Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Week 12 WR/CB matchups and TE breakdown

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) runs in a touchdown past Houston Texans strong safety Justin Reid (20) during the first quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. An52600

We're on to Week 12! I'll be breaking down the WR/CB matchups all season long with a focus on figuring out who could be facing shadow coverage as well as the best and worst overall situations. We'll also briefly touch on each team's TE group.

The following tables denote snap rate data by alignment, target share, air-yard market share, yards per route run and yards allowed per coverage snap.

Houston Texans at Detroit Lions

Texans Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Will Fuller V 72 184 4.32 1.98 Desmond Trufant 72 190 4.38 1.6
R Brandin Cooks 70 183 4.33 1.76 Amani Oruwariye 73 205 4.47 1
S Keke Coutee 71 180 4.43 0.68 Justin Coleman 71 190 4.53 1.14

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Both Will Fuller V and Brandin Cooks have produced high-end fantasy production since coach Bill O’Brien was fired after Week 4:

  • Cooks: 50 targets, 37 receptions-496 yards-3 TD, PPR WR12
  • Fuller: 46 targets, 29-434-4, WR17

Randall Cobb‘s absence (toe) elevates Keke Coutee into a starting role. His ceiling is much lower in 2020 as the passing game’s No. 3 option compared to what we saw in 2018-19 when he typically functioned as the No. 2 while playing with Fuller sidelined.

Desmond Trufant didn’t have much consistent success tracking either Adam Thielen (2-38-0) or Terry McLaurin (7-95-0) in shadow coverage. The Lions didn’t ask him to travel with either Robby Anderson or D.J. Moore in Week 11. They could obviously assign him to one of Fuller or Cooks this week, but regardless, it’s not a matchup worth downgrading either receiver for.

Ultimately, Deshaun Watson is cooking, and the Lions are the league’s third-worst defense in explosive pass rate allowed. Fire up both Fuller and Cooks as top-20 options with confidence. Coutee is better approached as a Thanksgiving Day DFS dart throw than a realistic season-long option.

TE breakdown: Jordan Akins and Darren Fells continue to eat into each other's targets and snaps. Together, they’re low-ceiling TE2 options. When one is injured, either player is a legit TE1 option. The Lions have allowed the eighth-fewest PPR points per game to the position; try to find a fantasy tight end who is the clear-cut starter on his team.

Lions Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Marvin Hall 70 190 1.77 Bradley Roby 71 194 4.39 0.79
R Marvin Jones Jr. 74 198 1.19 Vernon Hargreaves III 70 204 4.5 1.65
S Jamal Agnew 70 190 0.71 Eric Murray 71 199 4.49 1.15

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Kenny Golladay (hip) appears to be on track to miss another week. We’ve seen a significantly less fantasy-friendly version of Matthew Stafford without his No. 1 wideout in action:

  • Week 1 (no Golladay): 9.2-yard average target depth
  • Week 2 (no): 8.8
  • Week 3 (yes): 10.2
  • Week 4 (yes): 13.3
  • Week 6 (yes): 11.3
  • Week 7 (yes): 10.5
  • Week 8 (yes): 10.5
  • Week 9 (no): 6.0
  • Week 10 (no): 7.9
  • Week 11 (no): 8.2

Week 11’s goose egg would’ve been improved if Stafford’s 50-yard touchdown to Marvin Jones Jr. wasn’t nullified by an illegal formation penalty. Either way, it’s clear we haven’t seen the same gunslinger under center without Golladay.

The only good thing stemming from Golladay’s absence is Jones’ fantasy ceiling. The Lions’ top-two wide receivers combined for 20 receiving touchdowns in 2019, but they scored in the same game just twice. Jones has posted 4-55-0, 4-23-1, 3-39-2, 3-43-1, 8-96-1 and 4-51-0 receiving lines in six games with Golladay either sidelined or available for fewer than half of the offense’s snaps. He’s a legit borderline WR2 against one of just 11 secondaries allowing 40-plus PPR points per game to opposing wideouts.

None of Marvin Hall (68% snaps), Jamal Agnew (50%), Quintez Cephus (30%) nor Mohamed Sanu (27%) was given a true full-time role with both Golladay and Danny Amendola (hip) sidelined last week. Each is nothing more than a desperate DFS play; these aren’t realistic season-long options.

TE breakdown: T.J. Hockenson is the better candidate to expect enhanced production during Golladay’s absence. The Lions’ stud tight end has surpassed 50 yards or scored a touchdown in all but one game this season. None of Travis Kelce (6-50-1), Eric Ebron (5-52-1) nor Anthony Firkser (8-113-1) had much of an issue racking up production against this secondary; Hockenson is my overall PPR TE5 on the week.

Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys

Football Team Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Terry McLaurin 72 208 4.35 2.22 Chidobe Awuzie 72 202 4.43 1.42
R Cam Sims 77 214 1.67 Anthony Brown 71 196 4.33 1.57
S Isaiah Wright 74 220 0.98 Jourdan Lewis 70 195 4.54 0.81

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Terry McLaurin is just so good.

The Rams held him to a 3-26-0 performance in Week 5, but otherwise, McLaurin has caught at least four passes for 60 yards in every game this season. He scored in both career matchups against the Cowboys’ 31st-ranked defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position. The Football Team’s undisputed No. 1 pass-game option has earned matchup-proof top-10 treatment among wide receivers until further notice.

Both Cam Sims and Isaiah Wright have flashed at various times over the past two weeks, but the problem is that 1) Sims doesn’t have more than five targets in a game this season, and 2) Wright is losing snaps and targets to Steven Sims. No team has targeted their running backs more than the Football Team this season; don’t mess around with these complementary receivers in fantasy land.

TE breakdown: There was a cool play in Week 11 where Logan Thomas (former QB) motioned across the formation, stopped under center and simply converted a quarterback sneak on his own. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound talent is a handful for anybody to get to the ground, and he has racked up at least four targets in every game this season. There’s a bit of a capped ceiling here, but the matchup is plenty winnable against anyone’s idea of one of the league’s worst secondaries. Fire up Thomas as a touchdown-dependent TE2.

Cowboys Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Michael Gallup 73 198 4.51 1.19 Kendall Fuller 71 198 1
R Amari Cooper 73 210 4.42 1.84 Ronald Darby 71 193 4.38 1.44
S CeeDee Lamb 74 191 4.5 1.85 Jimmy Moreland 70 179 1.26

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Andy Dalton’s target distribution in roughly eight quarters of football has been as follows:

It’s tough to get behind the Cowboys’ passing game against the league’s single-best defense in fewest PPR points per game allowed to opposing wide receivers. The Football Team’s monstrous defensive line has the potential to make life miserable for Dalton after he was protected more than we’ve seen all year in Week 11. Overall, Dalton was pressured on four of 34 dropbacks (12%) in Week 11 compared to 34 of 98 (35%) in Weeks 1-10.

Washington has allowed 7.22 yards per attempt on targets into the slot compared to 8.6 on the outside. Cooper is back in the consistent WR2 range, but I’d still be a bit cautious in expecting more than upside WR3 production from Lamb. It’s tough at this point to call Gallup more than a boom-or-bust WR4.

TE breakdown: Schultz has caught at least four passes in all but two games since Blake Jarwin (knee, IR) went down in Week 1. He’s cleared 50 yards just once since Dak Prescott (ankle, IR) was lost for the season, but either way, the Cowboys’ starting tight end at least has built a decent floor. Fire him up as a touchdown-dependent TE2 in this spot.

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Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Ravens Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Miles Boykin 76 220 4.42 0.94 Steven Nelson 71 194 4.49 0.88
R Marquise Brown 69 170 1.44 Joe Haden 71 195 4.52 1.1
S Willie Snead IV 71 205 4.62 1.63 Cameron Sutton 71 188 4.52 0.93

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: We’re going to go ahead and strip Marquise Brown’s “Hollywood” nickname until further notice. The speedy second-year wideout has posted an absolutely brutal 6-55-1 receiving line on 17 targets since the Ravens’ Week 7 bye. Target volume and efficiency are both massive concerns at the moment; Brown is a boom-or-bust WR4 right now.

Willie Snead IV went off with a 5-106-0 line against this secondary back in Week 8, but c’mon people. The added presence of Dez Bryant only shrinks the already small target share available in this run-first offense. Miles Boykin and Devin Duvernay will each see some opportunity, as well. None are recommended fantasy options against the league’s top-ranked scoring defense.

TE breakdown: Mark Andrews posted a season-high 86% snap rate in Week 11 and caught five of seven targets for 96 yards and a score. He could’ve had a second score with a better ball from Lamar Jackson. The only players at the position that you should start ahead of Andrews are Travis Kelce and Darren Waller.

Steelers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Diontae Johnson 70 183 4.6 1.84 Jimmy Smith 74 210 4.42 0.37
R Chase Claypool 76 227 4.42 2.16 Marcus Peters 72 195 4.53 1.16
S JuJu Smith-Schuster 73 215 4.54 1.42 Marlon Humphrey 72 197 4.41 1.1

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Diontae Johnson has largely dominated all season when playing even a quarter of the offense’s snaps:

  • Week 1: 6 receptions-57 yards-0 TD (10 targets)
  • Week 2: 8-92-1 (13)
  • Week 7: 9-80-2 (15)
  • Week 8: 1-6-0 (3)
  • Week 9: 6-77-0 (10)
  • Week 10: 6-116-1 (11)
  • Week 11: 12-111-0 (16)

We’ve seen the Steelers' offense largely shift from a run-first attack that didn’t ask Big Ben to carry them to a pass-first unit happy to attack defenses of all shapes and sizes with their trio of talented wide receivers. The result has been plenty of volume for Roethlisberger; he’s thrown 49, 32, 42, 46 and 46 times over the past five weeks, with the latter two performances coming in blowout wins.

Johnson has earned weekly upside WR2 treatment when healthy. Still, his pedestrian 1-6-0 performance against the Ravens in Week 8 gives me some hesitation in trusting him too much in DFS. He briefly left the game with a hamstring injury but did play 77% of the offense’s snaps. It’s risky reading too much into this one-game sample, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Chase Claypool’s superior air yard potential winds up winning him the day.

JuJu (toe) is expected to play through the pain, but it’s another issue to deal with. He’s been missing Wednesday practice all season due to a knee injury. Both Johnson and Claypool should be started with confidence despite the tough matchup against the Ravens’ ever-tough secondary. Treat JuJu as more of a low-ceiling WR3 until we see him return to full health.

TE breakdown: Eric Ebron is playing a near every-down role and has at least five targets in all but two games this season. He’s yet to reach even 55 receiving yards in a game, but the red-zone threat is plenty capable of continuing to provide borderline TE1 value with this sort of full-time role.

Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills

Chargers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Mike Williams 76 220 1.6 Tre'Davious White 71 192 4.47 1.03
R Jalen Guyton 73 202 0.85 Levi Wallace 72 179 4.63 0.93
S Keenan Allen 74 211 4.58 2.26 Taron Johnson 71 192 4.5 1.59

Projected shadow matchups: Mike Williams vs. Tre’Davious White

WR/CB breakdown: Keenan Allen has caught a league-high 81 passes through 11 weeks of action. His six scores are as many as he had in each of 2017, 2018 and 2019. We’ve never seen this sort of workload out of the Chargers’ long-time WR1:

  • 2013: 7 targets per game
  • 2014: 8.6
  • 2015: 11.1
  • 2016: 7
  • 2017: 9.9
  • 2018: 8.5
  • 2019: 9.3
  • 2020: 11.2

We’re already witnessing a true next-level connection between Allen and stud rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.

The No. 6 overall pick has thrown for at least 300 yards or been a part of three total touchdowns in all nine of his starts. Allen is my No. 3-ranked wide receiver for the week considering he should avoid White’s shadow coverage. The most similar slot/outside 1A/1B dynamic the Bills have faced this season was the Seahawks, and they kept White on D.K. Metcalf as opposed to moving him in the slot to face off with Tyler Lockett. Overall, White has spent just 13 snaps in the slot all season; Allen has played at least 20 reps inside in every non-injury shortened game this season.

The projected matchup isn’t ideal for Williams, although the contested-catch extraordinaire is always a threat to win a jump ball against almost anybody. He’s a weekly upside WR3 as long as Herbert and this passing game continue to hum.

Guyton plays a near full-time role but loses a deep ball shot per week to Tyron Johnson. Neither is a realistic fantasy option as this offense’s usual No. 4 and No. 5 (at best) pass-game options.

TE breakdown: Hunter Henry has scored in back-to-back games and now faces the league’s second-worst defense in PPR points per game allowed to opposing tight ends. Treat the TE10 in PPR points per game as such in this potential smash spot.

Bills Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L John Brown 71 178 4.34 1.47 Michael Davis 74 196 1.13
R Stefon Diggs 72 191 4.46 2.32 Casey Hayward Jr. 71 192 1.34
S Cole Beasley 68 174 2.14 Tevaughn Campbell 72 195 1.17

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Perhaps Casey Hayward Jr. could attempt to match Stefon Diggs, but the Chargers have asked him to do so only twice in 2020 with mixed results. On the season, Hayward has allowed 26 catches on 57 targets into his coverage for 468 yards and five scores with zero interceptions.

Diggs is plenty capable of going off against just about any corner in the league; Hayward isn’t an exception. The Bills’ No. 1 wideout has at least eight targets in six consecutive games and stands as the WR5 in PPR points per game on the season. Continue to fire up Diggs as a high-end WR1, particularly against a Chargers team that simply can’t avoid participating in a shootout. Overall, their past seven games have produced point totals of 69, 57, 68, 61, 57, 50 and 62.

John Brown (ankle) is hobbled, meaning Gabriel Davis could make another spot start. The rookie has proven capable of popping off for some big plays this season, but Cole Beasley is probably better positioned to make a splash if Smokey is ultimately sidelined. Overall, the Bills’ slot receiver has posted 6-53-0 and 11-112-0 in two games with Brown out this season.

Beasley can be treated as a high-floor WR3 if Brown is unable to suit up, while Davis would be more of a boom-or-bust WR5 in this situation. It’s tough to trust Smokey if he’s active due to the potential for limited snaps.

TE breakdown: Dawson Knox is back to playing a full-time role, although he’s more of a DFS dart than a realistic season-long option as the likely No. 4 (at best) pass-game option. Still, the talented second-year tight end had a full Week 11 bye to get even more healthy, and he now finds himself facing the league’s sixth-worst defense in PPR points per game. Knox has the sort of after-the-catch and contested-catch skills to make the most out of three to five targets.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

Titans Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L A.J. Brown 72 226 4.49 2.22 Xavier Rhodes 73 218 4.43 0.99
R Corey Davis 75 209 2.37 Rock Ya-Sin 72 192 4.51 1.74
S Cameron Batson 68 175 0.88 Kenny Moore II 69 190 1.02

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Don’t you just love AJB WR1 Szn?

Brown posted a 5-39-0 line against the Broncos in Week 1 while playing through the pain, and he went 1-21-0 with a dropped 70-yard score against the Colts in Week 10. Otherwise, he’s scored in every game this season; continue to fire up Brown as a top-12 option at the position.

Let’s play a game!

  • Player A: 8 games, 59 targets, 36 receptions, 540 yards, 7 TDs
  • Player B: 8 games, 55 targets, 39 receptions, 549 yards, 3 TDs

Player A: AJB. Player B: Corey Davis, who threw everybody off his scent with his Week 9 goose egg, but has rebounded with 5-67-0 and 5-113-0 performances over the past two weeks. Obviously, the TDs make a large difference; just realize Davis sees a similar weekly workload and is the WR30 in PPR points per game on the season ahead of guys like CeeDee Lamb (WR32), D.J. Chark Jr. (WR35) and Tee Higgins (WR37). Treat Davis as the upside WR3 he’s been all season.

Adam Humphries (concussion) remains sidelined. Cameron Batson is the replacement, but he played just 26% of the offense’s snaps in Week 11. None of these complementary receivers are realistic fantasy options.

TE breakdown: Jonnu Smith loses some targets and snaps alike to Geoff Swaim and (especially) Anthony Firkser. Regardless, Smith has found the end zone eight times this season as a rusher and receiver. The ceiling is low with both AJB and Davis healthy; Smith hasn’t reached even 50 yards in a game since Week 3. Still, scoring opportunities should continue to be available inside of the league’s ninth-ranked scoring offense. Smith remains a TD-dependent TE1.

Colts Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Michael Pittman Jr. 76 220 4.52 1.59 Malcolm Butler 71 190 1.44
R T.Y. Hilton 70 183 4.34 1.25 Breon Borders 72 189 0.84
S Zach Pascal 74 219 4.55 1.29 Desmond King II 70 200 0.65

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: I reject the idea that Pittman has truly separated himself as the bonafide alpha of this WR room because 1) the Packers tried to have a linebacker carry him across the field on his 45-yard score, and 2) the Titans simply didn’t guard him on his 40-yard catch on a similar crosser concept. Taking away a player’s big plays isn’t cool; they made them happen, it counts. Still, this is a player that has been on the field for at least 50% of the offense’s snaps in seven games this season, and he hadn’t reached 60 yards or scored until going for 6-101-0 and 3-66-1 over the past two weeks.

This isn’t an indictment on Pittman as a player; he looks big, fast and strong with solid-enough ball skills. Rather, it’s a suggestion to refrain from playing anybody from an offense that has produced just two games with even 75 receiving yards from a WR all season. The Colts join the Ravens as the only teams that haven’t fed a single receiver at least 10 targets in a game more than once this season. This is a run-first offense that spreads the ball around more than just about anyone.

We’ve seen Philip Rivers get everyone involved since the team’s Week 7 bye:

Pittman is certainly the most fantasy-friendly WR on the Colts, but I still couldn’t squeeze him in my top 40 options at the position for this week. Don’t be afraid to fade this occasionally productive, but always muddled, passing game as a whole.

TE breakdown: This group is impossible to trust when each of Doyle, Alie-Cox and Burton are all healthy. TDs will be scored, but nobody has emerged as a consistent threat out of the group. Pass.

Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings

Panthers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L D.J. Moore 71 215 4.42 2.22 Kris Boyd 71 201 4.45 1.59
R Robby Anderson 75 190 2.22 Chris Jones 72 200 4.57 1.25
S Curtis Samuel 71 195 4.31 1.59 Jeff Gladney 72 183 4.48 1.62

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: P.J. Walker looked like he belonged for the majority of last Sunday’s win over the Lions; just realize this week’s road trip presents a far tougher matchup against a much better-coached defense. Coach Matt Rhule said, “I would expect Teddy to practice on Wednesday, and we’ll take it from there. He was cleared to play yesterday, so I would assume he will be ready to go on Wednesday.”

We can fire up both Moore and Anderson as borderline WR2s regardless of who is under center come Sunday. Both players have different types of workload this season, but each has been of the fantasy-friendly variety:

  • Moore: 22% target share (No. 18 in the NFL); 40% air yard share (No. 3)
  • Anderson: 27% target share (No. 7), 36% air yard share (No. 7)

The Vikings' defense ranks 27th in passer rating, 22nd in explosive pass play rate and yards per attempt as well as dead last in pressure rate through 11 weeks. Both WRs should be started with confidence in fantasy leagues of all shapes and sizes.

Samuel has at least five combined carries and targets in every game this season. Millennial Percy Harvin (as the kids like to say) has posted a stellar season-long 84.5% catch rate and is always dangerous with the ball in his hands. He’ll be the passing game’s No. 3 option more weeks than not, but the cozy rush-game floor gives him legit upside WR3 potential in this plus spot.

TE breakdown: Ian Thomas has played at least half of the offense’s snaps in every game this season and has yet to reach 30 receiving yards. He’s finished with under 10 yards in all but three games. Don’t do it.

Vikings Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Justin Jefferson 73 202 4.43 3.16 Rasul Douglas 74 209 4.59 0.95
R Olabisi Johnson 72 204 4.51 1.57 Troy Pride Jr. 72 190 4.4 1.45
S Chad Beebe 70 183 0.64 Jeremy Chinn 74 211 4.45 0.71

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Adam Thielen (Covid) needs to rack up some negative tests in order to be cleared by Sunday. The WR8 in PPR points per game, Thielen has a league-high 11 receiving scores and is a weekly WR1 regardless of the matchup if active.

Thielen’s absence would elevate Jefferson into the top-10 range himself. Regardless, he’s also someone that needs to be squeezed into starting lineups of all shapes and sizes. Forget rookies, Jefferson has been one of the league’s most efficient receivers period. Just five players have averaged at least 2.6 yards per route run this season (minimum 25 targets):

Kirk Cousins doesn’t always have the most fantasy-friendly volume, but he does boast the league’s third-deepest average target depth. Credit to the Panthers for allowing the eighth-fewest PPR points per game to opposing WRs; don’t let that influence your decision-making process on whether or not to start either Vikings WR.

Check out the Wednesday edition of the PFF Fantasy Football Podcast for more thoughts on this situation and every Week 12 matchup.

TE breakdown: Irv Smith Jr. could be the main beneficiary if Thielen is ultimately sidelined. He’s spent plenty of time in the slot (53 snaps) and out wide (29) this season already; the second-year TE has the talent as a pure receiver to make the most out of an enhanced target share. I’d be willing to treat Smith as an upside TE2 if Thielen is out, otherwise both him and Kyle Rudolph will be low-floor TE2 options due to the reality that they continue to eat into the other’s targets and snaps alike.

Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars

Browns Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L KhaDarel Hodge 74 205 1.22 Tre Herndon 71 185 1.28
R Rashard Higgins 73 198 4.64 2.06 Chris Claybrooks 72 170 1.66
S Jarvis Landry 71 196 4.77 1.91 D.J. Hayden 71 190 4.4 1.64

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: We’ve only seen Baker Mayfield throw the ball more than 25 times in a game on four occasions this season:

  • Week 1 in a 38-6 loss to the Ravens
  • Week 4 in a 49-38 win over the Cowboys
  • Week 5 in a 32-23 win over the Colts
  • Week 7 in a 37-34 win over the Bengals

It’s taken an elite effort out of the opposing offense to force Cleveland’s hand and let Mayfield sling the rock.

A win is a win is a win. Credit to Mayfield and company for already racking up seven of them this season. The problem is that Mayfield has been worse in 2020 compared to 2018 and 2019 in terms of PFF passing grade and yards per attempt. The Browns are playing winning football, but the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft hasn’t been a big reason why.

Landry will score a non-passing TD at some point this season, and Higgins remains an upside WR4 in winnable matchups such as this. Realize that the Browns' offense is basically the AFC version of the Vikings without high-end talents at WR or one of the league’s more efficient QBs. This offense flows through Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt; everything else is a gamble in fantasy land.

TE breakdown: Austin Hooper hasn’t quite played the same every-down role since returning from injury, and he’s seen just seven total targets over the past two weeks. Still, he’s set up well against one of just three defenses to allow at least eight scores to opposing TEs this season. Hooper is on the TE1 borderline with better performances likely to come, but remember that Harrison Bryant and David Njoku remain annoyingly involved in this low-volume passing game.

Jaguars Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L D.J. Chark Jr. 76 198 4.34 1.64 Terrance Mitchell 71 191 4.63 1.05
R Chris Conley 75 205 4.35 1.52 Tavierre Thomas 70 205 1.37
S Keelan Cole 73 194 1.28 Kevin Johnson 72 185 4.52 0.97

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Denzel Ward (calf) is expected to miss a few weeks, but the reality that Mike Glennon is now under center is incredibly problematic when it comes to trusting anyone this week.

Chark has posted 19% target and 30% air-yard shares this season. Good, not great, numbers that were being boosted by Jake Luton’s willingness to feed him downfield opportunities.

Glennon hasn’t started a game since 2017. He hasn’t thrown for multiple scores in a game since 2014. He’s never accounted for three scores in a single game. The only player in this offense that should be started with any level of confidence this week is James Robinson. Otherwise, it’s best to stay away before we know for sure if Glennon has a chance in hell of moving the ball with any level of consistency in the year 2020.

TE breakdown: Please see the previous sentence.

New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals

Giants Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Darius Slayton 73 190 4.39 1.64 William Jackson III 72 196 4.37 1.19
R Sterling Shepard 70 201 4.48 1.67 LeShaun Sims 72 203 4.53 1.9
S Golden Tate 70 197 4.42 1.32 Mackensie Alexander 70 192 1.37

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Jackson shadowed last week, but this hasn’t been something the Bengals have asked him to do with regularity over the years. The Giants present a more balanced offense than the Football Team; don’t expect the Bengals’ No. 1 CB to consistently track either Slayton or Shepard.

The only receivers with a higher percentage of their team's air-yard share than Slayton (38%) are D.J. Moore (40%), Thielen (41%) and Terry McLaurin (44%). The last time Shepard didn’t receive at least six targets in a non-injury-shortened game was Week 11 of 2018. Both can be fired up as upside WR3 options against the league’s ninth-worst defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position.

Tate returned in Week 10 but played just 38% of the offense’s snaps, as Austin Mack (34%) stayed plenty involved. Neither are realistic fantasy options.

TE breakdown: Evan Engram racked up 29 targets in Weeks 7-9, but just three in Week 10. Sigh. The talented TE has scored just once all season, and he’s yet to surpass 65 receiving yards in a game. Perhaps the season’s most-disappointing player who hasn’t been impacted by injury, Engram is a borderline TE1 based on the chance for high-end volume, but the accompanying production just hasn’t been there all year.

Bengals Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L A.J. Green 76 210 4.48 1 James Bradberry 73 212 4.5 0.84
R Tee Higgins 76 215 1.81 Isaac Yiadom 73 190 4.52 1.64
S Tyler Boyd 74 203 4.58 1.76 Darnay Holmes 70 198 4.48 1.56

Projected shadow matchups: A.J. Green vs. James Bradberry

WR/CB breakdown: The Titans and Eagles chose to use No. 1 CB on Green, even if that strategy might be better served on Higgins.

Regardless, none of the Bengals can be treated as anything more than low-end WR3s at best with Ryan Finley under center. In total, 59 QBs have thrown at least 50 passes over the past two seasons. Here’s how Finley ranks:

  • PFF passing grade: 28.4 (No. 59)
  • Yards per attempt: 5.2 (No. 58)
  • Adjusted completion rate: 56% (No. 59)
  • Passer rating: 55.5 (No. 55)

The Giants have been an underrated good-not-great defense all season, and they’re set up brilliantly against objectively the worst starting QB in the league. Don’t expect Finley to come close to providing the same sort of production as Joe Burrow (torn ACL, IR).

Boyd is the only receiver with experience playing alongside Finley; he deserves to be treated as the top option in Cincy. Just don’t expect much from anybody involved in an offense that produced 13, 10 and 10 points in three games with Finley under center last season.

TE breakdown: I won’t even make a sample size joke this week. Just don’t do it. Moving on.

Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots

Cardinals Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L DeAndre Hopkins 73 212 4.57 2.38 Stephon Gilmore 73 202 4.38 1.18
R Christian Kirk 71 200 4.47 1.56 J.C. Jackson 73 198 4.46 1.3
S Larry Fitzgerald 75 218 4.48 0.99 Jonathan Jones 70 190 4.33 1.67

Projected shadow matchups: DeAndre Hopkins vs. Stephon Gilmore, Christian Kirk vs. J.C. Jackson

WR/CB breakdown: Gilmore has shadowed on four occasions this season:

Obviously we shouldn’t expect Hopkins to finish with one of his bigger blowup performances, but the matchup also isn’t a reason to drop him out of the week’s top-five WRs. Arguably the single-best WR in the league at the moment, Hopkins earned auto-start high-end WR1 treatment regardless of the matchup a long time ago.

Kirk has basically been a boom-or-bust WR3 all season and now faces a Patriots defense that has allowed the single-worst explosive pass-play rate in the league. Back-to-back duds and a matchup that will probably be perceived as tough by the public makes Kirk a sneaky-awesome DFS play this week. He’s also a more than viable season-long option as the lead field-stretcher WR inside of the league’s seventh-ranked scoring offense. 

Old man Fitz inexplicably was fed 10 targets in Week 11. He converted the high-end opportunity into an 8-62-0 line. Still scoreless through 11 weeks, Fitzgerald is a low-ceiling WR5 that shouldn’t be playing so far ahead of Andy Isabella.

TE breakdown: Dan Arnold (39% snaps in Week 11) is the team’s preferred receiver at the position, but Maxx Williams (57%) usually plays more snaps. Neither are recommended fantasy options against the league’s fifth-best defense in fewest PPR points per game allowed to opposing TEs.

Patriots Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Damiere Byrd 69 180 1.48 Patrick Peterson 73 203 4.31 1.14
R N'Keal Harry 74 228 4.53 1.1 Dre Kirkpatrick 74 196 4.5 1.55
S Jakobi Meyers 74 203 4.63 2.46 Byron Murphy 71 190 4.55 1.26

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Cam Newton has thrown for an average of 233 yards per game over the past four weeks. Hardly revolutionary, but the Patriots’ passing game has at least looked like a professional unit over the past month after failing to do so for the first seven weeks of the season (excluding their Week 2 matchup against the Seahawks).

Meyers fell back to earth last week with a 3-38-0 dud but continued to play a near every-snap role. Byrd caught six of seven targets for 132 yards and a score, showing better ball-tracking ability than he had all season. Even Harry got in on the fun, posting a 5-41-0 line while spending the majority of his snaps in the slot for a second straight week.

Patriots-Cardinals is one of seven games this week with a game total of at least 50 points; there’s legit shootout potential here. The Cardinals have allowed the seventh-most PPR points per game to opposing WRs; Meyers is an upside WR3, while Byrd and Harry are reasonable DFS darts that could help complete more Cardinals-focused game stacks.

TE breakdown: Ryan Izzo caught a 50-yard pass at the end of regulation when Newton’s Hail Mary failed to make it to the end zone. He still hasn’t had more than three targets in a game this season and isn’t on the fantasy radar.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

Dolphins Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Jakeem Grant 67 169 1.53 Lamar Jackson 75 215 4.58 1.96
R DeVante Parker 75 216 4.45 1.74 Bryce Hall 73 200 0.99
S Malcolm Perry 69 185 4.63 0.79 Arthur Maulet 70 190 4.62 1.28

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: I wrote the following about this situation last week:

“Tua Tagovailoa is 3-0 as a starter and has played solid, turnover-free football in back-to-back weeks. The only ‘problem' is that he’s thrown just 22, 28 and 25 passes while posting a relatively modest 15-34-0 rushing line on the season. The Dolphins are winning games with the help of Tagovailoa, but the rookie hasn’t exactly been forced to carry the team on his back.

This lack of volume has carried over and impacted the ceilings and floors alike of the team’s receivers. Parker and Grant have received solid-enough target shares, but the overall volume is so low that it really hasn’t mattered in fantasy land. Overall, Tagovailoa hasn’t fed a single player eight targets in a game through three starts, and nobody has gained even 65 receiving yards in a game.

These thresholds will be met at some point; just realize a cross-country trip to Mile High Stadium isn’t exactly the most fantasy-friendly spot to expect much from this passing game. The banged-up Broncos defense hasn’t been the same monster we’ve seen in past years. Still, Vic Fangio remains one of the brighter defensive minds in the game, and his defense ranks eighth and seventh in explosive pass-play rate and yards per attempt allowed, respectively.”

Credit to Parker for finding the end zone, but Tua is back under center, and we again shouldn’t expect anything resembling fantasy-friendly volume or efficiency to be headed his way. Parker is an upside WR3, otherwise stay away from this offense.

TE breakdown: Mike Gesicki briefly showed signs of life in Week 11 once Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the game, but in the end it was his eighth performance of the season with fewer than 50 receiving yards. He’ll remain a boom-or-bust TE2 based on talent alone; just realize the latter scenario is far more likely with Tua under center.

Jets Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Breshad Perriman 74 215 1.55 Byron Jones 72 205 4.49 1.2
R Denzel Mims 75 215 4.38 1.97 Xavien Howard 73 192 4.58 1.31
S Jamison Crowder 69 177 4.56 1.97 Nik Needham 72 203 1.42

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Regarding Sam Darnold (shoulder), coach Adam Gase said, “We’re taking it day by day and we’ll see how it goes. I’d think it’s trending in the right direction, but we’re taking it one day at a time.”

We can get back to treating Crowder as an upside WR3 if Darnold is back, but otherwise he’s off the fantasy grid after totaling just five combined targets over the past two weeks.

The Jets have quietly been kinda fun with Joe Flacco under center. Mr. Elite boasts a league-high 19.7% deep-ball rate this season and has helped this offense score 27 and 28 points over the past two weeks. The bad news is this week’s matchup is against the same defense that goose-egged Flacco and company back in Week 6.

The Dolphins have the sort of talented big-bodied outside corners that should give Perriman and Mims some problems. Both WRs have flashed tantalizing upside at times over the past few weeks, but there’s simply too much working against them in terms of 1) overall volume, and 2) erratic play under center. Both are boom-or-bust WR4s that can’t be trusted in season-long formats.

TE breakdown: Chris Herndon scored last week! I was so happy I lit my special occasion $40 candle the next day. He remains well off the fantasy grid, but get your bets down meow on Herndon becoming the next post-Gase player to find success elsewhere.

Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons

Raiders Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Henry Ruggs III 72 190 4.27 1.33 Darqueze Dennard 71 200 4.51 1.22
R Nelson Agholor 72 198 4.42 1.75 A.J. Terrell 73 190 4.42 1.44
S Hunter Renfrow 70 184 4.59 2.08 Isaiah Oliver 72 210 4.5 1.68

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Carr continues to play his ass off on a weekly basis. Rookie first-round pick Henry Ruggs doesn’t have more than three catches in a game all season, and it took until late in the fourth quarter for him to even see a target in Week 11. Still, his return to the lineup in Week 5 might’ve just been the key to unlock Carr’s newfound downfield mentality. Overall, Carr’s deep-ball rate of 14.7% ranks fifth at the position over the past seven weeks, ahead of the likes of Patrick Mahomes (14.3%), Aaron Rodgers (13.6%), Matt Ryan (13.1%), Tom Brady (12.2%) and Josh Allen (11.6%) among others.

The real beneficiary in the WR room of Carr’s newfound willingness to throw deep has been Agholor, who has emerged as a legit boom-or-bust WR3 ever since being squeezed into the starting lineup back in Week 3 despite rookie Bryan Edwards returning to the lineup in Week 9:

  • Week 3: 2 receptions-32 yards-0 TD (3 targets)
  • Week 4: 4-44-1 (4)
  • Week 5: 2-67-1 (2)
  • Week 7: 5-107-1 (9)
  • Week 8: 0-0-0 (2)
  • Week 9: 2-55-1 (3)
  • Week 10: 1-8-0 (4)
  • Week 11: 6-88-1 (9)

Look for Agholor to stay hot this week against one of just three defenses allowing at least 45 PPR points per game to opposing WRs. Ruggs and Renfrow are unfortunately nothing more than longshot DFS stacking partners with Carr due to their mediocre involvement in this run-first offense.

TE breakdown: Waller has at least five catches in all but two games this season. Only Robby Anderson and Stefon Diggs have more total games reaching this threshold. Through 11 weeks, Travis Kelce (19.6 PPR points per game), George Kittle (16.4) and Waller (14.0) are the only TEs averaging even 12 PPR points per contest; continue to fire up the latter player as the No. 2 option at the position.

Falcons Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Julio Jones 75 220 4.34 2.62 Damon Arnette 72 195 4.56 1.97
R Calvin Ridley 73 190 4.43 2.3 Trayvon Mullen 74 199 4.46 1.27
S Russell Gage 72 184 1.5 Nevin Lawson 69 192 4.48 0.99

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Keep an eye on Jones (hamstring). Matt Ryan posted 238-1-1, 285-0-0, 226-0-1 232-0-2 passing lines in four games with Jones either completely sidelined or limited to fewer than half of the offense’s snaps.

Of course, Ridley is locked in as a top-10 option at the position either way. He’s quite literally never busted in 13 career games with eight or more targets:

  • 7 receptions-146 yards-3 TDs
  • 6-71-1
  • 8-93-1
  • 8-105-1
  • 5-88-1
  • 8-143-1
  • 6-85-1
  • 8-91-0
  • 9-130-2
  • 7-109-2
  • 5-110-0
  • 8-136-0
  • 5-90-0

Olamide Zaccheaus has typically worked as the replacement starter when either Ridley or Jones have missed time this season, although Christian Blake got the nod in Week 11. The Raiders’ secondary isn’t anything to fear, but it’s probably not worth going after either complementary option while the pecking order remains unclear in a potentially lesser version of this offense if Jones winds up being sidelined.

Gage is a low-ceiling WR4 with or without Julio on the field. The Raiders-Falcons matchup possesses Week 12’s highest game total; don’t be surprised if we truly see Ridley ball the hell out in this spot.

TE breakdown: Hayden Hurst is probably the true beneficiary of Jones potentially missing time. Week 11’s goose-egg performance was obviously disappointing, but previously the Falcons’ starting TE had caught at least four passes for 50-plus yards in four consecutive games.

New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos

Saints Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Michael Thomas 75 212 4.57 1.73 Bryce Callahan 69 188 0.55
R Emmanuel Sanders 71 180 4.4 1.97 A.J. Bouye 72 191 1.1
S Tre'Quan Smith 74 210 4.49 1.03 Essang Bassey 70 190 4.46 1.06

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Taysom Hill’s target distribution in his first start under center last week was as follows:

Failing to complete a single pass all game to Kamara should be grounds for a war crime of some sorts, but I already covered this monstrosity in my Week 12 backfield breakdown.

Anyway, Thomas got back on track in a big way with nine receptions for 104 yards. We saw more downfield chances for the NFL’s all-time leader in single-season receptions, as Thomas caught all four of his targets thrown at least 15 yards downfield for 73 yards. Before Week 11, he’d caught just one of three-such targets for 20 yards.

It’s a bit too early to get back to anointing Thomas as a top-three play at the position, but he’s certainly locked in as a WR1 regardless of who is under center.

Sanders’ performance would’ve been much bigger if 1) Hill didn’t brutally underthrow him on a potential 57-yard score, and 2) a penalty didn’t wipe out another underthrown bomb that Sanders managed to convert for a score. This sort of newfound deep-ball opportunity is intriguing for Sanders’ fantasy value; just realize there’s also going to be a scary-low floor in this passing game as long as Hill remains under center. Ultimately, Sanders is best treated as a boom-or-bust WR3.

This Broncos defense ranks third in explosive pass-play rate and fourth in yards per attempt allowed despite producing the league’s 20th-best pass rush in pressure rate. Coach Vic Fangio deserves a ton of credit for keeping the defense so competitive without all-world edge defender Von Miller. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this Saints passing game take a step back during their tough cross-country road trip.

TE breakdown: Neither Cook nor Trautman are realistic fantasy options as long as 1) Hill is under center, and 2) they continue to largely split snaps and targets alike.

Broncos Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Tim Patrick 77 210 2.03 Patrick Robinson 71 191 4.46 1.32
R Jerry Jeudy 73 192 4.45 1.75 Janoris Jenkins 70 190 1.08
S K.J. Hamler 69 173 1.12 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson 72 208 4.48 1.09

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Drew Lock has fed the following players double-digit targets since returning in Week 6:

Note that Patrick, Fant and Hamler each missed a game during this stretch.

Still, Jeudy is locked in as the Broncos’ No. 1 WR. He has showed off high-end route-running ability throughout his rookie season despite having just two scores and one game with more than 75 receiving yards.

This Saints defense has been on a tear lately and could cause a world of problems for Lock in the pressure department. Still, Jeudy has been seeing true WR1 usage in terms of air yards, and he has a winnable matchup against a secondary tentatively expected to again be without No. 1 CB Marshon Lattimore (abdominal). He’s my PPR WR30 on the week, ahead of notable players such as DeVante Parker, Tyler Boyd and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

TE breakdown: Fant continues to play through various physical ailments and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 2. He’s still firmly in the TE1 conversation based on raw talent alone, and Lock has fed him at least five targets in all but one game together. Fant remains a reasonable starting option in season-long leagues; just don’t expect a peak performance 1) while he continues to play through the pain, and 2) in a tough matchup such as this.

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams

49ers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Deebo Samuel 71 214 4.48 1.85 Jalen Ramsey 73 208 4.41 0.54
R Richie James Jr. 69 185 4.48 2.44 Darious Williams 69 187 0.81
S Kendrick Bourne 73 203 4.68 1.37 Troy Hill 71 183 4.55 1.1

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: I don’t expect the Rams to use Ramsey in shadow coverage on Samuel; he’s only matched up against bigger-body types D.K. Metcalf and Mike Evans. Either way, Samuel has the sort of low-aDOT role built on pop passes and RB-esque touches to make it tough on Ramsey to even make an impact on most of his targets.

This WR group remains a bit up in the air, but Samuel (hamstring) is expected to suit up. Expect James to work as the No. 2 option with Brandon Aiyuk (covid, IR) likely unavailable. I’m inclined to not test the Rams’ beastly defense with any of the 49ers’ complementary receivers.

Samuel can win in this spot just like he did back in Week 6: designed touches from the mind of offensive genius Kyle Shanahan.

Fire up Samuel as a legit WR3 this week; none of these other WRs are recommended starts against the league’s second-best defense in fewest PPR points per game allowed to the position. 

TE breakdown: Reed played just 13 snaps in Week 9 and posted a brutal 1-3-0 receiving line. Things improved in Week 10, as the ex-Washington TE played 44% of the offense’s snaps and caught five of six targets for 62 yards. Expect a similar workload moving forward; Reed is an upside TE2 at worst as long as he’s healthy enough to suit up and George Kittle (foot, IR) remains sidelined.

Rams Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Josh Reynolds 75 196 4.52 1.42 Jason Verrett 70 188 4.38 0.64
R Robert Woods 72 195 4.51 1.67 Emmanuel Moseley 71 184 1.4
S Cooper Kupp 74 208 4.62 2.07 Jamar Taylor 71 192 4.39 1.68

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Goff has thrown 38, 33, 61, 37 and 51 passes in his last five games after failing to clear even 32 pass attempts in Weeks 1-5. Yes, negative game script has led to some of these more pass-happy performances. Also yes, this wasn’t the case at all in Week 11, and coach Sean McVay showed more of a willingness to feed Woods (12-130-1) and Kupp (11-145-0) than we had seen in recent weeks.

The 49ers remain a solid challenge and well-coached defense despite missing the majority of their difference-making talent across the field. Still, we’ve seen enough of a trend towards the Rams embracing the passing game to feel comfortable firing up both Kupp and Woods as top-24 options. Kupp still seems like the better bet for more consistent production, although Woods (19-107-2 rushing this season) continues to possess sneaky dual-threat upside.

Reynolds continued to work well ahead of Van Jefferson even though the rookie managed to score a 7-yard TD on a well-run slant. The Rams’ field-stretching WR isn’t anything more than a weekly boom-or-bust WR4.

TE breakdown: Both Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are playing over half of the offense’s snaps more weeks than not, but neither has seen anything resembling consistent targets. Neither player is worthy of treatment as a top-16 player at the position. However, either TE would be an instant top-eight option if one misses time due to injury.

Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chiefs Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Demarcus Robinson 73 203 4.59 0.88 Jamel Dean 73 206 4.3 0.78
R Byron Pringle 74 205 4.46 0.95 Carlton Davis 73 206 4.53 1.08
S Tyreek Hill 70 185 1.95 Sean Murphy-Bunting 72 195 4.42 1.47

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Hill is presently averaging 20.2 PPR points per game — one of just 17 instances of a WR averaging at least 20 PPR points per contest since 2015. Life is good when you’re Patrick Mahomes’ No. 1 WR, but Hill also deserves plenty of credit for the impact that his speed and underrated ball-tracking ability has on a defense. Nobody has more pass attempts than Mahomes utilizing motion this season, as having to deal with Hill constantly zipping across the formation generally leaves most defenses in a state of paralysis before the play even begins.

Mecole Hardman played just 22% of the offense’s snaps last week, perhaps due to spending the previous week and a half on the covid list. Byron Pringle (ankle, IR) is out for the foreseeable future, and the status of Sammy Watkins (hamstring, calf) remains unknown. Robinson has cracked 70 yards once in the past two seasons despite regularly playing a near every-down role.

Ultimately, Mahomes doesn’t seem to mind force feeding Hill and Travis Kelce to his heart’s desire. The only WRs I have ranked higher than the artist known as TyFreak are Davante Adams and Keenan Allen. Don’t be afraid to stay away from the rest of the complementary options.

TE breakdown: Only Julio Jones (108) has more catches of 15-plus yards than Kelce (96) since 2018. Madness. Kelce remains locked in as fantasy’s No. 1 option at the position regardless of the matchup. 

Buccaneers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Mike Evans 77 231 4.53 1.36 Bashaud Breeland 71 195 4.62 0.65
R Antonio Brown 70 181 4.56 1.69 Charvarius Ward 73 200 0.93
S Chris Godwin 73 209 4.42 1.77 Tyrann Mathieu 69 185 4.5 1.06

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: TB12 and company are still gelling. His target distribution over the past three weeks since adding Antonio Brown to the equation has been as follows:

All three receivers are receiving a fantasy-viable workload and each is talented enough to make the most out of this plenty solid opportunity. Still, each should best be approached as low-end WR2 options while this passing game continues to gel. Just realize that things look awfully appetizing after this week:

  • Week 12: Chiefs (No. 4 in PPR points per game allowed to WRs)
  • Week 13: Bye
  • Week 14: Vikings (No. 29)
  • Week 15: Falcons (No. 30)
  • Week 16: Lions (No. 21)
  • Week 17: Falcons (No. 30)

I’m prioritizing AB (PPR WR20) slightly ahead of Evans (WR21) and Godwin (WR25), but each player should be started with confidence in fantasy leagues of all shapes and sizes.

TE breakdown: Gronk has been shut down against the Saints (1-2-0) and Rams (2-25-0), but otherwise has scored in four of his last six games. He’s a borderline TE1 that continues to largely live and die with TDs, although Brady has fed his long-time BFF a league-high 10 targets thrown at least 20 yards downfield. There’s a lower floor for Gonk than usual with all these WRs so heavily involved, but he possesses enough fantasy-friendly targets to still be a recommended start more weeks than not.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

Bears Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Allen Robinson II 75 211 4.6 1.93 Jaire Alexander 70 196 4.38 0.69
R Darnell Mooney 71 175 4.38 1.06 Kevin King 75 200 4.43 0.82
S Anthony Miller 71 190 1.21 Chandon Sullivan 71 194 4.6 1.37

Projected shadow matchups: Allen Robinson vs. Jaire Alexander

WR/CB breakdown: Both Nick Foles (hip) and Mitch Trubisky (shoulder) are banged up. Coach Matt Nagy declined to name a starter and said a QB change is “on the table.”

Whoever is under center will prioritize A-Rob as their No. 1 receiver. He’s capable of winning pretty much any matchup. Alexander deserves credit for turning in more good than bad shadow performances in 2020, although he still hasn’t exactly been someone that fantasy football manages should actively shy away from:

Robinson has at least nine targets in all but two games this season. The same goes for performances with at least 50 receiving yards or five receptions. The reality that A-Rob is the WR15 in PPR points per game reinforces his status as a weekly start, regardless of the matchup.

Mooney remains a desperation fantasy option at best only due to the offense’s general inability to get him the ball downfield, while Miller seems to fall in and out of favor with the coaching staff on a weekly basis. Neither is a recommended fantasy option against one of just 10 defenses allowing fewer than 35 PPR points per game to the position.

TE breakdown: Jimmy Graham’s Week 10 goose-egg came on a season-low 29 snaps. It marked the first time that second-round rookie Cole Kmet (70% snaps) worked ahead of the dusty veteran. Neither is a recommended fantasy option while things are split up like this. Remember when the Bears granted Graham a no-trade clause?

Packers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Davante Adams 73 215 4.56 3.06 Jaylon Johnson 72 195 4.5 1.3
R Allen Lazard 77 227 4.55 2.23 Kyle Fuller 71 190 4.49 0.67
S Marquez Valdes-Scantling 76 206 4.37 1.6 Buster Skrine 69 185 1.49

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Adams got hurt in Week 2 and produced a 3-36-0 line. He went for 6-61-0 in his first game back from injury in Aaron Rodgers’ worst performance of the season. Otherwise, all the Packers’ No. 1 WR has done is rack up 10 scores in six games, averaging a robust 125 receiving yards along the way.

Adams needs to be on any short list of the single-best WRs in the league.

The Bears are far from an easy matchup, although Adams has scored and/or surpassed 100 yards in six of his last eight matchups against the Packers’ NFC North rival. He’s my overall WR1 on the week.

Lazard returned to a 60% snap rate that should only rise in future weeks. MVS’s overtime fumble stole the headlines, but Rodgers was supportive with his post-game comments. Treat Valdes-Scantling as the boom-or-bust WR4 that he’s largely been all season, while Lazard could be back into borderline WR3 territory as early as Week 13.

TE breakdown: Robert Tonyan posted a season-best 73% snap rate in Week 11, catching all five of his targets for 44 yards and a score along the way. The TE8 in PPR points per game, Tonyan is a TD-dependent TE1 inside of the league’s third-ranked scoring offense.

Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles

Seahawks Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L D.K. Metcalf 75 229 4.33 2.07 Darius Slay 72 190 4.36 1.17
R David Moore 72 215 1.78 Avonte Maddox 69 180 4.39 1.71
S Tyler Lockett 70 182 4.4 1.8 Nickell Robey-Coleman 68 180 1.24

Projected shadow matchups: D.K. Metcalf vs. Darius Slay

WR/CB breakdown: Metcalf rather inexplicably has five or fewer targets in three of his past five games. Since 2015 there have been 149 players to receive at least 25 targets thrown at least 25 yards downfield, and Metcalf’s average of 16.9 yards per target ranks sixth. He’s bigger, faster and stronger than basically any corner in the league; the only thing capable of somewhat containing Metcalf is seemingly his future Hall of Fame QB.

Of course, these concerns are more of a complaint that Metcalf hasn’t reached his tantalizing ceiling than an indictment on his overall production. Both Metcalf (PPR WR6) and Lockett (WR4) have operated as high-end WR1 fantasy options this season and they’ll continue to be treated as such moving forward.

Slay split his last two shadow matchups with Darius Slayton (2-23-0, 5-93-0); he’s still a great real-life corner, but this simply isn’t a matchup to fear. Continue to fire up Metcalf and Lockett with confidence as high-upside WR1 options, while Moore is a viable showdown slate dart throw that has averaged 3.1 targets per game on the season.

TE breakdown: Greg Olsen (foot, IR) is expected to miss four to six weeks. Will Dissly (65% snaps in Week 11) worked well ahead of Jacob Hollister (20%) during the Seahawks’ win over the Cardinals; he’s the preferred fantasy option here. Dissly has posted 7-57-1, 6-62-1, 3-105-1, 3-42-1, 5-50-2, 4-81-0 and 2-38-0 receiving lines in seven career games with at least four targets; he’s a borderline TE1 as long as Olsen is sidelined.

Eagles Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Travis Fulgham 75 215 4.58 1.82 Tre Flowers 75 203 4.45 1.12
R Jalen Reagor 71 195 4.47 1.27 D.J. Reed Jr. 69 188 4.51 1.86
S Greg Ward 71 186 0.96 Ugo Amadi 69 201 4.51 0.94

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Seahawks have allowed a full 11.8 PPR points per game more to opposing WRs than the next-worst defense this season. Their combination of having a 1) banged-up secondary, and 2) mediocre pass rush, has largely doomed the unit all season.

And yet, it’s unclear if Carson Wentz and company have what it takes to take advantage of this dream spot. The Eagles’ alleged franchise QB has PFF’s seventh-worst grade among 38 signal-callers with at least 100 dropbacks this season and has produced just 17 points in back-to-back games following the team’s Week 9 bye.

Further complicating matters is the fact that Zach Ertz (ankle) is reportedly on track to suit up Monday night. Each of Reagor, Dallas Goedert, Fulgham, Miles Sanders and Ward have between 10-12 targets over the past two weeks. Reagor and Fulgham can be treated as boom-or-bust WR3 types regardless of Ertz’s status; just realize this is a crowded passing game that hasn’t shown a real ceiling all season.

TE breakdown: Without Ertz, Goedert is a top-four option at the position. With Ertz, the Eagles’ talented No. 2 TE falls back to the borderline TE1 range. The Eagles’ longtime starting TE was averaging a laughably awful four yards per target before landing on the injured reserve; let’s wait at least a week before sliding Ertz back into starting lineups with any sort of confidence.

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