The NFL has entered the winter months, and that means one thing — it’s Derrick Henry szn. The blistering running back was projected to go off this week against a lowly Jacksonville Jaguars’ running defense, and that’s exactly what he did.
Henry went over 200 rushing yards, two touchdowns and 36 fantasy points. Fantasy managers couldn’t be happier, but they are left with one question: Can he continue his insane production over the next two weeks to bring home fantasy championships?
Well, considering he gets the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers up next, it’s a bet worth making. He also has a legitimate shot to go over 2,000 rushing yards with the Houston Texans on tap in Week 17. Henry just needs to average 157 yards per game over the next three weeks.
But enough about the Big Dog, let’s dig into every game from Sunday’s action to see who else stepped up as we trudge forward toward Week 15. I'll hit on snap counts, routes run, goal-line usage, targets and target shares from every game on the Sunday slate.
A.J. Brown WR1 season is alive and well. The Titans' bona-fide No. 1 wide receiver had a great fantasy day, hauling in seven balls for 112 yards; one was an insane one-handed grab in the end zone. Bravo, A.J.
But what’s more insane is the fact Brown did all his damage on just 19 routes. His yards per routes run (5.89) is just crazy good.
Because it was such a low passing day for the Titans, Corey Davis was the odd man out. He had only three catches on three targets, but he should be more involved next week with the Lions presenting a larger threat on offense.
He targeted D.J. Chark Jr. five times, but the WR was only able to haul in one for 11 yards. Only two of his targets were deemed catchable. With Baltimore and Chicago his next two matchups, Chark is waiver wire fodder.
I’m probably late to the party with this analysis, but Travis Kelce’s consistency is on par with any player regardless of position this season. He only has two games with less than four catches and only one with fewer than 35 receiving yards.
He continued his streak of dominance versus the Miami Dolphins with eight catches for 136 receiving yards — his exact line from the previous week.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the backfield after returning from his illness but was ineffective — as he has been most of the season. The rookie toted the rock 16 times for just 32 yards. CEH was able to muster five catches for 59 yards in the passing game, but that usage was much higher than what he normally sees.
Tyreek Hill only saw seven targets, which was his lowest target total since Week 8. Don’t buy into CEH becoming a staple in the Chiefs passing game — fantasy managers should not view him as anything other than a low-end RB2 next week versus the New Orleans Saints.
The PFF projections loved Tua Tagovailoa this week — top-10 QB projection — and that came true on Sunday. With no Myles Gaskin and a high-powered Chiefs offense putting up points across the field, Tua attempted a season-high 48 passing attempts for 316 yards and two passing touchdowns.
He also ran the ball six times for 24 yards and one score.
DeVante Parker left the game with an injury, and rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. picked up the slack. He played the most snaps of any Miami WR and tied Mack Hollins for the team lead with nine targets. Bowden’s uptick in playing time also may have been tied to Jakeem Grant getting hurt during Week 14.
DeAndre Washington played the role as the primary back with a 47% snap share and 15 touches. He converted his opportunities into 52 scoreless yards.
Kirk Cousins was pressured on 49% of his dropbacks on Sunday, which resulted in him being sacked six times and throwing for just 225 yards. That meant Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen did not deliver for fantasy managers.
The passing game should bounce back next week versus the Chicago Bears at home.
Irv Smith Jr. ended up being the most productive tight end for the Vikings in Week 14, but Tyler Conklin ran more routes and played more snaps. ISJ was on the injury report entering this game, so that may be why his reps were limited.
Head coach Bruce Arians said he wanted to give Ronald Jones 20 touches per game, and he came close with 19 touches in Week 14. He rushed 18 times for 80 yards and one touchdown while seeing a 70% snap share.
Wayne Gallman’s RB1 streak ended on Sunday, but was no fault of his own. The offense was atrocious with Daniel Jones under center — the rookie was 11-for-21 for 127 passing yards. And Gallman was vultured at the goal line by Dion Lewis, of all people.
But fantasy managers should go right back to Gallman because he is still seeing plenty of touch volume.
A week after it seemed like Evan Engram’s usage looked to be improving, it came crashing down. Specifically, his aDOT fell to 3.0, which provides zero fantasy upside.
Kyler Murray didn’t impress in the box score, but his rushing attempts increased to 13. This is a big deal because he had been averaging five carries per game over the past three weeks. The rushing upside has returned.
His rushing coincided with Kenyan Drake’s fall off as a receiver. The Cardinals’ running back only had one catch in Week 14.
DeAndre Hopkins has a 37% target share over the past two weeks and a 31% target share since Week 11. He seems to be the only option in the passing game that Murray trusts and could be in for a solid day versus the Eagles in Week 15. Darius Slay has struggled this season against alpha wide receivers.
Ezekiel Elliott only out-touched Tony Pollard 14 to 13 on Sunday. Pollard’s snaps have been rising seemingly every week, and although the second-year running back saw more in garbage time, Zeke is hardly the bell cow back that he started the season as.
Keep in mind Elliott has been dealing with a calf injury, so that could be the reason for an expanded timeshare in the Dallas backfield. Elliot’s 58% snap share in Week 14 was his lowest total of the season.
A.J. Green scored the lone Bengals’ touchdown in this game, and that’s how it’s been for the post-Joe Burrow Bengals. It was Tyler Boyd last week and Tee Higgins the week before. Bottom-line: No Bengals wide receiver can be started with any semblance of confidence without Burrow under center.
None of these guys are in play against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15.
Allen Robinson II became the latest alpha WR to go off against a Bradly Roby-less Houston Texans defense with a 123-yard game on Sunday. A-Rob has seen a production boost with Mitchell Trubisky under center — he has gone over 27 fantasy points in two of his last three games. He’s a firm WR1 the next two weeks with Minnesota and Jacksonville his next two victims.
The same can’t be said for Keke Coutee, who saw only three targets on Sunday despite Brandin Cooks being inactive. I wrote about Coutee as a potential fade in DFS should Cooks not go in the Week 14 injury report cheat sheet, because I was worried about whether he would be able to shoulder a WR1 role.
Asking him to be the team’s No. 1 wide receiver is not ideal for his fantasy outlook or for Deshaun Watson. Watson needs to get back Cooks for me to feel comfortable starting him next week versus the Colts.
This backfield is a definite avoid — with David Johnson out it, Duke Johnson Jr. was not the only one working in the backfield. Buddy Howell led the team in carries (11), so nobody in the Houston Texans’ backfield can be trusted in the fantasy playoffs.
Tight end Jordan Akins was somebody I was high on heading into Week 14, and it was all there for him to deliver a TE1 performance. He was second on the team in targets (six) but dropped a wide-open touchdown because the sun was in his eyes. The lesson here? Target fantasy players in DFS who play in domes where the sun can’t hurt you. Or wear dark visors.
The tight end I played Akins over was Cole Kmet — both were both priced at $2,900 on DraftKings. Lucky for me, Kmet posted the same modest production — four for 41 — but it was the second-straight game that he has seen seven targets.
He also played more snaps than any other offensive skill player for the Bears.
Mike Davis reclaimed his role as the team’s workhorse, seeing the majority of snaps (73%) and touches (16) in the Carolina backfield. He totaled just under 100 yards and scored twice on the ground. If Christian McCaffrey can’t return, expect Davis to be in the top-15 RB conversation for Week 15.
In D.J. Moore’s absence, Robby Anderson (13 targets) and Curtis Samuel (nine targets) were both fine fantasy options with both receivers scoring over 16 fantasy points. The volume will be there if Moore cannot make his return for Week 15.
The Panthers’ secondary has been reeling since the start of the season, and there’s no more perfect example of how far they have fallen than getting ripped to shreds by Drew Lock. The Broncos quarterback threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns in the team’s win over Carolina.
Two of his touchdowns went to K.J. Hamler, who on just three targets amassed 86 receiving yards in addition to his scores. He is an interesting waiver wire target ahead of a matchup with the slot-funnel Bills.
Breshad Perriman lived up to the poor expectation I set for him in my Week 14 injury report cheat article. His numbers were abysmal even without Denzel Mims in the lineup. Despite leading the team with six targets, Perriman caught just three passes for 26 yards.
Ergo, do not play Jets in fantasy.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing game got back on track with four passing touchdowns. D.K. Metcalf caught one and led the team in targets (nine) while Tyler Lockett had another quiet day (five catches for 52 yards) despite leading the team in routes run.
Chris Carson (12 carries, 3 catches) and Carlos Hyde (15 carries, 0 catches) split snaps almost 50/50, which is par for the course based on the team’s reluctance to give Carson a full workload with his ailing injury.
But don’t fall victim to just the raw snaps and touches because Hyde got the majority of the work in the second half with Seattle ahead by so much.
Nelson Agholor has come a long way since his days of dropping the football in Philadelphia. He is the clear No. 1 wide receiver for Derek Carr and the Raiders. He saw nine targets on Sunday, which he converted into five catches for 100 receiving yards and one touchdown.
Agholor stood out in my Week 14 DFS selections based on my high-value opportunities article, so this performance comes as no surprise to me.
Josh Jacobs made his return after a one week hiatus with 16 touches. He was largely ineffective — 74 total yards — which begs the question of how effective he will be for the remainder of the season coming off the ankle injury.
He saw a season-low snap share (42%). The fact that he was questionable all week leads me to believe the team was limiting him. He should be able to post much better numbers next week versus the Los Angeles Chargers, which is a plus-matchup for running backs.
Jonathan Taylor RB1 szn is here. The rookie running back ran circles around the Raiders’ defense to the tune of 150 yards and two touchdowns. His snap share (58%) and carries (20) were his heaviest workload since Week 2.
Taylor is finally playing like the guy fantasy managers and college fanatics salivated about — busting big plays and forcing missed tackles. Through the first 12 weeks of the season, Taylor averaged 4.1 yards per carry and forced 12 missed tackles on rushing attempts.
He has 14 missed tackles over his last two games and is averaging 7.3 yards per carry. Nine of those 14 missed tackles came in Week 14 alone.
T.Y. Hilton continues to stay hot with two more touchdowns and 80-plus yards receiving. With a date upcoming versus the Houston Texans, fantasy managers know — based on Hilton’s track record — he should extend his production for at least one more week.
We assumed that J.D. McKissic would continue to play a large role in the passing game, but that was not the case in Week 14. He only had two catches for 18 yards, so the majority of his fantasy production came from his 11 carries for 68 yards on a 65% snap share.
His upside is capped if Alex Smith misses any time with a calf injury. Smith missed the second half of the game and was replaced by Dwayne Haskins. Haskins under center spells trouble for Terry McLaurin, who only saw two uncatchable targets from his former Ohio State teammate on Sunday.
Deebo Samuel left this game after re-aggravating his hamstring injury, leaving Brandon Aiyuk to operate as the team’s unquestioned alpha WR1. Aiyuk commanded a whopping 16 targets, which he turned into 10 catches for 119 yards.
I loved Aiyuk heading into this game. With Samuel now sidelined, there’s no reason to think that Aiyuk won’t stop seeing 10-plus targets weekly.
The 49ers’ backfield looks to be a clear two-man committee between Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. Mostert has been the more productive rusher — 14 carries for 65 yards on Sunday — but Wilson is the one getting the touches near the goal line.
He scored in this game and now has four carries inside the 5-yard line over the past two weeks. Mostert has only two, with zero touchdowns to show for it.
Jalen Hurts has league-winning upside because of his ability to add fantasy value with his legs. That’s why he was worth stashing off the waiver wire ahead of Week 14 — we knew there was a chance he could ball out versus the Saints.
After a 100-yard performance on 18 carries, he’s firmly in “start of the week” territory the next two weeks, with Arizona and Dallas up next.
The same can be said for Miles Sanders, who I was 100% wrong on entering this week. Hurts unlocked Sanders on the ground — 14 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns — so fantasy managers can feel much better about playing him moving forward.
Just be warned that the pass-usage for Sanders is going to be limited with a mobile QB, so I wouldn’t bank on him seeing five targets every week.
In this one, the Saints were trailing and Hill was forced to be more aggressive and throw. Kamara's five carries for 33 yards were by far a season low in terms of his ground production, however.
Austin Ekeler is an absolute target machine. His 29 targets in the past three weeks trail only Keenan Allen (31) on the team. On Sunday, he hauled in all nine targets for a team-leading 67 yards. Ekeler will be in excellent shape next week to deliver a high-end RB1 performance versus Las Vegas.
All that glitters is not gold for the Chargers’ offense, because Ekeler’s return has caused a systematic change for Justin Herbert. His average depth of throw (6.5 vs. 8.0) and air yards percentage (43.2% vs 49.5%) have fallen greatly.
The deep shots aren’t happening nearly as frequently, and that was the driving forced behind Hebert’s fantasy success for a good portion of the season.
Matt Ryan showed us once again that without Julio Jones he is utterly useless in fantasy football. Just 7.3 fantasy points for him in Week 14 — this offense is looking far from the capable unit it appeared to be to start the year.
Calvin Ridley is still delivering WR1 weeks — eight catches for 124 yards and one touchdown — but him there’s nothing to see in Atlanta outside of him.
D’Andre Swift returned to the lineup after missing a few games with a concussion. Fantasy managers were concerned about his workload, and I am pleased to report that his usage was extremely encouraging. He led all Lions running backs in snap share (52%) and touches (11).
The rookie also had five targets and scored a rushing touchdown from inside the 5-yard line.
Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are just playing pitch and catch. The duo seems downright unstoppable this season, connecting for another touchdown in addition to 115 receiving yards. But it was not only Adams who got in on the fun, as Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Robert Tonyan also scored.
MVS is always fool’s gold, but Tonyan must be viewed as an every-week start among tight ends because of the touchdown equity he has attached to Rogers. He has nine touchdowns this season and four in his last four games.
Diontae Johnson was demoted mid-game and replaced by James Washington after he continued to put the ball on the ground. Washington also played ahead of Chase Claypool for the second-straight week and needs to be in strong consideration to be picked up off the waiver wire ahead of Week 15. He caught a touchdown in Week 14 and has seen 10 targets the past two weeks.
But that’s also not to say Johnson is buried at this point — he still tied JuJu Smith-Schuster for the team lead in targets (seven). It’s much more of a concern for Claypool.
As for James Conner… I can’t imagine rolling him out in a playoff matchup. He had 10 carries for 18 yards on Sunday night — it seems like the Steelers establishing the run is a pipe dream. Regardless of running back, their OL can’t create running lanes. There’s a reason why they have PFF’s 31st-ranked run-blocking unit.
Speaking of teams that struggle to run the football with their running backs, the Bills turned their backfield to Zack Moss in Week 14. He rushed 13 times for 43 yards while out-snapping Devin Singletary. Neither back has much appeal because of how ineffective the team is at rushing and the fact that they both lose out on goal-line work to Josh Allen.
Stefon Diggs couldn’t be contained on Sunday night, going nuts for 10 catches and 130 receiving yards on 14 targets. The Denver Broncos won’t know how to cover this guy next week with all their injuries in the secondary.
Since Week 12, Diggs leads the NFL in targets (37) and receptions (27).