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The Primer: Week 15 Edition (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Dec 17, 2020
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Spread: Buccaneers -5.5
Total: 50.5
Buccaneers at Falcons Betting Matchup

QBs
Tom Brady:
He didn’t look quite right last week, which has been somewhat of a theme lately. The reason this game was so odd was because the Vikings only pressured him just 17.4 percent of the time, which is what’s crushed Brady at times. He’s one of the quarterbacks who see a significant decline in his passer rating while pressured. While the average quarterback drops 40.0 QBR points, Brady has dropped 60.0 points when pressured. So, when you find a team who struggles to pressure the quarterback, Brady should pick them apart. So, his Week 14 performance was even more disappointing than on the surface. It’s a concern, though we can’t freak out too much. When you see teams like the Jaguars and Lions on your quarterback’s schedule, you get excited, right? Well, the Falcons are still the team you most want your quarterbacks to be going against. We’re entering Week 15 and they’ve allowed 1.58 PPR points per offensive play to their opponents. Crazy enough, the Bucs are the fourth-most efficient offense in the league, averaging the exact same 1.58 PPR points per offensive play. Quarterbacks have played a part in the majority of that, averaging a league-high 23.1 points per game. They’ve allowed 296.2 passing yards per game, which is the second-most in the league. Much of that comes from the fact that they’ve allowed a massive 69.8 percent completion-rate, which is tied with the Jaguars for second in the NFL. Because of all the success teams have had through the air against them, they’ve thrown the ball 61.9 percent of the time, which is the third-highest percentage. Justin Herbert was just the third quarterback this year who failed to score 18.4-plus fantasy points against the Falcons, but just a week earlier, the Falcons allowed Taysom Hill to complete 27-of-37 attempts for 232 yards and two touchdowns. With Ronald Jones iffy and the run-game obsolete outside of him, the Bucs will rely on Brady to win this game. He should be considered a low-end QB1 this week who should have a stable floor. *Update* It seems that Brady’s left tackle Donovan Smith is not going to play in this game due to being placed on the COVID list, which is a downgrade, though not too much considering the Falcons pass rush isn’t anything special. 

Matt Ryan: We all knew it going into the game, but Ryan continues to prove to us that he’s not very good without Julio Jones in the lineup. Take a look at these splits:

  Games Yds/gm TD INT FPts/gm
w/ Jones 8 312.0 15 4 19.96
w/o Jones 5 232.8 4 7 10.05

 

To be fair, I did include the games where Jones missed most of the game in the “without Jones” category. But you get the point here, right? Ryan just isn’t the same without him, so his projection relies solely on Jones’ availability, so we’ll plan as if Jones will play. We all know the Falcons struggle to run the ball, right? When you add in the Bucs run defense, they might never run the ball. Through 13 games, the Bucs opponents have chosen to drop back and pass the ball 63.7 percent of the time, which ranks second to only the Seahawks. That’s led to their opponents throwing the ball 37.8 times, which is the fifth-most in the NFL. When quarterbacks do pass the ball, they’re generating a 69.5 percent completion-rate, which is higher than every team not named the Jets, Jaguars, or Falcons. There have been five quarterbacks who’ve thrown for 280-plus yards against the Bucs, including three 367-plus yard games. Kirk Cousins was the seventh quarterback in a row who’s totaled at least 16.2 fantasy points against them, and that included Daniel Jones and Teddy Bridgewater. It is worth noting that Ryan had issues with this scheme last year, as he threw the ball 97 times in the two matchups, though they only led to 584 yards (6.02 YPA), one touchdown, and one interception. He should be considered a mid-to-high-end QB2 for this game if Jones plays. If he doesn’t, Ryan moves into the low-end QB2 conversation. *Update* Jones has been ruled OUT, downgrading Ryan to a mid-to-low-end QB2. My guess is that volume saves him from completely busting, but the upside just isn’t there. 

RBs
Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette:
Prior to their bye week, Fournette had out-snapped Jones in five of their last six games. The next thing we know, the Bucs are deactivating Fournette and ruling him inactive. Jones played well in his full-time role, totaling 80 yards and a touchdown on the ground against the Vikings, though that game didn’t come without consequence. Jones broke his pinky finger and had surgery on Tuesday, so we don’t know what his availability will be for this game. You might want to be prepared to be without him, though. The Bucs offense as a whole has averaged 99.3 PPR points per game this year, while the Falcons defense has allowed 102.0 PPR points per game, so their average opponent has scored more fantasy points than the Bucs. That seems like a great thing, right? Well, yeah, but we’re not done here. The Falcons opponents have chosen to run the ball just 38.1 percent of the time against them, which is likely due to the fact that they’ve been one of the better run defenses in football. There’s not a single team in the league (Bucs included) who’s allowed fewer fantasy points on the ground than the Falcons have to running backs this year. Through 13 games, they’ve allowed just 910 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns to running backs, which amounts to just 9.3 fantasy points per game on the ground. Through the air is a different story, as they’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy points through the air (11.6 PPR points per game) to running backs. Call me crazy, but it would be pretty difficult for Jones to catch passes after just having surgery on his pinky a few days before this game (not like he was a great pass-catcher before this game). My guess is that they’re going to have Fournette active in this game and he’s going to handle at least half of the work, though for fantasy managers, it would be best if we had Jones inactive for clarity. With Antonio Brown on the team, the running backs haven’t seen many targets, so it’s not as if the Bucs running backs carry tons of value in this game. If Jones is out, Fournette would deserve high-end RB3 consideration. If both play, I suppose Jones would be the preferred play, but he’d be a risky RB3 while Fournette would be a high-end RB4 who might pay off as a desperation play. *Update* Jones was placed on the COVID list on Wednesday, so there’s still a possibility he plays, but it’s another hurdle he needs to cover. Be prepared to be without him.

Todd Gurley and Ito Smith: Gurley has gone from playing 51-71 percent of the snaps in Weeks 2-9 to playing just 33-37 percent of the snaps over the last three weeks. Don’t believe him when he says he’s back to full health. The snap count last week was: Smith 25, Gurley 19, Brian Hill 9. The touch count was: Smith 12, Gurley 8, Hill 2. I mentioned last week that I thought it was possible Smith would outscore Gurley, and while that was the case, neither were good plays. After going against a Chargers team that’s allowed the second-most yards before contact, the Falcons running backs will have to go against a Bucs defense that’s allowed a league-low 0.78 yards before contact to ball carriers. Teams know they’re going to struggle against the Bucs on the ground, so they haven’t really bothered to try and run the ball. The 36.3 percent run-rate (2nd-lowest) highlights that. The Bucs have allowed 81 receptions on 99 targets to running backs this year, which leads the league. So, what do the pass routes look like? Smith has run 28 routes over the last two weeks while Gurley has run 21 of them. At what point do they turn to Smith as the primary back? He might already be. One thing is for sure: You don’t want to use Gurley as anything more than an RB4 this week. I’d argue that Smith should be considered a better play with the matchup in front of them, but again, that doesn’t mean much in this offense right now, making him a middling RB4.

WRs
Mike Evans:
It was a disappointing day for all Bucs receivers not named Scotty Miller last week. Evans left the game against the Vikings with just five targets that netted three receptions and 56 scoreless yards. While Brady was clearly off, the Vikings offense just didn’t show up, leaving the Bucs receivers with limited targets. Can that be the case again with the Falcons? Well, if one thing’s for sure, you should be rooting for Julio Jones to play. The Falcons have allowed 42.9 PPR points per game to wide receivers, which ranks as the second-most behind only the Seahawks. Unlike the Seahawks, the points they’ve allowed haven’t even come on tons of volume but rather efficiency. They’ve allowed a massive 9.01 yards per target to wide receivers, which is the fourth-highest mark in the league. There have been 24 wide receivers who’ve finished as top-40 options against them, which is a good thing for this Bucs receiver group because someone will always miss out on production, and those numbers allow multiple options to be fantasy relevant. You have to plug Evans back into lineups as a WR2 this week and hope the Falcons can make a game of it.

Chris Godwin: There will be a lot of fantasy managers panicked after last week’s abysmal performance out of Godwin, so let’s look at the splits since Antonio Brown arrived:

Player Tgts Rec Yds TDs PPR Pts
Evans 40 21 296 4 74.6
Godwin 34 26 308 1 62.8
Brown 34 25 217 0 46.5

 

The targets are much closer than anyone who has Evans/Godwin would like, but the production has been in their favor to this part. Godwin also had a pin removed from his hand last week, so maybe that’s a reason they didn’t go his way as much. Either way, it was just the third time all year he’s finished outside of the top-30 receivers, so don’t panic too much. The 2,614 yards the Falcons have allowed to wide receivers is the second-highest mark in the league, so there should be plenty to go around. The move of Isaiah Oliver to the slot has not fixed their issues, as he’s allowed 36-of-45 passing for 369 yards and a touchdown in his coverage, which is good for a 108.2 QB Rating. The only downside to Godwin playing the slot is that there’ve been nine wide receivers who’ve totaled 100-plus yards against the Falcons, and just one of them (CeeDee Lamb) was a slot-heavy receiver. Still, you’re going to plug Godwin in as a low-end WR2 who should get back on track.

Antonio Brown: As you can see in the Godwin notes, the target share has been pretty close with the three of the Bucs receivers since his arrival, though Brown is the inefficient one. Of the 100 most-targeted wide receivers in 2020, Brown ranks No. 95 in PPR points per target, sandwiched in-between Chris Conley and N’Keal Harry. He’s still seen enough targets to produce at least 49 yards in three of his last four games, so we have to consider him, especially in a matchup against the Falcons. Their perimeter duo of A.J. Terrell and Darqueze Dennard has combined to allow 90-of-128 passing for 937 yards and seven touchdowns in their coverage. There have been 22 different wide receivers who’ve hit 11.2-plus PPR points against the Falcons, which happens to be the number it took to finish as a WR3 or better in 2019. That’s more than any other team in the league. Brown isn’t a must-play but if you’re torn, it’s unlikely there’s someone with a better matchup.

Julio Jones: He’d played a season-high 94 percent of snaps in the Week 13 game against the Saints, so it was odd to hear him ruled out on Friday last week, but his hamstring has clearly been an issue all season. We’ll pay attention to his practice participation throughout the week, but for now, we’ll plan on him suiting up. The Bucs have used Carlton Davis in a shadow role this year, but that’s the issue with the Falcons receivers, as it’s more of a 1A/1B situation. For what it’s worth, they left him at LCB last week against the Vikings similar duo, so we should expect that to be the case again this week. Will Jamel Dean play? He’s the other perimeter cornerback for the Bucs, though he’s missed time recently with a groin injury. That’s moved Sean Murphy-Bunting out to the perimeter, which is who Jones would see most of the time. On the year, he’s allowed 49-of-61 passing for 608 yards and four touchdowns in his coverage, though most of that has come in the slot. Dean has been much better in coverage, but even if he returns, he may be at less-than-100-percent against Jones. Bottom line here is that you’re playing Jones if he suits up, and he should have the better matchup than Ridley. *Update* Jones has been ruled OUT for this game. 

Calvin Ridley: With Julio out of the lineup, Ridley continued to pile up the targets and production against the Chargers, as he finished with 8/124/1 on 12 targets. Ridley has now played 11 full games and has finished as the WR29 or better in 10 of them, including seven games as the WR19 or better. We’re expecting Jones to come back to the lineup this week, though we already kind of know Ridley’s matchup regardless. He’s going to see a lot of Carlton Davis in coverage, the Bucs top cornerback who has been struggling a bit since the start of Week 9, allowing 27-of-37 passing for 455 yards and three touchdowns in those five games. Of course the Tyreek Hill game had a lot to do with that, but it’s all relative because he’s not a complete shutdown cornerback. As a whole, the Bucs have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to wide receivers because teams simply can’t run the ball on them, so volume should be aplenty. Keep Ridley rolling as a low-end WR1 this week.

Russell Gage: We’ve watched Gage become a bigger part of the offense over the last four weeks, as he’s totaled 32 targets in them. He’s not someone who’s going to average a whole lot of yards per target/reception, but in a game where we’re expecting the Falcons to throw the ball 40-plus times, there’ll be targets to go around. If I told you Gage ranked No. 32 in targets among wide receivers this year, would you believe me? In fact, check this out: Gage’s stat line is 84/54/604/2. D.J. Chark‘s is 82/45/591/4. Gage actually has more fantasy points. 2020, right? The Bucs have had Sean Murphy-Bunting cover the slot this year, but with Jamel Dean‘s groin injury, they’ve moved him to the perimeter. I think you’d actually want Dean to play in this game because Murphy-Bunting has struggled there, allowing 36-of-42 passing for 399 yards and three touchdowns in his coverage. His replacement, Ross Cockrell, hasn’t played enough to gauge how he is in slot coverage, as it’s not a position he’s used to. If you’re looking for a wide receiver with a decent floor, Gage should deliver top-48 wide receiver numbers, though his ceiling is a bit capped if Jones is back in the lineup. If Jones remains out (he has been ruled out), Gage would move into low-end WR3/high-end WR4 territory.

TEs
Rob Gronkowski:
What in the world happened with Gronkowski last week? He was targeted just twice, which was his lowest total since way back in Week 2. He’d seen six-plus targets in seven of his last 10 games, so to say it was surprising is an understatement, especially considering the Vikings have struggled with the position. Fortunately, he caught a touchdown on one of them, which salvaged his fantasy day. He gets another plus-matchup in Week 15 against the Falcons who’ve allowed a huge 2.19 PPR points per target to tight ends, which ranks as the third-highest mark in the league. The 80.2 percent catch-rate they’ve allowed to them is tops in the league, while the 7.95 yards per target they’ve allowed is the seventh-best mark. There have been 10 tight ends who’ve totaled 41-plus yards and/or a touchdown against the Falcons, which should give us the floor we seek with streamers, though Gronkowski was appearing to be more than that for a while. We have to shake off the bad game and get him back in lineups as a mid-to-low-end TE1 in this top-three matchup.

Hayden Hurst: We’re now to the point where we have to start wondering if Hurst’s injury is worse than the Falcons have let on. After finishing as a top-13 tight end in four straight games while racking up 54-plus yards in each of them, Hurst has finished with fewer than 10 yards in three of the last four games. He’s been limited in practice with an ankle injury since their Week 11 game against the Saints, so maybe there’s something to that. Another factor in his struggles has been the absence of Julio Jones, as Hurst has done much better with him on the field than off it. The Bucs have been a matchup to target with tight ends, as they’ve allowed the ninth-most points per game (14.2) to them. There have been 10 tight ends who’ve finished as top-15 options against them, though no one has finished with more than 82 yards, so it’s been a consistently good (but not over-the-top great) matchup. The only tight end who saw more than four targets and failed to finish as a top-14 tight end was Gerald Everett who turned five targets into four catches for 27 yards. If Hurst practices in full this week and Jones suits up, he should be back in the low-end TE1 conversation. If not, he becomes a risky high-end TE2.

Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans

Spread: Titans -10.5
Total: 51.5
Lions at Titans Betting Matchup

QBs
Matthew Stafford or Chase Daniel:
It seems all but certain that Stafford will miss this game against the Titans after he suffered bruised ribs at the end of the Week 14 game. The Lions have already called up a quarterback from the practice squad, so we’ll prepare as if Daniel will be the starter this week. The Titans are one of seven teams who’ve allowed more than 100 PPR points per game to their opponents. Just how bad is that? There are just three offenses (Chiefs, Packers, Seahawks) who average 100-plus PPR points per game. Quarterbacks have taken up a big chunk of that, averaging 20.9 fantasy points per game (5th-most). It does help to know they’ve thrown the ball an average of 40.4 times per game, which is the second-most in the NFL. They’ve only allowed 6.98 yards per attempt to quarterbacks (11th-fewest) but are tied for the league-lead in passing touchdowns (28). Daniel has no mobility, so it’s important to know the Titans have recorded a sack on just 2.59 percent of their opponent’s dropbacks. There is no other team in the league who’s under 3.08 percent. The matchup isn’t the problem, but this offense is not one you really want to find yourself associated with, especially considering Stafford has finished with more than 16 fantasy points just six times all season. Daniel should be a fine low-end QB2 for Superflex/2QB leagues, but he’s not a streamer in standard formats.

Ryan Tannehill: Last week went precisely how we thought it would with Tannehill and the Titans, as he threw the ball just 24 times, but was hyper-efficient with 212 yards and two touchdowns on them. Just how good has he been this year? That was his fourth-worst game of the season, finishing with 16.5 fantasy points. This week’s matchup mirrors last week’s in a lot of ways. The Lions have been beaten in every which way and that’s displayed in the 1.58 PPR points per offensive play they’ve allowed, which is just a sliver behind the Falcons for the most in the league. Meanwhile, you have the Titans offense, who ranks as the seventh-most efficient offense in the league averaging 1.53 PPR points per play.  The Lions have struggled against the run, that’s something everyone knows at this point, but similar to Tannehill’s matchup last week against the Jaguars, they allow production through the air, too. They’ve allowed 8.04 yards per attempt (2nd-highest behind only the Jaguars) and a 5.83 percent touchdown-rate (3rd-highest). Removing rushing production by quarterbacks, the Lions have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, including the third-most fantasy points per actual pass attempt. The issue is going to come back to lack of pass attempts, as teams have chosen to pass on just 54.3 percent of plays against the Lions (4th-lowest). Still, teams have averaged a massive 29.9 points per game against the Lions, so there’ll be plenty of touchdowns to go around in the Titans offense. Consider Tannehill a sturdy QB1 with a high floor, though he’s unlikely to finish as a top-five option.

RBs
D’Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson:
Was Swift being eased back into the lineup after a three-game absence? The snap counts were Swift 36, Peterson 16, and Kerryon Johnson 14. The 53 percent of snaps were his third-highest mark of the season, so I’m guessing that this is how the backfield will shake out over the next few weeks. That snap percentage led to just 11 touches, which isn’t enough to start a running back as a top-15 option. It’s a shame because he’d totaled 16 and 21 touches in his prior two games, though the Lions were extremely limited in their plays, as the Packers hogged the time of possession. It’s likely to be a similar situation this week against the Titans, who are double-digit favorites, though they work at a faster pace than the Packers do, which has allotted their opponents a massive 68.2 plays per game (2nd-most). By comparison, the Packers allow their opponents 60.0 plays. Another positive to this matchup is that the Titans have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per weighted opportunity to running backs. We figure this to be a negative gamescript, yes? Well, going back to their bye week, Swift has run 109 routes in the six games they’ve all been on the field while Johnson has run 61 and Peterson 35, so the fact that the Titans allow 1.72 PPR points per target to running backs is beneficial to Swift. There have been 13 different running backs who’ve finished as top-24 options against the Titans, which is one per game, and Swift is the most obvious choice. Unfortunately, he’d need to score in order to get into the RB1 conversation due to the split in this backfield. Still, you should feel comfortable playing him as a somewhat sturdy RB2 who only has room for growth. One issue is that it seems likely the Lions will be without starting center Frank Ragnow, who’s an important presence on that offensive line. Not only is the gamescript a concern for Peterson, but so is the loss of Ragnow, making him an emergency-only RB4/5.

Derrick Henry: I told you winter was coming, right? Henry blew right on through the Jaguars defense for 222 total yards and two touchdowns, which was the sixth time since the start of the 2019 season where he’s rushed for 150-plus yards (playoffs not included). He gets to follow that matchup with a trip to play against the Lions, an even worse defense. Not only do the Lions allow the third-most PPR points per game to their opponents overall, but they’ve allowed 37.3 percent of skill-position player points go to running backs, which ranks as the second-highest percentage in the league. That’s amounted to a league-high 31.2 PPR points per game to running backs. When you play against the Lions run defense, you get nothing but green lights. They’ve seen the fourth-most carries (24.5 per game) and have allowed 4.57 yards per carry (7th-most), a touchdown every 19.9 carries (2nd-most), 6.92 yards per target (2nd-most), and 1.90 PPR points per target (most in NFL). They’ve allowed a league-high 23 touchdowns to running backs while no other team has allowed more than 18 of them. When you add everything up, they’ve allowed 0.999 PPR points per opportunity to running backs, which is second to only the Packers, though most teams are in a negative gamescript against the Packers, so they can’t exploit it as much. The Titans are heavy favorites in this game and Henry will get plenty of opportunities. Even if Henry were “average,” his 20-plus touches would turn into 20-plus PPR points in this matchup. We all know he’s not average, particularly this time of the year. Winter is here and he’s the RB1.

WRs
Marvin Jones:
Even with Golladay out of the lineup, Jones hasn’t offered much stability in fantasy, finishing as the WR42 or worse in three of his last four games, though his WR5 finish in-between those games is what keeps you coming back for more. The thought of Chase Daniel starting instead of Stafford might be the bump you need to get him out of lineups, though the matchup makes it somewhat difficult to do. Wide receivers have seen a massive 62.3 percent target share against the Titans, which is behind only the Seahawks. They have also allowed 26.5 completions per game to their opponents, which is tied for the second-most in the NFL, so they have to go somewhere, and the Lions only have so many healthy pass-catchers. It’s crazy to see that the Titans have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers because they’ve allowed the sixth-fewest PPR points per target (1.67) to them. The massive volume they’ve faced (25.2 wide receiver targets per game) is what’s carried receivers to solid fantasy days. Wide receivers have also seen a league-high 53 red zone targets against the Titans. That’s a pretty remarkable number, as there are just two other teams who’ve seen more than 38 of them. He should get enough volume to warrant a high-end WR4 start but there’s certainly some risk while playing with a backup.

Kenny Golladay: From the time I’m writing this, Golladay still hasn’t practiced. At this point, we’re just awaiting word that he’s been shut down for the remainder of the season. He’s been ruled OUT for Week 15.

A.J. Brown: We had another scare with Brown last week after he came up limping early in the first quarter. Fortunately, it proved to be nothing as he went on to catch seven passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. The fact that he did that while Derrick Henry was rushing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns is huge. The matchup Brown has this week is just as good. It’s not just the run that the Lions struggle against because the Lions have also allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game (42.0) to wide receivers this year. The 9.42 yards per target they’ve allowed to them is the highest mark in football. On top of that, they’ll be without their top two cornerbacks, as both Desmond Trufant and Jeff Okudah are on injured reserve. That means it’ll be up to Amani Oruwariye and Justin Coleman to try and slow Brown down. Those two have allowed 65-of-100 passing for 874 yards and four touchdowns in their coverage. You’re starting Brown as a WR1 and expecting big results.

Corey Davis: Week 14 was just the second time all year where Davis finished with fewer than 10 PPR points, which is quite the accomplishment considering he’s averaged 6.6 targets per game, which ranks 39th among wide receivers. There have been 22 different wide receivers who’ve finished with double-digit PPR points against Davis’ opponent this week. The Lions have been a disaster in a lot of ways, and while most know about their struggles with the run, they’ve also been among the worst defenses through the air, and that was while they had healthy cornerbacks. Not only are Jeff Okudah and Desmond Trufant out, but Darryl Roberts also had to leave Week 14 with a hip injury, so they could be without three of their top five cornerbacks for this game. On the year, the Lions have allowed 1.92 PPR points per target, which ranks as the sixth-most, right behind the Jets. While it was A.J. Brown getting all the glory last week, it could just as easily be Davis this week. He’s done enough to be in lineups as a stable high-end WR3.

TEs
T.J. Hockenson:
What a year it’s been for Hockenson, who went as one of the least efficient tight ends in football his rookie year, to one who’s become an every-week starter in fantasy football. He’s now finished as the TE14 or better in nine of his last 10 games. While he’s still yet to finish better than the TE4 in any one game, he does rank as the No. 3 tight end on the season thanks to his consistency. It seems likely that he’ll be playing without his starting quarterback this week, which would certainly be a detriment to his projection. We talked last week that teams didn’t target their tight ends much against the Packers but that they were having success when they did, right? Well, this matchup is a repeat. The Titans have faced a tiny 16.0 percent target share to tight ends, but again, when targeted, they’ve allowed a massive 2.07 PPR points per target. They’re one of six teams who’ve allowed at least 2.0 PPR points per target to tight ends. There are seven tight ends who’ve seen six-plus targets against them, and every single one of them finished with 11-plus PPR points. If Stafford were playing, Hockenson would be a top-three play this week. He’s still worth playing as a TE1, though he’s not nearly as safe with Daniel under center.

Jonnu Smith: Smith dubbed himself “healthy” coming into Week 14 but that didn’t help him get any more targets. He finished with just two targets against the Jaguars, which now makes it two or less targets in four of his last six games. He hasn’t topped 32 yards since way back in Week 5. What makes it so frustrating is that we’ve seen him dominate at times this year, but what most seem to have missed is that he hasn’t topped 40 yards in a single game where A.J. Brown has been on the field. There just aren’t enough targets to go around in this offense. Knowing that we’re always left searching for games where the Titans will actually target Smith, you should know that the Lions may not be one of them. Teams have targeted their tight ends just 16.1 percent of the time against the Lions, which ranks as the third-lowest mark in the league. That’s amounted to just 6.5 targets per game, which is the 11th-fewest in the league. Even when targeted, tight ends have averaged the fourth-fewest yards per target (5.88) against them. The lone piece of good news is that they’ve allowed a touchdown every 12.0 targets, which is the 10th-most often. Smith is clearly just a touchdown-or-bust TE2 option.

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

Spread: Colts -7.5
Total: 50.5
Texans at Colts Betting Matchup

QBs
Deshaun Watson:
Despite everything Watson has had to deal with this year, he’s led the Texans to 1.58 PPR points per offensive snap, which ranks as the fifth-best mark in the NFL. He may have hit his max of players who can be out last week, though. He was without his top three wide receivers and top running back against a Bears defense that ain’t no joke, yet still managed to total 16.6 fantasy points in that game which was his third-lowest total of the year, which is highlighting just how high his floor has been. The prior week, he was able to post 19.4 fantasy points against the Colts, who happen to be the team he’ll play again this week. Watson threw for 341 yards in that game and didn’t throw a single touchdown, so there’s certainly still some meat on the bone. The Colts are likely going to be shorthanded this week, too. Starting cornerback Xavier Rhodes appeared to suffer a bad knee injury while linebacker Darius Leonard suffered a back injury. Frank Reich did say he expects them to be okay, but that they’ll be monitored. The Colts defense has been struggling a bit as of late, allowing six of the last seven quarterbacks they’ve played to post 18.6 or more fantasy points, including each of their last four games. Of the eight games the Colts have played since Week 5, they’ve allowed at least 7.02 yards per attempt to seven of those quarterbacks, which has led to five 300-yard passing games. Not only have they struggled against the pass, but they’ve also allowed rushing touchdowns to five different quarterbacks in those last eight games. Watson has come this far without falling off, so why expect it now? It would sure help if Cooks can return, because if he did, Watson would be in the QB1 range. If Cooks remains out, he’s more of a borderline QB1/2.

Philip Rivers: He’s now averaged 285.0 yards over the last eight games, which is half of a season, so more than enough of a sample size to feel comfortable. He’s also thrown 16 touchdowns in those eight games, which amounts to an even 2.0 per game. Rivers is the No. 13 quarterback over that time, above guys like Matt Ryan and Derek Carr. He’s going back into a matchup with the Texans, a team he just completed 27-of-35 passes against for 285 yards and two touchdowns just two weeks ago. The Texans are allowing 1.54 PPR points per offensive play, which ranks as the fourth-most in the NFL, and keep in mind that much of that was with Bradley Roby. They haven’t gotten any better since he was suspended, that’s for sure. The Texans have played four games without Bradley Roby (who’s suspended for the rest of the season), and in them, they’ve allowed 100-of-140 passing for 1,139 yards (8.14 yards per attempt), and 10 touchdowns, which included a game against Jake Luton and another against Mitch Trubisky. In the They’ve intercepted a league-low three passes all year… on 446 pass attempts. They’ve allowed 7.87 yards per attempt, which is tied with the Jets for the third-highest mark in the league. They’ve also allowed a 69.1 percent completion-rate, making them one of just six teams who’ve allowed higher than a 67.9 percent completion-rate. There’s really nothing wrong with the matchup. The only concern could be that the running backs steal all of the production, as the Texans allow production everywhere on the field. Rivers should be considered a high-end QB2 who can be streamed rather safely.

RBs
David Johnson and Duke Johnson:
We should be expecting David back to the lineup this week, as he was placed on the COVID list because he had close contact with someone, and not because he had it himself. The Texans are surely going to be happy to get him back, as they were forced to split carries between Duke Johnson and Buddy Howell against the Bears. Unfortunately, David won’t be returning to a very good matchup, as the Colts were the team who held him to just 44 yards on 10 carries two weeks back, though a touchdown did salvage his fantasy day. The Colts are one of the best in the league against the run, allowing just the ninth-fewest fantasy points on the ground. That’s important because David is rarely used in the passing game, as he hasn’t caught more than two passes in 7-of-9 games this year. His lack of pass-game usage has capped him at 16.3 PPR points ever since Week 1, so when you play him, you’re not getting much of a ceiling. Outside of Derrick Henry, the Colts haven’t allowed a running back to top 72 rushing yards this season, which likely makes David an RB3 at best if he doesn’t score. Duke has now recorded at least 20 receiving yards in six of the last seven games, and with the receiver injuries/suspensions, he’s still likely to be involved, but he can’t be played as anything more than a middling RB4 who’s a bit more valuable in PPR formats. *Update* Duke is dealing with a neck injury and was downgraded as the week went on. It doesn’t appear likely that he’ll play, which would improve David’s floor as a passing-down option. 

Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines: Are we really sure that Taylor has taken over as the workhorse here? He hasn’t played more than 56 percent of the snaps since their bye in Week 7. When Taylor plays, Hines hasn’t topped 56 percent in any one game this year. This is still a timeshare, though Taylor has taken advantage of some great matchups as of late. He’s finished with 114, 135, and 165 total yards over the last three games against the Packers, Texans, and Raiders defenses, which are all bottom-four defenses against running backs. Fortunately, he gets to go against the Texans once again this week. The Texans are allowing the fourth-most PPR points per game (103.3) to opponents as a whole, while running backs are accounting for 31.1 percent of them. That ranks second to only the Lions, as you can clearly do whatever you want against those two teams. The Texans have seen 25.6 carries per game, which allows for plenty of wiggle room with timeshares. On those carries, they’ve allowed a league-high 5.38 yards per carry while no other team has allowed more than 4.99 yards per carry. They’ve allowed 275.0 fantasy points on the ground alone, which amounts to 21.2 fantasy points per game. That’s more than 10 teams have allowed to running backs as a whole. They’ve also allowed the 13th-most PPR points through the air to running backs too, so it’s not like there aren’t multiple avenues to fantasy points against them. They’re allowing a ridiculous 183.3 total yards per game to running backs, which ranks as the most in the league by a ton. The closest team is the Jaguars, who’ve allowed 295 fewer yards than the Texans have. Taylor should be started as a low-end RB1 this week. Hines can also be considered as an RB3, as there’s enough production to go around.

WRs
Brandin Cooks:
He wasn’t ruled out until Sunday, but the Texans came out on Tuesday and said they expect to have him back for this weekend’s game. That’s odd to know he’d be ready just a couple days later, but we’ll take them for their word and prepare for him to play. This game will be a rematch of the last game he played where he finished with five catches for 65 yards on eight targets. In that same game, we saw Chad Hansen rack up five catches for 101 yards, while Coutee snatched eight balls for 141 yards. If you think that’ll happen again, Cooks is just a WR4, but I don’t believe it will. The Colts have allowed seven different wide receivers to post double-digit PPR points against them over the last four games and might be without their top cornerback Xavier Rhodes for this game after he suffered a knee injury in Week 14. Not many realize it, but the Colts have now allowed the second-most yards per target (9.24) to wide receivers. Don’t forget that Cooks was the wide receiver who didn’t finish worse than a WR4 in each of his last eight games, including three top-20 performances. He should be locked into somewhere in the eight-target vicinity, making him a solid high-end WR3 with upside. *Update* Cooks has been practicing all week on a limited basis and is listed as questionable for this game, though they are expecting him to play. 

Keke Coutee: After his eight-catch, 141-yard performance against the Colts in Week 13, we had sky-high expectations for Coutee in Week 14 against the Bears, especially once we found out that Cooks was going to be held out of the game. The game started out well, as Coutee caught a touchdown in the first half, but didn’t see another target until the final two minutes of the game. He finished with just three targets, three receptions, and 24 yards, so the touchdown saved what could’ve been a bad day. But going back to his game against the Colts where he had eight catches for 141 yards is important because he’s playing them again in Week 15. It seems that their slot cornerback Kenny Moore is having some big issues in coverage over the second half of the season, allowing 32-of-46 passing for 352 yards and three touchdowns over the last seven games. The Colts are allowing the second-most yards per target (9.24) to wide receivers, and we’ve already seen Coutee do well in this matchup, which warrants a high-end WR4 start.

Chad Hansen: He’s played 80 and 92 percent of the snaps over the last two weeks since the Will Fuller suspension, and he’s made the most of his opportunity, catching 12-of-14 targets for 157 yards. Unfortunately, they demoted him to the practice squad again, which means he’s not guaranteed to be on the active roster on game day, though it seems extremely likely he’ll be called back up. Still, it’s something you need to pay attention to as the week progresses. The reason you have to like Hansen if he plays is because of the matchup. He caught five passes for 101 yards against the Colts the last time they played, and that’s because the Texans aren’t going to have a whole lot of success on the ground. Then you look at where the targets are going to be dispersed. Tight ends don’t get targeted in the Texans offense very much and the Colts don’t allow production to them, so the targets are funneled to wide receivers. It’s why Cooks, Coutee, and Hansen combined for 24 targets in their first meeting. Not only do the Colts allow the ninth-most PPR points per target (1.85) to wide receivers, but they may be without one of their starting cornerbacks for this game. If Hansen gets called back up (he’s expected to), he belongs in the WR4/5 conversation.

T.Y. Hilton: He went from playing 94 percent of the snaps before the bye week, to playing 60-73 percent of the snaps in the five games since. Here’s the thing… it’s working. His production has been on the rise, particularly over the last three weeks where he’s racked up 23 targets, 17 receptions, 277 yards, and four touchdowns in them. The Texans are one of three teams (Cowboys and Vikings are others) who’ve allowed wide receivers 2.0-plus PPR points per target, and keep in mind that 80 percent of that includes Bradley Roby in the secondary (he’s suspended for the rest of the season). When these two teams met just a couple of weeks ago, Hilton had his best game since Week 1 of 2019, scoring 25.0 PPR points. The matchup with Vernon Hargreaves and Keion Crossen is just too good to pass up. On the year, they’ve allowed 56-of-80 passing for 702 yards and four touchdowns in their coverage, and that’s not even while covering No. 1 receivers (Roby was). Hilton’s played well enough to be inserted into your lineup as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 this week.

Michael Pittman: He’s the one playing the most snaps among the Colts receivers, but it’s become the T.Y. Hilton show and Pittman’s kind of been forgotten. Should he though? He’s seen at least five targets in each of the last three games, including five of the last six. Outside of his 101-yard game against the Titans back in Week 10, Pittman hasn’t topped 66 yards, so it’s starting to feel a bit like we did about Hilton earlier this year before he hit his stride. Are we close with Pittman? If there’s a matchup to take advantage of, it’s this one. The Texans have allowed 14 different wide receivers to finish as top-30 options against them, and it would be more if they weren’t so bad against the run. They’ve only faced 19.2 targets per game to wide receivers (10th-fewest) but have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to them. The 2.01 PPR points per target they’ve allowed is huge when you’re getting five-plus targets like Pittman is, and though he did catch all five of his targets against them in their first matchup, they only went for 46 yards. He’s someone who should offer a WR4/5-type floor with a ceiling for more if it’s his turn to shine, which makes him an interesting DFS tournament play this week.

TEs
Jordan Akins:
With Will Fuller gone, Akins played 70.3 percent of the snaps in Week 13, which came after not playing more than 50.8 percent of snaps in each of his last five games. That seemed like a great step in the right direction, but he dipped back down to 54.5 percent in Week 14 against the Bears. He also let a touchdown bounce right off his chest, though you could clearly see he lost the ball in the sun. Whatever the case, it led to a disappointing fantasy day. He goes back into a rematch with the Colts, the team who held him to just two catches for 10 yards just two weeks ago. They’ve not been a team to attack with streamers, allowing the fourth-fewest PPR points per game (10.0) to tight ends this year, and it’s not due to a lack of trying by opponents, as they’ve faced the 11th-most targets. They’ve allowed just 1.30 PPR points per target to them, which is behind only the Steelers, a team that Akins finished with 2/28/0 against. Despite eight tight ends seeing eight-plus targets against them, the Colts have allowed just four tight ends to top 8.6 PPR points. This ranks as the third-worst schedule-adjusted matchup for the position. On top of the matchup concerns, Darren Fells also played his highest snap count since Week 7 last week and was on the field more than Akins, which could mean shared production. You shouldn’t aim to play Akins here.

Jack Doyle, Trey Burton, and Mo Alie-Cox: Burton has played 41 percent or less of the Colts snaps in each of the last four games, which is something that didn’t happen at all in his first six games with the team. He also wasn’t targeted a single time against the Raiders last week after receiving three-plus targets in every other game. It’s not like you were using him confidently, as he’s failed to top three receptions or 42 yards in each of his last seven games. Alie-Cox has seen two or less targets in three of his last four games, so he’s not an option. And lastly, Doyle hasn’t topped four targets, three receptions, or 49 yards all year. The routes run over the last three weeks are Alie-Cox 49, Burton 48, and Doyle 37. Clearly, it’s a situation to avoid, and the Texans haven’t been that bad against tight ends this year, so you’re not missing out on a whole lot of upside.

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals

Spread: Cardinals -6.5
Total: 48.5
Eagles at Cardinals Betting Matchup

QBs
Jalen Hurts:
It was quite the game for Hurts last week, as he stepped into a brutal situation against one of the league’s best defenses, not only gave a decent fantasy performance, but he won the game. His 17-of-30 passing for 167 yards and a touchdown leaves a lot to be desired, but again, remember that the Saints had been playing great football. Hurts rushed for 106 yards on a massive 18 carries. Just how much running was that? Well, it was the most rushing attempts by a quarterback all season, as the closest is Lamar Jackson‘s 16 rushing attempts in two different games. We can’t forget that Hurts also ran the ball five times for 29 yards the previous week against the Packers in one half, so he’s clearly someone who’s going to add tremendous value with his legs. The Saints weren’t a team who was allowing many rushing yards to quarterbacks coming into last week (they’d allowed a league-low 68 rushing yards to quarterbacks), so it wasn’t the matchup, either. Now he gets to go against a Cardinals team who’s allowed the fifth-most rushing yards (316) to quarterbacks this season. That’s where you have to look for production, as the Cardinals have been pretty stout against the pass, allowing just 6.85 yards per attempt (8th-fewest) and a 4.09 percent touchdown-rate (8th-lowest), which amount to just 0.416 fantasy points per actual pass attempt, which is the eighth-lowest mark in football. The Cardinals have allowed seven different quarterbacks to rush for 20-plus yards, including six of them to rush for 32-plus yards, which is essentially a passing touchdown. Here’s the list of quarterbacks the Cardinals have held to fewer than 18 fantasy points this year: Joe Flacco, Dwayne Haskins, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, and Daniel Jones (who was still dealing with his hamstring injury). That’s a whole lot of bad. When you have a quarterback who’s willing to run as much as a good running back does (18 times), you’re getting a two-for-one at the position. Sure, he may not rack up big stats as a passer, but the floor is there as a rusher to start him as a low-end QB1/high-end QB2 this week.

Kyler Murray: After starting the season with 10 straight 20-plus point fantasy performances, Murray has seemingly hit a wall and hasn’t hit that mark in each of his last three games. His shoulder injury had a lot to do with that, and there was a point in Week 14 where it seemed like Murray’s mobility would be compromised all together when he reached down grabbing his leg in pain. It turned out to be okay and he rushed the ball 13 times, which was his highest mark since back in Week 7, so we’re trending back in the right direction. He’s going to need his legs this week, as the Eagles have generated a sack on a league-leading 9.07 percent of their opponent’s dropbacks, which is huge. Despite that, they’ve generated just four interceptions all season, the second-fewest in the league. Because of that pressure, we’ve seen quarterbacks scrambling quite a bit and they’ve allowed a league-leading 364 rushing yards to them, which obviously bodes extremely well for Murray. There should be plenty of plays for Murray in this game to do some damage, as the Cardinals run a play every 24.98 seconds, which ranks as the second-most in the NFL, while the Eagles opponents have averaged 66.5 plays per game (sixth-most). When facing a pass, the Eagles have allowed a decent 7.31 yards per attempt, which is right around the league average, but teams have thrown the ball just 54.8 percent of the time against them, which is likely due to all the turnovers and leads they’ve had. The Cardinals have thrown the ball on just 54.4 percent of their plays, so the 33.2 pass attempts the Eagles have seen this year could be where Murray winds up, though there are many variables with Hurts under center on the other sideline. The 27.5-point team-implied total for Murray surely doesn’t hurt, and neither does the fact that he’ll be at home in the dome, where he typically plays better. If you have Murray, he should be in your starting lineup as a QB1 this week.

RBs
Miles Sanders:
Here were Sanders’ snap percentages over the last four games going into that Saints game: 72-60-61-57. There were plenty of reasons to be worried about him against the league’s toughest run defense, but he jumped up to 81 percent of the snaps played, which was his second-highest total this season, and the insertion of Jalen Hurts proved to help everyone involved in the run game. Sanders’ talent was never in question, though his role was. He ended a 55-game streak of games where the Saints hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher against them, which was the most in league history. Not only that, but he also saw five targets from Hurts and turning them into a season-high four receptions, raising his floor a bit more. You might look and see that the Cardinals have allowed the 13th-fewest fantasy points to running backs, which is true, but opportunity is everything. When you factor in weighted opportunity against them, running backs average the eighth-most points per opportunity. The Cardinals have allowed a massive 2.46 yards before contact to running backs, so it’s unlikely we see Sanders stuffed at the line of scrimmage very often. Despite all the injuries on the offensive line, Eagles running backs have averaged 1.68 yards before contact, which is the third-most in the league, so Sanders should be able to gain plenty of steam when they give him the ball. Did I mention Sanders also averages 3.64 yards after contact, the fourth-highest mark in the league? The Cardinals have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this year, though there’ve been just two running backs who’ve seen more than 16 carries. Actually, there have been just two running backs who’ve totaled 100-plus total yards against them (Mike Davis and Raheem Mostert), and both had at least 19 touches, a number Sanders has hit just three times this year. Given the rushing prowess of Hurts, the Cardinals are going to be forced to have a linebacker or safety spy on him, which essentially removes a player from the box. Sanders might not be the all-time safest play, but he should be in lineups as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 in this contest.

Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds: You may not realize it, but Edmonds has played essentially the same number of snaps as Drake since he returned to the lineup in Week 10. We’ve watched Drake total 185 snaps to Edmonds’ 182 snaps. It wasn’t like that prior to Drake’s injury that had the split at 281-154 in Drake’s favor, so it’s just something to keep in mind. Drake has totaled 73.9 percent of the carries, while Edmonds has received 61.1 percent of the targets in that span, so gamescript plays a part in their projections. It’s difficult to get away from Drake right now, as he’s finished as top-18 running back in each of the last four games, racking up five touchdowns in them while Murray heals from his shoulder injury. It seems like Murray could be over that, so Drake’s floor would drop if he started losing the goal-line carries. The Cardinals running backs have enjoyed 1.83 yards before contact this year, which ranks as the second-most to only the Ravens. Meanwhile, the Eagles have been one of the best in the league, allowing just 1.29 yards before contact to ball carriers. Through 13 games, the Eagles rank as the 11th-toughest matchup for running backs, and it’s not due to lack of trying by their opponents, as teams have run the ball 45.1 percent of the time, which is the sixth-highest mark in the league. Efficiency just hasn’t been great, because when you factor in weighted opportunity (targets are worth more expected points than carries), the Eagles allow the 11th-fewest PPR points per opportunity. Where are they better? Well, there’s been more opportunity on the ground, and they have allowed 13 rushing touchdowns, which is the fourth-highest total, but they also allow just 3.70 yards per carry, which is behind only the Bucs, 49ers, and Saints defenses. Through the air, they’ve allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game (just 7.06 PPR points), so you can say it’s kind of touchdown or bust for running backs against them. Not surprisingly, there have been just 12 running backs who’ve scored more than 8.5 PPR points against the Eagles, and 11 of them scored a touchdown. Drake should be considered a high-end RB3 with the best chance to score, but it’s not a great week to start Edmonds as anything more than an RB4, as the Eagles have still yet to allow a receiving touchdown to a running back. *Update* Edmonds is being called a game-time decision with an ankle injury, which doesn’t bode well for his role this week, if he plays at all. If he’s held out, Drake moves into solid RB2 territory. 

WRs
Jalen Reagor:
The move to Jalen Hurts helped the offense overall, though it didn’t do the receivers any favors. All of them combined for just six receptions, 84 yards, and a touchdown. Reagor saw four targets himself, which is worrisome considering he’d seen just one the prior week with Hurts under center for half the game. The Cardinals have allowed the 13th-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year, but volume has been necessary, as the 7.68 yards per target and 1.73 PPR points per target both rank in the bottom half of the league. There have been 18 wide receivers who’ve finished with 8.9 or more PPR points against the Cardinals this year, and every single one of them saw at least five targets, a number we can’t guarantee from any Eagles receiver. Reagor is just a splash play hopeful WR5.

Greg Ward: Over the last six quarters with Jalen Hurts under center, Ward has led the wide receivers with nine targets, catching four of them for 69 yards and a touchdown. While it’s good that he’s leading the team in targets, his production is not enough to play confidently in the fantasy playoffs. If the Cardinals have a weakest link in the secondary, it’s over the middle of the field, as four of the top-seven performances they’ve allowed to wide receivers have gone to those who are slot-heavy, though each of those receivers saw at least nine targets, a mark Ward isn’t getting close to. He just might be the best play among Eagles wide receivers, though that’s not saying much.

DeAndre Hopkins: With Murray getting healthier, we’re seeing Hopkins return to the every-week WR1 that you drafted. Despite playing in two of the worst matchups you could ask for with a No. 1 receiver against the Rams and Giants, Hopkins was able to post 17 receptions for 188 yards and a touchdown in the two games combined while finishing as a top-18 wide receiver in both of them. Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric says that this matchup against the Eagles is the third-best in the league for No. 1 receivers. That might sound sketchy to some because Darius Slay is considered one of the better cornerbacks in the league, but he hasn’t been during his time with the Eagles. He’s allowed 55-of-72 passing for 700 yards and three touchdowns in his coverage, which is good for nearly 10.0 yards per target and a 120.1 QB Rating. Even Michael Thomas was able to haul in 8-of-8 targets from Taysom Hill for 84 yards last week in his coverage. The prior two weeks, it was Davante Adams going for 10/121/2 and D.K. Metcalf for 10/177/0. Slay’s tried to play through injuries as of late, which certainly hasn’t helped, but it’s all good news for Hopkins. To be fair, Slay may not even play at all in this game after suffering a concussion in Week 14 (he’s listed as questionable). Start Hopkins as your WR1.

Christian Kirk: We’re at DEFCON 5 with Kirk, who’s now failed to reach 20 yards in three straight games, while failing to reach double-digit PPR points in each of his last five games. It’s a shame because he had a stretch from Week 5-9 where it looked like he was going to be a WR3 you could trust, but that has quickly evaporated, leaving you with absolutely no confidence to start him in the fantasy playoffs. The Eagles matchup has been a good one for wide receivers, as their opponents have averaged 2.8 percent more PPR points against the Eagles than they have in all their non-Eagles matchups, making it the 14th-best schedule-adjusted matchup. While Darius Slay (if active) tangos with Hopkins, Kirk will see Kevon Seymour, a former sixth-round pick from 2016 who saw his first game action last week since back in 2017. On three targets, he allowed two catches for 68 yards and a touchdown, so let’s just say that it didn’t go great. The Eagles are beaten up at cornerback, so Kirk has a great matchup, though he hasn’t really taken advantage of much lately, making him a risky WR4/5.

TEs
Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz:
Would you believe me if I told you that Ertz and Will Dissly have the same number of fantasy points in 2020? Yeah, I know Ertz missed five games, but still. With Hurts under center, we saw Goedert get six targets while Ertz received four of them, though neither had a particularly great game. What you do need to know, however, is that Ertz jumped from 43.5 percent of the snaps in his first game back, to 72.5 percent of snaps last week, so it’s likely going to turn more into a 50/50 split between these two. This week’s matchup is not one that’s great for timeshares. This is not your 2019 Cardinals defense that you could pick on with tight ends. In fact, they rank as the fifth-toughest matchup for them, allowing just 10.2 PPR points per game. Teams have tried to get the ball to their tight ends, but they’ve generated just 6.16 yards per target on them, which ranks as the seventh-lowest number in the league. Is it the competition? Nope. Their opponents have averaged 2.9 percent fewer fantasy points against them than they do versus their season-long averages, making this the 12th-toughest schedule-adjusted matchup. There’s still yet to be a tight end who’s finished with more than 12.4 PPR points against them this year. If you want to play one, Goedert is still the choice, but he’s just a low-end TE1/high-end TE2 while Ertz is back in the mid-to-low-end TE2 range.

Dan Arnold: He played just 14 percent of the snaps against the Rams in Week 13 and 30 percent of the snaps against the Giants in Week 14. Yes, I’m aware he’s caught four touchdowns over their last four games, but when you’re playing 14-39 percent of the snaps in those games, you cannot be considered in fantasy, especially considering he’s still yet to see more than four targets in a game. The Eagles have allowed 2.06 PPR points per target to tight ends which ranks as the fifth-highest mark in football, though much of that comes from their Week 2 game against the Rams when Tyler Higbee scored three touchdowns. In fact, they’ve allowed just 11.2 PPR points per game to tight ends over their last nine games, which would rank as the ninth-toughest matchup for the position. You can’t play Arnold as anything more than a touchdown-or-bust TE2.

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