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Fantasy Football Start Em, Sit Em - Week 14 Matchups Analysis

Ja'Marr Chase - Fantasy Football Rankings NFL Injury News, DFS Picks

Welcome back RotoBallers to our Week 14 matchups analysis and Start Em, Sit Em column for fantasy football. Last week featured four games with 50-plus points scored, which is usually a recipe for fantasy success. Unfortunately, there were also some untimely injuries to big stars. There are a whopping six teams on bye this week, including the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago bears, and Washington Commanders, which away takes multiple relevant players at all four offensive positions.

For those who are unfamiliar, each week we'll be analyzing every game from the Sunday slate, helping you optimize your fantasy lineups and take down your opponent. Check back regularly for any updates on player injuries or other pertinent information. I also wanted to express my gratitude for some of the great resources that help me write this article each week such as Football Outsiders, Pro Football Focus, Rotovitz, Pro Football Reference, Draftkings Sportsbook, and Fantasy Points. Furthermore, a thank you is deserved by all of you for reading this article.

I will cover the entire Sunday slate of games plus the Monday Night Football game. There is also a separate article for the Thursday Night Football game each week, so be sure to read that as well. Hopefully, your stars dodged the injury bug and brought you home a 'W', which will be the goal this week. If you have any additional lineup questions, follow me on Twitter @JoshCon, and feel free to ask away. Let's dive into the matchups.

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Matchups Analysis - 1:00 ET Games

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills

Spread: Bills -10.0
Implied Total: Jets (16.75) vs. Bills (26.75)
Pace: Jets (10th) vs. Bills (3rd)
Jets Off. DVOA: 2.8% Pass (23rd), -0.6% Rush (12th)
Bills Off. DVOA: 33.9% Pass (4th), -4.0% Rush (17th)
Jets Def. DVOA:
-12.7% Pass (5th), -12.3% Rush (11th)
Bills Def. DVOA: -6.7% Pass (7th), -22.0% Rush (3rd)

Matchups We Love:

Garrett Wilson (WR, NYJ)

Wilson had another great game, this time without finding pay dirt. His 15 targets were the most on the week, resulting in a 26.3% share. He's clearly the alpha in this offense, so facing Buffalo, whose defense has been susceptible to being beaten by elite receivers recently, he's a top-15 receiver. Elijah Moore is slowly working his way back into a meaningful role, but his usage is still below Corey Davis, making both flex options.

Matchups We Hate:

Dawson Knox (TE, BUF)

The surge of Isaiah McKenzie has resulted in Knox returning to being more touchdown-dependent, seeing only three total targets over the past two weeks. He's still a threat in the red zone on a powerful offense, but getting lower volume against as a quality defense, he moves to the streaming category.

Bills RBs

Devin Singletary found the end zone but it was James Cook who stole the show against New England, especially as a pass-catcher. He ran 15 routes, earning six targets, all of which he caught for 41 yards. He also finished with one more carry than Singletary, playing 43% of the offensive snaps. The Jets are a difficult matchup, plus Singletary and to a lesser extent Nyheim Hines are still involved, but he's a top-36 back with upside. Singletary is also a flex option that will need to score to come through.

Tyler Conklin (TE, NYJ)

Conklin saw seven targets against the Vikings but only hauled in two of them for nine yards. The Bills' defense is not as tough as they were earlier in the season but at home in a divisional game, they'll likely slow down the passing attack. Conklin remains a potential streamer with less upside.

Other Matchups:

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

Allen just hasn't looked the same since the elbow injury. He's rushed for 20 or fewer yards in two of the last three weeks while averaging 191 passing yards per game and under two passing touchdowns per game during that stretch. New York is an above-average defense that can create turnovers, pushing him toward the back of the top 10 this week.

Stefon Diggs (WR, BUF)

The struggles of Allen haven't prevented Diggs from being great but they have impacted his weekly finishes as the WR16, WR10, and WR11 during those games. He's still a must-start even in a tough matchup but the top-five ceiling hasn't been there. Gabe Davis found the end zone on one of his two receptions, keeping him in play as a boom-bust top-30 receiver. Additionally, McKenzie's slot role has been leading to more volume, partly because Khalil Shakir only played on 21% of the offensive snaps last week. He's a flex option that's better suited to full-PPR formats.

Jets RBs

Zonovan Knight turned out to be the true lead back dominating the backfield carries while adding five receptions. Unfortunately, Michael Carter practiced in full, indicating he'll be back in the lineup, which muddies the situation. The coaching staff seemed to like what Knight offers, so it appears he'll be the starter still, but with Carter taking away carries and receptions, his value takes a hit. With six teams on bye, he's still a top-24 back because the offense and matchup are good enough, leaving Carter as a flex option.

Mike White (QB, NYJ)

White has earned the respect of his teammates and shown command of the offense, but he still makes poor decisions at times that result in turnovers or missed opportunities. He's definitely capable of supporting the weapons around him, but he's a streamer that could drop off against the Bills.

Injuries:

Michael Carter (ankle)

 

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

Spread: Bengals -5.5
Implied Total: Browns (20.75) vs. Bengals (26.25)
Pace: Browns (17th) vs. Bengals (24th)
Browns Off. DVOA: 20.1% Pass (12th), 7.1% Rush (8th)
Bengals Off. DVOA: 27.7% Pass (6th), 7.2% Rush (7th)
Browns Def. DVOA:
9.6% Pass (21st), 7.9% Rush (31st)
Bengals Def. DVOA: -3.0% Pass (10th), -6.4% Rush (16th)

Matchups We Love:

Joe Burrow (QB, CIN)

Burrow earned another victory over Kansas City, a team they've now beaten three straight times. He was fantastic for fantasy as expected, totaling three touchdowns and over 300 yards, which could have been more if not for a drop by Tyler Boyd. He may not need to do as much this week against the Browns, but his ceiling is still very high as a must-start.

Bengals WRs

Welcome back, Ja'Marr Chase. After a quiet first half, he found his rhythm and could not be stopped, frequently beating defenders on his way to a great game that was just missing a trip to the end zone. He immediately returned to leading the team in targets, receptions, and yards, securing his role as a top-10 weekly receiver.  Tee Higgins fell back into the No. 2 role, which still amounted to a good game, but with Chase present, he drops outside the top 12. Boyd tied Higgins with five targets and could be more necessary with Hayden Hurst injured, keeping him in play as a top-36 receiver.

Bengals RBs

Samaje Perine has been awesome filling in for Joe Mixon, however, his reign of terror is expected to come to an end because Mixon has practiced in full all week, indicating he should be active. The matchup and offense are so excellent that Perine will remain an upside top-36 back, while Mixon figures to regain the majority of his role, placing him in the top 12.

UPDATE: Mixon is off the injury report as expected, he'll be active on Sunday.

Matchups We Hate:

Deshaun Watson (QB, CLE)

It's hard to feel encouraged by Watson's performance, mind you they did win and it was his first game in nearly two years. He did flash some of his rushing upside, adding seven carries for 21 yards. As anticipated, they didn't need to throw to win, passing the ball only 22 times, which won't be the case this week. However, the Bengals are a much better defensive unit and Watson has given us no reason to believe we can trust him in our lineups yet. He's best left on the bench in favor of more reliable signal-callers.

Other Matchups:

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)

Chubb had a great game the last time these two teams, but that was with Jacoby Brissett at the helm, and before the Bengals turned things around by reeling off four straight wins. Chubb is always a good bet to find the end zone but if they find themselves trailing early, there is a chance his usage decreases, resulting in a lower output. That said, he's still a top-15 back with top-10 upside.

Browns WRs

It's difficult to take much away from Sunday's game because it was so lopsided, reducing the overall passing volume. Amari Cooper dominated the targets, Donovan Peoples-Jones made a big play for 27 yards, and the tight end position was barely utilized. We'll get a clearer picture of what this offense will look like this week, but after one game it went as we expected it would. Facing a talented Cincinnati defense, Cooper remains a top-24 receiver while Peoples-Jones is in the top 36.

UPDATE: Cooper is good to go, he'll be active.

David Njoku (TE, CLE)

Njoku is expected to be back this week, which could impact the receiving corps. Finding quality tight ends with six teams on bye is a tall task. However, coming off the injury, in a difficult matchup with a new quarterback he's a fade this week.

UPDATE: Njoku has been removed from the injury report, indicating he'll be active for Sunday's game.

Injuries:

Joe Mixon (concussion)

Hayden Hurst (calf)

David Njoku (knee)

Tee Higgins (hamstring)

 

Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys

Spread: Cowboys -18.0
Implied Total: Texans (13) vs. Cowboys (31)
Pace: Texans (22nd) vs. Cowboys (7th)
Texans Off. DVOA: -31.3% Pass (32nd), -22.1% Rush (31st)
Cowboys Off. DVOA: 14.8% Pass (15th), 11.2% Rush (3rd)
Texans Def. DVOA:
9.1% Pass (19th), 5.0% Rush (28th)
Cowboys Def. DVOA: -25.2% Pass (1st), -13.8% Rush (8th)

Matchups We Love:

Cowboys RBs

After destroying the Colts on Sunday night, the duo of Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott take on the lowly Texans. Admittedly, they've done a better job of limiting the rushing production of their opponents the past few weeks but against Dallas, who has one of the league's most potent rushing attacks, they don't stand much chance. Pollard is still the preferred option because of his explosiveness as a runner and receiver but both are strong options this week in a game they should lead from start to finish.

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

The Cowboys only attempted 30 passes last week, which is likely about where they'll end up against Houston, but Schultz could easily find the end zone and will be one of three players targeted in the passing attack en route to a victory. The volume and opportunity he has at the tight end position, keep him firmly in the top 10.

Matchups We Hate:

Texans Players

The Dallas defense is extremely talented, forcing turnovers and putting pressure on the quarterback. The two players to consider are Nico Collins, who has led the team in targets for multiple weeks now, and Dameon Pierce, who nearly totaled 100 scrimmage yards last week because the game was close until the second half. Brandin Cooks seems likely to miss again, which helps concentrate the targets for Collins, as a volume-based flex option that could score. Pierce will need to either excel as a pass-catcher or find the end zone, making him a top-36 back.

UPDATE: Both Collins and Cook have been ruled out, which might add a few targets for Pierce and tight end Jordan Akins.

Other Matchups:

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)

The trend is well established at this point, teams can win by running the ball and playing tough defense against the Texans, which caps the upside of Prescott and company. He's still too good to push outside the top 12 but a top-five finish seems unlikely this week.

Cowboys WRs

Similarly, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup were both excellent last week, finding the end zone while combing for 13 targets. The lower workload is a concern but Lamb is back in the top 12 with Gallup as a top-30 receiver.

Injuries:

Brandin Cooks (calf)

Nico Collins (foot)

 

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

Spread: Lions -2.0
Implied Total: Vikings (24.75) vs. Lions (26.75)
Pace: Vikings (5th) vs. Lions (8th)
Vikings Off. DVOA: 7.1% Pass (19th), -4.0% Rush (16th)
Lions Off. DVOA: 20.3% Pass (11th), 2.4% Rush (10th)
Vikings Def. DVOA:
10.9% Pass (24th), -8.7% Rush (14th)
Lions Def. DVOA: 5.3% Pass (17th), 1.8% Rush (25th)

Matchups We Love:

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

Another Detroit home game that features two good offenses, means fantasy points for all. There were 52 points scored the last time these two met, and that was in Minnesota. Cousins had a quiet game last week but the Vikings led early, limiting their passing attempts to 35. In an expected shootout against a beatable defense, he's back in the top 12.

Vikings WRs

The over/under and implied point total will mean good things for his receivers as well. Justin Jefferson is always in your lineup and this sets up as a good week to put Adam Thielen in, making him a top-30 receiver.

T.J. Hockenson (TE, MIN)

In a similar spot, Hockenson, who since joining the Vikings has a 21.6% target share, is a top-five play.

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)

Detroit has improved against the run, limiting their opponents to 116 yards per game over the past three weeks. Fortunately for Cook, he'll not only account for the majority of their rushing production but also make an impact in the receiving game. The matchup drops him a few spots but the over/under keeps him in the top 12.

Amon-Ra St. Brown

On the other side of the ball, the Lions have their own elite wideout, who since the aforementioned Hockenson departed, has been unstoppable. He's a lock for a big day. Additionally, DJ Chark has been a big play threat that is averaging about 15 yards per reception, plus getting five or more targets, making him an upside top-36 receiver. Jameson Williams made his season debut with one target and zero receptions. He's more of a 2023 receiver but he'll be an intriguing player to monitor over the final weeks.

Lions RBs

As discussed last week, D'Andre Swift was looking better and seeing more volume. He continued that trend with his best game since Week 2, rushing the ball 14 times for 62 yards and a score, adding four receptions for 49 yards. He also played on 51% of the offensive snaps, making him the starter. The production, usage, and role, make him a player we can finally rely on again. He's in the top 24 with top-15 upside against Minnesota. As a result of Swift taking over as the lead back, Jamaal Williams saw only 11 carries, tied for the second-fewest he's had all season. Unsurprisingly, he still found pay dirt, for his league-leading 14th touchdown, but he becomes a more touchdown-dependent back, who is still in the top 24 this week because of all the byes.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Jared Goff (QB, DET)

Goff finds himself as the only player not listed in the "matchups we love" section simply because this team so frequently runs the ball in the red zone. The yard totals have been solid and likely will be again, but he has more games where he's thrown for zero touchdowns (three) than he does games he's thrown for more than two (two). He's a strong streamer who will likely finish in the top 12 but not the top five.

Injuries:

None

 

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

Spread: Eagles -6.5
Implied Total: Eagles (25.5) vs. Giants (19)
Pace: Eagles (13th) vs. Giants (18th)
Eagles Off. DVOA: 34.0% Pass (3rd), 15.3% Rush (1st)
Giants Off. DVOA: 20.5% Pass (10th), -1.9% Rush (13th)
Eagles Def. DVOA:
-20.4% Pass (2nd), 0.0% Rush (23rd)
Giants Def. DVOA: 14.0% Pass (28th), 3.9% Rush (27th)

Matchups We Love:

Jalen Hurts (QB, PHI)

After tearing up the Green Bay defense on the ground, Hurts proved he can do it through the air this week, torching Tennessee for 380 and three. His development this year is truly impressive, both as an NFL quarterback and for fantasy. He's a must-start.

Eagles WRs

A.J. Brown made a statement against his former team, single-handedly humiliating them. That said, I'm sure he's grateful they shipped him out of town to join the current super bowl favorite Eagles. He'll get to dominate the Giants this week. DeVonta Smith was no slouch either, clearing 100 yards and finding the end zone. His volume and production have been awesome without Dallas Goedert, who will be out again this week, keeping him in the top 24, if not the top 15.

Miles Sanders (RB, PHI)

Facing the Titans, we knew Sanders would need either a big receiving day or a touchdown because their run defense is stout. Fortunately, the latter came to fruition. He still led the team in carries and saw two targets, so with a better matchup this week, he's in the top 24.

Matchups We Hate:

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG)

Jones struggled to pass against the Washington secondary, primarily because he lacks the weapons to do so. Thankfully, his rushing production spiked, generating the most yards he's had since Week 7. Unless that continues this week, he'll be in for a tough day against an even better Eagles secondary. He's still a streaming option because of the rushing upside but he'll need 50-plus yards on the ground to compensate for his lack of passing production.

Other Matchups:

Darius Slayton (WR, NYG)

Isaiah Hodgins was the only receiver to find pay dirt, but Slayton is still the one to start. The matchup isn't great but he's the last man standing after an incredible number of injuries. He's also had at least 60 yards and three receptions in each of his past five games, making him a big-play flex option.

Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)

New York played the majority of the second half with a lead, enabling them to run the ball 30 times. Barkley accounted for 18 of those, plus he added five receptions. Philadelphia did a better job of stopping the run last week, limiting Derrick Henry to 30 yards on 11 carries. Barkley's involvement as a receiver should keep him afloat but there is a risk that the team falls behind and has to throw more. He's still a top-15 back.

UPDATE: Barkley will play against the Eagles.

Injuries:

Dallas Goedert (shoulder)

Saquon Barkley (neck)

 

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Spread: Steelers -2.5
Implied Total: Ravens (17) vs. Steelers (19.5)
Pace: Ravens (31st) vs. Steelers (11th)
Ravens Off. DVOA: 21.4% Pass (8th), 11.3% Rush (2nd)
Steelers Off. DVOA: 3.2% Pass (22nd), -3.6% Rush (15th)
Ravens Def. DVOA:
-2.4% Pass (11th), -14.8% Rush (6th)
Steelers Def. DVOA: 4.3% Pass (15th), -11.8% Rush (12th)

Matchups We Love:

None

Matchups We Hate:

Ravens RBs

This game features two struggling offenses pitted against two defenses that are finding their stride, hence the very low over/under. It's not a great game to target for fantasy. Additionally, the Ravens' backfield is a massive committee. There are three different running backs sharing work, plus the quarterback. After looking like the clear lead back, Gus Edwards saw fewer carries than Kenyan Drake. Furthermore, the offense couldn't run the ball efficiently. In a tough matchup, neither of them is more than a risky flex option.

Ravens WRs

With Lamar Jackson out for multiple weeks, the team will turn to Tyler Huntley, who is an above-average backup that can do a lot of what Jackson does on the ground. He actually tends to hyper-target Mark Andrews, which certainly makes sense. That leaves the receiving corps battling for whatever is left. Demarcus Robinson has been the No. 1 option but he's a low-upside flex play against Pittsburgh.

Steelers WRs

Things aren't much better on the other side of the ball. Kenny Pickett hasn't figured things out yet, reducing the ceiling for all of the pass-catchers. Diontae Johnson consistently gets more targets than George Pickens but fails to do much with them, which is frustrating because it renders both of them untrustworthy. Pickens only has 37 receptions in 12 games, which is tied for 69th at the position. Neither he nor Johnson are good options.

UPDATE: Johnson is off the injury report and will play Sunday.

Najee Harris (RB, PIT)

Harris not only suited up last week but looked good, rushing 17 times for 86 yards. Benny Snell Jr. stayed the backup, relegating the rookie Jaylen Warren to the bench for most of the day. The matchup and low over/under make it a tough spot for anyone to be successful, but so long as he's back on the field, Harris is a to-30 option.

UPDATE: Harris is off the injury report, meaning he will be active on Sunday.

Other Matchups:

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)

The connection with Huntley, target share, and scarcity at the position keep Andrews in the top five.

Pat Freiermuth (TE, PIT)

Much like Andrews, Freiermuth is the true alpha in the passing attack. He's the one constant, making him a top-10 tight end despite the poor matchup.

Injuries:

Lamar Jackson (knee)

Najee Harris (oblique)

Diontae Johnson (hip)

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennesse Titans

Spread: Titans -4.0
Implied Total: Jaguars (18.5) vs. Titans (22.5)
Pace: Jaguars (16th) vs. Titans (32nd)
Jaguars Off. DVOA: 17.0% Pass (13th), -9.8% Rush (23rd)
Titans Off. DVOA: 16.5% Pass (14th), -8.6% Rush (21st)
Jaguars Def. DVOA:
28.0% Pass (31st), -9.3% Rush (13th)
Titans Def. DVOA: 9.9% Pass (22nd), -27.0% Rush (1st)

Matchups We Love:

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

We know the game plan is to run the ball with Henry, acquire a lead, and wear down the opposing defense. The problem is when they are facing teams that are a lot better than they are, they fall behind and have to abandon that template. Fortunately, Jacksonville profiles as a plus-matchup and team they can beat. Henry should see 20-plus rushing attempts, two or three receptions, and find the end zone, thrusting him back into the top 12.

Christian Kirk (WR, JAX)

Kirk emerged from his one-week hiatus to take back his role as the alpha in the offense, leading the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. He's been incredibly consistent and currently sits as the WR11.  He's also 23rd in yards per route run with 1.90, 24th in PFF grades, and 11th in targets. We've seen several teams attack the Tennessee secondary in favor of avoiding the run game, which should mean another big day for Kirk, who is a top-24 receiver. Zay Jones could not follow up on last week's performance, turning seven targets into only two receptions for 16 yards. He's a volume-based flex option.

UPDATE: Jones is active for Sunday's game.

Trevor Lawrence (QB, JAX)

After suffering a toe injury in their loss to Detroit, Lawrence has missed back-to-back practices to open the week, creating questions about his availability. As discussed, beating the Titans through the air is the way to go, and Lawrence is more than capable of having a good game, but we first need to know he'll be out there.

UPDATE: Lawrence will play, which is good news for the offense as a whole.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Travis Etienne Jr. (RB, JAX)

It was a tough outing for Etienne Jr., who only totaled 67 scrimmage yards on 16 touches. The whole offense really fell flat, producing only 14 points and 280 yards. It'll be tough sledding on the ground, meaning he'll need volume or explosive plays, which is possible given his 11 breakaway runs (15-plus yards) this season. He's also been getting about three receptions per game, which helps counterbalance the matchup, keeping him in the top 15.

Evan Engram (TE, JAX)

It was an up game for Engram, who tied Jones for the second-most targets and found pay dirt. He'll be in play this week as a streaming candidate given the matchup.

Chigoziem Okonkwo (TE, TEN)

Okonkwo has quietly emerged as an explosive tight end, averaging 18.3 yards per reception. He's seen back-to-back games with five targets and the offense is now without Treylon Burks. He's an intriguing streamer given the current tight end landscape.

Injuries:

Treylon Burks (concussion)

Trevor Lawrence (toe)

 

Matchups Analysis - 4:00 ET Games

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

Spread: Chiefs -9.0
Implied Total: Chiefs (26.5) vs. Broncos (17.5)
Pace: Chiefs (6th) vs. Broncos (12th)
Chiefs Off. DVOA: 41.2% Pass (2nd), -0.3% Rush (11th)
Broncos Off. DVOA: -1.9% Pass (25th), -18.4% Rush (28th)
Chiefs Def. DVOA:
13.2% Pass (26th), -2.9% Rush (18th)
Broncos Def. DVOA: -14.1% Pass (4th), -6.1% Rush (17th)

Matchups We Love:

Chiefs RBs

Isiah Pacheco operated as the lead back earning 16 touches for 82 yards and a score. Jerick McKinnon saw 10 touches of his own, but they both had two receptions, which is a little surprising.  The Broncos are a talented defense but have been more vulnerable against the run, setting Pachecho up as a top-24 back and McKinnon as a top-36 play given the matchup and bye weeks.

Matchups We Hate:

Chiefs WRs

Last week marked the fewest passing attempts and completions by Patrick Mahomes all season. Evidently, the result was a bust game from all the receiving options. JuJu Smith-Schuster's snap percentage jumped up to 76%, but he finished behind Marquez Valdes-Scantling in targets and receiving yards. He's still the preferred receiver to start, but in a game they're heavy favorites in, facing a defense that is easier to run on, both are outside the top 24.

Other Matchups:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

Mahomes came up short once again in Cincinnati, putting together a rather poor performance. Despite the loss, the Chiefs are still the favorite to finish with the No. 1 seed and will look to get back on track this week in Denver. The matchup is tough, but it's a game they should win easily because the Broncos can't score, keeping Mahomes in the top 12.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

Kelce also underwhelmed by his standards, but when a down game equates to four catches for 56 yards, it's clear just how wide the gap between him and everyone else is. It's not a spot to expect one of his vintage multi-touchdown performances, but he's a must-start.

Jerry Jeudy (WR, DEN)

Jeudy's return coincided with Courtland Sutton exiting due to injury, leaving him as the No. 1 receiver. He's more of a big-play receiver, turning his four receptions into 65 yards, but with Sutton expected to be out, he's a top-36 receiver with a decent ceiling.

UPDATE: Sutton has been ruled out as expected.

Greg Dulcich (TE, DEN)

The primary beneficiary of Sutton's injury was Dulcich, who led the team in receptions, targets, and yards. He finished as the TE4, which isn't out of the question if the volume he received last week occurs again, making him a top-10 tight end.

Latavius Murray (RB, DEN)

Murray rode his 21 touches to a top-36 finish last week, which is what he'll look to do against the Chiefs, who have been beaten on the ground often. Mike Boone returned to the lineup but Murray still out-targeted him four to one, which was an area of concern entering last week because of Boone's pass-catching ability. He's a volume-based top-36 back.

Injuries:

Mecole Hardman (abdomen)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle)

Kadarius Toney (hamstring)

Courtland Sutton (hamstring)

KJ Hamler (hamstring)

 

Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

Spread: Seahawks -4.5
Implied Total: Panthers (19.75) vs. Seahawks (24.25)
Pace: Panthers (19th) vs. Seahawks (14th)
Panthers Off. DVOA: -23.0% Pass (30th), -4.2% Rush (18th)
Seahawks Off. DVOA: 31.0% Pass (5th), -7.9% Rush (20th)
Panthers Def. DVOA:
9.2% Pass (20th), -1.1% Rush (22nd)
Seahawks Def. DVOA: 6.9% Pass (18th), 1.6% Rush (24th)

Matchups We Love:

Geno Smith (QB, SEA)

Smith put the team on his back and led them on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter against the Rams. The game was much closer than expected, which was helpful because it led to 39 passing attempts for 367 yards and three touchdowns. Smith has been very consistent, and he gets a plus-matchup this week, pushing him inside the top 12.

Seahawks WRs

After the Eagles and Dolphins, it's fair to say these two are the best duo in fantasy. Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf have combined for a 49.8% target share, accounting for 51.6% of Seattle's receiving yards and 54.5% of their touchdowns. They're both fantastic for fantasy and need to be in your lineup against the Panthers.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

DJ Moore (WR, CAR)

Before their bye week, Sam Darnold returned to the starting role, resulting in a nice game from Moore, who caught four passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. He may not repeat those numbers against the Seahawks, but he's definitely in play as a top-36 receiver.

D'Onta Foreman (RB, CAR)

Foreman is one of several backs that does not typically catch passes, meaning his best games will come when Carolina can keep the game close or win. Although they enter as the underdogs, they should be able to compete long enough for Foreman to rack up 15-plus carries, which makes him a top-30 back in a plus-matchup.

Seahawks RBs

Kenneth Walker III went down early against the Rams and has yet to practice this week. Furthermore, DeeJay Dallas suffered an injury, and he's also had back-to-back DNPs. That leaves Travis Homer, who was held out of last week's contest, as the only healthy back out of this trio and the likely starter against the Panthers. He's more of a satellite back, so you can expect others to factor in, but he'll be a top-36 play if Walker III and Dallas are out.

UPDATE: Walker III and Dallas are inactive as expected. Tony Jones Jr. is reported to be the lead back with Homer still involved.

Injuries:

Kenneth Walker III (ankle)

Travis Homer (knee)

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers

Spread: 49ers -3.5
Implied Total: Buccaneers (16.75) vs. 49ers (20.25)
Pace: Buccaneers (1st) vs. 49ers (29th)
Buccaneers Off. DVOA: 20.9% Pass (9th), -20.0% Rush (30th)
49ers Off. DVOA: 24.4% Pass (7th), -8.7% Rush (22nd)
Buccaneers Def. DVOA:
-5.0% Pass (8th), -13.1% Rush (10th)
49ers Def. DVOA: -9.1% Pass (6th), -24.6% Rush (2nd)

Matchups We Love:

Christian McCaffrey (RB, SF)

The 49ers' injury woes continue, losing Jimmy Garoppolo for the rest of the season. It's unfortunate for a team with super bowl aspirations, but it's clear the team will make McCaffrey the focal point. He finished with 17 carries and 10 targets, which positions him as the No. 1 overall back if he maintains a similar workload moving forward. Tampa Bay is tougher to run on, but his involvement as a receiver will ensure he overcomes the matchup.

Matchups We Hate:

Tom Brady (QB, TB)

Brady pulled off a miraculous comeback against the Saints. However, it's unlikely he produces a similar result against San Francisco. Their offensive struggles combined with the difficult matchup make Brady a risky streamer this week.

Buccaneers RBs

Brady saw pressure on 29.1% of his dropbacks last week, forcing him to get the ball out quickly to Chris Godwin and the running backs. The result was six receptions for both Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White. Fournette led the way on the ground with one more carry and 21 more yards. They appear to be in a near 50/50 split, which lowers the ceiling they each have. The matchup is very poor, but the passing volume adds enough value for each to be a top-36 back.

UPDATE: Fournette is expected to play, but it's unclear how healthy he is. White is the preferred option because of the injury.

Other Matchups:

49ers WRs

Bradon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel were the other two players being targeted, finishing with nine and ten respectively. Brock Purdy taking over lowers their ceiling, along with the floor of Aiyuk because he's more of a downfield threat. Samuel is usually a part of their rushing attack, increasing his baseline. Unfortunately, the matchup isn't great, dropping Samuel outside the top 15 and Aiyuk outside the top 24.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

Kittle was already struggling with consistency before the transition at quarterback, so it's going to be more of a problem for him. He still has big play potential, even if he only makes two or three catches per game, keeping him in the top 12 because of the positional scarcity.

Chris Godwin (WR, TB)

Godwin had his game-winning touchdown grab called back because of a penalty, which would have capped off what was an otherwise productive game. He's been great since the game before their bye week, keeping him in the top 15 despite the matchup. The storyline all week was will Marshon Lattimore return to shut down his pal Mike Evans? He missed the game but it didn't much matter because Evans still only produced 59 yards on four receptions. In this matchup with an already low floor, Evans is hard to trust as more than a top-36 receiver.

Injuries:

None

 

Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football

Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers

Spread: Dolphins -3.5
Implied Total: Dolphins (27.5) vs. Chargers (24)
Pace: Dolphins (20th) vs. Chargers (2nd)
Dolphins Off. DVOA: 43.0% Pass (1st), -2.3% Rush (14th)
Chargers Off. DVOA: 0.4% Pass (24th), -19.6% Rush (29th)
Dolphins Def. DVOA:
10.7% Pass (23rd), -13.5% Rush (9th)
Chargers Def. DVOA: 4.9% Pass (16th), 5.3% Rush (30th)

Matchups We Love:

Justin Herbert (QB, LAC)

The Raiders defensive line dominated the Chargers' offensive line, pressuring Herbert on 42.9% of his dropbacks, resulting in a 41.2% completion percentage on those passes. He should have a little more time this week when he faces Miami, allowing him to distribute the ball to his playmakers and attempt more deep throws, keeping him in the top 10 in a potential shootout.

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

Ekeler totaled over 100 scrimmage yards as he often does but could not find the end zone. There's a strong chance that changes this week in a plus-matchup with a high over/under.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

Allen led the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards, solidifying his role as the No. 1 option. Regardless of Mike Williams's status for this game, he'll be a top-15 receiver. Joshua Palmer was second in targets with 11, moving back ahead of DeAndre Carter. He's in play as a top-30 receiver, even if Williams comes back. Williams himself would be a risky top-36 receiver if he plays because he's coming off the ankle re-aggravation, which could occur again.

UPDATE: Williams was removed from the injury report, indicating he'll be active for Sunday's game.

Gerald Everett (TE, LAC)

Thanks to 47 passing attempts in consecutive weeks for Herbert, multiple players are getting enough volume to succeed including Everett. He also has the ability to make big plays, locking him in as a top-10 tight end.

Tua Tagovailoa (QB, MIA)

The 49ers proved to be too much for Tagovailoa, whose final numbers were okay but the turnovers were the difference in this one. He did spend a portion of the game without one of his top weapons, which will be worth monitoring for this week, but traveling to Los Angeles will be a nice opportunity for a bounce-back game, so he's right back in the top 10.

Dolphins WRs

Jaylen Waddle was in and out out of the game with an injury, limiting his production while simultaneously spiking Tyreek Hill's. Hill remains a top-10 receiver with top-five upside, especially if Waddle misses. Waddle practiced in full, indicating he should be good to go. He'll be a top-15 receiver.

Dolphins RBs

It's difficult to make any real determinations when the team only rushes the ball eight times. That said, Raheem Mostert out-carried Jeff Wilson Jr. seven to one. This is the opposite of what we saw earlier this year, creating confusion for this week. The matchup is so good that both are actually in play as top-30 backs, but as to who should be the favorite, that's genuinely unknown.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

None

Injuries:

Mike Williams (ankle)

Jaylen Waddle (leg)

 

Matchups Analysis - Monday Night Football

New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals

Spread: Patriots -2.0
Implied Total: Patriots (23) vs. Cardinals (21)
Pace: Patriots (27th) vs. Cardinals (4th)
Patriots Off. DVOA: 3.4% Pass (21st), -13.4% Rush (26th)
Cardinals Off. DVOA: -7.3% Pass (29th), -17.7% Rush (27th)
Patriots Def. DVOA:
-14.8% Pass (3rd), -14.8% Rush (7th)
Cardinals Def. DVOA: 12.3% Pass (25th), -2.6% Rush (19th)

Matchups We Love:

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB, NE)

Without Harris active, Stevenson's workload was elite, he accounted for all but one carry and was the only running back to catch a pass, which he finished with six of. The Cardinals are a nice matchup, especially over the past few weeks, locking him into the top 15.

UPDATE: Damien Harris is listed as doubtful, Stevenson is a strong play either way, but even better without Harris.

Matchups We Hate:

Patriots Passing Attack

After taking a huge step forward against the Vikings, the offense regressed in a big way last week. They refused to throw down the field, resulting in 5.4 yards per attempt for Mac Jones. We were also privy to an outburst from Jones begging the offensive coordinator to call more deep throws, so we know where the problem lies. Without being able to trust the play calling, it's difficult to start anyone outside of Jakobi Meyers, who happens to be dealing with an injury and could miss Monday's contest.

Other Matchups:

James Conner (RB, ARI)

Speaking of running backs with an elite workload, James Conner has paralleled Stevenson since returning from injury. It's a challenging matchup but he's so involved in their passing attack, it's hard to fade him any further than the top 24.

Kyler Murray (QB, ARI)

Murray returns from his bye to take on a talented secondary that could limit his production. It also remains to be seen, how many of his weapons he'll have active. DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown are good to go, but we're still waiting to find out about Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch. Murray will be a top-12 quarterback because of his rushing upside and weapons, but his ceiling is likely capped this week.

Cardinals WRs

As mentioned above, we can count on Hopkins and Brown, each of whom has impressed when on the field this season. The matchup pushes them outside the top 10, but they're still strong options. If Moore is active, he'll project to return to the slot role, which has been valuable in this offense, keeping him in play as a top-36 receiver. If he's out then Dortch would assume that role as a flex option.

UPDATE: Moore has been ruled out as expected while Dortch will be active, meaning he'll be the slot receiver.

Injuries:

Damien Harris (thigh)

Jakobi Meyers (head)

Rondale Moore (groin)

Greg Dortch (thumb)

 



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