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For many of you, this is it. This is the final week of the regular season in the majority of Fantasy leagues, and we hope you're either making plans for the playoffs or trying to get one final win to clinch a postseason spot.
In one of my leagues, I can either win the division or miss the playoffs entirely, and it will be an exciting week to see how it all plays out. Our hope is that your season will last for at least four more weeks, but this could be your final time setting your lineup.
It's been a fun ride from the draft to 12 weeks of highs and lows, and there have definitely been plenty of injuries. We're dealing with another week of ailments again now that Rob Gronkowski (knee), Jimmy Graham (knee), Chris Johnson (leg) and Tony Romo (collarbone) are out, among others, and their replacement options could be tremendous difference makers toward a Fantasy title.
You could be in a situation this week where guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, David Johnson, Brandon LaFell and Scott Chandler are leading you into the postseason because of expanded roles or great matchups. And you might have to make a tough decision to bench someone like Drew Brees, DeMarco Murray or Latavius Murray because of their respective opponents this week.
We hope we were able to help you this season with some of your tougher lineup decisions. And our goal is to keep you winning for a few more weeks so you can take home a Fantasy championship. Good luck to all, and happy holidays if you don't come back to this column again until next season.
Starts of the Week: C.J. Anderson/Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos
The Broncos offense has started to look like a Gary Kubiak team the past two games with Peyton Manning (foot) out and Brock Osweiler under center. Denver is running the ball with a lot of success, and Fantasy owners should be excited about C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman, especially this week at San Diego.
Maybe the running game would have come together with Manning, but Osweiler is a better fit for Kubiak's system. He doesn't need to be in the shotgun, he can run Kubiak's bootleg plays and he's not inclined to audible to a pass. Instead, he might check to a run, and why not with how well Denver has run the ball the past two games.
The Broncos had their two best rushing games the past two weeks with Osweiler, gaining 170 yards on the ground against the Bears and 179 yards against the Patriots. Anderson and Hillman have looked great in the process, and both are worth starting this week in a plus matchup.
Anderson just had his best game of the season against New England with 15 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns and four catches for 40 yards. He's been among the biggest busts this year with only two games of more than six Fantasy points on the season, but the move to Osweiler clearly agrees with him. He's averaging 6.4 yards per carry in his past two games.
Hillman actually started playing well before Manning got hurt and has double digits in Fantasy points in three consecutive games and has scored or run for 100 yards in seven of his past nine outings. But like Anderson, his stats have improved with Osweiler, and he's averaging 4.6 yards per carry against Chicago and New England.
There have only been two games this season where Anderson and Hillman have scored double digits in Fantasy points together, and that was Week 8 against Green Bay and last week against the Patriots. But we expect this week to be lucky No. 3.
The Chargers come into this game having allowed 10 running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points, and the only teams that failed to have a running back reach that total was Baltimore in Week 8 and Jacksonville in Week 12. We doubt San Diego will stop both Anderson and Hillman in this matchup with how they are playing the past two games.
Both Broncos should be considered high-end No. 2 running backs this week, but if you have to pick just one then go with the hot hand of Anderson. He was the star for Denver against New England, and he could be ready to put his bust campaign behind him.
But don't overlook Hillman as well. He's been the consistent running back for the Broncos all year, and he should also play well in Week 13. Osweiler has helped Denver get its running game going, and Fantasy owners should reap the benefits with strong play from Anderson and Hillman against the Chargers.
I'm starting Anderson and Hillman over: Mark Ingram (vs. CAR), DeMarco Murray (at NE), Frank Gore (at PIT), Lamar Miller (vs. BAL) and Latavius Murray (vs. KC)
Stafford was the Thanksgiving MVP in Week 12 with his performance against the Eagles. He had 44 Fantasy points behind 337 passing yards and five touchdowns, and he continues to play well at home. This is now four games in a row with at least 20 Fantasy points in a standard league at home against Chicago, Minnesota, Oakland and Philadelphia, and we hope he stays hot this week against the Packers. He had 19 Fantasy points at Green Bay in Week 10 with 242 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. In three of the past four years, Stafford has been better against the Packers in the second meeting, so hopefully that trend continues. He's a Top 10 quarterback this week.
Roethlisberger is expected to be fine after dealing with a concussion in Week 12 at Seattle. He should continue to post dominant stats like we've seen in each of his past three games where he's scored at least 23 Fantasy points in a standard league. Last year, Roethlisberger dominated the Colts for 522 passing yards and six touchdowns for 56 Fantasy points. We're not expecting a game like that, but Indianapolis has allowed six of the past nine opposing quarterbacks to score at least 20 points, and Roethlisberger should have no problem hitting that mark. He's failed to score at least 20 Fantasy points just twice in his past 11 home games, and we're expecting Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant to come up huge this week. This should be a fun game to watch.
Cleveland hasn't been a good destination for Dalton in his career, but hopefully that doesn't matter given how well Dalton has played this season. In four career trips to Cleveland, Dalton has one game with multiple touchdowns, and he has four touchdown passes compared to five interceptions and two fumbles. But he dominated the Browns at home in Week 9 with 234 passing yards and three touchdowns for 27 Fantasy points, and he's scored at least 25 points in three of his past four games. He's also scored at least 22 Fantasy points in four of five games on the road, and Cleveland has allowed each of the past four opposing quarterbacks - Carson Palmer, Dalton, Roethlisberger and Matt Schaub - to get multiple touchdowns, with only Schaub failing to score at least 27 Fantasy points.
Cutler will get back on track this week after two down games against Denver at home and Green Bay on the road on Thanksgiving. He combined for just 22 Fantasy points in a standard league in those outings after scoring at least 21 points in each of his previous six games. This week, look for Cutler to score 20-plus Fantasy points again. San Francisco (20.1 point average) is middle of the pack in Fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, and most of the 49ers bad games have come on the road with Roethlisberger, Palmer, Eli Manning and Russell Wilson all scoring at least 22 Fantasy points against them away from home. Cutler also could have a healthy receiving corps if Martellus Bennett (ribs) returns this week as expected, and it will be hard for San Francisco to stop the Bears weapons now that Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte are all back on the field.
Fitzpatrick has the shortest road game of any quarterback this week since he gets to stay at home against the Giants. That should help since he's played well in MetLife Stadium this year with at least 22 Fantasy points in a standard league in three of his past four outings. Overall, Fitzpatrick has scored at least 22 Fantasy points in four of the past six games he's been able to finish, and the Giants have allowed three of their past four opposing quarterbacks to score at least 21 Fantasy points, including Brees, Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins. The Giants only have one interception in the past three games, and if Fitzpatrick can limit the turnovers this week then he should be in line for a solid Fantasy performance. I consider him a Top 10 quarterback in this matchup.
Ryan Tannehill (vs. BAL): Eight QBs have multiple touchdowns vs. BAL.
Matt Hasselbeck (at PIT): PIT had no pass defense at SEA in Week 12.
Alex Smith (at OAK): He has seven touchdowns in his past two at OAK.
Marcus Mariota (vs. JAC): Seven QBs have multiple touchdowns vs. JAC.
Hoyer was among the biggest disappointments in Week 12 with just 18 Fantasy points against the Saints. Fantasy owners had much higher expectations given the matchup, and he failed to deliver because Houston played with a lead and didn't need Hoyer to chase points. That could happen frequently down the stretch for the Texans now that their defense has started to dominate opponents. When the defense was bad, Hoyer was playing from behind, which inflated his stats. He could still perform well here, but we expect the Texans to win the game and limit Hoyer's chances. Buffalo also has allowed just Alex Smith in Week 12 to score at least 20 Fantasy points in the past five games, including a matchup with Brady in Week 11. Hoyer is only worth starting in two-quarterback leagues.
Rivers snapped his two-game skid with fewer than 20 Fantasy points in last week's game at Jacksonville, and we'll see if he just took advantage of a good matchup or can overcome a tough opponent in the Broncos at home. Rivers scored just 11 Fantasy points against the Broncos at home last year, and Denver has only allowed Andrew Luck and Brady to score more than 17 Fantasy points this season. The Broncos also have given up just 11 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, and Rivers could struggle facing a difficult pass rush. Rivers is still worth starting in two-quarterback leagues, but I would avoid him in most standard formats this week.
This is more of a bust alert than just a sit option, but I'm not expecting a big game from Wilson this week. He's been exceptional the past two games with 31 Fantasy points in a standard league in Week 11 against San Francisco and 44 points against the Steelers in Week 12. Those are not good defenses, and the Vikings will be a significant step up in competition. Minnesota has allowed five quarterbacks to score at least 21 Fantasy points, but none have scored more than 23 points and only four have scored multiple passing touchdowns. The Vikings also are fourth in the NFL in fewest passing yards allowed, and Colin Kaepernick in Week 1 is the lone quarterback to run for more than 20 yards against Minnesota. Wilson also has just one game with more than 17 Fantasy points on the road, which was Week 2 at Green Bay, and he's averaging only 16.8 points in five away games. He's still a quality starter in two-quarterback leagues, but I would bench him if possible in standard formats.
For some reason, Winston has struggled at home this year and hasn't scored more than 17 Fantasy points in any of his five games in Tampa. He did play well against the Falcons in Week 8 in Atlanta with 21 Fantasy points, but he's been tremendously inconsistent of late. He had the breakout game in Week 11 at Philadelphia with 39 Fantasy points, but that was his lone game with more than 17 Fantasy points in his past four outings. And the Falcons have allowed just Winston's 21-point performance in their past seven games against opposing quarterbacks. I'd love to see Winston play well this week and help Tampa Bay make a playoff push, but I'd be surprised if he scores more than 20 Fantasy points against Atlanta's defense at home.
Taylor was great last week at Kansas City with 31 Fantasy points, and he took advantage of the Chiefs once standout pass rusher Justin Houston (knee) got hurt. It will be hard for him to have similar success against the Texans with the way that defense has played of late. Houston has not allowed a quarterback to score more than 17 Fantasy points in the past four games, including matchups with Dalton, Fitzpatrick and Brees. The Texans have one passing touchdown allowed over that span with four interceptions, and Taylor could face a heavy pass rush led by J.J. Watt. Prior to Week 12, Taylor had scored 17 Fantasy points or less in three games in a row, and I would expect him to be in that range this week. He's only worth starting in two-quarterback leagues.
It's extremely difficult to bench Brees at home, no matter the opponent, but you should make an exception this week against the Panthers. This defense should be able to contain him even in his own building, where he has scored at least 26 Fantasy points in three of his past four games. He missed the first meeting with Carolina in Week 3 because of a shoulder injury, but Brees will find little room to make plays in this matchup. The Panthers allow the third-fewest Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and only Wilson in Week 6 and Aaron Rodgers in Week 9 have scored more than 20 Fantasy points. The Panthers intercepted Romo three times last week before knocking him out of the game on Thanksgiving and now have 13 touchdowns allowed compared to 18 interceptions. I would only start Brees in two-quarterback leagues, but don't expect a huge game against this standout opponent.
I considered this duo for Start of the Week also, but I like the storyline better for Anderson and Hillman. Still, Forte and Langford can both help Fantasy owners this week. Forte returned from a three-game absence from a knee injury in Week 12 at Green Bay and looked a little rusty with 15 carries for 44 yards and one catch for 9 yards. Meanwhile, Langford continued to show fresh legs with his fourth game in a row scoring a touchdown with 12 carries for 48 yards and one catch for 5 yards. Forte should take on a bigger role this week against the 49ers, especially with extra time to prepare since the Bears played the Packers on Thanksgiving. He should be started in all Fantasy leagues ahead of Langford, but both running backs should be useful this week against San Francisco. The 49ers have allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing running backs and six to gain 100 total yards.
McFadden had a rough Thanksgiving along with the rest of the Cowboys in a blowout loss against the Panthers. He had a season-low 11 rushing yards and finished with just seven Fantasy points in a standard league. This is now two of his past three games with single digits in Fantasy points, and he'll look to get back on track against the Redskins. I like his chances since Washington has allowed a running back to score at least nine Fantasy points in six of the past seven games, with six touchdowns over that span. The Cowboys will lean on McFadden now with Romo out, and in his first three starts with Matt Cassel he had 22 Fantasy points against the Giants, 10 points against the Seahawks and 11 points against the Eagles. He should get back to scoring in double digits this week, and he should continue to be started in all leagues.
Allen's performance at Cleveland on Monday night in Week 12 was equally satisfying and discouraging at the same time in his first start for the injured Justin Forsett (broken arm). The positives were he scored his first NFL touchdown and finished with 12 carries for 55 yards and four catches for 29 yards. He led the team in rushing and was second in receptions, but he also lost seven carries for Terrance West, which we hope isn't a sign of things to come. I expect Allen to again get the majority of touches in Week 13 at Miami, and hopefully by a wider margin over West. The Dolphins have allowed a running back to score or gain 100 total yards in all but one game, which was Week 2 at Jacksonville. Allen should score double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league for the third game in a row.
Call me crazy, but there's a good chance the Patriots will be winning this game handily in the fourth quarter, which means this should be a Blount kind of day. He's been quiet of late with just seven Fantasy points combined in a standard league in his past two games against the Bills and Broncos, but he should rebound against the Eagles, who have struggled with opposing running backs in the past five games. They have allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs over that span and four to have at least 90 total yards. Blount has six games this season with at least 16 carries, and he's scored double digits in Fantasy points in four of them. We'd expect him to get at least 16 carries this week, and he's worth starting in the majority of leagues in this matchup at home.
We know that Chris Johnson (broken leg) is out for the rest of the season, and we'll see how long Andre Ellington (toe) will sit. In the meantime, David Johnson will be the starter, and we're excited to see how he does with an increased workload. He started off the year scoring double digits in Fantasy points in four of his first five games despite not getting more than 10 touches in any of those outings. He's scored in consecutive games coming into this matchup at St. Louis in Week 13, and he had three carries for 18 yards and four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown against the Rams in Week 4. St. Louis has allowed a running back to score at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in four games in a row, and Johnson has the chance to be a solid No. 2 running back this week and for as long as Ellington remains out.
Alfred Blue (at BUF): He's trying to score for the third game in a row.
Theo Riddick (vs. GB): He has seven games with at least five catches.
Shaun Draughn (at CHI): He's got at least 77 total yards in three in a row.
Antonio Andrews (vs. JAC): He had 94 total yards at JAC in Week 11.
Danny Woodhead (vs. DEN): Eight RBs have at least four catches vs. DEN.
We pointed out last week in this column what the numbers have been for Murray when standout center Rodney Hudson has been out of the lineup, and he's expected to sit again this week with an injured ankle. Murray struggled at Tennessee with 22 carries for 59 yards and one catch for 23 yards, and this is now four games in a row with eight Fantasy points or less in a standard league since Hudson first hurt himself in Week 9 at Pittsburgh. If Hudson plays then the outlook for Murray becomes much better, but you should also keep in mind Kansas City has allowed just one rushing touchdown in the past seven games.
The encouraging thing for Miller this week is the Dolphins fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, and new playcaller Zac Taylor isn't expected to get away from the run like his predecessor was known to do. Miller had just 12 carries in the past two games against Dallas and the Jets for 46 yards and five catches for 22 yards. But more commitment to the running game might not solely benefit Miller. The Dolphins continue to give more work to rookie Jay Ajayi, which makes sense since he could be the starter in 2016 with Miller a free agent in the offseason. It also will be tough to run on the Ravens, who are among the league leaders in Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Baltimore has allowed just five touchdowns to running backs this year, and Chris Johnson and Le'Veon Bell are the only ones to top 66 rushing yards. And center Mike Pouncey (foot) is likely out this week, which hurts this offensive line.
It's never a good thing when your head coach describes you as "beat to crap," which is what Chuck Pagano said about Gore on Monday. It's been tough for Gore the past two games against Atlanta and Tampa Bay with a combined 33 carries for just 58 yards and seven catches for 59 yards. He injured his knee against the Falcons but played through it against the Buccaneers, but his heavy workload has caught up to his 32-year-old body, especially since teams are daring Hasselbeck to throw. Gore also has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in his past six outings, and the Steelers are the No. 1 team in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs coming into Week 13.
The matchup against the Cowboys might look encouraging because for the season, Dallas has allowed some big games to running backs, with nine scoring double digits in Fantasy points. But lately, the Cowboys have been tough to run on, and I'm not ready to trust Morris even if his workload has started to increase. Dallas hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown in three games in a row, including matchups with Doug Martin and Jonathan Stewart. In fact, Martin was held to 3.5 yards per carry, and Stewart was worse at 3.2. Morris has played better of late with at least eight Fantasy points in two of his past three games, and he had 23 carries in Week 12 against the Giants and finished with 90 total yards. But he still hasn't scored a touchdown this season and will continue to share work with Matt Jones. Maybe this is the game Morris breaks out, and the Dallas run defense the past three games could be a mirage. But I'd be hesitant to trust Morris at this point in the season.
You have to give the Chargers credit, they are trying to get Gordon going. He has at least 16 touches in three of his past four games, and he had some positive moments at Jacksonville in Week 12 with 14 carries for 60 yards and five catches for 20 yards. He's been involved as a receiver of late, which has hurt Woodhead, with at least three catches in three of his past four outings, and that could come into play this week since Denver allows the third-most passes to running backs. But it usually takes volume to have success against the Broncos as four of the five running backs who have scored double digits in Fantasy points against Denver had at least 16 carries. Gordon has only hit that mark twice this season and once since Week 1, and he also has yet to score in his rookie campaign. His time will come as a relevant Fantasy option will come, but it likely won't happen until next year.
Murray gets a break this week with Patriots linebacker Donta Hightower (knee) out, but Jamie Collins (illness) could return for this matchup. We'd love to see Murray play well, but it's so tough to trust any Eagles with how they are unraveling of late during a three-game losing streak against Miami, Tampa Bay and Detroit. It would not be a surprise to see Murray play well since he's had time to rest after last playing on Thanksgiving, and he's obviously still a talented running back. But he's gone three games in a row without a touchdown, and his past two games were disastrous with nine combined Fantasy points against the Buccaneers and Lions, including no catches in Week 12 for the first time all year. New England has allowed three running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points in the past two games, but it's tough to run on the Patriots at home - and tough to rely on any Eagles right now.
The Steelers are still trying to tackle the Seahawks receivers after what happened last week in Seattle when Doug Baldwin (six catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns) and Jermaine Kearse (four catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns) dominated this defense. Coming into Week 13, Pittsburgh has allowed nine receivers to score double digits in Fantasy points in the past six games. The timing is great for Hilton and Moncrief, who are coming off their best game with Hasselbeck against Tampa Bay at home. Hilton had six catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 12 targets, and Moncrief had eight catches for 114 yards on nine targets. Hilton is a must-start option in all leagues this week, and Moncrief is No. 2/3 receiver with plenty of upside in this matchup.
Amendola is expected to play this week after sitting out Week 12 at Denver with a knee injury, but keep an eye on his progress heading into Sunday. If he's active then start him and LaFell with confidence since this is a great matchup for both receivers. Philadelphia allows the most Fantasy points to opposing receivers with 19 touchdowns allowed and 15 scoring double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. Amendola would step back into his role as the No. 1 inside receiver with Julian Edelman (foot) out, and the last time we saw Amendola active was the first game without Edelman in Week 11 against Buffalo when he had nine catches for 117 yards on 12 targets before hurting his knee. He's capable of a similar performance this week. LaFell only has one good game this year in Week 9 against Washington when he had five catches for 102 yards. Otherwise he's been held to six Fantasy points or less in his five other games. But with Gronkowski out and the matchup against the Eagles, this is a week you can trust both New England receivers. They are solid No. 2 Fantasy options in the majority of leagues.
Landry had a tremendous game in Week 12 at the Jets, and he should be able to build on that performance this week. He had 13 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown on 16 targets for 22 Fantasy points, and this is now four games with at least 11 points in a standard league in his past seven outings. Tannehill should lean on Landry and rookie DeVante Parker this week with Rishard Matthews (ribs) out, and this is a great matchup against the Ravens. Baltimore has allowed eight receivers to score double digits in Fantasy points in the past six games, and the Ravens have allowed 18 touchdowns to opposing receivers this season. Landry should continue to lead Miami in targets, and he has at least 12 targets in three of the past four games. Another big stat line is possible this week.
Brown looks like he's starting to get healthy again despite dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. He had three catches for 43 yards and a touchdown on three targets against Cincinnati in Week 11 and five catches for 99 yards on seven targets at San Francisco last week. We hope the targets continue to rise, and he should be able to make plays in this matchup. Brown had seven catches for 75 yards on 10 targets against the Rams in Week 4, and St. Louis has allowed a receiver to score in each of the past two games. Brown is a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week with the chance to be a Top 20 option as he continues to get closer to 100 percent.
It didn't work out quite so well with Vincent Jackson last week against the Colts, but secondary receivers have done well against Indianapolis all season, with Eric Decker, Dorial Green-Beckham, Allen Hurns, Jaelen Strong, Amendola, Corey Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Leonard Hankerson all scoring or going over 100 receiving yards. Jackson had four catches for 76 yards, so he wasn't horrible, but Bryant should do better. He's scored a touchdown in all but one game since getting back on the field in Week 6, including a rushing touchdown in Week 12 at Seattle. Last year against the Colts, Bryant had five catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns, and we hope a similar performance happens this week. He's a must-start receiver in all formats.
DeVante Parker (vs. BAL): His role is increasing in a great matchup.
Devin Funchess (at NO): He has the chance to play well vs. a bad defense.
Kendall Wright (vs. JAC): The rust is off now go make plays.
Kamar Aiken (at MIA): He should do well in this homecoming game.
Anquan Boldin (at CHI): He has 93 yards in each of his past two games.
Matthews had the definition of a garbage touchdown in Week 12 at Detroit when he scored with the game well out of reach. He finished the game with three catches for 60 yards and a touchdown on five targets, but don't go chasing points. That's only his fourth game this season with double digits in Fantasy points, and he should struggle at New England. The Patriots have allowed 11 touchdowns to opposing receivers and nine to score double digits in Fantasy points, but it's hard to trust Matthews given his overall body of work this season. He's at best a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.
I'm sorry that I was fooled by Jones with what he did in Week 11 at Minnesota. He had a season-high 12 targets against the Vikings and finished with six catches for 109 yards and a touchdown, and I thought he would again be heavily involved in Week 12 against the Bears. He did get six targets in that game, which was played in the rain, but he went without a catch for the second time in three games. The last time that happened was against Detroit in Week 10 when he had just two targets in a matchup with Lions cornerback Darius Slay. You would expect the Lions to use Slay on Jones again since he was completely negated in the first meeting, and Jones has now scored single digits in Fantasy points in five of his past six games. There's no reason to trust him in the majority of leagues this week.
Diggs has been trending in the wrong direction lately, and there's little reason to trust him this week, even in PPR leagues. In standard formats he's scored six points or less in four games in a row, and he's only had one game with more than five targets over that span. He also hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 8. He obviously has a tough matchup this week against the Seahawks, who were able to keep Antonio Brown and Bryant from catching a touchdown (Bryant had a rushing score). Markus Wheaton beat up Seattle for nine catches, 201 yards and a touchdown, but it's doubtful Diggs will come close to those stats. This should be a tough game for all of Minnesota's receivers, but Diggs is the only one who is Fantasy relevant. Until he starts playing at a high level again he should be reserved in the majority of leagues.
Johnson has done a nice job filling in for the injured Keenan Allen (kidney) with seven catches in three games in a row, and he scored in Week 12 at Jacksonville with 92 yards and a touchdown. He's a safe No. 3 receiver in PPR leagues because even in a tough matchup with the Broncos he should have the chance for a decent amount of receptions. But the touchdown at Jacksonville was his first since Week 2, and it's the first time he's scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in seven games. The Broncos have a tremendous secondary and will look to negate Johnson, and Denver has only allowed three receivers to score double digits in Fantasy points this year with one touchdown to a receiver, which was Mike Wallace in Week 4. This is not a good week to rely on Johnson in most standard leagues.
This is going to be a tough week for Jackson and Mike Evans, but Evans has too much upside to bench in the majority of leagues. It's easier to get away from Jackson, who continues to deal with a nagging knee injury. He had seven Fantasy points in Week 12 at Indianapolis with four catches for 76 yards on 10 targets, but the Falcons secondary is tough. Atlanta has allowed just three touchdowns to opposing receivers this year and only five have scored double digits in Fantasy points, including none in the past four games. Jackson missed three games with a knee injury, but he has double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league just three times and only once at home. He should only be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in deeper leagues this week.
Baldwin just had the game of his life against the Steelers in Week 12 with six catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns on eight targets for 32 Fantasy points in a standard league. He's had two big games of late with 19 Fantasy points against the Cardinals in Week 10, and he might have had three consecutive games with double digits in Fantasy points if an ankle injury didn't force him from the game with the 49ers in Week 11 when he had six catches for 60 yards. Baldwin has four games this season with at least eight targets, and he's scored 15 Fantasy points in three of them. His targets could be high again this week with Graham out, but this is a tough matchup against the Vikings because of Xavier Rhodes and Terence Newman. Only six receivers have scored double digits in Fantasy points against Minnesota, with only three of them being true No. 1 options in Calvin Johnson (twice), Jeffery and Allen. Baldwin will obviously regress from his huge day in Week 12, but he could still have a decent performance this week. Your best bet is to treat him like a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in this matchup on the road.
Walker is on fire of late and should do well in the rematch with the Jaguars. He was great against Jacksonville in Week 11 with eight catches for 109 yards, and he's scored at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in three of his past four games. Only the Saints allow more Fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Jaguars in the past five weeks. And in their past three games, Jacksonville has allowed four tight ends to either score or go over 100 receiving yards, including Antonio Gates in Week 12. Walker leads all tight ends in receptions, so he's an excellent start in PPR leagues, but you should feel comfortable starting him in all formats this week.
If you picked up Chandler this week to help replace the injured Gronkowski then don't hesitate to start him as either your No. 1 tight end or even a flex option. He won't be Gronkowski, but his role in the Patriots offense should make him a quality Fantasy option in the majority of leagues. You got a glimpse of his potential in Week 12 at Denver with five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. Gronkowski averaged 8.4 targets a game, so Chandler should continue to be heavily involved. It's a tough matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed just two touchdowns to tight ends this year. But you wouldn't bench Gronkowski if he was playing this week, so Chandler should be considered a Top 10 tight end with his new role as a key weapon for Brady.
If I missed on Chandler this week then the next tight end I went after on the waiver wire was Rodgers, and it's strictly because of his matchup with the Lions. He scored against the Lions in Week 10 with five catches for 32 yards on five targets. Justin Perillo also scored for the Packers in that game on five catches for 58 yards on six targets, and Green Bay's receivers have been terrible of late. Detroit has allowed nine touchdowns for the season to opposing tight ends, including four in the past five games. And if you're looking ahead, Rodgers gets to face the Raiders in Week 15, which is another favorable matchup.
Jacob Tamme (at TB): If Hankerson is out then Tamme gets a green light.
Kyle Rudolph (vs. SEA): He has 18 targets in his past two games.
Cameron Brate (vs. ATL): He's done well with Seferian-Jenkins out.
Crockett Gillmore (at MIA): Matt Schaub should lean on Gillmore this week.
It's time to move on from Witten if you haven't done so already, and I was shocked to see him starting in 57 percent of leagues on CBS Sports as of Wednesday. He hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1, and he's back to dealing with Matt Cassel as his starter. He's combined for 14 Fantasy points in a standard league in his past five games, and the Redskins have allowed just one tight end to score double digits in Fantasy points for the season and only two touchdowns to the position all year. There are plenty of other tight ends who have more upside than Witten this week and for the rest of the season now that Romo is out.
Celek has been great the past three games with 27 Fantasy points combined in a standard league against Miami, Tampa Bay and Detroit, and he's benefited with Zach Ertz (concussion) being banged up the past two weeks. But Ertz looks on track to return against the Patriots, and that will take away some targets from Celek. New England also has been tough on opposing tight ends with only three touchdowns allowed to the position and one scoring double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, which was Clay Harbor in Week 3. Celek would get a slight boost if Ertz is out for another game, but he's still not worth starting in the majority of leagues.
McDonald has drawn some interest from Fantasy owners as a waiver wire add this week based on his recent level of play. He's scored in consecutive games against Seattle and Arizona, and he's combined for 10 catches, 136 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets over that span. Garrett Celek (ankle) is likely out this week, which could increase the production for McDonald, and Blaine Gabbert has shown an affinity for leaning on his tight ends since taking over as the starter for the 49ers in Week 9. But this should be a tough matchup for McDonald given how well the Bears have defended tight ends. Graham in Week 3 and Tim Wright in Week 6 are the only tight ends to score on Chicago this year, and Graham is the only one to score double digits in Fantasy points, including matchups with Gates and Travis Kelce. McDonald is worth a look in deeper leagues if you just lost Gronkowski or Graham, but he's not a must-start option given the matchup on the road.
Bust alert: Zach Miller (vs. SF)
It looks like Bennett could return this week against the 49ers, and that will impact Miller's production, which has been solid over the past four games. He has four touchdowns over that span and three games with at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league, but this is a tough matchup for him even if he remains the starter. The 49ers haven't done much right defensively this season, but they have limited opposing tight ends. Richard Rodgers in Week 4 is the lone tight end with double digits in Fantasy points against San Francisco, including matchups with Graham twice, Tamme (without Hankerson), Rudolph and Gillmore. Miller could have a similar stat line like he had in Week 12 at Green Bay with two catches for 10 yards and a touchdown on seven targets, but you see what his production could be if he fails to find the end zone.
Patriots (vs. PHI): As the Eagles offense has fallen apart of late, the DST production against Philadelphia has improved dramatically. The past three DST units against the Eagles in Miami, Tampa Bay and Detroit have averaged 15.7 Fantasy points a game in standard leagues with 13 sacks, four interceptions, two fumbles and one touchdown, and Philadelphia has scored 19 points or less in each outing. The Patriots DST has been up and down lately with three games with double digits in Fantasy points (all at home) and three games with seven points or less. New England is allowing an average of 15 points per game at home, and the Patriots defense should rebound in a big way coming off their first loss of the season. The Eagles offense could be in trouble this week, and the Patriots DST should benefit with a strong outing.
Dolphins (vs. BAL): Schaub is always good for a pick-six.
Buccaneers (vs. ATL): TB scored 13 Fantasy points at ATL in Week 8.
Bears (vs. SF): SF allows the most Fantasy points to opposing DST units.
Rams (vs. ARI): The Rams DST had a good performance at Arizona in Week 4 with one interception, four sacks, two fumble recoveries and holding the Cardinals to 22 points. It was one of St. Louis' best outings of the year in a win against a quality opponent, but the Rams DST has fallen apart of late. They have scored nine Fantasy points or less in four games in a row, including a season-low two points in Week 12 at Cincinnati. The Cardinals have also allowed just one DST in the past five games to score double digits in Fantasy points, which were the Seahawks in Week 10 on the road. We'll see if the Rams DST can turn things around at home, but against a tough offense like the Cardinals we'd bet against it. It's easy to cut the Rams DST at this point in the season.
Cairo Santos (at OAK): Santos has quietly been excellent over the past five games with at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in five games in a row, including three games with at least 11 points. He's scored at least nine Fantasy points in three of six road outings, including 19 points at Denver in Week 10 and 25 at Cincinnati in Week 4. The Raiders allow the most Fantasy points to opposing kickers with six scoring double digit in points and 10 making multiple field goals. Santos made two field goals and two extra points at Oakland last year, and he should be considered a safe starter this week with a high upside.
Jason Myers (at TEN): He's made three field goals in four games in a row.
Blair Walsh (vs. SEA): Four guys have multiple FGs vs. SEA on the road.
Chris Boswell (vs. IND): He's made three FGs in each of the past three games.
Dan Bailey (at WAS): Bailey has been a bad Fantasy kicker this season, which is understandable given Romo and Dez Bryant missing most of the year due to injury. Romo is out again, and there's no reason to trust Bailey on the road. He only has one game this season with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, and the Redskins have been stingy to opposing kickers at home. Andrew Franks, Greg Zuerlein, Caleb Sturgis, Connor Barth, Kai Forbath and Josh Brown have combined to go 5-for-6 on field goals in Washington, and Barth made three of those kicks in Week 7. A Cassel-led offense is far from inspiring when it comes to using a Fantasy kicker, even someone with a good track record like Bailey prior to this season. This just isn't his year because of all the injuries.
Full Disclosure from Week 12
I usually feel good about the week when I get a player or two correct on Thursday. And it was nice to start Thanksgiving Day with Matthew Stafford going off as the No. 1 quarterback for Week 12.
There were plenty of positive start suggestions. Including sleepers, we had Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, Blake Bortles, Thomas Rawls, Spencer Ware, Javorius Allen, Alfred Blue, Martavis Bryant, Travis Benjamin and Julius Thomas. We also said to sit, among others, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Frank Gore and Latavius Murray, and they all struggled.
Our bad suggestions included starting Brian Hoyer, Eli Manning, Brandin Cooks and James Jones. And I missed on sitting Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor, Sammy Watkins and Jeremy Maclin.
As for the Start of the Week, T.J. Yeldon was a moderate disappointment with only seven Fantasy points. Still, he managed to finish as a Top 24 Fantasy running back in standard leagues, so hopefully he didn't ruin your week even though he was limited with his production.
| Full Disclosure from Week 12 |
| Start of the Week |
| Player || Sportsline projected Pts. || Actual Fantasy Pts. || Start % || Pos. rank |
| T.J.Yeldon, RB, Jaguars || 13.1 || 7 || 90 || 24 |
| Recommended starts who made us look good |
| Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions || 20.1 || 44 || 63 || 1 |
| Julius Thomas, TE, Jaguars || 6.7 || 17 || 39 || 1 |
| Spencer Ware, RB, Chiefs || 12.5 || 17 || 61 || 3 |
| Recommended sits who made us look good |
| Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons || 18.9 || 11 || 56 || 29 |
| Frank Gore, RB, Colts || 11.1 || 3 || 59 || 40 |
| Tony Romo, QB, Dallas || 16.2 || minus-2 || 29 || 35 |
| Recommended starts who made us look bad |
| Brian Hoyer, QB, Texans || 22.7 || 18 || 49 || 17 |
| Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints || 9.6 || 3 || 85 || 60 |
| James Jones, WR, Packers || 10.9 || 0 || 78 || 100 |
| Recommended sits who made us look bad |
| Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Jets || 19.9 || 37 || 17 || 3 |
| Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills || 7.3 || 27 || 39 || 3 |
| Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs || 7.5 || 22 || 50 || 8 |