Falcons @ Packers
Best Option- Eddie Lacy, Steven Jackson,
Atlanta is a feeding ground for opposing RB’s. Since their bye week (their last 7 games), the Falcons have given up an average of 95 rushing yards a game and 7 rushing TD’s to opposing rbs. With Rodgers out, Lacy will see more of a rush, however that doesn’t seem to matter with the Falcons. Expect a huge game from Lacy.
Steven Jackson has bounced back quite nicely, having back to back double digit performances and scoring 3 times in the last two games. The Packers have struggled against the run lately, giving up an average of 109 rushing yards a game to opposing rb’s over the past 6 games, as well as giving up 6 TD’s to running backs during that span. Jackson has seemed to have gotten his groove back, getting 39 carries over the past two games, and averaging 73 yards a game. Another close to 100 yard performance and a TD may be looming in this one for the Atlanta running back.
Worst Option- Any Green Bay WR
With Aaron Rodgers out, the Green Bay WR’s have been put on notice as untrustworthy. Since Rodgers went down, here are the fantasy totals over the 5 game span for the top 3 Packers WR’s.
Jordy Nelson- 28 pts- 5.6 fantasy pts a game
James Jones- 25 pts- 5 fantasy pts a game
Jarrett Boykin- 33 pts- 6.6 fantasy pts a game.
Even against Atlanta’s 20th ranked passing defense, with Matt Flynn under center, it just raises too many questions, and too much of a risk this week (you’re either playing for a playoff spot or are in the playoffs) to take a chance on any of these WR’s.
Bills @ Buccaneers
Best Option- Bobby Rainey
The Bills rushing defense has dropped to 24th overall and have allowed either 90 rushing yards or a rushing TD to opposing backs in their last 4 games. Rainey is the clear cut Bucs rb and is good for at least 17 touches a game. While he hasn’t come anywhere close to his numbers in week 11 vs Atlanta (34 points), don’t be surprised if Rainey is good for a TD or double digit fantasy numbers in this game.
Worst Option- EJ Manuel/Stevie Johnson
Manuel has been on fire as of late, scoring 35 points over the past 2 weeks. While his numbers have not been outstanding (has thrown for 455 yards in that span), you can’t argue with results. Manuel faces the Bucs defense that allows the 4th most fantasy points to opposing QB’s. So why is EJ here? More of a gut feeling than anything, but other than their miserable performance against Cam Newton the week before, TB’s secondary has not been too bad as of late, having 7 interceptions in the past 4 games (4 against Matthew Stafford) and have held opposing QB’s to just 14.5 fantasy points over the past 2 home games (Matt Ryan and Ryan Tannehill).
As for Stevie Johnson, most likely he’ll be put on Revis Island in this game. He’s managed to beat the shutdown corner in the past, but I wouldn’t expect him to do much in this game, consider Stevie a TD-or-Bust candidate.
Browns @ Patriots
Best Option- Shane Vareen
LeGarrette Blount is the short yardage/first down back and I couldn’t even begin to tell ya what Brandon Bolden’s role is in the backfield. Shane Vareen however, seems to be the safest of bets when it comes to the Pats backfield. He’s on the field the most (41 snaps last week), gets the most touches (42 over the past 3 games to Blount’s 24), and is the most versatile RB the Pats have that is a threat on passing downs (averaging 54 receiving yards and 7 receptions over the last 3 games). The Browns do rank 5th against the rush but have allowed 9 rushing TD’s this season but Vareen is a different kind of running back that should give the Browns more problems than they can handle.
Worst Option- Josh Gordon
Even with Jason Campbell starting in this game, do you think for a second that Belicheck is going to let Gordon get the same coverage that he’s been seeing for the past 2 weeks? No f’n way! Obviously, expect Aqib Talib to be on Gordon all game (he held other receiving monster Jimmy Graham to zero catches while covering him earlier this season) and a lot of double teams on the breakout WR. However, I wouldn’t say this will shut down Gordon completely, the Browns rely on him heavily to move the chains, so expect a lot of targets going his way, with a few catches here and there, however, with this matchup, I gotta put Gordon in a TD or Bust category. He’s in for a long day.
Titans @ Broncos
Best Option- Kendall Wright
While Wright leads the Titans in receptions/targets/yards by a considerable margin, he’s only managed to rake in two TD’s all season. Granted this could be attributed to the shaky QB play of Locker and Fitzpatrick, but with these numbers Wright is putting up (840 yards, on 71 receptions), you would think he would have more than 2 TD’s. However, this week could see a change in that as the Titans face the Broncos 29th ranked passing defense, so chances are Tennessee will be throwing the ball, a lot, in this game. With Delanie Walker possibly missing this game (concussion), more hope (and possibly targets) should be coming Wright’s way this Sunday. He’s the top WR to own on the Titans offense and should have the best chances of putting up the most fantasy points in this game.
Worst Option- Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker
I don’t know, something just tells me that this week Julius Thomas and Wes Welker are going to be the top 2 Bronco’s WR/TE to own. Tennessee gives up the fewest fantasy points to opposing WR’s, and even though they have the daunting task of trying to stop Denver and their never ending supply of open WR/TE’s, I just don’t think Thomas and Decker are going to be the go to guys in this game. Truth be told, I think Denver is going to abuse the hell out of the Titans running defense that allows the 6th most fantasy points to opposing running backs(16 rushing TD’s given up). So expect a big day from Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball.
Lions @ Eagles
Best Option- Nick Foles
Foles has become a monstrous fantasy comity this season scoring over 20 fantasy points in 7 games. Going against a Lions defense that has allowed multiple TD’s in 5 of 6 games (Yes they destroyed Green Bay on Thanksgiving, but are we really going to compare the works of Matt Flynn to Nick Foles?!), and ranks 26th against the pass. This is the same secondary that gave up 4 TD passes to Roethlisberger, just a few weeks ago. Expect another multi-touchdown performance from Foles in this one.
Worst Option- LeSean McCoy / Joique Bell
Both Philly and Detroit boast underrated/very good rushing defenses. Detroit’s squad has not allowed a rushing TD to an opposing RB since week 4, and Philly has allowed just 2 RB touchdowns in the past 5 games. Also, Bell received a majority of his 19 carries last week in garbage time, leaving it very hard for him to be trustworthy in terms of touches. I know I’m grasping for straws in this category since I think this game will be a shootout, and both McCoy and Bell’s pass catching ability leaves them totally relevant in this game. However, with both McCoy and Bell, chances are you will have to rely on those receiving numbers a little bit more since both teams’ running defenses seem to be playing very well as of late.
Colts @ Bengals
Best Option-Giovanni Bernard/BenJarvis Green-Ellis
The chance of snow, as well as the cold temperatures could play a factor in this game, so expect a lot more rushing attempts on both sides of the ball. This clearly gives the advantage to Cincinnati who’s 1-2 punch of Green-Ellis and Bernard have been performing very well as of late. Also, facing a Colts defense that has given up 4 TD’s and over 100 yards rushing to opposing backs over the last 4 games doesn’t hurt either. I would expect at least a combined 35-40 touches between the two backs in this game.
Worst Option- Donald Brown
After finally getting the starting job over Trent Richardson, Brown responded with a 64 total yards and a TD against the Titans last week. Even with the chances of receiving more carries due to the weather, Brown is going up against a defense that hasn’t allowed a rushing TD since week 3 and have held opposing RB’s to an average of 7 fantasy points over the past 4 weeks.
Chiefs @ Redskins
Best Option- Alex Smith
3 straight 20 plus fantasy performances from Smith, and now he’s got another great matchup on paper against the Redskins 27th ranked passing defense. More importantly, KC has seemed to rely more on the passing game as Smith has had at least 38 passing attempts in the past 3 games. Throw in his rushing ability (at least 4 rushing points in 3 of his last 5 games) and Smith’s ability to take care of the ball (ranks in top 6 with only 6 ints on the year), and your looking at another big outing from the KC QB.
Worst Option- Pierre Garcon
All this guy does is catch passes. Gold in PPR leagues, meh in standard, Garcon is enjoying his most productive season of his career, however, lately his production has been hurt due to RG3’s recent struggles at QB. Garcon hasn’t had a game where he’s caught less than 5 passes, and has had at least 7 targets in every game so far. However, he’s only averaged just 59 yards in his last 3 games, with an average of 7.7 yards per catch. The Redskins can’t throw downfield and while the Chiefs have taken a nose dive in terms of defense (they now rank 21st against the pass), they still have a very strong secondary lead by Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers. Expect another typical game for Garcon with a lot of catches but minimal yards.
Raiders @ Jets
Best Option- Oakland’s defense
Why? Geno Smith and opposing defenses have averaged 17.6 fantasy points against the Jets.. Nuff said.
Worst Option- Rashad Jennings / Oakland’s backfield
Darren McFadden (ankle) has been ruled out of this game which could leave the rushing responsibilities to Rashad Jennings on Sunday. However, Jennings has yet to pass all the concussion tests so he’s considered as a game time decision. Which leaves the Raiders backfield in shambles (probably lead by Marcel Reece if I had to guess), but it still leaves them going up against the top rushing defense in the NFL. The Jets have allowed just one RB to score 8 or more fantasy points against them over the past 4 weeks (Pierre Thomas, however, that was mostly due to him having over 60 receiving yards). With all these questions revolving around Oakland, and the matchup on paper, you’ve gotta ask yourself, do you really want to trust your playoff chances with anyone on this squad?
Rams @ Cardinals
Best Option- Carson Palmer
While he is considered a game time decision this week, coach Bruce Arians stated that he’s “sure” Palmer will be ready this Sunday. The Rams have struggled against the pass as of late. Returning from their bye week, they’ve given up 20 points to Josh McCown and 17 to Colin Kaepernick. Lately, Palmer has played his best football. He’s gone 3 straight weeks of throwing for 300 yards or more, has scored 7 TD’s, and just thew 2 interceptions during that span. He’s made a fantasy star out of Michael Floyd, and has even brought TE Rob Housler back to respectability. If Palmer plays, he’s a borderline QB 1 this week with huge upside. However, with the game’s start time being 4:25, relying on him may be pretty tough, but the upside seems to be there.
Worst Option- Zac Stacy
Arizona allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. They allow 83 yards on the ground a game and have given up just 4 rushing td’s this season (tied for 3rd best). While Stacy remains the best option available on the Rams offense, and should get a load of touches this week. The matchup on paper as well as the struggling Rams passing game just seems a bit too much for him to contribute a big outing for your fantasy team this week.
Dolphins @ Steelers
Best Option- Le’Veon Bell
I’m officially sold on Bell, even after suffering a huge hit (resulting in his helmet flying off and giving him a concussion) against Baltimore, the rookie from Michigan State still came out of the game with over 130 yards of total offense and a touchdown (could have been 2 if it weren’t for the unfortunate hit listed above). He’s listed as probable in this game and is going up against a Dolphin defense that ranks on the bottom half in the NFL against the run (opponents average 121.8 yards on the ground against them). Bell is always in line for about 20 touches and will once again be the workhorse the Steelers need him to be in this game.
Worst Option- Mike Wallace
Like the Patriots, the Steelers are a prideful team. You don’t think defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has been preaching to his defense that Mike Wallace is just another receiver that needs to be stopped? No way! This is a Greg Jennings going up against the Packers (2 games, 3 receptions for 38 yards), or Wes Welker facing the Patriots (4 catches, 31 yards) type of matchup. Wallace is public enemy number 1 for the Steelers defense this week, don’t be surprised if his recent string of good games (32 fantasy points in the last 2 weeks) takes a big dive in this game.
Vikings @ Ravens
Best Option- Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson
In Matt Cassel’s one and only start this season, Jerome Simpson and Greg Jennings had their best outings of the season (Jennings with 3 catches for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns, Simpson, 7 catches, 124 yards). While still a decent QB at best, Cassel still provides the Vikings a decent passing attack that can still affect any opposing defense. This change at QB, surprisingly gives Jennings and Simpson a boost in this matchup.
Worst Option- Ravens Defense
The Ravens defense have been on and off recently scoring 15 points against an awful Jets offense, but not managing a single point against the Steelers last week. So where do the Vikings stand with AP and Cassel under center? Honestly, I don’t think very well. Minnesota has scored 20 points or more in 6 straight games, AP (Who I will admit, I was totally wrong on last week)is always a threat no matter how may players Baltimore stacks in the box, and Cassel has the experience at QB to not make that many mistakes that other backup QB’s normally would.
Panthers @ Saints
Best Option- Greg Olsen
Olsen has been the most consistent thing goin for the Panthers passing game, scoring a TD in two of the last 3 games and has been Cam’s most frequent target (24 targets in the psat 3 games). The Saints have struggled lately against TE’s lately, allowing a TD to the position in 2 of the last 3 games. Even though the Panthers passing game isn’t that strong (ranked 27th), against the Saints high scoring offense, Carolina may have to rely more on the pass in this game, and Olsen is the most trustworthy commity in the Panthers passing game.
Worst Option- Panthers Defense
The Saints average a little more than 33 points a game while at home. I know the Panthers defense has shut down teams on the road (San Fran) but Drew Brees and Co are just a completely different beast while at home. In two weeks, with the Saints traveling to Carolina, maybe you got something, but in this matchup, I’d stay away.
Seahawks @ 49ers
Best Option- Seattle Defense
They’re coming off a game where they held Drew Brees to 143 passing yards, and scored 21 points the last time they played the 49ers. While they are averaging a little over 10 points a game on the road, the way the Seahawks defense is playing now is much too dangerous for any offense to oppose.
Worst Option- Anquan Boldin / Michael Crabtree
The Seahawks allow the 3rd fewest fantasy points to opposing WR’s, which gives Crabtree and Boldin the daunting task to get past Richard Sherman and co. While Kaepernick got eaten alive the last time these two teams met, the addition of Crabtree could give the 49ers offense somewhat of a boost. However, against the top passing defense in the NFL, obviously expectations have to be quite low, and all 49ers receiving threats have to be considered TD or bust candidates.
Giants @ Chargers
Best Option- Victor Cruz
San Diego allows the 4th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. While Cruz has not been reliable as of late (only 1 double digit performance in the past 8 games), he still remains Eli’s top target in the Giants ever inconsistent passing game.
Worst Option- Antonio Gates
With Ladarius Green emerging over the last two weeks, Antionio Gates has appeared to have taken a backseat in the Chargers passing game. Having just 1 double digit performance in his last 8 games, it looks as if the Gates/Rivers reunion tour has come to a close.
Cowboys @ Bears
Best Option- Josh McCown
All this guy does is put up quality numbers week in and week out. 3 straight games of double digit fantasy performances and now he’s at home on Monday night against the worst passing defense in the NFL. He has two stud WR’s to throw, once again, what’s not to like?
Worst Option- Tony Romo
Surprisingly, the Bears have faired very well against opposing QB’s as of late, allowing an average of a little more than 11 fantasy points a game to opposing QBs. Meanwhile, Romo has struggled a bit on the road this season, averaging just 14 fantasy points a game. With the Bears struggling against the run, and the weather possibly playing a factor (it’s December, it’s Chicago), don’t be surprised if Dallas leans on their running game moreso in this one.