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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will take on a Chiefs Defense that is allowing the 12th most fantasy points to opposing passers this season. The Patriots offense has been in a slump the past few weeks and the wide receivers group has battled injuries. But the Chiefs have allowed multiple touchdowns to three of the last five quarterbacks they have faced and Brady will have to throw the rock to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and an explosive Chiefs offense. Multiple touchdowns and 300-plus yards passing is certainly in play for Brady in Week 14.
Detroit Lions running back Bo Scarbrough has taken control of the Lions backfield, but he may not get too many opportunities in Week 14 with the Minnesota Vikings on deck. This game could get out of hand very quickly, which would mean limited touches for Scarbrough as he is not involved in the passing game whatsoever. There is a chance that the Lions lean on the rushing attack with rookie David Blough starting at quarterback, but too much uncertainty remains to trust Scarbrough in this one. He will slot in as an RB4 for this matchup.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones shouldn't have a hard time against a leaky Minnesota Vikings secondary in Week 14, but uncertainty remains with rookie quarterback David Blough starting for the Lions. Jones has hauled in 17 receptions for 206 yards and three touchdowns over the last four weeks, proving to be at least somewhat quarterback-proof. Fantasy owners need more assurance than that heading into the first week of the fantasy playoffs though. Jones did absolutely torch the Vikings in Week 7, going off for 93 yards and four touchdowns, but that was with Matthew Stafford (back) throwing the passes. Jones will slot in as a boom-or-bust WR3 in Week 14.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay was able to haul in 158 yards and a touchdown with rookie quarterback David Blough under center in Week 13, but a closer look into the game tells a different story. Most of Golladay's production, including his touchdown catch, came on one play in the first quarter. It was a very quiet afternoon for Golladay and the entire Lions offense from then on. Golladay doesn't have the toughest Week 14 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings on deck, but it should be noted that the Vikings did hold him to just one catch for 21 yards when these two teams met back in Week 7. With so much uncertainty surrounding Golladay this week, he will slot in as a fringe WR2 against the Vikings.
The Washington Redskins Defense has performed well both in real life and in fantasy football the last two weeks, greatly contributing to the fact that their team has won its last two games. With fantasy championships at stake in Week 14, now is not the time to buy into this trend so much that you believe they are up to the task of handling Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers may not be launching MVP-level numbers around, but he also doesn't turn the ball over or otherwise make mistakes that make things easy on opposing defenses. If Washington is able to post its third straight impressive defensive effort in a row this week, so be it. Let it happen on the waiver wire.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack is expected to be back on the field for a Week 14 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mack hasn't played since Week 11 due to a broken hand, but according to Colts coach Frank Reich, Mack won't be limited or on any kind of a pitch count. While fantasy owners are likely thrilled that Mack is back, he has a rough matchup to welcome him. Tampa Bay features the league's best run defense and one of the league's worst pass defenses, so the Colts are more likely to take to the air than to rely on their running game. Mack is a low-floor RB2 for this one.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Kelvin Harmon can hang his hat on an increased role in an otherwise terrible pass offense over the last few weeks, but that's where the positives begin and end regarding his Week 14 outlook. The Packers are in a three-way tie for the second-fewest receptions allowed to wide receivers on the season, and the Redskins much prefer to run the ball anyway. Harmon is worth monitoring in deep PPR leagues as the fantasy playoffs progress, but he can't be confidently relied upon this Sunday.
Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is out for Week 14 due to a knee injury. The Colts signed Chase McLaughlin earlier in the week and he will assume kicking duties for Indianapolis against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Vinatieri says that IR has not been discussed, so he can be seen as week-to-week for now. McLaughlin makes for a solid fill-in kicker for any fantasy teams looking to tweak their kicking game.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin's outlook has been and will continue to be hurt by having Dwayne Haskins as his quarterback, but there is big-play potential in his spectrum of outcomes for Week 14 if this pass offense can display some level of competence. The Packers are allowing nearly 16.5 yards per catch to opposing WRs, setting McLaurin up well if his inaccurate rookie QB can actually connect with him a few times. Adding to the risk in this matchup is that while Green Bay is susceptible to big plays from wideouts, the Pack is tied for the second-fewest receptions allowed to the position. As such, McLaurin doesn't carry a high PPR floor, and cannot be considered a safe play.
Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson was a non-factor in his return from injury last week, and there is little evidence to suggest he'll see much of an uptick in Week 14 against the Packers. Dwayne Haskins is given minimal opportunities to throw the ball for obvious reasons, and it helps that Washington has been able to establish an effective rushing attack of late. Thompson doesn't factor into that rushing attack, so his opportunities to produce fantasy numbers are almost entirely limited to whatever work he sees on passing downs. The Packers could theoretically jump out to an early lead and force the Redskins to throw, in turn boosting Thompson's outlook. That's not worth banking on this late in the season with fantasy championships at stake.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) won't be suiting up for a Week 14 matchup against the Tampa Bay. Hilton had another setback in practice a few weeks ago and wasn't able to practice at all this week. He has already stated that he's not sure if he'll be able to play again this season. At this point, fantasy owners should not be expecting anything from the speedy wide receiver. Zach Pascal will benefit the most from Hilton's absence, especially against a soft Tampa Bay secondary.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not practice Friday, Dec. 6, and is listed as doubtful for the team's Week 14 game against the Detroit Lions.
Fantasy Spin: Unless there's a semi-miraculous change in fortune over the next 48 hours, it appears as if Thielen will miss his fifth start in the last six games. His fantasy owners should be well-versed in the Plan B drill.
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.
Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) practiced again Friday, Dec. 6, and will play Sunday, Dec. 8, in Week 14, head coach Dan Quinn announced.
Fantasy Spin: Check back pre-game Sunday to be certain, but it appears as if it's an early Christmas for Hooper owners, who have been without fantasy's top tight end (10.8 points per game) since Week 10.
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.
Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (shoulder) practiced again Friday, Dec. 6, and will play in Week 14 against the Carolina Panthers, head coach Dan Quinn announced.
Fantasy Spin: Good news for Jones owners as the wideout will return to the WR1 ranks, and now all that's needed is for Jones to deliver a WR1-quality stat line and snap his frustrating eight-game streak without a TD.
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell (non-injury) on Friday, Dec. 6, sat out a second consecutive day of practice with an illness, and head coach Adam Gase said he's unsure if Bell will be able to play Sunday, Dec. 8, in Week 14.
Fantasy Spin: Bad timing for Bell owners who will need to be extra vigilant up until kickoff. If Bell can't go, it will likely be a combo of Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery filling in, but neither would be much more than a dart-throw flex option.
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.