He’s not exciting, but Alex Smith should provide a pretty solid floor in his matchup against Atlanta this week. The Falcons are without their best defensive player, cornerback Desmond Trufant, as well as defensive end Adrian Clayborne. Smith should have time and open receivers in this one. With the emergence of Tyreek Hill at wide receiver, Smith has the weapons necessary to turn in a big performance. He may not have huge upside, but he is a startable quarterback this week due to a plus matchup. Smith should also get receiver Jeremy Maclin back from a two-week layoff due to a groin strain.
Ryan Tannehill MIA – SIT ‘EM
The Miami Dolphins have found a rhythm on offense during their six-game winning streak. However, they haven’t had to get it done against a defense as good as the Ravens unit they will face this week. Couple the matchup with the fact that they are likely to be without rising wideout DeVante Parker, who we have listed as an elevated injury risk with an above average Health Performance Factor due to a back injury, and the pathway to a big passing day for Ryan Tannehill just doesn’t seem to be there. Expect this to be a low scoring slugfest, which doesn’t tend to translate to great quarterback Fantasy outputs.
LeGarrette Blount NE – START ‘EM
With the Patriots offense in a bit of a state of flux due to injuries at the receiver position, look for them to lean on Blount and the ground game this week in an effort to grind out a win against the Rams. With Rob Gronkowski out and set to undergo surgery, Julian Edelman not practicing Wednesday, and Martellus Bennett still working his way back from an ankle injury, the Patriots are going to need to ride their workhouse Blount to help open up the offense. He should receive an uptick in carries, which means he should be in your lineup.
Terrance West BAL – SIT ‘EM
West simply hasn’t produced much as of late for the Ravens, and isn’t likely to break out this week against a tough Miami front. On top of the matchup is the fact that rookie Kenneth Dixon has started to take bigger and bigger chunks out of his workload. The rookie was brought along slowly to start the season due to injury, but Dixon (peak HPF) has been eating more and more into West’s workload the last few weeks, and his portion of touches should only increase as time goes on, which is making West irrelevant in Fantasy.
Stefon Diggs MIN – START ‘EM
Diggs missed the Vikings’ Thanksgiving loss to the Lions, but appears to be set to return tonight against Dallas. Diggs should be ready to go physically, as we have him listed as an elevated injury risk with an above average Health Performance Factor, and he has past the optimal recovery time for a grade two knee injury. Awaiting him on the other side of the ball is a Dallas secondary that just got shredded for over 400 yards on Thanksgiving. Look for Diggs to have much of the same success that the Redskins’ Jamison Crowder had working out of the slot. Diggs should be a target hog in this one.
Tyrell Williams SD – SIT ‘EM
Williams has been solid for many weeks now for the Chargers offense, however, he is dealing with a labrum issue in his shoulder that brings real concern. He missed practice Wednesday and is very questionable this week. We have him listed as an elevated injury risk with a below average Health Performance Factor. Williams injured the same shoulder in college, which always is cause for concern. While his matchup with Tampa seems rather inviting, his health status is too much in question for him to be relied upon this week in Fantasy.
Vernon Davis WAS – START ‘EM
When Jordan Reed goes down, Vernon Davis comes in and produces, like clockwork. And guess what: Jordan Reed is likely out this week due to a separated shoulder. While the Cardinals’ defense is a tough matchup for any tight end, the way the Redskins have been rolling in the passing game should provide plenty of chances for Davis to put up solid numbers. Kirk Cousins loves his short to intermediate throws, as well as finding his tight ends deep up the seams. Davis, while surprising to many, still has his old speed and can make plays all over the field. Davis is a TE1 if Reed is out as expected.
Martellus Bennett NE – SIT ‘EM
Another tight end who is likely to start due to an injured starter in front of him is Bennett; however, there is less reason to be bullish on him. He himself is coming off an ankle injury (above average HPF), and, while he should play, it is uncertain where he fits into the offense if he isn’t 100 percent. Going up against a Rams team that covers tight ends well, thanks to the coverage skills of linebackers Alec Ogeltree and Mark Barron, Bennett is far from a sure bet for big time production this week. There are safer options out there.
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