Tony Romo is rarely thought of as a clutch performer. The perception is he comes up small in big moments, and we're at the point in the season where Romo's play can determine if the Cowboys make the playoffs or not.
He might also determine how Fantasy owners do in their playoffs, and we have to decide if he's worth trusting in Week 16 vs. the Saints. For us, the answer is yes.
|Matthew Stafford||vs. ATL|
|Ben Roethlisberger||vs. CIN|
|Josh Freeman||vs. STL|
|Andy Dalton||at PIT|
|Carson Palmer||at CAR|
He has played well of late with at least 25 Fantasy points in three of his past four games, which have all been at home, and he was a star in Week 15 with 341 passing yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers. He should close out his home schedule on a high note against New Orleans heading into a potential showdown for the NFC East title in Week 17 at Washington.
The Saints are coming off an amazing defensive performance in Week 15 against Josh Freeman when they held him to one Fantasy point on 279 passing yards and four interceptions, but we consider that more of a fluke than their defense turning the corner. For the season, 10 quarterbacks have scored at least 20 Fantasy points against New Orleans, seven have at least 300 passing yards and 10 have scored multiple touchdowns.
In four of the past six games, Matt Ryan, Carson Palmer, Colin Kaepernick and Eli Manning have averaged 303 passing yards with 11 total touchdowns and six interceptions against the Saints. And Romo has at least 303 passing yards in six of his past eight games with multiple touchdowns in five of those outings.
It's a great time to trust Romo, and we expect him to deliver. He might not get the Cowboys into the playoffs, but he should post great stats against the Saints, especially with Dez Bryant playing through his finger injury along with Jason Witten, Miles Austin and DeMarco Murray.
We're often hesitant to trust Romo at this time of year, but there is too much working in his favor for him to fail. He help will lead owners to a Fantasy title if you start him in Week 16.
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Start %||Pos. rank|
|Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders||13||12||53||17|
|Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens||12||24||34||1|
|Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers||10||22||69||2|
|Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos||10||17||63||9|
|Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins||8||6||69||41|
|Eli Manning, QB, Giants||19||2||69||29|
|Kenny Britt, WR, Titans||7||0||32||95|
|Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders||22||7||29||25|
|Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers||25||1||47||32|
|Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers||12||0||80||94|
|Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals||7||24||14||2|
|Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots||6||19||25||6|
|Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys||7||10||85||6|
Andrew Luck (at KC): Has Luck solved his road woes? That remains to be seen, but he has played better in his past two games away from Indianapolis with 36 Fantasy points at Detroit in Week 13 and 20 points at Houston in Week 15. He has a good matchup in Week 16, which should work in his favor. The Chiefs have allowed 10 quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns against them, including six of seven in Kansas City. The concern would be Luck's attempts since he might not have to throw much against a bad Chiefs team, but we still expect him to be successful based on the matchup.
Eli Manning (at BAL): Manning had another miserable game on the road in Week 15 at Atlanta with two Fantasy points. He now has one game with more than 17 Fantasy points on the road this year, which was Week 4 at Philadelphia, and has three games in single digits away from New York. Then why are we backing him this week at Baltimore of all places? Part of it is a hunch since Manning tends to respond when needed, and we don't have much faith in this Ravens defense. Baltimore has only allowed five quarterbacks to reach 20 Fantasy points this year, but four of them have come since cornerback Lardarius Webb (knee) got hurt in Week 6, including their only games against quality quarterbacks over that stretch in Romo, Matt Schaub, Carson Palmer and a combination of Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins. Peyton Manning only had 14 Fantasy points against the Ravens last week, but he'll call little brother on the phone and likely offer some tips for this defense.
Robert Griffin III (at PHI): Griffin will return from his one-game absence (knee sprain), which is great news for Fantasy owners. He has practiced in full all week and he should be ready to tear up this Eagles defense. Keep in mind he had 40 Fantasy points against Philadelphia in Week 11 and the Eagles still can't slow down opposing passing games. Since Week 8, Philadelphia has allowed 22 total touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks with no interceptions. Griffin has one interception since Week 7 and he should do fine this week as he helps many Fantasy owners finish off a championship run thanks to his fantastic rookie campaign.
Matt Schaub (vs. MIN): Schaub had a down game in Week 15 against the Colts with 16 Fantasy points and has just 23 points combined in the past two games against New England and Indianapolis. But we'll give him another starting nod against the Vikings, who have allowed eight quarterbacks to reach at least 22 Fantasy points this year, including the past two games against Chicago and St. Louis. Schaub also has been better at home than on the road with at least 20 Fantasy points in four of seven home games. We expect the Texans to come out clicking on offense in this matchup because they could decide to rest players in Week 17 if they lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC as expected, and they want to play well heading into the postseason.
Russell Wilson (vs. SF): The question Fantasy owners have to ask themselves is if the 49ers can stop Wilson because he's been on fire since Week 7. That was the last meeting with San Francisco when he was held to three Fantasy points, but since then he has at least 19 points in six of seven games. Last week at Buffalo we saw all of Wilson's talents on display with three rushing touchdowns and a passing score for 41 Fantasy points. He only has two interceptions since the last meeting with the 49ers, and San Francisco has allowed three quarterbacks to reach at least 23 Fantasy points in the past six games.
|Sam Bradford||(at TB)||Six of the past seven quarterbacks vs. TB have at least 20 Fantasy points.|
|Ryan Tannehill||(vs. BUF)||Had 25 Fantasy points last week vs. JAC and hoping to build off that outing.|
|Chad Henne||(vs. NE)||Could be throwing all game vs. NE, which has allowed seven 300-yard games this year.|
Joe Flacco (vs. NYG): Flacco's Fantasy production has actually been solid of late with at least 18 points in four of his past six games, with the two poor outings against the Steelers. He had 254 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception last week against Denver under new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, but the problem is Baltimore is 0-3 in its past three games. During that stretch Ray Rice has 15 touches or less in two of those games, and the Ravens need to lean on him more heading into the playoffs, especially with Torrey Smith (concussion) banged up. Flacco should only be started in two-quarterback leagues this week.
Carson Palmer (at CAR): Palmer's Fantasy production is tied to Darren McFadden. The two have played nine full games together this season, and Palmer is averaging just 16.4 Fantasy points over that span with only two games with at least 20 points. He's combined for 25 Fantasy points the past two weeks with McFadden back in action from his ankle sprain, and this week he's facing a Panthers defense that has held seven of their past 10 opposing quarterbacks to 16 Fantasy points or less.
Andy Dalton (at PIT): Dalton has had some great matchups of late against San Diego, Dallas and Philadelphia, but he's failed to play at a high level with an average of 14 Fantasy points over that span. He's reverted back to being careless with the ball with three interceptions and two fumbles in those three outings, and it could be that he's missing receiver Mohamed Sanu (foot), who is out for the year after going down just before this stretch. This week he's facing a Steelers defense that has been abused the past two games by Philip Rivers and Romo for five touchdowns and no interceptions, which coincides with Ike Taylor (ankle) being out. But Dalton is averaging just 137 passing yards in three career meetings with the Steelers with only four total touchdowns and three interceptions.
Jay Cutler (at ARI): Cutler continues to struggle as the season comes to a close. He has 22 Fantasy points combined in his past two games against the Vikings and Packers and has just two games with more than 13 points since Week 7. This week he's facing a Cardinals defense that has only allowed Alex Smith and Rodgers to score more than 19 Fantasy points, including matchups with Wilson twice, Brady, Michael Vick, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford, who last week had zero touchdowns and three interceptions. We don't consider Cutler anything more than a low-end option in two-quarterback leagues.
Philip Rivers (at NYJ): Just when it looked like Rivers might gain some momentum with his performance at the Steelers in Week 14 with 26 Fantasy points, he followed that up with six points at home against the Panthers. He now heads into New York without Ryan Mathews (clavicle) or Malcom Floyd (ankle), and Antonio Cromartie is expected to shadow Danario Alexander. That makes Rivers a sit in the majority of leagues. He also has four games with 16 Fantasy points or less in his past five outings, and the Jets have held four of their past five opposing quarterbacks to 15 Fantasy points or less.
Bust alert: Josh Freeman (vs. STL): Forget about last week for Freeman at New Orleans when he was held to one Fantasy point with no touchdowns and four interceptions. No one saw that coming. But Freeman has been struggling the past four games with 20 Fantasy points as his best performance against the Eagles in Week 14. Over that span he has four touchdowns and five interceptions and has a tough matchup this week. The Rams have held each of their past five opponents to 14 Fantasy points or less with two passing touchdowns and five interceptions over that span. Only five quarterbacks have been above 20 Fantasy points against St. Louis, and we don't have much faith in Freeman as a starting option in standard formats at this crucial juncture in the season.
Darren McFadden (at CAR): McFadden is closing the season like the running back we hoped we would see all year. He has back to back weeks of 12 Fantasy points, and in Week 15 against the Chiefs he had 30 carries for 110 yards and caught four passes for 39 yards with a fumble. He is still not comfortable in the zone-blocking scheme in Oakland, but he's producing, which is what matters. This week he faces a Panthers defense that has done well of late in run defense against the Falcons and Chargers, but prior to that Doug Martin, Bryce Brown and Jamaal Charles each had more than 138 total yards, which bodes well for McFadden.
Reggie Bush (vs. BUF): Daniel Thomas (knee) is out, which should allow Bush to get the majority of touches for the second week in a row. He had 21 carries for 104 yards in Week 15 against Jacksonville, and he quietly has at least nine Fantasy points in three of his past four games. The Bills have struggled the past two weeks against Steven Jackson and Marshawn Lynch with each getting at least 12 Fantasy points, and Bush should do well in what could be his final home game with the Dolphins as an impending free agent. He struggled at Buffalo in Week 11 with only three Fantasy points, but that was when Thomas was a significant factor.
DeMarco Murray (vs. NO): Like McFadden, Murray looks like the elite running back we expected prior to the season. He now has three games in a row with at least 13 Fantasy points with a touchdown in each game. This week, he faces a Saints defense that has allowed a touchdown or 100 total yards to a running back in four of the past five games. As we told you last week, it's a pretty simple formula for Dallas -- when Murray gets carries, he succeeds. There have been 11 times the past two years where Murray has at least 14 carries, and every time he has at least nine Fantasy points.
Knowshon Moreno (vs. CLE): You can make an argument that Moreno might be the third-best comeback story in the NFL this season behind Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. Remember, Moreno suffered a torn ACL last year and was benched for eight weeks before Willis McGahee (knee) got hurt in Week 11. Now he's helping the Broncos roll into the playoffs with double digits in Fantasy points in three of the past four games, including 38 points the past two weeks. He faces a Browns defense that has allowed a touchdown or 100 total yards to a running back in four of the past five games, including three touchdowns last week against Washington.
Stevan Ridley (at JAC): There's a significant risk in trusting Ridley this week. He fumbled in Week 15 against San Francisco, and his fumble issues could become a problem. It didn't help that Danny Woodhead was dominant against the 49ers with 84 total yards and two touchdowns. But unless we hear otherwise, we'd be shocked if Bill Belichick went completely away from Ridley, who has been his best running back all season. The Patriots need Ridley to be a significant Super Bowl contender, and he can definitely regain his confidence against the Jaguars. If he does start as expected then look for him to dominate since Jacksonville has allowed six running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points since Week 12.
|DeAngelo Williams||(vs. OAK)||Three of past four running backs vs. OAK have double digits in Fantasy points.|
|Shonn Greene||(vs. SD)||Four running backs in past four games have double digits in Fantasy points vs. SD.|
|Vick Ballard||(at KC)||Has double digits in Fantasy points in his past two and shining as featured option.|
|Darren Sproles||(at DAL)||Has a touchdown in each of past two games and looks like solid bet to score again.|
|Michael Turner||(at DET)||Has the chance to extend his scoring streak to six vs. bad Lions defense.|
Jonathan Dwyer (vs. CIN): Dwyer is expected to remain the starter for the Steelers even with Rashard Mendenhall's one-game suspension over. Still, Dwyer has yet to have a big game with 12 Fantasy points his high for the season in Week 7 -- coincidentally at Cincinnati. But he has just 17 carries combined the past two games and has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in his past six outings. The Bengals have only allowed one running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points in the past four games, which was Murray. And since Week 10, the Bengals have held Ahmad Bradshaw, Mathews, Murray and Brown to fewer than 60 rushing yards.
Bryce Brown (vs. WAS): Brown was a risky starting option even before the news of LeSean McCoy (concussion) coming back this week, and now he's hands off in all formats. Even though Andy Reid has said McCoy will share carries with Brown, we're not buying it. We also can't trust Brown after his performance the past two games. He has combined for four Fantasy points against Tampa Bay and Cincinnati, and you can't risk him struggling again. The Redskins have allowed double digits in Fantasy points the past three games against Bradshaw, Rice and Trent Richardson, but Brown has 28 carries the past two games for 40 yards. We'd love to see him finish the season strong, but we just don't have much faith in him based on the past two weeks, especially with McCoy back.
Mark Ingram (at DAL): Ingram had his best game of the season last week against Tampa Bay with 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown, which was great if Fantasy owners trusted him as a flex option in what was a tough matchup. But keep in mind that was just Ingram's second game with double digits in Fantasy points since Week 2. He does have a touchdown in three of his past five games, and Dallas has allowed 12 touchdowns to running backs this year. But in the past two weeks the Cowboys have kept BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Dwyer to single digits in Fantasy points, and if this game becomes a shootout then Ingram won't be involved since he's not a receiving option in this offense.
Joique Bell (vs. ATL): Bell has been successful of late with at least eight Fantasy points in three of his past four games, but there's some concern if he can be trusted since his touches are limited. He only has double digits in carries twice on the season and only has one touchdown since Week 10. Mikel Leshoure continues to dominate carries and is the running back to trust in this backfield. Now, in PPR leagues, you can still consider Bell a flex option since he has 10 catches in the past three games. But we saw last week what happens when Bell's yards are limited with minimal touches since he had seven carries for 24 yards and two catches for 13 yards. Another repeat performance in the Fantasy playoffs could leave you with a long offseason.
Any Chargers running back (at NYJ): Now that Mathews (clavicle) is out for the season the Chargers will likely use a committee backfield of Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle and Curtis Brinkley, but Brown was out in Week 15 with a hamstring injury. No matter what you think of Mathews, he's more talented than any of his backups, and Mathews couldn't do much this year with one game with double digits in Fantasy points. Brown has the most upside of this group if he plays, but the Jets should be able to limit any of these options for a struggling San Diego offense, which is limping toward the end of a brutal season.
Bust alert: Beanie Wells (vs. CHI): Wells is the only player to trust for the Cardinals this week. He had three touchdowns last week against Detroit with 17 carries for a season-high 67 yards and has five touchdowns in his past two home games. He's also facing a Bears defense without Brian Urlacher (hamstring) that has allowed a running back to score in each of their past three road games. But the three running backs who scored in those outings were Chris Johnson, Frank Gore and Peterson, and Wells is far from that level. Along with that, we've seen what Wells looks like when he doesn't score, which was 21 carries for 40 rushing yards in the previous two games prior to Week 15. We're nervous starting Wells at this point in the season, especially against the Bears in a must-win game. He should only be used as a flex option in standard leagues.
Danny Amendola (at TB): Amendola returned in Week 15 against Minnesota from his two-game absence with a foot injury to catch six passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. He now has at least five catches in all seven of the games he's finished this year with double digits in Fantasy points in four of those outings. And this is a great matchup for Amendola since the Bucs have allowed 16 touchdowns to opposing receivers -- including seven in the past five games -- and 19 have reached double digits in Fantasy points.
Cecil Shorts (vs. NE): Shorts returned in Week 15 at Miami from his one-game absence with a concussion to catch six passes for 101 yards. He now has double digits in Fantasy points in seven of his past eight outings, including five games in a row, with a touchdown in each of his previous two home games. And this is a solid matchup for him. New England has allowed 17 touchdowns to opposing receivers and 19 have reached at least eight Fantasy points. The worst performance for a No. 1 receiver against the Patriots in the past nine games was Reggie Wayne in Week 11 with seven catches for 72 yards.
Pierre Garcon (at PHI): Garcon, as expected, struggled in Week 15 at Cleveland with a matchup against Joe Haden and without his starting quarterback in Griffin (knee) as he finished with six catches for 65 yards and snapped a three-game scoring streak. Garcon might get Griffin back this week, but no matter who starts for the Redskins we still expect him to do well. The Eagles have allowed 18 touchdowns to receivers this year, including nine in the past five games. And since Week 3 there have been nine of 11 No. 1 receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including the past three games with A.J. Green, Vincent Jackson and Bryant combining for 18 catches, 286 yards and four touchdowns.
Kenny Britt (at GB): Britt, as expected, struggled in Week 15 against the Jets with a matchup against Cromartie as he finished with one catch for 7 yards on just three targets. But we expect a rebound performance against the Packers, and Britt had at least eight Fantasy points in the three games prior to the Jets. Green Bay has allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing receivers, including five in the past five games. And since Week 8 there have been six of seven No. 1 receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including the past two games with Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson combining for 16 catches for 174 yards and one touchdown. Britt also could see an uptick in targets if Kendall Wright (ribs) is out.
Brandon Lloyd (at JAC): Lloyd doesn't have the best matchup against the Jaguars since they have only allowed 11 touchdowns to receivers this year and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points. But taking a closer look, the Jaguars have struggled with outside No. 1 receivers and Lloyd qualifies for this category. Except for Andre Johnson in Week 2, every No. 1 outside receiver has at least seven Fantasy points against Jacksonville with seven touchdowns. Lloyd is coming off his best two-game stretch of the season with 17 catches for 279 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets and we expect him to perform well this week.
|Antonio Brown||(vs. CIN)||Has 21 targets for 12 catches, 111 yards and two touchdowns in past two games.|
|Brandon Gibson||(at TB)||Helping PPR owners with six catches in each of his past two games.|
|Anquan Boldin||(vs. NYG)||Will be the No. 1 receiver vs. NYG if Torrey Smith (concussion) is out.|
|Louis Murphy||(vs. OAK)||He could get a token touchdown facing his former team this week.|
|Jeremy Maclin||(vs. WAS)||Could be a useful No. 3 receiver this week against a suspect WAS secondary.|
Josh Gordon (at DEN): Gordon has already shown signs of struggling with his performance the past two weeks. In favorable matchups against the Chiefs and Redskins he combined for 10 Fantasy points on 11 catches for 103 yards, despite getting 20 targets. This week, he will likely see plenty of coverage from Champ Bailey. The Broncos have done well in pass defense all season, especially against No. 1 receivers because of Bailey. Andre Johnson and Green are the only No. 1 outside receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points against the Broncos, including matchups with Julio Jones, Denarius Moore twice, Marques Colston, Steve Smith and Vincent Jackson.
Sidney Rice (vs. SF): Rice has cooled off of late with only one game with double digits in Fantasy points since Week 10. In his past two games against the Cardinals and Bills he has combined for six catches for 111 yards on 10 targets. And in his first meeting with the 49ers in Week 7 he had just two catches for 32 yards, and San Francisco has done well against opposing receivers. Only four receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against San Francisco, including Brandon Lloyd last week, but the 49ers have also held Wes Welker, Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald, Hakeem Nicks, Steve Johnson, Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings to six Fantasy points or less in each matchup.
Larry Fitzgerald (vs. CHI): If you've made it this far without Fitzgerald doing much then there's no reason to trust him now. He has combined for eight Fantasy points since Week 9, and the quarterback situation in Arizona might ruin the end of Fitzgerald's career. We hope the Cardinals can find a new quarterback in 2013 to help resurrect Fitzgerald's career like what happened in Carolina with Steve Smith or Indianapolis with Wayne, but right now Fitzgerald should not be trusted against the Bears. He's also a marginal keeper choice for next year unless the Cardinals can find a new quarterback over Kevin Kolb, John Skelton or Ryan Lindley, who will remain the starter this week.
Denarius Moore (at CAR): Moore's scoring slump has stretched to three games heading into Week 16, and he's failed to reach double digits in Fantasy points in his past five outings. Moore hasn't had more than 46 receiving yards over that span and could struggle against the Panthers, who have only allowed two receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points in the past four games. Moore also has just four games this season with double digits in Fantasy points, and he's losing targets and production to Rod Streater, who has been better the past three games. We just don't have much faith in Moore right now based on his recent production.
Greg Jennings (vs. TEN): Speaking of little faith, here's Jennings, who has played in three straight games after missing seven straight due to an abdominal injury and has truggled. Since returning Jennings has managed nine catches for 123 yards and no touchdowns despite 19 targets. Now, at some point he's going to have a breakout performance, but it's too hard to trust him even in a favorable matchup at home. Rodgers showed last week against the Bears that he's not afraid to spread the ball around with Randall Cobb getting over 100 receiving yards while James Jones scored three touchdowns. We hope to see Jennings end the season on a high note, but Fantasy owners just can't trust him at this point in the year.
Bust alert: Danario Alexander (at NYJ): Alexander let a lot of people down in Week 15 against Carolina with no catches on three targets. That snapped a streak of five games in a row with at least five catches for 74 yards, including five touchdowns over that span. This week he could get shut down again by Cromartie, who will likely shadow him on the field. Since Cromartie took over for the injured Darrelle Revis (knee) in Week 4 he has limited Crabtree, Andre Johnson, Wayne, Lloyd twice, Brian Hartline, Fitzgerald, Justin Blackmon and Britt to eight Fantasy points or less. Alexander might prove too talented for Cromartie, but his recent track record suggests he will limit Alexander's production in this matchup.
Heath Miller (vs. CIN): Miller's breakout season is back on track with Ben Roethlisberger back under center, and we expect another quality outing against the Bengals. He scored in Week 15 at Dallas and also had six catches for 53 yards and a touchdown at Cincinnati in Week 7. That was one of only five touchdowns the Bengals have allowed to tight ends this season, and none have scored since Week 9, but we love the way Miller has played this year when Roethlisberger has started. He is definitely worth using in this matchup.
Greg Olsen (vs. OAK): Olsen was held to just five Fantasy points in Week 15 at San Diego, which snapped a two-game scoring streak. Cam Newton tried to get Olsen involved with nine targets, but the two failed to connect in the end zone. This week, Olsen has the chance to rebound against the Raiders, who have allowed at least eight Fantasy points to five of the past six tight ends they have faced, including four touchdowns over that span. Newton is finishing the season strong, and Olsen is a big reason why. Look for him to have another quality outing in Week 16.
Dennis Pitta (vs. NYG): Take away Pitta's two games against the Steelers since Week 10, and he has been amazing. He has a touchdown in his other four outings against Oakland, San Diego, Washington and Denver, and he should remain hot this week against the Giants. Even though the Giants have only allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends, Tony Gonzalez scored against them last week. And Pitta has double digits in Fantasy points in four of seven home games this year. He could also see an uptick in targets if Torrey Smith (concussion) is out as expected.
|Benjamin Watson||(at DEN)||DEN has allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year.|
|Tony Scheffler||(vs. ATL)||Hopefully he'll take advantage of his increased targets this week vs. ATL.|
|Jermichael Finley||(vs. TEN)||TEN is second to DEN for touchdowns allowed to opposing tight ends with 10.|
Martellus Bennett (at BAL): The Ravens, despite their struggles defensively, have still done a nice job against opposing tight ends. Only Miller and Owen Daniels have scored against Baltimore this year, and Bennett has been hit or miss with his production all season. He has five games with at least nine Fantasy points and eight games with four points or less, including Week 15 at Atlanta when he had one catch for 15 yards on just two targets. We're a little leery about starting Bennett in this matchup.
Vernon Davis (at SEA): You can point to the first meeting with the Seahawks in Week 7 and say that's when Davis' struggles started. That was his first game of the season without a target, and since then he has only one game with more than three Fantasy points. In his past four games he has combined for two Fantasy points and doesn't appear to be on the same page as Kaepernick. It doesn't help that Seattle has only allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends and none have reached double digits in Fantasy points, including matchups with Jason Witten, Olsen, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Pettigrew and Kyle Rudolph.
Dallas Clark (vs. STL): Clark has started to struggle of late with five Fantasy points combined against the Eagles and Saints in his past two games. He also hasn't reached double digits in Fantasy points since Week 11, and in his past three games he has failed to top 45 receiving yards. The Rams also have allowed just one tight end to reach double digits in Fantasy points, which was Gronkowski in Week 8, and only Buffalo's Lee Smith has scored against them in the past six games. We'd be hesitant to start Clark this week based on his recent struggles.
Bust alert: Jermaine Gresham (at PIT): The Steelers have dominated tight ends for the majority of the season as only Jacob Tamme in Week 1 and Witten last week have reached double digits in Fantasy points. In Week 7 at Cincinnati, the Steelers held Gresham to three catches for 19 yards on five targets, and he has one game with more than three Fantasy points against the Steelers in five career meetings. Gresham also has struggled the past two games with 10 Fantasy points combined against the Cowboys and Eagles with 10 catches for 106 yards on 16 targets. We could see his scoreless streak reaching three games in a row, and we would be cautious about starting Gresham in this matchup.
Patriots (at JAC): The Patriots DST has struggled of late, which was expected with consecutive games against the Texans and 49ers. Prior to that, the Patriots DST averaged close to 23 Fantasy points a game in standard leagues in their previous three outings against the Colts, Jets and Dolphins. The Jaguars are a similar offense to those three teams, and the past four teams to face Jacksonville have at least 11 Fantasy points in standard formats with four interceptions and 15 sacks allowed over that span against the Titans, Bills, Jets and Dolphins. We're expecting the Patriots to have a bounce-back game on the road after losing at home to the 49ers, and the Patriots should be a solid starting option in the Fantasy playoffs.
Vikings (at HOU): The Vikings DST has been hot of late with 16 Fantasy points in each of their past two games against the Bears and Rams. They had two defensive touchdowns, three interceptions, six sacks and one fumble recovery in those two outings, but this week they should struggle. The Texans have only allowed three opposing DST options to reach double digits in Fantasy points and just one since Week 6. Schaub gets great protection with only 20 sacks on the year, and the Texans have just four games this season with multiple turnovers. There are better DST options to use this week with the Chargers, Dolphins, Panthers and Colts all available in at least 40 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com.
|Graham Gano||vs. OAK|
|Kai Forbath||at PHI|
|Connor Barth||vs. STL|
Dan Bailey (vs. NO): Bailey has been solid of late with at least eight Fantasy points in nine of his past 10 games. He has seven games with multiple field goals, and he's reached double digits in Fantasy points five times. The Saints have allowed two of the past three kickers they have faced to reach double digits in Fantasy points in Matt Bryant and Lawrence Tynes, and six kickers have made multiple field goals against New Orleans this season. Bailey also has double digits in Fantasy points in three of his past four home games.
Rob Bironas (at GB): Bironas missed his lone field goal attempt in Week 15 against the Jets and now has four Fantasy points or less in two of his past three games. He has been better on the road than at home with double digits in Fantasy points in each of his past three games away from Tennessee at Miami, Jacksonville and Indianapolis, but the Packers have not allowed a kicker to reach double digits in Fantasy points since Week 5. The past three opposing kickers at Lambeau Field -- Jason Hanson, Blair Walsh and Jay Feely -- have combined for 3 of 5 field goals and six extra points for an average of five Fantasy points, which doesn't bode well for Bironas' chances this week.