Week 11 Fantasy Cheat Sheet
Week 11 is not the time to make a critical lineup mistake. Our Dave Richard helps owners optimize their lineups with his outlook on every relevant Fantasy option.
Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-week $2.5 million Fantasy Football contest for Week 11. It's only $25 to join and first prize is $300,000. Starts Sunday, November 16th at 1 p.m. ET. Enter now to play with Dave.
This week's confidence scale sorts through pro athletes who made it into some of Hollywood's best (and worst) films. Because in order to go from sports to the silver screen, you're gonna need a lot of confidence (and a really good agent).
Bosworth as Joe Huff in Stone Cold . In college my
buddies and I would watch awful movies for the unintentional comedy. Stone
Cold was popular in our group.
2. Shaquille O'Neal as John Henry Irons in Steel . Yeah, Kazaam is the movie everyone really rips on Shaq for. But Steel is just as awful.
3. Michael Jordan as himself in Space Jam . If you were channel surfing and this was on, would you watch it? Me neither.
4. Brett Favre as himself in There's Something About Mary . Great, fun spot in a great, fun movie. Hopefully he didn't send any texts to Cameron Diaz during the shooting of the scene.
5. Andre The Giant as Fezzik in The Princess Bride . Andre was lovable in this movie and it got him, and pro wrestling, a lot of attention.
6. Lawrence Taylor as Luther "Shark" Lavay in Any Given Sunday . Not a stretch for him to play a drug-needing, trash talking, hard-hitting linebacker, but he had some pretty heavy lines in a sobering look at pro ball.
7. Ray Allen as Jesus Shuttlesworth in He Got Game . Again, not exactly an Oscar-winning performance but by the end of the movie you forgot he was Ray Allen.
8. Mike Tyson as himself in The Hangover . Hilarious, plus it was awesome to see him sing in the sequel.
9. O.J. Simpson as Nordberg in The Naked Gun . As lovable as he was unlucky ... in the film, I mean.
10. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as Pilot Roger Murdock in Airplane! . Still among the best athletes-turned-actors in film history.
Turn down the lights, get your popcorn ready and get ready to make great decisions to win in Week 11.
Bengals at Saints, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The Bengals need to desperately get their run game going to have a shot at winning. They sort of gave up on the ground last week against the Browns (12 carries for Hill, 18 total for their backs) and instead were done in by Andy Dalton's mistakes. Despite a favorable matchup, particularly if Keenan Lewis is out for the Saints, the Bengals need to control the clock and run a bunch, setting up play action to help them get in the end zone.
Andy Dalton (5.6): This is the third straight good enough to get you to the playoffs but not good enough to win you a championship quarterback the Saints will face. This is also a pass defense that has allowed just one quarterback in its last five to get 20-plus Fantasy points, plus they've given up 20-plus points only three times (to Matt Ryan, Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers). In each instance, the quarterback has had multiple big-play receivers to go to, something Dalton will have as well. But he has one game with two scores in his last four (three with none!) and is simply too risky to trust this week.
Drew Brees (8.7): Brees has two-plus touchdowns in eight straight games, landing at least 19 Fantasy points in each (and 20-plus in six of eight). The Bengals pass defense has not traveled well, giving up a lot of Fantasy points to elite passers on the road. Expect another big game for Brees.
Jeremy Hill (7.8): The Saints just faced a team that needed to establish the run in order to stay in the game, and they succeeded with multiple rushing touchdowns and a 4.5 rushing average. The Bengals would love to do the same thing. Only four running backs have had even 15 carries against the Saints this season, but all four have had at least 11 Fantasy points. It sure would be nice for Hill to get that kind of work if Giovani Bernard is still sidelined, but he didn't last week and there's no guarantee he will this week. Week 10 was the fifth time this season a Bengals back failed to get 15 carries in a game. If the Bengals fall behind quickly, Hill won't deliver.
Mark Ingram (8.4): Assuming the Bengals linebackers are still thin (meaning no Vontaze Burfict, but they'll get Rey Maualuga back), you should bank on a big game from Ingram. The Bengals have allowed a rushing score to a running back in all but one game this season, but gave up three last week and six in their last three.
A.J. Green (8.5): It's a little hard to believe, but last week was Green's first without at least 10 Fantasy points in a game he actually finished. That despite 10 targets from Dalton, some of which were uncatchable. The Saints have allowed an opposing wideout to get at least 14 Fantasy points in five of their last six games, most of them by the No. 1 receiver.
Mohamed Sanu (6.1): Last week was disappointing, but it's not like Dalton ignored Sanu. He still had seven targets, but an off night left the passing game in total disarray. The Bengals can't afford that against the Saints, especially given what the matchup is. Last week was the first time in seven games that Sanu didn't have at least eight targets. He should have a chance to get back on track this week.
Brandin Cooks (6.2): If he's indoors, he has a chance. Last week's performance helped prove that theory. The Bengals secondary has good talent but has been burned by the deep ball a number of times this season. Expect Cooks to see some opportunities to keep the Cincy defense reeling.
Marques Colston (3.9): If you're scared to start Colston, you're not alone. In Week 7 he had 10 targets and finished with his only double-digit Fantasy point total of the season. Since then he hasn't scored, hasn't had even 50 yards in a game and has 12 targets in three games combined. Eventually he's going to find a touchdown, and he's due for one, but wanting to start him is getting tougher by the week. I might wait until he faces a defense with weak cornerbacks -- the Bengals aren't one of them.
Jimmy Graham (9.5): Look for a mammoth game from Graham against a Cincinnati defense thin on linebackers. Gronk had 100 yards and a touchdown against them back in Week 5.
Bengals (3.8): Typically it's a bad idea to use a DST taking on the Saints at the Superdome. It doesn't help that the Saints are averaging 29.8 points per game since their bye four weeks ago.
Saints (5.9): Dalton has been anything but efficient and is coming off of a horrendous game. In fact, it's been a horrendous stretch for Dalton, throwing three picks last week, five in his last two and eight in his last five (with four passing touchdowns in that span!). So unless the Bengals run the ball really well, this probably should be a good week for the Saints DST.
Vikings at Bears, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Well, where do the Bears go from here? Thoroughly whipped in each of their last three games, the defense has to play much better and the offense has to stop turning the ball over in order for them to pull out a win. Their best bet to win games is to outscore opponents, which could be in the cards for them against the Vikings, who come into Week 11 averaging 18.7 points per game.
Teddy Bridgewater (5.3): The good news is that so much about the Bears pass defense has been exposed over their past three games that the Vikings shouldn't have a hard time capitalizing. The bad news is that Bridgewater hasn't shown much development since taking over as the Vikings starter, posting no more than one score per start. That could change if he gets Kyle Rudolph back to work the middle of the field for the Vikings and if Cordarrelle Patterson starts to click. Teddy B is worth checking into as a one-week option solely for the matchup against the Bears' awful defense.
Jay Cutler (7.1): After starting the year with at least 20 points in six straight games, Cutler has posted 20-plus in just one game in his last three. The Vikings don't offer a lot of talented personnel on defense, but they have held each of the last four quarterbacks they've faced to 19 Fantasy points or less. Of course, the toughest passer they've faced in that span is a Calvin Johnson-less Matthew Stafford. The Vikings also have 30 sacks on the season, third best in football. They also have six interceptions over their last six games. So this isn't a slam dunk for Cutler, but at least he's playing at home and should have to throw at least 35 times. He remains a low-end No. 1 Fantasy passer.
Jerick McKinnon (5.3): The matchup is solid as the Bears run defense has allowed over 130 total yards per game this season to running backs with seven touchdowns scored. McKinnon has at least 17 touches in each of his last three games -- every running back to get 17 touches against the Bears has landed at least eight Fantasy points, with four of the five scoring and getting at least 11 points. Because McKinnon won't work the goal line, expect around eight points from McKinnon.
Matt Asiata (5.2): Don't go with Asiata because you saw him score three times in his last game and think he'll do that again. Go with Asiata because he might score once on a bad defense. Asiata should also resume his role as the third-down back and two-minute drill back with the Vikings, though early on in the Redskins game they gave those third down snaps to McKinnon.
Matt Forte (9.3): Look for more of the same from Forte: A big workload with plenty of yards and a chance to score. Even though the Bears season is in shambles, he's doing great.
Cordarrelle Patterson (4.6): There's a little risk taker in all of us, and after watching two high-powered passing offenses crush the Bears in consecutive games, it's not going to take a rocket scientist to realize the Vikings will try taking some downfield shots with Patterson. He's a supreme boom or bust for Week 11 and probably a risk worth taking in one-week leagues.
Greg Jennings (4.5): Jennings is the safer pick to get around six or seven Fantasy points among Vikings receivers. He has at least six targets in each of his last five. Of the six receivers to play the Bears and get at least six targets in their last four games, four have posted at least 11 Fantasy points. If you're thin at receiver give Jennings a look.
Alshon Jeffery (7.2): The Vikings have struggled with faster receivers for much of the year, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Jeffery have the better game over Marshall. Despite not scoring in Week 10, he did lead the Bears with 12 targets.
Brandon Marshall (7.0): Marshall had his third straight game with 10 targets last week and remains a must-start given the matchup. He should be able to keep drawing end zone targets.
Kyle Rudolph (6.6): The Bears have allowed nine touchdowns to tight ends in their last five games, including two to Green Bay's part-time tight ends last week. The Vikings have been getting some good use out of Chase Ford lately (touchdown in his last game) but will turn to Rudolph since he's ready to play. This is a matchup the Vikings will try to take advantage of.
Martellus Bennett (5.1): In a game where the Bears threw 40 times, Bennett finished fourth on the team with six targets last week. It's extremely disappointing considering the matchup he had. The matchup is tougher this week.
Vikings (4.6): Four of the last five DSTs to take on the Bears have made the Top 12. It's a little tough to trust the Vikings defense, but if you're in need of a bye-week replacement they should do just fine.
Bears (4.2): Even if the Vikings offense didn't clean up their act, the Bears unit is too tough to trust. Minnesota hasn't allowed an opposing DST to be elite since Week 7.
Texans at Browns, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The Texans made a truly interesting decision by switching quarterbacks, but perhaps they felt they needed to make the move to salvage their playoff hopes. At 4-5, their Week 11 game is basically a playoff game since they probably can't afford to lose more than one game to have a crack at a wild card berth. We won't know for sure what kind of quarterback Ryan Mallett will be, but he'll take on a Browns defense that ranks third in Fantasy in points allowed to quarterbacks. That's not good.
Ryan Mallett (4.4): The book on Mallett is that he can chuck the ball far but has accuracy issues. That's not a good book. In four years of preseason action, Mallett completed just 53.9 pct. of his passes for 5.45 yards per attempt, and that was with second- and third-string talent on both sides of the ball. Mallett did mention this week that he is familiar with Mike Pettine's defensive scheme since he had to be prepared for them while he backed up Tom Brady in the AFC East. He also is fluent in Bill O'Brien's offense going back to both being with the Patriots. If he were to get 20 Fantasy points against the Browns he'd be the first quarterback to do so this year.
Brian Hoyer (3.8): It's an appealing matchup for Hoyer given how poorly the Texans have played lately. But he has 17 or fewer Fantasy points in four of his last five and all but two games this season. Josh McCown, Robert Griffin III, Teddy Bridgewater and even Mallett are better bye-week replacements.
Alfred Blue (4.8): It looks like a groin injury suffered in Week 9 will keep Arian Foster sidelined after he missed practice this week. Blue was serviceable in his only start this year (Week 3 at the Giants, totaling 88 yards on 14 touches). With Mallett starting and the Browns interested in grinding down the clock, we could see limited work for Blue. He's fine as a replacement for Foster but not a candidate for a big game.
Terrance West (5.9): West started last week's game for the Browns but was third to get a goal-line carry. Getting a lot of second-half work salvaged his stat line as he posted 59 yards on 17 carries (along with that touchdown) after halftime. The Browns running back situation is slippery, but West is probably the safest bet to get the most touches.
Ben Tate (5.1): The game carries some importance for Tate, an ex-Texan who probably would love to score on his old team. Houston has allowed just two rushing scores to backs in its last six games, so it might be a tall order. Tate had no more than three carries in any quarter last week, so it seems likely that he's still not in a lead back type of role.
Isaiah Crowell (4.7): Crowell saw some meaningful snaps until he fumbled last week. Though the Browns didn't lose possession, the coaches benched him after getting 41 yards on 12 carries. Chances are he'll get a clean slate this week and will get some touches (maybe as many as West) with some goal-line chances, assuming Tate doesn't put dibs on them first.
DeAndre Hopkins (5.7): The move to Mallett should create more deep ball chances for Hopkins, who has been the more productive receiver for the Texans this year. He has just one touchdown in his last five games but at least 95 yards in each of his last three.
Andre Johnson (5.1): Johnson is in the same boat as Marques Colston, Pierre Garcon and Michael Floyd -- he's getting a bunch of targets but not really doing a lot with them. Until that changes, Fantasy owners should expect anywhere from six to nine Fantasy points in a standard league (maybe 11 to 15 in a PPR). It has been speedy receivers, not possession types like Johnson, who have done the most damage against the Browns over the last few weeks.
Texans (5.2): Only one DST has finished in the Top 12 against the Browns all year, but the Texans DST has been productive in five of its last six games. In those six games Houston has notched 15 sacks, eight interceptions, five forced fumbles and a pair of touchdowns. But the Texans have allowed 24.5 points per game over those six contests, so if they can't get to Hoyer (he's been sacked 13 times in nine games) or turn him over (four interceptions) then they'll deliver less than desirable results. They're not a gimme.
Browns (7.1): The Texans offense has held off opposing DSTs to finish as a Top 12 option in five straight games, but Mallett's NFL debut might change that. The Browns defense has played great of late, too (10-plus Fantasy points in five straight games).
Broncos at Rams, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Before the season we thought the Rams defensive front would be among the best in football. It took a while, but over the last few weeks it's looked dominant. St. Louis has hung around in games by slamming on the run and getting to the quarterback. Only one team, the Chiefs, have penetrated the Rams defense in their last six games, with the defense notching 16 sacks in that span. It goes without saying they'll have to get to Peyton Manning a bunch and stop the run with just six defenders in the box in order to stick around in the second half.
Peyton Manning (9.6): Unrelated-to-Peyton note/embarrassing fact about the author, Vol. 10 of 16: To impress a girl who said she loved Pez dispensers and Winnie the Pooh, I bought a Winnie the Pooh Pez for like $40 on eBay. The next time I saw her she broke up with me. I still have the Pez.
Shaun Hill (2.1): Austin Davis had 10 Fantasy points or less in three straight games and was pretty much a bum, so the move to Hill doesn't come as much of a surprise. Even though the Broncos have allowed two or more passing scores in five straight games, Hill shouldn't be counted on.
C.J. Anderson (5.8): Anderson was the fourth Denver back to post at least 10 Fantasy points in a game this season. St. Louis' run defense has been very good since the bye (six weeks), holding all but two backs in the same game to under 10 Fantasy points and giving up 3.13 yards per carry in that span. They have the thumpers up front to make things challenging for the Broncos run game without dropping the safeties. Anderson's first-ever NFL start might be good enough for him to finish inside the Top 24, but it would be a surprise to see him finish among the top of his position.
Montee Ball (3.7): Expect to see Ball play whether Anderson gets off to a fast start or not. There could be a chance he plays a lot if Anderson can't get going early on, though the matchup will be just as difficult for him as it will be for Anderson. Take a cautious approach with Ball.
Tre Mason (3.9): Just how powerful has the Broncos run defense been? Since their Week 4 bye (six games), running backs have had one rushing touchdown, two receiving touchdowns and one 100-total-yard game (Andre Ellington, Week 5). In that span, running backs are averaging 2.5 yards per carry. Mason is in for a long day.
Demaryius Thomas (9.4): This should be another week where Thomas picks up tons of targets and manufactures some big plays. In six straight games he has at least nine targets, seven catches, 105 yards and at least 10 Fantasy points.
Emmanuel Sanders (9.0): Obviously a must start after posting multiple touchdowns or 150 receiving yards in each of his last three. The Rams simply don't have the personnel to contain both him and Demaryius.
Kenny Britt (3.2): Of the seven touchdowns allowed by the Broncos to receivers over their last five games, four went to heavily targeted outside receivers. Maybe Britt sneaks one into the end zone in garbage time, but no one should count on him.
Julius Thomas (8.5): The Rams have done a nice job against tight ends pretty much since Jeff Fisher has come to town. Only one -- Cooper Helfet -- has put up double digits in Fantasy points against them this year. But they have been willing to let cornerbacks line up across from big tight ends and offer mismatches for offenses to take advantage of. You better believe the Broncos will look for him, especially against a smaller defensive back like E.J. Gaines. Thomas should dominate.
Lance Kendricks (4.5), Jared Cook (4.1): The Broncos are great against the run and pretty good against receivers but miserable against tight ends. They've allowed at least one tight end touchdown in each of their last three games and four of their last five. Cook has been the more productive tight end for the Rams, but would you believe Kendricks has more red zone targets and touchdowns? You're playing with fire starting either of these tight ends in Fantasy, so you might as well go with the one who has probably worked with Hill the most on the second string in Kendricks.
Broncos (9.3): The Rams have allowed each of the last three DSTs they've faced to finish in the Top 12, scoring 11.3 points per game in that span. The Broncos will make it four in a row.
Rams (2.5): Owners of this DST are in quite a pickle -- you can't start them this week and expect good numbers, but in two weeks they host the Raiders and then are at Washington the week after. Hold on to them and either take your lumps or carry two DSTs, or let them go free on waivers with the intention of claiming them in about a week or 10 days. I'd dump them and hope people in my league aren't paying attention.
49ers at Giants, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The 49ers have become one of the toughest offenses to predict -- one game they treat Frank Gore like he's a future Hall of Famer, the next they treat him like he's part of their practice squad. If they're paying attention, they'll notice a Giants defense that just gave up 350 rushing yards to the Seahawks in Week 10 and at least 160 total yards and a touchdown in all but one of their last six games. Thing is, the Niners don't always attack an opponents' weakness, sometimes preferring to execute the offense they've installed and adapting as a game goes along. And that's when they get into trouble.
Colin Kaepernick (6.9): We haven't seen much running from Kaepernick lately, oscillating between 14 and 37 yards on the ground over his last five games. That might change this week after Russell Wilson found over 100 rushing yards against these Giants last week. The Giants have also given up nine passing touchdowns in their last four games with 8.78 yards per pass attempt in that span. We've been waiting a while for Kaepernick to have a pretty good game -- this matchup should deliver a healthy amount of Fantasy points.
Eli Manning (6.8): The 49ers defense has not been great against big-time quarterbacks for pretty much the entire season. An injured Tony Romo, a frazzled Nick Foles, Alex Smith and Austin Davis twice have failed to post multiple touchdowns against the Niners while an opportunistic Jay Cutler, an upstart Drew Stanton and legends in Peyton Manning and Drew Brees all got the multiple scores and at least 22 Fantasy points. Manning has the passing offense to have a chance at putting up numbers but might turn the ball over along the way -- the Niners have four interceptions in each of their last two games. Facing pass rusher Aldon Smith might make things a little tougher for Manning, but he still has some appeal this week.
Frank Gore (7.4): It all comes down to just how much the Niners give Gore a chance to run. The Niners are 5-0 in games where Gore gets at least 15 carries, 0-4 in games he doesn't. Not that 15 carries translates into success for Gore -- twice this year he's had more than that and still had six or fewer Fantasy points. However, the Giants have allowed at least 10 Fantasy points to each of the five running backs who have had at least 15 carries against them. Heck, 30 of the last 34 backs with at least 15 carries against the G-men have hit at least 10 Fantasy points -- a stat that spans four seasons! Here's hoping Jim Harbaugh and/or Greg Roman read the Fantasy Cheat Sheet!
Carlos Hyde (2.3): Hyde's workload over the last three games: five touches, three touches, four touches. He can't be trusted.
Rashad Jennings (6.7): The Niners haven't allowed a rushing touchdown in two games but still don't have the look of an elite run defense, which is what they used to be. On the year they're allowing 4.08 yards per carry, but in their last five games it's more like 4.44 yards per carry -- and 7.5 yards per catch to a running back (more than a yard over their season-long average). The Giants are seemingly counting on Jennings to deliver an "outstanding lift" to the offense, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him get 20 touches, but only three running backs have posted 10-plus Fantasy points on the 49ers this season. Two have come in their last three games.
Andre Williams (2.6): I wouldn't expect a big game from Williams with Jennings back. He didn't show much when he was the starter. Be careful trusting him.
Anquan Boldin (7.5): There's absolutely no doubt that Boldin is Kaepernick's most reliable receiver. In his last four games he has caught 26 of 41 targets for 332 yards and three touchdowns, easily team highs. Boldin has at least 90 yards and a touchdown in three of those four games, too. He's too hot to sit.
Michael Crabtree (5.0): I guess the good news is that Crabtree is still picking up plenty of targets, getting at least seven in each of his last four games. But he's done next to nothing with them, getting a touchdown in one game and 62 yards or less in the other three. Crabtree vented about his playing time this week to the San Jose Mercury News, referring to himself as "the third option" in the offense. Crabtree's snaps are down to about 65 to 70 percent of the time, which actually makes his stats less surprising but his targets a bit more intriguing. Until there's stability he shouldn't be started. Only once this season have the Giants allowed multiple receivers to score on them.
Odell Beckham (7.4): San Francisco has allowed at least one touchdown to a receiver in three straight, including the most-targeted guy in each of those games. Beckham has yet to lead the Giants in targets in any game this season but let's be honest, he's their best receiver. Expect a very good game.
Rueben Randle (3.4): Randle's season: 79 targets, 43 catches, 409 yards, two touchdowns, no games with 10 or more Fantasy points. He's been especially sloppy over his last two games (nine catches on 21 targets for 81 yards). There's no way Fantasy owners should trust him at this point.
Vernon Davis (3.5): Shield your eyes from the Giants' stats against tight ends -- it might induce you to start Davis. Here's what you need to know: He's had eight catches and four drops in his last four games, all without a touchdown. He's been targeted in the end zone once. In fact, back in Week 6, he cost a teammate a touchdown when he bumped into him in the end zone when the ball clearly wasn't meant for Davis. I know the matchup is appealing, but Davis just isn't a regular part of the offense.
Larry Donnell (4.7): Remember that three-touchdown game for Donnell that supposedly sparked his Fantasy value? Since then he's posted eight Fantasy points or less in each of five games, with one touchdown and four catches or less in all but one game. It's hard to trust him.
49ers (5.6): Getting Aldon Smith back should be huge for the 49ers pass rush -- the team has five sacks in their last three games and just 15 sacks on the season. Only one of the last seven Giants opponents has done enough to finish as a Top 12 DST, so it's a risk to go with the Niners.
Giants (5.4): The Giants DST shouldn't be trusted as there are too many holes in the defense both against the run and the pass. It'll take a Kaepernick meltdown to make them valuable.
Buccaneers at Redskins, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
On paper, both teams should be able to pass the ball effectively as the Bucs rank 31st against the pass while the Redskins rank sixth but have allowed a sixth-worst 18 touchdowns through the air. The team that is more efficient through the air that will bring home the win. Considering both teams have a mobile passer who looks downfield and both have an electric downfield receiving threat, it could come down to a couple of plays in the fourth quarter.
Josh McCown (6.2): McCown made a bunch of plays last week despite an offensive line that crumbled in front of him. He did a nice job of targeting his big three, sometimes throwing high for them and letting them make plays against smaller cornerbacks. He especially utilized Mike Evans, who really looks like a difference maker. As much as I want to recommend McCown as a great start, I can't because there's risk involved. The Redskins should have just enough of a pass rush to bother McCown (D-lineman Barry Cofield should be in the backfield a bunch) and their cornerbacks are starting to play better. If McCown had better protection he'd be a lock. But because he doesn't and because he's prone to turn the ball over, he's a risky Fantasy start. Put him among those bye-week quarterbacks you'd consider.
Robert Griffin III (6.0): The matchup is pretty fantastic as the Buccaneers secondary has lots of holes and the pass rush isn't a major threat. They've especially played poorly on the road. But Griffin doesn't have a big game yet this season and needs to find two touchdowns to bring home a 20-plus-point outing. He has one passing touchdown this season and had just five games with multiple touchdowns last season. It's simply a matter of Griffin taking advantage of a favorable matchup, something he hasn't been able to do yet this year. This could be it.
Bobby Rainey (4.3): The last time we saw the Redskins run defense they gave up three rushing touchdowns to Matt Asiata, who is only the second running back this season to score on the ground against them. But on the whole they're a tough matchup for the Bucs. It's hard to imagine Rainey scoring even one touchdown, much less getting enough work to be a factor for the Bucs offense. His best contributions might come in the passing game.
Charles Sims (3.1): Last week wasn't a great start for Sims, who fumbled in his first NFL game. Expect another 10 touches or so for him this week -- not enough to rack up a lot of numbers against Washington.
Alfred Morris (8.2): The combination of a struggling Buccaneers run defense and a re-commitment to Morris in recent weeks potentially makes for a big game from Alf. Morris has at least 18 carries in each of his last three games, totaling 3.98 yards per carry but three touchdowns in those contests. Expect a very good game.
Mike Evans (8.4): Evans is too hot to sit but the matchup is a little tricky. Washington's cornerbacks started to play better going into the bye and could challenge Evans on maybe half of his targets. Washington has allowed six touchdowns to receivers in its last five games but it hasn't always been the faster receiver getting them. In fact, it's been the receivers hogging the targets that get the most numbers. That helps Evans.
Vincent Jackson (5.8): Jackson tends to win his matchups against smaller corners so he could end up challenging Bashaud Breeland quite a bit. Breeland flashed some nice skills prior to the bye and could at the very least keep Jackson from getting yards after the catch on short routes. The nice thing is that Jackson should keep getting a bunch of targets from McCown, making him a decent start. That's good considering we were scared to start him at this time last week.
DeSean Jackson (8.9): An absolute must. He should be able to torch the Buccaneers secondary for some long plays, just as he's done in five of his last seven games. Connecting with Griffin for 120 yards and a touchdown back in Week 9 was a very positive sign.
Pierre Garcon (5.05): The matchup says he should have a shot at some really good numbers. Tampa Bay's pass defense isn't that great. The reality is that he hasn't had many games with big numbers this season -- just two with 10-plus Fantasy points and three with a touchdown. He's OK as a third receiver in Fantasy, that's about it.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (5.7): Part of the reason why McCown had such a good game last week was because of Seferian-Jenkins, who had career highs in targets (eight) and catches (five). He has also scored in two of his last three. He could be a big problem for Washington, who went into the bye allowing a touchdown in each of its last two games against moderately-targeted tight ends. If you're streaming tight ends or looking for a one-week solution, the matchup looks good for the big guy.
Jordan Reed (3.7): It's a bit surprising given their situation at safety, but the Bucs haven't given up a touchdown to a tight end in five straight. Only two tight ends have posted over eight Fantasy points against them on the year. Reed has had one game out of five with more than five Fantasy points.
Buccaneers (4.4): There's a chance they hold the Redskins to under 21 points, but they shouldn't get much in the way of takeaways and maybe only a couple of sacks. They shouldn't be trusted.
Redskins (5.8): A definite sleeper for the week, Washington should get a boost with Barry Cofield returning as well as the linebacker corps getting healthy coming out of the bye. Expecting a couple of turnovers from McCown isn't unrealistic, nor is holding the Bucs to under 21 points. Each of the last four DSTs to play the Buccaneers did well enough to finish as a Top 12 option.
Falcons at Panthers, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
If you had asked me at the beginning of the season which of these pass rushes would be better, I would have chuckled and said "Panthers, duh!" As it turns out, the Panthers have more sacks and still have the more dominant front seven, but in terms of pass rush it might not be so laughable. Kroy Biermann stepped up big for the Falcons last week, who should come with plenty of blitzes against a (maybe) injured Cam Newton this week. It will be the team that produces the best pass rush that wins this game.
Matt Ryan (8.2): Seven of 10 quarterbacks to take on the Panthers have thrown two touchdowns, and five of the last seven have posted at least 22 Fantasy points. Ryan should be in line for both as he's done well against this defense in four of his last five meetings against them -- and that's back when their pass rush and secondary was better.
Cam Newton (5.7): The Falcons have allowed two-plus scores to four of the last five quarterbacks they've faced, but Newton's passing has become shaky and there's no guarantee he'll pull a rabbit out of his hat in garbage time to save his stats like he did on Monday. Expect him to struggle against the blitz.
Steven Jackson (7.2): Last week we liked him because of his chances to score a touchdown. Repeat for this week, particularly since he's taking on a Panthers run defense that's allowed multiple running back touchdowns in five of their last seven games!
Jonathan Stewart (4.0): The Falcons run defense looked like world beaters last week, holding the Buccaneers' backs to 112 total yards without a score. But they're not that good of a unit. Problem is that we just don't know how many touches Stewart will get. He had 11 carries and four catches last week along with the goal-line score. It's possible he could score again considering his workload including plays inside the 10, but it doesn't make him a great option.
DeAngelo Williams (3.5): In order for him to score or get a lot of yardage, he'll need multiple big plays on limited carries. That seems unlikely, even if he's taking on a Falcons run defense giving up 4.0 yards per carry and 9.2 yards per catch to running backs this year.
Julio Jones (8.1): Jones doesn't have quite the track record that Roddy White has against the Panthers, but it's still pretty good.
Roddy White (7.6): White has scored in four straight against the Panthers with at least 84 yards in each game. Mind you, this is when the Panthers secondary was decent and the pass rush was good. It even includes a big game from him during his injury plagued 2013. With touchdowns in two of his last three, he seems like a very safe bet in all leagues, including one-week formats.
Kelvin Benjamin (7.7): The Falcons' big weakness is with big, strong, fast receivers, as evidenced last week against the Buccaneers. It would be stunning to see Benjamin have a letdown game against this defense and particularly cornerback Robert Alford.
Greg Olsen (8.1): All you need to see is how Olsen has done in his last five games against the Falcons. And then realize that the Falcons have allowed a tight end to score on them in two of their last three. And we're done.
Falcons (6.1): They should sack Cam a few times and maybe even pick him off once or twice. Each of the last three DSTs to take on the Panthers has finished as a Top 12 option. Though the Falcons should yield over 21 points and 300 total yards, they should be in the mix for a good game and are worth streaming.
Panthers (4.0): Getting to Ryan is key -- if they can do it and cover up their bleak secondary, they'll somehow come away with a decent game. The Falcons O-line held up fairly well last week and should again this week, so I wouldn't count on a good game from the Panthers defense.
Seahawks at Chiefs, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The going will get tough for the Seahawks playing at loud Arrowhead Stadium (and getting a taste of the medicine other teams have to suffer when they play at Seattle). The Seahawks chances will hinge on Russell Wilson making plays -- Marshawn Lynch might only lead them so far in what should be a fun battle between the Seattle offensive line and the Kansas City defensive front. In his last five games, Wilson has completed 56.7 percent of his passes at a 6.68 yards per attempt clip with three passing touchdowns and four interceptions. He'll either have to really bring it as a rusher or dial up effective passing in order to provide enough points for a Seattle win.
Russell Wilson (5.4): It's been seven straight weeks that the Chiefs have held opposing quarterbacks to 18 Fantasy points or less. That list includes Philip Rivers, Ryan Tannehill and Tom Brady. Wilson, who has 18 Fantasy points or less in three straight and four of his last five, isn't a safe bet to come up with huge numbers.
Alex Smith (4.8): Maybe the Chiefs surprise us with a couple of deep passes against the Seahawks, but their best plan of attack is to lead with the run and then convert first downs off of play-action. Smith and his vanilla production shouldn't be counted on against a Richard Sherman-led secondary.
Marshawn Lynch (8.7): The Chiefs haven't allowed a touchdown to a running back yet this year, but if the Seahawks stick with Lynch like they have in their last couple of games, then that will change. Since that three-week dry spell where he had six Fantasy points per start, Lynch has roared with 207 rush yards and 99 receiving yards on 48 total touches and six rushing touchdowns. You're really going to sit that?!
Jamaal Charles (9.4): When you peeked at Charles' schedule over the summer, this was the game that had you the most worried. But as it turns out, this is a pretty favorable matchup for him. The only reason why the Seahawks run defense looks good at this point is because they took on the Panthers, Raiders and Giants run offenses in consecutive games, allowing just one touchdown and 3.2 yards per carry over that span. But they're not as good as those numbers suggest. Charles will show you as much come Sunday.
Doug Baldwin (3.5): Can you name the receiver who has caught 20 of 28 targets for 212 yards and no touchdowns in his last three games? If you said Baldwin, you'd be wrong! Those are actually the numbers for "undesirable" Fantasy receiver Dwayne Bowe -- and they're better than what Baldwin has delivered in his last three games: 15 catches on 20 targets for 130 yards and no touchdowns. Still want to start Baldy against a Chiefs secondary that's held top-shelf outside receivers to dismal numbers in each of their last five games?
Dwayne Bowe (3.7): Bowe has strung together four games with at least five catches per game and has begun seeing an uptick in targets. Maybe one day he'll score a touchdown! That probably won't happen this week against a Seattle defense that might opt to have Richard Sherman cover him for four quarters. Bowe might be a decent No. 3 receiver in deeper PPR leagues, but that's all for this week.
Travis Kelce (6.8): My colleague, Jamey Eisenberg, made a great point this week about the Chiefs leaning on Kelce in favorable matchups. That's what they did when they played the Jets a couple of weeks back -- they had stunk against tight ends and Kelce got involved. Well, the Seahawks stink against tight ends too. Give Kelce another shot this week and hope he takes advantage of this bad defense.
Seahawks (6.3): Last week was only the second time all season the Chiefs offense allowed a DST to finish as a Top 12 option. That's because Alex Smith & Co. don't typically turn the ball over much. But if this game is going to be low scoring like the Chiefs-Bills game last week, then perhaps the Seattle defense and special teams should be considered a Top 12 option.
Chiefs (7.7): I might be more inclined to trust the Chiefs than the Seahawks this week. Wilson hasn't been productive and the Kansas City run defense has held up well through nine games. This could be a low-scoring game with a lot of punting. Seattle has afforded three opposing DSTs to finish in the Top 12 in its last five games.
Raiders at Chargers, Sun., 4:05 p.m. ET
What a perfect matchup for Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense to bounce back. The Raiders defense is still a work in progress (I'm being polite) and might play without young cornerback D.J. Hayden, which helps the Chargers out a bunch. Rivers had over 300 yards and three touchdowns in Oakland back in Week 6, a game where the Bolts also ran for over 100 yards on the ground with Branden Oliver. Hopefully a repeat performance is in order for Rivers as well as a returning Ryan Mathews.
Derek Carr (3.6): Normally we'd write off Carr as soon as possible, but he actually put together a fantastic game against the Chargers back in Week 6. A big reason for it was because the Chargers secondary got banged up in the game. Corner Brandon Flowers is expected back this week, boosting what's been an otherwise sagging secondary. It's unlikely Carr will deliver any better than two touchdowns, not four, and he'll probably toss in some turnovers as well.
Philip Rivers (8.4): Rivers has a so-so track record against the Raiders, including a huge game already this year. Typically Rivers has one great game and one bad game against Oakland in a season -- only in 2011 did he have two good games against them. Still, I dare you to sit Rivers considering how bad the Raiders secondary has been, including giving up five touchdowns to Peyton Manning last week.
Darren McFadden (4.5): The Chargers have allowed five total touchdowns to running backs (four rushing) in their last three games, but haven't been totally decimated in terms of yardage. Only three running backs all year have totaled over 100 yards in a game against the Bolts. McFadden is lucky if he can get to 80 total yards, which he did accomplish back in Week 6. That might be his ceiling, even if he's averaging 15.6 touches per week since the bye.
Ryan Mathews (6.5): With Branden Oliver stalling out over the last three games, the timing is perfect for Mathews to return. Getting in full practice all week, Mathews will re-enter with a matchup against a defense that is tied for 29th in Fantasy points allowed to running backs. Mathews posted his best career game against the Raiders last year, getting 119 total yards and a touchdown against them at home. He might see a limited amount of work but still should be counted on as a No. 2 Fantasy rusher.
James Jones (3.6): Jones set some sort of record for catching eight passes for 20 yards last week. There's no typo, that was his stat line. He's been getting plenty of targets but doing next to nothing with them. As the most-targeted Raiders receiver, there simply isn't any potential for him or his teammates even though the Chargers have allowed nine touchdowns to receivers (including four to the Raiders and one to Jones) in their last four games.
Malcom Floyd (6.0): If you're into trends, keep tabs on Floyd this week. He's scored in four of his last five against the Raiders with at least 60 yards per game. That includes a 16-point Fantasy outing against the Raiders back in Week 6 of this season. It seems logical to believe Floyd will get some chances to pick up chunks of yardage at a time against a bad defense. Tack on the Raiders inability to control the pass and Floyd's worth a spot start in any league, including the one-week formats.
Keenan Allen (5.2): It wouldn't surprise me to see Allen score this week, but it also wouldn't surprise me to see him do little else. Non-No. 1 receivers have not done great against the Raiders over the balance of the season, and that includes Demaryius Thomas and his only 10 Fantasy points last week. Allen has been targeted the most of all Chargers receivers but has lacked explosiveness.
Mychal Rivera (6.2): Eventually defenses will key in on Rivera and force Carr to go in another direction with the football. This could be the week, as the Chargers have held opposing tight ends to just two touchdowns on the year, holding down Julius Thomas and Travis Kelce in recent games (but allowing quality stats to Charles Clay in their most recent game). Until the Rivera gravy train runs dry, Fantasy owners streaming tight ends on a weekly basis will cling to him. Rivera has 21 catches on 29 targets over his last three games for at least eight Fantasy points in each.
Antonio Gates (8.0): Top tier tight ends have done well against the Raiders this season, including Julius Thomas last week and Gates back in Week 6. Expect another butt kicking from Gates.
Raiders (2.2): Guess how many games this season the Raiders DST has had 10 or more Fantasy points. Go ahead, guess. Did you guess none? You're wrong -- they played the Jets in Week 1 and had 10 points in that game. But since then they've been in single digits, including seven points or less in each of their last six games. Don't trust them.
Chargers (8.7): Sure, the Raiders posted some big numbers on them back in Week 6 and almost won. But that was the only time all season that a DST took on Oakland and didn't finish in the Top 12. I sense some retribution by the Chargers defense.
Lions at Cardinals, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET
This won't be the first time Drew Stanton will take on a tough defense. In fact, he's done it twice already, finding John Brown to help him put up solid numbers against the 49ers and then getting humbled by the Broncos, suffering a concussion in the process. But Detroit's defense is dangerous as they can attack opposing quarterbacks and still have the defensive backs to cover receivers. This would be a tough matchup for Carson Palmer had he not gotten hurt, so you can imagine what the outlook is for Stanton.
Fun fact: This is the third straight year these teams will play in Arizona. The Cardinals won both prior meetings.
Matthew Stafford (7.9): Stafford played at Arizona last year and held up well, throwing two touchdowns to Calvin Johnson and completing two-thirds of his passes for 278 yards with a turnover. Way better than the three-interception game he had at Arizona in 2012. The key for him this time around is pass protection -- the Cardinals blitz a lot and the Lions offensive line will be down at least one starting guard. With the run game expected to stall, the Lions' success will fall on Stafford's shoulders. Big passing offenses have put up touchdowns on Arizona this year, so Stafford should have a chance to do fairly well.
Drew Stanton (5.2): Navigating the offense against the Lions will be a tall order. Stanton has to do a good job of getting the ball out quickly and on target to his receivers. He'll also mix in a couple of deep shots because that's what the Cardinals do. Only two quarterbacks have thrown multiple touchdowns on the Lions this season, both in recent weeks and both by elite-level quarterbacks. The rest struggled. It's probably best to watch Stanton this week, not start him.
Joique Bell (4.05): The Cardinals allowed a rushing touchdown to a back last week for the fifth time this season. But they haven't allowed a running back to notch 10 Fantasy points in three straight games (including the likes of DeMarco Murray and LeSean McCoy) and only two backs have hit that total against the Cards this season. He was stuffed in his two previous games at Arizona. Maybe a penalty in the end zone sets up a touchdown for Bell, but I wouldn't count on him for a quality stat line at Arizona.
Theo Riddick (4.35): If Reggie Bush is out, Riddick will take his role as the passing downs contributor. That could lead to some decent yardage and an end zone target or two. I wouldn't be excited to start him, as the Cardinals aren't allowing tons of yards per catch to running backs.
Andre Ellington (6.3): It's not an impossible matchup -- five running backs have posted double digits in Fantasy points against the Lions this season. Ellington has seen a steady dose of work, garnering at least 20 touches in seven straight games. If he gets at least that many this week, he'll be the second back this year with that much work against these Lions. He'll probably be good for at least 90 total yards thanks to his pass-catching abilities.
Calvin Johnson (9.1): It should be fun watching him square off against Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie. Megatron scored on Peterson twice last season -- once on a short pass he took 72 yards and another on a three-yard grab set up by a teammate setting a pick. Peterson played one of his best games of the season last week and might be turning the corner on what's otherwise been a disappointing year. Still, it's not even close to enough to consider downgrading Calvin's expectations.
Golden Tate (7.1): The Cardinals might have more trouble with Tate than they do Johnson, provided they can't consistently get to the quarterback. Tate has delivered seven or more catches and 100-plus yards in five of his last six games with a touchdown in three of them. The Cardinals can't dedicate two defenders to him and Calvin on every play. He's going to find numbers -- the end zone might be another story.
John Brown (6.4): In roughly 12 quarters of play this season, Drew Stanton has had the most success throwing to Brown, connecting on 10 of 18 targets for 132 yards and three touchdowns, all from at least 21 yards out, all on deep passes and two out of the slot. The coverage the Lions will put on him should be beatable. Expect at least two deep targets from Stanton against the Lions, who allowed a long touchdown to Kenny Stills a couple of weeks back.
Larry Fitzgerald (5.6): Fitzgerald has the most targets from Stanton on the year (23), but has just 12 catches for 142 yards with no touchdowns from him. Chances are the targets will continue to come for Fitzgerald, but Detroit has done a pretty good job with top-targeted receivers this season. Of the 10 receivers with at least seven targets against the Lions, only four have posted 10-plus Fantasy points.
Michael Floyd (4.0): Depressing news. Floyd hasn't done well with Stanton, catching just six of 19 targets with him. Par for the course for Floyd, who has five grabs on 13 targets in his last three games for 47 yards and two end-zone targets (no touchdowns). In fact, of those 13 targets, five have been on deep passes, so it's not like he's being completely forgotten about. Maybe just marginalized a little. He's tough to trust.
Lions (6.8): The Cardinals never let a DST make the Top 12 in any of Stanton's starts this season, but it's not like he was the reason for it. He was responsible for drives that led to 18 points at the Giants and 23 points against the Niners but just 13 points against a good Broncos defense. The Lions are still going to be a better start this week than next when they take on the Patriots.
Cardinals (7.0): The Lions have held opposing DSTs outside the Top 12 in each of their last three games, making the Cardinals a risky choice. It helps that they'll blitz Stafford a lot, especially with his offensive line not at 100 percent. You could do worse.
Eagles at Packers, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET
Mark Sanchez had a great first start for the Eagles against the Panthers, but this is an entirely different matchup. The Packers defense got a big boost last week when they got cornerback Sam Shields back and put linebacker Clay Matthews on the inside, expanding their blitz packages by quite a bit. It's not going to be easy for Sanchez to navigate against this improved defense, especially since the Packers tend to play much better at home. If Sanchez can get the job done in this game without any turnovers, we'll really have to give him credit for turning over a new leaf, and for Chip Kelly for taking his scheme to the next level.
Mark Sanchez (5.9): The Packers have allowed five quarterbacks to throw for multiple touchdowns and reach 20-plus Fantasy points. Of the five, only one has come at Lambeau (Cam Newton, Week 7). Even if the Eagles present the toughest offensive challenge to come to Lambeau to this point, it's still risky. The Packers rank 13th in Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, have allowed 13 touchdowns but also own 12 interceptions (11 in their last seven games) and have the pass rush to come after Sanchez quite a bit. Expected to play from behind and in cold, windy conditions, Sanchez could force some turnovers and deliver a disappointing stat line.
Aaron Rodgers (9.4): Remember how bad Cam Newton was last week? Even he found a way to throw for over 300 yards and two scores against the Eagles. Only one quarterback hasn't thrown multiple touchdowns against Philly through nine games, and four of the last seven passers to play the Eagles have topped 300 yards. Expect a big game as usual from Rodgers.
LeSean McCoy (6.9): The combination of dancing in the backfield and getting just 13 touches worked out terribly for McCoy last week. It doesn't help that Darren Sproles cashed in for the Eagles first touchdown. The matchup seems all right in that the Packers have allowed six running backs to 10-plus Fantasy points this season, but McCoy's struggles and Green Bay's defensive improvements make me nervous. I'd start him with No. 2 running back expectations.
Darren Sproles (3.6): The guy had two touches last week and totaled 21 yards with a rushing touchdown. There's just no consistent way to tell how much work he'll get from week to week (he played just nine snaps last week!). He remains a boom or bust that you slide into your flex if your daring.
Eddie Lacy (8.3): Lacy has come alive over the last three weeks, averaging 15.7 Fantasy points per game in standard leagues (20.3 in PPR). The best part is his use as a pass catcher, which has accounted for nearly 200 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. The Eagles are giving up 9.83 yards per catch to running backs and seven total touchdowns to running backs in their last seven games.
Jeremy Maclin (7.9): I'll give Maclin a pass for last week -- Jordan Matthews was just too hot and the Panthers did a lot to take away Maclin deep. He'll face a Packers secondary that's allowed at least one touchdown to receivers in each of their last four games, with seven wideouts posting 10-plus Fantasy points over their last six contests.
Jordan Matthews (5.5): There's no denying two things about Matthews: He's a favorite of Sanchez and he can run any route out of the slot or out wide. I'm looking forward to seeing how Casey Hayward does lined up across from Matthews -- he's played well this year but could have a hard time pinning down Matthews.
Jordy Nelson (9.7): The Eagles secondary has no chance here, as they've allowed 11 touchdowns in their last seven games to wide receivers and have allowed 10-plus Fantasy points to eight No. 1 outside receivers on the year.
Randall Cobb (8.6): Slot receivers haven't done so well against the Eagles -- John Brown is an exception -- but that's not going to stop anyone from going with Cobb. The matchup against Philadelphia nickel corner Brandon Boykin should be fun to watch.
Davante Adams (4.3): The good news is that Adams should see more playing time this week than he did last week, when the Packers used more two-tight end sets as a tactic against the Bears. The bad news is that he could end up playing outside against cornerback Bradley Fletcher, not seeing a glut of opportunities.
Brent Celek (4.3): So has Celek usurped Ertz in the Eagles offense? He played more snaps, saw more targets, had more catches and more yards than Ertz, so I would say he's headed in that direction (he typically plays a lot of snaps, so that's not a surprise). Neither he nor Ertz are recommended plays, but I'd play Celek if I had to. The Packers have allowed 10 Fantasy points to two tight ends in their last three games.
Andrew Quarless (2.2): Don't expect a lot of sneaky tight end play here from the Packers as the Eagles have been lights out against opposing tight ends.
Eagles (3.6): Philadelphia's defense has come up with big plays all season, even in games we wouldn't expect it to, but this is a tough matchup against a red-hot Packers offense. Start them if you want to just carry one defense and still have the Eagles for when they play the Titans in Week 12.
Packers (6.2): It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Packers wind up collecting a couple of turnovers and sacking Mark Sanchez a few times. Defenses against the Eagles have ended up as Top 12 options in two of their last three games.
Patriots at Colts, Sun., 8:30 p.m. ET
Both quarterbacks should be in position to play the matchups they see on the field and put up huge numbers, but it will be the team that runs the ball more effectively that will have the best chance to win. Either that or the team that scores last. The Colts rank ninth in rushing yards allowed per game while the Patriots rank 22nd, so there might be an advantage for Indy.
Tom Brady (9.1): It wouldn't be the least bit shocking to see Brady use the same kind of gameplan he had against the Broncos earlier this season and pelt his mid-field targets before attacking downfield. Against both Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning the Colts surrendered eight touchdowns and north of 850 yards -- there should be plenty to glean off the film for Brady to turn to. Playing against Vontae Davis while he was with the Dolphins only helps his cause.
Andrew Luck (9.2): For all the names in the New England secondary, they still aren't too proficient against opposing quarterbacks. Five of the last six quarterbacks to play the Patriots have posted at least 21 Fantasy points with the outlier, Geno Smith, getting 18. Don't be surprised to see Luck pick apart the Patriots.
Shane Vereen (6.4): Vereen is clearly touchdown dependent -- three of his four double-digit games have come with touchdowns, and he has just two games all year with over 100 total yards. There's hope for him to rack up a bunch of yards this week as the Colts have allowed 4.25 yards per carry and an astounding 11.2 yards per catch to running backs. With 16 touches in two of his last three games (both competitive games), Vereen slots in as a good No. 2 Fantasy rusher.
Jonas Gray (4.1): He's seen at least 12 carries in each of his last two games but contributes nothing in the passing game and especially needs a touchdown in order to help his numbers. The Colts have allowed eight rushing touchdowns to running backs this year, but there's no guarantee Gray will get goal-line snaps.
Ahmad Bradshaw (7.6): I think Bradshaw is a huge key for the Colts. If he can produce some numbers and keep the chains moving, then Indy can win the time of possession battle, which has been a staple in their victories. It doesn't hurt one bit that New England has allowed six receiving touchdowns to running backs this season, including one in each of its last two games. Bradshaw is sitting on a career-high six receiving touchdowns and has four total scores in his last four games. The top running back against the Patriots in each of their last three games has delivered at least 17 Fantasy points.
Trent Richardson (4.2): Richardson isn't a bad bet to add some thunder to the Colts run game. On the year the Patriots are allowing 4.5 yards per carry to backs, but over their last three games that average has ballooned to 4.8 yards per carry. He's not a running back to put into lineups if you're in a pinch.
Brandon LaFell (6.9): I only like LaFell a smidge more than Edelman because the matchup is much better for him than it was against the Broncos. The Patriots are familiar with both of the Colts outside cornerbacks and won't fear throwing at either of them. Seven receivers have posted double digit Fantasy points on the Colts this year.
Julian Edelman (6.3): You can be sure that the Colts will come up with a plan to take Rob Gronkowski away, but as a result it should leave Edelman open for a bunch of catches and yardage. Antonio Brown is better than Edelman, but he absolutely decimated the Colts lining up all over the field. Edelman will draw favorable matchups and should be able to post some good numbers.
T.Y. Hilton (9.2): Whether he goes up against Darrelle Revis or Brandon Browner, the Patriots won't have an answer for Hilton's deep speed. Fast wideouts like Emmanuel Sanders, Alshon Jeffery, A.J. Green and Mike Wallace have posted double digits against the Pats this year.
Reggie Wayne (4.7): I'm not keen on Wayne finding the end zone again because he's an easy cover for either of the Patriots cornerbacks, but he could still see a bunch of targets and translate it into some good yardage.
Rob Gronkowski (9.6): Coach Chuck Pagano has been in awe of Gronkowski since the Patriots sent his Ravens packing in the 2011 playoffs. While he might come up with some ways to slow him down, the reality is that he's too big of a game wrecker. The Colts have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in two straight games and six on the season.
Dwayne Allen (7.5): All Allen has done is post 10-plus Fantasy points in five games, eight or nine points in two others and scored in all but two games this season. New England has allowed a touchdown to a tight end in three straight.
Coby Fleener (5.6): The Colts might have a tight end mismatch of their own with Fleener, who will be a tough guy for New England to deal with. The Patriots rank 28th in yards per catch to tight ends with 12.6 per grab. Fleener should be a regular component in the Colts offense this week.
Patriots (5.0): I know we shouldn't rule them out since they were very proficient against Peyton Manning two weeks ago, but the Colts have only allowed an opposing DST to finish in the Top 12 on three occasions this season. The Colts have scored fewer than 30 points just four times this season.
Colts (3.4): It's hard to expect the Colts defense to slow down the Patriots. No one's done it since the Chiefs in Week 4.
Steelers at Titans, Mon., 8:30 p.m. ET
The Titans came out of the bye and into a hornet's nest against the Ravens last week. Normally the drill would repeat itself against the Steelers, but Pittsburgh's defense is not even close to where it has been in the past. Tennessee needs to take advantage -- a tall order given who they have on their side of the ball. Either Zach Mettenberger has to grow up quickly or Bishop Sankey has to start making some plays. Anything short of that and this will quickly become a one-sided affair.
Ben Roethlisberger (7.5): Big Ben's offense was shortchanged by some turnovers that killed four possessions. Take that away from any quarterback and his numbers will suffer. Only one of the interceptions he threw last week was on him, coming on a pass he threw into triple coverage. What's fun is that he'll go up against a defense coached by Ray Horton, a former Steelers assistant who has faced Roethlisberger three times -- including twice last year while with the Browns -- and only held his numbers back once. I'm not sure the Titans have enough of a pass rush or secondary to limit Roethlisberger. Even though his numbers have stunk on the road, he's got a shot to break out against the Titans.
Zach Mettenberger (4.9): The Roethlisberger clone might be all right if he can get time in the pocket. Chances are the Steelers will blitz him in an attempt to force some turnovers, but they are thin on quality talent and could leave themselves open for some gains. Problem is that Mettenberger will play without tight end Delanie Walker, eliminating his most reliable target. Seven of 10 teams to play the Steelers have thrown multiple touchdowns and each of the last four quarterbacks to play Pittsburgh have posted at least 20 Fantasy points, but none of them are rookies making their third NFL start.
Le'Veon Bell (8.1): The Titans run defense has been smacked for 353 rush yards, 70 receiving yards and five total touchdowns in their last two games. That's pretty bad. Bell should be off to the races.
Bishop Sankey (4.9): Reasons to like Sankey: He has averaged 16.8 touches over his last four games and will take on a Steelers defense that has given up nine total touchdowns and four 100-total-yard games to running backs this year. Reasons to not like Sankey: He still is pigeon holed into a role where he doesn't get goal-line carries or a lot of receptions. Even with a plus matchup he's tough to trust as anything more than a No. 3 running back.
Antonio Brown (9.3): Things could get interesting if the Titans opt to cover Brown with top cornerback Jason McCourty, who hasn't allowed a touchdown this year. That's a move defensive coordinator Ray Horton has done before -- leave his top corner on Brown. It didn't end well for him (think about how Brown did against Cleveland last season).
Martavis Bryant (6.8): The juicy matchup for any Steelers receiver is to line up across from either Blidi Wreh-Wilson or Coty Sensabaugh, neither of whom has the speed to keep up with Bryant. The Titans have allowed only six touchdowns to receivers this season but have not held up well against pretty much every big-play receiver they've taken on.
Justin Hunter (4.8): Remember last week when we thought Hunter had a chance for some big numbers against a depleted Ravens defense? Mettenberger threw deep once in the game -- at Hunter, who caught the pass but committed pass interference on the play. It's depressing that Hunter had just two targets after getting 10 the week before. Maybe we see a correction there as the Steelers have allowed eight touchdowns to receivers, including four in the last three weeks. If Donte Moncrief, Torrey Smith and T.J. Graham can score on long passes against the Steelers in each of their last three games, Hunter can too. Look for the matchup across from cornerback Brice McCain.
Kendall Wright (4.2): In two games with Mettenberger, Wright has seven grabs on 12 targets for 106 yards and no touchdowns. He might have a chance for a stats spike with Delanie Walker not expected to play, but he has five or fewer Fantasy points in three of his four home games this season and nine or fewer Fantasy points in seven of eight home games last season.
Heath Miller (3.1): Tennessee has allowed five touchdowns to tight ends this season, but none in its last three games. Miller has become way too inconsistent to lean on.
Chase Coffman (2.7): If you like living on the edge you could roll with Coffman, who replaced Delanie Walker last week and will take on a Steelers defense that allowed a touchdown to a tight end in four of their last five.
Steelers (6.9): Bank on the Steelers collecting a turnover or two and a couple of sacks, but not a whole lot else. Taking on a rookie quarterback should help them find some success.
Titans (4.8): Tennessee's defense hasn't played well in six of nine games. You can do better.
Bills at Dolphins, Thu., 8:25 p.m. ET
Losing Branden Albert is a tough break for the Dolphins. Through nine games he had graded out as Top 5 tackle per ProFootballFocus.com, giving up just three quarterback sacks. He had also made some strides as a run blocker. Ja'Wuan James will flip over to the left side of the line and it's assumed Dallas Thomas will replace James at right tackle. Point is, the Dolphins are flipping around their line and it could make for some sloppy moments -- especially with just four days to prepare for a game against a Bills team leading the league in sacks.
Fun fact: The Bills are 3-0 against the Dolphins under coach Doug Marrone, averaging 23.7 points per game while holding the Dolphins to 15.5 points per game.
Kyle Orton (5.0): Even with Sammy Watkins at his disposal Orton's looking at a tough matchup against a Dolphins defense that has done moderately well over the last four weeks. Under Marrone, the Bills have beaten Miami three straight times without their quarterback posting good numbers. Expect that to be the case in this one.
Ryan Tannehill (5.5): The Bills pass defense has been outstanding over the last three weeks against the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, the Jets' guys and Alex Smith. Tannehill is better than those quarterbacks but he'll be at a real disadvantage playing behind a re-shuffled offensive line. In five career games against Buffalo, Tannehill is 1-4 as a starter, has completed better than 52 percent of his passes just once and has 20-plus Fantasy points in just one meeting.
Bryce Brown (5.4): With Fred Jackson not expected to play we should see Brown fill in his role as the passing downs and no-huddle back. He even did a lot of that last week when Jackson did play. The Dolphins run defense has been solid since the last time the Bills played against them but they've allowed a running back to get at least 80 total yards against them in three of their last four with three total touchdowns afforded in that span. Brown has some appeal as not only a Jackson fill-in but as a very good PPR flex candidate.
Anthony Dixon (3.4): His snaps were limited last week, typically rotating with Brown when Jackson wasn't a key part of a series. Expect him to get goal-line work back after Jackson took that away from him last week, but it's still a tough sell for him to be a big stat producer.
Lamar Miller (4.4): He played just 11 snaps last week, most of which came in the first half. Miller has been limited in practice through this week and saw teammate Damien Williams pick up some yardage in his place in the second half. Expect both to see a near-even split in carries in the first half with the Dolphins re-evaluating in the second half. It's too bad he and his offensive line is not healthier -- the Bills run defense has allowed 4.9 yards per carry to backs in their last three with four total touchdowns allowed on the ground.
Sammy Watkins (6.5): Buffalo is going to have a tough time winning if it doesn't get contributions from Watkins. The reason for the poor game last week was because of some inaccurate throws by Orton, not really giving Watkins a chance to catch anything. Watkins did have two end zone targets, one of them on a deep ball. He keeps getting opportunities, which is good because the Dolphins have allowed three receivers to get 10-plus Fantasy points in their last three games. Losing cornerback Cortland Finnegan could really help Watkins chances. He's in the mix as a No. 2 receiver.
Mike Wallace (6.6): Credit the Dolphins for scheming up a way for Wallace to hit pay dirt last week and snap his two-game scoreless skid. He's averaged eight targets per game over his last five, scoring three times but bouncing between 46 and 67 yards in that span. As I've said before: He needs to score in order to help Fantasy owners. Well, he did in Week 2 at Buffalo and the Bills have allowed at least one receiving touchdown to 7 of 9 teams this season. Wallace should deliver double digits.
Jarvis Landry (4.4): Probably a safer bet in PPR leagues than standard, Landry's increased playing time has led to him catching 12 of 16 targets for 99 yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks.
Charles Clay (4.9): Clay had more end zone targets in Week 10 but couldn't reel them in, including one that was knocked away from his grasp. The bright side is that he has 12 catches on 17 targets in the last two weeks and has at least one end zone target in each of his last four, making him a part of the Dolphins goal-line play selection. Too bad he has just two touchdowns to show for it. If you've been rolling with him, keep doing so, but there are better options out there.
Bills (8.3): Only one of the last eight DSTs to play the Dolphins has finished the week as a Top 12 unit. But none of those eight took them on without their starting left tackle, and on a short week no less. The Bills lead the league in sacks and have put up 14-plus Fantasy points in four of their last five.
Dolphins (7.4): They're worth rolling with considering the mixed bag at running back for the Bills and their limited options in the passing game. The Bills have scored under 24 points in six of their last seven.
Fantasy Football Today Newsletter
Get tips, advice and news to win your league - all from the FFT podcast team.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Heath Cummings says Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson could be big movers in Dynasty rankings...
Heath Cummings says 27 may be the new 30 at running back, and you need to plan your long-term...
Heath Cummings says JuJu Smith-Schuster and D.J. Moore are keeping the position young at the...
Heath Cummings says you shouldn't expect too much from this year's rookie class... yet. But...
SportsLine simulated the 2019 NFL season 10,000 times and identified Fantasy Football breakouts...
Former quarterback Kliff Kingsbury went from fired college coach to head man for the Cardinals....