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USATSI

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. You need to check who your players play and make sure you've got the right guys in -- and the wrong guys out.

At this stage we can be confident in which matchups will be easy and which ones will be tough and 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 Christian McCaffrey). 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.

Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Thu, Dec 21 at 8:15 pm ET •
LAR -4, O/U 46

At 41.6 per game, no defense has seen more pass attempts over the past six weeks than the Rams. Literally all but one team (Washington) threw the ball at least 40 times. It's happening for multiple reasons, the largest of which, predictably, are a very good Rams run defense and a not-as-good Rams pass defense. Derek Carr dealt with an aggressive pass rush last week almost perfectly but didn't attack downfield very much, often settling for shorter throws. I suspect he'll do a lot of that this week as the Saints are forced to ditch the run into the second half. It's also worth mentioning that in its past five games L.A. has allowed a pretty high catch rate to running backs (87.1%) but have remained excellent at limiting plays after the catch (4.6 yards per catch, 5.2 Yards After Catch per reception, or YAC/reception, in those past five). 

  • STARTS: Kyren Williams, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, Alvin Kamara, Matthew Stafford (low-end QB1), Taysom Hill (low-end TE1)
  • SITS: Demarcus Robinson, Tutu Atwell, Tyler Higbee, Juwan Johnson, both DSTs
  • SLEEPERS: Rashid Shaheed (low-end WR3 with upside if Chris Olave is out)
Start Him in Non-PPR (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NO New Orleans • #7
Age: 33 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAR LAR -4 O/U 46
OPP VS QB
11th
PROJ PTS
8.1
QB RNK
NR
YTD Stats
PAYDS
72
RUYDS
347
TD
6
INT
0
FPTS/G
9.4
Perhaps we should have been more cautious with Hill in his first game back from his foot injury -- last Sunday he played just 12 snaps and had a measly two touches with a pass attempt. He was as quick as ever in the game, nor did he shy away from contact. This week he's not on the Saints injury report, and the short week combined with very little usage the week before could spell an uptick in work. One problem: The Rams have been mostly terrific against the run in their past five games (3.9 yards per carry to running backs, which Hill should be classified as) with one rushing touchdown allowed (to Kyler Murray). There's no guarantee that Hill will be back to his usual snap count, which has been around 28.1 per game though his first 12, but if he's healthier than he should be more involved, especially in a short-week matchup. He remains start-worthy in non-PPR as a touchdown-needy tight end, good enough to go with over Darren Waller, Dalton Schultz and Kyle Pitts, but in PPR he should sit for those guys.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sat, Dec 23 at 4:30 pm ET •
PIT +2, O/U 37

Indy's running backs totaled 31 PPR points against the Steelers, New England's had 27, and Arizona's had 25. These are stark contrasts to the 8.0 PPR points Joe Mixon had against Pittsburgh in Week 12. The reality is that the Steelers had a number of injuries impact their front seven, and more injuries will further deplete this once-strong unit. Not only is a possible shake-up coming among the inside linebackers, but one is definitely happening at both safety spots with Minkah Fitzpatrick out and Damontae Kazee suspended. The Bengals aren't dopes -- they're going to go after the middle of this defense much like other teams have. In the three games since the Steelers matchup Mixon has averaged 20.7 touches and 22.1 PPR points per game while Chase Brown has averaged 10 touches and 11.2 PPR points per. 

  • STARTS: Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins, Diontae Johnson (PPR flex or WR3)
  • SITS: George Pickens, Najee Harris (low-end non-PPR flex), Tyler Boyd, Tanner Hudson, Pat Freiermuth
  • SLEEPERS: Jaylen Warren (low-end PPR flex), Chase Brown (low-end PPR flex)
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CIN Cincinnati • #5
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ PIT CIN -2.5 O/U 38
OPP VS WR
11th
PROJ PTS
12
WR RNK
22nd
YTD Stats
REC
36
TAR
66
REYDS
497
TD
4
FPTS/G
11
Jake Browning came alive last week because he started pelting Higgins with targets, pushing his passing metrics to new season-highs while Higgins himself reaped a near-30% target share in the fourth quarter and overtime (some of that with Ja'Marr Chase on the field). Chase is out for at least one game, paving the way for Higgins to be the Bengals' top receiver. While it's possible, if not likely, for Joey Porter Jr. to shadow Higgins in coverage, it's definite that the Steelers will start two new safeties. Higgins is also the big-bodied type of receiver who can pull down contested catches against anybody. Really it's the opportunity to see a ton of targets from a better-than-expected quarterback that gives Higgins appeal as a WR2 ahead of Terry McLaurin, Zay Flowers and any Steelers WR.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sat, Dec 23 at 8:00 pm ET •
LAC +12, O/U 44

James Cook has averaged 21 touches per game, 141.0 total yards per game and 24.1 PPR points per game in four matchups since Joe Brady has taken over. Given the way Zamir White and Ameer Abdullah churned through the Chargers last week, it's a pretty safe bet the Bills will ride their run game some more. That should unsurprisingly cement the Chargers into a pass-heavy game script, but in the past three weeks Austin Ekeler has played just 63% of the team's snaps when they've thrown the ball. Ekeler has one game in his past five (two weeks ago versus Denver) where he's had even more than 10 PPR points. There is a concern he won't dominate touches, a concern that hurts how the Chargers offense operates. 

  • STARTS: Josh Allen, James Cook, Stefon Diggs (WR2), Austin Ekeler (RB2), Bills DST
  • SITS: Gerald Everett (high-end TE2), Dalton Kincaid (high-end TE2), Quentin Johnston, Gabe Davis, Dawson Knox, Easton Stick, Chargers DST
  • SLEEPERS: Josh Palmer (low-end WR3 with upside)
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
BUF Buffalo • #86
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAC BUF -12.5 O/U 44
OPP VS TE
25th
PROJ PTS
9.8
TE RNK
13th
YTD Stats
REC
61
TAR
74
REYDS
495
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.3
Dalton Kincaid's Week 15 donut isn't about wearing the wrong gloves or him fading out of the offense -- he simply wasn't needed as the game unfolded and the Bills overpowered the Cowboys with the run game. He played a sizable chunk of the first three quarters (57%), though it was less than normal for him before he basically sat out the fourth. Problem is, it's tough to envision Easton Stick's offense matching the Bills on the scoreboard, so what's stopping the Bills from having a similar type of game script this week at the Chargers, especially if the Bolts run defense can't rebound? And while the Chargers allow a 76% catch rate to all tight ends, they've allowed just five to score while giving up a near-league average 10.6 yards per catch. The workload makes me nervous to trust Kincaid, especially since his past three games with five or more catches resulted in 10, 8 and 7 full-PPR points. I'd rather roll the dice on Isaiah Likely, Darren Waller, Kyle Pitts and Gerald Everett, all of whom figure to be running more routes than Kincaid this week.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET •
ATL -1, O/U 44.5

Arthur Smith admitted after last week's loss that the team got too conservative offensively. The larger issues were that they ran the ball without much success because three starting linemen were out and the defense couldn't get off the field in the final seven-plus minutes of the game. In two games since Grover Stewart's return to the D-line, the Colts have allowed just 3.5 yards per carry to running backs but have gotten gashed through the air. We've seen the Falcons give Bijan Robinson targets in games against tough run defenses (Detroit and Washington much earlier this year, Tampa Bay and New Orleans more recently), so the hope is that he gets those chances on Sunday. Taylor Heinicke threw 22.4% of his targets to running backs over his 74 attempts this season -- a good number, but just a smidge lower than Desmond Ridder's 23.5%. 

  • STARTS: Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman, Bijan Robinson (high-end RB2), Drake London (WR2), Kyle Pitts (low-end TE1)
  • SITS: Jonnu Smith, Josh Downs, Alec Pierce, Taylor Heinicke
  • SLEEPER: Gardner Minshew (mid-range QB2)
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET •
CAR +5, O/U 37.5

Green Bay wasn't forced to abandon the run in the second half last week against Tampa Bay, but they did anyway, throwing on 81.3% of those third- and fourth-quarter snaps. That wasn't the first time Matt LaFleur leaned into Jordan Love's arm in the second half, but it was the first time it was this egregious. LaFleur lamented not using Aaron Jones more in the second half but prioritizing him this week could be a challenge. That's because the Panthers run defense has come alive with 3.7 yards per rush to RBs in its past five games, 3.4 in its past three and 2.1 last week against the Falcons last week! If Carolina had a shred of consistency in its pass game then this could be a problematic spot for the Packers. 

  • STARTS: Aaron Jones, Chuba Hubbard (low-end RB2), Packers DST
  • SITS: Jordan Love (high-end QB2), Romeo Doubs, Jonathan Mingo, Bryce Young, Panthers DST
  • SLEEPERS: Dontayvion Wicks (flex or WR3), Adam Thielen (solid WR3 in PPR), Tucker Kraft (high-end TE2 in PPR) 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET •
HOU +2.5, O/U 40

Joe Flacco has at least 44 pass attempts in each of his three starts, and with the matchup being what it is, odds are the Browns will continue to ride his arm (even after three interceptions last week against Chicago). Despite not playing with C.J. Stroud last week, the Texans stayed pretty balanced until they were in a pass-first situation in the fourth quarter. That mentality makes sense given the limited personnel they have available, but the Browns were so much better against the pass last week with Denzel Ward on the field in obvious passing situations and improved against the run overall in their last two (2.5 yards per carry, two runs of 10-plus yards allowed, one rushing touchdown). It creates a difficult spot for the Texans' depleted offense. 

  • STARTS: David Njoku, Amari Cooper, Nico Collins (WR2), Devin Singletary (fringe RB2), Browns DST
  • SITS: Dalton Schultz, Jerome Ford, Kareem Hunt, Elijah Moore, Case Keenum, Texans DST
  • SLEEPERS: Joe Flacco (fringe QB1), Noah Brown (low-end WR3 or PPR flex)
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
IND Indianapolis • #15
Age: 39 • Experience: 18 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ HOU CLE -2.5 O/U 40
OPP VS QB
6th
PROJ PTS
16.8
QB RNK
14th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
939
RUYDS
-2
TD
7
INT
5
FPTS/G
22.5
The good news is that Flacco has used high passing volume (at least 44 pass attempts in three starts) to notch back-to-back-to-back 20-plus-point Fantasy games. The bad news is that Flacco looks every bit like a near-39-year-old quarterback who's barely played pro football this year. Last week I counted three passes that should have been intercepted, not including a pass batted down behind the line of scrimmage nor the gutsy throw Flacco hit Amari Cooper on for his long touchdown (or his actual three interceptions, though one wasn't on him). Flacco's pass velocity is waning, and his lack of mobility will eventually catch up with him. However, this Texans defense is expected to be without edge rusher Will Anderson and safety Jimmie Ward. Both are significant losses but in five games with Ward off the field the Texans allowed a 68.7% completion rate, 8.1 yards per attempt, 6.2 YAC/reception and five passing touchdowns. Those numbers are worse than the Commanders' season-long pass defense metrics, and you know how ugly of a defense they've been. It's just enough to buy into the pass-heavy Flacco for one more week. I'd start him over Russell Wilson, Gardner Minshew and Kyler Murray.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET •
MIN +3, O/U 47

The Lions pass defense has been awful for a while, but the return of safety and part-time nickel corner C.J. Gardner-Johnson would be huge. He's a thumper with ball-hawking traits who could make the middle of the field treacherous for quarterbacks. Fortunately for Mullens, attacking the sidelines is something he's capable of doing and might be asked to do more of given the matchups along the perimeter. It feels unlikely that Ty Chandler will carry as much of the offense this week considering the Lions' run defense is better than the Bengals' depleted unit he faced last week. That should tilt the Vikings offense toward throwing more. 

  • STARTS: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Justin Jefferson, Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, T.J. Hockenson, David Montgomery (better in non-PPR), Ty Chandler (low-end RB2), Jordan Addison (high-end flex or WR3), Jared Goff
  • SITS: Jameson Williams, both DSTs
  • SLEEPERS: Nick Mullens (low-end QB1)
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET •
NYJ -3, O/U 37

Pretty much every quarterback has taken advantage of the Commanders' defense since they traded away key pass rushers at midseason. If the Jets start Trevor Siemian, I'm not sure they can keep the trend going. Siemian has been a nightmare, completing 48.7% of his passes for 4.5 yards per attempt with a sickening 28.2% off-target rate. And just so it's in here: Garrett Wilson has an 11.4% target per route run rate over 44 pass plays with Siemian this season. That's ... not good. My hunch is that the Jets will aim to get their run game going in this equally easy matchup for Breece Hall. If Siemian can put some completions up off of the run game, so be it, but it's hard to count on it even in a favorable matchup. 

  • STARTS: Breece Hall (RB2), Garrett Wilson (fringe WR2), Curtis Samuel (high-end WR3 or flex in PPR), Terry McLaurin (high-end WR3 or flex), Jets DST
  • SITS: Antonio Gibson (high-end RB3 in PPR), Tyler Conklin, Commanders DST, both QBs
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET •
TEN +2.5, O/U 41.5

When Geno Smith has played, Seattle has thrown the ball at least 60% of the time each week except in two home 10-point wins (Week 3 vs. Carolina, Week 7 vs. Arizona). Given the Titans' run defense issues since losing massive D-tackle Jeffrey Simmons (5.1 yards per rush) along with the Titans offense seemingly downgrading with Ryan Tannehill back under center, I wonder if the Seahawks will try to ease Smith back in and lean again on Kenneth Walker. The matchup is great with Simmons and several other Titans starters out; the only issue is that Walker had 22 touches on Monday and will be on the road on a short week. It shouldn't be enough to be worried about Walker, but if he's still on fire then it's another reason to worry about Smith throwing a bunch. 

  • STARTS: Kenneth Walker, DK Metcalf, DeAndre Hopkins (high-end WR3), Derrick Henry (RB2)
  • SITS: Tyler Lockett (low-end WR3), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (low-end WR3 in PPR), Chig Okonkwo, Treylon Burks, Tyjae Spears (desperation RB3 in PPR), both DSTs, Ryan Tannehill
  • SLEEPER: Geno Smith
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
BAL Baltimore • #22
Age: 30 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SEA SEA -2.5 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
15th
PROJ PTS
13.7
RB RNK
20th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
884
REC
27
REYDS
203
TD
11
FPTS/G
14.4
Henry's workload has definitely been in line with predicted game scripts but circumstances and a poor O-line have really altered his statistical results. Henry remains a big part of Tennessee's offense and is their plow horse at the goal line (most of the time). But the line in front of him has been terrible in his past two games, and their inability to create space has made Henry slower to read and react before defenders tee off on him. I don't think there's much doubt that Henry will see a good amount of work again this week in what should be a fairly close game. The Seahawks have allowed 4.8 yards per carry in their past five, though three of those games were against the Eagles and two against the Niners -- teams with good O-lines. I'd still veer toward Henry as a No. 2 RB for his touchdown upside, but not with the same upside as he had even three weeks ago. I'd start him over Chuba Hubbard, D'Andre Swift and Aaron Jones, but I'd rather start James Conner and David Montgomery.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 24 at 4:05 pm ET •
TB PK, O/U 42.5

The Buccaneers were methodical in their takedown of the Packers last week -- Baker Mayfield played out of his mind because his receivers were getting open. Considering that the Jaguars have allowed over 300 passing yards in three of their past four (much of it coming after the catch), I would suspect there's room for another hyper-efficient game from Mayfield this week. But don't expect a ton of passes -- Mayfield has 33 or fewer drop backs in each of his past three games while Rachaad White has 20-plus rushes in those three, and they're all Bucs wins. Those trends could continue.

  • STARTS: Rachaad White, Mike Evans, Travis Etienne, Chris Godwin (WR2), Evan Engram, Calvin Ridley (high-end WR3), Trevor Lawrence (low-end QB1)
  • SITS: Cade Otton, both DSTs
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 24 at 4:25 pm ET •
CHI -4, O/U 43

Justin Fields attempted 40 passes last week and completed 19. The Bears probably would prefer to be much more balanced offensively; the home matchup against a consistently struggling Cardinals run defense is exactly what they need. The Cardinals have allowed 4.6 yards per rush on the season but 5.7 yards per rush in their past four games -- including a matchup against the Steelers! The matchup is just as amazing for Fields, but it could be more efficient than explosive given the lack of pass attempts he might wind up with. 

  • STARTS: Justin Fields, D.J. Moore, Trey McBride, James Conner (RB2), Cole Kmet, Bears DST 
  • SITS: Roschon Johnson, Michael Wilson, Khalil Herbert, Rondale Moore, Cardinals DST
  • SLEEPERS: D'Onta Foreman (high-end RB3), Greg Dortch (low-end WR3 in PPR)
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
ARI Arizona • #6
Age: 28 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CHI CHI -4 O/U 43
OPP VS RB
22nd
PROJ PTS
11
RB RNK
22nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
717
REC
17
REYDS
39
TD
5
FPTS/G
12.3
First we doubted him and then he showed out against his old team. Then he still doubted him in a tough matchup last week against the 49ers and he slashed through them. At what point do we stop doubting Conner, who has averaged 21.0 touches and 20.2 PPR points over his past two games? One of the reasons for his big game last week was a strong showing by his offensive line against a less-than-healthy 49ers set of D-tackles. Chicago's defensive line is great at rushing the passer but not as stout against the run, plus the unit as a whole has allowed 4.4 yards per carry to opposing RBs over the past four weeks with a run of 10-plus yards allowed on 15.3% of their rushes. That's nearly one every six plays; only Arizona is worse since Week 11. No doubt, touchdowns are tied to Conner's upside, but I doubt this plays out as a Bears blowout win (they're four-point favorites), so Conner should have plenty of work, including near the goal line where he's dominated touches this season. I'd start him over Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott, Chuba Hubbard and D'Andre Swift.
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CLE Cleveland • #21
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs ARI CHI -4 O/U 43
OPP VS RB
23rd
PROJ PTS
8.4
RB RNK
35th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
425
REC
11
REYDS
77
TD
5
FPTS/G
10.2
Foreman has alternated drives with Khalil Herbert over the past two weeks with both giving way to Roschon Johnson on third downs and obvious passing situations. The fun wrinkle is that Foreman has played on 7 of a possible 10 snaps inside the 10-yard line, giving him a discernible edge to scoring. Not only has Arizona let up 5.7 yards per rush in its past four games, but in those games they rank last in run rate of 10-plus yards allowed (17.3%), meaning they're giving up a big run more than once every six rush attempts! They also have allowed two rushing touchdowns in 20 red-zone plays, which isn't the best ratio in the world but it's still evidence that running backs can score in bunches against them. His sharing with Herbert and Johnson does keep Foreman's ceiling pretty low, but he's still worth using in Fantasy over both Browns RBs, Antonio Gibson and Najee Harris.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 24 at 4:25 pm ET •
MIA -1, O/U 50

Miami's offensive line was great on Tua Tagovailoa's deep throw to Jaylen Waddle last week, but they were mostly a non-factor otherwise because Tagovailoa's become so good at knowing where to go with the football after less than two seconds after the snap. It feels like Miami has no choice but to stick with the quick pass game with the Cowboys' raucous pass rush on deck. Know how Buffalo dealt with Micah Parsons & Co.? It ran all over them. Josh Allen attempted just 15 passes with three traveling more than 15 Air Yards. Miami will take more downfield shots than that, but they're going to test the Dallas run defense for sure, especially if rookie Mazi Smith is going to play at D-tackle. He's been getting pushed around.

  • STARTS: Tyreek Hill, Ceedee Lamb, Raheem Mostert, De'Von Achane, Jaylen Waddle, Tony Pollard, Jake Ferguson, Dak Prescott, Tua Tagovailoa (low-end QB1)
  • SITS: Brandin Cooks, both DSTs are low-end options
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Dec 24 at 8:15 pm ET •
DEN -6.5, O/U 34.5

Let's start here: Bill Belichick is undefeated against Vance Joseph-coached defenses (5-0 with two wins with Tom Brady). It's more about Belichick deciphering Joseph's defenses than it is Belichick telling his offense what to do but considering how decently Bailey Zappe and Ezekiel Elliott have been playing, it could make for a competitive game. Not to be outdone, Russell Wilson is 3-1 lifetime against Belichick's Patriots (the only loss was in the Super Bowl). Wilson has 13 career touchdowns against Belichick's defense -- six of which on deep throws (15-plus Air Yards). Given the stout nature of the Patriots run defense, expect Russell Wilson to come through for the Broncos if they're going to win at all.

  • STARTS: Courtland Sutton, Ezekiel Elliott, Broncos DST, Patriots DST (low-end option)
  • SITS: Javonte Williams (RB3), Jerry Jeudy, Bailey Zappe
  • SLEEPERS: Russell Wilson (high-end QB2) 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Mon, Dec 25 at 1:00 pm ET •
KC -10, O/U 41.5

It's beginning to feel like Patrick Mahomes has found his mojo, and with Isiah Pacheco checking back into the offense this week, the Chiefs could begin rounding into form offensively. Will the Chiefs defense do the same? They've gotten aggressive since their Week 10 bye, playing the second-most man coverage (37% of snaps) and blitzing at the second-highest rate (43.8%). Strangely, Aidan O'Connell has been as good if not better against the blitz than not, and he's a little less aggressive against zone coverage. The Chiefs defense might be wise to not do what they've been doing, instead opting for a conservative plan and waiting for O'Connell to make mistakes. 

  • STARTS: Patrick Mahomes, Rashee Rice, Isiah Pacheco, Travis Kelce, Davante Adams, Zamir White, Chiefs DST
  • SITS: Jakobi Meyers (WR3 in PPR), Raiders DST
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Mon, Dec 25 at 4:30 pm ET •
PHI -12, O/U 42.5

Before you get excited about the Giants defense holding four straight opponents to 24 or fewer points, keep in mind that they played the Commanders, Patriots and Packers (all wins) before getting annihilated by Derek Carr and the Saints. They're not quite as good as their pass defense metrics make them look. Up next: The Eagles, who are in massive need of a win after two blowout losses and a tough defeat on the road on Monday. Philadelphia dialed up 24 running back runs on Monday, the most for them since Week 5. Considering that the Giants have let up 4.7 yards per carry over their past four, that should be where the Eagles will aim, though at some point the Birds must re-establish Jalen Hurts as a deep-ball threat (zero touchdowns of 15-plus Air Yards in his past three).

  • STARTS: Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, Saquon Barkley (middle RB2), DeVonta Smith, D'Andre Swift (low-end RB2), Darren Waller (low-end TE1), Eagles DST
  • SITS: Dallas Goedert, Wan'Dale Robinson, Tommy DeVito, Giants DST 
Bust Candidate (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
PHI Philadelphia • #26
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ PHI PHI -13.5 O/U 43
OPP VS RB
11th
PROJ PTS
13.3
RB RNK
18th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
797
REC
33
REYDS
206
TD
7
FPTS/G
15.6
Barkley played 66% of the Giants' snaps through the first three quarters last week, which wasn't what we've been used to seeing. In the first half Matt Breida replaced Barkley on pretty much every third down but Barkley took that role back in the third quarter ... not that the Giants had the ball much in the third quarter (six official snaps; two more were called back by offensive penalties). And then once the Giants were down three scores to start the fourth quarter, Barkley barely played. Barkley told the media this week that it was his coaches' call on his third-down work and that rookie Eric Gray was someone "you guys will see a little bit more of." While there's no definitive word on Barkley's third-down role, it should be safely assumed that he'll get pulled in lopsided games. Philadelphia's offense should have no trouble scoring on the Giants defense, so there's concern we'll see a lighter workload again for Barkley, who has run for 3 or fewer yards on 75.6% of his 41 carries over the past three games. Tack on an offensive line that's been problematic all year and it almost doesn't matter that Philadelphia's run defense has cratered with Kenneth Walker becoming the latest of four straight running backs getting 15 or more PPR points against them. Barkley is no better than a middle-of-the-pack RB2 worth a start over David Montgomery, Derrick Henry and Ty Chandler only on the strength of his upside, which was realized two games ago against the Packers. I'd much rather start Travis Etienne, Breece Hall, De'Von Achane and Tony Pollard.

ddd

Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Mon, Dec 25 at 8:15 pm ET •
SF -5, O/U 47

This is a huge test for the Ravens, more so than for the 49ers. Last week we were treated to Lamar Jackson comically evading the Jaguars' blitz-heavy pass rush while he faced zone coverage downfield. He scored 20 Fantasy points. On the road for the second straight week, he'll see a better pass rush that doesn't need to blitz much with a better secondary playing zone coverage behind it. Also, it doesn't help that the Ravens O-line has allowed the third-highest pass-rush pressure rate (46.1%) over its past four games. The matchup against the Niners is a step-up in class for the Ravens defense, too -- last week the Jaguars gained 339 total yards with only 75 coming on the ground. You already know the Niners are one of the best running teams and can also whip defenses with their myriad of targets and a cool-under-pressure quarterback. 

  • STARTS: Brock Purdy, Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, Isaiah Likely (low-end TE1), 49ers DST
  • SITS: Zay Flowers (low-end WR3), Gus Edwards, Odell Beckham, Justice Hill, Ravens DST
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
BAL Baltimore • #80
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ SF SF -5.5 O/U 47
OPP VS TE
24th
PROJ PTS
10.2
TE RNK
10th
YTD Stats
REC
23
TAR
31
REYDS
282
TD
2
FPTS/G
4.5
In the three games since Mark Andrews injury, Likely has run more routes than any Raven other than Zay Flowers, had had at least four catches per game, has a 74% catch rate, is averaging 13.8 yards per catch and has scored twice to help him land at least 18 PPR points in 2 of 3 games. That pretty much tells you all you need to know about what kind of potential he has for your Fantasy team. But you might also like to know that he's become one of the rare tight ends that doesn't do any of the dirty tight end work like blocking. The matchup against the Niners is tough, but the Ravens just saw Trey McBride and Elijah Higgins combine for 14 catches with a garbage-time touchdown against the Niners last week. At minimum, Likely figures to be used both as a short-area outlet for Lamar Jackson when he's pressured and as a mid-range/red-zone option like he's been recently. You should have enough confidence to go with Likely over Darren Waller, Kyle Pitts and Dallas Goedert.