Cam Newton (Panthers) vs. Falcons: Newton (shoulder) has been bothered by a nagging sore shoulder over the past couple of weeks, but it didn’t keep him from posting a 300-yard game Monday in Washington, his first since Week 2. Newton and the Panthers face a Falcons pass defense that ranks 30th in the NFL, allowing 28 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. The Falcs have also allowed 44 pass plays of 20 or more yards. Look for Cameron and the Cats to have a big day in a game with perhaps 65-70 total points.
Philip Rivers (Chargers) at Browns: The Browns have improved as a pass defense as the season has progressed. However, despite the fact they rank in the middle of the pack with 245.1 yards per game allowed through the air, Cleveland is last in the NFL with 31 passing scores allowed. The Browns have also allowed 45 pass plays of 20 or more yards, and 10 plays of 40 or more yards. Cleveland has allowed the second-most Fantasy points to opposing QBs, and the winless Browns aren’t about to clamp down on Rivers and the Chargers’ pass-happy offense.
Jameis Winston (Buccaneers) at Saints: Winston and the Bucs played a surprisingly low-scoring game just two weeks ago against at the Ray Jay against New Orleans. Don’t expect that to happen again. In that defensive battle, there was plenty of rain and a muddy track. That won’t be the case under the dome. The Saints allow 271.2 yards per game through the air with 21 passing touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Look for Famous Jameis to flirt with 300 yards and a handful of scores.
Andy Dalton (Bengals) at Texans: Houston has had a tremendous pass defense this season, and it’s a big reason why they’re battling for first place in the AFC South Division. The Texans are allowing just 203.5 yards per game with 18 touchdowns through the air, and they have given up just four pass plays of 40 or more yards. Dalton will produce no more than 200 yards and a touchdown, so you cannot rely upon him in your championship game.
Joe Flacco (Ravens) at Steelers: Flacco will fill Fantasy owners’ stockings with a big lump of coal on Christmas night, as he has a terrible matchup in the Steel City. The Ravens have allowed just 230.5 yards per game through the air. The Steelers allow the fifth-fewest Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, yielding just 17 scores through 14 games. The Steelers clamped down on Flacco in Week 8, allowing just 241 yards and a touchdown. Expect a similar lack of production in this one.
Carson Palmer (Cardinals) at Seahawks: Palmer will see his streak of five straight games with two or more passing touchdowns come to an end against a Seahawks pass defense giving up just 224.6 yards per game with 14 scores in 14 games. He has struggled on the road recently, throwing for less than 200 yards in two of his past three outings away from home. He also has two games without a passing score, and one of those games was against Seattle.
Frank Gore (Colts) at Raiders: Gore posted his second 100-yard game of the season last week in Minnesota against a stout rush defense. You can expect more of the same from the ageless Gore, as the Raiders have allowed 116.9 yards per game on the ground with 16 touchdowns through 14 games. Gore also has three receiving touchdowns over the past eight games. Don’t be surprised to see him approach 150 total yards from scrimmage with at least one foray into the end zone.
Todd Gurley (Rams) vs. 49ers: The 49ers rank last in the NFL against the rush, as opposing teams have gashed them for 176.3 yards per game with 22 touchdowns. They have also allowed 20 runs of 20 or more yards, and seven scampers of 40 or more yards. Gurley has been a huge disappointment from a Fantasy perspective, but if you’re still alive he can make it right with a giant game in Week 16 to get your team closer to a championship.
Doug Martin (Buccaneers) at Saints: The Buccaneers have had difficulty run blocking lately, and Martin has had some rather pedestrian rushing totals despite a high rate of carries. In fact, over the past three games he has run for less than three yards per carry (2.7 YPC). However, he was still able to post 66 yards and 85 total yards from scrimmage two weeks ago against the Saints, and that was on a muddy field in a persistent rain. You can expect Martin to find plenty of open spaces under the dome against a poor Saints defense.
Rob Kelley (Redskins) at Bears: Kelley burst onto the scene in London with 87 yards and a score, and he racked up 315 rushing yards with four touchdowns in a three-game span from Oct. 30-Nov. 20. A Fantasy star was born, but he has tailed off in recent weeks. Sure, he has found the end zone in each of his past two games, but he was bottled up for eight rushing yards on nine carries Monday against Carolina. He just hasn’t looked the same as that impressive three-game span, and he has devolved into more of an RB3 or ‘flex’ play rather than a reliable Fantasy must-start.
Dwayne Washington (Lions) at Cowboys: Washington appears to be the guy the Lions are going to lean on down the stretch in Motown. However, despite the fact he should have 20-25 touches, that’s bad news against a Dallas rush defense ranking No. 1 in the NFL allowing just 80.9 yards per game. The Pokes have also allowed a league-low five rushing scores and they’re one of just four teams yet to allow a run of 40 or more yards.
T.J. Yeldon (Jaguars) vs. Titans: Yeldon should see a lion’s share of the touches with Chris Ivory not running at 100 percent. However, Yeldon has not run for a score since Week 1, and he will be up against a Titans rush defense allowing just 91.6 yards per game with eight scores. He has above-average hands out of the backfield, and should have a few catches against a poor Tennessee pass defense, but he is only worth using in PPR formats. He will hurt Fantasy owners in standard formats.
Tyler Lockett (Seahawks) vs. Cardinals: The Cardinals rank fifth in the NFL against the pass, but they were carved up last week at home against New Orleans. Lockett wasn’t a giant part of the offense for much of the season, but over the past three weeks he has 16 grabs for 234 yards. A big chunk of that came last week at home, as he had seven grabs for 130 yards and a touchdown on nine targets against the Rams. Look for the good times to continue to roll for Lockett, who gives QB Russell Wilson another weapon with the ability to shake free and go the distance every time he touches the ball.
Demaryius Thomas (Broncos) at Chiefs: The lack of touchdowns for Thomas has been a concern for Fantasy owners, but he has picked up the pace lately in the yardage department. Over the past two games he has 217 receiving yards with 17 grabs, and Thomas has been targeted 28 times. In fact, he has been targeted 10 or more times in eight of the past nine games. That’s what Fantasy owners like to see. The Chiefs have allowed the seventh-most Fantasy points to opposing wideouts this season in standard play.
Mike Wallace (Ravens) at Steelers: Wallace will be looking to light his former team up, and you can expect just that Sunday. The Steelers allow just 245.0 yards per game through the air with 17 touchdowns through 14 games, and the pass defense has been markedly better in recent weeks. Despite that improvement, Wallace had a season-high 124 yards and a score in Week 9. He has enjoyed quite the Fantasy resurgence this season, and he will flirt with triple-digit yardage again in this one.
Randall Cobb (Packers) vs. Vikings: Cobb (ankle) has been nursing an ankle injury lately, and the injury kept him out of the game plan last week in Chicago. He was not targeted once in the 30-27 victory. Over the past four games he has just 12 grabs for 93 yards, as his role in the offense has dried up while WR Davante Adams has blown by him on the depth chart. Cobb is now nothing more than a WR4 in Fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams, and even that might be optimistic.
DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) vs. Bengals: Hopkins (hamstring) has been struggling with a hamstring issue, and he was limited in practice Wednesday as a result. He hasn’t had a 100-yard game since Week 2, and now he has backup QB Tom Savage under center, taking over for the inefficient QB Brock Osweiler. A new quarterback under center and a bum wheel is not a good equation for Fantasy success.
Jeremy Maclin (Chiefs) vs. Broncos: Maclin hasn’t been himself this season, posting just 474 yards and two scores through 10 games. He missed the first game in Denver due to injury, but he isn’t expected to excel against a Denver pass defense that ranks No. 1 in the NFL. The Broncos are the only defense in the league to record more interceptions than touchdowns, and QB Alex Smith and the passing offense aren’t about to change that.
Jack Doyle (Colts) at Raiders: The Raiders have allowed 66 receptions, 867 yards and six touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season, and Doyle is about to add to those stats. He has emerged as a dependable option in PPR leagues, posting four or more grabs in each of his past three outings. He has the chance to post a season high in yardage against an Oakland pass defense ranking 25th in the NFL.
Jason Witten (Cowboys) vs. Lions: The Lions have been one of the worst defenses against opposing tight ends, giving up 80 catches, 767 yards and nine scores so far this season. Since the beginning of November rookie QB Dak Prescott has looked to Witten early and often, as the two have hooked up 36 times over the past seven games, including 10 receptions for 51 yards last week against Tampa Bay.
Tyler Eifert (Bengals) at Texans: Eifert will struggle against a Houston Texans pass defense giving up just 203.5 yards per game. Houston has yielded just 56 grabs for 502 yards and three scores to opposing tight ends, and they have given up the third-fewest Fantasy points in standard formats.
Jimmy Graham (Seahawks) vs. Cardinals: The Cards have given up just one touchdown to opposing tight ends, and you can expect Graham to struggle. Even when the matchup is favorable lately, Graham has struggled. He has just two grabs for 47 yards over the past two games while being targeted just six times. That’s not what Fantasy owners want to see in the playoffs.
Ryan Succop (Titans) at Jaguars: Succop has been consistent lately for the surprising Titans, averaging 8.0 points over the past eight games. He had a season-high 12 points (three FG, three XP) in the first meetings with Jacksonville in Week 8. Expect another strong performance in this one.
Chandler Catanzaro (Cardinals) at Seahawks: Catanzaro has tailed off in recent weeks, misfiring on a field goal in three straight outings, and he has missed three extra points over the past two games as well. He has averaged just 5.6 points per game over the past five weeks, and he managed just six points in the first meeting with Seattle in Week 7.
Patriots vs. Jets: The Jets are a banged up bunch, and QB Bryce Petty will be forced into a handful of turnovers on the road. You can expect the Patriots to rack up double-digit Fantasy points against their divisional rivals.
Panthers vs. Falcons: The Panthers were bludgeoned by the Falcons earlier in the season, as QB Matt Ryan went for a career-high 503 yards, and WR Julio Jones roasted them for 300 yards himself. Jones is iffy for the rematch, but the Panthers will still give up a ton to the well-oiled Atlanta offensive machine.
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