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by Douglas Menefee – updated 12/24

Write-ups below can easily get outdated with injury news so make sure to check the positional rankings which will include injury changes.

*denotes slates that aren’t finished yet.

Some of these write-ups are going to have quicker analysis than usual unless I feel I need to delve deeper. Merry Christmas, Kwanza, Festivus, and all that.

Friday

VIKINGS @ SAINTS

Vikings @ Saints (51.5) -7

Kirk Cousins

Cousins is the QB11 through the season, with 3569/29 receiving. He is 8th in passing TDs, 10th in deep ball attempts, and 13th passing yards with all-star receivers. His fantasy finishes in the last six games are (11), (4), (4), (11), (21), (14). The Vikings play the Saint this week, and both teams, are coming off of back-to-back losses. This game would be a potential bounce-back spot for the Saints, but the Vikings have nothing to lose here. I imagine the Saints were not expecting to lose to the Eagles but knew there would be a hard-fought battle with Mahomes. I suspect they come out on top here, and the Vegas line has them pinned as seven-point favorites. Cousins could find himself in a negative game script, but I would think to shy away from him in redraft 12 man leagues this week as a streamer against a worthy Saints defense ranked 3rd in pass defense 2nd in rush defense DVOA (according to FO). Cousins O-line has attributed to 34 sacks, and the Saints have 40 sacks for the year, which is 6th in the league. With the Saints playing for pride and playoff positioning, I would venture to say Cousins is a middle of the pack QB2/QB3 this week. 

Drew Brees

Brees finished as the QB13 in his first game back from a rib injury with 234/3/1 against the Chiefs. Brees has broken the top-12 four times this year out of eleven games. The Saints are coming off of two losses, and this is a potential bounce-back spot for them against the Vikings if things go their way. They are 7 point favorites, and the Vikings are middling in pass defense and are ranked 20th in rush defense DVOA (according to FO). I would feel Brees is a capable high end QB2 to low-end QB1 with room for more if this game swings towards him getting TDs vs. Kamara rushing for them. 

Dalvin Cook/Alexander Mattison

Cooks is the RB1 for the year with 1484/15 rushing and 42/349/1 receiving. He is 1st in redzone touches, evaded tackles, and TDs. You aren’t sitting Cook if you own him, but this is a tougher matchup with the Saints. He has proven to be a capable RB against higher-ranked rush defenses like Tampa Bay and Chicago, which he finished as the RB3 against last week and RB11 the week before. Start him with confidence as your RB1. Matteson isn’t expected to be back by Christmas from the concussion protocol, which helps Cook even more. 

Alvin Kamara/Latavius Murray 

Kamara is the RB2 for the year with 777/10 rushing and 80/739/5 receiving. Kamara’s targets have shot back up the past two games to 10,6 from 1,2,3 in weeks 11-13. Saints get a potential bounce-back matchup with the Vikings, who rank 20th in rush defense DVOA (according to FO), after coming off of two losses with the Eagles and Chiefs. The Saints are favored by 7 in this affair. Pencil in Kamara as an upside RB1 for your fantasy finals week. It also bodes well for him that Thomas is out. Murray is a sit. 

Adam Thielen/Justin Jefferson

Thielen is the WR11 for the year with 771/13 receiving, and Jefferson is the WR8 with 1182/7 receiving. Thielen has been a little more volatile this season with six top-12 finishes, one 12-24 finish, and six below 36 finish. So basically, you are 50/50 on booms or busts. This week he has a capable but more challenging CB matchup with Janoris Jenkins (PFF grade of 73.8), who he sees on potentially 46% of his routes. The other 54% will go to less formidable matchups. Jefferson will run potentially 42% of his routes against Marshon Lattimore (PFF grade of 52) and 25% against Janoris Jenkins. This would be potentially 75% of his routes vs. less formidable CBs vs. 54% for Thielen. Both have the upside potential, but possibly not both at the same time. Jefferson is a WR2/1 this week, and so is Thielen, but underneath Jefferson. Chad Beebe, Olabisi Johnson would dart throws one game DFS plays.  

Emmanuel Sanders/Tre’Quan Smith

Sanders is in a prime matchup sans Thomas and possibly without Smith this week against the Vikings in a potential bounce-back spot for the Saints. Sanders should get WR2 treatment based on opportunity alone. He finished as the WR37 last week with 4/76/0 against the Saints. If you have him because you picked him up via Thomas’s exit, he is a viable option for your fantasy finals. Smith doesn’t look as if he will be playing this week. Michael Burton went 1/9/0, Lil’Jordan Humphrey went 2/29/1, Juwan Johnson went 0/0, and Tommy Lee Lewis went 0/0. All four of these players are shot in the dark one game DFS plays. Or Harris if he plays. Marques Callaway may make his return this week, and if he plays, he will also be a sneaky DFS option. 

Jared Cook

I was expecting more out of Cook in a potentially high-scoring affair with the Saints, but he didn’t land his shot last week on a quality 82 air yards, which was the highest he had all season. He had five targets but went 2/29/0. Cook is a hard to trust boom or bust TD dependent tight end that could hit paydirt this Christmas against the Vikings. Treat him as a TE2/3 in this matchup, but I could understand it would be worrisome for you to start him out of the gate, and if he doesn’t take off, you will feel crushed through the weekend. I wouldn’t mind myself going back to the well if I were in the position. I will play him on a one-game DFS slate for Friday. It also bodes well for Cook that Thomas is out and possibly Tre’Quan Smith. 

Irv Smith Jr./Tyler Conklin/Kyle Rudolph

Rudolph was sidelined for Tuesday’s practice, and it’s uncertain if he will return this week. If he does, I would bank on sitting all three tight ends. If he doesn’t play, Irv is a streaming option, but I wouldn’t entirely trust him in your fantasy finals unless you have no other choice. Irv finished with 3/37/0 against the Bears in a negative game script, but 4/63/1 against the Bucs. Conklin was the TE18 and TE9 in the last two games and has played around 64% of the snaps. Irv is a TE3 to fringe start, and Conklin is a sit. Either has the potential to hit paydirt in a possible negative game script with the Saints. Conklin would be a contrarian one game DFS slate pick if you were to play both Brees and Cousins depending on his cost. 

Saturday

BUCS @ LIONS

Bucs @ Lions (54) 9.5

Tom Brady

Brady is the QB10 through the season with 3886/32 passing. He started slow last week but finished with 390/2 as the QB10. He gets a plus matchup here against the Lions, who are ranked 31st in pass defense DVOA (according to FO). Brady is a capable QB1 option with upside against the Lions, and his team are 9 point favorites. 

Matthew Stafford

It looks as if Stafford will be playing this week based on news reports. He finished as the QB24 and QB22 in the past two games against low ranked defenses and now gets a stout Bucs defense. I wouldn’t play Stafford for your fantasy finals unless you are in a 2QB league. Stafford is a QB3/4 this week in the 20 range. He may overcome this another week removed from injury and in a negative game script as 9 point dogs. 

Ronald Jones/Leonard Fournette/LeSean McCoy

Rojo looks as if he will miss this game based on reports, and remember he broke his pinkie. Fournette finished with 14 carries and five targets last week and was the RB11. He gets a plus matchup against the Lions, who rank 28th in rush defense DVOA (according to FO). Fournette is a high-end RB2 this week with upside in a game the Bucs are heavily favored by 9 points. McCoy only played 12% of the snaps and should be avoided. 

D’Andre Swift/Adrian Peterson/Kerryon Johnson

Swift is an automatic RB2 even in a challenging affair with the number one ranked rush defense DVOA (according to FO) in the Bucs. The Lions may end up in a negative game script as they are 9 point dogs, which would bode well for Swift in PPR leagues, although he has not topped five targets this year in any game. He finished as the RB16 and RB10 since returning and is a confident start for your fantasy finals. Adrian “Methuselah” Peterson is a sit, and so is Johnson. 

Mike Evans/Chris Godwin/Antonio Brown

This week the Bucs get the Lions ranked 31st in pass defense DVOA (according to FO), and the Bucs are 9 point favorites. This game is a plus matchup for this trio, although Evans has the slightly more challenging CB matchup against Mike Ford (PFF grade of 78.8) on potentially 32% of his routes, nothing to overly worry about, as he is still a WR2/1. Evans finished as the WR19 last week, Godwin the WR27, and Brown got a big touchdown at the end, which saved his day for a WR9 finish. Evans and Godwin are WR2’s, and Brown is a high-end flex option. The only threat to them is if Fournette scores multiple TDs in this possible positive game script. 

Rob Gronkowski

Gronk didn’t do much last week, but he still received seven targets and two redzone looks. Gronk is a TE2 against the Lions in a plus matchup with a 31st ranked pass defense DVOA (according to FO). 

Marvin Jones Jr./Danny Amendola/Quintez Cephus

Jones is an opportunity-driven WR2 going up against the Bucs in a possible negative game script as 9 point dogs. Jones finished with 10/112/1 with 132 air yards last week and as the WR3. He is a quality start for your fantasy finals. Amendola could see usage here based on the game script as well, but he has not done well enough this year to warrant you confidently starting him in your flex spot. Amendola is a fringe flex play, and Cephus is a sit. 

TJ Hockenson

Before last week’s dud, Hockenson’s previous three fantasy finishes were (7), (6), (3). He has been remarkably safe this year, except for two games. He did lose some targets to Jesse James and Hunter Bryant last week, but you are still starting Hockenson as a TE2. 

49ERS @ CARDINALS

49ers @ Cardinals (49) -5

C.J. Beathard

Beathard is not a suitable play for your fantasy finals. If you got this far, I am sure you know that. Although he could get production in a possible negative game script, he isn’t worth starting. 

Kyler Murray

Murray looks back to himself as he went 406/3 and finished as the QB4 last week. He has only finished outside the top-12 three times this year, which could be due to injury. Murray is your QB1 this week with confidence. 

Jeff Wilson/Jerick McKinnon/Tevin Coleman

With Mostert leaving the game, the ball primarily ran through Wilson, who finished as the RB26 last week. He is a fill-in RB2 this week if you are needy at the position for your fantasy finals against a middling Cardinals rush defense. Temper expectations if Beathard can’t advance the ball in a possible negative game script. I would still suspect Wilson to be serviceable. McKinnon and Coleman are both sits. 

Kenyan Drake/Chase Edmonds

Edmonds hasn’t practiced yet this week, but if he plays, it’s going to make this weekend’s decision to start Drake a little bit murkier. If he doesn’t go, Drake is a shoo-in RB2. Drake finished as the RB48 last week, while Edmonds finished as the RB19. If Edmonds plays, I think Drake is a riskier RB2/Flex, and Edmonds is a risky flex play for your fantasy finals. 

Brandon Aiyuk/Kendrick Bourne/Richie James 

Aiyuk is an opportunity-driven WR2/1 this week with minimal receiving options unless Kittle returns. The Niners may find themselves in a negative game script as five-point dogs. Aiyuk has finished (6), (13), (14), (10), (6) in the last five games. Bourne and James could get work in this game, but hard to trust for your fantasy finals. Both are fringe flex plays. 

Jordan Reed/Ross Dwelley/George Kittle

If Kittle returns, we don’t know what type of playing time he will have. If you want to roll the dice, play him, and Reed becomes a sit. If Kittle doesn’t play, Reed is a TE3 going up against a more uncompromising TE defense, and Dwelley is a sit. I would just pay attention to reports on Kittle to see how he looks or if he will be limited. 

DeAndre Hopkins/Christian Kirk/Larry Fitzgerald

If you had Hopkins last week, you probably are in the fantasy finals as he clobbered the CB-less Eagles (expectedly) for 9/169/1 and finished as the WR2. Hopkins is a WR1 that I don’t imagine you are sitting for the finals. I wouldn’t expect a top-two finish since he will be guarded by a starting CB this time in Ahkello Witherspoon. I would be expecting more out of Kirk based on the Eagles limited backfield, but much ado about nothing. Kirk and Fitz (even though he scored) are sits for your fantasy finals. 

Dan Arnold

Arnold has been getting decent work lately and had five targets for 3/54/0 and 85 air yards. He is a fringe start to TE3 this week against the Niners. 

dOLPHINS @ rAIDERS

Dolphins @ Raiders (47.5) 3

Tua Tagovailoa

The Dolphins enter a must-win game for them against a 21st ranked Raiders pass defense DVOA (according to FO). The Raiders can sometimes surprise you, but I would suspect that if all the Dolphins are back, which is trending in that direction, Tua and the gang should beat the -3 spread. Tua is a QB2 with some upside in this matchup with the Raiders, especially if the whole team is back. A downgrade if his receivers can’t suit up. 

Derek Carr

Carr looks as if he will be playing this week, but unless you are in a 2QB league, I would shy away against a Fins 5th ranked pass defense DVOA (according to FO). Carr can perform in unlikely spots, but he can’t be trusted for a playoff final inside 12-man regular leagues. He is a QB3 this week. 

Myles Gaskin/Salvon Ahmed/Matt Breida/Lynn Bowden

Gaskins looks as if he will return this week based on news reports. He is typically a safe RB2 this year with low volatility in a plus matchup with the Raiders, who rank 31st in rush defense DVOA (according to FO) in a must-win game for the playoff-hopeful Fins. It’s in the realm of possibility that they still utilize Ahmed, who has played quite well, but he is a fringe flex-start with Gaskin back in. Breida is a sit. Bowden finished as the RB44, but he is a fringe flex if the receivers return, which looks like they will. If they don’t, then Bowden becomes a high-end flex option, if not more. 

Josh Jacobs/Devontae Booker 

The Raiders get a run funnel Dolphins team this week that are vying for playoff hopes. The Raiders enter as 3 point dogs, and I would think the Dolphins play a little harder in this “playoff” type matchup for them. Jacobs is the RB7 for the year and is an RB2, at least in this matchup with less upside. Jacobs’s last four fantasy finishes are (17), (41), (24), (12). Booker is a sit. 

DeVante Parker/Lynn Bowden/Jakeem Grant

Parker and Grant have gotten in limited practice and look on pace to play. If they don’t, Bowden is a high-end flex option. If they do play, Parker is a hard to trust flex to WR2 option in a plus matchup with the yard yielding Raiders team who rank 21st in pass defense DVOA (according to FO), although these two connected in week eleven’s Denver game. Grant is a sit, and Bowden becomes a fringe-flex play if both Parker and Gesicki play, but he still could get production. 

Mike Gesicki

Gesicki has gotten in some practice time this week and looks as if he will suit up. If he does, he is a shoo-in TE2 against a yard yielding Raiders team. 

Nelson Agholor/Hunter Renfrow/Henry Ruggs 

Agholor got beat up in this last matchup with the Chargers and has been the safest receiver on this team, but I would temper expectations this week against a Fins team hoping to become playoff bound. Agholor is a low-end flex play this week, and Renfrow is a sit. Ruggs may return this week, but that is still uncertain. Even if he does, he is a sit for this matchup. Renfrow does have the softer CB matchup against Nik Needham. 

Darren Waller

I don’t think you are sitting Waller, are you? He is a TE1. 

Sunday Early

bROWNS @ JETS

Browns @ Jets (47.5) 9.5

Baker Mayfield

Mayfield has finished (11), (4), (3), (12) in his last four games and gets a pass funnel Jets squad this week that I don’t imagine will keep pace as some of his previous opponents have unless they repeat what they did against the Rams. It could be a possible temper your expectations moment if this doesn’t happen, but Mayfield, based on current return on investment, is a QB2 with upside against Gang Green. 

Sam Darnold

Are you really needing to read about Sam Darnold for the fantasy finals? Get outta here! He is a serviceable 2QB league start, but with risk. He has finished outside the top-24 all year, but two games. 

Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt

Chubb is a shoon-in RB1 in this matchup with the pass funnel Jets, especially if the Browns, who are 9.5 point favorites, get ahead. Chubb’s last four finishes are (4), (11), (7), (21). Hunt is a less trustworthy flex option that could get work depending on the game flow as he has finished (31), (36), (30), (4), (49) in his last five games. 

Frank Gore/Ty Johnson

Old man river is a serviceable flex to RB2 fill-in against the Browns 19th ranked rush defense DVOA (according to FO). Gore finished as the RB25 against the Rams last week. Johnson is a sit, although he was targeted six times last week and finished as the RB17. 

Jarvis Landry/Rashard Higgins/Donovan Peoples-Jones

Landry has finished (3), (15), (36), (13) in his last four games. He is a WR2 to flex option this week, but as 9.5 point favorites, they can also ride the game through Chubb. The Jets are a pass funnel team, though, it bodes well for this receiving squad. Landry has the tougher CB matchup in the slot against Javelin Guidry (PFF grade of 71) on potentially 53% of his routes. Higgins could get work here and be a quality fill-in, but still hard to trust for your finals. He is a fringe-flex play, and the Peoples-Jones is a DFS one-game slate dart throw that could also score. 

Austin Hooper

Hooper could get work in this game and finished as the TE8 last week against the Giants. He would still be hard to trust as the Browns “were” primarily a run-heavy team, and if they get ahead against the Jets, they could taper Mayfield. Austin is a risky TE3 this week. 

Jamison Crowder/Breshad Perriman/Denzel Mims

Crowder is a risky flex with upside this week in a plus matchup with the Browns. If the Jets play anything like they did last week, it will be suitable for this crew. Crowder gets the softer CB matchup this week against Kevin Johnson (PFF grade of 53.2). Although Perriman and Mims could get production, they are not wise fantasy final starts. Better for one game DFS plays. 

Chris Herndon

Herndon is not a trustworthy fantasy start for your fantasy finals. 

BENGALS @ TEXANS

Bengals @ Texans (46) -8

Ryan Finley

Finley looked like the best QB of all-time against the Steelers and finished as the QB15 for the week. This upcoming game with the Texans is a plus matchup for him, but I wouldn’t imagine you trotting him out there in your fantasy finals. He is a sit unless you throw him in as a 2 QB league starter, in which he could see production against a yard yielding Texans team. 

DeShaun Watson

Watson is the QB6 for the year with 4134/27 passing and 394/3 rushing. He gets a Cincy team coming off a big win against the Steelers, but who are ranked 27th in pass defense DVOA (according to FO). Watson is a bonafide QB1 with upside for your fantasy finals after he finished (12), (16), (10) against more challenging defensive squads. 

Gio Bernard/Samaje Perine/Trayveon Williams

Who would have thought the mustached marauder saved fantasy days for whoever had the balls to play him against the Steelers on Monday night. If the Bengals somehow do the same thing, Bernard is a flex option with room for more against the Texans. If they come off of their high, Bernard is a risky flex play for your fantasy finals. Perine and Williams are sits. 

David Johnson/Duke Johnson

Duke has been out of practice this week, which will bode well for the other Johnson and his fantasy owners. David went 133 yards and finished as the RB6 with 11 receptions on 11 targets. He is a high-end RB2 with upside this week against the Bengals, a middling rush defense. The Texans are an 8 point favorite that didn’t budge even with the Bengal’s win over the Steelers. Start David with confidence. 

Tee Higgins/Tyler Boyd/AJ Green

These receivers have room for production against the Texans but are still hard to trust for your fantasy finals. Boyd hasn’t practiced yet this week, and if he is cleared to play, he is a risky flex play. If he doesn’t play, then Higgins should get more work and is a flex option with room for more against the Texans. Yes, it’s possible Green gets production with Boyd out, but are you going to play him on a fantasy finals team? 

Drew Sample

Sample is not a viable starter for your fantasy playoffs but could get work. 

Brandin Cooks/KeKe Coutee/Chad Hansen

Cooks has tapered off lately but was out week 14 and had to play against Xavier Rhodes last week. This game against the Bengals is a potential bounce-back spot for him, but he does have the more challenging CB in William Jackson (PFF grade of 72). The Bengals overall, though, are a 27th ranked pass defense DVOA (according to FO). Cooks is a WR2, Coutee has finished (8), (47), (26) in his last three games and is a flex option this week. Hansen is a potential flex option as well, although riskier. 

Jordan Akins/Darren Fells

Akins nor Fells have warranted enough production to be considered fantasy starts. 

COLTS @ STEELERS

Colts @ Steelers (45) 1.5

Philip Rivers

Rivers has tapered off as of recent, and the Steelers are still a good defense. Coming off three losses in a row, I would think something would give. River’s last three fantasy finishes are (14), (14), (19). He is a QB3 this week against the Steelers, who are ranked 1st in pass defense DVOA (according to FO).  

Ben Roethlisberger

Grandpa Ben has finished (14), (19), (14), (24), (33) in his last five games. The Steelers are coming off three losses straight after starting 11-0, so you would expect a bounce-back, but you were against the Bengals. The Colts have a stout defense, and this could be a defensive battle. Big Ben is a QB3 this week. 

Jonathan Taylor/Nyheim Hines/Jordan Wilkins

If Gio can gash the tough Steelers defense, then Taylor surely could, right? He has finished (11), (5), (2), (15) in his last four games and is an RB1/2 this week against the Steelers. I would temper expectations, though, seeing as it’s still a tough spot, and the Steelers are coming off three losses straight, so they are going to perk up here. Hines could get some increased usage here coming out of the backfield if it becomes a defensive battle or the Colts get behind. Hines is a low-end flex play. He has finished (11), (22), (21), (40) in his last four games. Wilkins is a sit. 

James Conner/Benny Snell/Anthony McFarland

Conner may suit up this week, but he would be hard to trust as a fantasy finals play. He would be a risky low-end RB2. If he doesn’t play, Snell performed well against the Bengals and should be an RB2. Conner’s last five fantasy finishes are (13), (54), (32), (18), (73). McFarland is a sit. 

Diontae Johnson/JuJu Smith-Schuster/Chase Claypool

It was good to see Johnson pre-game mentally prepping for the game, which showed as he caught 8 of 13 targets for 8/59/1 on 97 air yards. Johnson does get a tough Xavier Rhodes this week, but I would still place him as a WR2 in a tough matchup with the Colts. Smith-Schuster is a risky flex option going up against a Stout defense. Claypool, who runs a 4.42, gets the softest CB matchup with Rock-Ya-Sin (PFF grade of 48.7, runs a 4.51) and is also a flex option but could get more production. I would say I like Johnson, Claypool, then JuJu in that order for this particular affair. 

TY Hilton/Michael Pittman/Zach Pascal

Hilton went 4/71/0 last week and finished as the WR41. In his previous three games, he was (17), (6), (5). I believe this is a tougher matchup for the Colts in a possible defensive game against a Steelers team that is coming off three losses straight and are ranked 1st in pass defense DVOA (according to FO). Hilton is a flex option this week. Pittman is a sit as he hasn’t done much fantasy production since week eleven. Pascal had two touchdowns last week, but he is a sit as well. 

Eric Ebron 

Ebron took a big hit last week, and if he comes back this week, the Steelers have been struggling, but Ebron is still a TE2/3 in the matchup. It is hard to trust in a big game here against a stout Colts defense. I would temper expectations, especially if he is still banged up. If the reports are relatively clear that he is okay, then I would be less worried. 

Trey Burton/Jack Doyle/Mo Alie-Cox

This trio can’t be trusted in a fantasy playoff game as they cannibalize each other’s production. 

BEARS @ jAGUARS

Bears @ Jaguars (47) 7.5

Mitch Trubisky

Trubisky is a risky fantasy fill-in as he has boomed twice and busted twice the past two weeks. I would imagine, though, he is a quality start this week against the Jags, who are ranked 32nd in pass defense DVOA (according to FO), and if they lose, they should have a pretty good chance of locking in the #1 draft pick. They don’t have much incentive to try to win. Trubisky is a high-end QB2 this week with some upside. 

Gardner Minshew/Mike Glennon

There is uncertainty about who will be at the helm this week, but whoever is, I would bench them this week. The Jags have a chance at the number one overall pick, and they are playing a formidable defense this week. 

David Montgomery

Montgomery is a bonafide RB1 this week in a game they may get ahead and are favored by 7.5 against the Jags. Montgomery’s last four fantasy finishes are (6), (1), (6), (2). Start him with confidence in your finals. 

James Robinson

Robinson has gotten many teams to the fantasy playoffs and might have lost some playoff games for you. If you are still in the thick of it and plays this week, he is an RB1/2, but with tempered expectations, since he could still be hobbled. Also, I don’t imagine the Jags trying to win this game with a chance at the number one overall pick. 

Allen Robinson/Darnell Mooney/Anthony Miller

Allen is in a plus draw against a yard yielding Jags defense ranked 32nd in pass defense DVOA (according to FO). The Bears may get ahead like last week and ride the game through Montgomery, but nonetheless, Robinson is a WR1/2 option this week. Although Mooney hit paydirt last week, he is simply a fringe-flex play this week. Miller is a sit. 

Cole Kmet/Jimmy Graham

Kmet still played over Graham last week, although Graham saw an additional target. I am sure it’s hard to trust in the fantasy finals, but Kmet would still get at least TE3 treatment in a possible plus draw with the Jags. Graham is a sit. The game may ride through Montgomery as it did last week. 

DJ Chark/Laviska Shenault/Keelan Cole

None of these players are viable starts for your fantasy playoffs. Shenault has been the most consistent recently with finishes of (25), (38), (47), but he would only be a fringe-flex play. 

Tyler Eifert

Eifert is not a viable fantasy play this week. 

pANTHERS @ WFT

Panthers @ Washington (44.5) -2

Teddy Bridgewater

Washington is ranked 2nd in pass defense DVOA (according to FO) and held Wilson last week to QB28. This opposing defense is a downgrade for this team’s offensive production, leaving Bridgewater as a QB4 to a sit this week in fantasy. 

Dwayne Haskins

Haskins may try to save face from his maskless club extravaganza and ball out here against the Panthers. He hasn’t finished higher than QB18, though, so he is a sit this week with production potential. 

Mike Davis

Davis is a viable RB2 fill-in this week with tempered expectations against a tough Washington defense that has held opponents. They middle in rush defense DVOA (according to FO) but could get a lead if they hold off the Panthers, which may lower Davis’s ability to score. His last four fantasy finishes are (10), (23), (5), (36). 

Antonio Gibson/J.D. McKissic/Peyton Barber

Gibson is practicing this week, and if he returns, he is an RB2 against the Panthers. Turf Toe isn’t anything to scoff at, though, so you may want to temper expectations slightly. If he returns, Barber is a sit. If he doesn’t, Barber is still a sit. McKissic went 9/107/1 last week and finished as the RB4. If Gibson is out, he is a high-end RB2 with upside. If Gibson returns, he is an RB2 to flex option. 

Robby Anderson/DJ Moore/Curtis Samuel

The Washington defense is a downgrade for this trio as they held Lockett and Metcalf last week and are ranked 2nd in pass defense DVOA (according to FO). Samuel gets the softest matchup out of this crew and is a viable flex option with passes possibly funneling to him. Anderson and Moore are low-end WR’s to flex options this week, mostly lining up with Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby. 

Ian Thomas

Thomas isn’t a viable play for the fantasy playoffs. However, he could get work if passes funnel his way. 

Terry McLaurin/Cam Sims/Isaiah Wright

McLaurin has probably let fantasy owners down, including me, in recent weeks. However, he did have a quality 7/77/0 last week against the Seahawks. This game against the Panthers is hopefully a bounce-back spot for him against a 26th ranked pass defense DVOA (according to FO). McLaurin is a WR2 with upside. Sims and Wright are sits. 

Logan Thomas

Haskins heavily used Thomas, who went 13/101/0 on 15 targets. He is a TE2 this week against a lower-ranked Panthers pass defense. His last four fantasy finishes are (10), (3), (14), (2). Thomas has five TDs on the year. 

gIANTS @ rAVENS

Giants @ Ravens (45) -11

Colt McCoy/Daniel Jones

Jones is practicing this week and may play, but neither starter is a viable option this week against the Ravens, who are trying to close in on a playoff spot. 

Lamar Jackson

Jackson has finished (7), (16), (6), (1), (5) in his last five games and is a QB1 this week as they try to secure a playoff spot. They play the Giants, who will get Bradberry back this week, but it’s still a plus draw for Jackson. He is a bonafide QB1 with upside against a 22nd ranked pass defense DVOA (according to FO).  

Wayne Gallman/Alfred Morris/Devonta Freeman

Gallman has been a productive RB2 but hit a wall last week against Cleveland. Freeman may return this week, making Gallman a risky low-end RB2 to flex-start against a stout Ravens team. Morris is a sit. 

JK Dobbins/Gus Edwards/Mark Ingram II

Dobbins has finished (8), (21), (22), (20) in his last four games. He is an RB2 in a possible plus draw as 11 point favorites against the Giants. Edwards is a boom or bust fringe flex play that needs to score to get you some value. Ingram is a sit. 

Sterling Shepard/Darius Slayton/Golden Tate

Sterling and Slayton received generous targets against a yard yielding Browns, but with Colt at the helm, they didn’t produce much with them. Shepard finished 4/51/0 as the WR55 and Slayton 4/74 for WR34. This matchup is a downgrade for them anyway. If Jones returns, they are both flex risky flex options. Otherwise, they are fringe-flex plays with Tate being a sit. 

Evan Engram

Engram has finished (24), (37), (21) in his last three games. He is a risky TE3 this week against the Ravens and more a sit for the fantasy finals. 

Marquise Brown/Dez Bryant/Willie Snead

Bradberry will more than likely be back this week, which downgrades Brown to a low-end flex to fringe flex play. Bryant and Snead are sits. 

Mark Andrews

Andrew’s last four fantasy finishes are (1), (3), (7), (5). With Bradberry probably back in the mix, passes may funnel towards Andrews. He is a bonafide TE1 for the fantasy finals. 

fALCONS @ CHIEFS

Falcons @ Chiefs (54) -10.5

Matt Ryan

Ryan is the QB12 for the year with 4016/22 passing. He may be without Julio again, but if Julio returns, I would like his chances better as a QB1. People have been quick to write off Ryan, but he did better than expected last week against the Bucs, finishing as the QB8. He indeed may find himself in negative game script against this week with the Chiefs. Ryan is a boom or bust risky QB2/3 that may be worth starting, but I would look elsewhere in normal 12 man leagues. He would be a worthy 2QB league starter. 

Patrick Mahomes

I wouldn’t imagine you sitting Mahomes. He is the league’s QB2 for the year with 4462/36 passing and 287/2 rushing. He plays the pass funnel Falcons team that gave way to a quality Brady second half last week. Not that anything matters with Mahomes. He is your QB1 with upside. 

Todd Gurley/Ito Smith/Brian Hill 

Gurley’s snaps fell to 24.2% last week, and I don’t imagine you starting him any way he is a sit. Ito had six carries and finished as the RB50. Hill finished as the R61. Someone here could score, but they are all sits for your fantasy finals. 

Le’Veon Bell 

Bell is an opportunity-driven RB2 this week with upside with Clyde out. Bell finished with 15/62/1 last week and one reception for 14 yards. 

Calvin Ridley/Julio Jones/Russell Gage

Ridley is a WR1 this week in a possible negative game script as 10 point dogs against the Chiefs. Start Ridley with confidence. If Jones does return, Ridley is still a WR1. If Julio’s plays and reports are favorable, he is a WR1 as well. Gage hit pay dirt for the 3rd time this season last week and is a flex play against the Chiefs. 

Hayden Hurst

Hurst was a safe tight end early in the season, then he and Ryan trailed off. Hurst’s last six fantasy finishes are (6), (54), (17), (54), (51), (10). Last week he scored a TD, which he hadn’t since week six. He holds a marginal 14.2% redzone share but does get a plus draw against the Chiefs this week, in which I imagine Ryan will have increased throwing attempts. Hurst is a risky TE2/3 that could pay off in the fantasy finals. Temper expectations if he doesn’t hit.  

Tyreek Hill/Sammy Watkins/Demarcus Robinson/Mecole Hardman

You are starting Hill as your bonafide WR1. He gets a plus matchup with the Falcons here and has upside. Watkins is a fringe-flex play that could get work, but he is behind Kelce and Hill for production. Robinson is a boom or bust fringe-flex play with a softer CB matchup, but probably not worth the risk of a fantasy finals play. Utilize him for one game DFS plays. Hardman always has a chance to score, as does any with Mahomes, but he is a sit. 

Travis Kelce

The tight end Contra cheat code. Play Kelce. 

Sunday Late

bRONCOS @ CHARGERS

Broncos @ Chargers (49) -3

Drew Lock

I expected Lock to have a better output against the Bills, but that did not come to fruition as he finished QB30 for the week. Lock gets a plus matchup here but can’t be trusted for your fantasy finals unless you are in a 2QB league. The Chargers middle in pass defense DVOA (according to FO). 

Justin Herbert

Laser-focused Herbert Hoover can quickly suck the life out of fantasy opponents, as he sits at QB9 for the year with 3781/27 passing and 199/4 rushing. He had tapered off a few games but finished as the QB7 last week against the Raiders with 314/2 and a rushing TD. The Broncos are a run funnel defense and rank 7th in pass defense DVOA (according to FO), but Herbert is a bonafide QB1 for the fantasy finals. 

Melvin Gordon/Phillip Lindsay

Lindsay didn’t practice Wednesday, and if he doesn’t play, it helps Gordon’s floor and ceiling against his former team in a possible “revenge” game, but that narrative has not worked out too well this year. Gordon would be an RB2 regardless but will have room for more if Lindsay sits. Gordon’s last five fantasy finishes are (5), (56), (15), (20), (7). The 56 doesn’t count because it was when the Broncos didn’t have a viable QB. The Chargers are 26th in rush defense DVOA (according to FO). Start Gordon with confidence. Lindsay is a sit for your fantasy finals. 

Austin Ekeler/Kalen Ballage

Ekeler had gotten vultured by Ballage and Herbert last week, but his previous four fantasy finishes are (8), (24), (8), (27). He warrants RB1 discussion playing against a run funnel Broncos team that the Chargers could get ahead on if Lock doesn’t keep pace. Ballage is a sit. 

Tim Patrick/Jerry Jeudy/KJ Hamler

This game is a plus matchup for this crew, but Lock’s inconsistency brings them all down. Patrick is a risky flex option for your fantasy finals and probably a shy away. Jeudy and Hamler are both sits. If Lock does show up, it will, of course, bode well for at least one of these receivers and Fant. 

Noah Fant

Fant had his best game of the year and 3rd TD of the year with 8/68/1 against Buffalo. He gets another prime spot here and has gotten targets all season but hasn’t cashed in. Fant is a risky but viable TE3 to TE2 this week against the Chargers. The Chargers got lit up by Waller last week, but that’s Waller; he can light up an icicle. 

Keenan Allen/Mike Williams/Jalen Guyton

Keenan “Play Me” Allen is a bonafide WR1 if his hamstring is healed up and ready to go against the Broncos. If there is an indication there is uncertainty surrounding him, you can pivot, but I imagine he suits up and is fine this week if he is a go. Williams is a boom or bust option in a plus matchup, but not worth risking a fantasy finals start over. Williams does have opportunity, though, with less challenging CB matchups in this affair. Guyton is a sit. 

Hunter Henry

Henry is one of the few low volatile tight ends and is a TE2 this week against the Broncos. 

rAMS @ SEAHAWKS

Rams @ Seahawks (47.5) -1

Jared Goff

Goff does well when you don’t expect him to, and vice versa. This could be a week he does well, but I don’t think it’s worth investing your chips on. Seahawks have become a more balanced team as the year has gone on. The last time we expected Goff to do well against the Seahawks this year, he finished as the QB22. Goff is more than capable of more QB3/4 this week in a possible close defensive matchup. 

Russell Wilson

As the Seahawks have become more of a balanced team, Wilson has tapered off and has finished (19), (11), (18), (20), (8), (28) in his last six games. He finished as the QB19 in the previous game with the Rams. This game sets up as a possible defensive matchup for the top of the division. Wilson is a QB2 this week. 

Darrell Henderson/Malcolm Brown

Akers will be out this game, and it’s possible these two split, or Henderson takes the lead as he did earlier in the year. He would still be hard to trust as your fantasy starter for the finals, so he is a risky low-end RB2 to flex play this week. The last time these two played, he finished with 33 yards and a TD for RB25 for the week. 

Chris Carson/Carlos Hyde

Carson has finished (17), (6), (12), (34) in his last four games and missed the previous affair with the Rams. This game may be a defensive battle, and the Rams rank 7th in rush defense DVOA (according to FO). I would temper expectations here; Carson is a low-end RB1 to high-end RB2 this week against the Rams. Hyde is a sit. 

Robert Woods/Cooper Kupp/Josh Reynolds

Woods has been the most consistent this year with the Rams and has finished (3), (24), (20), (57), (7) in his last five games. This game sets up as a possible defensive battle with the Seahawks, and although it could turn into a shootout, you might want to temper expectations if it doesn’t. Woods finished as the WR47 in their last matchup and is a low-end WR2 this week. Kupp finished as the WR38 in their previous matchup and is a flex option this week. Reynolds is a boom or bust guy that is a sit, but he did have the best game amongst this trio against the Seahawks last with 8/94/0 as the WR18 for the week. 

Tyler Higbee/Gerald Everett

Although Higbee scored last week, he isn’t viable, nor is Everett for fantasy starts for your playoffs. They each have a chance at production here, but better for one game DFS plays. 

DK Metcalf/Tyler Lockett/David Moore

Metcalf was facing mostly Ramsey last time against the Rams and finished as the WR67 in week 10. You are starting him in your fantasy finals, but temper expectations this week. He is a WR2 to flex play this week, even though it sounds ridiculous. Lockett has the softer CB matchup and finished as the WR31 in the last meeting with the Rams. He is a flex play this week. Moore is a sit. 

Jacob Hollister/Will Dissly

Olsen may return this week, and if it doesn’t, it makes a murky situation even murkier. These tight ends are a sit for your fantasy playoffs. 

EAGLES @ COWBOYS

Eagles @ Cowboys (49.5) 2.5

Jalen Hurts

Well, I guess Wentz won’t be back anytime soon. Hurts lead all QB’s last week in a high scoring game with 338/3 passing and 63/1 rushing. This game might not have the same potential, but Hurts has on QB1 treatment for your fantasy finals if you picked him up. 

Andy Dalton

Dalton has a plus matchup here against a pass funnel defense but is only a QB3 at best this week. His fantasy finishes are (20), (17), (20), (18) in his last four games. 

Miles Sanders/Boston Scott

Sanders has finished (3), (29) in the past two games and gets a Cowboys team ranked 25th in rush defense DVOA (according to FO). Sanders is an RB1/RB2 this week. He does have to contend with Hurts rushing for TDs as well. Scott is a sit. 

Ezekiel Elliott/Tony Pollard

Elliott looks poised to return this week. I was hoping we’d get another week of Pollard. Not that I hate Elliott, and it could be injury-related, but he has been unmotivated since Dak went out. Hopefully, he gets reinvigorated after watching Pollard bust one out last week. If Elliot plays, he is an RB2; if he doesn’t, Pollard is an RB2. 

Jalen Reagor/Alshon Jeffrey/Greg Ward

Hurts basically used everybody in the last game, although Ward got two touchdowns. It’s hard to place who to trust out of this group. For now, everyone is a fringe-flex start. 

Dallas Goedert/Zach Ertz

Ertz ran more routes than Goedert by three and got one less target 7 vs. 8. Goedert finished 4/39 on 83 air yards as the TE24. Ertz went 2/69/0 on 78 air yards as the TE20. This game sets up as a plus matchup for both tight ends. Goedert has finished as (19), (24) the past two games. They both have a chance for success, but I would drop Goedert to the TE3 range and Ertz up to fringe to TE3. 

Amari Cooper/Ceedee Lamb/Michael Gallup

Cooper has been the most reliable out of this group, even though he had a dud last week. I would pencil him in as a WR2 this week with upside if the Eagles CB’s don’t get healthy in time. Lamb is also a flex option this week and finished as the WR29 last week even though he has slipped off the radar. Gallup hit paydirt last week, but he is a sit. 

Dalton Schultz

Schultz is a sit for the fantasy playoffs. 

TITANS @ PACKERS

Titans @ Packers (56) -3.5

Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill is the QB7 through the year with 3482/31 passing and 173/4 rushing. His last five fantasy finishes are (9), (8), (2), (17), (3). He is a shoo-in QB1 this week against the Packers in a possible high scoring game with a Vegas total of 56. Start Tannehill with confidence against a Packers team that is ranked 18th in pass defense DVOA (according to FO).

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers and Adams took a back seat to Aaron Jones last week as Rodgers finished with a mild 143 passing yards on 29 attempts. This week he gets a yard yielding Titans team ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA (according to FO), and they are a pass funnel squad. Rodgers is a QB1 with upside this week with confidence. 

Derrick Henry

Henry seemingly shows up at the end of the fantasy season to ruin opponents as he busts through the playoffs. He has finished (1), (41), (1), (8) in these last three games and is an RB1 weekly. This game may turn into a passing shootout, which could lower Henry’s floor, but he could also get opportunity in the redzone. Henry is 2nd in redzone touches, 1st in rushing yards, and 2nd in total TDs. Start Henry with confidence, not that you were sitting him. 

Aaron Jones/Jamaal Williams

Williams missed practice this week thus far, and if he doesn’t play, Jones will be an RB1 with upside this week against the Titans. Jones finished as the RB5 last week with Williams leaving the game and had 158 total yards and a TD. If Williams returns, Jones is still a viable option, but his ceiling is lowered. 

AJ Brown/Corey Davis

Brown will be facing off against a more challenging CBs in Jaire Alexander and Kevin King, but in a possible high scoring game, he is a shoo-in WR1 with upside. Davis may face off against Jaire more than Brown, but he is a consistent flex option weekly with opportunity in this game. His last six fantasy finishes are (30), (21), (45), (1), (85), (8). Davis is a viable flex this week. 

Jonnu Smith 

Smith will be an opportunity based TE2 this week in a possible high scoring game with the Packers. His last five fantasy finishes are (9), (9), (11), (33), (13). 

Davante Adams/Marquez Valdes-Scantling/Allen Lazard

Adams had one of his few low scoring games last week; hopefully, you made it out of Week 15 unscathed, I indeed didn’t. Adams should return to WR1 status with upside in a possible high scoring game with the Titans, who are a pass funnel defense and rank 30th in pass defense DVOA (according to FO). MVS is a boom or bust fringe flex option that could score, but not worth the risk in your fantasy finals. Lazard is a sit as well. 

Robert Tonyan 

Tonyan is a TE2 this week in a possible high scoring game with the Titans. His last four fantasy finishes are (2), (9), (5), (12). 

Monday

BILLS @ PATRIOTS

Bills @ Patriots (46) 7

Josh Allen

Allen is the QB3 through the season with 4000/30 passing and 383/8 rushing. He is 4th in passing yards, air yards, and 6th in passing TDs. Allen has finished in the top-12 nine times this year and outside of it five times. He did have a lull against the Patriots in week eight as the QB19, so there is some worry, but you are starting Allen as a QB1 with upside. 

Cam Newton

Cam’s last four fantasy finishes are (29), (8), (29), (29). He has a plus matchup with the Bills and was the QB17 against them last time. Cam is a QB3 for the fantasy finals. 

Zach Moss/Devin Singletary

Moss is a sit for the fantasy finals. Singletary’s last four finishes are (22), (23), (54), (18). He is a risky low-end flex against the Patriots if you are desperate.  

Sony Michel/Damien Harris/James White

Damien may return this week, which could lead to him returning as the primary back or splitting with Michel, who finished with 10/74/0 last week. If Damien is out, Michel is a risky flex play; if Harris returns, I wouldn’t play any for your fantasy finals. White finished with 4/52/0 but is not a viable starter for your fantasy playoffs. 

Stefon Diggs/Cole Beasley/Gabriel Davis/John Brown

Diggs looks as if he is trending to play; if he does, he is a WR1 that finished as the WR26 in his last matchup with the Patriots. Beasley is a worthy flex play in this matchup but didn’t finish well in his previous meeting with the Patriots with 2/24/0. If John Brown returns, he would be a perilous flex play against the Patriots. Davis could get work, but he is not a confident start for a fantasy finals game. 

Dawson Knox/Tyler Kroft

Knox is a one-game DFS play, and if Kroft returns, he is too. They are not viable fantasy final tight ends.

Jakobi Meyers/Damiere Byrd/N’Keal Harry

I like Meyers, and he has performed well throughout the year, but not consistently with Cam. Meyers went 7/111/0 last week, but his previous four games were duds. Meyers could be a sneaky fill-in, but he is a fringe flex play for the fantasy finals. Byrd and Harry are sits.