The Primer: Week 14 Edition (2019 Fantasy Football)
Since joining the industry, the question I’ve probably heard most is, “Have you been a diehard football fan your entire life? Was it always your favorite?” Oddly enough, the answer is no. I’ve been a sports fan my entire life, but my love for football came later in life. But once I have a passion for something, it kind of takes over my life. This was apparent as a kid.
I’ll never forget October 6th, 1993. That was the day Michael Jordan first retired. You know those things you do with your family growing up that just have lasting memories, no matter what else you forget? There are many things I’ve forgotten over the years but sitting down to watch the Chicago Bulls nearly every night with my dad and brother always stuck with me.
We went to plenty of Bulls games, too. Whether it be at the old Chicago Stadium or taking a road trip up to Milwaukee to see them play the Bucks. I’ve watched a lot of sports in my life and there are a select few athletes who I’ve felt lucky to have seen play. I was extremely lucky to watch Jordan play basketball in-person and on television.
Everyone knew it I loved him, too. I had every version of Jordan’s jersey, including the Dream Team No. 9 jersey from the Olympics. When I went to grade school, I had on a Bulls warmup, jersey, or championship shirt 90 percent of the time. For those who grew up around my age, do you remember those notebook vending machines? They had those at my school, and I collected every NBA team, though the Bulls were the one I’d continually use.
Anyway, I remember watching the White Sox game on the night of October 5th. They were in the playoffs that year and had Jordan come throw the first pitch. I remember there was breaking news during that game suggesting Jordan would retire on Monday. They speculated because there was no official word, but they kept showing him in Jerry Reinsdorf’s suite and it created a lot of concern in the Tagliere household.
I’d asked my parents if I could stay home from school that Monday to watch the press conference, though they shut that down (my parents never let me miss school). But when I did go to school, I remember my teachers asking me what was going on and if I was alright. Fortunately, one of my teachers who knew and understood my love for the Bulls and Jordan, pulled me out of class and let me go into the teacher’s lounge with him to watch the press conference. It was one of the coolest things a teacher had ever done for me, and something I obviously still remember to this day.
As Jordan announced his retirement, my heart broke. That was the first breakup of my life. Not a girlfriend, not a best friend, but Michael Jordan. That was the first time sports broke my heart. As a Chicago sports fan, it was surely not the last time.
As everyone knows, Jordan returned to the team and wound-up winning three more titles with the Bulls. Once he left the Bulls, I started to gravitate more towards baseball and football, as basketball just didn’t feel the same anymore. I’ve told people that Jordan “ruined the game of basketball for me” and it still rings true. So, basketball was my first love.
In case you’ve missed it, I’ve been going back into The Primer on Saturday morning trying to update you on the injury reports that impact your decisions. While I cannot write a whole new article, I do talk about a lot of these things on our Sunday morning livestream, which is FREE to everyone. It’s where I discuss all the latest injury news and then take your questions live from 11-12am EST. Click here to be taken to our YouTube page where you can get notifications when we go live.
If you’re new around these parts, here’s what you can expect out of this article each and every week: numbers, facts, stats, opinions, and some shenanigans here and there. It’s my unbiased opinion about everyone on your roster. Whether it be season-long advice, DFS advice, wide receiver/cornerback matchups, or snap counts, it’s all covered. The idea here is to give you as much information as possible and give you as much confidence as possible when you hit that ‘submit lineup’ button each week. Who should be in your lineup this week?
IND at TB | BAL at Buf | WAS at GB | DEN at HOU | SF at NO | CIN at CLE | CAR at ATL | MIA at NYJ | DET at MIN | LAC at JAC | KC at NE | TEN at OAK | PIT at ARI | SEA at LAR | NYG at PHI
Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Line: TB by 3.0
Jacoby Brissett: It’s been a bumpy road for Brissett over the second half of the season, as he continues to lose pass-catchers. We likely won’t know if Hilton is available until later in the week, which obviously factors into your decision to stream Brissett. The Bucs have been extremely good over the last two weeks, allowing just 51-of-96 passing for 566 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions against the combination of Matt Ryan/Matt Schaub and Nick Foles/Gardner Minshew. Have they suddenly become a good defense? Highly unlikely. Prior to those two games, they’d allowed 14 passing touchdowns in their last four games, including at least three touchdowns to every quarterback in that time. The 7.20 yards per attempt they’ve allowed is right around the league average, but the fact that they’ve faced 500 pass attempts through 12 games (41.7 per game) tells the whole story. That’s allowed six different quarterbacks hit 300-plus yards. Here’s a fun fact: Brissett has thrown 30 or more pass attempts just four times this season. He’s scored 20-plus fantasy points in three of them. The issue comes back to lack of weapons available to Brissett. If Hilton plays, Brissett should be considered in the high-end QB2 conversation. If Hilton is held out, he’s more of a middling QB2 with limited upside.
Jameis Winston: It was a tougher matchup than most realized last week, but don’t get too down on Winston. He’s still finished as a top-16 fantasy performer in nine of his last 10 games. He should get right back on the high-volume train this week when they host the Colts. They’ve now allowed a near league-high 68.9 percent completion-rate to opposing quarterbacks. Their zone-heavy scheme has done exactly what it’s supposed to do: allow plenty of completions but keep the ball in front of them and rely on mistakes. Because of that, they’ve allowed five quarterbacks finish as top-12 options, though none of them have finished better than the QB8. The only quarterbacks who failed to score at least 15.4 fantasy points against them have ben Marcus Mariota, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mason Rudolph, and Joe Flacco. Each of those quarterbacks have been benched at some point this season. They’ve only faced two quarterbacks who’ve thrown the ball more than 35 times, and both finished as top-12 options. Winston has hit that mark in 8-of-12 games this year. It’s also nice knowing that temperature won’t be a problem in Tampa Bay with the winter months here. You should feel confident slotting Winston in fantasy lineups as a low-end QB1 with a rock-solid floor.
Jordan Wilkins, Jonathan Williams, and Nyheim Hines: This backfield has turned into a mess. After not getting a single touch in the game against the Texans, Wilkins wound-up leading the backfield with 13 touches against the Titans while Williams had nine, and Hines had six. It’s highly unlikely we get any clarity on the situation before this game. It’s not a matchup to attack, regardless. The Bucs have been one of the best in the league at stopping the run this year, as they’ve allowed just eight running backs to finish better than the RB36 this year. Of the five running backs who finished as top-20 options against them, each of them totaled at least 12 touches, with four of them totaling 22-plus touches. In the end, it requires a lot of volume to produce against them, which is not something we can guarantee for anyone in this backfield. Wilkins likely gets the nod as the better three-down back over Williams, but he’s nothing more than a middling RB4. Hines is the one who comes with the somewhat stable floor, but despite all the injuries, he’s yet to total more than 11 touches in a game this year, which limits his ceiling. All in all, his floor isn’t high enough to justify playing him as anything more than a RB4 in PPR formats. *Update* Marlon Mack returned to practice this week and will play versus the Bucs. He should be considered a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 in this game, as it’s still a tough matchup and he may be a bit limited in what he can do through the air.
Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber: That’s enough. We’ve officially lost all faith in being able to predict what Bruce Arians is going to do with the backfield. Don’t even try. Arians said Jones was benched for missing a blitz pickup, so it could be just a one-game thing. Fortunately, they don’t have another matchup with the Jaguars where we must find someone to start. The Colts are coming off a game in which they allowed Derrick Henry 149 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but don’t think that’s the norm. That was actually the first time in 28 regular season games under Matt Eberflus that the Colts allowed a 100-yard rusher. You then add in the fact that they’ve allowed just four rushing touchdowns through 12 games this year, and you have yourself a matchup with a very limited ceiling no matter who the starter is. Opposing running backs have averaged just 25.4 running back touches per game against the Colts, which doesn’t bode well for anyone in this backfield, as Dare Ogunbowale always seems destined to take 3-5 touches off the table, leaving the unappealing duo to roughly 20 touches here. During the fantasy playoffs, the last thing you want is instability in your lineup. Jones would still be the favorite for me here, but he’s nothing more than a high-end RB4. That leaves Barber in the middling RB4 conversation.
T.Y. Hilton: He was scratched early in the week just a week ago, so you shouldn’t automatically assume that he’ll be back in the lineup against the Bucs. It’d be nice if he was, as they’re a team that’s allowed 15 different wide receivers that’ve finished as top-20 options. Through just 12 games, that’s extremely tough to do. There’s no team in football that’s allowed more fantasy points to the wide receiver position and a lot of it stems from their ability to shut down the opposing run-game. Provided Hilton practices in full at some point this week, he should be started as a WR2, though he does come with some risk of re-injury (as we’ve seen with soft tissue injuries). I’ll post an update here by Saturday morning. *Update* Hilton said he “hopes to play again this season,” which doesn’t sound like someone close to playing this week. Be prepared to be without him. Next update: He’s officially been ruled out.
Parris Campbell: He was inactive last week but was close to playing, so we must assume he’s going to go in Week 14. It’s impossible to trust him in redraft leagues coming off a multi-week injury, but some may consider him for DFS tournament lineups. Knowing how many fantasy points the Bucs have allowed to receivers, it’s possible he makes an impact, but only if Hilton were to sit out. That would open the door for targets to Campbell. The Bucs have faced a massive 25.3 targets per game to wide receivers, which is a big part of the reason they’ve allowed so many fantasy points to them. On a production-per-target basis, they’re actually close to the league average. Outside of Hilton, there’s been just two occasions where a Colts receiver has seen more than seven targets. If Hilton is out, Campbell would be on the WR4/5 radar with some one-play upside.
Zach Pascal: He saw a season-high 10 targets in Week 13 against the Titans, which also resulted in his second 100-yard game of the season. That was just the second time all season a non-Hilton Colts receiver saw more than seven targets. The injuries to Hilton, Chester Rogers, and Ebron have allowed for more targets and knowing the Bucs opponents have averaged 25.3 wide receiver targets per game, Pascal should get plenty of volume once again in Week 14. There’s not a particular cornerback he’d see in coverage, as he moves around the formation quite a bit. Any wide receiver who’s seen more than six targets against the Bucs has finished as a top-30 wide receiver. While you don’t want to play Pascal and expect top-30 production, he likely has a good shot at it, especially if Hilton sits out another game. If Hilton plays, he’s a low-end WR4. If Hilton sits, he’s a low-end WR3/high-end WR4.
Mike Evans: It was a frustrating week for Evans, who totaled just four catches for 53 yards on a massive 11 targets in Week 13, though it was a tough matchup, as we highlighted here last week. It’s not nearly as bad this week when the Colts come to town. There have been 11 wide receivers who’ve totaled 70-plus yards against the Colts this year, and just two of them were slot-heavy receivers. The duo of Rock Ya-Sin and Pierre Desir has been nothing to avoid with receivers, as they’ve combined to allow a 66 percent catch-rate and a massive 15.1 yards per reception in their coverage. Prior to shutting down the Titans wide receivers (due to lack of targets), we watched D.J. Chark go for 8/104/2 against them in Week 11, and then Deandre Hopkins go for 6/94/2 in Week 12. They’re clearly the No. 1 receivers on their teams, so you have nothing to worry about with Evans here, who almost always gets elite volume. He’s a rock-solid WR1 here.
Chris Godwin: We knew it was a tough matchup for Godwin against D.J. Hayden last week, so shake off the weak performance out of Godwin. The Colts have been much more giving to perimeter wide receivers than slot receivers this year, though Godwin has been much better against zone coverage than man, and the Colts are a very zone-heavy team. When matched-up in the slot, he’ll see a lot of Kenny Moore (he’s been ruled out for this game), who’s coming off a game where he allowed 4-for-4 passing for 44 yards and a touchdown in his coverage. The touchdown to Adam Humphries was the first he’s allowed all season, though as mentioned, they’re zone-heavy, so allowing a lot of touchdowns in his coverage is a bit tougher. We have seen Keenan Allen tag this defense for 8/123/1, and he’s closest to Godwin in terms of his usage and where he lines up, so it’s hardly a matchup to avoid if you own Godwin. It seems like Evans and Godwin alternate on having big weeks, but this could be one where both do. Start Godwin as a low-end WR1 and expect a solid floor with a high ceiling.
Jack Doyle: We knew Doyle would be targeted more with Eric Ebron on injured reserve, but I don’t know if anyone saw 11 targets coming his way. That’s elite for a tight end and true must-start territory. Now going into a matchup with the Bucs, the team that’s allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends behind only the Cardinals. They’ve now allowed 10-of-12 tight ends to finish as top-15 options with the only exceptions being Nick O’Leary (who’d been with the team for two weeks) and Charles Clay (who’s never seen more than three targets). Volume certainly helps you feel confident in Doyle, and knowing the team he’s playing has allowed 1.95 PPR points per target certainly helps. He’s a must-start TE1 this week.
O.J. Howard: So, Howard is alive after all? I talked about this last week when I said he’s going to go off at some point while on someone’s bench or on the waiver wire. While five catches for 61 yards doesn’t exactly constitute as “going off,” it’s a step in the right direction. Now going to play against the Colts defense that’s allowed eight different tight ends turn in a performance with four or more receptions. No tight end has topped 73 yards, but they’ve constantly allowed a lot of receptions underneath. This all goes back to their zone-heavy scheme allowing receptions but containing the big play. That’s not great for someone like Howard who’s not used as a possession-style tight end. He’s a risk-reward TE2 at this point who’s disappointed but knowing the Bucs will have some trouble running the ball consistently, Howard has some appeal.
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
Line: BAL by 5.5
Lamar Jackson: Even against the two best defenses in football (Patriots and 49ers), Jackson has been able to post 22-plus fantasy points. He’s finished as a top-six quarterback in 9-of-12 games and has finished worse than QB11 just once all year. The Bills are coming off a game in which they allowed Dak Prescott to throw for 355 yards and two touchdowns, though that was just the second time this year they’ve allowed more than one passing touchdown. It also took him 49 pass attempts to get there, which is fitting because the Bills have allowed just a 2.14 percent touchdown-rate this year, which ranks second to only the Patriots. Dating back to the start of last year, they’ve allowed just five quarterbacks to finish as top-12 options, though none have finished with more than 22.7 points or as a top-three option. They’ve also allowed a league-low 2.85 yards per carry to quarterbacks over the last two years. To be fair they haven’t played Jackson. Will Jackson change the fact that no quarterback has finished better than QB4 against them since 2017? You’re playing him no matter the opponent right now, so you’re going to find out. My guess would be that he does.
Josh Allen: After posting 23.5 fantasy points against the Cowboys, Allen has now scored 17.2 or more fantasy points on 10 different occasions this year. The only other quarterbacks who can say they’ve done it more than eight times are Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott. He’s on fire but will face his toughest test of the season when the Ravens come to town. They’ve been potentially the toughest matchup in football for quarterbacks since Week 4. Over their last eight games, they’ve allowed just five passing touchdowns while intercepting seven passes. They’ve also held quarterbacks in check on the ground, as none have rushed for more than 27 yards all season. The 17.4 fantasy points they’ve allowed on the ground to quarterbacks ranks in the bottom-five, and Allen doesn’t get very many designed runs, so this could be problematic. We haven’t seen a quarterback finish better than the QB13 against them since back in Week 3 and that was against Patrick Mahomes, who kind of does that to everyone. Even the mobile Russell Wilson was held to just 241 passing yards, 27 rushing yards, and one touchdown against them. Allen should still present a semi-decent floor with his legs, but he’s nothing more than a middling QB2 for this matchup with a very limited ceiling.
Mark Ingram: We knew it would be a tough matchup for the Ravens against the 49ers, though Ingram had one of the better possible outcomes of their fantasy relevant players. He did finish with 15 carries for the second straight week, which seems to be around what his ceiling is. Now onto a matchup with the Bills strong defense, though if there’s a glaring weakness to their team, it’s against the run. We’ve now watched 13 running backs finish as top-24 options against them despite playing just 12 games. Sony Michel was the only running back who totaled more than 14 carries against them but failed to finish as the RB21 or better with at least 13.8 PPR points. They’ve allowed a robust 4.65 yards per carry, so as long as a team is willing to stick with the run, they’ve been having success, thought the Cowboys seemingly forgot that on Thanksgiving. The Bills opponents have averaged just 61.4 plays per game, which is among the most concerning things for Ingram’s outlook, as he’s in a clear timeshare with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, receiving just 55.3 percent of the team’s running back carries this year. He should be in lineups as a middling RB2 who should have a good shot to score in this game.
Devin Singletary: Over the last five weeks, we’ve watched Singletary average 17.8 touches per game, which is borderline workhorse territory. He’s also seen four-plus targets in four of the last six games, which makes him gamescript-proof, which is important heading into a matchup with the Ravens, who are one of the hottest teams in football. Over their last seven games, the Ravens have allowed just 96 points to their opponents, which amounts to just 13.7 points per game. No team has scored more than 20 points, which essentially means they’re capped at two touchdowns. The Bills 21.4 points per game ranks in the bottom half of the league. After allowing Raheem Mostert 146 yards and a touchdown last week, the Ravens have allowed four top-12 performances on the year to running backs. It is worth noting that any running back who’s totaled more than 10 touches against them has finished as a top-24 option, though there’s been just seven of them, so the sample size is rather small. The issue has been touches, as running backs have averaged 21.6 per game against them, which is one of the lowest marks in the league. Even if Singletary gets 70 percent of them, that’d amount to just 15 for him. The Ravens have allowed just 21 total touchdowns this year, with 11 of them being of the rushing variety, though Singletary may not be getting the goal-line touches. Of the 16 carries available inside the five-yard-line, Frank Gore has 10 of them, Josh Allen has four of them, and Singletary has two. Given Singletary’s increased role over the last month, he must be started as a RB2, though he’s on the low-end of that conversation this week with how difficult touches have been to come across against the Ravens.
Marquise Brown: Attacking the 49ers on the ground was certainly the best plan of attack but Brown seeing just two targets all game was a bit of a letdown. He’s now seen five or less targets in five of his last six games and is heading into another matchup that’s difficult to produce in for wide receivers. The Bills decided not to use Tre’Davious White in shadow coverage with Amari Cooper last week, though that was likely due to Michael Gallup being a pretty darn good player himself. It’s no secret that Brown is the best receiver on the field for the Ravens, and it’s not all that close. Because of that, I’d expect him to be shadowed by White. On the year, he’s allowed 39 receptions for 482 yards and no touchdowns on 72 targets. That amounts to just 6.69 yards per target in his coverage. There should be no reason for the Ravens to throw the ball a whole lot, making Brown a boom-or-bust WR4 who needs a big play to be worthy of a start. The Bills have allowed the fourth fewest pass-plays of 20-plus yards on the season, so it may not be wise to count on that.
John Brown: After totaling at least 51 yards in each of the first 10 games, Brown has totaled just 39 and 26 yards over the last two weeks. Fortunately, for his owners, he has caught one touchdown and thrown for another touchdown, keeping his fantasy numbers respectable. He may need to rely on touchdowns against his former team this week, too. You’d have to go back to Week 9 to find the last time a receiver scored more than 15 PPR points against the Ravens, and even then, it was Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu, who both saw at least 11 targets. Brown has seen double-digit targets in four different games this year, so that’s not out of question or anything. There have been just two receivers to finish in WR1 territory against them, and both were slot-heavy receivers (Jarvis Landry, Mohamed Sanu). Brown is heading into his third straight tough matchup and though touchdowns have carried him through, you wonder if that’ll be the case against the Ravens, who’ve allowed just seven wide receiver touchdowns all year. Trot him out there as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 and hope for the best.
Cole Beasley: You can’t say the revenge game doesn’t exist for Beasley after totaling a season-high 110 yards and a touchdown against his former team. Beasley has now totaled 9.0 or more PPR points in 10-of-12 games, offering fantasy owners a decent floor. The Ravens haven’t been a team to allow many big performances to receivers, but the floor has been there. There have been 21 different wide receivers who’ve hit that 9.0 or more PPR-point mark, though just seven of them have finished with 15-plus PPR points. He’ll see Marlon Humphrey in the slot, a cornerback who’s done a fine job since being moved there in a full-time role, allowing 26-of-39 passing for 258 yards and one touchdown in his slot coverage. The 22.8 wide receiver targets per game that the Ravens have seen is one of the higher marks in the league and what allows receivers to have a decent floor against them. Because of that, Beasley is in the low-end WR4 conversation, though he lacks a massive ceiling in this matchup.
Mark Andrews: He overcame a brutal matchup last week against a 49ers team that had allowed just 4.47 yards per target to the position. He’s going to have to overcome another tough matchup in Week 14. The Bills have been the best team in football when it comes to defending the tight end position over the last two years, though it didn’t seem that tough when Jason Witten tagged them for 6/42/1 on Thanksgiving. That was just the first time all year a tight end had scored more than 11.2 PPR points against the Bills, and they’d played some of the better tight ends in football. Despite that Witten performance, they still allow the second-fewest points per game to tight ends, behind only the 49ers. The 6.42 yards per target is miniscule for a guy like Andrews who often relies on the bigger plays, though as we’ve talked about, he overcame last week. You have to start him as a TE1 given the tight end landscape, but this is not a week to attack him in DFS.
Dawson Knox: If Week 13 was any indication of how the Bills plan to handle their tight ends, Knox is going to be their guy moving forward. It was already going that way, but seeing Knox run 26 routes while Tyler Kroft ran just four, it all but seals it. The Ravens have not been a team to attack with streaming tight ends, however. They’ve allowed just one starting tight end finish with more than 34 yards and that was Travis Kelce. They’re coming off a game in which they held George Kittle to just two catches for 17 yards, though that was a messy game with not a lot of passing. This doesn’t appear to be a matchup you should be targeting with streamers, especially when they’ve allowed just five passing touchdowns over their last seven games. Knox isn’t a preferred streamer this week.
Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers
Line: GB by 13.0
Dwayne Haskins: The more we see of Haskins, the more we have to wonder if the Redskins will be forced to draft a quarterback in 2019. It hasn’t been pretty watching him complete just 54 percent of his passes for 6.0 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and six interceptions. There were multiple times he just flat-out missed wide-open receivers last week. If he succeeds in a game, it’ll be an outlier, so there’s no way you’re considering him versus the Packers.
Aaron Rodgers: With the gameplan the Packers had last week, Rodgers would’ve likely thrown for 400-plus yards and five touchdowns had there not been snow all over the field. They constantly aired the ball out down the field against the Giants. They can do the same thing this week against the Redskins, who’ve allowed seven passing touchdowns over the last three weeks to the combination of Kyle Allen, Jeff Driskel, and Sam Darnold. Their opponents have averaged a sky-high 67.1 plays per game, which always bodes well for skill-position players, as does the 69.2 percent completion-rate they’ve allowed. Allen and Driskel were the only quarterbacks who didn’t average at least 7.2 yards per attempt against them. The only risk here is competition, as the Redskins are likely going to struggle to put points on the board, which could keep the Packers offense somewhat conservative, though with the way the Redskins run defense has played, Rodgers could benefit. There’s been no team to rush for more than one touchdown against them all year (with their running backs). Knowing the Packers team implied total sits at 27.8, that would indicate big things for Rodgers. Start him as a high-end QB1 who should throw at least two touchdowns, if not more.
Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson, and Chris Thompson: The duo of Peterson/Guice combined for 23 carries, 228 yards, and three touchdowns on the ground last week. It was the Panthers run defense that’s now allowed 19 rushing touchdowns on the year, but still, what a day. The gamescript is likely to go quite a bit different in this game, as the Packers are nearly two-touchdown favorites. The projected gamescript would seem to favor Thompson, who just returned last week and tied a team-high playing 23 snaps. You read that correctly. He played 23 snaps, Peterson played 23 snaps, and Guice played 19 snaps. None of those are enough to produce consistently. The Packers have been a run defense to target in matchups, as they’ve allowed 4.92 yards per carry and 13 rushing touchdowns through 12 games, but the lack of plays out of the Redskins will drown out the potential. They average just 54.1 plays per game, which is easily a league-low, while the Packers opponents average just 62.2 per game, which is the 12th lowest mark in the league. It would’ve been nice to see Guice’s role grow to close out the season, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, and with gamescript being such a big concern, he can’t be trusted as anything more than a low-end RB3, though he’s used a tad more in the passing game than Peterson. As for Peterson, he’s just a middling RB4 who’d need a goal-line plunge as he’s likely to net less than 12 total touches. Thompson plays the role best-suited for the gamescript, but the Packers have allowed just 1.33 PPR points per target to running backs, which is one of the lowest marks in the league. He’s nothing more than a desperation RB4 in PPR formats.
Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams: The Packers said all the right things about getting Jones the ball more last week, and it seems they tried a bit, particularly in the passing game, but the Giants were ready for it. The 17 opportunities were the most he’s had since Week 8, so it’s a step in the right direction. The Redskins have been a much better run defense than pass defense over the course of the season, though some may see they’ve allowed the 12th most fantasy points and wonder if it matters. Volume has been the key factor, as the 4.09 yards per carry and 6.15 yards per target they’ve allowed to running backs is very mediocre and right around the league average. What has propped running backs up has been the volume, as running backs have averaged a league-high 32.1 touches per game against them. If you were to look at points per opportunity, they’ve been the ninth-best team in football against running backs, but it’s tough to limit production with that type of volume. No running back has scored more than one rushing touchdown against the Redskins this year, as the nine total touchdowns they’ve allowed to running backs ranks as the ninth-fewest in the league. Jones has averaged 13.9 carries and 4.6 targets in games the Packers win, while averaging 11.3 carries and 4.0 targets when they lose. It seems Williams is going to get his 8-14 touches per game regardless, so when you know Jones gets most of the additional work in games they win, and the fact that the Redskins face 32-plus running back touches per game, this should amount to a 16-plus touch game for him. Jones should be played as a low-end RB1 who has all the right vital signs for a great DFS play this week, though the Redskins aren’t a pushover on the ground. Williams should stay in the mid-to-low-end RB3 conversation.
Terry McLaurin: The Redskins have won the last two games, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the production of McLaurin. Haskins has only completed 13 passes in each of the last two games, which doesn’t allow for much production. McLaurin had seen 12 targets in Week 12, but after a four-target game in Week 13, who wants to trust him in the fantasy playoffs? The Packers have allowed at least one receiver to score 12.5 or more PPR points against them in 11-of-12 games this year, with the only exception being the Raiders, who had Darren Waller and Foster Moreau combine for 9/150/3. So how have they allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to receivers? Volume. They’ve faced just 16.8 targets per game to wide receivers, which is the fifth-lowest mark in football. When targeted, receivers have had success, averaging a healthy 9.64 yards per target. That compares to the Bengals, Falcons, and Giants. With so few attempts to go around, it’s tough to play McLaurin with any confidence, but if he gets the targets, he should produce here. Consider him a high-end WR4 but one who can bust due to Haskins’ inability to hit his receivers.
Kelvin Harmon: He’s taken the place of Paul Richardson in the lineup and has seen at least five targets in each of the last three games. He’s also recorded at least 43 yards in each of them despite Haskins’ struggles, putting him on the fantasy radar. The Packers have allowed just 13 receivers to finish top-36 against them, though it’s not due to them being elite or anything, but rather due to them facing limited volume. They’ve faced just 16 wide receivers all year who’ve seen more than five targets, which is a large part of the reason they’ve allowed just 9.8 wide receiver receptions per game. There’s unlikely going to be more than one fantasy relevant receiver for the Redskins, and the money should be on McLaurin, though Harmon has showed some staying power even with Haskins’ inconsistency. He should be considered a WR5 with minimal upside.
Davante Adams: It’s now been five straight games where Adams has received 10-plus targets, as Rodgers has locked onto him over-and-over again while showing little trust in his other receivers. Adams has now scored three touchdowns over the last two weeks after not scoring in each of his first six games of the year, something we knew would catch-up to the receiver who’s scored 10-plus touchdowns in each of the last three seasons. The Redskins should allow him to add to that total, as they’ve allowed the fourth-most PPR points per target (2.00) to opposing receivers this year. They’re middle of the pack on the year, though that’s due to teams dialing back their offense against them, as they’ve faced just 17.1 wide receiver targets per game this year, which ranks as the sixth-fewest in football. They decided to bench Josh Norman two weeks ago, giving the job to Fabian Moreau. No matter who is out there for them, they don’t have the talent to hang with Adams. Moreau may have three interceptions over the last two weeks, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s allowed 80-of-113 passing for 1,136 yards and five touchdowns in his coverage over three years in the league. That’s 10.1 yards per target in his coverage, and that’s to average receivers. Adams should be locked in as an elite WR1 and one who can be considered in cash games.
Allen Lazard: He continues to operate as the No. 2 receiver for Rodgers, and we watched him gain even more trust last week, as he adjusted to a ball that was a bit off-target that netted a long gain. It’s still going to be difficult to trust a receiver who’s seen just five targets over the last two weeks combined. Teams haven’t had to throw the ball a whole lot against the Redskins, as the 17.1 wide receiver targets per game would indicate. When leading by nine-plus points, the Packers throw the ball just 47.6 percent of the time, which ranks 17th-most in football, so they haven’t been a team to keep their foot on the gas, though they aren’t one to completely stop passing, either. Lazard is fine for someone you can toss in your lineup and hope for him to catch one of Rodgers’ touchdowns, but he doesn’t come with any sort of floor, making him a boom-or-bust WR5-type option.
Jeremy Sprinkle: We’ve talked about this before… don’t use a Redskins tight end. Sprinkle topped 24 yards for the first time in Week 13, though his two catches for 36 yards are nothing to get excited about. He’s yet to see more than four targets in a game, so even if the Packers have allowed the fifth-most points per target to tight ends, it’s not like that amounts to much here. You can find other options.
Jimmy Graham: The snap count among Packers tight ends in Week 13 was Graham 27, Marcedes Lewis 27, and Robert Tonyan 19. This is the end for Mr. Graham, who is likely playing in his final NFL season. He’s seen declining targets in each of the last five games, netting just one in the win over the Giants last week. The fact that the Redskins allow a 73.5 percent completion-rate is nice and all, but it doesn’t matter if you’re not getting the targets. Knowing teams have averaged just 32.8 pass attempts per game against them, it’s unlikely that Graham finds his way into a lot of targets, especially knowing how good the wide receiver matchups are. The Redskins have allowed a stable floor to streamers this year, as eight different tight ends have finished with 8.1 or more PPR points, but Graham really isn’t in the streaming conversation anymore with the targets he’s received. If you’re starting him, you’re simply hoping for a touchdown. He’s a weak TE2 option even in a plus-matchup.