Sat Nov 16 5:23pm ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
Week 11 has four teams on the bye: Tennessee, Seattle, Green Bay and the New York Giants
I’m not sure Miami can be considered the gimme still, having won two games while Cincinnati hasn’t won. And Washington has only won a game. The battle for the first pick in next year’s draft is slipping away from the Dolphins.
But let’s be clear, they still have the weakest talent in the league. So yes, I like some Bills players this week and expect their defense to be a top play. You can play Josh Allen, Devin Singletary, John Brown and Cole Beasley, and expect plus fantasy points from all. And if you’re seeking a tight end, Dawson Knox could outpoint a lot of other tight ends this Sunday.
Another gimme team this week should be the Raiders at home against the winless Bengals. Cincy is bad on both sides of the ball, so the Raiders defense against the rookie quarterback could put up some points. Josh Jacobs is a top running back play. Derek Carr is a quarterback streamer. And Darren Waller will be a top tight end play.
The battle of good versus bad this week is San Francisco against Arizona. The 49ers will rebound from last week’s first loss. The Cardinals have played better the last few weeks, but they’ll be running into a buzz saw when they visit San Francisco. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be at his best with or without Emmanuel Sanders. Deebo Samuel has become a reliable receiver and elusive runner after the catch, and a good play for fantasy managers this week. It would be a bonus if George Kittle could return because Arizona’s defense makes most tight ends look like All Pros.
The other almost good versus bad is Carolina (almost good) against Atlanta (really bad). I’m not sure how that game against New Orleans happened, but it wasn’t the real Atlanta team we’ve seen this year. I expect that team to be back against the Panthers. Christian McCaffery is licking his chops. But in what is looking like a very one sided game, a smart approach might be not to overwork your best player. Kyle Allen could have a big game throwing the ball, and both D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel can pass the century mark in receiving yards. Plus, Greg Olsen will get his share and red-zone looks. Not much to like on the Falcons side, but Brian Hill will see the ball a lot with Devonta Freeman out. The Panthers have allowed running backs 12 touchdowns the last four games, making Hill a great sleeper play.
There’s an interesting bad versus bad game this week with the Jets at Washington. I wouldn’t play anyone from either team. Tt could be ugly!
Quarterbacks: Other than those mentioned above, both Drew Brees and Jameis Winston could have big days in their shootout. The experts predict a lot points being scored in this one, so both quarterbacks are great plays. And usually the losing team’s quarterback puts up the most points because they’re playing catch up, making Winston the better play. A sleeper play could be Nick Foles returning to action for the Jaguars at Indianapolis. Foles' schedule the next four weeks is favorable, so if he’s available on your waivers, go get him.
Running Backs: Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Jacobs are going against two rushing defenses that can’t stop a cold. Both will have 100-plus rushing days and should visit the end zone. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon gets a Chiefs rushing defense that made Derek Henry look all world last week. The only thing that could slow him down is playing from behind. A sleeper pick could be the Eagles back Miles Sanders going against New England. With Jordan Howard banged up a bit, Sanders has the type game that could exploit the Patriots defense.
Wide Receivers: Mike Thomas, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin should reap the benefit of the shootout, making all good plays. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are a similar situation for the Panthers. Julian Edelman returns from the bye and will be unstoppable against the porous Eagles secondary. A sleeper pick is Courtland Sutton, who could do well against the Vikings if they can find a quarterback to get him the ball. Ravens receiver Marquise Brown will have a big day against the Houston secondary because they don’t have anyone who can keep up with him. Look for Lamar Jackson to drop a couple bombs to him.
Tight Ends: This could be one of Eric Ebron’s two touchdown weeks, especially if Jack Doyle is limited against the Jags. My sleeper pick is Houston’s Darren Fells at Baltimore.
Defense: Buffalo stays at top my list at Miami. And the Raiders will be good against the hapless Bengals. But the top play is the Patriots, who have a history of extra good play after a bye and a loss. I almost feel sorry for the Eagles.
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson continues to split backfield work with Derrius Guice, but the two of them proved together last week that they can both enjoy success in the right matchup. They'll get their second consecutive "right matchup" this week at Lambeau Field against a Packers Defense giving up the sixth-most rushing yards per game and the second-most total rushing touchdowns to opposing backs. Guice is the better boom-play here, with more potential for big-time production on middling volume. Peterson should still be in line for enough of his own share, however, and should be regarded as a flex possibility unless you are fortunate enough to be super-deep at running back.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (wrist) told reporters on Friday that he expects to be activated from the injured reserve for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Njoku has been sidelined since he fractured his wrist during Week 2's win over the New York Jets. He told reporters that he felt ready to play two weeks ago, but it is apparent that the team did not want to rush him back into action. It remains to be seen whether he will see a full complement of snaps in his first game back against Cincy. That being said, Njoku's Week 15 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals makes him a priority waiver add for any forward-thinking fantasy GM hurting at the tight end position. Arizona has been one of the worst defenses in the league when it comes to defending enemy tight ends.
Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins will go for his third straight victory in Green Bay on Sunday. Whether the Redskins pull off the upset or not, their two-game winning streak is in spite of their quarterback--not because of him. Haskins has just two touchdowns in six appearances this year, and hasn't eclipsed 215 passing yards in any of his starts. This is arguably the least interesting pass offense in the NFL, with both Haskins and his pass-catchers shouldering the blame for that distinction. The rookie's only upside for Week 14 comes in the form of potential garbage-time chances at production, as the Packers could reasonably be expected to win this one going away.
Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice couldn't have many better matchups in which to follow up on his excellent Week 13 outing. The Packers are allowing the sixth-most yards per game to running backs, and their 13 rushing touchdowns surrendered to RBs is the second-most. We know the Redskins would run the ball on every single play if they could, so look for Guice to once again be a focal point of his team's offensive game plan. Continuing to cap his upside is the presence of Adrian Peterson, but Guice proved last week that a backfield split isn't enough to totally neutralize him when the matchup is right. Guice should be viewed as a fantasy starter in all formats for Week 14.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert erupted for 154 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Week 12, rendering starter Tevin Coleman obsolete. The fifth-year back has been explosive in limited opportunities this season, averaging 5.9 yards per tote, but it may not translate into increased usage in Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints. With Matt Breida (ankle) returning and Coleman inevitably in the mix, Mostert will likely revert to his standard change-of-pace role. Against a tough Saints rush defense, the Niners may play the hot hand, giving Mostert an upside of double-digit touches. But due to the high backfield uncertainty, fantasy managers should prudently view him as a flex option.
New York Giants TE Evan Engram (foot) is expected to play in Week 14 after missing the previous three games with a foot injury. 'All indications are he'll be ready to go,' Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said before practice Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: A return for Engram, who ranks sixth among tight ends with an average of 13.7 PPR points per game, would be a welcome sight for his fantasy teams who have had to make do without him for the last month. We'll, of course, check the practice and injury reports leading up to Monday night's game in Philly, but the light appears green at the moment.
New York Giants WR Golden Tate (concussion) is expected to play in Week 14, head coach Pat Shurmur said prior to practice Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: Tate has been the Giants' most productive pass-catcher, averaging 15.2 PPR points per game since making his season debut in Week 5, and would be a high-end flex, low-end WR2 play in a great matchup Monday if he indeed returns after sitting out Week 12. Stay tuned ...
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard will see a downtick in value with both Golden Tate (concussion) and Evan Engram (foot) returning on Monday night. Shepard will move to the boundary receiver role with Tate back, which is actually a boost to his value, but there just simply might not be enough targets to go around. Eli Manning is also not able to buy time in the pocket for deep passes like Daniel Jones was, so Shepard may be less likely to hit on the big play. He's still viable as a WR4 or WR3 in deeper leagues, but he's far less reliable than he had been.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton is off the fantasy radar with Eli Manning back under center and Evan Engram (foot) and Golden Tate (concussion) back on the field. Slayton will now be the 4th option in the passing game (perhaps 5th behind Saquon Barkley) with a quarterback who hasn't played many games with him and isn't as prone to taking deep shots down the field. It all makes Slayton way too risky for fantasy lineups.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has quietly been producing consistent QB1 numbers since his insertion in the starting lineup six weeks ago. Tannehill has the Titans 5-1 since that time and firmly in the playoff picture, but Week 14 represents a crucial matchup. Tannehill and the Titans will face an exploitable Oakland Raiders Defense this week, where he can safely be counted on for the first round of the fantasy playoffs. Tannehill is the QB6 overall since becoming the starter, and it would not be surprising to see him flirt with that status this week as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB/KR T.J. Logan suffered a broken thumb in practice Friday, Dec. 6, and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Logan has been the Buccaneers' primary kickoff and punt returner, and RB Dare Ogunbowale (kickoffs) and WR Justin Watson (punts) are now expected to handle those duties.
Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) is practicing Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: It's unknown if it was a full practice, but he's trending toward returning after a month-long absence against the Carolina Panthers. It's an uninspiring matchup, but he'll be a low-end TE1 option.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (hand) threw without a wrap on his hand at Friday's practice and "looked good" according to beat reporters covering the session. It was also reported that there is no visible bruise on the back of the quarterback's hand after he dinged it on a defender's facemask during Week 13's loss. Mayfield has ramped up his activity as the week has gone on, a good sign for his availability for Sunday's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. If Mayfield does suit up, which looks likely, he can be treated as a high-upside QB2 for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (shoulder) is practicing Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: It's unknown if it was a full practice, but Jones looks to be good to go this week against the Carolina Panthers. He caught six balls for 97 yards against them a few weeks ago. It's a midrange matchup, and he's a great WR2 this week.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley figures to see a boost playing alongside former, and new, starter Eli Manning. It's not because Manning will make the Giants offense more effective, but because he's essentially a statue in the pocket. The Eagles run defense is 9th in PPR-points allowed to running backs, so Barkley isn't likely to carve them up on the ground, but Manning's lack of mobility has historically lead to more dump-off passes to running backs. While Daniel Jones would use his legs to create yardage, Manning will likely use Saquon Barkley more. Barkley's lack of receiving game usage has lowered his fantasy ceiling, but its return may now bump up his fantasy floor. You're starting him in season-long leagues, and he might be a sneaky captain for DFS tournaments in a showdown slate with the Giants figuring to be trailing often in this game.
The Cleveland Browns Defense draws an excellent Week 14 matchup at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cleveland comes into the game installed as seven-point favorites in a game with a low 41.5-point over/under. The Bengals have not been very effective on offense, while their leaky offensive line has allowed 40 sacks this season, seventh-most in the league. Cleveland is without the suspended Myles Garrett but Olivier Vernon is plenty capable of taking advantage of Cincy's QB protection issues. Treat Cleveland as a top-five fantasy defense in Week 14.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) figures to be back in the lineup just in time for a juicy matchup against an Eagles secondary that has been susceptible to big plays to slot wide receivers. However, Tate has never played a game with Eli Manning under center since Manning was benched before Tate was activated from suspension. Eli likes to throw the ball underneath and over the middle, so Tate figures to be a good security blanket, but their lack of comfort with one another, and the return of Evan Engram (foot), may cap Tate's upside. He's more of a low-end WR3 in PPR and half-PPR leagues.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. draws an excellent Week 14 matchup against a weak Cincinnati Bengals secondary. Cincinnati's pass defense ranks 31st in DVOA while allowing the 18th-most fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position. Beckham draws an excellent matchup as he will see primary coverage from Cincy cornerback B.W. Webb. Webb has struggled in coverage this season, giving Beckham a decided advantage on Sunday. Treat Beckham as a high-upside WR2 for Week 14.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was seen at practice on Friday no longer wearing a boot on his injured ankle. However, he is still not participating but is on the bike and doing strength work. This provides even further confirmation that Eli Manning will likely be under center for the Giants this week. However, with the game on Monday night, Jones could still play if he is able to return to full practice tomorrow. It just seems unlikely.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry has been on quite the hot streak over his past six games, having hauled in 40 catches and five touchdowns over that span. Landry has overtaken Odell Beckham Jr. as the team's No. 1 wide receiver and should see a healthy target share against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. Cincinnati doesn't allow many points to opposing wideouts but their pass defense ranks just 31st in the league in DVOA. This is most likely a result of teams building big leads and running the ball heavily in the second half of games. Landry can be trusted as a rock-solid WR2 in all formats for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.