis, Jared Cook, injured Zach Ertz), Seals-Jones is a solid replacement option.
TE David Njoku, CLE (Wk. 14: vs. GB): Njoku has been enjoying a mini breakout of sorts in the past 2 weeks, but the Packers pose a tough matchup. Green Bay has allowed the 4th-fewest TE points per game on the year, but they have shown cracks lately. They’ve given up 3 TDs to the position in the past 2 weeks. Defenses aren’t able to focus on Njoku now that Coleman and Gordon are back, and he’s seen 6+ targets in 3 of his past 5 games. His floor is lower than Ricky Seals-Jones, but his ceiling is similar.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Mitch Trubisky, CHI (Wk. 14: @Cin.): This is a pretty easy call, even for 2-QB leagues. John Fox refuses to take the training wheels off Mitch and let him throw. He threw fewer than 20 times for the third time this season last Sunday, and the Bears want him throwing as little as possible. He’s topped 150 passing yards just 3 times in 8 starts, and has yet to throw for more than 1 score in a game. The Bengals aren’t the team that’s going to let him break those trends. They’ve allowed the 12th-fewest QB points per game. Trubisky could be next year’s version of Jared Goff, who got an innovative offensive head coach in his second year and looked like a different player.
RB Aaron Jones, GB (Wk. 14: @Cle.): As I mentioned earlier, I like Jamaal Williams this week, and with the Browns allowing the 9th-fewest RB points I just don’t think there’s enough to go around for both guys to have a productive week if Williams plays as much as I expect. Jones looked good on his one carry last week, but I don’t think the Packers are going to put him back in the lead back role after playing just 1 snap a week ago. Track this status throughout the week though, because the Packers’ coaches might not be on the same page as me here. If they make an announcement that Jones will start, both guys become flex options.
RB Austin Ekeler, LAC (Wk. 14: vs. Was.): You could make a case for Ekeler as a flex option in deeper leagues, but I’m not going to this week. He had just 6 touches last week, his lowest total since October. He does more damage as a receiver than a runner, putting up 58% of his scrimmage yards through the air, and Washington has allowed the 8th-fewest receiving yards to backs. I think there are better options to be had this week.
RB Corey Clement, PHI (Wk. 14: @LAR): The Rams are a prime matchup for running backs, but touches for Clement are far from a sure thing. He’s totaled just 17 of them in the past 3 games, and his biggest performances have come in blowout wins. The Eagles are actually a 2-point underdog in this game. I’d stay away from CC.
RB Matt Breida, SF (Wk. 14: @Hou.): Don’t chase last week’s carries for Breida. He handled 12 carries last week, but played just a third of the offensive snaps. This is still Carlos Hyde’s backfield, and the matchup this week is a tough one. The Texans allow the 3rd-fewest RB points per game and rank 10th in run defense DVOA.
WR Zay Jones, BUF (Wk. 14: vs. Ind.): This could have been excellent spot to try Zay Jones. The Colts allow the 6th-most WR points per game and just coughed up nearly 50 points to the Jaguars’ WRs last Sunday (49.3). The problems for Zay are that his inefficiency problem has come back, and Kelvin Benjamin should be active again. Zay has just 5 catches for 55 yards on 17 targets in the past 2 weeks, and he likely gets Nathan Peterman at QB this week with Tyrod battling injuries. The situation is too volatile to trust the rookie as anything more than a DFS punt, even in a great spot.
WR Corey Davis, TEN (Wk. 14: @Ari.): There is some upside for Davis if Patrick Peterson chases around Rishard Matthews this week, but you can’t rely on him in a fantasy playoff matchup with the way he’s been producing. Davis is yet to reach 8 fantasy points in the 5 games he’s played since returning from his hamstring injury. The Cardinals have also been improving against WRs as the season has gone on. They’ve allowed 8 fewer points per game to the position after their bye week than they did before it. Davis could be worth a shot in DFS tournaments, but I can’t advocate playing him in the fantasy playoffs.
WR Josh Reynolds, LAR (Wk. 14: vs. Phi.): Reynolds played 72% of the snaps and had a second straight 6-target game last weekend, but he tallied just 2 catches for 6 yards. Robert Woods looks likely to miss another game, so there should be a solid target share again, but he should be just a DFS option. There’s too much risk involved to play him with the season on the line. The Eagles are a tougher matchup than the Cardinals, who he had the aforementioned 2-6 line against.
WR Keelan Cole, JAX (Wk. 14: vs. Sea.): Cole is still playing a healthy snap count, but he’s been jumped on the depth chart by Dede Westbrook. He was out-targeted by Dede 9 to 3 last week, and that kind of volume isn’t going to make him usable this week despite his 3-49-1 line last week. Seattle may be vulnerable, but they’re nowhere near as bad as the Colts.
TE George Kittle, SF (Wk. 14: @Hou.): The Texans allow the 6th-most TE points per game, but Kittle was targeted just 3 times last week and hasn’t reached 30 receiving yards since week 6. There are better streamers available.
TE Gerald Everett, LAR (Wk. 14: vs.Phi.): Don’t chase last week’s touchdown here. Everett hasn’t reached 10 receiving yards in any of the past 4 games.
Deep League Sleepers, Stashes, and Cheap DFS Options:
QB Nathan Peterman, BUF (Wk. 14: vs. Ind.): Peterman’s second NFL start should go MUCH better than his first one assuming Taylor misses this game. The Colts have been abysmal at defending the pass. Indy allows a league-worst 271 passing yards per game, and has coughed up 53 pass plays of 20+ yards (also league-worst). They had finally started showing signs of improving when they sat Vontae Davis and made Rashaan Melvin their top corner, but they went back in the tank with his injury. After Peterman’s 1st start, it would be crazy to tell you to play him with your season on the line, but at just $4,400 in DraftKings, he’s an appealing cheap DFS play in a fantastic matchup.
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI (Wk. 14: @Cin.): Cohen’s usage seemed to take a step back last week when he played just 16 offensive snaps, but the Bears’ ran just 37 offensive plays all game. He actually played 43% of the snaps. He’s now played 49%, 35% and 43% in the last 3 weeks after clocking in below 30% for the 3 games before those. Cohen still handled 6 touches in those 16 snaps and showed his playmaking ability with a punt return TD and another long return that was called back by penalty. The Bengals have allowed the 4th most RB receptions and the 5th most RB receiving yards for the year. Tarik has some nice upside if his usage holds.
RB Marlon Mack, IND (Wk. 14: @Buf.): The Bills are allowing 37.3 running back points per game over the last 6 games. That number is nearly 10 more per game than the 49ers allow. The 49ers are the 2nd-worst RB defense. The Colts were finally in a negative game script early last week, and Mack was a beneficiary. It didn’t translate to a big fantasy day, but Mack out-snapped Frank Gore 30-22 and put up 54 scrimmage yards on just 7 touches. Facing one of the worst RB defenses in the league, Mack is worth considering in the deepest of leagues or as a cheap DFS option.
RB Trey Edmunds, NO (Wk. 14: @Atl.): As I mentioned at the beginning of this article with Kamara, I don’t expect all of Mark Ingram’s work to go to AK-41 if Ingram is out. The guy who would pick up that slack is Edmunds. Edmunds got extended run against the Bills in a blowout win a few weeks ago, and he put up 48 yards and a score on just 9 carries. I’d expect him to reach double-digit touches if Ingram is out, and as I mentioned earlier the Falcons are 31st in run defense DVOA. Edmunds has some value as a flex for really deep non-PPR leagues, and also as a cheap DFS play. He costs the minimum this week on DraftKings.
RB Tion Green, DET (Wk. 14: @TB): Green was active for the first time in his NFL career last Sunday, and he flashed his talents when given the opportunity. He finished the game with 11 carries for 51 yards and a TD, and nearly scored a second one. He showed burst and overall looked better than Ameer Abdullah has for much of the season. Abdullah has been limited again this week, and if he sits out there is solid upside for Green. The Bucs rank 22nd in run defense DVOA and allow the 11th most RB points per game. Considering how long the Lions run game has been a problem, Green is an intriguing dynasty stash as well.
WR Kenny Golladay, DET (Wk. 14: @TB): The matchup couldn’t be much better for Golladay this week. Tampa has allowed the most WR points per game (by a margin of nearly 3 points per game over everyone else), and they’ve also struggled to limit big plays. Tampa has allowed the 5th-most pass plays of 20+ yards, and is tied for the 3rd-most 40+ yard passes allowed. Golladay hasn’t caught more or less than 2 balls in any game since he returned from a hamstring injury, but he’s averaging 55 yards per game in those contests (27.5 yards per catch) and he played 76% of the snaps last Sunday. This is a real chance for Golladay to post his best game since week 1. He’s intriguing as a flex for deep non-PPR leagues.
WR Travis Taylor, SF (Wk. 14: @Hou.): The Texans have allowed the 9th-most points per game to WRs, and Taylor posted his best day of the year in Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start with the 49ers. Taylor caught all 6 of his targets for 92 yards, and made a crucial play that helped set up their game-winning field goal. I expected last week that Taylor would see a bump in usage with Jimmy G inserted, and that has proven true. I don’t see why it will stop this week. Taylor should handle another 6-7 targets this week and should develop into a nice PPR asset with Garoppolo in town.
TE O.J. Howard, TB (Wk. 14: vs. Det.): As I expected, with Jameis back under center Howard went back to playing second fiddle to Cam Brate. Brate was targeted 6 times and scored 2 touchdowns while OJ posted 1-17 on 2 targets. I don’t expect OJ to go back to being the top tight end for the Bucs this week, but he has shown to be a better big-play receiver than Brate this year, and the Lions have allowed 6 catches of 30+ yards to opposing tight ends this year, and they’ve given up 3 tight end scores in the past 2 weeks. Brate will likely see more targets than Howard this week, but I like Howard as a shoot-the-moon option for DFS tournaments.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps enough that you’re coming back next week to see what to do for the semifinals. Keep a close eye on the injury report this week. Mark Ingram, Robert Woods, Ameer Abdullah, Matt Stafford, Joe Mixon, and Tyrod Taylor all could change the fantasy landscape depending on their status. If you have any specific questions or want to yell at me about anything written above, feel free to hit me up on twitter (@Shawn_Foss) and let me know. As always: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report! For most of you, this is the final week of the fantasy regular season. Your whole season could be riding on the outcome of this week’s matchup. Make sure you know what your scenario looks like. Do you need to win and make up a point differential? Do you need to just win? If you’re out of the playoffs, are there any side pots you can win this week? If you are in a dire spot, look for ceiling instead of floor. I’ll do my best to point out who has more of which in the breakdowns below. If you see two players at the same position listed under the same header, the player I like more this week will be listed first. Let’s dive in to what to expect from the rookies in week 13…
Rookies to Start:
RB Alvin Kamara, NO (Wk. 13: vs. Car.): To put it as simply as I can, you can’t sit a guy who has been the RB1 in 3 of the last 4 games (and the RB4 in the other). The matchup this week isn’t an easy one, but Kamara has been on a crazy run. Carolina allows the 4th-fewest RB points per game, and rank 5th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA stat. Given the matchup, I’d probably fade Alvin in DFS lineups, or view him as more of a contrarian play, but you have to trust him in season-long leagues. In the past 4 weeks, Kamara has scored an astonishing 43 more PPR points than any other running back, and he’s done it with fewer than 15 touches per game.
RB Leonard Fournette, JAX (Wk. 13: vs. Ind.): Fournette was a disappointment in week 12, as he handled a season-low 12 carries and posted fewer than 8 PPR points, but unless the ankle is an issue I’d expect both the carries and the points to go up this week. The Jaguars played from behind last week, but they’re 9.5-point favorites in this one and the Colts allow the 6th-most RB points per game. There is a little worry since Fournette has posted 2 down games in 3 chances since returning from the ankle issue, but he’s practicing in full as of Wednesday and looks like he should be back to normal this week. I’d understand if you were hesitant to pull the trigger in DFS with his recent results and the price tag, but he should be at least a borderline RB1 in season-long leagues.
RB Jamaal Williams, GB (Wk. 13: vs. TB): As long as Williams has the backfield to himself, he’s a strong RB2 option and a huge value in DFS lineups. He was the RB2 last Sunday against a stout Steeler defense, and even managed to finish in the top-20 backs the week before when Green Bay was shut out by Baltimore. Williams has consistently been able to produce when given the opportunity, and he should have plenty of opportunity in this one as long as Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery remain sidelined. Tampa Bay allows the 14th most RB points per game, and ranks 20th in run defense DVOA.
RB Christian McCaffrey, CAR (Wk. 13: @NO): McCaffrey didn’t have a great game against the Jets last week. He was held to a season-low 2 catches, but still managed to finish as the RB22 in a tough matchup. He basically has a top-25 floor at this point. The Saints allow the 9th-most RB receptions and 7th-most RB receiving yards, and McCaffrey finished as the RB10 with 20.7 PPR points in his first go-round with New Orleans in week 3. That was before he started to consistently produce on the ground. CMC totaled just 117 rushing yards in the first 8 games of the year (70 in games 2-8), but has managed to tally 151 yards on the ground in Carolina’s past 3 contests. That balance has made McCaffrey an even safer RB2 option.
RB Samaje Perine, WAS (Wk. 13: @Dal.): Perine has now posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing games for Washington, and he had 4 targets last week that led to a 3-30 receiving line as well. The receiving production is new here. Perine is known as a non-factor in the passing game, so the new usage boosts both his ceiling and his floor. This week he gets to face a Dallas defensive front that is still without Sean Lee, allows the 12th-most RB points per game, and ranks 28th in run defense DVOA. The receiving work might not carry over as Byron Marshall gets more up to speed as the receiving back, but Perine remains a strong RB2 option this week. Think Alex Collins on a team that actually scores offensive touchdowns. (Washington has scored 10 more offensive TDs than Baltimore).
WR Cooper Kupp, LAR (Wk. 13: @Ari.): Kupp saw a whopping 11 targets last week, and he should approach that number again this week with Patrick Peterson likely to shadow Sammy Watkins for much of the day. The Cardinals allow the 9th-most points per game to WRs despite stellar coverage from Peterson. Kupp posted 4-51-1 in the first meeting with Arizona when Robert Woods was healthy and in the lineup. Woods is going to miss this one. Cooper should be worth his price in DFS cash games and is a solid WR3 this week.
QB Mitch Trubisky, CHI (Wk. 13: vs. SF): Before you freak out about Trubisky being listed here, let me explain that this is for 2-QB leagues (or crazy leagues with 16+ teams). Trubisky had been showing signs of improvement before taking a big step back against the Eagles last week. I’m willing to chalk it up as a down week in a brutal matchup. The matchups don’t get better than the one he has this week. The 49ers have allowed the most QB points in the league and have coughed up multiple passing TDs in 6 straight games. Mitchy T was the QB14 and QB18 in the games before being eviscerated by Philly. He has some solid upside this week and is a decent play in DFS lineups as well.
RB Kareem Hunt, KC (Wk. 13: @NYJ): Hunt has been struggling for a little while now, but last week was especially bad. For the first time all year he was held under 60 scrimmage yards, and it was way under (26). He gets a brutal matchup this week with the Jets allowing fewer than 16 RB points per game over their past 5 games. To explain how good that is, the Vikings are the best RB defense in the league with 17.3 points per game allowed. There is still some upside. The Jets do rank just 17th in run defense DVOA for the year, and Hunt still has the backfield touches mostly to himself, but the QB and coaching staff aren’t helping. Defenses have been stacking the box, and Alex Smith isn’t beating them downfield to keep them honest. I’d still lean toward starting him if I have him, but would understand if you didn’t. I don’t know if I’d have the stones to sit him for Perine or Jamaal Williams, but the matchups and recent production suggest you should. Hunt would make a great contrarian play in DFS tournaments if you had any faith a bounce-back was coming. No one will be on him this week in DFS.
RB Joe Mixon, CIN (Wk. 13: vs. Pit.): I’m not quite ready to buy into last week’s breakout game from Mixon as the new normal for him, but it was very promising to see. Mixon punished the Browns consistently all game, piling up 114 yards on the ground without the benefit of any 20+ yard carries. He gets a much stiffer test this week. The Steelers may have been carved up by Jamaal Williams on Sunday night, but it was the first time they’ve allowed the opposing backs to total 20 PPR points or more since week 5. Pittsburgh ranks 6th in run defense DVOA and has allowed the 9th-fewest RB points per game on the year. Mixon himself failed to reach 10 points in Cincy’s first meeting with the Steelers. The volume should still be there for Mixon this week, which keeps him in the RB2/flex discussion, but I doubt the ceiling that he showed last week will repeat itself on Monday night. Joe’s back to being a floor option in this one.
WR Zay Jones, BUF (Wk. 13: vs. NE): The Patriots have managed to cut down on how many points they’ve been giving up to opposing teams after an atrocious first 4 games (32 ppg allowed first 4 weeks, 13 ppg since), but they’ve continued to bleed fantasy points to WRs. Miami was the first opponent they’ve faced all year that didn’t reach 32 PPR points from their WR group. Zay is the clear WR1 for the Bills with Kelvin Benjamin sidelined, as evidenced by the 24 targets he’s seen in the past 3 weeks. The bouts of inefficiency he dealt with early in the year crept back in last Sunday against KC as he caught just 3 of 10 targets, but he also found the end zone in that game. He’s posted his 3 best fantasy games of the year in his last 3 played, and his target share should be strong again in a great matchup. He’s an excellent cheap DFS option and a solid flex option in deeper PPR leagues.
WR Corey Davis, TEN (Wk. 13: vs. Hou.): Davis’s play and stat lines have been disappointing so far, but I’m still holding out hope for him this week. 4 of the 6 games that Davis has suited up for have been against teams that rank in the top-5 in the league at limiting WR points. In the other 2 games, he’s averaged 7 targets, 5 catches and 54 yards. The Texans allow the 6th-most WR points per game and rank outside of the top-20 in pass defense DVOA on throws to any WR. Literally…Football Outsiders tracks DVOA on throws to WR1s, WR2s, and other WRs, and the Texans rank outside of the top-20 in all 3 categories. With Rishard Matthews possibly out again, this is a second chance for Davis to post his breakout game. I would treat last week’s production as his floor against Houston, and hope that he moves closer to his ceiling this week.
WR Dede Westbrook, JAX (Wk. 13: vs. Ind.): The Colts allow the 8th-most WR points per game, and Dede has seen 16 targets in his first 2 games of the year, including 10 in week 12. Some of that target share was likely due to Marqise Lee getting the Patrick Peterson treatment, and Dede was still out-snapped by Keelan Cole in that game, but I expect the target share to remain solid moving forward. The Colts have been bad against the pass all year, and their secondary will be without its lone bright spot Rashaan Melvin in this one. Westbrook is a big-time value at his $4,100 DraftKings price tag, and he’s an intriguing borderline flex option for season-long leagues.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT (Wk. 13: @Cin.): JuJu looks like a game-time decision this week, and if he does suit up he’ll get a tough matchup and may see limited snaps. The Bengals have allowed the 2nd-fewest WR points per game in the league and rank #11 in pass defense DVOA on throws to #2 WRs. For reference, Smith-Schuster put up 2-39-1 in the first meeting between these teams, but that was before he’d overtaken Martavis on the depth chart. The upside that JuJu showed before his injury keeps him in the flex conversation if he’s able to play, but I’d be hard-pressed to plug him into lineups this week. Big Ben’s normal home/road splits seemed to be a thing of the past early on this year, but when you crunch the numbers they still show up. Ben is averaging 13.75 fantasy points per game on the road, and 19.26 points per game at home, and that’s even with the 2.6 he tallied at home against the Jaguars factored in. Ben’s poor play on the road should temper expectations across the entire Steelers’ passing attack despite how hot they’ve been of late.
TE Evan Engram, NYG (Wk. 13: @Oak.): Coming off 2 consecutive poor outings, Engram now gets a quarterback change to contend with. The targets have still been there for Evan (13 in the last 2 weeks), and the matchup is a good one (Oakland allows the 7th-most TE points), but I wouldn’t fault you if you went with a more stable option like Kyle Rudolph or Jack Doyle instead. Engram is likely still your best option, but there are definitely some reasons for concern with the Eli Manning era over, and his price tag in DFS is certainly too rich for me.
TE David Njoku, CLE (Wk. 13: @LAC): The matchup is daunting on paper for Njoku (Chargers allow 2nd-fewest TE points), and he hasn’t exactly been a key fantasy contributor so far, but the return of Josh Gordon to pair with Corey Coleman could really open things up in the middle for Njoku. He saw his biggest playing time share of the season last week, out-snapping Seth DeValve 41-24, and posted a season-high 4 catches for 47 yards. If the increased playing time continues this week, he’s on the radar as a tight end streamer for deeper leagues.
Rookies to Sit:
QB DeShone Kizer, CLE (Wk. 13: @LAC): Kizer has quietly been stringing some pretty solid fantasy performances together over the past couple weeks, but this matchup isn’t one to target. The Chargers allow the 3rd-fewest QB points per game, and have kept 4 of the past 6 QBs they’ve faced out of the top-25 weekly finishers, including a QB31 performance from Dak Prescott on Thanksgiving. The return of Josh Gordon should make the Browns’ offense more dynamic, and week 14 against the Pack should be a prime spot to stream Kizer in 2-QB leagues, but I’d still avoid him this week.
RB Wayne Gallman, NYG (Wk. 13: @Oak.): Gallman saw a surprisingly high amount of work on Thanksgiving, but the Giants’ offense is going to be unpredictable with Geno Smith under center, and the 6.3 PPR points Gallman scored on Thanksgiving were the most he’s tallied since week 5. It’s hard to rely on any more than that with this offense in flux, especially if your season is on the line.
RB Corey Clement, PHI (Wk. 13: @Sea.): The Eagles did win in a rout for the 4th consecutive game last Sunday, but Clement’s garbage time bonanza came to an end. Week 12 marked the first time during the streak that Clement failed to rush for 50 yards, and he played on just 18% of the offensive snaps. This week’s game should be a much closer contest. I’d expect the Eagles to rely more on LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi to carry the load than they have in recent weeks, making Clement’s volume too shaky to trust as anything more than a DFS tournament dart throw.
RB Marlon Mack, IND (Wk. 13: @Jax.): Mack handled the fewest touches he’s seen since week 6 on Sunday as the Colts came out of their bye. He posted 10.6 PPR points in the Colts’ previous meeting with Jacksonville, but nothing in his recent performance suggests a repeat is coming. Gore has re-established himself as the clear lead back in Indy over the past few weeks, and Mack is best left seated for now.
RB Matt Breida, SF (Wk. 13: @Chi.): Breida played just 7 snaps and handled 2 touches against Seattle last week. Carlos Hyde has taken a stranglehold on the lead back job in San Francisco. The only way Breida sees extended work this week is if the 49ers manage to build a comfortable lead or Hyde gets hurt. Neither scenario is something to bank on.
WR Taywan Taylor, TEN (Wk. 13: @Chi.): There is some upside here as a DFS punt option if Rishard Matthews misses another game since the Texans are so bad against WRs, but with Matthews sidelined in week 12 Taylor ran just 7 pass routes. The Titans don’t employ enough 3-WR sets to give Taywan the upside you’d need to be able to consider him in season-long leagues.
WR Chad Williams, ARI (Wk. 13: vs. LAR): Williams didn’t show enough or see enough targets in his debut to warrant consideration in an only slightly easier matchup this week. The Rams allow the 8th-fewest WR points per game. The floor is too low to take the risk here in any format.
TE OJ Howard, TB (Wk. 13: @GB): With the news that Jameis Winston will be back for this game, I’d be hesitant to trust OJ Howard if I need a win this week. Green Bay allows the fewest TE points per game and has only allowed 1 TD to the position all year, and Jameis tends to favor Cameron Brate much more than Ryan Fitzpatrick does. With Fitz at QB, Howard has been featured more prominently in the offense than Brate. OJ has 4 games all year with more than 50 receiving yards, and 2 of them have come in the 3 games that Fitzpatrick started. If you need to make up points this week, there are few streaming TEs with more upside than Howard, but there is a considerable downside this week as well.
TE George Kittle, SF (Wk. 13: @Chi.): The Bears are just a middling defense when it comes to stopping TEs, and the QB change could spark Kittle, but he has just 7 catches for 79 yards total in the past 4 games with his college QB throwing him the ball. I’m not optimistic he suddenly starts producing now that he gets a QB he’s less familiar with.
TE Adam Shaheen, CHI (Wk. 13: vs. SF): With Dion Sims back in the lineup last Sunday, Shaheen played just 17 offensive snaps and was targeted just once in a game where the Bears threw 33 passes. There isn’t enough usage to consider him with Sims healthy.
Deep League Sleepers, Stashes, and Cheap DFS Options:
QB Patrick Mahomes, KC (Wk. 13: @NYJ): Mahomes hasn’t played at all so far this year and isn’t slated to start this week, but he’s still worth a stash in 2-QB leagues. If the Chiefs fall flat again this week and drop to 6-6 with their 5th consecutive loss, they’ll have to do something drastic to try and turn it around. Alex Smith has turned back into the dinking and dunking QB he’s been for years as the offense has fallen apart. Mahomes could be the spark they need. He showed throughout his college career that he isn’t afraid to push the ball downfield, and he has the weapons for a breakout if he gets the chance in Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt. The Chiefs face Oakland and Miami in the fantasy playoffs. They both rank in the bottom-10 in the league at limiting QB points. Mahomes is a much better stash than Giants’ rookie Davis Webb even though it’s already been confirmed by the Giants that Webb will play at some point. The ceiling is much higher for Mahomes.
RB Austin Ekeler, LAC (Wk. 13: vs. Cle.): Ekeler has been a big factor in fantasy when games get out of hand for the Chargers, and LA is a 2-touchdown favorite this week. The Browns have allowed 28 or more PPR points to opposing RBs in 3 of their past 4 games, and Ekeler has scored 10+ in 4 of 5 and has 58 or more scrimmage yards in each of the past 3. He makes for a decent PPR flex option in deeper leagues, and is a solid bet for another double-digit performance.
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI (Wk. 13: vs. SF): Cohen’s weekly usage remains an enigma, but he’s worth a dart throw in DFS tournaments this week. The 49ers allow the most RB points per game and nearly half of the points they allow to the position have been receiving points. They’ve allowed the most RB receiving yards by a 77-yard margin over 2nd (New England), and have allowed the 2nd-most RB receiving TDs. Despite the ups and downs Cohen has had this year, he’s still the PPR RB24 for the season and gets the best matchup possible this week.
RB Chris Carson, SEA (Wk. 13: vs. Phi.): Like Mahomes, Carson isn’t expected to play this week, but is an intriguing stash for the fantasy playoffs. No one has taken the reigns in the Seattle backfield since Carson went on IR, and he’s expected to start practicing again this week. Carson still leads the Seattle RBs in rushing yards for the year despite playing in just 4 games. The Seahawks face the Rams and Cowboys in weeks 15 & 16 (they currently allow the 2nd-most and 12th-most RB points per game respectively). Don’t waste the roster spot if you aren’t in solid playoff position yet, but if you are, you could be getting a fresh starting RB for fantasy’s most critical weeks.
WR Josh Reynolds, LAR (Wk. 13: @Ari.): With Patrick Peterson matched up on Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods out again, this could be a great spot for Reynolds to have a breakthrough game. He was solid last week with 4-37-1 on 6 targets on a surprising 61 snaps (the same number of snaps Cooper Kupp played). Watkins was targeted 9 times in that game, and Kupp was targeted 11 times. I don’t see much room for Kupp’s number to increase, and I expect the number of Sammy targets to come down thanks to P-squared. No QB throws fewer passes into tight windows than Jared Goff. Per NFL.com, he’s thrown just 12.2% of his passes this year to WRs with less than a yard of separation, the lowest rate of any qualified QB. Patrick Peterson will create tight windows for Sammy. I’ve liked Reynolds since he was drafted, and this is a great spot for him to shine. He’s could be a week-winning DFS tournament play.
WR Kenny Golladay, DET (Wk. 13: @Bal.): Although Marvin Jones is the one garnering the attention lately, Golladay has quietly put together 3 straight games with 50+ yards while seeing his snap count increase from 11 to 35 to 40 as he’s worked his way back from injury. He’s almost pushed TJ Jones completely out of the lineup. The Ravens are a tough matchup, but at $3,900, he’s a reasonable dart throw for DFS tournaments, and could even make for a reasonable flex option in deeper non-PPR leagues.
WR Travis Taylor, SF (Wk. 13: @Chi.): Taylor played two-thirds of the team’s offensive snaps in his first game back from injury, and Jimmy Garoppolo showed a penchant for leaning on his possession receivers in his starts for New England last season. In his 2 career starts, 20 of his 42 completions went to either Danny Amendola or Julian Edelman, and 2 of his 4 TDs went to Amendola. The Bears rank 25th in pass defense DVOA on throws to the WR3 or lower and Taylor costs the minimum in DraftKings. There’s a non-zero chance that Jimmy G leans on easy completions to Taylor to move the sticks, and that gives Taylor some upside in DFS tournaments.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI (Wk. 13: vs. LAR): There still isn’t enough track record to tell you to start him in season-long leagues, but Gabbert clearly likes him. He’s only played 25 snaps in the last 2 weeks, and he’s managed to post 7-126-3 on 11 targets. The Rams allow just the 6th-fewest TE points per game, but with the target share he’s seeing from Gabbert, he’s worth consideration in DFS tournaments despite the matchup.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps you make the lineup decisions that secure your much needed playoff berth or 1st round bye. Make sure to stay on top of the injury updates throughout the week, and always check in before kickoff to make sure there are no surprise inactives. If you have any specific questions, or if you just want to yell at me about any of the information included above, feel free to hit me up on twitter (@Shawn_Foss). As always: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report and Happy Turkey Day! Things get a little wild this week with 3 Thursday games, so make sure to get your lineups set ahead of time. The Thanksgiving holiday also brings us the end of the bye weeks. It’ll be full 16 game slates from here on out, so some of those fringe guys you have been willing to try in recent weeks should be shelved for safer options. Oddly enough, in a lot of cases the safer options right now are rookies, especially at the running back position. 4 of the top-12 running backs and 6 of the top-25 in PPR scoring are rookies. Compare that with 2016: only 2 of the top-25 backs were rookies (Zeke and Jordan Howard) and you had to go all the way to RB43 to find the 6th-best rookie contributor. Just imagine how good this rookie crop would be if Dalvin Cook had stayed healthy. There hasn’t been as much success at the other positions, but that may change with Corey Davis’s schedule opening up, a possible TE changing of the guard in Tampa, and a certain turnover-prone QB getting some of his weapons back in Cleveland. Let’s jump in and see what to expect for week 12…
Rookies to Start:
RB Kareem Hunt, KC (Wk. 12: vs. Buf.): With each passing week, it’s getting harder and harder to rely on Hunt as an RB1. He has zero TDs since week 3, and 3 straight games with fewer than 100 scrimmage yards after hitting that mark in each of his first 7 games. The Bills are an ideal get-right spot for him. Buffalo has coughed up 212.7 rushing yards per game and 11 rushing TDs in the 3 games since they dealt Marcell Dareus, and Hunt has accounted for nearly three-quarters of the Chiefs rushing yards on the year (73.7%). This is a chance for Hunt to find his ceiling again. A 20-point PPR day could be in the offing.
RB Alvin Kamara, NO (Wk. 12: @LAR): You already know that Kamara is pretty much an auto-start at this point. The Rams are improving against opposing running backs and have held 3 of their last 4 opponents below 17 PPR points (the best RB defense in the league, Houston, allows 17.2 points per game), but the Rams played from ahead in most of those games and still have allowed the 4th-most running back points on the year. You can’t bet against Kamara’s hot streak here. He’s been an RB1 for 5 straight weeks, and THE RB1 in 2 of the past 3. He’s well worth the cost in DFS formats and a locked in RB1 again.
RB Leonard Fournette, JAX (Wk. 12: @Ari.): Fournette got back on track with 111 rushing yards last Sunday against the Browns. He’s still battling an ankle injury, but he played 67% of the offensive snaps and produced a solid fantasy day. The Cardinals have been decent at stopping the ground game, ranking 9th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA stat, but Fournette’s volume has kept him pretty much matchup-proof, and Arizona is coming off their worst game against RBs all year. I’d prefer Kamara or Hunt as a top flight option in DFS, but LF should be locked in to season-long lineups as usual.
RB Christian McCaffrey, CAR (Wk. 12: @NYJ): The Jets defense has been pretty formidable against running backs this year, holding opposing backs to the 10th-fewest PPR points per game and ranking 13th in run defense DVOA, but I’m not betting against McCaffrey. He’s posted back-to-back top-6 weeks since the Kelvin Benjamin trade. He’s more of an RB2 this week than RB1 given the matchup, but with KB gone he’s finally finding his ceiling, and it isn’t something you want to leave on the bench.
RB Samaje Perine, WAS (Wk. 12: vs. NYG): I’d be a little nervous if I’m relying on Perine as an RB1 this week but Chris Thompson suffered a season-ending injury, Perine is coming off a breakout game, and the Giants have allowed the 3rd-most rushing yards in the league. Washington also enters the game as a touchdown favorite, so game script should work in Perine’s favor as well. I don’t know if he’ll repeat the performance he had last week, but Samaje should be a solid RB2 based on volume and matchup. He’s a better option in non-PPR formats since he provides almost no receiving production.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT (Wk. 12: vs. GB): Make sure the hamstring isn’t a problem before pulling the trigger here. JuJu has averaged 8.3 targets per game in the past 3 contests, and Green Bay has allowed the 7th-most WR points per game. There is probably some worry after Antonio Brown exploded Thursday night and JJSS scored in single-digits, but the Packers have let 2 WRs finish in the top-24 in the same game 4 times (nearly 5, but Josh Bellamy of the Bears was the WR26 against them). Make sure to keep an eye on the hamstring updates. JuJu isn’t practicing as of Wednesday, and the Steelers play Sunday night. Make sure you have a fallback option if he can’t play (Martavis, Bruce Ellington and Mike Wallace are all options that may be available on your waiver wire), but if he’s able to go he should be a borderline WR2.
WR Corey Davis, TEN (Wk. 12: @Ind.): I am here for the Corey Davis breakout game this week. The snaps and targets have been there for Davis since he returned from his hamstring injury, and now he gets a matchup that will allow him to really get going. The Colts rank 27th in pass defense DVOA and have allowed the 8th-most WR points per game. It would be a ballsy move to thrust Davis into lineups this week given how he’s produced so far, but I love Davis as a WR3 this week. He could drastically outplay his $4,900 price tag in DraftKings this week.
TE Evan Engram, NYG (Wk. 12: @Was.): Don’t be scared off by his clunker last week. The wind was howling, and he was facing a tough matchup. Remember that Engram put up a goose egg in week 5 and then followed it with 4 straight top-5 performances before last Sunday’s dud. EE draws Washington this week, a defense much more giving to opposing TEs than the Chiefs. Washington has allowed the most yards per game to opposing TEs and the 4th-most fantasy points per game to them. The Chiefs have allowed the 3rd-fewest TE points. Engram is a strong bet to get back on track on Thursday night.
RB Joe Mixon, CIN (Wk. 12: vs. Cle.): Mixon has continued to show a lack of a ceiling all year in this Bengals’ offense. He hasn’t reached 14 PPR points in any game this year, and he has the fewest yards per carry of any back with at least 55 carries on the year (2.9). He’ll need receiving usage to find his floor this week, as the Browns actually rank 1st in run defense DVOA. Gio Bernard is still stealing some of the passing down work. The Bengals are a heavy favorite, so game script could boost his volume, but he’s looking like no more than a flex play in this one.
RB Jamaal Williams, GB (Wk. 12: @Pit.): Williams had a usable day in his first start, finishing as the RB20 in a blowout loss to Baltimore on Sunday. He should see enough volume to push for fantasy viability again this week since the biggest threat to his carries, Devante Mays, fumbled twice in two attempts Sunday. If Ty Montgomery manages to return this week, Williams is off the table, but TyMo isn’t practicing as of Wednesday. The Steelers’ run defense has been stingy and ranks 4th in run defense DVOA and has allowed the 7th-fewest RB points per game so far. Game script should also work against Williams with the Steelers a 14-point favorite. If he continues to see some receiving work, there should still be enough volume for Jamaal to be in play as a flex option in deeper leagues, but there isn’t a ton of upside.
RB Elijah McGuire, NYJ (Wk. 12: vs. Car.): If Forte is out again, and it appears he will be, Elijah is worth some consideration as a flex option. Carolina is a tough matchup, allowing the 3rd fewest rushing yards and 2nd-fewest rushing TDs in the league, so McGuire will need some receiving usage to show his value. The Jets will likely be playing from behind and McGuire saw 7 targets last week to Bilal Powell’s 2 with the Jets in comeback mode against Tampa. Elijah also played more snaps than Powell in that game. If that usage continues, McGuire could surprise this week in deeper PPR leagues.
WR Cooper Kupp, LAR (Wk. 12: vs. NO): At this point you pretty much know what you’re getting with Kupp. He’s probably overdue for a TD but his volume has been steady with 7+ targets in 3 of the last 4 games. Robert Woods’s absence should also give his target number a boost. The Saints have been decent defensively, but Kupp’s volume makes him a safe floor WR3… I mean, what are they going to do, start featuring Sammy Watkins? Sammy Watkins owners know the answer to that question.
WR Zay Jones, BUF (Wk. 12: @KC): This is a good spot for Zay this week with Tyrod re-inserted at QB. Jones has finally started to play at a solid level in the past few weeks, and with KB expected out in this one Tyrod should lean on Zay in the passing game. Charles Clay hasn’t looked right since returning from injury a couple weeks ago and Jordan Matthews will likely play limited snaps in his first game back. The Chiefs allow the 2nd-most points per game to opposing WRs, and Zay has been averaging 7 targets a game in his last 4 played. He should be a PPR WR4 this week.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Mitch Trubisky, CHI (Wk. 12: @Phi.): The Eagles’ defense has been playing inspired football of late. They haven’t exactly been facing elite offenses (49ers, Broncos, Cowboys without Tyron Smith & Zeke), but the Bears and Mitch Trubisky don’t qualify as one either. Chicago ranks 26th in offensive yards per game and 27th in points per game. The Eagles have allowed 17.8 fantasy points to the opposing QBs in total in their past 3 contests. Mitch will be hard pressed to be a QB2 this week.
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI (Wk. 12: @Phi.): Cohen’s usage bounced back in a big way against Detroit on Sunday, but Philly allows the 3rd-fewest RB points per game and Benny Cunningham is still mixing in during the 2-minute drill . You could try and plug Cohen in as your flex if you’re feeling lucky, but I’d like to see his usage repeat before I start considering him for the lineup again.
RB Corey Clement, PHI (Wk. 12: vs. Chi.): You could throw CC in as a DFS tournament dart throw if you want to, but at some point the garbage time bonanza is going to dry up. Clement’s usage hasn’t been reliable enough to put him in season-long lineups with fantasy playoff spots at stake. He’s topped 50 rushing yards in 3 straight games and scored 4 TDs in the past 2, but he’s done so on just 28 carries and 1 reception in those 3 games, most with the games long decided. There is a legitimate chance that the script repeats itself for Clement with Philly a 2-touchdown favorite, but at some point the Eagles are going to have a letdown game. It’s hard to bank on a 4th consecutive blowout. Even if it is a blowout, you’d still need a TD from Clement for him to return real value.
RB Matt Breida, SF (Wk. 12: vs. Sea.): Breida posted a productive game against the Giants heading into the bye, but that was with the 49ers playing from out in front all day. I’d expect mostly Hyde this week with the Seahawks being a much tougher opponent. Seattle ranks 11th in run defense DVOA and allows the 4th-fewest RB points per game. This isn’t a matchup to target with a rotational back like Breida.
RB Wayne Gallman, NYG (Wk. 12: @Was.): Gallman has just 10 touches in the last 2 games, and with Darkwa playing well there’s no reason to expect that number to go up on Thanksgiving.
WR Keelan Cole, JAX (Wk. 12: @Ari.): With the return of Dede Westbrook, Cole’s role will diminish quite a bit over the next couple weeks. I’d expect Westbrook and Marqise Lee to be on the field in most 2-wide sets, and Cole in the slot when they go to 3 WRs. Few teams employ fewer 3-WR formations than Jacksonville. The matchup isn’t terrible with the Cardinals allowing the 9th-most WR points per game, but I don’t expect Cole to find enough volume for a useful day.
WR Alex Erickson, CIN (Wk. 12: vs. Cle.): Don’t take his TD in week 11 to mean anything, and don’t read into the matchup this week with the lowly Browns. Erickson isn’t usable in fantasy at the moment, nor are his rookie teammates John Ross and Josh Malone.
WR Trent Taylor, SF (Wk. 12: vs. Sea.): This matchup looks a lot better than it did a couple weeks ago, but even if Taylor is able to play he managed to post just 2 catches for 6 yards in the first meeting with Seattle, and his role in the offense already kept him away from Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman’s coverage. He’s scored 10+ PPR points just once on the year. If Taylor is out again, fellow rookie Kendrick Bourne will continue to see increased playing time, but he’s also not worth consideration as he battles Louis Murphy for WR3 snaps.
TE OJ Howard, TB (Wk. 12: @Atl.): OJ made good on my ‘sleeper’ call last week with a 3-52-1 line while playing 70% of the snaps, but I’m not ready to double-down on him this week. It does appear that he’s slightly edged out Cam Brate for the lead TE spot, but they still share enough work that it hurts the fantasy upside for both guys. Howard out-targeted Brate 4-3 in week 11. While those few targets are enough to be productive in a great matchup like the one they faced last week, Atlanta isn’t a great matchup. The Falcons are right in the middle of the pack vs. TEs, allowing the 16th-most TE points per game.
TE George Kittle, SF (Wk. 12: vs. Sea.): I’d like Kittle as a sleeper if I were sure he’s healthy, but I’m not. TE gets pretty ugly after the top handful of options and the Seahawks have given up 11.9 or more PPR points to the position in 7 of their past 8 games. 10 PPR points is basically a borderline TE1 this year. With Kittle banged up though, I’d look elsewhere for TE streamers.
TE Adam Shaheen, CHI (Wk. 12: @Phi.): Shaheen has finally become part of the Bears’ game plan with injuries to Zach Miller and Dion Sims, but the Eagles have allowed 10+ points to the opposing TEs just 3 times all year, and only once in the last 6 games. This isn’t a good spot for Shaheen.
TE David Njoku, CLE (Wk. 12: @Cin.): With Corey Coleman back, Njoku was limited to just one target last weekend. It’s now been 5 games since Njoku’s last TD and 3 games since he reached 20 receiving yards. ‘Because he’s due’ isn’t a good reason to use him in lineups.
Deep League Sleepers, Stashes, and Cheap DFS Options:
QB CJ Beathard, SF (Wk. 12: vs. Sea.): The 49ers have announced that Beathard will get another start this week, and there actually is some upside in what is typically a demoralizing matchup. Seattle still has some defensive firepower to be reckoned with, but losing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor is a huge blow to their secondary. Seattle is a 7-point favorite this week, so the 49ers should have to throw plenty, and CJ’s found some success of late with 17.4 and 25 fantasy points in his last 2 starts respectively. If you are playing a streamer in a 2-QB league, I like Beathard better than a lot of the other options at the bottom of the QB barrel.
QB DeShone Kizer, CLE (Wk. 12: @Cin.): Cincinnati has been one of the better QB defenses in the league this year, allowing the 11th fewest QB points per game, but they have shown some cracks of late. They’ve allowed at least 14.6 points to the opposing QB in each of the 5 games since their bye week, and all 5 QBs faced finished between the QB10 and QB17 for the week. That range might not be exciting, but it’s usable in 2-QB formats. It’ll be easy to point to Kizer’s 4 turnovers and 5.4 fantasy points last week, and his poor performance in the first meeting with Cincy and write him off as an option, but he actually posted the 5th-highest point total any QB has against Jacksonville. He also scored 38 points combined in the two games before that against pretty formidable QB defenses (DET & MIN). The Bengals are one of 5 teams that have allowed 200 QB rushing yards on the year, so Kizer should create some extra points with his legs. He showed an immediate connection with Corey Coleman last week, and gets Josh Gordon back in week 13. I think DeShone will surprise some people down the stretch. We’ve seen flashes of his skills at times, and he’s getting weapons to work with. Now he just has to cut down on the turnovers and play more consistent football. He’s a high-risk, high-reward streamer for 2-QB leagues this week.
RB Austin Ekeler, LAC (Wk. 12: @Dal.): The Cowboys’ run defense has suffered whenever Sean Lee is out, and he will miss this game. Dallas has allowed 120+ rushing yards in all 3 games that Lee has missed, and another 120 in the final 3 quarters against Atlanta after Lee left with injury. They’ve given up 64 rushing yards per game with him in the lineup (not including that Atlanta game). The question with Ekeler will be his volume. He was effective on limited touches last week, but he didn’t play at all until the game was well in hand. Melvin Gordon should have a great game this week, but if Ekeler sees another 8-10 touches spelling him, he could post another flex-worthy game as well.
RB Marlon Mack, IND (Wk. 12: vs. Ten.): Mack is likely becoming a forgotten man amongst the crowded rookie RB crop. He failed to score even 5 PPR points in week 9 or 10, and then was on bye in week 11. People likely are forgetting that the Colts played mostly from ahead in those two games. In positive game scripts, they are going to rely more heavily on Frank Gore. Despite playing with leads in those games, Mack still played over 40% of the snaps in each and handled 8.5 touches per game. I expect his usage to go up if Indy plays from behind, and the Titans allow the 5th-most RB catches and 4th-most RB receiving yards in the league. Mack is an upside play for DFS tournaments and the deepest of PPR leagues.
WR Dede Westbrook, JAX (Wk. 12: @Ari.): As I mentioned above with Keelan Cole, the Cardinals allow the 9th-most WR points per game and I expect Westbrook’s playing time to increase a bit this week. With Keelan Cole playing as the slot WR, that keeps Marqise Lee on the outside and will allow Patrick Peterson to cover him. That could open things up for Westbrook, who put up 3-35 on 6 targets last week. There’s upside for Westbrook to have a breakout game, and might reward you as a DFS punt option.
WR Kenny Golladay, DET (Wk. 12: vs. Min.): Minnesota’s top corner Xavier Rhodes is likely to spend most of the day covering Marvin Jones, and while Trae Waynes has improved of late, he’s still the guy to go after if you’re going to attack the Vikings on the outside. Golden Tate will be the Lions’ best WR play this week, but there’s room for Golladay to have a game as well. Kenny’s snap count tripled from 11 to 33 in his second game back, and there’s something about Lions’ Thanksgiving games that brings out the best in their QB. Matt Stafford has thrown for 330+ yards in 4 of the last five Turkey Day tilts he’s played in. While the one game he didn’t hit that mark was last year against these Vikings, I still like his chances at a better than expected day. If Golladay’s targets climb from the three he saw last week, he’s got some real upside as a boom-or-bust WR4.
WR Mike Williams, LAC (Wk. 12: @Dal.): It’s likely that Williams’ 8 targets last week were more a result of the game being out of hand than part of the original plan, but it’s still an encouraging sign. His usage has been too inconsistent to use him in season-long leagues this week, but he could be a tournament winner for the Thanksgiving DFS slate. He costs just $100 more than the minimum in DraftKings, and faces a Cowboys’ defense that allows the 6th-most fantasy points per game to opposing WRs.
WR Chad Williams, ARI (Wk. 12: vs. Jax.): Don’t play Williams this week against the ferocious Jaguars’ defense, but keep an eye on his usage and production. John Brown is likely to miss this game with a toe injury, and head coach Bruce Arians said Williams has impressed in practice and “is going to get his shot.” The Jaguars allow the fewest WR points per game by a wide margin, so if Williams has an even remotely productive game he’s likely worth a flier in deep leagues and dynasty formats.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI (Wk. 12: vs. Jax.): Like his teammate Chad Williams, Seals-Jones is just a stash at this point, and for Ricky it’s specifically for dynasty leagues. He’s played just 9 offensive snaps all year (only one before week 11), and managed to see 6 targets and put up 3-54-2 with them. He finished as the TE2 in week 11. That kind of production isn’t sustainable on that snap count…still, starting TE Jermaine Gresham has just 2 TDs all year. Ricky is a converted WR who can be a matchup nightmare at 6’5”, 243, but I’d need to see his playing time increase to consider rostering him in season-long leagues. At the very least, his performance last weekend has made him a rookie to keep an eye on.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps you with some of the critical lineup decisions you have to make this week. If you see two players listed at the same position under the same header above, they are listed in the order that I like them for this week. Keep a close eye on the injury report this week, and make sure you don’t miss any players playing on Thanksgiving. Feel free to hit me up on twitter if you have any questions or want to yell at me about anything above (@Shawn_Foss). As always: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report! We’re finally almost through the bye weeks, but this is one last week where you may need to find some fill-ins. We’ve made it through 10 weeks so far, so in most formats there are just 3 weeks left of the regular season. You should have a pretty good idea of where you stand heading into the home stretch. Do you have to win out? Are you just jockeying for seeding heading into the playoffs? While these things can affect how you set your lineup, don’t go too crazy trying to play upside guys and shoot the moon. Taking big swings can result in big hits (see Rex Burkhead), but it can also result in big misses (see Paul Richardson). The best way to win at this time of year isn’t much different than it is in the early weeks, with one caveat: Pay attention to the weather reports. Cold and snow have a way of deflating the passing game and boosting the running game.
It was an interesting week for the rookie crop in week 10. DeShone Kizer, Austin Ekeler, Alvin Kamara, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Christian McCaffrey all had banner days. Leonard Fournette, Tarik Cohen, Aaron Jones, and Corey Davis weren’t quite as fortunate. There will be more ups & downs to be had this week, so let’s take a look at how things shape up for the rookies in week 11…
Rookies to Start:
RB Kareem Hunt, KC (Wk. 11: @NYG): Hunt has clearly failed lately to reach the lofty heights he was hitting with ease the first few weeks of the season. Hopefully, the bye week is just what the doctor ordered. If it’s not, then maybe the New York Giants are. The Giants have been in the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs, but they have allowed 269 rushing yards and 3 scores to the position in the past 2 games, and rank just 27th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA stat. The Chiefs should be able to play from ahead and pound the ball. Kansas City is a 10-point road favorite and Andy Reid teams are 16-2 in the game following the bye week in his career. It all adds up to a get-right spot for Hunt, who is long overdue for one. He should be an RB1 this week, and should absolutely be in all season-long lineups. I would understand, however, if you were gun-shy about paying up in DFS formats.
RB Alvin Kamara, NO (Wk. 11: vs. Was.): The Redskins have been decent against running backs this season, allowing the 12th-fewest points per game to the position (all scoring numbers are in PPR format), but you have to continue to ride Kamara’s hot streak this week. In 5 games since the team traded Adrian Peterson, Alvin has been the RB22, RB12, RB9, RB1, and RB4. You can’t sit AK-41 in season-long leagues. I’d consider fading him in DFS formats with his $7,500 price tag in DraftKings, but he’s been fantastic for the past 5 weeks now, and the Saints are a 7.5-point favorite and have the highest implied team total of the week.
RB Leonard Fournette, JAX (Wk. 11: @Cle.): I know Fournette was a huge let down last week, and despite drawing the 0-9 Browns this week, this matchup is actually a lot worse than the one Fournette just faced. The Browns allow the 10th-fewest RB points per game, and rank 2nd in run defense DVOA. I still expect the Jaguars to lean heavily on Fournette and the run game with Allen Hurns already ruled out for the week. That volume should be enough to make Leonard a usable asset. He’s still handled at least 16 touches in every game he’s been active for, and scored double-digit PPR points in every game but last week’s. I’d probably set expectations for more of an RB2 day than RB1, and I’d be unlikely to use him at his price tag in DFS lineups, but he should probably remain locked-in for season-long leagues.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT (Wk. 11: vs. Ten.): I was nervous that the volume wouldn’t be there for JuJu last week with the Steelers a heavy favorite in Indy. Things didn’t quite go the way Vegas predicted. The Steelers played from behind for much of the day and JuJu actually outscored Antonio Brown and finished as the weekly WR11. He gets another favorable matchup this week, and one that I expect will also remain competitive throughout. The Titans allow the 9th-most WR points per game, and they rank a miserable 29th in pass defense DVOA on throws to the opposing team’s WR2. Tennessee boasts a better run defense than pass defense, so that should keep the Steelers throwing enough for JJSS to at least return WR3 value. He’s handled 17 targets in the last 2 games after being officially elevated above Martavis Bryant on the depth chart.
TE Evan Engram, NYG (Wk. 11: vs. KC): The Chiefs aren’t a great matchup for tight ends, allowing the 8th-fewest points per game to the position, but you can’t sit Engram regardless of matchup. Since Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall were lost for the season, Engram has been the weekly TE3, TE4, TE4, and TE5. He’s seen at least 7 targets in all 4 of those games, and scored a touchdown in each as well. Unless your starting tight end is Travis Kelce, it’s hard to justify sitting Engram this week. You could even flex him if you do have Kelce and lack a solid WR or RB option.
QB Mitch Trubisky, CHI (Wk. 11: vs. Det.): Trubisky had his best game of the season last week, throwing for nearly 300 yards and a TD against one of the worst secondaries in the league, and he was still just the weekly QB14. That doesn’t exactly scream “Upside” in a week where he gets to face a tougher secondary, but I think he could be in play as a 2-QB league streaming option. It’s kind of a mess at the bottom of the QB rankings these days, and despite the Lions ranking 10th in pass defense DVOA, they’ve allowed Brett Hundley to finish as the QB13 and DeShone Kizer to finish as the QB6 in the last two weeks. I like Detroit to play from ahead in this one, so the volume should be there for Mitch to flirt with QB2 value.
RB Jamaal Williams, GB (Wk. 11: vs. Bal.): Williams will be a reasonable option this week based on volume alone. Aaron Jones is already ruled out, and it sounds like Ty Montgomery will miss this game as well. In the 4 games Brett Hundley has played, the Packers’ running backs are averaging 26 touches per game. The matchup isn’t all that imposing, with the Ravens ranking 19th in run defense DVOA and allowing the 16th-most RB fantasy points per game. They’re a bit more imposing with nose tackle Brandon Williams back healthy, but as long as Green Bay stays in this game, Jamaal Williams is a reasonable flex option if you’re in need of help this week.
RB Joe Mixon, CIN (Wk. 11: @Den.): I don’t really know what to say about Mixon at this point. His offensive line has been bad, and the Bengals haven’t been committed to establishing the run. Even with Jeremy Hill on injured reserve, Mixon was limited to just 9 carries in a game where the 2 teams were never separated by more than 8 points. Since the team’s bye in week 6, Mixon is averaging 10 carries and 33.5 yards per game. He’s managed to salvage his fantasy games with TDs and a long screen pass, but there really isn’t much of a ceiling here. This week’s matchup is a brutal one for Mixon too. The Broncos currently allow the 11th-fewest RB points per game, but they were first in the league before getting shredded by Philadelphia and New England for 92.8 PPR points in the past 2 weeks. Those teams both have much better offenses than the Bengals. Denver still ranks 1st in run defense DVOA, and will be excited to face an offense that has struggled as much and Cincy’s has. Mixon’s production keeps him in the RB2/flex discussion, but there is more risk of a dud this week than usual.
WR Corey Davis, TEN (Wk. 11: @Pit.): Davis’s game last week nearly included his first career TD, but he fumbled on his way into the end zone. The final fantasy line wasn’t exciting, but there is a lot to be excited about going forward. Davis played the same number of snaps as Rishard Matthews, and he was targeted a team-high 10 times. I’d expect him to continue to see a great deal of volume moving forward. The matchup this week isn’t a good one on paper, with the Steelers allowing the 4th-fewest WR points per game, but they might struggle a bit with Joe Haden out for the season. If Davis is targeted 8+ times again, he’s firmly on the WR3 radar for this week, and the schedule moving forward gets much easier. The Titans draw the Colts, Texans, Cardinals and 49ers from weeks 12-15. If Davis is already owned in your league, and doesn’t post a strong game in week 11, it would be a great opportunity to try and deal for him if you have a late trade deadline.
WR Cooper Kupp, LAR (Wk. 11: @Min.): Kupp is overdue for a TD considering Goff has thrown for 7 TDs in the past 2 weeks and Kupp has as many red zone targets as the rest of the team combined for the year, but he’s continued to show a floor that won’t kill you when he doesn’t find the end zone. Granted, 8.4 and 10.7 points aren’t totals to get excited about in PPR scoring, but tell that to someone who started Marvin Jones or John Brown last week. His target share continues to give him that stable floor with some TD upside. The Vikings are a decent matchup this week. Robert Woods likely has the best individual matchup against the burnable Trae Waynes, but Minnesota ranks 20th in pass defense DVOA on throws to opposing WR3s (or any other non-WR1 or 2s). Kupp is a flex/WR3 option as usual.
Rookies to Sit:
QB DeShone Kizer, CLE (Wk. 11: vs. Jax.): Jacksonville has allowed the fewest passing TDs in the league (6) and the 5th-fewest QB rushing yards. Only 3 QBs have managed to even post 10 points against them this season. Kizer is a shaky play in good matchups. This is a terrible one. I’d love to see him build on last week’s performance, but it probably isn’t happening this week.
RB Samaje Perine, WAS (Wk. 11: @NO): Perine should be the early down back for Washington for the foreseeable future with Rob Kelley hitting IR this week, but we’ve seen this play out a few times this year, and the results haven’t been great. Samaje has handled 10+ touches in 4 games this year, and in those games he’s averaged 16 touches and 8.2 PPR points per game. He topped 10 points just once, against the lowly 49ers. The Saints are in the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to RBs (allow 14th fewest per game), but during their 7-game win streak they’ve given up 18.9 points per game to the position. That would rank 3rd-best in the league if it were over the full season. Perine should handle a decent amount of volume, so you could test your luck if you’re desperate in a non-PPR league, but I wouldn’t.
RB Wayne Gallman, NYG (Wk. 11: vs. KC): In week 10, Gallman basically appeared on the outside looking in for this running back rotation. Shane Vereen led the team in RB snaps and handled most of the passing down work, and Orleans Darkwa handled the early downs. If Gallman is going to be limited to a change of pace role behind Darkwa, there’s no reason to start him this week, especially with the Chiefs allowing the 6th-fewest RB points per game.
RB D’Onta Foreman, HOU (Wk. 11: vs. Ari.): Foreman got the start last week and handled the first carry out of the Texans’ backfield, but he was out-touched 12-7 and out-gained 74-18 by Lamar Miller. Nothing has changed in the pecking order of this backfield despite Foreman’s start last week. There isn’t enough work behind Miller to make D’Onta usable in this lackluster offense.
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI (Wk. 11: vs. Det.): The Bears’ offensive coordinator referred to Cohen as “our best playmaker” just 4 short weeks ago. Since then his usage has dried up. He has still turned in a couple respectable lines thanks to a few big plays, but it was ugly for Tarik in week 10. The Bears seem to insist on using Benny Cunningham over Cohen when Cohen is healthy. Maybe that changes down the stretch if the Bears continue to lose games, but you can’t bank on it. According to the Bears’ coaches, he needs to improve his pass protection to increase his playing time in the hurry-up offense. There’s always a chance at a long TD for Cohen, but his lack of snaps and touches makes him unusable right now.
WR Kenny Golladay, DET (Wk. 11: @Chi.): Golladay finally returned last weekend, and he made an impact with 64 receiving yards. The issue is that he put up those yards on just 11 offensive snaps. That number may increase going forward, but Golladay will remain a boom-or-bust option that will rely on deep balls. He has just 9 catches on the year in 4 appearances, and has catches of 50, 45, and 24 yards among them. The other 6 catches amount to 47 total yards. 71.5% of his fantasy production has come on his 3 longest catches. The Bears have done a pretty good job of limiting the deep ball, allowing the 5th-fewest 20+ yard completions in the league, and they rank 10th in pass defense DVOA on deep throws. There’s always upside with a big-play threat like Kenny G, but I don’t like his odds of hitting that upside this week.
WR Dede Westbrook, JAX (Wk. 11: @Cle.): Westbrook is expected to be activated from IR this week, but the Jaguars have expressed concern that he might not be ready to be fully unleashed. They’ll need him to play a role with Allen Hurns ruled out, but there is a real chance he’s eased in. The Browns will likely still lean on the run game with Fournette, and Marqise Lee is still option number 1 in the passing game. Marcedes Lewis should also factor in with the Browns allowing the 3rd-most TE points per game. There’s likely a 3rd player ahead of Dede in the target pecking order as well (see the Sleeper section to find out who). Even if Westbrook is activated, I’d be hesitant to get him into lineups this week.
WR Zay Jones, BUF (Wk. 11: @LAC): There is just too much in flux with the Bills to trust Zay this week. Buffalo has made a QB switch, and will likely lean heavily on the run game. We still haven’t seen what Zay’s target share will look like with Kelvin Benjamin in the lineup, and Buffalo also has Charles Clay healthy now. I’d probably take a wait-and-see approach before getting Jones into any lineups.
WR Mike Williams, LAC (Wk. 11: vs. Buf.): This isn’t a good spot to expect a Mike Williams breakout. The Chargers haven’t been utilizing their WRs a ton, and may have Kellen Clemens starting at QB on Sunday. Wide receivers were targeted a total of 14 times last week for the Chargers, and Williams received just 2 of them. If any wideout is going to get going this week for them, it’s Keenan Allen. Buffalo ranks #7 in pass defense DVOA on throws to the WR2, and #1 on throws to the WR3 or lower. There is very little upside here this week for Mike Williams.
WR Chris Godwin, TB (Wk. 11: @Mia.): Godwin will be relegated to the bench with the Mike Evans suspension over. It was nice to see him come through with a 5-68 line in his first extended playing time of the year. If anything were to happen to Evans, Godwin would immediately become a WR3 going forward. As long as Evans is healthy though, there’s no reason to hold on to him.
TE David Njoku, CLE (Wk. 11: vs. Jax.): The Jaguars have allowed double-digit points to tight ends just once in the past 6 games after allowing 12+ points to them in each of the first 3 weeks. Kizer played his best game of the season last week, and TE has been the best place to attack the Jacksonville secondary, but Njoku’s limited volume makes him impossible to trust this week. He’d need a TD to be relevant, and I’d be mildly surprised if Cleveland throws for any scores.
TE Adam Shaheen, CHI (Wk. 11: vs. Det.): Trubisky had to throw for nearly 300 yards to get Shaheen involved, even with Zach Miller and Dion Sims both out, and he was still just the TE21 for the week. I’d expect Sims back since it was an ‘illness’ and not an injury that kept him out. That should make Shaheen an afterthought again. If Sims sits, Shaheen still isn’t worth a start.
Deep League Sleepers, Stashes, and Cheap DFS Options:
QB Nathan Peterman, BUF (Wk. 11: @LAC): If you had asked me a week ago, I’d have guessed Davis Webb would be the next rookie QB to see significant playing time, but the fact that the Giants haven’t announced HC Bob McAdoo’s job status means he’ll likely be coaching to try and save it. That means Eli Manning keeps starting. An interim coach might have been directed to see what the team has in Webb. Instead it’s the Bills, who have set Tyrod Taylor up to be benched since the offseason that made a QB switch. The Bills forced Taylor to take a pay cut to stay on the team, then brought in an offensive coordinator whose scheme isn’t a great fit for Taylor’s skill set. Then they jettisoned ALL of his WRs. Taylor’s at his best improvising and making splash plays downfield, but his two best downfield targets, Sammy Watkins and Marquise Goodwin, were sent packing. The final nail in Taylor’s coffin was the trade of Marcell Dareus. Prior to the trade, the Bills were playing pretty well and sitting at 5-2, but since the trade their run defense has fallen off a cliff. They’ve allowed 492 rushing yards and 9 rushing TDs in the last two weeks, both ugly losses, and Taylor is being turned into a scapegoat to make way for Peterman. Peterman is admittedly better suited for the Buffalo offense, but he’s not much more than a game manager. I list him here not as a sleeper for this week, but as a stash in deep 2-QB leagues. The matchup with the Chargers isn’t a good one, but he has a very favorable schedule that follows. He’s worth a flyer in 2-QB formats, especially dynasty leagues.
RB Austin Ekeler, LAC (Wk. 11: vs. Buf.): This is absolutely a point-chasing after Ekeler’s RB3 finish in week 10, but as I mentioned above with Peterman, the Bills run defense has been a dumpster fire of late and Ekeler has seen double-digit touches in 2 of his last 3 games. His late fumble last week probably doesn’t help his case moving forward, but I expect him to still have a sizable role spelling Melvin Gordon the rest of the way. 10 touches against this Buffalo defense could put him on the RB2 radar, especially in PPR formats. He’s risky since it’s not impossible that the Chargers could scheme him out of the offense altogether this week, but I like him as a flex option in deeper leagues.
RB Corey Clement, PHI (Wk. 11: @Dal.): If Tyron Smith is out again this week, the Dallas offense is in trouble, and their defense isn’t good enough to slow down the Eagles. There is a real chance this game gets out of hand in that scenario. Clement has already proven he can be effective in mop up time, and has handled 23 touches in two blowout wins over the 49ers and Broncos. If he gets the opportunity in this one, the Cowboys rank just 26th in run defense DVOA and 19th in pass defense DVOA on throws to RBs. There is some decent upside for DFS tournaments or if you’re desperate in deeper leagues. Just make sure Smith is out before pulling the trigger.
WR Keelan Cole, JAX (Wk. 11: @Cle.): I mentioned above that I don’t like Dede Westbrook in his first game back, and a big part of the reason why is Keelan Cole. Jaguars beat reporter Michael DiRocco said that Westbrook won’t be a big part of the team’s game plan even if he’s active, and Hurns has already been ruled out. That leaves Cole as the WR2 with the Jaguars facing the Browns’ pass funnel defense. They rank 2nd in the league in run defense DVOA, but just 27th in pass defense DVOA. If the Browns manage to slow Fournette, the Jaguars will have to throw it, and Cole has seen his role increase of late and has shown an ability to make big plays. He’s averaging 21.5 yards per catch on the season and has been targeted 16 times in the past 3 games. He’s totaled 173 receiving yards in those 3 contests. Cole is worth a shot as a punt option in DFS tournaments or as a flex in deep leagues.
WR Mack Hollins, PHI (Wk. 11: @Dal.): I mention Hollins here because I continue to believe that he eventually overtakes Torrey Smith for a starting spot in Philadelphia. He’s caught 9 of 10 targets for the season, and he actually played just 1 fewer snap than Smith in week 9 before the team’s bye. Hollins only caught 1 pass in that game, but the Cowboys’ secondary is much more burnable than the Broncos’. Hollins isn’t anything more than a GPP tournament punt play this week, but he remains an intriguing dynasty stash.
TE OJ Howard, TB (Wk. 11: @Mia.): This week is a great spot for OJ in DFS tournaments. He played his 2nd-highest snap count of the year last week while Cameron Brate played his lowest total. It was also the 2nd week in a row that Howard ran more pass routes than Brate. So far, that hasn’t amounted to much fantasy production for Howard, but Brate has only been targeted twice in those 2 weeks. Miami has allowed TDs to the tight end position in 3 of their last 4 games, and gave up 126 receiving yards to the TEs in the game where they kept them out of the end zone. With Howard’s increasing snaps and Brate’s diminishing role, this could be a spot to roll the dice on OJ.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully, it helps you secure a crucial week 11 victory. Keep close tabs on the injury report this week if you have any players who may be affected, and make sure to check back before kickoff to make sure there are no surprise inactives. If you have any questions for me, or just want to yell at me about anything above you can find me on twitter at @Shawn_Foss. As always: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!
Peterman completed 6-of-14 passes for 66 yards with five interceptions. Wow, Buffalo. Nice work. In this episode, we'll be touching on the Bills' and NFL fantasy players going forward as well as the other highs and lows of Week 11 and what they mean to your fantasy squad.