The Fantasy playoffs are here for the majority of leagues, and we hope you've made it this far with a standout roster. But since running back has been an issue all season, you might need some help, and luckily reinforcements have arrived.
|Darren McFadden||vs. DEN|
|Ryan Mathews||at PIT|
|DeAngelo Williams||vs. ATL|
|Reggie Bush||at SF|
|Beanie Wells||at SEA|
Three guys who started the season as backup options on their respective teams -- Knowshon Moreno, Jonathan Dwyer and Vick Ballard -- can be considered starting Fantasy running backs or flex options this week. They all have the chance to shine.
Start with Moreno on Thursday night at Oakland. The Raiders have allowed 14 touchdowns to opposing running backs and nine have reached double digits in Fantasy points. In the past four weeks Oakland has allowed Ray Rice, Mark Ingram, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Trent Richardson to score with at least 65 total yards.
The Broncos faced the Raiders in Week 4, and Willis McGahee had 19 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown and six catches for 23 yards. Moreno has 20 carries each of the past two games in place of the injured McGahee (knee) and has over 80 total yards in both outings against Kansas City and Tampa Bay. This should be his best game of the season.
The Steelers have committed to Dwyer and last week at Baltimore they made Rashard Mendenhall inactive. Dwyer responded with 16 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 8 yards against the Ravens. He has now started three games for the Steelers and has double digits in Fantasy points in each outing.
Dwyer faces the Chargers this week at home, and San Diego is struggling with injuries on defense for a long road trip. The Chargers have allowed three of the past four running backs they've faced to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and we can see Dwyer having another great starting effort.
Indianapolis will rely on Ballard against the Titans with Donald Brown (ankle) out, and the last time he faced Tennessee in Week 8 he scored his first touchdown on a reception. He scored his first rushing touchdown in Week 13 at Detroit, and we expect him to build off that performance.
The Titans have allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing running backs and 11 to reach double digits in Fantasy points. In the past four games Tennessee has allowed Matt Forte, Rashad Jennings and Arian Foster to score, so we like Ballard's chances to be successful this week at home.
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Start %||Pos. rank|
|Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants||15||11||86||16|
|Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys||28||31||73||3|
|Bryce Brown, RB, Eagles||14||27||80||2|
|Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins||12||16||57||7|
|Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos||9||7||40||29|
|Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens||8||3||54||61|
|Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals||7||2||64||66|
|Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals||12||2||45||50|
|Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots||10||1||13||59|
|Davone Bess, WR, Dolphins||10||1||23||76|
|Andrew Luck, QB, Colts||20||36||37||1|
|Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks||14||30||5||4|
|Brandon Myers, TE, Raiders||6||19||44||1|
Andrew Luck (vs. TEN): Luck struggled at Detroit last week to start the game. In the first 56 minutes against the Lions, Luck was 17 of 39 passing for 279 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Then in the final three minutes Luck led two scoring drives to finish 24 of 54 passing for 391 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions and also added three carries for 33 yards. He will look to carry that momentum into this week against the Titans, who have allowed nine quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns, including Chad Henne and Matt Schaub the last two weeks. Luck also is averaging 23.8 Fantasy points in six games at home.
Josh Freeman (vs. PHI): Freeman has been under 20 Fantasy points the past two games after a six-game streak with at least 20 Fantasy points, which began in Week 6. He should get back on track against the Eagles this week. Philadelphia has allowed multiple touchdowns to six quarterbacks in a row, with 18 total touchdowns and no interceptions over that span. In the past two games against Cam Newton and Tony Romo, the Eagles have given up 609 passing yards, so Freeman should be in line for a nice performance at home.
Russell Wilson (vs. ARI): There's a lot to like about Wilson this week. He has at least 19 Fantasy points in his past five games with 53 points the past two weeks at Miami and Chicago. During that span he has 11 touchdowns and one interception. He has at least 18 Fantasy points in his past four home games, including 20 or more in his past three. He doesn't need to throw much to be successful because he has reached 20 Fantasy points five times with only one game over 30 pass attempts. The Cardinals have also allowed 18 Fantasy points three times in the past five games, including matchups against Alex Smith and Sam Bradford.
Matt Schaub (vs. NE): The Patriots pass defense has played much better of late as only Ryan Fitzpatrick has reached 20 Fantasy points in the past six games. But New England has still allowed four 300-yard passing games over that span, which does include two meetings with Mark Sanchez, Ryan Tannehill, Bradford and Luck on the road, so take all of that into account. This game should be a shootout and Schaub has posted some big stat lines of late with at least 20 Fantasy points in four of his past six outings, including 1,049 passing yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions the past three weeks against Jacksonville, Detroit and Tennessee. Schaub also had 303 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Patriots in their last meeting in 2010.
Eli Manning (vs. NO): Only two quarterbacks this season have failed to reach at least 19 Fantasy points against the Saints. The biggest surprise -- and disappointment -- was Matt Ryan in Week 13 with 12 points, and the other was Matt Cassel with five points in Week 3. Four quarterbacks have reached at least 30 Fantasy points, and we expect Manning to be on the positive side of this matchup. He has thrown the ball well the past two weeks against the Packers and Redskins with four touchdowns and no interceptions over that span, and Manning has played well at home this year with three games with three touchdowns in his past five outings in New York.
|Colin Kaepernick||(vs. MIA)||MIA has allowed at least 19 Fantasy points to quarterbacks in three of past five games.|
|Brandon Weeden||(vs. KC)||KC has allowed at least 21 Fantasy points to quarterbacks in past three games.|
|Jake Locker||(at IND)||New offense should help Locker, who has 85 pass attempts the past two games.|
Carson Palmer (vs. DEN): Like Luck last week, Palmer started off slow against the Browns in Week 13 with 111 passing yards in the first half, but he finished with 240 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the second half, which shows he's capable of big games even against a quality secondary. He has that same task this week since the Broncos have been stellar in pass defense of late in holding their last seven opposing quarterbacks to 19 Fantasy points or less in each matchup, including Drew Brees, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton and Freeman. Palmer also faced the Broncos in Week 4 and finished with eight Fantasy points, and we expect him to struggle again in the rematch.
Philip Rivers (at PIT): We've mentioned numerous times the risk in starting Rivers, and he has just one game with at least 20 Fantasy points since Week 5, including three games in single digits over that span. This week, we wouldn't even start Rivers in a two-quarterback league. The Steelers have been stifling in pass defense as only Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin III have reached double digits in Fantasy points in the past seven games. Pittsburgh has held Dalton, Manning and Flacco twice to single digits, which is nearly impossible, so Rivers should be in for a long day on the road.
Chad Henne (vs. NYJ): Maybe the weather in Buffalo in Week 13 impacted Henne as he completed just 18 of 41 passes for 208 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the rain, but that was his worst game in three weeks since taking over for Blaine Gabbert (shoulder). He should struggle again this week, especially if Cecil Shorts (concussion) is out. The Jets have only allowed four games with at least 20 Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, including Tom Brady twice. It would be a risk to start Henne in two-quarterback leagues this week.
Jay Cutler (at MIN): Cutler turned in a great performance last week against the Seahawks with 23 Fantasy points and could get a boost this week if Alshon Jeffery (knee) is back. But it's hard to trust Cutler even in what could be a good matchup since he has four multiple-touchdown games against the Vikings in his past five meetings. The lone time he failed to throw two touchdowns against Minnesota was just in Week 12 when he had 11 Fantasy points. And to their credit, the Vikings have held Cutler and Aaron Rodgers to a combined 27 Fantasy points the past two weeks. We would only start Cutler in two-quarterback formats.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. STL): Fitzpatrick managed 21 Fantasy points in Week 13 against the Jaguars despite completing just 9 of 17 passes. He threw two touchdowns and ran for another, but you can't count on fluky production in the Fantasy playoffs. He has just three games with more than 12 Fantasy points since Week 5, and Steve Johnson (hamstring) and Donald Jones (calf) are banged up. The Rams also have held their past three opposing quarterbacks to 14 Fantasy points or less. Granted, that was against Sanchez, Ryan Lindley and Colin Kaepernick, but the Bills will likely lean on their ground game this week, especially with their injuries at receiver.
Bust alert: Tony Romo (at CIN): While Dalton and A.J. Green have made headlines for the Bengals this year, their defense has quietly been stellar, especially of late. They have held their past four opposing quarterbacks to single digits in Fantasy points, including matchups with Manning, Palmer and Rivers. And only Peyton Manning has been above 20 Fantasy points against the Bengals since Week 3. They lead the NFL with 39 sacks, and Romo has already been sacked 28 times this year. He likely won't have much time in the pocket, and that could lead to some mistakes. Also, the return of DeMarco Murray will likely take the ball out of Romo's hand a few more times, and this should be his first down game in a while. He had 64 Fantasy points in the past two games against Washington and Philadelphia, but we're a little nervous about Romo this week.
Mikel Leshoure (at GB): The Packers have struggled with their run defense of late, especially in Week 13 against the Vikings when Adrian Peterson had 21 carries for 210 yards and a touchdown. Leshoure won't do that, but he did have 19 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown in Week 11 against Green Bay. The Packers have allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs in the past four games, and Leshoure has three touchdowns in his past three outings.
Bryce Brown (at TB): As long as LeSean McCoy (concussion) remains out you should keep Brown active because he has shown no signs of slowing down. In two starts against Carolina and Dallas he has 43 carries for 347 yards and four touchdowns and eight catches for 25 yards. The four fumbles are a problem, but you can easily overlook that with 53 Fantasy points. He has a tough matchup this week against the Bucs, who have allowed the fewest rushing yards per game this season (82.3), but Tampa Bay has still allowed 10 touchdowns to running backs and eight to reach double digits in Fantasy points. We'll take our chances with Brown again as long as McCoy is out of uniform.
DeMarco Murray (at CIN): Welcome back, we missed you. Murray returned in Week 13 against the Eagles after being out six games with a foot injury and had 23 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 19 yards. He is clearly capable of handling a full workload, and he should do well this week against the Bengals, who have allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing running backs and eight to reach double digits in Fantasy points. In the past four games, Andre Brown, Jamaal Charles and Marcel Reece have had either 100 total yards or a touchdown against the Bengals, and we expect Murray to carry the Cowboys offense in this matchup.
Fred Jackson (vs. STL): Jackson was a pleasant surprise in Week 13 against Jacksonville when he had 25 carries for 109 yards and two catches for 10 yards. It was his first 100-yard game of the season, and he actually had more touches than C.J. Spiller (15). The two will continue to share playing time against the Rams, but Jackson should remain a significant contributor in a good matchup. St. Louis has allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing running backs and eight have reached double digits in Fantasy points. The majority of that production has come in the past five games with Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Frank Gore, Bilal Powell and Beanie Wells combining for eight touchdowns over that span.
Steven Jackson (at BUF): Jackson is showing what he's capable of as a workhorse running back with at least 21 carries in three of his past four games. He's been productive over that span with double digits in Fantasy points in all of those outings despite scoring one touchdown. That trend should continue this week against the Bills. There have been seven running backs with at least 14 carries against Buffalo this year and all seven have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Also, in Jackson's past two road games at San Francisco and Arizona he has 31 Fantasy points.
|Michael Turner||(at CAR)||Has seven total touchdowns and three 100-yard games in past five vs. CAR.|
|Shonn Greene||(at JAC)||Five running backs have double digits in Fantasy points vs. JAC in past five games.|
|Shane Vereen||(vs. HOU)||Should rebound from last week's poor performance if Patriots give him touches.|
|Joique Bell||(at GB)||Has double digits in Fantasy points in three of his past four games.|
|Alex Green||(vs. DET)||He should get majority of touches now that James Starks (knee) is out.|
Reggie Bush (at SF): The 49ers have struggled with running backs out of the backfield the past two games as Darren Sproles had seven catches for 65 yards in Week 12 and Steven Jackson had five catches for 69 yards last week. Bush used to be good in that role, but he has six catches for 43 yards in his past five games. He also hasn't topped 15 carries since Week 5, and Daniel Thomas remains in the mix. We expect the 49ers to contain Bush, who is risky even as a flex option.
Beanie Wells (at SEA): We saw last week what happens when Wells doesn't score as he had 15 carries for 22 yards at the Jets. He did score in his last trip to Seattle in 2010, and the Seahawks have allowed five total touchdowns to opposing running backs in their past four games. But only Cedric Benson and Peterson have scored in Seattle this year, and Wells was held to seven carries for 14 yards against the Seahawks in Week 1. He might not have been 100 percent healthy then and was sharing carries with Ryan Williams, but we're not expecting a big stat line in this matchup, which makes him a risky option in the majority of leagues.
Ryan Mathews (at PIT): The Steelers have allowed a running back to score in six of their past eight games, including four in a row. That would be good for most running backs, but Mathews has been one of the biggest busts this season. He has one touchdown on the year and hasn't topped eight Fantasy points since Week 5. Last week was a new low against Cincinnati with only nine carries for 26 yards. It was hard to trust Mathews even when he had a good matchup, and facing the Steelers on the road is a daunting task. It's hard to even consider Mathews as a flex option this week.
Montell Owens (vs. NYJ): Owens is expected to start for the Jaguars with Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) and Rashad Jennings (concussion) likely out, and he would be the fourth starter in the backfield when you factor in Jalen Parmele (groin), who is on injured reserve. Owens, who is in his seventh season out of Maine and has spent most of his career on special teams, has never had more than 10 carries in a season, and he got seven carries for 29 yards and two catches for 19 yards last week at Buffalo when Jennings went down. Owens could score this week since the Jets have allowed 11 touchdowns to opposing running backs this season, but then again, Jacksonville also has just three rushing touchdowns this year. We'd take a wait and see approach with Owens.
DeAngelo Williams (vs. ATL): Williams will remain the starter for the Panthers with Jonathan Stewart (ankle) likely out, but that doesn't mean he's an automatic starter, even as a flex option. He had a good matchup last week at the Chiefs and finished with 12 carries for 67 yards and one catch for 1 yard. About six Fantasy points is what you should expect from Williams, who has just two games with double digits in Fantasy points this year. He did score against the Falcons in Week 4, and Atlanta has allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing running backs this year. But in the three games Stewart has missed, Williams has 13 combined Fantasy points against the Bucs, Giants and Chiefs and is just an underwhelming option to start in most leagues.
Bust alert: Darren McFadden (vs. DEN): McFadden is expected to return in Week 14 against Denver after being out four games with an ankle sprain, but that doesn't mean he has to start for Fantasy owners right away. He was struggling before he got hurt with double digits in Fantasy points in only four of eight games. He faced Denver in Week 4 and finished with just three Fantasy points, and the Broncos have only allowed six running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points this year. We would still consider McFadden a flex because of his potential, but you're better off seeing how his ankle responds before starting him with confidence unless you don't have a better option.
Pierre Garcon (vs. BAL): Garcon has played the past two weeks like we expected all season before he suffered a toe injury in Week 1. He had 12 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns the past two games against Dallas and the Giants, and Griffin has looked for him often with 17 targets. The Ravens have only allowed eight touchdowns to opposing receivers, but six have come since Week 6 when Lardarius Webb (knee) was lost for the year.
Josh Gordon (vs. KC): Gordon has the chance to be a significant contributor in the Fantasy playoffs with matchups against the Chiefs and Redskins the next two weeks. He already took advantage of one solid matchup at Oakland in Week 13 with six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. He has seven targets in each of his past three outings, and the Chiefs have allowed 17 touchdowns to opposing receivers and 10 have reached double digits in Fantasy points. No. 1 receivers have scored against the Chiefs in nine of 12 games.
Chris Givens (at BUF): Givens has stepped up with Danny Amendola (foot) hurt. In the past two games with Amendola limited or out he has 16 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown with 26 Fantasy points over that span. And in the three games Amendola missed with a shoulder problem from Weeks 6-8, Givens had at least eight Fantasy points in all three outings. The Bills have allowed 15 touchdowns to opposing receivers this year with 14 reaching double digits in Fantasy points. As long as Amendola is out of uniform we expect Givens to have a productive game.
Torrey Smith (at WAS): If you take away Smith's games against the Steelers then he's been pretty solid of late. He has double digits in Fantasy points in three of his past five games with the two dud performances against Pittsburgh. Included in that are two road games at Cleveland and San Diego, which proves even though Joe Flacco has struggled on the road that Smith is still fine. He should have another quality road outing against the Redskins, who continue to struggle in pass defense with 13 touchdowns allowed to opposing receivers and 15 reaching double digits in Fantasy points. There have also been nine of 12 No. 1 receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points against Washington this year.
Greg Jennings (vs. DET): We'll buy into Jennings this week after he returned in Week 13 against Minnesota following a seven-game absence with a groin injury. He only had four catches for 46 yards against the Vikings, but he got eight targets and said he felt fine. Jordy Nelson (hamstring) is now hurt, which will help Jennings, and so will facing the Lions. Detroit has allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing receivers over the past five weeks with seven touchdowns allowed and six reaching double digits in Fantasy points. The Colts had three receivers reach double digits in Fantasy points against the Lions last week, and none of them were Reggie Wayne (Donnie Avery, LaVon Brazill and T.Y. Hilton).
|Kenny Britt||(at IND)||Has a touchdown in each of past two games and should benefit in new offense.|
|Michael Crabtree||(vs. MIA)||Has a touchdown or 100 receiving yards in four of past five games.|
|Golden Tate||(vs. ARI)||Has five touchdowns in past four home games and scored last week at CHI.|
|T.Y. Hilton||(vs. TEN)||TEN has allowed six touchdowns to receivers in past four games.|
|Mike Thomas||(at GB)||Should see increase in targets with Ryan Broyles (knee) out for the year.|
Larry Fitzgerald (at SEA): Fitzgerald continues to struggle with his poor quarterback situation, and at this point we can't wait for Kevin Kolb (ribs) to return. Fitzgerald has six Fantasy points combined in his past three games, and he should face a tough matchup with Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. He's also struggled in his past two games at Seattle with eight catches for 94 yards over that span, and we find it hard to trust Fitzgerald with the poor passing production going on with the Cardinals right now.
Brian Hartline (at SF): Hartline is coming off one of his better games of the season in Week 13 against New England with five catches for 84 yards, but he's still expected to struggle this week. He doesn't score touchdowns with only one the season, so he needs 100 yards to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Amendola is the only receiver to gain 100 yards against the 49ers this year, and only three receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against San Francisco. We would also sit Davone Bess this week in what should be a rough day for the Dolphins offense on the West Coast.
Denarius Moore (vs. DEN): Moore has struggled of late with four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown in his past three games against New Orleans, Cincinnati and Cleveland. He was benched in the Browns game because of dropped passes, and he should have another tough outing on Thursday night. Moore will likely see a lot of Champ Bailey, and Denver has only allowed nine touchdowns to opposing receivers this year. Mike Williams, A.J. Green and Danario Alexander are the only receivers who have reached double digits in Fantasy points against the Broncos in their past seven games. And in Week 4, the Broncos held Moore to four catches for 71 yards.
Mike Wallace (vs. SD): Wallace is banged up and not playing well. He has a knee injury that he's expected to play through, but even when healthy he's struggled of late, which has a lot to do with Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder) being out. In his past three games, all without Roethlisberger, Wallace has four combined Fantasy points with 10 catches for 77 yards and a lost fumble. It seems like Roethlisberger could return against the Chargers, but we still don't have a lot of faith in Wallace at less than 100 percent, especially with the Steelers wanting to see more from Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. The Chargers also have gone four of their past six games without allowing a receiver to score or reach double digits in Fantasy points.
Malcom Floyd (at PIT): You probably can't afford to bench Danario Alexander in most leagues because he's played so well of late, but Floyd is a different story. He does have three touchdowns in his past five games with at least 60 receiving yards in four of those outings, but the Steelers pass defense should create plenty of problems. Pittsburgh has only allowed four receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and Anquan Boldin in Week 13 is the only receiver to score against the Steelers since Week 8. The loss of standout cornerback Ike Taylor (ankle) will hurt, but Floyd also has just two touchdowns on the road this year.
Bust alert: Justin Blackmon (vs. NYJ): Blackmon will likely be the No. 1 receiver for the Jaguars if Shorts is out, which could lead to an increase in targets, but also a matchup with standout cornerback Antonio Cromartie. That could mean another long game for Blackmon, who had one catch for 9 yards in Week 13 in rainy Buffalo. We like the way Blackmon has played since Henne took over, but keep in mind that prior to the past three weeks he had just one touchdown through the first nine games and no games with double digits in Fantasy points. Cromartie also helped limit Fitzgerald and Brandon Lloyd to four catches for 49 yards the past two games, and he should be able to slow down Blackmon in this matchup.
Brandon Myers (vs. DEN): Myers showed in Week 13 that he's matchup proof after he had 14 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown against the Browns, who had allowed the fewest Fantasy points to opposing tight ends prior to that game. This week, Myers faces the Broncos, who have allowed the second-most Fantasy points to tight ends. He only had one catch for 22 yards against Denver in Week 4, but he's been awesome at home with double digits in Fantasy points in his past three games in Oakland against Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Cleveland.
Kyle Rudolph (vs. CHI): There's likely a direct correlation to Rudolph's production the past three games because Percy Harvin (ankle) has been out. Rudolph is now the go-to receiver in Minnesota with double digits in Fantasy points against the Lions, Bears and Packers. In that first meeting in Chicago, Rudolph had five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown. He has at least eight targets in each of his past three outings, which is his best three-game stretch of the season, and the Bears have allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends in the past three weeks.
Dennis Pitta (at WAS): Pitta only has one touchdown on the road this season, but it was in his last game away from Baltimore in Week 12 at San Diego. He also has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past four outings, and the Redskins have allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends all season. Martellus Bennett was the latest tight end to abuse the Redskins with five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in Week 13. In total, Washington has allowed eight touchdowns to tight ends and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points.
|Jermichael Finley||(vs. DET)||DET has allowed a tight end to score in each of past four games.|
|Jacob Tamme||(at OAK)||Has 18 Fantasy points in past two games and is stepping up after slow start.|
|Dallas Clark||(vs. PHI)||Has at least six Fantasy points in past four games with three touchdowns over that span.|
Vernon Davis (vs. MIA): It's been a rough year for Davis with only one game with double digits in Fantasy points since Week 3. In his past two games against New Orleans and St. Louis he has combined for two catches and 15 yards on four targets. By comparison, backup tight end Delanie Walker has four catches for 88 yards on five targets during that same span. The Dolphins have only allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends but none have reached double digits in Fantasy points, including matchups with Owen Daniels, Myers, Jermaine Gresham and Aaron Hernandez.
Scott Chandler (vs. STL): Chandler scored last week against the Jaguars, but he had just one catch for 11 yards on four targets. He has only one game with double digits in Fantasy points since Week 4, and the Rams are a tough matchup. Rob Gronkowski is the lone tight end to reach double digits in Fantasy points against St. Louis and only two tight ends have scored, including matchups with Brandon Pettigrew, Jermichael Finley and Davis twice.
Marcedes Lewis (vs. NYJ): Lewis has done well with the addition of Henne at quarterback and has 11 catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns on 17 targets the past three games against Houston, Tennessee and Buffalo. But facing the Jets could be tough. They have allowed six touchdowns to tight ends, but only Gronkowski and Daniels reached double digits in Fantasy points. Lewis also has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points since Week 1, and there are just too many good tight ends this week to consider starting him in most formats.
Bust alert: Antonio Gates (at PIT): The Steelers have dominated tight ends for the majority of the season as only Jacob Tamme in Week 1 reached double digits in Fantasy points, including matchups with Myers, Gresham, Bennett and Pitta twice. Gates, like most of the Chargers, has struggled all year. He has just three games with double digits in Fantasy points, and he has disappeared the past three games with six Fantasy points combined against Denver, Baltimore and Cincinnati. We know it's hard to bench Gates or even Davis based on their potential, but we would rather start Rudolph, Myers, Pitta, Dallas Clark, Jermichael Finley or Tamme this week because those guys all have higher upside.
Seahawks (vs. ARI): Seattle will be without cornerback Brandon Browner this week since his four-game suspension will start now, but the Seahawks should still be in good shape. The Cardinals are going back to John Skelton at quarterback, and he should struggle at Seattle. The Seahawks have five interceptions and 17 sacks in five home games this year, and they have reached at least 14 Fantasy points in a standard league in four of those outings. Opposing DSTs have also scored at least 20 Fantasy points in each of the past three games against the Cardinals with the Falcons, Rams and Jets all doing well.
Texans (at NE): The Texans have been among the best DST options this season and were dominant last week at the Titans with 24 Fantasy points, which was the fourth time with at least 20 points in a standard league this year. But facing the Patriots is a daunting task. Only one DST has reached double digits in Fantasy points against New England, which were the Cardinals in Week 2. Brady has just three interceptions on the season and the Patriots only have five fumbles. New England also is averaging 36 points a game and this should be a shootout for these two teams. We would recommend using the Browns, Bucs or Bills DST over the Texans this week, and all three are available in at least 45 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com.
|Nick Folk||at JAC|
|Adam Vinatieri||vs. TEN|
|Connor Barth||vs. PHI|
Shaun Suisham (vs. SD): The Chargers have allowed multiple field goals to the past five opposing kickers they have faced with Connor Barth, Matt Prater and Justin Tucker each reaching double digits in Fantasy points over that span. Suisham has at least 10 Fantasy points in two of his past four games and has five games with double digits in Fantasy points this year. The Steelers should have plenty of scoring chances in this matchup, and we expect Suisham to be used often. He had 11 Fantasy points and the game winner in Week 13 at Baltimore.
Garrett Hartley (at NYG): Hartley has not done well this season with only one game with double digits in Fantasy points. He has one game with multiple field goals since Week 4 and the Giants have not allowed multiple field goals to an opposing kicker since Week 7. Only three kickers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against the Giants, and Hartley has already gone three games without attempting a field goal this year.