Joshua Abbe & Mike Fanelli | December 7th, 2019
To help fantasy football players with their roster construction, two of our writers have provided some insight on which players they would start, would sit, and consider a sleeper for this week. Be sure to follow all of them on twitter and ask any of The Scorecrow’s fantasy writers for fantasy advice.
Josh – Kirk Cousins vs Detroit Lions
Cousins faced a putrid Lions’ defense that in week seven gave up 29 fantasy points to the Vikings’ quarterback. He’s played rather well since week five on scoring 19 or more fantasy points in all but two games since then. He’s also top five in passing yards per attempt, completion percentage, touchdown percentage, and passer rating. Facing a defense that second-most yards per completion. Cousins should have a great game on Sunday.
Mike – Ryan Tannehill at Oakland Raiders
Last week against the Colts, Tannehill scored just 13.8 fantasy points, snapping his five-game streak scoring 18.5 or more fantasy points. However, I expect him to bounce back against an awful Raiders’ defense this week. The Raiders give up fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, giving up 21.2 per game. Furthermore, they have given up 490 passing yards, three touchdowns, and 47.6 fantasy points to quarterbacks during their two-game losing streak. Since taking over as the starter, Tannehill has been a very good fantasy quarterback and I expect him to score 20 plus fantasy points against the Raiders.
Josh – Derek Carr vs Tennessee Titans
Carr has failed to score double-digit points in his last two games. He was once a nice streaming option but seems to have fallen off as of late. The Titans have only surrendered six passing touchdowns on the season and are the fourth-fewest in fantasy points to opposing home quarterbacks. I’d find another option if you can.
Mike – Kyler Murray at Pittsburgh Steelers
After three straight games scoring 23 or more fantasy points, Murray came out flat against the Rams last week, scoring just 13.3 fantasy points. Now he gets to face a Steelers’ defense that gives up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, giving up just 13.5 per game. Furthermore, the Steelers have held quarterbacks under 11 fantasy points in three of their last four games and under 12 fantasy points in over 50% of their games this season. Unless Murray has a big game with his legs, I don’t see him scoring more than 13 fantasy points this week.
Josh – Baker Mayfield vs Cincinnati Bengals
Though Mayfield has been very hit or misses this season, leaning towards the missing side. Coming to Cleveland Sunday is a poor Bengals’ defense that’s allowed 10 total touchdowns and 20-plus fantasy points per game to Homefield quarterbacks. He could be a sneaky play this week.
Mike – Devlin Hodges at Arizona Cardinals
“Duck” has been named the Steelers’ starter going forward and while last week he didn’t have a great fantasy outing (scoring just 10.7 fantasy points), he is the perfect overlooked player you can add off the waiver wire in deeper or super-flex leagues. He faces the Cardinals who act like Santa Claus for quarterbacks. They have given up the most fantasy to quarterbacks this season, giving up 24.9 per game. Furthermore, over their last five games, the Cardinals have given up 24 or more fantasy points four times to quarterbacks, including 14 passing touchdowns during that span. It’s a dart throw but if you are in a “break in case of an emergency” situation, Hodges has upside this week.
Josh – Kareem Hunt vs Cincinnati Bengals
Hunt has seemed to come in and surprised a lot of fantasy owners with the production you’ve been getting from him this season. He’s managed to put up double-digit points in all of his games since his return from suspension. Now he gets a Bengals’ defense that allows the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs in 2019. I’d start him in the flex spot again and probably going forward the fantasy playoffs.
Mike – Phillip Lindsay at Houston Texans
Since the Broncos’ week 10 bye, Lindsay has struggled, averaging 8.8 fantasy points per game despite averaging 17.3 touches per game during that three-game span. He failed to reach 10 fantasy points in any of those games. However, his rest of season schedule is one of the best in the league starting this week. The Texans give up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs, giving up 27.6 per game. Furthermore, the Texans have allowed running backs to score more than 43.5 fantasy points in two of their last three games. Lindsay was a league winner last year and should be a league winner again this year.
Josh – Tevin Coleman at New Orleans Saints
Coleman seems to be apart of one of the worst running backs by committee backfield and you never know when he’s going score, becoming very touchdown-dependent. With his touches and snaps on the decline, the 49ers get a Saint’s team that is giving up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the running back position, Coleman is a sit for me.
Mike – Marlon Mack at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After missing two games with a hand injury, Mack will play tomorrow against the Buccaneers. However, fantasy owners should be cautious about playing him this week. While he was out, the Colts had success running the ball with their other running backs and this could result in Mack’s workload being lightened, at least this week. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers can be attacked in the air but on the ground, they are one of the better run defenses in the league. The Buccaneers have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs, giving up just 16.9 per game. Furthermore, the Buccaneers have held running backs under 18.5 fantasy points in five of their last six games, giving up just one rushing touchdown during that span.
Josh – Devonta Freeman vs Carolina Panthers
To say Freeman has underperformed this season would be an understatement. Though luckily for those who have held onto him and made the playoffs, this week should be the time to pay off. He gets a horrible Panthers’ defense who have allowed a league-worst 22 touchdowns and only one other team, the Chiefs, have surrendered the more fantasy points to opposing running backs. Fire him up.
Mike – Sony Michel vs Kansas City Chiefs
Yes, Michel has been a major disappointment this season and may even be on the waiver wire in your league. However, if (big emphasis on if) he is ever to have another game this season, this is the week! The Chiefs have given up the most fantasy points to running backs, giving up 30.4 per game. They have given up 30 or more fantasy points to running backs in four of their last five games. The Patriots need to keep the Chiefs’ offense off the field as much as possible and that means running the ball. Will Michel get right? Who the hell knows but if he will, this is the week it happens.
Josh – Calvin Ridley vs Carolina Panthers
In his last three games, Ridley has scored 17 or more fantasy points in each game. In week 11 he faced this same Panthers defense that allowed him to score 28 fantasy points, so going into this Sunday’s matchup he is a must start from me. Especially since the Panthers over their last four games, are averaging the fifth-most catches allowed to the position.
Mike – Alshon Jeffery vs New York Giants
Coming off three straight games scoring less than 10.5 fantasy points, Jeffery had a season-high 16 targets, 137 yards, and 28.7 fantasy points last week against the Dolphins. This week he faces an even worse secondary. The Giants give up the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers, giving up 41.6 per game. They have allowed wide receivers to score 41 or more fantasy points in three of their last five games, including 10 touchdowns. The Giants secondary has been torched all season long and Jeffery should have another 20 plus point outing this week.
Josh – Sammy Watkins at New England Patriots
Watkins draws a tough matchup, facing the Patriots tomorrow. Not only is it in Foxborough but he will more likely be shadowed by shutdown corner Stephon Gilmore. Not to mention the Patriots defense only allowing two touchdown passes and the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers on the season. He’s a fade for me.
Mike – Odell Beckham Jr. vs Cincinnati Bengals
Rumors are swirling that Beckham is trying to get his way out of Cleveland this offseason. Jarvis Landry has taken over as the WR1 on the Browns (at least fantasy wise), while OBJ has struggled. He has scored under 13.5 fantasy points in five of his last six games, reaching the end zone just once during that span. Meanwhile, the Bengals give up 31.9 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, a little less than the league average, but over the last four weeks, they have held wide receivers to an average of 28.2 fantasy points per game while giving up just two touchdowns. OBJ’s big-play ability always allows him to have a big day but his struggles this season make me more likely to bench him than play him during the playoffs.
Josh – Jarvis Landry vs Cincinnati Bengals
With the struggles of Beckham, someone must be catching all the other balls being thrown to someone in Cleveland and that seems to be Landry. He’s scored 13 or more fantasy points in his last five games and has a nice opportunity to repeat another double-digit performance this week again. Landry is known to be one of the best slot receivers in the game and going into Sunday the Bengals are surrendering 20-plus fantasy points and allowed seven touchdowns for 2019 to the slot receiver position. Play Landry with confidence this week.
Mike – James Washington at Arizona Cardinals
Once again this week, JuJu Smith-Schuster will miss the game with a knee injury. With JuJu out of the lineup, Washington has turned into the Steelers’ top wide receiver. Over the two games JuJu has missed, Washington has totaled 209 yards, two touchdowns, and 39.9 fantasy points. Now he faces a Cardinals’ secondary that seems scared to cover wide receivers. The Cardinals give up the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers, giving up an average of 40.3 per game. Furthermore, the Cardinals have allowed wide receivers to score 49 or more fantasy points in three of their last four games. Washington should have his third straight game scoring 18.5 or more fantasy points tomorrow.
Josh – Ryan Griffin vs Miami Dolphins
Griffin has been an unsung hero at the tight end position for both the Jets and fantasy owners this season. He’s caught a groove with quarterback Sam Darnold and gets the fun watching Dolphins this week. Since week 10 they have allowed 15 fantasy points a game to the tight end positions and in week nine, Griffin had 11 fantasy points against Miami. He’s a nice plug if you need a starter.
Mike – Kyle Rudolph vs Detriot Lions
Adam Thielen won’t play tomorrow (at the time of writing this he was listed as doubtful) and in the six games Thielen has either missed or didn’t finish because of injury, Rudolph has scored 11 or more fantasy points in five of those games. Rudolph is averaging 14.2 fantasy points per game during that span and has seen five or more targets in five of those games. Meanwhile, the Lions have struggled against starting-caliber tight ends, including giving up 16.8 fantasy points to Rudolph a few weeks ago. For some reason, Rudolph is available in 36% of ESPN leagues and this week he is a mid TE1 with a fair amount of upside.
Josh – Darren Fells vs Denver Broncos
Fells has been a favored target of Deshaun Watson, though his touchdown dependency is a tad alarming. Hit can be hit or miss and with a Broncos’ defense that has only given up three touchdowns to the position. You might need to look elsewhere this week.
Mike – Jared Cook vs San Franciso 49ers
Cook has been really solid over his last six games, scoring at least 11 fantasy points in every game while averaging 14.2 fantasy points per game during that span. However, this week I would glue him to the bench. The 49ers have given up the fewest fantasy points to tight ends, giving up just 7.7 per game. Furthermore, they have held tight ends under 8.5 fantasy points in 75% of their games this season. Cook should be a top-eight option for the rest of the season but bench him this week in favor of someone on the waiver wire like Tyler Higbee.
Josh – Mike Gesicki at New York Jets
Though on paper, Gesicki’s matchup looks tough, his momentum as of late has proven otherwise. He’s developed a chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick and found the endzone the past two games. He’s seeing the targets with seven of those two games and that’s a continued increase from the previous three where he was seeing six since week nine where he had a career game against the Jets with 95 receiving yards. If you need a streamer, he’s not a bad way to go.
Mike – Tyler Higbee vs Seattle Seahawks
Last week Gerald Everett missed the game against the Cardinals with a knee injury and at the time of writing this, he was listed as questionable and hadn’t practiced all week. If Everett plays Sunday night, it seriously hinders Higbee’s upside but I doubt he plays. Last week Higbee had seven catches on eight targets for 107 yards, and 23.7 fantasy points; all season-highs. Part of that was the matchup as the Cardinals give up the most fantasy points per game to tight ends. The good news is, the Seahawks give up the second-most fantasy points per game to tight ends, giving up 15.9 per game. Furthermore, the Seahawks have given up 26 catches for 187 yards, two touchdowns, and 54.7 fantasy points to tight ends over the last two weeks.
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