Week 12 fantasy football matchups, starts and sits

For those who read this column every week, I apologize for its delayed publication. Between the holiday and being on Fantasy LIVE on Friday (which I hope you all watched!), my schedule was blown all the way up. Anyway, we have three games in the books but with no teams on byes there is a lot of action yet to come. So let's dive into the rest of the Week 12 slate and see what is awaiting us on Sunday.

Those looking for quick-hitting start/sit/flex/stream analysis will find that listed for the main players for every team. Below that, I do my best to preview the game with additional insight, stats, and analysis to contextualize my recommendations for Week 12.

This column wouldn't be possible without our incredible research teams, both @NFLResearch and the fine folks at Next Gen Stats. So thanks to all of you and all that you do.

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (Monday)

 » Tom Savage, QB: SIT
 » Lamar Miller, RB: FLEX
 » DeAndre Hopkins, WR: START
 » Bruce Ellington, WR: SIT
 » Texans D/ST: STREAM

The Ravens defense has returned to truly elite status of late. They're allowing just 7.7 points per game over their last three contests, with 285 total yards. Their 185.2 passing yards per game allowed on the season are the second-fewest in the league. So, yeah, don't start Tom Savage. With D'Onta Foreman landing on injured reserve last week and Andre Ellington joining the team mid-week, expect Lamar Miller to see plenty of work in this one. He'll offer a reasonable floor as a flex play, just don't expect much of a ceiling unless he miraculously finds the end zone multiple times. This is a bad matchup for DeAndre Hopkins, but his crazy volume with Savage under center (35 percent of the team targets since Week 9) will keep him in the mix in season-long formats. Bruce Ellington had a nice game last week with Will Fuller out, but I wouldn't trust him this week against the Ravens. Joe Flacco has four touchdowns, five interceptions and 13 sacks in his last four full games. The Texans defense will be in play as a low-end streamer, simply because Jadeveon Clowney could single-handedly shut down this offense.

 » Joe Flacco, QB: SIT
 » Ravens RBs: See below
 » Jeremy Maclin, WR: FLEX
 » Mike Wallace, WR: SIT
 » Benjamin Watson, TE: SIT
 » Ravens D/ST: STREAM

Among 33 qualified quarterbacks this season, Joe Flacco ranks last in yards per attempt (5.4), 30th in yards per game (173.4), tied-31st in interceptions (11), and 30th in passer rating (74.4). He's had zero QB1 (top 12) weeks this year and has scored 15-plus points once. All that being said ... it's not crazy to stream Flacco this week. Over their last six games the Texans have allowed 290.7 passing yards and 29 points per game. If there were ever a week for Flacco to look "elite" again, this is it. Alex Collins appears to be the leading back here, for now, but his outlook is bleak this week. He'll likely lose more work to Danny Woodhead (who was out for just 23 percent of the offensive plays last week) and the Texans haven't allowed an individual rusher to cross 70 yards since Week 5, when Kareem Hunt went for 107 against them. Since then the Texans have allowed just 3.5 yards per carry -- and this is without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Mike Wallace caught a touchdown last week, but Jeremy Maclin still feels like the better play. He'd been heating up prior to the team's bye and plays most of his snaps on the right side of the field (27 percent in slot, 30 percent wide). The Texans have allowed 579 yards and eight touchdowns to wide receivers lined up wide right this year. Benjamin Watson's target share is all over the place and with no teams on byes there are far better streamers available. The Ravens defense is one of the leagues best and is a must-start for one reason: Tom Savage.


Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions, 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX

 » Case Keenum, QB: STREAM
 » Latavius Murray, RB: FLEX
 » Jerick McKinnon, RB: FLEX
 » Stefon Diggs, WR: START
 » Adam Thielen, WR: START
 » Kyle Rudolph, TE: START
 » Vikings D/ST: START

Case Keenum has been balling out for the Vikings of late, and as a result, headlined Matt Franciscovich's streaming plays of the week. As Franchise notes in the piece, Keenum has 280-plus yards in three straight games with seven touchdowns and an average of 19.59 fantasy points per game in that span. Detroit's pass defense numbers look great since their Week 7 bye, but they've played a who's who of mediocre passers including Brett Hundley, DeShone Kizer, and Mitchell Trubisky. Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon should both be in the mix as flex plays this week. During the Vikings six-game win streak the team is averaging 133.5 rushing yards per game to go along with seven touchdowns scored. Detroit has allowed 10 rushing touchdowns on the year and a 4.4 yards per carry average and their 61 receptions allowed to backs are the sixth-most in the league. They've also given up 313 rushing yards to running backs alone in the last two weeks. Adam Thielen is on a pace for wide receiver production that trails only Randy Moss in Vikings history, so yeah, you're starting him. Stefon Diggs hauled in four of six targets for 32 yards last week in a disappointing outing, but he caught five for 98 back in Week 4 when these two teams last faced off. He could still be getting his legs back under him after a groin injury suffered in Week 5 but is hard to sit given his explosive upside. Kyle Rudolph has five-plus catches in six straight games now but is averaging just 43 yards per game with two touchdowns in that span. The Lions have allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends all year, though one came last week to rookie Adam Shaheen. Minnesota sacked Matthew Stafford six times back in Week 4, and he's been sacked seven times over the last two games as well. Consider the Vikings a low-end starting defense since they're on the road this week.

 » Matthew Stafford, QB: LOW-END START
 » Ameer Abdullah, RB: SIT
 » Theo Riddick, RB: SIT
 » Golden Tate, WR: START
 » Marvin Jones, WR: SIT
 » Kenny Golladay, WR: SIT
 » Eric Ebron, TE: SIT
 » Lions D/ST: STREAM

Matthew Stafford has been playing really well of late and is a low-end QB1 at home against the Vikings. Over his last three games, Stafford has completed 71.1 percent of his passes for an average of 303 yards per game with seven touchdowns and one pick. However, Mike Zimmer's defenses have clamped down on Stafford over the years. In seven meetings since Zimmer took over coaching the Vikings, Stafford averages 220 yards, 1.3 touchdowns and 0.3 interceptions per game. For what it's worth the Lions have averaged 33 points per game in their last four Thanksgiving matches, though last year when they faced the Vikings they eked out a 16-13 win. The Vikings have allowed a combined 126 rushing yards in the two games since their bye, and on the season have held opposing teams to under 100 total rushing yards in seven of 10 games. Ameer Abdullah has scored in three straight weeks, but has seen just 43 carries (14.3 per game) and is averaging 2.84 yards per carry in that span. He basically HAS to score to return any sort of fantasy value. Theo Riddick has lost some shine off his PPR domination of years past, as he has five games with fewer than four receptions after posting one such game last season (in 10 games). The Vikings allow just 36.6 receiving yards per game to opposing backs, too, so this is a tough spot for Riddick. After four straight games with six-plus catches and 86-plus yards, Golden Tate surprisingly disappeared last week with just three catches for 32 yards on four targets (tying his season-low). Marvin Jones bounced back with four catches for 85 yards and a score after pulling a disappearing act of his own in Week 10. He's a much more volatile fantasy play than Tate and could draw shadow coverage from Xavier Rhodes, so I'd probably lean against starting him. Back in Week 4 when these teams faced off Rhodes tracked Jones on 26 of his 30 coverage snaps, allowing one catch on four targets for 38 yards. Kenny Golladay has seen just 10.5 percent of the team targets since returning in Week 10 but is second on the team in receiving yards behind only Tate. He's a big-play threat but sees little volume so starting him is dicey. The only tight end to do anything of note against the Vikings of late was Vernon Davis, who amassed 76 yards thanks to 11 targets in Week 10. Since Eric Ebron and Darren Fells don't figure to get that type of volume, we can safely leave them on the bench. The last three defenses to face the Vikings have averaged .67 fantasy points per game and the team has conceded one sack over the last five games. Case Keenum and co. are red-hot right now, so I'd avoid the Lions if you can help it.

Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS

 » Philip Rivers, QB: START
 » Melvin Gordon, RB: START
 » Austin Ekeler, RB: FLEX
 » Keenan Allen, WR: START
 » Hunter Henry, TE: LOW-END STREAM
 » Chargers D/ST: STREAM

Philip Rivers has been a safe floor play at quarterback, especially since the team's Week 9 bye. During that span, he's thrown for 243 yards per game with two touchdowns in each contest, good enough to rank as the QB10 in that span. The Dallas secondary has been beaten by multiple quarterbacks recently, giving Rivers a low-end QB1 outlook. Sean Lee will be out again this week, which is good news for Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. The Cowboys allow 80.3 rushing yards per game with Lee in the lineup this season, but 168.8 per game without him. Gordon is a strong start as he's averaging 23 touches per game over the Chargers' last six, while Ekeler is a decent flex option given his emergence the last few weeks and increased playing time share (33 percent in Week 10, 42 percent in Week 11). Keenan Allen bounced back in a BIG way last week, hauling in 12 of his 13 targets for 159 yards and two touchdowns. This performance was Allen's first with 10-plus targets since Week 5, first with 100-plus yards since Week 4, and first with a touchdown since Week 1. The Cowboys were just gashed by Alshon Jeffery who, like Allen, moved all over the field against them. Allen should be able to post reasonable totals on Thanksgiving. Hunter Henry popped back up with five targets last week, but only caught two for 25 yards. His disappearance the last few weeks has been truly puzzling and makes him tough to trust against a Dallas defense that has allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends all year. Perhaps Sean Lee's absence gives Henry a boost, but that hasn't necessarily been the case for other tight ends when Lee has been sidelined. The Chargers defense is a decent streamer this week but gets a huge boost if Tyron Smith isn't able to go again. Signs point to Smith playing in this one, but the Chargers' ferocious pass-rush should still be able to get to Dak Prescott a few times.

 » Dak Prescott, QB: START
 » Alfred Morris, RB: FLEX
 » Rod Smith, RB: SIT
 » Dez Bryant, WR: START
 » Jason Witten, TE: SIT
 » Cowboys D/ST: SIT

If Tyron Smith misses this game, Dak Prescott becomes almost impossible to start. His absence has meant far more to the struggles of the Dallas offense and Prescott in particular than Ezekiel Elliott's. Case in point, 25 percent of Prescott's career sacks have come in the last two games, and he's been sacked on 34 percent of his dropbacks, per Graham Barfield. If Smith does play, Prescott should have enough time into the pocket to post a reasonable starting day against the Chargers who have allowed three top-13 fantasy finishes to opposing quarterbacks in the last three weeks (which includes Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor, who didn't even start). Alfred Morris has taken his 28 carries the last two weeks for 144 yards (5.1 ypc), and that was without Tyron Smith. He's a solid flex play as he should continue to see the lion's share of the backfield work (72.5 percent of the carries in Zeke's absence). Rod Smith caught four passes in Week 10, but was blanked in that regard last week. He shouldn't be trusted until we see his workload change. Dez Bryant is receiving all of the volume (9.7 targets per game) but has yet to hit the century mark in yardage and hasn't scored since Week 7. He's hard to sit with that many looks coming his way, but the days of Bryant having a sky-high fantasy ceiling are long gone. Jason Witten's target totals the last four weeks have been one, seven, one, five. With Father Time gaining the edge on Witten seemingly by the day, he's hard to trust in fantasy with such a volatile target share. The last three defenses to face the Chargers have averaged 3.67 fantasy points per outing, presenting little upside for the Cowboys defense in this spot.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins, 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC

 » Eli Manning, QB: SIT
 » Orleans Darkwa, RB: START
 » Sterling Shepard, WR: See below
 » Evan Engram, TE: START
 » Giants D/ST: SIT

Eli Manning has more than 220 passing yards in just one of his last five games. With Sterling Shepard's status (migraines) in question, we really can't trust Manning in any sort of fantasy sense. Shepard looks like a long-shot to play right now, but monitor his status carefully, as he'll receive plenty of volume if he does suit up on Thursday. Orleans Darkwa has posted double-digit standard fantasy points in four of his last six games, with 70-plus rushing yards in three straight. In this age of committee backs and volatile producers, Darkwa is an every-week play. Evan Engram tied for the team lead in targets last week but only managed one catch for nine yards. I'd expect him to bounce back against a Redskins defense that has routinely been gashed by tight ends. The ghost of Coby Fleener just tagged them for 91 yards (catching five of five targets) which is all you should need to know. The Giants defense is on the road on a short week against a high-powered offense. No thanks.

 » Kirk Cousins, QB: START
 » Samaje Perine, RB: START
 » Jamison Crowder, WR: FLEX
 » Josh Doctson, WR: FLEX
 » Vernon Davis, TE: START
 » Redskins D/ST: STREAM

As has been the case the last few years, it doesn't matter who Kirk Cousins has around him, he'll produce in fantasy. Cousins has scored 20-plus fantasy points in six of his last eight games, with the two exceptions being a rain-soaked slugfest against Dallas and a rainy game IN Seattle. At home against a generous defense (20.42 fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks over the last month), Cousins should be just fine. Samaje Perine is now the featured back in Washington after Chris Thompson sadly had to join Rob Kelley on injured reserve. He should be able to produce against a Giants run defense that has allowed 360 rushing yards, three rushing scores, and 4.5 yards per carry to opposing backs since their Week 8 bye. Perine took his 23 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown last week. Jamison Crowder has been a target vacuum over his last three games, absorbing 27.6 percent of Cousins' attempts and turning those into 20 catches for 271 yards. He hasn't found the end zone yet, but his volume makes him a solid flex play in a (mostly) tough to predict passing attack. A Josh Doctson breakout game is coming, and perhaps it happens on Thanksgiving. Doctson has been a big-play machine and Cousins is trusting his young receiver more and more in contested situations. Jordan Reed missed Week 11 after suffering a setback with his hamstring injury, so the odds could be slim for him to play against the Giants on a short week. That'd keep Vernon Davis on the starting radar, as he's received 26 targets over the last three weeks and turned those into 16 catches for 215 yards, with a top-12 weekly scoring output in each game. The Redskins defense will be a low-end streamer, especially if Sterling Shepard is out. Eli Manning has only been sacked five times in the last three games and thrown one pick, but if Washington gets up big the Giants could become more turnover-prone attempting to catch up.

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET on CBS

 » Tyrod Taylor, QB: START
 » LeSean McCoy, RB: START
 » Bills WRs: SIT
 » Charles Clay, TE: STREAM
 » Bills D/ST: SIT

Justice has been restored to the fantasy land, as Tyrod Taylor has been reinstated as the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. It's perfect timing, too, as he has a great matchup this week against the Chiefs suspect defense. The Chiefs rank 28th in passing defense and dead last in big plays allowed, while also giving up the seventh-most rushing yards per game to quarterbacks. Taylor is a solid streamer this week. LeSean McCoy bounced back in a big way last week with 126 total yards and two touchdowns, and he'll have a good chance to keep it going against the Chiefs. They've allowed nearly 19 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs over the last three weeks, and just let Orleans Darkwa total 90 yards and a touchdown against them. Kelvin Benjamin is day-to-day with a knee injury, but trusting him or any of the Bills wideouts in general feels like too big of a gamble. The only Bills wideout to post consecutive five-plus target games since the team's Week 6 bye is Zay Jones. He leads the team with 28 targets in that span but turned those into just 15 catches for 170 yards and a touchdown. Charles Clay saw four targets last week, catching three for 27 yards, though his lone miss was a drop in the end zone that would have been a touchdown. Taylor's return under center puts Clay back on the streaming radar. The Bills defense has scored 0, -2, and -3 points in the last three weeks. Don't start them in fantasy.

 » Alex Smith, QB: START
 » Kareem Hunt, RB: START
 » Tyreek Hill, WR: START
 » Travis Kelce, TE: START
 » Chiefs D/ST: SIT

After not throwing an interception in the first eight games of the season, Alex Smith now has three in his last two games with only two touchdowns. Over his last three games he's averaged just 231.7 passing yards per game. He gets the benefit of playing at home this week against a defense in free fall, so there are plenty of reasons for optimism that Smith bounces back. Not sure if you've heard, but the Bills run defense has been abysmal of late. How bad you ask? They're allowing 212.7 rushing yards per game over their last three, along with 45 points per game in general. Kareem Hunt received solid volume last week (22 touches) and should be able to smash in this game. Tyreek Hill had an OK game against the Giants (7-68-0), likely due to the windy conditions taking the air out of the passing game. The Bills have given up back-to-back big games to Michael Thomas (9-117-0) and Keenan Allen (12-159-2), so this feels like a game where Hill could post a huge total. The Bills are average at covering tight ends (five catches and 54.4 yards per game allowed), but none of this really matters for a player like Travis Kelce with such locked-in volume. The Chiefs defense is currently a far cry from the dominant units of years past. Even against an injured, struggling Bills offense I'd look elsewhere for a fantasy unit.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET on FOX

 » Marcus Mariota, QB: LOW-END START
 » DeMarco Murray, RB: START
 » Derrick Henry, RB: SIT
 » Corey Davis, WR: FLEX
 » Rishard Matthews, WR: FLEX
 » Eric Decker, WR: SIT
 » Delanie Walker, TE: START
 » Titans D/ST: SIT

Marcus Mariota is looking to bounce back after a disastrous performance last week (four interceptions), and gets a decent matchup for it. He threw for over 300 yards when he faced the Colts back in Week 6, but since his Week 8 bye he's thrown four touchdowns versus six picks and is averaging just 263 yards per game. He's a low-end start for me. DeMarco Murray has been receiving volume, but isn't producing much for fantasy unless he finds the end zone. He's keeping a reasonable floor afloat in PPR formats, with three-plus catches in five of his last six games. But in that same span he's crossed 70 scrimmage yards just three times and only scored in two games (granted, he hit paydirt three times in one of those games). The Colts defense is allowing just 3.4 yards per carry over their last three games, holding Le'Veon Bell and Lamar Miller to average totals on the ground. If you're starting Murray, hope for a touchdown or plenty of receptions. Derrick Henry remains an afterthought in this ofense, with touch totals of seven, 11 and 10 the last three weeks. He's only crossed 50 scrimmage yards once since his dominant game against the Colts in Week 6. Since returning to action in Week 9, Corey Davis is second on the team in targets with 22, but has managed just nine catches for 103 yards. A big game could be on the horizon for him, though, especially against a Colts secondary that allows 186.1 yards per game to wideouts (third-most). Rishard Matthews, on the other hand, has been a model of consistency, hauling in 14 of his 20 targets in that same span for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He's one of Mariota's most trusted targets and a solid flex play -- but monitor his status closely as he missed practice on Friday (never a good sign). Eric Decker has scored one touchdown this year and posted 50-plus yards just once. He's not a usable fantasy asset. Delanie Walker hasn't caught a touchdown yet this season, but has five-plus catches and 63-plus yards in four straight games. That's about as good as it gets at tight end this year. The Titans fantasy defense is really only in play if Jacoby Brissett misses this game with a concussion, as that would mean Scott Tolzien is under center.

 » Jacoby Brissett, QB: STREAM
 » Frank Gore, RB: LOW-END FLEX
 » Marlon Mack, RB: SIT
 » T.Y. Hilton, WR: FLEX
 » Jack Doyle, TE: START
 » Colts D/ST: SIT

Jacoby Brissett is in concussion protocol as I write this column, but is expected to start for the Colts and is a great streamer this week. The Titans have given up 260-plus passing yards and two-plus passing touchdowns to each of the three struggling quarterbacks they've faced since their Week 8 bye (Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger). Brissett was the QB14 when he played the Titans on the road in Week 6, but had Donte Moncrief drop a touchdown on him. If you can avoid playing either of Frank Gore or Marlon Mack, I'd do so. They've scored one touchdown between the two of them in the last five weeks, and the Tennessee run defense is its strength (3.4 yards per carry allowed, 74.1 yards per game). Gore might offer a reasonable floor as a flex, but it's hard to see a ceiling. T.Y. Hilton is back at home and in a good spot to post big totals against the Titans secondary, which is tied for the league lead in touchdowns allowed to wide receivers (15). Jack Doyle has seen seven-plus targets in every game save one since Week 6. From Week 6 to Week 10 (Colts had a Week 11 bye), Doyle leads all tight ends in targets (46), receptions (35), is third in yards (287), and has two touchdowns. The Colts defense played admirably before the bye, but they've suffered some big injuries of late (Vontae Davis, etc.) and are better left on the bench.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET on CBS

 » DeShone Kizer, QB: SIT
 » Isaiah Crowell, RB: FLEX
 » Duke Johnson, RB: FLEX
 » Corey Coleman, WR: SIT
 » Browns TEs: SIT
 » Browns D/ST: SIT

Cincinnati's defense isn't too far off statistically from the Jaguars, with just 214.2 yards per game and 12 total touchdowns allowed. DeShone Kizer has had four solid fantasy weeks, but in each of those contests he had a rushing touchdown. Those odds feel slim this week so I'd look elsewhere for a streamer. Isaiah Crowell predictably crashed back to Earth last week against Jacksonville after back-to-back solid outings. The Bengals will provide a challenge for Crowell, as they've allowed just 3.5 yards per carry over the last three weeks, and that includes games against Jacksonville and Tennessee. Crowell is an OK low-end flex play in standard formats, while Duke Johnson offers more upside, especially in PPR. Johnson has four-plus catches in four straight games, and has averaged 67 scrimmage yards per game in that span. Corey Coleman is the only part of this Browns passing attack we want in fantasy ... for now (Josh Gordon's music plays faintly in the distance). Coleman returned to action last week for the first time since Week 5 and immediately saw 11 targets, over 34 percent of the team total. That volume is worth chasing. Other than that I believe we're done here.

 » Andy Dalton, QB: STREAM
 » Bengals RBs: SIT
 » A.J. Green, WR: START
 » Tyler Kroft, TE: STREAM
 » Bengals D/ST: STREAM

The Bengals offense isn't exactly potent, but at home against a Browns secondary that's given up the third-most passing touchdowns in the league (20), Andy Dalton is a solid streamer. Plus, Dalton's thrown 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last five games against Cleveland. The Bengals rushing attack is a stoppable force attempting to get past the immovable force of the Browns rushing defense. Joe Mixon hasn't crossed 50 rushing yards since Week 5 (he had 51), while the Browns rushing defense is conceding just 3.2 yards per game on the ground over the season. Mixon needs a touchdown to provide fantasy value. A.J. Green owns 28 percent of the team targets and remains a weekly must-start. He has a touchdown in back-to-back games since getting ejected versus the Jaguars. The Tyler Kroft streaming dream was real last week as he found the end zone on one of his two catches, and now faces a Browns defense that has allowed the second-most receiving touchdowns to tight ends (eight) this year. The Browns offense remains incredibly generous to fantasy defenses, so fire up the Bengals D/ST this weekend.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. ET on CBS

 » Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB: STREAM
 » Doug Martin, RB: SIT
 » Mike Evans, WR: START
 » DeSean Jackson, WR: LOW-END FLEX
 » Cameron Brate, TE: SIT
 » O.J. Howard, TE: SIT
 » Buccaneers D/ST: SIT

Ryan Fitzpatrick looks to be in the mix again as a streaming candidate. He'll need to take to the air to keep pace with the Atlanta offense, and four of the last five passers to face the Falcons have finished in the top-12 that week. Fitzpatrick's thrown three touchdowns and just one interception in his two starts this year. In the six games since his impressive debut against the Patriots, Doug Martin is averaging 2.72 yards per carry, has received just 12 targets, and has found the end zone once. Don't let his name value fool you -- he deserves to be on the bench. Mike Evans came back from his one-game suspension and immediately saw double-digit targets (10), catching five for 92 yards. He hasn't had any sort of ceiling performance yet, but offers a relatively safe floor. DeSean Jackson is a boom-or-bust fantasy play, as usual. He has 40-plus yards in just four games this season, though two of his three touchdowns have come in games where he's posted sub-40 yards. He's also likely to see plenty of Desmond Trufant, who primarily covers the offensive right side of the field, where Jackson lines up 52 percent of the time. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are splitting up work evenly the last three weeks (10 targets for Brate, six for Howard), which is worrisome in fantasy. I'd avoid this committee. Don't chase the Bucs' defensive output from last week 18 fantasy points), most of which came against Jay Cutler.

 » Matt Ryan, QB: START
 » Devonta Freeman, RB: SIT (OUT)
 » Tevin Coleman, RB: START
 » Julio Jones, WR: START
 » Mohamed Sanu, WR: FLEX
 » Austin Hooper, TE: SIT
 » Falcons D/ST: STREAM

After a poor start to the season, Matt Ryan is rounding back into fantasy form. He has two touchdowns in four straight games with just two interceptions in that span. His yardage totals have left a little to be desired (averaging 244 per game), but this could be a chance for him to return to MVP form. The Buccaneers secondary has been a mess all year, and most recently gave up 282 yards and a touchdown to Matt Moore ... in one half. Devonta Freeman will miss this game as well with a concussion, so make sure he's our of your lineups. Tevin Coleman grinded out a solid performance in relief last week (20 carries, 43 yards, touchdown, 15 receiving yards), though the Buccaneers on the road would figure to offer up less resistance than the Seahawks at home. With Atlanta nursing a lead for most of that game, Coleman faced eight-plus defenders in the box on 55 percent of his carries, the third-highest mark of the week. Julio Jones has been targeted 13 times in the end zone this year (fourth-most) but has just one touchdown. He's receiving 8.6 targets per game and is hard to sit, especially against a Buccaneers defense tied for the league lead in passing yards allowed to wide receivers (192.5). Mohamed Sanu has 65-plus yards and/or a touchdown in four of the five games since he returned from a hamstring injury. He's a nice floor play as a flex option, though his targets have decreased over the last three games (4.3 per game versus 7.6 during his first five healthy games). Austin Hooper's production has been extremely volatile this season, and a matchup against the Buccaneers and their excellent linebacking corps doesn't foretell a lot of fantasy success. The Bucs allow the sixth-fewest yards per game to tight ends, too. The Falcons defense has been hot over the last two weeks, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has played pretty well in that span too, with just two sacks and one interception to his name. Still, we know disaster games are in Fitzpatrick's range of outcomes, so I'd consider the Falcons a low-end streamer at home.

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots, 1 p.m. ET on FOX

 » Dolphins QBs: SIT
 » Damien Williams, RB: FLEX
 » Kenyan Drake, RB: FLEX
 » DeVante Parker, WR: FLEX
 » Jarvis Landry, WR: FLEX PPR
 » Kenny Stills, WR: FLEX
 » Julius Thomas, TE: SIT
 » Dolphins D/ST: SIT

Matt Moore will get the start this week for the Patriots as Jay Cutler (concussion) will be out. That still doesn't mean you should trust him, though, as the Patriots defense is playing much better of late ... and it's Matt Moore. Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake are in a full-fledged committee, but both are worth a look in the flex as they can provide fantasy value if they get into the end zone or pop off for a big play. Their stat lines the last three weeks are nearly identical -- Drake: 35 touches, 202 total yards, TD; Williams: 32 touches, 210 total yards, TD -- with Drake owning a slight edge in playing time (53 percent to 47). DeVante Parker had offered a safe floor, but struggled last week and fell down the pecking order once Matt Moore entered the game. This should be a pass-heavy game script for the Dolphins as they try to keep pace with the Patriots, putting Parker, Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills all into consideration. No team has given up more yards to slot wide receivers (840) than New England, so Landry looks to have both his typically safe floor and nice upside. Stills gets a bump if Moore is under center, as he averages a 6-110-1 line this year when Moore plays versus a 3-36-0 line without him. Julius Thomas' production has been trending down since his blow-up game in Week 9 (6-84-1) and we can go back to not worrying about him in fantasy. You don't play fantasy defenses against the Patriots.

 » Tom Brady, QB: START
 » Dion Lewis, RB: FLEX
 » James White, RB: SIT
 » Rex Burkhead, RB: FLEX
 » Brandin Cooks, WR: START
 » Chris Hogan, WR: SIT
 » Danny Amendola, WR: FLEX
 » Rob Gronkowski, TE: START
 » Patriots D/ST: SIT

Tom Brady is averaging over 314 passing yards per game and has multiple touchdowns in seven of his last nine games. Dion Lewis is emerging as a pseudo-feature back for the Patriots now and is a solid play this week. Miami is allowing nearly five yards per carry to opposing backs over the last month with four touchdowns allowed. James White's passing role has diminished with the emergence of Rex Burkhead, and we can't really trust White at this point, even in PPR. With Chris Hogan still missing practice, Brandin Cooks has top-10 upside each and every week. He's been remarkably consistent for the Patriots and now gets to face a Miami secondary that's been burned a lot lately and has conceded 10 touchdowns to opposing wideouts. Danny Amendola could be a nice sleeper in the flex, as the Dolphins allow the seventh-most yards per game to slot wideouts. Amendola has caught 12 of his 13 targets since returning from injury for 102 yards and a touchdown. Rob Gronkowski remains a weekly starter. The Patriots defense is rounding into form, and it's paying dividends in fantasy too. They have nine-plus points in each of their last three games, and a home matchup with the Dolphins could help them make it four straight.

Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m. ET on FOX

 » Mitchell Trubisky, QB: SIT
 » Jordan Howard, RB: START
 » Tarik Cohen, RB: SIT
 » Dontrelle Inman, WR: SIT
 » Dion Sims, TE: SIT
 » Bears D/ST: SIT

We've been largely avoiding this offense for fantasy outside of Jordan Howard, and a road trip to Philadelphia isn't about to change that. Mitchell Trubisky, Dontrelle Inman and the rest of this passing attack should be left on the bench. Jordan Howard is likely to see his typical volume, but just know he's running against the league's best run defense, as the Eagles are only allowing 71 rushing yards per game. Tarik Cohen popped back up last week, but his usage has been puzzling and his production isn't worth chasing in this game.

 » Carson Wentz, QB: START
 » Eagles RBs: See below
 » Alshon Jeffery WR: START
 » Nelson Agholor, WR: SIT
 » Zach Ertz, TE: START
 » Eagles D/ST: START

Carson Wentz has multiple touchdown passes in six straight games and remains a weekly must-play. The Eagles backfield is a full committee right now, which is frustrating for fantasy purposes. Working in our favor, though, is that the Eagles' offense is one of the league's best, and scoring opportunities will be there each and every week. The backs in the mix the most the last two weeks have been LeGarrette Blount (22 carries), Corey Clement (18 carries) and Jay Ajayi (15 carries). Ajayi leads the way in yardage with 168 and is an upside-play in the flex. Blount could be used to salt away a big-lead here and we know he's a threat at the goal line. Clement could be a dark horse in deeper leagues, as he has two touchdowns in the last two weeks and has looked good in the offense. Alshon Jeffery has quietly been cooking of late, with four touchdowns on 14 catches over the last four weeks. Plus, it's a REVENGE game for Jeffery as gets a chance to show the Bears what they let walk out the door in free agency. Nelson Agholor's volume has dipped a bit in recent weeks (averaging four targets a game since Week 8) and he hasn't found the end zone in that span either. This doesn't feel like the type of game to chase for him in fantasy as the Eagles should hold a commanding lead. Zach Ertz returned from injury last week and played 94 percent of the snaps, though he only caught two of his five targets for eight yards. He was the second-most targeted player, though, and remains a weekly start. The Eagles defense should absolutely demolish the Bears offense is a top play this week. Trubisky has been sacked four-plus times in half of his starts and has just four touchdowns to two interceptions on the year.

Carolina Panthers at New York Jets, 1 p.m. ET on FOX

 » Cam Newton, QB: START
 » Jonathan Stewart, RB: FLEX
 » Christian McCaffrey, RB: FLEX
 » Devin Funchess, WR: START
 » Greg Olsen, TE: START
 » Panthers D/ST: START

Cam Newton has returned to form as a dominant fantasy football force. He's averaging 75 rushing yards per game since Week 8, the most in the league among quarterbacks, and has hit 44-plus rushing yards in five straight. The Jets are allowing two passing touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, tied for fourth-most in the league. The Jets have been pretty solid in run defense this year, allowing just 3.7 yards per carry and 91.7 yards per game to opposing backs. However, it seemed like Carolina's rushing attack found it's groove last week, so I'd be open to giving Jonathan Stewart a shot in the flex (especially now that Ryan Kalil is back). Christian McCaffrey can be flexed as well, especially in PPR. He's scored three times in the last two weeks and has looked more comfortable and explosive of late. Devin Funchess owns 22 percent of the team targets since Kelvin Benjamin's trade, but also 32.5 and 20.7 percent of Newton's intended air yards over the last two weeks. He's a fantasy WR1 now in this offense and a great start here. Typically, I err on the side of caution when it comes to starting players immediately after they return from injury, but this team needs another reliable target and Olsen may fall into a bunch of targets this week. Tight end remains an absolute disaster of a position so why not take the chance with a proven player like Olsen? The Panthers defense has two-plus sacks in six of their last seven games and Josh McCown is one of four quarterbacks in the league to be sacked more than 30 times this year. They'll be a solid play even on the road.

 » Josh McCown, QB: SIT
 » Matt Forte, RB: SIT
 » Bilal Powell, RB: SIT
 » Robby Anderson, WR: START
 » Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE: START
 » Jets D/ST: SIT

Josh McCown has been a fantastic streaming quarterback for fantasy managers this year, but a date with the Carolina defense has me seriously concerned about this offense's outlook this week. Carolina is allowing just 213.9 passing yards per game, though they've had 14 passing touchdowns thrown against them versus just five interceptions. The Jets running game has been stuck in neutral the last few weeks aside from that Buffalo game (because everyone can run on the Bills right now), so I'd avoid Matt Forte and Bilal Powell if you can. The Panthers allow the second-fewest rushing yards per game (68.5) and their five total touchdowns allowed to opposing backs are tied for the second-fewest in the league. Robby Anderson is still worth a look as a flex/WR3 option, as he receives the lion's share of targets and air yards in this passing attack. Even in a tough spot facing the Panthers underrated secondary, Anderson has the potential to produce solid numbers. Austin Seferian-Jenkins bounced back before the team's bye with six catches for 67 yards after three straight weeks with fewer than 30. He's still a strong tight end play given the state of the position, even in a bad matchup.

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX

 » Russell Wilson, QB: START
 » Seahawks RBs: SIT
 » Doug Baldwin, WR: START
 » Tyler Lockett, WR: LOW-END FLEX
 » Paul Richardson, WR: LOW-END FLEX
 » Jimmy Graham, TE: START
 » Seahawks D/ST: START

Russell Wilson is the QB1 on the year right now in fantasy and cannot be benched. He's accounted for 82.8 percent of the team's yardage this year, the highest mark of the Super Bowl era, thanks to his 376 rushing yards leading the team with his backfield full of mediocre runners. Speaking of, we're past the point of trusting Seattle running backs in fantasy, right? This is a perfect spot for one of them to go off, but trying to figure who that might be is impossible. Those desperate for a back could roll the dice with Thomas Rawls or Eddie Lacy, but just know what you're getting into. Five different players saw five-plus targets from Wilson last week, but the two most trust-worthy options remain Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. The 49ers have been bad at covering slot wideouts this year, allowing the eighth-most yards to the position to go along with four touchdowns. That's good news for Baldwin, who went 2-41-1 on six targets last week. Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson both have high weekly ceilings but are truly coin flip players as to who will receive more targets or find the end zone. The Seahawks defense remains a strong unit in spite of their myriad of injuries and are a fine start on the road against a C.J. Beathard-led offense.

 » C.J. Beathard, QB: SIT
 » Carlos Hyde, RB: START
 » Marquise Goodwin, WR: START
 » 49ers TEs: SIT
 » 49ers D/ST: SIT

C.J. Beathard will start this week, though he may be on a short leash with Jimmy Garoppolo waiting in the wings. Either way, Beathard against the Seahawks defense is a no-go for me in fantasy (even with all of the injuries the Seahawks have endured on defense. Carlos Hyde is one of the few remaining featured backs in the league, as he's seen over 72 percent of the backfield opportunities since Week 6. He's in a tough spot to produce here, as the Seahawks have held opponents in check on the ground of late, allowing just 2.23 yards per carry to opposing backs over their last three games. Marquise Goodwin has 68-plus yards in three of his last four games, and eight targets in two of those. He's a volatile player but his deep-threat nature makes him an appealing upside-play with so many injuries hitting the Seattle secondary. This might be a nice spot at home for George Kittle or Garrett Celek, but Kittle's still fighting his ankle injury, which could lead to these two splitting work. There are better streaming targets available. The Seahawks have issues, but Russell Wilson is still putting up points like they're going out of style. Don't play the 49ers defense.

New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS

 » Drew Brees, QB: LOW-END START
 » Mark Ingram, RB: START
 » Alvin Kamara, RB: START
 » Michael Thomas, WR: START
 » Ted Ginn, WR: FLEX
 » Saints D/ST: SIT

Last week was a great example of the Drew Brees experience in 2017. He still has the big-game potential if the Saints fall behind or get into an outright shootout. But that rarely happens as this team is a run-first operation (and a damn good one at that). Brees has topped 20-plus fantasy points just once in his last seven games, while the Rams haven't allowed 20-plus points to a QB since Week 4. This game could fall into that shootout script, though, so Brees is a fine low-end QB1 for the week. Among running back duos, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara rank first in rushing yards (1,265), scrimmage yards (1,925), and total touchdowns (15). Michael Thomas might be the most "solid, but unspectacular" fantasy producer this season. He offers one of the safest weekly floors (five-plus catches in all but one game, 65-plus yards in eight of 10 games), but hasn't had a true blow-up game. He has handled 34 percent of the team targets over the last three weeks though and should be trusted against the Rams. Ted Ginn is still Ted Ginn and can ghost your lineup (as he did in Week 10 with one catch for three yards), but he has 59-plus yards in five of his last six games and is clearly the second option among the pass-catchers after Thomas (not counting Kamara, obviously). If this game does turn into a points fest, Ginn could pop back up with a big week. Don't chase Coby Fleener's production last week. Just ... don't. The Saints defense might be without Marshon Lattimore this week, which would be a big enough blow, but they also have to travel cross-country and face one of the league's most creative and productive offenses. That gets a big old fantasy "nope" from me.

 » Jared Goff, QB: LOW-END START
 » Todd Gurley, RB: START
 » Sammy Watkins, WR: START
 » Robert Woods, WR: SIT (OUT)
 » Cooper Kupp, WR: FLEX
 » Rams D/ST: SIT

Jared Goff's final line last week looks bad -- 23/37, 225 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs -- but it's worth remembering he had Cooper Kupp fumble at the 1-yard line and drop another big completion that would have put the offense into the red zone. Back at home against a less ferocious (but still good) defense, Goff should be considered a low-end QB1. Being without Robert Woods (shoulder) will hurt, but McVay should have plenty of tricks up his sleeve to mitigate that loss. We're starting Todd Gurley as usual, but don't overlook Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp with Woods out. Matt Harmon covers why Watkins could be in line for a big game in his Next Gen Stats sleepers piece this week, while Kupp could bounce back against a Saints team that has been vulnerable to slot wideouts (nearly 60 yards per game allowed). Woods had been averaging over eight targets per game for the last month, so there will be plenty more opportunities up for grabs this week. The Rams defense has really rounded into dominant form of late, but a date with the Saints is a bad one in a fantasy sense. Opposing defenses have averaged just three fantasy points per game over the last month.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS

 » Blake Bortles, QB: SIT
 » Leonard Fournette, RB: START
 » Marqise Lee, WR: SIT
 » Marcedes Lewis, WR: SIT
 » Jaguars D/ST: START

Blake Bortles has posted a few reasonable streaming weeks over his last four games, but this isn't a spot to trust him. His receiving corps is banged up and Marqise Lee is likely to get shadowed by Patrick Peterson, which further ruins any limited appeal of starting Bortles. Speaking of Lee, even with his solid volume of late I'm not trusting him in fantasy lineups while he goes toe-to-toe with Peterson. Leonard Fournette was removed from the injury report this week and should be locked in for another massive workload. His 24.3 touches per game this year rank third in the league, and he'll have the volume to overcome a tough matchup against a Cardinals front seven allowing just 76.3 rushing yards per game to opposing backs. The Jaguars defense is a weekly must-start, especially against Blaine Gabbert, who threw two interceptions in his lone game this year.

 » Blaine Gabbert, QB: SIT
 » Adrian Peterson, RB: SIT
 » Larry Fitzgerald, WR: FLEX
 » Cardinals D/ST: SIT

Yes, this is a Blaine Gabbert revenge game, but we don't want to start subpar quarterbacks against the league's best defense. Even if Jalen Ramsey (hand) misses this game, that's not enough reason to suddenly trust Gabbert in a terrible matchup. Adrian Peterson has under 30 rushing yards in three of his five games with the Cardinals, and now has to face a defense allowing 2.8 yards per carry over the last month. Hard pass. Larry Fitzgerald has seen 30 percent of the team targets over the last three weeks and is the only player to have more than 100 receiving yards on the Cardinals in that span (he has 274, the next closest player has 97). He can be flexed, and owners should feel a little bit better about it with Ramsey likely to miss this game.

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS

 » Paxton Lynch, QB: SIT
 » Broncos, RBs: SIT
 » Demaryius Thomas, WR: LOW-END START
 » Emmanuel Sanders, WR: LOW-END START
 » Broncos D/ST: SIT

Paxton Lynch is starting under center for the Broncos, which likely means bad things for the fantasy outlook of this offense. Lynch lost the starting job to Trevor Siemian in the offseason, and what he's put on tape over the last two years is uninspiring, to say the least. The Broncos backfield is a committee, possibly in transition. C.J. Anderson is the "lead" back (kind of), and scored a touchdown last week, but he's seen 13 or fewer carries in five of the last six games with a high scrimmage yards output of 85. If there's one back to play, it might be Devontae Booker, who is seeing more playing time and being used as a pass-catching back (three-plus catches in four of his last six games. He should only be played in deep PPR formats, though. It's hard to tell what exactly we'll get from Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas with this version of Lynch under center (one who's been injured much of the year). Last year in two starts and one heavy relief appearance, Lynch targeted Sanders with 35 percent of his passes and Thomas wih 25 percent, so the volume should be there at the very least. The once proud Denver fantasy defense ranks 31st in turnovers and 25th in sacks. Derek Carr is one of the best-protected quarterbacks in the league by his line, too, so there's really no reason to start the Broncos here.

 » Derek Carr, QB: SIT
 » Marshawn Lynch, RB: FLEX
 » Amari Cooper, WR: SIT
 » Michael Crabtree, WR: FLEX
 » Jared Cook, TE: START

Over his last three games Derek Carr has three touchdowns and four interceptions, is averaging 6.6 yards per attempt and 283 yards per game. He's at home, but facing a still tough Denver defense (though this group is not the same dominant unit from year's past). With the Raiders pass-catchers struggling to separate and, at times, catch the ball this season, Carr's at best a mid-range QB2 this week. His history against Denver isn't too great either (seven touchdowns, four picks in six games). The Broncos defense can still stop the run, though, which doesn't bode well for Marshawn Lynch's outlook. However, this game should stay close and with the Raiders expected to win, Lynch isn't as in danger of being game-scripted off the field. He's a decent flex play. I think we're back to benching Amari Cooper, folks. He's averaged just four catches for 45 yards per game since his 210-yard, two-touchdown Thursday night explosion. Plus, he has to go toe-to-toe with a secondary that's basically kept him in check his entire career (16 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown over five career games). Michael Crabtree can be flexed, I guess, but I don't feel great about it. As strange as it seems, Jared Cook is the best play of this bunch. Denver has been vulnerable to tight ends all season (75.8 yards per game allowed, seven touchdowns) and Cook's had 57-plus yards in three of his last four games, with a low of 36 in that span. Those who like to live dangerously can give the Raiders defense a shot this week against Paxton Lynch. Just know that the Raiders still don't have an interception, rank last in the league in turnovers and are tied for last in sacks. They did change coordinators this week though, so there's that.

Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC

 » Brett Hundley, QB: SIT
 » Packers RBs: SIT
 » Jordy Nelson, WR: SIT
 » Davante Adams, WR: FLEX
 » Randall Cobb, WR: SIT
 » Packers D/ST: SIT

Brett Hundley has two touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season, and only DeShone Kizer has a higher interception rate than Hundley's 4.4. He's crushing the scoring and statistical output of this offense and facing one of the league's best defenses. You cannot start Hundley, or Jamaal Williams, who figures to be running into stacked boxes all night long. Moreover, the Steelers are allowing just 2.7 yards per carry over their last three games. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb can't get the targets necessary to produce from Hundley and are pretty much droppable. The only member of this offense even remotely startable is Davante Adams, who's seen roughly 27 percent of Hundley's targets since he took over in Week 6 for the injured Rodgers. Adams has caught both of Hundley's touchdowns and has five-plus catches and 53-plus yards in three straight games. The Packers defense is likely to get steam-rolled on the road by the Steelers so keep them out of lineups at all costs.

 » Ben Roethlisberger, QB: START
 » Le'Veon Bell, RB: START
 » Antonio Brown, RB: START
 » JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR: SIT (OUT)
 » Martavis Bryant, WR: FLEX
 » Steelers D/ST: START

It's all systems go for the Steelers at home against the woebegone Packers. Ben Roethlisberger should be able to rip apart this banged up secondary, largely because the Packers don't have a cornerback capable of covering Antonio Brown (few teams do, though). JuJu Smith-Schuster will miss this game with his hamstring injury, which puts Martavis Bryant back on the flex radar. It's hard to envision the Packers generating much pass rush after losing Clay Matthews and Kenny Clark to injury last week, so Ben will have ample time for his players to get open. The Packers were building a stout run-defense resume over the last three weeks (59 yards per game allowed, 2.33 yards per carry) but Clark's high ankle sprain is a big blow to that group. Le'Veon Bell should see plenty of volume and will offer his usual safe floor, with upside for way, way more. The Steelers defense is at home, boasts a strong pass rush, a ball-hawking secondary, speedy linebackers, and gets to face Brett Hundley. What else do I need to say to tell you to start this group?

*-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar or "Like" his page on Facebook for more NFL and fantasy analysis. *

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.