For most fantasy football players, this was the final week before the fantasy postseason. Seeding was on the line, and countless teams were battling for the right to make it to the big dance and earn a chance at a fantasy championship. Hopefully, you got there. I did in both of my leagues, one more comfortably than the other. I try to highlight some players to add or avoid in the analysis below, with an eye toward helping you all advance in the playoffs.
percent TS = percentage of total team passing targets player received
percent AY = percentage of total team air yards player received
New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys
Cooper once again delivered as the Cowboys' new No. 1 wideout, posting eight catches on eight targets for 75 yards. He did lose a fumble, though, but this production is solid for not finding the end zone. Gallup is a name to circle more so for next season than this, but he did show his potential with five catches and 76 yards against the Saints. This was his first game with more than three catches all year.
Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons
Edwards has had 17-plus carries and 82-plus yards in three straight weeks. However, this was Dixon's first game back and the team worked him in immediately. It'll be worth monitoring, as if Edwards loses volume he'll become a much less favorable fantasy asset as he's rarely involved in the passing game.
Jones caught just two of his eight targets in what was an overall dismal performance from the Falcons offense (they finished with 131 total yards!). Hooper went for 5-44-1, but this was the first time he'd gone for 40-plus yards or found the end zone in nearly a month. Relief for this bunch could be on the horizon, as the Falcons face the Packers' injury-riddled defense.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Christian McCaffrey, RB - 19 touches (Wk 12: 28, Wk 11: 19, Wk 10: 19), 100 percent snap share
McCaffrey remains one of the safest backs in fantasy. Curtis Samuel might be a name to add off waivers just in case Run CMC suffers some sort of injury. The team released C.J. Anderson earlier this year, and Samuel is one of the only players on the roster who could somewhat fill McCaffrey's dual-threat role.
Greg Olsen suffered another foot injury and is likely out for the rest of the season. Rookie Ian Thomas saw five targets as a result, but he struggled to fill Olsen's shoes when the veteran was injured earlier in the year. Don't rush to the waivers for him as a straight-up replacement, though if the options are thin (and they very well could be), Thomas is worth considering.
Barber is averaging under four yards per carry over the last three weeks, but he's seen 16-plus carries and found the end zone in each outing. It's never pretty, but Barber offers a reasonable floor as a low-end flex play.
DeSean Jackson missed this game, helping concentrate the targets into just four options. It's still a bit tough to trust this group aside from Evans, but Humphries is making a case. He's had 50-plus yards in six straight games and has scored in four of those as well.
Chicago Bears at New York Giants
Howard's 76 rushing yards were his most since October, and mark just the second time he's gone for 70-plus since Week 1. He's still yet to post more than 100 in a game this year. The bigger story here is Cohen, who caught 12 passes for 156 yards and threw a touchdown. Mitchell Trubisky is expected back next week which likely brings Cohen's target totals back down a bit, as he'll be more willing to throw the ball deep than Chase Daniel. Still, Cohen remains the back to start in this group as he's hit his ceiling several times this year.
As mentioned above, Daniel targeted Cohen early and often, but Robinson was able to make the most of his opportunities, catching some tough contested throws. He finished with a respectable 5-79-0 line and should figure to have his weekly ceiling rise when Trubisky returns.
Barkley didn't find the end zone but went for 125 yards on the ground, adding in three catches for 21 yards as well.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
This is the second week in a row McCoy has been out-rushed by Josh Allen. This time the rookie quarterback rushed for 135 yards on just nine carries. Allen chewing up so many yards on the ground is depressing McCoy's already low weekly ceiling.
What a surprising game for Jones, who found the end zone twice and led the team with nine targets. It's still difficult to rely on Buffalo pass-catchers, as Jones saw just one target in his last game.
The Dolphins offense sputtered on the ground, but Drake caught a touchdown at least. This isn't an offense too many fantasy teams will want to hitch their wagons too with the fantasy postseason approaching.
Ryan Tannehill threw for just 137 yards on his 24 attempts, but tossed three touchdowns thanks to some short field provided by Josh Allen interceptions. He looked for his top two targets early and often, but the volume and potency of this offense is still lacking for what we're really after in season-long leagues.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Somehow, Andrew Luck threw the ball 52 times and didn't find the end zone once. He peppered his top options with targets all afternoon, and they responded as best they could against the Jaguars defense, which came out in force today. This just furthers the notion in fantasy that we want no part of the ancillary options in Indy.
With Leonard Fournette serving his one-game suspension for last week's fight, the Jags tried to lean on Hyde and Yeldon to replicate Fournette's production. The results were lackluster. Yeldon led the Jaguars in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (49), but both he and Hyde were unable to get anything going on the ground.
Cody Kessler under center really didn't change much for Jacksonville's passing attack. As I noted above, Yeldon led this bunch in receiving and the group collectively managed 150 yards and no touchdowns.
Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans
Mayfield overcame his first-half hiccups to throw for 397 yards on the day. Landry was his favorite target for the first time in what feels like forever. This was Landry's first game with over 50 receiving yards (he went 6-103-0) since October 21. It feels risky expecting this production to continue after a lengthy run with reduced usage.
Miller has posted 100-plus total yards in five of his last six games. The team treats him as somewhat of a focal point now, giving him a relatively safe weekly floor. The Texans have won nine-straight games, so nothing suggests they'll turn away from this successful formula.
Deshaun Watson is playing smart, efficient football of late which is great for the Texans bu ho-hum for fantasy purposes. This was the first time since October 14 where he threw more than 25 passes in a game. In fantasy, this translates into Nuk getting his (7-91-0 here) and the rest of the pass-catchers fighting for scraps.
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals
I'm running out of superlatives to throw on rookie sensation Phillip Lindsay. The guy is one of the most enjoyable players to watch in the NFL right now, and if you've yet to see a Broncos game I suggest you at least catch the highlights of Lindsay's 157-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Bengals.
Sutton saw just one more target than Sanders, but the rookie was able to do far more with his opportunities, catching four passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. The rookie now has three-plus catches and 57-plus yards in four of his last five outings. Those aren't eye-popping numbers by any stretch, but those looking for wide receiver help in deeper leagues could consider Sutton.
No Andy Dalton. Now no A.J. Green for the rest of the season. Perhaps this game is a sneak preview of what's to come the rest of the season, as this trio handled over 62 percent of the targets. That might not mean a ton in fantasy if Jeff Driskel can't push the ball downfield. Boyd was the only one to turn his targets into more than 40 receiving yards. It'd be best to approach this bunch with caution.
Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions
Gurley "disappointed" in Week 11 by Todd Gurley standards, so I'm sure all of his fantasy managers were overjoyed to see him bounce back with a 165-yard, two-touchdown outing in Detroit. Complaining about a Gurley performance is the pinnacle of first-world fantasy problems.
No surprises here. Reynolds' usage from two weeks took a minor hit with Gurley getting more involved again, but the safest options here are Woods and Cooks. No reason to get cute in fantasy an consider starting anyone not mentioned above.
On Thanksgiving we saw how things can go right for Blount in fantasy (two short touchdowns!) and this week we saw how things can go poorly (no touchdowns!). Blount is a non-factor in the passing game, meaning he's essentially a non-factor in fantasy if he doesn't find the end zone. Starting him is playing with fire, as touchdowns are fickle beasts and extremely hard to predict, especially for a short-yardage back.
Ellington led the team in targets (10) but turned those into seven catches for 35 yards. Golladay posted just three catches for 50 yards, but was inches away from a touchdown. In one of the strangest surprises of the week, Toilolo led the Lions in receiving yards, with 90 on four catches. He entered the game with 60 receiving yards on the year, so I wouldn't recommend chasing this production.
Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers
This was an unmitigated disaster of a game for managers hoping for a signature game from Johnson. He was stymied on the ground, taking his 20 carries for 69 yards and watched as Chase Edmunds scored two times from inside the 10-yard line. Edmunds played just 19 percent of the snaps and saw seven touches here, so it's not as if he's truly threatening Johnson's workload. This just came at the worst time, as the fantasy playoffs start in most leagues next week.
In a surprising twist, Williams popped up for 11 touches against the Cardinals, and turned those into just 27 yards. Jones saved his fantasy day with a late touchdown, but the Packers turning away from him was inexcusable. It's fitting then, in a way, that this was Mike McCarthy's last game as head coach. He went out the way he'd mismanaged most of the Packers season: refusing to put the ball in the hands of his most explosive player.
Graham popped up with eight catches for 50 yards, but as is the case most weeks this group lived and died by what Adams was able to do with his targets. He turned in another strong performance, with eight catches, 93 yards and a toe-tapping touchdown. He's one of the most automatic wideouts in fantasy this year and a lone bright spot in an otherwise disappointing Packers season. Randall Cobb returned, but saw just five targets on the day. He might be worth an add off waivers as the Packers face the leaky Falcons secondary next week.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
Martin has now found the end zone in back-to-back weeks. His situation is similar to Peyton Barber's, as both get decent volume (Martin had 18 carries Sunday), produce mediocre yardage, but get chances near the goal-line.
Cook has now found the end zone in three consecutive games, and went for 100 yards in this one as well. Cook is on track to finish as a top-five fantasy tight end this season, so kudos to him. He's been the best part of the Raiders passing game all season. Nelson went for 10 catches and 97 yards, marking just the second time all year he's crossed 50 yards. I'm skeptical he keeps this up next week against the Steelers.
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans
If you're surprised to see Crowell with 25 touches in this game, you aren't alone. Perhaps the Jets, knowing the limitations of their offense, tried to ride Crowell to victory after taking an early 10-0 lead thanks to a defensive touchdown. Whatever the reason, fantasy managers shouldn't read too much into this. The Jets offense is lost at sea and trusting fantasy players from this bunch to produce is largely a fool's errand.
This is looking like a lost season for the Jets. The passing attack is completely listless, and even veteran Josh McCown hasn't been able to lift it up. He went for just 128 yards on 30 attempts against the Titans. If you haven't already, it's OK to punt on these pass-catchers in 2018. There's promise here for 2019, though, and perhaps a new head coach/coordinator combo can maximize the talent in this bunch.
I'm not entirely sure what to make of the Titans backfield. For weeks it looked like Lewis was on the verge of a total takeover, but now it looks like a full-blown committee again. This lack of clarity is especially frustrating with the fantasy playoffs looming. The Titans host the Jaguars next week, which might be a good game to not take any chances with this bunch.
Jonnu Smith fell off the map after a string of successful fantasy weeks, but Davis continued his rise as a No. 1 wide receiver. He only caught three of his seven targets, but turned one into the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter. He's still the only reliable option for fantasy in this group.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Carson left this game with a dislocated finger, but should be fine for next week's game against the Vikings. Penny is making his case to be stashed for the stretch run. He's flashing potential in limited opportunities each week. If Carson were to miss time, Penny would have RB1-upside in the Seahawks run-first offense.
The Seahawks defense gave the offense short field and free points, taking the air out of the passing game. Russell Wilson still tossed four touchdowns, though, with two going to Brown. Tyler Lockett caught one of his two targets and turned it into a 52-yard score. He's Seattle's best and most reliable wide receiver (in fantasy) at this point. David Moore played just 45 percent of the snaps and didn't receive a target.
The Breida rollercoaster took a dive again this week, as he aggravated his long-standing ankle injury in warmups and has now already been ruled out for Week 14. Wilson filled in admirably, especially in the passing game where he caught eight passes for 73 yards. He'll be a decent flex option next week with Breida sidelined.
I highlighted Pettis last week as a name to watch, especially if his target share stays consistent. Well, the promising youngster caught five of seven targets against the Seahawks for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He leads the team in air yards over the last two weeks and is second to only Kittle in targets and receptions. He's looking like an emerging, high-upside WR3 in an otherwise forgettable fantasy passing attack (not counting Kittle, of course).
Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots
This performance wasn't entirely on Kirk Cousins (though much of it was), but he averaged a frighteningly poor 4.6 yards per attempt against the Patriots. Still, 5-28-1 from Thielen and 5-49-0 from Diggs were nothing to write home about. Things don't get any easier for this bunch when they travel to Seattle next week, but it'll be hard to turn away from them with the fantasy postseason starting.
The Patriots wasted no time getting Burkhead involved in the game plan in his first game back from the IR boomerang. Fortunately, he didn't take too much away from Michel's ground game or White's passing game role. Michel fell victim to two James Develin fullback dives inside the 5-yard line. The Patriots want to run their offense through this backfield it seems, so there's no reason to fret (yet) with Michel and White. Burkhead should be added just in case.
White was the only player with more than three catches in this contest, and Gordon was the only one to find the end zone. Gronk's production since returning from injury is far from what we hoped, but given the tight end landscape it's hard to turn away from him, especially knowing his ceiling still exists, even if it feels harder and harder for him to hit with each passing week.
Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
With Melvin Gordon on a "week-to-week" timeline to return from his knee injury, there was a mad dash last week for Ekeler on waivers. Ekeler dominated the touches and snaps in the Chargers backfield, but rookie Justin Jackson flashed with his limited opportunities in a big spot. He ran eight times for 63 yards and a touchdown, looking like a much purer runner between the tackles than Ekeler. He's definitely worth grabbing on waivers this week, as there's no guarantee that Gordon returns for Week 14.
Allen put on an absolute clinic on Sunday night, posting a monster 14-148-1 stat line off 19 targets. The Chargers schemed Allen where he often ended up against linebackers in the slot, an unbelievable mismatch in his favor. As a result, there weren't many other targets to go around for the Williamses, but Mike Williams caught all three of his targets for 52 yards.
Conner scored on two early touchdown dives for the Steelers and handled the majority of the backfield touches. However, it was revealed Tuesday morning that Conner with miss Week 14 with what could be a high ankle sprain. If that's the case, he could miss multiple weeks. Jaylen Samuels figures to lead the Steelers new committee backfield and is a top add this week, though veteran Stevan Ridley should factor into the mix as well.
Brown and Smith-Schuster dominated the target share as usual, but it was Brown who came out ahead statistically, posting an impressive 10-154-1 as he tried to match Keenan Allen catch for catch. Smith-Schuster hauled in six for 49 yards, salvaging a solid PPR outing at the very least.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
This game had all the signs of an Adrian Peterson disaster for fantasy. Washington fell behind early, Thompson was healthy and heavily involved, and so on. Peterson had just nine carries in this game, but a 90-yard touchdown scamper (the longest of his career) earned him a solid fantasy outing. Thompson's return is noteworthy, but his tough total isn't enough to warrant starting consideration yet.
Right when we were getting used to Colt McCoy under center, he suffers a broken leg and is out for the season. Enter... the Sanchize. That's right, Mark Sanchez is now quarterbacking for Washington. The results Sunday were solid, considering Sanchez was on his couch a few weeks ago. With this group now on its third quarterback and the fantasy playoffs starting, it's probably best to avoid these pass-catchers until things sort themselves out. The healthy return of Thompson and Crowder muddies the waters further, as well.
Darren Sproles got four carries and took one for a touchdown, but played only nine percent of the snaps. Adams is the team's workhorse on the ground now, but is minimally involved in the passing game. He's a better play in standard formats as a flex option, but the presence of Clement and Sproles will limit his weekly upside.
Tate found the end zone and hauled in six catches for 84 yards, marking his best performance as an Eagle. Jeffery continues to suffer from Tate's arrival, as his 31 yards and 13 percent target share fell below his averages since Tate joined the team from the Lions. Ertz remains reliable.