Fantasy Football is all about the matchups. Even though you drafted your team with certain hopes and intentions, your weekly lineup decisions shouldn't be determined by the order you picked your players in. You need to check who your players play and make sure you've got the right guys in -- and the wrong guys out.
It's too early to be absolutely sure on which matchups will be easy and which ones will be tough, but we can take some educated guesses based on healthy personnel, defensive schemes, track records and key details of offenses. The things we know can help us minimize the impact of the things we don't know. This should lead to better decisions being made.
We'll go through every game and highlight the players who aren't obvious starts and sits (because you don't need to be told to start Justin Jefferson). You should feel more comfortable starting or sitting players based on the information given, and feeling comfortable with your Fantasy lineup before the games start is the best feeling in the world.
All lines from Caesars Sportsbook.
- PAST FIVE: Carr has scored 20-plus Fantasy points in each, attempted at least 30 passes in each and thrown multiple touchdowns in each.
- RAMS: Opposing teams have averaged 33.75 pass attempts per game against them on the season, and only the Saints have attempted fewer than 37 passes against L.A. in its past five.
- RAMS: Deserve kudos for accumulating a strong 40.9% pass rush pressure rate in their first game without Aaron Donald. Defensive end Michael Hoecht and edge rusher Leonard Floyd accounted for half of the Rams' 20 pressures.
- RAIDERS: Have given up a pass rush pressure on 36.8% of their offensive snaps during Carr's five-game streak, a considerable amount but not too much higher than the 34.8% they've allowed on the season. Obviously Carr has adjusted -- his QB rating when pressured over those five games is 102.8.
- RAMS: Two of the past three QBs to play them have posted at least 28 Fantasy points (Andy Dalton and Geno Smith; Patrick Mahomes had 19).
- RAIDERS: Carr's been playing great ... okay, fine, Davante Adams has been playing great. That's helped. But it's about the Rams defense going from fabulous to faulty that makes Carr a reasonable starting option. I'd start him over Kirk Cousins, Tom Brady and Mike White.
- SINCE WEEK 7: Moreau is tied for the team lead in targets inside the 10 with Adams (three) and second in end-zone targets (five) behind Adams (six). Moreau has been an every-down player for the Raiders since Week 7 when he took over for Darren Waller.
- RAMS: The matchup is real good -- a tight end has at least 10 half-PPR points against L.A. in five of its past six. All of them caught a touchdown. It's not just studs -- even the likes of Noah Fant, Cade Otton and Juwan Johnson have scored.
- THE BAD NEWS: Moreau is strictly a touchdown-or-bust tight end. He has consistently seen low target volume (five or fewer in all but two games) and does not get much yardage (under 50 yards in every game this year). And, Moreau has scored just twice this season.
- RAIDERS: Let's be real, the only reason why you'd start Moreau is that you're stuck streaming a tight end, perhaps as a bye-week replacement. You'll have to hope he finds a touchdown, which is the case every week for him, but this time he's playing a team that's allowed a LOT of touchdowns to tight ends. If you're weighing him against other low-volume tight ends like Austin Hooper or Dawson Knox, you might as well go with the guy with the better matchup. I would put Hunter Henry ahead of him, however.
- LAST WEEK: Akers notched season-bests in snap rate (72%) and carries (17) with a pair of touchdowns. His rushing average collapsed from 4.5 in the first quarter to 2.7 in the final three quarters, but his role as the Rams' feature back (85% of the RB carries, played 3 of 4 snaps inside the 10) figures to remain his for at least a week. There's no evidence that Kyren Williams is a better runner.
- FILM: Last week was the best Akers has looked since 2020. He cut on a dime, had good vision, speed and balance along with just enough power to push for his short-yardage touchdowns. The biggest negative had nothing to do with him and everything to do with his O-line not consistently blocking well for him, which will be an issue until next year.
- RAIDERS: A RB has scored at least one touchdown on them in 5 of their past 6 games, and a RB has totaled 100-plus yards on them in 5 of their past 7 games. And, 7 of 8 rushers with at least 14 carries have put up at least 11 non-PPR Fantasy points against them. Akers has 14 carries in 2 of his past 3.
- RAIDERS: Have missed 31 tackles in their past five games (third-most in that span).
- RAMS: Trusting any Rams player isn't easy, but as low-end No. 2 RBs go, Akers should fit into lineups with some confidence, especially because of the matchup at home on a short week. I'd start him in any format over Devin Singletary and any Ravens RB, and he's palatable in non-PPR, but I would not get cute and start him over D'Onta Foreman, Dameon Pierce or Jeff Wilson.
Mike White QB
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #5
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
If you are starting Mike White this week, you're hoping he compiles enough numbers based on volume passing. There will be better weeks for that -- Buffalo's defense will make things tough. I'd rather start Tom Brady or Ryan Tannehill.
- LAST WEEK: His start against the Vikings began terribly with a tipped interception, another tipped near-INT, a number of off-target throws and nothing impressive until just before halftime. He then completed 17 of 31 passes for 248 yards in the second half (Garrett Wilson had 119 of those yards). Some of the throws were epic downfield tight-window tosses you wouldn't expect from a former Day 3 pick, but it shouldn't go unnoticed that White was 6 of 17 in the red zone in the half with no touchdowns.
- WHITE: Would have had 22 Fantasy points last week had Braxton Berrios hung on to a fourth-quarter, fourth-down pass flicked into his chest in the end zone.
- BILLS: Jared Goff and Jacoby Brissett became the second and third QBs to notch over 20 Fantasy points against them in 2022, and it came in the past three weeks. Mac Jones looked silly dinking and dunking against them last Thursday.
- QBs VS BILLS: Have averaged 35.4 pass attempts per game. Each of the past four have had 36 or more pass attempts.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #35
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Expect Knight to once again work as the primary runner for the Jets, giving up third-down work and the hurry-up offense to Ty Johnson. Since I expect the Jets to keep the game close, Knight's a candidate to score and pick up work in the passing game, though I'd be surprised if he topped 100 total yards again. I'm aggressively ranking him as a No. 2 Fantasy RB in PPR this week ahead of the Dolphins, Bills and Buccaneers RBs. He's lower in non-PPR.
- LAST WEEK: Finished with 118 total yards in his first start on 20 touches (five receptions). But it took a while for him to get going (3.5 yards per carry through the first three quarters; 11.0 yards per carry in the fourth thanks to a 48-yard left-end run). Knight also had three carries inside the 5-yard line where he was tackled at the 1 twice but in the end zone zero times.
- BILLS: Have begun folding against running backs over their past six games, giving up 5.0 yards per carry and five total touchdowns to the position. Rhamondre Stevenson had 5.4 yards per carry last Thursday.
- WEEK 9: Michael Carter and James Robinson split work against the Bills. Each scored -- Carter on a rush, Robinson on a short catch. Carter specifically had 6.3 yards per run. Mind you, this was with Zach Wilson at quarterback.
BUF Buffalo • #26
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Two problems are at play: One, there's too much uncertainty in the Bills run game to count on Singletary to for-sure come through, and two, there isn't much upside. View him as a low-end starter or a bye-week replacement at best. His low-ceiling status keeps him behind Dameon Pierce, Zonovan Knight, Jamaal Williams and Rachaad White in non-PPR, and all of those guys plus Leonard Fournette and Cook in full PPR.
- LAST WEEK: Despite scoring and delivering 11 Fantasy points, too much involvement from James Cook has made Singletary risky. Singletary played one more snap than Cook, the first time all year they've been this close to even in snaps. And, Cook was the better runner, besting Singletary in yards per carry along with yards before and after contact.
- LAST WEEK: The Bills revealed a formation where Nyheim Hines ran in motion with Cook in the backfield. They did it 12 times against the Patriots, and Cook averaged 6.0 yards per carry thanks to a 28-yard jaunt. If that was unique to their matchup against the Pats then it won't be seen much again, but if it's a new curveball they're going to use then it will absolutely take Singletary off the field and give opportunities to Cook.
- WEEK 9: Singletary totaled 48 yards and four catches in limited work in their loss at the Jets.
- HISTORY: Totaled three touchdowns against the Jets in two 2021 games, hasn't scored on them otherwise and has one career game with 100 total yards.
- JETS: Have allowed 4.4 yards per carry and two rushing touchdowns in their past two games (both last week). A rusher has posted at least 10 non-PPR Fantasy points in each of their past two.
- SINGLETARY: Has 13-plus carries in 6 of past 7 and a touchdown in three of his past four.
Gabe Davis WR
BUF Buffalo • #13
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Davis' role never really expanded like we had hoped, and now he's watching Stefon Diggs and even Isaiah McKenzie pick up shorter throws. Those will be the types of throws the Bills may have to settle for on Sunday, just as they did in Week 9 in New York. If you just can't stomach sitting Davis because of his upside, I get it, but at the very least consider your other options -- anyone with a consistent track record of getting 9 non-PPR/12 PPR points is worth taking over him. I'm ready to start Mike Evans, D.J. Moore, Marquise Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster over Davis in PPR.
- PAST FOUR: Davis has seen seven or more targets in 3 of his past 4, which isn't bad. He's had more than 12 PPR points once in those four, which is bad.
- DAVIS: Remains the downfield threat for the Bills passing game -- his ADOT has been north of 12.2 yards in all but two games this year, and 45% of his routes run have been 10 or fewer yards from the line of scrimmage.
- JETS: Have been outstanding both recently and all year defending passes to wideouts that travel 12-plus Air Yards. They rank top-five in defensive pass EPA, completions of 20-plus yards (21), completion rate (40.2%) and YAC/reception (2.77) allowed. Fun fact: In their past three games the Jets have given up a league-best 0.86 YAC/reception to receivers on throws of 12-plus yards.
- HISTORY: Davis has never scored on the Bills and has one game out of six with more than 39 yards (3-105-0 at the Jets last November). That includes a ridiculous 14 target game where he finished with a 3-39-0 stat line.
CLE Cleveland • #4
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
If Patrick Mahomes couldn't get more than 20 Fantasy points against the Bengals last week, what are the chances that Watson can this week? I expect Watson to be less rusty, but it's still a treacherous matchup. I'd rather start Jared Goff or Ryan Tannehill.
- LAST WEEK: Watson was clearly rusty and never seemed comfortable. He had a 22.7% off-target passing mark, worse than Kyle Allen, Brock Purdy and John Wolford, and he had only one completion good for 15 or more yards (a gem to Donovan Peoples-Jones for 27). To be fair, he also missed out on three possessions because the Browns defense scored twice and kick-return game scored once, leaving him with only 22 attempts.
- ALSO OF NOTE: Watson had seven carries but three were kneel-downs. He had 28 yards rushing on his four other carries, a nice sign that he's comfortable with that aspect of his game. So that's cool.
- BENGALS: The only QBs to notch more than 17 Fantasy points against the Bengals are Jacoby Brissett (who ran for a touchdown in Week 8 to finish with 22) and Patrick Mahomes (who had 20 Fantasy points last week). Cincy's allowed only 11 passing touchdowns this season and ranks top-five in completion rate against at 63.7%.
Nico Collins WR
HOU Houston • #12
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Getting Davis Mills back under center helps Collins, and as long as Brandin Cooks doesn't play, there's a chance here for Collins to exceed 10 PPR points. Could he get over 15? That seems tough to buy into, which is why he's more of a sleeper than a starter. There should most definitely be opportunities for Collins given Houston's likelihood to play from behind. He's worth trying over Tyler Boyd, Diontae Johnson and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
- LAST WEEK: Collins effectively operated as Houston's No. 1 receiver and saw 10 targets. Unfortunately they were only good for a 3-35-1 stat line, with two catches, 22 yards and the touchdown coming in the final four minutes of the game. Both catches were in tight coverage.
- COLLINS: Has at least a 22% target share in four straight games. In those four games he has seven red-zone targets and five end-zone targets. His PPR production in those games: 15, 9, 10, 12.
- WITH DAVIS MILLS: Collins had a below-average 59.6% catch rate but did average a modest 1.82 yards per route run, and a gaudy 14.4 yards per catch. Keep in mind, all of these numbers came while he shared the field with Brandin Cooks.
- COWBOYS: Are middle-of-the-pack in Fantasy points allowed to wide receivers and in several other metrics against outside receivers. They might be a little more susceptible to perimeter wideouts with cornerback Anthony Brown injured; Trevon Diggs has mostly stuck to one side of the field this season but did follow Michael Pittman when he lined up wide after Brown's injury last week. The same thing could happen this week to Collins. Diggs has given up a not-terrible 65.5% catch rate this season.
Dak Prescott QB
DAL Dallas • #4
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
The worry for Prescott is that he might have an efficient game where he's not needed to throw a ton to take down an opponent. Houston is legitimately that bad. And, we've already seen two games from Prescott this season where he's played fine but didn't deliver huge Fantasy points (Week 7 vs. Detroit, Week 12 vs. the Giants, and even Week 13 vs. the Colts wasn't great). He's still startable, but passers with upside like Geno Smith, Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff are preferred.
- PRESCOTT: Has been playing marvelously -- a 71% completion rate, 0.23 EPA per dropback, 7.8 yards per attempt and a touchdown every 14 pass attempts (and 30.5 pass attempts per game). He's been excellent.
- TEXANS: Have been atrocious defensively, but have been especially bad against the run. Opponents have averaged 28.2 RB rush attempts per game against them (more than anyone in the NFL by effectively 3.5 rushes per game).
- TEXANS: Rank bottom-12 in pass yards allowed per game, and I'm using the term "allowed" here loosely. Quarterbacks versus Houston have averaged 29.6 pass attempts per game (third-fewest in the NFL). They simply don't throw enough to post a ton of numbers, which can be problematic for Fantasy.
Kirk Cousins QB
MIN Minnesota • #8
Age: 34 • Experience: 11 year
There's no doubt the Lions defense is getting better, but offenses are still throwing downfield on them even though the squad is getting well north of a 30% pressure rate pretty much every week. It still sets up Cousins to have a good stat line with an outside shot at an epic one. Assuming a floor of 22 Fantasy points, Cousins is an easy start over Dak Prescott (low ceiling against Houston) and Tom Brady.
- LAST WEEK: Cousins started the game 1 for 8 passing and didn't play like his normal self against the Jets, completing 60% of his passes for just 4.9 yards per attempt. His off-target rate was 14.3% (11th-highest), and in fact his off-target rate in his past four games is 11.7% (ninth-highest).
- COUSINS: Has one good game in his past four -- an improbable 299-yard, three-touchdown effort against the Patriots on Thanksgiving. He struggled otherwise against the Bills, Cowboys and Jets, three very good defenses.
- LIONS: Have allowed the most Fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Signal-callers have notched 26 or more Fantasy points against them in three of their past four games, and all but four passers have 22 or more this season, including Cousins in Week 3 (260 yards, two touchdowns, no turnovers).
- HISTORY: Cousins has multiple passing touchdowns in 4 of his past 5 against the Lions and at least 250 passing yards in four straight. He's dominated the Lions specifically in Detroit, posting at least 23 Fantasy points in each of four games there while with Minnesota.
Adam Thielen WR
MIN Minnesota • #19
Age: 32 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Candidly, you should start Cousins if you think he can score, or if you think he can beat the Lions secondary several times. I'm not convinced he can do either of those things, but because the game figures to be high scoring, there's a chance for it. You could flex Thielen but I'd rather take my shots with upside receivers like Gabe Davis, Darius Slayton and Nico Collins.
- LAST WEEK: After seeing a slew of short targets the game before, Thielen went right back to working further downfield and seeing more contested and, frankly, off-target throws from Cousins.
- THIELEN: Isn't a burner like he used to be, so his coverage is always going to be tighter on downfield throws compared to shorter ones where he can run a slick route and get open for a second or two. The exception is when he's running wide open like he found himself late last week on a 25-yard reception against Cover-2 coverage.
- LIONS: Are improving against the pass and aren't seeing teams chuck it further downfield like they did at the beginning of the season, but they're getting thrown on a lot -- 27.3 targets per game just to receivers in their past three. The good news for them (and not for Thielen) is that they're holding receivers to a 61.9% catch rate (ninth-lowest), 12.9 yards per catch (just about league average) and 3.94 YAC/reception (a little better than league average). They've improved across the board compared to the beginning of the season thanks to some personnel decisions and a strong pass rush.
- WEEK 3: Thielen scored for the first time in 2022 on the Lions, adding six grabs for 61 yards with it.
- HISTORY: Thielen has three career touchdown catches in 16 games against Detroit, and only the one in Week 3 since 2019. In fact, Thielen has five or fewer catches in 7 of his past 8 against them. And it's not because their defense has been so good, it's because they've been able to find other ways to move the ball.
Jared Goff QB
DET Detroit • #16
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
It's always tough to trust Goff, but the matchup sets up perfectly for him. His receiving corps is deep (not to mention fast), his pass protection is mostly good, he's been playing moderately well of late and he's in a game with potential to be high-scoring. The biggest worry is having Detroit's running backs steal short-yardage touchdowns from him! I'm happy to call Goff a top-12 quarterback this week worth starting ahead of Tyler Huntley, Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson.
- GOFF: Has thrown two touchdowns in consecutive games, getting pretty good passing volume in each (35-plus attempts including the blowout win last week). He hasn't thrown an interception in four straight. It helps that his receiving corps is as stocked as ever with Amon-Ra St. Brown thriving, D'Andre Swift's reps increasing, D.J. Chark back and rookie Jameson Williams beginning to see a little playing time.
- VIKINGS: Didn't allow a passing touchdown last week, but should have given up one if not two to the Jets. Definitely allowed over 300 yards passing for the fourth-straight week. Minnesota's allowed at least 21 Fantasy points to 5 of the past 7 QBs it's taken on.
- VIKINGS: Are among the worst at defending running backs through the air, allowing an 89% catch rate, 9.2 yards per catch and a gaudy 10.16 YAC/reception to RBs in their past four. All three stats rank in the bottom quadrant of the league, and it's been a consistent problem all year. The Lions RBs totaled a 29% target share last week against Jacksonville and should be right about there this week too. That helps Goff.
- WEEK 3: Goff was pretty pedestrian, throwing for 277 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Swift got hurt in the middle of the game, Chark got hurt late in the game, St. Brown wasn't special and T.J. Hockenson accounted for his only score. The offense is more explosive now.
- HISTORY: Only has one amazing game out of three against the Vikings while with the Lions (Week 13 last year), but he has attempted at least 35 passes in each meeting and has at least 275 yards in each of his past two.
BAL Baltimore • #2
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
You'll have to decide if Huntley's potential as a rusher is worth the risk of starting, especially knowing that he's not an aggressive passer, nor that he has a favorable matchup. I would rather start Ryan Tannehill or Mac Jones.
- LAST WEEK: Admirably replaced Lamar Jackson to help lead the Ravens to a win, completing 84% of his 32 throws, but for just 5.8 yards per attempt. Of his 32 attempts, just two traveled 16-plus Air Yards downfield and eight traveled 10-plus Air Yards downfield. Also, he was pressured on 36.8% of his dropbacks.
- FILM: Huntley had messy footwork but it might have been because he was thrown into game action. He impressed with a number of downfield accurate reads. Notably, he threw well on the run. However, his interception came when he was pressured and he tried to chuck the ball out of bounds and didn't put enough into it.
- HUNTLEY: Figures to be a factor on the ground (40-plus rush yards in every NFL game he's played meaningful snaps in), but his reluctance to challenge downfield last week was mostly in line with his 2021 play (27% of his attempts in 2021 went 10-plus Air Yards, 15% went 16-plus Air Yards). He figures to potentially make mistakes when he's pressured, too (he had four interceptions and three fumbles lost in his five games as the main Ravens QB in 2021).
- STEELERS: Have held enemy QBs to 19 or fewer Fantasy points in three of their past four (since T.J. Watt came back). The only one to succeed is the only good one they've faced: Joe Burrow. It should be noted the Steelers have not had a pass rush pressure rate higher than 33.3% in any game since Watt's return, which is surprising.
- STEELERS: Mike Tomlin always seems to have his defense ready to take on running quarterbacks -- only seven have run for over 50 yards against them, and only nine have scored on them since the start of the 2016 season.
- HISTORY: Huntley played the Steelers in the final game of 2021 and completed 51% of his throws for 141 yards (4.55 yards per attempt) and two interceptions with 12-72-0 on the ground. You may also be interested to know that Lamar Jackson has never had 20 or more Fantasy points against the Steelers in three career games.
PIT Pittsburgh • #14
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
I want to love Pickens, but the Ravens are so clearly a tough matchup. Tack on Kenny Pickett making his first-ever start in this hard-fought, low-scoring series, and there's no reason to push Pickens into lineups. Give me receivers with upside like D.J. Chark and Mack Hollins, and in PPR, even Diontae Johnson.
- LAST WEEK: Played the lowest snap rate of the season (68%) as the Steelers opted for a ground attack, especially in the second half (nine pass attempts in the second half for Kenny Pickett). By my count, Pickett missed five opportunities to throw to Pickens in 1-on-1 coverage including once in the end zone. It was a frustrating game.
- PICKENS: Has six or fewer targets in seven straight games. The 2 of 6 games he scored in are the only ones he's had more than 10 PPR points. Diontae Johnson, meanwhile, has eight or more targets in consecutive games.
- RAVENS: Since Week 4, only two wide receivers have amassed over 10 non-PPR/15 PPR points against Baltimore. Luminaries like Stefon Diggs, Ja'Marr Chase, Amari Cooper, Chris Godwin, Christian Kirk and Jerry Jeudy have been foiled for fewer Fantasy points.
TEN Tennessee • #85
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
It's a massive leap of faith to trust Okonkwo, but the matchup is right, and if there's no Treylon Burks, the Titans will find themselves thin on bigger targets for Ryan Tannehill to lean on. I suspect he could see a good dose of playing time and deliver a modest Fantasy total. You might be okay with that if your other options are Tyler Conklin, Dawson Knox or Tyler Higbee.
- WHO IS THIS? The Titans' fourth-round pick, Chigoziem "Chig" Okonkwo, broke out in his final season at Maryland after missing pretty much all of his junior year. He was a reliable short-area target who was much more utilized as a receiver than as a blocker.
- LAST WEEK: Ran 20 routes, a season high, likely because Treylon Burks got hurt early in the game. It was one fewer route than Austin Hooper ran.
- FILM: Okonkwo's a smooth runner with big size, which seems to be the kind of player the Titans look for in their passing game. He lines up all over the place, including a pretty decent chunk of time in the slot and out wide. Most of his routes are short.
- OKONKWO: It's not much, but Okonkwo has five targets in consecutive games. More significantly, he has a reception of 30-plus yards in four of his past five games. It gets better: Okonkwo leads all qualifying tight ends with a 2.78 yards per route run average, and he has seen a target once every four routes.
- JAGUARS: Have allowed at least nine half-PPR points to multiple tight ends in two of their past three games.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #86
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
The Giants scored 23 points in two games against the Eagles last year, and the Eagles defense is better this year. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Slayton see a bunch of targets, but that doesn't mean he's going to feast. I'm not even sure he's safe for 10 PPR points, but his upside to score big on one or two plays keeps him in the mix as a flex. I'd rather start Josh Palmer, Marquise Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Nico Collins.
- SLAYTON: Has at least 86 receiving yards in three of his past four games, eight-plus targets in two of his past three, at least 8 non-PPR points in four of his past 6 and at least 11 PPR points in five of his past 6. He's not turning into Plaxico Burress or Odell Beckham of old, but he's working out as the Giants' top receiver.
- SLAYTON: His ADOT has been north of 12.0 yards in 4 of his past 6 (one game it wasn't was the Houston matchup where Daniel Jones threw less than 20 times). His role has also changed some as his snaps in the slot have increased to 40.3% in his past four games compared to 17.6% in his first seven.
- EAGLES: Have allowed 18.1 yards per catch (league-highest) and 6.53 YAC/reception (fourth-highest) to slot receivers in their past three. These have been games without nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox, and most recently without DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Maddox's return this week would boost the unit, though on the season they've still struggled containing slot guys after the catch (5.77).
- EAGLES: Have allowed 8.3 yards per catch (league-best) and 2.82 YAC/reception (eighth-best) to outside receivers in their past three. These numbers have been right about in line with how they've done against outside wideouts all year.
- EAGLES: Of the 13 wide receivers who have seen at least eight targets against Philly this year, only five have scored at least 10 non-PPR/15 PPR Fantasy points. That's a low number.
KC Kansas City • #10
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
I'm definitely giving Pacheco plenty of credit for his past few games, just like Andy Reid has given Pacheco opportunities in those same games. It shouldn't be too hard to envision the Chiefs building a big lead this week, nor should it be too hard to figure Pacheco gets the opportunities to handle running downs before the game is in hand and well after. He'll be in my starting lineup over Dameon Pierce, Jamaal Williams, and in non-PPR, both Buccaneers running backs.
- PACHECO: Still splitting reps with mostly Jerick McKinnon, but the rookie has at least 14 carries and at least 80 total yards in each of his past four games with a touchdown in each of his past two. Since taking a hold of a meaningful role in the Chiefs offense starting in Week 10, Pacheco has averaged 4.8 yards per carry with 34.3% of his runs good for five or more yards (tied for 11th-best among all RBs with at least 40 carries).
- FILM: Pacheco has a great burst to give the Chiefs a much-needed change-up in their run game. He almost never seems to take a loss on his runs (six carries of zero/negative yards in his past four) and has a knack for picking up numbers after contact (2.90 yards after contact per rush in his past four). Pacheco seems to be especially effective running inside of the tackle box (5.4 yards per carry in his past four).
- BRONCOS: Have given up 4.8 yards per carry to running backs on runs inside of the tackle box this season.
- BRONCOS: Over their past four games they've held running backs to 3.9 yards per carry and zero rushing touchdowns. That's great, but they've also been run on. After smothering Derrick Henry in Week 10, Josh Jacobs and D'Onta Foreman pulverized them for over 100 rush yards each. Baltimore's sluggish run game averaged 3.1 yards per tote in Week 13.
- BRONCOS: Have seen enemy running backs average 21.9 carries per game over the season, but that's ballooned up to 25.4 RB rush attempts per game against them, and it includes the Ravens' abandoning of their run game last week. Point is, if the Broncos offense doesn't put up points, Pacheco should lead the Chiefs run game in the second half.
CAR Carolina • #33
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
I believe Seattle's run defense will struggle with Foreman, just as they've struggled with other good running backs this year. It should create a good situation for Foreman to break some long runs and plop into the end zone when the Panthers get close. I'd start him over Miles Sanders, Travis Etienne and Zonovan Knight.
- FOREMAN: Has over 110 rush yards in four of his past six games with at least 15 carries in each of those four. The flipside is that he's been invisible (under 30 total yards) in those other two games -- both losses by 10-plus points.
- SEAHAWKS: Pete Carroll's quest to try and fix the Seahawks run game took a step forward last week, but not before giving up some decent yardage to Cam Akers and the Rams in the first quarter. Overall, they've been steamrolled for over 100 rush yards to a back in 2 of their past three games, and allowed at least one score to a RB in five of their past six. They still have a lot of work to do.
- SEAHAWKS: In their past four, running backs have specifically picked up 1.68 yards before contact and a whopping 3.56 yards after contact per rush. Both rank in the bottom-10 but the after-contact number is bottom-three while the before-contact has been an issue all year.
- FOREMAN: Since becoming a key part of the Panthers offense in Week 7, Foreman has been top-20 in yards before contact (1.44) and top-11 in yards after contact (3.18) per rush. His fierce, physical style is a bad matchup for the Seahawks.
D.J. Moore WR
CAR Carolina • #2
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Unlike their last game, I don't expect the Panthers to build a lead and cruise to a victory. In fact, it should be the opposite, which means more passing for Carolina. Moore's track record with Sam Darnold should kick down the door for Moore to score big for Fantasy managers. I'd start him over Mike Evans, Amari Cooper and both top 49ers wide receivers.
- LAST GAME: Moore ran only 20 routes because the Panthers built a lead they never relinquished against the Broncos' pathetic offense. Sam Darnold attempted just six second-half passes. Moore had a 23.5-yard ADOT, his highest of the season and his second game of the year over 11.5 yards. A 35.3% target share from Sam Darnold didn't hurt, either.
- ROUTES: On top of the improved ADOT, it's worth noting Moore's average route depth has hit 10.0 or more yards in four of his past five games. It's a change from earlier this year when he was in the 8-to-9 yard range.
- DARNOLD: Going back to their time together in 2021, Moore has earned a target share north of 20% in each of 13 games together, and above 30% in 8 of 13 games! It's elite territory! And just for the record, Moore has seen 11 red-zone targets and nine end-zone targets from Darnold in those 13 games.
- SEAHAWKS: Rank in the top-10 in Fantasy points allowed to wide receivers, which isn't great. But in their past three games against the Bucs, Raiders and Rams they've given up 12.9 yards per catch to receivers, more than a full yard higher than their season-average of 11.5. Three receivers have scored in those games. Moreover, the leading target-getter against Seattle this season has hit or topped 14 PPR points in 8 of 12 games.
Mike Evans WR
TB Tampa Bay • #13
Age: 29 • Experience: 9 yrs.
The Buccaneers don't seem to stand much of a chance if they're going to run the ball. The Niners are too strong there. Brady's been firing to the tune of 43.7 pass attempts per game this season and should hit that number on Sunday. It should give Evans plenty of opportunities to connect. It's that volume that keeps Evans in Fantasy lineups as a low-end No. 2 Fantasy receiver. His upside is solely tied to that volume, so be aware that the downside remains an issue. I'd rather start Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and DeVonta Smith, but I'd take Evans over D.J. Moore, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Gabe Davis.
- LAST WEEK: Evans didn't even see a target until the end of the first half when he had a completion overturned (which means he didn't actually have an official target until the third quarter). It wasn't as if the Saints were double-covering Evans -- they hardly did -- it had more to do with Tom Brady continuing to throw quickly after the snap to negate any pass rush. He just tried more throws downfield in the second half.
- EVANS: Had four targets last week, catching them all for 59 yards. Despite that, he's still among the top-20 receivers this season in targets and receiving yards. And of all receivers with at least 50 receptions, Evans ranks second in ADOT (13.17) and 11th in end-zone targets (eight).
- 49ERS: Have allowed a receiver to hit 15 PPR Fantasy points 10 times this year. Of the 10, eight had at least eight targets. That seems to be the magic number.
- EVANS: Has at least eight targets in 6 of his past 9 games.
- HISTORY: Including last week, there have been four times in 2022 when Mike Evans has seen six or fewer targets. In the week following the first three occasions, Evans bounced back to see 10, 15, and nine targets from Brady. It's a trend that we've seen happen almost every single time Evans has had a low-target game since Brady's arrived in Tampa.
Jeff Wilson RB
MIA Miami • #23
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
There's great potential for both Dolphins backs to have solid games in Week 14, but if I had to pick one I'd pick Wilson. He's more versatile and has simply played better when given his opportunities. It's not to say Mostert's been worse, but there's probably a lean from the Dolphins coaching staff to not put too much on his plate given his track record of injuries. Still, Mostert works as a bye-week replacement RB and non-PPR flex. I'd use him over Jerick McKinnon and Kareem Hunt. Wilson is a stronger Fantasy option who I'd call a No. 2 RB ahead of both Buccaneers RBs and Jamaal Williams.
- LAST WEEK: Wilson barely played. Seriously. He had his lowest snap rate since being traded to Miami (37%) and had one 3-yard carry and two catchless targets against the 49ers' impossibly tough run defense. The Dolphins called eight run plays and 34 pass plays. They knew who they were playing.
- MIKE McDANIEL: The Dolphins coach lamented this week that he needed to run the ball more and proclaimed it would be up to him to make sure both Wilson and Raheem Mostert get more involved moving forward.
- DOLPHINS: There have been only two games where Wilson and Mostert have played complete games. One of them was against the 49ers -- Mostert played 60% of the snaps but was a non-factor. The other was against the Bears, which was Wilson's first game with the Dolphins. He had more touches than Mostert then; in fact, Mostert hasn't had more than 12 touches in a game since Wilson arrived (that includes his Week 10 outing against the Browns he got hurt in after totaling 87 yards and a touchdown). We might see a hot-hand approach, but it's been Wilson who has been more efficient on the ground, through the air, and inside the 10-yard line since Week 9.
- CHARGERS: Are among the best matchups for any run game. They've allowed the second-most Fantasy points to running backs and the absolute most rush yards per carry to RBs on the year. In their past 11 games, a running back has had at least 10 non-PPR points 10 times.
Mac Jones QB
NE New England • #10
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Trusting Mac Jones is difficult to do, particularly if his top receiver, Jakobi Meyers, does not play in the game. But there's upside here given how bad the Cardinals defense has played. Plus, the Patriots know they stunk on offense last week, they should be focused to bounce back this week. We know Jones can play well, we all saw it on Thanksgiving. I'd give Jones a shot over Deshaun Watson, Ryan Tannehill and Tyler Huntley.
- LAST WEEK: The Patriots didn't call for many downfield pass attempts for Jones, who finished with a 6.13 ADOT despite getting sacked once and having 3.25 seconds to throw on average. Of his 32 attempts, 27 traveled 15 or fewer Air Yards and 22 traveled 10 or fewer Air Yards.
- THE WEEK BEFORE: Played outstanding against the Vikings' zone-heavy defense, completing 72% of his passes for 382 yards (9.79 yards per attempt) and two scores.
- THE WEEK BEFORE THAT: Jones diced up the Jets with an 85.2% completion rate and 9.11 yards per attempt, but didn't throw any touchdowns. An efficient outing in what wound up being a low-scoring game.
- CARDINALS: Are among the best at defending passes of 16-plus Air Yards, and among the worst at defending passes of 15 or fewer Air Yards. Specifically, they rank bottom-five in short passes attempted against per game (32.3), catch rate allowed (76.2%), defensive pass EPA per dropback (-0.17), yards per catch allowed (6.98 - remember, it's only on short throws), and YAC/reception (6.16).
- JONES: Like it or not, Jones is averaging 27.5 pass attempts per game that travel inside of 15 Air Yards. It's a big part of the Patriots offense, and for at least this week, it should be successful.
- CARDINALS: Have seen five of the past six QBs faced attain at least 24 Fantasy points. Three of the six had over 30 Fantasy points. The only passer to not get there in the last six games was John Wolford.