Detroit Lions 16, Minnesota Vikings 13
Matthew Stafford had an efficient, better-in-real-life-than-fantasy type of game with 232 yards passing, 30 yards rushing and one touchdown. Stafford only has five touchdowns in his last five games, slowing down from his hot start, as they’ve went to a more ball control type of offense. However, the Lions do play the Saints on Sunday at home in what could be a potential shootout, so Stafford can be viewed as a top-10 option in that contest. Marvin Jones led the team in targets with 11, but only managed four receptions for 54 yards. While he’s not the fantasy option I thought he’d be when the season started, I still expect Jones to have some big games down the stretch (Saints and Bears on deck) and is someone I’d recommend to have some shares of for DFS this weekend.
With no Stefon Diggs in the lineup, the Vikings went a conservative approach with a lot of short throws. According to Pro Football Focus, Sam Bradford’s 3.5 average attempt was tied for the lowest average target depth in a game this season. The beneficiaries of that was Kyle Rudolph (9-64) and Adam Thielen (8-53), who gave their owners a nice game in PPR formats. I expect Diggs to be back Thursday against the Cowboys and with the short passing game becoming a staple in this offense, could find himself with another 10+ catch day. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata combined for 14 carries for 58 yards and a TD. Neither is a fantasy option going forward.
Dallas Cowboys 31, Washington Redskins 26
Dak Prescott increased his streak of consecutive 17+ fantasy points games to 10 with 195 yards passing, 39 rushing and two touchdowns on Thursday. Due to the nature of his offense, Prescott doesn’t have the ceiling the top fantasy QBs do but his high floor keeps him as a QB1 option over the remaining five games. Dez Bryant didn’t find the end zone but eclipsed 70+ yards for the fifth time in his last seven games. He has a tough matchup with Xavier Rhodes on Thursday, making him more of a WR2 option Thursday. He’s still a player I’d play in season-long leagues because of his upside but I'd probably look elsewhere in DFS. Reminder, Alfred Morris should be owned in your league as a handcuff for Ezekiel Elliott. Potential upside is far too high in this offense.
Jordan Reed left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury but returned to finish with a monster game of 10 receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Jay Gruden revealed that Reed suffered a Grade 3 AC join separation – meaning a complete separation with ligament tears – leaving his status for Week 13 in question. I would believe he’ll play because he finished the game Thursday (and has 10 days to recover) but it’s something to monitor this week. I would encourage Reed owners to grab a backup, just in case he can’t go Sunday. Kirk Cousins had another huge game with 449 yards and three touchdowns. The way he’s playing, there’s not many QBs I would play over him this week. Ride the hot streak until it stops.
Pittsburgh Steelers 28, Indianapolis Colts 7
It’s hard to believe this was his first three touchdown game because of how great he is but Antonio Brown went HAM on Thanksgiving night with five receptions, 91 yards and three scores. However, his teammate, Le’Veon Bell had only 120 yards rushing and a season-low four receptions for 22 yards with just one touchdown. Such a disappointment! All jokes aside, these guys are top-5 fantasy players regardless of the position and their consistency is arguably, their best fantasy trait. Ladarius Green had two receptions for 67 yards and while he’s still not a huge part of the offense right now (only 14 snaps), he’s a guy to keep an eye on. They’re using him as a big play threat and his size in the red zone could mean a big game coming soon from him.
With no Andrew Luck, the Colts offense predictably suffered on Thursday night. Frank Gore had 15 carries for 28 yards and for some reason didn’t get the ball on 4th and goal on the 1 on two different occasions. It’s been reported if the game was Sunday, Luck could’ve played so he should be good to go next Monday in a juicy matchup against the Jets. T.Y. Hilton injured his back Thursday night and didn’t play most of the second half. He didn't practice on Monday but Chuck Pagano is "optimistic" he'll play Monday. If he were to miss Monday’s game, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett would see a bump in targets.
Tennessee Titans 27, Chicago Bears 21
Marcus Mariota now has eight consecutive multi-touchdown games with his 226 yards passing and two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns was a beautiful pass to Rishard Matthews for a 29-yard score. Matthews now has seven touchdowns in his last eight games and appears to have the #1 WR spot locked down in this offense. He’s a solid WR2 option the rest of the season. DeMarco Murray struggled on the ground Sunday and was out-rushed by Derrick Henry, 60-43. While Murray’s usage didn’t change (22 touches), Henry’s production and Murray’s foot injury could lead the team to lessening his workload over the final month. However, the Titans do have a bye next week so the added rest could be just what Murray needed.
Marquess Wilson had a big game with eight receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown (also dropped a touchdown) on 11 targets. He appeared to have a comfort level with Matt Barkley and is a worthy consideration for a pick up on waiver wires this week with a nice matchup against the 49ers on Sunday. While I don’t expect another game like this, he’s a potential streamer if you’re dealing with injuries or byes. Jordan Howard had another solid game with 18 carries for 84 yards and three receptions for 43 yards (with a drop that appeared to be a walk-in TD). He hasn’t lost many touches to Kadeem Carey or Jeremy Langford recently and has a great matchup against the 49ers, who rank last against the run. He’ll be a top-10 option and a popular choice in DFS.
Buffalo Bills 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 21
LeSean McCoy balled-out Sunday with 19 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns – including an untouched 75-yard score to open the second half. The thumb injury didn’t appear to be a factor and shouldn’t be an issue going forward. Sammy Watkins made his return and had a nice game with three receptions for 80 yards while playing on 45% of the snaps. He escaped the game without any issues with his foot and will likely see an increase in snaps next week against Oakland. With Watkins getting healthy, he’s back on WR2 radar and should be in lineups Sunday due to his big-play ability.
Chris Ivory started the game well with nine carries for 44 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. Unfortunately, he left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return. This resulted in Blake Bortles being the leading rusher with 81 yards on eight carries. Worth noting, Denard Robinson led the team in carries with 13 but only gained 39 yards. If Ivory were to miss the game, I’d expect a timeshare between T.J. Yeldon and Robinson. However, neither is a fantasy option I’d consider playing against Denver next week. Allen Robinson finished with two receptions for 24 yards on four targets as he fell victim to struggling passing game once again. With his next three games being against Denver, Minnesota and Houston, I have no little interest in playing A-Rob in any of those matchups.
Baltimore Ravens 19, Cincinnati Bengals 14
Kenneth Dixon led the Ravens backfield in snaps (31) and tied with Terrance West for the team-high in carries (13). Dixon also saw usage in the passing game with a team-high four receptions for 31 yards. While West will still have a role, and likely see goal-line touches, it’s clear it’s becoming Dixon’s backfield to end the season. Dixon will be a flex consideration this weekend against the Dolphins and for the remainder of the season in PPR leagues.
Jeremy Hill struggled on the ground against the #1 rushing defense (12-21) but his bump in work in the passing game salvaged his fantasy day (6-61). While Rex Burkhead saw an increase in snaps (38), it was good to see Hill be a factor in the passing game, which he hasn’t been most of the season. He’ll likely play around 70-75% of the snaps to finish the year, making him a solid RB2. Tyler Boyd saw nine targets in his first start for A.J. Green and had five receptions for 62 yards. He’ll be a WR3 as long as he continues to start.
Atlanta Falcons 38, Arizona Cardinals 19
All Taylor Gabriel does is catch touchdowns. For his four consecutive game, Gabriel reached the end zone and has seen five targets in each of his last three games. It’s clear he’ll be a factor in this offense going forward and is worthy of pick up consideration in deep leagues as a big play threat. It’s crazy to think now that the Browns cut him in September. As great as Julio Jones is, it’s maddening how inconsistent he’s been this season. Jones has six games with 100+ yards receiving and has four games with 35 yards or less. He’s still an elite play each week but has shown to be much more volatile than guys like Mike Evans, Antonio Brown or when healthy, A.J. Green.
David Johnson has eclipsed 100+ total yards in every game this season. That kind of consistency is going to win guys some leagues if you’re lucky enough to have drafted him. John Brown injured his hamstring on Sunday and did not return. It remains to be seen what his status will be for next week but he doesn’t need to be on rosters at this point, he’s safe to drop. Michael Floyd and J.J. Nelson will see a bump in usage if Brown were to be out but neither is a recommended play against Washington.
New York Giants 27, Cleveland Browns 13
Who is the highest scoring fantasy WR since Week 5? If you guessed Odell Beckham Jr., you are correct. OBJ scored two touchdowns on Sunday and now has eight scores in his last seven games. The yardage from a season ago isn’t quite there but he’s scoring at the pace that made him so special in his first two seasons. After it appeared Rashad Jennings had a firm grasp on the lead back role, Paul Perkins was much more involved this week as he only saw six less snaps than Jennings (28-22). I expect Jennings to see more snaps next week against the Steelers but it’s clear that Perkins will have some type of role regardless.
Terrelle Pryor had another nice game with six receptions for 131 yards. Regardless of what Janoris Jenkins thinks, Pryor has turned himself into a quality WR and will see a large pay raise this offseason. He's currently the 9th amongst WRs in fantasy points. I got a lot of calls wrong this year but I’m glad I was able to get the Pryor call right. Corey Coleman found the end zone for the first time since Week 2 on a pretty move on Janoris Jenkins. While the yards haven’t been there yet, he’s upside keeps him on WR3 radar after their bye next week.
New Orleans Saints 49, Los Angeles Rams 21
After watching his production take a hit in the last month, Michael Thomas exploded with nine receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns. He’s now 10th amongst WRs in fantasy points this season. While he’s not quite a WR1 for me with the nature of their spread-it-around offense, he’s a quality WR2 and should be in lineups regardless of the matchup. Brandin Cooks received zero targets for some reason Sunday. I view this as a mishap and doesn’t affect my view on him going forward. In fact, I could see Sean Payton try to force touches his way against the Lions to make up for it. He’ll be a high-end WR2 in that matchup.
Jared Goff threw for three touchdowns in the first half and finished with 214 yards and one interception. His beneficiaries were Kenny Britt, Lance Kendricks and Tavon Austin, as they all reached the end zone. While Goff isn’t going to come in and be the next Peyton Manning to finish the season, his ability to throw the ball downfield makes it a little more comforting if you have to start Britt, Kendricks or Austin in future weeks. However, none will be a recommended play on the road in New England on Sunday.
Miami Dolphins 31, San Francisco 49ers 24
Jay Ajayi struggled on the ground with 18 carries for 45 yards but did have a touchdown to salvage his day. While it was expected after his scorching midseason run, Ajayi has come back down to earth a bit in his last three games with 53 carries for 201 yards (3.8 YPC) and one touchdown. While I’m not the biggest Ajayi supporter, his consistent amount of carries keeps him in low-end RB1 territory. DeVante Parker had a touchdown and a long reception called back after replay showed his hand hit out of bounds prior to getting his second foot in or we could be talking about a big day for him. He does appear to be much more involved in his last three games and I view him as a solid WR3 against the Ravens Sunday.
Colin Kaepernick continued his hot streak with 296 yards passing, 113 yards rushing and three touchdowns to finish tied with Drew Brees as the #1 QB this week. His rushing yards in this offense is an x-factor and has now scored 19+ fantasy points in each of his last four games. With games against the Bears, Jets, Falcons and Rams coming up, Kaepernick is likely to be a top-15 option for the next month. If you’re struggling at QB or have Mariota on a bye, Kaepernick is a guy I would recommend picking up.
San Diego Chargers 21, Houston Texans 13
Tyrell Williams has a nice game with eight receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown, however, he did leave the game with a shoulder injury. Mike McCoy stated that Williams was “good” after Sunday’s win, leading us to believe he’ll be good to go for the Buccaneers. He’s a solid WR2. Dontrelle Inman had a big game with six catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. Inman has now seen at least six targets in five consecutive games and worthy of waiver consideration. While his ceiling is capped as Williams is more of a big-play guy, he’s a solid bet for 5-6 catches, making him a flex play consideration in PPR formats. Antonio Gates saw zero targets in Sunday’s game, while Hunter Henry scored a touchdown. This doesn’t appear to be any change in the depth chart, Gates out-snapped Henry 36-30, so I expect Gates to be fine in a better matchup against the Bucs.
DeAndre Hopkins saw a team-high 10 targets but only had five receptions for 70 yards. This situation is similar to the years when Larry Fitzgerald struggled to find consistent production because of quarterback play. With only one double-digit game since Week 2, Hopkins is no better than a WR3 against the Packers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14, Seattle Seahawks 5
Mike Evans regained the #1 spot in fantasy WR points for the season with a big game of eight receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns. The game put him over 1,000 yards receiving for the third consecutive season and will be in consideration with Brown, Julio and Beckham for the top WR taken in 2017 drafts. Doug Martin had 23 carries for 87 yards in a tough matchup against the Seahawks. Things should open up for him now as he gets San Diego, New Orleans (twice) and Dallas to finish the season. He’s a low-end RB1 for the stretch run.
Russell Wilson struggled to find much success in the passing game as he was under constant pressure (sacked six times) but did have his best rushing game of the year with eight rushes for 80 yards. While the game was a let down, the fact he’s back running like his old self shows he’s over his early season leg injuries. He’ll be a top-10 option against the Panthers. Thomas Rawls only had 12 carries for 38 yards but that was largely due to the team playing from behind throughout. The good news is that no other RB had a carry, which means it’s Rawls show to end the season. He’ll be a high-end RB2 option Sunday.
Oakland Raiders 35, Carolina Panthers 32
Derek Carr left the game with a dislocated pinky but only missed one drive and didn’t appear to be hampered in anyway as he finished with 315 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. This was a “Michael Crabtree game” as he finished with eight receptions for 110 yards, while Amari Cooper finished with four receptions for 22 yards. This after Crabtree had five receptions for 32 yards the last two weeks combined. While it’s not ideal, there will be games like this where they alternate in the production but both will remain quality plays in this potent offense.
Jonathan Stewart broke out of funk with 17 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Stewart has three 20+ point games and three single-digit fantasy games in his last six. I would guess that next week against Seattle, he’s more likely to be in the single-digits against a tough run defense on the road. We finally had our “Ted Ginn game” which happens every year where he catches a long score and has a big fantasy day. Ginn had four receptions for 115 yards and had a 88-yard touchdown reception in the second half. While his ten targets are nice, we’ve seen this story before. He can be safely left on your waiver wires unless you’re truly desperate or in a 14-16 team league.
New England Patriots 22, New York Jets 17
Rob Gronkowski left Sunday’s game with a back injury and had no catches on the day. There’s reports that the injury isn’t serious, I expect the Patriots to be cautious with their star as they’re currently 9-2 and will need him for the playoffs. If you’re a Gronk owner, I’d find a backup plan and would probably hang on to them for the rest of the season in case this lingers. The Patriots backfield continues to be a three-man committee as they split time pretty evenly on Sunday as LeGarrette Blount saw 27 snaps, James White 25, and Dion Lewis 23. Blount is probably the only one I’d trust because he has a chance to score every week. The others I would leave on the bench for now.
Brandon Marshall ended his touchdown drought as he scored for the first time since Week 5 on six receptions for 67 yards. It’s been a tough year for Marshall but with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing the rest of the season, Marshall is a low-end WR2 going forward. Bilal Powell led the Jets in rushing with eight carries for 36 yards, while Matt Forte had 13 carries for 27 yards. It’s nearly an even split – Forte out-snapped Powell 31-28 – hurting both players upside. Forte is in a good spot to bounce back with a good matchup against the Colts on Monday night.
Kansas City Chiefs 30, Denver Broncos 27
Tyreek Hill had a huge game with three touchdowns, one on a kick return, one rushing and one receiving. With Jeremy Maclin sidelined indefinitely (hasn’t practiced since he injured his groin) it appears Hill has an opportunity to become the top playmaker in the passing game for the remainder of the season. With his sub-4.3 speed, Hill is a big play threat whenever he’s on the field and should be owned in all formats. Travis Kelce had his third 100-yard receiving game in his last five games. He’s only scored once in that span but it appears he’s catching his stride for the stretch run.
Emmanuel Sanders had a big game with seven receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown. It was his first 100-yard game since Week 3 and his first touchdown since Week 4. Sanders leads the Broncos in red zone targets with 18 so it’s pretty hard to believe he only has four touchdowns. Due to how inconsistent this offense has been, Sanders is more of a WR3 to me, despite the big game on Sunday night.
Green Bay Packers 24, Philadelphia Eagles 13
Davante Adams had another big game with five receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He now has eight touchdowns on the season and is second to only Odell Beckham Jr. in fantasy points amongst WRs since Week 5. He’s a must-start every week and is the only Packers WR I’d want to play, not named Jordy Nelson. Christine Michael had one carry on Sunday night. It doesn’t appear they’re in a rush to get him touches and I wouldn’t waste a roster spot on him. James Starks is the only Packers RB to own right now.
Wendell Smallwood received the start with Mathews out due to injury but only had nine carries for 37 yards. It’s unknown if Mathews will play next week but with Sproles dominating the passing downs, Smallwood will be a RB3 against the Bengals. Darren Sproles would be a low-end RB2 in PPR formats if Mathews were to miss another game.